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The arrival of the first trailer for Cats back in July 2019 was one of those landmark occasions in social media history. In a time where quick and constant access to conversation is paired with a media machine designed to pile misery on all sides to leave us more divided than ever, the 2 minute trailer -its first glimpses of the uncanny combination of human faces and cat bodies, its clearly rushed special effects, the enduring brown note that blarps through the voice of James Corden – it all served as a brief and perfect moment of unity. Everyone was confused, everyone was upset. Everyone was transfixed. The sight of “miniature yet huge cats with human celebrity faces and sexy breasts performing a demented dream ballet for kids” was an Event Horizon for the terminally online, something that could only begin to be processed by the immediate and fervent application of memes. Yet the majority of those who had been cursed to watch the trailer were also united in another way: they were absolutely going to watch the film no matter what.

Cats is out in cinemas now, but it appears that the only ones going to see it are those who became unnervingly compelled t0 do so back on that wild summer day. And fans of the Broadway show maybe. Also furries. Still, opening during the busy Christmas period at the same time as a Star Wars (even a terrible one) is turning out to be a bad decision by Universal, with the film flopping at the box office so far. The reviews may be even worse, with critics lining up to skewer the film as if the writer with the most venomous take will be chosen by Old Deuteronomy to die blissfully and be reborn as a person blessed to have never seen Cats. It is “an abomination“. It is “what death feels like“, but also “surprisingly boring“, a film that “will haunt viewers for generations“. And yet, could this terrible nightmare film also serve as a landmark moment in cinematic history? Is Cats in fact a trailblazer in its unifying awfulness, the first Cursed Blockbuster?

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Director: Gary Ross Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkafina, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, James Corden Running Time: 110 minutes


Like its older brother Ocean’s 11Ocean’s 8 opens with a parole hearing. Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean, a sibling to Clooney, is asked what she’s planning to do on the outside. Cue the knowing look and the game is afoot. This entry to the breezy Ocean’s series has flown in under the radar of RUINED FOREVER faux-outrage fans, possibly because the trilogy of the late 90s-early 00s never had that kind of devoted nerd following, possibly because the too-cool-for-school affect of Clooney, Pitt and the rest of the eleven were too confident and comfortable in their own skins for a certain kind of viewer to latch onto, internalise and toxify. Freed from the burden of fandom expectations and political sandbags, Ocean’s 11 delivers pretty much the same thing as it’s histaff counterpart: beautiful movie stars hanging out and quipping in a beautiful location, the kind of no-fuss, no muss mid-range movie we could do with more of.

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Director: Tony Leondis Starring: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris Running Time: 86 minutes


In Céline Sciamma’s wonderful film Girlhood, there is a scene where a group of young girls, cosied up in a hotel room in the city which they paid for with ill-gotten money, lip-sync along to Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. Hidden away, briefly, from the world and everything that it sees them as and sees that they will be, they’re free to just enjoy themselves, their joy pumping powerfully through the screen as they sing along, a literal “vision of ecstasy”. I bring this up because The Emoji Movie also uses Diamonds. The Hi-5 Emoji, Gene the Meh Emoji and Jailbreak (who is secretly the Princess Emoji, apologies for the spoiler) read a deleted e-mail draft from the boy whose phone they live in to the girl that he likes, in which he quotes the song’s lyrics and tells her “I just think you’re so cool”. It was unclear if this embarrassing e-mail was supposed to be a joke or sincere, or it would have been if it hadn’t been obvious for some time by that point that there is no sincerity to be found here. The scene in Girlhood is genuine, vibrant and current in exactly all the ways that the scene in The Emoji Movie isn’t. Watch that instead.  Watch anything instead. Maybe take your kids to the library. This film wouldn’t agree, it’s stance on words being that they are ‘lame’ and though everything you need to know about reviewing The Emoji Movie can be summed up with 💩, for thoroughness’ sake let’s proceed with the out-dated concept of words regardless.

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