Movies Of 2018 - March Recapped!

This month was plagued with various booking problems online and on the app, so my normal method of keeping track of what I'd seen was next to useless. The wallet on my phone is usually a handy scrollable reminder but with the first week and a half missing I went back to my handy paper records to recap...

Red Sparrow ★★★☆☆

Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to 'Sparrow School,' a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.

It surprises me a little bit that this film is only rated 15. There's violence, sex, torture, nudity... so many things that make this one classic fodder for an 18 rating.

Red Sparrow was a good spy flick, gripping throughout but a little bit predictable at times. The more I think about this one the more I'm tempted to give it only two stars. While I found the story line interesting, there isn't much that made me enthusiastic.

People ask me what I've seen recently and this is the only one I can never remember. I don't think it's going to be one of this year's must see movies. [03/03]


Lady Bird ★★☆☆☆

In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

I'm going to start at the end and work my way forward. When the film ended there was just silence... I don't expect cheering or anything like that, but there's normally some murmuring and movement as people are getting up. But no one realised that the film had ended because it happened so fast.

The emotion between Lady Bird and her mother towards the end of the film were really strong and it reminded me of why I'm always entertained by Laurie Metcalf.

All in all there was nothing wrong with this film. But it's just a teenage girl's life... I've led one of those, I don't need to see a film about one.  It just wasn't anything exciting. After a little Googling (because I wanted to see what nominations and wins it had this award season) I discovered that the writer wants to make three more films in the same setting. I'm feeling exhausted just thinking about it.

There are lots of bits of story line that don't have any resolution. I'm not sure if that's to do with the quartet of films plan or just that they had nothing to do with Lady Bird, and that bugs me a bit. [04/03]


Gringo ★★★☆☆

Harold's hum-drum life take an unexpected turn when he finds himself in Mexico, recently single, possibly jobless, and on the wrong side of a cartel boss.

I have to say, the first few minutes of this film were quite possibly my favourite... Harold (David Oyelowo) singing in his car... yep. That's how I start every morning and it just made me smile.

I like the fact that the trailer didn't give away any of the twist for this one. It made for a nice surprise and amusement. It was a nice little film, but I'd put a vote in for more Harold and Mitch (Sharlto Copley) time and less of everyone else. The pair made a great little double act. And while there was at least a good ending for Harold, I'm surprised that they didn't give him a little more romance. When the film ended, while satisfied, I did wonder if they just gave it the ending they did just so they could say they didn't go with the cliché one. [11/03]


Mamma Mia Sing-A-Long ★★★☆☆

The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular 1970s group ABBA.

My name is Emma, and this is the first time I've seen Mamma Mia.

I did wonder if I was going a bit too far by seeing it in a singalong version, but then... this is me, and I love musicals so I thought, nah.

What can I say about it though? It's a passable film. Entertaining definitely. But let's face it, everyone is really there for the songs and the dancing, not the story. It definitely delivers on that.

I needed to see this one so that I can go see the new one... one of the perils of attempting to see every new films that comes on at my cinema! I'll be taking ear plugs with me to Mamma Mia 2 for every time Pierce Brosnan sings. I have loved that man ever since Goldeneye, but he was making it very difficult to keep those feelings. [11/03]


Walk Like A Panther ★★★★☆

A group of 1980s wrestlers are forced to don the lycra once last time when their beloved local pub is threatened with closure.

This is a rip roaring laugh, and will take you back to the good old day of watching the wrestling on the TV. You'll wince with pain, and jump about in your seat urging on the lycra clad antics of the famed wrestlers of yesteryear.

By rights this film should have 5 stars from me. I really did enjoy it. Some of the music really did help gee you along with the montages and I did come out with a smile on my face, but it didn't quite give me that urge and energy that some others have. [11/03]


Mom & Dad ★★★★☆

A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids.

This. Was. Hilarious. It's a zombie movie without being a zombie movie.

Surprisingly not listed as a comedy though, horror/action/thriller all the way... did these guys watch their own film? Luckily I was the only one in the screen because I was pissing myself laughing.

As much as I love Nicolas Cage, seeing him rage always makes me laugh. I feel like he would make a good Batman villain... for the TV show. The redeeming bit for me though was hearing him say "anal beads" in a moment where he flips out at his daughter's boyfriend.

I had some sympathy for Selma Blair's mum character, I wanted to kill her kid for most of the film too. Mum was a much more subtle murderous switch, whereas dad looked like he'd been having a meltdown for months. Mum seemed to struggle more with the idea of killing her kids, but when she went, boy was she a force to be reckoned with. Being a woman I can quite happily say that the look on her face, and the slow but meaningful grab of the tenderiser really does sum up how we feel for at least a minute portion of the month. Usually though in real life it would be us getting that look, taking a deep breath, and then smiling politely and going about our day... but in our heads... yep.

If you're not going to see this on your own then I'd advise you to go with friends. Not parents. As much as I love mine I was left wondering if the hysteria would make them want to drive across the country to try and kill me. I'm putting together a battle plan just in case. It is very much like my zombie apocalypse plan but less armour against biting.

The real question is whether the hysteria that was affecting the parents was entirely working on genetics or emotional connection... I'd have been interested to see the odd husband standing there with his kids, not affected while his wife goes full axe murderer and seeing him realise that his kids look more like the milkman/best friend than him. Conversely it would have been an awkward moment to admit that your kids were adopted... or would you attempt to kill them to hide the fact from them longer? Hmm... you know I say these things in jest though... it is only a film, don't get on my case about it. [12/03]


Love, Simon - Secret Unlimited Screening ★★★★☆

Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he's gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

I had been looking forward to this one, book adaptation... of course I was going to be... so getting this as our secret screening was fun great. But it really divided the pack and there was much discussion online about it after. But not so much about the film. I'm going to get the grumpy portion of this out of the way first.

I think this is only the second secret screening I've been to. The first one was Molly's Game, which again, was one I'd been looking forward to seeing, and when the card came up at the beginning I think only one person left. It certainly wasn't many. The card comes up for this one... well, it was like a mass exodus. Without the film even rolling I think we lost about half a dozen people. After the first couple of minutes we lost another load. It was that second lot that made me lose faith in humanity a little, because it wasn't more than seconds after Simon says that he's gay that I heard disapproving noises and footsteps trotting out of seats.

Most people online said the same thing about their cinemas. And I know that you don't have to watch every film ever made. But don't just turn your nose up at it because (and here's me being optimistic) it's a young adult film/novel. If you turned your nose up at it because its main character is gay... well... welcome to the real world, they're here, they're queer, and they're here to stay.

I was pleased to see that lots of people gave it a chance, and many seemed to enjoy it. There was a lot of hate for it from others though, and honestly, when you read the comments for it... well, just don't read the comments. For every good there is a bad, but most of the bad either just walked out or don't really give much in the way of a genuine excuse. Several feel like they're being cheated by Cineworld for showing things that aren't blockbusters... people... this isn't how these things work. Trust me, the company comes to the middle man who presents it to the consumer. Business 101. Companies know that you're going to pay to see their big blockbusters and buy their merchandise... why would they give it to you for free? (Yes I know we all have Unlimited cards and essentially get them for free, but you get my meaning.) There's already hype around them, they don't need more. Anyway, away from my rant.

Love, Simon was a wonderful film, and despite what some are saying, (sorry, swerving into rant territory there again) it was laugh out loud funny... and everyone was laughing. Except those people who left without giving it a chance... wow, sorry, I just can't let this go.

If you haven't quite forgotten your teenage years you'll see lots of bits in this that really ring a bell. Those awkward moments, the crushes, the annoying teachers, the pain. If you've experienced any of them then there will be bits that you physically react to. You can feel the emotions that are running around the characters, you know the decisions they're making are good, bad and terrible, and you can almost see the future. As the story unfolds you really do get pulled along with Simon. You feel his pain and you feel his joy.

A genuine smile inducing film. I think you can see my favourite bit in one of the trailers... straight people not having to come out... it honestly cracked me up.

Of course the book is in the TBR, I'll get round to it eventually. But regardless of how it stacks up next to the book is was a wonderful film. You can only hope that it is enlightening to some that watch it, and helpful to others. [13/03]


Tomb Raider ★☆☆☆☆

Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

3D screening of this one... yes I never learn! You know what I'm going to say... 3D ain't for me. Again, nothing particularly stood out in this one for me with the effects. There felt like very little point in doing it in 3D apart from gouging some more money out of cinema goers.

Being that this preview was only the day before general release I really wasn't surprised that there were so few people there. I really wish I'd waited for the 2D showing.

Here's where we take a swift turn from where I thought my waffle would go for this one... It's an action film with a strong female character, and a lot of us were sold after the first outing of our tomb raiding totty. This one however felt like I'd just found a treasure chest full of Fool's Gold.

I'm not entirely sure that I liked much in it at all. There seemed to be several bits that were surplus to requirements, and honestly didn't even vaguely add anything to the production. And even if you suspend belief, as you would expect to do in this kind of film, you're still left with several bits that just make you stop and say "no".

You heard me talk above about people leaving the secret screening before even five minutes of the movie were done with... two people left this screening half way through. Admittedly I don't know why, but when you couple that with the fact I've never seen so many people going in and out of the screen during a film... well, I get the feeling everyone was a little bit bored. A lot of what was happening wasn't really engaging enough to hook you in until that "big bad" reveal. If it hadn't been for the fact I knew it would bug people who were sitting up and across the aisle from me, I'd have had my phone out like I was sitting at home on my sofa watching a movie on Movies 24.

I want to say I was extremely disappointed in this, but to be honest it doesn't really make me want to express any feelings that strong about it. [14/03]


Peter Rabbit ★★★☆☆

An adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.

This was a pleasant way of starting my Saturday. There's nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I'd feel the urge to see it again.

Kids films always have those adult undertones to keep parents and films nerds entertained. But the ones in Peter Rabbit were frustrating in their fourth wall breaking. It felt like they were all saying, "you got that right?"

There were some laugh out loud moments, but writing this seven hours later I'm having trouble remembering any of them.

Before this one was released there was a lot of uproar about a food allergy scene. Those fluffy tailed little terrors deliberately set off Mr McGregor's food allergy and he ends up having to inject himself with his epi-pen. There were talks of a boycott because of this "food bullying" scene... okay, fine I can see your point... but do you take your family to see a Marvel/DC movie and tell them not to go around punching people and trying to wear pec-enhancing body armour? No you don't, because you bring them up to know right from wrong and how to make valid fashion choices. From a very young age you teach young children to be nice to other people, this isn't the first time they'll see a type of bullying in a film, it won't be the last. Use it as a teaching tool. I find it really difficult to be offended by content that should be counter balanced by common sense. [17/03]


Mary Magdalene ★☆☆☆☆

Set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., a young woman leaves her small fishing village and traditional family behind to join a radical new social movement. At its head is a charismatic leader, Jesus of Nazareth, who promises that the world is changing.

I don't know what I was expecting from Mary Magdalene to be honest with you. It chugged along at a pace and the two hours I was in the cinema didn't feel that long... but at the same time I was particularly entertained by any of it.

Yet another movie being chastised online for not being accurate... it is a movie... not a documentary... get a grip. I'm giving this one star because you can't deny how stunning the settings are. But the rest left me a little underwhelmed. I personally wouldn't have recommended that Jesus be played as if he was stoned... but each to their own I guess. [17/03]


Ready Player One - Unlimited Screening ★★★★★

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

I might have to take back my negative ramblings about 3D briefly for this one. I was cursing under my breath when I saw the showing go up in the listings. You know my general feelings about the pointless format.

While I'm in no way converted, and out of choice I will always pick a 2D showing, this one was good. But I'm inclined to put that down to the video game nature of much of the film. I would note though that the film was clearer and more crisp to watch. Possibly this is down to the equipment used in the screens, as this was a different one to Tomb Raider which was decidedly fuzzy.

I didn't know anything about this film before going into it. Many people had told me that the book was difficult to read, and potentially that much of it might translate badly to the screen. I'm inclined to think that this film knocked its book out of the park judging by the crowd's reaction.

Most of the time, and compared to many of my friends, I consider myself to be a bit of a nerd. Even so, there were still a lot of references that completely passed me by on this one. It's a perfect film for the nostalgic nerd. At so many points I found myself smiling from memories of something as I saw it on the screen. [19/03]


Unsane - Unlimited Screening ★★☆☆☆

A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, where she is confronted by her greatest fear--but is it real or a product of her delusion?

I really was torn about going to see this one. Part of me thought that I would come out entirely paranoid with ideas racing around my head that every one was out to get me. But I needn't have worried. I actually came out rather bored. My Fitbit agreed and actually registered me as asleep for an hour of it

First off, Claire Foy did do an amazing job. Regardless of how I found the movie itself she was probably the reason I managed to stay through it.

I was surprised how much I wanted to leave. I was creating shopping lists in my head. Wondering how on earth you move to another state to escape your stalker, but don't change your name. I was trying to fathom how Sawyer would willingly throw away another human life, even of a woman who had been tormenting her. I wondered a lot of things during, and about, this film.

Some films make me jumpy. While debating whether to attend the showing I was considering the fact that I'd be jumping out of my seat and scaring the life out of the person next to me. In the end this wasn't something that I even had to consider. I was left a little amazed that the trailer had managed to create this feeling of fear in me, yet the whole film left me feeling... nothing.

What disappoints me about this movie the most is that the story line left me so cold that I really felt that the ingenuity of filming it on an iPhone was completely lost. While the occasional Blair Witch-esque movements annoyed me you wouldn't have known that what you were watching was anything other than a "traditionally" filmed movie. At this point I think I'd be more excited about seeing a documentary about how it was made than how I felt about the actual film. [21/03]


Pacific Rim: Uprising ★★★☆☆

Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

After having rewatched the first offering from this franchise I was fully up to date with my rip off Transformers. For those of you who don’t remember the first one, they’re man operated robots that think they’re a combination of your favourite superheroes with almost power poses, and almost hero landings.

You don’t have to worry about not having seen the first one. It's very accommodating to show you what you missed... World was bad. World had a war. World won! There are bits that would benefit from the original knowledge, but you can glean what happened from what's going on.

There's certainly entertaining action, and a few moments where they seem to have a little laugh at themselves. It will pass the time relatively easily... as long as you ignore the very out of place montage in the middle.

I'm glad they brought new elements in and it didn't end up just being a resurgence of the Kaiju and "oh no, let's get the band back together". [23/03]


Proud Mary ★★★☆☆

Mary is a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad.

I've been thinking over my star ratings and I'm having trouble... I'm not sure that this film should be a 3 on my scale as I'm almost certain I wouldn't watch it again, but there were lots of different elements in it that I loved.

The music for one, lots of classic tunes to tap your toes to. Always a winner... I enjoy Taraji P. Henson in most of the things she does... Mary goes on a fun rampage, wrecking her car and killing... well, basically everyone. There are some wonderfully tender moments too where she's trying to protect Danny knowing that she's now got him into another potentially dangerous situation.

I keep mulling the film over in my head though and I'm not quite sure how this film managed to fill the time that it's on the screen. It feels like it's missing something but I can't honestly put my finger on what. [23/03]


A Wrinkle In Time ★★★★☆

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.

There aren't enough good words to describe how much I love this film. I've sat staring at this screen for twenty minutes trying to work out how to sum it up, and it's really difficult. It will sound ridiculous, but I was left with such a feeling of well being. It sounds daft doesn't it? But it really gave me a sense of perspective that is so easily forgotten. I'm kind of paraphrasing the film but just think about how many decisions the universe had to make to make you... and if you think about that for a while, it's kind of a wow moment.

There are two moments in the film that I love. The first being the moment where they see the universe as it is, and all the things we can't perceive about someone's life. It's poignant and quite emotional. The second is when Charles Wallace goes to the dark side... that kid is amazing and truly demonic, and I loved every second of it.

The only reason that this didn't get five stars is because of the casting. I found Reid and Miller very frustrating to watch, and a little awkward.

It feels spiritual, and I understand that the book has a significant Christian leaning. There are still elements in the film that come across in that way. The Mrs all have a very angel-like, but there's no specific moments that would make you think "bible". There are plenty though that make you think about self and your own place in the universe.

Quite frankly this film made me think more beyond the film than anything else has. My stance is that I always go into a film to not think, the idea is that you're breaking from reality, to unwind, to enjoy yourself. So it usually isn't until a second watching that I might look beyond what's presented, but this one really didn't give me that option, and I liked it. [24/03]


Blockers ★★★★☆

Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night.

They're not for looking at, they're for using.

This film was everything I hoped for. Hilarious nonsense that really made me thank god that my parents aren't that crazy... although I probably shouldn't tempt fate like that.

Leslie Mann is wonderful, I loved her in The Other Woman, and I love her in this. There's some innocence around the characters she plays and it's just so funny.

It's not going to win any awards, but it is a great light-hearted film that will have you smiling, laughing, and cringing in equal measure. [24/03]


Isle Of Dogs - Unlimited Screening ★★★★☆

When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

Before this even hit our screens I was worried I was going to be bored of it because I'd seen the trailer so much. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

It was a beautifully crafted film, and refreshingly different. I loved that it was from the dog's point of view, kind of a reverse Lassie. All the individual dogs and their quirks are very entertaining. And those dumb little moments they have that you'll identify with if you've ever owned a dog.

When Chief and Atari as separated from the rest of the pack on Trash Island I really like how the master/pet relationship is reversed when Atari see's the ride. The amount of times I had been in Chief's position... "Don't do it." *shifty look and edges closer* "Don't" *edges further*

My only wish for this film would be that there was more dog, less person. But despite that it was amusing, and very stylish.

As films go this month there were a few that were hit with "controversy" of some description, and Isle Of Dogs was no exception with cried of cultural misappropriation. I can't say that this is going to be something I can ever say I'd be on the receiving end of, but any rational person would not take a film as an accurate portrayal of a culture and its people. [26/03]


Duck Duck Goose ★☆☆☆☆

A bachelor goose must form a bond with two lost ducklings as they journey south.

This may have dented my love of children's films just a little bit.

A cat with a split personality and some fairly difficult to love characters were only part of my problem with this film. It was a predictable and not nearly entertaining enough to make up for that fact.

However the worst bit was the opening sequence. Everything is done so fast that it's almost impossible to work out what is actually going on, and worse for me, it set off my motion sickness. [30/03]


Midnight Sun ★★★★☆

A 17-year-old girl suffers from a condition that prevents her from being out in the sunlight.

I was left a wreck after watching this. It's totally unbelievable and sickly sweet, but who care about that? As with everything, I would guess that some creative license was taken with XP and how it affects those that have it. But I'd also imagine that the emotions expressed in the film are nearer the mark.

The first half of the movie passed by as another teen romance with a twist, but it wasn't until the sunrise scene that I really felt this movie.

Up until that point in the movie it was funny and uplifting. It's a wonderful romance, even though as I mentioned, completely far fetched. But that's why we go to these sorts of movies isn't it? Why would we want the every day? [31/03]

Nineteen films later... yes, 19! Even I'm not sure how I managed to see 19 different films this month considering I was away for some of it.

According to the Cineworld app there are 22 new film releases in April, if they don't suddenly disappear any of them like they did with The Batchelors from March. Lets just hope that I don't discover any plans to acquire a life in April!

Happy watching everyone.

Views in 2018: 44/46


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