Film Diary 🎬

Here is everything I have watched at the cinema since I bought my shiny local equivalent of a Cineworld Unlimited card. Well, I say “card” — it’s a QR code that also gives me 15% off coffee and nachos…

Autumn 2022 🍂

Autumn 2022

Smile. Cheap trick horror reliant on jump scares. You know what they say about Lewton buses, you wait ages for one and then BOO! (September 30th; 6/10)

Avatar (2009). Enchanting, captivating, immersive technical and visual marvel. Still the unquestionable apex of the last 3D wave. Stronger in hindsight for its lack of imprint on pop culture, Avatar stands up on its own as an endearing piece of entertainment about the impending death of our planet through reckless corporate behaviour. (September 28th; 9/10)

Don’t Worry Darling. Easy enough to condemn a film based on the biggest pop star in the world playing actor (a long-standing tradition; see also: Elvis, The Beatles, Jagger, Bowie), but this off-kilter 1950s-based dystopia is an engrossing, lucid take on gaslighting. Anything pilfering from The Truman Show and Pleasantville is always going to get my approval. (September 26th; 8/10)

See How They Run. A daft, throwaway farce gleefully playing in the innards of a typical Agatha Christie whodunnit. Knowingly nuts and bolts stuff. (September 25th; 7/10)

Summer 2022 🌞

Summer 2022

Fall. A vertigo inducing tribute to the ferris wheel episode of Bottom. I was tense many times, so job done, but Fall overstays its welcome and — my strangest criticism ever — should have been in 3D to accentuate the tower’s height. (September 21st; 7/10)

Clerks III. The opposite of Jackass Forever, which took middle-aged Gen X’ers too old for juvenile behaviour and made it wholesome and inviting to younger folks. This is mawkish and self-celebratory; so out-of-time and out-of-date that even the crypto references are spoken with dust spewing out of their mouths. Plus, crucially, I didn’t laugh once. (September 21st; 2/10)

Crimes of the Future. Penetrating flesh. Artistic flesh. Horrific flesh. Flesh as hardware and software. Flesh, the last vestige of man before it becomes machine. Flesh. Flesh. Flesh. Flesh. As the characters speak in one long batshit theory, Cronenberg mistakes accidental self-parody for playing the greatest hits. (September 12th; 5/10)

Jaws (1975). The RealD 3D has astonishing depth-of-field on the stiller scenes but struggles with strobing and overcompensatory motion smoothing on fast-moving objects or people, which is a bit of a problem given the medium. Oh, the film itself? It’s fucking Jaws. I’d watch it on a Virtual Boy. (September 9th; 10/10)

Three Thousand Years of Longing. A menagerie celebrating storytelling itself, done better versus recent similiar concepts like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The French Dispatch due to its heart and impeccable imagery. A globetrotting adventure through time stranger than Tilda Swinton’s accent. (September 7th; 8/10)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Proto-fan service satisfactory too to the non-Trekkie. More action packed compared to the original — and surprisingly realistic in the violence inflicted — the film’s thesis on the selfishness and selflessness of man (and half man… and half genetic experiment…) works well. Though the televisual acting remains among the worst of the pre-90s blockbusters. (September 5th; 7/10)

The Invitation. Lifeless Meghan Markle biopic, posho vampire bloodline conspiracy and all. (August 31st; 4/10)

Beast. Fun big cat hijinx from the sort of mid-tier action thriller that does not get a cinema outing much these days. Idris Elba probably won’t play James Bond now but at least he has had Pussy Galore. (August 31st; 7/10)

Nope. Too grandiose and Spielbergian for the story it was telling. Even the title feels like a compromise between several good but haphazardly cobbled together ideas. And I won’t be able to look at those old PG Tips adverts in the same way again either… (August 25th; 6/10)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Hypnotic and glacial like the ominous space thundercloud, …The Motion Picture’s admirable anti-Star Wars approach is too proud of its kitsch special effects to be anything more than a Windows 95 screensaver. (August 22nd; 5/10)

Where Is Anne Frank. Powerful filmmaking from Ari Folman. Initially framed like another fetishised tribute to Frank, this gorgeous animation deflects onto the lack of lessons learned over history; the ignorance of time and misinformation leading to a loud percentage unsympathetic towards ongoing refugee crises. It also highlights the horrors of a child’s imagination with the literal ghoulish Nazi faces and river to Hell as accurate as reality. (August 17th; 9/10)

Bullet Train. “A sprawling, colourful clusterfuck that combines Guy Ritchie’s ‘nobody actually talks like that’ dialogue with the madcap ensemble sensibility of a, um, Guy Ritchie film. Your enjoyment will hinge entirely on if you’re in a frivolous mood when watching. The good news is, I was. Yes, another date night,” said Thomas. (August 12th; 7/10)

DC League of Super-Pets. Let the record show that my first ever cinema date involved a talking superhero dog voiced by The Rock. Me and my BGB loaded up on expensive snacks, reclined in fancy chairs, and had the most wonderful time together. Cute, funny, sweet, gorgeous to look at — the film wasn’t bad either. (August 1st; 8/10)

Where the Crawdads Sing. Weird how an international bestseller has been used as a two-hour contextualisation for the new Taylor Swift song. It’s an okay adaptation of a decent summer read. Filtered through the young adult romance lens, these marsh dwellers are generically beautiful people — the two male rivals could pass as twins. (July 27th; 6/10)

The Gray Man. James Bland. At least I got the full Netflix experience: alone, in a darkened room, pissing about on my phone while content played in the background. (July 25th; 4/10)

Brian and Charles. An unreality so cringingly quirky and saccharine, my teeth floated into space. (July 21st; 5/10)

Thor: Love and Thunder. Less Guns N’ Roses, more Steel Panther. Superhero films should be campy; …Love and Thunder comes close to the 1997 peak - ridiculous dialogue, a GOAT running joke, Mr Freeze (played by Marilyn Manson?!), a misguided cancer subplot - and as such I found it hilarious. Just a little undercooked, that’s all. (July 15th; 7/10)

Tigers. A bleak exploration of the professional and personal pressures bestowed upon young footballers and the dark behaviour it can induce. The only difference between these athletes and animals in a travelling circus is hyper-capitalism. (July 6th; 8/10)

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Sex! Now that I’ve got your attention, I recommend this charming little should-be stage play. (June 30th; 7/10)

Elvis. Engaging if hellishly flawed and over-directed. Austin Butler embodies Presley. Tom Hanks, though, is such a pantomime villain. I’m surprised the Colonel didn’t tie Elvis to railroad tracks before twiddling his moustache and maniacally laughing. (June 30th; 6/10)

The Thing (1982). John Carpenter’s body horror masterpiece of terror, fear, isolation, madness, and paranoia in the endless Antarctica snow. The timeless special effects, claustrophobic visuals and soundtrack, and subtle hints casting doubt in the viewer’s mind create a repeatedly thrilling experience. The best horror remake ever, and up there as the best horror film outright. (June 29th; 10/10)

The Black Phone. An intense, damn fine take on the Stranger Things ‘kids on bikes’ genre that exploits fairly conventional horror tropes to their fullest potential. Can’t wait to review its six awful sequels for CineMortuary. (June 29th; 8/10)

Spring 2022 🌱

Spring 2022

Lightyear. A slight disconnect here in how a film “released in 1995” contains very 2022 characterisation — would Andy, as a totally rad 90s kid, have latched onto such an introspective Buzz Lightyear? Nonetheless, Buzz’s origin story is a straightforward space adventure; disposable like many of latter-day Pixar’s efforts, but spirited and fun. And, yes, I fell in love with Sox the cat. (June 20th; 7/10)

Jurassic World Dominion. After digging up fossils from the old trilogy, the 29 or so main characters with contrived motivations realise the biggest dinosaur of them all is this franchise. (June 15th; 3/10)

Robocop (1987). Glorious, blood-splattered violence on the big screen. I prefer The Running Man a smidge in the ‘meat-headed dystopia’ category, but both nail the coked-up lack of subtlety by our modern day oppressors. Always forget how tightly scripted Robocop is too; as lean as his suit is bulky. (June 6th; 9/10)

Men. A visceral piece on man’s worst traits and the dangers of letting Rory Kinnear loose in a sperm bank. Ouch on the metaphors, though — the first scene has a lady eating an apple from the forbidden tree FFS. (June 6th; 6/10)

Top Gun: Maverick. Old school cool with CGI: Cruise-Generated Imagery. (June 1st; 8/10)

Psycho (1960). Still imitable after all these years. Nothing else has come close to the tense soundtrack, the parentally warped villain, or that shower scene, has it? (May 30th; 10/10)

Everything Everywhere All At Once. A chaotic, visual feast that’s equal parts absurd, blisteringly funny, existentially sad, and more sincere about the human condition than ten Academy Award winning films combined. Plus, googly eyes. The greatest post-pandemic cinematic experience yet. (May 23rd; 9/10)

Firestarter. Perfunctory, woodenly acted, badly lit for that retro atheistic. The biggest scare comes from Zac Efron being old enough to play a Dad now. (May 18th; 4/10)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Entertaining enough but Sam Raimi’s auteurship was overblown by the Disney PR machine. Infinite possibilities in Kevin Feige’s Multiverse of Corporate Blandness means making New York a bit greener and road testing some crappy IPs. (May 11th; 7/10)

© 2022 Chris Wilson