December 31, 2016 | Category: Films

Film Fight 2016: December

A huge December this year, with seven films…

First up, Bleed For This is a story you’ve seen before many times: a brash boxer in his peak gets unexpectedly knocked down a few rungs, and has to overcome overwhelming odds to get back on top. That said, this film is done well enough, with strong enough performances, that you won’t really mind. Aaron Eckhart, in particular, is great as the coach in this drama, based on real events. It’s not doing anything new, but it’s doing it well. Worth seeing. (See my Bleed For This Twitter review)

Allied sees Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard team up as World War Two infiltrators who fall in love, but is this just another long game by the enemy? You probably won’t care too much. The tension being built up never works, mostly because their chemistry seems fairly forced. Moreover, the CG is bad enough throughout (from bad lighting to glaring CG objects) that it’ll distract if you have even the slightest eye for these things. It’s fine, but forgettable. (See my Allied Twitter review)

Tom Hanks rarely fails to give a great performance and he doesn’t fail in Sully: Miracle On The Hudson either. This is the true story of a pilot who, seeing his passenger plane fail, decided to take the risky option of landing on the Hudson River. He saved every passenger. The narrative structure here is splintered, showing the post-mortem investigation, the crash, and many other points of view, as a way of showing his fractious state of mind after the event. It’s straightforward, but well-paced. Decent. (See my Sully: Miracle On The Hudson Twitter review)

The first cinematic side-story in the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: Rogue One, follows new characters who were involved in stealing the plans to the Death Star. Set immediately before A New Hope, we see some interesting details sketched out. More importantly, we get a nice little war story once the film settles down from its exposition-heavy first hour. It plays very differently from the main episodes, by showing the more downbeat side of ongoing guerilla warfare. Reasonably enjoyable. (See my Star Wars: Rogue One Twitter review)

Office Christmas Party is probably everything the name suggests: a comedy in which the main characters have to throw an insane Christmas party to impress a client. There’s over-the-top carnage, some very dumb jokes, and a few decent comic moments. It’s not a classic, but it’s fun enough. See once. (See my Office Christmas Party Twitter review)

Billed as Black Hawk Down meets Ghostbusters, Spectral lacks the action and tension of the former, or the humour and world-building of the latter. In fact, it has very little going for it at all. It’s vaguely enjoyable as mindless fodder, but the plot doesn’t make much sense and the CG is pretty bad. A B-Movie without the knowing winks. Meh. (See my Spectral Twitter review)

Finally, Passengers is a big budget glossy space movie, with a small but excellent cast. Pratt and Lawrence carry what they can as the leads, and Michael Sheen is excellent as the charming bartender. It looks pretty, but it’s empty spectacle. The movie is far too light and fluffy to deal with the weighty issue at its core; a shame because that could’ve improved the movie immensely. Ultimately what we get is something amusing to watch, that skirts around the horrible plot point at its centre. Hard to recommend or hate. (See my Passengers Twitter review)

The winner this month is Bleed For This, which would’ve struggled in other months but did fine amongst a bunch of okay films.