22 JUMP STREET

Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

I remember really enjoying how self-aware 21 Jump Street was. It never took itself seriously and the film was better off. This time around, it felt as though there was almost no plot, and the film just kept getting stuck in “this is a sequel” mode, and I felt the film suffered because of it. It’s fine if you have hard-hitting jokes, but the plot was really half-baked and ended up making the film sloppy. I also have to state that I felt that the film itself looked quite ugly, especially in comparison to another recent comedy “Bad Neighbours”. Hill and Tatum still have great chemistry though, so it’s just unfortunate that although they had a bigger budget, the film ended up feeling cheaper than it’s predecessor.

C+

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Directed by Dean DeBlois

Watching this film meant the world to me. I’ve grown up parallel to Hiccup and Toothless, and I distinctly remember thinking four years ago how I’d be 20 when the sequel came out. Well, the time has passed, and my heart is still attached to the wonderful world and characters Dreamworks has crafted.¬†As a sequel, the film feels like it can stand on it’s own two feet – Empire Strikes Back comes to mind – with many gorgeous moments and absolutely breathtaking animation. In expanding the world, a few minor characters had to take a backseat this time around, but I really can’t complain about a film this beautiful. Toothless 4eva.

A+

UNDER THE SKIN

Directed by Jonathan Glazer

After watching this film, I’m convinced that Jonathan Glazer is an alien. Or a genius. Under The Skin is pure voyeurism: except we’re get a glimpse of ourselves rather than other people. Glazer exposes the human as the creature of toxic superficial desires, and provides us with some of the most stark imagery of the year. Entrancing. The film was made even better as the credits rolled, as I heard a woman in the audience rant about “how ugly Scarlett Johansson was in the film”. The irony was relentless.

A-

EDGE OF TOMORROW

Directed by Doug Liman

Essentially a two hour video game (not in a bad way), Edge of Tomorrow was a huge surprise. It had all the possibility of being a cheap gimmick, but the film itself never felt repetitive: on the contrary, the film was incredibly fun to watch, and had some really empathetic characters. It’s the best role I’ve seen Tom Cruise play in a long time. And Emily Blunt. Wow.

B+

THE DOUBLE

Directed by Richard Ayoade

Richard Ayoade is perhaps my favourite “new” filmmaker. Between this film and his last, “Submarine”, it’s obvious that he has a deep respect and affection for cinema. His films seem very self-aware of themselves, and every shot and lighting set-up appears to be his own personal choice in telling the story. As a result, it’s a very neat package, and cast very well. There were times when I found myself unable to sympathise with characters, but in a film like this, it’s very difficult to argue with. I await his next film with guttural anticipation.

A-

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Directed by Marc Webb

Spider-Man is back with aplomb. I must say, I was relatively hesitant in approach to this film, with Marvel’s current track record of underwhelming sequels. However, Marc Webb has brought his A-game, pushing above his superhero counterparts. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone continue being the most adorable people on the planet, and their scenes together warrant admission alone. I love Marc Webb’s ability to show a more relatable side to Spider-Man, but the action set-pieces still can’t quite match up to the strength of the comedy (something I found in the first film). It’s a fine line to tread, as Webb tried to bring both the heartfelt and the adrenaline, which resulted in a two-and-a-half-hour long film. It certainly was still a blast, but films always seem to feel less complete, when it’s to build towards a resulting trilogy.

B+