Top/Bottom 10 for 2019

Well, that’s another year done on my inevitable trudge to the grave and to celebrate that fact here are my top/bottom films that I saw last year. As always, only films that played at least once on the silver screen in the United Kingdom in 2019 are eligible otherwise my bottom ten list would overflow by January 3rd and with that said….

Lets get this show on the road!

  1. The Irishman- Grab a blanket, cancel your weekend plans and check out what is arguably Martin Scorsese’s best work in years if not ever. Starring a who’s who of Hollywood stars past and present starring in a film about the life of a mob hit-man who might have killed Jimma Hoffa, taking place over decades and using the latest digital technology it’s epic and arguably one of the finest films of this incarnation of cinema. Don’t stream on on your phone, don’t ‘box set’ it over a few nights. Watch it in one hit and watch a master of his craft create his magnum opus.

2 Avengers : Endgame- I know, I know, it’s am obvious pick for the top 10 but the size, scale and imagination required to make it happen? Balancing dozens of characters, story-lines and the end of an era without spoiling it? A well as including some great action, humor and heart for an idea I initially scoffed at I’m wondering where they go from here.

3 Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon- Aardman with always have a special place in my heart but creating a hilarious virtually silent film using nothing but some Plasticine, insane levels of patience and a few grunts. I loved the characters (even if the main alien could have stood to look a bit more.. Alien) I loved all the moments I missed on the first, second and third viewing, a perfect way to introduce your ankle-biters to the wonders of the silver screen.

4 The Wolf’s Call- Great submarine movies are few and far between, but a submarine movie where you have nothing but sympathy for everyone involved? A submarine film which builds to an inevitable yet heartbreaking climax worthy of Shakespeare himself without clear hero’s or villains? A masterpiece and arguably the finest submarine film since Das Boot

5 Ford V Ferrari- A film that should only have been of interest to dads and Top Gear fans becomes an amazing underdog story with amazing performances, some great driving sequences and touching character moments. Someone is going to win something for this.

6 Godzilla: King of the Monsters- Big beautiful shouty monsters attacking each other for two hours broken up by some really good actors slumming it in glorious style. It’s a shame that this franchise will probably only last for one more film but it was great while it lasted.

7  Rocketman- Forget last years sanitized Bohemian Rhapsody this is an amazing, funny, no holds bared but at the same time fantastical view of the early years of Sir Elton John. And boy can Taron Eggerton sing.

8 Once Upon A Time In Hollywood- This is not the film that’s going to convert you to Tarantino but if you are fan of his, this is the man as his most… Tarantinoish. A love letter to the final moments of Hollywood’s Golden Age this shows why cinema needs auteurs like the man himself. Still haven’t found a spare week to watch the extended version yet though.

9 Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich- Skip to the half way mark and then set back for some of the most disgusting, sickening, repulsive yet awesome death scenes in cinematic history all carried with with practical effects driven puppets. I loved it.

10 How to Train Your Dragon 3- Arguably the best finale to an animated trilogy since Toy Story 3, this is a beautifully heartbreaking end to one of my wife’s favorite franchises. And yes, it does get bonus points for being a franchise with the nerve to actually, definitively end. Looking at you Toy Story 4. Which isn’t on this list.

Bottom

10. Serenity (2019)- Films like Serenity (2019) live and die by their twist and by film this twist is one for the history books I mean, I’ve watched that twist scene a dozen times and it still floors me. Outside of that it’s a bog standard film noir about a mans ex randomly turning up in his life and asking him to kill her new husband. As they do.

9. Rambo Last Blood- I like the other Rambo films but this just felt nasty and mean spirited. The finale was an even more homicidal version of Home Alone as Rambo took out an unknown number of unknown thugs who posed no threat to him. Rambo doesn’t take on drug lords, he takes on armies! This one just left a bad taste in my mouth.

8 Playmobil The Movie- A movie trying to ride the Lego Movie Franchises coattails, unaware that the Lego Movie Franchise is now dead and with none of the wit, charm and talent that it did have. The whole thing felt like a low budget kids TV knockoff and slipped in some of the worst song’s I’ve ever heard in an animated film. It grossed less than a million dollars on it’s opening weekend in the States and rightly so.

7. Killers Anonymous- How do you make a film about killers in therapy boring when any scriptwriter with the tiniest amount of talent could make that idea sing? Well, you get a bored looking Gary Oldman to literally phone in his performance, base your marketing around Jessica Alba then kill her off in the first two minutes and then have a plot that’s madder than a box of frogs as well as being completely incomprehensible and pretty much no action at all.

6 The Queens Corgi- Glossing over the fact that Her Majesty doesn’t actually have any Corgis any more and that this film featured Donald Trump for no reason other than to generate loads of free publicity, this is a badly animated, poorly voiced film with a few atrocious songs snuck in for no reason other than to pad the truly pathetic yet far too long 85 minute (including credits) run-time. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 0% and as far as i’m concerned that was too generous.

5) X-Men: Dark Pheonix/ Men In Black- Without the X-Men we would not have the current crop of comic book films that we currently do so it’s a shame that this vulnerable and unknowingly influential franchise die such a lamentable death, it was boring, dull, the ending was obviously re-shot and crushingly boringly dull. Much like the DOA soft reboot of Men In Black International which was apparently horrifying to work on and comes across as an incoherent mess which is a borind ,dull and one of several hints this year that finally the tyranny of hte comic book film might, just might be beginning to come to an end.

4 Wolf- I think this might be the worst British film I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen several Danny Dyer films! Whilst I don’t have an issue with Roman legionaries fighting Werewolves- I think it’s a story with a lot of premise, I have an issue with werewolf ‘costumes’ that looked worse than those in my local pound-shop, a soundtrack made purely from something that sounded worse than the lovechild of a vuvuzela and some poorly maintained bagpipes, an ending that was so sudden I’m still convinced that my local cinema wasn’t sent the final act. And they threw out the rules regarding their werewolves in the last ten minutes.

3 Hellboy- Simply the worst superhero film of all time and that includes Batman and Robin. A ticking clock plot that kept gaining extra time, truly woeful special effects, witless, charmless and apparently a nightmare to work on. It bombed and deservedly so.

2 Cats! What is there to say about this…. thing? A film so bad that even furries were disowning it. But, if your therapist can get you past the unrelenting army of nightmarish visuals, this is a terrifyingly dull film with very little plot, only Taylor Swift seems to be having any fun, it’s one good song has been available on CD for years and it’s going to kill or damage film alone so many careers. Not least Director Tom Hooper who was working on this film until literally hours before the world premiere. I do however have no doubt that it’s going to develop one hell of a cult following though. Also, as bad as this is, not for one, single, solitary second was it in contention for worst film of the year.

1 The Lion King/ Dumbo/ Aladdin- At least Cats! was trying to do something different. None of these films exist for any passionate reason. None of these exist for taking a classic film and putting a new, modern spin on it. I have spoken to hundreds of people and I have yet to meet one who prefers this to the original cartoon versions. These films don’t expand cinema, they stagnate it, they don’t do anything beyond sell tickets and provide safe returns for shareholders. But in chasing short-term gain they’ve hurt the medium- no-one seems to remember the tedious, obvious, dull Dumbo. The studio that made the nature documentary with unable to act animals has shut down, the actor that played Aladdin literally can’t find work! They took simple, classic films and stretched them, adding pointless details and subplots that weren’t needed, watering down things that didn’t need to be watered down, making what was once inspiring and uplifting dull and alienating. I mean I could understand these films being made if Disney were about to go bust and were in need of some quick cash but it doesn’t because DISNEY OWNS EVERYTHING including technically Pulp Fiction which should be added to Disney World any day now…

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

Kor kish, kor kish, kor kish, “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations. Director.”

Because if there’s one thing this film has it’s ambitions. Well, sort of. It’s got ambitions to be visually stunning (which it is at times) It’s got ambitions to reunite a fan-base (which it isn’t going to do), it’s also got ambitions to sell truck loads of toys (which it will) but it’s lacking in ambition in a few key areas.

Telling a cohesive story for example, I don’t know if there was a serious offer on energy drinks when the script was being written but this film just cannot keep still. It’s on such a rush to keep moving from location to location that there’s no time to settle in, understand what’s going on, or why this film is making what is in essence a very, very simple story seem incredibly complicated for no reason at all. I mean you could easily strip out half the plot, locations and (highly marketable) characters and not affect a thing.

Which is one hell of an achievement when you think about it.

Anyway, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

And on one level it is final. With several actors stating that they will not be returning to the franchise, which I believe until Disney gets their checkbook out again in about ten years, there is a sense of the end of an era about this film.

There’s also the sense of quite a few more films being set up but where the similarly owned MCU has a cohesive narrative and always feels like it’s building up to something this new trilogy has just felt disjointed and thrown together which should not have happened with one of the most beloved franchises in cinema. I accept that there a fewer characters to base a universe around in Star Wars than in Marvel, but you can always make new ones.

You do know that, right?

Oh, and speaking of characters, if you are going to bring back old characters who allegedly have a role in the narrative THEN DO SOMETHING WITH THEM! Don’t just bring them back for seemingly the sake of bringing them back for the old timers to swoon and seemingly no other reason.

Which is just so frustrating when this film has some pretty good ideas. It’s got some horribly misjudged ones as well – especially one moment towards the end that just… phew… you’ll know it when you see it.

It’s just so frustrating because on one level it’s still Star Wars, you’ve still got the light-saber battles, the space battles, the aliens that are practical effects (although not as good as the ones in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets  but that’s beside the point.) The cheesy moments that made me grin, the visuals that made me marvel were still there but this was just so unsatisfying as an experience.

It’s like gorging on candyfloss, yeah it tastes great and you feel really hyper at the time but then it wears off and you feel like you could have bought a healthier lunch and then you’ve forgotten about it in a week.

That’s what this film is like. It moves at such a pace that there’s no time to settle in and understand who’s doing what and why or even why people are doing what their doing because if I took a shot every time someone did something because the ‘force told them to do.’ I’d have drunk enough Baileys (I’m in training for Xmas day) to overlook the man, many plot-holes in this film.

Oh, and it wasn’t just me, Scriptguy went as well – he saw it in 3d with all the other children and didn’t really notice a difference other than, and I quote ”  It added depth to the huge scenery.”, I saw it in 2d as God intended and was fine with the scenery. Although Disney has sent a message to theaters urging them to post warnings to moviegoers that the film contains scenes with flashing strobe lights, which can induce seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy. So just be careful out there.

Anyway, Scriptguy and I between us spotted several Plot-holes, some of which we didn’t mind but some we really did and actively impacted on our enjoyment of the film.

The narrative is somehow childishly simple and yet overly complicated at the same time to such an extent that I can see younger viewers being confused. It’s also pretty dark as well. Not just visually but tonally to the extent that I wanted to check that the director wasn’t operating after watching The Dark Knight a few times too much.

The cast is fine. I was reasured that unlike poor James Dean who will be starring in a new film despite the slight fact that he’s been dead for 64 years, Carrie Fisher was recreated by clever editing and using footage that had already been shot. I still don’t get the appeal of Adam Driver but he worked well in the film Daisy Ridely was incredible but along with so many other elements but their all. Just. Wasted.

Argh it’s so frustrating and i’m not even that big of a Star Wars fan!

This film feels like such a course correction after the reaction to The Last Jedi that it’s gone too far the other way. At least that had a relatively simple narrative and was a more cohesive experience. At least it remembered that if your going to have a ticking clock then reference it. Make the audience feel each precious grain of sand run through the hourglass as opposed to here where it’s sort of there but not really.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker needs to calm down. Strip out half of it’s plot points and a thread or two and use the saved time to develop character rationales and character itself! Make this feel like the end to a cohesive, structured trilogy and not just three films under the same banner, hire an extra lighting person or ten and allow this film time to breathe.

In 2015 I sat and watched The Force Awakens with my inner eight year old on full display grinning like a loon. In 2019 I was confused and saddened. I highly doubt this new trilogy will weather the storm of time like the first trilogy but it’s going to do a hell of a better job than the prequel trilogy.

My Score- If Nothing Else 

Jumanji: The Next Level Review

Do you want to play a game?

Because if you do, I can recommend a few really good ones.

I wouldn’t really recommend Jumanji: The Next Level though because if you saw the last one, then your good. Actually, if I remember right then the last one ended pretty definitively as if saying that this was a one off film, which made it quite refreshing.

Hmmm? 962.1 million? Never mind then.

Anyway, Jumanji, a franchise based off of a short story that consists of cartoons, video games, 3 films (apparently Zathura: A Space Adventure counts.) All based off of the pixaresk idea of what if games were real? And… what else is there to say?

This film is a load of sound and noise signifying nothing.  As a nice little timewaster to get away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas then it works, but it promised to be more this time.

I mean, the ad campaign for Jumanji 3 Return of the Jumanji was based around the idea that the game was broken which throws up some interesting ideas of NPC characters glitching around, the game not recognizing when clues had been solved so that our players were at risk of being trapped forever due to no fault of their own or even just glitching the scenery around them. The scenarios write themselves!

Sadly though, the scriptwriters couldn’t be bothered to write any of theses scenarios down so instead we’re just left with ‘Jumanji- Another one.’ You could drop out the whole ‘the games busted’ idea and nothing would change.

I mean the basic idea is still good but this is the same joke told twice, it still gets a chuckle or two but the chance to expand the film beyond we were in a jungle and now we’re in a desert is wasted!

The central cast is still great, The Rock makes for an amazing Danny Devito impersonator (who knew?) But aside from that, it’s the same jokes, Kevin Hart is small, Jack Black isn’t in the greatest physical shape, come on, we saw these the last time!

The films villain seems tacked on and could easily have been written out or – since the game is meant to have been broken, make THEM a separate player with their own clues and agenda. As is, if you had replaced him with say… a gorilla sleeping next to something our heroes want to acquire, then I wouldn’t have noticed.

There’s way too much CGI and the film was defiantly starting to wear out it’s welcome towards the end. I mean, I get that Devito’s character has never played a video game before but towards the end, I was wondering if this person was allowed outside without  supervision! Maybe making him slightly less dense and more of an old-school problem solver would have been a good idea, as was, he seemed like more of a threat than the alleged villain!

Oh, and why was my screening in 3d? Who is making films in 3d at the moment? I thought we all agreed that, with the exception of Dredd, NO film ever had been, or ever will be improved with 3d. All that happened was I got distracted and just wound up feeling slightly annoyed. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now and I highly doubt that I will ever like it at any point in the future.

Look, there’s no way that a film starring The Rock is ever going to be bad, the mans just too charismatic to for that and there was a lot here that I did like, but you can’t escape the fact that this is just ‘Jumanji, another one.’ If you saw the previous one, then you’ve pretty much seen this one bar a few new stunts and locations. There were moments I liked (although not enough of them) and this film just felt like the studio wanted more money squeezed quickly from this unexpected cash cow.

With a bit more time in development this could have been a lot better than it was. As is, this will kill some time and if it ever came on the TV the i’d probably stop channel hopping but I doubt I’ll remember this film in a week.

My Score- If Nothing Else 

21 Bridges Review

21 Bridges is falling down
Falling down, falling down
21 Bridges is falling down
My fair viewer

Build it up with a better script
better script, better script
Build it up with a better script
My fair viewer

Giving it a decent plot

wouldn’t hurt wouldn’t hurt

please give it a decent plot

My fair viewer.

Your also going to need to do something about the absolutely pathetic run-time, wasted central idea and a truly predictable, one dimensional bunch of characters as well.

Aside from that. ‘Tis all good.

Which isn’t to say that the central idea is bad because it isn’t- I mean, an embattled NYPD detective being thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy sounds awesome.

The setups pretty awesome as well. I mean you’ve got everything here to make for a cracking old school cop thriller along the lines of the Steve Mcqueen classic Bullitt just without as good a car chase because no cop film will ever have as good a car chase as Bullitt. Or even something like a really miniaturized version of The Fugitive. Because, believe you, me, you’ve got the ingredients here for something amazing.

I mean you’ve got a cop with a rep being teamed up with a new partner being forced to track down a pair of cop killers whilst tugging on the threads of a conspiracy whilst their all trapped on a island until dawn, at which points the bridges will be re-opened and all the rats will escape into the ether.

Imagine what you could do with that! Allegiances being tested, bonds broken, a ticking clock hurting everyone, the pressure rising as the public becoming angrier and angrier as they realize more and more that their being held hostage by a massive game of hide and seek!

You’ve got the cast for it as well, with Black Panther as the lead, backed up by J. Jonah Jameson holding the politicians at bay, Sienna Miller as his partner and even Taylor Kitsch (thankfully long past Hollywood’s delusion that he was the next big thing.) Getting some work.

Now, all of this could work if the films was allowed the run-time to breathe. And I know that most Hollywood films are in need of another trip to the editing suite but this! By my watch the film had reached a natural conclusion after a truly pathetic 82 minutes and then pottered along for another 10 because it had to reveal the most obvious plot twist since I asked my allegedly full wife where my chips kept vanishing off to.

I mean 82 minutes would have worked if this was the setup to a TV where Black Panther would have realized that although he’s smashed this tentacle by accident, the rest of the vampire squid is still out there, hidden in plain sight.

But this isn’t an opening episode of a TV show, this is an alleged feature length film!

And all of this films issues can be traced back to the run-time! Look, Hollywood, I know that there are loads of kids out there who need make stuff go boom every 2 minutes but there are a few adults left in the world of film lovers who would have loved a film taking it’s time. Because more time= more developed characters. As is, what we know about these people in the first ten minutes is all we ever know about them. Which makes what I guess are supposed to be twists and turns fall completely flat. Which in  film like this is a pretty big hit for a film of this type to take.

You’ve got our alleged villains being directed to villainous helpers who appear to have wandered in from an episode of The Blacklist and help them when there was no way they would lift a finger in the real world.

Then, you have the fact that this film is just action scene after action scene after action scene which are pretty dull with very little time dedicated to actual detective work, interrogating suspects, dead ends, busted leads or even the fact that the clock is ticking and the politicians would be getting antsy. Or as us snarky film types call it THERE IS NO TENSION IN THIS FILM.

And it just blows my mind! I know that this is the directors first (and hopefully last) excursion to the silver screen but surely someone could have pointed out the fact that films like this Need. To. Breathe.

Hmm? Oh, you thought this film was directed by those guys who made Avengers Endgame? Aren’t you adorable. I’m afraid their lovely marketable names merely get a producer credit and I have yet to understand what that means, if indeed it means anything at all. No, the director is some guy called Brian Kirk who has purely done TV series up until this point – which actually explains a lot.

The best I can say about 21 bridges is that it’s a very good idea which has been completely and utterly devastated by a pointless decision to go for the people who need an explosion every five minutes instead of people who just want a good old cop thriller. It doesn’t need any work done to it’s cast but developing the characters would have helped. Bringing in some tension would have helped. A longer run-time would have helped. Doing some work on the plot would have helped. Making the twists actually twisty would have helped as well.

Aside from those little niggles this is my film of the year.

My Score- Skip It.

 

Frozen 2 Review

Frozen 2: Freeze Harder is naturally enough, the sequel to Frozen which, according to my Amazon Prime and in a somewhat off brand move for Disney starred three people stuck on a ski-lift, debating whether ’tis better to freeze to death or help to feed the local wolf population.

Now, i’m not quite sure how such a film made one point two billion dollars but I do know why a sequel has been made – the first film made one point two billion dollars.

But, given that the first film finally stopped my nephew from demanding a dog, and… sleeping, and… eating, and… his parents from talking to me which I really should look into after I finish talking about The Frozen Supremacy I was intrigued as to where the franchise would go.

And to be honest, this film seems a lot more on brand. Instead of 3 idiots getting stuck on a ski-lift you have a Scooby gang of people going to see why one of them has annoyed the spirits of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water, how it links to them having magic powers and to see how many songs you can use to pad out the run-time and sell the soundtrack album.

I do want to say, this film looks amazing, with settings ranging from beautiful forests to darkened caves to raging oceans and it all looks gorgeous. The songs are pretty good- one at about the halfway point that came out of nowhere and caused me to almost die of silent laughter but was the best song in the film.

I liked that the whole idea of one day your prince will come appears to have been quietly dropped and there’s a nice vein of sisters doing it for themselves which I liked.

Didn’t much care for quite a few other things though.

The plot has quite a few big holes – especially at the end and I can see some of the smaller visitors to the cinema being quite scared during a few bits (which I approve of) and having no idea what was going on at others (which I don’t).

Half the songs can be generously described as filler and less generously described as instantly forgettable. That flaming snowman has got to go, his song was the worst, he added nothing to the narrative and this is not a film short of cute characters to market to the kiddy winks at Christmas. Also, this film has way, way, way too many characters, which dilutes from the central narrative.

If someone could explain to me why the spirit of the water is a horse and not say a shark or a whale or even a mermaid I’d be much obliged. I’m sure there’s some mythological reason behind it but it just bugged me all the same.

I will say that the action scenes were really thrilling and well done and the voice cast (with one exception) were utterly brilliant.

I just wish the songs were a little more memorable, the plot a little more worked and a couple of characters removed is all. Otherwise there’s not really much to complain here. It is better than the first one in terms of scale and achievement but it just needed a few more tweaks is all.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a phone call to make.

My Score – See It

 

Terminator: Dark Fate Review

“Oh goodie, a new Terminator film. I really must rush out and see that on opening day” Said no-one who went within a 1000 miles of Terminator Genisys…. or Salvation… or rise of the machines…

But rejoice friends as Terminator: Dark Fate has kicked all of those disasters to the kerb! As far as it’s concerned, there are only two terminator movies and all the rest took place in ‘alternate timelines.’

Brilliant.

And whats that I see on the poster? Is that a 15 rating?

Yes. Yes it is.

A 15 rated film with the budget of the latest Marvel super-blockbuster.

What a time to be alive.

And the good news doesn’t stop there. As Terminator: Dark Fate is pretty much a modern day remake of the best- by which I of course mean the first – Terminator film. By which I mean an absolute nobody discovers that they have been targeted for termination by a robot from the future who “doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever, until you are dead!” They have a protector and the film is basically one long chase scene as protector and protected are relentlessly pursued by a seemingly unstoppable killer.

You might remember this as the plot to roughly 850’000 movies and TV shows over the last few years. The best of which was 2014’s It Follows.

Now, on top of a really simple plot, this film has a budget roughly equivalent to the GDP of a small country, it’s directed by the man who also directed Deadpool, it’s got a mostly great cast – i’ll get back to that – so it should be sit back, relax and enjoy, right?

Not quite.

I’ll start with the basic issues. Terminator: Dark Fate, I just know i’m going to screw up and call it Terminator: Dark Pheonix before the end of this review, is just too long. No film which is just a basic chase sequence needs to be 128 minutes. Even Mad Max Fury Road is only 120 minutes and Dark Pheo.. Fate is no Fury Road.

No sir.

A quick trip to the editors suite to remove 15- 20 minutes would have helped this film no end. And they could have done this by removing Arnold Schwarzenegger apart from the first four minutes which I found pretty jaw-dropping.

Yeah…. look, i love Arnie, but he feels forced into this film. If anything, he feels like he’s starring in his own indie film that then gets gatecrashed by this huge blockbuster without so much as a how do you do. Seriously, in some scenes I swear the film forgets he exists and in others he’s just sort of there. I mean I get that he has a story arc of his own but most of it has happened off-screen and to be honest, whilst it is something that I would like to have seen, here it just slows the pace down and got me to wondering why NotSkynet has sent back an unstoppable killing machine the has no ranged weaponry and keeps forgetting to acquire guns. I wouldn’t have minded so much (or noticed at all) were it not for the fact that our hero’s escape by helicopter via the skin of their teeth and the evil terminator- maybe 50 feet away has no recourse but to shoot them a nasty look and slink away.

Which, given that our evil terminator is actually pretty awesome- if a touch sassy for how I like my unstopable, unkillable cyborgs is kind of a tension destroying moment. Which, given that he’s a hybrid of our two original ones is a bit of a buzzkill. I mean he’s got a skeleton like the original but his ‘skin’ is an evil ooze like the T-1000 making him a two for the price of one villain is kind of a slight minus.

Oh yeah, Skynet isn’t the big bad anymore. I mean it is still acting like Skynet but they call it something else so I will as well. If I was to refer to it again in my review.

Which I won’t.

Obviously this film has way too much CGI, to the extent that towards the end I was feeling a bit punch drink- breaking up the CGI with the odd practical effect would allow the eye a chance to reset and always, always, always, looks and ages better than CGI.

The new Sarah Connor, here called Dani Ramos but is basically Sarah Connor mark 2 is fine, her protector is fine, and again, she’s a nify idea. (She’s also called Grace because of course she is) is an augmented human who can sort of go toe-to-toe with the sassinator who even has a monologue of sorts which is seriously out of tune for a freaking terminator but Grace has some seriously cool strengths and weaknesses which I would like to see developed in a future film.

Terminator: Dark Fate works on several levels. It’s a passing of the torch film, a soft reboot, a thrilling if slightly bloated chase film which somehow stands on it’s own. Its not perfect, it needs a trip to the editing suite, some less CGI and more practical effects, its own Terminator to be slightly more menacing and less sassy, also, if your not a fan of films where something goes boom every ten seconds you won’t really find a lot here but  this could have been spoken of in the same breath as the first two films but instead, it truly is the least worst of the other Terminator films and for today, that’s good enough.

My Score- See It 

Gemini Man Review

Was that it?

“From the visionary mind of Ang Lee” screamed the trailer to which I wonder if the Oxford English dictionary would like a word because whilst Ang Lee might be a visionary (and I can see plenty of arguments either way) I don’t think he had much to do with this.

Written by the hack behind X-Men Origins: Wolverine might be a better idea.

A film that was supposed to be released in 1997 starring Clint Eastwood which proves Daniels third law of film criticism- If a film has been in development hell for more than ten years just put it out of my misery – would be so much better.

A dark look into cinemas future would be perfect.

Because plot wise there’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before before and done better. You want an over the hill assassin being targeted by a younger assassin? Assassins was released in 1995 and got star Sylvester Stallone nominated for an award. I mean it was a Razzie but an awards an award.

Or, if you would like a film about an agent being relentlessly pursued by their own  Government then I can recommend the Bourne franchise as well as a good anti-migraine medication.

But I get away from myself. Gemini Man- which has nothing to do with the American action-adventure drama series that aired on NBC in 1976. Instead it is about, as you’ve probably guessed by this point about Will Smiths retiring hit-man being pursued by a younger hit-man who turns out to be his clone and trained to be his superior in every way.

Now, there’s a lot here that you could work with- nature versus nurture, the morality of breeding clones purely for combat, possibly sparing ‘real’ humans from life changing physical and mental images, to never again have a mother bury a child, or even the hypothetical of what would you say to a decades younger you?

Sadly there’s not really that much debate in this film, I wasn’t exactly expecting Matrix levels of dialogue and debate but some sort of debate about the morals and ethics would be nice.

And whilst i’m working on my wish list to Santa, I would also like some character development, a slightly more original plot, some decent stuntwork, a slightly more original plot and would it be too much to ask for a slightly original plot?

I mean yes, this is still a passable film- Will Smiths boundless charisma can (and indeed has) carried far worse than this but if you look beyond the fact that your getting two Smiths for the price of one and instead realize that much like this years utterly ghastly Lion King remake that this is not really a film in and of itself but a tech demo disguised as a 138 million dollar film.

I mean the drokking thing was filmed at an extra-high frame rate of 120 fps, modified for 3D, neither of which were in my screening but even so, I’ve always found that this technique makes films look cheap and after a while just made me feel weird.

But the main draw of this film is its facial technology which means that not only can aging film stars now by grafted pretty well onto younger bodies (oh, I did try to find out who was playing young Wills body but I just could’t. Which does not bode well for the future of film.) I mean with this kind of tech, death doesn’t mean that actors stop working. Or action stars don’t get too old to do action films. The possibilities for this tech (once perfected, there were still a few uncanny valleyesque shots here and there.) Are boundless and incredibly morally dubious.

But back to Gemini man and we find that it’s best action scene- a highly inventive motorcycle chase goes on that touch too long and brought out at least two unintended chuckles from me. Other than that, theirs just nothing really here.

As a film Gemini man is generic and highly predictable. It has bits of cardboard that spout exposition as opposed to secondary characters and slightly thicker bits of cardboard posing as our leads. It has no intention of taking part in the debates that it could (and indeed should provoke) and highly generic action scenes which you’ve seen done before and better.

But this isn’t a film, it’s a glimpse of our highly tedious, deathproof future of cinema.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

My Score- Skip It