We may only be in February but the movies are already picking up as we speak. Putting aside the fact that there is a good chance we will see more great blockbusters in March of this year than we did for the entirety of summer 2016, February alone has seen a plenitude of excellent films from all ends of the scale. From family comedies, action masterclasses and your usual indie darlings there has been a good variety of quality.
Of course at the same time there has sadly been no shortage of what you would expect to find during this time of year. Numerous terribly made, horrible designed and horrendously conceived movies crawled out of their special spots in hell and found their way into our cinemas. The best we could do is not go to see them but we could not even manage that. I said at the start of the year that I was scared to find a movie worse than ‘The Bye Bye Man’ and in just a month I’ve already stumbled across it. But before all that here are the top three of the month.
3: I Don’t Feel At Home in this World Anymore
Despite being slightly lacklustre for a Sundance Grand Jury winner, Macon Blair’s debut feature is a darkly comic observation of social norms within modern society. It analyses people when they reach their breaking points and the bizarre ways they attempt to cope once they have done so. The world of the movie is populated by a degree of oddball characters and they are all played with enough conviction and enthusiasm from the actors that you are never disillusioned over what the film is trying to say about society. Keeping it all tied together as well is Melanie Lynskey’s performance that is level headed and deadpan when it needs to be but slowly transforms into one of suppressed rage to brilliant effect.
2: The LEGO Batman Movie
I never actually wrote a full review of ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ despite seeing it like everyone else. I suppose the main reason for that is simply because it was exactly as good as I and everyone else thought it would be, every clip and trailer looked like a hilarious, subversive and lovingly crafted commentary on Batman, and the movie ended up being a hilarious, subversive and lovingly crafted commentary on Batman. The animation is stunning to behold, vibrant, active and awe inspiring in its scale with a supremely talented voice cast to support it. While it lacks the wider social commentary of its predecessor ‘The LEGO Movie’ and the emotional centre of the film seems a tad contrived it makes up for it in its humour and homage to all things Batman. While I won’t make the dramatic statements some other critics have of declaring it the best Batman movie ever, I will say it is the best film to be released from under the DC banner since 2008.
1: John Wick Chapter 2
When it comes to pure, unrestrained and astonishingly brilliant entertainment you would be hard pressed to find anything better than the likes of ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’. It is more ambitious than the first ‘John Wick’ but no less masterful in its design and execution. It moves with such fluidity that is constantly feels fast paced but never exhausting. Most of what makes the movie great come down to Chad Stahelski’s direction that captures the unfolding action in a series of brilliantly orchestrated sweeping wide shots. But despite this grace it keeps the brutality and raw intensity of each action sequence to make them feel so utterly involving. What further draws you in is Keanu Reeves’ excellent performance as the title character, who not only makes John Wick his own unique creation but conveys so much with seemingly so little that you may be confused over why you care about him so much, but rest assured every emotion you attribute to this film is by design and not default.
And the worst….
50 Shades Darker
If I were you I would not be satisfied with my reasoning for now reviewing ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ mainly because if I knew that was going to be good, why did I review this vile, abhorrent piece of garbage when nothing could ever have even indicated it would be anything different? Every fundamental aspect of storytelling is broken here, the script lacks any kind of cohesive tissue, the performances and characterisations lack all nuance or subtlety. The point of these movies is to serve out sexual fantasies, but even that aspect is so poorly done and so horrifically integrated into the movie that I will never understand why anyone would ever subject themselves to this kind of torture.