110 – Into the Inferno
This Werner Herzog documentary that appeared on Netflix at the same time that Lo and Behold was released at the cinema was, probably, a little bit better. I certainly enjoyed it more. Werner Herzog really likes volcanoes, and I really like Werner Herzog really liking things.
109 – Lahore Se Aagey
OK, so Yasir Hussain’s character is a bit annoying, the first half of the film is weaker than the second and there are probably about eight cameos and three million references to the Pakastani film industry that went right over my head. But… Saba Qamar is great and Kalabaaz Dil was one of my favourite songs of the year.
108 – Savile
In which Louis Theroux revisits his terrible error of judgement. The footage of Savile is deeply disturbing. It is a credit to Theroux that he is honest enough to show it, and to admit to being duped, but Jesus fucking Christ how could he not see how awful Savile was. Visits to the BBC offices and a pizza restaurant are, almost clichéd, evidence of a sexual predator in action. A difficult watch but worthwhile, for giving a voice to some of those who were abused, and for not trying to offer easy answers.
107 – L’étudiante et Monsieur Henri/The Student and Mister Henri
A film with an interesting set-up (grumpy old man takes a lodger on the understanding she will break up his son’s marriage) that flirts with notions of exploring male insecurity but eventually becomes a gentle feel-good comedy. I didn’t want blood or anything, but this could have been spikier. It doesn’t outstay its welcome however, and despite being gentle is never bland.
106 – Mom & Me
Short and engaging documentary from Ken Wardrop that interviews a dozen or so men and their mothers about their relationships.
105 – The Accountant
There are two ways of looking at this film – as a film about autism or as a film about shooting bad guys with a protagonist that just happens to be autistic. I’m not really qualified to talk about the former (and I would suggest a trip to read David Hartley’s thoughts on the matter here) but as a one-man-who-is-good-at-shooting-and-punching-people-against-lots-of-enemies film it is far more successful than 2016’s offering from the Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne franchises.
104 – Warcraft: The Beginning
Neither as great as a Duncan Jones film can be nor as bad as most reviewers claimed, Warcraft did have its moments. And while the drama was too ften undermined by a franchise struggling and failing to establish itself, the soundtrack, by Ramin Djawadi, was a thumpy thumpy delight when played through a cinema speaker system.
103 – Suicide Squad
More a fireworks display than a film in the traditional sense – with plenty of enjoyable whizzes and bangs but little to talk about later on. Suicide Squad’s main problem is that the moments that linger longest in the memory are the moments that were most ill-judged. An irresponsible, or thoughtless, or possibly just clumsy attitude toward domestic abuse permeates the movie. The shame is that there really does seem to be a far more interesting and challenging movie, with a more mature attitude toward women, fighting to get out of what ended up as a bit of a mess – albeit a mess with several great moments.
102 – The Hard Stop
A documentary that follows Marcus Knox-Hooke and Kurtis Henville, two friends of Mark Duggan, as they try to rebuild their lives after his killing – nice kids struggling against the system. Interesting and affecting.
101 – 10 Cloverfield Lane
OK, I can’t discuss this without spoilers.
So stop reading if you haven’t seen this film and want to.
OK, here we go…
This is a smart B-movie almost totally ruined by it’s title. Linking the film with Cloverfield may have been a marketing coup but it really undermined the tension. It would only have been less obvious there were aliens outside the bunker in this are-there-aliens-outside-the-bunker thriller if the title of the film had been 10 THERE ARE ALIENS OUTSIDE THE BUNKER3 Lane. It’s a shame because John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead put in brilliant performances and the film has a female protagonist who from the outset is smart and resourceful and strong. If it had kept its working title of The Bunker, and shaved fifteen minutes from the run time, this would have been brilliant.