2017 Film Reviews

After thinking about it for a while now, I’ve made a decision regarding my film reviews.  I’ve decided that I’m going to keep them short and to the point, and to keep them in the style of a casual film-goer (because I am).

What this means is that I’m giving myself a word limit of 100 words per review.  This should be enough to convey my overall thoughts about a particular film, and will hopefully reduce my temptation to throw a fanboy rant into it (as a decent rant usually runs longer than 100 words!).

I’m also going to group them all into one post (this one!) and provide some handy links at the top of the page here that will guide you to each review.


2017 Film Reviews:

Alien: Covenant
Assassin’s Creed
Baby Driver
Baywatch
Dunkirk
Free Fire
Ghost in the Shell
Going In Style
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Hacksaw Ridge
Hidden Figures
John Wick Chapter 2
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Kong: Skull Island
Life
Live By Night
Logan
Passengers
Power Rangers
Sleepless
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Sully: Miracle On the Hudson
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale
The Great Wall
The LEGO Batman Movie
The Mummy
T2 Trainspotting
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Wonder Woman


ALIEN: COVENANT

Prometheus was a bag of shite and I fully expected this to be the same. As it turned out, it wasn’t totally crap, but as usual with survival horror films, all of the characters were idiots.

Michael Fassbender does his best to keep things moving along, and in fairness he is quite a good villain, but it’s not enough to keep this film above mediocrity.

The only other plus point I can think of is that it has exactly the right amount of James Franco in it; just long enough to recognise him before his character immediately dies!

RATING – 5.5/10, another dreary addition to the Alien franchise.

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ASSASSIN’S CREED

Assassin’s Creed was a mediocre action film.  The bar for films based on computer games isn’t particularly high, so that puts this somewhere near the top  Personally, I didn’t particularly like or dislike this film, and that probably tells you all you need to know about it.

If you’re a fan of the series you will probably enjoy it more than I did (and you will also spot the little Easter egg they throw in).  If you’ve no interest in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, wait for it to be released on DVD.

RATING – 5.5/10, mediocre action film, decent for a computer game film (but that’s not high praise).

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BABY DRIVER

This film has a few decent action and comedy moments, but outside those it’s utterly boring. The main character (Baby) is actually not very interesting; it’s the supporting characters that have more about them. At times he is extremely cringeworthy.

It’s not surprising really, as Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx (who you can actually understand in this film, unlike Sleepless), and John Hamm are all seasoned actors. Even Spacey’s character’s nephew (an 8yr old) had more of a spark about him than Baby.

Ultimately, the flashes of brilliance aren’t enough to save this film from mediocrity.

RATING – 6/10, some good moments but overall boring.

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BAYWATCH

This film realises that the 90’s TV show was all about T&A and sticks to that formula whilst relentlessly mocking it. It is very funny in parts, and a lot cruder and far more sweary than I was expecting (which is fine).

This is a film that doesn’t take itself or it’s source material seriously. You get the impression that the cast are trying their best to keep a straight face through most of it. There were also a couple of great cameos.

Personally, I like the comedy genre, and found myself enjoying this a lot despite the ridiculous premise.

RATING – 7/10, light self-deprecating humour.

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DUNKIRK

This film has a lot of visual storytelling, so if you struggle to empathise with humans who don’t say much, then it probably won’t be a film that you’d enjoy.

Nolan went for lots of practical effects. This does mean that it looked good, but it does lack a lot of the scale that was present in the real life event (some of the queues on the beach looked similar to the average Saturday morning queue at the post office).

Was it good though? Yes, as far as a film about a horrific part of history can be.

RATING – 7.5/10, good depiction of an important part of WW2 history.

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FREE FIRE

The trailer for this film is slightly misleading; whilst it does have a lot of comedic moments, it isn’t as slapstick as the trailer makes it out to be; it is in fact a lot darker.

Pretty much the entire film is set inside a warehouse, and this works fine within the context of this film. You can see the influences from Tarantino and Coen Brothers films, so if you like those kind of films you’ll probably like this.

Was it entertaining? Yes, to a certain degree. I don’t regret watching it, but I wouldn’t recommend rushing to see it.

RATING – 6.5/10, probably worth a watch if you like budget Tarantino/Coen Brothers films.

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GHOST IN THE SHELL

First off, if you are upset about Scarlett Johansson playing the main character because of ‘whitewashing’, then you aren’t going to enjoy this film. Your sense of social outrage probably doesn’t allow you to enjoy anything at all, so this won’t be unusual for you.

Onto the film. Personally, I didn’t think that this film had enough action, considering the universe it is set in and the capabilities of the main character. Visually, it was absolutely perfect, so no complaints there.

However, while it does a lot of things right, it feels hollow, and too much like an origin movie.

RATING – 7/10, visually-stunning, does a lot of things right but still comes out feeling a bit shallow.

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GOING IN STYLE

This was a lighthearted comedy about three old men who decide that the only course of action left available to them is to rob their bank.

Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin were all great as the main characters. Their easy banter portrayed the depth of their friendship very well.

This film is basically an O.A.P. version of Ocean’s Eleven, so if you like that kind of film then you’ll probably enjoy this too.  Not one I would rush out to see, but I don’t regret watching it.

RATING – 7/10, lighthearted and enjoyable comedy with some excellent actors.

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

I really enjoyed the first movie, so I had high hopes for this one. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed.

It had the same feel as the first one (sci-fi comedy with 70’s tunes), but the stakes were raised. Instead of saving just one planet, this time they were trying to save the whole galaxy (and live up to their name I guess). It all felt a bit rushed towards the end, and suffered from the usual MCU problem of having a weak villain.

However, I did enjoy the film overall, so could definitely recommend watching it.

RATING – 8/10, entertaining and fun, but not as good as the original.

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HACKSAW RIDGE

Another film by Mel Gibson…how’s he going to butcher history this time?

The story follows Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) as he joins the US military, but because of his beliefs he won’t pick up a rifle; he only wants to serve as a medic.

History aside, was the film any good? In my opinion it took too long getting to the war, and when it did, the action was like something out of a cheesy 80’s action film; entirely different tone from the build-up.

While this film is reasonably entertaining, you’d probably be better off watching a documentary.

RATING – 6.5/10, slightly comedic violence harms the otherwise serious tone of the film, watch a documentary instead.

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HIDDEN FIGURES

In a similar vein to Sully, this was another film based heavily on historical events. These aren’t generally high-octane films, but nevertheless can be enjoyable and this film was no exception.  The story progressed at a good pace, all of the characters were well-acted, and most importantly of all; it was interesting!

Interesting enough that I will do some of my own research into the historical events minus the Hollywood dramatisation (which was good by the way).  If you like dramatic documentaries, then you’ll enjoy this.  Not really much more to say about it!

RATING – 6.5/10, enjoyable dramatic documentary.

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JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2

This film starts immediately after the events of the first film, and I really like when movies do that (Rogue One and Episode 4 is another good example).

The story is simple and works really well for this kind of action film. The action scenes are very enjoyable, as well as being varied enough that you don’t get bored. While the film does have a conclusion to the main story, the events of this film leave it very open to a sequel, but in a way that doesn’t feel like shameless sequel-baiting.

RATING – 9/10, must-see action film sequel that lives up to the original.

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KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

This was an interesting take on a story that has been done many times before. It felt at times gritty but also comedic.

You can definitely recognise that it was directed by Guy Ritchie, as some of the characters wouldn’t have felt out-of-place in his others works such as Snatch.

The visuals were good and the story moved along at a decent pace.

Not much else to say about it other than it was entertaining and that I enjoyed it!

RATING – 7/10, good interpretation of the King Arthur legend.

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KONG: SKULL ISLAND

It’s a film about a giant gorilla smashing other oversized creatures. I loved it! The film doesn’t waste any time revealing Kong, and it gets straight into the action.

It’s light on story (what did you expect?), but what it does have, makes a lot of sense in the context of the film (the Earth is hollow, Skull Island is an entry point for the monsters that live below, Kong protects this entry point).

The overall acting was fine, but of particular note was John C Reilly and his slightly crazed WW2 pilot character; perfectly executed by Reilly.

RATING – 7.5/10, good film for those that enjoy giant monsters fighting each other!

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LIFE

I’m not really a fan of survival horror films in general, and this one only solidified that dislike, but at least it looked good and had some famous people in it.

The main thing that prevents me from enjoying these kinds of films is the stupidity of the characters, and the ones in this film were no better than usual.

The film ended in a predictable way, but at least it wasn’t a happy ending, so I can feel glad that the characters stupid actions weren’t validated.

RATING – 5.5/10, stupid characters, predictable outcome.

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LIVE BY NIGHT

The story follows the fortunes of Joe Coughlin (played by Ben Affleck) who becomes embroiled in the criminal underworld. It goes through the typical rise to power and betrayal themes of these kinds of films, which while it has been done before, was still entertaining to watch.

Everyone involved does a good job, particularly Chris Cooper who played Chief Figgis.

The action scenes were fantastic. I really like the old style cars and guns (who doesn’t like Tommy Guns?), and these scenes really delivered. If you like gangster films, you’ll probably enjoy this, I know I did.

RATING – 7.5/10, good gangster film, follows a lot of the traditional storylines, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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LOGAN

This film doesn’t really ‘fit’ with the other X-Men films and could be seen as a standalone movie, which to me felt like a waste, as some of the previous films have been quite good.

The violence felt gimmicky, and the action was overall fairly mediocre. Getting Patrick Stewart to throw out some f-bombs also felt cheap.

The story wasn’t particularly interesting, so this film fell a bit flat for me. It seemed like Hugh Jackman (who gave a great performance) said to the studio that he’s had enough playing Wolverine so they rushed out a film as a send-off.

RATING – 6.5/10, good performance by Hugh Jackman, but wasn’t enough to overshadow the mediocre action and weak storyline.

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PASSENGERS

Passengers isn’t a bad film, it just wasn’t exceptional. The part of the film where Chris Pratt’s character is on his own is the best part of the film.

After that was formulaic, which in my eyes resulted in it being fairly mediocre. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt both gave good performances, it’s just that they didn’t have much to work with. To top it off, the ending was far too ‘Hollywood’ for my liking, but that may be because I’m something of a cynic!

RATING – 6.5/10, decent film, formulaic, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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POWER RANGERS

Shameless nostalgia is the name of the game these days, and this film was no exception. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it!

This film looked good, had just the right amount of cheese and head-nods to the old TV show (yes, they did have a “Go, go, Power Rangers!” jingle in there), little cameo from some of the old cast at the end, and a decent amount of humour.

If you even vaguely like the Power Rangers franchise, I think you’ll enjoy this film.

RATING – 7/10, just the right amount of nostalgia.

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SLEEPLESS

Try as they might to make the poster for this film look like a decent Denzel Washington-esque action flick, this film doesn’t have a fraction of the quality of those that it’s trying to emulate.

Jamie Foxx manages to mumble his way through the entire thing. Seriously, it’s incredibly hard to understand a word he is saying, as he seems to have forgotten that words are more easily formed when you move your lips.

This film is utter crap, and even though I didn’t pay anything to go and see it, I still feel like I’ve been ripped off.

RATING – 4/10, mumbly performance from Foxx, crap characters, and boring story.

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SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

Michael Keaton.

RATING – 7.5/10, would Michael Keaton again.

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SULLY: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON

This is not exactly the kind of film you get excited by the prospect of going to see, but it’s directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks, so that’s normally enough to warrant a look.

The film is about an incident in 2009 where a pilot had to make a water-landing on the Hudson River after both of his engines gave out. The film shows us what happened during the flight (from multiple points-of-view), and the investigation afterwards.

If you like films like Apollo 13, then you’ll probably enjoy this too (not just because of the Tom Hanks connection).

RATING – 7/10, interesting dramatisation of a real-life event.

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SWORD ART ONLINE: ORDINAL SCALE

A few things first; I’m not really a fan of anime, I’ve only seen one episode of Sword Art Online, and for a long time I thought Sword Art Online was a website.

With all of that out of the way, what did I think of the film?  From a non-anime fan, I can honestly say that it was okay.  They put just enough flashbacks/hints so that you had a good idea of what had happened previously in the story.

The animation was great, and the story while predictable, was entertaining.  As a fan of the MMO genre of computer games, I appreciated a lot of the core concepts of this franchise. After watching this film, I’m actually going to add SAO to my list of shows that I intend to watch at some point soon.

RATING – 6/10, entertaining enough for non-anime fans, followers of the show will love it!

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THE GREAT WALL

I’m writing this review several days after having seen The Great Wall, and already the details of what occured are hazy.

Matt Damon‘s accent is a bit wishy-washy, but that aside the film way okay. Mindless action film with decent visuals and enemies that have been taken from Starship Troopers crossed with the Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000.

Would I have been a bit miffed if I’d paid to go and see this?  Yeah probably. Thankfully I didn’t.

RATING – 6/10, mindless action film with decent visuals.

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THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Is this a children’s movie? Yep! Will ‘adults’ still enjoy it? Yep! Best film using the DC Comics license in recent years? Maybe!

It was funny throughout (the references to Adam West’s Batman were particularly good) and the story progressed at a good pace.

Like the other LEGO film, this one borrows characters from many other franchises, including Harry Potter and Doctor Who (the Daleks were referred to as something like ‘British Death Robots’).

Not really much to say about a film that is about LEGO versions of comic book characters other than it was fun and enjoyable!

RATING – 8/10, fun, enjoyable, and quite funny!

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THE MUMMY

Very early on in this film they make it abundantly clear that this is the first film in the Dark Universe series. Attaching Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe to it seems like a good idea to get the ball rolling.

However, star-power isn’t enough on it’s own; you need a decent film as well. Unfortunately, The Mummy was painfully average.

Tom Cruise’s character was initially quite refreshing; he was a thief with flexible morals, but in typical Hollywood fashion, he softens somewhat and becomes the sterotypical hero that saves the day.

Not a great start to the franchise.

RATING – 6/10, pretty average action/supernatural film.

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T2 TRAINSPOTTING

The film picks up twenty years after the first one, showing the same four characters meeting up again one-by-one.

The film was reminiscent of the original when it came to the visuals and the audio (which is a good thing), and at points teased the most memorable song (Lust For Life – Iggy Pop).

Overall it was entertaining, but lacks the spark that the original had which made it a classic. It’s definitely worth watching, and there were parts that had me laughing out loud, but you won’t feel like you have missed out if you choose not to see it.

RATING – 7/10, competent sequel, entertaining to watch but lacks depth.

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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

I haven’t read the source material for this, so I was going in blind, so to speak. First off, it looked amazing! I cannot fault the visual effects as they were consistently good.

However, visual effects alone do not make a movie great (see Avatar or The Force Awakens for some examples); the characters and the story are also important, and that’s where this film fell down.

I didn’t find anything interesting or noteworthy about the main characters, which is okay if the story picks up the slack, but this one was predictable and boring.

This was a missed opportunity.

RATING – 6/10, visually-stunning, but boring characters and dull story.

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WONDER WOMAN

So, is it the best DC film? In my opinion, no, but I still enjoyed it.

It starts very well, is pretty good in the middle, and kinda boring towards the end. The plot similarities with Captain America: The First Avenger are a bit galling as well.

I liked Ares as a villain, I just hope they haven’t killed him off (as a franchise is often only as good as it’s villains; MCU I’m looking at you!).

I left the cinema having enjoyed the film, but I wasn’t blown away.

Also, anyone sick of this jingle yet?

RATING – 6.5/10, decent addition to the DC universe, starts well but mediocre ending.

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One thought on “2017 Film Reviews

  1. The Jingle is awesome, No man land scene is amazing, but i agree the ending was terrible, felt the bad guy was miscast and very generic. My fave DC movie yet and a good springboard for WW films to grow

    Like

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