Welcome to the latest edition of the Snooty Ushers’ Round-Up! We’re looking back at the best (and worst) of October 2016.
Doctor Strange ended the month with a big international opening, and Girl On The Train did very well also, showing Emily Blunt as a definite star on the rise. Tim Burton had a decent enough return financially and critically with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and although Deepwater Horizon had a great critical response, its huge budget meant it was never going to turn a profit. And Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones couldn’t work their magic on Inferno.
But that’s just cold-hard box office figures and mere reviewers… what did The Snooty Ushers think of October?
What’s the best film you’ve seen this month?
Dave: 4 cinema trips for me this month, so I am actually better informed than I normally am. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back gets my vote. A great thriller and better both the previous entry in the series and the source novel it was based on. Also, Tom Cruise really fitted into the role of Reacher here and Cobie Smulders provides some great support.
James: I was surprised at just how good Deepwater Horizon was. An entertaining, yet truthful, disaster film with a brain and a heart. I could have watched a whole film of the first 30 minutes’s mixture of banter and office politics. I also enjoyed Doctor Strange a lot, but it will be interesting to see if the sci-fi elements put off parts of the audience. And although it’s not a cinema-released film, Mascots was a welcome return for Christopher Guest and his trope of improvising comedians.
Dan: It’s been a slow month for me, getting married and all, but I’m very glad I got to see Deepwater Horizon. It’s an impacting heartfelt film based on a devastating true story. My forays into the streaming services have yielded better results, The Siege of Jadotville is a solid Netflix Original, and a couple of entertaining horror anthologies can be found on Amazon in Southbound and A Christmas Horror Story.
Welshy: Dr Strange.It was a great film that I was uncertain about it given how I have felt about the last few comic book blockbusters. However, this was Marvel back on form and I am so happy. Cast was great, effects phenomenal and while not perfect still a great one to watch
And what was the worst?
Dave: The Girl on The Train by a mile. It is just a by the numbers thriller with an irritating central character and a frustratingly fractured narrative. Thriller That Shocked The World? Don’t think so, formulaic rubbish with a very guessable twist. I hear the book is good mind.
James: My cinema going trips have become very selective, so although Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders was my third favourite film of the three I saw, like Havana Moon last month I can’t name it here. So I’ll have to put The Speed Of Thought, a Nick Stahl film from 2011 about telepaths that inconceivably features Wallace Shawn. Yeah, I mentioned it just for that joke.
Dan: As mentioned it’s been a pretty dry month at the cinema for me, The Girl on the Train was a dull film with good performances, but by far the worst film I watched was for our own Negotiating Netflix: Halloween 2016 piece, and that film was Ghoulies.
Welshy: Keeping up with the Joneses, absolutely not funny. It’s just good actors and Isla Fisher, trying too hard. It reminded me of Killers.
Anything else that has caught your eye this month?
Dave: Batman: Return of The Caped Crusaders was a delightfully camp animated version of the 1960s Bill Dozier Batman TV series. Great fun and achieved everything it set out to do and by doing so became the best film featuring The Caped Crusader this year. The Westworld TV series is stunning to look at and has some real potential to be a interesting, thought provoking, head scratching classic. Still Game came back and after 7 years it hasn’t missed a step.
James: The first episode of The Walking Dead is one of the most brutal, exhausting, powerful hours of TV in a long time. Aside from the Saturns and some genre-specific awards, the actors on TWD have never really got their due, but I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be laden with awards in a year’s time. The return of Charlie Booker’s Black Mirror on Netflix brought 6 truly excellent episodes, each great in its own way. The small scale ones were tense, the ambitious ones created worlds you wanted to spend more time in, and “San Junipero” melted this Snooty Usher’s cold, cold heart. Oh, and Still Game has been excellent.
Dan: The Walking Dead has returned with a season 7 to rip our hearts out over and over again. But it’s The Exorcist TV series that has me curious. The first two episodes offer some intriguing things, as well as some frustrating ones but it’s enough to keep me watching
Welshy: Only because I was too late to contribute to the article last month, as I was watching it all day and night upon release. LUKE CAGE. Absolutely loved it, cannot wait for Iron Fist. The Apprentice is also back and I love it. (I know its reality television but it is just so addictive.)
What are you looking forward to in November?
Dave: After finally seeing Sicario, it has put Dennis Villeneuve on my radar, so I am really looking forward to Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Nocturnal Animals looks interesting and I am a fan of Ewan McGregor, so am curious about American Pastoral.
James: A less honourable man would copy and paste Dave’s response, since the Amy Adams double bill and McGregor’s directorial debut look very good. So I’ll add that Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom is a film I’m looking forward to, despite it not being a genre in my normal wheelhouse. Also, stealing one from Dave, Dog Eat Dog, the new film from Paul Schrader (although The Canyons isn’t very good) starring Willem Defoe and NIC CAGE! If I have the time, there’s a lot of films I want to see this month.
Dan: Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, The Light Between the Oceans, The Accountant…yep there is a few.
Welshy: The Accountant …Anna Kendrick, Ben Affleck…criminal subterfuge….I am sold. Also like the look of Hacksaw Ridge. I like Mel Gibson as a director and it has an unusual cast including Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn.
And what are you dreading?
Dave: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Shameless cash in to a series that should just be left alone.
James: Ditto. But only because it means lots of hard work.
Dan: As I couldn’t give a damn about Harry Potter, I’m not bothered by Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and I don’t think it’ll be a box office smash either. Oh and the usual annoying build up to Christmas.
Welshy: Bad Santa 2. Hated the first one, this time its an unsteady director Mark Waters (500 days of Summer, Freaky Friday, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) trying to capitalise on something that was very one note the first time.
What else has got you excited for November?
Dave: It has to be the US election. Surely our American cousins won’t elect Trump? It will be fun and terrifying watch. Night School, the new Jack Reacher novel, a prequel, seeing Reacher as young man still in the army. On the TV front Blue Bloods is back and I am interested to see the Shooter TV series as I loved the film. Then, of course there is the triumphant return of The Gilmore Girls… Let’s not forget another Usher ties the knot as Rich Cowey gets married.
James: Obviously, Rich and Anna will have a glorious day, and a Snooty Usher marriage is the highlight of any month. I’m also watching Christmas films all month, so… that will; be fun, right? And, against all my better judgement… Brock Lesnar v Goldberg at WWE Survivor Series.
And with that, we are done! Let us know what have been your favourite bits of October’s offerings in the comments!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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