I’ve wanted to do end-of-month reviews of all the films I’ve looked at for a while now but I kept getting sidetracked, but now that I’ve started to include a regular blog on my website it feels like a natural addition to have, plus it’s January, so when better to start than the first month of the year. It’s not going to be reviewing all the films again, it’s more of a discussion of what I liked and what I didn’t, and giving the month an overall rating (I’m hoping if I can continue this on all year I can have all 12 end-of-month ratings to see which months were better than others).
January started off with the release of Hostiles (* * * ¼) and All the Money in the World (* * * ½), both pretty solid films for the first week of the year. While I didn’t care too much for Hostiles (that style of western film just doesn’t resonate with me that much), I really enjoyed All the Money in the World, even more so when you consider everything that’s surrounded that film (and now seeing Christopher Plummer nominated for Best Supporting Actor makes it all the more impressive). The films quickly took a turn for the worse as Downsizing (* *), starring Matt Damon, hit our screens. While it had a nice premise it was just dull and uneventful. This weekend also saw the release of Insidious: The Last Key, although, unfortunately, I never managed to check that out despite watching the first three Insidious films in preparation for it.
And then came the Oscars: first off Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (* * * *) was released, and that was a very fun film, then came World War II political drama Darkest Hour (* * * *) and the Oscar-baby The Post (* * * ¾), with previous Oscar winners taking up all the major parts in a film: director, actor, actress, musician, writer, cinematographer. Those classy dramas, and Oscar nominated films, took a slight break as The Commuter (* * ¼) saw Liam Neeson fighting on a moving train this time, a nice popcorn, action film to break up the cycle, but then came animated movie Coco (* * * * *), yet another Oscar nominated movie. January is a very mixed month, between those films deemed poor enough to be released when they know no one will bother going to the cinema and those films deemed amazing enough that they should be released in awards season.
Another break away from Oscar nominated films and the final film of the month was the conclusion to the Maze Runner series, The Death Cure (* * *) was finally released, nearly three years after the second (which was released only a year after the first). This film saw Thomas finally confront the villainous WCKD group and was certainly an improvement on its predecessor.
Throughout January nothing was really terrible in the cinematic releases; Downsizing was easily the worst and Hostiles, to me, wasn’t much better, and the rest were all serious dramas or Liam Neeson on a train. However, my website doesn’t just review cinematic releases.
As mentioned earlier, I watched Insidious (* *), Insidious: Chapter 2 (* * ¾) and Insidious: Chapter 3 (* * ¼) en route to watching the fourth film (which I fully intend on getting round to, eventually), and all three films were pretty average, Chapter 2 was my favourite but for a horror trilogy they’re all quite solid in their continuity of quality. And The Maze Runner (* * ¾) and Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (* * ½) also got reviewed in preparation for their finale. Again, another solid trilogy whereby all films are of similar levels; none were brilliant, none were terrible.
There are many other films I’ve watched this month (most recently The Shape of Water), but because they’re not posted in January, they’ll all be looked at in the end-of-February post.
January’s Order of Films by Score:
- Coco: * * * * *
- Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: * * * *
- Darkest Hour: * * * *
- The Post: * * * ¾
- All the Money in the World: * * * ½
- Hostiles: * * * ½
- Maze Runner: The Death Cure: * * *
- The Maze Runner: * * ¾
- Insidious: Chapter 2: * * ¾
- Maze Runner: Scorch Trials: * * ½
- The Commuter: * * ¼
- Insidious: Chapter 3: * * ¼
- Insidious: * *
- Downsizing: * *
Overall average for cinematic releases: 3.42*
Overall average for classical reviews: 2.45*
Overall average for January’s reviews: 3.05*