30 August 2016

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping review

If you ever needed definitive proof that general audiences are terrible at deciding what films are worth spending their money on, look no further than Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Here's a film that audiences should have flocked to see - interesting premise, recognisable stars, and most importantly, genuinely hilarious - and yet there were just seven people in the showing I attended. Four, if you don't include myself and the two people who came with me.

That's the second emptiest showing of a film I've ever sat in, a frustrating reminder that general audiences seem to refuse to see anything that isn't based on a pre-existing intellectual property anymore. Still, a lack of interest from the population at large doesn't stop Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping from being quite easily the best comedy film of the year, a satirical look at the music industry and celebrity culture that leans hard into the over-exaggerated, almost surreal sense of humour that The Lonely Island are known for.

25 August 2016

Pete's Dragon review

In a time when studio interference seems more common than ever, it isn't difficult to appreciate what Disney have given us in Pete's Dragon. Here is a film noticeably lacking the hallmarks of a troubled production, one that isn't plagued by the kind of issues that often come from executive meddling. Instead, Pete's Dragon really feels like an example of a studio having complete faith in a directors vision, and the result of that is a wonderful little film that probably couldn't exist under any other circumstances - a film that a number of big studios could learn a great deal from.

We follow Pete, a young boy who has been living in a vast woodland with a friendly dragon named Elliot since his parents were killed in a car accident six years ago. However, as loggers cut deeper into the woodlands, Pete ends up being discovered and "rescued" by local park ranger Grace, and Elliot starts being hunted by a group of loggers led by Grace's soon-to-be brother-in-law, Gavin.

9 August 2016

Suicide Squad review

I can't believe we are living in a world in which Man of Steel - a staggeringly mediocre film throughout - is still the best that the DC Extended Universe has to offer. Despite being positioned as the saving grace of the DCEU, Suicide Squad is actually anything but - it's one of the most poorly made films I've seen in a year with more than it's fair share of poorly made films, a movie so flawed at a fundamental level of film-making that it's almost impressive. Warner Bros/DC had every chance to make a genuinely good movie here, and their inability to do that makes me more than a little concerned about the future of this franchise.

Because it isn't hard to pinpoint what went wrong with Suicide Squad - it's a film with all the hallmarks of a very troubled post-production period, one that seems to have been caused by extensive studio interference. Various reports indicate that the version of Suicide Squad in cinemas is a conglomeration of a few different cuts, and I'm inclined to believe them - it's a horribly edited movie, full of inconsistencies and oversights that end up making Suicide Squad feel more like a rough cut than a finished product.