I don’t think I ever actually wrote about the original Happy Death Day, it came out in one of those periods when I hadn’t the energy for anything. Yeah, I actually have two and a half paragraphs about it sitting in the draft folder that constitutes my recycle bin. It was a fun and poppy flick. I compared it to other Groundhog Day x whatever genre movies and found it to be well placed in the pack.
The Kid Who Would be King is just one of those films that doesn’t get made anymore. Childhood fantasy that is strange and dark and a little too kinky for young audiences to be entirely comfortable with. Like those 80s Jim Henson movies, and the worlds of fleshy, wet puppetry they inspired. Rebecca Ferguson’s Morgana begins the film bound underground by the roots of Britain’s trees that she writhes against in order to break free from a country that is weakening. By the end she has transformed into draconic form, her beaklike face disconcertingly leathery, like the puppets these things used to be.
Dammit I was not expecting to cry during this movie. Wahlberg reuniting with the director of Daddy’s Home 2 does not sound like the setup for a emotional rollercoaster. The bland, gauzy cinematography with which these people’s airy, open plan homes are shot should deaden one’s senses. Everything about it seems like it packs the punch of a half tablet of asprin, but god damn if by the ending I ain’t welling up at the ability of this unlikely family to make it work.
The one thing that works in Alita: Battle Angel is Alita herself. Forget the strange discomfort you’ll have at first to the overlarge, CGI augmented eyes set inside that tiny impish face. Rosa Salazar’s performance as an amnesiac robot discovering the world for the first time is truly winning. Robert Rodriguez’s vision of a future after the devastation of most of the planet detailed enough that we are content largely to watch it unfurl through her eyes.
The heroes of Can You Ever Forgive Me? are lonely and sad, trying to grapple with the fact that they’ve achieved far less with their lives than intended. I am twenty four, I shouldn’t be able to relate in the way I do. The title is not just a reference to a particularly witty bon mot Melissa McCarthy’s forger, Lee Israel, puts into the mouth of Dorothy Parker — it’s also a question I ask of a younger version of me late at night, for letting their prodigious (and possibly imagined) potential go to waste.
This movie got delayed a lot. After the first one the whole series did. When the second instalment of the franchise as part two of a trilogy it was supposed to be releasing in 2013, we saw it in 2014. This one was supposed to drop in 2016. It’s a shame really, if it had come out then it might actually have felt relevant.
The LEGO Movie ended by blowing up its universe so completely that the biggest challenge faced by its (two!) 2017 spinoffs was finding something, anything to make those stories feel like they were worth telling. They had mixed success, neither fully managed to overcome the hurdle. It seemed that the LEGO movie brand had decided to survive on the more easily replicable parts of their progenitor’s success; the poppy aesthetic, the quick-fire comedy, the gonzo mashup sensibility.