The best film that was new to me that I saw last year was “Sleepless In Seattle.”
It’s so good, it’s got these little realistic touches and I found myself yelling at the screen, repeatedly.
It should be noted that the person who complained about me putting this in the post objected to me not putting “M” the year it was also the best film I saw that year. I just can’t win.
As usual, my criteria for films are:
1 – did the film do what it set out to do? (The Ebert rule)
2 – did it use it’s resources to it’s best ability? Or, a £250,000 film is not going to have as good explosions as a £25,000,000 film, or it shouldn’t, and if it does, there’s something wrong with the £25,000,000 film. It’s basically a technical merit score.
3 – Intellectual satisfaction – does the film’s plot pull some really stupid move at the last moment? Does the plot rely on characters being stupid than they are?
4 – Does this work as a whole? Did it work for me? And I am aware that this is the most subjective of subjective criteria!
This year, most of the films were failing on point 3.
Let’s start at the top:
1 – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Yes, I am mostly rewarding the opening. But the opening contains more hope, joy and wonder than the rest of the films on this list combined.
The rest of the film was enjoyable, and I am a Cinema du Look girl, have been since I was young, so I found the visuals enormously appealing. Was it perfect? No. It needed better dialogue, Dane deHaan and Cara Delevingne are not quite strong enough actors to pull it off, and you can see the influence that the original Valerian comics had on The Fifth Element so bits of this feel like a re-run of that.
But still, it was solid and enjoyable overall.
Next come two films, where, despite their flaws, I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.
2 – Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2
3 – Thor Ragnarok
My comments for GotG 2 and Thor 3 are very similar. They did their thing and did it hard and to the best of their abilities. They’re fun.
After them is where we start to get to ishy films.
4 – Blade Runner 2049
The visuals are good, the acting solid. The parts that tie it back to the original Blade Runner are the weakest parts (although that scene with Rachel is the best scene in the film), which is odd, but not as odd as the choice to explicitly say that “to be human is to reproduce” which is a peculiarly regressive message for a science fiction film.
5 – Assassin’s Creed
Things in this film I will not knock. The actors, the fight choreography, oh my goodness, the cinematography. No, really, there are shots from this film I’d have as stills on my wall.
Things I will knock – the complete lack of characterisation, or indeed names, for people who are not Aguilar. You know the how to deal with a large cast thing that Mad Max: Fury Road did really well; this did it really badly. To the point that I cannot remember Aguilar’s modern name, and modern name is the main character of the film.
6 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Partly its that so much money was spent making a film that was so bland in its vision of the future. There was none of that visual magic you got with the original films, which was disappointing. The plot was overwrought and stupid. It’s the stupidity I object to more.
Not as the much as I object to the stupidity of Atomic Blonde.
7 – Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde actually made me angry. The stupidity of the plot wastes so much.
It wastes an exceptional soundtrack and fight choreography, production values that are amazingly detailed (seriously, I had the same coat as Spyglass’s daughter at the same time 500 km to the South) and some damn fine performers, all for a “clever” twist. The twist is stupid, makes no sense and is significantly less cool than the writer thinks it is. It wastes everything to no good effect. It’s so … frustrating.
This could have been an excellent film, and it’s been ruined by the writer’s hubris.