Tag Archives: Gold

2017 in Review – February


“Y’all jokers must be crazy.”

February. Awards month. This second diary entry starts with a list of Oscar nominated films I would love to get through before the awards ceremony on the last Sunday of the month. Try as I might, I don’t have the time nor energy to travel up and down the country to obscure little picturehouses to watch three hour French films about the government’s war on Brussels sprouts (I don’t know what any of these films are about. Call that an educated guess) so that pipe dream was never going to be doable.

Maybe that’s a tick list for next year. One challenge at a time. Maybe next year will be the year I watch every single nominated film. For now, it’s all about these 365 films I have to watch. So…

the martian 2015Week One

The first week felt pretty busy when it came to films. More blind luck than organisation, the month started by knocking another film of the blu-ray pile of shame; The Martian‘s extended cut burned through our evening on day one. I honestly forgot how good that film was.

The three year old’s journey through the MCU continued with Iron Man 2 on the same night we bought foreign film Oscar nom A Man Called Ove. The Saturday of the Failed Critics Pubcast gave me train time for a first watch of 1984’s Bad Taste and a repeat visit to Luc Besson’s Lucy. A family trip for the excellent Lego Batman Movie, followed by the pretty rubbish Gold was how that Sunday started. Rounded it off with the traditional yearly watch of Any Given Sunday.

Early February ended a bit of a mixed bag. The hopefully final but surprisingly fun Resident Evil movie was certainly better than the first Schumacher Batman that I somehow ended up watching. But with the last films of the week being the great Hidden Figures and the sublime Gone Baby Gone, things were looking up.

mad-max-chromeWeek Two

In my misguided attempt to watch all the Oscar nominated films, I forced myself through a couple of horrendous films to start week two. Michael Bay’s Stars and Stripes masturbatory fantasy that is 13 Hours may be one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Followed by the promising, but overall sleep inducing Passengers felt like the worst way to continue this challenge. Luckily, the newly released “Definitive Directors Cut” of Heat was enough to cleanse the palette.

The next few days was a mix of first watches and old favourites. John Wick and Training Day filling the quota of films we’d seen before; while new films were covered by The Girl With All The Gifts and Fences. All superb choices, if I do say so myself. The bizarre documentary Beware the Slenderman was our Saturday night viewing this week. Four films on the Sunday filled in my numbers nicely, I finished off the weekend with the beautiful, boner inducing “Black and Chrome” cut of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Luckily, work was quiet as this week carried on. An empty office and a stack of paperwork meant iTunes films to pass the time. A couple of films at work, the original Jungle Book with the kid when I got home and I ended the week with an early contender for film of the year, John Wick: Chapter 2.


More films at work mean that by the time we are watching Leon that evening – another from the Pile of Shame – I’ve added three more to the list. Revisiting last year’s War on Everyone, along with an impromptu Paranorman watch and rewatching Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter meant my list had a diverse selection being added.

Excellent espionage thriller/comic book film Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Founder clocked in at numbers 98 and 99 on my spreadsheet. Leaving space for something special for the next milestone. Film 100 was the first watch of this year, the seventeenth since the film came out almost a year ago to the day. Film 100 was the one, the only, Deadpool.

A couple of animated films, that included the surreal but fun A Cat in Paris brought up the rear for the most part this week. I also managed to get my sticky hands on a review screener for the latest film from one of my favourite directors to end this week. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely watch James Cullen Bressack’s Bethany.

nuns-with-gunsWeek Four

The month begins to come to a close. The original cut of Mad Max: Fury Road kicks things off (yes, a different cut is a different film. My challenge, my rules). Peter Berg’s Patriots Day and Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness meant the week had an up and down middle section. You can hear me wax lyrical about both on the Oscar fallout podcast. This week also saw us dig into one of the worst films we have ever seen; Nude Nuns with Big Guns is just as award worthy as you think it is.

Loads of films with the kid this week, too. On request, we saw three, THREE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. The two recent ones and the original 1990 version. Creepy, rapey Michelangelo aside, they ain’t the worst movies in the world. And she loved them, that’s all that matters. It’s the same reason I sat through the Angry Birds Movie again! Luckily, she didn’t watch our final one of that weekend, we watched the dug in to The Greasy Strangler. Just… wow.

Finally, after weeks of joking around about how ridiculous it is that we could live in a world where Suicide Squad won an academy award, it actually happened. So a rewatch of the film I loved that everyone else despised; the Oscar winning Suicide Squad. Then, as I write this, I’m in my seat at the local IMAX waiting for the premiere of Logan to begin. And thanks to Fox’s brilliant marketing ploy to show it at 10.23pm, it still counts as a February film. And much like last month, the second I turn this in, it’s onto writing the review.

This is getting tiring. But at this point, I’ve done more than half of the number I totalled last year. That can’t be bad.

Two months in the bag. Only ten to go.

Films seen this month: 54

Current count, as of 28th of February: 114 of 365.


“We work hard in this business. Sometimes for nothing.”

I’m gonna go ahead and say this straight away, if you’re going to release a “based on true events” film in February, do yourself a favour and make it good. Because having just sat through Gold, hoping for something worthy of the time of year it’s been released in, I’m starting to burn out on uninspiring true stories.

Matthew McConaughey is Kenny Wells, a third generation miner who’s struggling to keep himself afloat. Desperate for a lucky break, he turns to fellow prospector Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) in a last ditch attempt to find a score worth talking about.

When the pair start digging holes in Indonesia, what seems to be a waste of time soon turns more than a little profit. With their freshly golden find, the money starts pouring in at a rate nobody can believe and as the list of investors grows, so do the zeros on the bank balances of everyone involved. But as is always the case, things aren’t as great as they may seem on the surface and between bigger businesses muscling in on Wells and Acosta’s mine and Wells himself spiralling out of control, it’s a fight to see what will ruin things first.

Gold tries so very hard to be a film it clearly isn’t. It’s got the DNA of so many brilliant films yet always feels like it’s playing second fiddle to greats like The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street. Watching Kenny Wells and his partner struggling at the tail end of the financial crash should be a thrilling tale of a guy (or guys) pulling themselves up from the dirt they’re digging around in.

Instead, it’s a story that’s paint-by-numbers in every sense. Every twist and every turn is telegraphed and predictable in a way that ironically I honestly didn’t expect. By the end, I was spending more time looking at my watch in bored frustration than I did the screen.

Oscar winning writer and director Stephen Gaghan – the man responsible for films like Syriana and Traffic – seems to have let his stars hit the auto pilot, as he has done too. The man that made such well thought out, tense pieces in the past has settled for what I consider possibly the blandest film he’s ever been a part of. The same goes for its stars: McConaughey and Ramirez are both usually so good nowadays and yet here they seem quite content with phoning in a performance just to get the film made. I’m just so disappointed with the pair of them.

The best acting on that screen was from Matthew McConaughey’s makeup department. Most notably from the annoying snaggletooth that seemed to stay pearly white as the rest of the man’s teeth got progressively more yellow. It was the best bit of acting of the entire production, and a literal standout performance.

There are a dozen biopics that tell this story much better than Gold. I honestly cannot recommend it. I mean, it’s ok, but it just seems like a project that everyone got involved in to get a few bills paid. No one here put a full effort in. I expected great things from this in Oscar season, but it turned out to be another movie put out with the trash, ready to be forgotten with everything else out this month.