We’ve taken a leaf out of Santa’s book, and have decided to reflect on the films of the year by determining which ones have been ‘good/nice’ and which ones have been downright naughty/bad. All of the team have put forward three films on their nice list and three for their naughty lists, giving their reasons why certain films have made the right or the wrong impression. So, grab a mince-pie and some egg nog and join us to examine the lists. Ho, ho, ho!
Attending the LFF this year, I was delighted to catch John Butler’s delightful Papi Chulo (and I was even more delighted to shake his hand after the screening). The film focuses on Matt Bomer’s LA weatherman Sean, struggling to hold it together after separating with his lover. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with a Mexican handyman called Ernesto (Alejandro Patiño) who he hires to paint his decking. Bomer is on top form here, and it’s an awful shame that he isn’t a bigger star, he has so much charm and enthusiasm on-screen.
Patiño is as equally wonderful. The film has some genuine laugh-out-loud moments, full of warmth and has its heart in all the right places. Papi Chulo is a film about over-coming loneliness, friendship and finding peace in this crazy world we all find ourselves. Other strong points to mention ar Cathal Watters’ cinematography which manages to capture both the beauty and isolation of LA, and John McPhillips’s score. If you do get a chance to see Papi Chulo then make sure you watch it!
Asako I & II
Another film I managed to catch at this year’s LFF, Asako I & II is a charming little Japanese rom-com which is unique in its concept and highly original. The film centres around Asako (Erika Karata), a young woman who lives in Osaka, who starts a relationship with the unpredictable Baku Torii. One day Baku (Masahiro Higashide) disappears and doesn’t return. Asako decides to get on wife her life, moving to Tokyo where she meets Ryohei (also played by Masahiro Higashide), who happens to look exactly like her ex-lover.
Asako falls for Ryohei, but the question is whether she’s falling him for who he is or whether it is because he reminds her of Baku. Not one who usually enjoys rom-com’s, I found Asako I & II a real surprise, and very unpredictable which made for a refreshing change. Hopefully, we won’t see Hollywood making a poor remake as there’s no possible way the magic of this film could be captured by the Hollywood machine.
Utøya: July 22
Granted this isn’t a film that many of us will be able to put on, sit back and watch but of course that isn’t the purpose of Utøya: July 22. It is a film which is meant to capture the trauma and the emotions that many had to endure during that day. The film is shot in one long take, never stopping for 90 minutes as the incident unfolds, and the result is that the viewer feels like they are part of the action which will leave many viewers feeling somewhat overwhelmed.
It is a very effective and powerful film, and it’s one that should be seen because it is an important way for all of us to process what occurred on that devastating day. Andrea Berntzen’s strong performance adds to the film’s impact and it’s shame that her and the film aren’t getting more attention. While you are here, please check out Robin Write’s interview with the film’s director Erik Poppe and Andrea Berntzen.
I wanted to do a little rhyme about why I disliked The Nun, so here is my attempt:
Bee decided to watch The Nun, she turned it on but did not find it fun. The film was meant to be scary but Bee should have been more wary. This film did not scare, and it’s filmmakers clearly did not care. It’s clear that The Nun was just a cash-in, and Bee ended up throwing her DVD in the bin. If you want a good horror and want something scary, then please go watch Hereditary!
If you thought this poem was bad, then go watch the film…
Venom was a real disappoint. A film that felt rushed, and with a plot that barely made sense. The film’s main character, Eddie Brock was meant to be an anti-hero but the only really bad ass thing about him was the fact he rode a motorbike and wore a leather jacket. Brock just felt very undeveloped as a character. The film was marketed as Venom being an anti-hero, so being someone who wasn’t as clean-cut as other superheroes, but the film’s lack of violence made him seem very unthreatening and very tame.
Both Michelle Williams and Tom Hardy seemed very confused as to what their characters’ motivations were meant to be, and they had virtually no chemistry on-screen. The film’s CGI looked like it belonged in an early 200s PS2 video game and at some points it was difficult to follow the action taking place on-screen. Perhaps, the inevitable sequel will be better, (but for the love of God, don’t make it PG-13!).
Yes, another ”horror” film. I use the term, horror in the loosest way possible as Slender Man is an insult to the horror genre. The film is adapted from the creepy pasta legend of the Slender Man, a creature that steals children away. The internet is a place where people can share stories and add to the legend, but it means that things often get complicated. How do you translate all that ‘back-story’ to the big screen?
The film feels like a paint-by-numbers generic horror, which lacked any actual scares (aside from the bad writing and poor acting). The film’s main characters were very bland, and forgettable, that I personally had to look up their names on IMDb after finishing the film despite just watching it. Just avoid at all costs, take this as your warning…