Review: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

reservoir-dogs-movie-review-1992Right, so I got myself back into watching movies with a couple of comedies, and I felt ready for something a little…meatier, for lack of a better word. It was when I was watching a quiz show with dinner one evening and a Quentin Tarantino related question popped up that I realised I still had a good few of his movies to get into, and my husband had been recommending Reservoir Dogs to me for years.

All I really knew going in was the movie was about a diamond heist gone wrong, and I’d say that’s all anyone really needs to know before giving this movie a go. After an introduction to each of the characters at a diner, the movie kicks in right after the heist when the team are making their way back to the meeting point, after the crime went horribly wrong. It’s suspected that one of the gang is in fact a police informant.

A highly regarded mystery movie that I haven’t seen yet?! How did this escape me for so long? You had me at suspect. I live for this kind of story – I’ll be blogging about my first Agatha Christie novel soon, but that’s another story for another post.

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So each of our suspects is known by a code name to do with a colour, which brings on an amusing scene whereby Steve Buscemi’s character is given the name Mr Pink. No guy wants to be pink, huh?

The pacing is super speedy, as we go from present day and the mystery unfolding to back in time when we as the viewer get to learn more about each of the team and how they got themselves into the heist. I won’t go into too much detail about the story or the outcome because you either know it like the back of your hand or you’ve never seen the movie – in which case you should hunt down a copy immediately!

What I found funny was how in my mind I kept comparing Reservoir Dogs to The Departed. Bare with me! I know they have little similarities – but in my mind, they ended similarly, in the sense that *spoiler* pretty much everyone died in the end *spoiler*. The funny part is that I really could not STAND the ending to The Departed, but thought the ending to Reservoir Dogs was clever, and most importantly, satisfying. I guess I just really hate Martin Scorsese movies without meaning to, or even having a good reason.

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All in all, I really enjoyed my latest Tarantino movie. I still have a few to go, and either Jackie Brown or Inglourious Basterds is next on my list. Anyone have a favourite out of those two?

For now – Reservoir Dogs gets 4 out of 5 decapitated ears from me. Urgh.

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Double Review: Rough Night (2017) & The House (2017)

What do you do when you haven’t got stuck into a great movie for a while, and you’re also mentally preparing yourself to get back into blogging and actually expressing opinions and thoughts on said movies? Switch your brain off and get stuck into 2 sub-par comedies of course!

Has 2017 had a great comedy yet? I’m behind so maybe I’ve missed it, or maybe I’m just losing my sense of humour. We’re definitely owed a few laughs though!

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Rough Night (2017)

There’s been a huge rise lately of female-centred comedies, which I am all for of course, but not all are hitting the mark. Rough Night features an all female cast (if we forget about the dead stripper) and even a past female relationship which wasn’t thrown in our faces which I definitely appreciate. However, what could have been a modern day Weekend at Bernies fell rather flat.

The main issue I found with Rough Night was the overall tone. It didn’t know what kind of movie it wanted to be. We’ve all seen the trailer, we know the group accidentally kill a stripper that comes to their home, but that scene itself was actually really dark…

Common sense got thrown out of the window and just when I started to get into the silliness of it all again, things got deep real fast and left me confused again. One thing I’ll say though is it wasn’t the disaster I thought it would be, and I actually quite enjoyed all of the main actresses, even if my beloved Kate McKinnon was a bit over the top. Stay with the credits for this one though, if nothing else made you laugh McKinnon’s song will!

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The House (2017)

I was dying to see The House ever since I saw a trailer. I had no visions of it being an outstanding comedy, but I loved the cast so much I was just happy knowing that I’d be able to see them all in something new.  In The House, Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell are parents struggling to afford their daughter’s tuition after her scholarship is taken away. They team up with their best friend, Jason Mantzoukas and set up their own casino.

So yeah, the funniest moments are all in the trailer. The plot is wafer thin and it’s predictable throughout. But it’s a fairly short movie by today’s standards at just under an hour and a half, and I’ve certainly spent the same amount of time doing worse things! My Parks and Rec senses were in overdrive in the town hall meeting scene with so many familiar faces, especially with Amy Poehler herself there!

I think my favourite running joke was Will Ferrell’s complete inability to count, or deal with math of any kind to be honest. I don’t know if it was as funny as it seemed to me or if it was one of the few jokes that just so happened to land, but it honestly made me laugh out loud each time. I’m easily amused I think!

How is 2017 doing comedy wise though overall? Are there some hidden gems I should hunt down or look forward to? The Big Sick (2017) was fantastic – but I need a laugh out loud comedy right now!

The 5 Worst Movies of 2017…So Far

This is slightly later than I was expecting, but I’m back! A few days ago I posted my 5 Best Movies of 2017 so far, and now I’m here with the worst. This is what’s strange though. It’s actually been REALLY difficult to scrape 5 movies together. Not because of trying to whittle them down to 5, but I just haven’t seen many bad movies so far! I’m putting that down to the fact I’m behind on recent releases and so I’ve concentrated on recommendations so far.

I almost wussed out and did a list of 4 but that just felt wrong, so I do have 5 movies for you. However! Take some of these with a pinch of salt, because the first 2 picks aren’t that bad at all, they’re just mediocre enough to make this list.

Oh, and another quick reminder, I go by UK release dates!

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#5 Despicable Me 3 

This is what I mean. So I actually quite enjoyed watching Despicable Me 3. Is it something I’ll ever watch again? Probably not. Oh wait, of course I will. Sometime soon my life is going to full of kids movies. The story is a little too simple. the plot predictable, and despite me not being a fan of their solo movie, the minions are still the funniest part. Nonetheless, I did quite enjoy Agnes’ quest to find a real unicorn! Did they really need to tie it in with that other Dreamworks movie, Sing?! Ugh.

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#4 Before I Fall

Again, this movie isn’t so bad, it’s just quite forgettable. It’s the teenage-angst version of Groundhog Day, basically. A good premise, and again an ending I didn’t see coming, but the problem with these kind of movies comes with the repetition. How many times do you want to watch the same girl’s school ritual? Let’s just put these kind of movies in the same lock box as all the Freaky Friday ones. Funnily enough, the day after I saw this I spotted the trailer for Happy Death Day, so I guess these Groundhog Day movies are making a comeback. Sigh.

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#3 Fifty Shades Darker

As a warm-blooded female, I’m really kind of neutral on the whole Fifty Shades business, I can enjoy the series for what it is, and it’s always a good excuse for a girls movie night, in or out. Whereas the first movie was quite funny however (intentional or not, who knows) this one lacked, and it was really quite obvious where its origins were, badly-written fanfiction. That ending was cringey as hell!

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#2 Fist Fight

Eh, I kind of knew Fist Fight would end up in a list like this before I watched it, but I don’t mind sitting through an hour and a half of comedy with Ice Cube and Charlie Day. It has a few funny moments, mostly the same moments that were in the trailers, but it mostly falls flat. Enjoyable at the time, but I’m not going to remember this one in a year’s time.

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#1 Baywatch

It ENRAGES me how bad this movie was. ENRAGES me. I LOVE Dwayne Johnson, and I’m 100% on his side for calling out the critics on their crap. But this wasn’t the movie to do that on the back of. All the elements of a decent summer comedy were there, so why did it suck so hard? Most of the jokes were completely forgotten the second I left the cinema, and not even Zac Efron’s body could save the day. I never thought I’d say this but honey, you need to put on a little weight!

Sigh. Last year’s list was so much more fun to write, because my hatred was so strong, but this list feels kind of meh. Why I’m complaining I don’t know, surely all we want to see are great movies? But there’s a weird joy in hate-writing about bad movies, and I haven’t had that yet this year. Send me your terrible suggestions folks!

My Top 5 Road Trip Movies – With Drew’s Movie Reviews

The ever wonderful Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews invited me to write a guest post with him for his blog, and we decided upon Road Trip Movies! I urge you to check out his original post here. However, if you don’t follow him already (are you crazy?) then here’s a summary of our picks:

I so wish road trips were more of a thing in the UK. I guess the main problem is that we’re just a tiny little island, and our roads kind of suck. Nevermind though, because I get to live the dream through movies! These are my top 5 road trip movies.

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#5 Paul (2011)
Speaking of British folk who dream of an American road trip, that’s what Paul is all about! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play 2 comic book geeks travelling across the US, ticking landmarks off their bucket list. Everything kind of goes haywire when they encounter an actual alien outside of Area 51. It’s not up there with Shaun of the Dead, but you can always count on this duo to make a comedy worth watching!

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#4 Borat (2006)
How is this movie 11 years old now? Sacha Baron Cohen plays Borat, sent on a trip to the US to report on what Kazakhstan TV says is the greatest country in the world. It preys on people who have no idea it’s a fictional movie, it’s innappropriate, but it’s funny as hell and stole the hearts of many of us Brits, including me. It spawned a lot of copycat movies which were terrible, but this one stands strong.

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#3 Chef (2014)
Chef is the ultimate food porn movie, the kind of movie you absolutely cannot watch unless you’ve just eaten a full meal, and even then your stomach will surprise you by rumbling! It’s also a beautiful, heart warming story about a chef played by Jon Favreau who quits his job and takes a trip with his son across the US in a food truck. Isn’t that just the perfect to travel?

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#2 Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
It’s impossible to explain Little Miss Sunshine to anyone without making it sound like the most depressing movie ever. A family take a road trip to take their chubby, uncoordinated daughter to a beauty pageant. Along for the ride is their Uncle who recently tried to commit suicide and well, I’ll let the rest be a surprise if you haven’t seen it before. It’s one of those rare movies that absolutely nails the blend of drama and comedy.

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#1 National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
National Lampoon’s Vacation isn’t just the greatest family road trip movie ever. It might just be my #1 movie of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I watched this as a child. You don’t need to have had a road trip to identify with this one, just any holiday will do, or even any car journey spent with family. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and it holds up surprisingly well after all these years.

In fact, I love this movie so much that part of our Californian Honeymoon last year involved a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which you may not know is where the fictional theme park Walley World in National Lampoon’s Vacation was set. Whilst there we managed to recreate this famous scene!

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Here are Drew’s picks, in his own words (in italics to save confusion)

drewpost15) Dumb and Dumber

Dumb and Dumber is the kind of film that, on paper, seems like it should fail. Two dimwits travel across the country to deliver a briefcase that one of them thought was left behind by mistake. However, it is one of the funniest films from the 90s and one of Jim Carrey’s best films. And that is why it works, because of Carrey and Jeff Daniels. They have a chemistry that feels genuine. It gives the film a lot of heart that it might not have otherwise. As Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey) travel to Aspen, Colorado, they cause all kinds of mayhem that garner some great laughs.

4) The Cannonball Rundrewpost2

I feel like The Cannonball Run is a forgotten 1980s gem. Released in the early 80s, it stars some of the biggest stars of the time, including Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, and many others. I feel that of all the movie genres, comedies differ the most between eras and act as a timecapsule of their era. Every decade seems to have their own flavor or sense of humor. I mention that because it is very different from a comedy you would find these days, but I love it. It is much more subtle, think along the lines of The Naked Gun. I can honestly say they don’t make them like this anymore.

drewpost33) Finding Nemo

You might not think of Finding Nemo as a road trip film but it has all the classic staples of a traditional road trip film. A group of people traveling to a destination together? Check. Film has many side characters who only show up for a scene or two? Check. Group feels closer at end of film? Check. What makes this Pixar classic a classic are the characters and their story. Merlin just wants to find his missing son, Nemo. Along the way, he runs into the forgetful Dory, who joins him on his search. The story is so simple but it works. By following the road trip formula, Pixar was able to really explore the characters that would not have worked as well in another way.

2) Planes, Trains and Automobilesdrewpost4

A John Hughes classic. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the movie on this list I saw for the first time most recently. I don’t know how it took me so long to watch this movie. Both Steve Martin and John Candy have been favorite comedic actors of mine and the two of them are absolutely fantastic together. Their chemistry is some of the best in any comedy film. Even after seeing it several times now, I still can’t help but laugh at Neal Page’s (Martin) misfortune and Del Griffith’s (Candy) good-natured clumsiness. This was very close to being my number one spot but it was barely inched out by another John Hughes film.

drewpost51) National Lampoon’s Vacation

Ah, the OG road trip movie (probably not, don’t quote me on that). I think I was drawn to National Lampoon’s Vacation based on the movie poster / cover art, honestly. How can that be called anything less than epic? This is one of those films that anyone can relate to. Clark just wants to give his family the perfect vacation, his wife Ellen wants to get to Walley World in one piece, while their children, Rusty and Audrey, would rather be anywhere else. The Griswolds are constantly finding themselves in precarious situations that you can’t help but laugh it. If you ever think your family has problems, watch this film and you’ll instantly feel better.

Honorary mentions include Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Tommy Boy, Fanboys, and Zombieland.

But wait, there’s more! Here’s Allie again to tell you about it:

Now, it was my suggestion to Drew that we throw in a little something extra into this post for a bit of fun. My question was, if you could go on holiday or vacation anywhere from a movie, either fictional or real, where would you go? I probably should have thought about my answer before suggesting that because that’s why my part of this post has taken so long to write! Thinking of things I’ve watched recently though, I would absolutely love to explore the island of Themyscira, from Wonder Woman (2017). I haven’t had a true beach holiday in years, and that island looked stunning. Plus, I’m not exactly going to complain if Chris Pine just happened to wash up on the shore whilst I was sipping a cocktail!

A place I would really like to go would be the Republic capital planet of Coruscant. However, that might be a little bit further of a trip than Allie had in mind. So instead, I would travel to Hogwarts. It would be fun to see the best school of witchcraft and wizardry the UK has to offer. Not to mention driving through that picturesque country side.

Mini Reviews: Fist Fight (2017), Shimmer Lake (2017), & Before I Fall (2017)

The last couple of weeks have been so crazy that I haven’t been on this blog for what feels like forever! In my defence, it was purely because I had nothing to blog about – that kind of happens when you don’t actually get round to watching anything. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I’ve caught up over the weekend and watched a few fairly mediocre movies that were perfect for some mini reviews.

Ready to be underwhelmed?

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Why wasn’t this movie called Teacher Fight? That’s what’s said at least 100 times, and I honestly had to double check that wasn’t the real title. Starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day, this was a real ‘meh’ comedy that was as predictable as hell. I have a soft spot for Charlie Day’s comedic charm so I can forgive it slightly, and it had a few moments that made me chuckle, but you can lump it with 2017’s lame comedies.

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I’ll admit, I quite enjoyed Shimmer Lake. The problem is, if I had to explain it to anyone, I’d say it’s a cross between Fargo and Memento. That sounds like a combination made in heaven, but it’s nowhere near as good. It’s a crime/mystery/thriller told in that backwards, Memento style, and most of the main characters are quite quirky in that Fargo sense, but it’s just not as polished, plot and direction wise. Still, I quite enjoyed it and wasn’t expecting the ending at all!

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Speaking of movies that seem far too familiar, I also watched Before I Fall. It’s the teenage-angst version of Groundhog Day, basically. A good premise, and again an ending I didn’t see coming, but the problem with these kind of movies comes with the repetition. How many times do you want to watch the same girl’s school ritual? Let’s just put these kind of movies in the same lock box as all the Freaky Friday ones.

I feel like I’ve brought you a bit of a mediocre Monday, but I’m sure something great will come along soon. I’m seeing Wonder Woman tomorrow night, but because I’ve been away I don’t actually know what the general consensus is. Is it good, you guys?

Review: Colossal (2017)

colossal-movie-review-2017I am SO hyped up and excited to tell you all about Colossal, but equally bummed out because I can’t actually tell you that much without spoiling a truly weird and wonderful cinematic experience! I’m not sure Jenna believed me when I told her I wanted to see this for the crazy plot, mainly because Dan Stevens is in it and I’m developing a bit of an obsession, but honestly, I’ve been on the lookout for a movie that is both new and a bit unique, rather than a remake or sequel.

Here’s what I can tell you about the plot. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is out of control and out of a job. Her party mentality forces her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) to kick her out and force her to move back to her hometown. Around that time, a giant monster is reported to have attacked the city of Seoul, and Gloria discovers that she is directly connected to this monster.

It takes a while for the movie to kick itself into gear, I’ll admit. The first 20 minutes are largely unnecessary (apart from that intriguing opening scene) and it begins to feel like a stereotypical romcom. If you can get past that though, the rest is a wild ride. This isn’t a romance movie, as much as you might be thinking, especially when Gloria’s childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) shows up. It’s also quite hilarious in moments, but it’s not a comedy. This is a drama that gets dark as hell towards the end. You’ve been warned!

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The whole main cast is wonderful. I haven’t seen much of Anne Hathaway but she’s a delight to watch in this, and not annoying in the slightest for playing such a destructive character. I love Jason Sudeikis’ comedies, but I’ve never seen him in a role like this, and whilst he’s not going to take home an Oscar for his performance, this dude can act! Dan Stevens is obviously wonderful (and British this time!) but his role is very minor.

What I really want to tell you though is to give this movie a chance. Watch the trailer, by all means, but know that the actual story is much bigger than you think it is. Don’t read up too much on it either, go in as blind as you can. It’s a miracle in 2017 to have a trailer actually give away very little about the story. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man: Homecoming!

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Colossal isn’t perfect. It’s messy at times, but it’s unique and I think it deserves so much credit for going out there and doing something different for a change. In a year full of sequels and remakes I have high hopes that Colossal will be in my Top 10 of 2017 by the end of the year! It gets 4 and a half out of 5 inflatable mattresses from me, an extra half point awarded for weirdness.

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My Movie Alphabet Vol 2 Blogathon

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It’s a super exciting month for one of my fellow bloggers, Mettel Ray, because her blog has just turned 7 years old! Back in 2012 she ran the Movie Alphabet Blogathon to celebrate her 400th post, and 5 years later she’s back with Vol 2! I wasn’t even a blogger back in 2012 and my movie knowledge was nothing short of awful, so I’m taking part for the first time, but who knows, maybe we’ll be doing this all over again in a few years time!

You’ve got until the end of May to take part so if you’d like to find out more, check out Mettel Ray’s original post here. There are a few rules, the most important of which are as follows:

1. List your favourite actors, actresses, movies or directors from # to z

2. I allow a little wiggle room: you may list two under one letter* because it is vol 2 after all!

*in that case, the choices have to be from different categories – actor/director, actress/movie, etc.*

3. If you participated last time, don’t look at your first movie alphabet before vol 2 is ready

4. Comparisons in between your new alphabet and the previous one are highly encouraged

5. Post your Movie Alphabet Vol 2 by the 31st of May, link back to this post and let me know here in the comments or over at twitter @MettelRay (and use the hashtag mettelrayse7en)

Before I start, I’m really sorry, I broke rule #2 several times. I tried not to, but it just happened. I also seem to be talking about Fight Club a lot recently too, so it’s just something I can’t help right now.

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(#) How many movies I’ve seen so far (Runner Up: 500 Days of Summer)

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(A) Adam Driver (Runner Up: Anna Kendrick)

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(B) BAFTAs Night (Runner Up: Birdman)

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(C) The Cornetto Trilogy (Runner Up: Crazy, Stupid, Love)

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(D) Disney (Runner Up: Denis Villenueve)

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(E) Emma Stone (Runner Up: Early Access Previews)

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(F) Fargo (Runner Up: Feast)

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(G) Guardians of the Galaxy (Runner Up: Gone Girl)

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(H) Harry Potter (Runner Up: Hunt for the Wilderpeople)

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(I) Inside Out (Runner Up: It Follows)

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(J) John Boyega (Runner Up: Jake Gyllenhaal)

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(K) Kubo and the Two Strings (Runner Up: Kingsman Secret Service)

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(L) Letterboxd (Runner Up: La La Land)

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(M) M. Night Shyamalan (Runner Up: Memento)

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(N) Napoleon Dynamite (Runner Up: Netflix)

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(O) Ohana (Runner Up: Once)

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(P) Pitch Perfect (Runner Up: Plot Twists)

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(Q) Quotes (Runner Up: Quentin Tarantino)

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(R) Ryan Reynolds (Runner Up: Ryan Gosling)

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(S) Star Wars (Runner Up: Sandra Bullock)

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(T) Taika Waititi (Runner Up: Trailers)

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(U) The Usual Suspects (Runner Up: Unbreakable)

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(V) National Lampoon’s Vacation (Runner Up: Vin Diesel)

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(W) Whiplash (Runner Up: What We Do in the Shadows)

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(X) ‘X’ Marks the Spot – Treasure Hunting Movies (Runner Up: X-Men)

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(Y) Yoda (Runner Up: Yes Man)

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(Z) Zootopia/Zootropolis (Runner Up: Zombieland)