Last Christmas (2019) Review

Last Christmas (2019)

Directed by Paul Feig

Screenplay by Emma Thompson & Bryony Kimmings

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Based on the song of the same name, the film stars Emilia Clarke as a cynical Christmas store worker who forms a relationship with a mysterious man (Henry Golding) and begins to fall for him.

My Opinion:

This is one of those movies that I liked but also hated because it was so ridiculously predictable. Schmaltzy & cheesy! Also, the completely unnecessary political agenda thrown in as a small subplot was annoying as hell. Thanks for adding BREXIT into a Christmas rom-com. Are you fucking kidding me?! But I’m a hypocrite because I’ll still give this an okay rating because 1) It had some sweet and also some funny moments, but mainly 2) I think Henry Golding is flipping adorable. I’m not super girly or a big lover of rom-coms but I do adore a sweet and lovable male love interest. If the couple work well together in this type of film, it helps to make up for the film’s shortcomings. Emilia Clarke & Henry Golding are so damn cute together.

Emilia Clarke’s main other relationships in the film are with her boss, Michelle Yeoh (the Christmas-loving owner of the Christmas shop where Clarke is an elf) and with her family (including Emma Thompson as her mother). Clarke is a mess and all her relationships are strained, especially with her intense & dreary mother (Emma Thompson, with a seriously dodgy sounding accent. Maybe it’s good, though – I dunno. I’m terrible with accents). There were some very funny moments with Thompson & Yeoh, though. Their characters are both eccentric and quite fun. I did enjoy the comedy in this movie – it was very borderline on being “appropriate” for a 12A rating. Fine with me – I like my comedy a little naughty. Too wholesome is boring.

Clarke’s character is unfortunately a little hard to like but that’s the entire point of the film (gotta have that predictable Ebenezer Scrooge redemption, right?!). Then, of course, there’s Henry Golding as I mentioned. He’s an absolute sweetheart, of course, as all men are in romantic comedies. So unrealistic! But I don’t care. You’re meant to love him in this. Again, that’s the whole point of these sort of movies.

Oh! I’ve not mentioned Wham! I actually kind of forgot this was based on George Michael’s music (despite the title). I was never exactly a fan so admit I hadn’t wanted to hear loads of Wham throughout this. Some songs are just in the background, so I was glad it wasn’t “in your face” and wasn’t distracting in any way.

What else can I say? This movie is SO cliché that I hate myself for kind of falling for its absolute bullshit. But, dammit, Christmas movies are meant to be feelgood movies and you’re meant to like the couple. This movie does at least get these things right as well as adding in some enjoyable humor. I guess I can forgive the pukey plot thanks to all that. If only they’d left Brexit out of this. I’d have liked it much more without that. This movie is now forever tied to this specific point in time thanks to that, ruining its chances of being a timeless Christmas classic years from now.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Frozen 2 (2019) Review

Frozen 2 (2019)

Directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee

Starring: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Music by: Songs – Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Score – Christophe Beck

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.

My Opinion:

Frozen 2 is fine. Did we really need a sequel? No. Has it really added anything of value to the “Frozen universe”? No. Are the songs good? No. Is the story good? It’s not horrible but it’s not great. It’s just a bit too complicated and messy for what’s meant to be a kids’ film. The story should be kept more straightforward & fairly simple for a Disney movie to become a timeless classic.

The first Frozen got all the elements right to make it a film that will be seen as one of Disney’s classics years from now despite there seeming to be a slight backlash against it currently. I want Disney movies to have that timeless feel and the first Frozen had that magic. Frozen 2 doesn’t, but that can be said of most Disney sequels anyway. As far as Disney sequels go, it’s still better than plenty of them. So, yes, I still enjoyed this sequel as I’m a fan of these characters but the movie is unfortunately very average and a tad boring.

So, I already mentioned the story as the first negative. It’s not a bad story but it’s just… Meh. I didn’t care about the outcome as it was clearly unimportant – they just needed an excuse to make a profitable sequel. The bigger disappointment was the songs. I have to admit that I can’t now remember how even one song goes, unlike when leaving the cinema after the original film. At least two or three of the songs were instantly memorable in the first Frozen. Sorry, but Disney movies should really have at least one memorable song. The songs are a huge selling point for these films.

But I don’t want to sound entirely negative so I’ll end this very short review with some good things. These characters are still great. I’ll always like Anna & Elsa and it was nice to see them much closer in this one and being a family doing normal things like playing games together. The sequel still very much focuses on the sisterly love thing, which was what helped make the first one so special. And the outfits are once again my absolute Disney Princess movie favorites. I love that they both have their own unique style but especially love Anna’s outfits each time (I’m a huge fan of green and anything even slightly Scandinavian). So good job on that, Disney – these two have style.

This movie is also pretty damn beautiful. I still prefer the imagery & feel of the first film with its icy look and shades of blue & white but there was some gorgeous animation in this one too. And Olaf, although always borderline annoying, did make me smile a couple of times and he has a very funny bit that I won’t spoil. I’d say that only Kristoff & Sven felt a little wasted in this one but, to be fair, these movies are about Anna & Elsa so “the guys” are in it as much as they need to be. And, yes, there IS a scene after the credits that I’d say is worth staying for.

Frozen 2 was fine. It wasn’t needed but I liked seeing these characters again and I don’t think it damaged the Frozen legacy in any way, even if it didn’t exactly add anything special or new to it either.

My Rating: 7/10

Happy 7th Blogiversary To Me

Wow. Seven years of doing this blogging thing. 🙂

I’m not posting as regularly these days & plan to cut down even more in the New Year. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to post anything other than maybe my Monthly Roundups with mini-reviews of what I’ve watched each month. Because the one thing I’ll never stop doing is keeping lists of what I’ve watched. I’m a List NERD.

So, as the year is almost over, here are my current Top Ten Movie Lists For 2019 So Far. Will be interesting to see if they change much over the next month. Please please please let Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker be good enough to make the list…

These lists are from numbers 1 to 10 (just to be awkward as I usually count down to number one).

My Top Ten 2019 UK Movie Releases So Far:

1. Doctor Sleep – 8/10
2. Alita: Battle Angel – 7.5/10
3. Yesterday – 7.5/10
4. Fighting With My Family – 7.5/10
5. It Chapter Two – 7.5/10
6. Judy – 7.5/10
7. Hustlers – 7.5/10
8. Joker – 7.5/10
9. Rocketman – 7.5/10
10. Avengers: Endgame – 7.5/10

My Top Ten Movies Seen At Home In 2019 So Far:

1. A Matter Of Life And Death – 8/10
2. Yojimbo – 8/10
3. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) – 8/10
4. Ip Man – 8/10
5. Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou) – 7.5/10
6. In The Heat Of The Night – 7.5/10
7. Wind River – 7.5/10
8. The Hunt (Jagten) – 7.5/10
9. Miss Hokusai – 7.5/10
10. The Great Adventure Of Horus, Prince Of The Sun (aka The Little Norse Prince) – 7.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2019

Happy (middle of) November! As I did October Horror Month again this year, I only reviewed horror movies in October. However, I did watch some non-horror throughout the month as well. As most of my horror reviews were reposts & reblogs, I’m only listing those below that I reviewed for the first time in October. (The Princess Switch feels very out of place in this list!)

MOVIES IN OCTOBER

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) – 8/10
Doctor Sleep – 8/10
Ready Or Not – 7/10
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – 7/10
Zombieland: Double Tap – 7/10
The Legacy – 6/10
The Addams Family – 6/10
Shocker – 5.5/10
The Stuff – 5/10
In The Tall Grass – 4/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Yojimbo – I bought an Akira Kurosawa boxset years ago and have been meaning to get around to watching more of his work as I love what I’ve seen so far. Ikiru & Rashômon are brilliant and Seven Samurai is a masterpiece. Yojimbo is also in the IMDb Top 250 so I might review it as part of my Top 250 Project. I was hoping to instead devote a couple of weeks to Akira Kurosawa on my blog but I think my blogathon days are over. I really enjoyed Yojimbo, even though I’d already seen the same story in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars. Which, apparently, didn’t originally credit Kurosawa & the other writer Ryūzō Kikushima. Naughty! (There was a lawsuit). Anyway, both films are great as the story is so damn good. I of course have to go with Yojimbo as it’s definitely the superior film but can see why it was made into a spaghetti western since the story was just as perfect in that setting. I highly recommend Kurosawa’s films to anyone who hasn’t seen any. Maybe I’ll manage to review his movies someday but I sure I wouldn’t be able to do them justice. – 8/10

Doctor Sleep – 8/10

The Great Adventure Of Horus, Prince Of The Sun (aka The Little Norse Prince) – As this is sort of a pre-Studio Ghibli film, I’ll try to do a full review of it at some point. I adore Studio Ghibli. This was made by Ghibli co-founders Isao Takahata (director) & Hayao Miyazaki (scene design & key animation). It’s a much older film, released in 1968 (17 years before the founding of Ghibli). However, it certainly shows the beginnings of the Ghibli style and has some of that great magical fantasy vibe that Miyazaki perfected in his Ghibli years. It’s not perfect but I enjoyed it and would say I liked it more than some of the non-Ghibli anime I’ve tried. I guess I just love Miyazaki’s style. The characters aren’t as strong as in Ghibli movies and it doesn’t have the beautiful weirdness of the Ghiblis but it’s a promising start and a fun story. – 7.5/10

Judy – 7.5/10

Joker – 7.5/10

Ready Or Not – 7/10

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – 7/10

Zombieland: Double Tap – 7/10

Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10

The Princess Switch – This was fine. My daughter had watched & liked it so I agreed to watch it with her one night. It’s a wholesome chick flick that’s predictable as F*^K but it won’t do anyone any harm. My daughter was amazed when I predicted the ending within the first ten minutes. Poor kid – I told her that her mom just watches many movies so tends to know how these sort of plots go. She probably thinks I’m a pain in the ass. Anyway, I sort of liked this predictable cheese. We all need some predictable cheese sometimes. And I’m not gonna lie – I’m SO going to be watching The Princess Switch: Switched Again when that comes out. And if there’s a surprise ending that I don’t predict within the first ten minutes, I’ll want my money back. – 6.5/10

The Addams Family – 6/10

The Legacy – 6/10

Shocker – 5.5/10

The Stuff – 5/10

In The Tall Grass – 4/10

Re-Watched:

Wayne’s World – I’m not going to do a mini-review for this movie. If I ever do review this, it needs a full post. This movie is and always will be an all-time favorite of mine. It speaks to me. It’s from my era, set close to where I grew up, I love the same music they do, I knew people exactly like Wayne & Garth, and it’s one of very few movies that I truly find funny. Okay – and I am the female equivalent of Garth Algar. I was a metal-loving, socially awkward nerd who could never talk to my crushes. I had similar hair. And I still wear Converse at all times (well, outside of work). This is the movie that I quote more than any other. I think it’s brilliant and if you badmouth it, you’re on my Shitlist and we can’t be friends. Anyway – I watched this once again the other day as my daughter loves it. She also loves Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. YES! Believe me – she doesn’t just humor me as she dislikes plenty of favorites from my teenage years. I take it as proof that these two films are timeless classics. Yes, I’m serious. Wayne’s World is a comedy classic. It deserves more love. – 9/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Holy SHIT it’s never taken me so long to finish a book. It took months. What a slog. To be honest, it’s a good book. I suppose. At least, the story itself was good. It just honestly didn’t need to be so long. I wouldn’t have minded if the characters were more likeable but, after THAT many pages, you’d think you’d connect with or at least care about the main character. I can’t say that I cared although I did feel a little sorry for him & what he’d been through. His time in Las Vegas especially dragged. Good god. Luckily his friend Boris was highly entertaining, which helped keep me going along with wanting to find out what the hell was gonna happen with The Goldfinch painting. Apparently the movie was boring as hell too according to reviews. That’s a shame, as I think there’s enough content here to make a decent film. – 3/5

In The Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill – 2/5

Currently Reading The Institute by Stephen King – I’m really enjoying this one so far. I’ll probably be finished by the time this posts so I’ll review it soon.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Er, The Walking Dead has started up again. I watched an episode. Or did I watch two? Hard to keep track since nothing ever happens in this fucking show anymore. I know I need a new show to watch but don’t have the time to devote to anything new. What I miss are half hour sitcoms. Why don’t they make sitcoms these days?! I watch worthy enough films – I want lightweight TV so I can switch off my brain. But NOT reality bullshit. A good old sitcom like Seinfeld. Or Friends. Yeah, I like Friends – I’m not one of these anti-Friends snobs! Anyone have any recommendations??

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

November already?! Shit. I’m not ready for Christmas. It’ll be a quiet month on the blog as I’ll be too busy to do many posts. I’ll try to do a post for my 7-year blogiversary at the end of the month.

November Releases I May Want To See: (wow – a lot coming out!)

Brittany Runs A Marathon – Meh. Definitely one to wait for on Netflix.

The Aeronauts – This one looks… Odd. As in, it may be brilliant or it may be a steaming pile of shit. Can’t call it from the trailer.

Midway – War stuff. I’ll probably wait for Netflix. Never a favorite genre of mine, although I’ve loved a few war movies.

The Good Liar – Oh, this looks exciting from the trailer! I do love Helen Mirren & Ian McKellen. Proper ACTORS! Want to see this. (It’s out now. Damn – reviews aren’t good).

Luce – Don’t know much about this. Looks like it may be another one to wait for on Netflix.

Driven – Another one I don’t know anything about. Meh.

Le Mans ’66 – Is this seriously called Ford v Ferrari in America?? That’s a better name. Doesn’t really look like my type of thing but the trailer does look good. Want to see this.

Last Christmas – I’m not a big girly movie girl but do enjoy these kind of films when they’re decent. Plus this has the hot husband from A Simple Favor & Crazy Rich Asians. I’d be a liar if I said I had no interest in seeing this. Looks fun. (This is out now too and also has bad reviews. Damn!!)

Little Monsters – Another zombie comedy horror?? I’ll definitely watch this as it’s a sub genre I really enjoy. Sad to see the reviews aren’t the best.

The Report – I’m sure this will be decent but these kind of dramas are SO not my thing. I tend to only watch them if they end up being nominated for lots of Oscars.

Frozen II – Oh, I’ll definitely go to this. I happily admit that I still think Frozen is great. My daughter is getting to the age where she’s pretending she has no interest in going to see Frozen II. Think she’s slowly changing her mind…

Greener Grass – And another I know nothing about. I need to watch some trailers. It says it’s a comedy so, who knows? I hate most modern comedies.

21 Bridges – Cop drama? Again, not really my thing. Will see what reviews are like.

Judy & Punch – Maybe a Netflix watch.

Ophelia – Again, one for Netflix but would like to check out Daisy Ridley’s performance.

Knives Out – This is the one I’m most looking forward to in November. Hope it’s great! Love the star power in it.

Charlie’s Angels – Meh. May wait for Netflix. Give me Drew Barrymore instead!

Jay And Silent Bob Reboot – I’m middle-aged. I’ll of course watch this Kevin Smith film.

The Nightingale – A horror from the director of the brilliant The Babadook?? DEFINITELY want to see this.

I’ll end this post with with Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I thought Judy was a great film and I’m very glad I watched it.

Judy (2019) Review

Judy (2019)

Directed by Rupert Goold

Based on End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

My Opinion:

I liked this movie a lot and way more than I was expecting. As much as I’m a film lover, I’ve not explored Judy Garland’s stuff at all and know almost nothing about her. It’s strange as The Wizard Of Oz has been one of my favorite movies since I was a kid. I absolutely adore it and everything about it is so iconic. Why did I never watch anything else she’s been in? I suppose it’s because I’m not usually a big fan of musicals. Shameful! I really must explore more of her work.

Maybe I was able to buy into this more as I’m not a massive Judy Garland fan like so many people are? As I never saw much of the real Garland, I was able to fully accept Renée Zellweger as Judy. I’m not sure I’m a Zellweger fan as I’ve never really loved her in anything but I thought she was great in this. I do wonder what Garland experts thought of her performance. I have no idea but I loved it and I felt so much sympathy for her, which I think was important. I think people are often a bit dismissive of “troubled” famous people who overdose. I can’t imagine the pressures involved with fame but it’s clearly a big problem as early death is quite common for stars. And I guess I knew she was young when she died but, damn – it really hit me during this film upon realizing I’m almost the same age now. I know I’m far from young but also far too young to die. I even almost got teary at the end of this film and I’m not one to fall for tearjerkers very often. So, yeah – I think Zellweger did a great job in making Judy seem so human and so sympathetic and in making me want to know more about her now.

I maybe shouldn’t have mentioned the term “tearjerker”. It’s not at all how I’d describe this movie, although it certainly has emotional moments. I’m glad the movie told her story in a very straightforward way without making it into some heavy drama. I hate that over the top Oscar-bait and Judy doesn’t do that. It’s not contrived. It’s a little melancholy but not dreary. As so much of the focus is on her final performances, I would think that Judy fans probably got a lot of enjoyment out of watching this movie & hearing those songs.

I’d say, though, that if you want Garland’s life story this movie isn’t where you’ll get it. Which is fine. It just very much focuses mainly on her last year of life and a tiny bit on her very start in show business. There’s nothing whatsoever in between but, as I always say, if you want a factual full life story you should just watch a documentary. It also gives me a chance to find out more on my own & to explore the movies I missed (I’ve been meaning to watch Meet Me In St. Louis for years). I really liked the focus being that final year.

I should quickly add that everyone else did a very good job in the film as well and it was good to see Judy’s relationships in her final year. But this movie is truly Zellweger’s and Judy is the true star and center of attention. As she deserved to be. I do hope Zellweger gets an Oscar nomination for this and wish the movie had better reviews than it seems to have received. As I said, I think that may be because it’s not dramatic enough for the Academy. For me, it felt more real the way it was presented and I wish life had been easier for Garland.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Joker (2019) Review

Joker (2019)

Directed by Todd Phillips

Based on Characters by DC Comics

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy

Music by Hildur Guðnadóttir

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
An origin story set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.

My Opinion:

I guess it’s about time I review this? As it came out in October, I didnt review it as I was only posting horror movie reviews. Plus I didn’t really have the energy to review it while everyone was freaking out about it on Twitter. While people were using the phrase “toxic white males” yet again (as if ALL humans aren’t toxic pieces of shit) and while America was freaking out about people potentially being shot in cinemas showing Joker since America allows everyone to walk around like armed vigilantes. Do I swear too much?! When I tried typing “cinemas” just now my spellchecker changed it to “cuntbags”. Anyway, while things have calmed down a bit, I’ll now review this. Can’t wait for the next Shitstorm when this is up for Oscars!

This is a good film with a great performance. Is it a masterpiece? Not in my opinion but I wouldn’t argue with those who did love it as I can see the reasons why. I have to admit I’m sick of “comic book” movies but especially sick of Batman & the Joker. I haven’t really liked either character since Tim Burton’s versions in 1989. I’m even almost starting to hate Christopher Nolan’s films as they’re SO overhyped by obsessive fans (although I did think Heath Ledger was very good). Okay – I don’t know Mark Hamill’s version but do love the guy so would likely enjoy his Joker. I have NO knowledge of the comics or these characters beyond what’s been shown in movies. I admit that. This review is based only on my opinion as a lover of film.

What I did like, not being a comic fan, is that Joker didn’t feel at all like a comic book or DC movie. Hell, it barely felt like the Joker character to me. It truly is more like a Martin Scorsese film (specifically The King Of Comedy, as everyone knows). I think Scorsese’s films are very good, although he’s not a favorite director of mine as his movies aren’t usually my type of thing. I did a Scorsese Top Ten list (HERE). I do really like my top five or six and The King Of Comedy is one of them, so I did enjoy Joker’s homage to that film and its brilliant use of Robert De Niro. I liked the film’s tone and its score was perfect for it. I did think Joaquin Phoenix was fantastic and absolutely deserves to be nominated for an Oscar for his performance (even if it sounds like he’s a pain in the ass diva to work with). Yeah, yeah – Actresses aren’t allowed to be “difficult” while actors are called brilliant when they behave that way. I totally agree there’s a double standard there and it’s unfair. I think all artists should be allowed to be difficult (within limits, obviously) if it produces great results. I guess it worked in the case of Joker as it’s certainly Joaquin’s performance of a lifetime. I don’t care – I’ll never work have to work with him! I preferred River Phoenix anyway (R.I.P. – I’ll forever be sad about that one the way younger people still aren’t over Heath Ledger).

I suppose I better address some of the controversy. I’m still a little baffled by it. I can see people thinking the movie may encourage people who feel fucked-over by society to engage in violent and destructive behavior. But movies like this one have existed for years. Why are we suddenly worried that a movie will push some people over the edge? Or is it because of social media that we just hear the complaints more these days? I remember it being controversial but did people freak out quite as much when Natural Born Killers came out?

I think the issue here may be that people think the Joker was portrayed as a sympathetic character and one who disturbed people may see as a sort of hero. I admit that I did feel somewhat sympathetic toward his character to start with. But that was gone by the end. People don’t like that the movie is blaming society for the seeming rise in violent & dangerous men. But, well, it IS to blame. Is it not? Gotham City in this film looks and feels no different than any big American city now. The movie is also trying to make a point about failing those with mental health issues.

Well. Whatever. I don’t give a shit about any controversy. I think there are far more offensive and far more destructive films out there. This is probably the best movie that has the Joker it it. I just wish it wasn’t the Joker. I’d rather it was a regular, non-comic book guy who gets pushed too far. But it’s a very good film. It’s better than most comic book movies. The fact that it is still a comic book movie to me probably keeps me from seeing it as an instant classic the way some people are seeing it. Maybe I’m snobby like Scorsese.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: September 2019

Oops. I’m two months behind. Well, here’s what I watched in September. I’ve managed to review the 2019 releases, linked below. I’ve done mini-reviews of the older films.

MOVIES IN SEPTEMBER

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

It Chapter Two – 7.5/10
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – 7.5/10
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark – 7/10
Crawl – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

It Chapter Two – 7.5/10

Hustlers – 7.5/10

The Farewell – 7.5/10

Midnight Express – I watched this movie as part of my Blind Spot Project so I’ll try to give it a full review by the end of the year. I’ll be honest – I only added it to my list for a) The Giorgio Moroder score and b) John Hurt. Those two things were great, as I’d expected. But the movie overall was just okay and I know it strayed too far from the true story. – 7/10

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark – 7/10

I Am Mother – 7/10

Wild – Finally got around to watching this one for Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar-nominated performance. Interesting – I hadn’t realized that Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay (with the real-life woman, Cheryl Strayed). I love Reese and she was good but, obviously, watching someone walk around in the woods for a couple of hours isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Also… Laura Dern played her MOTHER?? WTF? So I looked up their ages. Nine years apart! I guess maybe the woman’s mom had her as a teen but, come on Hollywood! Dern was good too. The movie is good. It’s wild (ha! Wild!) that this woman walked 1,100 miles to “find herself”. Gotta give her credit! It sounds like it worked. I’d like to find myself too. Preferably from my couch. – 7/10

Home Again – Another Reese Witherspoon movie! Wild is obviously the better film but, if I was honest, I’d admit to enjoying this one more. It’s a lightweight rom-com, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with those when you’re in the right mood. And I needed lightweight after watching Midnight Express! Yikes. Anyway – what I really enjoyed about Home Again was that Witherspoon’s character was the daughter of a famous film director. As a movie lover, I always enjoy films that are about the film industry in some small way (which is why Cinema Paradiso is a favorite film of mine). She’s newly separated from her husband and ends up letting three cute young filmmaker dudes stay in her empty guesthouse. The movie doesn’t exactly break new ground in this genre but the characters were likeable enough and the heartfelt soppy stuff didn’t go overboard or get annoying. The IMDb rating is too low – the movie is perfectly fine. I’m not sure what people were expecting. Maybe more romance? But Reese turns 40 in the movie and has two young daughters so I liked that there was a realistic focus on more than just “romance” in her life. There’s more to life!! – 6.5/10

Juliet, Naked – I read this Nick Hornby book last year (review HERE). It was okay but definitely not a favorite book of his for me. I had to see the movie adaptation, though, especially as it starred Ethan Hawke as the recluse rock star (good casting – it worked well). 6.5/10

Paddington – People won’t shut the hell up about how good Paddington 2 is so I finally talked my daughter into watching the first one to get started (she really didn’t want to). This movie was fine. Paddington is very cute and loveable. I’m guessing the second movie is WAY better, though?? This is certainly nothing all that special. Just a typical, sweet family movie. – 6/10

Rewatched:

Forrest Gump – It had been a long time since I’d seen this one. To be honest, I’ve been a little pissed off at this movie for years knowing it beat the superior The Shawshank Redemption as the Best Picture Oscar winner. It’s a really good film and definitely the kind of thing The Academy goes for, but I’ve never seen it as some epic classic. I mean, it’s not up there with the likes of Gone With The Wind or something. Tom Hanks is great, though. He created a truly iconic character and was deserving of his Oscar. Gary Sinise was also good but the rest of the characters have always fallen a little flat for me (including Sally Field and even Robin Wright’s Jenny). Sorry, Jenny! I totally just said Jenny in my head the way Forrest says it… I actually find most of the characters unlikeable besides Forrest & Bubba (but I suppose that’s kind of the point? Stupid is as stupid does and all that?). The soundtrack is GREAT, though, especially the Vietnam era stuff. God that was a great time for music. Inserting Forrest into bits of history didn’t work as well for me this time, though. The film is also too American (I’m allowed to say that as an American!). Overall, I felt the film hasn’t aged as well as I’d been expecting. But they sure as shit better not do a sequel. I saw the proposed sequel idea and it sounded dreadful. Just leave some movies alone! Forrest Gump is fine how it is. – 7.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

I didn’t spend much time reading in September and the only TV show I watched was a few episodes of Inside No. 9. I’d been wanting to check it out since it sounded weird and a bit “Twilight Zone“, which is my all-time favorite show. So far, it’s like if the brilliant The Twilight Zone hadn’t been a masterpiece of storytelling and was instead really shit. Maybe I’ll give another episode or two a chance. Maybe it gets better? It has sort of a dark humor, which doesn’t really work.

BLOG PLANS FOR OCTOBER

Well, I did October Horror Month again and posted a horror movie review every day of the month. Fun but tiring – I think this was the last year I’ll do that. And I always miss being able to review non-horror during October.

October Releases I Wanted To See:

Joker – Saw it. My review will be posted tomorrow. Good film. The controversy was ridiculous.

Judy – Also saw this. My review will be posted on Monday. Thought this was really good.

Gemini Man – Didn’t bother with this after it got bad reviews. That’s a shame. Will Smith doesn’t seem to know how to pick ’em anymore.

Abominable – Think this is still knocking around at some cinemas. Might still take my daughter to it.

The Day Shall Come – Also didn’t bother with this due to fairly bad reviews.

The Peanut Butter Falcon – Man, I HATE the stars of this one but it’s had some very good reviews. I’ll check it out on Netflix.

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – Saw it. It was surprisingly decent.

Zombieland: Double Tap – Saw it. Okay but disappointing.

Terminator: Dark Fate – Had some fun moments but, overall, this film REALLY pissed me off.

The Addams Family – Meh. Okay but too “cute”. Was aimed at too young of an audience.

Monos – As if this showed anywhere near me… I get so annoyed at only being able to see mainstream movies locally.

Doctor Sleep – SAW IT! Of course. Being a massive Stephen King fan, I saw this opening day. It’s very good but it’s no The Shining.

I try to end with music from one of the movies I watched each month. As the Giorgio Moroder score was a big part of the reason why I chose to watch Midnight Express, here’s The Chase:

I Am Mother (2019) Review

I Am Mother (2019)

Directed by Grant Sputore

Story by Michael Lloyd Green & Grant Sputore

Starring: Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows Daughter, a girl in a post-apocalyptic bunker, being raised by Mother, an android supposed to aid in the repopulation of Earth.

My Opinion:

I don’t watch many of the “direct to Netflix” movies because I’ve been very disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. I did enjoy this one, though. I admit it’s far from perfect but I’m always less picky with sci-fi films for some reason. It’s my favorite genre so I’m always happy to watch some science fiction, even if it’s not perfect. I especially love post-apocalyptic sci-fi (what’s wrong with me??). As long as the story is decent, I’m happy. I Am Mother has a good concept & story.

This is definitely a movie that not everyone will like. It has very few roles; It really is just Clara Rugaard & Hilary Swank with Rose Byrne as the voice of the android raising the girl. So it’s very focused on them and their situation & performances. There are no huge explosions or loads of action or any of that, so don’t expect some Terminator-type movie (by the way, Terminator: Dark Fate pissed me off). If you like slow, serious science fiction & a good story that keeps you guessing, this movie may be your type of thing.

Clara Rugaard was really good as the teenage “Daughter”. I’ve not seen her in anything before. It would be good to see her in other roles now as she really carries this film as the main human character. Hilary Swank was fine as the stranger but I find that sometimes I like her & sometimes I don’t. I thought she was fantastic in Million Dollar Baby and it’s strange how she’s a two-time Oscar winner but hasn’t had big roles since. Her character isn’t exactly likeable here but, hell, there’s been an apocalypse and life has been super shitty for her so I guess we can let her be angry & intense. As for “Mother”, the android, she has an effective design and Byrne’s voice worked well as a very comforting, motherly voice. Which is what this android was of course designed for.

I don’t have a lot more to say about this but it’s one where you’re better off going into it knowing very little about it. I liked that it wasn’t predictable, which most movies are these days. I don’t want to be able to predict the ending from the very start so was happy to be kept guessing throughout this film. The budget probably wasn’t the highest and if you don’t like either of the two main human characters for some reason, you may not enjoy this. But it’s a good, solid sci-fi story that I enjoyed seeing unfold. I thought I Am Mother was better than a lot of bigger budget movies that get full cinema releases.

My Rating: 7/10

The Farewell (2019) Review

The Farewell (2019) (別告訴她) (Bié Gàosù Tā)

Directed by Lulu Wang

Based on What You Don’t Know by Lulu Wang

Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a family who, upon learning their grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide not to tell her and schedule a family gathering before she dies.

My Opinion:

This was a really good & heartwarming family film. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, as Awkwafina can be a little annoying (like in Crazy Rich Asians, although she was also kind of fun in that). But that was a comedy and she’s good here in a very different & much more serious role. It’s not too serious, though. Although a sad topic, this isn’t a dreary film. It’s a lovely film with a likeable family but also plenty of humor.

The film is based partly on writer & director Lulu Wang’s real life experiences. In the story, a family learns that their grandmother has cancer & is dying so they decide to not tell her & instead plan a family gathering by pretending a grandson is going to get married. Granddaughter Awkwafina, having lived in America so long and now being a part of that culture, doesn’t agree with the truth being kept from her grandmother although it’s a common thing to do in China. The grandmother is great and the family feel real. They aren’t perfect and they have their differences & disagreements but they are also clearly very close. I’m afraid this isn’t sounding very exciting from my description! This isn’t some boring tearjerker (it’s a comedy drama). The characters are well developed and you care about them, which can’t be said for a lot of movies. It’s fairly lightweight – it’s not a hard-hitting drama. It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon family film without too much drama and without being too saccharine.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Hustlers (2019) Review

Hustlers (2019)

Directed by Lorene Scafaria

Based on “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler

Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, Cardi B

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a crew of strippers in New York City who begin to steal money by drugging stock traders and CEOs who visit their club, then running up their credit cards.

My Opinion:

Wow. I was NOT expecting to like this one as much as I did. In fact, I had no intention of even going to it until it started getting great reviews. For one thing, Cardi B annoys the shit out of me. But she only has a really small role and, to be honest, she was perfect for it. Also, I’m just really not a chick flick girly girl. However, I do like Jennifer Lopez so figured I’d give this one a chance after all. Good god J-Lo is sexy!!! She’s 50! That BODY! How does she keep that body like that? How can I have a body like that?? I want it. Do I have to stop eating Doritos?!

This turned out to not be a silly “chick flick”, although I suppose it is aimed more at women than men. What I liked is that these characters felt very real. I mean, it IS based on a true story but the character development was very good for Constance Wu’s & Jennifer Lopez’s characters. We didn’t learn anything about the other girls but that didn’t matter as they weren’t the focus of the story. Their friendship felt genuine and Lopez was absolutely brilliant in this role. I’d actually love to see her get a nomination for this role but The Academy is very unlikely to give out awards to a “stripper movie”. Then again, it would be good for their image since everyone thinks the Oscars are all about old white men these days… Nominate J-Lo! She should get an Oscar for her performance and an Oscar for that body.

This movie got the right balance in not demonizing these characters but also not making them into some sort of heroes. You’ll like the main two characters while at the same time thinking “Okay – you need to stop doing this”. What they did was wrong and they knew it was wrong but they were desperate, especially in Wu’s case. It became addicting and they took it too far. I think there was some slight backlash at first as people thought this movie was celebrating stealing from these men but this is not some “Men are evil! Fuck them! Girl power! Woohoo!” movie. Okay, yes – it’s hard to have sympathy for very rich men who visit strippers so it’s hard to see them as true victims here. It still doesn’t make what these girls did okay but the movie doesn’t force an opinion on you – It just presents the story and focuses on the two main characters and their motivations. It’s up to you to decide what you think of them. I just really enjoyed seeing a movie with such strong characters, great pacing & storytelling, and an awesome performance from Jennifer Lopez.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Review

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Directed by Tim Miller

Based on Characters by James Cameron & Gale Anne Hurd

Starring: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.

My Opinion:

Oh – I had no idea that this was released in the UK just over a week before the US?? Woohoo! We always get stuff last! Too bad this one sucked. Well, since it’s out in America today, I guess I better post a quick review.

Why can’t they just let things die?! Okay – I realize this review is starting out very negative. I didn’t HATE this sequel and did get a few moments of enjoyment out of it. But it’s just another completely pointless addition to a franchise that was perfect to begin with. Fuck all these sequels & reboots & remakes. Give us something original.

I’m a very big fan of The Terminator and thought Terminator 2: Judgment Day was great (and one of the all-time best sequels). Everything since has sucked. To be fair, the others didn’t damage the legacy as they were so forgettable. Honestly, I can’t now remember a damn thing that happened past T2. Which is fine as James Cameron has said those are part of an “alternate universe” and Dark Fate is a direct sequel to T2. Dark Fate is indeed better than the previous movies that followed T2. Unfortunately, being a direct sequel with both Linda Hamilton & Arnold Schwarzenegger, it DOES damage the legacy of the first two films. Especially Judgment Day. I’m so pissed off about a couple of things specifically that, any slight enjoyment I got out of seeing Sarah Connor & that kickass Terminator design once again, was completely ruined.

Well, we do indeed get to see Linda Hamilton & Arnold Schwarzenegger again. I admit that I loved that despite being pissed off and they’re by FAR the best things about Dark Fate. I still love the character of Sarah Connor and she still kicks ass, which is fantastic to see from a woman her age. Yes, I’m loving the increase in strong female characters lately, especially those who are over forty. I swear the world sometimes thinks we all cease to exist or be interesting after forty. I hate the strong female character thing when it’s forced, though. It wasn’t with Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley or even Laurie Strode. Nowadays it doesn’t always come naturally as they try to force an agenda into everything. Let stories and characters just be the best they can be by putting whoever will be strongest into a role, no matter who they are or what they might look like. Hamilton & Schwarzenegger are perfection. The new girl, Natalia Reyes, was perfectly fine. I liked that she’s not some kickass female, just like Sarah Connor wasn’t at first. She felt more real that way. However, I thought Mackenzie Davis was extremely miscast, although I’ve liked her in some other roles. I was fine with the extra role for a woman in this one as I thought the friendship between the three worked well. I just don’t think they cast the right actress in her case.

Schwarzenegger, though cool as always and surprisingly funny (should a killer robot dude be funny?!), was a bit wasted. That was a shame. It took way too long for him to show up but luckily he did, as the movie was seriously dragging by that point and needed him to spice things up. Hamilton seemed a bit too cool with seeing him again, though. Remember how much she freaked out in T2?! Not that it matters since, as I said, this movie shits on T2‘s legacy. Oh, I didn’t mention the new Terminator dude (Gabriel Luna). Meh. Who cares? He can do one new very cool trick that I liked but I’m still too pissed off for that to impress me. Oh, and the action gets too far-fetched to be taken at all seriously near the end. I don’t want a Terminator film to be laughable. The first two are classics and should’ve been left the hell alone.

Oh well. As I said, we get to see Schwarzenegger & Hamilton again. I’ll forget this plot in a few years anyway. I’ll be generous with my rating but it’s thanks only to seeing these two reprising their very iconic roles. The rest of the movie wasn’t needed. We didn’t need this!!!

My Rating: 6.5/10

Let’s listen to Brad Fiedel’s awesome Terminator theme. They don’t make movies or music like this anymore…

2019 October Horror Month Roundup & My Top Ten

Happy Halloween! I’ve enjoyed doing Halloween Horror Month yet again but this was probably my last year. It’s too time consuming plus I’m now way behind on reviewing current non-horror movie releases. I’ve also once again watched WAY too many bad horror movies in the past year. Of those below, I only really loved the top two and thought the next few were quite good. The rest of the Top Twenty were decent enough to pass some time but my life would still be complete if I’d seen none of the rest (it might even be better!). I also have a few thrillers as well as full-on horrors on this list.

So, counting down to my favorite, here’s my ranked list of the 43 horrors & thrillers I’ve watched & reviewed since last October:

43-31:

43. Starry Eyes
42. In The Tall Grass
41. Better Watch Out
40. Winchester
39. Bird Box
38. Ghost Stories
37. Cam
36. The Love Witch
35. The Stuff
34. The Funhouse
33. Amber Lake
32. Unsane
31. Slaughterhouse Rulez

30-21:

30. Suspiria (2018)
29. The Sentinel (1977)
28. Shocker
27. The Monster (2016)
26. American Mary
25. The Legacy
24. The Addams Family (2019)
23. Happy Death Day 2U
22. Breaking In
21. Truth Or Dare

20-11:

20. Crawl
19. Curtains (1983)
18. Brightburn
17. Annabelle Comes Home
16. Repulsion
15. Greta
14. Zombieland: Double Tap
13. Pet Sematary (2019)
12. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
11. Searching

Top Ten:

10. Single White Female

9. Ma

8. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

7. Ready Or Not

6. Child’s Play (2019)

5. Us

4. Midsommar

3. It Chapter Two

2. Doctor Sleep

1. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso)

I did also do (very brief) reviews of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep novel and King & son Joe Hill’s short story In The Tall Grass HERE.

I keep using Deep Red imagery in this post because it’s awesome. As is the fantastic Goblin score…

Now I can move onto reviewing the non-horror 2019 releases that I saw in the past two months. Here’s what I’ll try to review over the next month:

Hustlers – 7.5/10
Judy – 7.5/10
Joker – 7.5/10
The Farewell – 7.5/10
I Am Mother – 7/10
Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10 (My review for this is written – I’ll post it tomorrow)

*Yeah, I finally got myself an Unlimited cinema card. I watch way too many movies…

Doctor Sleep (2019) Review

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Based on Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis

Music by The Newton Brothers

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

My Opinion:

I watched Doctor Sleep today and don’t have a lot of time so I’ll keep this very brief. I wanted to quickly write something about it, though, since it makes sense to review it on Halloween. I adore Stephen King and try to read or watch at least one thing of his each October. I love that there’s SO much King content lately (Well, I didn’t love In The Tall Grass. Ugh.) You can find my very short reviews for the Doctor Sleep novel as well as the In The Tall Grass short story HERE.

I’m a huge fan of The Shining. And by that, I mean the Stanley Kubrick film that Stephen King hates. I of course love the novel as well but, as I saw The Shining at a fairly young age, it’s one of very few King adaptations I saw before reading the book. I hate doing it that way around but it can sometimes make you slightly prefer the movie as it’s the version you knew first. I love both the book and the movie but The Shining is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and will forever be one of my all-time favorite films. So I actually had the film version in my head more than the novel as I watched this sequel.

Doctor Sleep is good. From what I remember of the book at this point, it’s a faithful adaptation. Flanagan, who I’m starting to really like and whose adaptation of Gerald’s Game I thoroughly enjoyed, does a good job of keeping the fans of the novels as well as fans of Kubrick’s film happy. It’s no masterpiece, though. I do think it’s been hyped up too much by horror fans.

As for the story itself, I liked it but didn’t love it but I already knew that going into the movie. I far prefer the simplicity of the story in The Shining. I’m someone who does love the supernatural more than any other type of horror but the whole thing with The True Knot was always a bit too far out and silly for me, even for a Stephen King story. The Shining is far more scary as it feels somewhat more plausible and also leaves more to your imagination. Not only is it one of the best psychological horrors with a truly terrifying descent into madness, it’s also a damn good and thoroughly creepy ghost story. We don’t get many good ghost stories. Comparing just the films themselves, Doctor Sleep has none of the special atmosphere of The Shining. I’m not someone who is ever scared by movies but The Shining comes closer than most to being truly scary thanks to its tone and its score and its carpet and I suppose the fact that it was made by such a gifted director. The Shining is a work of art whereas Doctor Sleep is just a good horror movie.

Okay – I’m not sure if I’m making sense since I’ve only just seen this and I’m trying to post a quick review before Halloween is over. I enjoyed Doctor Sleep but it had a hell of a lot to live up to. To be fair, the novel itself didn’t live up to the first book either. I’m glad the movie stayed faithful to the book but am not sure yet how I feel about bits of Stanley Kubrick’s film being recreated. At first I felt a little warm & fuzzy about it but then I kind of maybe didn’t like it so much. Kubrick’s film is beautiful & so iconic. I’m not sure I wanted to ever see it with lookalikes??

Ewan McGregor is fine as Dan Torrance and Kyliegh Curran is likeable as Abra. Their friendship is great but I didn’t really feel a strong connection between them. The true star of this film is actually Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat. She’s awesome! She’s a horrible, evil bitch. Is it weird that I think I have a slight girl crush on her? She’s scary & sexy and one of the best villains we’ve had in horror in quite a while. So, I did enjoy her performance and I did like seeing the story unfold. I watch all Stephen King adaptations and always enjoy them, even when they aren’t so good (which unfortunately has been quite often). I’m happy to say that Doctor Sleep is definitely one of the better adaptations. However, it’s never going to be an all-time favorite of mine the way The Shining, Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption are. I liked this film but I was hoping to love it. I actually think that It Chapter One was a better King adaptation from recent years. Oh well – at least Doctor Sleep did turn out better than It Chapter Two.

My Rating: 8/10

**I haven’t yet added Doctor Sleep to My Stephen King Movie Rankings. I have to give it a bit more time to sink in before I decide where to put it. I’m thinking it’s probably around 9 or 10. I was really hoping it would be higher…

In The Tall Grass (2019) Review

In The Tall Grass (2019)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Based on In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill

Starring: Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out… and that something evil lurks within.

My Opinion:

I reviewed this Joe Hill & Stephen King short story earlier today (review HERE). They’re my favorite authors and I read and watch all things Stephen King-related so I of course had to check this out. Well, the short story is certainly never going to be a favorite story of mine from either writer. It has the movie beat, though. I know there have been some godawful King movie adaptations and In The Tall Grass is unfortunately one of the bad ones.

I suspected that it would go all wrong. This is a very short story so I knew they’d have to add stuff to stretch it out into a 1 hour 41 minute movie. Making shit up rarely works and the additional stuff they added was stupid as shit. Here’s what they added (SPOILERS):

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The boyfriend, who isn’t in the story AT ALL (don’t think he was really even mentioned) and that TIME LOOP BULLSHIT. WTF was with the time travel shit?! That’s not in the story! Also… that “happy” ending. Why? Can people not have unhappy endings anymore?? The movie adaptation started out fine and seemed to be following the story pretty closely. Then the boyfriend showed up and started bouncing around in time and they all found each other in the tall grass. What?! A main part of the story is that THEY CAN’T FIND EACH OTHER IN THE GRASS even when it sounds like they’re right next to each other!!!

Why, of all the stories to adapt, did they choose this one? And why, of all the additional things they could’ve added to this movie, did they decide to go with time loop shit? It was ridiculous and made zero sense. They took a pretty straightforward creepy story and turned it into a silly, incoherent mess. The characters also had zero development, which was pretty amazing considering the 40ish page story managed to do okay with the brother and sister but the hour and a half film left you knowing nothing about them. The acting was also dreadful, especially from the guy playing the brother and Patrick Wilson (but I’ve always found him a bore). The icky stuff that turned me off of the book was in this too but not really focused on (and undone with time loop bullshit anyway). Hill and King have SO many absolutely brilliant short stories. Why someone took a fairly bad one and decided to make it a thousand times worse by changing it so much is beyond me.

My Rating: 4/10

I need to add this to my ranked list of all Stephen King Movie Adaptations. It’s probably third from the bottom (out of 45). I’m seeing Doctor Sleep tomorrow. Hoping it’s MUCH better than this!

I’ll try to review Doctor Sleep tomorrow but, if I don’t have time, I do already have my review of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) scheduled to post as this year’s Halloween review. I liked it a lot, which makes up for all the bad horrors I watched this year.

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019) & The Addams Family (2019) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! I realized I’ve reviewed no “scary” kids’ movies this October. Well, The Addams Family fits in with Halloween. I suppose I’ll squeeze in my review of Maleficent as well since she IS Disney’s best villain. She’d also make for a kickass Halloween costume…

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019)

Directed by Joachim Rønning

Based on Characters from: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty & La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Michelle Pfeiffer, Warwick Davis

Production company: Walt Disney Pictures & Roth Films

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting. I did actually quite like the first Maleficent (review HERE). However, I’m becoming more and more annoyed at all the pointless live action Disney films being made. It’s come to the point this year where I’ve decided to stop going to see the remakes as I don’t want to support them. I didn’t watch Aladdin or The Lion King. After Beauty And The Beast, I’d had enough. Leave the classics alone! But I don’t really mind when they do things like Maleficent. Is it yet another Disney cashgrab? Of course it is. But at least it’s a new story. It’s not taking an existing beloved Disney classic and making the EXACT same movie again but with real-life annoying actors like Emma Watson and none of the beauty or magic of the animated films.

Having said that, I have to admit that (along with Beauty And The Beast) Sleeping Beauty is probably my favorite Disney movie. I think it’s sadly extremely underrated due to Aurora herself being a dreadful bore. But its visuals are absolutely gorgeous, the music is fantastic, Maleficent is the coolest villain, and I adore those fairies. So you’d think that I’d not want it touched but, as the Maleficent movies have such a vastly different take on the story, I don’t see them as part of the same universe. Whereas I may not be able to watch the animated Beauty And The Beast again without picturing Emma Watson.

I think Angelina Jolie is great as Maleficent and her look is amazing. She’s probably a little too sexy in this, though. It’s a kids’ film! I think bored dads won’t complain when she’s suddenly wearing far less clothing than usual at one point (lots of leg on display). Damn. I wish I looked like that. I’d even take the wings & horns if I could look that sexy. I’m suddenly wondering if there’s creepy Fifty Shades-style Maleficent fan fiction out there (probably).

Plus we also get the gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer in this one, which I loved as I’m a fan. I’m now thinking I can finally talk my daughter into watching Ladyhawke with me as she’s seen Pfeiffer in a few other things recently (love that movie!). Anyway, Jolie & Pfeiffer are a lot of fun to watch together in this and both have that true “Hollywood star” screen presence. They make this movie better than it otherwise might have been with different actresses.

The story itself is fine. Is it predictable? Yes, but no more so than any Disney movie. That’s what you expect from a family Disney movie so there’s nothing wrong with that. Elle Fanning is good as Aurora and the relationship her character has with Maleficent continues to work surprisingly well. The three fairies continue to be annoying as hell but at least I was prepared to hate them this time around. As I love the animated fairies so much, I absolutely hated what they’d done with them in the first film. They’re obnoxious. That’s my only big complaint, though. And, again, it doesn’t ruin the animated film for me as I don’t see them as the same characters as they’re so different.

I also liked the addition of some very cutesy creatures but know that not everyone will go for weird, cutesy CGI creatures. Hey, it’s Disney – I’m fine with some cutesy stuff to balance out the stirrings of S&M Maleficent fantasies Jolie and her sexy new dark fairies have probably awakened in some viewers. Some viewers. Definitely not me. Nope. (Maybe). We also got Warwick Davis in this with a fairly decent amount of screen time compared to other roles of his. Yay! Love him. Prince Philip is a bit bland but, who cares? These movies focus more on the strong female characters plus it makes up for Aurora being the bland one in the animated film. The three female leads are truly what make this film, though. It’s otherwise just your usual Disney movie but the three main characters, especially Maleficent, are better than what we’ve had in any of the straightforward live-action copies.

My Rating: 7/10

The Addams Family (2019)

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Based on Characters by Charles Addams

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family.

My Opinion:

I went on about Maleficent for ages so I’ll keep this shorter as I don’t have a lot to say about this one anyway. This movie was fine. It was a very “cutesy” version of The Addams Family, which felt a bit odd as it still had the dark humor. I can’t quite figure out what ages they were targeting here. I think they made it too young this time around. The dark humor won’t work on the really young kids and the younger animated style won’t work on the slightly older kids, especially if they’re fans of the early 90’s films. And it especially won’t work for teenagers, unlike the 90’s movies which I believe had (and still has) teenage fans.

I was too young for the 60’s TV show (despite watching reruns of many old shows as a kid – I just never watched The Addams Family). Then I was slightly too old for the movies (late teens). So I missed out on the hype but I know that kids (now adults) of the right sort of ages in the early Nineties still adore those movies. I’ve watched them again recently with my daughter and she likes them a lot. I think they’ve aged really well and would easily gain a new generation of fans if they see them. I have a new appreciation for them as I can see the appeal for quite a wide range of ages, from probably age 8 or so up to adults. They were proper “family” movies. Morticia and Gomez are great adult characters (Anjelica Huston was perfection) and what teenager, Goth or not, doesn’t love Wednesday Addams? She’s loads of evil fun. She’s certainly my daughter’s favorite.

Luckily, this animated version does an okay job with Morticia and Wednesday. They’re still the best characters and I liked the teenage rebellion going on (loved the pink unicorn hairclip). Uncle Fester was fun and Cousin It was adorable (but making him a “Pimp Daddy”, although briefly kind of funny, will date the film). I just… I… I don’t know. I got some giggles out of this one. I love dark humor and like Wednesday always trying to kill her brother and thought her “noose hair” was cool. But does noose hair work in a very kiddie version of The Addams Family??

I just found the tone of this so confusing that it was difficult to fully enjoy it. There were very young kids at this one and the movie didn’t hold their attention at all, probably because they won’t have understood the humor. My daughter did like it but I think it’ll help that she’s in the very small age range who might like this one (I’d say between 8 & 11). It’s just a shame as The Addams Family is such a great creation and I don’t think this movie has done these kooky characters justice. I don’t think it has harmed the franchise, however. I just think they should’ve focused on making this version more enjoyable for all ages as there are now fans who are my daughter’s age, who are my age (almost) from the 1990s, as well as people who will have been fans since seeing the TV show when they were kids in the 1960s. I think they’ve really missed a trick this time as this version won’t attract a new generation of fans in the way the 90’s films managed to do so successfully.

My Rating: 6/10

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Review

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed the first Zombieland. It even just made it into my list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies. Is the sequel as good as the first film? Of course not. Are they ever? You’re talking ten years since the last one, though. We’ve had zombie overload since then. We’ve had almost ten years of The Walking Dead, which gets more and more and MORE shit every year (why do I keep watching it?!). Double Tap has nothing that feels the tiniest bit original, while I think the first film managed a bit of originality despite not being the first zom-com. I’m a little disappointed but admit that I like these characters and enjoyed seeing them again. Well, maybe not Jesse Eisenberg (Twat).

I have sequel review burnout. I’m running out of things to say about cashgrab sequels & reboots & remakes. I’m also bored with October Horror Month. I want to review the non-horror stuff I’ve seen lately. Joker. Judy. Hustlers. The Farewell. Terminator: Dark Fate, which I saw last night and am hating more and more as I think about it. Leave classics the fuck alone! I think Dark Fate is what’s made me lose the desire to write about pointless sequels. Double Tap didn’t piss me off like Dark Fate, though. It wasn’t a sequel that we needed but there’s no harm in it.

Meh. Woody Harrelson is by far the best thing about these two movies and I really enjoyed his character once again. I could kind of take or leave the rest of them, though, and I don’t think the new additions were anything special. Zoey Deutch was fun but kind of wasted as I think she deserved a better character. And… Hmm. Zombies. There are zombies. The movie is actually less gory than The Walking Dead but the zombie kills are more fun. Maybe The Walking Dead should add some humor to stop the show being so damn boring.

My Rating: 7/10

My rating is too high. I think I’m just being nice because I like Woody.

Oh, and they opened this movie with Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. So we’ll say my rating got an extra half a point for Woody and half a point for using one of Metallica’s best songs…

Ready Or Not (2019) Review

Ready Or Not (2019)

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett

Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Samara Weaving as a newlywed who becomes hunted by her spouse’s family as part of their wedding night ritual.

My Opinion:

I’ll keep this brief. I enjoyed this film but I do absolutely love the “horror comedy” genre. I of course did a top ten once (My Top Ten Horror Comedies). So, as far as this genre goes, I have to say that Ready Or Not comes nowhere near making it onto my Top Ten list. It was a fun one-time watch, though, and I loved the ending. I’m often disappointed with how horror movies end so that was a plus.


I agree with everyone saying that Samara Weaving was good in this. She’s certainly the star, as expected, but I’d say the rest of the characters are weak in comparison. I’d say we also don’t get a lot of character development when it comes to her character – just a very tiny bit of backstory involving foster homes. But it’s a pretty ridiculous setup anyway and it’s a comedy so I wasn’t exactly expecting anything too “deep”. It will be fun to see how she does as Bill S. Preston’s daughter in Bill & Ted Face The Music. I can’t wait for that movie!!! To be honest, I think her role in The Babysitter was more fun than in this but I think Ready Or Not is definitely the better movie of the two.


Be warned that this one is pretty gory. It’s rated 18, which is very rare in the UK these days unless it’s a Tarantino movie. A lot of it is very fake gore, though, as it’s played for laughs. I did worry beforehand that this might be similar to You’re Next as the trailer gave me the same vibe for some reason. Luckily, it’s far more enjoyable (I kind of hated You’re Next). I’d have liked even more humor than there was, but maybe that’s just me. This movie doesn’t go as all out on the comedy as in something like Grabbers but the few big laughs did get a good reaction from the crowd. It very much sticks with only dark humor, which works perfectly for the ending that I really enjoyed. Overall, Ready Or Not is a fun addition to the horror comedy genre but, as we have so many great horror comedies, I wouldn’t say it feels quite as original or unique as people are saying. Maybe I just watch too many movies…

My Rating: 7/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2019

Happy Almost-End-Of September! Where did August go?! I spent half of it in America & half of it mega busy with work but still managed to watch some movies (Six on airplanes – What the hell else can you do on a plane?!). Here’s what I watched & read in August…

MOVIES IN AUGUST

I saw Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood while in America & Crawl in the UK (links to my reviews are below). I also saw four 2019 UK movie releases on the plane trips so reviewed those in a separate post (also linked below). I’ve done mini-reviews of the rest…

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – 7.5/10


Green Book – 7.5/10


Sorry To Bother You – This movie was a little mental but, overall, fairly entertaining. It’s very hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t seen it and also one that’s absolutely impossible to recommend to anyone unless you know their tastes really well. Now, I absolutely love “weird” movies. The problem here is that it’s not weird enough. It’s quite straightforward through most of it – it only suddenly gets weird at the end (think From Dusk Till Dawn). I’d have liked more weirdness. Strangely, it gave me Joe Versus The Volcano vibes, though I have NO idea why (but only during scenes set in the dreary workplace office). It just reminded me that I badly need to rewatch that underrated film… But where was I? I’m getting off track! I have no idea how to review this film. I enjoyed it but it’s one where I can’t imagine ever watching it again for any reason. The strongest thing about it are the characters and I especially liked Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Steven Yeun (probably because his character Glenn was one of very few characters that I actually liked in The Walking Dead). Oh, and I loved Tessa Thompson’s funky earrings and cool sort of 80’s style. How did I not even realize that the smarmy guy was Armie Hammer? He just has such a nondescript smarmy face. Well, I liked this movie as a one-time watch and won’t forget it. It wasn’t perfect and didn’t fully work for me but it’s the kind of indie movie I’d like to see more of: Creative & highly original instead of just boring navel-gazing and hateful characters (I’m looking at you, Eighth Grade movie!). – 7/10


The Hate U Give – This was a fairly decent look at a very serious issue, albeit from a very YA perspective. I’d been thinking about reading the Young Adult novel first but never got around to it, so I can only judge this based on the movie itself. It’s certainly no Boyz N The Hood but I see no problem with raising awareness by aiming a story at a slightly younger audience. Amandla Stenberg is good – I enjoyed her in The Hunger Games & Everything, Everything (she’s certainly in some of the biggest YA stuff!). Other than her character, though, I’d say a lot of the others were a bit one-dimensional (especially her annoying school friend). I don’t mean to sound too down on this one as it’s a pretty good film but it does suffer a little bit from the YA feel and a slightly too perfect “things might be okay” sort of ending. But not everything has to be gritty – it’s good if this movie has given a more mainstream audience an insight into this issue. – 7/10


Bad Times At The El Royale – Well, this was an odd one and not quite what I was expecting. I’d been super annoyed at missing this after loving the look of a skinny, shirtless, Jesus-looking Chris Hemsworth in the trailers. Just FYI if you’re wanting shirtless Hemsworth – he doesn’t show up until an hour into the movie and his character is extremely hateful. Damn – how can you make someone as loveable as Chris play someone hateful?! I did like the strange atmosphere to this film and the 60’s setting and the mysterious & creepy hotel but the strangers’ stories were a mess and didn’t seem to have any sort of point. You also certainly aren’t made to care about any of them, other than maybe the two characters played by Jeff Bridges & Cynthia Erivo, who are the true standouts of this film and by far the best things about it. Dakota Johnson is as underwhelming as always and, as I said, can we not make Hemsworth a bad guy ever again? I love him but, honestly – it didn’t work. Sorry, Chris! It was completely unbelievable. Overall, I did like that this movie felt a little bit unique and thought Bridges and Erivo were great together and fun to watch but, man – the movie is just kind of a mess. – 6.5/10


Crawl – 6.5/10


Instant Family – 6.5/10


Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 6.5/10


Mortal Engines – Look! Yet another adaptation of a dystopian YA novel! Hey, I’m not exactly complaining since dystopian YA is a huge guilty pleasure genre of mine but I think the general public has had enough of it. I did read this book (mini-review here) and really enjoyed it but it was mainly because I loved the bizarre concept. Basically, the cities in this dystopian future are on wheels and go around devouring smaller cities (I suppose there’s some sort of political message there). The characters could’ve been stronger but the story was enough fun that I didn’t care too much. Well, shit – this movie was pretty terrible but I can’t explain why as, from what I remember, it’s a fairly faithful adaptation. I was just bored. It should’ve been Mad Max: Fury Road levels of craziness but it was bland and the characters were so underdeveloped and uninteresting, although that was a fault with the book as well. They also shifted the focus onto the girl in the film, which is fine, but it meant they spent far too little time on the boy who’s the main character in the book. By the way, the girl is also WAY more disfigured in the book so they really did try to make her “Hollywood pretty” in the film. It’s just a surprisingly forgettable movie for one with such a nutso concept and I can’t see this having done well enough to warrant any of the remaining books being adapted. What a shame. If you like the sound of this concept, just watch Howl’s Moving Castle instead. – 5/10


Eighth Grade – 5/10

Re-Watched:

Adventures In Babysitting Yes, I still love this movie. It’s a personal favorite. – 8.5/10

Big Daddy – I don’t care what anyone says about Adam Sandler. Yes, he has some really bad movies but he also has several that I really like. The Wedding Singer is his best by far and I love it but I think Big Daddy is good too and doesn’t get enough credit – It’s definitely one of his better films. I mean, come on – it’s quotable and the kid is cute. “I wipe my own ass! I wipe my own ass!!“. Ha. I love that bit. And we once again get a small Steve Buscemi cameo! It’s not as hilarious as his Wedding Singer cameo but it’s still fun. And it’s even a little bit sweet and heartfelt without being over-the-top saccharine and annoying. Plus, quite frankly, Sandler’s character is likeable in this one. I like this movie. I like Scuba Steve. Screw snobby film critics. – 7/10

The Dark Crystal (1982) – I watched this since the new series was coming up and I’d not seen this in years and honestly couldn’t remember a thing about it. I adored the look of it. Of course! It’s Jim Henson! I’m an 80’s kid so I’m a sucker for his work. This is no Labyrinth, though – I’ll be honest and say that I still far prefer Labyrinth. I might have even snoozed through The Dark Crystal a little bit. Blasphemy, I know! I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll watch it again sometime. I did watch the first episode of the new Netflix series so I’ll try to get back to that when life is a little less hectic. – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Shattered by Dean Koontz – Well, as I said I went to America in August so I needed a light & easy read to bring with me. I love Dean Koontz but I have to admit that his novels are usually light & easy reads so he was of course my first choice of author to bring along. Shattered is one of his older books (first published in 1973 under the pseudonym K.R. Dwyer) so it was perfect as it was short since he didn’t get so overly wordy in his older books. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “Artist Alex Doyle and his new family, bride Courtney and her 11-year-old brother Colin, are moving from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Courtney’s flying out ahead to get the house set up. Alex and Colin are driving there in Alex’s new Ford Thunderbird. The cross-country trip starts out as a bonding experience, but their car is being tailed by a van; a van driven by a psychopath intent on terrorizing them.” This book was perfectly fine. For its short length, the characters were developed well enough (other than the wife, but there’s not much focus on her as she’s not the one being stalked on the journey). She’s a little too perfect & beautiful, though, like most female Koontz characters. My only issue with this book is that it ended way too abruptly. Loads of build-up and then, BOOM, it was over. Huh. Kind of like sex. – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Stranger ThingsUm. I can’t, uh, even make it through Season 3 of Stranger Things. I think I have only two or three episodes to go but can’t even be bothered to get back to them. Everyone seemed to love it, though. Are the hubby & I the only ones not feeling Stranger Things anymore?? So disappointing after Season 1 was so enjoyable.

BLOG PLANS FOR SEPTEMBER

Ha! Well, the month is pretty much over. Crap… It’s almost October! I usually do October Horror Month but don’t think I’ll have time. Maybe I’ll try to re-post mini reviews of the many horror movies I’ve watched this year.

September Movies I Want To See:

It Chapter Two – Seen it! Thoroughly enjoyed it. My review is HERE.

Hustlers – Well, I had no interest in this as the thought of watching Cardi B makes me cringe but it’s had such surprisingly good reviews that I just might check it out…

Ad Astra – Sci-fi is my favorite genre and I badly want to see this.

Rambo: Last Blood – Nah! I’m not bothered but thought I should mention that it’s out.

The Farewell – Looks good! Going to try to go this week.

Ready Or Not – Looking forward to this after it got great reviews. Looks a bit fucked-up! I love fucked-up…

The Goldfinch – Shit! Not happy this has had such terrible reviews as I’ve been working my way through the extremely long novel for MONTHS and I’m finally almost finished with the damn thing.

Poms – Looks a bit stupid but the cast is great so I’ll catch this one on Netflix when having a girly night alone.

There was no great music in what I watched in August other than Adventures In Babysitting (which has an awesome soundtrack). Here’s the Iggy Pop song Real Wild Child (Wild One) that’s in the film. Love it.

Green Book, Instant Family, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & Eighth Grade Movie Reviews

I managed to see four 2019 UK cinema releases while on planes to and from America in August (I realize they were 2018 releases in the US). I’d not flown anywhere for years – When did the movie selection get so good & recent?? I figured I’d give these quickie reviews since I try to review all UK film releases each year. I’ll start with the best and end with the worst…

Green Book (2018)

Directed by Peter Farrelly

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in 1962, the film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Italian American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard.

My Opinion:

I’m glad I managed to catch up on seeing this controversial Best Picture Oscar winner. I enjoyed it. I know there’s a lot of hate for this one but I thought the performances were strong and I always like stories involving an unlikely friendship between two very different personalities. I thought Mahershala Ali was great in Moonlight and, at the time, was hoping he’d get more roles so I’m happy that’s happening (and that he keeps winning Oscars). I thought his character & Viggo Mortensen’s worked well together and it felt realistic in that the friendship was often awkward and grew very slowly as they were so different.

Is it true to their real life story? I think some of the controversy comes from Don Shirley’s family saying the two weren’t friends at all (the film was co-written by Frank Vallelonga’s son) but interviews with Shirley himself say differently. Who knows? That’s just what I read at Wikipedia to try to find out what caused the controversy surrounding this movie but I’ve read no more than that. I love movies for their escapism so don’t often go for the “true story” films anyway. I like to think it’s all true but know that movies always play up the feelgood factor. As long as it doesn’t feel too over the top & phony, I’m happy enough with a little bit of feelgood cheese.

At least Green Book keeps it fairly real as things are far from perfect during their journey but I’d have liked a tiny bit more focus on the history of the actual Green Book itself (but that would easily make for another whole separate movie). The focus here is on the friendship between the two men and, as far as roadtrip friendship movies go, I found Green Book enjoyable despite any issues surrounding it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Instant Family (2018)

Directed by Sean Anders

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty, Octavia Spencer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A couple find themselves in over their heads when they foster three children.

My Opinion:

This movie was fine. It actually had a great IMDb rating when it came out in the U.K. and I’d really wanted to see it but the feelgood cheese (as I mentioned in my Green Book review) was a little too much at times in this one.

To be fair, though, this movie was marketed as a comedy drama so it kept things fairly light instead of being a hard-hitting drama at all times (which isn’t my thing anyway – real life is depressing enough!). I just think that this situation in real life would probably be far more challenging than depicted and, for whatever reason, I never felt a strong connection between the couple and the foster kids although the actors all did a perfectly fine job.

The strongest performance was from Isabela Moner as the headstrong and challenging teenager. She was tough but not totally hateful, which is often a danger with teenage characters. The relationship between her character & Rose Byrne’s felt the most realistic and it was nice seeing those two grow closer. Overall, Instant Family was a nice and somewhat safe film that was at times a tiny bit contrived but, oh well – A feelgood film never killed anyone.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Directed by Marielle Heller

Based on Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a biographical film based on the confessional memoir of the same name by Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel, and the story follows her attempts to revitalize her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights.

My Opinion:

This was a pretty typical movie with Oscar nominations for acting: The acting was fantastic but the movie was just okay. The true story is actually pretty interesting but I guess it didn’t translate well to film as I was a bit bored throughout the movie. However, Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant were so great and such entertaining characters that this one was still well worth a watch to see their Oscar-nominated performances. I think both of them haven’t gotten enough credit over the years (Yes, even McCarthy, whose brand of humor isn’t my thing for the most part but I can see why she has fans). It’s great that they got recognition for their parts in this film as they’re what made it enjoyable and they had really good chemistry. I’ll keep this short, though, as I honestly have nothing else to say about this movie. Good story, a little slow & boring at times, but fantastic performances and interesting characters.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Eighth Grade (2018)

Directed & Written by Bo Burnham

Starring: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Fred Hechinger

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The coming-of-age story follows the life and struggles of an eighth-grader, played by Elsie Fisher, during her last week of classes before graduating to high school. She struggles with social anxiety but produces vlogs giving life advice.

My Opinion:

This came out aaaaages ago in America but was only finally released in the UK in April this year. It got brilliant reviews from “Film Twitter” people and, even though I’m an old lady, I’m still always up for a really good coming of age film ever since falling in love with Stand By Me during my own coming of age years. Plus, I can relate to the whole socially awkward thing since I’m still awkward as shit.

Well, damn – This movie was very disappointing. I’ll say that the actress, Elsie Fisher, did a good job and felt very real (she seems sweet – I have nothing bad to say about the actress). She also did the socially awkward thing extremely well so, in that regard, I identified with her (even though she was actually far more awkward than I ever was!). However, I couldn’t relate to the character in any other way whatsoever. I know that pre & early teens can be annoying as hell but her character really was a bit too hateful for me to care at all what would happen to her. And her dad just put up with her whiny bullshit and her being a bitch to him and he didn’t monitor her time spent online AT ALL.

Yeah, yeah – I know I’m sounding old. But, seriously – keep your kids away from all forms of social media as long as fucking possible! It’s dangerous. And if you can’t do that for some reason, monitor what the hell they’re doing! FYI – the girl is a vlogger and this movie is NOT about the dangers of living a phony online existence – It’s just about not fitting in during the most awkward time of life. I’m simply having my own personal rant because seeing young girls living out their lives online and pretending to be something they’re not breaks my damn heart. Do we seriously need a whole generation of superficial KardashiJenners?! I can’t stand that fake bullshit and don’t want real-life girls like this character committing suicide when they can’t live up to the impossible standards set by “influencers” and people with an unlimited supply of money.

No, this movie isn’t about suicide or depression or anything like that – It’s a “comedy” drama, supposedly. Maybe I just AM too old for teen movies now as I found Booksmart disappointing as well. However, I thought The Edge Of Seventeen was very good and a more realistic portrayal of being a teen. I don’t know – I just think Eighth Grade would’ve been better with a more likeable and therefore more sympathetic main character. And possibly with “comedy” that was actually funny – I had to double check to see if this was actually considered a comedy. It also felt like it dragged on forever, despite being a short film. It has one of those typical meandering indie movie storylines that doesn’t go anywhere – I don’t know how I managed to stay awake watching this one on the plane. I suppose that reading all the hype for this one while waiting at least a year for it to come out in the UK didn’t help either as my expectations were probably way too high. What a massive disappointment.

My Rating: 5/10

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019) Review

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)

Directed by André Øvredal

Story by Guillermo del Toro, Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan

Based on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Starring: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives.

My Opinion:

I went into this film with zero knowledge of the short story collections it’s based on. How in the hell did I not know about scary books published during my childhood and aimed specifically at “middle school kids”?! I was a kid obsessed with weird and/or scary stories! My favorite childhood TV shows were the original The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents! I loved Christopher Pike and, when a bit older, Stephen King (still do)! I’d have loved Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark!!

Well, this movie was a pleasant surprise. Obviously, I’m reviewing this as someone who’s not read the source material so I don’t know how fans feel or how faithful this adaptation is. But I thought it was a very effective and surprisingly scary movie aimed at pre to mid teens. Hell – I don’t know the US rating but it’s a 15 in the U.K., meaning you have to be 15 to be allowed to see it. There’s actually no gore or anything like that – the only warning was “prolonged & intense scenes of horror” (or something along those lines). So to get a 15 rating simply for that does show that it’s quite intense for the slightly younger audience it’s aimed at. I do wonder how people feel about it as not many horror films are aimed at the pre to mid teen market. It’ll be too “tame” for hardcore horror fans but far too intense for younger people expecting a Goosebumps type of film. Personally, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I liked the “horror middle ground”. We need to get more kids hooked on scary stories these days!

I also really enjoyed the setting (1968 small town America) and the fact that the movie started with Donovan’s fantastic Season Of The Witch – That song is bloody awesome. It’s also set at Halloween, which is always good fun for a scary film. The characters were likeable teens and the main girl, played by Zoe Colletti, was especially good. It’s of course sort of a horror anthology, with each character being affected by a different story. This was very entertaining but I’ve always been a big fan of horror anthologies. The separate stories were also linked to one overall story/mystery that was also quite good.

Honestly, I have zero complaints about this movie and I’m normally extremely picky about horror films. If you watch it, just bear in mind that it’s aimed at teens so don’t judge it compared to adult horrors. Oh, I also loved that it used practical effects (as far as I’m aware?). I absolutely hate dodgy looking CGI in horror movies and the terribly cheesy CGI in It Chapter Two was my biggest (but only) complaint about that movie. It’s just pretty bad when a “horror movie for kids” is one of the better horror films we’ve had recently. I think I’m going to go read all the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books now…

My Rating: 7/10

Crawl (2019) Review

Crawl (2019)

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Produced by Craig J. Flores, Sam Raimi, Alexandre Aja

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Crawl stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper as a daughter and father, who along with their dog are hunted by alligators after becoming trapped in their home during a Category 5 hurricane.

My Opinion:

Oh my god I’m so stressed! Work is manic at the moment. But I want to catch up on reviewing the films I’ve seen in the cinema. So here’s a quickie for Crawl since I don’t have much to say about it.

Crawl was fine. I mean, it’s a movie about people being attacked by huge fucking alligators in a goddamn hurricane. It’s absolutely ridiculous! But it’s meant to be, right? Gotta admit that I loved the idea of a disaster movie, which is sort of a guilty pleasure genre for me, crossed with a horror film. And it kind of works, although I’d have liked better character development. I know, I know – That’s asking a bit much for a movie like this. I just got more enjoyment out of the equally ridiculous The Meg last year as the characters were far more fun and likeable. But fuck that movie – it only had a 75-foot-long megalodon shark. It didn’t have a 75-foot-long megalodon shark during a hurricane or earthquake or killer meteor shower or a goddamn nuclear apocalypse or something.

Well. Yeah. Crawl is fine. If you like the “killer alligators during a hurricane” idea, you’ll like this movie just fine. It’s what I expected but would have been a bit better if I’d cared more about the characters. I disliked Kaya Scodelario but can’t say why so, whatever – Just ignore me! The movie is also a bit too silly at times but I suppose it would’ve been boring if it hadn’t been ridiculous. And it was slightly boring until the alligators showed up, which took far too long.

My Rating: 6.5/10

It Chapter Two (2019) Review

It Chapter Two (2019)

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Based on It by Stephen King

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’ll say that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I love all his books. I love all the movie adaptations of his books (even the really really BAD adaptations, of which there have been plenty). I adored 2017’s Chapter 1 of It. It Chapter Two was my most anticipated film of 2019. And I liked it a lot, as I fully expected that I would despite some bad early reviews. So bear in mind that I’m a massive fan so, of course, I’m likely to have enjoyed it far more than anyone who isn’t a King fan.


I will have also enjoyed this movie far more than any full-on horror fans will have. Let’s face it – It is closer to Stand By Me than The Shining. It’s a great coming of age story with fantastic characters and strong characters are what really sell a story to me. Honestly, I don’t find either this or the 1990 adaptation at all scary. Skarsgård and Curry clearly had fun as Pennywise but I don’t care about Pennywise as a “character”. The story isn’t about Pennywise – It’s about the Losers Club and the strength of their friendship. This new adaptation is especially strong when it comes to the Losers Club. Each one of them is extremely well-developed, especially for a “horror” movie. And the casting was absolutely perfect when it came to the kid actors and almost perfect when it came to their adult counterparts. Is Chapter 1 better? Hell yeah! Of course it is, which I fully expected. A “coming of age” story works better when focused on the kids who are actually that age. It’s far more fun than watching them all grown up (which I’m sure the director & writers realized, which is why the kids ended up being in Chapter 2 a hell of a lot). By the way – They de-aged the kids which, apparently, some people found very distracting. I guess I’m just completely unobservant since I didn’t even notice that.

It Chapter Two is far from perfect, though, which I’m fully willing to admit. I’m just very forgiving of the faults as I like the characters so much. The horror elements are far too cheesy for me personally. I prefer a creepy atmosphere and “not seeing too much”. A little mystery is more scary to me than an actor in a clown suit. I also hate silly CGI in horror and there’s a lot of very dodgy effects in this film that had the audience laughing, especially at the end. Again, it didn’t really bother me too much as I cared more about the characters than the “scary” horror moments but I’m sure there will be plenty of horror fans who don’t like this movie thanks to the cheesy effects. I wasn’t a fan of director Andy Muschietti’s film Mama because of the cheesy CGI and, dammit, It Chapter Two looks very similar when it comes to the “monsters”.


Luckily, as I said, the characters are so good that it made up for the unsatisfying scares for me. James McAvoy was a bit “so what”, which was disappointing after he gave his all in Glass. Jessica Chastain was fine but I felt like anyone could’ve played that role and I actually had hoped beforehand that unknowns would be cast. But if going with big names, why not Amy Adams?! Adams looks exactly like Sophia Lillis! Chastain doesn’t. Oh well – Chastain was fine and actually better than I’d hoped (I find her overrated). No one did a bad job – Every adult actor felt like they truly did study the child actors’ performances to make it believable that these are the adults they became. As many have already said, though, it was James Ransone as Eddie & especially Bill Hader as Richie who really stole the show. Loved them! Their characters added so much emotion to this film; From laughter to heartbreak. It was nice to see the “lesser” characters shine instead of all focus being mainly on just Beverly (Chastain) and Bill (McAvoy).

Well, I enjoyed It Chapter Two. Yes, the first part with just the kids is definitely better and has a little more heart. But Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was better than Kill Bill: Vol. 2 in my opinion. It doesn’t matter – I see Kill Bill as one movie now and will see the two chapters of It as one movie from now on too. And it’s a great movie overall and a worthy Stephen King adaptation. Plus, it’s quite epic in scale… Five hours! No wonder we know the characters so well by the end. Now bring on Doctor Sleep! The trailer for that was shown before It Chapter Two and I’m now very excited for that one.

My Rating: 7.5/10


Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (2019) Review

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (2019)

Directed & Written by Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino

Narrated by Kurt Russell

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is set in 1969 Los Angeles, where an aging television actor and his stunt double and longtime friend navigate the changing Hollywood film industry.

My Opinion:

I never got around to reviewing this as I saw it a few weeks ago while on vacation in America. It’s a very good film. Yes, it’s probably one of Tarantino’s best films overall. I can’t say I loved it, though. In fact, I was a tiny bit bored and very much felt its 2 hour and 41 minute running time. But I’ll be honest: I was a little bit on edge the entire time, which probably didn’t help my enjoyment.

It was great being back in America for the first time in over a decade. I was in a super comfy reclining seat, which seems to be more of a “standard” thing than in the U.K., and I was thoroughly enjoying the superior (and, holy shit, one free refillable!) American popcorn. However, the main things running through my mind for almost three hours were “I wonder how many people in here have guns on them” and “There will be more guns in this showing than in other movies since we’re watching a violent Tarantino film” and “I’m the closest one to the door so very likely to be the first one shot if someone comes in and starts shooting“. Is this what daily life is like for everyone living in America now?

Don’t worry – I am NOT about to get into any sort of political discussion. That’s not me. I just want to joke around & chat with people on my blog about my nerdy love of movies. It just made me long for a more simple time as I do have some great memories of growing up in America and will always see it as my home. Which brings me back to the actual topic: I did appreciate Tarantino’s obvious love for the era of Hollywood depicted in this film. The nostalgia he feels for it really does show through and I could relate to that feeling as I sat there, in the country I spent the first half of my life in, feeling nostalgic about how things used to be and knowing they’ll never be that way again. Also, who wouldn’t like to rewrite some of their own personal history, right? I’d like to write some happier endings to a few things from my past.

I think this may be one of my reviews where I decide by the end of the review that I liked the movie more than I realized… This is why I keep this blog going even though I don’t think anyone reads it anymore: I’m sometimes able to sort my thoughts out on something as I write about it. Yes, I think Tarantino did a good job evoking the mood of that late sixties going into early seventies movie star & movie making world. As a lover of film, I always enjoy movies about filmmaking & that lifestyle. And what I was afraid would be the “central event” of the film but thankfully wasn’t (I won’t use the person’s or the “family’s” name), I guess maybe to Tarantino that event symbolized the loss of innocence and a more simple time in not only the types of movies being made but also in what it was like to live in America. So I’m starting to understand his “rewriting of history” in some films. It’s fun to think that, if we could erase certain events from history, maybe the world would be a different & better place. That’s the whole point of movies for me personally. I like the escapism and Tarantino clearly does too. His escapism just involves waaaaaaaaaay more violence than mine would!!

Okay, I’m now deciding that I liked this movie more than I realized. Although I was clearly a bit distracted while watching it, my experience was probably quite unique since I was in the position to be feeling the same sense of personal nostalgia that Tarantino was trying to convey in this film about a time he clearly misses as well. My main issue with the film is that the overall story is weak. The dialogue also isn’t as strong as in Tarantino’s other films in order to make up for the lack of story and the movie seriously drags in places, especially at the beginning (I kind of forgot that Al Pacino was even in this – I had a very hard time getting into the movie at first but I was busy scanning the audience for guns).

However, I think my old Brad Pitt crush has been renewed. Pitt is brilliant in this and the true star of the film. Don’t get me wrong – Leonardo DiCaprio & Margot Robbie were also fantastic. DiCaprio gives his usual best and has to do more serious “acting” than Pitt but we’ve seen Leo do this sort of role so often now. Leo is one of the finest actors of our time, yes, but Pitt has the true charisma in this film. He embodies the old school “Hollywood star” vibe from the era that Tarantino is portraying, which is fun as he’s just the stunt double to Leo’s fading movie star character.

As for Margot Robbie, she’s thoroughly charming as Sharon Tate and, like Pitt, also very much has that old school “Hollywood star” vibe. It’s a fairly small role, however, which I think was the right move for this film despite people moaning about the “female role” being too small. What happened to Tate and the others was horrible and tragic and, thank god, is not the focus of this film. That story is a backdrop and not glorified or dwelled upon, which is why I think her scenes were kept more simple and less likely to be disrespectful in any way. Unlike the Bruce Lee scene, unfortunately – I can see why his portrayal upset his family and fans although I can also understand that this is an “alternate history” thing and I don’t think Tarantino meant to cause offense with that bit. Enough with women’s bare feet, though, Tarantino!! We get it. You like feet! Most people don’t. We don’t want to see feet. Please stop with the feet.

Okay, I’ve rambled on enough considering that I didn’t even know how I felt about this movie at first. I loved its mood and its setting and absolutely loved Brad Pitt. I enjoyed DiCaprio & Robbie. I hated the “family” (but I suppose that’s the point – I just could’ve done with less time being spent on them). I disliked the bare feet. The story dragged. It was too long. There were fun cameos (as usual). I really liked the ending, which I’d accidentally had spoiled beforehand and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I liked that this was less violent overall than Tarantino’s other films. To be honest, this is Tarantino’s most “feelgood” film and I liked that I was able to walk away from a Tarantino movie feeling a bit more uplifted and less stressed than I usually do after leaving his films. It’s funny that the only stress I felt this time was the real life environment around me but I’m happy to have experienced this movie in my home country, which gave me a more unique perspective. Hell, I don’t know… I think this movie is a bit all over the place and I’ve never felt quite so confused as to if I truly enjoyed a Tarantino film or not. Maybe it IS a damn masterpiece like so many are saying. There’s a messy sort of brilliance going on and I wouldn’t disagree with those who loved it even though I can’t say I feel the same way. However, I think it’s one that will age well and, over time, is likely to be more highly regarded than a lot of Tarantino’s other films.

My Rating: 7.5/10


**I’ve added Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood to my ranked list of films directed by Quentin Tarantino HERE. I really didn’t know where to put it and still might change my mind. I’m contemplating moving it up one space as it’s admittedly a much better film than Jackie Brown but, man, I love that damn soundtrack so much…

Also, I’m really busy at the moment and don’t know when I’ll get a chance to do my monthly movie roundup post. So, for now, here’s the ranked & rated list of all the movies I watched in August (six while on airplanes!). I’ll try to do at least mini reviews of these at some point but most were very disappointing anyway. I’ve starred the airplane movies (sad, I know – but it’s so I remember when I read this ten years from now). 🙂

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – 7.5/10
*Green Book – 7.5/10
Sorry To Bother You – 7/10
The Hate U Give – 7/10
*Bad Times At The El Royale – 6.5/10
Crawl – 6.5/10
*Instant Family – 6.5/10
*Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 6.5/10
*Mortal Engines – 5.5/10
*Eighth Grade – 5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: July 2019

Happy August! I got my shit together and am posting this on time! It helps that I watched very few movies in July, so this is a short post. I also managed to do separate full reviews of the cinema releases I saw in July, so I’ve posted the links to those. Here’s what I watched and partially read in July…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Yesterday – 7.5/10
Toy Story 4 – 7.5/10
Rocketman – 7.5/10
Midsommar – 7/10
Spider-Man: Far From Home – 7/10
Ma – 7/10
Child’s Play (2019) – 7/10
Booksmart – 7/10
Annabelle Comes Home – 6.5/10
Brightburn – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Midsommar – 7/10

Ocean Waves – As this is a Studio Ghibli film, I’ll devote a full review post to it at some point. I love Studio Ghibli and this was of course good but it’s certainly not the studio’s best. – 7/10

Spider-Man: Far From Home – 7/10

Annabelle Comes Home – 6.5/10

The Brotherhood Of Justice – Figured I’d check out this young Keanu Reeves movie since he’s so popular now that everyone has (finally) realized that Keanu is awesome. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “A group of high school students, led by a rich boy Derek, is sick of school violence and decides to become underground vigilantes named “Brotherhood of Justice”.” The movie was okay but a little dated, which is fine with me since I love the Eighties (it came out in 1986). What’s funny is that Keanu Reeves was the rich guy (Derek) and Kiefer Sutherland was the nice guy and, knowing their later roles, it’s the opposite of how I see these two actors. Luckily, Keanu was the NICE rich vigilante (he’s too nice in real life to be a bad guy). What was also funny was that Lori Loughlin played his girlfriend and she complained to him that, since she wasn’t rich like him, she had to study and work hard to earn money for college. Ha! I just found that amusing with the college admissions scandal. Anyway, I liked this movie just fine since it’s from my era and I love Keanu but, unless you’re a fan of the Eighties and/or Keanu, you might find this one a little underwhelming. There are better “vigilantes out of control” films. This one isn’t very hard-hitting and doesn’t really address the various issues involved in seeking justice in this sort of way. – 6.5/10

Year Of The Dog – This was an odd one. I was eager to watch this as it was written & directed by Mike White and I love some of what he’s written (School Of Rock and I think some of Freaks And Geeks). This movie was disappointing and probably a little too “indie” for a mainstream audience to get any enjoyment out of it. I see plenty of reviews trashing it on IMDb but, to be fair, I think those people were expecting a mainstream comedy which it SO should not have been marketed as. As an indie film focusing on a woman who goes a little off the deep end after the death of her dog, it’s fine. It’s just a fairly depressing film but the characters aren’t strong enough to really make you care about any of them. I think Molly Shannon did a good job as the woman and I liked seeing Regina King as her friend but the story just didn’t really seem to go anywhere or have any kind of point. But, hey – that’s indie films for you! I think White was better off working with Richard Linklater, who does indie “stories about nothing” that are brilliant due to the characters & dialogue. Unfortunately, Year Of The Dog just felt a bit “So what?”. I’ll give it an extra half a point for Shannon’s performance. – 6/10

Starry Eyes – I hated this. But I don’t feel like trashing it since, well, I assume it’s a low budget film that people worked hard to create and what the hell have I done with MY life? Huh? Nothing! I’ve never made a movie. So they’ve accomplished more than I ever will. Right? Man I hated this movie. I’m never listening to “Horror Twitter” users again. They praise ALL horror movies. I’ll give this an extra half a point for, um, the fact that they made a movie & I haven’t. I’m feeling generous today. Yeah, I realize this isn’t a “review”. I can’t be bothered. I’ve got stuff to do, dammit. – 2.5/10

Re-Watched:

Speed – Keanu Reeves again! I’ve of course seen Speed. Loads of times. But I hadn’t watched it in YEARS so gave it another go. I still think it’s great and remember this movie turning Keanu into a proper action star heart throb. To be fair, Point Break may have done that first but I don’t think that was as big of a mainstream hit (I prefer Point Break – Underrated classic!). Speed is maybe a tiny bit dated in that way that so many 90’s movies are now (man that decade sucked). But, for the most part, it still stands up today and I love the fast pace. You never get bored during this film. I wish action movies nowadays were as good as they used to be… – 8/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

No time for reading at the moment so have been working my way through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for months. But I’m going on holiday at some point so I’ll bring a nice & easy Dean Koontz book with me!

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Stranger Things – Still working through Season 3 of this. I think I have only two or three episodes left to watch and I cannot get into it AT ALL. The first season was great but it’s gone downhill since. To be honest, they should’ve quit after Season 1. It feels like they’re making shit up as they go along now. It feels pointless.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans for any posts in August. I’ll see you again in September!

August Movies I Want To See:

The Art Of Racing In The Rain – I know nothing whatsoever about this movie but it looks like there’s a cute dog in it, so… Good enough reason to watch it! But maybe on Netflix.

Blinded By The Light – I don’t know much about this either but it’s some kind of musical having to do with the music of Bruce Springsteen? Well, I hate Springsteen so I won’t be rushing to this but it might be worth a watch a home. I prefer movies about music that I like (like The Beatles in Yesterday).

The Sun Is Also A Star – YA romance bullshit! So I of course read the book it’s based on (review HERE). And I’m sure I’ll definitely watch this bullshit adaptation at some point.

Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood – I’ll definitely go to this one but am feeling a bit dubious about the subject matter.

Good Boys – Raunchy pre-teen comedy? Meh. Might watch it (but only because I have Unlimited cinema now).

Crawl – This looks a bit ridiculous and I badly want to see it…

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark – This actually looks freaky as shit! Is it aimed at a younger horror audience? The trailer looks good so I’ll go if reviews are decent. Why do I watch so much horror lately?

There wasn’t much music in the movies I watched in July. So, as I thoroughly enjoyed the film Yesterday (watched in June), here’s my favorite song by The Beatles. Even though it unfortunately wasn’t one of the many songs in the movie…

Watched, Read, Reviewed: June 2019

Happy almost-end-of July! I’m way behind on these posts (as usual). Here’s the stuff I watched in June. I watched way too much. I’m going to take a break from watching so much crap, especially at home…

MOVIES IN JUNE

MOVIES REVIEWED IN JUNE

None. I had a busy month so posted nothing on my blog. I caught up on reviewing current releases the past couple of weeks, though. I’ve posted links to my full reviews below.

MOVIES WATCHED IN JUNE (ranked best to worst):

Yesterday – 7.5/10

Toy Story 4 – 7.5/10

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) – This is one of my 2019 Blind Spot choices so I’ll review it in full at some point (probably for Halloween). I added it since the Italian Giallo horror thing is one of very few genres I’ve not yet really explored (I’ve still seen nothing other than three Dario Argento films). I liked Deep Red – I have to say it’s a more straightforward and “accessible” film than something like Suspiria, although that one is more my style. Man I love the Goblin score in these movies… – 7.5/10

Rocketman7.5/10

Searching – I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting for a movie that’s all seen through a computer screen via Skype, social media posts, websites, videos, etc. I didn’t think the gimmick would work but the mystery of the daughter’s disappearance was intriguing enough to keep you interested the whole time. The story worked well, the father & daughter had good character development (making up for other characters having very little), and the gimmick didn’t end up being a distraction from the story like I feared it might. The pacing was also really good – these mystery thrillers can drag a bit sometimes but this was fast-paced and very engaging the entire time. I feel like I’m hyping this too much… It’s not exactly Oscar-worthy material but I’m impressed that its gimmick worked so surprisingly well. – 7/10

Ma7/10

Child’s Play (2019)7/10

Crazy Rich Asians – I see why this film got a lot of hype as it’s a good return to the simple rom-coms that have really died off in the past decade. To be fair, it truly deserves to be ranked higher than Ma & Child’s Play as it’s a much better film (but I’m more of a horror girl than a rom-com girl). If you’re a rom-com fan, I definitely recommend this movie as it’s a fun film with characters you’ll love as well as love to hate. Is it the most original movie ever?? No, we’ve seen the whole “evil mother-in-law” thing before. But that doesn’t matter if it’s a well-written movie. The characters are strong and the main guy is a hottie – I enjoyed gazing at him in the thoroughly entertaining A Simple Favor as well. The only thing I’ll say is that I’d have liked a bit more to happen at the end. Some things are left unresolved and I’d have liked more of a comeuppance for a few people. This movie keeps things very light, though. It’s also very “clean” so it’s something that wouldn’t be inappropriate to have on while your kids or grandparents are around or something. I don’t mean that as an insult, though – it was kind of refreshing to see a modern rom-com that isn’t crude in any way. – 7/10

The Killing – I’ve watched a lot of movies for my IMDb Top 250 Project this year so I’ll try to give this Stanley Kubrick film a review when I do a big post with the other Top 250 movies that I’ve watched. – 7/10

Booksmart7/10

Wine Country – This was fine. I actually liked it more than I was expecting for a Netflix old-chick chick-flick. But that’s because I’m an old chick like these chicks. Well, I’m a tiny bit younger… (Not much!). Considering the stars of this, the movie is fairly tame. I actually prefer that to the over-the-top comedies such as Bridesmaids. It’s not a laugh-out-loud riot but I got a few laughs out of it (mostly thanks to Maya Rudolph – I usually find her funny). What I also liked is that the women all had different personalities so you’ll probably like or relate to at least one of them if you’re a middle-aged woman like me. I’d totally be the friend in this who no one expected to actually turn up to this get-together. That’s so me. Seriously – Don’t invite me to anything. I don’t want to come. – 6.5/10

Brightburn6.5/10

If I Stay – I figured I should finally watch this since I read the book when I was on my “I’m tired and I’m only going to read easy YA stuff” kick. From what I remember of the book now, this is a pretty faithful adaptation. Dare I say that it was maybe even a little better than the book? They did a good job with the characters and the parents were especially likeable (I don’t remember as much focus on them in the book?). The romance was also believable enough and they had decent chemistry. As far as teen drama romances go, I thought this was fairly good. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis:”Life changes in an instant for young Mia Hall after a car accident puts her in a coma. During an out-of-body experience, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life far different than she had imagined. The choice is hers if she can go on.” – 6.5/10

Boogaloo Shrimp Documentary – This documentary has only FIVE votes at IMDb. Shameful! Anyway, here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you don’t know who the hell Boogaloo Shrimp is – “The life story of Michael Chambers aka “Boogaloo Shrimp”: the dancer, actor, singer, comedian and master of waving, ticking, backsliding and liquid animation dance during the 1980’s breakdancing phenomenon.” Well, this documentary is fine and it was fun seeing Michael Chambers being interviewed. It’s not the most in-depth documentary, though – I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan. What I DO totally recommend is the movie Breakin‘ (1984). Eighties classic! Love it. And nothing beats Boogaloo Shrimp’s “broom dance” from that movie. I’ve posted a video of the dance at the end of this post. – 6.5/10

Life As We Know It – I honestly can’t believe I watched a Katherine Fucking Heigl movie. Something about her is just really hateful. I hope she doesn’t read this… Hey, Katherine Heigl – you’re far less hateful than Gwyneth Paltrow! Anyway. I think I watched this because I liked the (unbelievable) setup: A couple with a new baby die in a car accident and leave the baby to their two best friends who can’t stand each other. The two best friends must then work together to create a new life for the baby!! Madness and TOTALLY FUCKING PREDICTABLE possible romance ensues!!! I kind of hate myself for watching this. And even more for kind of liking it. It’s fine. What can I say? Sometimes you’re in the mood for an utterly predictable rom-com with a cute baby. My only actual complaint is that I’d have liked a little more focus on the baby. Poor kid. Not sure I felt by the end that she’d ever really feel like these are her “parents”. But I’m probably putting too much thought into a movie with a pretty ridiculous concept. – 6/10

Finders Keepers (2015) – This was a bizarrely fascinating documentary. I really need to give you the Wikipedia plot synopsis for THIS one: “The story details John Wood’s attempts to recover his mummified leg from Shannon Whisnant, after Whisnant found the leg in a grill purchased at a storage unit auction.” Yep, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. This guy lost a leg in a plane crash and asked the hospital if he could keep the leg. So they gave it to him, skin and all, and it was really gross and he didn’t know what to do with it so he stuck it inside a grill in a storage unit. Then he didn’t pay the rent on the unit and the stuff in the unit went to auction. A guy bought the grill and discovered this gnarly leg inside and decided to turn it into a money-making opportunity and wanted to charge people to come see the human leg. But the original owner of the leg heard about it and wanted his leg back and it all turned into a custody battle over who had the right to now own the leg. Seriously. What’s best about the documentary, besides the bizarro story itself, is that these two guys are obviously unique characters. Who the hell would want to keep a human leg they found?! You’re likely to be on the side of the guy who lost his leg. I mean, it’s his damn leg! Humans are so fucking weird sometimes. Well, watch this one if you want some light (and weird) entertainment. – 6/10

The Happytime Murders – Soooo much silly string! This movie was, uh, what I was expecting. To be fair, although it’s not great, it’s better than its ratings would have you believe. What the hell did people expect? It’s a raunchy comedy with filthy puppets. Not as funny or clever as I’d been hoping but who doesn’t want to see a puppet squirting silly string, uh, semen all over the place, huh? – 5.5/10

On Chesil Beach – Soooo much silly string! I guess this movie was fine. Well acted & all that but I was a bit bored. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “Based on Ian McEwan’s novel. In 1962 England, a young couple find their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night.” The problem was that the new husband was a complete asshole and it was very hard to have any sympathy for him. I felt sorry for Saoirse Ronan’s character. The ending was fairly good – it just felt like it took forever to get there. I’m not really into this sort of genre, though. Watch it if you like a relationship drama. – 6/10

Murder Mystery – Ugh. First of all, can I just say that I do NOT hate Adam Sandler? Hating him seems to be the popular thing. He’s had some dreadful movies, yes, but he’s also had several that I quite like (especially The Wedding Singer). Murder Mystery is definitely not one of his better films, though. For the most part, it’s just boring. It has none of that wacky Sandler humor that I know isn’t for everyone but I prefer that humor to the blandness of this film. I suppose it’s kind of fun in that it has, well, a murder mystery. It’s like Murder-On-The-Orient-Express-Lite. But with a far less intriguing mystery. If you like Sandler & Aniston, Just Go With It is a better movie. But his movies with Drew Barrymore are WAY better. – 5.5/10

Re-Watched:

The Karate Kid (1984) – LOVE this movie. It’s another Eighties classic. And when it comes to inspirational underdog movies, you can’t deny that The Karate Kid is one of the all-time BEST. Hell, I’d personally put it up there with Rocky but I know that’s because I’m an 80’s kid so I love this as I grew up with it (I like it more than I like Rocky). I watched this with my daughter and I’m loving sharing favorites of mine with her as she gets older. They don’t always work… I admit that some of my beloved Eighties films are dated and she hasn’t liked some of them. She loved this. While it has some very 80’s moments (The You’re The Best montage! God I love a cheesy old montage!!), I think it easily stands the test of time. The underdog story is timeless, the characters are strong, and it has some extremely iconic moments and lines. Who doesn’t know the whole “wax on, wax off” thing even if they’ve never seen the movie?? What really sold it to my daughter was Mr. Miyagi and she has now declared him as one of her very favorite movie characters. She was very excited when she got a Karate Kid shirt the other day and thinks she’s cool as shit when she wears it now. It’s actually a cool as shit shirt – I want one too. Any movie that can gain new generations of fans 30+ years after its original release is my definition of a damn good film. – 9/10

A Knight’s Tale – Watched this with the kid as well since I thought she might like it. I think she did but not nearly as much as The Karate Kid! I remember hearing a while back that this is “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes. Come ON. I know it’s not exactly Citizen Kane but it’s fun and there’s a Bowie song in it, dammit. Critics need to lighten the hell up sometimes. Like The Karate Kid, it’s an entertaining underdog story. Who the hell doesn’t like a good underdog story?! Who cares that this one is pretty damn predictable? It’s light entertainment. It’s a popcorn movie. (It’s no Karate Kid, though – Watch that one first) – 7/10

Godzilla (2014) – Ugh. I figured I’d re-watch this before going to the new Godzilla movie. It reminded me just how fucking boring this one was. I was so bored that I ended up not bothering going to the new one. – 5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

As I said, it was a busy month so I watched no TV shows and I’m still in the middle of reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It’s long so it’s taking FOREVER…….

As for music, I realized that I never actually post about music in this section. Weird as I love it almost as much as I do movies. I suppose it’s because I never like any new music. Anyone have any recommendations of music from within the last ten years that doesn’t suck?! Here’s the kind of shit that I like. Yeah, stuff like Bowie. I always love an excuse to use a David Bowie image.

BLOG PLANS FOR JULY

My only blog plans for July were to catch up on reviewing cinema releases that I’ve seen. I’m now all caught up. Yay! And I’m unlikely to go to any more for a while since movie releases for the next few weeks are really poor for the summer season. Yikes.

July Movies I Want To See:

Well, it’s over halfway through the month now so I’ve seen some of these. I’ve included links to those I’ve reviewed.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Midsommar

Anna – Was kind of annoyed to miss this. It didn’t show for long. I’m sure it’s not great but I did actually like Luc Besson’s Lucy and sexy female assassin stories are usually entertaining popcorn movies.

Annabelle Comes Home

The Dead Don’t Die – Could’ve gone to this last week then remembered that it’s directed by Jim Jarmusch and I thought his film Only Lovers Left Alive was boring as shit. So I didn’t bother.

The Lion King – NO. I’ve had it with these Disney remakes. I don’t want to give this or any more unnecessary remakes any money. But, yeah – I’m likely to see it on whatever service it pops up on. (Oh yeah – I guess it’ll be the Disney one that we aren’t getting in the U.K. anytime soon???).

The Current War – So odd that this took SO long to come out! That’s worrying. The reviews don’t look great but I’d be interested in seeing it on Netflix eventually.

Teen Spirit – Looks like it could be a fun family film. Might go to it if we have nothing else to do one night.

Here’s the Boogaloo Shrimp broom dance from Breakin’. With music from Kraftwerk! That’s the kind of shit that I like…