icons-02 icons-01 MM Logo Instagram

blog

Movie news, reviews, features and more thoughts coming soon...

By midlandsmovies, Dec 11 2019 09:52PM

Midlands Movies Worst 10 Films of 2019





10) Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Dir. Robert Rodriguez

What we said: “There’s so much CGI that the human characters inserted in the film feel almost unneeded and a distraction in themselves. But it's Alita's facial construction, whose eyes and face are computer-generated beyond all recognition which actually turned me off from the screen regularly. Sadly, as the Alita android is found amongst a big pile of junk and hastily put together, the film mirrors this in its themes, tone and dull execution”.

Click here for full review



9) Godzilla: King of the Monsters

What we said: “Fans said they wanted more Godzilla in their Godzilla film, but unfortunately this was added at the expense of everything else. With an offensive colour palette making every shot look like cloudy vomit, it seems that at the end of the day if you make a film that looks terrible then people are going to assume it is one. It’s like walking into work wearing clown shoes. That CGI artist team talk in full – “whatever you do guys and gals, don’t put in more than 70% effort”. A monster mess”.




8) Killers Anonymous (2019) Dir. Martin Owen

What we said: “It could have worked as a more serious chamber piece but in the end it sticks to a bland unsatisfying middle-ground. How Oscar-winner Gary Oldman got involved in this is anyone's guess. In the end, what could have worked as a one-off ITV drama is not cinematic enough for the ideas it has. And sadly, this more than tiresome movie tries to be a big screen blockbuster but is much more of a lacklustre little screen disappointment”.

Click here for full review




7) The Curse of La Llorona (2019) Dir. Michael Chaves

What we said: “It’s another dull entry into The Conjuring universe and is based on Mexican folklore where a supernatural entity attempts to steal children from their families. Mixing silly superstitions with godawful jump scares, the film’s filled to the brim with obvious 'quiet-then-loud' sequences and is the kind of PG-13 horror that is over-done and has been seen dozens of times before. Set your expectation level to “underwhelmed” and then still prepare yourself for a bit of a knock”.

Click here for full review




6) Domino (2019) Dir. Brian De Palma

What we said: “At just 89 minutes this crime thriller feels twice as long and stars Game of Throners Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice van Houten who are investigating the death of a Danish police officer. I don’t want to give away any spoilers about Domino but literally nothing happens. Combined with a troubled production and a star or two dropping out, this ramshackle made-for-TV level movie is lacklustre and dull. It seems the director’s strategy of not caring at all about his utterly useless movie hasn’t paid the handsome dividends he might have hoped for”.

Click here for full review




5) Triple Threat

What we said: “Wasting the talents of the excellent Iko Uwais (The Raid), Tony Jaa (Ong Bak) and Tiger Chen (Man of Tai Chi) for starters, the film is an incomprehensible and extremely boring set of action beats seen a billion times before. Choppy editing, absent characterisation and story and really naff fight sequences, this would be an embarrassment without the action legends present. With their involvement, the film is a far far worse crime".





4) Replicas (2019) Dir. Jeffrey Nachmanoff

What we said: “What is up with Keanu Reeves career making decisions? For every critical and commercial success he then opts to star in something so awful it beggars belief. A $30 million dollar failure, this film sees Reeves as William Foster, a scientist who breaks the law to clone his family members after they perish in a vehicle accident. Sadly the film contains every plot cliché you can imagine and, whether it’s the script (likely) or the direction, Alice Eve as his wife gives a simply atrocious performance. And despite its attempts to tackle deeper issues of loss, humanity and family, the film is mostly reminiscent of the bold boringness of Transcendence. Avoid”.

Click here for full review




3) Under the Silver Lake (2019) Dir. David Robert Mitchell

What we said: “The plot, if you can decipher it, involves Andrew Garfield investigating the sudden disappearance of his neighbour Riley Keough, but during his escapades uncovers a large and complicated conspiracy. Although it’s never really boring, it’s always awful. The only reason I watched right to the end of the credits was because I was hoping to get a fucking apology. I didn't”.

Click here for full review




2) Angel Has Fallen (2019) Dir. Ric Roman Waugh

What we said: “A frankly out-of-shape Gerard Butler returns in this third instalment in the Fallen film series following Olympus Has Fallen (the number 10 entry of our worst films of 2013) and London Has Fallen (the number ONE entry in our worst films of 2016) again playing secret service agent Mike Banning. What we have then is an unexciting, monotonous and dreary “action” film whose 2-hour runtime feels like 2 weeks. Fans may find something in this that I didn’t get out of it, but for general audiences, the franchise should fall into retirement as soon as possible”.

Click here for full review




1) Backtrace (2018) Dir. Brian A. Miller

What we said: “How does Stallone even get involved in films this bad? Sure, Nic Cage has made a ton of straight-to-VOD pish but at least they look like films. So, a January film already laying claim to the worst of 2019? Well, one positive is that maybe Stallone can better himself by improving on his third place position for Escape Plan 2 on our least favourite films of 2018 list and claim the top spot this year instead. Good luck. But, with 12 months to go, this film is so bad that Stallone is in with a VERY good chance of being the best of the worst”. Editor - And he was!

Click here for full review



Michael Sales



By midlandsmovies, Aug 22 2019 11:06PM



Under the Silver Lake (2019) Dir. David Robert Mitchell


In 2001 indie chiller Donnie Darko became an underground runaway success and director Richard Kelly followed up that intelligent dark drama with a film so bad, indulgent and incomprehensible (2006’s Southland Tales) it pretty much killed his career. Well, in true Groundhog Day style, this L.A.-set neo-noir mystery film is a gigantic misfire on almost all counts, which is a shame as fans of David Robert Mitchell’s 80s-infused horror It Follows were no doubt anticipating something exciting for his second movie.


The plot, if you can decipher it, involves Andrew Garfield investigating the sudden disappearance of his neighbour Riley Keough, but during his escapades uncovers a large and complicated conspiracy. A great score clearly influenced by Bernard Herrmann’s music for Hitchcock is about the only positive to recommend the film, as low-brow discussions on masturbation and nudity crossed with comics and animated sequences fill a ridiculous incoherent narrative involving songwriters, a dog killer and some underground Pharaoh bunkers.


Influences range from Mulholland Drive, Raymond Chandler and Chinatown as we get dream sequences, the seedy underbelly of the city and some classic detective tropes but although it’s never really boring, it’s always awful.


There’s a scene midway through that so sums up this gigantic misfire that you must think that the director is trolling the audience into disliking his own film. “Do you like the movie?” asks one character to Sam (Garfield) as he stands in a cemetery next to a HITCHCOCK grave watching a film before 3 girls get into a limousine with a fancy-dressed pirate. What? How VERY clever of you.


The music is stupidly on the nose such as it is, including the “Behind movie scenes” line from Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha to REM’s What’s the Frequency, Kenneth. Ambitious, weird and bizarre but consistently terrible, Under the Silver Lake is what 2 stoner mates may think was a good idea at 4am but the film is baffling in construction and makes a terrible attempt to satire the movie industry and provides a lame and superficial commentary on female representation.


The only reason I watched right to the end of the credits was because I was hoping to get a fucking apology. I didn't.


★ ½


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Feb 16 2017 06:57PM



Hacksaw Ridge (2017) Dir. Mel Gibson


A biography of Medal of Valor-winning Desmond Doss, this film from Mel Gibson combines the sentimental with the shocking as it follows one man’s moral standpoint in the face of adversaries both at home and abroad.


Ex-Spider-Man Andrew Garfield plays Doss who as a Seventh-day Adventist refuses to carry firearms after joining the army in World War II. The pacifist joins to help the war effort much to the aggravation of his military superiors.


The film began with an immediate turn-off as Garfield’s Virginian accent has all the subtlety (and annoyances) of Hank’s Forest Gump, and combined with the theme of war I was preparing for a rehash of that film at its worst. After a brief childhood sequence and a rather soppy and gawkish romance with Teresa Palmer as Dorothy Schutte, the film actually settled into a meaty drama once he enlists as a soldier. A rather surprising Vince Vaughan plays a thunderous Sergeant Howell which was a great role-reversal for the usually slobbish character actor.


A kind of Full Metal Jacket-lite ensues as Garfield is shouted at, undertakes menial tasks, gets beaten by his fellow troopers and trains on assault courses at the base in preparation. Despite these beatings and a subsequent court martial, Doss sustains his beliefs and Garfield does a good job of focusing on the emotional complexities as his faith clashes with others.


Soon to be discharged, his ex-army father (played by a great Hugo Weaving – where has he been?) supports him during the trial and soon Garfield is free to become the medic he has always wanted. Quickly shipped off to the Far East to battle for Hacksaw Ridge – a key target in the US war efforts – Doss bravely assists others without the protection of bullets like others.


Although Gibson’s personal life is questionable to say the least, Hollywood has given him multiple chances over and over again and it’s somewhat sad to say that the man has stepped up and delivered a hell of a story. With some of the syrupy scenes being overly Oscar-baiting it is great that Gibson then delivers the next hour of the film as a huge jaw-dropping skirmish. Not since Saving Private Ryan (Hanks again) have so many limbs been blown off in an attempt to capture the horrors of war. The cinematography is excellent and the sound effects fight between explosions, tinnitus and silence which increases the atmosphere throughout.


One sequence sees soldiers buried alive in order to save them whilst parts of bloodied bodies are used as bullet shields. Doss returns time and time again to the battlefield to save more and more men as the violence intensifies and the Japanese attempt to kill any survivors after each wave. The film is more Hollywood than documentary yet doesn’t flinch from the murky morals, scared and scarred soldiers and the horrific physical and mental effect it leaves.


But the heroic nature of Doss and his commitment to going beyond his call of duty is the focus here. The story allows itself to savour the serious (and the lightheartedness of these band of brothers) set against a war of unimaginable shock.


A fully rounded cast deliver a great screenplay and although Garfield as Doss takes centre stage, it really is an ensemble film with everyone delivering their role to perfection no matter how big or small. Catch this as soon as possible as tinsel town’s biggest outcast has once again come in from the cold to deliver a passion project that favours hope over horror on the big screen.


8.5/10


Midlands Movies Mike

RSS Feed twitter