Friday, 2 October 2015

September 2015 in Review

We've now entered October, which means plenty of horror films to watch as we lead into Halloween. This month saw me delve into another franchise, watch quite a few of this years films, while also partaking in quite a few older films. So, let's check out my month that was September.

Beauty and the Beast (1991) [rewatch] - 5/5 - Disney take on the french fairy tale, to deliver a heartfelt tale of love which is brought to life through a gorgeous animation style, wonderful songs & lovely characters that'll remain in the memory. A masterpiece.

Straight Outta Compton - 4/5 - Music biopics are notorious for being hit and miss, so it was a toss-up where the NWA biopic would land. Luckily, F. Gary Gray's confident direction and the strong performances on hand manage to strengthen this film, making for one of the best music biopics to come out in years. Just a shame Dre's guiding hand is evident, as his notorious actions are nowhere to be seen and he comes out as one of the more clean cut members.

Mother Goose Goes Hollywood - 2/5 - Various Mother Goose tales are brought to life with caricatures of old Hollywood stars, resulting in a mildly amusing short that feels forced with the parodies, and is just a bore.

12 Angry Men: Best film watched of the month
and Best film watched for the first time

The Fast and the Furious (2001) - 2/5 - A clear product of both the early 2000s and Rob Cohen, bringing cheap thrills and cheesy moments that's played with a straight face.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone [rewatch] - 4/5 - For a first entry into a beloved family franchise, it's astonishing how this film runs for 2 and a half hours, while you never feel the films length. Many of the effects are dated, but Chris Colombus successfully brought this fully realized world of magic and wonder to life.

The Visit (2015) - 3/5 - The first two acts brings decent thrills, cheap jump scares and poor attempts at jokes. The final thirdthen takes a turn which isn't the obvious outcome, but results in the remaining climax being very tense and oft chilling. There's one cruel moment which felt unnecessary, and the aftermath is unnecessary (especially the final "comedic" scene).

Straight Outta Compton: Best film
seen in cinemas

Creep (2015) - 4.5/5 - The tale is set up reasonably well. Josef (Mark Duplass) has two to three months left to live, thanks to a brain tumor. So he puts out an ad for somebody to record a video diary, to be left for his unborn child. Aaron (Patrick Brice, also director and writer) answers the ad, but finds things aren't what they seem.

Once the cracks begin forming in Josef's story, things turn chilling and never let up. Brice manages to effectively use found footage, turning away from the nauseating shakey-cam to deliver regular tension and even a reasonable excuse to utilize jump scares.

2 Fast 2 Furious - 1.5/5 - This motoring action sequel lacks Diesel, managing to stall throughout thanks to a script as idiotic as the title.

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief - 4.5/5 - A shocking look at the organization known as Scientology, its awful actions and treatments, leaving you shocked that it can be labelled a religion.

Beauty and the Beast: Best film rewatched

The Gamechangers - 1.5/5 - A weak take on potentially interesting material. Good job, BBC.

My Neighbour Totoro - 4.5/5 - From Studio Ghibli, this is a beautifully animated tale. The focus is on two sisters, who are utterly believable in their actions and motivations, and their adventures, as they deal with moving house, a sick mother and a giant cuddly forest spirit. The result is utterly heartwarming, with a scenestealer created in the cuddly Totoro.

Plus, Catbus!

The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift [rewatch] - 1/5 -  A limp entry into the franchise, barely connected and hampered by a wooden 20 something who can't pass for a 17 year old.

Hyena: Biggest Disappointment

12 Angry Men (1957) - 5/5 - Sidney Lumet directs a drama that's utterly tense, remaining enthralling all throughout its one room setting. The script is fantastically written, managing to give each character a good amount of development to set them apart from one another, as well as sufficient screentime. Let's not forget about the tremendous acting on display all throughout. Masterpiece.

Fast and Furious (2009) - 2.5/5 - Justin Lin's more confident direction brings excitement and moments to laugh at for their ridiculousness. Can't make up for dull plot, uninteresting antagonist and characters who fail to give us a reason to care about them.

Fast Five - 3.5/5 - A step-up from the previous entries, as a knowingly cheesy tone is adopted and played along unbelievable set pieces. Yet, the reckless endangerment which occurs throughout leaves a bad taste. The fact the characters don't bat an eye lid over any possible civilian casualties just doesn't sit well.

Fast and Furious 6: Biggest Surprise

Hyena (2015) - 2/5 - On the one hand, we're treated to stellar acting going into interesting characters, and a stylish direction which at times evokes Nicolas Winding Refn's gorgeous Only God Forgives.

But on the other hand, the story can't escape its dull, generic trappings, nor can it atone for the moments of extreme violence. But the biggest sin is how it builds up to an ending, lingers on a shot for too long, and then cuts away before we can see what occurs, leaving the film to finish on one heck of an anticlimax.

Convict 13 - 3.5/5 - Buster Keaton switches through multiple outfits, adapting to each scenario with great comedic effect. While some moments stand out more than others, we're shown how violence can be utilized to a hilarious degree, before the ridiculously fun ending.

Day Dreams - 3/5 - Buster Keaton looks for work, in order to support the woman he wishes to marry. He sends his love various letters detailing his successes, when the reality is less than that. Don't get me wrong, it's humorous to see, but it gets repetitive seeing the contrast and failure as it goes on. The final chase does elevate things, but ultimately, this is probably the weakest film I've seen of Keaton's.

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift:Worst film of the month

Chicago (2002) - 4.5/5 - Rob Marshall's impeccable direction manages to seamlessly combine the courtroom/jail scenes with the musical backdrop. It also helps that the musical numbers are outstanding, the actings phenomenal and the whole thing is gorgeous for the eyes.

Fast & Furious 6 - 4/5 - Well colour me surprised. These characters have grown likable, returning to save Letty, stop the underwhelming villain, partake in moments of sweetness, exciting action & stunts.

Furious 7 - 3.5/5 - James Wan delivers good action & stunts, set to the tune of Vin Diesel VS Jason Statham, the Gods Eye Filler & tying in Tokyo Drift. It also delivers a moving tribute to Paul Walker.


Best film of the month: 12 Angry Men
Best film seen in cinemas: Straight Outta Compton
Best film watched for the first time: 12 Angry Men
Best film rewatched: Beauty and the Beast
Biggest Disappointment: Hyena
Biggest Surprise: Fast and Furious 6
Worst film of the month: The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Number of films watched: 21

Monthly average rating: 3/5

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