Martin McDonagh returns with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film that weaves themes of rape, racism and police brutality into a surprising funny flick, if darkly so. Starring Frances McDormand as a mother who loss her daughter under horrendous circumstances seven months previous, she decides the best way to get the police's and public's attention back on the case is by installing three billboards accusing the police of not caring about the case. This, of course, gets the community riled up. With a brilliant script and excellent characterisation, Three Billboards is a enjoyable movie about dark themes that doesn't attempt to emotionally manipulate.
We are easing ourselves in 2018 by chilling out and watching some Netflix (plus, we're both ill). The Vault, directed by Dan Bush, sees a city bank robbed by feuding sisters Francesca Eastwood and Taryn Manning. However, the bank has less then expected money. Cue James Franco, the banks assistant manager, who tells them the real money is in the vault in the basement, but the only problem is that the basement is haunted! A interesting premise, but how many horror cliche's should you include in your movie?
Apologies for the minor amount of coughing in this podcast. As I stated, we're both ill.
We've had our 10 Worst Films of 2017 podcast out, and now its time to looks at our favourites. This list is made up of films that we have reviewed on the podcast through 2017, and I'm happy to say that this list is made up of movies that I know we'll be raving about for years to come. Let us know what your favourite film of 2017 is in the comments below.
It's that time of year again where we want to take a reflective look back at the year past, and today we take a look back at the ten worst films of 2017. This list is made up of films that we've reviewed on the podcast through the year, so excludes obvious duds like The Emoji Movie, Transformers: The Last Night and King Arthur, as we just couldn't justify giving money to films we knew we were going to hate, so consider this an alternative list.
Twenty-two years after the original film, Jake Kasdan's sequel Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has come out and is updated for the video game generation. With an onslaught of stars including Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, we see four cliched teenagers transformed into digital avatars who have to save the world of Jumanji and themselves. With some lazy writing, inconsistencies and bad jokes, Welcome to the Jungle makes up for it with its charismatic cast, but how does it fare when compared to the Robin Williams classic?
The Star Wars franchise is back and Rian Johnson is at the helm. The Last Jedi sees Rey try to get long lost Jedi master Luke Skywalker to help the Rebellion, but she also has to contend with Kylo Ren invading her consciousness. Meanwhile, Poe is trying to save the Rebel's fleet from the First Order, and Finn tries to locate the First Order's tracking device and a master code breaker. But with 40 years of distance between the first film and this one, is the franchise starting to disappoint its fans? We run down the good and the bad of The Last Jedi and wonder if the vitriol is warranted. Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Issac.
Check out guest blogger Steven's brutal review of The Last Jedi in their post here.
The best worst movie ever made? James Franco plays the lead and directs in The Disaster Artist, the story behind the notoriously bad Tommy Wiseau film The Room. Also starring Dave Franco, Alison Brie and Seth Rogan, The Disaster Artist is a loving portrait of a ridiculous and mysterious man trying to live out his dream of being an actor in Hollywood with his best friend Greg Sestero. We also have our Virgin Viewings of 2003's The Room, and wonder if it possibly the worst of the worst films we have ever reviewed on the podcast.
Due to the massive success of the first movie, the little bear from darkest Peru more then deserved a sequel. Directed by Paul King, Paddington 2 sees our young bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) be convicted of a crime he didn't commit, all because he wants to get an extra special gift for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday. Starring Hugh Grant as one of the most dastardly villains in cinema this year, Paddington 2 is a pure delight to watch, a visual wonderland and a masterclass in storytelling. Also starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Brendon Gleeson.
You can listen to our review of The Sinner, the show we watched instead of Paddington 2 on its first week of release, and of which we greatly lament, right here.
Based on the book by Hillary Jordan, Dee Rees Netflix drama about two families sharing the same farm received a standing ovation when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. Looking at themes of racism in the Jim Crow era and the difficulties of reintegrating after serving in World War II, Mudbound is a story told in parallels, between the two families and between the late 1940's and our own present time. At times distressing to watch, the film ultimately remains optimistic, putting the emphasis on the strength of the victims then the terror of the oppressors. Starring Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Jason Clarke and Jonathan Banks.
"Did you ever fight a hippo?" SPOILERS AHEAD! DC have been struggling to satisfy an audience as they attempt to establish their own cinematic universe, and now, five movies in, they release the big guns with Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder. With Superman dead (yeah, ignore the poster), Batman has to put together a team of meta-humans, including The Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, to fight off against the big bad Steppenwolf. While definitely a step in the right director, Justice League suffers in the same old ways that the other movies did, resulting in something that is messy, but at least knows when to laugh at itself. Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa, Ray Fisher and Henry Cavill.
We all make mistakes. Instead of watching Paddington 2, we stayed in and watched another highly rated Netflix crime series. The Sinner, based on the book by Petra Hammesfahr, sees Jessica Biel played a mother and wife who inexplicably murders a man on a beach. We all know she did it, but why did she do it? Co-starring Bill Pullman as detective Harry Ambrose, we break down the plot of this drama and wonder, is it as good as everybody says it is? Should we have watched Paddington 2 instead?
The Duffer Brothers are back on Netflix with the second season of their breakout hit Stranger Things. We are still in the quiet town of Hawkins one year after the gang discovered the Upside Down. However, Will is still suffering episodes, and the shadow monster, the Mind Flayer, wants to possess Will as its spy. With some new characters along with the ride, we break down each episode and look at what worked and what didn't in the sequel to one of last years most enjoyable shows. Starring Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard and David Harbour.
Listen to our review of the first season of Stranger Things here.
What do you do when your most critically paned films need a sequel? Well, you combine them of course. While the individual Thor and Hulk movies were never the most popular of the bunch, Marvel decided to go all out crazy on their new film and exploit the ludicrous and wonderfully bizarre worlds of the comics. Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok develops the psychedelia of Doctor Strange and the humour of Guardians of the Galaxy to come up with a whole new beast, and all for the better. With fantastic effects, surreal and improvised humour, plus a great cast, we look into the success of Marvel's latest offering. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo.
We round up our Halloween special podcasts, dedicated to the late great George A. Romero's zombie films, with 2005's Land of the Dead. Starring John Leguizamo, Asia Argento, Simon Baker and Dennis Hopper, we witness people try and claw themselves back from the apocalypse and recreate society. Unfortunately though, they've gone for a feudal system, and people are not happy when the wealth is hoarded with the mix. Also, zombies continue to gain back their senses, and Big Daddy (Eugene Clark) is maybe our most "human" like zombie yet. While not the cinematic gold that Night, Dawn and Day were, as the film forgoes character development for intense gore, there is still some worth to Land of the Dead, and continues to prove that the creator the zombie film as we know it still had plenty of surprises to show us.
Ever wondered how a psychopath can persuade themselves that the deviant behaviours they perform are justified? Then Netflix's latest series Mindhunter is for you. Produced and with selected episodes directed by David Fincher, we follow Holden (Jonathan Groff) and Bill (Holt McCallany), two FBI agents who set out to discover the inner workings of some of America's worst killers, and cin the term "serial killer" in the process. Along with Anna Torv, Hannah Gross and Cameron Britton, the first series of Mindhunter takes the audience into some uncomfortable places, but never looses its sights on the key character developments and the twist and turns of the crimes reported.
We carry on with our appreciation of the late George A. Romero's Living Dead series, and this week we look into 1985's Day of the Dead. With the dead well and truly taking over America, we witness a small group of survivors try and understand their new landscape in an military bunker in Florida. The scientists of this bunker discover that zombies can tentatively be trained to not attack on sight, especially with the case of the docile Bub. However, the soldiers protecting them are having a hard time appreciating this fact, and start becoming more tyrannical within their confines. We discuss in this podcast what we love in Day of the Dead, including Tom Savini's brilliant make up effects, the way Romero writes human's, and how it develops the lore from the first films.
WARNING: spoilers heavily insinuated throughout. Based on the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbø, and directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), The Snowman looks into the mysterious murders that are plaguing Oslo and its surrounding areas. What's the connection between them? Divorced women with young children, and a god damn snowman at each crime scene. With Michael Fassbender as alcoholic cop Harry, he teams up with a recently transferred police woman (Rebecca Ferguson) to crack the case. Also starring Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Val Kilmer, we break apart The Snowman and ask why this film has bombed so badly, from the killers motives to the lack of suspects, and especially its lacklustre plot.
We carry on with our Halloween Horror special this month, looking at the zombie films of the late George A. Romero, and this week is the turn of Dawn of the Dead, which came out a full 10 years after Night of the Living Dead. Following a news executive and traffic reporter (Gaylen Ross and David Emge), as well as two S.W.A.T. team members (Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger), they come across an abandoned shopping mall and hope to survive the zombie apocalypse in relative comfort. We discuss the themes of consumerism and wish fulfilment, as well as admiring the more revamped look of the undead, designed by Tom Savini, but really we just use this podcast as an excuse to gush about this brilliant film.
The long awaited sequel to Ridley Scott's iconic 1982 sci-fi noir Blade Runner is now out, this time with Denis Villeneuve directing. Blade Runner 2049 sees Ryan Gosling play this films replicant hunter, who discovers an infeasible secret amongst a set of bones which leads him to seek out the first films blade runner Deckard (Harrison Ford). Visually stunning and with a wonderful synth soundtrack that references Vangelis' original, we discuss the question of why replicants are made to be so human, the holographic principle, and whether, at 2 hours 43 minutes, this film is possibly too long. Co-starring Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto, we look at the ups and downs of this much celebrated sequel.
We celebrate the legacy of the late great George A. Romero as part of our Halloween Horror month this October, and today we go back to the very beginning with 1968's Night of the Living Dead. Starting the trend for the shuffling, lurching zombie, we discuss what brought us to watch this classic and why we love it, as well as all the details we missed the first time round, as well as its influence on the future of the undead genre.
Riding high off the success of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Ana Lily Amipour gives us another mash-up with genre's with the dystopian-romantic-thriller The Bad Batch. Starring Suki Waterhouse as Arlen, she is chucked out of a gated community because of some failing. She encounters a bunch of cannibals led by Miami Man (Jason Mamoa) who cut off her arm and leg. She manages to escape an comes across the town of Comfort, but has to make a choice as to how she wants to live the rest of her life. Also starring Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves Giovanni Ribisi, The Bad Batch is a masterclass in world building, creating a distinctive look that lodge in your brain, but the plot is distinctly thin and pace slow. Are the visuals enough though? Listen to our podcast review to find out.
Read Layla's review of El Topo here.
The sequel to the hugely popular 2015 spy-spoof caper, Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Golden Circle is back with more of the same. Taron Egerton's Eggsy is back living the high life as a gentleman spy dating a Swedish princess, that is until drug cartel leader Poppy (Julianne Moore) decides to blow up all the Kingsman agency's and they are forced to seek out their counterparts in the American agency Statesman. Still as violent and as crude as the first film, does it live up to its own hype? What about the return of Colin Firth and that infamous Glastonbury scene? And what's up with the Elton John cameo?
Maybe one of the most criticised films of the year so far, Darren Aronofsky's Biblical/environmental parable Mother! has divided audiences between those that see it as high art and those that see it as pretentious nonsense. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as the mother and Javier Bardem as Him, we witness the first half of the film delve into Kafka-esque horror when a married couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris) just won't leave their house, to the second half's dream-like, quasi-religious maelstrom. We delve into the films symbolism and question whether Aronofsky's ideas were translated well onto the screen, and is it really as terrible as what Cinemascore would have you believe.
The second adaptation of one of Stephen King's most famous books It has hit cinema's with aplomb, securing the position of biggest opening weekend for a horror film ever. Directed by Andrés Muschietti, this version keeps most of the story intact, except for planting it in the 1980s instead of the 50s, and delivers us the first half of this tale, looking at how these seven kids had to overcome their own fears to defeat the monstrous dancing clown Pennnywise. Starring Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard and Sophia Lillis, It may provide us a welcome change, as this is clearly a horror story with a solid backbone, but is it really free of the today's cinematic cliché's, and is it even scary? Plus, Richee tells us his own terrifying tale from within the darkness of the cinema screening.
There are many bad Stephen King adaptations, but are there any quite like Spike's television adaptation of The Mist? Based on the short story, a town is befallen by a mysterious mist so opaque you can't see the dangers within. The difference with this version? The mist preys on peoples individual fears. Unfortunately, this version isn't very consistent with its own lore, and adding to that some extremely poor storytelling choices and predictable twists, season one of The Mist provides one of the most lamentable viewing experiences we've had in recent memory.