Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Sarkeesian Effect: Inside The World Of Social Justice Warriors (2015) - Movie Review

At the start of my catch-up this year, I promised what would be the single worst film I could ever cover on this blog. Quite frankly, I can think of few things that are dumber than discussions surrounding one Anita Sarkeesian. I’ve voiced my own issues with her in the past, equating her to a rock band that wants to push hardcore political discourse but are completely inept when it comes to writing actual music. Just so we can be clear on this point, and I don’t get morons trying to twist my words, I’ll state my full opinion on her here and now. Sarkeesian’s main goal, that being opening the lid on certain sexist tropes and attitudes prevalent in video games, is commendable in and of itself and I applaud the fact that the discussion was being made at all.

However, between her rather unethical practices when it came to the content of the videos themselves, up to and including stealing footage from other YouTubers without due credit, and the frankly sexist crap she would frequently tweet, I don’t think shewas the right person to make this discussion the hot button issue it was. So, when I found out about this little-seen documentary about the Sarkessian phenomenon and the tidal wave of hatred that would soon follow, I figure this would be worth a gander as a means to discuss a different brand of critic than I’m used to discussing on here. With that said, ignoring the production woes this thing went through that could probably make up a whole other article’s worth of analysis, how does this film turn out?

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Meta Month: Catch-Up Part 4: Angry Video Game Nerd, Bennett The Sage and Linkara (2017)

Well, this month hasn’t gone quite as I expected. In lieu of a lengthy pity party for one (you know, the kind of shit I tend to write on here too much as it is), I’ll just leave it how, by both design and unfortunate accident, this month isn’t nearly as in-depth as last year’s. Just to be clear, the videos I’ve highlighted so far are just the ones I happened to watch over the last year; this is by no means definitive. Still, these are people I feel are worth lauding over, so let’s get this all wrapped up with the final part of this year’s Meta Month catch-up.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Meta Month: Catch-Up Part 3: Diamanda Hagan and the Rap Critic (2017)

Diamanda Hagan is honestly the person I have to thank for me doing this whole catch-up thing in the first place. Back in November, Hagan sent me this tweet:

Monday, 24 April 2017

Personal Shopper (2017) - Movie Review

I wish this didn’t need to be reiterated, but the fact remains: Twilight is long since over and done with. Everyone attached to those films has long since moved on to (mostly) better things far removed from it. However, even with that said, I keep getting the feeling that people aren’t giving Kristen Stewart, the most memorable part of those films for all the wrong reasons, her fair due. Maybe it’s because, in the dungeons of comment sections and web forums, jokes about Bella’s utter uselessness and unintentionally malicious behaviour still ring out. That association is hard to break, even if you’re fortunate enough to unironically like those films.
The shame in that sentiment furthers once you realise that, since 2012, Stewart has not only kept fairly busy but also done some genuinely fantastic work like with American Ultra and Clouds Of Sils Maria. It’s hardly a surprise that this film, written and directed by the man behind Clouds and who got Stewart to give one of her best performances to date, would be on my radar. But does it continue her winning streak (ignoring that Billy Lynn ever happened) or does it add a chink to the chain?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Silent Voice (2017) - Movie Review

Previously on this blog, I have discussed certain aspects of my own film-watching philosophy, in that I consider cinema to be an inherently emotional art form and that it should be perceived and commented on as such. However, I understand that there are parts of that mindset that contradict others. Emotions are far from being simple things, considering we rarely if ever experience just one of them on their own. By contrast, I tend to treat the films I review on here in rather simple terms; this is why films like Moonlight are as difficult to pin down as they are, since they actively go against my usual ‘one and done’ methodology.
And sure enough, we have another example of that today with quite possible the most perplexing emotional post-film reaction I’ve gotten yet. Petulant anger, holding back tears, relief that came seemingly out of nowhere? I barely know how to process these feelings in real life, let alone writing about them at length in connection to fiction. Nonetheless, let’s press forward with this incredibly odd feature.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Beauty And The Beast (2017) - Movie Review

The 1991 version of Beauty And The Beast, to put it simply, is fucking perfect. Yet another classic film that took a modern reimagining for me to check out in the first place, I can scarcely recall a supposed ‘classic’ that made me fall head-over-heels in love as quickly as that film did. The animation, the music, the sharp characterisation, the voice acting, the morals; it’s rare that I’ll ever define a film as being beyond improvement but, quite frankly, that’s how hard I fell in love with this thing. Yeah, I’m late to the party but I’m sure as hell not leaving in a hurry.
Now, I would ordinarily get a bit anxious in the face of this because, well, remaking this film seems like a bad idea on the surface. However, given the quality standards of the recent string of Disney live-action remakes, I have at least some faith that this film will at least be entertaining. I’ve been making it a habit of talking about how most if not all of my expectations for this year’s releases have been proven categorically wrong… and now, it’s time to see the absolute nadir of that effect.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) - Movie Review

Even though it’s only a little over three years old now, it is quite possible to understate the impact that The LEGO Movie had when it first came out. Aside from being one of the two biggest surprises of 2014, the other being Guardians Of The Galaxy, it also latched directly onto the audience mindset like very few films before it have managed. Starting out as a project where audiences had no real idea what the film would even be like, it resulted in an incredibly astute satire of the Hollywood blockbuster formula as well as being a very entertaining action-adventure in its own right, complete with an acknowledgement of the creativity that made LEGO the household name that it is.
Me personally, while I did enjoy it immensely, I was somewhat off-put by the quite literal and jarringly realistic turn it took during the final reel which ended up souring it a bit for me overall. Naturally, when news hit of a spin-off film coming out, this time helmed by LEGO Movie head animator and Adult Swim legend Chris McKay, all the petty misgivings in the world couldn’t stop me from watching it. Computer batteries to power, keyboard to speed.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Dance Academy (2017) - Movie Review

Since I’m in the middle of my traditional Autumn/Winter rut and I’m starting to fall ridiculously behind with my review output, I don’t think anyone will mind if I skip the pleasantries and just get into the film already.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Loving (2017) - Movie Review

Racism, much like any other identity-based prejudice, has never made that much sense to me on a fundamental level. I understand man’s inherent distrust of whatever is different to themselves, but at the same time, the idea of considering someone else to be lesser than myself based purely on something about them that they were born with or are otherwise unable to change is ludicrous. Call it a side effect of living most of my life with numerous labels that immediately had me pinned as being different from everyone else, but I never saw the point in any of it. Of course, just because I don’t understand it, that doesn’t mean that I am blind to its existence in the real world; far fucking from it. As such, films like this could be released at any time of the year and it will always be timely. While you ponder how depressing that is, let’s get into today’s film.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Meta Month: Catch-Up Part 2: The Cinema Snob and Kyle Kallgren (2017)

Over the last few months, I’ve been noticing certain… issues cropping up in the Cinema Snob’s recent output. Ribbing on other critics and even his own audience has been part of his character gimmick since the beginning, but recently it’s been starting to turn down some very bitter corners. From Actual Lee and Tobe Fair to Jordan B. Matthews, the ribbing has been getting considerably more mean-spirited and, honestly, kind of pointless. Again, I don’t find annoyance to be funny but it doesn’t really do much for me, but even still, it’s starting to sour me on the guy’s work. And the worst part of all this? I am legitimately scared of even admitting to any of this because last time I did (in a now-deleted comment thread on his Glen Or Glenda review), I nearly became a gag in one of his videos myself. Thankfully, another series of comments landed in the crossfire instead, but still, that definitely shook me for a while.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Life (2017) - Movie Review

Just as time loop narratives are currently reaching the point of potential oversaturation, it seems that the same can be said for films involving isolation in space. The Martian, Approaching The Unknown, Star Trek Beyond to a certain extent, even Passengers from earlier this year; we’re certainly not want for stories about how the vastness of space can make the average human feel infinitesimally small. However, as I’ve been making a habit of saying over the last few reviews, preconceptions like “Ugh, another space movie? This is gonna suck.” are made to be broken. Of course, bear in mind that another preconception I had with this film is “With these people attached to it, please don’t suck” so you can see the weird place I’m in before I even watch the bloody thing. So, is this going to fall into the cracks of the sub-genre or is it going to make itself stand out (hopefully, for the right reasons)?

Friday, 7 April 2017

Meta Month: Catch-Up Part 1: JonTron, Film Brain, Todd In The Shadows and Lindsay Ellis (2017)

It’s April again, and you know what that means! It’s once again time for Meta Month, where I dedicate the whole month of April to discussing my critical influences and the people that I spend an unhealthy amount of time watching on YouTube. Well, not exactly. Given how last year’s catalogue consisted of articles and lists that I had literally been cultivating for at least a year beforehand, I’m not set up to do the same thing again this year. However, I will be doing some special reviews this month as well as doing a bit of catch-up on the reviewers I’ve already covered. See, while I have pinned down my favourites among their respective bodies of work, they have still been keeping busy and making videos that honestly stand alongside some of their best. So, in light of that, I’m going to go through what they have gotten up to over the last twelve months and cherry-pick some examples that, in my not-so-humble opinion, deserve a spot amongst the Best Of lists I did last year.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Power Rangers (2017) - Movie Review

Power Rangers is one of those franchises that definitely divides people in hindsight. Personally, even today, I still find a lot to like about it. While I may have a stronger connection to the Disney era of the franchise, in particular Dino Thunder, RPM and especially SPD, I did grow up with the Mighty Morphin’ series on VHS. While the rest of you ponder how old this inevitably makes me, also understand that a lot of my opinions regarding media aimed at children were born from my love of this franchise. Yeah, it’s frequently kitschy and more than a little stupid, but at its best, it’s the kind of kick-ass and brightly coloured action fun that I can see merit in. That, and there’s plenty of examples of real character moments and genuine drama to give it its worth in today’s superhero-drenched landscape.
So, between my love for the original shows and the year-long dreading I’ve been going through concerning this film for various reasons, how does this latest iteration of those teenagers with attitude turn out?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A Cure For Wellness (2017) - Movie Review

As I’ve explained many times before on this blog, there are few things in media that I love more than psychological thrillers. Maybe it’s because I view film as an inherently psychological work, given how it exists to convince the audience that its frequently absurd world is actually real, but I have a real liking for films that set out to mess with people’s heads. I’ve covered the good (Oculus), the bad (Trance) and the outright bizarre (Lost River) over the last couple years, and even at their worst I’d like to think that I’ve shown a certain leniency with this sub-genre. Naturally, when the trailers start rolling out for Gore Verbinski’s latest, I have to admit that I was quite captivated. With its immediately-apparent visual splendour and familiar but still interesting premise, it definitely seemed to tickle that itch for me.
However, one thing that I am learning very quickly is that this is going to be a weird year for expectations in cinema, and this is definitely going to be an example of that. So, while I roar my lungs out in the Angry Dome, let’s get into this shite already.

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Boss Baby (2017) - Movie Review

Well, today’s feature marks another genuine first for this blog. Of all the weird and disheartening pre-ambles I’ve seen leading up to a film, I’ve never really come across a film that actively had to convince that it even existed. Seriously, this film comes across like a one-off joke that Baldwin would make in-between Trump caricaturing, or worse yet an Asylum rip-off of last year’s The Boss. It probably doesn’t help that, in the lead-up to its release, I have only ever seen the teaser trailer for this film which barely showed anything.
Between the dubious concept and the minimal sketch-length trailer, I can’t be the only one who thought that this thing was a bit suspect. (And yes, I know, Beauty And The Beast trailer thing; I saw this a few days before that hit the news so, over here, it still feels off) Then again, I had similarly negative thoughts with Dreamworks’ last film Trolls’ pre-amble and I ended up really liking that film. Maybe the same could happen here?

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017) - Movie Review

Long-time readers will have noticed, among many other writing quirks that I should probably do away with, I am far less confident when talking about issues that don’t pertain strictly to cinema. Even when I try and make statements about my stone cold beliefs in certain areas, it’s always been with my general willingness to admit to complete ignorance behind it. Despite how I may come across, anything and everything written here is posted under the impression that there are several thousand people out there who could correct me on every little thing.
So, with all that said, it really says something when I’m continuing with my journey into Bollywood and I have found an old issue that brings a certain discomfort when it comes to the prospect of talking about it. Of course, my self-admitted amateurism also comes with a general lack of caring about what people think of my thoughts as well; I’m an idiot, but then again, so is the rest of the world when you get right down to it. Anyway, before this navel-gazing goes any further, let’s get started with today’s film.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Raising The Bar (2017) - Movie Review

It’s been a while since I covered one of these, and after my revelation with the David Stratton doco, I have a certain urge to check out some more Aussie cinema. As such, it’s once again time to look at an Aussie indie flick that, even knowing the low standards of my local cinema, shouldn’t be on the big screen. We’ve covered a few of these before, from the failed attempt at veiled education in Dinosaur Island to the ‘95% boring, 5% bloody insulting’ Love Is Now, and judging by my adjectives for them, you can guess how well they turned out. Hell, I moved house several months ago, meaning that the “local cinema” in question isn’t actually local to me anymore. Unfortunately, I just happened to be in the neighbourhood when this film was out, and quite honestly, I think I need a break from the over-publicized fair of Hollywood anyway. So, let’s leap right into this thing