A big October again, with six films in the fight…
First up, The Magnificent Seven is a remake of a remake that didn’t need to be remade the first time. The plot is a little tired but is serviced by a generally great cast; Peter Sarsgaard is particularly notable as the villian, but Chris Pratt appears to be in a different movie from everyone else. The action sequences are so-so, with a slow and dull pace throughout. An almost entirely forgettable film. Skip. (See my Magnificent Seven Twitter review)
Swiss Army Man is a very strange film. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s weirder than that. Paul Dano’s character goes on an adventure with a corpse who may or may not be speaking to him. It’s never particularly clear where the film is headed, or the intent, leaving it feeling unfocussed, yet still somehow enjoyable. It’s slow, weird, and fun. (See my Swiss Army Man Twitter review)
John Michael McDonagh follows up the dark humour of The Guard and Calvary with corrupt cop comedy, War On Everyone. Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Pena are excellent as the leads, fitting into a world that feels like a Shane Black movie but with the darker comedy we expect from McDonagh. The whole thing is well-shot, well-paced, and well-written. The main villian’s plan starts to feel a little contrived, but just go along for the ride. Fun. (See my War On Everyone Twitter review)
Mascots feels remarkably similar to previous Christopher Guest film, Best In Show. Whether that’s a problem depends entirely one whether or not you like his movies. While some of the eccentricity of the characters is a little forced, the mockumentary works reasonably well. There are some good laughs, a decent cast, and a genuinely heartfelt story at its core. Definitely worth seeing. (See my Mascots Twitter review)
Louis Theroux, having tackled other religious fringe groups, turns his attention to Scientology in My Scientology Movie. It’s an odd documentary, revealing little that is new about the group. However, it’s worth watching for the way that he recreates stories about current Scientology leader, David Miscavige. The actor playing the dramatised Miscavige is genuinely frightening, embodying the stories perfectly. A little flat in places, but watchable. (See my My Scientology Movie Twitter review)
Finally, Doctor Strange is the latest entry in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, taking it into some of the mystical places the lead inhabits. As an origin story, it feels fairly rushed and lacks any kind of originality. Strangely, Benedict Cumberbatch comes across as fairly dull, which I can only assume is due to the writing. Others laughed throughout, but the humour didn’t hit for me either. That said, the final action sequence is genuinely inspired: one of the best, smartest sections of a Marvel film in a long time. Not amazing. (See my Doctor Strange Twitter review)
The winner for October is War On Everyone, for its catchy visuals, witty dialogue, and fun action.