Movies

My Cinematic Worst of 2018 #5 to #1

I’ve decided to save the best until last and carry on with my cinematic Worst of 2018 – the films I saw not from 2018 but which were the true nadir of my film watching experience this year.

Interestingly, all of these movies came out in 2017, which was otherwise a damn good year for cinema. Catching up, however, these stinkers rose out from the pack. I cannot tell you how much these should be avoided, but I’ll have a go anyway.

Continue reading
Movies

The Greatest Showman: Barnum’s biggest con job is on us

There are winds in the east, a storm coming in apparently for the newly released Mary Poppins Returns, if some of the box office reports are accurate.

Forbes are saying that Rob Marshall’s sequel is being seen off quite resoundingly by the surprisingly critically acclaimed Bumblebee, and the fairly divisive Aquaman. The absence of a Star Wars this Christmas for the first time in three years has meant studios have thrown a few major blockbuster candidates into the pot, but it would have been a sure fire bet that family friendly musical Mary Poppins Returns—featuring the half-century long return of one of Disney’s most iconic characters—would rule the roost. This does not seem to be the case so far.

Yet a year ago, another musical, trailing in the wake of The Last Jedi, took audiences increasingly by storm as 2018 kicked off: The Greatest Showman.

To date, Michael Gracey’s film has made $434 million dollars at the global box office, making it the fifth most commercially successful musical of all time. All. Time. In one year. It climbed considerably at the box office on the back of word of mouth, fighting off not just The Last Jedi but other competitors with franchises behind their backs – Pitch Perfect 3 (one of my worst films of 2017) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. There was over a 70% jump weekend on weekend as the film closed out 2017, which for an original musical, and a 19th century biopic no less, is quite remarkable.

The film collected accolades and nominations for its music, particular the song ‘This Is Me’. In the UK it became only the second album in 30 years to achieve 11 consecutive weeks at number 1. Fans over just the space of a year have started attending ‘sing along showings’ of the film. A sing along version can be watched now on streaming services alongside the traditional way to view it.

This has all been in the space of just 12 months. Can you think of any other film of this genre which has captured the public consciousness in quite the same way in recent years? Only Frozen eclipses it for reach and cultural crossover between children and adults, and that has the advantage of being Disney animation. The Greatest Showman is a live action biopic. How did this happen? And my biggest question, the one that has been rolling around in my head since I watched it a year on from when it was released… how have so many people been conned by it?

Continue reading
Movies

My Cinematic Worst of 2018 #10 to #6

You’ve had some of my best. Now it’s time to tip the tree upside down and look at some of the Worst film experiences I’ve suffered this year.

Again, these are exclusively *not* releases from 2018, rather films I have first watched in 2018. I will be delivering some kind of 2018 choices list at some point.

Here we go. Brace yourselves.

Continue reading
Movies

My Cinematic Best of 2018 – #10 to #6

It’s that time of year when every single media blogger and their monkey are compiling lists of the Best and Worst of 2018. I’m sorry to say that I, my friends, am no different.

However, if you’ll permit me, before I give you a little countdown of what 2018 had to offer, I thought I’d try something a trifle different. Stripping away films released in 2018 that I’ve caught, I thought I might provide you with what I consider to be *my* cinematic best of the year. Films which I managed to see for the first time – some new, some old, some perhaps a little unexpected.

To follow will be, in opposition, my 10 Worst experiences, but this is #10 to #5 of my best, non-2018 released cinematic experiences of this year.

Continue reading
Alias

Alias – ‘Page 47’ (1×15)

Page 47, unexpectedly, turns out to be the first Will Tippin-centric episode of Alias.

As the show moves into the second half of the first season, JJ Abrams and his team of writers (including this episodes’ co-writer Jeff Pinkner) are working hard to try and draw together and assemble the disparate threads coursing across Season 1 in the wake of the game-changing The Box two-parter, which amped up the threat to Sydney Bristow’s life and career while dealing with the series’ biggest revelation to date. The Coup served as an epilogue concerned with the knock-on effects and consequences of those episodes while equally working to tie off loose ends dangling across the first thirteen episodes. Page 47, in some sense, does the same.

Looking back at Season 1, it really does quite acutely feel like pre-The Box and post-The Box in how the writing staff approach their storytelling. Not that serviceable episodes such as Page 47 are vastly different but they feel more unified in terms of where the primary storylines are headed. Before The Box, Alias worked consistently to figure out what kinds of stories it wanted to tell, having Syd face a litany of rent-a-baddies on a consistent basis. The missions felt more throwaway, the Rambaldi mythology more separate, and characters such as Anna Espinosa less defined. After The Box, something changes. Everything feels more in line with a plan and a direction.

Continue reading
Alias

Alias – ‘The Coup’ (1×14)

If there is such a thing as a TV comedown episode, it’s The Coup

Not in the sense that The Coup is a bad episode of television. It’s a perfectly serviceable, mechanical Alias episode, even if it probably would fall fairly low in a ranking of what has been a strong first season. The Coup is a comedown in the fact that after a two-parter like The Box, where exactly do you go next? Almost akin to the difficult second episode, the one that has to clean up the narrative mess from the pilot, The Coup struggles to function in any way beyond that of an epilogue to a much stronger piece of television.

Continue reading