Movies Of 2018 - August Recapped!

This month started with the promise of 23 new films, but you know how that goes! I did manage to get 16 new releases in this month though, as well as 6 re-watches and another film at the place that must not be named.

I'm over on Letterboxd as well now where you can see my reviews as they happen, but if you come for my awesome waffling banter then this is definitely the place to catch that still! (Please stay for the waffling!)

Ant-Man And The Wasp 3D ★★★★★

Scott, Ant-Man, is under house arrest after breaking the accords and running amok in Germany. He's three days shy of getting his ankle monitor taken off and going out into the big wide world again when, while soaking in the tub, he has a vision. He's back floating through the Quantum Realm again, and suddenly he's Janet Van Dyne circa her disappearance.

Retrieving a mobile phone he's hidden in the wall he calls Hank Pym and leaves him a message. Soon our housebound hero is waking up in a car after being tranquilised by Hope. and there's a plan afoot which might just be crazy enough to work.

Yes Infinity War was good... but for me, Ant-Man And The Wasp was better. Yes IW was epic and devastating, but out of the two I didn't have any quibbles about this one. The CGI was what really did it for me. In IW Thanos' minions looked terrible, even when you take into consideration that they're aliens. But seeing the CGI in the flashback scenes in this one I was impressed at how real it all looked.

This is another film that makes me wish companies would think before they make their trailers. Fallout showed you a trailer that makes it look like Cavill is fighting Cruise and gives away a plot point that, at that point in the actual film, isn't certain. Fallen Kingdom shows you the shot of our giant aquatic friend playing with surfers, which in the actual movie doesn't happen until the closing scenes. In one of the Ant-Man trailers we see what amounts to the end of credits scene... yes there are things that are added to fit with the MCU timeline, but I don't feel like that really makes any difference to the situation. I also think that they should have left the shrinking building out of the trailers to give that a bigger impact in the release.

As far as the movies of the MCU go there are definitely some that are on the funnier side, and this fits that bill. Paul Rudd is obviously still a little goofy, and has an amazing montage sequence as he battles with his last few days of house arrest. But the real comedic star of this for me was Michael Peña. Lovable and an absolute gem. His face when he gets his hands on the Hot Wheels case... kid in a candy store. I truly hope that he survived the dusting of Infinity War. Pipe dreams I know, but I'm hoping he makes it through so he can Neville Longbottom Thanos.

To briefly cover the mid credit scene, which obviously left me with my jaw dropped a bit. There's one thing I'm wondering about, Scott says... "our new ghost friend"... now initially you'd think that he's talking about Ava, but she went off separately at the end of the film and it's got to take a fairly long time to make a new Quantum Tunnel, so could he be talking about someone else?

I still don't quite understand the decision to release this after IW considering the film itself is based before in the timeline, the only thing requiring it to be that way were the after credit scenes. Bit of a shame as I feel like after the epic nature of IW this has suffered as it's not on the same world ending and story completing level. [02/08]

Teen Titans GO! To The Movies ★★★★☆

All the superheroes have got their own movies, even Green Lantern but we don't talk about that. Robin is determined to get out of the shadow of Batman and become a star so he takes the Teen Titans off to Hollywood to help his dream come true. As it turns out though, Hollywood isn't everything they thought it would be... who knew!?

I love Teen Titan's Go! The TV series is so fun to watch, it feel like it's the Deadpool of the DC Universe, happy to take the piss out of itself and doesn't take itself massively seriously either. It was going to be a fairly safe bet that I'd enjoy this one.

It felt a little Robin heavy to me though, and a lot less Teen Titans than I'd hoped for. During their musical numbers I found it a little loud and hard to hear compared to the rest of the film, but you could still follow everything. The credit scene also felt a little odd, unless you know the other version of Teen Titans it would make absolutely no sense.

Even with that is was very enjoyable. Toe tapping, funny with humour across the range, including the classic fart joke and a series in-joke about waffles. I enjoyed the extended universe references, and the MCU references... with an amusing Stan Lee cameo which does leave you going "There's the Stan Lee cameo! ... Wait... this is DC!?" Apart from the regular voice actors you've got some great cameos in there too which, to the older generation in the audience, added some bonus amusement.[03/08]

Ant-Man And The Wasp [03/08]

Ant-Man And The Wasp [05/08]

The Equalizer 2 - Unlimited Screening ★★★☆☆

Robert McCall is back again looking out for those who can't look out for themselves. But when a close friend is murdered how far will he go to get justice?

Having been a long time since I saw the first one it was difficult to link any of the very specific things between the two. My only recollection of it is that he was a subdued hero who pulled out some extreme vengeance. This one was no different in that respect.

The action was good and at the beginning you see the use of the stopwatch, which is noticeable in it's absence through the rest of the film. The final action sequence trails through the storm torn town as Washington picks off the enemy and the whole thing seems to be going well until some random first-person shooter camera angles are thrown in out of nowhere and seem completely out of place.

But that isn't the only thing that seems out of place. The whole story line about the art loving neighbour of McCall only partly adds to the film. We see his brief secondary story line with the inclusion of his gang friends, but as soon as it appears it disappears, and doesn't really contribute at all. As odd character placement goes there's also Pullman as the bereaved husband. Needed? Possibly. The right choice? Possibly not.

If you can look past the strange conclusion-less pieces of the film then all the action, the main story line and a nice summing up to a side story make for a good film to pass some time. But I didn't feel like it met its potential. A lot of people in the screening seemed to be distracted throughout, another film that while full of action was somewhat slow paced at times. [06/08]

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [11/08]

The Darkest Minds ★★★☆☆

A mysterious virus takes hold and children across the country start to die. Those that are left are treasured by their parents, but as the remaining children start to develop powers the rest are watched with suspicion and taken away at the first signs of anything suspicious.

Kept in camps and being used as slave labour, the children are colour coded by the type of powers they have green, blue and yellows are all classified as "safe". The orange and reds aren't taken or terminated. It's no way to live, so when Ruby has the chance to escape and save her life, she takes it.

A real drawback to this film is that the story line is designed to be several pieces, so you don't get a complete tale, just a cliffhanger of an ending as a lead up to the next one... but are there going to be anymore after the majority of people seem to think it was a flop? I did some vague Googling but it was next to impossible to find anything useful on the subject without wading through all the negative reviews.

I found it really difficult to rate this one. I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the action and the story idea, and the effects were very good... but... much like with the Maze Runner films it will probably stand up better as a collection of films rather than as it is on it's own.

Having only just started the book (I know, finally one I've actually begun and not just got on the shelf!) I'm not sure exactly how dark Ruby's character goes. In a desperate move to help her friends she turns on a bounty hunter who is out to get them. She turns her power loose and tells her to walk into the woods, and keep walking... which now I think about it we've seen in X-Men haven't we? How, or even if, this is represented in the book I do not know, but it's quite a dark moment for this innocent teenager who hasn't really done anything with any malice before now.

The film is somehow a little bit samey while being different all at the same time. I've been wavering between three and four stars on this one, but I think what sealed it's fate is that I would only actually buy this if I was going to be getting all the movies to complete the saga. [13/08]

In my "currently reading" pile.

The Meg 3D ★★★★★

Big shark. Jason Statham... at times glistening and scantily clad. To be fair, that's true of the shark too. Do you really need any more description than that?

Further down the page you'll see that I've seen it again... of course I did... but that time I saw it in 2D. After trying both versions I'd say you should see it in 3D because the underwater scenes really do benefit from the extra wow factor.

This is the story of a poor shark living down under the bottom of the bottom of the ocean. Happily swimming around in the dark until some nosy old divers come down and set off his migraine with their bright lights. As he attempts to turn out all the lights and go back to his quiet life things just get worse. A rupture in the ocean floor sends him out into the ocean above he finds himself stuck up there surrounded by even more things that aren't going to help his migraine.

First he encounters the observatory with all of their bright lights, but he soon discovers that biting it is going to do nothing to help. He then encounters two whales who are jibber jabbering so loudly that it's setting his several hundred teeth on edge.

Clearly this isn't the section of ocean for him so he heads off for more open water... but of course he bumps into some rather vicious killers who are slicing up his little sharky pals... and he's having none of that and decides to dispense some bitey justice.

Finally, thinking he's got away from all these horrible fishermen and boats he finds himself swimming into some clearer waters. But what's this? Litter everywhere along the ocean floor?! Big plastic floaty things covering the surface?! This isn't the way the ocean should be treated. Some more, swift, bitey justice leads to the problem being cleared with very little effort.

This is the story of The Equalizer of the shark world.

This is also why we should start telling stories from the "baddies" point of view.

Regardless of how serious the film was designed to be it was very entertaining. Action, some great visuals, sharks chomping things, a dog, a bit of romance, Jason Statham looking buff. There wasn't anything I didn't love about this. It's exactly as predictable as you expect it to be and that's why it's good, you've got the anticipation of what you know is going to come, you just don't know in what order it'll be. [13/08]

In my "currently reading" pile.

Dog Days ★★★ ½ ☆

The lives of Angelinos are brought together by their furry friends.

Not writing this review after seeing the film was a mistake. It's only been 8 days and yet I can't remember much about it, which probably sounds like it isn't a recommendation. I know I enjoyed it, there were touching moments and funny bits. It might not change your life but it'll make you feel good.

There are lots of faces you'll recognise. Some to love and some to hate. Jon Bass is the human star of this one for me. Adorable, funny and the great double act with Gertrude is delightful. She also rocks a super cool doggy wardrobe. Mabel is probably my favourite canine character. A coach to 5k success story line that got me in the feels.

It's another one of those films that's pretty predictable though. Characters end up where you expect them to be, and the dogs (for the most part) make you smile. Nice film, but probably not worth a full price ticket.

As an after thought, there is one moment I can specifically remember, and it left me puzzled. The dog walker sets up in a client's home while he's not there and then at the end of the film she's dating the materialistic vet... was it his house? I don't remember seeing anything about it other than those two scenes and it left me confused. [14/08]

Unfriended: Dark Web ★★ ½ ☆☆

After getting a laptop under less than innocent circumstances a group of friends are drawn into a dangerous game with a criminal who operates on the dark web.

After seeing Searching I was left enjoying the format of watching something from the perspective of the screen. This film managed to undo that enjoyment. Even though both, by the nature of the story lines, had people walking in and out of shot, Dark Web was a lot more chaotic and at times quite difficult to focus on with there being several people involved in each scene.

It's a passable horror film (it doesn't really feel like a horror film, but I'm at a loss as to where else is could be classified), and while I didn't see where the ending was going to go, you can make an educated guess that it's only going to come out one way... badly.

The story intrigued me enough to let me sit through the film, but I don't think I'd need to see it again. With the back and forth on the screen and the annoying digitised baddie appearing I don't think I would actually be able to see it again without getting a headache. [14/08]

Sgt Stubby ★★★★★

When a stray dog follows Robert Conroy to basic training it looks like he's just going to get him into trouble. Quickly finding himself a place with the recruits, Stubby settles in with his new best friend. When the time comes for everyone to deploy for the trenches Stubby won't be left behind and manages to smuggle himself on board where he travels to France to fight the last months of the war alongside Yankee division.

I'm getting really fed up of having to say "I didn't see this one advertised anywhere". I had got it on my films to watch from the August listing as it was a new release, but the first I saw of it was scrolling through weekend cinema times and spotted it down as a Movies For Juniors. I don't remember even seeing it as a general release with more than one showing a day. I did the horrendous thing of judging the film by it's posters, shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

Please don't make my mistake. You need to see this film.

It is so beautifully done and it's sensitive towards it's viewers too. I didn't notice until right near the end (and even then it was actually just mild confusion) that there's no blood. Plenty of war action that you'd expect and injuries all over, but no blood. That alone makes it easier viewing for children, and I can honestly see it being used in schools as a teaching aid.

The animation is much more like a graphic novel style than most animated films that get released. I don't think the poster does it justice at all, it presents a very different image of the film.

I found it a very emotional watch. There were tears of sadness and joy, but then it was fairly even money I'd be crying along to this one. [19/08]

Ant-Man And The Wasp [19/08]

Christopher Robin ★★★☆☆

Christopher Robin has long since left the Hundred Acre Wood to go and grow up in the not so fun real world. As an adult life isn't all tea parties and cloud watching, and when work starts weighing him down a little furry friend reappears to help him on his way.

I've never really been a fan of Winnie the Pooh as a franchise. I'm not a monster, I do like the characters! It feels like it's been over done recently even though this is only actually one of two films around the subject in the last few years.

All in all it's a perfectly pleasant film with some very touching moments. But the ending just kind of happens... all of a sudden.

I was also bugged a little by the fact that Pooh and friends didn't all have the same style. While they weren't in it as much as the others, Owl, and rabbit to some extent, looked a lot more real than everything else. Likewise, Kanga and Roo have a different style again. In the illustrations and animations the differences between the characters is a lot less obvious.

It makes you wish that life really was as simple and carefree as it is for Pooh. A game of Say What You see followed by tea. He also has what is possibly the most inspirational line in the whole film:

"People say nothing is impossible. But I do nothing everyday." [19/08]

The Meg [20/08]

The Spy Who Dumped Me - Unlimited Screening ★★★★ ½

When Audrey's ex turns up in her life again after going AWOL she must embark on a dangerous journey with her best friend Morgan to Europe to complete his mission.


I don't feel like a lot needs to be said about this one. It's a fun action comedy, and while like most films of this ilk it's slightly predictable it still has a great outcome.

If Sam Heughan wanted to make the jump over to "serious" action and play Bond, I think I'd watch that. Hell, if Mila Kunis wanted to do that I'd watch it. There were a lot of entertaining actors, it might not be the highlight of their career but I'm certainly glad they signed on for it.

The only reason there's a half star off this is because of Kate McKinnon. For a moment at the beginning of the film I thought she might not be playing that same character again... it's a funny character but there are those awkward moments where you stop and scrunch up your face at the screen a bit. I like her, but I don't feel like these roles are doing her justice, and I'm not sure that they should be anything other than bit part comic relief. [20/08]

The Festival ★★ ½ ☆☆

What should be one of Nick's most memorable life moments is just that, but not quite how he might have hoped. Reeling from his very public break up his best friend Shane convinces him to get out of bed and hit a festival with him.

My expectations on this one were surpassed, and by that I mean I went in expecting something horrendous and came out being mildly amused.

The Inbetweeners wasn't my thing, so the fact that so many links between the two were involved gave it a thumbs down before I'd even seen the difficult to watch opening titles.

I laughed more than I expected, and cringed a lot less. It's not ground breaking humour, but when it's not making you cringe it was generally enjoyable. Shane is definitely the best thing about the whole film, and his step dad side story was amusing.

It was nice to see some familiar Bristolian things within the film, but had I not had that click of local knowledge I think this would be looking more like a 1 or 2 star film. [25/08]

The Spy Who Dumped Me [25/08]

Luis & The Aliens ★☆☆☆☆

Luis makes friends with three aliens that come to Earth in search of a massage mat from the shopping network.

What is there to say about Luis & The Aliens? That's not rhetorical, someone please tell me.

It's not particularly an animation style I like, it works for the aliens but didn't really do much for their human counterparts.

I'm honestly at a loss about this one. It's a complete story and it really doesn't feel like it's missing anything obvious, and yet somehow the film seems incomplete. I really don't know guys, I'm left a scrunched up confused face about this one. [26/08]

Alpha ★★★☆☆

Keda is separated from his tribe during a hunt. Injured and alone he must try and find his way back before the snow sets in.

The origin of man's best friend, a heart warming story with some epic visuals.

I was slightly distracted for a while because my brain went "Keda's dad looks like Zod." Sorry if I've just distracted you with that too... you're welcome.

Somehow I managed to see an audio described release of this by accident and I was intrigued. As well as the films own subtitles you have all the sound commentary. I was struck by the fact that more than once they used the word "wince", which is visual, as an audio cue. He "winced in pain". Well yes he did wince, but you could see that, it should surely have said "cries with pain" or something similar?

Part of me is very glad that I didn't end up seeing this in 3D as I'd originally planned. On more than one occasion during the film I had to look away from the screen as I was getting dizzy or feeling slightly nauseous. So probably not one to see on the big screen if you have issues with motion sickness.

As I said at the beginning the visuals are amazing, and there are no obvious signs of the necessary digital intervention. It's a smooth film all the way through, nothing out of place. There's a snippet in the trailer where you see Keda tossed into the air by a buffalo, the extended version of this in the film is probably the best bit for me. It gave me that tense physical reaction to see larger than life, and thankfully didn't set off the vertigo! That all being said though, it's still just a pleasant film that goes where you expect it to. [26/08]

The Meg [27/08]

The Happytime Murders ★★★★★ - 100th Unique Film Of 2018!

When the members of The Happytime Gang start turning up dead it's down to Detective Edwards and her ex-partner turned muppet PI, Phil Philips, to solve the crimes.

Childish, ridiculous nonsense... and that's why it's fun.

Something that films like this can be guilty of is taking a joke too far in a single scene. Happytime tap dances down that line and looks like it might stumble clear over but it does managed to just avoid it. Just.

Much like I didn't know I needed to hear Nic Cage saying "anal beads" in Mom & Dad, I didn't know that I needed to see a muppet jizz silly string.

It's not muppets like you know them, but there are some nostalgic drops in there. The one thing that I can't judge is whether this will stand up to being watched more than once. What I do know is that I wouldn't turn it off if it came on the TV. [27/08]

BlacKkKlansman ★★★☆☆

Colorado Spring' first black detective, Ron Stallworth, knows he's got so much more potential than just standing in the records room. When he gets his chance, he sets his sights on the KKK.

A little bit late to the party on this one because of the staggered release, but I just managed to squeeze it into August.

Firstly I want to say that it's a very interesting story. But the 2 hour 15 minute-ish runtime felt like every second of it. With it being so interesting I'm not really sure how the time didn't go faster.

I don't know all the technical things about filming choices, but it didn't feel very consistent to me and I'm not really sure why. During Ture's speech there were several cuts to silhouetted faces from the crowd. I can see the choice to have the reactions from the crowd, but this style was completely different to the rest of the film and didn't feel like it fit in at all.

You really get the sense of contrast as the two groups hold their meetings. Listening to them chanting together, and yet on opposite ends of the spectrum, was a very powerful moment in the movie.

Before going into a movie I head over to Twitter to confirm to everyone that I don't have a life and that I am indeed at the cinema again. I search for the hashtag, tweet and then get back to the ads and trailers I've seen a million times. This time though I accidentally read that the ending would leave me reeling. The movie will make you think, but there's no way to describe how the news footage at the end will effect you. [31/08]

The Children Act ★★★★ ½

Judge Fiona Maye must decide on a case involving a teenage boy who is refusing a blood transfusion on religious principle.

Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci in a movie together... yeeeees. Get me a ticket immediately. Based on a book by Ian McEwan, and no of course I haven't read it. I was exoecting something run of the mill, good, but nothing with a wow factor. I certainly wasn't expecting to be having to stiffle sobs and tears.

The heart breaking story really does get you caught up. Watching Fiona's hard and logical exterior break is really something to behold. How I wasn't blind from the tears when she started performing their song at the recital I will never know. Although, full disclosure, at that point I was leaning on my hands with my cardigan sleeves firmly wedged under the rims of my glasses.

Having never really had any faith, or certainly never any that I would have been so conflicted over, I can't say how accurate a portrayal it was, but it felt traumatisingly real.

As a smaller release this was allocated one of the dinky screens that has about 120 seats. A third of the seats were taken, and I'm going to make wild assumptions now, I would guess that they were all in book groups.

To go off-piste a bit... I mentioned in a previous post that I feel like it's the adults that cause the most disturbance at the cinema. This showing would prove my point. At the beginning I couldn't hear the ads over the noise of the 30 odd people at the time (and they were very odd) talking so loud. I have been to quieter bars.

That was followed up by two people moving seats after the film started, and when the couple next to them started rustling a sweet bag the guy told them to stop as it was annoying him... Don't have the cheek to lecture people when you shouldn't even be sitting there. Random annoying people is something you have to suck up. I bitch about it on Twitter, not to the actual people. When you buy a ticket you're basically checking the box that says "if I end up next to a monster, so be it." I'm super passive aggressive when it comes to people like that, I can almost guarantee that in the same situation I would have missed the rest of the film because I'd be sitting there staring at him as I rustled the bag deliberately for the next two hours.

The moral of this story is don't be a dick to people about something that is expected in the cinema... because you might be sitting next to me. [31/08]

In this the month of the many releases I thought I'd get confused and get things jumbled. But no. As it turns out that happened back in April. Ever since that point it seems that my calculations have been wrong as I have erased the watching of Truth Or Dare from my own personal history. The error came to light when looking at someone's Unlimited list on Letterboxd and sent me off on a frantic search of my posts, my Twitter feed and my Cineworld online account. The latter two don't go back far enough and searching on my blog has come up with zero.

So to quickly rectify this error...

Truth Or Dare was predictable and I'm never playing the game ever again. ★☆☆☆☆

Happy watching everyone.

Views in 2018: 103/127 (adjusted for error)

Films seen in the place that must not be named: 2

Free ticket films: 1


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