Saturday, 2 July 2016

June 2016 in Review

June has come and gone, and so has the first half of 2016. Hopefully no matter how good the years been to you, it'll be better from here on out. In terms of films watched, June was a slow month for me. But when you're let go from your work, searching for something else becomes a sudden priority. But enough about me, let's take a gander at the films I viewed over the past June.

Money Monster - 3.5/5 - Jodie Foster directs a taut thriller anchored by compelling performances.

X-Men: Apocalypse - 3.5/5 - Oscar Isaac can't make the title villain any less dull, but it remains an exciting picture with other great performances.

Best film of the month and Best film
watched for the first time: Lost in Translation

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - 3/5 - An improvement over its predecessor, but still rather problematic.

The Nice Guys - 4.5/5 - There seems to be a great deal of hallmarks for a typical Shane Black film. A double act, sparkling dialogue, a hilarious sense of humour, a tendency to subvert from whats expected, and a Christmas setting. While the last one is relegated to the final reel, the remainder are clearly on show throughout this wonderful picture. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make for a magnificent duo, working greatly off each other for maximum effect. Yet Angourie Rice threatens to steal the show from both of them, proving to be an utter scene stealer. While it doesn't top Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, there's more than enough in The Nice Guys to make it one of 2016's best pictures.

Best film seen in cinemas: The Nice Guys

Lost in Translation - 5/5 -Upon viewing this for the first time, I had only one question pounding through my head; Where has this film been all my life?

Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and ESPECIALLY Sofia Coppola manage to each perform utterly stunning work, combining their efforts to deliver something that's nothing short of an undoubted masterpiece. The overall picture is exactly like Bob's trip to Tokyo. Didn't want it to end, but it wouldn't have been as magical had it not done just that. I have a gut feeling that no matter what time or day I put this on, a watch will be forever welcome. An intimate, warm picture that's funny and soulful.

SERIOUSLY, where has this film been all my life?

Best film rewatched: Independence Day

Bound (1996) - 4.5/5 - An utterly impressive debut from the Wachowskis. What begins as a steamy love affair between two women turns into a realistic relationship drama between two terrific, well rounded characters. It also manages to prove itself as an engaging neo-noir thriller that's taut, often humorous, and nothing short of gripping.

Persepolis - 4.5/5 - When a person bares their soul into a biographical piece of work, there's often the worry somebody may craft a bastardised film version of it. Marjane Satrapi instead uses this as an opportunity, bringing her graphic novel tale to life with the help of co-director Vincent Paronnaud. The result is beautifully animated, honest portrayal of Satrapi's life during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, as well as the aftermath. Witnessing how it affects Marjane and her family delivers a poignant experience, that manages to often prove humorous, but is mostly rather touching.

Biggest Disappointment: X-Men: Apocalypse

The Conjuring 2 - 4/5 - James Wan reportedly turned down a life-changing amount of money for the eighth Fast and Furious picture. He instead wanted to tell one more horror story, and we're all the better off for it. Wan carefully weaves a chilling atmosphere and effective scares. Granted, there's a few which one will see coming, and one especially feels borrowed from Insidious, but they don't detract from Wan's goal, which is ensuring the events leave viewers as haunted as young Janet. One scene involving a demonic nun and a painting is a masterful exercise in delivering frights. At the centre of these scares lies compelling characters to sympathise with. But the picture isn't perfect. The story takes routes which can be seen coming from a mile away, while the finale is rather overblown and turned into something bigger than it needs to be. Regardless, The Conjuring 2 remains an effective piece of horror.

Independence Day (1996) [rewatch] - 3.5/5 - The cheesy and convoluted nature of the script is evident, unless one would like to argue that aliens can be defeated by a computer virus which is suddenly compatible with Jeff Goldblums laptop. In spite of this, it can't be denied how much of a good time this film delivers with ease. Be it the terrific leads, with Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith especially proving entertaining, the overall entertaining nature, or the rousing finale which weaves together multiple characters to deliver a smile on ones face.

Biggest Surprise: Hush

Hush (2016) - 4.5/5 - If the rumours are true and Mike Flanagan helms the next Halloween film, then that will be a real treat. This home invasion picture could have been over in no time, but Flanagan manages to fill the runtime with ease. The killer wants to make our deaf and mute protagonist cower and suffer, but she's more strong willed than her adversary realises. Our two leads deliver phenomenal performances, and the ingenious utilisation of the premise delivers chilling moments, unbearable tension and effective thrills.

Fly Away Home - 3.5/5 - Carroll Ballard delivers a harmless picture, that's not without its charms, and very cute. The performers onscreen all do their jobs well and share decent chemistry, especially Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin. Although, the script could have done with some refining, and some scenes needed a bit of breathing room (Amy finds out her mum is dead, and we don't get some sort of reaction, we immediately cut to one month later). But when Amy and her dad take off to guide the geese south for the winter, the film certainly soars.

Worst film of the month: The Day After Tomorrow

The Parent Trap (1998) - 3/5 - Best known as the film which launched Lindsey Lohan's career, The Parent Trap is also a Nancy Meyers helmed remake. The proceedings get a tad saccharine, plot points are handled without logic (particularly the main concept), and it's rather overlong. Heck, cut out one-dimensional villainess Meredith Blake, and the picture stands up on its own as two swapped twins trying to reunite a family. What can't be denied is how charming the picture can be, and the genuine familial warmth which is carried throughout the runtime.

The Day After Tomorrow - 2/5 - Considering how much of a hot topic global warming was around this films release (and remains so), this seemed like the perfect film to tap into the publics growing worries about such a topic. So how is it the guy behind Independence Day delivered something so bland, unimaginative and downright dull? The CG effects can at least be praised, they do a good job on selling the scenario. But with things utterly lacking in decent writing, any kind of standout acting, and anything to get pulses racing, Roland Emmerich has certainly directed a disaster movie. Just not in the way he wanted.

Best film of the month: Lost In Translation
Best film seen in cinemas: The Nice Guys
Best film watched for the first time: Lost In Translation
Best film rewatched: Independence Day
Biggest Disappointment: X-Men: Apocalypse
Biggest Surprise: Hush
Worst film of the month: The Day After Tomorrow

Number of films watched: 13

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