In what is now an established Halloween tradition, it is time for me to pick a horror franchise, force myself to watch it all and then moan about it on here. So far I’ve done A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Saw (the writing on the older ones makes me cringe) with all five of them successfully driving me a little bit insane. Of course, that’s partly down to the fact that I have developed a habit of binging these increasingly awful films in the last five days of October before promising that next year it will be different. Guess what, folks? It wasn’t!
2019’s franchise of choice is Hellraiser, Clive Barker’s brainchild and a series which has, at the time of writing, ten films, most of which went straight to DVD. Why do I do this to myself?
With albums done and dusted, it’s time for the films to step up. In the past, I’ve only done ten of these, but I’ve decided to go twenty across the board this year which has allowed me to talk about even more lovely pieces of cinema! Perhaps because of that, this feels like the most eclectic list I’ve ever put together. We’ve got blockbusters, musicals, animation and enough coming of age stories to bring us all safely through puberty. This list is based on UK cinematic release dates, hence the inclusion of films which came out last year in America. Let’s get to it.
A serial killer who doesn’t kill. That’s the intrigue at the heart of the Saw films. Instead, Jigsaw’s victims are placed within a game. A game in which you may face great pain or even the loss of a limb, but in which it is always possible to survive. Why? Because Jigsaw is dying of cancer, and with that knowledge weighing him down he looks at the world and sees humanity wasting their lives. He wants them to understand how incredible it is to be alive.
It’s the most listicle time of the year. The end of the year wouldn’t be the end of the year if people like me didn’t tell you about all the things that we love. Over the next few days, I’ll be running down my films, albums, matches and wrestler of the year. I think that’s it, although there’s every chance I’ll come up with something else. I love me a list.
Today we’re heading to the cinema. For what was, in my opinion, an outstanding year. It took me ages to narrow this list down to ten, and the first draft was closer to the fifty mark. There are still a few films that I wish could be on here, sadly I just ain’t got the room.
As usual, this is purely personal opinion, so don’t bother telling me I’m wrong. I’m also going by UK’s release dates, hence the inclusion of some things that came out last year in other parts of the world. Anyway, let’s get on with it.
In a world where recent surprises have tended to be a bit scary, Paddington was a shot of joy. That famous little bear was adapted for the modern world and it turned out that he was maybe what we all needed. Of course, such success could only mean one thing. A sequel. Suddenly, the worries were setting in. Could that magic be captured twice? Or would Paddington’s beauty be twisted into a corporate cash cow?
The poster makes it clear that this probably won’t be a cheery ride.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the cinematic equivalent of being slowly choked out. At the start it’s uncomfortable, but tinged with a degree of humour at the ridiculousness of the situation. The clipped dialogue that is becoming Yorgos Lantihmos’s trademark makes regular conversations awkward. However, it also makes them funny. The matter of fact way that Colin Farrell’s Steven Murphy tells his colleague that his daughter has started menstruating catches you off guard and the laugh escapes your lips before you can stop it.
Over the last few years, I have been establishing a tradition. Every Halloween I pick one horror franchise and watch it from start to finish. Two years ago I did Nightmare on Elm Streetand I followed that up last year with Halloween. So, to knock out the slasher hat-trick, there was only one place to go in 2017, Camp Crystal Lake for a date on Friday The 13th. It was a challenge that I quickly regretted taking up.
Thor: Ragnarok solves a problem that has been plaguing Marvel’s cinematic version of the Thunder God from the start. Even when the Avengers worked it out, the standalone Thor films lagged behind, and we were beginning to worry that it would never happen. Thankfully, Ragnarok is here, and with it, they finally realised that everything about Thor – from the concept to the world he inhabits – is slightly ridiculous.
Noel Clarke has something that a lot of actors would kill for. It doesn’t matter who is playing, or in what genre, you want to like him. That likability is not the sole reason he’s been able to succeed as a writer, director and performer, but it’s certainly helped. Sadly, it’s not enough to save The Anomalyfrom what it is, a bit of a stinker.