Monthly Film Roundup: February 2021

Films Watched: 28

How Many Were New: 25

Best Films: Ed Wood (1994), Raw (2016) and City Lights (1931)

Worst Films: The Drop (2014), Horrors of The Black Museum (1959)

Best Worst Films: Troll 2 (1990), Who Killed Captain Alex (2010), Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)


Sons of the Desert (1933)
A wonderfully silly slapstick comedy from the iconic due. Short and sweet, it’s a great watch for any comedy fan

Way out West (1937)
Another thoroughly entertaining romp with Stan and Ollie. It benefits from a better plot than ‘Sons of the Desert’, as well as several iconic song and dance sequences

City Lights (1931)
A beautiful, ambitious and wholly charming piece of silent cinema. Funny and romantic, it’s ‘The Tramp’ at his very best

Stand by Me (1986)
A perfect coming of age film. Thrilling, funny and emotional, it’s a timeless tale of childhood and the loss of youthful innocence

Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
A wonderfully warm and unexpected Australian comedy drama. Despite not hitting every note perfectly, an ABBA-filled soundtrack and a great breakout role from Toni Collette make it thoroughly entertaining

Modern Times (1936)
Another uplifting Chaplin masterpiece of silent cinema. A series of hilarious set pieces provide laughs to a film that also offers a great socio-political commentary on industry, authority and poverty

Raw (2016)
A shocking and visceral coming of age horror, examining a young girl’s sexual awakening and discovery of cannibalistic desires. Queasy special effects, fabulous performances and a dark ending propel the tense film through it’s tougher to watch scene

Escape from New York (1981)
Lavishly designed but thinly scripted, John Carpenter’s 1981 dystopian sci-fi isn’t his strongest offering. But its against-the-clock narrative means the pace is maintained, resulting in a perfectly enjoyable piece of escapism

The Drop (2014)
A stylish but unbelievably slow thriller. Nearly nothing happens, and most of the dialogue is muttered through slurred Brooklyn accents.

24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016)
A clunkily-made but fascinating documentary about the rise, fall and resurgence of illustrated movie posters. It’s clear the film was made with endless affection for the art form, and it does shed an interesting light on the subject

The Tall Guy (1989)
Richard Curtis’s first feature screenplay. Emma Thompson’s film debut. Hilarious performances from Jeff Goldblum and Rowan Atkinson. A plot that contains a musical version of ‘The Elephant Man’. Basically, this is the best Rom-Com you’ve never seen.

Horrors of the Black Museum (1959)
Michael Gough (the ‘Alfred’ to Keaton’s ‘Batman’) is charismatic and watchable, but otherwise this film suffers from camp acting, silly violence and a very flimsy plot

Ed Wood (1994)
A fantastic tragi-comedy biopic, and one of Tim Burton’s best films. Reminiscent of ‘The Disaster Artist’, Johnny Depp stars as Ed Wood, widely considered to be the worst director in film history. The true star is Martin Landau, whose Oscar-Winning portrayal of Bela Lugosi is a truly remarkable performance

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Filled with terrible acting, nonsensical plot-points and homemade flying saucers, this is the ultimate B-Movie, and the epitome of “so bad it’s good cinema”. The ambition of Ed Wood is never lost, and it remains a thoroughly charming affair

Who Killed Captain Alex (2010)
Made for an estimated $85 and billed as Uganda’s first action movie, ‘Who Killed Captain Alex’ is another of the “so bad it’s good” films. Despite poor acting, zero production value and horrific special effects, the ambition is admirable, and ultimately the film becomes and endearing and entertaining watch

Free Fire (2016)
The thin plot doesn’t manage to fill the runtime of this action comedy, but it’s well shot, has great sound design, and sports a fantastic ensemble cast

To the Public Danger (1948)
A lovely little British noir drama telling the woes of drink-driving. A 40 minute runtime, mixed with good performances and a neat story, make it a perfectly charming affair

Carrie (1976)
Wowsers, what a cracker this is! Stephen King’s first novel, and an early mainstream hit for Brian DePalma, ‘Carrie’ is a fabulous film with grippingly dark tension, a brilliant cast led by Sissy Spacek, and a totally thrilling last third

Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Feared by studios to be “too gay” but thankfully funded by HBO, Steven Soderbergh’s Libeerache biopic is a fittingly flamboyant portrayal of the iconic pianist. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon disappear fearlessly into their roles with effortless style, and make for a brilliantly entertaining film

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
I’ve lost all ability to speak critically about this film. It’s perfection and it makes me happy every time I watch it. That is all

Layer Cake (2004)
Like a lot of British crime films, Layer Cake suffers from a few too many characters and an over-complicated plot. But despite this, Matthew Vaughn’s directorial debut is a stylish affair, with a great performance from Daniel Craig that ultimately earnt him the role of Bond

Interview With a Vampire (1994)
An overstretched but entertaining romp that benefits from revelling in its own melodrama and homoerotisism. Cruise and Pitt deliver fun performances, as does a young Kirsten Dunst, and Stan Winston provides his usual high standard of makeup effects

Moonlight (2016)
I enjoyed rewatching this film a lot more than when I first saw it in 2017. Though a little too restrained to evoke emotion, and focussing a little too heavily on mood rather than plot to deliver its story, it’s still a beautifully made film with understated performances and a great atmospheric score

Frank and Ollie (1995)
A beautiful documentary about the life and friendship of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Together, the pair are widely credited for helping the Disney studio find their iconic style. The film explores their 50 years of work alongside their warm, endearing friendship

Troll 2 (1990)
This gloriously bad horror film is so enjoyable because it’s so totally misguided. Terribly written, poorly acted and sporting some ridiculous makeup effects, it’s the perfect combination of failures to make a winning piece of entertainment 

The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
A package film in two halves, Walt Disney presents short adaptations of Sleepy Hollow and The Wind in The Willows (an odd double bill in any book). Narrated by Bing Crosby and Basil Rathbone respectfully, it’s an enjoyable and well designed romp, but it lacks the logic, class and heart of the true Disney classics

Greenland (2020)
A surprisingly great disaster movie that, like Spielberg’s ‘War of The Worlds’, focusses on the characters and not the spectacle. Gerard Butler brings his usual charisma, and the narrative just about maintains the runtime

West Side Story (1961)
Blending incredible dance sequences and beautiful performances, this movie is the perfect example of translating a Broadway show to the big screen. Colourful, emotional and stuffed with iconic hits, it’s a breathtaking affair

See you next month for March’s watchlist!

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