As if to justify my decision to move from long posts to longer Twitter reviews, there are nine films for the first month of the year.
#FF18 Jupiter’s Moon uses the refugee crisis in Europe as the backdrop for a supernatural thriller.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 7, 2018
Beautifully shot, but slow paced and too long. Some of the ideas around faith seem ham-fisted, and the supernatural element, while great visually, doesn’t go anywhere.
#FF18 Molly’s Game has solid lead performances (Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba) in the true story of a high-stakes, illegal poker game.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 7, 2018
Aaron Sorkin writes and first-time directs, so the dialogue is snappy but the rest could use a little work.
Good, but could be a little shorter.
The Polka King
#FF18 The Polka King lacks structured narrative. It’s expositional at times, and skips passed big changes at others. It lacks suspense, thrill, anything.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 13, 2018
Some good lines, and serviceable visuals, but ultimately it’s dull. Netflix’s most tedious original film to date.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
#FF18 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has great performances, as well as touching, brutal, and funny moments. Even when characters do crazy stuff, it feels like part of a coherent story.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 14, 2018
Exceptional storytelling and film-making. Must-see.
#FF18 Darkest Hour is slow and subdued, trying to show global catastrophe through a personal crisis. It mostly succeeds, in large part due to Gary Oldman’s strong performance.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 16, 2018
Some neat shots, but the spectacle here is more in the little moments.
#FF18 The Post is somewhat mixed: it focusses on the issues, rather than the characters. It uses obvious techniques very well to create tension. It’s fantastically shot, but undermined by some cheesy music choices.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 20, 2018
Streep (mainly) and Odenkirk are the hearts of this film. Decent
The Open House
#FF18 The Open House is a decent horror film. It ratchets up tension over a long period, with just enough release over time.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 28, 2018
Not a classic, and there are some dialogue issues, but fun.
#FF18 Downsizing uses an interesting premise, a world where people can be miniaturised, to deliver and important message.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 28, 2018
It fails, however, to tell a compelling story with interesting characters. And at 2 hours 15, it’s far too long. Kinda boring.
The Man From Earth: Holocene
#FF18 The Man From Earth: Holocene makes frequent references to the original, but fails to live up to the premise. Things happen, but it’s not really about anything.— Gary Fleming (@garyfleming) January 31, 2018
Bad acting (the lead excepted), terrible dialogue, poor characterisation, and cheap visuals don’t help. Avoid.
The January Winner
There were lots of interesting films and good options for January, but I think the winner is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The world here is that of a film, but everything fits the template so well that it doesn’t matter.