Watched, Read, Reviewed: April 2022

Happy May! I feel bad as I’ve been neglecting the blogs again. I also recently joined Letterboxd (finally) & I’m finding it far too easy to just quickly log & write very short reviews of films there instead of taking the time to put a full post together for each movie I watch. (Here’s my Letterboxd link for the three people who still read this blog).

But I’ve been doing this blog for almost ten years so I need to at least keep up these monthly posts. And I’ll still post reviews here when I’m in the mood or really love a film. I reviewed half of those below on Letterboxd already so I’ll cheat & copy those here.

Here’s all I watched & read in April…

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Finch – Post-apocalyptic? A dog?? A robot sidekick??? Did they make this movie specifically for ME?!?! Three things I love! Especially robots. Yes, my favorite Pixar movie is WALL-E & my favorite Star Wars character is R2-D2 (well, Grogu is up there too now! And Yoda). So, this movie was very much my sort of thing and I really enjoyed it.

Speaking of WALL-E, a lot of this film reminded me of that. Mainly the “radiation storms” (or whatever they were) and the fact that Earth is now a wasteland with very few surviving humans (they didn’t get to jump on a fancy spaceship & just get really fat in this one). Plus, of course, there’s a robot. Well, two robots actually! The one Tom Hanks builds in the film plus a little robot he’s been using which he named after Dewey in Silent Running.

The story is pretty simple but it’s more about the relationship between Tom’s character (Finch) & the robot he builds to help take care of his beloved dog. A robot learning what it means to be human?!?!? Yep – this movie is SO my type of thing. Does Finch bring anything new to this genre? Not really. But it’s got heart & a nice relationship between Hanks & the robot. Really enjoyed this film. – 7.5/10

Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans – A lovely film directed by F. W. Murnau that won the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Picture, one of the two top prizes, at the 1st Academy Awards (Wings was later declared the official Best Picture winner). I enjoyed its style & love story & Janet Gaynor’s performance, which won the first Best Actress Academy Award. I’ve logged it as part of my Best Picture Project to watch all the Best Picture winners. 27 left to go! – 7.5/10

Sherlock Jr. – Decided to explore more Buster Keaton after recently (finally) watching & thoroughly enjoying The General. This one is possibly even more delightful. A really fun story & once again full of crazy, impressive stunts. Especially loved the scenes within the movie theatre where he works. Great stuff. – 7.5/10

Fatman – While I would’ve enjoyed this slightly more if I’d had the opportunity to see it during Christmas, I still had good fun watching it. Although “fun” may not be the right word. 

I hadn’t read much about this so was expecting more of a comedy instead of the action thriller that it is. I’m sure this film’s tone didn’t work for a lot of people (judging by the movie’s unfairly low rating) but I really liked it. I’m old & tired & have lost faith in humanity just like Gibson’s Chris Kringle. I could totally relate to this version of Santa. 

Gibson & Marianne Jean-Baptiste also give us performances that are probably way too good for a movie about someone putting a hit out on Santa Claus. I appreciated that they took their roles seriously & I thought they worked really well together. It’s an odd film but very unlike the many other Christmas movies that are out there so it was great seeing something a bit different. I’d happily watch this one again at Christmastime. – 7/10

Gosford Park – Didn’t realize this was a Robert Altman film until I stuck it on & it soon became obvious with such a huge ensemble cast of every British actor ever. As bad as Harry Potter for that! I really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces, especially saucy Helen Mirren (not saucy here), Charles Dance Lannister, Richard E. Grant & Derek In The Night Garden Jacobi. I especially liked Kelly Macdonald as I suppose the lead character (and one of the servants so she was likeable) & as always now sounding like Merida the whole time with her great Scottish accent. Oh, and Ryan Phillippe was in this putting on what I assume was a very bad Scottish accent if you were to ask a Scottish person but I have no idea because I suck with accents. Maggie Smith’s rich old bitch character was fun too. Oh! And Emily Watson’s character was also good. God there were loads of people in this…

Anyway. There’s a murder mystery in this which was fun but this movie was more about getting to know the characters. I’m thinking it was at least an hour into the movie when the murder happens? I was like “Get on with the murder already!”. And I’m REALLY bad with keeping track of loads of characters (Game Of Thrones is a huge struggle for me) so I was constantly looking at Wikipedia while watching this to remind myself who each of these characters were & how they were related to each other. I loved how there were two sets of people, though – the rich assholes & all their staff – so it was great seeing the two worlds & getting two sets of intertwining stories. The staff also referred to each other by the name of the rich asshole that each person “serves” (or whatever) which made it a bit easier to know who worked for who (or is it “whom”? Fuck knows. These rich old English characters would know!). I also liked not knowing who (whom?!) was gonna get murdered, although I guessed correctly. But don’t expect some fast paced murder thriller if you watch this. It’s mostly English people talking posh & being snooty the whole time. Still good fun, though, and good acting (as to be expected from some of the best of the best). – 7.5/10

The Adam Project – I don’t have a lot to say about this except that it’s a safe & enjoyable family film. Which sounds insulting but it’s great that some decent family films still get made. We used to get so many back in the ’80s & I miss them. It’s a story involving time travel, which I always love. Ryan Reynolds is a pilot who goes back in time & meets up with his younger self (in that above photo). It’s a somewhat forgettable story overall but had some sweet moments with Jennifer Garner as his mother & Mark Ruffalo as his father, which reminded me how much I like 13 Going On 30. – 6.5/10

The Proposal – Aww – Betty White! Like, I think the rest of the world, I absolutely adored her. She was sweet & so damn funny. So I figured I should finally watch this as I never saw it for some reason. As to be expected from a Sandra Bullock rom-com it’s of course predictable as hell but it was still worth the watch. And I loved that Betty got loads of screen time as she was more often a TV star. She’s great in this. I really enjoyed seeing my favorite person from St. Olaf again. – 6.5/10

Spider-Man: No Way Home – Wow, this was very underwhelming. Admittedly, I’m not some huge MCU fan. I do enjoy the movies & I’ve watched them all but watching most of them just once is enough for me. This one was just so dull & the story was weak. Plus Peter Parker was an idiot. Why did Doctor Strange go along with his stupid idea?! I realise it was just an excuse to bring the three Spider-Mans (er, Spider-Men??) together and fan service can be fun but this was overkill. It felt so focused on bringing everyone together that it forgot to make a good story & forgot to do anything with the characters other than the three Spider-Men and too many old villains I don’t really give a shit about. I take that back – I did like the stuff with Aunt May. She’s been a great character in these films. But, man, THIS is the movie everyone absolutely freaked out about??? I think people were just so happy to go back to the cinema after Covid that it clouded their judgement.

Oh well, I guess I can update my MCU rankings (which I did on Letterboxd HERE but haven’t yet done on my blog). This is currently number 21 for me. – 6/10

Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions – First of all, I have to say that this was bizarre in that I was thoroughly confused after seeing someone in the cast list after watching this who I did NOT remember seeing in the movie. So I read the full Wikipedia synopsis and, holy shit, it’s an entirely different ending (and beginning too, I believe). We’re not talking a minor difference, either, as I know there are movies with alternate endings like The Butterfly Effect (prefer the original cinema release of that). This was a whole different ending that completely changes what’s happening through the whole damn movie and has different actresses & characters being used. Like, WTF? So if they make another sequel, which ending are they going to carry on from? And why is this annoying me so much when it’s just a throwaway horror movie so it doesn’t really matter?! Ha! Plus, quite frankly, I like the sound of the other (presumably original cinema release) ending much more. So I hope they go with that one, although I think some will find the ending that I saw with a brand new character more entertaining. I thought the new character sucked. I like the other character!

I liked the first of these movies more than I expected to. No, these aren’t great but I do like “lightweight” horror like this for a bit of fun plus I’m a bit of a wuss. If you liked the first, you’ll like this one since it’s just more of the same damn thing. The escape rooms don’t feel as inventive, though, and too many of them are just too damn big. Doesn’t feel like an escape “room” when it’s the size of a damn town. Then the ending gets pretty dumb, at least in the version I saw, but who cares? Right? It was entertaining enough for an hour and a half. The first was of course much better. I’d watch a third one. – 6/10

The Sky Is Everywhere – I watched this on Apple TV+ as I read the YA novel ages ago, although it wasn’t a favorite & I found the girl a bit annoying. Seemed to be a faithful adaptation from what I remember. The girl from No Exit plays the dead sister (not a spoiler as this is about a girl grieving the loss of her older, talented sister). The two sisters were fine and the rival love interests were fine and, meh, whatever. The movie was fine. It was fine! #Fine – 6/10

Mandibles – Bizarre film, which is something I always appreciate. Still prefer Quentin Dupieux’s film Rubber but this one was good fun too. And the giant fly was kind of cute. Oh, it’s about two idiots who find a giant fly & decide to keep it & train it to go fetch things for them. Yep, that’s what it’s about. And a girl who shouts everything she says. That was kind of annoying. – 6/10

Kimi – An okay Steven Soderbergh film but will be a forgettable one for me. Mainly just made me realise that I need to rewatch Blow Out and that Rear Window is a masterpiece. – 5.5/10

Shadow In The Cloud – I honestly don’t know how to rate this one. It was kind of terrible but I think I also kind of liked it. I think. Kind of. It may be because I have such a strong love of The Twilight Zone & Amazing Stories which this so blatantly wants to be. I kept expecting Moretz to draw some cartoon wheels while yelling about someone being on the wing of the plane. – 5.5/10

Antlers – This was very disappointing after I thought it looked pretty good plus I like Keri Russell. And… I don’t know what to say about this? Not sure why I didn’t like it? I didn’t really like the underdeveloped characters, I guess. And I normally like “creature” movies but… Meh. I dunno. I just wasn’t feeling this one. – 5.5/10

Deep Water – What a couple of assholes. Guess they deserved each other. The daughter was adorable, though. Poor kid. This film didn’t help my Molluscophobia. Or Affleckophobia. – 5.5/10

Nobody – Wasn’t feeling this one either. At all. I should say I don’t really know Bob Odenkirk as I’ve not watched Breaking Bad or whatever got him some fans but he’s just not leading man material in this. To me, at least. The movie is like John Wick without all the stuff that makes John Wick enjoyable (mostly my beloved Keanu Reeves & puppies). I was bored. But I’ll give it an extra half a point for Christopher Lloyd as he’s always likeable. – 5.5/10

Movies Rewatched In April:

Rain Man – First time watching this again in a long time. Still a great film. Hoffman was deserving of his Oscar but Cruise was also even better than I remembered. Love their relationship by the end. One of the more enjoyable Best Picture winners. – 8/10

While You Were Sleeping – One of the better Sandra Bullock rom-coms. Watched this with my daughter on a girly night & she really liked it. I told her there are loads more movies like this that we can watch together. 🙂 – 7.5/10

Jackass: The Movie – Why do I still laugh at these idiots? These movies of course lose that initial element of shock & surprise (and revulsion) on a rewatch, but I still enjoyed seeing this again way more than I like to admit. Off-Road Tattoo is still a favorite. – 6.5/10

Documentaries, Shorts, Miscellaneous:

Adrienne – Admittedly, I didn’t know of Adrienne Shelly until after her murder. I then saw the film Waitress & absolutely loved it so I’ve tried to see what I can of the films that she starred in. What a loss – would love to have seen what other films she could have made.

This documentary, made by her husband, included loads of home video footage of Adrienne. So it was good to get to know her that way as she was obviously such an indie actress & there will be people who don’t know of her & aren’t aware of her work. In fact, the documentary starts with people waiting in line to watch the Waitress musical based on her movie being asked who Shelly is & they all have no clue. Very sad – Did they not watch the movie (which she starred in as well & wrote & directed) too??? This documentary is also obviously not an easy watch as it does discuss Shelly’s murder as well as her murderer. So that was uncomfortable but I think it’s worth a watch if you’re curious about her & her work. And I highly recommend Waitress. – 7.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN APRIL

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Community: S4 & S5 – I already absolutely raved about this show in my previous two monthly roundups so I don’t need to again. I may be very late to the party but am so glad I decided to watch this one day. I’d heard the last two seasons (5 & 6) aren’t so good. Damn! So far, that seems accurate. I’ll avoid saying who but I’ll just say a needed character (or more) leave and this show worked so well the first four seasons as this group of misfits are perfect together. You really need them all as a group & the show sadly goes downhill pretty quickly without all of them. DAMN! Oh well. There are still fun moments. I still have season 6 & then I can rewatch the brilliant first 4 seasons again.

Ted Lasso: S2 – Finally grabbed one month of Apple TV+, mainly to see this as I really liked season 1. Still think it’s great with fantastic characters. I also like the rather dark turn they’re taking with Ted this season. Getting a bit serious now! But it somehow still works with the lighthearted humor. Only weak episode was the one focusing on Coach Beard, which is a shame as he’s probably a top 5 character in this for me. Also a little heartbroken at how they’ve decided to change Nathan’s character. But will be interesting to see where they go with that storyline.

Calls: S1 – I enjoyed this as it was so different but it will definitely not be for everyone. This is also on Apple TV+ & the show is a series of calls that we listen to with images such as the one above as well as the words displayed on the screen. Was happy to be able to read along as it made the stories easier to follow. Each episode is a story on its own with different characters, which was cool, but the stories do also end up connected by the end. Some episodes were much stronger than others but I really liked the overall story which was a bit eerie with a touch of horror & sci-fi. But that’s all very much my type of thing…

Servant: S1 E1-? – I’m too lazy to look up where I finished but think I must have seen most of season 1 before my one month of Apple TV+ was up. I like M. Night Shyamalan so was interested in seeing this despite being put off by there now being 3 seasons. That’s too much of a commitment! Can’t they make more “limited series” shows, dammit?!? One season & done. Boom! Like the Harlan Coben shows. So, yeah, Servant seems to be doing what I hate but totally expected & draaaaaaaaaagginggggggggg the story out. Just get to the fucking point, TV shows! This is why I stick to movies. Anyway – I now want to know WTF is going on so will probably binge this when I can afford to subscribe for another month (maybe when Ted Lasso starts again). I’ll say I thought episode 1 was great. Nothing I love more than creepy babies & creepy dolls! Was then growing bored after several episodes of nothing happening after that, though.

Young Rock: S1 E3-6 – This show is super enjoyable considering I know nothing about and am not a fan of pro wrestling. But I do like The Rock and think his character is great & love the relationship he has with his family. It’s a really sweet & wholesome family show! And, being the age I am, I do remember some of these wrestlers. I especially like the episodes with Andre The Giant. Good fun! Perfect for when short on time. Can squeeze a couple in during a lunch break! Not one I feel the urge to binge but it’s good to know it’s there as a quick pick-me-up when the hubby & I have half an hour & feel like watching something.

Moon Knight: S1 E2-5 – I dunno. I just CANNOT get into this show. At all. Sorry? Man… Disappointing after thinking WandaVision was great & really enjoying Loki & Hawkeye despite not being some big Marvel fan. But I did think The Falcon & The Winter Soldier was a snoozefest. I guess I like that, uh, Moon Knight at least feels like something different from the same old formulaic MCU stuff? So… There’s that, I guess! There. I was complimentary.

Old Enough: S1 E1 – ? (Too lazy to look again, seen 4 or 5 episodes) – Fun Japanese reality TV show on Netflix where they get adorable toddlers & little kids to run some basic “adult errands” such as going to the supermarket to buy food while cameras follow them around to see what they’ll do. It’s lightweight and SHORT, which I really appreciate. Think some episodes are no more than 15 minutes. Woohoo! I have time for that! Okay, it’s a bit dumb but it’s also really cute. Most kids are fantastic while others are totally shit at doing what they’re asked. Funny.

Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E9 – This has started up again! Yay. I guess.

TV Specials:

It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown – Should’ve watched more of the Peanuts stuff while I had Apple TV+! Am a massive Peanuts/Snoopy fan. This was sweet & it focused on Sally obsessed with a flower in the middle of Charlie Brown’s baseball game. Watching the rest of these when I subscribe again.

TV Specials Rewatched:

It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown – Obviously had to watch this again. Watch all the Peanuts holiday specials each year. Is anything better than Snoopy?? 🙂

BOOKS READ

I read two books in April!! Much quicker reads than the first Game Of Thrones book taking me months to finish. Tried out a new author after reading Emma’s book reviews HERE & thinking they sounded good. Thanks, Emma! Really enjoyed these & already have a third C.J. Tudor book from the library to read next. 🙂

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor – Can’t decide which book I liked more but read this first so guess I’ll review it first. First of all I have to say that I could really relate to the mother (my sort of age) and the daughter (a few years older than mine) & their relationship in this. Especially as they love & quote cool movies like Heathers & The Lost Boys. But then, of course, there’s also some great, nasty history involving the small town they move to & two young girls who were tortured & burned alive for not renouncing their faith in Ye Olde English Times. Gotta love English history! Why didn’t they teach us that sort of stuff in American History class?? I might have paid attention. And there’s also a big mystery involving two teen girls who disappeared from this town in (I think) the ’90s. Plus the previous town vicar who died under mysterious circumstances. Woohoo! Oh, and of course the main character’s tragic past that the story slowly pieces together for us.

What I really liked about both these books were all the twists & turns and multiple mysteries to be solved. Reminded me of the Harlan Coben TV shows I watched recently (who C.J. Tudor must also be a fan of as a character in The Chalk Man was reading a Coben book – I really must check out one of his novels too). Not sure why I’ve not read more murder mystery thrillers because I actually love this stuff. I’m just such a sucker for supernatural horror, which is why I stick with Stephen King. But Tudor was compared to King after The Chalk Man & he recommended it to his followers on Twitter (making her go all fangirly. I would too!). I can certainly see the King comparison, especially with The Chalk Man, but she’s more “twisted crime thriller” than “supernatural horror”.

I went off on a tangent there. I really enjoyed this book and its characters. And I only guessed one of the many mysteries quite early on (but one of the biggest ones, so I was proud of myself). Everything else kept me guessing, though. A very fun read. – 4/5

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor – I’m guessing this is the more popular Tudor book of these two? I could be wrong but I can see it being slightly more widely appealing. I’d say it’s maybe a fraction better of the two but I far preferred the ending of The Burning Girls & that overall story a bit more. What I liked about The Chalk Man & what probably caused part of the King comparison is the slight Stand By Me & It vibe when the story flashes back to the past and the small group of friends, who are now adults, back when they were 12/13. It also has multiple mysteries like The Burning Girls & I really liked everything to do with the “Wurlitzer Girl” part of the story & just wish we could’ve found out more about her.

Great stuff. I liked this one a lot too & haven’t read books this quickly in ages. I just wanted all the answers ASAP. The Taking of Annie Thorne is next on my To Read list. – 4/5

Currently reading Malorie by Josh Malerman

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love – Figured it was worth mentioning this new album as I so rarely have “new music” to post about. However, I’ve only listened to it once while working so have to give it another listen soon. I do love the Chili Peppers so I’ll just say, from what I heard, this album indeed sounded exactly like the Chili Peppers. But I’m not someone to complain about bands always sounding the same because, screw it – if you have fans why change your sound??

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No specific plans. Will continue to log movies on Letterboxd & do a monthly roundup post here.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Still not going to the cinema even though people seem to have forgotten that Covid exists but, boy, I want to see Everything Everywhere All At Once SO BAD. Will watch Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness at some point too but I’m in no big rush for that. Also like the sound of The Innocents, The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent (Ew, Pedro Pascal is in that?) & been waiting for Top Gun: Maverick for bloody ages now.

I like to end with a good song from a movie but I’ll use something from Ted Lasso this time. That show gets the rights to use some great music! Here’s one featured heavily in one episode: She’s A Rainbow by The Rolling Stones:

Watched, Read, Reviewed: March 2022

I watched way too many movies in March. Most were Oscar nominees I wanted to watch before the Oscars. Not that anyone is talking about any of the winners now… It’s a shame that CODA isn’t getting as much attention as it would have if not for someone’s stupid antics.

Well, I somehow managed to already do full reviews of most of those below so I’ll include the links to those & briefly discuss the ones I haven’t talked about at all yet.

MOVIES WATCHED IN MARCH (ranked best to worst):

CODA – Reviewed this just before the Oscars. Really enjoyed it & am happy it won Best Picture. A great feelgood film with likeable characters & a good sense of humor. Also glad Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor & Sian Heder won Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s nice to see a Best Picture that’s actually watchable. Really thought The Power Of The Dog was going to win, which I found a struggle to get through. Watching a movie shouldn’t feel like a damn chore. Far too many Best Picture nominees are like that in recent years so I loved actually really enjoying one for a change. – 8/10

A Quiet Place Part II – Reviewed this in full already at the link. Was a big fan of the first film & thought it was a very effective monster horror with a fantastic original idea. I’m happy to say that the sequel was also really good. Like these films a lot & can’t wait for Part III. – 7.5/10

Columbus – Loved this movie! Also already reviewed in full at the link. I should really have ranked it above A Quiet Place II & I think it’s one of the best films I’ve watched this year but I just really enjoyed A Quiet Place II. Here’s the quick Wikipedia synopsis: “The film follows the son of a renowned architecture scholar (John Cho) who gets stranded in Columbus, Indiana and strikes up a friendship with a young architecture enthusiast (Haley Lu Richardson) who works at the local library“.

Richardson & Cho are very good together and Richardson especially shines as a bright young woman going nowhere in life while stuck in the town of Columbus. It’s a beautiful looking film with great characters & seems like the kind of thing the Oscars would go for so I don’t know why it had no recognition that year & why I’d heard nothing about it. Well, I said a lot more about it in my full review. It’s one I’d recommend but only to certain people as it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. – 8/10

The General (1926) – Finally got around to watching this Buster Keaton film for my IMDb Top 250 Project. I have very little experience when it comes to old silent films so would feel weird saying too much with so little knowledge. I’ll just say that one of my biggest “discoveries” when starting the Top 250 Project was Charlie Chaplin. I absolutely fell in love with the three films of his that I’ve watched so far & think he was brilliant so was eager to see how Keaton compared.

I enjoyed The General & the dangerous stunts they pulled off for this film in 1926 were bloody amazing. How did he not get killed?! Very impressive. Far more impressive than all of today’s CGI bullshit! Keaton was good & I also found him oddly attractive. Like, when you like the weird, lanky, quirky guy? I always like the weird ones but I think I mainly just have a thing for any guy wearing eyeliner (like in the below photo).

However, this film didn’t connect with me the way the Chaplin films immediately did. It didn’t have the heart that those do plus I prefer Chaplin’s great physical comedy and facial expressions. City Lights especially is one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen & gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling that only the very best cinematic masterpieces can achieve. But The General’s technical achievements (is that the right word for 1926?!) are admittedly extremely impressive for the time so I have to recognize that although the Chaplin films are more my type of thing.

I’d certainly give another Buster Keaton film a try, though. But I first want to check out Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! as that’s also one I’ve not yet seen. Anyone have any other silent classics to recommend? (Yes, I’ve seen & love Metropolis & The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari). – 8/10

West Side Story (2021) – Reviewed this already. I’ll just say it’s a gorgeous film, Ariana DeBose & Rita Moreno are great, Ansel Elgort & Rachel Zegler sadly have zero chemistry, and I can’t say we necessarily needed a new adaptation when we already had a very good adaptation in 1961. But I still enjoyed seeing Spielberg’s vision of this & it’s good if it has brought this musical to the attention of a new generation. – 8/10

Fresh – Liked this quirky dark-comedy horror. And am finally starting to like Sebastian Stan after this and Pam & Tommy. He just seems to be having a lot of fun in these roles. I like him unhinged! Daisy Edgar-Jones was also perfect for this role & the two of them worked really well together. Good fun but a slightly weird film, which I guess is a satire of the horrors women face on the dating scene, that won’t be for everyone. – 7.5/10

MassMass is a good film but obviously a very heavy topic. It’s about two sets of parents who meet to discuss a tragic school shooting six years after the event. One I’d recommend but you obviously need to be in the right frame of mind to watch it. Although Mass is fiction it’s a very real and sadly far too common occurrence & one I find very upsetting. – 7.5/10

Malignant – Still trying to decide how I feel about this one. I think it’s grown on me (haha). A bit better & more original than some of James Wan’s work. I appreciated the Giallo influence but it could have used much more of that. I also liked how bonkers it got at the end, raising my score. It could have used much more of that too. – 7/10

Lionheart(also released internationally under several names including A.W.O.L: Absent Without Leave, Wrong Bet, and Leon) – Wow, those other names SUCK! What’s wrong with Lionheart?! By far the best name! Anyway. I’m an old lady so of course obsessed with ’80s & early ’90s movies but for some reason completely avoided watching any Jean-Claude Van Damme films because, well, they looked dumb. Plus he had a mullet in a lot of them. But then I watched Bloodsport last year and kind of Bloodyloved it so now I watch his movies when I notice one on a service (Lionheart is on a free one – either Plex or Pluto, can’t remember). Bloodsport is still the best by far, then Timecop, then this one. This was still good fun, though. Van Damme is in a war or something but then some gangsters set his brother on fire back in America so he goes AWOL & comes back to help his brother’s poor widow & cute kid and he somehow ends up fighting people for big money to help them pay the bills. Or some shit. I dunno. Does the plot really matter?! Oh, and he’s also on the run as he’s AWOL!

I decided at some point after watching Bloodsport that Van Damme was kind of a hottie so that may be why I keep watching his movies now. Okay, okay – it’s that amazing BUTT. Unfortunately, he doesn’t go around doing the splits all over the place in this one. What?! Why?!?! What a waste of that amazingly sexy talent. At least he had no mullet in this one. What else can I say? This film is pure 1990 cheese. But it’s fun cheese. And, hell, it has more likeable characters than a lot of movies. I liked it! Okay? I like Van Damme movies now! (But you still won’t catch me starting to watch Steven Seagal films). – 6.5/10

Old – I do like Shyamalan’s films although they’re admittedly cheesy. But I always like a good story idea & think he comes up with some fun ones plus I’m always a sucker for a twist. I enjoyed Old although, as with most of his stuff, it could have been better. – 6.5/10

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It – This was fine. As far as The Conjuring Universe films go, this is one of the slightly better ones. At least it’s better than most of the Annabelle movies. I also like it when the Warrens are in the film plus I like a good “devil movie”. Overall, though, the film is a bit forgettable. – 6/10

Turning Red – Damn. Another very disappointing Pixar film. Remember when Pixar could do no wrong?? The story was okay and the red panda was cute. The girl was fairly likeable too but, ugh, her mother was too over-the-top & annoying. Maybe I’ll give it another chance someday but I’m longing for the Pixar masterpieces we used to get from them. – 6/10

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye – I had zero interest in watching this one but stuck it on before the Oscars since Jessica Chastain was nominated. Am glad I checked it out. I knew pretty much nothing about Tammy Faye Bakker & her husband. It’s an interesting story of a lifestyle that’s very bizarre to me. Bakker comes across quite well in the movie as a woman who cared about everyone from all walks of life, thereby demonstrating some true “Christian” values much more so than the sexist & racist men in power at the time. I think it was a worthy Oscar win for Chastain. – 6.5/10

The Forever Purge – Meh. The Purge films are a guilty pleasure of mine. I LOVE the concept. But they have yet to make a truly good film from that idea, which is disappointing as there’s so much they could explore. These last two films have been the worst of the series but they were still okay. I’ve been a bit generous with my score & should probably drop it half a point but I’ll leave it as is for now. – 6.5/10

Nightmare Alley – My god, I can’t believe how utterly boring this Guillermo del Toro film was. It’s not a bad film and it looks great & I liked the setting of the carnival (although that’s only at the start – I wanted that to be the whole film). Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara are very good but Bradley Cooper is dull and the film drags on for far too long. Disappointing. – 6.5/10

No Exit – Watched this as it’s a 2022 movie release on Disney Plus. Here’s the short Wikipedia synopsis: “It stars Havana Rose Liu as a recovering drug addict who discovers a kidnapping in progress while stranded at a rest stop during a blizzard.” At the rest stop, there are four other adults who become the suspects when the main character discovers the girl in the van & doesn’t know whose van it is. So there was a bit of suspense there at first, which was fine. This is one of those movies where all the characters aren’t very likeable, though. Meh. The movie was okay, I guess. It passed the time. – 6/10

The Stand-In – First of all, I have to say that I love Drew Barrymore. She’s my same sort of age so I grew up with her. She seems so likeable & down-to-Earth (but who knows with celebs, right?! most seem like assholes). So I’ll always watch a movie with Drew. Damn – this one isn’t great, though. I still enjoyed it as it’s Drew but it’s possibly the worst of all her films that I’ve seen. I’d say it’s through no fault of her own, though. She’s fine in this dual role. She plays an actress as well as her lookalike stand-in who later becomes a part of the actress’s (is that right with the letter S together three times?!) life when that actress wants to hide away from society after her bad behavior ruins her career. The actress character was fine but the stand-in was annoying. Disappointing but, again, I’ll watch anything with Drew so didn’t feel like it was time wasted. – 5.5/10

Spencer – Holy hell I hated this godawful movie. But I had a rant about it in my full review so I don’t need to moan again here. I’ll just say thank god Stewart didn’t win Best Actress. Everything about this film was dreadful. – 4.5/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous:

I binged a lot of the Oscar nominated shorts (and one full-length documentary) before the Oscars. I lucked out on seeing all of the ones that ended up winning. Not that they matter since the stupid Academy decided they weren’t important enough to award live during the ceremony. Twats! What a disaster that whole thing was. Well, here’s all I watched…

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)Winner of Best Documentary – I really enjoyed this Questlove documentary about this absolutely amazing 1969 music festival that I knew nothing about. The music was fantastic & it was great seeing so much live footage from the concert. Check out some of the performers that we see (from Wikipedia): Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, The 5th Dimension, The Staple Singers, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mavis Staples, Blinky Williams, Sly and the Family Stone and The Chambers Brothers. What a line-up! A deserving win for Questlove. Too bad it was completely overshadowed by Will Smith being a total dickhead immediately before this award. In fact, the feed in the U.K. cut out for a while after that plus the shorter replay of the Oscars didn’t show this win (why?!) so I had to find this acceptance speech online to even see it. Ridiculous. Smith really ruined that night for everyone & took all the focus away from people who worked so hard. Ass. Anyway, we’ve all heard enough about that goddamn story! Am glad this won the Oscar & I highly recommend it to music lovers.

The Queen of BasketballWinner of Best Short Documentary – Here’s the IMDb synopsis for this one: “Queen of Basketball is an electrifying portrait of Lucy Harris, who scored the first basket in women’s Olympic history and was the first and only woman officially drafted into the N.B.A.” A fascinating story & Lucy came across as such a lovely person. Was sad to see she just passed away in January when I looked this up just now. Think I saw this on YouTube or Vimeo (as well as most of these shorts) if you want to check it out.

The Long GoodbyeWinner of Live Action Short – Not a fan of this Riz Ahmed film. Watch it on YouTube if you want to see yet more hate.

The Windshield WiperWinner of Animated Short – This animated short had lovely animation. However, the story was nothing that intriguing & dragged on for too long (for a short!). Can’t say I’ll remember anything about it in a year. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Inside a cafe while smoking a whole pack of cigarettes, a man poses an ambitious question: “What is Love?”. A collection of vignettes and situations will lead the man to the desired conclusion.

Audible – A good short documentary on Netflix following the students of The Maryland School for the Deaf. Thought it might win the Oscar.

Lead Me Home – Another short doc on Netflix, this one following the lives of several homeless people in West Coast America.

Please Hold – I liked this live-action short the most. Very Black Mirror inspired story about a not-too-distant prison system. Here’s the YouTube link if you want to check it out.

Boxballet – A Russian animated short film about a ballerina & a boxer who grow close despite being so different. Not too bad.

Robin Robin – This stop-motion short produced by Aardman Animations is also on Netflix but, not gonna lie, I played on my phone through the whole thing so it clearly didn’t grab my attention. I’ll try to watch it again sometime.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Community: S2 & S3 – I f*%king LOVE this show! How on Earth did I miss out on this when it was on?! I mean, I was very busy with a baby when it started in 2009 but I’m still very late to this one. So glad I just stuck it on at random one day with the family. We’re all addicted.

Last month I ranked my favorite characters (so far). My ranking probably hasn’t changed. I now currently have three favorite episodes as well. My favorite was Remedial Chaos Theory, which the above image is from. Don’t you love when you finally find out what a popular meme is from?! I’d seen that above meme sooo many times. Thanks to that episode my daughter & I now go around saying “Me so hungie! Me so hungie!” & doing the Britta dance. Because I’m a mature adult. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a very close & brilliant second. Then Digital Estate Planning, in which I was like “That’s me!” when Pierce’s video game character was stuck behind the potted plant not knowing how to use the controller. And Troy jumping around constantly was SO my daughter.

The hubby & I were saying that’s part of why we’re so taken with this show. I think everyone who watches it would probably see parts of themselves in at least one of these misfit characters. I’m mostly a combination of Abed, Britta & Shirley with a dash of Troy (especially as Troy thought all dogs were boys & all cats were girls like I did as a kid. Ha!). I think these characters are just fantastic & work so well together. I’m already heartbroken knowing we’re right now also almost finished with Season 4, which was short, and only have two more (also short) seasons to go. What am I going to do when finished?!? Daughter said she wants to just rewatch it all again from the start. Not loved a sitcom like this for years. 🙂

Safe: – We quite enjoyed Harlan Coben’s murder mystery limited series Stay Close on Netflix so decided to check this one of his out as well. Also really enjoyed this one but preferred Stay Close. And now my daughter seems obsessed with murder mystery thrillers so am sure we’ll be watching plenty more shows like this! And I’d happily check out Coben’s books now based on these two shows. I like how many twists & turns his stories take. Any recommendations of similar shows or his best books?

Pam & Tommy: S1 E7-8 – I said plenty about this last month so I’ll just say again that I thought Sebastian Stan & especially Lily James were really good in this. Not sure the point of the show or if it needed to be made but it was interesting to see this, mainly from Pamela’s side, as she was treated horribly over the whole thing. Lightweight entertainment but, yeah, it was entertaining.

Moon Knight: S1 E1 – Only one episode so far so I don’t have much to say about it other than it didn’t grab me for whatever reason. And Oscar Isaac’s accent sounded weird as hell to me. But I’ll still continue. Maybe it’ll get better. Can’t be worse than The Falcon & The Winter Soldier!

Severance: S1 E1 – Loved the sound of this & still think it’s a great story idea but the first episode really dragged. Will give one more episode a chance to see if it picks up a bit…

Inventing Anna: S1 E1 – Found the first episode boring plus the girl’s accent or whatever the hell that was annoyed the hell out of me. But I liked seeing My Girl girl all grown up! Does the show get better?? Not sure if I’m bothered…

Punky Brewster (2021): S1 E1 – Hey, I’m an ’80s kid so I loved Punky Brewster. Very weird seeing her grown up in a new show. A bit cheesy & SO American but I’ll totally continue with it at some point.

Fleabag: S1 E1 & half of E2 – I fell asleep during episode 2. I think this one just isn’t for me. The character was funny a few times but also too much of the sort of asshole I can’t stand or relate to in any way whatsoever. No thanks.

BOOKS READ

A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – I FINISHED IT!!!!! Crap, do I have to review it now?! I don’t have the energy! This literally took me months to finish. Not that it’s bad or something – I’m just kind of a slow reader plus it’s long. I enjoyed it, though. I really like that it’s a book where each chapter focuses on a specific character. Was always happy to get to a chapter focusing on one of my favorites (Number 1 favorite is still easily Tyrion, followed by Daenerys & Arya). Oh! One thing I’ll say is that Jon Snow is much better in the book. I always wondered why everyone liked him in the show as I found him a bit dull. Oh! Also… they upped the ages of the “younger” generation for the show. In the first book they’re: Bran 7, Arya 9, Sansa 11. Robb Stark & Jon Snow are both 14. Daenerys is 13. And that prick Joffrey is 12 (still hate his guts).

I’d like to say I got to know the characters even more now but, surprisingly, the show was really quite faithful to this first book! Is it later that they start changing stuff more? Because as much as I HATE when adaptations aren’t faithful to a book, it also meant I didn’t exactly get any surprises while reading this after watching the show. Damn. Well, I still enjoyed this & will continue with the series. I need a break first, though. Going to read some more lightweight stuff I got from the library instead for now. – 4/5

Currently reading The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I went movie & review crazy last month so will probably take it easier this month. Although I keep wanting to do a week of posts counting down my Top 100 bands & singers. Should I do that? Sounds like too much effort. But would be kind of fun. I miss making lists…

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

I honestly don’t know anymore what’s in cinemas but services have a terrible selection at the moment. Have Apple TV for a month so gonna try to watch Finch & binge Ted Lasso. Also want to watch Freaky, Another Round, In The Heights & The Suicide Squad on another service I have temporarily.

I end these posts with a music clip but can’t find the great Summer Of Soul full performances to share (so go watch the doc!). So here’s a song I’ve always liked from Fresh: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll:

The 94th Academy Awards – Reviews Of Nominated Films & List Of All Nominees

The Oscars are on tonight so I’m finally doing a post with links to the reviews I’ve done of some of the nominated films.

I can’t believe I used to stay up all night long to watch the Oscars live when I first moved to the U.K. Ugh. I don’t anymore because 1) I don’t always have access to the live ceremony because that service is too expensive and 2) I’m too old & tired to stay up all night (and then go to work! how did I do that?!) but most importantly 3) Screw the Oscars! They’ve become a joke in the past several years & this year’s ceremony sounds ridiculous. I had a rant during my Mass review but I’ll just say again that I don’t have time for a movie awards ceremony that doesn’t see the Best Original Score & all the others not being presented as important enough to make the live show.

But I’m sure I’ll still watch the shorter recap show tomorrow night & bitch about the ceremony the whole time…

Well, there seem to be better Best Picture nominees than some years but I’ve only seen six of the ten. Of those I’ve not seen, I really do want to see Drive My Car. I’m sure I’ll check out King Richard, Licorice Pizza & Belfast when available too but I’m in no rush. I think The Power Of The Dog will probably win anyway, which was my least favorite of those I’ve seen. I loved Dune & CODA. Actually not sure which of the two I preferred. Dune is more “me” but CODA was so lovely & thoroughly enjoyable to watch. They’re maybe tied.

Here are my reviews of those I’ve seen of all the nominees (from my favorite to least favorite):

TIE: Dune & CODA
The Lost Daughter
Don’t Look Up
West Side Story
Tick, Tick… Boom!
The Mitchells Vs The Machines
Raya And The Last Dragon
Encanto
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
Free Guy
The Power Of The Dog
Cruella
Nightmare Alley
Coming 2 America
Luca
Being the Ricardos
Spencer (hated this)

There were also some strong documentaries & shorts that were luckily available on U.K. services. Summer Of Soul was great with fantastic music so I really enjoyed that. And Please Hold was a good Black-Mirror-Inspired story.

Nominated Documentaries & Shorts I’ve Seen (not ranked):

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Audible
Lead Me Home
The Queen of Basketball
Please Hold
The Long Goodbye
Three Songs For Benazir
Boxballet
The Windshield Wiper
Robin Robin

Here are all the Oscar nominees:

Best Picture:
“Belfast”
CODA
Don’t Look Up
“Drive My Car”
Dune
“King Richard”
“Licorice Pizza”
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Best Actress:
Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter
Penelope Cruz, “Parallel Mother”
Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos
Kristen Stewart, “Spencer

Best Actor:
Will Smith, “King Richard”
Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
Javier Bardem, “Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick… Boom!

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessie Buckley, “The Lost Daughter
Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story
”Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog
”Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”
Judi Dench, “Belfast”

Best Supporting Actor:
Jesse Plemons, “The Power of the Dog
J.K. Simmons, “Being the Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog
Troy Kotsur, “CODA
Ciaran Hinds, “Belfast”

Best Director:
Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza”
Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog
Steven Spielberg, “West Side Story

Best Original Screenplay:
“Belfast,” Kenneth Branagh
Don’t Look Up” Adam McKay, David Sirota
“King Richard,” Zach Baylin
“Licorice Pizza,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Worst Person in the World,” Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt

Best Adapted Screenplay:
CODA,” Siân Heder
The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion
“Drive My Car,” Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe
Dune,” Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
The Lost Daughter,” Maggie Gyllenhaal

Best International Feature Film:
“Drive My Car” (Japan)
“Flee” (Denmark)
“The Hand of God” (Italy)
“Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” (Bhutan)
“The Worst Person in the World” (Norway)

Best Documentary Feature:
“Ascension”
“Attica”
“Flee”
“Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
“Writing With Fire”

Best Animated Feature Film:
Encanto
“Flee”
Luca
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Animated Short:
“Affairs of the Art”
“Bestia”
“Boxballet”
“Robin Robin”
“The Windshield Wiper”

Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Audible”
“Lead Me Home”
“The Queen of Basketball”
Three Songs for Benazir
“When We Were Bullies”

Best Live Action Short:
“Ala Kachuu ― Take and Run”
“The Dress”
“The Long Goodbye”
“On My Mind”
“Please Hold”

Best Cinematography:
Dune
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
“The Tragedy of Macbeth”
West Side Story

Best Film Editing:
Don’t Look Up
Dune
“King Richard”
The Power of the Dog
Tick, Tick … Boom!

Best Production Design:
Dune
Nightmare Alley
“The Tragedy of Macbeth”
West Side Story
The Power of the Dog

Best Original Song:
“Be Alive” (“King Richard”), Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Dixson
“Dos Oruguitas” (“Encanto”), Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Down to Joy” (“Belfast”), Van Morrison
“No Time to Die” (“No Time to Die”), Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell
“Somehow You Do” (“Four Good Days”), Diane Warren

Best Original Score:
Don’t Look Up,” Nicholas Britell
Dune,” Hans Zimmer
Encanto,” Germaine Franco
“Parallel Mothers,” Alberto Iglesias
The Power of the Dog,” Jonny Greenwood

Best Sound:
“Belfast”
Dune
“No Time to Die”
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Best Costume Design:
Cruella
“Cyrano”
Dune
Nightmare Alley
West Side Story

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Coming 2 America
Cruella
Dune
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
“House of Gucci”

Best Visual Effects:
Dune
Free Guy
“No Time to Die”
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
“Spider-Man: No Way Home”

What are your favorite Oscar nominees this year & what do you most want to see win?

CODA (2021) Review

CODA (2021)

Directed by Sian Heder

Based on La Famille Bélier by Victoria Bedos, Thomas Bidegain, Stanislas Carré de Malberg & Éric Lartigau

Starring: Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Emilia Jones as the eponymous CODA (child of deaf adults), the only hearing member of a deaf family, who struggles to balance her attempts to help her family’s struggling fishing business and her own life aspirations.

My Opinion:

Finally! After a week of watching a bunch of the films with Oscar nominations and getting really annoyed at how boring (Nightmare Alley), irritating & unwatchable (Spencer) most of them are, it was great to see something I thoroughly enjoyed. Why do the Oscars nominate so many films that feel like an absolute chore to watch? I’m surprised this was nominated for Best Picture, actually, as the Academy doesn’t often go for a sweet “feelgood” family film. They like dreary & depressing stuff so often but crowd-pleasing can be worthy too. I’m glad they recognised this one. Not sure of its chances but it would be lovely to see it win.

The performances were all great in this as well. Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant & Marlee Matlin all would have been worthy nominees so it’s a shame it’s not up for more acting awards but I’m glad Kotsur was nominated at least. It’s also up for Best Adapted Screenplay so, again, not sure of its chances of winning Best Picture with only three nominations overall but I think Kotsur has a good chance. I really liked these characters & their strong family bond. Yes, it’s a heartwarming film but it’s not overly sentimental or saccharine. They got the balance right on that, which can be hard to achieve, and the film has some great funny moments too. Kotsur & Matlin were especially fun as horny parents still madly in love with each other. I’ve not seen Emilia Jones & Daniel Durant in anything else but this will hopefully get them more roles as they were both brilliant too. All four of them worked really well together & were believable as a family.

Oh, and I loved the setting too. I swear I want to be able to retire to a small East Coast America fishing village (this is set in Massachusetts). I blame Stephen King for that! I’ve just read too many of his stories set in Maine. And….. I can’t think of anything else to say! When I hate a movie, I can ramble on forever moaning about it. CODA is such a good & enjoyable film and there is absolutely nothing negative I could possibly say about it. It’s also not trying too hard to be something its not, which again is why I’m surprised it’s up for Best Picture. It’s a lovely film and I’m happy I got to watch it. (Thanks to my family gifting me that streaming service for Mother’s Day. They know exactly what kind of gifts I like!). Oh, and they both really enjoyed this movie too. It’s a great family film.

My Rating: 8/10

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2021) & Spencer (2021) Reviews

Here are two quick reviews in time for the shitty looking Oscars ceremony I really don’t want to watch but probably will. Figured I should check out two of the Best Actress contenders that just showed up on U.K. services. Bloody hell one of these movies was godawful.

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2021)

Directed by Michael Showalter

Based on The Eyes of Tammy Faye by Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Tammy Faye Bakker (played by Jessica Chastain), from her humble beginnings growing up in International Falls, Minnesota through the rise and fall of her televangelism career and marriage to Jim Bakker (played by Andrew Garfield).

My Opinion:

I did NOT expect to far prefer this movie out of these two. I had zero interest in even watching this but stuck it on to see an acting Oscar nominee since I’ve only been able to watch half of the Best Picture nominees (I’ve not seen Belfast, CODA, Drive My Car, King Richard or Licorice Pizza). I’ll say that I knew nothing whatsoever about Tammy Faye Bakker other than, of course, remembering the religious lady with the crazy makeup at the height of her & her husband’s fame (or more like infamy, I guess).

I won’t get into religion as I avoid talking about religion or politics like the plague. I’ll just say it’s a topic I do have a very strong opinion about & I never understood the televangelist thing in America when I lived there. It must make other countries think we’re crazy for supporting what seem like cults but are these ministries as big of a deal as they seem? They must be as they managed to find people to give them millions, making them so damn rich. But who are these people? I never knew anyone who would give money to televangelists?

Anyway. I’m NOT going to get into that. I’ll just say again that I knew nothing about Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker as that kind of thing is utterly & completely foreign to me but this movie made me feel sympathy for her at least. It’s a Hollywood film & I’m not stupid – they can so easily make a person either look good or bad depending on their agenda so I’m not going to just assume it’s 100% accurate. I’m also not interested enough to go looking into its accuracy (sorry). But whether it’s true or not I really liked how genuine she seemed here in her love of God (despite my own beliefs) and embracing the true supposed meaning of Christianity (love & acceptance of everyone no matter their race, gender, sex, sexuality, etc). Yes, despite hiding behind a mask of makeup she seemed more genuine in her beliefs than all the powerful & intolerant men in this film who also became rich in the same way. Again, I’m sure it was exaggerated or more likely entirely fake but I loved the scene where she was just being her sweet self talking about her beliefs while the men her husband idolised clearly wanted this “woman with opinions” to shut the hell up.

Well, as I said I liked this movie and character more than I was expecting. It was probably easier for me to buy into as Bakker isn’t nearly as well-known as someone huge like Princess Diana but Jessica Chastain did seem to do a very good portrayal. There’s plenty to discuss here when it comes to the hypocrisy of rich & powerful “Christians” and there’s probably something psychological with Tammy Faye feeling the need to cover her face in all that makeup. I don’t think the movie really explores any of that at all, though, which is a shame. But it wasn’t a bad film & was a small entertaining look into something I know very little about. At least Tammy Faye, for all her & especially her husband’s obvious faults, embraced what I was always led to believe was the core Christian belief of love & acceptance (?!). In that way, she came across as quite lovely (in this Hollywood film, at least. I dunno). She was a fascinating person. While I don’t think the movie did much in terms of trying to help us to understand her as a person, at least it made us sympathize with her & accept her in the way she seemed to accept others.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Spencer (2021)

Directed by Pablo Larraín

Music by Jonny Greenwood

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Farthing, Sean Harris, Sally Hawkins

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is about Princess Diana’s existential crisis at Christmas because she wants to divorce Prince Charles and leave the British royal family.

My Opinion:

What? What on Earth? Who? Why? Huh? Did… Did people actually like this movie? Am I just completely out of touch with film fans these days?! I honestly don’t know where I fit in now. “Regular” people I know in real life who aren’t movie-obsessed like me probably think I have weird & slightly snobby movie tastes (I do) and would hate a lot of the movies I’ve loved in recent years. But then I see Film Twitter & critics praise stuff like this, which I found annoying & pretentious and a chore to finish watching. And it had the most obnoxious & irritating score which just put me on edge the whole time. Which I hate saying as the score was done by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead & they’re easily one of my Top Ten favorite bands ever but, hey, I guess it makes sense as plenty of their stuff from later years was fucking irritating. (But I still love them for having SO many songs I adore)

Is Kristen Stewart’s performance Oscar-worthy? For the most part, I don’t care that much about performances (unless they’re really bad). I care more about Best Picture & the overall film being one that I actually enjoy. So it was hard to judge the performance as I was distracted by hating this movie so much but it seemed awful to me? So over-the-top. It felt like a ridiculous caricature but what do I know about anything?! I think the performance was meant to be an exaggerated version of Princess Diana so maybe Stewart was amazing? Was it?? Was it meant to be hammy??? And I’m just dumb & uncultured???? And I moaned about this in my Being The Ricardos review but, if you’re gonna hire someone who looks nothing like a very well-known real person, at least make sure that actor/actress is DAMN good. So, yay, I just spent two hours watching Kristen Stewart being blonde, glancing sideways a lot, throwing up & talking about masturbating. It just felt insulting to the memory of Princess Diana.


I’m looking down & sideways! I’m Diana!

Screw it. I don’t feel like rambling on forever about hating a movie (for a change). This film, about one of the most interesting & beloved figures in recent history, somehow managed to be an absolute snoozefest. That’s quite a feat, I guess. I’m sorry if anyone reading this liked this film but I’d be very interested to know why as I’m starting to wonder why I like so few films in recent years, especially Oscar nominated ones…

My Rating: 4/10

Nightmare Alley (2021) Review

Nightmare Alley (2021)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Based on Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A grifter working his way up from low-ranking carnival worker to lauded psychic medium matches wits with a psychiatrist bent on exposing him.

My Opinion:

Ugh. Okay, this is going to be a sucky review because I have very little to say about this movie. Well, all my reviews are sucky. So this will be more sucky than usual!

Man, this film was a drag. Guillermo del Toro’s output is kind of all over the place, though. I like some films, like Pan’s Labyrinth (brilliant) and The Shape Of Water. But other films of his are a bit meh. As always, though, I like the style of his movies & this one also has his great signature look to it. So, yay, it looked very pretty. But that didn’t make the movie any less boring. Nightmare Alley ended up like Crimson Peak: A great-looking but dull film. And I think I enjoyed Crimson Peak much more of these two.

How did he manage to make a movie set in an old-school carnival so boring?!? I think we just didn’t get enough of the carnival setting. Disappointingly, that’s only really at the start of the film. I LOVE a carnival/circus setting for movies & books! Freaks is very much a favorite film of mine & I’ve always found that whole lifestyle fascinating. So, when they moved away from that in this film, I really lost interest with the plot which wasn’t very compelling & certainly didn’t need to be dragged out for two & a half hours. Also, not to be rude but I’ve just never really been a fan of Bradley Cooper & he felt wrong for this role. I did think he was very good in A Star Is Born but he just felt out of place here, especially in scenes with Cate Blanchett. I think Blanchett has that true old Hollywood “star quality” so she does tend to outshine everyone in scenes with her but it was even more obvious with Cooper as he just doesn’t have that sort of “presence” at all. Which isn’t good when he’s the main character…

Also, I don’t mind this so much but the hubby complained about the amount of big name stars in this. I do agree it can throw you out of some movies, though, especially fantasies or ones that are meant to be mysterious. It just felt unnecessary to stick so many well known people in even the smaller roles here. Is that what helped it to get a Best Picture nomination? Probably! The Academy does have its favorites. Blanchett is certainly a favorite & they do seem to like del Toro. Hey – at least Nightmare Alley was maybe a little less boring than The Power Of The Dog. Maybe. It’s close.

I had more to say about this than I expected! I feel I’ve been way too harsh because, let’s face it, I’ve never made a movie & del Toro is obviously a good filmmaker. So I’ll end with some positives:

As already mentioned, this movie looks great. I also liked all the performances from the women: Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette (was sad her role was so small) & Rooney Mara. Hubby thinks I have a big girl crush on Rooney Mara. I think I kind of do but don’t know why as I don’t normally go for that tiny waif thing. She has lovely eyes but I think I’m more into Blanchett because she’s always so “sexy cool”. Yes, I liked seeing the two of them in this together briefly after they played lovers in Carol. Yes, I liked Carol and, yes, it kind of made me wonder what I see in men. And I think I just spent too long thinking about Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara so the hubby is gonna read this and think I’m in love with them. Oh, and I also learned something new about old carnivals! I can’t believe I’d never heard of a geek show since I always watch anything to do with carnivals. Anyway, here’s a brief explanation of a geek show from Wikipedia: “The billed performer’s act consisted of a single geek, who stood in center ring to chase live chickens. It ended with the performer biting the chickens’ heads off and swallowing them.” Gross. It sounds like the geeks were treated horribly so it’s a good thing the “geek shows” & the “freak shows” disappeared. It was such a different world back then. (But I did like the thing in the jar in Nightmare Alley as it reminded me of a great episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called The Jar. Loved that show as a kid!)

Here, I’ll be fairly nice with my rating as it obviously must be a good film since it’s an Oscar nominee?!?

My Rating: 6.5/10

Fresh (2022) Review

Fresh (2022)

Directed by Mimi Cave

Written by Lauryn Kahn

Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan, Jonica T. Gibbs, Charlotte Le Bon, Dayo Okeniyi, Andrea Bang, Brett Dier

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a young woman who starts dating a charming man, only to discover his horrifying true nature.

My Opinion:

I’m always surprised to see these 18/R rated films popping up on Disney Plus in the U.K. Well, I was happy to see this one available as there’s been a lot of hype about it on Film Twitter plus it sounded weird & I like weird.

It’s kind of weird but certainly not the most bizarre film I’ve seen. I think they’ve made it pretty obvious what the film is about but I’ll still try to stay spoiler-free. So the overall plot wasn’t a surprise but I think they did something fairly original with the idea & I liked the acting in this & how the story was presented. Also, girls have been ooohing & aaahing over Sebastian Stan for years & I wasn’t really seeing the appeal. I think I’m starting to like him now after this & after Pam & Tommy. Don’t know what that says about me?! I should point out that I didn’t like Tommy Lee as a person in that show or ever in real life. While watching it I was thinking “I actually didn’t realize this guy was such a dick!” so that’s not me going for the bad boys or something – I just think Stan came across as having a lot of fun in these two roles. I also saw some interviews with him & he seems really likeable so it’s a nice plus when celebs aren’t horrible people.

I also really liked Daisy Edgar-Jones in this. I had to look her up as I’ve not seen her in anything before. Looks like she’s mostly been in English TV. So I guess she must not actually sound American as she was raised in England with Scottish & Irish parents?! I have to say that I never notice actors putting on American accents so it must be really easy to sound American or something? But I’m rubbish with accents. Wait, she DID sound American in this, right?! Ha. I dunno. But she was good in this role & I think she has this vulnerable sort of look that worked really well for this character. You can see how she’d so easily fall for the handsome & charming Sebastian Stan character after some very bad dates with men she meets through dating services.

I didn’t love this film but I did enjoy it and I can see why the younger generation seem to be the ones going for it. It follows a twentysomething who just wants to find a nice guy but is meeting nothing but jerks through dating apps. The movie starts off showing us one of her disastrous dates with an irritating, cheap & inconsiderate asshole. She tells her friend (another good character, played by Jojo T. Gibbs) that she’s had enough of this shit (well, I don’t think she said that exact thing) but then she meets lovely Sebastian Stan in a supermarket. In real life! And she comments that she didn’t think real life meetings happened anymore & I have to say that I feel no sympathy for 20/30 somethings most of the time but do think it must be awful mainly living life online & having to date in that way. Okay – I also feel kind of sorry for them having to grow up with shitty music.

Well, this movie is hard to discuss while staying spoiler-free so I’ll just say that things get pretty crazy after our attractive main characters meet. I liked how this movie started out feeling like a sweet rom-com before turning into a dark comedy horror. I also see this was written & directed by women (I’m guessing, going by the names so correct me if I’m wrong) and I liked seeing this story from a female perspective. For example, her first disastrous date felt really relatable in that I think all women watching would agree that the guy was a total dick while some men watching might wonder what was wrong with the guy. The whole movie, I suppose, is a social commentary on dating and the relationship between men & women. Yes, I guess that’s pretty obvious but I didn’t feel it was forcing an agenda or anything like that. That would annoy me. Sometimes you just gotta enjoy a cleverly written, f*^ked up horror comedy & not overanalyze things.

My Rating: 7/10

*I could maybe be talked into giving this a 7.5. Will wait until I see more 2022 films to see how this compares.*

The Forever Purge (2021) & No Exit (2022) Reviews

Here’s a two for one! And to think I was going to spend this week reviewing Oscar nominees. Screw that – I have no time for movie award shows that have no time to spend on presenting awards to everyone involved in the filmmaking process. So here are two movies definitely not nominated for any Oscars…

The Forever Purge (2021)

Directed by Everardo Gout

Starring: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Will Patton

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a group of people who attempt to escape from the United States after an insurrectionist movement continues committing crimes and murders nationwide after the Purge’s ending.

My Opinion:

Here’s my ranking of all of The Purge films:

The Purge – 7.5/10
The Purge: Election Year – 7.5/10
The Purge: Anarchy – 7/10
The Forever Purge – 6.5/10
The First Purge – 6/10

I don’t really know what’s better of The First Purge & The Forever Purge. I just know that I barely remember The First Purge and that was quite recent so that’s pretty bad. And I think I’ll also barely remember this newest one in a few years. But I still enjoyed them & 6/10 seems a little harsh. Maybe I’ll change my mind & up them half a point (okay, I’ve just upped the rating on this one) . But the first three are far better (and had the same director, so luckily it looks like he’ll be back to directing the sixth film).

For reasons I can’t fully explain, I really like this series of movies. I always love a good concept & I think these movies have a fantastic idea that they’ve never managed to explore in-depth. You’d think we’d get something more meaningful after five films? But I think they’ve managed to evolve the story pretty well & I’m not bored with this idea and know I’ll watch film number six. In this one, a large group of people have decided that the Purge should never end & break the rules by continuing their murder spree after it finishes.


This actress was in The Hunger Games. I know that because my daughter has watched it 2 million times.

I again liked the idea for this movie just fine. If you make all crime legal for one night every year, you’re obviously going to end up with a situation like this so I think it’s a logical progression of the story. I still think they’ve left plenty of situations unexplored, though, so I’m interested to see where they go with the next film. Where they’ve focused plenty on the rich vs the poor so far and the obvious advantages that the rich would have in this situation (as they have with everything in life), this one takes on immigration. I think it worked okay but prefer when they’re a little more subtle with the social commentary. But these films have never been subtle in any way so that’s fine. I think the issue was mostly that this one really dragged in the middle & I lost interest through all of that after it had an okay start.

Well, I like these movies and I’ll keep watching them although I think they have yet to make a truly good film based on this great idea. Maybe they just take things too seriously? This time, it made me think back to The Hunt & how great I thought that was at poking fun at how fucked-up America has become. But maybe that’s just me as I’ve always loved dark humor. It’s a serious issue so maybe these films do need to stick to what they’ve been doing. Maybe they need to take it more seriously? I don’t know but I want to feel like they’ve finally done this idea justice in one of these films. Maybe film number six will be the one?!

Oh, and I’ve not watched The Purge TV series & I don’t know why since I like these movies. I think it’s because a TV series is too much of a commitment for me. Anyone watched that?

My Rating: 6.5/10

No Exit (2022)

Directed by Damien Power

Based on No Exit by Taylor Adams

Starring: Havana Rose Liu, Danny Ramirez, David Rysdahl, Dale Dickey, Mila Harris, Dennis Haysbert

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Havana Rose Liu as a recovering drug addict who discovers a kidnapping in progress while stranded at a rest stop during a blizzard.

My Opinion:

Watched this as it’s a 2022 movie release on Disney Plus & I’m still desperate to see any 2022 films that I can via services. It’s interesting that Disney is getting some new horror/thriller releases (in the U.K.). Last year, I thought The Empty Man was pretty good & The Night House was very much my type of supernatural horror (although it could have been a bit better). No Exit is the most disappointing of the new straight-to-Disney thrillers so far but, hey, it passed the time.

**Edit to add that I’ve just watched Fresh on Disney Plus & that was pretty entertaining. The best of those I’ve mentioned.**

This film pretty much all takes place at a rest stop where these people are stranded during a blizzard & the main character (above) discovers a girl locked in a van. At the rest stop, there are four other adults who become the suspects as she doesn’t know whose van it is. So there was a bit of suspense there at first, which was fine. This is one of those movies where all the characters aren’t very likeable, though, including the main girl and even the young girl who has been kidnapped! You should like the victims at least! It also got a bit too violent for me at the end. Nothing massively gross – I think I just wasn’t in the right mood. Meh. The movie was okay. I’ll forget it in a year. Oh! And Dale Dickey was in this & I always think “the prostitute from My Name Is Earl!” whenever I see her so it’s hard to take her seriously in dramas, etc.

My Rating: 6/10
*This rating is a bit generous. I guess I’m feeling nice. I was too nice to The Forever Purge too.*

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) Review

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

Directed by Michael Chaves

Story by James Wan, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.

My Opinion:

Here’s my ranking of all the Conjuring Universe films:

The Conjuring – 7.5/10
Annabelle Comes Home – 6.5/10
TIE: The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It – 6/10 & The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case – 6/10
The Nun – 5.5/10
Annabelle – 5/10
Annabelle: Creation – 4.5/10

The one I don’t really remember well for some reason is The Conjuring 2, so I’ve just put 2 & 3 together because I think they were both fine but not bad like most of the Annabelle movies (although I remember liking the most recent one, which is probably an unpopular opinion). Damn – I just looked online & The Curse Of La Llorona is part of the Conjuring Universe?? Ugh. Now I’ll have to watch that too or I’ll be annoyed at missing one but it looks crap (so it will fit right in…).

Overall, these films aren’t exactly favorites of mine. The one thing I do like is the idea they had to make movies based on the real-life cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s a good idea for a series of movies & they’ll be able to make them forever since the couple claim to have investigated over 10,000 cases. But I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about the real people or that I’ve looked much into the “true stories” behind any of the films. The only one I looked into a bit was the Annabelle stuff, which was kind of fascinating. Has there been a documentary about this couple? Probably. I’d maybe watch one but I mostly just like a bit of light horror entertainment & I’m sure these movies are very exaggerated.

I liked this film okay as it’s another one heavily featuring Ed & Lorraine and I prefer when they’re in the movie. I also like the whole satanic horror sub-genre most of the time so the story was fine. You can read about the real murder case in 1981, in which Arne Cheyenne Johnson claimed innocence due to demonic possession, HERE.


Ouch

And… I don’t know. That’s it, really. I don’t have a lot to say about this movie. It was the sort of thing I was expecting from another Conjuring film. I enjoy watching them but they’re not very memorable. They do sometimes have some good imagery or things you just know are going to be used in another film, like that ugly Marilyn Manson looking Nun or of course Annabelle, but I can’t think of anything in this one that they’d base another movie on. The Conjuring 2 was probably a bit better than this one, actually – I should rewatch that sometime. Oh, and when I added the cast list to the top of this post I was like “Why isn’t Evan Peters listed?!“. I spent the whole movie thinking he was the one possessed (the actor is Ruairi O’Connor, apparently). So I’m turning into one of those old people who mix young actors up. Pretty soon I won’t be able to name movies just like my relatives who try to talk to me about a movie they saw by saying “Oh, WHAT was the name of that movie? It stars that guy from that other movie? You know the one!“.

My Rating: 6/10


Not Evan Peters

Mass (2021) Review

Mass (2021)

Directed & Written by Fran Kranz

Starring: Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs, and Martha Plimpton as grieving parents who meet to discuss a tragedy involving their sons.

My Opinion:

This is one of those 2021 movies that wasn’t released until 2022 in the U.K., so I’m counting it as a 2022 release (I refuse to go by American release dates anymore – it’s too confusing). Finally! A decent 2022 film! This has been a very disappointing year so far on streaming services. This is my ranking now:

Fresh – 7/10
Mass – 7.5/10
The Tender Bar – 6.5/10
Turning Red – 6/10
No Exit – 6/10
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 4.5/10

I’m hoping to see 2022 U.K. release & Best Picture Nominee Nightmare Alley on Disney Plus before the Oscars this weekend to see where that ranks but it’s two and a half hours long so very unlikely the hubby will agree to watching that one. It doesn’t have a chance of winning anyway plus I don’t know why I’m so desperate to see all the Best Picture nominees when the Oscars piss me off more & more in recent years. I think I’m finally finished with the Oscars now if they don’t consider Best Original Score important enough to be awarded live. I’m a huge fan of movie music & know there are movies I love thanks to the score more than anything else (Mandy, Suspiria, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly for example). Imagine movies without John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Thomas Newman, etc etc etc!!!!! So screw you, Oscars!

Oops. I’ll stop ranting and talk about Mass. It’s a good film but obviously a very heavy topic. I’m not a big fan of dramas, either, so it’s always hard to know where to rank stuff like this when I’m a fan of fiction, fantasy & escapism. It’s not like I can say I “enjoyed” this movie as much as, say, A Quiet Place Part II which I watched before this one & liked a lot. And although Mass is fiction it’s a very real and sadly far too common occurrence (in America) & one I find very upsetting. Which is why for now I’ve ranked freaky horror comedy Fresh above Mass even though Mass is of course the better film & I’ve given it a higher rating. Yes, my ratings & rankings are confusing. Ha! Just thought I should try to explain that. And I’ll try to get a review done for Fresh this week…

I guess this might be a spoiler if you know nothing about Mass plus the plot synopsis doesn’t mention it but I’m going to say what it’s about (I think the plot is pretty well known). It’s about two couples who meet to talk to each other six years after a school shooting involving their two sons. They discuss what happened & who is to blame & what could have been done, etc. They meet in a church in a room that has been reserved for them & the whole movie is set there. There are no scenes or flashbacks involving the incident – it’s just these two sets of parents discussing what happened.

I’m not going to get into gun control & the mass shootings that are such a huge problem in America. All I’ll say is that I don’t understand it & it all seems completely insane to everyone living outside of the U.S. This movie thankfully doesn’t go into the main issues too much (mainly gun control vs mental health). They touch on the topics but the focus is more on how this incident has affected the two families. I also didn’t feel the movie forced an agenda, so that was good. I hate movies with an agenda, even when it’s something I totally agree with. The four actors did a good job, especially Ann Dowd and Martha Plimpton as the grieving mothers. All was also revealed by the end, which got pretty intense, and I felt sympathy for all four characters. I can’t imagine being in that situation but I think I’d find it impossible to ever forgive.

Mass is good & I’d recommend it for the performances but you need to be in the right sort of mood for a heavy drama. Too bad it’s not going to change anything in America. Sandy Hook didn’t, so nothing ever will.

My Rating: 7.5/10

West Side Story (2021) Review

West Side Story (2021)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Based on West Side Story by Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim & Arthur Laurents

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Rita Moreno, Rachel Zegler

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

My Opinion:

I thought this film looked gorgeous. Steven Spielberg is a brilliant filmmaker so of course it was going to be good. Was it necessary when we already had a very good film adaptation in 1961 (which I briefly reviewed last month here)? Probably not, but I suppose it brings it to the attention of a whole new generation plus I think it fleshed out the story a tiny bit more. I still prefer the 1961 film as I like Natalie Wood & go for the more classic feel of that one, I guess. But it was never an absolute favorite of mine when it comes to movie musicals & it still wouldn’t make my top ten (but I did give it an honorable mention in this old list I need to update).

The weakest part of the film was unfortunately, for me, the two leads. Ansel Elgort had no charisma. Rachel Zegler was good but also kind of just a pretty face in a role that probably could’ve been filled by plenty of young actresses. That sounded way too negative! She was good. It was just unfortunate that there was zero chemistry whatsoever between her & Elgort. But, hey – I’d probably say all these exact same things about the 1961 film too. Made it harder to buy into this great big romance in both films.

I agree with what seems to be the general consensus that Ariana DeBose as Anita was the best thing about the film. But Rita Moreno as Anita was the best thing about the ’61 film too. Speaking of which, I also liked Moreno’s character in this version & think it worked well having her play that character. It’s fantastic that they got her into this film and, my god, she looks amazing. She’s 90! Can you believe that?! Anyway – Anita was great both times & Ariana DeBose is deserving of her Oscar nomination. I wish the lead characters had as much life in them.

Spielberg’s version of West Side Story is a very good film and I’m happy if it’s made some younger people get into musicals. But I’ll probably still stick with the 1961 film if I feel in the mood for a rewatch at any time. The songs are still the same either way (I think?! I’m no expert on this as I’ve not watched it multiple times like other musicals). But I did enjoy seeing Spielberg’s lovely vision of this.

My Rating: 8/10

A Quiet Place Part II (2020) Review

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

Directed & Written by John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.

My Opinion:

I liked the first film, A Quiet Place, a lot. It made it into the top twenty of my favorite horror movies of the 21st century so far (it probably deserves to be a little higher). I thought it was a great example of the monster horror genre and very clever & original to have so much of it needing to be silent. It also had acting that seemed far too good for a horror film. Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds was especially good in the role & even better in the sequel where she gets a bigger & more important role, which I really liked.

I liked this sequel a lot too. It had a lot to live up to & horror sequels are often disappointing so I’m very glad that this one wasn’t. We start off right after the end of the first film, which was good as it’s sometimes a bit annoying when they just skip a bunch of time for a sequel. Well, I lie – we actually get a very good flashback first of when this all started and I loved that. A prequel would’ve been great as a third film but the opening scene covers that, at least in this one town, so I’d be perfectly happy with another sequel continuing on after Part II. Actually, Part III would be fine as a “fast forward” to it being five years later or so. Oh man – I really do want this to be a trilogy! Do we know anything about number 3?? All I know is that it’s got a listing on IMDb with an expected release of 2023.

I thought Cillian Murphy was a decent addition to the cast in this one and, as I already said, I really liked Millicent Simmonds having an even bigger role. She had more to do than Emily Blunt in this one but Blunt still had plenty to do too & I liked her scenes as well. It’s one of those stories where we’re following two sets of people doing different things, which I always like. Two stories for the price of one!

This was a good horror sequel. I still really like these characters & want them to destroy all the monsters. I want to see more of their story in Part III. The only thing at all negative that I could say is that, as a sequel, it no longer has that feeling of being this great “all new idea” & it didn’t really add anything that we didn’t see in the first movie other than one more small fact about the alien monster things. So I feel I have to give it half a point less than my rating for Part I (making this only half a point higher than Malignant although I liked this one much more than that. I don’t know how to rate stuff anymore!). But I’m also glad they stayed true to the first film & I wouldn’t have wanted them to stray far from what they gave us in Part I anyway. Oh! And one other thing: This movie actually felt too short. It’s 1 hour 37 minutes so not overly short but it just felt like it needed a bit more. Maybe more time in the place toward the end with Millicent Simmonds? But, hey – a movie feeling too short is better than one that feels like it drags on for far too long! I guess I was just enjoying it & wanted to see more. Can’t wait for Part III now.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Malignant (2021) Review

Malignant (2021)

Directed by James Wan

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Annabelle Wallis as a woman who begins to have visions of people being murdered, only to realize the events are happening in real life.

My Opinion:

I’d been desperate to see this movie after all the hype last year so was really happy when it popped up on one of my services over the weekend. I enjoyed it. Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as bonkers as I was hoping & expecting from all the talk about it. Have people just not seen any other horror films before this one? The story ended up being about exactly what I thought it was going to be about. But, hey – it’s what I was hoping it would be about since I have a weird fascination with that concept.

It’s very hard to talk about this movie while staying spoiler-free! But I’ll do my best to not spoil it for those who have not yet seen this. I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of James Wan’s work but, wow, it looks like I’ve seen most everything he’s written or directed so I must like his stuff okay. I thought The Conjuring was pretty good & I have to remind myself that I really liked the first Saw film before it turned into the torture porn crap I despise in the sequels. Stuff like those Insidious, Annabelle & The Nun movies, though, are a bit meh. I’m still trying to decide how I feel about Malignant & where I’d rank it compared to his other work. I guess I’d put it above those “meh” ones I mentioned. It was more entertaining & memorable than those & I appreciated its craziness.

From what I’d heard about this being “Giallo-inspired”, I was expecting much more than what we got of that. Having rewatched Suspiria (1977) recently, I realized just how much I love the style of that. I’m a sucker for amazing visuals & I love that about the Argento films. Maybe a few shots in Malignant pay tribute to that style but I wouldn’t compare the film to the small amount of Italian horror that I’ve seen. So I was disappointed to not be getting a full-on ’70s-style horror with Malignant but I appreciated it being more stylish than Wan’s other films.

I also think, with this story’s crazy concept, they didn’t get the tone quite right. The movie took itself a bit too seriously. Although, I’m sure that worked for many people and I can’t really think what they could’ve done better? They took a concept suited for cheesy body horror in the style of Re-Animator, etc, and… Hell, I don’t know. Maybe this movie did kind of work in the style they used. I’ll say this again: I’m old. I’ve seen many movies. I sometimes have to remind myself that current, younger audiences (especially mainstream audiences – movie bloggers are different) haven’t necessarily seen this type of horror story before so I guess I can see why they’d be shocked by the film’s reveal & why so many hardcore horror fans liked this movie. Being a fan of cheesy old body horror, especially Cronenberg’s older films, I guess I have come to expect a different sort of style for this type of horror. I’d say I like my horror to either be very serious, creepy & atmospheric or else I like them to be completely outrageous & silly (I love horror comedies). Malignant is somewhere in the middle of those. I think it maybe could’ve just used some more dark humor but, while writing this paragraph, I’ve talked myself into liking that this isn’t a cheesy old-school body horror. That’s not what a mainstream modern audience are going to go for, either.

Ugh. This is why I mostly stick to my monthly roundup posts with brief reviews in recent years. I ramble on too damn much when I do a review on its own! I’ve blathered on for ages & I’m still not sure how I feel about Malignant. I wanted to love it as it looked SO like my type of thing & I thought it had a fantastic poster. I love a good movie poster! I guess it didn’t quite live up to my really high expectations & I’m trying to convince myself that I liked it by blathering on about it for ages. You know what? I did still like it.

Here’s what I liked:

1. This type of story is right up my alley (hmm – that sounds dirty). I was happy it was what I expected but it also would’ve been nice to be surprised.

2. The characters were quite good for a horror film! The sister & that one detective dude were especially likeable. And I’d say I kind of gave a shit about poor Annabelle Wallis’s main character too. It’s always more enjoyable to me to not have the hateful characters we get in too many horror films.

3. How do I say this & stay spoiler-free?!?! Hmm. I really liked the backwards thing. This story is NOT original but it found a way to differentiate itself a bit from other movies & TV shows that had this same story. And the backwards thing was pretty cool & a lot of fun. This movie got much better after the reveal. I think it needed to be batshit crazy much earlier in the film.

Okay – I’ve talked myself into liking this one. Or at least appreciating it more. I didn’t love it like I’d been hoping but it was certainly entertaining. It could’ve been better but at least it’s more memorable than Wan’s Insidious/Annabelle/Nun things. Let’s hope they don’t try to milk it by making a shitty sequel as this is good as a stand-alone film.

My Rating: 7/10

Old (2021) Review

Old (2021)

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Based on Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy & Frederik Peeters

Starring: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Eliza Scanlen, Aaron Pierre, Embeth Davidtz, Emun Elliott

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a group of people who find themselves aging rapidly on a secluded beach.

My Opinion:

First of all, here’s my ranking of the M. Night Shyamalan movies I’ve seen:

11. Lady In The Water
10. The Happening
9. The Visit
8. Old
7. Devil
6. Split
5. Glass
4. Signs
3. Unbreakable
2. The Village
1. The Sixth Sense

1-4 are the best by far. 5-9 are all okay & I like them all about the same so don’t take the order of those too seriously because I moved them all around several times. I didn’t like 10 & 11 (although The Happening was kind of weirdly enjoyable).

You either like M. Night Shyamalan or you don’t & I can totally understand those who don’t. I’m a fan because I love a weird story & always love a twist. I don’t agree with people who badmouth him, though, because I like that he’s a filmmaker who continues to give us original stories in between all the sequels, reboots, remakes & superheroes. I want more original content! So I’ll always applaud him for that. Thank you, M. Night Shyamalan!

I think the issue is probably that he’s a better writer than director. Or more like, he can come up with a really good story idea but doesn’t always manage to get it to work fully on screen. But his type of stories are difficult to translate to film so some come across as too silly. I just think by now that you know exactly what you’re gonna get from him, so why would you watch Old if you don’t like his work? It was exactly what I was expecting from him & I liked it just fine despite some really horrible reviews. Is this the first Shyamalan movie those people have ever watched? We know by now that nothing else has lived up to The Sixth Sense (which I still think is fantastic).

I found it interesting to see that Old was based on a graphic novel called Sandcastle. Think it’s the only one of his I’ve seen that’s based on existing material instead of being his own idea? I can see why he went for it as it’s exactly the type of story he writes, so it still worked well in feeling like all his other movies. I liked the story! It was again a good concept and, yes, an unbelievable one. Don’t watch his movies if you can’t suspend disbelief! I’m not someone who goes looking for plot holes, etc etc, since I like so much sci-fi & fantasy & weird shit. It’s nice when everything does make sense & things tie up nicely but I mostly just want to be entertained. Old is far from perfect as a film but I liked seeing these people aging rapidly on this mysterious island and, as always with his films, I was looking forward to the big reveal to explain what the hell was going on. As far as the big reveal, which I of course won’t reveal myself, it was fine. It didn’t blow me away like some of his crazy twists & some clues were there throughout the story but I thought it was still a good ending.

Well, I think I’ve talked about this one for long enough. If you’re not a fan of Shyamalan, I’m not going to somehow convince you to watch this anyway. And it’s not one of his best so not the one I’d recommend to someone new to his movies. I think his characters are often underdeveloped and/or unlikeable & Old is one that suffers from this a bit. So I’d maybe have ranked it higher if the characters had been a bit better. And I suppose it’s one that crosses over into being a little too cheesy at times, which is easy to do with his type of story. But I still liked it & I’ll still continue to watch his movies and be entertained by his ideas.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Turning Red (2022) Review

Turning Red (2022)

Directed by Domee Shi

Starring: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen, James Hong

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A 13-year-old girl named Meilin turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.

My Opinion:

First of all, here’s my updated ranking of all the Pixar movies (other than Cars 3, which I never saw):

24. Luca
23. Cars 2
22. The Good Dinosaur
21. Onward
20. Turning Red
19. Cars
18. Incredibles 2
17. Finding Dory
16. Monsters University
15. Soul
14. Toy Story 4
13. Coco
12. Ratatouille
11. A Bug’s Life
10. Brave
9. The Incredibles
8. Up
7. Toy Story 3
6. Toy Story 2
5. Inside Out
4. Finding Nemo
3. Toy Story
2. Monsters, Inc.
1. WALL-E

At least Turning Red was slightly better than Luca, I guess?

I adore Pixar. For many years, they could do no wrong. I still can’t exactly say anything too bad since, come on – those top five films I’ve listed are amazing. Damn near masterpieces & better than most non-animated films from recent years. So they were going to have some not so great ones eventually. It’s just too bad that 3 out of the last 4 releases were duds (in my opinion). And the other one was just meh. And the two before those were okay but just sequels yet again. I guess the best most current AND original film they did was Coco, although it’s not a personal favorite. Last one I loved was Inside Out in 2015 (also a coming of age film like Turning Red but a far better example of that genre). So I’m ready for another new Pixar masterpiece to blow me away! I wonder if we’ll ever get another one like that.

Anyway. Turning Red. Hmm. I see there’s controversy online as some dude said he couldn’t relate to this movie or something like that. Or that it didn’t represent him? I don’t know. I didn’t read what he wrote so can’t comment beyond saying that I, as a female, couldn’t fully relate to it either so I hope I’m okay to say that (but that was mostly due to the awful character of the mother in this, which I’ll get to later). I’d say that this movie is much more aimed at girls so I wouldn’t expect most adult males to “relate” to it fully anyway. But they should still be able to appreciate art not aimed directly at them, especially if they’re film critics? With every movie, I like seeing different perspectives and stories and like loads of films where I don’t see myself represented on screen at all so it was kind of a stupid statement. I mean, come on – my favorite coming of age film happens to have no girls in it! And my favorite Pixar movie is about a lonely little post-apocalyptic robot. I love it despite not being a robot. Although things do feel a little post-apocalyptic these days…

I think the issue with Turning Red is that it’s just not that great. At least, it’s not up to all of our probably far too high Pixar standards. To be fair, it’s as good as anything put out by the likes of most other animation studios, such as DreamWorks. It’s not an awful film but, with that Pixar label, it unfortunately has a lot to live up to. I just feel like no one is allowed to say a movie isn’t all that great now. I’m very happy that Domee Shi got to make this film as I of course want to see more women getting equal opportunities in filmmaking. Also, I’m a very big fan of her short Bao. It probably helps that my daughter was completely obsessed with Bao for quite a while, so I’ve seen it many times. I think it’s a fantastic (and bold) short & I could really relate to the whole overprotective mother thing in it. So I was really looking forward to seeing what she’d do with a full-length film.

I think what I found most disappointing in this film was the mother, especially after finding I could relate to the mother in Bao. Believe me, I think I have many flaws as a parent but this character made me look amazing. It may have been a very long time ago but I remember my early teens like yesterday & just how easily you could end up devastatingly embarrassed by some minor thing and oh my god just want to DIE from the embarrassment. Don’t embarrass a teen girl! It’s traumatic. They’ll remember it for life. So, honestly, I don’t think any mother in her right mind would show up at her daughter’s co-ed school waving sanitary products around (sorry, small spoiler!). Good Lord – I could almost die of embarrassment just imagining that happening to me at 13. Ugh! So with that & one other incident with the mother, I found her far too over-the-top. Does anyone have a mother like that?? Maybe. Maybe I was just lucky to have a good relationship with my mom so that’s why I didn’t relate to that relationship in this film.

I feel like I’m going to end up rambling too much as I’m still trying to sort my thoughts out on this film. I think I’m wanting to talk myself into liking it more than I did. There were some things I liked. The main girl was fairly likeable. I think it’s unfortunately too easy to make girls of this age too annoying in movies, which isn’t really fair or realistic. She had a lot of emotions in this without being overly obnoxious. I also liked her group of nerdy, quirky friends. It’s always good to see a nice group of female friends in movies as I wanted that SO bad at that age (my girl friends at that age were back-stabbing bitches so I didn’t luck out in that department). Also, I liked the red panda. Who doesn’t like a red panda?? So those scenes were fun. Oh, and the animation was good. As to be expected with Pixar.

I think the point of the story was just too muddled. The girls in this family turn into red pandas when they come of age & get too emotional? Why didn’t the mother prepare her daughter for that? Oh! I just realised she’s almost as bad as Carrie White’s mother in Carrie! Well, look how THAT ended up. This movie needed some telekinetic carnage! You should prepare your daughters for the trauma of puberty. I won’t go too into the plot & how this ends but I just found it messy & didn’t fully see the point it was trying to make. To just accept what you can’t control? To be yourself? Embrace your period, maybe! Speaking of which, I suppose I should add this film to My Top Ten Period Dramas (yes, that kind of period and, yes, Carrie is number one on the list). And this is a small complaint but the obsession with the boy band was boring but, hey, I admit that I’ve never liked boy bands & can’t relate to girls who get all weird over them & their boring songs. I suppose some girls can relate to that, though. Most of all, I’ll say this: I’m old. No, this isn’t aimed at my age. But neither was Inside Out & I loved it & thought it was brilliant. My daughter, though, is the exact age of the girl in Turning Red & she really disliked the movie (maybe it’s because she hates boy bands too?!). 😉 But she adores Inside Out. And Bao. The person who liked this movie the most in our family was actually my hubby. So much for that one dude’s opinion that got trashed on Twitter! So I guess this movie just doesn’t work for some people & it has nothing to do with being “represented”. (FYI: Hubby even said this was much better than Encanto to which my daughter & I said NO WAY).

But I always say I prefer a divisive film to a boring one, so Turning Red fits that category and I do appreciate Domee Shi letting the story go pretty crazy at the end. Maybe I can talk myself into liking this but I have no desire to rewatch it again anytime soon.

My Rating: 6/10

Columbus (2017) Review

Columbus (2017)

Directed & Written by Kogonada

Starring: John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Michelle Forbes, Rory Culkin, Parker Posey

Cinematography by Elisha Christian

Music by Hammock

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows the son of a renowned architecture scholar (John Cho) who gets stranded in Columbus, Indiana and strikes up a friendship with a young architecture enthusiast (Haley Lu Richardson) who works at the local library.

My Opinion:

This popped up on Amazon Prime U.K. & I’d never really heard anything about it. I’m so glad I decided to give it a try! I thought it was a beautiful film. I’d have to say it’s probably even my favorite film I’ve seen (for the first time) so far in 2022. And I watched it just after finally seeing Spielberg’s West Side Story. Both are lovely films to look at but this one moved me more.

This is one of those films that people will either love or will find extremely boring. So I’m not recommending this to everyone (Film Miasma – you’ll probably want to avoid this one). 🙂 It’s about a very bright & promising girl (Haley Lu Richardson) with a deep love of architecture who stays in her town of Columbus, Indiana to take care of her mother instead of going to college & pursuing her dreams. She then meets John Cho’s character, who is the son of a famous architect who was due to give a lecture in the town. He doesn’t share his father’s love of architecture but sees how much it means to Richardson’s character and, like everyone else in her life, thinks she needs to move on with her life & make something of all her potential.

I have to say that I have pretty much no interest in architecture whatsoever. Well, that’s maybe not entirely true as I do find the design of some buildings very interesting (and think a lot are ugly, like cities with too many skyscrapers). But I have no knowledge whatsoever about architecture. I do know that Frank Lloyd Wright was from my home state not far from where I grew up & he’s really famous, right? For me, this is one of those films that really conveys someone’s love for something & has you understanding how they feel and, hell, I think I fell in love with architecture a little bit too by the end of the movie. I think her character also gets Cho’s character starting to understand his father a bit better despite not having a great history with him.

I think both Cho & Richardson were very good in this film but Richardson especially shines. I know she’s done plenty of other movies but, based on this role, I’m surprised she hasn’t become bigger in the more “Oscar-friendly” type of roles. Speaking of which, this feels exactly like the type of thing that the Academy normally goes for so I don’t understand how it got no nominations that year? At least for cinematography & directing if nothing else? Really?! Was it just too indie? Maybe I just know nothing about anything and I admit to knowing nothing about filmmaking but this has a real Nomadland (as in, that sort of Oscar nominee) vibe. But I liked this one far more than that one. It looks like it did get plenty of Independent Spirit Award nominations, so that’s good, and lots of others for awards I’ve never heard of (9 wins & 32 nominations). Oh, and Indie Queen Parker Posey is also in this & I liked her character too.

I wanted to do this review as a separate post since there are so many lovely images from this movie that I wanted to include. As far as its look, it reminded me of the beginning of the movie Swallow (although that’s a very different film). Something about the lighting or cinematography or something. I don’t know but that had a lovely house in it with lots of windows & natural light & I just really liked the look of both movies. Also, I didn’t give the music much thought while watching this but later realised the score was quite peaceful & I think helped give this movie, along with the cinematography, a calm sort of vibe that I appreciated. So I looked up who did the score & it was done by Hammock. Here they are on Wikipedia – they’ve done a lot of “Ambient, post-rock, shoegazing” music. Shoegazing?! I’d not heard of that genre before. I had to look it up! Here you go (from Wikipedia again).

Well, I liked this movie a lot but would totally understand if someone didn’t like it. It’s definitely not for everyone but I thought it was a lovely looking film with well written & likeable characters who all worked really well together. Happy I checked it out & am not sure why I’d heard nothing about it at the time.

My Rating: 8/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2022

Hi All. I managed to review all of the below so here’s what I watched in February…

MOVIES WATCHED IN FEBRUARY (ranked best to worst):

High Noon – Caught this on Film 4 & was happy to be able to cross another film off the list for my IMDb Top 250 Project that I started in 2013. And as with many of the films from that 2013 list, High Noon is no longer in the Top 250. I’m so glad I saved that much better list to work from! There’s far too much mainstream modern crap in there now.

Well, I can’t say I’m big on Westerns but I have really liked most of the Westerns in the Top 250 that I’ve forced myself to watch for this project. What I most definitely prefer are the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns with the lovely cinematography & kick-ass Ennio Morricone scores, though. Much more my thing than the old straightforward American Westerns like this one. I was slightly interested in seeing this as Grace Kelly is in it & I love her in stuff like Rear Window but she wasn’t given too much to do in this film (not that women were ever given much to do in Westerns). Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.” I tried to not be annoyed by the fact that the newlyweds had a huge age difference with Kelly being WAY younger than Gary Cooper (I looked it up – 28 year difference. Typical!).

This movie was fine but I wasn’t really feeling it & didn’t even feel much excitement over the big showdown. To be fair to the film, though, as I said already I’m not really into this genre plus life is really terrible at the moment so I’m probably getting less enjoyment out of movies overall. The character development could’ve been better & some of the lesser characters were actually more interesting, such as the woman who was a former lover of the big bad guy. Still had a good story, though, and I can see why it’s a highly regarded Western. For a similar movie in this genre that I watched for the Top 250 Project, I preferred The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. – 7/10

The Tender Bar – Watched this in my desperation to see something that was released in 2022 (in the UK, at least). Ben Affleck annoys the shit out of me but he was good in this role & even likeable so, yay. In fact, I’d say he was a perfect fit playing the loving uncle of the boy in this. The film is based on the real boy’s memoir of his time growing up in 1970’s Long Island with his mother & uncle who encouraged him to become a writer (which he did since he wrote this memoir, obviously).

It’s a “nice” film. I hate when I use that word as it sounds insulting but I don’t mean it that way (I’m not a writer! I suck with words). It’s just one of those pleasant “Sunday afternoon” type of movies to watch. It could have done with more character development overall but they did good enough with the boy & his uncle. Would’ve liked to know much more about his mom and extended family (and Christopher Lloyd as his grandpa! Love him). A tiny bit more time spent on the regulars at his uncle’s bar would’ve been good too. I preferred the start of the film when he was a boy to later on showing his college years. The film dragged a bit then & too much time was spent on a girlfriend who treated him like shit. His life with his family was more interesting, including his troubles with his complete ass of a dad. Oh, and this was directed by George Clooney FYI. It was a decent enough film to pass the time but also a little underwhelming. I admit that it’s the type of movie I know I’ll barely remember a year from now. Oh! I forgot to mention that I enjoyed the very ’70s soundtrack, though. Of course. – 6.5/10

Being The Ricardos – I had zero interest in watching this as, quite frankly, I thought it looked terrible. Then it ended up with three Oscar nominations for acting and I went “Shit, I’m gonna have to try to watch that now” as I try to watch nominees in at least the major categories before the ceremony. And I don’t know WHY I still do that as the Oscars have been a joke for years now. And the nominations for this are a perfect example. The acting is fine but it is NOT Oscar-worthy. Maybe worthy of Emmy awards if it had been a TV movie instead, which is what it very much felt like. And I see they nominated three out of the four who play the stars of I Love Lucy. Why didn’t they nominate the one playing Vivian Vance too? She’s just as good as the other three. Oh! Is it because she’s not a big name??? (I assume, as I’d not heard of Nina Arianda before). The Oscars need to get their shit together. It’s too phoney now.

And… Okay, I know that it’s probably difficult making movies about real-life people but I often find it hard to buy into someone playing a well known real-life person unless they’re really damn good. And I know the acting is very important too but, seriously, can they at least try to get actors who look like the real person?! Maybe I just have zero imagination but, sorry, they need to look like the person. Nicole looks nothing like Lucille Ball. It was distracting as hell. No one looked like the real people. It’s ridiculous. I’m not a Debra Messing fan but I’m with Twitter in that it should’ve been her – she looked exactly like Lucy in images while dressed as her. I could’ve bought into that but instead I felt I was watching a weird-looking Nicole Kidman the whole time & it was all I could focus on. Hell – I’m watching that cheesy Pam & Tommy thing but they’ve done a fantastic job with Lily James so it does feel like I’m watching Pamela Anderson (and Tommy to a degree, although he looks less like him, but his fun performance is selling it. Much more than Kidman’s in this!).

Okay, enough with the ranting. I’ll try to say something positive. Umm… the story was kind of interesting, I guess. I know nothing whatsoever about Lucille Ball & don’t know how accurate this movie is but that was certainly an interesting week for her (if that all did actually happen in just one week). I thought Alia Shawkat was good as one of the writers (probably helps that I know of no real life person to compare her to). Ball’s hubby was a cheating prick & they had no chemistry in this movie. I think what also bothered me was, while I know nothing about Ball, she was known as being the star of big comedy sitcom. But this movie was so dreary & dramatic & devoid of any humor. Is that what Ball was like in real life? No clue. This movie makes her borderline unlikeable. It’s also one of those movies where I finished it feeling like I didn’t know much more about the real-life person than I did before. What’s the point of that? Oops. I was trying to be positive! Okay, the story was kind of interesting. But, holy shit, it couldn’t have been more miscast & the character development was terrible. – 6/10

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) – Although I love most horror movies from the ’70s & ’80s, I was never big on the 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I don’t even remember it very well now & should really probably rewatch it someday. I didn’t think the 2003 film was too bad but I could’ve lived without it. And I didn’t really care about seeing the 2022 one & thought it looked terrible but there are so few 2022 movies on services so far that I mostly watched this just to see a 2022 film. Yep – it’s terrible. Ugh. Here’s the beginning of the full plot synopsis on Wikipedia: “Nearly 50 years after Leatherface’s killing spree in 1973, young entrepreneurs Melody and Dante, Melody’s sister Lila and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth travel to the abandoned Texas town of Harlow, to auction off old properties to create a trendy, heavily gentrified area.” Okay – just from that description I hate these characters already.

Admittedly, I’m OLD so can’t really relate to the early twentysomethings in movies now. But these characters are meant to be hateful, right? Except the girl from that dreadful Eighth Grade movie people raved about for some reason – her character is okay. So I guess, if you like seeing annoying youths violently murdered, you might like this movie. That’s the point of slashers anyway, right? So why is this movie so bad compared to the slashers I liked in the ’80s?? They’re the same thing. I don’t know – I really can’t think of anything to say about this movie. Poor character development, I didn’t care if anyone would survive, Leatherface is shown to have some feelings WTF?!, and a bunch of idiots livestream this maniac with a chainsaw and say something or other about getting him cancelled. Seriously. I guess the bus scene was somewhat entertaining but it was so ridiculous & so unlike the vibe of the original film. Oh well – who cares? This will just be another completely forgettable horror remake/reboot/sequel etc etc. I suppose there have been worse ones, although I’m struggling to think of one… – 4.5/10

Movies Rewatched In February:

Suspiria (1977) – I watched this once years ago but hadn’t seen it since. Then in the past few years I’ve tried to delve into the Giallo horror thing a bit & liked Argento’s Deep Red a lot, calling it the more “accessible” film compared to Suspiria. I’ve watched several other Argento films since as well, including the kooky Phenomena, but none of them have compared to Suspiria or Deep Red. I figured it was time to refresh my memory of this film & see how I really feel about it as I know its Goblin score FAR better than the film itself (god I love that bloody brilliant, loud & distracting score!!!).

I have to say that, on a rewatch, I think I may now absolutely love Suspiria. And I’ll stop now as I ended up doing a full post with a slightly longer review HERE last week, mainly so I could post plenty of images from this film as it has stunning visuals. The story is a bit of a mess, yes, but I really don’t care about that when a movie looks & sounds as good as this one does. – 8.5/10

West Side Story – Figured it was time to introduce my daughter to this classic musical before we see the Spielberg version. And I hadn’t seen it since I was a teen so I needed to see it again myself. I knew I liked it but it never became one of my favorites that I watched over & over again like like I did with The Sound Of Music & The Wizard Of Oz.

I still really like it but it’s still not going to be an all-time favorite of mine. There are some good songs but, overall, I feel the songs aren’t as strong as they are in most of my personal favorite musicals. The Romeo & Juliet story, although predictable, is always a winner (which is why it remains so popular). So I like that a lot plus I really like Natalie Wood for some reason, especially since watching the fantastic Splendor In The Grass (which I prefer to West Side Story). There are of course some great visuals, which as I said in my Suspiria review is something that’s always important to me. Like, I really liked Maria’s colourful door to her bedroom. Why do I live in such a drab house (and country)?! I love colors & pretty shit! Well, West Side Story is iconic & deserving of its status as an all-time classic musical. Am interested to see what Spielberg has done with it but am not expecting to love it as I see it as a bit pointless when this version exists… – 8/10

Three Fugitives – Watched this on Disney Plus with the daughter as I have fond memories of watching this several times with my mom when I was a teen as we both really liked it & thought the girl was adorable. Managed to talk my daughter into it after she said she thought Martin Short was funny in Only Murders In The Building (I’ll be mentioning that below). Still really like this one but, oh boy, it does have that cheesy late ’80s/early ’90s family-friendly comedy vibe. Especially with that score! Ha. That’s okay – I still love stuff from my teen years. Daughter seemed to like this one as well & also thought the girl was cute & she still found Martin Short funny. Happy I was able to share it with her the way I did with my mom. – 7.5/10

Sweet Home Alabama – Another movie I watched with my daughter. I also have fond memories of watching this one. It was in the cinema with the hubby & two teen/early-twentysomething girls would NOT shut the hell up so he chucked his (mostly empty) drink at their heads. They did shut up! This movie is fine. A typical lightweight rom-com but I did enjoy when Reese Witherspoon was making this kind of stuff. Not my favorite of her’s when it comes to this genre but certainly not the worst. Probably smack dab in the middle! Ohh… I just checked & had forgotten I ranked Witherspoon’s movies (here). Yep! It’s in the middle! Predictable story but Witherspoon helps sell it. And it’s a good song. – 7/10

Shorts & Documentaries In February

Three Songs For Benazir – It’s up for an Oscar & it’s on Netflix so I stuck it on. I fell asleep so I can’t really comment…

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED (not ranked)

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E6-7 – I wrote in my last post that I wasn’t really loving this show & it was a disappointment after how fantastic The Mandalorian was. Then the final two episodes were awesome! To be fair, they hardly featured boring old Boba Fett & I know some people complained that those episodes were really just The Mandalorian again. Fine by me! I got to see Grogu again! ❤️ AND R2-D2 & Luke! LOVED IT SO MUCH! I needed a Grogu fix so bad after a shitty shitty year so far. Luke looked excellent (I had no issues with how he looked in the final episode of The Mandalorian either, though). The only thing it could have used was more of Grogu & R2-D2 together since those two have been best buddies in my mind ever since the end of The Mandalorian. My two favorite Star Wars characters together!! Honestly, episode 6 of this made my year. No movie or TV show is gonna top that in 2022.

Pam & Tommy: S1 E1-6 – Can’t say I’m exactly a fan of either Pamela Anderson or Tommy Lee or ever gave much of a crap about their sex tape (although I did somehow see part of it at the time – God knows how! If I managed to see it it really must have been everywhere). But this show looked interesting. It really is just pure entertainment, though. I’m not entirely sure what the point of making this show was other than to see Pamela & Tommy’s crazy lifestyle?

I have to say that I think Sebastian Stan & especially Lily James are surprisingly good in this. Stan seems to be having a lot of fun playing bad boy Lee & they’ve done an amazing job with Lily’s look. As I said above in Being The Ricardos, the actors need to actually look like the real people (or be made to look like the person, like they have here as James looks nothing like Anderson in real life). They’ve done an okay job of showing Anderson as the victim here (which she was) and how upsetting the leaked personal tape will have been for her. Why on Earth have celebs made any sex tapes since then? They always get out. These two were careful, though, keeping it locked in a safe. It’s been interesting seeing the story from the perspective of the guy who stole the tape too (played by Seth Rogen). It’s an interesting show so far but, again, I’m not sure what the point was in making a TV series about this story.

Only Murders In The Building: S1 – After watching Stay Close & discovering that the kid really seems to like crime thrillers, we checked this out as thought she’d be interested since Selena Gomez is in this. She loved this show! And also now seems to think Martin Short is funny, as I said above in the Three Fugitives review. We need to get her liking Steve Martin now too! This show was a lot of fun & we’re all looking forward to Season 2. It’s quite “quirky”. It has good characters & I liked how we got some episodes with their own full storylines, such as one focusing on a deaf character which was also unique as so much of that episode was silent. The three leads work really well together & I like the music in the show plus the stylish opening titles. I think this will work as a continuing series where these characters have a new mystery to solve each season. It looks like that’s already the plan for a Season 2.

The Outsider: S1 – I’m a huge Stephen King fan & try to watch all adaptations of his stories. Been very frustrated in recent years at not getting the opportunity to watch so much of the TV stuff here in the U.K. on my services, such as Mr. Mercedes. So I was very happy to see this on NowTV (Entertainment) and binged it before it disappears. This book was definitely not a favorite of mine. Probably didn’t help that it got WAY too graphic about the murder of the young boy. King gets way too gross sometimes! But I suppose the overall story was okay. I thought this was a solid adaptation (and didn’t go into as much detail as the book did on the murder, thankfully). It fell apart a bit at the end but so did the book. I do find the ending to most of King’s stories disappointing, though.

I thought everyone did a good job in this, especially Jason Bateman in a smallish but very important role in the first 2 or 3 episodes. What I was most looking forward to, though, was seeing a favorite King character of mine that he’s now used in several stories: Holly Gibney. I wouldn’t say that Cynthia Erivo did a bad job or anything – I think the writers just really didn’t capture Gibney’s character at all, which was very disappointing. They made sure to point out that she’s “a little weird” but she really didn’t feel like she does in the books. Not happy! But, as I like that character, she was still my favorite character in this show & Cynthia Erivo was likeable as an awkward person who didn’t feel like Holly Gibney but would probably be friends with her at the very least. But, WTF, they gave her a love interest in this?!? Why?? I now really want to see Mr. Mercedes so I can see what they did with Holly’s character in that…

Well, I still really enjoyed seeing another adaptation of King’s work and thought it was pretty faithful (except for that stupid love interest). If you want more of Holly Gibney, read the (much better) Mr. Mercedes series where she’s introduced. She’s a smaller character in The Outsider – you really get to know everything about her in the three Mr. Mercedes books. And the title story in King’s If It Bleeds collection is a continuation of the story in The Outsider but has only Holly (and her friends from Mr. Mercedes) once again fighting this same evil. So definitely read that if you liked The Outsider.

The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window: S1 – This was okay but nothing special. I do appreciate them doing a spoof of my cheesy crime thriller guilty pleasures like The Woman In The Window & The Girl On The Train. The mystery wasn’t the greatest, though, and the comedy wasn’t good enough to make up for the story. The show was fine. It passed the time but I probably wouldn’t bother with a second season if they make one.

Community: S1 – Oh my god. I love this! Okay, I don’t rank TV shows in these posts in order of my favorites like I do with movies as it’s more difficult, especially when it’s sometimes only a few episodes I’ve seen of a show. I’ve seen all of Season 1 of this now and, so far, this would be at the top of this section. Definitely enjoying it more than Boba Fett, although nothing can top that full-on Grogu/R2-D2/Luke episode so I’d maybe still need to keep Boba Fett at the top.

How did I miss out on this show?! Actually, I have a good excuse as I was very busy with a baby & then toddler at the time. But why did no one ever tell me to watch this show that is so my type of thing?! I’ve been missing out! It’s hilarious & I LOVE these characters. Can I rank them?! You know I love ranking stuff!

1. Abed (the BEST! love his movie & tv-loving nerdiness)

2. Troy (knew I liked Donald Glover in other things but didn’t realize how damn funny he is too. his character in this is good but as a duo with Abed he’s hilarious & I love when they get the final little skit together, especially that Bert & Ernie one that put a big smile on my Sesame Street-loving face)

3. TIE: Shirley & Britta (Shirley is so sweet & lovable with this great naïve side that lets her say hilariously inappropriate things. Britta is the one I identify with the most as I’m sort of a buzzkill too & definitely angry a lot of the time. I can totally relate to her not understanding her fellow women sometimes, such as in the episode where she didn’t understand why women go to the bathroom together. All my teen girl friends wanted me to go pee with them all the time. Why?! Girls are weird sometimes)

4. Annie (she’s growing on me & is getting a bit less boring as the show goes on)

5. Jeff (I mean, he’s a jerk but he’s MEANT to be a jerk so it’s hard to know where to rank him)

6. Pierce (Hard to believe Chevy Chase has the most boring character so far but he still has plenty of funny moments in an extremely funny show. and the whole point is that this group of people have nothing in common so he’s needed in the group too)

There are some lesser characters but I won’t rank them at this point. Ken Jeong is as annoying as in real life so he seems to just be playing himself, although it’s fun when he goes completely overboard sometimes. And Jack Black was in an episode so that made me very happy. Oh, and we’re watching this as a family & my daughter is absolutely loving it too (Abed is also her favorite). So happy that we have the same sort of sense of humor. We’re binging this show like crazy. 🙂

And Just Like That…: S1 E10 – Ugh! I’ve bitched about this show enough in previous posts so no need to again. I’ll just say that episode 10 was no better than any of the rest. And I refuse to put an image into this post for it even though it’s annoying me that it’s the only one I’ve not used an image for in this section.

BOOKS READ

Not gonna use an image this time as I’m STILL just reading the same book I’ve been reading for bloody months (been too busy binging Community): A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. Less than 200 pages left!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

As I’m watching fewer movies, it’s been easier to put together these roundup posts. If all is going well in life at the start of April, I’ll hopefully post my March roundup.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See In March:

Excited to finally be getting some 2022 films on services that look like they could be good: Turning Red on Disney & The Adam Project on Netflix plus I think I’m gonna sign up for Apple TV again which has an adaptation of a YA novel I read called The Sky Is Everywhere. Then I can also finally see CODA & Finch! Plus Spielberg’s West Side Story will be on Disney so am hoping to watch that before the Oscars.

I should end this post with Goblin’s brilliant Suspiria score:

Watched, Read, Reviewed: January 2022

Hi All. Hope everyone is well. I’ve not been around as things are bad at the moment.

But I do miss the blogs & have still been watching stuff (more TV shows than movies but still some movies). So I’m keeping logs of what I watch in Drafts & try to write short reviews when I feel up to it. This post is complete now so here’s what I watched in January…

MOVIES WATCHED IN JANUARY (ranked best to worst):

Vivarium – Wow, this was pretty fucking weird. So, since I love weird, I really enjoyed it. And, like most weird movies, I’d be very hesitant to actually recommend it to anyone as they’d hate it & probably think I was a weirdo. Which I am but, you know, I try to hide that in real life… Well, I wrote enough about this one that I posted a full review at the link yesterday. It’s eerie & had a very Twilight Zone vibe, which is totally my type of thing. Glad I finally got the chance to see this bizarre film about a couple stranded in a strange neighborhood filled with empty identical houses and one creepy-ass kid. Imogen POOTS! Why do I always watch all her movies? – 7.5/10

Dave Made A Maze – Another weird film that I also, of course, enjoyed. I’m a creep! I’m a weeeeeiiiiiiirdooooooo! Like Vivarium, I loved the concept. This artist dude builds a maze of cardboard boxes & gets lost and trapped inside it as it grows & takes on a life of its own. His girlfriend enlists the help of some of their friends to go in after him but they of course end up trapped too. I reviewed this in full as well in the same post as Vivarium. It’s a fun film with a mix of genres (fantasy, adventure, comedy & horror according to Wikipedia). – 7/10

The Father – This movie now beats Primer to win the “movie I fell asleep to the most while watching and had to rewind multiple times” award. Yes, Anthony Hopkins was good in this & deserving of his Oscar win playing a man with dementia. I gotta say that I found the movie a bit boring, though. Sorry! But I admit I’ve never been big on serious dramas. Give me sci-fi & horror & weird shit! Good performances all around, though, and I think the movie did well in portraying from the perspective of Hopkins’s (Hopkins’? Hopkin’s? Hopkinses?! Hate when names end with S!) character how confusing & scary it must be to have dementia.

Worth watching for the performances if that’s your sort of thing. You can also tell the movie is adapted from a play & that sort of format in a film isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea (I don’t mind that, though). Oh! And I had no idea beforehand that Imogen Poots was in this movie as well. That’s two Poots movies I watched in January. *Poots!* – 7/10

Movies Rewatched:

The Terminator – Rewatched this big favorite of mine & still adore it. Still have a massive crush on Kyle Reese, too. Hubba hubba! Why didn’t some hot guy ever travel through time to save ME?? Love the story & am a big fan of sci-fi but this one is also really helped by the brilliant & iconic design of the Terminator and a kick-ass score. Da Da DAA Da DAA! Remember when movie music was awesome? Why can’t they make sci-fi action films like this anymore? – 9/10

Fanboys – A fun film about a bunch of massive Star Wars nerds who plan to break into Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see The Phantom Menace before it comes out. Too bad it must have been a big disappointment to see that! But I’m personally starting to wish the Sequel Trilogy didn’t exist instead… – 6/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Room 237 – Been wanting to watch this documentary for ages as I’m a big fan of The Shining. It has interviews with various people who have different interpretations of the film and what they see as hidden meanings, etc. It was an entertaining watch and some of the theories were fun but the majority sounded like absolute bullshit to me. And, sorry, but that poster on the wall is NOT a f*^king Minotaur!

One guy also played the film forward & backward at the same time & found that certain images matched up really well (like the one of Wendy & the twins above and Jack & the dead twins at the very top of this post). Again I call bullshit! The Shining is one of THE most visually iconic films ever made so you’re gonna get some cool images matching up.

Well, it was still a fun documentary and I’ll always love hearing people talk about my favorite films. But some people have way too much time on their hands. I have no intention of watching movies forward & backward at the same time now. (But I did fall for the Wizard Of Oz/Dark Side Of The Moon thing, which was actually kind of awesome but also just a cool coincidence) – 7/10

Janet Jackson. – Not sure why I don’t watch more documentaries about people but saw this one being discussed on Twitter so gave it a shot as the Jacksons are such a massively talented & fascinating family. Being the age I am, I was of course a big fan of Michael Jackson. Whether a fan or not you can’t deny that talent and so many amazing pop songs from both his solo days and his younger years with his brothers.

I liked Janet’s music as well but she came along a bit later and I only bought the Control album before moving into my heavy metal high school days (great album). But, damn, she really did have loads of great songs & doesn’t get the credit she deserves. I’m in the “Janet got completely fucked over” camp. Her career was destroyed over a tiny flash of tit? Nipplegate? You couldn’t really even see the nipple! We see & hear FAR worse from celebrities now so why does it feel like she’s still being punished? Plus no one else involved in the incident had their careers ruined so, again, punish only the woman of course. I do think the “incident” was on purpose, yes, but so what? Get over it. One thing I really don’t miss about my country of birth is the ridiculous anger over a woman’s nipple but not over a bunch of kids being shot up on a daily basis in school.

Rant over! I thought this was a good documentary. I think it’s one where, I assume, the one making it is someone she trusts (and maybe a friend – I dunno – I’m too lazy to look into it) so it portrays Janet in a really good light. So whether it’s a completely accurate portrayal I can’t say but she came across as being very down-to-Earth & seemed at peace now which is good if that’s the case as she’s had a tough life. I’m not one to worship celebs & find most of them annoying but do think some are treated very horribly by the press, society, etc. They may have money and seem to have far better lives than the rest of us but still deserve to be treated like humans & the Jacksons had to deal with a lot more shit than most celebs. The documentary did cover a lot of her early years so we heard plenty about her family & what it was like growing up with them plus we got to see their childhood home so I really enjoyed that part of it. But it was great to then learn much more about Janet’s later life as I didn’t know much of that. Oh – and she deserved better men who would have treated her better! Hope she’s happy in that department now.

Justice for Janet! I’m going to put a bunch of her stuff on my playlist now. Not sure why I haven’t listened to her songs in so long (to be fair, stuff like Black Sabbath is more my thing these days but I still like plenty of pop too – especially from my beloved ’80s). They really did seem to stop playing her stuff on the radio after Nipplegate, whereas you still hear Michael all the time. What’s up with that?! It was only a (pretty much entirely covered) nipple, people! Sheesh. – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, OTHER THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Yellowjackets: S1 E8-10 – Love this show so far! I don’t think it’s some amazing show or something & am sure some people wouldn’t like it at all but, being a Gen X girl, it feels aimed directly at me. Well, maybe me plus current late-teen girls. There aren’t enough things aimed at me these days, dammit. Well, I think I said this in my last post but they’re totally lying about Juliette Lewis’s age because, like me, she was NOT still in high school in 1996. So this would be cooler if set in 1986 instead of 1996 but, hey, I was still young in the ’90s so I still have fond memories of those days too.

I of course love the “old broads” in the current day scenes. I especially like Lewis as a crazy badass as usual, Melanie Lynskey as the mysterious main character, and Christina Ricci playing a very fun & unhinged character (who in real life is seven years younger than Lewis, by the way, so they wouldn’t have been in high school together. Why am I so hung up on this?! I dunno – I suppose because I grew up seeing them in stuff!). I do also love “flashback” stories as it feels like you’re getting two stories for the price of one and the 1996 flashbacks showing them as teens after the plane crash are great & I wish they’d hurry that storyline up as I want to see them turn into cannibalistic psychos! The friendship between Shauna & Jackie has been fun to watch and the teenage & adult versions of Taissa are quite intriguing. I’m annoyed we’re only, what, a few months into what happened after the plane crash, though?? Bring on Season 2!

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E2-5 – I’m writing this in mid-February after seeing all of this show now so have to remind myself to talk about only the first five episodes I saw in January. Hmm. Okay – in January I wasn’t very impressed with The Book Of Boba Fett, which was a bit heartbreaking after thinking The Mandalorian was brilliant & exactly the kind of excitement I wanted to feel (but didn’t) while watching the Sequel Trilogy. Mainly, I found the character of Boba Fett… a bit boring? OT fans do NOT want to find Boba Fett boring. He was better when he was all mysterious. Sometimes less is more.

Oh well – I don’t think the series was terrible. Some episodes were far better than others & I did enjoy some stories, such as the whole thing with Boba Fett & the Tuskens. The show still had some really great moments (but those were mostly all in the next two episodes & didn’t involved Boba Fett whatsoever…). Oh! A girl playing a character I like in Yellowjackets was also in this. Her character (and those of her friends in this) SUCKS. Damn. At least we got to see Max Rebo! OT character excellence. And Flashdance chick!

Stay Close: S1– Had a very weird reason for sticking this Netflix show on one night: We wanted to see the big head sculpture (called Dream) that features quite prominently several times in this show. We have photos of my daughter in front of it when she was about three & we pulled over to check it out on a trip to Liverpool. She’d often mentioned remembering seeing this massive head when she was little & wondering what the heck was up with that. Man, that sculpture needs a clean now! Looks much better in our photos than in the show. Anyway – I’d read on Twitter that the show is set in that region & shows the sculpture a lot, and right at the start, so we put it on.

So we’ve now finally discovered a genre our early teen who never wants to watch anything with us anymore likes: crime mystery thrillers. Who knew! She was SO into this. It’s partly because it’s the first of this sort of thing she’s seen, I suppose, but we’re now trying to think of similar things she might like. Any suggestions? This was very borderline on appropriateness – would certainly not want anything much more violent or intense than this. It has a very cheesy ’90s movie thriller vibe, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. So I also enjoyed this show far more than I was expecting. A bit pulp-y, yeah, but that’s exactly what I want from this genre. Stuff like Malice! Single White Female! The Hand That Rocks The Cradle! Cheesy thriller goodness. Might check out this same guy’s (Harlan Coben’s) show Safe next, which is on Netflix as well.

Looking For Alaska: – Meh. I read this John Green YA novel so figured I’d check out the adaptation. From what I can remember of the book now, this seemed like a really faithful adaptation. I’ve read several Green books & all except The Fault In Our Stars have a bit too much of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing going on. Paper Towns was the worst for it & this was probably the second worst (although the girl in this one isn’t nearly as hateful as the Paper Towns girl). This show was fine. A bit too much drama. I liked the main boy played by Charlie Plummer but maybe it helps that I really loved the recent film he was in called Spontaneous & he was a really likeable character in that. Watch that! Then maybe watch this if you really like YA stuff.

And Just Like That…: S1 E6-9 – Good Lord this show was dreadful. I can’t remember what I wrote about it in my last post and I’ve finished it all now so I’ll just say it doesn’t improve as the show goes on. They should have just left these characters alone. I mean, they were already all hateful in the first place but at least there were admittedly some funny moments in Sex & The City. So in this show they’re older & still hateful but also now boring & unfunny. Pointless.

Foundation: S1 E1 – Can’t say much about this at this point but checked out the one freebie episode on Apple TV. Intriguing so far. Will watch more if/when we sign up for Apple again (which I mainly want to do to see CODA, Finch & Ted Lasso).

All Of Us Are Dead: S1 E1 – Watched an episode. Love most Korean stuff & most zombie stuff but wasn’t feeling this. Maybe I’ll try again at some point.

The Masked Singer U.K.: S3 E1-2 – Getting a little bored with these but also still a little fascinated by the concept & seeing how desperate celebs are to stay relevant by doing cheesy stuff like this. The US version still has far bigger celebs. Probably won’t bother finishing as know most of those unmasked thanks to Twitter.

MUSIC LISTENED TO

David Bowie – Toys – Had to check out a “new” Bowie album! Love him. Album is fine. Mainly it was just great hearing that voice of his again. Still miss him.

The Weeknd – Dawn FM – I don’t normally check out “new” music but every once in a while figure I should give something a try. I admit I’m stuck in the old days & listen to very little music released in the past 15 years. But I’ve liked some Weeknd songs so checked this out while working/sleeping. It worked well for that as it’s a little dull compared to his more upbeat stuff. There’s certainly no Blinding Lights on this album (I admit I love that song). The album is fine, though. Inoffensive. Nothing stands out.

Grimes – Player Of Games & Shinigami Eyes – I have a confession to make: Grimes is a guilty pleasure of mine. Maybe not a secret as I did a whole post HERE about two of my favorite songs of hers. And a post HERE about her album Miss Anthropocene which I’ve now listened to far more than I should admit (shitloads). I like her. She’s weird. Some songs are terrible. But she certainly has a sound that’s all her, I guess! So I just stick everything she releases onto my playlist and when they pop up on shuffle I go “Oh, that’s definitely Grimes”…

BOOKS READ

Well, at the time of writing this post I’m about 600 pages into the 800-something page A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. So I’m getting there, I guess…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans but if I write any reviews maybe I’ll post them. I have my February Roundup post ready to go as well so will post that soon.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Still not going to the cinema (Covid & no money) so am just watching stuff available on services. Not sure what’s due to be released on services but hoping I can catch up on the many 2021 releases I missed. And hoping to see more Oscar nominees before the shitty Oscars I shouldn’t care about anyway (mainly CODA & Summer Of Soul as available & West Side Story when it comes to Disney Plus).

Let’s end with Brad Fiedel’s Terminator theme since I mentioned that it’s fucking awesome:

Vivarium (2019) & Dave Made A Maze (2017) Reviews

Two quick reviews of two weird movies before I post my January Roundup post…

Vivarium (2019)

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan

Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Some Creepy Kid

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses.

My Opinion:

Wow, this was pretty fucking weird. So, since I love weird, I really enjoyed it. And, like most weird movies, I’d be very hesitant to actually recommend it to anyone as they’d hate it & probably think I was a weirdo. Which I am but, you know, I try to hide that in real life…

Here I am watching an Imogen Poots movie again. Why do I seem to watch all her movies?? *Poots!* Jesse Eisenberg is in this too. Man I hate him but, whatever – I don’t care too much who is in a movie anyway as I care more about the story & the overall movie itself so I guess he was tolerable. I really liked this story and the look of all the identical houses in this eerie neighborhood that the couple find themselves trapped in & unable to escape after a creepy “real estate agent dude” brings them there to show them a house.

It’s a bizarre film and I suppose part of the reason I liked it was that it had a Twilight Zone vibe & that (original series) TV show will forever be my absolute favorite. Adore it. This movie reminds me of one very specific Twilight Zone episode where a couple wake up in an empty town (Stopover In A Quiet Town is the episode if you’re curious. A classic!). So I loved the feel of this film. It was bonkers & unsettling & the kid in it gave me the absolute creeps. And I’m still not 100% sure what the hell was going on or what the point of the whole thing was but it was certainly one of the more entertaining stories I’ve seen in a while. I guess it was about being stuck in suburbia & doing exactly what society expects of you.

If you love The Twilight Zone or maybe a bit of Black Mirror or if you just like your films to be weird & unpredictable because like me you watch too many movies & get bored seeing the same old shit, it might be worth checking this one out (I saw it on Film4). You might hate it. You might love it. You probably won’t forget it. And the kid might haunt your nightmares.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Dave Made A Maze (2017)

Directed by Bill Watterson

Starring: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Kirsten Vangsness, Stephanie Allynne, James Urbaniak, Scott Krinsky, Adam Busch, John Hennigan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film centers on the titular Dave who builds a cardboard fort that somehow supernaturally houses an entire labyrinth full of deadly traps and creatures.

My Opinion:

Another weird film that I also, of course, enjoyed. I’m a creep! I’m a weeeeeiiiiiiirdooooooo! Amazon Prime had been pushing this on me for a while & I suddenly decided to give it a try one day when I noticed it was only 80 minutes (I’m not one of these “I can’t watch long movies!” people – I just don’t have much spare time). Again, like Vivarium, I loved the concept. This artist dude builds a maze of cardboard boxes & gets lost and trapped inside it as it grows & takes on a life of its own. His girlfriend enlists the help of some of their friends to go in after him but they of course end up trapped too.

It’s a fun film and a mix of genres (fantasy, adventure, comedy & horror according to Wikipedia). The characters are pretty likeable & the “horror” is only comedy horror with some funny cartoonish blood. Where Vivarium made me think of a good Twilight Zone episode, the synopsis of this one made me think of an absolutely fantastic short story called Voluntary Committal by Joe Hill in his collection 20th Century Ghosts (which I highly recommend if you like good short stories). They’re very different stories overall but I like the concept of a spooky maze made out of boxes, I guess. Anyway – this is a fun film & the plot is unique so check it out on Amazon Prime if you want a short film with a quirky sense of humor.

My Rating: 7/10

Suspiria (1977) Review

Hi All! I’ve not been around as am having a difficult year. But I miss blogging & have still been watching & logging some movies. I do have a post ready to go with what I watched in January but I rewatched Suspiria recently & felt like doing a quick mini-review.

Okay – WHY are there no cool landscape posters for this film?! So I had to use that squished image above so this post doesn’t look crap in the preview & on Twitter. I like that image, though, and it’s the main one I always see for this movie so here’s the big version:

Suspiria (Latin: [sʊsˈpiːri.a]) (that looks cool) (1977)

Directed by Dario Argento

Screenplay by Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi

Based on Suspiria de Profundis by Thomas De Quincey

Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axén, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett

Music by Goblin & Dario Argento

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Jessica Harper as an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany but realizes, after a series of brutal murders, that the academy is a front for a supernatural conspiracy.

My Opinion:

I watched this once years ago but hadn’t seen it since. Then in the past few years I’ve tried to delve into the Giallo horror thing a bit & liked Argento’s Deep Red a lot, calling it the more “accessible” film compared to Suspiria. I’ve watched several other Argento films since as well, including the kooky Phenomena, but none of them have compared to Suspiria or Deep Red. I figured it was time to refresh my memory of this film & see how I really feel about it as I know its Goblin score FAR better than the film itself (god I love that bloody brilliant, loud & distracting score!!!).

I have to say that, on a rewatch, I think I may now absolutely love Suspiria. I still think it’s a mess story-wise, as most of Argento’s films (making Deep Red the most coherent in comparison). But I don’t really care about the story when it comes to films like these as I’m such a sucker for atmospheric films with stunning visuals & fantastic scores and this is one of the all-time greats in those regards. It’s gorgeous! I’m thinking of posting this mini-review separately just so I can add loads of images from the movie to the post (Okay – I’ve obviously decided to do that instead of just putting this in my monthly roundup post). Here are some more images:

And I’m still in love with the score. It was really hard to be sneaky & try to watch this one late at night when the Goblin music started BLARING in between the dialogue you can barely hear at all. Love it – it really adds to the film’s unsettling feel. I just love the overall vibe of horror movies from the ’70s. So few horror movies have style these days & even fewer are able to capture that eerie aura of classic horror. Am really happy I decided to rewatch this one as it’s definitely gone up in my estimation. Yay! Maybe I DO like Italian horror! Well, two of them anyway…

My Rating: 8.5/10

My Top Ten 2021 Movie Releases

Here’s my last 2021 Top Ten list. Seems a little pointless as I missed 99% of the cinema releases, so this list is pretty much only the stuff that was released to U.K. streaming services in 2021. And the majority of those were extremely disappointing. Luckily, there were several released in December that have made my top ten, so at least we got some decent ones at the very end.

I’ll actually make this one a Top 30 too since that’s what I did with yesterday’s list of older movies seen in 2021, but that list has much better movies in the lower half of it.

Here are My Top Thirty 2021 UK Movie Releases That I Saw:

Top Thirty

30. Army Of The Dead – 6.5/10
29. Cruella – 6.5/10
28. Vacation Friends – 6.5/10
27. Fear Street Part Trilogy – 6.5/10
26. The Guilty – 6.5/10
25. Oxygen – 6.5/10
24. Villains – 6.5/10
23. Nomadland – 7/10
22. Love And Monsters – 7/10
21. Black Widow – 7/10

Top Twenty

20. Sound Of Metal – 7/10
19. Free Guy – 7/10
18. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – 7/10
17. Pig – 7/10
16. tick, tick… BOOM! – 7/10
15. Palmer – 7/10
14. Willy’s Wonderland – 7/10
13. Space Sweepers – 7/10
12. Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – 7/10
11. Moxie – 7/10

Top Ten

10. TIE: The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 7/10 & Encanto – 7.5/10

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong – 7/10

8. Raya And The Last Dragon – 7/10

7. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – 7.5/10

6. The Lost Daughter – 7.5/10

5. Don’t Look Up – 7.5/10

4. Minari – 7.5/10

3. Promising Young Woman – 8/10

2. Spontaneous – 8/10

1. Dune – 8.5/10

I don’t include documentaries with movies as they aren’t really the same thing & it would be difficult to know where to rank them. So I’ll just include a mention of two I really enjoyed in 2021: The Beatles: Get Back & Who Are You, Charlie Brown?.

All My 2021 Top Tens:
My Top Ten Books Read In 2021
My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021
My Top Ten Older Release Movies Watched In 2021

Happy New Year, Everyone! I need to take a bit of a break from blogging for a while but I’ll try to stop by all your blogs for a visit. 🙂

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Watched In 2021

Hello again! Time for my penultimate 2021 Top Ten Movies list.

This is always my favorite list each year. Doing the top U.K. releases for each year is fine but also a pain in the ass because 1) U.K. & U.S. release dates vary so much & we get a lot of movies the year after the American release date which seems to be treated as the “official” release date for some stupid reason and 2) 88.59% of current day releases are crap. Like that 88.59%?! Yes, I just made that number up.

So I try to watch some really good older films each year as well & I always end up enjoying those more overall. And I lucked out in seeing lots of really fantastic pre-2021 releases in the past year.

As always, these lists only include movies I’ve just watched for the very first time in the past year. I’ve been rewatching loads of old favorites with the family too thanks to the pandemic but I don’t do a top ten post of those. As with everything, though, I of course still ranked & rated them all here if you’re super curious (which I doubt!). That link lists absolutely every single thing I watched & read in 2021, all ranked & rated. Because I’m a sad nerd.

As I saw so many good movies, I’m listing 30. So here are My Top Thirty Older Movie Releases Seen In 2021, counting down to my Top Ten:

Top Thirty:

30. TIE: Audition – 7/10 & Thrashin’ – 7/10
29. From Here To Eternity – 7/10
28. Tokyo Godfathers – 7/10
27. The Invisible Man (1933) – 7/10
26. The Wolf Man (1941) – 7/10
25. Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – 7/10
24. Seconds – 7/10
23. House On Haunted Hill – 7/10
22. Cat People (1942) – 7/10
21. Fantastic Planet (La Planète sauvage, Divoká planeta) – 7/10

Top Twenty:

20. Man On Fire – 7/10
19. The Invisible Man (2020) – 7.5/10
18. Abominable – 7.5/10
17. Frankenstein (1931) – 7.5/10
16. Trees Lounge – 7.5/10
15. The Innocents (1961) – 7.5/10
14. Kind Hearts And Coronets – 7.5/10
13. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire – 7.5/10
12. The Hunt (2020) – 7.5/10
11. Bloodsport – 7.5/10

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Hud – 7.5/10 & Dracula (1931) – 8/10

9. Battleship Potemkin – 7.5/10

8. Les Diaboliques – 7.5/10

7. The Secret Of Kells – 7.5/10

6. Wings Of Desire – 8/10

5. Swallow – 8/10

4. Black Narcissus (1947) – 8/10

3. It Happened One Night – 8/10

2. When Marnie Was There – 8/10

1. Gandhi – 8.5/10

Yesterday I posted My Top Ten Books Read In 2021 & My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021. Tomorrow I’ll finally be posting My Top Ten 2021 U.K. Movie Releases.

My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021

Happy New Year! (again)

Here’s post 2 of my year-end top ten lists. Onto the fun movie lists starting tomorrow! But I watched more TV shows than usual in 2021 plus a lot of them were really good (better than the majority of 2021 movies).

I’m cheating on a few where I’ve not seen the full series but, with things like Yellowjackets, I kind of know where I’d rank them anyway. And these aren’t all brand new 2021 shows but there are quite a few really new ones in the list.

Here are My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 (but I’ve ranked them all, so I’ll count down to the Top Ten):

23. The Flight Attendant: S1
22. And Just Like That…: S1 So Far
21. Mare Of Easttown: S1

Top Twenty:

20. Cruel Summer
19. Nine Perfect Strangers: S1
18. Grey’s Anatomy: S17 & S18 E1-8
17. Alice In Borderland: S1
16. Chucky: S1
15. Erased
14. Children Of The Stones: S1
13. Hawkeye: S1
12. The Crown: S2, S3 & S4 E1-4
11. The White Lotus: S1

Top Ten:

10. Lisey’s Story

9. Loki: S1

8. Sweet Tooth: S1

7. Midnight Mass: S1

6. Monsters At Work: S1

5. WandaVision: S1

4. Yellowjackets S1 E1-7

3. Ted Lasso: S1 (not seen season 2 yet as no longer have Apple TV)

2. Cobra Kai: S3 & 4

1. Squid Game: S1

Loved Squid Game SO MUCH! And a quick mention of The Book Of Boba Fett, which I can’t really include as there’s only been one episode as I’m writing this. Hoping to love it but doubt it’ll quite live up to The Mandalorian.

Earlier I posted My Top Ten Books Read In 2021. Tomorrow I’ll be posting My Top Ten Older Movies Watched In 2021 then finally My Top Ten 2021 U.K. Movie Releases on Friday.

My Top Ten Books Read In 2021

Happy New Year! Here’s the first of my ranked lists for 2021.

Counting down to my favorite, here are My Top Ten Books Read In 2021 (Yes, way too much Stephen King this year! And 2022 will probably be nothing but Game Of Thrones as I’ve just started Book 1…)

10. The Eyes Of Darkness by Dean Koontz
9. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz
8. Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
7. Moon by James Herbert
6. Billy Summers by Stephen King
5. Later by Stephen King
4. Rage by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
3. If It Bleeds by Stephen King
2. The Running Man by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
1. The Long Walk by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)

I had to rank The Bachman Books separately as The Long Walk is sooo much better than Roadwork (which didn’t make my top ten).

Later I’ll be posting My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 followed by My Top Ten Older Movies Watched In 2021 tomorrow then finally My Top Ten 2021 U.K. Movie Releases. Very disappointed with the 2021 movie releases! Ugh. At least I saw some great older films for the first time in 2021…

Watched, Read, Reviewed: December 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! 2022. My god.

Tried in December to catch up on the shitloads of 2021 films I missed. Missed everything in the cinema & the 2021 leftovers on services that I missed didn’t look that great anyway so it’s likely I’ll never bother with those now (but I do wish I’d seen The Green Knight). So I’m calling it a year & just posting a disappointing Top Ten Movies Of The Year list later this week. At least I saw loads of fantastic pre-2021 movies this year so that will be a Top Ten list too.

*Edit to add: I watched The Green Knight last night so added a quick review below. Spoiler: I thought it SUCKED!

Here’s everything I watched in December…

MOVIES WATCHED IN DECEMBER (ranked best to worst):

Don’t Look Up – Liked this a lot & am glad I managed to finish my year on this one. Thought it was a pretty clever & scarily accurate satire of this fucked up world we’re now living in. It gave me some good laughs & it had fun performances from all the big name stars in it. I managed to quickly review it in full at the link yesterday. – 7.5/10

The Lost Daughter – Quickly reviewed this yesterday as well as I also liked this film a lot. Great end to 2021 on Netflix with these two! Olivia Colman & Jessie Buckley were both very good at portraying the difficulties of motherhood and sometimes wanting more out of life. There’s a growing sense of tension through the whole movie that I thought was handled really well. Great directorial debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal. – 7.5/10

Encanto – Already reviewed this last week. Enjoyed this one although it’s not exactly up there with Disney’s all-time best. What I liked: the main girl (Mirabel) was likeable (and I liked her dress and, as a glasses wearer, her funky glasses), the different magical powers each family member had were fun, I liked the cute little cousin who was due to get his own power & the cousin who could hear everything, and the overall message about the importance of family was good. The weakest thing? Unfortunately, that was maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs plus I suppose the animation style wasn’t my favorite but it was still a lovely looking film (I prefer the older, classic Disney animation style). I still really enjoyed Encanto although it hasn’t instantly grabbed me like a lot of other Disney & Pixar films have. It would maybe grow on me after a rewatch. – 7/10

Ron’s Gone Wrong – Reviewed this as well. There’s not much I love more in movies than adorable robots. I’m always a sucker for a cute robot! WALL-E is my favorite Pixar movie & R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character so this movie was clearly one I was eager to see.

I liked it! It’s not a perfect film. Ron is definitely what makes this film work. The other characters are fine but none of them really stand out like Ron the robot. The grandma is fun & the main boy’s friendship with Ron was really sweet but the cute robot in a movie like this is always going to steal the show. I also really liked the message in this film & thought the film had a pretty brave bittersweet ending. – 7/10

Tokyo Godfathers – I started watching this anime film years ago but for whatever reason I never finished it so, as it’s set on Christmas Eve & as it’s recently been added to Netflix, I figured it was time to finally finish it at Christmastime. Because I’ve clearly been too lazy in all this time to just get up off my ass & play my DVD of it.

It’s a fun film with three strong characters who lovingly bicker a lot & a cute baby that they find. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo discover a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

This is one of those anime movies that can be a little goofy at times in between some heavy subject matter. It was written & directed by Satoshi Kon, whose other films include Perfect Blue (still need to see that) and Paprika (a very interesting film I should really try to rewatch sometime & actually review as it was one of my Blind Spot movies in 2019). Paprika is the better film of the two I’ve seen but Tokyo Godfathers is perhaps a little more “accessible” & certainly less strange (but I’m a big fan of strange). The characters are the best thing about the movie and I especially liked Hana, who immediately develops a motherly affection for the abandoned baby. It’s a heartwarming & at times heartbreaking film, as are all the best movies set during Christmas. Glad I finally made the time for this one. – 7/10

Pig – Had to of course see what all the fuss was about on this one so managed to pick up a really cheap DVD of it (£2.99!). Did a full review of this already so I’ll just say that Cage was good in this & the movie explored loneliness & grief in an interesting way. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I appreciated its subtlety. A nice break from Crazy Cage, too (although I do enjoy Crazy Cage). – 7/10

The Unforgivable – Also already reviewed. Bullock’s character has just come out of prison after serving many years for killing a cop when they came to take her much younger sister away from her. It took a while to get into this one & Bullock’s character was pretty unsympathetic to begin with. However, I really liked the end of this one (including something I should’ve seen coming). Also, the film used a fantastic piano version of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place toward the end & I thought it set the mood perfectly. So the film was a bit slow overall & certainly wasn’t perfect but from that bit on it got much better & really did redeem itself at the end. – 6.5/10

The Last Duel – Reviewed this too (wow – I managed to review more than usual!). I’ll just say I wasn’t really a fan & thought this movie was just okay. The haircuts sucked, the men were all assholes, and Ridley Scott has far better films. Just watch Rashomon instead. – 6/10

The Power Of The Dog – Another one I reviewed & was very disappointed in unlike all of Film Twitter. This one bored the shit out of me. Sorry! But I did really like the end. Yay! Once I actually realised what had happened and that there was a plan all along, I guess, and I was like “Ohhh… Nice one!”. The ending almost made me rank this just above The Last Duel but the rest of this film was so bloody boring that I guess I’ll keep this one below the mullet duel. – 6/10

Anna And The Apocalypse – Was talking about Christmas movies on Twitter before Christmas & so many mentioned liking this one that I figured I should check it out. Sadly, this one didn’t really work for me. Luckily, I don’t think any of those Twitter people read my blog! I appreciate its concept. A zombie Christmas musical?! Fantastic! I’m a big zombie movie fan (mostly Romero) so really did think I’d like this. I can’t say I really bought into the characters, although the main girl was fine. I think maybe I was expecting more of a comedy? It’s listed as comedy but it’s certainly no Shaun Of The Dead. I can’t say I remember how any of the songs go, either. Meh. It was a good idea. – 5.5/10

Red Notice – Damn, this was a bit sucky. Thought it would be a bit more fun with these three big names plus I like them all usually. Sadly, though, this is the first time I thought that Ryan Reynolds was just too Ryan Reynolds. He’s really just playing himself in this. The comedy just fell a bit flat & there was one scene where the background of an arena they were in looked SO dodgy that I said “WTF is up with that background?!” and I’m not someone who tends to notice that sort of stuff usually. Not the worst film of the year but very forgettable. I expect to not remember a thing about it in a year. – 5.5/10

The Fan (1981) – Got excited when I saw this listed on Talking Pictures TV as I still have a massive crush on Michael Biehn thanks to The Terminator & Aliens. And, my god, such big stars in this with him! Lauren Bacall, James Garner & Maureen Stapleton. Biehn plays a psycho stalker who is obsessed with the big star played by Lauren Bacall. Honestly, though, this movie was pretty damn bad. How embarrassing, especially for Bacall! I can’t say I’d recommend this unless you have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Biehn like I do. So I got mild enjoyment out of this, at least. I do kind of like stalker movies. Play Misty For Me was a much better stalker movie if you like that kind of thing, though. – 5.5/10

Chaos Walking – Knew this wasn’t meant to be great but I read the book a couple years ago & I really like seeing the movie adaptations of the books I read. Wasn’t a fan of the book, though, so had pretty low expectations for the movie. I think it was adapted fairly well from what I remember of the story but the story isn’t the greatest even though the idea seemed like a good one. A waste of the talent in this. Here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re curious: “Two unlikely companions embark on a perilous adventure through the badlands of an unexplored planet as they try to escape a dangerous and disorienting reality where all thoughts are seen and heard by everyone.”- 5/10

The Green Knight – I’m quickly adding this (with no image, as I don’t want a Green Knight image to be what’s displayed on my tweet as it uses the last image added). I just watched it last night thinking “Maybe it’ll be 2021 Top Ten material!” but OH MY GOD IT SUCKED! What a huge waste of time. I know I’ve said this before but I’m never listening to Film Twitter again!!! What a load of pretentious bollocks. I should’ve trusted my instincts when I thought “This is by the guy who did A Ghost Story so it may end up boring as shit just like that one”. God, I think I preferred A Ghost Story! At least that did manage to create a hell of a sense of crushing loneliness. The Green Knight did have some good imagery, which I admit I can be a sucker for, but it had nothing else. Hated it. You’ve wasted my time once again, Film Twitter! – 5/10 (Added half a point for the ridiculous talking fox & the naked lady giants)

Movies Rewatched In December:

Point Break – LOVE IT! Have loved Keanu Reeves for years & watched this movie SO many times when it came out. So had to stick this one on when it popped up on Netflix even though I’ve seen it shitloads. Keanu is so beautiful in this… Oh, and I love that this kick-ass action film was directed by a woman. – 9/10

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs – Put this Disney classic on over the Christmas break. What can I say? I love Disney films & this 1937 film easily stands the test of time as well as all the very best of Disney’s work. I wish the modern Disney films would try to be as timeless but I feel too many “of the moment” jokes get thrown in now, which will date the films years from now. Return to making timeless classics like this one! Oh, and I love the dwarfs. So cute. All the best Disney films have lovable characters like that. – 8/10

The Muppets Christmas Carol – Managed to rewatch some Christmas favorites with the family. Who doesn’t love the Muppets?! This is a fantastic adaptation of what’s probably the very best Christmas story. – 8/10

Home Alone – Another Christmas favorite, although the hubby & I like it much more than our daughter does. Our love of John Hughes maybe helps. I think this is a brilliant family film & wish they’d make more family films like this one. – 8/10

ElfElf is silly but is really good fun. Think it’s the last decent Christmas film to be made that still has a classic feel to it, probably thanks to the Rankin/Bass inspired style at the start. – 8/10

Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Far From The Tree – Assume this was the short meant to be before Encanto so we watched this before it. Nice story about a raccoon being overprotective of its young child. I could relate to that as I’m too overprotective.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

Watched a lot of TV in December, most of it good.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Cobra Kai: S4 – We all binged this in one day! We never binge anything but we were obviously all off work & school. I’ve absolutely loved all of Cobra Kai. The Karate Kid is a favorite & I think they’ve done a brilliant job of combining these ’80s characters with current teens. I can’t believe I have a crush on Johnny Lawrence the bully now! He’s the best thing about the show & I love how he’s stuck in the ’80s & doesn’t understand current teenager-speak. Yes, it’s kind of getting “same old same old” at this point but it’s still loads of fun to watch.

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E1 – Only one episode so far so can’t really judge it yet. The first episode was good & it’s great getting more Star Wars content but I can’t say that episode one has instantly grabbed me the way the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian did.

Yellowjackets: S1 E1-7 – Thoroughly enjoying this story about a 1996 girls soccer team whose plane crashed, resulting in them apparently having to turn to violence & possibly cannibalism to survive. It’s told in flashbacks & I of course love that the grown up actresses are my age so I’d say this is very Gen X & current teen aimed. Well, Juliet Lewis is about my age & there’s NO WAY she was in high school still in 1996 but whatever (it would be even better if the high school flashbacks were late ’80s/early ’90s). So I’m loving this but I’m the right target audience for it.

Hawkeye: S1 E3-6 – Thought this one was fun & liked the characters. WandaVision & Loki were better but I liked this one way more than that boring The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Are we gonna get another season focused just on Kate Bishop? I’d watch that.

Chucky: S1 – This was a weird one. At times I thought it was pretty damn good for a slasher TV show & at others I thought it kind of took a shit (mostly with the addition of Jennifer Tilly, although she was fun, and the real life daughter of Brad Dourif). I admit, though, that I only ever saw Child’s Play 1 through 3 so those characters mean nothing to me while fans of those last movies were maybe happy with their appearance. Anyway, this started out quite strong & I thought the bits with the teens were all good & Chucky was entertaining like always. Then it all took a nosedive at the end. Oh well. I still enjoyed the show overall.

Mare Of Easttown: S1 – I only stuck this on one night as I needed a show to stick on when I’m on my own & bored but it’s not at all the type of thing I tend to go for as I’m weirdly not a crime drama person like everyone else seems to be. I don’t know how I felt about it. I didn’t hate it but, my god, this town was full of assholes & killers & cheaters & just generally a bunch of really unlikeable people. By the end, I really liked Kate Winslet’s character even though she was also very hard to like at times but I think she was fantastic in this role. I also loved her mother, played by Jean Smart, and enjoyed the small funny moments in the show especially between these two characters. The mystery itself was okay but, god, is everyone a pervy piece of shit in this town?! I can see why people liked the show, though. The characters are strong & I’d maybe be interested in seeing them all again in a second season if that’s the plan…?

Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E4-8 – God this new season is boring. Meh.

And Just Like That…: S1 E1-5 – I’m not exactly a big Sex & The City fan but I did watch them all & thought it was clever at times and enjoyed the friendships even though I could relate to none of the four women whatsofuckingever. This version, though… Ugh. I dunno. It’s pretty desperate so far with some shitty writing. They probably should’ve just left it alone.

Looking For Alaska: S1 E1 – I read this John Green book so figured I better check out this adaptation. Faithful so far – will see how it goes but I didn’t really love the book anyway.

Maya And The Three: S1 E1 – Watched the first episode as it’s made by the Book Of Life people, which my daughter absolutely loved for about a year of her life. I wasn’t feeling it so doubt I’ll continue with it.

TV Rewatched:

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Absolute CLASSIC. Perfection. I am a massive Peanuts fan & I adore this. Watch it every Christmas.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Another true Christmas classic that I watch every year & also adore. Love that Rankin/Bass style, which they lovingly referenced in the beginning of Elf. They don’t make ’em like they used to! This is also perfection.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – Ditto! Timeless classic! I’m of course talking about the original animated special, not that godawful Jim Carrey movie. Yuck! I’ll especially always love his poor dog Max & those fantastic lyrics to the songs. Absolutely brilliant.

Game Of Thrones: S1 E1 – Halfway through reading the first book so thought I’d rewatch episode 1. I have to say that, so far from what I remember of the show, it’s extremely faithful to the first book. Loved seeing this again while understanding a bit more & knowing the characters much better now.

Quantum Leap: S1 E1 – Wish the family would continue this with me, especially as this was a two-episode story… I loved Quantum Leap so have been looking forward to revisiting it. The first scene of episode 1 was far cheesier than I remembered, though! Wow. Thank god it got much much better.

Malcolm In The Middle: S1 E1 – Recommended this to the kid. Think she liked the first episode okay.

BOOKS READ

I’m halfway through reading A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. So don’t expect monthly book reviews while I’m reading these as each will probably take me months to read. Although I may read different books in between each so I don’t wear myself out. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, though. It’s just a big damn commitment!!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Honestly, my main New Year’s resolution is to watch fewer movies for a while. I want to watch better films the next couple of months. Quality over quantity! It’s also exhausting doing these roundup posts with shitloads of films.

It’s stupid but the end of each year almost becomes a bit stressful as I get desperate to finish watching as many of that year’s releases that I can which are available to me. I’m more annoyed than I should be that there are several on services now that I’ve not managed to see yet, although I expect what I’ve not seen of those to be pretty shit anyway. It’s the cinema-only releases that I badly want to see as soon as possible.

I mentioned this last month but these are some of the many 2021 movies that I have yet to see:

Last Night In Soho, Malignant, West Side Story, Quiet Place II, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Old, The Conjuring, Coda, The Suicide Squad, The Forever Purge, The Father, In The Heights, Spencer, Another Round, Mass, I’m Your Man, Finch, Antlers, Petite Maman, Psycho Goreman, Black Bear, Censor, The Sparks Brothers, Titane, Jungle Cruise, Army Of Thieves, The Tomorrow War, Halloween Kills, Eternals, The Worst Person In The World

Upcoming 2022 Releases That I Want To See:

Across The Spider-Verse, Suzume no tojimari, The Black Phone (Joe Hill fan!), Thor, Top Gun: Maverick, Turning Red, Doctor Strange, Don’t Worry Darling, Nightmare Alley, Lightyear, Minions (Hey, I like those cheeky little dudes!).

Hope I manage to see these by the end of 2022…

Here’s Radiohead since I mentioned it in The Unforgivable.