Watched Margin Call (2011) from letterboxd.com
A thriller that revolves around the key people at an investment bank over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the financial crisis.

Disgraced, accused sex offender in the lead aside…

Still think this holds up well on a repeat  watch. In a similar way to The Big Short, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t understand what has technically gone wrong at this particular firm. The responses and emotions of the characters tell you everything you need to know, which is a testament to the quality of the acting. For a film that mostly involves talking in offices it fairly zips along. There is some neat work going on with the sound too.

The one niggle I have is that Demi Moore’s character isn’t overtly absolved, having been set up very early on as a “cunt”. And since she is one of only three women in the whole thing, it does feel a bit like women are taking the lion’s share of the blame here.

However, it’s mentioned that Cohen, and Tuld himself, have tacitly endorsed the position, and therefore ignored any concerns she raised. She is hardly solely to blame.

The movie ends on notes of self-justification and evaluations of the worth of “banking” to humanity. Closer to the crash this felt like a fairly open mockery of banking attitudes and that we were being invited to laugh at their hubris. Now I’m not so sure.

★★★★

My review

Watched Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) from letterboxd.com
On the Caribbean island of Matul, white doctor David Menard is trying to stem the tide of cannibal zombies that are returning from the dead. Arriving on the island are Anne and reporter Peter West who are looking for Anne's missing father. The pair soon find themselves under attack from the zombies.

Having been traumatised by “this sort of thing” as a kid, I probably went into this with a little too much caution and trepidation. Combine that with the “video nasty” rep, I was expecting a pretty low-brow gore-fest.

But, aside from some top-tier misogyny and flipping horrendous dubbing work, it was actually one of the best zombie movies I have seen.

The misogyny, though… there are several moments were the women in this film have zero agency. It’s actually painful to watch. They constantly defer to the men and the male gaze is not even remotely subtle. They’ve also chucked in some domestic abuse for good measure. I mean, it was the 70s, but still.

There is also some mistreatment of a reef and a shark, which hasn’t aged well, either.

Back to the good stuff: the sound (dubbing aside) and visual effects are all top tier. The music is also right on point for the period, the main theme is surely a genre classic(?)

The story builds nicely to a impressive set piece finale with some great stunt work and a surprisingly strong conclusion.

——

Thanks to the Evolution of Horror podcast, I will forever associate this film with Dr Charlie Allbright. I never met him but his enthusiasm for this movie was enough to make me want to watch it. Rest in peace, Charlie.

www.arts.ac.uk/colleges/london-college-of-communication/stories/in-memory-of-dr-charlie-allbright

★★★★

My review

Watched Lightyear (2022) from letterboxd.com
Legendary Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear embarks on an intergalactic adventure alongside a group of ambitious recruits and his robot companion Sox.

This is just not enough fun. It takes itself far too seriously. Admittedly, I’m not the target audience but my children were obviously very bored at times. You see, Buzz has to learn about “teamwork”. Sadly, that takes three quarters of the movie and there is pretty much nothing else going on. There is a single plot line that is endlessly, and needlessly, stymied to the point of teeth gnashing frustration. The story is almost bereft of any good ideas.

It all looks pretty neat, though. I love the design and the sound is great. The soundtrack is not particularly note-worthy but the voice work is very solid. 

I just wish they hadn’t confused tension and excitement…

★★½

My review

Watched Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) from letterboxd.com
Decades since their successful television series was canceled, Chip has succumbed to a life of suburban domesticity as an insurance salesman. Dale, meanwhile, has had CGI surgery and works the nostalgia convention circuit, desperate to relive his glory days. When a former cast mate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must repair their broken friendship and take on their Rescue Rangers detective personas once again to save their friend’s life.

I went into this with quiet optimism. It was not rewarded. The set-up, the story and effects all work well enough. It’s just really badly put together. It has loads of what should be great little touches that just don’t land. It’s like a five year old telling a joke, where all the timing and intonation is off.

Very poor.

★★

My review

Watched Mom and Dad (2017) from letterboxd.com
In a suburban community, moms and dads, one after the other, mysteriously feel the irresistible impulse to attack and kill their own offspring.

The premise and set-up are great but, once the carnage starts… well, that’s the problem. There is no carnage. There is nowhere near enough splatter for this to be a horror and it is way too short on laughs to be a comedy.

Missed opportunity. Passed the time, though.

★★½

My review

Watched The World's End (2013) from letterboxd.com
Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival.

It’s just too long. It’s a big part of the “joke”, that the crawl goes on too long. But it’s boring and self-indulgent.

★★½

My review

Watched Moon Knight (2022) from letterboxd.com
When Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life, he discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.

Far surpassed my admittedly low expectations. Like the Mandalorian, “new” characters seem the way to go.

What I liked most about this was the chunk in the middle, where you could almost forget it was the MCU. But the VERY MCU conclusion wasn’t unwelcome, either.

★★★★

My review

Watched Thor (2011) from letterboxd.com
Against his father Odin's will, The Mighty Thor - a powerful but arrogant warrior god - recklessly reignites an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Watched this with my children (7/10), their first MCU film, and saw it with new eyes.

I’ve always felt it was a bit hammy and tongue-in-cheek, and maybe it is, but that just made it better for the kids. The generally light tone and total lack of subtext worked really well for them.

Decent live action films aimed at kids are now few and far between but they both enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching it with them.

★★★★

My review