Movies

Review: The Invisible Man is a Timely Reinvention of a Classic

Posted by Matthew on March 22, 2020
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The Invisible Man

There are many ways to tell a story that has already been told. You can simply re-tell it, or add some embellishments, or you can entirely remake it into something new. The Invisible Man falls squarely into this third category. It takes the bones of a classic monster movie and re-contextualizes it for now.

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Catch Up Reviews: Gentlemen, Bad Boys, Bombshells, and more

Posted by Matthew on February 22, 2020
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It has been a busy couple of weeks around the Awesome Friday HQ and I haven’t had a ton of time for writing, but I have caught up on a bunch of movies so here are some brief thoughts on Bombshell, Harriet, The Gentlemen, Bad Boys for Life, and Miss Americana.

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Review: Birds of Prey is a good time!

Posted by Matthew on February 16, 2020
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DC’s Extended Universe of films got off to a rocky start. An early focus on being grim and gritty and “realistic” a la the comics of Frank Miller along with a lot of time spent setting up a universe seemed to get in the way of making, you know, good movies. That is to say, they went too dark and they spent so much time worrying about the next movie they forgot to focus on the one they were making.

Luckily it seems that someone eventually figured this out and started letting filmmakers make the movies they want to make rather than having them conform to a predetermined aesthetic and continuity. Sometimes this has resulted in a miss (like Joker) but in recent years they have actually generated a string of fun movies (like Aquaman and Shazam!).

So how does Birds of Prey fare? As both a sequel to one of the least liked DC films and also focussing on one of the most fun characters in the DC universe it has a tough setup but I’m pleased to say it’s definitely a hit.

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Franchise Rewatch: James Bond – Part 2: ‘Thunderball through Diamonds Are Forever’, or the End of the Beginning

Posted by Matthew on February 10, 2020
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment

Welcome to part two of this year’s franchise rewatch. I’ve watched three good films so far, and this time around I’m going to talk about four more.

I’m on pace to get this done before the April premiere of No Time To Die right now so let’s get right to talking about Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Diamonds Are Forever.

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Matt’s Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2020

Posted by Matthew on February 06, 2020
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment

Every year is a good year for movies but every year there are always those few you are really looking forward to. Here is my list of those movies.

Will these end up being my favourite movies of the year? Who knows! Probably not! The only movies that we know anything about as far away as December are the big-budget blockbusters with marketing pockets so deep we can start hearing about them now. There are hundreds of movies per year that don’t have that.

This list should probably be re-titled “most anticipated big-budget films”, really.

In any event, here is the list. See if you can guess the first entry.

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Franchise Rewatch: James Bond – Part 1: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger or The Definition of Bond

Posted by Matthew on January 21, 2020
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment

In each of the last few years, I have re-watched a franchise. If you follow my Letterboxd you might have noticed this. One year it was Star Trek, another it was Star Wars, and another it was Mission: Impossible. This year it’s going to be James Bond.

With 24 films in the franchise proper and a 25th due in April of this year, this is no small undertaking, especially if I am going to blog about them as I go. Why haven’t I blogged these in the past? Because I had an idea of what I wanted this blog to be and I have resolved to change that here in this new decade.

So what follows will be whatever I feel it needs to be after watching each James Bond film. I am going to watch them in order, and I am most likely going to stick to the main EON produced films in the franchise. Some of them will get some deep thought, others maybe not so much. I don’t have a real plan besides watch, write about each, and then finish up with some kind of conclusion.

So if that sounds like the kind of thing you’re into then let’s get started on this journey with the first three entries in the franchise: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger

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Review: ‘1917’ is a technical masterwork and a pretty good movie, too.

Posted by Matthew on January 20, 2020
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1917

1917 tells the story of two young soldiers given a simple but difficult task. A battalion of men are heading into a trap and the only way to contact them is for our two heroes to travel across the no-mans-land of world war one, directly through enemy territory and all the dangers that entail, to hand-deliver a message of warning.

Schofield, the cynic, and Blake, the optimist, are opposites in their disposition and understanding of war. The former, a veteran of battles past, the latter still inexperienced in actual battle. They set off to deliver the message as quickly as possible as Blake’s brother is among the men who will likely die if they don’t accomplish their mission in time.

Filmed to create the illusion that it was completed in a single take, 1917 is in some ways the movie-est movie I’ve seen in a while. In others, it’s the video game-iest. Does it work? Technically, it’s magnificent. In every other way, it’s also pretty good.

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Ten More From 2019 You Should Totally See

Posted by Matthew on January 03, 2020
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2019 Best of the Rest

It’s been a good year for film because it’s always been a good year for film. I already posted my favourite films of the year but every year there are those films that while they aren’t quite my favourite are definitely great and worth highlighting.

This year I have selected ten more that you should totally seek out and see, presented in alphabetical order.

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Simon’s Favourite Films & Games of 2019

Posted by Simon on December 30, 2019
Editorial, Games, Movies / 1 Comment
Best of 2019

As 2019 gradually fades into obscurity, it’s time for my yearly tradition of somehow ranking subjective experiences. This year is easier for me, though, as my free time has virtually disappeared (as you can probably tell from my complete lack of writing). As a result, I’m no longer diving deep into complicated experiences until they yield their goods. My metric is simple – is this fun? Does it inspire me? Does it make me feel? And if the answer is no – from a really early point – then it gets pushed aside.

Movies are easier to get through thanks to a much shorter time commitment than a game, so instead, they just get thrown in the outbox. My list of games, though, is more an example of the need for good design throughout – and how a jump in style can put me off forever. So let’s take a look!

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Matt’s Favourite Films & Performers of 2019

Posted by Matthew on December 29, 2019
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Best of 2019

Well, folks here we are at the end of the year, and what a year it has been. As always, it’s been a particularly good year for film because it’s always a good year for film.

I have seen more than eighty films from 2019’s slate and believe you me it is hard to pin down my favourites to just ten, so I have narrowed it down to twelve. This didn’t actually help much, and I still had to leave a ton of films out.

I’m also going to do something a little different this year and highlight a few performers who really blew me away in 2019. So without any further ado, let’s get into the best of 2019

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Matt’s Favourite Films of 2018

Posted by Matthew on December 29, 2019
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment
Best of 2018

I know what you’re thinking: December 2019 is a weird time to write about my favourite films of 2018. You might be right, but also there’s never a bad time to write about great movies. Last year I was on a break from blogging, this year I am back at it.

See, it all makes sense.

In any event here are a few disclaimers. First, I wrote this list at the end of 2018 so subsequent viewing in 2019 doesn’t really affect it. Second, if a movie you love doesn’t appear here there are two explanations: either I didn’t see it or it’s not one of my favourites. Third, this list is presented in alphabetical order (ie: not ranked) except for my absolute favourite of the year, which is last.

Alright? Alright. Let’s get started.

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Review: ‘The Song of Names’ is too downtempo

Posted by Matthew on December 23, 2019
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It’s minutes before a show.  The theatre is sold out and the crowds are dressed to the nines.  The orchestra is ready and everyone is waiting to see the young virtuoso violin player than the entire city can’t stop talking about. 

The only problem is that he’s nowhere to be found.  This is the first scene in The Song of names.  The virtuoso, a young Jewish immigrant named Dovidl,  adopted by a British violin instructor in the years before world war 2, who becomes like a son to the instructor and brother to the instructors’ son Martin, who then disappears on the night of his big debut.  

Fast forward to 40 years later, the now-adult Martin hasn’t seen his adopted brother since that fateful day, but a new clue sets him on the path to rediscovering what happens on that fateful night. 

What should be a sombre reflection on two lives lived ends up kind of being a bit of a slog.  Tim Roth plays the adult Martin as best he can with the material that he is given but I felt no investment in his story, or when it’s finally revealed what happened to Dovidl, in a moment that should pack an emotional wallop I didn’t feel much more than a gentle nudge. 

Once the story connects with Dovidl as an adult, now played by Clive Owen, things get a little more interesting but Owen seems to be sleepwalking through the part.

There are things to like in this movie though.  A new original score by Howard Shore is one of them, and indeed basically every musical performance is great.  One, in particular, a musical duel between Dovidl and another young violinist in a London bomb shelter, is particularly great. 

But these pieces can’t save the movie as a whole from being a bit too stuffy and uninteresting.

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Poster Gallery: Character sheets for The Gentlemen, James Bond, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, and a whole lot more

Posted by Matthew on December 16, 2019
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Yes, still playing catchup. Here are a bunch of the posters that I missed while I was resting.

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Awesome News: Catch Up Edition #2

Posted by Matthew on December 10, 2019
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Still playing catchup on the news as real-life continues to suck up all my free time. Here’s some Robocop news, some ill-advised biopic news, some invisible news, and some batman news. All good things!

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Awesome News: Catch-up Edition #1

Posted by Matthew on December 06, 2019
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The presses have been offline for a while thanks to real life, but real life didn’t stop news from happening. Here are a few of the stores we found interesting or exciting while we were sleeping.

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