Directed by Elizabeth Banks Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Adam DeVine, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Katey Sagal, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Flula Borg, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks
Three-times national collegiate acapella champions the Barden Bellas are disgraced after a wardrobe malfunction in front of Barack Obama’s archive footage, and subsequently replaced on their victory tour by German champions Das Sound Machine. Banned from entering competitions or auditioning new members, the Bellas only shot at redemption is the world acapella championships, to which they are automatically entered as national champions.
With the review of 2017 out of the way, the other traditional new year cinephile activity is to consider the year ahead and ponder what there is to look forward to. For me, this is a slightly more than academic exercise, as it provides a baseline for the ‘waste of potential’ category in my rating system if I start out by assessing what I’m expecting.
The number of releases for each month is not absolute; it’s the number I am currently interested in. With roughly one day per week free for a cinema evening, ‘4’ is thus my ideal number, and anything above ‘5’ means I’m likely to have to make choices. These choices are represented in my projected viewing schedule for the month (which assume the dates are correct and for the UK, which is a big if.)
Directed by Genddy Tartakovsky Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Mel Brooks
Dracula (Sandler) oversees the marriage of his daughter Mavis (Gomez) and her human boyfriend Johnny (Samberg), opening the Hotel Transylvania to non-monsters with the aid of buddies Frank (James), Wayne (Buscemi), Griffin (Spade) and Murray (Key) (Frankenstein’s monster, a werewolf, the Invisible Man and a mummy.) Not long after, Mavis announces her pregnancy, and soon the family is joined by Dennis (Asher Blinkoff).
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel Starring Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley
Troubled New York teen, Jake Chambers (Taylor), dreams of a strange pyramid, where teenagers from a weird little model suburbia deal are used to power Starkiller Base and attack the colossal Dark Tower. Convinced that his dreams are true, Jake flees from representatives of a sleep clinic and finds his way to an abandoned house with an interdimensional portal in the basement. This catapults him from Keystone Earth to Mid-World, and into the conflict between Jerkass-Good last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Elba), and the Affable-Evil immortal devil sorcerer Walter Padick (McConaughey), aka the Man in Black.
But is this really the ultimate list of childhood movies?
Disclaimer: This is my own take on the matter and I make no pretense to some superior status of judgement. Full disclosure, those films marked with an asterisk are the ones that I have seen an which I will be discussing most closely.
This is the meme: What is your favourite movie for each year of your life?
Well, it’s tough enough to narrow each year down to a selection, let alone a single movie, but I felt like I ought to give it a go. Below then, I consider this question and come up with answers, some reasons for those answers, and some also rans, for each of my forty years. To be clear, I’m not making quality judgements; this is about my historical and ongoing enjoyment of the movie, not how good it is. Therefore I am only looking at films that I’ve seen, and believe me there are some shocking gaps in that subset. Even in that limited space I’m not saying these are the best movies, but they are the ones I’ve had most fun with, for one reason or another.
Directed by James Mangold Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen
As always, there will be spoilers in this review.
In the not-too-distant future, Logan (Jackman) is living on the (unwalled) Texas/Mexico border, working as a limo driver in order to support Charles Xavier (Stewart), who now suffers from an unspecified degenerative brain condition that causes him to suffer seizures with terrible effects on those around him. The mutant tracker Caliban (Merchant) acts as Charles’s nurse and struggles to be a conscience to Logan in a world where most mutants have been exterminated. This arrangement is upset when a nurse named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) finds Logan and asks him to transport her and a young girl, Laura (Keen) to Dakota.
Directed by Adam Randall StarringBill Milner, Maisie Williams, Jordan Bolger, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Aymen Hamdouchi, Miranda Richardson, Rory Kinnear
Tom (Milner) is an ordinary kid, growing up on a high-rise estate under the care of his Gran (Richardson) and never quite finding the nerve to confess his feelings to lifelong friend Lucy (Williams). He’s an okay student, and keeps out of the gang business that has already sucked in classmates such as school bully Eugene (Rothwell) and Tom’s best mate Danny (Bolger). Then one night he goes to help Lucy with her revision and stumbles on a gang punishment assault. He runs and tries to call the police, but is shot, the bullet shattering his phone and imbedding pieces of it in his brain.
Sometimes, I read an article which articulates something that I was struggling to frame in my own mind. In this case, it’s this article by Caroline Seide on the AV Club website, about feminist criticism. I advise you to go and read it, because it’s much better written than my blog ramblings; I’ll wait.