The MovieViews 500 – January Summary

 

The MovieMuse team has set ourselves the challenge of watching 500 different films between us in 2017. Every new film we watch will be rated and given a short review as part of our new MovieViews database. February may be well underway, but this update details how we got on in the first month of our challenge.

 

The target for each member of the team is to  watch 11 distinct films a month, which would see us meet that target of 500 for the year. In January three of us managed to do that, with Mat and Gordon both surpassing 30 films watched in total (we should probably get out more!)

 

Amongst the films watched were some 80’s classics, such as Labyrinth, which garnered differing opinions from the two people that watched it, and brand new releases, including the acclaimed La La Land. Below are the stats for the month, including each team members’ best and worst picks from the films they watched for the first time. You can also scroll down to see the short reviews written by each team member for every film watched in January.

 

Overall Stats

 JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay
Total Films Watched8445463151
Unique Films Watched7837402743
New Reviews Added7237392537
Average Rating Given3.213.273.322.733.23
Challenge Completion15.6%23.0%31.0%36.4%45.0%

 

Team Member Stats for January

 GordonGraemeMatSimon
Total Films Watched3453114
Unique Films Watched3232912
New Reviews Added314289
Average Rating Given3.223.13.083.5
Best Film of the MonthMoonlightLa La LandSplinterIron Man
Worst Film of the MonthPassengersBarb WireSistersThe Witch

 

Gordon’s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
A Monster Calls 2016 Whilst the film is a heartfelt story of childhood grief, it is ultimately a slightly dull tale permeated with well animated fables. 2.5
Allied 2016 No matter how good the story or acting may be (both are just OK), it is hard to look past the strange CGI de-ageing work that has been done to Pitt. 3
American Honey 2016 A different take on the coming-of-age road trip movie with a band of believable misfits working and playing hard as they travelling the mid-west. 3.5
Ben Hur 2016 A TV movie masquerading as a Hollywood blockbuster. Even the fabled chariot scene is a let down (with its obviously CGI horses). 2
Christine 2016 High on melodrama but low on insight. 2
Criminal 2016 Despite a ludicrous premise, this London based thriller has a great international cast and is surprisingly well thought out. 3.5
Death Race 2050 2017 A sensationalist and throwaway update of the cult 70s original. Population cull films can be done much better (see The Purge). 2
Denial 2016 A reasonably interesting courtroom drama that is made semi-unwatchable by an awful performance by Rachel Weisz. 2.5
Dheepan 2016 Like a French Harry Brown. I'm not sure the French will like the portrayal of France as a war-zone and England as the promised land though! 3
Fences 2016 Beautifully shot and very well acted. It is sometimes hard to accept Denzel as a poor man, but the way he delivers his long monologues and diatribes show just how good an actor he can be. 4
Florence Foster Jenkins 2016 What a dreadful example of Hollywood at its smarmiest, tritest, most pompous worst. Meryl Streep's performance is absolutely not worth all the plaudits and the Big Bang guy is just awful. 2
Golden Years 2016 A return to the bad old days of British comedy. Not a joke to be seen and some terrible acting from surprisingly good actors. 1.5
Hacksaw Ridge 2016 A good war film that could have been great but for Gibson's obsession with fiery death (worried about where you are going Mel?), Vince Vaughan's attempt at a serious role and Garfield's gormless face. 3.5
Hidden Figures 2016 The issues of segregation are dealt with in Hollywood way so we don't get to see any of the real tensions, but that aside Hidden Figures is a well told biography of three pioneering women who deserve to have their story told. 3.5
Jackie 2016 A surprising and intriguing look at woman behind JFK. Portman is wonderful, as is the production. 4
Julieta 2016 Despite wrapping up reasonably well, the film doesn't seem to go anywhere. It portrays loss well but unfortunately not well enough to make you really care. 2.5
La La Land 2016 A film of two halves. The first a classic musical will plenty of nods to its inspiration, the second a more serious relationship drama. Both play out really well with brilliant performances and scenes that make you grin without realising. 4
Lion 2016 A wonderful feel-good true story that despite pulling at the heartstrings, is told completely believably. Great acting from both 'Lions' and a wonderful score. 4
Loving 2016 Another biopic where the story's importance is far greater than the drama can convey. Impecibly acted and beautifully shot, but lacking in suspense. 3.5
Manchester By The Sea 2016 An absolutely stunning performance from Casey Affleck in a slow and upsetting portrayal of grief and regret. 3.5
Moonlight 2016 Three separate tales of one boys life in the hood, spanning two decades. Each tale is heartbreaking and beautiful. 4.5
Mustang 2016 A gentle family drama takes an interesting turn towards the end as Turkish sisters rebel against forced marriage. Has a fantastic score. 4
Notes on Blindness 2016 An unusual and well made documentary that is told by actors lip-syncing to original audio tape dialogue from the 80s. It certainly gives you empathy for its subject, but in the end it is just far too slow to maintain interest. 2.5
Operation Avalanche 2016 Using a found footage style this is an interesting tale of CIA agents posing as documentary makers and faking the moon landing. 3
Passengers 2016 All of the action is in the trailer, the plot holes are laughable and for a romance there is no chemistry.. Massive disappointment. 1.5
Split 2017 McAvoy manages to pull off each of his personalities with skill in M Night Shyamalam's best film for some time. Borrows from 10 Cloverfield Lane in more ways than one. 3.5
Star Wars: A New Hope 1977 Despite the tinkering of a deranged director, Star Wars is still the greatest adventure set to film. 4.5
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 1984 Only a weak opening half hour stops Jedi hitting the heights of its predecessors, but once we leave Jabba's palace the film is a joy. 4
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 1980 Featuring the most exciting sci fi battle ever, Empire is the crowning glory of an amazing trilogy. 4.5
The Girl With All The Gifts 2016 An interesting take on the zombie/viral outbreak movie that unfortunately gets a little too soppy in places. 3.5
The Hard Stop 2016 Interesting, but one sided and divisive documentary about crime, oppression and consequences. 3
Toni Erdmann 2016 In places it represents the mundanity of real life and in others it is mad as a bag of squirrels. German comedy, who'd have thought that would happen? 3.5
Under the Shadow 2016 A slow and creepy Iranian horror film where not a lot happens, but it stays with you. 4
War on Everyone 2016 Not quite the riot I was hoping for but it has plenty of laughs and all of the main 5 or 6 actors are great. I hope we get to see Detectives Terry Monroe and Bob Bolano again. 3.5

 

Graeme‘s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
Barb Wire 1996 A somewhat vacuous retread of Casablanca that struggles to overcome the inherent inability of Pamela Anderson to actually act, despite a solid supporting cast. 2
Contagion 2011 A realistic and compelling infection thriller that begs for a concentrated dose instead of its multi-character strands and pointlessly starry cast. 3
La La Land 2017 A charming and attractive homage to the classic Hollywood musicals and dramas of old. 3.5
Labyrinth 1986 A charming fantasy tale that, while questionable in certain acting areas (yes, I'm looking at you Ms.Connelly), is still good fun and contains bags of ideas. 4
Terminator Salvation 2009 An amiable, if somewhat soulless, bridge between the previous Terminator movies, ruined slightly by a bland performance from Sam Worthington. 3

 

Mat‘s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
22 Jump Street 2014 This sequel to a film that was better than it had any right to be is, again, better than it had any right to be. However, while its self-mocking moments are entertaining, the comedy and action are both inferior to the first film and soon become tiresome. 2.5
Baby Mama 2008 A generic female-oriented comedy made better than expected by the presence of two of the best comedy actresses in the business. 3
Continuum 2013 An intriguing time travel yarn that considers whether just because you could further the boundaries of science, does it mean you should? Hampered a bit by the modest budget and slow pace, but it's fairly well acted and the ending is worth the wait. 3.5
Cool Runnings 1993 Very much a case of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story, but this is a good story with plenty of laughs and a great performance by John Candy in one of the last roles before his untimely death. 3
Deep Impact 1998 Undeservedly overshadowed by that other, much poorer asteroid movie, this one blends thrills and drama in a much more believable way. 4
Dope 2015 If you can get past the offensive urban language and mumbled delivery from some actors, there's a witty and intelligent film here with some engaging characters. 3
Eraser 1996 A typical mid-90s Arnie film - plenty of overblown action, a few laughs, but nothing in the way of originality. Almost instantly forgettable. 2.5
Falling Down 1993 One of the most original ideas of its time, a tense and satirical thriller with a character that we can all sympathise with, until he goes too far. 4
Friday the 13th Part 2 1981 Jason makes an inauspicious debut as the primary antagonist of the series in an incredibly generic slasher offering that is just about redeemed by the last 20 minutes. 2.5
Goosebumps 2016 Family-friendly fun that should satisfy fans of Ghostbusters and Gremlins, but is let down by some hammy acting and below-par CGI. 3
Grandma 2015 Lily Tomlin excels in the role of a woman growing old disgracefully in a film that is more drama than comedy, but still has enough humour to be engaging. 3
Hachi: A Dog's Tale 2009 A tear-jerking true story about the bond between a dog and his master, beautifully delivered and with excellent performances from humans and dog alike. 4
Her 2013 Unique, funny, sad, disturbing and almost certainly prescient, but the film is marred by being overlong and becomes a little tedious. 3.5
Identity 2003 A great ensemble cast unites in a rain-drenched psychological thriller whose only failing is the rather disappointing twist. 3.5
Igor 2008 An interesting animation style, good voice acting and some genuine laughs can't save a film with a boring story and dreary musical numbers. 2.5
Into The Forest 2015 Despite a few plot points that strain its credibility, this is a tense survival thriller with compelling performances from the lead actresses and some excellent cinematography. 3
Just Before I Go 2014 Courteney Cox makes her film directing debut and finally allows Seann William Scott to shake off the 'Stifler' role. The blend of crude comedy and emotional reflection is jarring at times but this is better than the 10% Rotten Tomatoes score suggests. 3.5
Labyrinth 1986 A decent fantasy story and good puppetry are completely nullified by dreadful acting from the human characters and some embarrassing musical numbers. Best left in the 80's! 2
Prometheus 2012 Visually and aurally stunning, with plenty of thrills, but the story is often nonsensical and the characters are mostly either unmemorable or unlikeable. 3
Red Dragon 2002 Nowhere near as gripping as Silence of the Lambs, but Edward Norton is always worth watching and it's a guilty pleasure to see Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal one last time. 3
Sisters 2015 Only Amy Poehler comes out with any credit from an embarrassing and unfunny modern twist on the 80's teenage house party comedy. 1.5
Splinter 2008 Click to see our detailed review. 4
Terminator 2: Judgement Day 1991 With tremendous action and effects that still look pretty good, this is one of the best sequels of all time, but the increased budget and making Arnie the hero remove some of the menace and raw thrills that made the original film so memorable. 4
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines 2003 Unfairly lambasted simply for not being as good as its predecessors, this is a perfectly enjoyable action thriller that furthers the John Connor saga well and has the best ending of any film in the franchise. 3.5
The House at the End of the Street 2012 A potentially interesting horror thriller pulled into mediocrity by long periods of stupidity and a crap ending, despite a decent cast. 2
The Huntsman: Winter's War 2016 Undoubtedly the most derivative big budget fantasy adventure film you will ever see, but it still provides a reasonable two hours of entertainment. 2.5
The Overnight 2015 This raunchy comedy offers a few good laughs and cleverly makes you feel just as awkward and uncomfortable as the characters in it. It's also refreshingly short at under 80 minutes! 3
The Revenant 2015 A ludicrously improbable story, but compellingly told and with glorious cinematography. 4
The Silence of the Lambs 1991 While it may not be quite as terrifying as the hype suggested when it was released, this is undoubtedly a tense, disturbing and superbly-acted film with deservedly Oscar-winning performances from the two leads. 4
The Visit 2015 An unnerving, well-acted chiller that is something of a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan, but is almost ruined by the decision to film in a home movie/documentary style. 3
We Are Still Here 2015 Low budget horror that has a decent enough haunted house premise, but is let down by mediocre acting, boring cinematography and throws all sense of tension away with its gore-soaked finale. 2

 

Simon‘s Reviews

PosterMovieYearCommentsRating
Assault on Precinct 13 1976 A great 70's crime thriller, with suspense, good acting, and a great finish all adds up to a classic old school 'them or us' movie. 4
Chicken Little 2006 A likeable stock Disney moralistic all American animation, with quite good voice acting. It is inoffensive but nothing special. 3
Die Hard 1988 May be the greatest Christmas movie of all time. An amazing action filled romp from beginning to end. 4.5
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 The seminal family movie, thoroughly engaging with a great story, good effects and a weep-fest at the end. What more could you want? 4
Iron Man 2008 Great introduction to the series. Action galore, a well constructed story and great effects all add up to a Superhero powerhouse. 4
Iron Man 2 2010 More of the same but not quite as well done. The story is weaker and doesn't really hit any heights, but there are some good effects again. I liked it, just not as much as the first one. 3
Iron Man 3 2013 A return to some kind of form after the underwhelming second film. It is more of the same, but done well and has some spectacular effects and the story is engaging enough with a few twists to make you fully on Iron Man's side. 3.5
Prometheus 2012 An interesting concept, loosely linked to the Alien storyline. Some suspense, great effects and some good performances. Not a classic but a solid effort nonetheless. 3.5
Space Jam 1997 A film it has taken me 20 years to watch, and to be honest I was underwhelmed. Technically OK for it's time, but looking dated now, I just didn't find it an engaging story and Michael Jordan was terrible in the lead role. 2.5
The Colony (Colonia) 2016 A really enjoyable thriller which delves into the psyche of a controlling zealot with psychotic tendencies and the fabric of a corrupt strict dictatorship. Great performances all round and thoroughly recommended. 4
The Girl With All the Gifts 2016 After having read the book I was pleasantly surprised that the film stuck quite close to the story. Not amazing, but watchable, and it helped that I knew the story - it would not have been as good if I hadn't. 3.5
The Purge 2013 An interesting story of a dystopian USA which leads to quite a bit of suspense and gore in equal measures, with a few twists. The whole film holds together well. 3.5
The Witch 2016 I had high hopes for this but found it lacking in suspense, horror or any decent story. Very disappointed with this arty nonsense. 2
Wreck-it Ralph 2013 A wonderful insight into the world of video games we never see, with a great story, likeable characters and nods to games of all kinds, retro and otherwise. A clever concept well executed. 4

 

What do you think?