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Filmism.net Dispatch February 23, 2016

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Welcome to another year of the scintillating, absorbing and stimulating Filmism.net Dispatch. This missive from the world of films and entertainment is now entering its fifth year and I might be biased, but I think it's as riveting as ever.

And so, after such a tall claim, I better prove it. This isn't news as far into 2016 as we are, but Joe Wright's Peter Pan origin story Pan flopped last September when it came out.

If you look at how little money it made, how bad the word of mouth was and the damning critical response (lines like 'Pan panned' wrote themselves) it was undoubtedly a rubbish movie, but here's another idea.

I've done absolutely no empirical research on this, it's completely taken from anecdotal evidence and my own reminiscences, but a big flashy special effects movie full of high concept and CGI is bound to do worse at the end of the big midyear movie season than it is at the beginning - historically April, though that's getting earlier every year.

Might it be that after an ever-longer period of blockbuster/special effects/superhero/save the world/sequel/comic book/etc movies every year, audiences are just a bit over it? I'm the first one to admit a love of the excitement and colours and sound, having grown up in the 70s and 80s when such films came of age, but after five months solid of them you can feel like a boxer leaving the ring, ears ringing and blood pouring out of your nose.

And no sooner has the last fantastical creature hung up its cape or wings than all the prestigious pictures get wheeled out like carcasses of meat for Oscar voters to scratch their chins over.

My point is, it's all so programmed. The studios release movies according to an ever more rigid schedule about when they'll make the impact they hope for, whether they make money based on award recognition or lunchbox tie-ins.

There's nothing wrong with them wanting to make money, without that imperative there'd be no movies at all. I'm just saying you can take a guess about what kind of movie you're seeing based on when it comes out with more accuracy every passing year.

We used to walk around a video store and chance stepped in to help us discover all kinds of new styles, genres or directors, turns of fate from the location of a cover in the store to those irritating 'Sorry, I'm out!' tags. Today we browse Netflix queues after a computer decides what we might like. Movie release dates have become a bit the same, don't you think?

After a long period away from the film firmament, I've seen very little recently, but The Hateful Eight proves Tarantino has lost none of his mastery over violence, dialogue and characterisation.

Or spend a few hours with the brilliant The Brand New Testament, the latest film from Belgian director Jaco van Dormael, the man behind the equally brilliant Mr Nobody.

On an even higher plane of quality and craftsmanship is Lavalantula (not really), but two glossy Oscar-grasping pics that aren't nearly as bad as you might have heard are Angelica Jolie's By The Sea and the Nicole Kidman-starring Grace Of Monaco.

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