Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi 2017)

obvgswamufrzand so anyway it turns out the best thing about Thor: Ragnarok (2017) was not the automatic ticket machines being out of action so we had to queue up at the box office to collect tickets we’d already paid for, nor was it the cinema’s decision to start a screening of Justice League (Snyder 2017) at roughly the same time so we had to queue among even bigger idiots doomed to even greater disappointment than me, nor was it the curiously Oirish-sounding music on the soundtrack every time the story took us to Norway, nor was it Tom Hiddleston’s always amusing inability to actually deliver lines of dialogue, which this time faced some tough competition from an oddly Americanised Frumious Bandersnatch, nor was it Karl Urban’s rather baffling but spot-on London cabbie accent, though it probably helped make Idris Elba feel at home during the two or three days he was on set, nor was it Marvel/Disney’s cunning ploy of bringing in the always vastly overrated mildly funny Taika Waititi to imbue an otherwise plodding-but-not-quite-as-plodding-as-usual late franchise entry with some mild and vastly overrated funniness, as well as to pay homage to Mike Hodges’ Flash Gordon (1980) while generating the shifts in tone necessary to clumsily staple the main franchise universe to the version in Guardians of the Galaxy movies, nor was it the disappointing absence of the Rock (Thor: RagnaROCK!!!!) whose trailered Jumanji  just looks better and better in comparison, while still looking terrible, you understand, no, the best thing about Thor: Ragnarok is perhaps almost the most ignominious, in that it fulfilled a long-held shamefully festive and object-cathecting  fantasy, that is, to see Cate Blanchett play Servalan in panto….

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos 2017)

KSD_1Sheet_Alt_Curzon_HRand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), Yorgos Lanthimos’s tepidly comic but ultimately toothless mash-up of Ballard, Kubrick and Lynch, is not the relentlessly crawling pace that actually gives you time to watch not paint dry but Colin Farrell’s beard grow (and turn increasingly grey), nor is it Alicia Silverstone’s wise decision to quit the movie after a single scene because it required her to suck Colin Farrell’s fingers, nor is it the fact that I have finally managed to stay awake all the way through a film by Yorgos “no idea how to wrap up this story” Lanthimos, though this time ironically it could well have been the praying for sleep to come that kept me from napping, nor is it the fact that no deer, sacred or otherwise, were killed during the making of this film, no, the best thing about The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the immensely tall cameraman employed to do the long tracking-in and tracking-out shots, whose head you constantly fear is going to come a cropper on light fittings and door ways, thus adding a much-needed sense of danger and suspense as this never-seen lanky technician is the nearest thing to a character you could give a flying fuck about…

Legend (Brian Helgeland 2015)

COaZeleUkAAxbYOand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Legend (2015), the most recent attempt to glamourise and whitewash at least one of the Kray twins, is not Brian Helgeland’s decision to hire Emily Browning, an actress every bit as inept at voice work as Daniel Craig (see Renaissance (Volckman 2006)), to do the voiceover narration, nor Brian Helgeland’s decision to let someone as inept at writing voiceover as Brian Helgeland write the voiceover script, nor is it Brian Helgeland’s decision to cast David Thewliss, Christopher Eccleston and Tara Fitzgerald but not bother to write roles for them to play, nor is it Brian Helgeland’s stunt casting of the lovely Tom Hardy as both of the Krays, thus forcing him to stop doing all the accents at the same time and to instead create two distinct characters – the loyal, beautiful, misunderstood but handy in a fight and not at all auditioning for the role of James Bond Reggie Kray, and the psychotic gurning-like-a-Gumby jealous queer in NHS glasses Ronnie Kray – nor is it the inclusion of a unicorn just in case Sir Diddley Squat needs some outtake footage for yet another reissue of Blade Runner, no, the best thing about Legend always was and remains the poster’s chutzpah in pretending The Guardian‘s overly generous two-star review was – look between their ears – yet another of the utterly mystifying four-star reviews…

Jason Bourne (Paul Greengrass 2016)

56d01fb8b6_345x518_b1093cb7dfand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Jason Bourne (2016) is not its relentlessly undistinguished blandness or its sheer breathtaking lack of any fucking reason to exist or to take up so much of my life, or that it gave me one last chance to pretend that Julia Stiles is really the daughter of Furious Styles, which is how she got the in to teach those ghetto kids ballet before becoming head of street dance at the CIA, no, the best thing about Jason Bourne is its completely unexpected, subtly crafted and cunningly layered self-reflexivity, which saw me drawn back into a franchise of which I have only the most fragmented and disconnected memories, starring Matt Damon, who has been drawn back into a franchise of which he has only the most fragmented and disconnected memories, playing a character who is drawn back into a life of which he has only the most fragmented and disconnected memories, and now you too are trying to remember what exactly happened in this franchise of which you have only most fragmented and disconnected memories…

The Legend of Tarzan (David Yates 2016)

tumblr_oaiqrwWVru1rkkyz2o1_1280and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about The Legend of Tarzan (2016) – apart, obviously, from the scantily-clad Alexander Skarsgård – is not that it represents big-budget Hollywood finally drawing attention to, and giving a nuanced, accurate and genuinely harrowing account of, King Leopold’s genocidal regime in the Congo Free State, which killed roughly ten percent of the population of all of Africa, because it doesn’t do that, nor is it Christopher Waltz’s feature-length audition tape for the role of Hercule Poirot’s evil twin brother in some awful modernising ‘reboot’ that no-one wants of a well-loved character that will undoubtedly be directed by Guy fucking Ritchie, no, the best thing about The Legend of Tarzan is that, terrible as it is, even with its genuinely well-intended but miserably inadequate revisionism, it still somehow manages not to be the worst Margot Robie film directed by someone called David I have seen this week…

Suicide Squad (David Ayer 2016)

suicidesquadheaderand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Suicide Squad (Ayer 2016) is not that it reminds you of just quite how good – and subtle – a film The Dirty Dozen (Aldrich 1967) is but of just quite how good – and subtle – literally any and every other film you have ever seen is…

The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu 2015)

The_Revenant_2015_film_posterand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about The Revenant (2015), Alejandro González Iñárritu’s bizarre picturesque slapstick epic of wilderness survival, in which beardy absurd terminator Leonardo DiCaprio repeatedly treads on the ends of rakes that slap him in the face as he – always out-bearded, always out-gurned – pursues Tom Hardy through Werner Herzog’s old stomping ground and a maze of try-hard-wannabe allusions to Tarkovsky, is not the indigenous-washing sequence in which Leo’s magical negro is played by a native American indian, nor is it the faithful historical reconstruction of a world without exposure, hypothermia or women, no, the very best thing about The Revenant is the sheer chutzpah of beginning with the line “It’s okay son… I know you want this to be over”…