Movies Of 2018 - January Recapped!

After lots of people saying that they saw over 100 films last year on their Unlimited Card I've felt like I should try and up my game... so here goes my jam-packed January.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri - Unlimited Screening ★★★★☆


When the police have got nowhere trying to find her daughter's killer, she takes matters into her own hands. Renting out three billboards on a barely used road to town, she plasters her simple question for anyone to see. "How come?"


This was a wonderful start to my 2018 cinema going. It's not often that I say I agree with award winners (especially after La La Land) but this one really did deserve it's Golden Globes.

The star in this one for me was Woody Harrelson. He's aged like a fine wine. I wasn't a massive fan previously, but after War For The Planet Of The Apes, and now this, I can't wait to see what else is to come from him.

Three Billboards in an emotional journey, and captures the way a whole community is affected by what happens inside their borders. It expresses the pain, anger and sadness so well, it was a riveting watch. [02/01]

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Paddington 2 ★★★★☆


Paddington has spotted the best birthday present for his Aunt Lucy, but it's a lot more money than the 50p Mrs Bird pulled out of his ear that morning. He knows what to do though, he must get a job (or several) and earn the money to buy the wonderful pop-up book of London from the antiques shop. His plans aren't going to well though, and when he spies a burglar breaking in to the upstairs window of the shop things take an even worse turn.


I still haven't seen Paddington 1 yet, I know, shame on me. But after one of my Unlimited buddies saying they'd seen it three times already it convinced me that I should go and see it too.

He's not the original Paddington that I know and love, but he's still kind of adorable, I guess.

There's a fantastic cast of people, and personally, Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles is my favourite. From terrifying chef to terrified of a bear's glare... genius. The only character that I wasn't keen on was Hugh Grant's Phoenix Buchanan.

The beginning felt a little drawn out, but once the action started I was carried away with the whole tale. A really enjoyable watch and definitely one that I'd sit down to see when I see it on the TV listings. [09/01]

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Downsizing - Unlimited Screening ★★☆☆☆ nope... ★☆☆☆☆


Paul and Audrey are like any normal couple, they plod along and everything is... okay. But when they meet one of Paul's high school friends who has "downsized" they wonder if this might be what they've been looking for to change their life.


Wow... just wow. Matt Damon is doing amazingly well at reassuring me of the reasons I don't like his films. I'm afraid to say that this one gets two stars purely for the fact that the story line had so much potential... and barely any of it was tapped.

If you go on to IMDb you can see that they've listed this one as comedy, drama, and sci-fi. Now, the last one is a given, as unless I've been missing something we are unable to shrink people. But the other two... I genuinely think that there were two versions of the script, one comedy and one drama, and when someone was taking them to production they accidentally dropped them and ended up matching the comedy beginning with the drama end... the worst type of pantomime horse ever created.

The trailer that I kept seeing for this one looked entirely like a comedy. I was really surprised that it became a "drama". It could quite easily have been one or the other, Damon would have fit well in the comedy version, and had they done some fun stuff around him and his wife trying to reconcile after she bailed on being Downsized I could have seen that working. Equally, with some different casting I could have seen the more serious ending to the movie working if they'd had an equally serious beginning. As it is though this movie seems to have no idea who it's trying to appeal to... and actually, thinking about it... I'm going to revoke one of those stars, talking over it has made me see the error of my ways. [09/01]

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All The Money In The World ★★☆☆☆


The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.


This is a difficult one to sum up. I managed to see this by the skin of my teeth, it flew out of the listings almost as quickly as it arrived. The trailer did the film a lot of good, there was enough intrigue and star quality to make it appeal. But I'm not sure it delivered what I was hoping for.

Plummer worked well as the formidable Getty. I'm not sure I could have seen Kevin Spacey playing the part, the initial casting seems truly bizarre. I can't help but wonder how much the reshooting affected the final product. For a week and a half of reshoots though you have to give them credit for the efficiency of it.

Even now I'm struggling to find things to say about this one. I was left bored and surprisingly unengaged. A terrible habit that I haven't actually done in about a year resurfaced during this film... when I'm bored and without anything to do I will sit and bite my nails, and about half way into this film I was fully aware that I was rapidly losing length on my nails.

The story is an interesting one but it never felt like it really made its way from being a two dimensional story.  [10/01]

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Darkest Hour ★★★★★


During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.


Gary Oldman... well what can I say? Is there nothing that this man can't do? I still now, after having seen it, can't reconcile him playing this part in my head. He really shone through in Darkest Hour, he succeeded in rallying the audience to the edge of their seats. Seeing him perform "We shall fight on the beaches"... was incredible.

I'm no history buff, I can't tell you what was accurate, and honestly I don't think I want to know which bits fit the bill exactly and which were ad-libbed for effect. It was immensely enjoyable to watch, fun and ignites just a bit of national pride within you. [12/01]

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Coco ★★★★★


Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family's ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.


This film really does deserve all the excitement around it, and oh my god how I cried.

As a way of not ruining films for me this year I'm trying not to read anything about them before I actually go and see them. The most I'm doing is seeing trailers while I'm at the cinema and then possibly catching the odd synopsis. When it comes to Disney Pixar though it's difficult not to be engulfed in a wave of information months before they're due out. I was however successful on this occasion, and I'm grateful that I got to enjoy it without any more information than had been in the trailer.

For something with a slightly morbid edge to it I thought it was done really well, and while the topic of death is obviously a potential pitfall you're reassured with the warmth and humour throughout the film.

If the songs in a film are good then I'll always be won over, and these ones gave me goosebumps. They bring a smile, and a tear, and that warm feeling inside that makes you sigh.

My last passing comment would be the tears... because I wasn't exaggerating. I cried A LOT. Even though I came out of the film loving the whole thing I was still crying as I drove home. *calming breath* I can feel myself losing my mind right now just thinking about it. It's a beautiful film, everyone should go and see it. [13/01]

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The Commuter - Unlimited Screening ★★★☆☆


A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.


Yet again, Liam Neeson has a certain set of skills that prove to be useful. Honestly, he really should start trying to stay out of trouble. Was this film ground breaking? No, not really. But it was enjoyable in a completely unbelievable way. It feels like a lot of different films that have been cut and pasted together, a little bit of Taken, a smidge of Source Code, but then at some point a lot of these films do tend to all look alike.

A good bit of entertainment, but when it comes to me recapping what films really stood out for me this year it won't be remembered. It's already not the worst Unlimited film of the year though... congratulations have to go to Downsizing for that one. [15/01]

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Ferdinand ★★★★☆


After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure.


A lovely little film and I specifically have three things to say about it.

1) It has possibly the best dance off of any film I've seen. You've not lived until you've seen bulls and horses have a dance battle.

2) It has possibly the best chase scene of any film I've seen. You've not lived until you've seen bulls running through traffic followed by men on segways.

3) Why on earth is there one member of the Spanish police force in this film that has a decidedly un-Spanishy accent?! [17/01]

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Hostiles ★★★★☆


In 1892, legendary Army Capt. Joseph Blocker reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their tribal land. Embarking on a harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, N.M., to the grasslands of Montana, they soon encounter a young widow whose family was killed on the plains. The travellers must now band together to survive a punishing landscape that's crawling with hostile Comanches and vicious outliers.


I nearly gave this one a miss, but with my back being a little buggered this week, and cinema seats being surprisingly comfy, I decided to give it a go. Thanks to Cineworld on Twitter for endeavouring to cheer me up with some vouchers too... tonight's movie was accompanied by a free drink and hot dog.

But anyway, to the film!

That had to be the most harrowing beginning to a film I have seen in a very long time. Hostiles has wonderfully crafted pieces, and Rosamund Pike gives such a powerful performance of a mother's loss. Another films that I probably wouldn't have watched before getting my Unlimited Card, but a very surprising, and shocking watch. [18/01]

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The Post ★★★★☆


A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.


A colleague asked me what I thought of this one and I honestly had to pause before answering. His reaction was "You can't have liked it then!", but actually I did. It was very hard to describe the feeling I got from the film though.

Throughout, Hanks was brilliant, just what you'd expect for this sort of character. For a significant amount of time I really didn't enjoy Streep at all... but actually, that's kind of the point. She's a woman in a man's world, and she hasn't ever really found her feet. It takes a significant amount of the movie to pass before Kay Graham finally grows a backbone and starts to throw her authority around. And that's when I realised that I really was enjoying watching it, and Streep's 180 seemed so real.

Interesting all the way through. Technically accurate? I couldn't say, but then I don't go to the cinema for a history lesson. [18/01]

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Early Man ★★★★☆


Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home.


There's always cracking fun to have with an Aardman film, and Early Man certainly didn't break that tradition. Laughs and shocks, and trying to decipher voices because you forgot to look at the cast list before going to see it! It doesn't matter how hard I try, I can't reconcile Tom Hiddleston as Lord Nooth... at this point it actually hurts my brain to think about it.

Quite a few of the kids at the film didn't seem to understand what was going on, so every time the adults laughed there was a slight pause and then the kids would laugh instinctively. Always entertaining for everyone though, no matter the reason for the laughter. [26/01]

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12 Strong ★★★★☆


12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.


This was definitely a film for the guys... and I say that because it was me and about ten lads in the cinema for this screening.

The cast of actors were brilliant, and it really felt like the story was performed with respect. It showed the sides of missions that we can only speculate about, so I really hope this one was done accurately.

One thing I did wonder... did they give Hemsworth coloured contacts for after his first battle? Because after all that talk of seeing the toll war takes on a man in his eyes I really felt like I could see the difference... so if they didn't, that script sure was good at sucking me in. [26/01]

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The Maze Runner: Death Cure ★★★☆☆


Part three in The Maze Runner series, our young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the "Flare".


Because I'd never read the books I never saw the first two in this series... but I was getting desperate for things to watch, I was physically twitchy because the end of the month was coming and I was perilously low on films, so I binged watched the first two in the nights running up to this one and booked myself a ticket.

I enjoyed them as a whole, and I'm glad I watched them back to back because I don't feel like they were as strong individually. There were some feelings of Lost ending issues... but I suppose I'm going to have to let that go.

Unless I missed something, I feel like there were too many questions left unanswered, and in this film in particular, several moments that made me a little annoyed. Like seriously... half of those things didn't need to happen the way they did!

Since seeing them I've ordered myself the five books to read (or not read, as my TBR gets perilously tall), there's something sitting in the back of my mind telling me that the books will be better, I may be back to change my rating. [30/01]

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The Shape Of Water ★★★★★


At a top secret research facility in the 1950s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


A wonderful way to end the month. This was bizarre, and amazing, just as you would expect. Another one this month that I agree deserves all the award nominations it received.

Considering two of the main characters are essentially mute there was nothing left unsaid. The chemistry of everyone on screen made for amazing viewing.

Seeing Michael Shannon in this after his rendition in 12 Strong only days before was a little confusing, and throw in Zod and you've got a very odd mix going around your head. But wow, did I love to hate him! And I was pleased to see a lot of "couldn't happen to a nicer guy" moments. But seriously... was I the only one who wanted to throw up when... no spoilers, watch it and see... 😰

I can't really place something in this film that I didn't like. It was funny, and heartfelt, and heartbreaking... with a smidge of musical thrown in... you'll be tapping your toes along in no time. [30/01]

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Fourteen films later and I realise that I may have peaked a bit early in the year. I'm also suffering from scheduling issues as it's almost impossible to get a good movie marathon going at my Cineworld!

Happy watching everyone.

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