August 2016 in Review

Funny thing, I posted this yesterday, and have been informed it had disappeared. A quick search showed it'd reverted to a former draft, thanks to a glitch with the Blogger app. How irritating, but regardless, here are the films I saw over the past August.

Piper [rewatch] - 4/5 - Remains utterly adorable and heartwarming on rewatch.

Finding Dory [rewatch] - 4.5/5 - A humorous, heartfelt ride with a great assortment of characters. Idris Elba and Kaitlin Olson were especially terrific, but Ed O'Neill was the standout addition to this new cast.

Gods of Egypt - 1.5/5 - Does Gerard Butler have a dare going on, where he stars in the films with the most shoddy effects?

Ghostbusters (2016) [rewatch] - 3.5/5 - Rewatch, and busting still makes me feel good. Final act feels more disjointed than I originally believed, but remains loads of fun.

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Best film of the month and Best film watched
for the first time: Leon: The Professional

Suicide Squad - 1/5 - At one point, I was looking forward to this more than the Zack Snyder films. How unfortunate, as this one left me more disappointed.

...But need a better script and actual jokes more.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High - 3.5/5 - Amy Heckerling directs the frank depictions of teen life to a great degree, embracing numerous truths which wouldn't have been embraced near enough during that time period. Yet the film walks a fine line, as many moments come off rather generic, often seen in other teen sex comedies. At least it's able to deliver on the funny many times throughout. Also not helping things is the limited time framing, casting not enough of a focus on such a sprawling cast. At least they each manage a good job, especially Sean Penn and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Deadpool [rewatch] - 4.5/5 - Showed this to my younger brothers. One loved it, the other played on the Wii U. I still believe Ryan Reynolds was perfectly cast here.

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Best film seen in cinemas: Pete's Dragon

The Hateful Eight [rewatch] - 5/5 - First rewatch, and Quentin Tarantino still delivers a fantastic thriller set in a claustrophobic locale. The extensive early scenes of set-up are 100% worth it for many of the awesomely effective moments, especially the final chapter.

Pete's Dragon (2016) - 4.5/5 - How is it this product turned out SO good? Emotionally engaging, compelling and peppered with sincerity, it's everything The BFG failed to be.

Leon: The Professional - 5/5 - Easily the best film of Luc Besson and an outright masterpiece. The action scenes are slick and rather impressive, but they're not what makes the picture so wonderful. The heart delivered is powerfully effective, while the unfolding crime and conflict prove gripping and intriguing. Then there's the magnificent trio at the centre. The transformative performance of Gary Oldman is masterful to watch, but Jean Reno and Natalie Portman prove to be the MVPs.

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Best film rewatched: The Hateful Eight

Super Mario Bros - 0.5/5 - My goodness. I'd heard the horror stories, but it's shocking how much of a disaster this is. The cast and crew have proven themselves multiple times over, but they're clearly going through the motions here. Be it Leguizamo's awkward performance or Dennis Hopper delivering Donald Trump vibes, the directors and lacking script are helping nobody here. If it weren't for all the Super Mario references, this could pass for any lacklustre sci-fi attempt from the 90s. It's the fact that such an imaginative world from the video games has been made into such a poorly realised, generic world that's packed with with forced references. As fun as a shell to the face. 

Kinky Boots - 3/5 - It's clear what's the absolute strength of this picture, and that's the completely game Chiwetel Ejiofor. Whenever he appears onscreen, the picture lights up thanks to his terrific performance. It's just a shame the film couldn't have followed him, instead focusing on the bland character portrayed by Joel Edgerton and his terrible haircut. The formulaic storyline and forced conflict bogs down the overall picture, but it's worth it for Ejiofor's scenes. 

Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens - 0/5 - A full review shall be coming of this, but know that after 3 bottom of the barrel films, this somehow managed to be the worst one.

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Biggest Disappointment: Suicide Squad

Swallows and Amazons (2016) - 2.5/5 - Works well as an adventure film when focusing on the childrens adventures. Unfortunately, it also focuses on a half-baked Russian subplot, and suffers by having its characters not communicate over important matters.

Green Lantern: First Flight [rewatch] - 4/5 - This picture is everything the live action film should have been. While it's a bit ridiculous how Hal Jordan learns the tricks of the Green Lantern ring so easily, we get a real feel for the scope of this premise, feeling like a real space cop picture. The conflict is also set up rather well, while glossing over origin elements in a seamless manner.

The Shallows - 3.5/5 - A tense tale of survival, particularly whenever you don't actually see the shark.

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Biggest Surprise: Clue

Bad Moms - 4/5 - A loving ode to mothers everywhere that's also rather funny.

Zootropolis [rewatch] - 4.5/5 - Flash for the next Fast & Furious picture, please.

Lights Out (2016) - 3/5 - Unfortunately worked better as the short on YouTube.

The Bourne Supremacy - 4/5 - The second picture continues on the engaging storyline, ramped up as our titular hero begins pushing back against those responsible for Treadstone. Matt Damon continues to deliver a performance as compelling as his lead, matched by the imposing Karl Urban, while Joan Allen and Brian Cox prove engaging in their roles. Unfortunately, the action scenes are marred by the awful shaky cam, making them rather incomprehensible. It's a shame this failing brings down what could've been a better film.

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Worst film of the month: Nine Lives

The Bourne Ultimatum - 4.5/5 - The (then) finale to the story of Jason Bourne remains as engaging and exciting as its predecessors, as our lead goes after those who made him who he is. It's a satisfying closure to this tale we've followed, but once more, the shaky cam action lets things down. Otherwise, the picture is as terrific as Matt Damon's stunning performance. 

Nine Lives (2016) - 0/5 - Drinking bleach would've been a more enjoyable time.

War Dogs - 3/5 - It's clear what Todd Phillips was attempting here, his own take on a Scorcese-esque film. While it's well acted and boasts some stylish direction, it's ultimately a cookie cutter version of the typical rise and fall tale.

Clue - 4.5/5 - With the many film adaptations of board games announced, one shouldn't forget it can actually be done well. This is all the proof needed, as Clue(do) is successfully brought to life, in a witty and humorous tale acted to perfection.

Best film of the month: Leon: The Professional
Best film seen in cinemas: Pete's Dragon 
Best film watched for the first time: Leon: The Professional 
Best film rewatched: The Hateful Eight 
Biggest Disappointment: Suicide Squad 
Biggest Surprise: Clue 
Worst film of the month: Nine Lives 

Number of films watched: 25