The Cutprice Guignol

The Ninth Year: The Haunting of Swill House

Category: Movie Review

Reviewing Every Movie I’ve Seen This Year

Well, it’s election day, which means we’re all way too antsy to sit down and read anything heavy because we need to get up and check the poll numbers one last time dammit so I’m fulfilling my national duty by providing some futile form of distraction to keep you busy until ten tonight when everything stops and starts. Basically, I’ve been to see a bunch of films this year that I never got around to reviewing, so here’s my hot take on shit you’ve lost interest in by now!

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Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman had a whole lot to prove.

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Movie Review: Alien: Covenant

Huh.

When the credits roll on a movie, I’m usually pretty confident in my opinion of it. Yeah, like good wine, sometimes the ideas need a little time to ferment, but I can usually say with some level of certainty whether or not I liked a film or didn’t. But I went to see Alien: Covenant four days ago, and for the life of me I can’t figure out whether I enjoyed it or not.

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Movie Review: Logan

How do you make a gritty superhero movie? If you ask the DC universe, they’ll tell you that constant grey-screen and a surgical lack of humour will do the job; Marvel made their first R-rated movie, Deadpool,  a hyper-violent, super-meta, tit-filled swearfest. They had ther pros and cons (mostly cons), but an actually gritty, truly grown-up superhero movie from one of the major franchises still eluded us. Until now.

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Movie Review: Fifty Shades Darker

I know I’ve written a lot about shit movies in the last year. But, in my defence, that’s because movies have scraped the bottom of a whole new barrel over the last ten months, and they’ve rarely been lower than with the release of Fifty Shades Darker.

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The Academy Awards: Who Will Win and Who Should Win

Well, another year, another batch of Oscars for me to snit over. I think this year has been a substantially better year for movies than the last couple of times I’ve written these articles-but I still have some bones to pick with the major categories, because what’s life without a little snark? On with the predictions!

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Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Spoilers ahead!

So, before we get into this review, it’s worth noting that I am a Star Wars fan to an absolutely stupid degree. Everything Star-Wars related is going to be an automatic pass from me; I’ve seen Attack of the Clones four times, I’ve even read quite a bit of that dire X-Wing Academy series, for goodness sake. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away is my happy place, and has been since I was four years old. As evidenced by my Force Awakens review last year, I am anything but neutral on the topic of Star Wars, and so there’s no way in hell I could ever give Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a fair review.

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Arrival Delivers Classic Sci-Fi Smarts

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and readers! I’m not going to remotely pretend that I know anything about Thanksgiving beyond holiday episodes of the sitcoms I love, but I understand that the clue is in the name; and, therefore, I’d like to give thanks for Denis Villaneuve’s superb science-fiction movie, Arrival.

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When I review movies (as you might have noticed), it tends to be because I hate them with a passion- but just once in a while, I see a film that’s so bloody good I want to run around telling everyone about it. Arrival is one of those films.

Yeah, you’ve probably seen the trailers; it’s one of the rare intersections of genre movies and blatant Oscarbait, but that’s a crossover on the Venn diagram that I am one-hundred-percent behind. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi in all mediums and all levels of intellectualism, but I think the genre really springs from big ideas. The big writers who defined the genre-Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Maragret Atwood- used it as a method through which to look at “what-if” questions, delivering philosophy and discourse wrapped up in a cool story rich with imagination. And Arrival (based on the short story Story of Your Life by Dennis Chiang) fits into this bracket.

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There’s nothing wrong with a bit of fun, swashbuckling sci-fi silliness (Star Wars was my film of last year), but Arrival reminds us the genre is capable of much more than that. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a linguist who’s called up to help with deducing the meaning of the arrival of twelve enormous, mysterious shells all across Earth. That in and of itself is a cool idea- the focus on language and communication is fascinating and expansive, exploring some neat concepts about the way we construct language, and the sequences involving the shells (and the aliens within them) are just gorgeously put-together. Villeneuve has made a collection of weird and interesting films before this one (including the excellent Enemy, as well as Sicario)- not to mention the fact that he’ll be directing the Bladerunner sequel due out next year- and he revels in the bigger budget and striking symbolism of this story. There are a couple of truly breathtaking moments of cinema here, and Villeneuve gives them time to breathe- which, in the era of overstuffed blockbusters, is deeply satisfying. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty, too, about Amy Adams fantastic performance- hell, even Jeremy Renner, who I find quite loathsome, is very good in this.

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But, despite the aliens and sci-fi wrapping, this is a very human story. The actual tale at the heart of Arrival is so beautifully well put-together that I would be a proper twat to ruin it for you here, but trust me when I tell you that it will move you. It’s heartfelt without being cheesy, powerful without being overblown; it’s what good sci-fi should be. And, in a year of some of those worst films we’ve ever seen, it’s nice to fee like we’re ending 2016 in cinema on a strong note.

I Don’t Know What I Fucking Expected, Part 2: Suicide Squad

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and, well, you’ve probably just got me to watch Suicide Squad.

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Why Are Superhero Movies Shit Now?

As I’ve said before, I don’t go in to movies expecting to hate them (unless they’re made by Woody Allen, but then, who could blame me?). But when it comes to superhero films, I often find myself cursing the God who made this franchise pile-up possible- and now that each major superhero franchise has released it’s big blockbuster for the summer, I feel like I can form some opinions on why they all sat somewhere between approaching  passable and downright catastrophic (to be clear, I’ll be focusing on X-Men: Apocalypse, Dawn of Justice, and Captain America: Civil War in this piece).

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