The MovieViews 500 – December Summary

At the beginning of 2017, the MovieMuse crew set ourselves the challenge of watching 500 different films between us in the calendar year. Every new film watched would be rated and given a short review as part of our MovieViews database. And guess what? We did it!  😀

 

A final push throughout December resulted in an additional 66 different films being watched between us, which means the final total for 2017 was 511 different films. Gordon continued to work through many of the year’s new releases, while Mat decided to see if there were any half-decent Christmas films on the many freeview TV channels (Spolier alert: there weren’t!). All of the team had time to check out a number of beloved classics over the festive period, and of course there was time to assess new cinema releases such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle.

 

Below are the stats for the month, including our picks for best and worst films of the month. You can also scroll down to see the reviews written by each team member for every film watched in December. We’ll also be revealing more stats about our viewing (and reviewing) habits in an upcoming podcast.

 

Our challenge may now be complete, but that doesn’t mean we will stop watching or reviewing films, so expect the MovieViews database to continue to grow during 2018, and we will post occasional updates to highlight some of the best and worst films we’ve seen over the year.

 

Overall Stats

 January - JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
Total Films Watched282393563383774
Unique Films Watched258323251363666
New Reviews Added231303047333661
Average Rating Given3.303.093.293.253.033.083.18
Challenge Completion51.6%58.0%64.4%74.6%81.8%89.0%102.2%

Team Member Stats for December

 GordonMatSimon
Total Films Watched37316
Unique Films Watched35235
New Reviews Added35215
Average Rating Given3.282.943.83
Best Film of the MonthBlade Runner 2049Lights OutSherlock Holmes
Worst Film of the MonthGeostormChristmas on Chestnut St.Jumanji

Gordon’s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
1 Buck 2017 A decidedly average indie thriller whose gimmick of a one doller bill that is passed between all of the main characters, feels superfluous and tacked on. 2
American Made 2017 Cruise suits the slightly comic persona well, but this biopic of a drug runner falls foul of glamourising the criminality it is chronicling. 3
Battle of the Sexes 2017 This chauvinist vs feminist tennis showdown overplays and under-explores most of the films real themes and even makes the tennis scenes look pedestrian. However the performances of Stone and Carell pull it through to a satisfying conclusion. 3
Beach Rats 2017 Young stoner battles with his sexuality in a Brooklyn suburb. Slow pacing and shaky-cam direction detracted from some good performances. 3
Blade Runner 2049 2017 Looks, sounds and more importatly feels like a Blade Runner movie. After Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve is the new master of thoughtful sci-fi. I can't wait to see if he can make the hattrick. 4.5
Borg McEnroe 2017 In a film heavy on emotion, Shia Lebeouf is particularly effective as he mirrors McEnroe's tennis antics (turning a hostile crowd on side) with his own acting resurgence. This is Borg's story, but McEnroe wins our hearts. 3.5
Bright 2017 An interesting concept (bringing the Tolkien world to modern day LA), but shoehorned into a pretty unfulfilling buddy cop shooter. 2.5
Call Me By Your Name 2017 A beautifully romantic tale of a boys sexual awakening, in the Italian countryside. 4
Detroit 2017 Three equally tense tales of before, during and after the Algiers Hotel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots. A fine dramatisation of an incident that shows how 50 years on we have come so far, yet hardly moved forward an inch. 4
Downsizing 2017 Whilst the second half of this film didn't go where I wanted it to, the story of people being given the opportunity to be shrunk and live in luxury miniature worlds is delivered with enough humour and heart to see past its shortcomings. 3.5
Four Brothers 2005 A throwaway tale of four adoptive brothers who reunite for their mother's funeral and plot revenge on her killer. Entertaining, but the strong cast don't live up to their billing. 2.5
Fracture 2007 Anthony Hopkins is perfectly cast as the well to do man who confesses to killing his wife, but then toys with the cocky Deputy DA (Ryan Gosling). 3.5
Geostorm 2017 A disaster movie in all senses of the word. The kind of film that happens when movie execs come up with ideas for cool explosions and special effects, with no thought for the movie around them. 2
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2017 Despite some awful jokes and set pieces, Jungle is far more entertaining than it really ought to be. The update from board game to video game is handled well and doesn't insult gamers too much. 3
Kicks 2016 When a young poor kid has his beloved Air Jordans stolen, a violent chain of events plays out. Bleak and compelling in places, but it felt like the director was originally making a kids film but decided to add adult themes at the last minute. 3
Lady Bird 2017 Lady Bird is one of those films that has so litle to dislike it for. The coming of age story, the acting, the humour are all fine. But then nothing stands out as being particularly noteworthy either. 2.5
Mother! 2017 A polarising film that fortunately feels more genius than lunatic. As the film decends into madness so does the viewer in a twisted tale of the excesses of love. 4
Once Upon a Time in Venice 2017 Despite my dest intentions and a scene with Bruce Willis skateboarding naked through LA, I just couldn't hate this film. Keanu does the stolen pet comedy-thriller better, but Venice is fun all the same. 3
Paddington 2 2017 As delightful and heartwarming as the original cartoon series, the Paddington sequel improves in almost every way. Hugh Grant is on fine form as the pantomime villain in a wonderfully comic romp. 4
Payback 1999 Mel Gibson at his 90s best as a criminal looking for revenge on the mobster that double crossed him. Think Lethal Weapon but from the criminal perspective. 3.5
Right at Your Door 2006 When dirty bombs go off in LA a man seals off his house only to find his wife trapped on the outside. A superbly played out film that raises all the right questions about what YOU would do in those circumstances. 4
Road to Perdition 2002 As entertaining and well made as Road to Perdition is, Hanks notions of how to end the feud are overly elaborate, meaning if not for Jude Law's incredibly incompetent hitman, the film would have ended much sooner. 3.5
Roman J. Israel, Esq. 2017 Denzel puts in another good performance in a film that wants to sell a social and philosophical message but only ends up showing how even the most moral can be corrupted. 3
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 2017 REVIEW TO COME 4
The Florida Project 2017 A beautifully voyeuristic look at the life of a six year old and her dysfunctional mother in the Florida equivalent of the urban projects - a run down motel outside Disney World. 4.5
The Killing of a Sacred Deer 2017 A disappointingly linear film that charts the impact of an unthinkable dilemma. The film takes an age to reveal its single plot point and then does nothing with it. Far too safe from the director of The Lobster. 2
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) 2017 A funny and touching tale of familiar dysfunction and redemption. The film features superb performances from all of its ensemble cast, but most notably and surprisingly from Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. 4
The Mountain Between Us 2017 A well shot and believable tale of survival in the wilderness that loses its way when romance rears its ugly head. Elba is on form, but Winslet is really quite poor and sports a dreadful accent. 3
The Snowman 2017 Murder in the wilds of a Norwegian winter. Intriguing atmosphere and stunning locations, but the pedestrian plot means that we unfortunately may not see any more of Inspector Harry Hole. 2.5
The Untouchables 1987 Slightly dated and overly theatrical, but Brian De Palma's depiction of Al Capone's downfall is still as entertaining as ever. It is a pity that De Niro is so underused though. 3.5
Thor: Ragnarok 2017 As is the current trend with Marvel movies, Ragnarok dials the comedy up to 11 and delivers shallow but crowd pleasing entertainment. Twice the jokes and half the plot of either of the other Thor films. 2.5
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 2017 A superbly written and acted story of action and inaction as a grieving mother takes on the local police following her daughters murder. Only heavy handed directing keeps the film from greatness. 4
Timecrimes 2007 A head-scratcher of a time-travel movie that becomes better and better along the way as you work out more and more of its tangled plot. 4
Unlocked 2017 A surprisingly entertaining CIA in London action-thriller. Noomi Rapace suits the tough girl role, but Orlando Bloom sported a dodgy London accent in his underused role. 3
Videodrome 1983 Classic Cronenberg body horror. Whilst the concept and effects of the killer VHS are outdated, the film stands the test of time and delivers a pleasingly twisted vision. 3.5
Wind River 2017 A superbly atmospheric murder mystery in the snowy wilds of a Wyoming Indian reservation. The end may have felt a little rushed, but Wind River is a great film with a career best performance from Jeremy Renner. 4
Wonder 2017 Predictably saccharine tale of boy with disfigured face triumphing against bullies and life in general. The film has a big cast, but small ambition. 2.5

 

 

Mat‘s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
A Doggone Christmas 2016 Has almost no relevance to Christmas, with all but the opening scene obviously shot in summertime, and much of the acting is woeful, but the canine star is endearing and there are a few genuinely funny moments. 2
A Monster Christmas (Abominable Christmas) 2012 The only Christmas miracle in this 45 minute film is how they got recognised names like Ray Liotta and Emilio Estevez to provide voices to CG-animated characters that look like they were done for a GCSE Media Studies project. 1.5
As Above So Below 2014 Bland to begin with, but once it gets going this is an original, claustrophobic and occasionally scary movie. However, it would've been far better with a less irritating female lead and if it hadn't been shot in the 'found footage' style. 3
Bad Neighbours 2 2016 Absolutely awful for the first 15 minutes, but from there it picks up and provides some humorous if predictable moments. The biggest surprise, however, is an engaging performance from Zac Efron, an actor I utterly despised until now. 2.5
Christmas on Chestnut Street 2006 A very generic Christmas movie with some pretty shameful racial stereotyping and a depressing sub-plot about an old man with dementia. Abysmal stuff! 1
Deck the Halls 2006 You'd expect a film starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito to be a bit higher calibre than most Christmas films, but this is the same bland and predictable 'heartwarming' family comedy as all the others. 2
Die Hard 1988 Not only the best action film of all time, but also the best Christmas film of all time! An iconic moment in the evolution of action films, showing good guys didn?t need to be muscle-bound heroes and bad guys could be intelligent and engaging. 5
Dodgeball 2004 The premise is ridiculous and the characters are mostly bizarre, but somehow it works to produce an entertaining comedy, though certain aspects seem dated already. 3.5
Don't Breathe 2016 An interesting twist on the home invasion thriller that has you questioning who (if anyone) to root for. Unfortunately much of the plot is preposterous and detracts from the more praiseworthy elements of the film. 3
Duck Soup 1933 Almost completely devoid of plot, but covers almost every facet of physical and verbal comedy. Much of that was expected but the satire, songs and innuendo were all a surprise, and this was way more entertaining than I expected an 85 year old film to be. 3.5
Frailty 2001 An interesting premise and good acting all round from adults and kids alike, but the twists are very predictable for the most part. Maybe I've just seen too many of this type of film! 2.5
Galaxy Quest 1999 Works as both a parody and a tribute to classic Star Trek, with a decent story, reasonable action and some brilliant comic performances. Alan Rickman gets most of the plaudits but Sigourney Weaver is just as good. 3.5
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 2016 The character's lone wolf persona is marginalised by his female co-stars and much of the black humour of the first film is missing. The result is a fairly generic action film and a disappointing sequel to one of Cruise's best films of recent times. 2.5
Jumanji 1995 At the time the blend of CGI and puppetry effects would have been impressive, but they haven't dated well and when you take them away, the story is rather lacking. Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst are both great though, and it's an enjoyable distraction. 3
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2017 A straightforward action-adventure movie is elevated by often hilarious performances from some of Hollywood's most engaging talent and a perfect appreciation of the absurdity of video games. A truly delightful surprise. 4
Jurassic Park 1993 The dinosaur effects have aged surprisingly well, and upstage the generally mediocre human actors in most cases. The film blends the feelings of wonder and terror perfectly however, and is one of the best technical achievements in cinematic history. 4
Kill Me Three Times 2014 Starts off reasonably well but completely fails to follow the plot suggested by its title, and the early humour isn't sustained. Almost all the characters are horrible too, so there's nobody to root for. 2.5
Lights Out 2016 David Sandberg's adaptation of his own short film is a taut, effective chiller with good characters and some incredible use of sound and light to build tension. Watch it with the lights off to maximise the scare factor! 4
Monster Trucks 2016 Does absolutely nothing new for this type of movie, with some abysmal acting at times, but the main creature is fairly adorable and there's just about enough entertainment to warrant its running time. Inoffensive moving wallpaper. 2.5
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale 2010 A dark, comic twist on the Santa Claus legend, which hints at being a horror film but never truly follows through with it. Well put together on a modest budget, featuring a brilliant performance from Onni Tomilla who would go on to star in Big Game. 3.5
Rock Dog 2016 Story-wise it doesn?t stand up against the big players like Pixar and Dreamworks, but this is still an enjoyable film with good voice casting, a nice soundtrack and occasionally striking animation. 3
Snow Day 2000 A predictable teen high school romance comedy set against a snowy backdrop. Mildly entertaining but nothing that hasn’t been done a thousand times before, and Chevy Chase may as well have not turned up. 2
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015 My fifth viewing of the film, and it's still just about as enjoyable as the first. It certainly riffs heavily on the original trilogy but the new characters bring a freshness to the saga, and there are plenty of thrills and laughs. 4
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 2017 When it's good, it's very good, but when it's bad it's awful. Overall the good outweighs the bad and the film is fun, with a good story along with the usual action and humour. Not as good as it's predecessor, but enjoyable nonetheless. 3.5
The 12 Disasters of Christmas 2012 A doomsday event inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas isn't the worst idea for a disaster movie, and this does its best with a limited cast and a presumably miniscule special effects budget. Not quite as awful as anticipated. 2.5
The Dog Who Saved Christmas 2009 Basically it's Home Alone with a dog replacing Macaulay Culkin, much worse acting and very little humour. Inoffensive but instantly forgettable. 1.5
The Girl With All the Gifts 2016 Seeing my local city centre as the setting for a post-apocalyptic zombie movie was exciting, but the movie itself was a bit of a slow burner with a dull ending. The main characters were all well-acted but nothing much happened. 3
The Lego Batman Movie 2017 Far less irritating than the first Lego Movie, and the parodying of numerous heroes and villains is fun, but again this is a film designed to sell toys to people with no attention span. Entertaining but entirely forgettable. 3
The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997 The sense of wonder and tension from the first film is replaced by a bunch of idiotic or despicable characters that you're just waiting to get eaten. A grim, depressing sequel that is marginally redeemed by the climactic T-Rex rampage. 2.5
The Return of the King 2003 The Lord of the Rings saga comes to an end with another epic, action packed and emotion-filled instalment. There are undoubtedly too many endings, but spending a few more minutes than necessary with the residents of Middle Earth is no bad thing. 4.5
Why Him? 2016 Pretty much a rehash of Meet the Parents with a slightly different twist and a lot more crude humour. Sags heavily in the middle but the first and last half hour are entertaining enough. 2.5

 

 

Simon’s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
Back to the Future 1985 A classic in every sense of the word and one of my favourite films. Great story, great effects, great cast, great everything! Amazing stuff! 4
Back to the Future Part II 1989 A brilliant follow up to a classic first part. I actually enjoy this one more than the original as I love the future scenes. The story gets a bit complicated but it is still a classic part of a great trilogy. 4.5
Jumanji 1995 Only seeing this for the first time, I quite enjoyed it. The effects were OK in a mid 90s way and I enjoyed the story, even though there didn't seem to be much coherency. It was nice to see Robin Williams even if he was more subdued than I expected. 3.5
Scrooged 1988 An often overlooked Christmas film and made for Bill Murray at the height of his powers I would say. No one could play a modern day Scrooge any better and the film is a great take on the classic story. 3.5
Sherlock Holmes 2009 A classy, stylish and slick rendition of the classic British Sleuth, with a decent enough story and a pretty good cast. I don't mind Robert Downey Jr's english accent and enjoyed his interaction with Jude Law's Watson. 3.5
Trading Places 1983 A classic Eddie Murphy Vehicle, with a good solid cast and a great story. The sense of moralistic victory lends to a good feeling while watching the latter half and overall it is a great movie. 4

What do you think?