The Small Things 2021

A collection of thoughts from the films of today.

Jan 4th: (DWS12E11) Revolution of the Daleks is fine. Chibnall’s writing needs to be about 20% shorter and about 20% more fun. Also, I could swear the Daleks used to be properly scary. See, this is the problem with bringing back old content…it just makes me want to watch that content.

Jan 6th: I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days now and I SUPER did not appreciate hearing the opening lines of Harry Potter in Revolution of the Daleks. Literally, any book was an option here. Maybe a classic sci-fi book or even LOTR. But not that book. Not HER book.

Jan 13th: I thought Wonder Woman 1984 was a lot of fun although it drags a little bit and it feels like the whole Middle East thing could have been dropped. The soundtrack was really nice and Pedro Pascal gives a powerhouse performance.

Jan 15th: Wandavision S1E1&2 aren’t exactly what I was expecting. They’ve gone all out on that “Classic Sitcom” angle, almost to the point that the Big Marvel stuff doesn’t make it in. I know it probably won’t last but having a genuine WandaVision Sitcom was a lovely surprise.

Jan 21st: I love learning as much about films as I can so a massive shoutout to “Sideways” on YouTube for teaching me more about film scores. I practically screamed when I learned about Dies Irae because it’s EVERYWHERE. Check him out.

Jan 22nd: S1Ep3 of WandaVision feels very much like the eerie calm before the eagerly awaited storm. Going forward I suspect we’ll be seeing MUCH more of the MCU and that Widescreen filter in. I’m shocked at just how much I’ve missed this dumb little franchise.

Jan 22nd: There’s a certain kind of emotion attached to watching something new from a franchise that’s been dormant for a bit. This kind of relief, safety, or comfort. It’s like coming home and knowing that you can just let go of all the feelings you’ve been having. That’s the ending to Episode 3 of WandaVision.

Jan 23rd: My heart goes out to the friends and family of Larry King. The man was a living legend and left a lasting impact on anything he was a part of. From news to interviews, from Ghostbusters to Bee Movie ♥️

Jan 27th: It’s A Sin is every bit as heartbreaking and beautiful as you’ve probably heard it is. It’s a lesson in Queer History and a brutally honest one. It’s a reminder of the deep flaws that our country still has. It is so very important that media like this exists. Thank you, RTD

Jan 29th: WandaVision continues to get better as it progresses. The big moments this week obviously come from the inclusion of some old friends and I am delighted to have them back. Intrigued to see how they handle switching between inside/outside Westview.

Jan 30th: Listen. I like canon as much as the next nerd BUT I doubt that the MCU will make Agents of SHIELD and The Defenders and its associated shows canon. IF any characters make their way into the MCU, it’ll probably be as alternate versions of those characters. This also applies to the upcoming Spider-Man 3 and Doctor Strange 2 and WandaVision because this will end up being a massive multiverse just NOT in the way that you think it will.

Feb 1st: Elizabeth Sladen would have been 75 today. Even after 10 years, her loss is indescribable. Still so thankful for all the love she had for her fans and for everyone else. ❤My Sarah Jane❤

Feb 5th: About WandaVision S1Ep5. Just because it’s him doesn’t mean it’s Him. I mean he had to have come from somewhere in-universe. Repeat, there is EVERY LIKELIHOOD that this means NOTHING. I want it to though.

Feb 9th: Kid Cosmic on Netflix is a solidly entertaining children’s show. The pacing isn’t perfect but the likable characters and fantastic animation more than make up for it. So good to see Craig McCracken back on the superhero scene after the Original Powerpuff Girls.

Feb 9th: Disney just shut down Blue Sky Studios after buying them out in 2019. They were 10 months away from releasing an original film and now 500 jobs are gone. I DO NOT support Disney’s Monopolization nor have I EVER supported it. HOLD. DISNEY. ACCOUNTABLE.

Feb 12th: S1E6 of WandaVision decided to raise more questions than it answered and in doing so reminded me how gripping weekly tv can be. With the end of the series just around the corner, I am enthralled as to the ramifications this show will have on the MCU going forward.

Feb 12th: I love that WandaVision fans saw “aerospace engineer” and unanimously agreed it was Reed Richards. There wasn’t even A Discussion it was just “hell yeah, Fantastic 4 time” and that’s beautiful to me. Y’all are the best.

Feb15th: [Animéducation 4/many] Kiki’s Delivery Service is my first Ghibli movie and an absolute delight. There’s something so relaxing about a “slice of life” flick and I love that the witch element is barely important. It’s more focused on Kiki as a person.

Feb 19th: The plot twists in WandaVision S1Ep7 were ones I was expecting but somehow I was still on the edge of my seat watching them play out. Starting to get the feeling that these last 2 episodes will be a bit intense and I’m here for it.

Feb 24th: With the announcement of Spider-Man: No Way Home, I would like to tell you all that the FIRST Spider-Man 3 is good and that Marc Webb deserved to make Amazing Spider-Man 3. This should be the 3rd time we’re being entertained by a “Spider-Man 3

Feb 26th: Wandavision S1Ep8 amps all the emotions up to 11, leaving us hyped as hell for the finale. It answers many of the lingering questions meaning that the only baggage left to be dealt with is between the characters. Also, not to say I told you so…but I did.

Feb 28th: Flora and Ulysses is incredibly heart-warming and consistently amusing. Children will get a kick out of the entertaining story while adults can hopefully be thrilled by the absurdity of it all. That opening especially was amusing to me. Worth a watch on Disney+

Mar 5th: There’s no denying that the finale of WandaVision is a powerhouse of acting from all involved, however, it isn’t what I think any of us were expecting. There are ramifications, but none of them are really taking center stage for at least a couple of years. I think that might be what’s bothering me. This had Big Finale Energy but it doesn’t serve as a conclusion. I know that the MCU has always looked forward but it would have been nice to have a sense of finality I guess. Otherwise, it was really freaking good.

Mar 8th: Raya and the Last Dragon is utterly beautiful to look at and listen to. I was worried that this would be similar to The Last Airbender but thankfully it was an original tale with likable characters. The narration and name cards felt a little unnecessary but the film is still great.

Mar 12th: The really nice thing about Assembled: The Making of Wandavision is that it shows how much love and effort was put into this show. I know that the MCU is a capitalistic juggernaut but it’s clear how much the PEOPLE involved care. How much people like Feige and the fans have always cared.

Mar 18th: Zack Snyders Justice League is unapologetically his. Hallelujah. #ForAutumn

Mar 19th: S1Ep1 of Falcon And The Winter Soldier does a great job at humanising Sam and Bucky as well as showing how rough their lives are despite being Avengers. It also made me hate the new “Captain America” despite several seconds of screen-time. Good job.

Mar 21st: I post an opinion on almost every single new thing I watch but I still take some time to watch things JUST for me. Right now, it’s Parks and Rec and it’s good.

Mar 22nd: I want to see them “#RestoreTheSnyderVerse” as much as the rest of you but it’s a totally different scenario to “#ReleaseTheSnyderCut” It’s also not something that Zack himself is calling for. He’s gonna go make other stuff and I can’t wait to see those projects.

Mar 26th: S1Ep2 of The Falcon And the Winter Soldier is setting up a political discussion that I’m not sure Marvel/Disney means to have. Namely that the Flag Smashers are right and the government is wrong. I’ve also become invested in Sam and Bucky’s relationship.

Mar 26th: Hi. You’re allowed to look up references from your nerdy franchises if you don’t understand them, it doesn’t somehow mean you’re less of a fan. I’ve been following the MCU since the beginning and Star Wars since the prequels but I look stuff up all the time ♥️

Mar 28th: #RestoretheSnyderVerese as a series of Graphic Novels. It’s clear that we aren’t getting them as films and Zack Snyders work seems designed to leap off a page. I would like to see how the Snyderverse would have played out, provided Zack Snyder is willing, in a medium ready to tell it.

Apr 1st: Was JUST wondering where the Green Band trailer for The Suicide Squad was and what footage they would use. Guess that answers my question. I’m still giddy at Polka Dot Man being a main character, to be honest.

Apr 2nd: The Story of the Faithful Wookie is on Disney+ and I feel that we, the Star Wars community, should be more excited. Nobody has seen this footage through an official channel since 1978 and it’s here in HD! In its 10 minute runtime, it embodies the pure fun and absurdity of this franchise. More than that, it is a piece of Star Wars history that Lucasfilm/Disney haven’t been very forthcoming about. I hope that if we get excited enough about this, we may yet see The Star Wars Holiday Special released in its entirety.

Apr 2nd: S1Ep3 of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier once again proving that Baron Zemo is a Top Tier MCU villain. I didn’t feel like there was much happening this episode so seeing him bounce off people was the big takeaway for me. I’d imagine others are hyped to see Sharon back though.

Apr 5th: Parks And Recreation starts off slow but once it hits its stride, it never really leaves. The characters are almost definitely “bad people” but they’re too damn likable to not get invested in. It made me laugh and cry, occasionally at the same time, and the original songs all bop.

Apr 9th: S1Ep4 of The Falcon And Winter Soldier is probably the best so far. Genuinely gripping and by the final act, you know something monumental is going to go down. Haven’t been super gripped by episodes thus far but now I can’t wait to see how it ends.

Apr 14th: ThunderForce on Netflix is enjoyable enough to sit through its 2-hour runtime. Occasionally Melissa McCarthy can be a bit much but the other performances are a sincere delight. Not essential viewing but certainly pleasant enough.

Apr 16th: S1Ep5 of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is a nice change of pace that occasionally waxes philosophical and provides really human character moments. The big takeaway sadly is that announcing Big Cameos is kind of ruining stuff.

Apr 23rd: The finale of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier did a couple of things I wasn’t really on board with. I was a little worried they wouldn’t follow through on some conversations but they did mostly. On the whole a satisfactory enough conclusion.

Apr 30th: The Mitchells vs The Machines on Netflix is stunningly animated, masterfully edited, and filled with so much humour and heart that I thought I might explode. Sony Animation really brought their A-Game to this one so please show it the support it deserves!

May 3rd: That Marvel Sizzle reel is really freaking good. The Stan Lee voiceover, the audio from Endgame‘s opening night, the title Wakanda Forever. Please, I wanna go back to the cinema so badly.
Also, the places calling it a trailer for The Eternals are being really rude by doing so.

May 4th: S1Ep1 of The Bad Batch occasionally gives more exposition than I think is required but it’s a heck of a story they’re telling. A brilliant continuation of Clone Wars that continues to be visually gorgeous. A couple of stand-out moments that provide chills for long-time fans.

May 7th: S1E2 of The Bad Batch demonstrates that this show is going to have as much heart and action as the shows before it, if not more. It’s also nice to see some familiar faces on purpose instead of just happening across them, as this franchise has been known to do.

May 12th: (For context, the BBC has been cracking down on fan works with many creators being forced to take their works down.)
The BBC should be ashamed of themselves. Doctor Who survived The Wilderness Years and was revived thanks to the fans. The show’s revival was helmed by fans and without the fans, this show would never have made it another 16 years. Even now, with the show doing poorly and despair growing, the fans are still here just as we’ve always been. It absolutely breaks my heart that any fanbase would be treated this way. But US? After all this time and effort and LOVE. I expected fans to quit on the show but not for the show to quit on the fans.

May 14th: S1Ep3 of The Bad Batch is a classic Crash Landing story with a couple of lovely character moments. Possibly the weakest episode so far but by no means is it bad. Some really interesting setup with Crosshair. Also, I think one of those new recruits is a character we already know…

May 17th: Nomadland is a simple yet eloquent story that is beautifully shot and superbly acted. Films like this really get to the core of what it is to exist and are the finest example of why cinema can be so important.

May 20th: As somebody who has been queer for a long time and has been playing with Lego for even longer, the new Everyone is Awesome set is really heart-warming. A gay Lego employee made this and the people at the company took enough notice that the higher-ups realised how important a release like this would be. You can call it “rainbow capitalism” as much as you want but the fact is that this set is going to mean so much to so many. Also, the size makes me think it’ll be about £30 so please show your financial support if you can. Lego needs to know what a good thing they’ve done.

May 21st: S1Ep4 of The Bad Batch is a stark reminder of how small and full of coincidence this supposedly vast galaxy actually is. The storyline itself is a lot of fun and Omegas empathy is infectious but I have to wonder if the villain could have been literally anybody else.

May 28th: S1E5 of The Bad Batch answers the age-old question “which Star Wars character HAVEN’T we given a backstory for?” in the most bizarre way possible. As unnecessary stories go, it’s alright.
Also 100% sure Fennec was hired by The Empire.

May 28th: Films like Godzilla Vs Kong are designed to be experienced on a large screen and if you don’t experience it that way I think you lose some of the magic. Because Godzilla Vs Kong is a heck of a lot of fun and often very pretty to look at. They even have fun characters this time around. In 3D

May 31st: To tell you anything about Bo Burnham’s new comedy special Inside would be to rob you of all the artistry that lies within. Safe to say it is unapologetically Bo and worth every second.

June 4th: Mortal Kombat is a bad film that falls apart under literally ANY scrutiny. I didn’t feel like there were any stakes and I didn’t really care about the characters. Some of the action was fun and Mortal Kombat fans will probably get a kick out of it but I’d rather re-watch the original.

June 4th: S1Ep6 of The Bad Batch is an absolute delight. A couple of old friends, one last hurrah for the Droid Army, and a hint of things to come. Didn’t expect such an emotional ride with this one but I got it anyway.

June 8th: Wolfwalkers is proof that both 2D and hand-drawn animation need to stick around. The film looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, and has an excellent message/history lesson. Cartoon Saloon deserves all of the praise and support that you can give them so we can have more like this.

June 9th: S1Ep1 of Loki is finite. There are answers to several large questions in here but also a great look at how Loki works as a character. It’s clearly going to be a series with intrigue, humour, action, and a bit of heart. I can’t wait.

June 11th: S1Ep7 of The Bad Batch is the one we’ve all been waiting for and it digs up all the emotions we were expecting. Despite this, I was still on the edge of my seat. It feels like, with this major issue solved, we’re on the home straight but we’re only halfway through.

June 11th: Cruella is quite the film. It’s definitely pretty to look at and the acting is so extremely over the top that I found it difficult not to have fun. It also has a shaky plot, bad writing, occasionally bad acting, and takes itself WAY too seriously. It’s also highly derivative of films like The Devil Wears Prada, Joker, and any of Tim Burton’s work. I know I once said that it might not be a Joker knockoff but they GENUINELY used the song Send in the Clowns so.
It is hilariously bad so watch if you like that.

June 16th: S1Ep2 of Loki is full of intrigue. It plays out like a penultimate episode, with them hot on Variant Lokis heels, but you know it can’t end well. And OH BOY does it not end well. Some excellent acting in this episode, especially from the possessed.

June 17th: [Animéducation #4/many] Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train is the continuation of a series I have not yet watched but I never doubted its fun lore for a second. It felt like there was too much exposition and like the 3rd act came from nowhere but I’ve been assured this is normal.

June 17th: Laura Kate Dale and co have put together a beautiful summary of the Trans experience, that primarily focuses on the positive but never shies away from the negative.
Everybody, regardless of gender, should read Gender Euphoria.

June 18th: S1Ep8 of The Bad Batch is thrilling and marks a definitive turning point in the story. I suspect it’s serious from here on out. Also, I’ll complain about this galaxy feeling small with all the familiar faces but THIS ONE is allowed.

June 20th: Luca is incredibly charming and brilliantly crafted. The soundtrack is delightful, the acting full of heart, the animation superb and the message relatably gay.
It’s a gay movie you made PIXAR and I like it.

June 23rd: S1Ep3 of Loki feels like a different show to the first 2 eps, but one that I liked. Also, I want to praise that thing they did but I’m not sure it feels like enough of a Big Deal to me.
Not bad but probably the weakest so far.

June 25th: Spoiling surprises in Film Trailers isn’t new and it isn’t exclusive to Marvel BUT it’s frustrating as hell. There are people who don’t watch trailers for this reason and I can see why. I haven’t really watched trailers this past year and I didn’t feel I was missing out. Fix this.
Yes, this is about Shang Chi.

June 25th: S1Ep9 of The Bad Batch is full of action and almost answers. It’s exactly the kind of episode that reminds you of that “war” in the title and I love it. Also a pleasant reminder of just how much heart this show has.

June 25th: A Quiet Place: Part 2 is more of a monster flick than a horror film but it maintains the intensity of the first. My only issues are the lack of explanation for the Pier People and the overuse of the score. On the whole, possibly better than the original.

Jun 27th: I feel like the question of The Doctor regenerating is brought up after every series now. And it’s always whoever the most popular British actor is at the time plus a bunch of Americans.
Olly Alexander would be great but can we focus on Jodie until we KNOW she’s leaving?

Jun 30th: S1Ep4 of Loki is emotionally devastating. You may think you are ready for all that this episode has in store but you are not. I may have screamed a couple of times. Also, there’s a mid-credits scene so don’t hurry away. So good.

July 1st: Evil of the Daleks is the first DVD that I have ordered after officially changing my name and I could not be happier about it. One of the most anticipated Dr. Who releases of all time at one of the biggest moments in my life.

July 2nd: S1Ep10 of The Bad Batch is your standard rescue episode but it’s the Omega-centric moments that make it worthwhile. The squad just isn’t the same without her and seeing them realise that is adorable.
Also, Hunter will definitely lose that match on purpose.

July 2nd: Tom and Jerry: The Movie (2021) functions best, as it always has when it focuses on the titular duo. Their spirit and comedic timing remain intact while Chloe Grace Moretz gives a delightful performance. No substitute for the cartoons but nicely animated and a good introduction for new children.

July 3rd: “Is Star Wars Visions canon?” is probably the least inspired question that you could be asking about this project. However, if it isn’t, it’ll be the first Non-Canon Star Wars since Disney bought the IP nearly 10 years ago and that’ll probably be worth discussing.
Looks brilliant regardless.

July 5th: I don’t know where the film industry would be without Richard Donner. He provided some of the best films of all time and a Superman that has yet to be beat. He was an icon and a visionary genius. There aren’t words to describe his loss but I hope these come close.

July 7th: S1Ep5 of Loki is an excellent balance of lore, excitement, heart, and music. I could happily spend an eternity watching adventures in The Void, especially with the various Easter Eggs added in the background. Didn’t think I’d see the Thanos-copter in the MCU so thanks Loki.

July 9th: I want to like S1E11 of The Bad Batch but it isn’t really an episode of The Bad Batch. I’m sure the boys will come to the rescue next week but if they don’t then we’ll just have gotten a surprise origin story. I’m fine with that, I love this character, but I don’t feel like here is the place.

July 9th: Black Widow is a really decent Mission Impossible film. It’s a good send-off for the character and an almost passable apology for the way she has been treated over the last decade. Really fun action and some of the acting is top-notch but this would have been amazing 10 years ago.

Jul 11th: [Animéducation 5/many] Netflix’s Dorohedoro is a fun, character-driven story that disguises itself as a gritty thriller. There’s plenty of gore but without that, it would still be a highly entertaining fantasy.

July 13th: Fast and Furious 9 is exactly what you think it is. The franchise jumped the shark a long time ago and if you’re still watching this live-action cartoon then you’ll probably enjoy this one. 2 and a half hours seems too long but a lot of fun moments.

July 14th: The Loki finale stuck the landing. I spent the entire thing on the edge of my seat and now I’m restless with excitement. An absolute upheaval of the MCU as we know it. Oh and the villain behind it all? Love them and need more of them. Season 2 is going to be wild!

July 16th: S1Ep12 of The Bad Batch is a great conclusion to this two-parter with plenty of lovely character moments. For me, part 1 really hinged on part 2 but now that I HAVE part 2 it’s a really neat two-parter that provides plenty of context and beautiful backgrounds.

July 21st: Robin Williams would have been 70 today. There are a lot of words I could say, but I can only find 2. Thank You. For the laughs, the tears, the inspiration, the countless hours of entertainment and hope you gave us. Thank You.

July 21st: The original film was one of the most underappreciated films of the past decade and Croods: A New Age is almost as good. Thunks running gag wears thin but there’s some expert comedy in here, particularly the “villain”

July 23rd: S1Ep13 of The Bad Batch is self-contained and allows us to spend time with Cid, who has been underused I feel. It’s “filler” episodes like this that give us time to connect with the characters and allow for a breather between Big Plot episodes.

July 29th: I went into Space Jam: A New Legacy presuming I would have about as much fun as I did with the original. I was correct. There isn’t as much heart but this isn’t as much of an IP hopping, 3D tale as I thought it would be.

July 30th: S1Ep14 of The Bad Batch is exactly the kind of episode I was hoping to see from this series and it doesn’t disappoint. Plenty of call-backs and call-forwards especially in the beautifully composed score. Probably my favourite so far.

Aug 1st: The Suicide Squad doesn’t bog itself down with DCEU continuity or censorship which allows it to focus on having a great time. A great, bloody, explosive, occasionally heart-warming time. Top-tier comic book movie.

Aug 6th: S1Ep15 of The Bad Batch knows the role it has to play and does so to perfection. By which I of course mean that it was emotionally devastating. I feel those final shots are due to go down in Star Wars history as some of the best.

Aug 11th: S1Ep1 of Marvels What If was good. Haley Atwell continues to shine and she has great chemistry with the rest of the cast. I do wish that it had explored how this impacted the timeline post-2012 though. That would make it the same length as other MCU shows.

Aug 13th: Another Round is equal part cautionary tale and entertaining psyche analysis. Each of the core cast handle each moment with the weight or levity it deserves and the soundtrack is wonderful. Don’t let the subtitles hold you back from seeing it (or any movie for that matter).

Aug 13th: S1Ep16 of The Bad Batch is the emotional resolution to last week’s explosive events and it does that well. Crosshairs arc is going to be fascinating to keep an eye on as we enter S2 and Omega continues to be one of the purest characters around.

Aug 18th: Sean Lock has been a staple of British comedy my entire life. I didn’t watch him often but when I did I laughed until my sides hurt.58 is too damn young.

Aug 18th: S1Ep2 of Marvels What If is pure joy. There’s so much heart packed into this half-hour but, considering T’Challa, that’s not shocking. There’s also a lot of humour and the ending feels more complete than Ep1. All here for the Howard revival by the way.

Aug 20th: [EIFF] Ninjababy follows a struggling artist attempting to deal with an unwanted pregnancy through the existence of a cartoon baby. This could easily be a comedy but the subject is handled with all the respect it deserves. This doesn’t mean there are no laughs, rather the comedy is in the character relationships. Extremely likable characters, despite their faults and the animated aspect, is beautifully simplistic. Both heartbreaking and heart-warming at the same time, this is one that deserves all the love I’ve seen it getting so far.

Aug 20th: [EIFF] Rebel Dykes is a powerful and necessary look at S&M Lesbians from the 1970s to today. This amazing documentary details the Greenwood camp, dyke housing, the birth of Funtime toys, and the continuous fight to exist. It’s because of women like them that we can be free to be ourselves. Learning about the LGBTQ+ Community is no longer illegal in the UK and US (mostly) so please learn all you can. Queer history is too important to be forgotten or erased.

Aug 21st: AKIRA (1988) is beautifully bold, wonderfully weird, and extraordinarily enthralling. The story of a teenage biker becoming psychotic through new psychic abilities is brutal and gritty but isn’t without moments of empathy. This comes in the form of his best friend whose attempts to stop him seem doomed from the beginning. Set against the background of a citywide revolution, this dangerous scenario almost feels inevitable. With an explosive soundtrack that resonates through the speakers into my very soul, AKIRA remains iconic.

Aug 22nd: [EIFF] Mandibles is mildly entertaining even though much of the humour doesn’t land. The story of 2 buffoons training a dog-sized fly in the hopes of making money is at its best when the protagonists are miserable. Schadenfreude is not quite enough to carry a film nor is the impressive animatronics of the fly itself. A lack of score helps amplify the deafening unkindness from every character sans Agnés who deserves better. With a plot featuring a suitcase, it’s fitting that Mandibles feels like it should be packed away unless you want it.

Aug 22nd: [EIFF] Mad God is a grotesque fascination that is worth every one of the 33 years it took to create. A look into the workings of a horrific realm like you’ve never seen, all the beauty is in the artistry. SFX guru Phil Tippett demonstrates the prowess that made him a household name whilst the live-action performers who have been spliced in give chilling performances. The bow that wraps this mutilated gift together is Dan Wool’s entrancing score which is a masterpiece in its own right. Don’t eat while watching this.

Aug 23rd: [EIFF] Ballad of a White Cow exemplifies the injustices of the world. An Iranian woman caring for her deaf daughter after the incorrect execution of her husband is a story radiating isolation. Its in the camera framing, score, and performances but it’s the plot twist that stings most.

Aug 23rd: [EIFF] Absolute Denial scratches that AI takeover itch. The debut of Ryan Braund centers on a failing student building an increasingly smart AI. It uses excellent 2-D animation and a style akin to a documentary. Worth checking out if Skynet is a little too large scale.

Aug 24th: [EIFF] Faceless is a harrowing but necessary watch. This documentary showcases the Hong Kong riots over the Extradition Bill and beyond without ever risking the anonymity of those involved. An astounding piece that’s sure to provoke emotion in all who watch it.

Aug 24th: [EIFF] The Deer King is absolutely magical. The tale of a man and his daughter surviving a mystical plague whilst he’s on the run pulls at the heartstrings. Featuring entertaining side characters galore and a haunting soundtrack, be sure to keep an eye out for this one.

Aug 27th: S1Ep3 of Marvels What If is a bizarre tale of intrigue. Tackling the unexplainable deaths of Avengers before they can become Avengers, this ep is a worst-case recap of phase 1. Noticeable but understandable changes in casting and a twist that serves to remind how large the universe is.

Sep 1st: S1Ep4 of Marvels What If is a fascinating story with mesmerising visuals. Dr. Strange risking reality to save Christine demonstrates how truly reckless the character is. Voice acting isn’t perfect but the magic makes full use of animation as a medium.

Sep 1st: Monsters At Work is a delight. Following a wannabe Jokester, as he finds himself in Repairs, it’s a joy to be back in this world. The exploration of laughter as a power source is interesting and the voice performances are great. A little repetitive but tonnes of fun overall.

Sep 1st: Dug Days is comfortably entertaining. The short series following Dug and Carl from “Up” in their new home is full of heart and warmth. The performances are superb, the animation is astounding and the score is wonderful. TV series as sequels seem to be working for Pixar.

Sep 3rd: Netflix’s Q-Force is consistently entertaining. The comedy following a bunch of side-lined, gay spies rarely gets a good laugh but there’s usually the odd chuckle. Animation flows nicely and the plot is slightly less embedded with gay stereotypes than trailers suggested. Decent.

Sep 3rd: Free Guy perfectly captures the current video game industry. An NPC gains sentience while his programmers attempt to prevent his world from being destroyed in this heart-filled comedy. The humour, cringe, action, and references all entertain but “Gamer Keith” is a low blow.

Sep 8th: S1Ep5 of Marvels What If is a bleak, emotional rollercoaster. As the remaining Avengers attempt to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, there are some of the best character moments in the MCU and some of the best confrontations. Feels like what this show was made for.

Sep 10th: Our Ladies is a riotous delight. A group of Catholic, chorale schoolgirls visit Edinburgh for a day of boys and booze in this crass and heartfelt tale. It perfectly captures small-town life, the dramas of adulthood, and has a killer soundtrack to boot. Also a bit gay.

Sep 13th: Rick and Morty S5 is acceptable. The continuing adventures of drunk scientist Rick and his grandson Morty has funny moments but seems unsure how dedicated it is to its own story. The lore-heavy finale is good but feels like it comes from nowhere and is there to shut the fans up.

Sep 15th: S1Ep6 of Marvels What If is masterful storytelling. Killmonger saving Tony Stark as a means to take over Wakanda deserves to have time to properly explore all aspects of the tale. Stories with Wakanda are going to continue to be emotional and this is no exception.

Sep 15th: Pig is beautifully simplistic. Just an isolated rural man heading to the city to find his kidnapped truffle pig. A real emotional deep-dive into the psyche of man that is more high-end cinema than the comparisons to John Wick makes it sound.

Sep 22nd: S1Ep7 of Marvels What If is one of the funnest things ever produced by the company. Thor’s party trip to Earth being cut short by surprise intervention is not short on laughs or cameos. However, the meta-commentary on Captain Marvel is really getting played out.

Sep 22nd: S3 of Final Space is the best yet. The continuing story of Gary Goodspeed and his TeamSquad as they survive everything space has to throw at them is filled with lovable characters. Having serial episodes allows for deeper connections and less “filler” so it’s heartbreaking that this is the last series (for now). Olan Rogers and the rest of the team should be immensely proud of this show, which is one of the best I’ve seen in years. Laughs, tears, bold action scenes, and intimately peaceful moments. Binge it, even if you have already.

Sep 22nd: S3 of Sex Education is a mixed bag. The characters are likable even if their decisions are occasionally infuriating. There’s a lot of them to keep track of now, which can be daunting but the addition of NB issues was very welcome. Cluttered but compelling.

Sep 29th: Shang Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings is worth the wait. When a young man is thrust back into the world of his father’s organisation, The Ten Rings, he must save the world in a beautiful piece about family. Featuring superb martial arts, an amazing score, and the much-appreciated return of an old character.

Sep 29th: S1Ep8 of Marvels What If is the most imaginative story the MCU has told. When Ultron gains a Vibranium body and the Infinity Stones, he becomes an unstoppable multiversal foe. The fights are imaginative and the imagery is some of the MCUs finest. Superb opener to this final tale.

Sep 30th: No Time To Die is a sublime finale outing for Daniel Craig’s 007. The mission to stop a deadly molecular outbreak is full of espionage, action, and wit. It pays homage to the glory days of old whilst being rooted in the ruggedness that made this era so unique. Jolly good.

Oct 1st: LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales is a fun use of lore and horror clichés. The trilogy of shorts stitched together with a post-TROS adventure at Vader’s castle is full of entertaining characters and spectacular animation. Plenty of gags/references to entertain all ages.

Oct 6th: The series finale of Marvel’s What If feels resolute if not a little rushed. The Guardians of the Multiverse taking on Ultron is a large concept with a lot of decent action and humour but it could use more time. The Watcher is by far the stand-out character.

Oct 6th: [LFF] Memory Box is simply beautiful. The story of a French teen learning about her mother’s past through a recently delivered box of memories is set against a Christmas backdrop and contains all the love of the season. A subtle yet powerful score and visually interesting.

Oct 6th: [LFF] The Taking is an interesting and necessary documentary. It discusses cinemas famous Monument Valley in relation to director John Ford and the Navaho people. It also looks at the nature of monuments and the way society is shaped by the land. Very leisurely pace.

Oct 6th: [LFF] Money Has Four Legs is a morally righteous satire. The story of a Burmese filmmaker down on his luck who will do whatever it takes to get his film made is often funny and continuously entertaining. Features a bittersweet ending and excellent music choices throughout.

Oct 6th: [LFF] The Storms of Jeremy Thomas is oddly fascinating. A dive into the mind of legendary producer Jeremy Thomas with a road trip to Cannes as a backdrop, this documentary is occasionally erratic. It oozes high art without being so itself and, like all stories, is worth listening to.

Oct 7th: [LFF] Mothers of the Revolution is powerful and timely. Using reconstructions, archived footage, and interviews it details the women’s protest camp at Greenham in the 1980s. The passion and importance of the piece clearly show we’d be worse off without them and how much is still to be done.

Oct 7th: [LFF] Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest is outstanding. This Swedish Doc about one man’s quest to play 100 hours of videogame Gyruss and the friends that help him is whimsical, funny, tense, and personal. It’s a testament to them and to all those like them.

Oct 7th: [LFF] Clara Sola is beautiful. The story of a Puerto Rican woman connected to nature experiencing a sexual and mystical waking is shot with wide-eyed wonder and filled with love. Often heartwarming and occasionally funny with a haunting score.

Oct 8th: [LFF] Sediments is slow but centers on an important conversation. As a group of Spanish trans women take a trip to France, they discuss their lives and transitions whilst enjoying each other’s company. It showcases different experiences in a sorely needed way.

Oct 8th: [LFF] Drive My Car is a moving tale worthy of the 3-hour runtime. As a Japanese stage actor/director rehearses his show after losing his wife, he strikes an unlikely bond with his new driver in a powerhouse of performances. Intricate storytelling with several brilliant twists.

Oct 8th: [LFF] The Wolf Suit is an odd yet intriguing piece. Director Sam Firth explores her unresolved childhood trauma through an interesting hodgepodge of methods concluding in something I hope is cathartic for her. It’s art with a purpose that feels like we don’t need to be present.

Oct 9th: [LFF] Flee is an emotional rollercoaster. The true story of a gay Afghan refugee is told via a mixture of interview audio, 2D animation, and real news footage in an essential look at the seemingly eternal refugee crisis. Hard to remain impartial after viewing.

Oct 9th: [LFF] La Mif is an acceptable glimpse into the care sector. This fictional French story which follows a group of girls in a care home has lovable characters but suffers from jumping back and forth throughout the story. Excellent if you can follow it.

Oct 9th: Muppets Haunted Mansion is full of humour and 4th wall breaking. Gonzo and Pepés attempt to survive a night in a spooky mansion is filled with delightful cameos, entertaining songs, and a goat. Everybody gives their all to this film that’s sure to become a yearly tradition.

Oct 10th: [LFF] Hinterland is utterly compelling. This Austrian war thriller about a group of POWs murdered in their homeland has a gripping story and wonderfully interesting backgrounds. Also a harrowing insight into how badly the military is upon their returns.

Oct 10th: [LFF] Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy has more interesting concepts than execution. This collection of 3 shorts focused on love is more intriguing than tantalising with characters who vary in likability. Feels like it could be brilliant but lacks a certain oomph

Oct 11th: [LFF] Boiling Point is truly gripping. The tale of a particularly busy night in a restaurant, with too many variables that could go wrong, is truly edge-of-the-seat stuff. Spectacular camera work and acting from all involved with an ending befitting its brilliance. A must-watch.

Oct 11th: [LFF] All Is Vanity feels uncertain in its existence. A simple loft photoshoot goes awry in this experimental piece. The storytelling is simultaneously its biggest selling point and its biggest downfall. Honestly unsure if it’s too complex to understand or doesn’t succeed

Oct 11th: [LFF] Mass is a powerful piece about the aftermath of death. 2 couples discuss a violent demise that has impacted them differently in a story that feels like it becomes more necessary every year. Excellent buildup and emotional delivery, this is a must-watch.

Oct 13th: [LFF] Wild Indian handles its premise acceptably. The tale of two reunited childhood friends hiding a dark childhood secret is engaging enough and beautifully shot but doesn’t feel totally fulfilling. Excellent performances all around, just feels a little slow and simple

Oct 13th: [LFF] Between Two Worlds is brilliant. The French drama based on a writer living as a cleaning person to expose their struggles is inherently tense but incredibly sympathetic. A portrayal of class and social inequality that is no less relevant than when the book was released.

Oct 13th: [LFF] Users is upsettingly dull. The documentary-style thinkpiece about the technological advancements around us is mostly silent in voiceover and in tone. It ultimately never gets its feet off the ground and seems to have no stance on the pros and cons of tech.

Oct 13th: [LFF] Little Palestine: Diary of a Siege is heartbreaking to watch. This documentary about the besiegement of Yarmouk, Syria uses footage shot by the filmmaker at the time to demonstrate real human struggle. It’s fundamentally about perseverance but is full of melancholy.

Oct 14th: [LFF] The Real Charlie Chaplin is fascinating. The life of Charlie Chaplin in relation to his work is whimsically dissected using film footage, reconstructions, and interviews. Narrated by (Dr. Whos own) Pearl Mackie, there’s little of his relationships but enough of his story.

Oct 14th: [LFF] The Neutral Ground hits all of the emotions. Comedian CJ Hunt’s self-exploration through the Chicago statue removals of 2017 starts lighthearted but shows reality is often horrifying. There’s a sense of cautious optimism throughout, even to the end, despite history existing.

Oct 14th: [LFF] 7 Days is very sweet but too early. A couple of Indian-Americans on a date are forced to live together when COVID hits in this well-put-together production. There isn’t a bad word to be said but films set during This Time shouldn’t be made until 100 years from now.

Oct 20th: Re: The Eternals Spoiler (no spoilers) It’s a Thanos level reveal. It’s not “just a cameo”, it’s the Big Shakeup Kevin Fiege was talking about. To spoil it the moment the premiere is over when the general public won’t see it for at least 2 weeks is abysmal. It is an abuse of your privilege as a journalist and demonstrates how little “journalistic integrity” means to you. There have been calls for firing and honestly, I can’t say I disagree. Worst of all, every major publication is now running the story. They might as well right? Those who are online are bound to see it sooner or later. It’s this lack of decency that prevented me from getting into the profession and it’s deeply upsetting because this has all but obliterated any trust I had left. Journalism took a bullet today. It hit me too.

Nov 1st: Doctor Who Flux Ep1 is an over bombardment of storylines with a few good moments. Karvanista and Vinder are a lot of fun and the cinematography is occasionally. nice but those aspects are far and few between. It feels like Chibnall is rushing to get the exposition out of the way.

Nov 5th: ABBA Voyage is the perfect closure. Their first album after 30 years, and their last, is full of a mixture of upbeat and melancholic melodies that brilliantly capture their essence. 10 songs seems too few to say goodbye but it’s not really the end if the music stays with you

Nov 5th: Venom: Let There be Carnage is everything a Venom sequel should be. It’s violent and gritty whilst maintaining humour and elements of whimsy. It’s a pure Comic Book Movie and unashamed of that. The relationships are solid, cinematography sublime, and homoerotic subtext present. HOWEVER, I’m not 100% sold on the mid-credits scene. It’s indicative of a larger issue I have but I won’t discuss it until The Spoiler Curfew has passed.

Nov 8th: Doctor Who Flux Ep 2 is good. The Sontarans are still fun despite Chibnalls adequate writing skills. Isolating the Doctor from any assistance is when she works best in any iteration so it’s good to see that return. Also, the educational aspect is appreciated. More like this and better.

Nov 9th: People have been talking about Spider-Man: No Way Home since before The Pandemic

Nov 12th: [DisneyPlusDay] This company’s successful rebranding as “Those people who own everything” makes watching self-shilling specials like The Simpsons Plusaversary a little difficult. If you just want to see all the Disney characters in one place, this is for you!

Nov 12th: [DisneyPlusDay] Olaf Presents is kind of adorable. Olaf retells some Disney classics in this series of 3-minute shorts which are a perfect length and cover all the basics well. Josh Gad could easily become the new James Corden but it won’t happen here. Just utterly delightful.

Nov 12th: [DisneyPlusDay] Ciao Alberto is as sweet as PIXAR can be. Showing Alberto struggling in his relationship with Massimo, it’s a perfect follow-up to a film that doesn’t require a sequel. There’s something about PIXAR Shorts that feel like home and this one is no different.

Nov 12th: [DisneyPlusDay] Under The Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett is brilliant. This 20-minute look at the history of one of Star Wars‘ most popular characters is a perfect bonus feature full of love, respect, and George Lucas. Media history, man. Love it.

Nov 15th: Doctor Who Flux Ep3 is yet another assault of plotlines, devoid of much originality. Vinder and his girlfriend are, thus far, the only plotline worth caring about. Also, using old monsters for throwaway scenes is really cheap. If next week’s episode could stick to one story, please.

Nov 15th: Dune (2021) takes itself too seriously. The first half of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the tale of Paul Atreides and the Spice planet Arakis lacks a decent colour palette or any sense of fun. It’s grand in scale and features standout performances but plays everything too safe. This is a real shame because I so wanted to like this. Denis has great artistic vision and my mate ADORES this story but this just ain’t it. God, I wish we’d got Jodorowsky’s Dune.

Nov 18th: Ron’s Gone Wrong is adorable if not a little inherently flawed. The story of a boy and his new, broken, robot friend avoiding the company who created him has interesting animation and a delightful soundtrack but never goes far enough with the premise. Big Tech is bad actually.

Nov 18th: Last Night In Soho is uncomfortable, as it should be. Fashion design student Eloise has visions of 1960’s would-be-singer Sandie in Edgar Wright’s dazzling horror debut. The difficult subject matter is handled with respect and the design is top-notch, with an obvious yet fun twist.

Nov 21st: Doctor Who Flux Ep4 once again dangles answers in front of the audience without ever giving them. The angel storyline is almost good but lacks scares or sense. At least the other episodes elicited some strong emotions, this one is just bland.

Nov 22nd: The French Dispatch is comforting in the way that all good stories are. This anthology of tales from the fictional French city of Ennui for a fictional newspaper sucks you in and delights with Wes Anderson’s usual array of stunning cinematography, dialogue, and acting.

Nov 23rd: Happy birthday to the greatest show in the galaxy, Doctor Who. A show truly unlike any other, it has brought me comfort where I sometimes felt there could be none. It has been a much-loved constant in my life since I was 8 years old and to all involved, I want to say thank you. My favourite Doctor Who memory? I’m sitting in my nannas living room, rewatching Army of Ghosts again and my grandpa pops his head around the door. “You know there’s football on the other channel,” he says. He often joked with me like that.

Nov 24th: Hawkeye Eps1 & 2 are packed with Christmas joy. Kate Bishop’s introduction to the titular character and the violent world he left behind is perfectly stylised and full of action but still has time for jokes and heart. Also good to finally see partially deaf representation.

Nov 24th: Robin Robin is instantly charming. The latest from legendary Studio Aardman features a robin living as a mouse in a felt-made world which is easy on the eyes with music that is easy on the ears. Stellar voice work all around, this is an instant Christmas classic.

Nov 26th: Broadway wouldn’t be where it is without Stephen Sondheim. It’s a blessing that he could see it reach such heights during his lifetime. He was a true genius and we owe him a great deal.

Nov 27th: Eternals feels like Oscar-bait. The tale of Earthbound immortals attempting to stop the birth of a God is mostly dull in colour and dialogue. There is the odd exception (Kingo, the final battle) but the most interesting aspect is the diversity. Should have been a TV series.

Nov 29th: Doctor Who Flux Ep5 finally begins providing unsatisfactory answers. Chibnalls writing is atrocious, the tone is all over the place and everything feels either derivative or cliché. Going to be really interesting to see how the fanbase looks back on this series.Not looking forward to the finale, least of all because the Daleks are in it. Although hopefully, this means they aren’t in the specials. I really wanted Jodie to go out on a high note and hopefully, the specials can provide that because Flux certainly isn’t. And I think it’s worth clarifying that I don’t like holding this opinion. I wanted Flux to be good and I adore this show, which is I think why I’m so distraught. I’d like to just have fun with it but I don’t find any of this entertainingly bad…just bad.

Nov 29th: The Beatles: Get Back is outstanding. Documenting the month of heated rehearsals that ultimately led to the album Let It Be, this is probably THE look into how the band functioned. Part 3 functions well on its own but the first 2 parts provide much-needed context. It’s brutally honest, painting a picture of why they eventually disbanded whilst also demonstrating their very special connection. These were just 4 friends, messing around and haphazardly composing some of the greatest songs of all time. It’s a pleasure to watch them work.

Dec 3rd: Hawkeye Ep3 is delightful. Clint and Kate escape the notorious Echo and her goons in an action-filled ep with a couple really touching character moments. Highlights are the phone call and the Pym arrow, as well as the excellent performances. Fast becoming my fave MCU series.

Dec 5th: Despite being 3D, Disney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid is somehow flatter than the children’s book on which it’s based. Greg Heffley and his bestie Rowley attempt to survive the first month of middle school, whilst skipping the majority of the 3rd act. Animation and VA don’t gel either.

Dec 6th: Doctor Who: Flux ends as it began: muddled, with poor dialogue and too many plots. Only a couple of answers are given to the tens of questions raised this series. Not the Doctor’s past though, despite the fact that the answer is RIGHT THERE. There seems to have been a general idea that this series would end by answering the questions it raised. The mystery of the series has been good because answers were just around the corner. Now, here we are. Answerless. This whole series now feels retroactively pointless.

Dec 6th: Ghostbusters Afterlife is a real love letter to legacy. Egon Spengler’s grandchildren pick up his iconic belongings after his passing in a movie that never relies too heavily on nostalgia. Practical effects, subtle nods, an abusive mother, and Paul Rudd. Lovely.

Dec 8th: Hawkeye Ep4 once again ups the stakes whilst keeping the festive warmth. Clint and Kate close in on a seemingly important Rolex in what is a very “beginning of act 3” story. The usual beats are there, bolstered by great action, genuine character connection, and an expected cameo.

Dec 13th: A Boy Called Christmas is as cute as it looks. The origin of Father Christmas, based on the book by Matt Haig, is filled with spectacular designs, fun characters, and all the heart of the season. It may be predictable in areas but that doesn’t make it a lesser movie.

Dec 14th: Spencer is short on accuracy but big on emotion. Princess Diana suffers through a Christmas with the Royals in this tense art piece. Kristen Stewart is sublime and the score accompanies the tale perfectly in what is a heartbreaking delve into Diana’s presumed psyche.

Dec 15th: Hawkeye Ep 5 ups the tension but never loses the heart. As Clint faces off against Echo, some major secrets are revealed, ending in the best cliffhanger an MCU show has ever had. This series is so much fun! Also, it isn’t necessarily HIM him.

Dec 16th: Silent Night is overly miserable. The dark comedy about a Christmas get-together at the end of the world often focuses on the wrong aspect at the wrong time. It’s a shame because the acting is stellar and the initial idea is interesting, even the comedy in the first half lands well.

Dec 22nd: West Side Story just set a new high bar for movie adaptations of musicals. The story of Tony and Maria’s love surrounded by a feud between rival street gangs is Spielberg’s first foray into the genre, but you wouldn’t know it. The camerawork compliments the choreography perfectly whilst the acting provides a delightful cacophony of emotions. Ziegler is outstanding as Maria, whilst Faist’s Riff steals hearts. Even Elgort provides an adequate level of charm as Tony. The Latino diversity and inclusion of a Trans actor as Anybodys demonstrates a level of genuine care from the entire production team that doesn’t go unnoticed. Do not skip out on one of, if not THE cinematic feel-good event of the year. A perfect testament to two geniuses’ of the world…Stephens Sondheim and Spielberg.

Dec 23rd: Encanto is a delight. A superpowered family starts losing their gifts in this story that is occasionally derivative, often creative, and always entertaining. The music is toe-tappingly good, with “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” being a real highlight.

Dec 23rd: The Hawkeye Finale is a fairly solid resolution. Everyone faces off in this hour-long action setpiece which wraps up the story in a neat little bow and continues to deliver that Christmas spirit. Immensely fun, with yet another grand performance from the underutilized Kingpin.

Dec 26th: Don’t Look Up is acceptably entertaining. The comedy about 2 scientists, an Earth-bound meteor, and a corrupt US government feels terrifyingly accurate in its depiction of the end times with likable characters and a preppy score. Not hilarious but provided plenty of smirks.

Dec 26th: The Abominable Snow Baby is utterly adorable. The short about an English town, caked in snow, getting an unexpected visitor is based on the Terry Pratchett book and has his whimsy all over it. The animation gives it a timeless look whilst the voicework provides warmth. Charming.

Dec 29th: Book of Boba Fett is a decent blend of old and new. As Boba settles into his role as CrimeLord of Tatooine, flashbacks show how he survived, in a story full of intrigue. It’s amazing how much can be said without using dialogue and how far noticeable a fake background can still be.

Dec 30th: Spider-Man: No Way Home is good. Peter Parker faces off against multiversal foes in a story that is fun but held back by relying on the worldbuilding of other creators. It’s exciting to see these characters again in what is the best MCU Spidey movie but it also makes some bad choices.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

One thought on “The Small Things 2021

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