Film

A Mad Man with a Blog’s top five films of 2015


film 2015

Okay, so we’re doing this. And if we’re doing this, then we need to lay out some ground rules.

Firstly, these are all going to be films that I’ve actually seen. Which was a little limiting, when I got down to it. Apparently a number of the films I quite liked this year were actually not films this year. Who knew?

Anyway, the second rule is that these are the films I most enjoyed. Which is a polite way of saying that it’s my list, and I’m choosing the films.

Other than that, enjoy and feel free to be wrong disagree in the comments.

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Ant Man – A Review


ant man

Marvel have reached the point, now, where they can basically do anything and it’s presumed it will be a hit. This ability to print gold is a fairly recent development, likely stemming from the surprise hit that was Guardians of the Galaxy.

Part of it is the formula that Marvel (Read: Disney -Ed) have hit upon, combining quirky characters, a script which doesn’t take itself too seriously, and an ever changing cast of actors and actresses you know from that thing. This time we get the bloke from Basic Instinct, Phoebe’s husband from Friends, and the woman from Lost. Oh, and the alcoholic from the first season of House of Cards.

Ant-Man, I suspect, alongside the expected Doctor Strange film of next year, is Marvel reaching the stage of trolling DC that it can make the lesser known, frankly more absurd, properties into successful films before DC can get a Justice League film together.

So the pertinent question is, can they?

Read on…

Jurassic World – A Review


jurassic world

I’m of about the age that means the original Jurassic Park film was formative of my affection for films and dinosaurs. It is a pretty key piece of my cinematic education and psyche.

I’m also a bit odd, in that I don’t regard the sequel, The Lost Word as a complete catastrophe as everyone else thinks it was. Yes, it could definitely have done without the gymnastics, and it was weird that the back end of a Godzilla film got caught up at the end. But there was still a good film in there somewhere.

Jurassic Park III, mind, was an unadulterated disaster, start to finish.

So that’s the pantheon of Jurassic Park films. That is the scale on which Jurassic World be judged, but this blogger at least.

Read on…

It Follows – A Review


it follows

There was a bit of a stir about It Follows when it came out a little while back.

It happens occasionally. Horror is, by and large, a looked-down-upon genre amongst many film critic circles, but occasionally some of the magic gets through. As in the case of It Follows, from the look of it; something which gets the mechanics right on the one level, and the deeper meaning on another.

Of course, there’s always a danger. The “meaningful” can easily become dull, and lose any sort of actual relevance. Walking the tightrope is a difficult task. Is It Follows up to it?

Read on…

Interstellar – A Review


interstellar

So it’s taken me rather a while to get around to seeing Interstellar.

I missed it when it was in the cinemas, mainly due to it being a stonking (Unnecessary? -Ed) 170 minutes long and simply being unable to find the time to spare to go and see it. But thanks to the wonders of home DVD, that has now been rectified.

When it came out I recall competing voices branding it either the triumph of modern science fiction cinema, or a waste of time. In my experience, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

But who knows? Maybe it is the best thing since 2001

Read on…

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – A Review


the hobbit - battle of the five armies

And here we are, at last. No, I don’t mean my long overdue review, but rather the conclusion of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga, in the form of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Even with my general policy of avoiding reviews until I can see a film and make up my own mind of it, there has been a lot of stuff written about this film and I haven’t managed to avoid it entirely. A lot of it has been centred around whether it was necessary to split the story into three films, and whether this is all just a waste of time.

I am a big — but not uncritical — fan of not only Tolkien’s fantasy epics, but Peter Jackson’s heroic efforts to translate them to the big screen, and so I am probably pre-disposed to like the films come what may. That said, the previous two Hobbit instalments have not set me alight quite to the same extent as The Lord of the Rings.

So what to make of The Battle of the Five Armies?

Read on…

Cinemas in Southend


southend odeon

My apologies to anyone who, flicking through the Southend Echo this morning, and came across the “Big Coversation” section. Yep, my ugly mug front and centre.

The issue was cinemas, and whether there is demand and room for a second cinema in Southend (I was also asked about Basildon, but not really knowing the town or using its cinema I declined to comment). What I did say, for those not blessed (Cursed -Ed) with my smiling face in their morning paper, is as follows:

My fiancee and I go to the cinema a lot. I think a second cinema in Southend is a great idea because it would be competition for the Odeon.

I have had issues with it not showing films I want to see, for example The Dallas Buyers Club. That was an Oscar-nominated film but wasn’t showing in Southend. I certainly think there’s room for competition.

I’m slightly concerned for the location, as it’s a built up area and I’m not sure there is room for a sizable cinema. Somewhere out of town would be better placed for it with a bigger cinema and less chance of it putting the Odeon out of business.

I haven’t been misquoted, but I do want to make a couple of clarifying points.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week – Plot holes, even big ones, need not be fatal


prometheus engineer wakes

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

“Plot holes are bad, and big plot holes are very bad. Yet whilst they obviously aren’t desirable, there is no reason that a plot hole spells doom for a film or TV series.”

Read on…

The Babadook – A Review


the babadook

I first became aware of The Babadook a fair while ago, at about the time that film festival audiences were raving about it. A low-budget, Australian, independent horror film, centring on a small cast, it seemed exactly my sort of thing. It also seemed like exactly the sort of thing which would get an all-too-brief release in a few small independent cinemas, before disappearing.

Fortunately (for me) not so! I am surprised and a little confused at the amount of coverage it has received, and more so to be able to see it in my local purveyor of cinema.

So the stakes are raised. In a pretty weak field of horror films out for Halloween (Note: Horns is not a horror film), this looked like the stand out offering. Which is a tough burden for any film to carry.

Read on…

Horns – A Review


horns

I read Joe Hill’s novel “Horns” when it first came out — purely on the basis of having read his chillingly fantastic debut “Heart-Shaped Box” — and despite it not being precisely what I had expected, I loved it. I went in expecting another horror story, and got…well, I’m not sure exactly. But it was a brilliant novel.

I’ve already put on record that I think that Daniel Radcliffe is indeed capable of carrying the leading role, but I do worry that the very unplaceable genre of the film might cause it problems. Its release, in the run up to Halloween, will have only reinforced in the minds of audiences that it is a horror film, whereas if they have adapted it anything true to form, it really isn’t.

From my perspective, there is always a danger of going into a film having read the book it is based on/adapted from. Can I separate the one from t’other, or will I only be able to judge it based on how well it visualises my own imagining of the novel? Let’s find out.

Read on…