That’s the Second Biggest Monthly Review of April 2022 I’ve Ever Seen!

If you’re unfamiliar with the work of the once-formidable computer game developer LucasArts, you might think the title of this month’s review is setting up an almost-but-not-quite record-breaking affair. Not so, dear reader.

As those au fait with the aforementioned studio’s venerable output are doubtless already aware, this month’s title is, rather, referencing a running gag from the Monkey Island games. That was prompted by the recent announcement that 2022 will see the release of a sixth game in the series. The Monkey Island games have been a big part of my life, ever since I played the original on our family’s first PC when I was about six years old, so I’m thrilled that we’re getting another. I’ve already begun replaying the preceding games in anticipation.

None of which has anything to do with films, of course (except for the trivia that Steven Spielberg and ILM did nearly make a Monkey Island film once), other than that it’s taken away some of my film-viewing time. Consequently, the following has occurred…



This month’s viewing towards my yearly challenge

#26 Death on the Nile (2022) — New Film #4
#27 Munich: The Edge of War (2021) — Wildcard #1
#28 Encanto (2021) — Series Progression #2
#29 The Father (2020) — Rewatch #4
#30 High and Low (1963) — Blindspot #4


  • I watched 11 feature films I’d never seen before in April.
  • Just four of them counted towards my 100 Films in a Year Challenge, along with one rewatch.
  • That means I’ve fallen behind schedule for the first time this year — I should’ve reached #33 to be on track to hit #100 in December at a steady pace.
  • I’m not too worried, though. This month, for example, I watched seven films that didn’t count towards the challenge, so there’s plenty of leeway to watch more challenge-compliant films in the future.
  • Nonetheless, I deployed my first ‘wildcard’ in April, counting Munich: The Edge of War as a second 2022-released film watched this month. It’s a nice category to be able to use a wildcard in… but now that I’ve done it once, I can’t do it again. Them’s the rules.
  • In case you weren’t sure, the series Encanto progresses is the Disney Animated Canon (or Animated Classics, or whatever else you want to call it — the official name has varied over time). It’s not the ‘next’ entry I need to see in that series, but that’s okay, because it’s one of the few I’m making my way through in any old order.
  • This month’s Blindspot film saw the great Akira Kurosawa in a Hitchcockian mode for kidnap thriller cum social drama High and Low.
  • This month’s WDYMYHS film didn’t happen in the end, leaving me with one to catchup — next month, hopefully.
  • From last month’s “failures” I watched Death on the Nile and Fast & Furious 9.



The 83rd Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
Aside from the films listed above, my viewing this month included such acclaimed and/or popular recent releases as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Best Picture Oscar winner CODA. But, while they were good isn their own ways, probably the best film I saw was a classic: Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
Nothing truly terrible this month, but Fast & Furious 9 finally burst that franchise’s bubble, for me. Those films have been ridiculous but fun for about half the series’ run now, but I thought F9 tipped the balance too far — it was more ridiculous than ever, but it was no longer fun.

Most Unfortunate Casting That Didn’t Happen of the Month
Withnail & I is one of those films I’ve been meaning to watch forever but never quite cared enough to make the effort to get round to, until this month. Then, entirely by coincidence, I later happened to see on Twitter this bit of trivia: apparently, early in the development of Sherlock, creator(s) Steven Moffat and/or Mark Gatiss mentioned to Paul McGann that they were considering casting him as Watson with Richard E. Grant as Holmes. Now, obviously they’re Withnail & I personas wouldn’t be right for those roles, but they’re both much more versatile actors than that. As great as I think Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were, a film/series with Richard E. Grant as Sherlock Holmes and Paul McGann as Dr Watson is something I now feel we’ve been robbed of.

Most Pointless Extra-Textual Question of the Month
When the trailer for Death in the Nile came out, one line from it went semi-viral: “we have enough champagne to fill the Nile!” Of course, the character is being metaphorical: no one thinks they actually have that much champagne; she just means they have a lot. But, as I said, the line went viral, and therefor you can find multiple articles that tried to answer the question, how much champagne would it take to fill the Nile? The answer? It’s complicated. And, really, for such a fundamentally pointless question (no one’s going to try to do it for real), does any answer closer than that matter?

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
Just three posts compete for this honour, once again (hopefully May will be when I finally get back on top of that), and the winner is the one with actual reviews to read: 2022 Weeks 9–11.



Every review posted this month, including new titles and the Archive 5


I’m going to try to get both my challenge viewing and my general reviewing back on track. We’ll see how that goes…

The Slapping Monthly Review of March 2022

In my last post, a little over three weeks ago, I wrote that it had been “a hectic time, both at work and in my personal life, these past few weeks.” Well, that didn’t really let up, hence the extended period of radio silence here. Hopefully that is now behind me, however, and both posting and film watching can return to the decent pace I’d established in the first two months of the year.

If it doesn’t, maybe I need a jolly good slap… or not, eh?

Alright, that’s what amounts to “topical satire” for now. Let’s get on with how March’s film viewing went…



This month’s viewing towards my yearly challenge

#21 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) — Decades #10
#22 West Side Story (1961) — Rewatch #3
#23 Cobra (1986) — WDYMYHS #3
#24 Django & Django (2021) — New Film #3
#25 A Man Escaped (1956) — Blindspot #3


  • I watched nine feature films I’d never seen before in March.
  • Four of them counted towards my 100 Films in a Year Challenge, along with one rewatch.
  • That means I end the month bang on target: we’re a quarter of the way through the year, and I’m a quarter of the way to #100.
  • My overall viewing is going less well, failing to reach ten new films in a month for the first time since November. (You can see all my latest viewing, both Challenge-related and not, on my Recently Watched page.)
  • That said, while it didn’t reach the magic double figures, it’s not that far short of 2022’s other months: the year’s monthly average only drops from 12 to 11.
  • That said, in the world of viewing averages, a whole film drop is moderately large. For comparison, the rolling average of the last 12 months dropped by 0.9 films (from 14.8 to 13.9), and the all-time average for March by just 0.46 (from 15.79 to 15.33).
  • For the third month in a row, my “2022 film” is a 2021 film that didn’t get a UK release until 2022. This should’ve been the month to buck that trend, with The Batman, but unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to get to the cinema.
  • This month’s Blindspot film was Robert Bresson’s World War 2 prison drama A Man Escaped — or, to fully translate its original French title, One Condemned to Death Escaped, or, The Wind Blows Where It Wants. Classy.
  • This month’s WDYMYHS film was ’80s Sly Stallone actioner Cobra. That doesn’t have an intelligent-sounding extended title. Or much intelligence on the whole, really. It’s kinda fun, though.
  • From last month’s “failures” I watched The King’s Man.



The 82nd Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
I watched both versions of West Side Story this month, and, heretical as it may sound, I think I thought Spielberg’s was better. (As a rewatch, the original isn’t eligible for this award anyway). Not only that, but Spielberg’s pure cinematic skill sees it stand out easily from the rest of the month’s viewing.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
I actually quite enjoyed The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee — certainly more than most other people seem to have — but there’s also no doubt it was the weakest film I saw this month.

Film You’d Most Like to Hang Out In of the Month
Who wouldn’t want to spend time nattering with the grandes dames of British theatre and cinema in Nothing Like a Dame? Not only would you get fabulous anecdotes, but they seem like a right giggle.

Film You’d Least Like to Hang Out In of the Month
No one said life in a Nazi prison would be fun, and A Man Escaped certainly bears that out.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
Just three posts to choose from, last month, and the victor of those was 2022 Weeks 7–8. Of the other two, my ‘failures’ proved more popular than my general monthly review for the second month running. Could just be the appeal of the title, I suppose.



Every review posted this month, including new titles and the Archive 5


The much-discussed Spider-Man: No Way Home finally hits disc next week, so I’ll see if it has any surprises left for me (I don’t think I’ve been totally spoiled, but it’s been impossible to avoid certain big stories). Also, hopefully I’ll also finally see The Batman, one way or another. And also some films that don’t involve men dressing up as critters to fight evil.

The Comparatively Calm Monthly Review of February 2022

For a moment, set aside your fears of World War III and/or anticipation for The Batman (whichever is taking up more of your mental capacity right now; possibly both) and journey with me back, back, back to a time when military invasion was just a threat and Batman reactions were still embargoed — i.e. last month.



This month’s viewing towards my yearly challenge

#13 She’s Gotta Have It (1986) — WDYMYHS #2
#14 The Hobbit (1977) — Decades #8
#15 Jackass Number Two (2006) — Series Progression #1
#16 Shot in the Dark (1933) — Decades #9
#17 A Room with a View (1985) — Rewatches #2
#18 The Misfits (2021) — New Films #2
#19 Tintin and the Temple of the Sun (1969) — DVDs #2
#20 Los Olvidados (1950) — Blindspot #2


  • I watched 13 feature films I’d never seen before in February.
  • Seven of them counted towards my 100 Films in a Year Challenge, along with one rewatch.
  • As with last month’s ‘new film’, The Misfits is originally a 2021 release; but, best I can tell, its UK debut only came this month (as a direct-to-Prime Amazon Exclusive), so it counts as a 2022 release for the purposes of the Challenge.
  • Another oddity of my new rules kicked in this month. When I watched the first Jackass movie, it didn’t count for anything (the only place it could’ve qualified was Decades for the 2000s, but that had been taken); but then I watched the first sequel, and now that does count, as Series Progression. My scrupulous planning ahead for rare eventualities does pay off, see.
  • All the great films from the 1930s that I haven’t seen and could’ve watched to count towards my Decades tally, and instead I’ve filled the slot with a 52-minute “quota quickie” murder mystery. And, frankly, I don’t regret it in the slightest.
  • This month’s Blindspot film was Luis Buñuel’s ‘true story’ of children in poverty in mid-century Mexico, Los Olvidados, aka The Young and the Damned. That English-language title does kinda sum it up.
  • This month’s WDYMYHS film was Spike Lee’s pro debut, She’s Gotta Have It, which (as discussed last month) completes the films for which I was reliant on streaming. That’s one less thing to worry about.
  • Away from the Challenge, 13 beats January’s 11 to be 2022’s de facto best month in those stakes.
  • But it’s not a huge number, so falls short of most stats I keep an eye on: February’s all-time performance (the best is 27); the February average (previously 14.2, now 14.1); and the average of the last 12 months (previously 16.0, now 14.8).
  • My “failures” section may have been spun off onto its own dedicated post this year, but that hasn’t affected how many I actually watch: this month, I didn’t catch up with any of last month’s failures.



The 81st Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
Its nostalgia-driven style may have enraged some critics and cineastes, but (anecdotally, at least) it seems to have worked gangbusters for regular folk — and, for once, I’m counting myself among the latter. There were certainly ‘worthier’ films among this month’s viewing, but nothing so all-around entertaining as Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
A few to choose from this month — it’s felt like an underwhelming start to the year, I must say, with the poor and (mostly) mediocre films outweighing the good stuff. Anyway, the nadir has to be The Brits Are Coming, known in the US (and therefore most places online) as The Con Is On. It promises a stylish crime caper with an all-star cast. It delivers an amateurish-feeling wannabe-comedy that makes you wonder how come this cast were that desperate for work.

Most Compromised Viewing Experience of the Month
Nowadays, we’re used to ultra-faithful HD presentations that do their utmost to present films in their original cuts and original aspect ratio with original colour grading and original audio, to faithfully replicate the filmmakers’ intended vision. But not everything has been granted such treatment, like my DVD copy of Tintin and the Temple of the Sun — or, as the revised title card would have it, courtesy of some Windows MovieMaker-level text animation, The Seven Crystal Balls & Prisoners of the Sun. At least the rest of the opening titles are intact, which apparently wasn’t the case on VHS. The tape also cut two musical numbers, though the DVD only restores one. Despite most of the film being dubbed into English — with no original French audio option offered — the song wasn’t dubbed; but nor is it subtitled, so goodness knows what it was about. It’s bookended by some weird digital edits, suggesting more footage was cut, or possibly lost. And talking of audio, serves me right for choosing the remixed 5.1 track, which occasionally misses random sound effects and music cues. All of that without mentioning the strange digital artefacts that pop up now and then. Far from ideal… but also, as far as I’m aware, the only English-friendly version available (I doubt they fixed any of these problems for the iTunes release).

Moment That’s a Great Visual But Impossible to Adequately Describe in Writing of the Month
There’s a bungee jump stunt in Jackass Number Two that isn’t one of their most elaborate or dangerous, and certainly is a long way from being their grossest, but nonetheless ends in a moment of hilarity that, literally, has to be seen. I could try to describe exactly what occurs in the split-second, but it would take many words to convey accurately and still wouldn’t do justice to seeing it happen in a fraction of a second. It’s not even their funniest or most audacious thing, it’s just… gravity. Nature always wins.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
Despite my return to (relatively) regular posting this year, February is my lowest month for traffic since… well, since as far back as the WordPress stats page shows (October 2019). Oh well. And despite many of my posts containing multiple different films to pique readers’ interest(s), it was actually a single-film review that came out on top for new posts: Ghostbusters: Afterlife.



Every review posted this month, including new titles and the Archive 5


Assuming we don’t all get nuked by a frustrated Russian, next month begins with The Batman, which got rave reviews when its embargo lifted yesterday, and ends with the Oscars, which can’t seem to do anything right this year. Hopefully, I’ll see them both.

The All-New Monthly Review of January 2022

I’ve already lied to you, dear reader. I say that because much of this monthly review is going to seem familiar — “All-New” it is not. “Partially new”, that would be the truth: there are new graphics, and a revised focus in some sections, both to fit in with the blog’s new identity.

Despite that, I’ve stuck with the “all-new” moniker to reflect The All-New 100 Films in a Year Challenge, my progress with which is now the primary focus of these monthly updates… although you can still find links to all my reviews; and the Arbies survive, now in their 80th month, still drawing from everything I watched.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. On which note, on it goes…



This month’s viewing towards my yearly challenge

#1 Carry On Spying (1964) — Decades #1
#2 Gosford Park (2001) — Rewatches #1
#3 Penny Serenade (1941) — Decades #2
#4 The Navigator (1924) — Decades #3
#5 Flight of the Navigator (1986) — WDYMYHS #1
#6 In the Line of Fire (1993) — Decades #4
#7 Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper (2004) — Decades #5
#8 Free Guy (2021) — Decades #6
#9 Mass (2021) — New Films #1
#10 Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise (2007) — DVDs #1
#11 Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary (2016) — Decades #7
#12 L’avventura (1960) — Blindspot #1


  • I watched 11 feature films I’d never seen before in January.
  • All of them counted towards my 100 Films in a Year Challenge, along with one rewatch.
  • As you may or may have inferred from that, this means I effectively have two counts running now: my 100 Films Challenge, and how many new films I’ve seen. The former may be the official thing going on nowadays, but a decade-and-a-half habit is hard to break, so on my ‘new film’ count goes. As I said up top, it’s the Challenge that’s the focus of these posts now, but I’ll still be including titbits about my overall new film viewing. And come the end of the year, it’s the overall new viewing that will continue to fuel things like my Top 10 and the statistics post.
  • So, to the Challenge. As the year gets underway, most — in fact, everything — I watch counts. I don’t expect that to be the case as we go forward.
  • For example: I’m not surprised to see the Decades category filling up fastest, because it’s so easy to complete. Slots are filled by any film that (a) isn’t better off counted towards another category, and (b) isn’t from a decade already ticked off — and, as the year begins, none are ticked off (obv). With 7 out of 12, Decades is already 58% complete. As for the remainder, the 1910s might require a special effort (I don’t watch many films that old without explicitly setting out to), but I imagine the others will take care of themselves in short order.
  • Just in case it needs stating for anyone: yes, Mass is “a 2021 movie” thanks to its festival screenings (the US and Canadian releases were also last year), but it didn’t come out in the UK until 20th January, which makes it a 2022 (i.e. new) movie for me.
  • This month’s Blindspot film was L’avventura, which I’ve been putting off including on the list (or watching in any other way) for years. I haven’t particularly enjoyed other classics of mid-20th-century Italian cinema, like Bicycle Thieves or , so I feared this would be the same. And that’s part of the motivation for watching it first: ripping off the plaster. Well, it was a somewhat pleasant surprise. More when I review it soon.
  • This month’s WDYMYHS film was Flight of the Navigator, which I watched on Prime Video. The danger of putting titles from streamers on a “movies I must watch this year” list is that at some point, possibly without warning, they could disappear from that streamer. But that also makes them an easy choice for where to start. This year there are only two across all 24 films from Blindspot and WDYMYHS, and they’re both on the latter list — I imagine the other will be next month’s pick.
  • I didn’t watch anything from last month’s “failures”. And as for this month’s failures: I’ve finally decided to spin the feature off into its own post. Look for that in the next day or two.



The 80th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
Although my viewing numbers this month were more than solid (getting to 100 films in a year at a steady pace — something the new challenge is partially intended to enforce — requires an average of 8.3 films a month), the level of quality was more middling. One film did stand out, though: Mass, a chamber piece that puts you through the emotional wringer, powered by a quartet of awards-worthy performances.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
Conversely, the month’s middling quality means it’s also hard to pick a worst film. By a nose, I’m going to say Voyage of Time, because I didn’t get as much out of it as I might’ve hoped. Plus, MUBI’s pathetic attempt at streaming in 4K (a feature they’d specifically pushed in the film’s advertising) got on my wick.

Best Navigator of the Month
The navigator in The Navigator is actually the name of the boat; and even if it weren’t, Buster Keaton is pretty poor at navigating it. The navigator in Flight of the Navigator is the kid who bonds with the spaceship, and while he’s ostensibly in charge, I think the spacecraft actually does most of the work. But in Barbie as The Princess and the Pauper, Barbie manages to ride into the forest and go straight to the exact hidden cabin where her doppelgänger is being held captive. Impressive navigation, Barbie.

Biggest Mystery of the Month
Whodunnit in Gosford Park? What happened to Anna in L’avventura? How did David lose eight years in Flight of the Navigator? Can they catch the assassin in In the Line of Fire? What are the villains up to in Carry On Spying? Can Meat Loaf put on a gig that makes him happy in In Search of Paradise? No, the biggest mystery of the month is: what the feck is Brad Pitt on about in the Voyage of Time narration?!

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
No break-out successes this month — the victor is down in 30th place overall, behind a slew of archive TV columns — but it was a close-run thing nonetheless, with two posts tied for second place, just two hits behind the winner. Said winner was, somewhat appropriately, The Best of 2021. And now it’s the best of (January) 2022, too. Hurrah.



Every review posted this month, including new titles and the Archive 5


It’s 100 Films’ 15th birthday (just two months after launching! Is this what being a time traveller feels like?)

I had been thinking I’d mark the occasion with a revised version of 100 Favourites, as that’s five years old, but those things take literally years to put together (well, the first one did), and while I had been considering it for years, it’s been overtaken by the relaunch. Maybe in 2023.

Other than that, erm, things continue much the same…

The All-New 100 Films in a Year Challenge

As I said in my introduction to the blog’s new era, reports of 100 Films in a Year’s death may have been grossly exaggerated — because while 100 Films in a Year as it was is no more, in its place I have…

The All-New 100 Films in a Year Challenge!

Just like its title, this new version is similar but different. My original challenge was wholly straightforward: watch 100 films I’d never seen before every year. The only thing approaching complexity or contention was whether alternate cuts (e.g. director’s cuts) counted as a “film I’d never seen before” or not. But this brand-new version of the challenge… well, it’s going to require some explaining.

Before I do, let’s recap why this came about. As regular readers are likely aware by now, I’ve been thinking about modifying my eponymous goal for a few years, primarily because simply “watching 100 new films in a year” stopped being an actual challenge and became my de facto state. It’s almost a decade since I failed in that goal, and over the last few years my average has been closer to 200 films in a year. So, why not just double the target? Or pick another number? Maybe I would’ve just done that, were it not for a few slip-ups (i.e. months where I fell short of my minimum target) and lifestyle changes in recent years. Obviously a challenge should be challenging, not a guaranteed walk in the park, but “just watch more films” didn’t seem the right way to push myself.

That’s what ultimately led to this new challenge — or, you might argue, array of challenges. You see, rather than just watching any old 100 films, now there are a selection of categories, and films will need to fulfil criteria to qualify. Whereas the old challenge merely motivated me to watch more films, this new version is designed to encourage me to watch certain kinds of films. Plus, with some additional rules for each category, it will spread that viewing throughout the year, rather than seeing me engage in a headlong rush to #100 as quickly as I can (which has happened the past few years).

So, you could argue this is eight separate challenges that together add up to 100 films, rather than a ‘true’ 100 films challenge — whatever that might mean. And you can argue that, if you want — I don’t care. This is a personal project, not some athletic endeavour subject to outside scrutiny, and this is how I’m choosing to do it. Of course, if for some reason you wanted to join in, you’re more than welcome. Feel free to use my rules. Feel free to tweak them to suit your own goals. Feel free to ignore them entirely and come up with your own criteria. Feel free to think “you know what, I really need to play more video games” and set yourself 100 Games in a Year as a challenge. Heck, that’s how this all began: I ‘ripped off’ the Read 50 Books in a Year challenge.


As I said, there are now eight groups making up my 100-film challenge. I’ll outline them in a moment, but first there’s one general rule: a film can only count once. Sounds kinda obvious, I guess, but my categories are not so niche as to be mutually exclusive — I could watch a Blindspot pick from the 1970s on DVD and technically it could count across three categories. But if I did that, well, the final tally wouldn’t actually get to 100, which would be self defeating. When a film fulfils the criteria for multiple groups (as some surely will, especially early on), it’s up to me to allocate which category it counts towards — although there are some sub-rules that will help dictate that. (My challenge is watching films, but yours may be trying to understand why I make these things so unnecessarily complicated…)

Without further ado, the categories are…

New Films

Well, that immediately requires clarification, doesn’t it? Because in the old challenge all 100 films were “new”, as in “new to me”. Now, however, I mean “new” as in “new (to the UK)”. And the UK clarification is needed because we so often get foreign films ‘late’, especially awards-y films that play US dates the year before but aren’t released here until January, February, March… even as late as June or July sometimes. So, this category is 12 films that were released in the UK for the first time during 2022. To some people that might seem like no challenge whatsoever — and it’s not that much of a challenge to me, to be honest, because I normally far exceed it. But, on the whole, my viewing skews older (when there’s the whole of film history to explore, why just watch brand-new stuff?), so I feel it’s a worthwhile category to include. Plus, part of the point of this is to spread the challenge throughout the year. To ensure that, this category is limited to one qualifying film per month — so even if I watched two (or more) new films in a single month, only the first would count towards the challenge. However, it can rollover if necessary — for example, if I watched no new films in January, I could count two in February. That might seem to undermine the concept of spreading these throughout the year, but, without it, it would be possible for me to fail the entire year on January 31st, which would suck.

Rewatches

In arguably the biggest change of all, rewatches now count… but only 12 of them. Mirroring the “new films” requirement, this is also limited to one per month. I’m not intending to run my Rewatchathon anymore, primarily because of this, but I’d like to think I’ll still rewatch more than 12 films a year. We’ll see — maybe I’ll end up bringing it back.

Blindspot

This continues as-is: 12 specific films, chosen ‘scientifically’ from best-of lists and the like, designed to be paced one per month. Because they’re specific films, if I did decide to get ahead of myself then they could count ‘early’, but I don’t think I’ve ever done that and I don’t intend to start now. As usual, there’ll be a dedicated post sometime soon with my 12 picks.

What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen…?

After a couple of years ‘off’ (or, if you prefer, combined with Blindspot, because they’re essentially the same thing), WDYMYHS is back. The change is, whereas Blindspot is made up of “great movies” (according to other people), WDYMYHS will revolve around a theme of some kind. This year that link will be my birth year: 12 specific films from 1986 that I’m surprised I haven’t seen. Again, my 12 picks will be named in a dedicated post soon.

Decades

At least one film from every decade that feature films have existed, i.e. since the 1910s. That makes it another group of 12 — what are the odds?! It’s almost like I’m doing this deliberately… I can watch as many of these as I like within any given month, so we’ll see how long it takes me to tick them all off — recent decades will come quickly and easily, but some of the older ones might require a specific effort.

DVDs

I’ve spent years lamenting the fact that I don’t watch enough of my DVDs. Thanks to a couple of decades spent collecting, I own over 1,000 of the things, many never played, and they don’t often make it into my viewing nowadays, largely because they’re not HD. (I suspect that, statistically, I’m more likely to spend money upgrading a DVD to Blu-ray than I am to actually watch a DVD.) So, to force me to dig into that particular back catalogue, I’m making it a goal to watch at least one per month, as per the “new films” rules. And no ‘cheating’: if I don’t want to watch something from my DVD copy (because I want to get it in HD, or even UHD), that’s absolutely fine… but I can’t get it in HD and then still count that towards the DVD goal. I have to actually watch the DVD for it to count.

Genre

Like WDYMYHS, here I’m going to pick a specific genre or movement (preferably one that’s either highly specific or that I’m less au fait with, not something broad or well-worn like, say, “action”) and aim for at least one per month, i.e. 12 more films. However, this is a free-for-all: whereas WDYMYHS is 12 pre-chosen titles, this can be anything that falls within the genre; and I won’t limit myself to counting just one per month. Maybe I’ll have a marathon and complete it in one go! Maybe I’ll still spread it thin! At least having the choice provides an opportunity for some variety, right? This year’s genre will be that old favourite, film noir. I’ve had noir ‘viewing projects’ before, but there are plenty of key texts that still elude me, so maybe 2022 will right that. Or maybe I’ll just end up getting all 12 from Indicator’s 24-film Columbia Noir series. Frankly, either is good by me.

Series Progression

That’s perhaps the vaguest title of all, but let me explain (that’s the whole point of this post, after all). I have multiple different film series on the go at any one time — so many that, a couple of years ago, I started keeping a list, the Letterboxd version of which is here. Some of those series I continue to merrily work my way through; some I half-forget I have underway. So, the point of this category is to compel me to continue, across another 12 films. I could watch 12 from one series; I could watch one each from 12 different series. I could marathon them all across a weekend; I could watch them one a month throughout the year. Whatever — just so long as I keep going with series I’ve already started. (If I start a new series, either by accident or choice, the first film can’t count, but any future films can.)

I know I said there were eight categories, but if you’ve been doing the maths so far you’ll have realised we’re only at 96 films. So there must be a ninth category, right? Well, yes and no. Let me introduce you to…

Wildcards

The final four films are ‘wildcards’ that I can attach to any of the eight categories. They still have a couple of rules, though. Firstly, wildcards can only be used once the category’s own requirements are met. What that means is, I could use a wildcard to (for example) count a second new film in January, but I couldn’t use one for a film noir until I’ve watched 12 film noirs. Lastly, only one wildcard per category — so I couldn’t (for example) watch five new films in January and count them all. Make sense? If not, let me remind you that you don’t really need to worry about any of this — it’s only me who has to work it out.


I’ll be tracking my progress with the Challenge in my monthly review posts, and on a dedicated page too.

Also, while it’s no longer the ‘official’ goal of the blog, I suspect I’ll end up still counting my overall viewing, and likely post year-end stats and whatnot about it next January. I’ve been doing that count for almost my entire adult life, so it’s a well-established habit at this point. Not to mention that, actually, I enjoy it — but now primarily for my own interest, rather than as the raison d’être of this blog.

2021: The Full List

As revealed in my December review, 2021 finished on a tally of 207 new films — my third highest ever. They’re all listed below, in alphabetical order, along with the small handfuls of titles I admitted to my “Guide To” series and the short films I watched. After last year’s “frankly extraordinary” high of 65, this year I only watched four shorts. Maybe I should set a shorts-watching target too…

Normally this post also serves to be a big pile of links to reviews I’ve posted in the past year. But those were thin on the ground in 2021: in the list of 207 new films, just four have a review to link to. Oh dear. But you can always (re-)enjoy my monthly reviews (filled with Fun Stuff like the Arbies), and the TV reviews I posted… before that column came up short too.

Well, hopefully things will be different soon…


  • As It Happened — 2021’s monthly updates, with a chronological list of my viewing.
  • The List — an alphabetical list of every new film I watched in 2021.
  • Television — an alphabetical list of the TV programmes I reviewed in 2021.
  • Next Time — more of 2021 still to come.

Below is a graphical representation of my 2021 viewing, month by month. Each of the images links to the relevant monthly review, which contain a chronological list of everything I watched this year. There’s also other exciting stuff in there, like my monthly Arbie awards and what I watched in my Rewatchathon.

And now, the main event…


An alphabetical list of all the films I watched for the first time in 2021, followed by other films I’ve covered (or intended to cover) this year — primarily, a couple of instalments in film series that I’ve given the “Guide To” treatment, and a trickle of short films. As I mentioned in my introduction, normally many of these titles would link to the appropriate review, but this year you’ll find just four links in the main list. Coincidentally, they’re all really close together.

  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  • 23 Walks (2020)
  • 3 Idiots (2009)
  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), aka Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
  • The Aeronauts (2019)
  • Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972), aka Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes
  • An American Pickle (2020)
  • Appointment with Death (1988)
  • Appointment with Murder (1948)
  • The Awful Truth (1937)
  • Baby Done (2020)
  • Bachelor Knight (1947), aka The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  • Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)
  • Beginners (2010)
  • The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
  • Bill (2015)
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915)
  • The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
  • Black Widow [3D] (2021)
  • Blithe Spirit (2020)
  • Boss Level (2021)
  • The Broadway Melody (1929)
  • A Brief History of Time Travel (2018)
  • Bright Young Things (2003)
  • The ’Burbs (1989)
  • The Burning Buddha Man (2013), aka Moeru butsuzô ningen
  • A Boy Called Christmas (2021)
  • Calling Dr. Death (1943)
  • Capernaum (2018), aka Capharnaüm
  • Captain Phillips (2013)
  • Carefree (1938)
  • Carol (2015)
  • The Catcher Was a Spy (2018)
  • Cats (2019)
  • A Christmas Story (1983)
  • Cinema Paradiso (1988), aka Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
  • The Coldest Game (2019)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Con Air (1997)
  • Crank (2006)
  • Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)
  • The Current War (2017)
  • A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • The Danish Girl (2015)
  • Daughters of Darkness (1971), aka Les lèvres rouges
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)
  • David Lynch: The Art Life (2016)
  • Dead Man’s Eyes (1944)
  • Dead Man’s Folly (1986)
  • Defending Your Life (1991)
  • Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street (2002), aka Meitantei Conan: Bekâ Sutorîto no bôrei
  • The Dig (2021)
  • La Dolce Vita (1960)
  • Dreamcatcher (2003)
  • Drop Zone (1994)
  • Dumb and Dumber (1994)
  • Dune: Part One (2021), aka Dune
  • Ernest & Celestine (2012), aka Ernest et Célestine
  • Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time (2021), aka Shin Evangelion Gekijôban
  • Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)
  • Falling for Figaro (2020)
  • The Father (2020)
  • Festen (1998), aka The Celebration
  • The Final Countdown (1980)
  • The Fly (1986)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Frighteners: Director’s Cut (1996)
  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • The Frozen Ghost (1945)
  • Futureworld (1976)
  • Gambit (2012)
  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955), aka Gojira no gyakushû
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
  • Going in Style (2017)
  • Going My Way (1944)
  • Good Boys (2019)
  • The Green Knight (2021)
  • Gremlins (1984)
  • The Guilty (2018), aka Den skyldige
  • La Haine (1995)
  • Happiest Season (2020)
  • Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
  • High Life (2018)
  • Holiday Affair (1949)
  • Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
  • Hotel Reserve (1944)
  • Hotel Transylvania [3D] (2012)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978)
  • The House of Fear (1939)
  • I Care a Lot (2020)
  • The Invisible Man (1933)
  • Isn’t It Romantic (2019)
  • Jerry Maguire (1996)
  • Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (2019)
  • Jingle All the Way (1996)
  • Joint Security Area (2000), aka Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA
  • Jungle Cruise (2021)
  • The Kid Detective (2020)
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
  • The King (2019)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), aka Kingu Kongu tai Gojira
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)
  • The Last of Sheila (1973)
  • Last Train to Christmas (2021)
  • The Last Warning (1928)
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
  • A Little Chaos (2014)
  • Love Affair (1939)
  • Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
  • The Matrix Resurrections (2021)
  • Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019)
  • Midnight in Paris (2011)
  • Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017)
  • The Money Pit (1986)
  • Mortal Kombat (1995)
  • The Mummy (1932)
  • Murder by Decree (1979)
  • Murder in Three Acts (1986)
  • Muse: Simulation Theory (2020)
  • My Fair Lady (1964)
  • My Man Godfrey (1936)
  • The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (2012)
  • News of the World (2020)
  • No Time to Die (2021)
  • Nobody (2021)
  • Nomadland (2020)
  • Official Secrets (2019)
  • One Night in Miami… (2020)
  • Page Eight (2011)
  • Pather Panchali (1955)
  • Pillow of Death (1945)
  • The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975), aka Flåklypa Grand Prix
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
  • Primary Colors (1998)
  • The Prom (2020)
  • Psycho Goreman (2020)
  • The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
  • Radioactive (2019)
  • Raffles (1939)
  • Rain Man (1988)
  • Red Notice (2021)
  • Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
  • Rodan (1956), aka Sora no daikaijû Radon
  • Royal Wedding (1951), aka Wedding Bells
  • Salting the Battlefield (2014)
  • Sansho Dayu (1954), aka Sansho the Bailiff
  • Sátántangó (1994)
  • Search for Danger (1949)
  • The Secret Garden (2020)
  • Seven Chances (1925)
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • A Single Man (2009)
  • Six Minutes to Midnight (2020)
  • Sneakers (1992)
  • The Social Dilemma (2020)
  • The Son of Kong (1933)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
  • Space Station [3D] (2002)
  • Spielberg (2017)
  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)
  • Spontaneous (2020)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Stowaway (2021)
  • Strange Confession (1945)
  • Strictly Ballroom (1992)
  • Stuart Little (1999)
  • A Study in Scarlet (1933)
  • Superman and the Mole-Men (1951)
  • Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
  • Taken 2 (2012)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  • Tangerines (2013), aka Mandariinid
  • Tea with Mussolini (1999)
  • Terje Vigen (1917), aka A Man There Was
  • Testament of Youth (2014)
  • Thirteen at Dinner (1985)
  • Three Identical Strangers (2018)
  • Time After Time (1979)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
  • Tokyo Godfathers (2003), aka Tôkyô goddofâzâzu
  • Tower Heist (2011)
  • Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
  • Turks & Caicos (2014)
  • Twister (1996)
  • Under Siege (1992)
  • Vampyr (1932)
  • Vivacious Lady (1938)
  • Warning from Space (1956)
  • We Bought a Zoo (2011)
  • Weird Woman (1944)
  • When the Wind Blows (1986)
  • The White Tiger (2021)
  • Who? (1974)
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  • Wild Target (2010)
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Wolf Warrior (2015), aka Zhan lang
  • WolfWalkers (2020)
  • Wuthering Heights (1939)
  • Xchange (2001)
  • You Only Live Once (1937)
  • Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
  • Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973), aka Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Kasama no chimatsuri
  • Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983), aka Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke
The 100 Films Guide To…
Shorts
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
  • Scenes with Beans (1976), aka Babfilm
  • Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900)
  • What! No Spinach? (1926)
10 Things I Hate About You

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Black Widow

The Broadway Melody

Cats

Con Air

Daughters of Darkness

Drop Zone

Evangelion: 3.0+1.01

Frankenstein

Godzilla Raids Again

La Haine

Hotel Transylvania in 3D

Jerry Maguire

The Last of Sheila

Make Way for Tomorrow

Mortal Kombat

No Time to Die

Flåklypa Grand Prix

Rain Man

Sátántangó

Seven Chances

Space Station

Strange Confession

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Time After Time

Under Siege

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Meshes of the Afternoon

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My monthly TV columns came to an accidental halt in February (crikey, I hadn’t realised it was so long ago), but that means I still got in reviews of the following…


Things are in a slightly different order this year, for one reason or another. Normally next up would be the statistics, but I think before that it’ll be my most-read posts of 2021.

It’s the Final Countdown: The Concluding Monthly Review of December 2021

As mentioned last month, this post represents the end of 100 Films in a Year.

Er, except for all the end-of-year wrap-ups I need to do (did you think I’d leave you without an annual stats post? Perish the thought!)

But after that… the end? Really? Or is it…

Change, my dear. And it seems, not a moment too soon.

But let’s put that aside for, ooh, a couple of days, and instead look back at the final month of 2021…


#188 Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
#189 Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)
#190 Falling for Figaro (2020)
#191 Gremlins (1984)
#192 Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
#193 Pather Panchali (1955)
#194 Black Widow 3D (2021)
#195 Tokyo Godfathers (2003), aka Tôkyô goddofâzâzu
#196 Happiest Season (2020)
#197 Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973), aka Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Kasama no chimatsuri
#198 Dreamcatcher (2003)
#199 Jingle All the Way (1996)
#200 The Final Countdown (1980)
#201 A Christmas Story (1983)
#202 The Matrix Resurrections (2021)
#203 A Boy Called Christmas (2021)
#204 Last Train to Christmas (2021)
#205 The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
#206 A Study in Scarlet (1933)
#207 23 Walks (2020)
Anna and the Apocalypse

Happiest Season

The Matrix Resurrections

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  • I watched 20 feature films I’d never seen before in December.
  • And that’s the first 20-film December — the final month to hit that milestone! It’s funny it’s worked out that way, because there was a 19-film December all the way back in 2008, at which time it was the second highest ever month, a title it held for seven years, and yet it’s taken three years beyond every other month (the last to crack 20 for the first time was November in 2018). Well, I got there just in time.
  • In terms of monthly averages, it surpasses the lot: December’s (previously 11.1, now 11.7), the rolling average of the last 12 months (previously 16.4, now 17.25), and the average for 2021 (previously 17.0, now finalised at 17.25).
  • As for the year, ending on #207 makes 2021 my fourth year ever to pass 200 films; and, as I did it in 2020 too, that’s the first time I’ve done it two years in a row.
  • Overall, it’s my third highest year ever. (I would’ve needed to make it to #261 for second place.)
  • See the Arbies for more on specific films, including #200 itself.
  • With Zatoichi’s Conspiracy, I’ve finally completed Criterion’s box set of the series. It’s taken longer than expected: I’ve gone from watching one Zatoichi a month (at my height of getting through them in 2018 and ’19) to more like one per year. Although that’s the end of the original film series, I’ve still got a few stragglers to go (a revival movie and three continuations/reboots). Hopefully they won’t take me until 2025…
  • I had two Blindspot films to watch this month to complete my challenge for 2021. I watched one, Satyajit Ray’s enduringly acclaimed depiction of a rural Indian childhood, Pather Panchali. The other was Come and See. I did plan to watch it — I set aside an evening and everything — but then… I just didn’t feel like it. I’ve been in a generally Christmassy mood this December, and it didn’t fit with that to spend two-and-a-half hours watching a film whose own blurb advertises it as “a senses-shattering plunge into the dehumanising horrors of war.” I mean, what could sound less festive than “a waking nightmare of unimaginable carnage and cruelty”? So, yeah, the second greatest film ever made can wait ’til another day.
  • From last month’s “failures” I watched Black Widow, A Boy Called Christmas, and Home Sweet Home Alone.



The 79th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
It’s proven divisive with critics and audiences alike, but I’m firmly in the camp that loved The Matrix Resurrections. Expect it to feature highly on my forthcoming “best of year” list.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
It was an enjoyable month overall (there’s a couple of likely 5s in the list), but duds crept in nonetheless, especially when trying to pack in the Christmas films. Perhaps the most disappointing was Home Sweet Home Alone. Some people would say predictably so, but I was open to the prospect of a remake. Unfortunately, this particular one fudges the fundamental conceit. Ho hum.

Most Christmassy Film of the Month
I don’t normally watch many Christmas films over the festive period. It’s not that I’m averse to them (far from it), I just don’t make a particular effort — and, as December is a time when I often am making a particular effort to round out some goal or other, other things can fall by the wayside. Well, this year I did put some effort into it, and — while I didn’t come close to completing the shortlist of 30 specific Christmas films I drew up — I did watch 10 festive films, which is a lot more than the two or three I usually manage. Of those, I reckon the most Christmassy of all was Happiest Season. I mean, what could be more Christmassy than a mix of festivities and familial awkwardness?

Most “I Only Chose to Watch It Because of the Title” Film of the Month
Regular readers will know I like to choose films that are somehow significant for my milestone numbers. My first-ever #100 was Citizen Kane, for example, and others have included Lawrence of Arabia, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, Stalker, Sholay, and, this year, Cinema Paradiso. So for 2021’s #200, I had to pick something befitting my last-ever (sort of) milestone movie. While not a particularly noteworthy film in itself, The Final Countdown seemed a thoroughly apt title.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
With just two new posts in December (and one of those only a brief Christmas message), let’s once again ignore their fate and see which was the most popular post overall. And this month it was… a tie! And a seasonal one at that, because the joint victors were The Past Christmas on TV and The Past Christmas on TV! Er, that’s the 2018 and 2019 editions, respectively. You might think the 2020 one was close behind… but you’d be wrong: for whatever reason, while those two topped the charts, last year’s Christmas TV post was way down at 25th. Not sure what’s going on there, but my referrals from IMDb suggest the elder posts’ victories may be due to a new series of Vienna Blood (I reviewed the first in the 2019 post) and Christmassy one-off Click & Collect, which I noticed popped up on Netflix this month (and I mentioned in the 2018 column).


To make my goal of 50 rewatches this year, I would’ve had to (re)watch 18 films this month. Considering my average for 2021 to the end of November was 2.9 rewatches a month, that didn’t seem particularly likely…

#33 Elf (2003)

Yeah, of course it didn’t happen. I didn’t even reach that average again (it ends up at 2.75 rewatches per month).

As for Elf, I enjoyed it more on this, my second viewing, when I was free from any hope of, say, well-executed character arcs (one of the main things I criticised it for in my above-linked review) and so just enjoyed the holiday hijinks.


Despite setting a new December record, my failures were as multitudinous as ever. My most noteworthy oversight from the big screen has to be Spider-Man: No Way Home, but there was also Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story and prequel The King’s Man, plus films with smaller releases that have nonetheless been much-discussed in cinephile circles, like C’mon C’mon, Lamb, and Titane. Also, Clifford the Big Red Dog. Hm.

There were similar big guns on the streamers, including forthcoming awards season contenders The Power of the Dog and The Lost Daughter on Netflix, plus other originals like Don’t Look Up, The Unforgivable, and Death to 2021 — though, after not much enjoying Death to 2020, I think I’ll skip its Charlie Brooker-less sequel. Over on Prime Video, there was a belated UK bow for Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man, plus Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos and sci-fi Encounter. And talking of Charlie Brooker and sci-fi, Apple TV+ offered the Black Mirror-esque Swan Song.

Sky Cinema’s originals were mostly Christmassy: as well as the ones I watched, they debuted the likes of 8-Bit Christmas and A Christmas Number One. Also this month, they’ve had Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, plus a couple of things that I (annoyingly) bought on disc but haven’t watched yet, like Another Round and The Suicide Squad. Of course, Netflix and Amazon threw up a bunch of back catalogue stuff too, but, looking back over my long-lists, little jumps out at me as being worthy of particular note. That said, if you’ve not seen it, Netflix now has my #1 film of 2020, Never Rarely Sometimes Always. And, as well as meaning to catch Spielberg’s remake, I’d also like to make time to rewatch the original West Side Story, which is streaming on both Prime and iPlayer now.

Once again taking advantage of not having to worry about licensing windows, Disney+ offered up early streaming debuts for their latest ‘animated classic’, Encanto, plus Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, which seemed a bit gruelling for Christmastime viewing. The latter is getting a belated, limited release on 4K Blu-ray in the UK at the end of January, which I’ve preordered, but I should probably find the time to watch it on D+ first — if I don’t like it, it’ll save me a few bob.

And talking of things I’ve bought, that certainly didn’t slow down in December. As is always the case at this time of year, there were multiple big box sets, like folk horror collection All the Haunts Be Ours (encompassing a whopping 22 feature films and 14 shorts), or Arrow’s kung fu collection, Shawscope: Volume One (another 12 features. Vol.2 is due in June), or Indicator’s Mae West box set (another 11 films, plus a TV movie biopic), or the limited edition of Cartoon Saloon’s Irish Folklore Trilogy (including the only disc release ever planned for Apple TV+ exclusive Wolfwalkers), or The Film Detective’s Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection (I actually watched one of those! See #206).

Also in a ludicrously oversized box was StudioCanal’s 4K release of Mulholland Drive. Considering said box was (a) a weird size and (b) mostly full of air, I think there must’ve been some crossed wires in manufacturing. Similarly joining my 4K rewatch pile were Breathless, My Fair Lady, No Time to Die (a popular Christmas present, based on it becoming a Twitter trending topic on the 25th), Criterion’s edition of Citizen Kane (with dodgy 1080p disc), and Vinegar Syndrome’s 4K/3D edition of Flesh for Frankenstein (with dodgy 4K disc). Also Millennium Actress, part of a frankly excessive haul I ordered from All the Anime’s Christmas sale. Said indulgence also included regular Blu-rays of Birthday Wonderland, The Dragon Dentist, Jin-Roh, Mind Game, Night is Short, Walk on Girl, Promare, and Ride Your Wave. Not heard of some of those? Me either, to be honest — I got one of their mystery boxes. Still, it all looks interesting.

That’s not even all (I could name another dozen things I bought), but, honestly, it’s more than enough. I’ve once again tried to keep this section brief and to the point, and it’s once again about as long as the entire rest of the monthly review combined. Is it worth giving it its own post each month in 2022? Something to consider…


…but the moment has been prepared for.

The Penultimate Monthly Review of November 2021

Another month of 2021 falls short. Oh dear. But I’m getting ahead of myself — you’ll read all about that in the viewing and viewing notes in just a moment.

But to get really ahead of myself — at the risk of overshadowing everything else in this update — there’s a bit of, uh, news at the end…


#180 Royal Wedding (1951), aka Wedding Bells
#181 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
#182 Nobody (2021)
#183 Jungle Cruise (2021)
#184 La Haine (1995)
#185 Red Notice (2021)
#186 The Last of Sheila (1973)
#187 The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
Nobody
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  • I watched 8 feature films I’d never seen before in November.
  • That makes it the weakest month of 2021 so far, and the second in a row where I’ve fallen short of my ten-film minimum target. Oh dear.
  • Though, if I counted rewatches too, I did make it past ten in both October and November. So that’s something… kinda…
  • Unsurprisingly, that means it also falls short of every average going: the November all-time average (previously 11.0, now 10.8), the rolling average of the last 12 months (previously 17.25, now 16.42), and the average for 2021 to date (previously 17.9, now 17.0).
  • On the bright side (sorta), it means I passed the milestone of 2,500 films listed on my reviews page. Let’s not talk about how many are still locked away in my backlog though, eh…
  • This month’s Blindspot film was French urban drama La Haine, which reminded me a lot of Do the Right Thing, although I didn’t like it quite as much. (I was supposed to watch two Blindspot films this month, to make up for October, but didn’t manage it. Hopefully I’ll succeed in December.)
  • I didn’t watch anything from last month’s “failures”, though I did watch a couple of things that would’ve been on this month’s failures if I hadn’t watched them… which isn’t really the point, is it?



The 78th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
Fewer films watched means fewer films to choose from, and nothing this month was an out-and-out “loved it” experience — which is not to say there weren’t a couple of films that I thoroughly enjoyed. Foremost among these is probably Nobody, which suffers from riffing a bit too much on the John Wick formula, but still entertains with its blend of comedy and impressively-choreographed action.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
Quite a few middling films this month, but the one sticking out the bottom was clear to me. Although a childhood favourite for many, I didn’t care for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. As a kid, we loved Roald Dahl’s books in our house, and my parents put us off watching this film adaptation — and now I can see why. It’s Americanised; the songs are awful; and, as the now-title character (it’s Charlie in the book), Gene Wilder… is really good — but it takes him almost half the movie to show up. Shame.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
With only one new review published this month, this one’s a bit of a no brainer. Although, of course, my monthly review could’ve beaten it — though that’s a rare, perhaps even unheard of, occurrence. And, indeed, The Fear of God won out — but only by a solitary hit.



Another underwhelming month for my Rewatchathon. Y’know, I don’t think I’m going to make it to 50 this year…

#31 Face/Off (1997)
#32 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

I didn’t set out to rewatch Face/Off — I happened to flick onto ITV just as it was about to start, didn’t have anything better to do so watched through the big opening action sequence, by the end of which I thought, “ah, fuck it, may as well watch the rest.” Yeah, I did the “watch it on TV with ad breaks even though I own it on Blu-ray” thing. But I feel like that’s somehow the perfect way to watch this movie.

As for Seven Brides, I mostly watched the “alternate widescreen version” on the Blu-ray’s second disc. I say “mostly” because we got about half-an-hour into the regular version on disc 1 before it froze up and wouldn’t play past a certain point. I’ve seen no one else complain about that, so hopefully it’s one bad disc and a replacement copy will be fine. Anyway, although I believe this alternate version is comprised of different takes (rather than just being the regular version cropped), it didn’t seem strikingly ‘wrong’ — not that I’m particularly familiar with the film, having only seen it once about 15 years ago; but any differences didn’t trouble my partner, who grew up watching it.


Every month, in preparation for this section I keep a running list of films to mention — all the new cinema releases; everything interesting that gets added to various streaming services; everything I buy on disc — and, whew, this month’s list was long. Maybe I should just publish that list, or a version of it, rather than trying to write it up. But, for now, I’ll do it the way I’ve been doing it. So, let’s see how brief I can keep this while still also mentioning everything of note…

At the cinema, the blockbuster releases this month were obviously the latest MCU entry, Eternals, and the latest attempt to revive a popular old IP, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Both seemed to meet with mixed reviews. On surer critical footing were the more awards-y films, like Spencer, King Richard, and Petite Maman. I’m not sure if any of those actually played at my local. Also of note this month: a new Disney, Encanto; Ridley Scott’s second release this year, House of Gucci; and Sly Stallone’s belated “ultimate director’s cut” of Rocky IV, now subtitled Rocky vs. Drago and (as was widely reported) shorn entirely of its comedic robot subplot. Looking forward to catching that via streaming at some point.

And speaking of streaming, I think every service had a blockbuster-esque new release of some sort this month. I actually watched Netflix’s (Red Notice), although black Western The Harder They Fall, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut Tick, Tick… Boom!, and Aardman’s latest short Robin Robin were hardly small fry either. Over on Amazon, meanwhile, there was another generic-looking Liam Neeson actioner, The Marksman. It feels like all of Neeson’s films go direct to Amazon these days — I don’t know if they’ve got him on retainer or if his films just play really well for them so they’re sure to snap them up. They also had Tamil drama Jai Bhim. I think most Western viewers can be excused for not spotting that one, but it’s catapulted itself onto the IMDb Top 250, sitting at #126 at time of writing. Google it and you’ll see reports that it has IMDb’s highest rating ever. It currently says 9.5 on its own page, which their algorithm drags down to 8.2 for the Top 250. Read into that what you will…

As I said, everyone was in on the big releases this month: Disney+ attempted to review the Home Alone franchise with Home Sweet Home Alone (to very poor reviews); Sky Cinema nabbed starry Matt Haig adaptation A Boy Called Christmas; MUBI offered Leos Carax’s latest, Annette; and even Apple TV+ tried to get in on the game, with Tom Hanks post-apocalyptic adventure Finch. It’s about him building a robot to care for his dog after he’s gone, so of course it’s gone straight on my watch list, even if the dog appears to be mostly/entirely CGI.

I don’t normally mention Disney+ in this column because I’m not normally subscribed to it, but they offered a month for £1.99 recently and that was too good to resist. Before it runs out, I really need to catch up on their latest films that I’ve missed — in particular, Raya and the Last Dragon, Luca, and Cruella. Also the Marvel TV series; less so the films, because I bought Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on disc; and discovered that Japan are still getting Marvel films on 3D disc, so I, um, acquired a 3D copy of Black Widow, and will now probably wait to do the same for Shang-Chi. Nonetheless, knowing me I’ll probably semi-accidentally let me Disney+ subscription keep rolling — that’s what I’ve done with MUBI, where the prospect of watching the likes of The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy stop me from cancelling; and also Sky Cinema (via NOW), whose (far less arty) additions this month include the new Mortal Kombat, lockdown heist thriller Locked Down (imaginative title), and, um, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. Classy.

Just to underline how badly behind I am with reviews, several streamers also offered films I’ve already seen and really should’ve covered by now. Top of the pile has to be Parasite, which had its UK TV premiere on Channel 4 recently and so is now streaming on All 4. Close behind is Denis Villeneuve’s Maelström, which I watched via a fairly crummy DVD-rip but is now in full HD on MUBI. That’s in addition to all the stuff I have seen and have reviewed but want to rewatch, and usually have already bought on disc, that the streamers waggled in my face this month — the likes of L.A. Confidential, Love & Friendship, and The Piano on Netflix; Interview with the Vampire, Mean Girls, and Vanilla Sky on Amazon; and I think iPlayer were the ‘worst’, reminding me I’ve not yet watched my 4K disc of Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, plus that I’m long overdue revisits to Let the Right One In and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

So much for keeping this short: I could list dozens more films across the streamers, and I haven’t even started on my disc purchases, which in November totted up to 44 films — even more if you were to count a few alternate cuts, like Ridley Scott’s Legend (I imported Arrow’s US-only release, which comes with the theatrical and director’s cuts) or Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders (the new UK box set of which includes the original cut and extended The Complete Novel version, both in 4K). The number is bolstered by a couple of eight-film box sets: Eureka’s Cinematic Vengeance, containing eight classic kung fu films directed by Joseph Kuo, and Australian label Imprint’s Collaborations, which has eight films directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li, including the likes of Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern, and Curse of the Golden Flower.

New films earning an instant purchase on their disc debuts included the confusingly-titled sequels/reboots Candyman and The Suicide Squad (“confusingly” because their titles are so similar / identical to the previous films they’re sequelising/rebooting). Older films with new releases coming straight into my collection include acclaimed Spaghetti Western The Great Silence (I only recently bought the US release, but Eureka’s UK version includes more special features and an improved transfer), Arrow’s Sailor Suit & Machine Gun (another one with two cuts to choose from), 88 Films’ The Chinese Boxer (starring and directed by Jimmy Wang Yu, whose other films I’ve enjoyed), Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes spinoff The Spider Woman Strikes Back (at only 59 minutes, it barely seems to warrant a standalone release, but here we are), and a long-awaited Blu-ray debut for Josie and the Pussycats (the best movie ever).

If you’re keeping count, you’ll know we’re nowhere near 44 yet. A lot of the rest can be bundled together as filling out import orders to make the P&P charge worthwhile — from Australia, Imprint editions of The Assassination Bureau and superb film noir Sorry, Wrong Number, plus Umbrella releases of Possession, Ozploitation classic Turkey Shoot, and director Alex Proyas’s debut, Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds; and from the US… oh, I’ve listed most of those already, or the order’s been split and more are to follow. But also, I picked up Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia on Blu-ray. I’ve not seen it since 2009, so (as with some titles I mentioned earlier) it’s long overdue another look. (I bet someone announces it in 4K soon now.) I also caved to sales (well, it was the month of Black Friday) from Indicator — picking up Cash on Demand, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, I, Monster, Light Sleeper, The Valachi Papers, and The Valdez Horses — and Eureka — with if…., Michael, and Tabu — and Criterion, too — just Deep Cover and La Vérité.

You may be thinking “how does he have the space to buy so much stuff?!”, and the answer is… I don’t, really. It’s getting silly now. And as for the time to actually watch them… don’t get me started on that…


The final month of 100 Films in a Year.

…wait, what?!

Yes, it’s the end — but the moment has been prepared for…

The Below Par Monthly Review of October 2021

As you attentive readers will no doubt already be aware, during October I posted my first new review for almost five months — whoop whoop! Only the one, though. Indeed, if you wanted to read new writing by me, you’d be better off attending FilmBath Festival and trying to guess which of the Film Notes handouts I completely rewrote (if they appear online this year, I’ll let you know and you can indulge in this fun game).

Yes, despite having a day job, I also served as Copy Editor for FilmBath once again — so at least this month I have an excuse for not writing anything here. It’s also the reason why this month’s viewing is way down, as you will now see…


#171 Appointment with Death (1988)
#172 Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)
#173 Raffles (1939)
#174 A Little Chaos (2014)
#174a Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900)
#175 Capernaum (2018), aka Capharnaüm
#176 Dune: Part One (2021), aka Dune
#177 Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
#178 Going in Style (2017)
#179 Search for Danger (1949)
Dune: Part One
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  • I watched 9 feature films I’d never seen before in October.
  • It’s the first month in which I’ve fallen short of 10 films since December 2019.
  • That means last month concluded a 21-month 10+ streak — not even close to the longest (60 months, from June 2014 to May 2019), but well beyond the previous second best (just seven, from September 2009 to March 2010).
  • As for averages, obviously it brings everything down. The worst affected is the average for 2021 to date, which falls a whole film from 18.9 to 17.9. The rolling average of the last 12 months drops from 18.00 to 17.25, while October’s average shifts slightly from 13.21 to 13.54.
  • I should’ve saved Frankenstein to be this month’s Blindspot film (for hopefully-obvious reasons). As it was, I didn’t watch any of the remaining three, meaning I need to watch two next month. That’s okay: I also missed one in August and managed to catch it up in September, so I’ve got form.
  • From last month’s “failures” I watched Everybody’s Talking About Jamie… twice (see Rewatchathon).



The 77th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
I liked a few films this month, but there’s no real debate that this belongs to Dune: Part One (as I was insisting on calling it even before the sequel was greenlit, a piece of good news that has only made me more insistent).

Least Favourite Film of the Month
The pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant should be a great one — it gave us the likes of Bringing Up Baby and Holiday, after all — but their first film together, Sylvia Scarlett, just doesn’t work, on the whole.

Worst Accent of the Month
Dick Van Dyke gets a lot of stick for his Cockney in Mary Poppins, but perhaps he just watched Cary Grant in Sylvia Scarlett for research. Yes, it is comparably poor… but that also means it has the same kind of perverse entertainment value.

Completed Film Series of the Month
Just over nine years since I watched the first one, I finally finished off The Falcon series of ’40s detective mysteries with Search for Danger. Well, it depends how you count it. Really, I think there are 13 films, ending with 1946’s The Falcon’s Adventure; but some say there are 16 films, bundling in the three made a few years later by a different studio with a different star. I’d argue those are more of a ‘reboot’ series than a true continuation. They’re also trickier to track down — while I saw the first 13 thanks to the BBC airing them, the later three most assuredly weren’t included — but I finally bothered to find them, and so now, whichever way you cut it, I’m done.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
For the first time in a while there were actually two new posts this month, although it wasn’t much of a battle — No Time to Die romped away with the victory, besting even my ever-popular old TV reviews to be the month’s most-viewed post overall. It’s already in the top five new posts for the entire year, too, although its chances of overtaking the most popular TV posts are slim.



So, I think it’s now pretty clear I’m not going to make my goal of 50 rewatches in 2021 — I’d need to watch ten a month to get there, which isn’t impossible (I normally watch more new films than that… though not this month, obviously), but I know I just won’t do that (I’ll focus on the unseen stuff). Ah well, it’s only a target. Maybe next year… or maybe next year I’ll have a new goal…

Anyway, this month’s sole rewatch was…

#30 Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)

…which I’d only first seen earlier in the month! When I rewatched it I knew I’d only recently seen it, but I didn’t realise it was within the same month until afterwards. That had more to do with watching it with different people than rushing to rewatch it quickly. I do like it quite a bit, though.


Anyone would think the pandemic was over, the way cinemas are back in full flow (and doing fairly good business, based on my personal experience on the two trips I’ve made so far). Films hitting the big screen this past month that I’ve skipped ‘til disc or streaming include Ridley Scott’s acclaimed The Last Duel, Edgar Wright’s divisive Last Night in Soho, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, plus franchise sequels Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Halloween Kills, and The Addams Family 2. Also the sequel to The Boss Baby (I enjoyed the first one a surprising amount, so maybe I’ll make time for the sequel one day) and Dear Evan Hansen, which I’ll have to watch just to see how much of a train wreck it actually is.

Talking of the big screen, FilmBath Festival is currently mid-flow. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make any screenings this year, unfortunately, and films I’ve already missed include Mothering Sunday, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman, Lamb, and Palme d’Or winner and French Oscar contender Titane.

The streamers continued to premiere new movies too, of course. Sky Cinema got UK exclusivity for sci-fi Voyagers (which suggests it’s not very good); Netflix had the English-language remake of thriller The Guilty (I watched the original back in February and it’s currently on All 4 again, FYI); MUBI had a Halloween premiere for BBFC-themed horror movie Censor (which I’ve heard good things about); and earlier in the month Amazon offered Bingo Hell (I like the sound of the concept, but I don’t think it’s been well reviewed). I guess Amazon’s big film was meant to be Infinite starring Mark Wahlberg, though I heard nothing about it until a big promo image popped up on Prime Video’s front page. Low marks on Letterboxd suggest it isn’t worth investigating.

Elsewhere on streaming, if I ever decide to embark on the Conjuring franchise, they’ve got me covered: the first two are on BBC iPlayer, while the third has arrived on Sky Cinema already (I’ve no idea about the spinoffs). Older titles bulking out my various watchlists included period lesbian drama Ammonite, Amsterdamned, David Cronenberg’s Fast Company, anime Mirai, and the 1990 Witches on Amazon Prime; Judas and the Black Messiah, The Little Things, Billie Piper’s Rare Beasts, and Nic Cage in Willy’s Wonderland on Sky Cinema; Halloween I to V (in particular, I want to see III), Honey Boy, Kung Fu Hustle, and Last Christmas on Netflix; The Arbor, The Love Witch, intriguing new animation Cryptozoo, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist on MUBI; and, on iPlayer, Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk, Daniel Craig and Anne Reid in The Mother, Horrible Histories: The Movie, and one I’d never heard of before: A Woman’s Secret, which is apparently a noir-style melodrama starring Gloria Grahame. Whew.

Of course, that’s as nothing to my ever-growing pile of new purchases. Where to begin? How about my latest 4K acquisitions: M. Night Shyamalan’s newest, Old, and his best, Unbreakable; Second Sight’s luxurious new edition of The Guest (which you may remember was my sort-of-joint-first favourite film of 2015); StudioCanal’s latest swish 4K box set, for Joe Dante’s The Howling; plus Arrow’s edition of Oldboy, and The Shining, which features the longer US cut that I’ve not seen. New or recent releases in good ol’ 1080p included Another Round, Masters of Cinema’s second volume of Early Universal silents, Eureka’s release of the Sabata trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns, and Edgar Wright’s documentary The Sparks Brothers. I also finally got hold of Shout’s release of David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone, and another Eureka release of a Spaghetti Western, Sergio Corbucci’s The Specialists.

And to round things off, I tried to limit my purchases in Arrow’s Shocktober sale… and failed spectacularly. Some of them were recent-ish titles (Sam Peckinpah’s Major Dundee, still available as a multi-disc special edition, and Japanese corporate thriller Giants and Toys), and some they released so long ago they’re dual-format editions with DVDs (remember those?), like 52 Pick-Up and Howling II (which for some reason doesn’t feature its fab subtitle on the cover: Your Sister is a Werewolf). Rounding things out: more Japanese crime in Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards!; another Spaghetti Western, The Grand Duel; a couple of gialli (The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion and The Pyjama Girl Case); and, released by Second Run but in Arrow’s sale, one of Letterboxd’s 250 greatest films of all time, The Shop on the High Street. Whew, again.


2021’s on the home stretch now — perhaps it’s time to start thinking about where my final tally will end up…

The Name’s Monthly Review… September Monthly Review

Daniel Craig’s final turn as Bond, James Bond, parachuted into cinemas just in time to make the cut for this monthly overview. But there was a whole month before that, so let’s look back at it.


#159 Three Identical Strangers (2018)
#160 Boss Level (2021)
#161 The Birth of a Nation (1915)
#162 Daughters of Darkness (1971), aka Les lèvres rouges
#163 Futureworld (1976)
#164 Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019)
#165 La Dolce Vita (1960)
#166 Terje Vigen (1917), aka A Man There Was
#167 David Lynch: The Art Life (2016)
#168 The Current War (2017)
#168a Scenes with Beans (1976), aka Babfilm
#169 The Green Knight (2021)
#170 No Time to Die (2021)
The Green Knight

No Time to Die

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  • I watched 12 feature films I’d never seen before in September.
  • Not a terrible showing (it’s not the worst month of 2021), but far from spectacular (it’s joint second worst).
  • It fell just short of the September average (previously 12.54, now 12.50), and well below the average for 2021 to date (previously 19.75, now 18.89) and the rolling average of the last 12 months (previously 18.7, now 18.0).
  • One notable success, however, came in my Blindspot viewing: after missing one in August, I caught up by watching two this month — and two of this year’s longest, at that. They were the 193 minutes of D.W. Griffith’s silent racist epic The Birth of a Nation, and the 175 minutes of Federico Fellini’s depiction of the high life in 1950s Rome, La Dolce Vita. I was no fan of the first Fellini I watched, , but I quite liked this one. The Griffith, however, should be consigned to the bin of history.
  • From last month’s “failures” I watched Boss Level and Memory: The Origins of Alien.



The 76th Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
Lots of enjoyable flicks this month, some unexpectedly so, but perhaps the greatest was David Lowery’s divisive adaptation of The Green Knight. I can see why it turned some people off, but it hit just the right tone for me.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
This is an easy one, because I liked all of the film I watched this month, with one glaring exception: The Birth of a Nation. As I wrote above, D.W. Griffith’s once-acclaimed silent epic is so horrendously racist that it deserves to be forgotten. Actually, there’s a more nuanced discussion to be had there about remembering the misdeeds of the past — it merits viewing on such an academic level — but the old “yeah, it’s racist, but if you ignore that it’s really good” arguments can get in the bin. It does have some decent stuff, but the racism is so awful that it completely overshadows any other merits.

First Film I’ve Seen in the Cinema for 19 Months
After a very long wait, it was finally time to not die of COVID from watching No Time to Die.

Most Surprising Sequel of the Month
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Westworld (it’s fine), and the sequel has a rep for being much, much worse. So it was a delightful surprise to me that I really enjoyed Futureworld. Whereas the first film basically hangs out in the park until there’s a bit of robot-on-human violence, Futureworld takes the time to have more of a plot, latching itself to the ’70s vogue for conspiracy thrillers. I reckon it might be worth a reappraisal.

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
I’m not sure how much point there is keeping this particular award going until I get back on my reviewing horse. Highlighting the most viewed overall post of the month worked at first, but (based on history) it’s going to be my 15th TV column most of the time (as it was this month, and last month), with only the occasional other old TV column pipping it to the post.


My Rewatchathon continues to tick along, although another month just off pace means I’m falling ever-further behind where I should be to reach my goal of 50 this year. Who knows how things will pan out, but at this rate I’ll be pleased to make 40.

#27 Bill (2015)
#28 Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
#29 Spectre (2015)

Bill was 2021’s #1 back in (obviously) January. I liked it first time, but I enjoyed it even more on a rewatch. Quite the other end of the rewatch timeline was Pan’s Labyrinth, long-overdue a revisit because I last watched it 14 years ago. My review (linked above) is a brief 2007-style one… though that’s better than what I post currently, eh? Anyway, some fresh thoughts on Letterboxd.

Spectre was also rather overdue a revisit: it was the only Daniel Craig Bond I’d only seen once, and that was six years ago at the cinema. I was fairly positive about it on Letterboxd, but, I must say, it gets worse the more I reflect on it. Blofeld is horrendously mishandled — underwritten and underused — meaning Waltz is wasted, and I think he knows it, just giving another slight variation of his usual Tarantino performance. It really undermines the entire third act of the film, which is kinda crucial. Still, the film as a whole definitely has some high points.


This month’s big release at the cinema… doesn’t get a mention in this section, because I saw it. Wonders will never cease. Although, as things edge towards normal, there were a couple of other noteworthy titles too, like Disney’s “theatrical only” ‘experiment’ release of Marvel’s latest, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. I’ve never seen all of the The Sopranos, though I mean to, so it may be a while before I get round to that one…

Perhaps the most-discussed direct-to-streaming release of the month was not a Netflix title, for once, but Amazon’s new version of Cinderella. Unfortunately for them, that was because it looks terrible. And apparently it is terrible. It’s not on my watchlist. They also generated a few column inches with erotic thriller The Voyeurs, but I didn’t see many people talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, though I did pick up that it’s quite good. Meanwhile, on Netflix, the only new title I’ve noted is actioner Kate. I don’t actually know what the reviews have been like — “Mary Elizabeth Winstead leads an action movie” was enough to get it on my list. And talking of female-driven action, Sky Cinema grabbed the UK release of Gunpowder Milkshake.

Among the never-ending parade of old(er) titles coming and going and jumping from one streamer to another, standouts to me included Minari on Sky Cinema, as well as the Russian remake of The Raid, cannily titled Russian Raid. Leaving Sky to popup on Netflix was the new Charlie’s Angels; and, having left Amazon a while back, The Farewell is now on Netflix too. As for Amazon, they now have Chaos Walking (in 4K, too), and also Selma, which I think has been available on every streamer at one time or another (even iPlayer) and I really should get round to. And talking of iPlayer, they had a seemingly-rare chance to watch The Graduate this month, so I should do that too. They also had Whiplash, which I ought to rewatch — I liked it a lot, but don’t really understand why it seems to have become an Instant Classic in the past few years.

Finally… I say “finally”: this is going to take more than half the section. Yes, my bank balance is sobbing once again — as is my shelf space — as new purchases flowed through my letterbox like water. Where to begin? Indicator’s Columbia Noir series reached its fourth iteration, adding six new films to my unwatched noir pile. Similarly, Master of Cinema’s Early Universal range is just getting underway (I hope), with Volume 1 bringing me three silent titles I’d never heard of before. Fun times. Other new releases included an MoC edition of Johnny Guitar; Eureka’s release of Duel to the Death, billed as “one of the greatest swordplay movies of all time”; an Aussie Imprint import for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven; and Anime Ltd’s release of the first CG Lupin III film, Lupin III: The First.

My 4K collection also got a considerable boost this month, between brand-new releases like Black Widow (the first Marvel film in yonks I’ve not been able to buy in 3D — boo!); archive releases in fancy box sets, like The Thing and The Servant; semi-random sale pick-ups, like Shadow and Full Metal Jacket; and the kind of titles you might once have never believed you’d see on Blu-ray, never mind 4K, but nowadays all bets are off as indie labels go for the new tech but studios remain wary — by which I specifically mean a bundle I imported from Vinegar Syndrome including The Beastmaster, Daughters of Darkness, and SexWorld — which, if you’ve not heard of it, is a porno riff on Westworld and Futureworld. It sounds surprisingly good. I also bought Eleven Days, Eleven Nights and Robotrix this month, which as a set make my glad Blu-rays don’t come through the post in transparent boxes…

But I’m still not done! I caved to a bunch of gialli and other international semi-oddities in a recent 88 Films sale on HMV, snaffling the likes of The Bloodstained Shadow, Eyeball, Harlequin, Ironmaster, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, and Watch Me When I Kill. Throw in The Blood Spattered Bride with that VS order, and there’s clearly a lot of the red stuff waiting to spray from my Blu-ray player. Finally, helping round out my classic 3D collection was Dynasty (nothing to do with the TV series), and I completed Richard Lester’s Musketeers trilogy with The Return of the Musketeers.

And that’s not even mentioning the TV Blu-rays I bought.


We’re off to Arrakis. Hopefully it’ll be a return ticket.