Back in the good ol’ days, at the tender age of fourteen, a night at the ‘big cinemas’ (Cineworld in the town center rather than Showcase at the retail park) felt like a huge deal to me. My friends and I would wait for a big release, spend weeks organizing a night we could all attend, and when the big event finally rolled around I’d put my glad rags on, make sure my make up was looking cover girl worthy (or as cover girl worthy as you could get with some no7 foundation and a pink Baby Lips) and snapchat the shit out of the night. Now you can catch me there barefaced with my cinema snood and hot water bottle every Friday night, thanks to Cineworld Unlimited. I’ve always loved film, but since joining the Cineworld Unlimited club this time last year, a night at the cinema is no longer a rare treat that requires weeks of planning and a new outfit; now its more like returning to my familiar home from home to enjoy a cosy night and indulge in my passion whenever I wish. Over the past year, for just £17.80 a month (£25 if you live in London) I’ve been to the cinema over 70 times and for your entertainment, I’ve made a very professional league table detailing my personal award winners to the ones that should never have made it to the big screen. Now I know what you’re thinking and no- much to my disbelief Cannes has not yet asked me to be a juror in 2019 and yes- they are missing out.
*P.S- There are no major spoilers in this post and I tried to keep all of the reviews quite brief so you can form your own opinion*
The best of the best, the cream of the crop, the films worth suffering ten category fives for during the dry spell before awards season
The Greatest Showman- A film people will remember for years to come. The best soundtrack and visuals I’ve potentially *ever* heard and seen.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri– A really powerful film that will stay with me for a long time and a well deserved Oscar for Frances McDormand’s compelling lead performance.
Kingsman- The Golden Circle– The film that prompted me to take the plunge and get an Unlimited card and the only midnight showing I’ve ever been to. An incredible British film that will always give me that safe, familiar feeling that only the very best franchises provide.
Peter Rabbit- Any film involving James Corden, a suicidal hen and digs at an overly sensitive audience is for me. So good I even saw it twice!
Love, Simon- Another film I loved enough to see twice- ‘Love Simon’ was like a fanfic come to life.
A Quiet Place– The only theatre sell out I’ve ever been to and the only film that’s had my heart racing and my toes curling the entire way through. My bet is on it to win ‘Best Sound Editing’ at the Oscars 2019.
Ready Player One- From the incredibly detailed plot to writing, to visuals- I loved everything about ‘Ready Player One’. It had me wanting to live in a real-life Oasis!
Ladybird- A film that means a huge amount to me and has left its mark on me more than any other on this list. An amazing lead performance from Saoirse Ronan and incredible creative vision from Director Greta Gerwig.
Unsane- An incredible filmmaking feat. Made using an iPhone and iMovie it puts vloggers to shame and holds enough tension to keep even the most hardened thriller watchers on the edge of their seat.
Ocean’s 8- Possibly the gayest non-gay film I’ve ever seen. Amazing female leads and worth watching again just to stare at Cate Blanchett.
Blackkklansman- This film managed to get an important message across whilst maintaining a humorous feel throughout, and the final few moments were incredibly poignant.
A Simple Favour- BLAKE. BLOODY. LIVELY. ANNA. BLOODY. KENDRICK. PAUL. BLOODY. FEIG. ohhhhh. myyyyy. goddddd. If you can’t tell by now, I absolutely LOVED this movie. It had a plot full of twists and tension plus two actresses perfectly suited (literally and figuratively) to their role. What more could you ask for?
Ones I’d Watch Again
Their titles won’t grace the walls of the Dolby Theatre but they’re definitely good enough for me to remember in years to come
Red Sparrow- A brilliant lead performance from Jennifer Lawrence with some very bold, gripping scenes, although it did confuse me a little towards the end!
Breathe- A perfect mix of heart wrenching and uplifting- a film that opened my eyes to the lives of people with disabilities and the man that made life easier for them.
Maze Runner The Death Cure- By far my favorite film of the trilogy- it had me holding my breath at so many different points!
Game Night- I already loved Jason Bateman after seeing him in ‘Office Christmas Party’ and he didn’t disappoint in this- he and the other cast members had me laughing all the way through.
Midnight Sun– I was expecting this to end up on the ‘2 for £10 aisle at ASDA’ list but it actually ended up being a really gripping, emotional love story
I, Tonya- A brilliant film with a ballsy female lead played brilliantly by Margot Robbie.
Molly’s Game- A film I didn’t expect to make my favorites, but one I enjoyed never the less. I loved the style of narration and the unique storyline the film portrayed.
The Shape Of Water- It didn’t quite live up to the hype I saw online, but it definitely had a unique feel and concept, and the cinematics were stunning.
Paddington 2- Usually I’m disappointed by sequels, but ‘Paddington 2’ was just as good as its predeceasing film, with some incredible CGI and a heartwarming storyline.
Flatliners- This one definitely got lost in the sea of well-marketed releases back in September, but its one of my standout favorites of the year. I loved seeing James Norton on the big screen rather than my TV on a weeknight and I’m glad they rebooted the unique concept for a modern audience to enjoy.
Goodbye Christopher Robin- I really enjoyed seeing a Disney story told through Fox’s eyes, and it was really interesting to see a non-fiction story behind a fictional story fictionalized on the big screen!
Truth Or Dare- It seems Lucy Hale can’t shake the characters that attract trouble! She performed amazingly as the lead in this gory, heart racing movie.
Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society- Although it felt more like a BBC drama than a feature-length film, I did really enjoy ‘Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society’- and the added drama of having to grab my hot water bottle and run when the film stopped halfway through and an alarm started sounding during my first ever solo trip to the cinemas was enough to make it memorable.
I Feel Pretty- Although a controversial choice of lead, Amy Schumer did well to make me laugh and lift me up, and Aidy Bryant was an added bonus.
A Bad Mom’s Christmas- HOW could anyone not love this movie?! It had three hilarious women at the forefront AND it’s another Christmas film to add to my collection- what’s not to love?
All The Money In The World- I really loved the concept of this film- it explored the phrase ‘money is the root of all evil’ head on and wasn’t scared to push the storyline to the edge.
Life Of The Party- One of the funniest films I’ve seen since joining unlimited- Melissa McCarthy had me in fits of laughter and the film left me researching American colleges.
Daddy’s Home 2- Not *quite* as good as ‘Bad Moms Christmas- but still two hours of laughter and Christmas vibes never the less!
Adrift- I was gripped by this film from the very start, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. The real-life story featured at the end added a really touching aspect too!
Pitch Perfect 3- The third installment of this trilogy was funny, feel good and the perfect conclusion to The Bella’s story. I can see all three films becoming a girls night staple for years to come!
The House With A Clock In It’s Walls- There’s nothing I love better than a film with no gaps- when every single element has been thought about and has had care and attention dedicated to it- from the cast to the set, to the editing- everything was 10/10 (11/10 if you’re a Cate Blanchett fan like me).
The Spy Who Dumped Me- seeing Kate McKinnon (my little teenage secret and current bedroom poster girl, if you were wondering) on the big screen will never fail to excite me. Combine her with Milk Kunis and you can find me on the floor crying. Put one of them in a button down floral shirt and the other in a suit and you can find me on the floor dead. Although the storyline wasn’t standout I LOVED seeing two kick-arse women front and center.
Mamma Mia 2- Lily James. Amanda Seyfried. Meryl Streep. Colin Firth. Cher. ABBA. That is all.
‘The Festival’ had me cry laughing at some points- although films do have the capacity to spread messages to millions- its refreshing to be able to go to the cinema and watch something with no agenda- just entertainment for entertainment’s sake.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie- Since I couldn’t quite afford to spend upwards of £70 on tickets to ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ on the West End, I was THRILLED to see that it was being streamed at Cineworld (and it was only £9 for Unlimited members!). I absolutely ADORED the LGBTQ+ storyline and the unashamedly camp musical numbers that went with it and I’m so glad Cineworld are making stories like these so accessible to people who can’t make it to London.
Movies Worth Watching To Bring Your Unlimited Average Down, But Not Worth Spending Two More Hours Of Your Life On
They’ll get you out of the house for the night but they won’t have you running to the store on their DVD release date
Jurassic World- It’s probably surprising to see such a big title in this category, but ‘Jurassic World’ just didn’t do anything for me. The CGI was great, but dinosaurs have never been my thing.
Only The Brave- I love it when real life stories influence big screen releases- it adds a very personal touch and builds a stronger connection with the audience- and that’s definitely what I felt after watching ‘Only The Brave’. I really enjoyed watching this heroic story unfold, but its not the kind of film I’d choose to put on if I was having a movie night at home.
Geostorm- I don’t remember anything particularly bad about ‘Geostorm’, but then again that could be the problem because I don’t actually remember anything from it at all. I do have a particular soft spot for films where Gerard Butler’s character faces a threatening situation and has to work with or against government officials to solve it, but this one blended into that particular niche a little bit *too* much for my liking.
Jumanji- This is probably featured on the ‘Worth Watching’ list because I committed the sin of not watching the original beforehand, so the remake was my first impression of the story. I’ve been told by friends who had seen the original version that this one didn’t live up to it at all, but I thought it was pretty good as action movies go!
Rampage- When I turned around to tell my friend that I liked the ending of this film, I was greeted by droopy eyes and a faint sound of snoring- needless to say it was divisive. I found it engaging enough to keep me awake, but definitely not engaging enough to watch again.
Blockers- This one started out well, then got very, very weird towards the end. It was worth watching but may be suited to the 15-17 audience, rather than people like myself who are going on 20.
Tomb Raider- It was so empowering to see a strong female lead on the big screen in what is typically a male orientated genre, but for me, there wasn’t anything special or memorable about this reboot of ‘Tomb Raider’.
Everyday- I really enjoyed the original concept of ‘Everyday’ and its strong message of valuing personality and connection over looks, but it wasn’t quite memorable or impactful enough for me to spend two more hours watching it again.
A Wrinkle In Time- I didn’t expect a Disney film to end up in this category, but to be honest I can’t even remember what happened after the first five minutes of this movie. I remember some particularly impressive visuals shot using a drone and some good acting from the leading ladies, but apart from that, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ left me with nothing to take away.
Black Panther- I know its controversial to put ‘Black Panther’ on my neutral list since it was such a big hit at the box office, and don’t get me wrong, I thought it was an incredibly well made, important, film, but superhero movies never have and never will be my thing; quite frankly, I’ve missed so many of them there’s too much legwork involved to catch up.
Happy Death Day- I thought ‘Happy Death Day’ was incredibly original, but it didn’t quite make it to my ‘Watch Again’ list because of its lengthy ending.
Wonder- Although very touching, I probably won’t be watching ‘Wonder’ again- it’s just not my preferred genre, but it did have a very nice message behind it and it’s worth watching at least once.
Murder On The Orient Express- I really, really enjoyed the visuals of this film and there were some very powerful shots, but for me, the aesthetics were tainted by the slow pace and the lackluster ‘big reveal’.
The Nun- there we’re a lot of ‘nah’s muffled into my cinema snood for the duration of this film and I now can’t go for midnight snacks for fear of a nun waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me, but never the less this was one of my favorites as far as horrors go.
The Darkest Minds- I enjoyed the unique Sci-Fi concept- but the film did drag on towards the end and I probably won’t be watching it if it comes on Netflix.
Incredibles 2- *stop reading at this point if you’re triggered by fake 90’s babies* I have a confession to make- I’ve never seen ‘The Incredibles’. I’ve witnessed a new millennium, the enormous and quite frankly disgusting price rise of Freddos and many a Nickelodeon classic but never the Disney superheroes everyone seems to love. So I have to say- ’Incredibles 2’ wasn’t my favorite film of the year- I’m not big on animation nor children’s films so the prospects were never very good in the first place and I definitely won’t be spending another two hours of my life watching it again.
Christopher Robin- I adored this interpretation of the classic 100 Acre Wood story-I feel like I need my very own version of each character in my life, especially Eyeore to make me feel less tragic about my own life- but I think one watch is enough to satisfy the very small Disney part of me for a while.
The Secret Of Marrowbone- Although it did take me a good ten minutes to remember the plot of this film to write about it- what I do remember gave me goosebumps. It was more of a thriller than a horror and had me making all sorts of faces underneath my snood. It’s not a film I’d stick on as a light watch whilst pottering but it’d be a good one for a home-made-den-in-the-living-room kind of night. (Watchers- see what I did there?).
The First Purge- This one was an unexpected win- my friend and I went because there was nothing else on and it actually ended up being a pretty intense couple of hours. I’m a firm believer in entertainment for entertainment’s sake and I find myself eye-rolling when political messages are forced into films, but on this occassion, the themes of class and race were really effective and well wrote into the plot.
The Meg- Plus points for heart-in-your-mouth moments at more than one point but minus points for making me never want to go in the ocean again.
Films That Will End Up In The ‘2 For £10’ Aisle At ASDA
We all know the ones; the films that star a D list celeb and will *maybe* serve as background noise at a girls night in five years time
The Snowman- Actually one of my preferred movies in this category- I thought ‘The Snowman’ had a clever plot and I enjoyed it, for the most part, it just wasn’t memorable enough to make it to my ‘Watch Again’ list.
Father Figures- Another completely forgettable film- ‘Father Figures’ felt like every other generic Owen Wilson movie you scroll past on Netflix.
Home Again- One of the biggest disappointments of the year- ‘Home Again’ felt like every rom-com cliché to ever exist packed into one film that didn’t really have any structure or ending.
Tag- Although I did like ‘Tag’ there’s no denying that in a couple of months it will inevitably blend into the samey-samey sea of middle-aged, slightly funny movies played only after midnight and the rest of the films on Netflix.
Patrick- Great for people aged 5-10 and over 40, but no one in-between.
Crazy Rich Asians- I’m all for Asian representation, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this ‘box office hit’ was painfully long- like almost-falling-asleep-long- with it’s only saving grace being an occasional nose laugh worthy moment from Awkwafina.
Hotel Artemis- pretty forgettable, and by pretty forgettable I mean I can’t even remember what happened to write about it.
Absolute Shit Shows I Can’t Believe Got A Budget
The kind of films so bad they’ll have a parody made about how bad they were in twenty years (I’m looking at you, Tommy Wiseau)
Downsizing- This film had huge promise, with the trailer teasing a very futuristic concept with Kristen Wiig taking a big role alongside Matt Damon, but the plot actually ended up taking a complete U-turn after abandoning Wiig’s character in the first twenty minutes. I literally cannot believe the story was approved by so many people, given funding, produced and distributed to cinemas.
Hereditary- The trailers would have you believe ‘Hereditary’ is the horror of the century, when actually it was an average film relying on shock and gore that lost its flow (and audience’s following) during some very odd, out of place scenes at the end.
Mom And Dad- Another movie with great potential but a horrifically written storyline and a very poor ending. There were brief moments where genuine tension was built, but for me, it relied too heavily on loud, over the top violence.
Ghost Stories- It seems there’s a theme with my bottom category picks- all of them start with promise and take a terrible turn towards the end, and ‘Ghost Stories’ was no different. Much like ‘Mom And Dad’, there was tension built at points, but from the middle onwards the plot got messy and the ending left a lot to be desired.
The Disaster Artist- My hatred for this film was probably my own fault; I didn’t realize it was based on ‘The Room’ so I was left completely unamused for two hours, but even if I had seen the original I don’t think I’d have found it particularly entertaining.
Ingrid Goes West- Honestly, I have no words for this movie. It was just horrific. Like really, really horrific.
So there we have it- all of the films I saw during my first year of Cineworld Unlimited! With a grand total of £592.80 saved, with the total cost I would have paid being £807.60 and the cost I actually paid being £214.80 (!) and my average cost per film coming in at £2.94 compared to the £10.90 a standard ticket costs, I definitely feel joining the club was worth it and I can’t wait for all the films that await me this year as a black card holder! After spending hours compiling this 3000+ word blog post I’ve decided to make a monthly film review feature on my blog to keep you updated on all the new releases I use my black card to see- I really hope you enjoy it! Let me know in the comments what your favourite film of the past year has been and whether you agree with this list! Megan x