We should be hitting the summer stride in May – it should all be kicking off. Instead it is possibly the most forgettable month of average things in the calendar so far.
Yawn as mutants do things they usually do and Oscar Isaac gets buried under a lot of sub-par make up in X-Men: Apocalypse. Doze as The Angry Birds Movie fails to represent a cultural nadir of creativity but is, perhaps unsurprisingly, another average film about animated talking animals. Because that’s all we deserve. Fall into deep REM sleep as actors queue up to get their post-Harry Potter paycheques in Alice Through the Looking Glass. All this while legendary sex-pest Woody Allen made one of his ‘okay’ late period films.
Perhaps the most disappointing entry came at the end of the month with Teenage Mustant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Disappointing in that it was made and that people watched (and enjoyed?) its corporate shill of a predecessor. Still, justice prevailed and the sequel sank without too much fuss.
More interesting of a sequel, but not by much, was the slightly more feminist positive angle attempted by Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising. Chloë Grace Moritz joins Zac Efron and co to annoy Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne whilst pointing out the disgusting misogyny of the campus system in America. Or if you’re ‘alt-right’: the acceptable institutionalised response to radical feminism through coercive sex and systemic abuse. Perspectives, eh?
Nicolas Winding Refn continued to confound everyone who thought Drive was a breakthrough film for the director by sticking to his contrarian guns with The Neon Demon. Though I confess I’ve not got around to watching it, I’m increasingly convinced Refn is trolling people who like him based on the reviews of this and Only God Forgives.
The Best film of the month was probably The Nice Guys, Shane Black’s anticipated follow up to his previous odd-couple buddy movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I wasn’t totally convinced on the first watch but, as with his other films, the rewards from Shane Black come from a more forensic look second time around. His screenplays are tightly wound with plot lines weaving intricately in and around each other. Sub-plots (such as the killer bees) and repeated jokes (and stuff…) are so naturally placed that the story unfolds with natural ease. That he manages to do all of that whilst still having crackling dialogue and upending any number of private eye tropes showed me, on second viewing, that this should definitely be one of my FILM(s) OF THE YEAR.