Based on my usual criteria of films with their UK cinematic release date being in 2022.
PLEASE NOTE – SOME OF THE BELOW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL FILMS MENTIONED
The Film Industry Pretends that Covid Did Not Exist
While inevitably most films just exist within their own universe (especially the big budget ones) and of course there are plenty set in a specific period of time, when considering how many films there are out there set in pretty much the current time, it was quite surprising just how few referenced it what we had all just been through for the best part of two years.
While characters just having to wear masks in shops or public transport would be silly, the things that happened during the height of the pandemic could certainly provide effectively relatable source material for character development, both serious or comedic, but any kind of references to this were very few and far between. It does seem the world has tried to forget what was quite a surreal time that indeed felt like being in a film (and not a particularly uplifting one), and cinema seems to be the same – which is understandable considering the damage the pandemic did to the industry.
There were a few playful references, such as the opening sequence of Glass Onion or the “he kept you open during Covid!” line in The Menu. Meanwhile Both Sides of the Blade did feature a lot of wearing of masks in public places, but that may well have been required when they filmed it – but it did actually add an extra sense of atmosphere and misery to what was already quite an intense and slightly depressing film. Films do take a while to get from initial writing to release, so maybe over the next few years films will start to use the storyline and character backstory potential of the pandemic. We shall see.
What Exactly is the ‘Big Screen Experience’?
Cinema’s battle with the ever-increasing number of streaming services only intensified and got a lot tougher when they were forced to close their doors due to Covid lockdowns. Now they are understandably trying desperately to get bums back on seats, and so more than ever the focal point of marketing campaigns for the most expensive blockbusters will be about experiencing it on the big screen. It is beyond doubt that any well-made film is a better experience with a big, loud screen in a giant dark room. However, let us not forget that giant dark room has to be shared with other people, and the law of averages suggests that a good number of these will not be able to go two hours (the excessively overlong Avatar and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever aside) without eating like a pig, talking to the people around them or looking at pointless nonsense on their phones.
While I appreciate that cinemas make their money through overpriced food and drink, the cinema chain I tend to go offers food like pizzas, nachos (!) and hot dogs delivered to people’s seats for the start of the screening – meaning everyone in the close vicinity will have to put up with smelly or noisy food. Cinemas are increasingly becoming like cafes, with people’s manners and consideration for others continuing to diminish. Whenever I go to the cinema, any excitement I have for the film I am about to see is genuinely cancelled out by a feeling of dread regarding what sort of people I am going to have to put with sitting near me.
As with most things in modern life, this is of course the minority ruining it for the majority. However, this minority do seem to be genuinely ruining the experience of going to the cinema, and for that reason, I am often happy to sacrifice seeing a film on a much bigger and louder screen for the convenience of watching a film at home and not having to put up with potentially sharing the experience with some extremely annoying and inconsiderate individuals. I have no idea what the answer is to this, but it seems to be an increasingly tough conundrum.
The Stupidest Film: Moonfall
Roland Emmerich is not exactly known for making nuanced and subtle films, but he has made some wonderfully enjoyable and silly blockbusters in the past, but even by his low standards, Moonfall has to be considered one step too far. While there is no denying that it is often unintentionally hilarious viewing, just watching Moonfall may well lower someone’s IQ. Aside from the bizarre developments in the final third, a car chase (for no real reason other than narrative contrivance) in heavy snow and varying gravity levels has to be one of the most ridiculously pointless scenes in cinema history.
The Most Infuriating Film: Beast
Idris Elba really doesn’t seem to be fussy in terms of what he appears in these days, and Beast is the most definitive proof of that. Hackney’s finest versus a very angry tiger that somehow has been able to effectively have human emotions of vengeance is a plot right out of a straight to DVD b-movie. Alongside the usual narrative contrivances expected with such a movie is the fact that to keep the narrative going, its characters constantly make the stupidest possible decisions that defy any kind of rational logic. Anyone who has seen films is willing to accept characters have to make bad or irrational decisions to keep a plot going, but Beast really does treat the viewer like they are idiots – and this film is a perfect example of the low opinion producers and film distributors have of the honest paying cinema going public!
The Most Quotable Film of the Year AND The Worst Closing Scene: Maneater
That first award is very much obtained for the WRONG reasons, and a film that features some classic lines such as:
“My daughter was eaten alive by a fucking fish”
“If I can get him in the brain, or better yet: the gills”
“This is going to sting a little bit, you shithead”
“If you feel like you need a drink, you probably shouldn’t have one. We’re gonna make an exception today.”
“There’s a girl floating out there?” – “That’s my friend.”
“It’s that fucking monster did this.” – “it’s not a monster, it’s the devil.” – “devils don’t bleed, it’s just a fish.”
All delivered with outrageous seriousness, but the best line is left for last when Trace Adkins’ supposedly intense and brooding character called Harlan states “you’re gonna need a bigger one” when informed a shark took down a boat and he randomly agrees to hunt it down, after being the one that shot the titular maneater in the film – suggesting that this may be the start of some kind of random franchise called Harlen: Shark Hunter. Well, Trace Adkins was the main producer of this film, so that was possibly his dream.
The Most Deludedly Smug Film: Bullet Train
The latest chapter of Scream were an early contender for this accolade, but this Brad Pitt actioner has to take it.
John Wick seems to have opened the floodgates for ‘slick’ action films that are very colourful, edited within an inch of their life, characters talk very fast and there can be the occasional bit of self-referential mockery. This is a very tight line to tread, and while Bullet Train is perfectly watchable and an often quite enjoyable film that does feature some decent action sequences and a predictable charismatic leading performance from Brad Pitt, it just is nowhere near as good as it seems to think it is. A painfully predictable plot and an inconsistent pace this is often slowed by too much exposition from its characters – and that makes Bullet Train feel more like an annoying stopping service than a fast express.
The Pleasant Surprise: Dog
What did appear on paper to be a weak version of Beethoven (or its terrible sequels) actually turned about to be something completely different and was all the better for it; though certainly by no means a great actor, Channing Tatum can be very likeable, and is at his most likeable here. While the narrative undoubtedly has its fair share of predictable developments, Dog was not afraid to focus on some quite raw and mature themes (which certainly was a risk as it could have left it in the marketing and financial abyss of looking like a kid’s film, but not being a kid’s film) and was all the more emotionally rewarding for it.
The Emotional Powerhouse Ending: The Quiet Girl
Who would have thought that a hug between two characters could be so emotionally devastating? Well, as with so many things, it is about using things sparingly, and so then when these things are then used, they have their maximum impact – swearing is another example. Indeed, The Quiet Film would be an accurate description of Colm Bairéad’s beautifully understated story that relies on the nuances of human interaction and the quiet expressions and body language of its characters to tell its beautiful story of a young girl called Cáit sent to live for the summer holidays with foster parents. This method of storytelling means we inevitably care deeply about the main characters so much, that when Cáit returns to her parents and those that have looked after her over the summer drive away, her subsequent chase after them and deeply affectionate hug when she does catch up with them is not only a much-needed outpouring of emotion for the film’s protagonist, but also the viewer.
The Franchise that has Run Completely Out of Steam: Fantastic Beasts
While the MCU does seem to be getting increasingly lazy, its films are making plenty of money, but after an initial solid start in back in 2016, this Potter Prequel has literally lost the magic with films that seem too obsessed with mythology and setting up future instalments at the extreme expense of narrative focus. Over-dramatic and slightly misleading titles may not have helped; The Crimes of Grindelwald was more like a single action that annoyed a few other wizards, and the Secrets of Dumbledore was actually a singular secret and was not that Dumbledore.
The latest instalment is by far the messiest film so far, with too many pointless subplots and a genuine lack of tension, drama or peril (not helped by the frequent laziness of wizards seeming to have no limits to what they can do to get out of scrapes that the narrative throws at them) and not even the always excellent Mads Mikkelsen can save it, despite doing a much better job than his predecessor. There are apparently no current plans for another chapter to be made, so the spell the wizarding world had cast on cinema seem to have well and truly worn off.
The Best Film Score: The Batman
Film score highlights of 2022 included Nicolas Britell’s wonderfully brooding score to She Said, Jeff and Mycheal Danna’s often heart-breaking score to My Father’s Dragon, the haunting string and choral arrangements of Anne Dudley’s score to Benedetta, Oliver Coates’ suitably moody and unsettling score to The Stranger, Dan Deacon’s wonderfully atmospheric score to Strawberry Mansion and Lorne Balfe’s wonderfully dramatic and over the top score to Black Adam.
However, as soon as the brooding piano notes of Michael Giacchino’s exceptional score featured in the trailer for The Batman, it was obvious from there that this score would be something special. A film composer with an already impressive CV that already includes following in the footsteps of great film composers with some other franchises, he was already the ideal choice. In an interview Giacchino stated that he actually composed some of the music before they even started making the film as the intention was to simply capture the mood and feeling of its protagonist. While he goes for a different approach to the equally memorable scores of Tim Burton and Hans Zimmer / James Newton Howard, he manages to capture the mood of both the film and its titular protagonist, and also undoubtedly enhances what is already a great film.
Whether it be the dark and lingering piano-led theme for Batman, the seductive string arrangements of the theme for Catwoman or the intense and unnerving interpretation of Ave Maria for the theme for The Riddler, Giacchino’s score for The Batman is quite simply a masterpiece, and for me is an instant addition to one of the best film scores of all time.
The Most Wasted Leading Performance:Tom Holland in Uncharted
While there were certainly some average or poor films in 2022 that wasted great performances, the always likeable Tom Holland was surely the most wasted in this latest video game adaptation desperate to be the next big franchise.
The very successful Uncharted games were extremely cinematic, and so an actual film version was inevitable. Though it seemed to take a while to happen, the result was a slight shift in that its two main protagonists were younger than in the games. However, in trying to start a franchise and establish its own identity, that seemed a good choice, and proved very wise by casting Tom Holland as the protagonist Nathan Drake. In a deeply committed and physical performance, Holland undoubtedly captures perfectly the charisma and wit of ‘Nate’. However. It is just a shame everyone else involved cannot get anywhere near the same standard. The games obviously last a lot longer than two hours, and so perhaps playing the games made me think that the film ended just as it was getting started, but it really did feel that way. While the attempts at recreating the great and often amusing bromance between Nate and his older mentor Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan are thwarted by the fact that Sully is played by the often extremely unlikeable ‘Marky’ Mark Wahlberg – who’s only acting range is just how much he can frown. A Mark Wahlberg on ‘top form’ (whatever that is) may have helped, but here he is clearly unhappy about playing second fiddle, and poor old Tom seems the only one trying.
The Most Overrated Film: Licorice Pizza
Whilst Bones and All, Glass Onion and Everything Everywhere All at Once were certainly contenders, the clear winner (or loser) for me is this story of two young people (albeit with a morally and legally questionable age difference) who fall in and out of love with each other over a summer in the 1970s.
For a very long time now Paul Thomas Anderson has been making films very much his way, and with a filmography like his, few can argue that he has not earned that right. Unfortunately, like so many directors that have carte blanche, they can sometimes lose focus and get a bit carried away, and with Licorice Pizza PTA has done a David O. Russell and disappeared completely up his own arse. This film was always going to be loved by critics, but aside from its suitably sun-drenched visuals and set design, it is in my view a laboriously dull and unengaging experience with much on offer.
Whilst episodic, character-driven narratives can work very well, they rely on engaging characters – and though some of the random characters that turn up are quite interesting, the film’s two main characters are extremely difficult to like. Characters should be flawed and have unlikeable characteristics, but Gary and Alana are just plain horrible and deserve to be alone. Likewise, individual scenes that have little to do with the overall narrative are fine if they are enjoyable, funny, thought-provoking or memorable for any other reason, but so many of these moments in Licorice Pizza are not only completely pointless, but overlong and irritating.
Licorice Pizza is an overall completely ill-disciplined, self-indulgent mess of a film, and in my view, it should be nowhere near any ‘best of the year’ lists.
The Most Underrated Film: Strawberry Mansion
Low budget films do often rely on snowball effect-like momentum and word of mouth, but it seems like for some reason this haunting and surreal film missed the boat there. Combining the best dystopian ideas and surrealist set pieces of Terry Gilliam and the dream-like visuals of Michel Gondry, this film set in a future where dreams are monitored and taxed is real gem. While the overall story may be quite predictable, Strawberry Mansion manages to successfully balance the surreal with a haunting feeling of melancholy and it is a real shame that no one actually saw it.
The Sequel That Broke the Rule of Sequels: Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Top Gun: Maverick aside, there was another release in 2022 that managed to be better than its predecessor.
Money talks in cinema, and despite its overall lukewarm reviews (especially from me), 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog made a lot of money, so a sequel was inevitably confirmed. While it certainly contains the same issues as its predecessor, such as a predictable plot with some horrendously signposted schmaltzy themes, Jim Carrey’s embarrassing theatrics and the actors badly engaging with the CGI characters, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 managed to defy the standard rule of sequels. The main reason for this is in my view of the inclusion of Tails and Knuckles – with both of these characters adding a sense of nostalgia and fun (especially Idris Elba’s Knuckles, who is great fun once a certain predictable and inevitable plot development happens) and making for a sequel that is at its best without its human characters – who still struggle to convincing engage with the CGI characters.
The Film Whose Mere Existence is Genuinely Baffling: The Nan Movie
Running from 2004 and 2009, The Catherine Tate Show relied solely on lazy catch phrase comedy and ran for way longer than it should have done, but it’s forgettable characters thankfully pretty much disappeared forever when it ended. Sometimes a TV series or character get a feature length outing at the time they are popular (even if the results are horrific, like with the horrendously bad Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie), but the fact that over a decade later, one of the single-catchphrase main characters gets their own movie was out of the blue to say the least. Why The Nan Movie got funded is baffling for the reasons already stated, but the result is also one of the dullest and most pointless films of the year – a series of boring and unfunny sketches held together with a wafer-thin ‘road movie’ narrative that attempts to provide a backstory that no one wanted, with a conclusion that attempts to contain emotion, but just bores and annoys. Most films exist for a reason (even if they are purely monetary), but why The Nan Movie ever got made is genuinely baffling!
The Most Tearjerking Companionship: Elmer and Boris in My Father’s Dragon
While it certainly does not reach the emotional extremes of the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless (and I doubt anything ever will), the journey encountered by a boy named Elmer and a dragon by the name of Boris in the latest from Cartoon Saloon is still one that is profoundly emotional.
The wonderful animation from Cartoon Saloon once again creates a magical and immersive world, and both of the main characters are deeply relatable, and they both encounter a journey together that is not only reliant on their increasing companionship, but they are both deeply personal journeys of discovery for each of them.
Like all great stories, the main characters go on journeys that are not only literal and emotional, but also contain some profound lessons, and My Father’s Dragon may have a slightly bizarre and surreal overall story, but it is still one that has at is very core some truly universal and relatable themes, and that is what makes the relationship between its two main protagonists so emotionally rewarding.
The Most Cringe Inducing Scene: People Vs Zombies in Black Adam
While it certainly did not hit the below rock bottom standards of Morbius, this attempt to bring us a film focussing on a DC antihero was at least just about watchable with some decent action sequences, a great score and some solid performances – albeit with may too many characters. However, what it did not lack was plenty of cringey moments thanks to its lazy plotting and often terrible dialogue that well and truly rammed the whole middle eastern-country-oppressed-by-its-western-invaders theme down the throat of the viewer.
A lot of the film focusses on and indeed seems to be told from the point of view of the citizens of the fictional city of Kahndaq; Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) and her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), which does admittedly help with Black Adam’s character arc, but some of the speeches these characters give are rather clunky and cringe-inducing. However, the one scene that is difficult to watch due to its truly embarrassing dialogue is when the film’s surprising villain unleashes the ‘legions of Hell’ (sounds far more dramatic than it is and is just essentially a load of zombies) and Amon gives a ‘rousing’ speech to motivate his fellow citizens to finally stand up against their centuries of oppression and fight a hoard of CGI zombies – whoever thought this scene would be a good idea should never work in film ever again, but knowing Hollywood, they have probably been promoted to CEO!
The Very Colourful Snooze-fest: Avatar: The Way of Water
It certainly took a while for Jimmy Cameron to give us a sequel to Avatar, but is it actually a sequel or just a remake that is even longer in running time and features a lot more water?
Yes, it is of course visually stunning, but considering the colossal budget at Cameron’s disposal, that should just be used as a statement of fact and not in any way a compliment!
Either way, the longer running time just means the flaws and issues with the first one are even greater and more jarring; painfully clichéd characters, many of which are simply there to serve the narrative – and the hideously lazy script does not even try to cover this up. It is effectively the same story as before, but somehow the characters manage to be even less engaging or developed. Whilst the eco-friendly messages are rammed down the viewer’s throat. The only memorable moment is an extended action sequence in which a whale like character is hunted and killed – it is a horrible and harrowing scene, as it was never in doubt how it would end. Other than that, it is just constant clunky exposition and characters telling us what we can already see on screen complied with painfully lazy and poorly developed character arcs.
What truly does take the biscuit is that when we finally think the film’s main antagonist has actually died and everyone can just get on with their lives, he is then saved by one of the film’s most badly written characters, so to then do it all it again in part 3 – which really begs the question; what was the point of the whole bum numbing 3 hours and 12 minutes that we all had to endure that may well have given some of us irreparable liver damage?!?
The Most Quietly Harrowing Film: Playground
Context is always important with any story, and the events that unfold within the narrative of Playground are genuinely life changing for the characters involved. The school playground can be very much a brutal and unforgiving place, and Laura Wandel’s uncompromising feature length debut depicts this perfectly. With long un-edited sequences and the camera only ever focussing tightly on the two young protagonist’s faces, Playground is at times a suffocating and claustrophobic experience, but the realistic depiction of what that many of us have experienced is often genuinely harrowing without ever having to revert to cinematic shock tactics, but just simply present in the most realistic way possible a daily experience for so many children.
The Nicolas Cage: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
In recent years, the seemingly walking meme and ‘best-worst actor of all time’ has been on the face of it happy to embrace his status with performances in films that will inevitably require a bit of Cage Rage for us all to enjoy for our own personal reasons and remind us why Nicolas Cage has brought as all so much joy over the last 30 years, even if this was at his expense.
Well, The Unbearable Weight of Massive of Talent seemed on paper to be the ultimate ode to the many (and often unintentionally funny) moments of such a unique filmography. Yet, while it contains a plethora of enjoyable references about why we have all come to embrace Cage Rage and his ‘unique’ approach to acting, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent could have gone much further. There needed to be more subtle nuggets and easter eggs – such as Nicolas Cage shouting “I’m a vampire!” at least once.
Films that try to be a bit meta and self-referential do tread a fine line, but this is simply not possible for a film that is about Nicolas Cage, as he has already trampled all over that line – when it comes to Nicolas Cage a film simply cannot go far enough, and this film could have done so much more!
The Best Blockbuster: Top Gun: Maverick
Providing a sequel after all this time seemed initially like a mad idea that can surely only fail, but Top Gun: Maverick does really deliver the goods and proves to be better than all of the CGI dominated superhero films that dictate the blockbuster market these days. While it may have plenty of narrative flaws and is effectively a homage to its leading man, Top Gun: Maverick just works, and it is a loud and proud film that needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible for its pure cheesy glory to be fully appreciated.
2022 has been a rather rubbish year for pretty much everyone, but seeing Top Gun: Maverick at the cinema provided that genuinely wonderful 2 hours of escapism from the misery of day-to-day life that we all need better than any other film released this year, and it was impossible not to leave the cinema with a smile on your face – albeit briefly until we walked outside the cinema and were confronted once again with real life!
The Best Worst Film: Blackbird
Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley goes full-on Neil Breen (and for those who are not familiar with his glorious filmography, I would implore you to check that out!) with a film was actually made back in 2018 of which he is not only the leading man, but the writer, director and producer of this wannabe Bond-esque spy thriller. The script is terrible, the action sequences awful and for no reason whatsoever, Flatley’s protagonist’s has a baffling penchant for wearing hats at a slight tilt, there are also frequent single-take sequences with a swooping camera even though, despite the fact that Flatley has clearly seen Touch of Evil,a cinematic auteur he is not. The result is a hilariously bad self-indulgence project that has to be seen to be believed.
The Most British of British Films: All My Friends Hate Me
I was always taught that the most important aspect of screenwriting was to make the characters relatable, then it does not matter what the narrative may throw at them. Well, relatability is right at the heart of what makes All My Friends Hate Me such a memorable film (and also a very strong contender for one of the most underrated films of the year), and it uses these relatable situations to produce that cringe inducing humour produced from painfully uncomfortable situations that we Brits are world leaders in. There are so many situations that our protagonist finds himself in that the viewer can relate to (albeit with great emotional pain), and at times All my Friends Hate Me proves to be rather uncomfortable viewing, but unforgettable and painfully hilarious at the same time.
The Worst Villain: Lewis Dodgson in Jurassic World: Dominion
Due to the desire to include the big names from the newer films and the older films, the makers of the dullest chapter yet (and also a contender for the worst film of the year) must have run out of cash in the casting budget, as they cast the relatively unknown Campbell Scott (though he did play Peter Parker’s deceased dad in the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spiderman films) as the film’s main villain. While any actor with clout or familiarity would certainly struggle to provide any kind of memorable character with the appallingly shoddy script, Lewis Dodgson (an equally unmemorable name) is a walking cliché that has been seen countless times in these kinds of films. The icing on the cake though has to be the scene we he loses his temper; the dialogue, his performance and outburst of violence toward inanimate objects is just downright cringey.
The most disturbing image of the year that can never be un-seen: Mark Rylance in his pants and covered in blood in Bones and All
Luca Guadagnino’s boy meets girl road movie about two cannibals was always destined to be a darling of the critics. While I have many criticisms of Bones and All, I must concede that it does deserve credit for using the inevitable blood and guts that would come with having a film about cannibals very sparingly. Whilst Mark Rylance’s character does feel like an antagonist for the sake of an antagonist and his inclusion in the narrative does feel a little forced and jarring, was there really any need to show us a scene of him devouring a dying old lady while wearing just a vest and unnecessarily tight pants?!?
There is no image of this available on the internet for me to use – which is probably a good thing!
The Frustratingly Unfulfilled Potential: Don’t Worry Darling
Unfortunately, due to the UK media having an obsession with anything to do with Harry Styles, his relationship with director Olivia Wilde and her very public commencement of divorce proceedings with Jason Sudeikis, Don’t Worry Darling certainly had more publicity than any marketing department could ever dream of. The film itself genuinely did have a lot of potential; a great cast (and Harry Styles), an intriguing premise and a director in Olivia Wilde that has already proved to have a great eye for visual and stylistic flair.
What makes things even more frustrating is that Don’t Worry Darling does feature some good performances (and some not so good) and is very well put together from an aesthetic point of view. However, this proves to be very much style (no pun intended) with a total lack of substance, as any initial promise and intrigue is soon well and truly quashed by a script that falls completely flat on its face and creates a film that gradually descends into being painfully boring and predictable.
The Very Worst Film: Morbius
There were plenty of rather expensive films in 2022 that turned out to be awful, but with every factor considered, the worst film of 2022 by far has to be this shockingly bad attempt to try to make a comic book bad guy a protagonist of their own film. While the two Venom films have been laughably bad, they have made a fair amount of money, and so there now seems to be a desire from the cynical, profit-obsessed mainstream movie machine to make more films that are about bad guys – something Disney has also tried to exploit.
This should work, as villains are often more interesting than heroes (and one of the main issues with so many blockbusters is two-dimensional villains), however the usual Hollywood arrogance and complacency has taken over. To have an anti-hero as the main protagonist that is compelling and sympathetic is actually a very difficult thing to achieve, and is more suited to low-budget films, and not the lowest common denominator, focus-group-lead narrative requirements of a big budget film.
Well, Morbius seems to truly sum up that arrogance of the industry; it is a film made with no effort whatsoever and has quite literally no redeeming features. At least the Venom films had the ‘so bad they are good’ elements to them and were (unintentionally) funny, but Morbius is just a horrible experience that sums up the patronising opinion and utter contempt that the industry has for the average film fan. What does not help is that it stars Jared Leto, who after excruciatingly over the top performances in The Little Things and House of Gucci where he seemed to think he was in a different film to the rest of the cast, finally confirms that he either just does not care anymore or has actually forgotten how to act. The likes of Matt Smith and Jared Harris are clearly on autopilot and are just there to pick up their significant paycheques.
Everyone involved in Morbius should be deeply ashamed of themselves, it is a truly horrible film to watch that basically insults its audience.
The Politest Love Triangle: Operation Mincemeat
Operation Mincemeat was yet another British film aimed at the Downton Abbey crowd that stubbornly placed itself in the middle of the road and refused to even budge from that position, and so made sure to include a cast of crowd favourites such as Colin Firth, Matthew Macfayden, Penelope Wilton, Simon Russell Beale and Jason Isaacs. Perhaps Hugh Bonneville, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith were busy!
It may well have been based on a true story and set in a time of genuine jeopardy, but due to the safe nature of this film, everything feels unnaturally safe and cosy – which is not helped by the fact none of the actors seem to care too much either. The only interesting character is Johnny Flynn’s Ian Fleming, who gives his character genuine edge – but his screen time is minimal so not raise anyone’s heart rate above 60 bpm.
One of the ‘creative’ decisions (though the reasons for it are quite baffling) is to create a live triangle that means Firth and Macfayden’s characters both fancy Kelly Macdonald’s young widow. It is a subplot that takes up a lot of time, but this being a British film, this supposed character conflict is handled with the stiffest upper lip possible, with the occasional mild argument, but with impeccable manner by all parties – it is quite possibly the politest (and also most boring and pointless) love triangle in cinematic history!