Saturday, 22 December 2018

Films of 2018 - Part Two and Winner

Here we go

3. American Animals

A fabulous surprise at one of Odeon’s Screen Unseen screenings (they charge £5 for you to watch a film but you don’t know what it will be. It promises to be a film as yet unreleased so you definitely haven’t seen it.)

Based on a true story surrounding a group of young whippersnappers who plan a heist of one of the world’s most valuable books from their college library. As ever, the heist is only half the story.

The fantastic thing about what sets this apart from a standard heist movie is in its method of storytelling. It combines dramatised scenes with interview footage from the actual students who pulled it off. The same filmmaker used a similar technique on his documentary ‘The Imposter.’ The story device is genius and how they interact the real people with their fictional counterparts was a blast and genuinely funny. At times it can become quite dark as with The Old Man and the Gun, at the end of the day, they are thieves and people are at risk from being hurt but their charm and amateurish characteristics do soften the edges. Well acted (even with the real thieves) and originally structured. 

2. Coco

One of the first films I saw in 2018 and nothing else compared (until the summer). Pixar follows a certain story pattern in most of its films which can be boiled down if need be where only the location and setting is markedly different than the last. I don’t think about that too much however because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Pitching an expensive animated movie about a Mexican child who learns about grief and family whilst in the afterlife would normally be impossible for a studio to accept but as we know Pixar is no ordinary studio and Disney have learnt to just leave them to it and watch the accolades and dollars roll in.

Coco has many things in its wheelhouse. Amazingly catchy songs.

Tugging the appropriate heartstrings.

But above all else is stunning animation that brings Day of the Dead back to life. This is what eyes were invented for. 

Your kids (find some if you don’t have any) will love the songs and subconsciously understand more about death in a controlled environment. Granted it’s not as funny as a Toy Story and there is not as much action as The Incredibles but it has the heart of Wall-e and Inside Out.

Pop Coco in your player now!


Mission Impossible : Fallout

Aside from it’s humble 1995 beginnings, I’ve seen every other instalment in the theatre and the franchise has never reached the echelons of comic book adaptations or Will Smith summer tentpoles. Mainly because of the polarising star wattage of Tom Cruise. Yes he’s Tom Cruise but in reality his box office power isn’t as shit hot as you think. In his career he’s had four movies that have made over $200 million at the US box office. Vin Diesel already has eight mostly thanks to his petrol head familia. Most people don’t give Mission Impossible another chance since they saw Tom perform motorcycle ballet in MI:2 in 2000 but what they would have missed is a system not too dissimilar to running Doctor Who. Get a new director each time to give their take on the genre and it’s slowly become a new entity that is almost unrecognisable from 1995 Ethan Hunt. More comedy, more teamwork.

Of course the final aspect is the stunts and it’s this aspect thats unique in that the star himself takes them on and the studio is only too happy to promote this fact. Tom hangs off the mountain, he hangs off the plane, he hangs off the building. He loves hanging but because we know he actually is hanging, it takes on a meta-feel that we know it’s a film but we also know it’s a mad man who gets a hard on from putting his life in peril.

Now that I’ve bored you on the history, let me tell you. 

This film is the fucking bomb!

And the first thing is did was break it’s tradition of hiring new directors. Chris McQuarrie (writer of The Usual Suspects) returns from his stint on Rogue Nation to helm once more and the sense is that he perfected anything he didn’t like with Rogue and knew exactly what to ramp up on Fallout. Also it’s fairly simple for newcoming audiences to join in the fun. You don’t need to know what Ethan Hunt hung off or ran away from 5 years ago.

It’s a perfect action blockbuster. That’s why it’s top of my list, it could never match the uniqueness of Sorry to Bother You or the dramatic intensity of Widows or the heart of Coco but what it is designed to do it did flawlessly and that’s all it can aspire to do. 

The action scenes in Fallout can leave you breathless because for the most part they’re genuine. Tom drove around the Arc De Triomphe the wrong way, he actually jumped out that plane, he actually hung on that helicopter and yes he actually broke his ankle on THAT jump, which they kept in the movie. They also perfected the team aspect which has always been tinkered with with each film, they just let them get on with it.

Its that good I saw it twice in the cinema and once more at home for good measure. It’s that good that I listened to a 4 hour podcast about it and it’s that good that it’s my film of the year 2018. Light the fuse. 

2018 in full

5* Mission Impossible Fallout


4* American Animals (HG)

Sorry to Bother You

Phantom Thread

The Old Man and the Gun

Ready Player One

Black Panther

A Star is Born

Mollys Game


Avengers Infinity War

First Man

Sicario 2 : Soldado

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Journeyman (HG)

Three Identical Strangers (HG)

Thoroughbreds (HG)

Blockers (HG)

The Package (HG)

Creed 2

3* A Quiet Place

Unfriended : Dark Web

Deadpool 2

The Ballad of Buster Scraggs 

The Foreigner

Ant-man & the Wasp

Incredibles 2


They shall not grow old


Isle of Dogs

The Shape of Water

A Simple Favour

Game Night

The Disaster Artist

Head full of Dreams

Red Sparrow




2* Solo

The Post

You were never really here

All the Money in the World

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom


The Greatest Showman

Equalizer 2

Hurricane Heist

The Cloverfield Paradox

The Predator

Mile 22

Den of Thieves

I, Tonya

Hotel Artemis



Darkest Hour

Jumanji - Welcome to the Jungle

I Feel Pretty


1* The Commuter


Fifty Shades Freed

Films seen

2015 - 71

2016 - 67

2017 - 56

2018 - 66

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Films of 2018 - Part One

Here we go!

10. Molly’s Game

The directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin. For me, I’ve been a fan of Aaron’s since West Wing and Studio 60 on the sunset strip but his cinematic writing has graced my list in the past with Moneyball and The Social Network. Whilst Molly’s Game is not equal to those earlier works, it’s a fascinating true story concerning Molly Bloom, an ex professional ski jumper who found herself running one of the most famous poker tables you’ve probably never heard of, let alone be invited to. Jessica Chastain plays Molly brilliantly while Idris Elba is able to utter Sorkinese as well as the rest of them. It’s place on the list is somewhat intensified by my love of all things Sorkin but take that away and it is still a great watch with no poker experience required.

9. A Star is Born

On paper it shouldn’t have appealed to me. A musical vanity project by Bradley Cooper whose work is admittedly hit and miss starring part time actor, full time screecher Lady Gaga. 


It works so well. It works that the ‘star’ is stripped back and vulnerable as Lady Gaga should be taking on this challenge. It works that Cooper plays her mentor with his own demons to banish and it works when they sing together. 

For me, the third act isn’t as smooth as the rest of the film which is why it’s not higher but it’s a small grumble that doesn’t stop it from being a 4* film that should win over anyone who has preconceptions about Gaga or the film in general.

8. Black Panther

What else can be said of this film that has not yet been said? The second biggest film of the year worldwide but more astonishing is that it will end the year as the biggest film in the US having made $22 million more than it’s big brother, Avengers Infinity War. Black Panther’s contribution to modern culture and the landscape of blockbusters is perhaps too early to predict but it seems to have hit a chord with young Americans that may feel underwhelmed by the diversity of Hollywood casting and story development. 

This was an intelligent, finger on the pulse action movie with things to say. It was about family, sacrifice and stepping up regardless of how ready you are.

7. Ready Player One

Did Adam just pick a shit film in his list? Maybe you thought so but I thought this was a tremendous throwback to Spielbergian blockbusters of the past which is handy as Spielberg directed it. 

Seen as one of the best Dystopian books of the last ten years, weirdly the author peppered the book with dozens of Spielberg references which made it hard for ‘the beard’ to adapt as taking too many out would change the feel of the story dramatically. 

This is in my list massively influenced by my love of the book but also how it managed to adapt it successfully. Above all else, the film is pure fun and enjoyment. Is there any twists or deep character development, not really. It’s just a great time. The Easter eggs to be found are purely endless. There’s a 20 min You Tube video listing them all so when you spot them yourself, it’s as satisfying as getting an answer right on University Challenge. I’ve seen it three times now and I’ve enjoyed myself every time.

6. The Old Man and the Gun

Directed by David Lowery (his last film, A Ghost Story was my film of 2017) this has been promoted and sold as supposedly Robert Redford’s final acting performance. It’s rare that an actor a) retires and b) signals their final performance so only time will tell if it turns out to be true. Speaking of true, this tale is far fetched but again supposedly based on real events. Redford plays an ageing bank robber who falls in love but can’t quite escape his actual true love...robbing banks. A gentle drama/comedy, it feels like it should have been made in the 1970’s and if it had it would probably be considered a classic now. 

The great thing about this movie is how it goes at its own pace and doesn’t conform to modern film structure. The actors are given time to act, the landscapes are fully utilised, the music is spot on and as Mark Kermode and many reviewers have commented on, you just leave the cinema with a smile on your face. A delight.

Personally speaking, I saw this after a very early shift in work and when the credits rolled, the name Elizabeth Moss came up. I couldn’t even remember seeing her in the film and it took me a couple of days and help from a colleague to discover that I must have fell asleep for a brief scene in the second act. Whilst I don’t consider that to be a criticism of the film, I couldn’t in good conscience place this any higher for a film that I hadn’t seen in full. 

5. Phantom Thread

Any Paul Thomas Anderson film now is seen as a cinematic treat to begin the year and this is no exception although admittedly looking at his work I’ve seen a lot less of it than I imagined which is strange seeing as I love every film I’ve seen of his. 

This is no exception.

Timothee Chalamet may be heralded as the "actor of his generation" but surely Daniel Day Lewis was the actor of ‘his’ generation and like a Robert Redford earlier, Daniel claims that this is his final performance.

A film (movies are movies and films are films, this is a film) concerning dress design does not immediately press my buttons but it is so gorgeously staged and shot that each scene that passes is a masterclass in cinema. Although it sounds like I couldn’t rate this higher, clearly I didn’t seeing as 4 other films rated higher in my list but for many critics, this would be at the pinnacle of their year.

4. Sorry to Bother You (blind viewing)

The 66th and as of writing, final film that I saw this year nearly reached the podium. The films entire existence was unknown to me until very recently when I noticed that it was getting decent US box office takings for a small budgeted film. I then learned that the star was Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) so my interest was captured. Those were the only details I knew going in and I was unaware that it would be an ultimate Head Fuck of a movie. It’s also a seriously ‘marmite’ experience where I could entirely imagine that you will either love it or hate it and not much inbetween. The plot will either annoy you and tempt you to leave the cinema or you will want to tell the whole world about it the second you leave the cinema. It’s hard to believe film companies with real life money were persuaded to part with their investments when they were pitched the plot. It’s bonkers but hella inventive and hip as fuck with a great cast that was unbeknownst to me until they appeared. You’ll be hard pressed to find a screening once Mary Poppins comes out this week so it will most likely be on demand viewing but it’s not on demand viewing but I demand viewing as you will not want to miss one of the most original offerings of 2018 and originality goes a long way even if some of it is just too bat shit crazy to stick to the wall (e.g entire third act). The definition of hidden gem.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Hidden Gems and Honourable Mentions

If you read the title you’d think that this is just Adam recommending films that may fly under the radar and that’s correct, however for myself, Hidden Gems represent seeing a film with hardly any context as to its plot or most of the times not even seeing a trailer.

Watching a film ‘blind’ is a experience everyone should do more often and can result in masterpieces or simply a good time without any predetermined conclusions. Therefore delving into the plot won’t happen here. You need to see it for yourself.

Here are 5 such examples.


Directed and starring Paddy Considine. I knew it was a boxing film but beyond that I knew nothing about where it planned to go so it was a shock to see when the second act begins. As great as Considine is, current (non medical) Doctor Jodie Whittaker takes most of the heavy lifting in terms of acting depth. This will stay with you for days after.

The Package (Netflix)

Think The Hangover meets American Pie and with the same heart and silly natured laughs. Very daft. If I explained the premise, you would say that it sounds like it’s for teenagers and maybe it is but the laugh rate is way up there.


The kind of film Judd Apatow would make if he had a low budget and was forced to keep it under 2 hours. The chemistry between the two sets of characters is pitch perfect. All of the young cast are set for bigger things.


Slow burning coming of age drama concerning two girls who reconnect to fantasise about murder. Damn I said I wouldn’t say any plot. It’s classy, moody and if you cut it open it would spill thick black humourful blood. 

Three Identical Strangers

A documentary concerning the above strangers who come together under pure luck and take New York by storm. But that’s just half the story...

A hidden gem that has just come out in UK cinemas but should be streaming within a few weeks. 

Honourable Mentions


An adaptation of a Lynda LaPlante book and UK TV series but slick as hell.

After a group of thieves perish following their latest heist, the widows of the thieves group together forced to pick up the debt they owed by attempting a heist of their own. Each widow is motivated by their own reasons however the majority of our attention is focused on all time hall of fame cry acting champion Viola Davis. 

This film made the list due to its relatively simple premise yet stylish vision and top notch tension. Some of the camera movements are amazing and the music keeps you in the zone for when the eventual heist sequence hits. Somewhat of a box office disappointment in the US and also unlikely to bother the Oscar voters but still a great nights entertainment. 

Avengers Infinity War

And so the master plan comes together and luckily they stuck with arguably the best action directors of Phase 2/3 in the Russo Brothers (Winter Soldier and Civil War). The scale is unimaginable and also an impossible task to make a perfect movie, my one major problem was how much of it was based off earth. As far as I was concerned, their on-the-ground fight scenes are amazing but most of it was not. Again, it’s impossible to please everyone. Here’s hoping they say FU to the marketing and don’t release any footage in their trailers apart from Pepper Potts reading a quarterly financial report. Went in blind having seen no trailers and I will do so for the next instalment also.

First Man

Damien Chazelle’s third feature film and the only film of his not to make my top 10. Visually and orallly stunning but the story of man’s trip to the moon stuttered for me when they focused on the scenes at home. People I’ve spoken to have said that they loved those scenes but for me it needed a rocket boost up the arse. The flight scenes however are monumental and need to be seen as with Infinity War on the big screen to be fully understood and absorbed. Similar to Gravity, if you watch it for the first time on ITV2 or Netflix, you will think what the fuss is about. 

Sicario 2 : Soldado

For a long period of 2018, this hung on my top 10 list before I had to come to the realisation that it’s good just not top 10 good. A completely worthy sequel to the original Sicario which focuses on the Benicio Del Toro’s shady government character as he and Josh Brolin attempt to twart the drug trade from within. Extremely tense.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This was one of the first films I saw in 2018 and similar to the Oscar voters who seem to snub films that come out in Summer, the films you see first tend to leave your memory in place of the Meryl Streep film you just saw. So this film slid down the rankings possibly based on bad timing but most of my no1 films come out in the Spring so I’ve just voided my own argument I guess. The film has a Coen brothers feel to it (it was actually made by the director of In Bruges) with dark humour surrounding a mysterious death.

Next week :

Films of the Year Part One

(Hopefully seeing Roma this week so hopefully that will alter things somewhat)

Friday, 7 December 2018

Kevin Hart in a Nutshell

Kevin a Nutshell

Oh dear god. If you’re asking me about him, something biblical has happened.



Funny you should say that.

Fuck, I knew it! 

So on Tuesday, Kevin Hart was announced as the host of the 91st Academy Awards.

What a great choice. I love the content of his twitter feed. 

However, the choice of host was quickly attacked due to the content of Hart’s twitter feed.

Double Fuck! Like what!?

On twitter dated 11 Jan 2011.
“Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice “stop that’s gay”

Ok, that looks all types of bad. Did he apologise?

He said that he’s addressed those historic tweets in the past and that he wouldn’t apologise for them again.

Then what happened.

He apologised for them again and quit as Oscars host.

Noooooo! Does that mean I can’t laugh at Ride Along 2 anymore?

Yes. In less than 48 hours after announcing his new gig, he removed himself from it and Mr Oscar is now scrambling for a new presenter.

This is yet another example of companies and organisations not vetting their potential partners.

Errr actually yes it is. That’s a very astute and mature comment to make. Maybe these conversations are helping mould you into a bet-

So what dumbshit is gonna take the job now?!

Well insiders claim that hosting is the most unwanted job in Hollywood. Hugh Jackman had the job a few years back and was largely lambasted.

You mean Logan The Greatest Showman can’t even do the business? So who’s the next unfortunate hopeful?

Billy Crystal is sure to be the favourite. It wouldn’t be the first time he has replaced an academy host following a gay slur scandal. Eddie Murphy left in 2012 following a comment made by Oscar producer Brett Ratner.

Well I hope Kevin has learned a hard lesson. At least he has his blossoming film career. I hear that there’s a sequel to The Secret Life of Pets out next summer. Hart and Louis CK were great in that. 

You don’t go online much do you?

Nope, I find it best just to not go on twitter. I just like to wake up to some R Kelly, go to work, settle down with a Kevin Spacey movie and disrespect my girlfriend for being the lesser gender.



Monday, 3 December 2018

The Worst of 2018

Since I got my Odeon Limitless Card in the summer, I’ve been able to see more films that I may have not paid to see in the first place. This means that this list is arguably stinkier than ever before. There is no redemption for these 5 flicks, no second opinions, no "I think you’re being harsh." They’re straight up dogshit and I’m going to attempt to not waste too much time getting worked up about them.
So let’s go. 

I Feel Pretty

This film provoked a backlash when the trailer was released as it seemed to indicate that you’re happiest when you’re beautiful. The filmmakers insisted that you dispel those notions when you see the film. Turns out the initial reaction was mostly correct. Yes of course they try to force a message down your throat in the final act about how you can be beautiful no matter what you think your flaws are. Turns out the film is pug ugly and there are no hidden qualities inside it. It’s highly unfunny which is tough for a film selling itself as a comedy. It feels like it should have been made in the 90’s. The Amy Schumer express is nearing the end of the line and it needs to find some new track.

Fifty Shades Freed

Some may ask, why did you even watch it in the first place?
A) I’m married
B) I prefer to be happily married
C) I like to laugh at shit films in front of my partner.
This is the opposite of I Feel Pretty. It’s hilarious.
The dialogue is delivered as if it’s a bad Saturday Night alive sketch.
Luckily this seems to be the last instalment and box office takings are way down since film number one. 


If there’s anything that 2018 taught us, it’s that as unlikely as it may seem, we can sometimes be given too much Dwayne Johnson content. This resulted in some of his efforts being largely ignored and Rampage is one of those. There’s nothing absurdly wrong with this video game adaptation except that its complete and utterly beyond boring. By the numbers blockbuster chuffa with no unique style substance. Actually looking at this list, if all of these films were made in the 90’s, they may be considered cult classics by now. 

The Commuter 

A few years ago, Liam Neeson decided that he was the schoolground cock of the Geri-action genre, hell he practically invented it. So he just said yes to any old bollocks that came his way. One of those projects was Non Stop, an mystery set on a plane. Kind of like Flightplan but somehow worse. Years later, the maker of Non-Stop thought "what else goes Non-Stop?" And now we have The Commuter. If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s Non Stop...on a fuckin train. 




How many times can Sony fuck up this character? Twice at least it seems. We all kinda knew this was coming. The pictures on set, the trailers, the accompanying Eminem soundtrack, the lack of buzz even with hours to go until it’s release. However some of us held out hope. We believed Tom Hardy was immune to bad decisions (except This Means War). This film is a travesty. You know it by how fast it ends up on Film Four. Guaranteed before next Christmas I reckon. 
The acting is bad, the action is bad, the plot is bad, the editing is bad. This isn’t one of those "there’s a good film in there somewhere" scenarios. I’ve had shits more dramatic than this. 

Fuck off Venom and your amazingly high box office earnings. Just so you realise how bad this is for the future. This made more than most of the X-Men movies, more than Ant-man, more than Batman Begins and soon it will make more than Logan. 

Venom is currently the 5th biggest film in the world this year. This is what happens when you vote Leave.

If you’re an atheist and you want to convert anyone, make them watch this. They will then question whether there is a god who let this be released.

Next Week - Hidden Gems 2018 and the ones that (nearly) made the list. Yes I tend to spread this out more than a German beach towel.