My Top Ten 2021 Movie Releases

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

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

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

Top Thirty

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

Top Twenty

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

Top Ten

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

9. Ron’s Gone Wrong – 7/10

8. Raya And The Last Dragon – 7/10

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

6. The Lost Daughter – 7.5/10

5. Don’t Look Up – 7.5/10

4. Minari – 7.5/10

3. Promising Young Woman – 8/10

2. Spontaneous – 8/10

1. Dune – 8.5/10

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

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

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

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Watched In 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Top Thirty:

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

Top Twenty:

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

Top Ten:

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

9. Battleship Potemkin – 7.5/10

8. Les Diaboliques – 7.5/10

7. The Secret Of Kells – 7.5/10

6. Wings Of Desire – 8/10

5. Swallow – 8/10

4. Black Narcissus (1947) – 8/10

3. It Happened One Night – 8/10

2. When Marnie Was There – 8/10

1. Gandhi – 8.5/10

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

My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021

Happy New Year! (again)

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

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

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

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

Top Twenty:

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

Top Ten:

10. Lisey’s Story

9. Loki: S1

8. Sweet Tooth: S1

7. Midnight Mass: S1

6. Monsters At Work: S1

5. WandaVision: S1

4. Yellowjackets S1 E1-7

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

2. Cobra Kai: S3 & 4

1. Squid Game: S1

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

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

My Top Ten Books Read In 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Watched, Read, Reviewed: December 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! 2022. My god.

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

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

Here’s everything I watched in December…

MOVIES WATCHED IN DECEMBER (ranked best to worst):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movies Rewatched In December:

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

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

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

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

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

Shorts & Miscellaneous:

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

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

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

TV SHOWS WATCHED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TV Rewatched:

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOKS READ

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

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

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

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

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

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

Upcoming 2022 Releases That I Want To See:

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

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

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

The Lost Daughter, Don’t Look Up & Pig Reviews

Another quick trio of reviews of 2021 releases before I do my December roundup post. Liked these a lot more than the three I reviewed earlier today. Two of these are also probably going to make my 2021 Top Ten list I’ll try to post later this week. I keep moving stuff around on that list a lot… We’ll see!

Don’t Look Up (2021)

Directed by Adam McKay

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two astronomers attempting to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization.

My Opinion:

Watched this yesterday (but I’m logging it as a 2021 watch!). Really glad I finished out the year with this one as I’ve found the 2021 releases on services to be very disappointing but I enjoyed this one a lot. Between this and The Lost Daughter, which I watched on the 31st, I’m happy to have two more movies probably making it into my 2021 Top Ten list.

Wasn’t sure what I’d think of this as I’ve not been big on any of Adam McKay’s other films but, for me, this is easily his best. I thought it would be extremely political & too far-left in that typical Hollywood way as, according to Wikipedia, “The comet is an analogy for climate change and the film is a satire of government and media indifference to the climate crisis.” There’s nothing I hate more than an overly preachy movie! But it didn’t feel preachy to me & I got some good laughs out of the comedy in this. I thought the satire was pretty clever and, although they say it’s about how how shit the governments & media are, I thought it also perfectly displayed what a bunch of fucking morons the entire human race has become. I always enjoy “humans suck” satire (also a fan of Idiocracy, although I wish that film was better). It was scary how accurate this film was on how the general population would react if told we’re all going to die when a comet hits Earth. There would be as many comet-deniers as there are Covid-deniers. I would have thought this film was exaggerating things just five years ago or so (but I also wrongly thought Idiocracy was exaggerated at the time). People being more bothered about a celebrity breakup than our impending doom is SO FUCKING ACCURATE.

I also really enjoyed all the performances in this. Movies with huge star ensembles like this don’t always work for me as I sometimes find so many big names to be distracting & can take away from the story but I thought everyone was perfectly cast in this. Leonardo DiCaprio was good, of course, but I liked that it felt like quite a different role for him. And I loved that his wife was, like, the same age as him! Also really liked Jennifer Lawrence’s character and loved how she became just another meme for media-obsessed society. Also loved her obsession with the free snacks… Meryl Streep was pretty damn hilarious as a hateful self-absorbed president & I thought Jonah Hill was funny (although I can see that one role being the most divisive). And Mark Rylance was fantastic as a typical billionaire genius/idiot. I can’t call if this movie will have any acting Oscar nominations or if it’ll be completely ignored as comedy often is by the Academy. Or if they’ll only nominate Streep as usual. I think it deserves recognition, though, and I enjoyed it far more than his Oscar-nominated The Big Short.

I’ve avoided reviews & discussion of this movie but get the impression that people are pretty divided? Not sure why as I thought it was easily one of the better films I’ve managed to see this year. Maybe the truth hurts?

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Lost Daughter (2021)

Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal

Based on The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

Starring: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Domińczyk, Jack Farthing, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman’s beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront the troubles of her past.

My Opinion:

I also liked this film a lot. I’d maybe say it’s actually better than Don’t Look Up but is obviously a much more serious film & I had more “fun” watching Don’t Look Up.

The acting is great in this, especially from Olivia Colman & Jessie Buckley. I’m not an Olivia Colman fan (I’m actually enjoying The Crown far less since it changed to her from Claire Foy) but have to admit she’s very good in this. And that horrible family who came to the beach gave me the absolute creeps! Absolutely cannot stand pushy, entitled people like that and there are far too many of them in this world. Why the fuck should Olivia Colman move from her spot on the beach, huh?!? Anyway – I guess the family were very good as they were menacing as hell just in the way they would look at Colman’s character. But I never really understood their problem with her. Was it only because she wouldn’t move on the beach or did I miss something else while trying to sneakily watch this in between doing stuff with the family on one of my last days off of work?? Dakota Johnson was also good as part of that horrible family (by marriage, I think – was never quite sure how they were all related) & the one who Colman connects with as her young daughter brings up painful memories from Colman’s past. Johnson is maybe growing on me – I couldn’t understand what people saw in her at first.

I think this movie does a fantastic job of portraying the fact that, for some women, there’s much more to them than “just being a mother” and that being a mother (and wife) can be very difficult. I think movies often portray motherhood as being beautiful & perfect. I’m not saying I could personally connect with Colman’s & Buckley’s character’s experience but I think it will probably speak to a lot of women. And I thought the building tension in this was done really well. I kept feeling more & more uneasy throughout this film as I didn’t know a thing about the story & didn’t know what would happen.


Hated this bitch so much!

I think Gyllenhaal has done a great job with this movie. I can’t say whether it’s a good adaptation as I’ve not read the book but I’d now be interested in possibly reading it to know even more about the characters’ motivations. Maybe I’ll read it. I don’t often read a book after seeing the movie but I’d like to know a bit more after seeing this one. It’s a very good film.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Pig (2021)

Directed by Michael Sarnoski

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a truffle forager whose beloved truffle-finding pig is stolen.

My Opinion:

Had to of course see what all the fuss was about on this one so managed to pick up a really cheap DVD of it (£2.99!). Can’t afford this hobby anymore so I think the only movies I spent on in 2021 outside of streaming services were this & Willy’s Wonderland. You’d think I was a Nicolas Cage fan or something! I’m actually really not, although he’s grown on me in recent years thanks to his interesting film choices. Those choices are often bad & I’ve not watched those that had terrible reviews but things like Mandy & Color Out Of Space are right up my alley & this one sounded like it could be too.

It’s an interesting film & I do agree that Cage was good in it. As much as I enjoy Crazy Cage, I liked seeing him so restrained in this one. I think he and the movie portray loneliness & grief well. Was honestly expecting some John Wick type of revenge rampage so was surprised at there being very little violence in this. Although a John Wick rampage would’ve been fun too but we’ve had enough of that sort of thing from Cage so this was a nice change.

Pig is a movie I’m glad I managed to see before the end of the year but it’s not a “rewatcher” for me as I can’t see myself watching it again. But I can understand why many seemed to like it as they could probably identify with Cage’s character. I can also see why plenty of other people wouldn’t go for this movie at all & would probably call it boring as it’s very slow & far less happens than I was expecting. It’s certainly a “Film Twitter person” type of movie that I wouldn’t go around recommending to people I work with or something. You’ll love it or possibly hate it. Or just be a bit “That was okay” like me. The pig was very cute!

My Rating: 7/10

The Unforgivable, The Last Duel & The Power Of The Dog Reviews

Squeezing out a few more reviews of 2021 releases before I post my December roundup & then will try to post my 2021 Top Ten lists. None of these are making it into my Top Ten Movies of the year…

The Unforgivable (2021)

Directed by Nora Fingscheidt

Based on Unforgiven by Sally Wainwright

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas, Linda Emond, Aisling Franciosi, Rob Morgan, Viola Davis

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman is released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime and re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past.

My Opinion:

I was clearly trying to squeeze in some final 2021 releases on streaming services in December or else I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this one so quickly (if at all). It was okay, though. And, yes, I enjoyed it much more than the next two I’m reviewing.

Bullock’s character has just come out of prison after serving many years for killing a cop when they came to take her much younger sister away from her. I believe it was because their parents had died and Bullock wanted to be left alone to raise her sister (massive age difference – the sister was five & Bullock looked well into her twenties in the flashbacks so I don’t know why she couldn’t raise her?!). Anyway, it took a while to get into this one & Bullock’s character was pretty unsympathetic to begin with.

With movies, I’ll sometimes rate & rank them when I’m still in the middle of watching them as I don’t want to forget to log them. This is one time where I had to move it up the list & up the rating slightly once it got to the end. I really liked the end of this one, including something I should’ve seen coming. Also, the film used a fantastic piano version of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place toward the end & I thought it set the mood perfectly. So the film was a bit slow overall & certainly wasn’t perfect but from that bit on it got much better & really did redeem itself at the end.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Last Duel (2021)

Directed by Ridley Scott

Based on The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager

Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in medieval France, the film stars Damon as Jean de Carrouges, a knight who challenges his former friend, squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a judicial duel after Jean’s wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), accuses Jacques of raping her. The events leading up to the duel are divided into three distinct chapters, reflecting the contradictory perspectives of the three main characters.

My Opinion:

WTF? Okay… I don’t know if I’m just super picky now or if I’m just finding it hard to enjoy films lately as life has been shitty but I feel like every single newly released movie (at least one perceived to be “worthy” due to its director or stars or its agenda) gets absolutely raved over by Film Twitter & I find myself agreeing with them less & less the past couple of years.

This movie was okay? I do love a few of Ridley Scott’s films (I ranked them here recently) but this certainly wouldn’t make my top ten list of his work. Once I got past the annoying haircuts (yeah, yeah – I know that’s not important) I thought I’d start caring about the story or the characters but I can’t say that I did. I thought the men were rubbish (acting-wise as well as the characters being super hateful). Jodie Comer was fine & I obviously was on her side through the whole thing & wish she could’ve just gone on a Kill Bill bloody rampage with those pricks but obviously that couldn’t happen back then since, you know, women were treated like nothing more than another piece of property in olden times (not that we’re treated much better now). I didn’t exactly think it was some “ohmygodOscarWORTHY!!!” performance or something, though. Are my standards too high or are everyone else’s too low?! The movie was okay. Yes, once it FINALLY got to the duel it got somewhat exciting. And, yes, I always like seeing multiple versions of the same story but this isn’t exactly up there with Rashomon, is it? I was stupidly looking at the IMDb Top 250 recently & it depresses me. All the older films are being replaced by everything new & current. Are people just going to completely stop watching movies that are more than ten years old?

Okay. I’ll stop bitching now. This movie was fine but Scott has far better films. And I really wish I could just watch all of Akira Kurosawa’s films instead of wasting my time on mediocre current releases.

My Rating: 6/10

The Power Of The Dog (2021)

Directed by Jane Campion

Based on The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

My Opinion:

Another one sort of raved over on Film Twitter but this one bored the shit out of me. Sorry! Just… Ugh. I don’t know. I do appreciate some very worthy films but I also want to be entertained sometimes if possible. I’ll give it this: I think the acting was slightly better than in The Last Duel. No distracting haircuts, at least! Also……. I did really like the end! Yay! Once I actually realised what had happened and that there was a plan all along, I guess, and I was like “Ohhh… Nice one!”. The ending almost made me rank this just above The Last Duel but the rest of this film was so bloody boring that I guess I’ll keep this one below the mullet duel.

My Rating: 6/10

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021) Review

Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021)

Directed by Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine & Octavio E. Rodriguez (co-director)

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Ricardo Hurtado, Olivia Colman

Music by Henry Jackman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
The story of Barney, an awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device. Ron’s malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them on a journey to learn about true friendship.

My Opinion:

Was surprised to see this pop up on Disney Plus so soon after it was in cinemas but was very happy to be able to see it since there’s not much I love more in movies than adorable robots. I’m always a sucker for a cute robot! WALL-E is my favorite Pixar movie & R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character (well, Grogu is giving him a run for his money). So this movie was clearly one I was eager to see.

I liked it! It’s not a perfect film. It’s one of those where I don’t know where to rank it on my year end list I’ll post next week. If I’m honest, I enjoyed it more than Encanto (which I reviewed HERE yesterday) but Encanto is certainly the better film. It doesn’t have a robot in it, though! Ron is definitely what makes this film work. The other characters are fine but none of them really stand out like Ron the robot. The grandma is fun & the main boy’s friendship with Ron was really sweet but the cute robot in a movie like this is always going to steal the show. It was the same with Big Hero 6, although that’s obviously a much stronger film with better characters than this one. But Baymax was what made it so fantastic.

I also really liked the message in this film. As with most animated kids’ films, there’s of course a message (or two) but it’s done subtly & works within the movie. Mainly it’s about friendship but they touch on the evils of social media a bit too. I realise I’m typing this post on a blog, which will auto-tweet to Twitter, but I’m old so I remember the days before all this & I think most of us were much happier then. The movie isn’t at all preachy about any of this, though, which is a big pet peeve of mine. I also thought the film had a pretty brave bittersweet ending.

Oh – Ron also sang a funny song with the grandma which the daughter & I went around singing for the next week whereas I can’t currently remember any songs from Encanto even though we only just watched it a couple of nights ago. It was really cute & I wish Encanto had a similar moment as I really do want to like that one a bit more. Maybe it will grow on me but I know that Ron is already one of the better characters from all the movies I’ve seen in 2021.

My Rating: 7/10

Encanto (2021) Review

Encanto (2021)

Directed by Jared Bush & Byron Howard

Starring: Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo, Mauro Castillo, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Carolina Gaitán, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama

Music by Germaine Franco

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young Colombian girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

My Opinion:

I’ve been putting together my 2021 Top Ten Movies list & it’s been an extremely disappointing year. Okay – to be fair, I’ve not yet seen all the stuff that’s only had cinema releases so far. Hooray for Disney Plus, at least! Easily the streaming service I used the most this year, especially for the Marvel series stuff (I’m not even a big Marvel fan but those were good). So I’m glad I squeezed in two more movies this past week that are making my 2021 Top Ten List (this & Ron’s Gone Wrong).

Enjoyed this one although, in all honesty, it’s not exactly up there with Disney’s all-time best. I don’t know if it’s partly hurt by seeing these Disney films at home now & making them feel like the “straight-to-video” stuff from my younger years. I don’t think so, though – plenty of my all-time favorites are ones I never saw in the cinema. And I didn’t mean to imply that Encanto felt “straight-to-video” as it’s much better than that. So ignore my rambling! Maybe it’s what my hubby moaned about after seeing it (the 3D animation or whatever). I do definitely prefer the more timeless classic animation of older Disney movies. Okay, yeah, maybe it’s that! Just trying to figure out why a lot of Disney movies from recent years aren’t fully connecting with me. Oh well – they’re still much better than that dodgy late ’90s/early 2000s New Groove Hercules Hunchback era.

Should I shut up & talk about Encanto?! What I liked: the main girl (Mirabel) was likeable (and I liked her dress and, as a glasses wearer, her funky glasses), the different magical powers each family member had were fun, I liked the cute little cousin who was due to get his own power & the cousin who could hear everything, and the overall message about the importance of family was good. The weakest thing? Unfortunately, that was maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs. A couple of them were “fun” but not very memorable & certainly none that would end up all-time classics unlike his brilliant How Far I’ll Go from Moana. And, okay, I suppose the animation style wasn’t my favorite but it was still a lovely looking film. Also, I think the message was a bit muddled. Be supportive of family? Be true to yourself? You don’t have to be perfect? Which are all good things so not really an issue – I just wasn’t sure what the main point was.

I really enjoyed this but it’s one where I can’t currently tell if it’ll go up or down in my estimation. Moana grew on me a lot & I’ve happily seen it several times now as it’s a favorite of my daughter’s. Soul is one I thought looked lovely but I’ve never once thought about sticking it on for a rewatch. And I know I have zero interest in rewatching Luca. I think rewatchability is important with Disney & Pixar and I don’t know yet if Encanto is a multiple-watcher. I’d say it is more so than a couple I’ve mentioned. I’m also still trying to decide if I’d rank it just above or below Raya And The Last Dragon. I think Raya is more “me” and I preferred it feeling like a more traditional (sort of Princess) Disney movie plus I preferred its style & loved Tuk Tuk. But I think Encanto was maybe the slightly better film. Dunno. They’re close. I’ll have to decide before I post my Top Ten next week!

What a wishy-washy review. I think my point is this: I really enjoyed Encanto although it hasn’t instantly grabbed me like a lot of other Disney & Pixar films have but maybe it would grow on me after a rewatch.

My Rating: 7/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2021

Bit late with this roundup. Busy month right now! Let’s see what I watched & read back in November…

MOVIES WATCHED IN NOVEMBER (ranked best to worst):

Trees Lounge – Really liked this Steve Buscemi movie (which is on Pluto TV in the U.K., FYI). Confession: I have sort of a weird crush on Steve Buscemi. It was great seeing a younger Buscemi as the lead character in this 1996 film (which he also wrote & directed). I already reviewed it in full so I’ll just say it’s an indie movie very focused on the characters so you either like that sort of thing or you don’t. It’s also very “New York”, where it’s set, and I enjoyed the setting & these quirky aimless characters. Some big names in this too. Check out this cast (from Wikipedia): Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Boone Junior, Anthony LaPaglia, Elizabeth Bracco, Eszter Balint, Carol Kane, Daniel Baldwin, Mimi Rogers, Debi Mazar, Seymour Cassel, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Buscemi. 7.5/10

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire – Also reviewed this one already. Was very happy to see this on BBC iPlayer as everyone absolutely raved about it when it came out. It’s a good film. I’m not, like, “OhmygodthisisthebestmovieEVER!!!!!” but the characters are strong & I was interested in what would happen with their relationship and they had really good chemistry together. And I preferred watching women on an island not being psychotic assholes, unlike those idiots in The Lighthouse. Glad I finally managed to see this one. – 7.5/10

tick, tick… BOOM! – I’ll be honest – I read about this movie and wasn’t going to bother even watching it as it’s just really not my sort of thing. I do like “theatre” but have seen very little of it. Well, I ended up really enjoying this one. Not in a “rewatch” sort of way as I can’t see needing to watch it more than once. But Jonathan Larson had a very interesting life & I liked his passion for the theatre and thought the movie very cleverly told his story through two lesser known musicals that he wrote before Rent. And as the film was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m sure he captured the theatre lifestyle so assume that theatre fans really like the film. Well, I ended up writing so much about this one that I posted a full review at the link. Glad I checked this one out. – 7.5/10

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – Reviewed this too & am so bored with reviewing MCU movies but was pleasantly surprised by this one. I liked that it felt a little different from other Marvel films as I sometimes feel like I’m watching the same movie over & over with those. This certainly wasn’t perfect but I enjoyed it & its look & especially its older characters. I’ve ranked it somewhere in the middle of all the MCU movies so far. – 7/10

Across The Tracks – Oh my god – How did I not know there was a movie in 1990 starring Ricky Schroder & Brad Pitt as brothers?!? Okay, I’m of the age where I grew up on Schroder in Silver Spoons then later had the hots for Pitt in Thelma & Louise. Wow – hard to believe these two movies are only a year apart (Thelma & Louise is obviously a far better film. Love it).

Not gonna lie, this very much felt like a TV movie but I’m assuming it wasn’t as there was swearing in it. Swearing & sex are big no-nos on American television – America promotes only violence! It felt like a “good” TV movie, though. The acting was perfectly acceptable for this sort of thing in 1990. Why is this review sounding negative?! I enjoyed this but I don’t know if it’s a case of liking it because it’s one I missed as a teen & it stars two actors I liked then. Probably! But I’m always super happy to find something from the ’80s & very early ’90s that I missed out on as it feels like I watched everything I could at that time. Last one like that was when I watched Thrashin’ in August, which I’ve grown to like even more and honestly don’t know how the heck I missed out on that one. That was pure ’80s goodness! Across The Tracks is a decent enough story even though it does come across a bit “After School Special” (remember those, fellow Gen Xers???). It was exactly the sort of thing I was expecting but, hey, that’s fine. I got to see Ricky Schroder & Brad Pitt as brothers!

Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Joe Maloney (Brad Pitt) is a straight A student vying for an athletic scholarship to Stanford. He lives with his mother (Carrie Snodgress) in a trailer park in Gardena, CA. His well laid plans for the future are thrown into turmoil when his troubled younger brother Billy (Rick Schroder) is released from Juvenile Detention following his arrest for stealing a car and comes to live with them back home.”6.5/10

Oxygen – Been wanting to watch this as I love sci-fi & really like Mélanie Laurent plus I liked the concept of a person being trapped in a “cryogenic unit” with their oxygen running out. I’m also always intrigued to see if they can make a film interesting when it’s set in just one location, especially a location as small as in this one, and I think they definitely managed to do that. Other than that, I can’t say too much more as it would spoil the whole plot (although anyone interested has probably seen this by now). I have to say that I mostly find Netflix movies very disappointing but I’ve really enjoyed some of the sci-fi stuff, like this & I Am Mother. I like a good story idea, especially in this genre, and I think this somewhat simple idea worked really well. But I also think you’d have to be a sci-fi fan to really enjoy this one as it’s not exactly mainstream cinema release material. – 6.5/10

The Guilty – I liked this, considering I’m not a crime drama person. But after watching it I noticed a movie with the same name somewhere & a very similar poster and… Damn! I watched an American remake of a foreign film that was probably better! I’d have watched that instead. Well, I thought this one had a pretty good story (with a twist) so I enjoyed it anyway despite not being big on Gyllenhaal the scarf stealer (apparently – I’m not up on Taylor Swift’s old love life or whatever that was all about on Twitter). Like Oxygen, this movie also did a good job of being set in one place (did it ever show outside of the emergency call centre? Can’t remember now but don’t think so). It’s about a cop who’s in trouble for something (we don’t know what) and he’s been made to take 911 emergency calls while awaiting his trial for that something. He tries to help a woman who calls & has apparently been kidnapped. I really liked that story that was fully played out over the phone. I’d recommend this but am wondering what the original is like now… – 6.5/10

Revenge (2017) – Caught this ultra-violent revenge horror flick on the Horror Channel. It’s one of those that Film Twitter went on about at the time so I’d been wanting to see it. It’s a decent enough revenge movie if you like that sort of thing (I do for the most part). Far too violent for my liking but I did enjoy watching this woman go on a rampage after her lover’s friend rapes her & then the three men all try to shut her up so she doesn’t tell anyone. She also had great earrings that looked really cool in all the images of the movie so it’s one of those where the movie poster helped sell the film. Oh, and I wanted to see how a female director would handle the awkward “rape revenge” subgenre that is usually nasty & exploitative. She handled it with lots & lots of blood! The rape scene itself was, I guess, filmed in a more respectful manner and didn’t linger on FOREVER like in nasty I Spit On Your Grave type shit so that was good but I can’t say this is a topic I ever like to watch. I just wanted the movie to get on with the revenge and it sure as shit did and I liked how over-the-top the ending was. Well, I can say I’ve watched this now but would have no need to ever watch it again. It’s certainly one for those who love violent horror. – 6.5/10

The Falling – I think I watched this in October but completely forgot to include it in that post. Ugh! I hate when that happens! I slipped on my obsessive list-making that month! Um, not sure how I felt about this strange little film. I liked it for the most part, especially at the start. Being set in an all girls school & having a slightly mysterious plot (a bunch of the girls at the school start fainting but no cause can be found) gave it a tiny bit of a Picnic At Hanging Rock vibe at first (although it’s not nearly as good as that eerie piece of filmmaking). I watched this as I found the mysterious fainting plot intriguing, which was also what another strange 2015 indie film called The Fits was about. I just reread my review of The Fits & see I compared that one to Picnic At Hanging Rock too – I think I’d like to watch Picnic again.

After watching Black Widow, I also wanted to see Florence Pugh in an early role as I’m still trying to figure out why so many movie fans her sort of age are so obsessed with her. Well, I have to admit she’s the best thing about this movie & really does shine here with that extra sort of quality that only some actors seem to have. I wouldn’t say I’ve felt that way about her in other things, although I did really like her in some roles such as in the surprisingly great Fighting With My Family. It was fun watching Maisie Williams in the lead role but, especially as I’ve just started reading A Game Of Thrones like some kind of crazy fucking maniac thinking I have time for that, I only EVER see her as Arya Stark in absolutely everything she’s in. Not really her fault, though, as I think it’s hard to fully break away from a really huge TV character on a massively popular show. She’s good in this as the best friend of Pugh & the one who starts off the fainting thing at the school after tragedy strikes.

Well, it was all going good until the, um…. Incident toward the end of the movie. WTF?! Trying to stay spoiler free here but EW! I’m starting to worry about how many movies, especially the “worthy drama” and often English films, throw that into the plot. Okay – I think this movie is about coming of age and how that’s such a scary & uncertain time for everyone. It explored that pretty well at the start. And this being an English movie there’s some typical English sexual repression in it and young women starting to explore their sexuality. But don’t explore it in THAT way, Arya Stark! This isn’t Game Of Thrones!

Well. Whatever. This movie was actually pretty decent up until that part so I’m still giving it an okay rating. But I’ve removed half a point for that bit of ickiness. – 6/10

Passing – This was fine. It’s one of those I hate reviewing as I don’t have much to say about it. I can talk for ages about movies I love or especially about ones I absolutely hate! But the MEH ones are difficult. The best thing about it was the performances & Ruth Negga and especially Tessa Thompson were both very good. But for a truly interesting plot, it somehow managed to be quite boring. Up until the sort of shocking ending, that is, which I thought was really well done. Or maybe I was just glad that something finally happened in this movie. There was so much they could have explored with this idea but didn’t & it ended up being more about two jealous women. But maybe the whole point of it was to be very understated? I don’t know – it’s certainly not a bad film and I was intrigued by the plot synopsis. I wonder if the book it’s based on goes deeper into the issues that don’t get explored in this fairly short film. – 6/10

Ammonite – This was a bland one too. More bland than Passing! Other than the kinky sex. Kate Winslet & Saoirse Ronan spend the movie moping around a typically cold-looking, grey, windy & depressing English seaside then eventually have a couple of raunchy sex scenes together. Winslet’s character is especially grumpy & unlikeable. Okay, I get it. I’ve lived in England for 20 years now & the weather has turned me into a grumpy old hag too. But cheer the fuck up, Winslet’s character! (Yeah, I’m too lazy to look up character names). I think the problem here is that these two characters had no chemistry whatsoever. Were they meant to be in love or something?? Didn’t seem like it. They just seemed horny. Just watch Portrait Of A Lady On Fire instead if you want a female love story with more likeable characters. I should probably give this a lower rating based on my negativity but it’s a Kate Winslet movie so I suppose it’s worthy & shit. – 6/10

Where The Truth Lies – Meh! I had a pretty shitty month for movies for the most part. I desperately need access to the weird & obscure sort of movies I actually want to watch so I stop wasting my time on whatever shit is available on boring streaming services (this was, I think, on Roku if you’re interested in lots of sex & a murder).

Okay, this wasn’t awful so I’m taking my anger out on the wrong movie. It’s just one I’ll forget in a year. I watched it as I loved a movie called White Oleander starring Alison Lohman & I’ve tried to watch her in other films since because of that. She’s an odd one… She’s decent in some movies but not so much in the slightly bad movies. I wouldn’t exactly say this is a bad movie (just a little trashy while trying too hard to be sexy) but she feels very miscast. I think it doesn’t help that she’s someone who always looks & seems much younger than she actually is, which worked perfectly for her role in Matchstick Men. But as this is a steamy sex murder mystery, it felt creepy here when she got it on with the older Kevin Bacon and when Colin Firth watched her get it on with a girl. Although a 20 year age difference is standard in Hollywood (with the woman being the young one, of course!). I still enjoyed seeing her in another movie, though, and am glad she didn’t get dragged to Hell at the end of this.

If you like old-school trashy-sex murder mysteries, which is what this was going for, you might like this. But it’s not the sexy noir thing I think it wants to be. The murder mystery itself was decent, though, and I liked the resolution okay and finding out more about the victim. I’ve talked myself into liking this trashy movie a little bit! It’s not great, though. – 6/10

Vivo – This started out so good then kind of turned to shit. What a shame. I really liked the start with the old guy and the cute monkey and the sweet love story & wanted to see this nice old man deliver his love song to the woman he’d secretly loved for years. Nice little heartwarming story.

Then the annoying young girl showed up. Even my preteen went “this is gonna turn bad now, isn’t it“. Then the annoying girl sang the most annoying “trying to be cool & modern” song (although kind of catchy since that stupid “dance to the beat of my own DRUM!” song got stuck in my damn head) & the kid went “yep, it’s turned bad“. And the girl was annoying but the other young girls in it were even more annoying & I just really hate annoying brats in movies. I wanted to see more of the love story I thought we’d get at the beginning.

Oh, and the monkey was cute but he also talked and I think only we the audience could understand him while the humans in the movie heard monkey noises. But then he said certain things & the humans replied and I was like “But you can’t f*^king understand him!” but, who knows, maybe I’m wrong but it felt like they weren’t following the proper animated talking-monkey rules! And, shit, it wasn’t actually a monkey because I’ve just looked up what they kept calling him (which sounded like Pikachu) but it’s actually a kinkajou which you can read about HERE at Wikipedia and holy shit why am I researching this?! Aww. They’re cute! Well, I liked the cute not-monkey thing but I liked him more when he was making squeaky animal noises than when he was talking & singing with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s voice. And then they ended the movie with that annoying song again! “Dance to the beat of my own DRUM!” Argh! It’s in my head again!! – 5.5/10

Chained For Life – Um. I watched this movie on Film 4 because it looked weird & I like weird. And it was. So… Result, I guess! I also quite liked the movie Teeth that this actress, Jess Weixler, was also in. If you don’t know, that movie was about a girl with teeth in her vagina. Just so you have an idea of the sort of movies she likes to be in, I guess.

I don’t have a clue what to say about this movie. It’s not a bad movie & I liked again seeing something truly different but I’m not sure what point the movie was trying to make (if there was one). I thought it would be about beauty standards or something but then the story got very confusing & I didn’t know what the heck was actually going on for a while (I think that part was a dream or fantasy). But I appreciate the effort the filmmakers put into the truly strange films such as this one. Was hoping this would be more enjoyable, though. When it comes to the truly weird stuff that I’ve watched this year, Butt Boy & Rent-A-Pal were both more entertaining. – 5.5/10

Movies Rewatched In November:

Con Air – Had the sudden urge to rewatch this one when it got added to Disney Plus. I’d watched it a good few times just after it came out in 1997 but not seen it since. Man, this movie is still completely & utterly ridiculous and still ridiculously fun. Remember when dumb action movies were fun?!?! Why do we get so few of these dumbass action flicks that are actually entertaining nowadays?? We mostly get just plain dumb ones now. So, yeah, I really enjoyed rewatching the Nicolas Cage movie named after an American hairdryer more than watching most of the much more “worthy” stuff I’ve watched recently. Cage plays it really straight for a change while everyone else is a crazy bastard instead, including my beloved Steve Buscemi. Buscemi is, obviously, my favorite character in this and you gotta love how they went “let’s make the audience like the psycho serial killer!” and it actually worked & we all went “Yay, Buscemi!” at the end which is really kind of fucked up. Stupid film. I kind of love it. – 7.5/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous In November:

The Beatles: Get Back – Enjoyed this admittedly very long documentary but, hey, you gotta treat it like a mini-series. I do find it funny when people complain about the length of some movies but then will binge three entire seasons of some TV show in one weekend. With this, though, I’d say you absolutely must be a pretty big fan of The Beatles to watch it. If you aren’t, I’d most definitely not recommend it. It’s not for casual movie-watchers – it’s for hardcore Beatles fans. And I don’t think it’s one you need to see from a filmmaking side of things, although I’m sure what Peter Jackson has done is impressive as he had way more footage than just the almost 8 hours that we saw in this. This is one to watch to get to know a little more about the personalities of four of the most famous musicians of all time & see how they went about creating their amazing music.

I don’t talk about music that often on this blog as I try to focus on movies but music is a huge love of mine too. So you’d think I’d love a music documentary but I’ve watched very few. As much as I love movies, I really have to force myself to watch documentaries. I’ve just never been obsessed with my favorite musicians (as people, I mean). I’ll listen to their music over & over & over to the point where the hubby yells at me for listening to all the same stuff but I’ll rarely read about my favorite bands or watch a documentary about them (but I’ll watch some cheesy Hollywood movie about them instead). Same with actors, really – I just want to enjoy the art they create. I guess the point of my rambling is to say this: I’d say I’m a pretty big Beatles fan and they’d easily be one of my top five favorite bands (I did a Top Ten of their songs HERE) but I know next to nothing about them as people. This is even after two trips to Liverpool to do the whole Beatles tour experience there. I kind of don’t like knowing too much about famous people as I don’t want that to get in the way of me enjoying their art.

So that’s the type of person who sat down to watch The Beatles creating music for eight hours. It was an interesting insight into their music making process but, weirdly, I didn’t come away from it feeling like I knew these four musicians much more than I did beforehand anyway. John was more fun & silly than I was expecting (but maybe that’s just how he was at that point in his life). Paul was the one to really take charge, which I kind of expected, but they still all seemed to get along well even though you could tell things were a little strained. Hell, George even quit the band toward the start of this but even that was all with the least amount of drama EVER. I’m sure they had plenty of drama behind the scenes but they don’t come across like the big whiny divas so many famous people are nowadays. And it seems everyone came away from this liking Ringo even more, which is cool as he gets the least love I think. He’s by far the most laid back & easygoing one in this documentary. And, okay, I’m sure there was drama with Yoko that we didn’t see but we certainly didn’t see it in this 8 hour documentary either and she was in it constantly. She just sat there quietly making no fuss. As I say, though, I know next to nothing about The Beatles so I’m sure there was plenty of drama & backstabbing but I’d rather just not know about that & just sing along badly to Eleanor Rigby in the shower without thinking “They were kind of mean to George, dammit, and why did people hate Yoko”? It was still fascinating to watch them in this, though, and I’m sure the mega hardcore Beatles fans absolutely loved this. And it was funny seeing some of the people complaining about the music being played on the rooftop. Imagine complaining at being able to attend a free Beatles concert! – 8/10

The Princess Bride: Home Movie – Hadn’t watched this during lockdown as hadn’t really looked into what it actually was & was thinking “What are these idiot celebs doing to my beloved Princess Bride?!”. But all they did was recreate it scene by scene alone in their homes during lockdown with whatever silly supplies they had available & it was really very sweet & quite fun! Didn’t know several of the, I assume American TV?, stars but there were also some very big names. The highlights for me were Adam Sandler, Jack Black & the always adorable Paul Rudd. Was also fun seeing a few celebs performing together if they live in the same household, such as Sam Rockwell & Leslie Bibb, and some who had their kids join in. Oh! And a couple Princess Bride stars as well. And a very bittersweet moment with Rob & Carl Reiner. That was lovely. Glad we finally checked this one out as a family.

Olaf Presents: Not gonna lie – I was happy when I found out they’d be making some shorts with Olaf “explaining” the plot of some Disney movies as that was possibly the best bit of Frozen 2. I don’t even love Olaf all that much as he can be a little annoying at times but that bit was really funny & these shorts are a lot of fun. Like, they made me smile & giggle a lot. I’m a small child sometimes. The Little Mermaid, The Lion King & Tangled were the best ones. I want him to do them all!

Ciao Alberto – This short from Pixar’s worst movie was fine. But I’ve already pretty much forgotten it…

The Simpsons in Plusaversary – A bit cheesy – This was just an advertisement for Disney Plus showing the Simpsons with a bunch of Disney characters. Happy to (I think) see Bao included, though. I like that short.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN NOVEMBER

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Hawkeye: S1 E1-2 – Really enjoying this one, which is cool since Hawkeye is the most boring Avenger. Been looking forward to it as the daughter was already a Kate Bishop fan & had read comics with her in them. Hailee Steinfeld is really good as Bishop & the relationship with Hawkeye is fun & her one-eyed pizza dog is adorable. It’s making Hawkeye a far more interesting character as well as we’re obviously getting much more focus on him than in the films. Will see how I feel at the end but WandaVision is still my favorite. I also think Loki was better than Hawkeye but think I’m sort of enjoying Hawkeye more than Loki. The Falcon And The Winter Soldier will remain dead last as I found it so damn boring that I didn’t even bother finishing the series. Hawkeye is far more entertaining.

Alice In Borderland: S1 E6-8 – Damn, this show really took a shit at the end. Watched it after absolutely loving Squid Game but, FYI if you’ve watched neither, Squid Game is the one you should check out. Alice started out pretty good with these three twentysomething friends suddenly finding themselves alone in their big Japanese city & then being made to play dangerous deadly games with the small number of other people apparently still left in existence.

The first few episodes or so focused on the games, which were pretty good so I was enjoying the show at first. But they did a terrible job with character development so I wasn’t exactly feeling attached to anyone as they got killed off, unlike in Squid Game which broke all our hearts. Then the final episodes ended up being set with a new group of people and some big “baddies” & that’s when it turned to shit. Not that there’s anything wrong with young people but the show became completely aimed at younger people while all the players apparently became twentysomethings wanting to just party in their swimsuits in between being made to play the games. I swear there were some older players at first?

And then they’d give you a small backstory on some random character you’d then know might possibly die & I didn’t see the point of focusing on characters no one gives a shit about. The show also doesn’t give a satisfying conclusion as they obviously just wanted to continue onto a new season, unlike Squid Game which managed to be a fantastic standalone season while still keeping things open for a new season. It was just really frustrating as the show started out promising. I’ll probably still watch season two in the hopes that it’ll explain WTF is going on but I’m giving up if they try to make us suffer through a third season.

Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E1-3 – What can I say? Grey’s Anatomy is still being totally Grey’s Anatomy 18 seasons later. At least I think the show is becoming a little less “dramatic”. It’s about time these people mellow out – they’re old now! But it also means it’s getting a bit too boring.

BOOKS READ

The Eyes Of Darkness by Dean Koontz – Ah, my beloved Dean Koontz. I grab a Koontz book whenever I need a quick & easy read from my favorite genre: supernatural horror. That sounds rude… He really is Stephen King-lite, though. And I found this for, like, 50 pence at a charity shop & it’s one I somehow miraculously never read!!! (I’ve read many, which I attempted to fully rank HERE).

Here’s the weird thing with this one & it’s spoiler-y: It’s been brought up recently because people went “Oh my god, Koontz predicted Covid in this!“. So I read this 1981 book about a man-made virus & was thinking “That’s pushing it a bit“. Okay, mystery solved – I was thoroughly confused as Wuhan was not mentioned in my edition. From Wikipedia:

The novel mentions a bioweapon that in earlier editions is named Gorki-400 after the Soviet city of Gorki in which it was created. Due to the end of the Cold War, the origin of the bioweapon was changed to the Chinese city of Wuhan and it was renamed Wuhan-400 for the 1989 edition onward, prompting speculation from some in early 2020 that Koontz had somehow predicted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Anyway, sorry for the spoiler as you have no idea what is going on at first. It starts with a woman whose only son died in an accident about a year ago but then she starts having strange supernatural things happen that she begins to realise are messages from her supposedly dead son. That’s totally my type of thing but the story started out stronger than it ended up. The ending also felt very rushed. I still enjoyed it, though, as I do most Koontz books. It will just be one of those that I probably won’t remember years from now and I’ll think “Did I read that one?“, which seems to happen with a lot of his novels. – 2.5/5

I’m currently reading A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One – A Game of Thrones because I’m clearly fucking insane. As if I have enough time in my life to be delving into these tomes…! Well, don’t expect a review anytime soon as I am sure each book will take me a good few months minimum to read.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Thanks to not going to the cinemas because of the pandemic but also being totally broke, I’ve missed out on LOADS of 2021 movies. 😦 So my plan is to watch as much 2021 stuff as I can get hold of very cheaply or via my services & just post my 2021 Top Ten lists a little late this year (hopefully by mid-January). Several are on services I have but those are the films I have the least interest in seeing (I’ve not listed those). Below is the list I made of what I’ve missed as I obviously want to catch them as soon as I can…

2021 Movies I Want To See:

These are the UK 2021 releases that I missed (or will miss) that I’m the most desperate to see (ranked in order of how much I want to see them because you know I love to rank things):

1. The Amusement Park (want to see this SO bad)
2. Pig (DVD was really cheap so just bought this!)
3. Last Night In Soho
4. Malignant
5. West Side Story
6. A Quiet Place Part II
7. Spider-Man: No Way Home
8. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
9. Encanto
10. The Matrix Resurrections
11. Old
12. The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It

Well, I want to see the above the most but really want to see all of these as well (still ranked in order, because I’m pathetic):

Coda, The Suicide Squad, The Forever Purge, The Father, In The Heights, Spencer, Another Round, Mass, I’m Your Man, Finch, Antlers, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Petite Maman, Psycho Goreman, Black Bear, Censor, The Sparks Brothers, Halloween Kills, Eternals, Titane

Any recommendations? What are the best 2021 movies that I’ve missed?

I feel like I better end this with The Beatles doing Get Back during that rooftop concert (even though I must admit that Get Back has never been a favorite song of mine – I’m mostly a Rubber Soul/ Revolver era fan):

tick, tick… BOOM! (2021) Review

tick, tick… BOOM! (2021)

Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Based on Tick, Tick… Boom! by Jonathan Larson

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens

Music by Jonathan Larson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.

My Opinion:

I’ll be honest – I read about this movie and wasn’t going to bother even watching it as it’s just really not my sort of thing. I do like “theatre” but have seen very little of it (I’m not made of money! And going into London stresses me out). I’d like to see more but my knowledge on theatre shows is very limited. I know pretty much nothing about Rent other than I think it’s what they spoofed in Team America? So that’s the type of person I am watching this movie about the guy who created Rent.

I have to say this started out really slow but, by the end, I really enjoyed it and thought this guy (Jonathan Larson) had a very interesting life. I loved his passion for what he did and am sad that things ended up as they did. Obviously, I had no knowledge of Larson before seeing this movie. I am assuming that theatre people enjoyed this one as I think the film really captures that lifestyle (or what I assume that lifestyle is like – I could be wrong!). As the film was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m sure he captured the theatre lifestyle. I thought Andrew Garfield was very good but I can’t say if he has done Larson well or not? So hopefully those who knew him are happy with the film. Oh, and I did like the diner number and am pretty sure it had a lot of big theatre names in it so I’m sure fans loved it. But I’ll admit that I only recognised a few faces, mainly the women from Cheers & Life Goes On as I know more about TV than theatre!

Larson’s friends in this were really great characters as well. I especially liked Alexandra Shipp as his girlfriend & Robin de Jesus as his best friend. And Vanessa Hudgens was good as one of those performing his songs. Judith Light (Who’s The Boss!) was very entertaining in a small role as Larson’s agent. Finally, Bradley Whitford played Stephen Sondheim, who inspired & encouraged Larson. R.I.P. Stephen Sondheim, who passed away over the weekend. Hopefully Whitford did him justice. I thought both Whitford & Garfield were very good in this. As I said above, hopefully those who knew them are pleased with this film.

So, as a non-theatre person, I enjoyed the story in this film. It was told through showing Larson performing his musical tick, tick… BOOM! (I believe?), which is about his life and fear of turning 30 & time running out. Then, as he tells his story through that musical, you get to see him put together his first show (Superbia) and get to watch the actors perform those songs before a small audience (I think this was to determine if it would be made into a Broadway show?). It sadly wasn’t but, hey – it’s now in a movie! And I thought those songs were pretty catchy and think I’d rather watch Superbia than the tick, tick… BOOM! one. So it was great how they told his story in a straightforward movie kind of way while also showing the audience a lot of his work in two of his musicals. I thought it worked really well telling his story this way & am glad I decided to give the film a chance. And I’ve just now also decided to up my rating half a point.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Happy 9th Blogiversary To Me

I know I say this every year but I can’t believe I’m still here (somewhat) blogging. 9 years now!

I almost completely forgot to put a post together for it this year. Work has been crazy busy and I was badly wanting to catch up on actually reading other blogs this month. I’ll try to visit my favorites soon, I promise! 🙂

So as I’m preparing this post at the last minute, I’ll keep it short again & just list my Top Ten Movie Lists For 2021 So Far as it’s nearly the end of the year anyway. I’m still not really braving the cinemas yet, so this is mainly movies “released in the U.K. for the first time in whatever format in 2021 that I actually managed to watch”. So, yes, most big cinema releases are sadly missing.

So here are My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2021 So Far:

1. Dune – 8.5/10
2. Spontaneous – 8/10
3. Promising Young Woman – 8/10
4. Minari – 7.5/10
5. Willy’s Wonderland – 7.5/10
6. Space Sweepers – 7.5/10
7. Moxie – 7.5/10
8. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – 7.5/10
9. Raya And The Last Dragon – 7/10
10. The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 7/10

Honorable Mentions: (7/10)
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Palmer, tick, tick… BOOM!, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Free Guy

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Seen In 2021 So Far (a MUCH stronger list than the 2021 releases!):

1. Gandhi – 8.5/10
2. When Marnie Was There – 8/10
3. It Happened One Night – 8/10
4. Black Narcissus (1947) – 8/10
5. Swallow – 8/10
6. Wings Of Desire – 8/10
7. Dracula (1931) – 8/10
8. The Secret Of Kells – 7.5/10
9. Les Diaboliques – 7.5/10
10. Battleship Potemkin – 7.5/10

Honorable Mentions: (7.5/10)
Bloodsport, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, The Hunt (2020), Hud, Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Innocents (1961), Trees Lounge

And…. Screw it! I watched the most TV I’ve watched in years in 2021. So let’s rank those too! Especially as there were some great shows.

Here are My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 So Far:

1. Squid Game: S1
2. Cobra Kai: S3
3. Ted Lasso: S1, S2 E1-2
4. WandaVision: S1
5. Monsters At Work: S1
6. Sweet Tooth: S1
7. Midnight Mass: S1
8. Loki: S1
9. Lisey’s Story
10. The White Lotus: S1

The full list of everything I’ve watched & read in 2021 is HERE.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2021

I spent October posting (well, mostly re-posting) nothing but horror movie reviews. It’s fun but I always like getting back to reviewing every type of movie. Here’s everything I watched in October, including all the non-horror stuff…

MOVIES WATCHED IN OCTOBER (ranked best to worst):

Dune – Reviewed this in full at the link. Liked it a lot. Love Denis Villeneuve’s work & enjoyed reading Dune last year during lockdown so was really looking forward to the adaptation. It looked great and (most of) the cast were perfect. Especially loved Rebecca Ferguson as my favorite character Lady Jessica. I now have a new favorite 2021 film release. – 8.5/10

Dracula (1931) – I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as this one. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. I haven’t yet updated that list with these but I did do a quick post HERE with a very short review of each. Dracula was my favorite. They’re all so iconic & I’m glad I finally saw them. – 8/10

Frankenstein (1931) – I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. I love the overall story. It’s damn good. So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character. – 7.5/10

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. And I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo! – 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941) – Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. – 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933) – I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. I enjoyed this but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! It was fun watching all of these & I’m happy I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel! – 7/10

Black Widow – This was fine. I’ve said many times that I have “superhero burnout”. I do enjoy the Marvel movies and I’ve watched them all (and ranked them HERE of course since I’m obsessed with lists). I’ve put this one at 14 for now but think I was maybe being too generous as I liked getting another Marvel movie with a female lead and it’s about time that Black Widow got her own movie. But I might move it down a bit because, damn, I wish it had been a little better. It’s certainly not awful & I did enjoy watching it but, meh…

I liked the characters, though. I think it was the story that didn’t work so well. Scarlett Johansson was good as always and I did really like Florence Pugh even though I don’t get the obsession that younger people have with her like she’s the best actress EVER or something – she’s okay? I also really liked David Harbour & Rachel Weisz and their crazy little “family” but think the hubby wasn’t so happy with what they did with Harbour’s character. Or something. I dunno – I know nothing about the comics & these characters outside of the movies but I think that helps me to just enjoy the films since I don’t have to worry about how they adapt the characters.

This movie also did the exact same OTT action-filled ending as every single other Marvel film and seeing that same formula over & over again is getting boring. Man, I hate reviewing Marvel movies as I say the same things over & over again since it feels like I’m watching the same movie over & over again. They’re fun & I watch them as I do enjoy them while they’re on but I don’t tend to revisit them. I’m glad Black Widow got her own movie. I liked the characters & their fucked-up little “family”. The overall story was a bit dumb. Hoping Shang-Chi will be better? Think that’s coming to Disney Plus this week. I want to see something a little different. – 7/10

Tenet – First of all, I better say that I’m not a Christopher Nolan fan. As with Florence Pugh, I also don’t get the obsession with Nolan & people thinking he’s one of the best directors ever or something. He’s okay? I did love The Prestige, kind of hated Interstellar, and felt meh about most of the rest. Okay, The Dark Knight was decent too but, as with all his movies, it’s rated far too highly.

I unfortunately feel kind of the same about Tenet as I did Interstellar. I liked the idea behind the story but thought the execution was a complete mess by the end. I feel like Nolan tries too hard to make a story more confusing than it needs to be so that diehard fans can go “You just don’t get it” whenever anyone doesn’t worship a Nolan film & points out that it’s not as great as they think it is. John David Washington was fine as was Robert Pattinson. They did what they could with this story. I liked the story involving Elizabeth Debicki & her complete dick of a husband, although her character made some shitty decisions and, honestly, could’ve fucked up a very important mission.

I don’t know. I didn’t hate the movie. I thought the overall story was fine & enjoyed seeing things played out in reverse. But I also think the execution of the story was a bit of a mess. Again. Now thinking I should rewatch Memento again as I did like that at the time but don’t remember it being so messy? It seems like Nolan’s movies are getting worse over time. – 6.5/10

Class Of 1984 – This was kind of a weird one. I kind of liked it. I think. I watched Class Of 1999 (from 1989) several years ago and, man, that was pretty cheesy. That was about a school with a bunch of unruly delinquent students so secret robot teachers are hired to keep them in line. The Class Of 1984 school certainly could’ve used some killer robot teachers! It’s about a new teacher (Perry King) who starts at a school that is being terrorised by some truly evil students. When he stands up to them, they begin terrorising him as well. It’s one of those “based on true events!” movies where I’m thinking that’s bullshit as, yeah, some teenagers could be horrible but I don’t think they were this bad in 1984. I grew up in the ’80s – we were pretty nice!

I liked Roddy McDowall as a fellow teacher who gets pushed over the edge & it was fun seeing a very young Michael J. Fox from before he was famous (he’s a nice student, of course – not one of the bad ones). This movie goes very over-the-top at the end, though. I liked all of that sweet revenge but could’ve done without the long & drawn out rape scene. I know they needed to make us really hate these evil fuckers but I think anyone watching the movie hated them enough before that. The movie was more “extreme” than I was expecting. Not so much in showing actual gore & blood, which was mild, but the baddies truly were evil & violent people. Am assuming it was controversial at the time. I think it could’ve been much better. It kind of feels like a movie that thought it was tackling an important topic but the end was too over the top to take seriously. Enjoyed the revenge, though. – 6.5/10


The Night House – I reviewed this separately since it’s one of the few horror movies I actually watched in October. It was fine. Could’ve been better but I was very happy to be able to watch a new horror on Disney Plus. Had some good eerie bits, at least, and supernatural horror is always my favorite type. – 6/10

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit – I’ve never paid much attention to Wallace & Gromit. Not sure why. I’ve liked what I’ve seen, though. Halloween seemed like a good time to finally watch this one for my Best Picture Project. The focus of that is to of course watch all the Best Picture winners but I’d like to watch some of the foreign language winners as well. And I then noticed I’d seen all of the Best Animated Features except for two: this & Rango, which I’ve also now watched. Woohoo! I’ve seen all the winners in that category now! My life is complete!

Anyway. This was cute & funny & I’m sure Wallace & Gromit fans like it. I enjoyed it. I’ll be honest, though, neither this nor Rango were as good as the Pixar & Disney films that tend to always win so it’s obvious they weren’t up against those. Rango didn’t have much competition but, wow, I disagree with Wallace & Gromit winning over Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride & especially over Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle!! What?!? Well, that’s the Academy for you I guess. – 6.5/10

First Love – I was mostly interested in checking this out as it’s a Takashi Miike movie and his Audition film was certainly interesting. I believe a lot of his stuff is extreme so I was interested in this one as it was meant to be less crazy. But I found it a bit boring. I liked the young boxer & the girl he helps plus there were some fun, quirky characters including one pissed off chick who was amusing. But I was mostly bored & sad it didn’t live up to its really cool movie poster. Here’s the short Wikipedia synopsis (the poster is also at the link): “It tells the story of a boxer and a call girl who become unwittingly involved in a drug-smuggling scheme.” – 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers – I watched the “Loomis timeline” first 6 Halloween movies in October & reviewed them all in a post on Halloween (at the link) so no need to say much here as well. I’ll just say this: the first Halloween, as expected, is far superior to the sequels. The rest are below as I rewatched them but this & number 6 were first time watches for me. They aren’t great! I still far prefer the Elm Street movies. – 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers – This was the worst of these Michael Myers sequels but I’ve given it an extra half a point since adorable young Paul Rudd is in it (looking exactly the same as he does now). – 5.5/10

Terror Train – Since I was watching all the Halloween movies, it made sense to also check out this 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher I’d somehow never heard of. I’ve reviewed it in full as well so I’ll just say it wasn’t great but seemed to have a pretty good budget for the time & I liked the train setting. It was like a slightly shit version of an Agatha Christie story. I don’t know why I’ve put it underneath Halloween 5 & 6 as it’s actually better than those… But they of course have the “Michael Myers/Halloween” franchise thing going for them I guess and I’m more likely to remember those than this somewhat forgettable horror. – 6/10

Movies Rewatched In October:

Halloween (1978) – This is obviously an all-time slasher classic from the great John Carpenter. And I adore his score, as I do in his other movies. The Halloween theme is absolutely brilliant and I’m convinced it’s what has actually made this such a popular franchise. I can’t imagine this movie without the music. – 8/10

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – This is one of those movies where I want to give it a higher rating as I love a few of the songs (especially Time Warp) and it’s SO iconic & it’s fun & Tim Curry is truly awesome. But, man, the final half hour or so of this thing has always been pretty sucky. Sorry! But I realize that’s kind of the point as it’s meant to be like a cheesy ’50s B movie. Should I up my rating?? I really should… It’s a classic. I’ll think about it! For now, I’ll leave it with this: – 7.5/10 (Re-watching this has made me further appreciate Phantom Of The Paradise too – both deserve their cult status)

Us – Appreciated this a bit more on rewatching it. It’s flawed but I really like the story & stand by my opinion that it’s much better than Get Out. – 7.5/10

Logan – I also stand by my opinion that I prefer the X-Men movies (bad as most of them unfortunately are) to the MCU movies. I just prefer the characters. Will be fun, though, if (when??) they bring them together? I don’t love Logan but it’s very good and certainly the best of the Wolverine films. – 7.5/10

Halloween II (1981) – The least sucky of the Halloween sequels since at least Jamie Lee Curtis/Laurie Strode is actually in the damn thing. – 6.5/10

Fun Size – This is a fun “teen” Halloween movie. Actually has some pretty raunchy jokes in it for a Nickelodeon movie! The best thing about it is the weird little brother – he’s funny. – 6.5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers – At least this one is better than 5 & 6? Think it could grow on me as I like the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked the ending. – 6/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch – Oh man, I wanted to love this as I vaguely remembered liking the jingle from it when I saw it as a teen. But it’s really not good. However, I do wish they’d continued with this idea of having Halloween be a series of unrelated stories as I love horror anthologies. The story in this was also a pretty good idea. I just wish the movie itself was much better. – 5/10

TV Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales – These are always fun and it was a nice surprise when (slight spoiler!) they spoofed a “horror” favorite of mine: The Lost Boys. Wasn’t expecting that! Don’t think the kids watching are going to get those references, though.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Midnight Mass: S1 E2-7 – I like Mike Flanagan. I think I’ve watched every single movie of his, most of which I’ve really liked. But I have yet to really love something of his. Doctor Sleep & Gerald’s Game were my favorites, but is that thanks to the Stephen King thing since I’m such a big King fan? And I have to say that Midnight Mass feels very VERY much like a King story, such as Salem’s Lot (a favorite book), which is probably why I thought this was a pretty great show.

I tried to watch another Flanagan show but gave up after a couple of episodes as it was just too damn slow. No, I’m not someone with a short attention span but I also don’t really want to spend hours & hours watching a TV show. Think it’s why I just prefer movies. A good movie can do just as well with character development in less time as long as they do it right. So, Midnight Mass started the same way as most Flanagan stuff & I admit I wasn’t feeling it at all at first.

I’m really glad I didn’t give up on it as the end of episode 3 is when I went “Fuck yeah – something good is finally happening!!“. They then spent far too long talking in all the remaining episodes too, blah blah blah blah, but we got some great supernatural horror (my favorite!) in between all that blathering. The characters were good, especially Flanagan’s wife, and I loved this small, very Stephen-King-esque island community setting. That was great! I want to live there! You know, without the freaky supernatural horror stuff. And I absolutely hated the religious nut bitch (as you’re meant to) and her type of character also screamed Stephen-King-character because that’s the exact sort of character he writes so often. Same with the main guy with the tragic past. So, yeah, I probably liked this as it was so very much like a Stephen King story. Again, though, I just wish I could love a Flanagan movie/show. He’s getting closer!

Alice In Borderland: S1 E1-5 – After being absolutely obsessed with the brilliant Squid Game (I loved it! Watched the whole thing twice!), we decided to check out this Japanese show as it’s one of those they recommend if you liked Squid Game. I can see why, as it also involves people being forced to play games that can result in their deaths. It’s fun so far so but we’re only halfway through, so I’ll say more once I’ve finished it.

It’s definitely not as good as Squid Game, though. The characters aren’t nearly as well developed. It’s also very “youth aimed”, which is fine, but the majority of the people on this show are in their 20s whereas Squid Game varied more in ages. Also, it doesn’t have the same sense of desperation that the characters in Squid Game had as they were down on their luck & needing the big prize. The “players” in this show are (seemingly at this point) chosen at random to participate. I like the mystery of it, though, as it appears that everyone else in the world has disappeared so am eager to find out what’s going on with the overall story…

Never Mind The Buzzcocks: S29 E2-6– God, it’s like the old Buzzcocks from years ago had the soul sucked out of it completely. Very disappointing. Think they need new regulars?!

The Masked Singer U.S.: S6 E1-7 – This show is so stupid but I seem to keep watching it. I’m convinced that one dude is John Lydon…

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood – I liked this heavy metal band’s first album, where every song is about a horror movie, so was happy when they released this second album in time for Halloween this year. It’s just a bit screamy, FYI, if you don’t go for the full-on screamy metal stuff. I have to be in the right sort of mood but will always prefer classic metal, such as Black Sabbath, to this more modern stuff. The “horror movie” idea for these two albums was a great one, though.

Iron Maiden – SenjutsuCompletely forgot to mention this album in my roundup the month it came out so figured I’d mention it quickly now. Really like it. I streamed it shitloads while working that month, hoping to help it beat Drake to the number one spot. It didn’t. I’m still bitter & annoyed. Yeah, I know I sound like an old person. Don’t care! 😉 Drake did a version of I’m Too Sexy, FFS. Right? Seriously?! Ugh. I weep for the future. Kids these days! Glad mine loves a lot of great classic rock & can name loads of bands from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s.

BOOKS READ

Billy Summers by Stephen King – Enjoyed this, as I do with most King books, but it’ll never be a favorite. I always prefer King when he’s doing his supernatural horror thing so, this straightforward “crime” story of a professional hitman hired to kill a bad guy on his way to court, wasn’t really my sort of thing. The character of the hitman (Billy Summers) was fine as you do feel some sympathy for him (plus he only kills bad people!). The relationship he develops later on with a character is a bit awkward. I think I’d have been a bit bored if this book didn’t also include a “story within the story” as Billy Summers decides to write a book about his life while waiting for the man he’s been hired to kill. So we learn about his life from a young age via the book he writes. I liked that & it was the best thing about this book. Oh! That and references to a well known place from one of King’s most famous books (and not in Maine!). – 3/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I might as well take this bit out of my roundup posts as I never really have any blog plans anymore. Watch movies, sometimes review them separately if I have much to say, otherwise just mention them in my monthly posts. 🙂

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Everything!!! Damn. Still not going to the cinema so missing soooooo many movies. Really want to see Last Night In Soho.

I’ll end today’s post with Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show…

Dune (2021) Review

Dune (2021)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Based on Dune by Frank Herbert

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in the far future, it follows Paul Atreides as his family, the noble House Atreides, is thrust into a war for the dangerous desert planet Arrakis.

My Opinion:

I finally read the first Dune book last year during lockdown in preparation for this movie (pathetic review HERE). Then, obviously, the movie was massively delayed. So, being old & forgetful, I’ve forgotten half the book by now. And, of course, the movie only covers half of the book (if that), so I have no chance of remembering the rest of the book by the time the next movie comes out. Hey, that’s okay – everything can be a surprise when I see it! I’ll say this, though – Holy shit, I was saying NONE of the names, etc, right in my head while reading the book. Half the movie I was like “Ah, so that’s how that word is said”.

Seriously, though, I really did like the book. I’d had no intention of reading the rest as I’ve heard they aren’t as good as the first one but I kind of want to know the whole story now instead of waiting years for the movies. There are some storylines & characters I’m far more interested in than others but I really like the overall story & the world Herbert created.

There are, as with many stories like these, far too many characters to keep straight or fully care about but there are a few I liked enough to keep me interested. For me, I like Paul of course but it’s mainly Lady Jessica. LOVE her! People moan about lack of good female characters but this book is from 1965 & Lady Jessica is awesome & the star of the story for me. Was disappointed that things involving her were left out of the movie, such as the secret garden, which I felt were quite important to the story. But I admit that I love the whole Bene Gesserit thing (Boy, was I saying Bene Gesserit wrong!) & wanted to see all of that onscreen. I realize that they could never possibly cover everything in these books but quite a lot was still left out so I’m very glad I read it!

I was also very worried as Rebecca Ferguson seemed to barely be in the trailers, etc, but she’s just as important as Timothée Chalamet’s character. Although they sadly left out some things involving her, I was happy that she does get plenty of screen time. Phew. And I’ve had a girl crush on Ferguson especially since Doctor Sleep so was very happy when she was cast as Lady Jessica as she seemed perfect. She’s fantastic. Easily my favorite thing about the movie as well as the book, so I still have a girl crush. She’s so lovely. Here’s a closeup of these two. They’re so damn pretty. Well, I don’t fully get why young girls like Chalamet but whatever. He has amazing hair, though:

Um. Let’s see. I’ve talked enough about Lady Jessica and that was the main thing I cared about. Am very happy with all of that but was happy with most everything to do with this adaptation. Yes, I’m sad that plenty was left out but that was to be expected. Yes, some of the characters weren’t how I imagined them but I thought they all did well including Jason Momoa who I was most worried about as Duncan Idaho & thought he’d throw me out of the story but he didn’t. Was sad to get so little of Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck, who is a great character. Was also disappointed that they didn’t get into the whole Mentat thing at all as that was quite interesting in the book but also confusing & I really wanted a refresher on what the Mentat are. Wow, I don’t remember the character of Glossu Rabban, played by Dave Bautista, at all. Pretty sure he’s important! I clearly pay less attention when they aren’t focusing on my favorite characters plus I wasn’t really feeling Bautista in the movie & he did throw me out of the movie a bit for some reason. But I thought all the rest of the casting was good enough.

Oh! Damn. Not even mentioned Zendaya. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know she’s not in it much. She has a very important role but, as I expected, she wasn’t going to be in this much as she shows up later in the book. I think some people were very disappointed as they pushed her so much in the marketing (which was stupid but, you know, they always push “youth” & beauty). To be fair, they used her more than they needed to for the first half of the book & much more than I was expecting. She’s good – I think she’ll be very good in the role based on what we’ve seen so far. SO looking forward to seeing the next movie now & seeing more of her Chani with Chalamet’s Paul. And seeing more Lady Jessica & that freaky Bene Gesserit stuff!

I thought this would be a short review! While writing this, more of the book has come back to me and I’ve decided I really do like what I’ve seen of Villeneuve’s adaptation so far and it has renewed my interest in the story & wanting to continue reading it now. Especially as so many things were left out of the movie… Now I’m wondering how much I’ve missed by not reading Game Of Thrones!

As for Villeneuve, I’m definitely a fan. I’ve liked all I’ve seen of his work and Arrival is probably my overall favorite film of the past decade (and it’s still my favorite of his). So I was very eagerly awaiting this Dune adaptation & he again didn’t disappoint. The world looked fantastic, though a little too dark. Why do serious movies have to be so dark & grey these days??? I know it’s a sandy, dreary planet but still – I get enough grey living in England. But it did still look lovely & the cast was (mostly) great and it made me like the story even more.

My only other small complaint is that the Hans Zimmer score was very disappointing. As in, it was bland and I hardly noticed it except for when it suddenly sounded like some Scottish Braveheart thing WTF? Disappointing as I adored Jóhann Jóhannsson’s (RIP 😦 ) work on Villeneuve’s other films (and especially on the non-Villeneuve Mandy) but sadly he couldn’t work with him again. I know it seems like a small thing but an amazing score can make a good film a great film for me. I still think this adaptation of Dune was pretty great & I’m happy with the results but, man, a perfect score really would’ve pushed this one even higher for me. Maybe the score will grow on me. Bring on the next movie! I can’t wait.

FYI – Yes, I did see the David Lynch Dune but I can barely remember the book a year & a half later so let’s just say I remember nothing from a movie I watched a good 25 years ago. Might rewatch now, though! Will keep my expectations low. Wish the Jodorowsky Dune had happened…

My Rating: 8.5/10

Willy’s Wonderland (2021) & Saint Maud (2019) Reviews

Happy “Halloween Week”! Here are two horror movies that I thought were pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed one but didn’t love the other, although I thought it was a good film. Probably obvious which was which…

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Directed by Kevin Lewis

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Christian Del Grosso, Caylee Cowan, Terayle Hill, Jonathan Mercedes, David Sheftell, Beth Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It follows a quiet drifter who is tricked into cleaning up an abandoned family entertainment center haunted by eight murderous animatronic characters.

My Opinion:

I was never a huge fan of Nicolas Cage but he’s finally growing on me since Mandy. Mandy grew on me a lot too – I wasn’t sure how I felt right away but now I love that film & its look and its amazing score. I now want every Nicolas Cage movie to live up to Mandy but I don’t think any ever will. I did enjoy Color Out Of Space & it certainly gave Mandy a run for its money on “weirdness”. I love weird. It was no Mandy but I’m loving that Cage chooses such bizarre films with cult movie potential.

He’s done similar again with Willy’s Wonderland but in the horror comedy genre this time (a favorite subgenre of mine). I was so damn excited to see the trailer for a film starring Cage battling demonic animatronic characters. Love this idea! The film sadly didn’t quite live up to its amazing potential but I still had a lot of fun with it. And Cage was as bonkers as always, even while remaining silent through the whole film. It has a good ’80s slasher sort of vibe to it as well, so I appreciated that. The ’80s had some of the best “bad” horror movies & I’ll always happily watch this kind of thing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saint Maud (2019)

Directed & Written by Rose Glass

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

My Opinion:

Watched this British psychological horror as so many went on about it but it’s one of those films being raved over for the performance. And I agree that Morfydd Clark was very good so this was worth watching for that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.

The movie is fine but does drag a bit. I did like the slowly building tension, though, and thought the ending was good. Not one I’d watch again but am glad I checked out. I recommend it only if you like the more serious type of horrors with good acting. Oh! And was I going crazy or did her face do a weird Soundgarden Black Hole Sun video thing a couple of times when she was having one of her God orgasms?? That was kind of freaky fun.

My Rating: 6.5/10


Black hole sun, won’t you come? And wash away the rain?

Free Guy (2021) Review

Free Guy (2021)

Directed by Shawn Levy

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.

My Opinion:

I still haven’t gone to the cinema through the whole pandemic & have no plans to anytime soon but, man, we’re SO missing going to new movies!!! The last thing we all saw in the cinema together (me, hubby & kid) was Onward, which was a “meh” one to end on. So we decided to end the summer school break with a trip to a drive-in.

I was very lucky growing up as there was a great drive-in not far from my tiny American Midwest town (with great pizza!) but I know it’s a novelty in the U.K. They do outdoor showings of older movies here sometimes (saw The Greatest Showman that way) but, seriously, who wants to sit outdoors in shitty U.K. weather?! Too risky in rainy England! So it’s cool that some small drive-ins have popped up during the pandemic. And it didn’t even rain during Free Guy! Yay! They just need to start doing double features – that’s what it always was at the one in America. And it was cheap, too (but it was the ’80s/’90s so I’m sure the cost has gone up). At £30 a car here, it’s good for a couple of trips but we can’t do that regularly. Was worth the cost to see one movie in a year & a half, though.

Anyway. Enough reminiscing about my high school drive-in days (I was so annoyed with my boyfriend wanting to make-out the whole time – I wanted to watch the damn movies). Suppose I should talk about Free Guy?? I probably enjoyed it slightly more than I might have as I needed a movie fix so bad but I thought it was a lot of fun. I even giggled a few times! I’m not a LOL person. Ryan Reynolds is always likeable, of course, but I also really liked Jodie Comer’s character. She’s also more than “just the love interest” – Her role is as big & as important as Ryan’s. The idea itself was good but, admittedly, not the most original. We’ve seen the whole “living in a video game” thing quite a lot. But this movie brought enough of a new spin to the idea plus the romance was surprisingly good (especially at the end). It managed to be slightly unpredictable, which was cool.

Ryan & Jodie are the characters we see the most by far but there were some really good smaller roles too. I can’t say much as I want to avoid spoilers but “Dude” was the best. That’s what got the most giggles out of me (but I’m a little immature). Also liked Ryan’s best friend and that guy from Stranger Things wasn’t too bad despite his always weird hair. And Taika Waititi was as entertaining as always, playing an evil game developer. Plus there are several cameos that I won’t spoil. Yeah, it was lightweight entertainment but that’s exactly what we all needed. Scary that it’s going to end up pretty high on my list of 2021 U.K. releases! But I can’t see absolutely loving many of the upcoming 2021 films. Let’s see how Dune turns out…

My Rating: 7/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2021

Happy September. September?! Holy shit – when did that happen????

Here’s all I watched & read in August, spent mostly in bed recuperating after a hospital stay. So I was allowed to watch a lot of stuff (what else could I do??). 🙂

MOVIES WATCHED IN AUGUST (ranked best to worst):

Man On Fire – I reviewed this in full at the link. I decided to finally watch it after seeing a thread on Twitter of movies with very different audience & critic ratings (audiences loved it & critics hated it). I really enjoyed it. No, it’s not some good “Oscar worthy” film but it’s a very enjoyable revenge thriller. And it may be predictable but the friendship between Denzel Washington’s & Dakota Fanning’s characters was fantastic & they worked so well together. Plus Denzel is always absolutely perfect in this type of role. Don’t listen to the critics! They need to learn to just enjoy movies sometimes. – 7/10

Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, Czech: Divoká planeta) – Well, this was bizarre!! I won’t say much about it here as I reviewed it in full at the link. This is the strange sort of shit I’m always searching for as I get so bored with mainstream movies since I watch way too many. I’m not sure what the hell was going on but I liked it. It had surreal artwork & a trippy, groovy score so was my type of thing. It’s on the Roku Channel in the U.K. if you’re interested. Here’s the plot synopsis for this animated allegorical tale (from IMDb): “On a faraway planet where blue giants rule, oppressed humanoids rebel against their machine-like leaders.” And I’ll give you one more image below to give you an idea of the animation style… – 7/10

Once Upon A Time In America – Being stuck in bed recuperating after a hospital stay made me decide to finally watch this almost-four-hour epic because what the hell else was I going to do with my time? It’s also a part of my IMDb Top 250 Challenge so it gets another movie crossed off of that list. I reviewed it in the full at the link so luckily don’t again have to say I didn’t love this film. Oops – Just said it! But I’m not a big gangster film fan & everyone was too hateful. I’m definitely a bigger fan of Leone’s Westerns but there’s no denying that this was still a good film even if I didn’t love it. – 7.5/10

Nomadland – And I watched this one while in the hospital as part of my Best Picture Project. Not gonna lie: It’s good but a bit boring. I’m gonna be real! Yes, I’ve ranked Man On Fire above this. Yes, Nomadland is certainly a better film than Man On Fire. But there are no butt bombs in this! I think it’s a deserving Best Picture Winner compared to the other nominees this year but, overall, it’s far from the best winner in the history of the Oscars.

I found the “houseless” lifestyle portrayed in this fascinating and guess I never exactly realized that there are people who live that way (but I’m a bit sheltered). I know there were real-life nomads playing characters in this & they were all very good. Frances McDormand, as always, was also very good as was David Strathairn. It’s not a film I can fault in any way & I thought they did a good job of portraying McDormand’s character’s heartbreak over the loss of her husband as well as her entire town & way of life. Yes, it’s a good film & deserves a higher rating. It’s just one of those movies that I feel I’ve seen once & have no need to see again. I miss having Oscar winning movies that I truly loved & enjoyed. – 7/10

Thrashin’ – Oh how I love finding ’80s movies that I somehow never saw at the time! I enjoyed this. Yes, it’s cheesy. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Two skateboarding gangs battle each other for supremacy, and a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of his rival.” It stars Josh Brolin as the main character with one of the two assholes from Weird Science (Robert Rusler) as his punk rock skateboarding rival. It also had one of the Lost Boys vampires, Sherilyn Fenn, and of course Tony Hawk with a cameo but it must have been very small because I didn’t notice him. Oh!!! And the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in this performing at some club or whatever. So that was cool – It made it feel a little more credible as this sort of California scene makes me think of the Chili Peppers. Romance & skateboarding rivalry in ’80s California. What more can you ask for from a movie?! I love the ’80s. I don’t care. I enjoyed this. (Kind of feel like giving it a higher rating but then it would be the same as what I gave a Best Picture Oscar winner….). – 7/10

Fear Street Trilogy: Fear Street Part One: 1994, Fear Street Part Two: 1978, Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – I reviewed this trilogy at the link so I’ll just say it was fun but certainly not perfect. It had a good soundtrack (especially 1978) & I’d say the overall story that runs through all three films does come together pretty well. Oh, it’s also super gory so don’t be fooled by the R.L. Stine name! These are full-on slashers. I’d watch more if they make more. The trilogy was clearly made by lovers of old school slashers & they did a decent enough job of trying to be like those. – Part One & Two: 6.5/10, Part Three: 6/10

Cruella – Also reviewed this at the link so I don’t have to bitch about it again here. Mainly, I was mostly annoyed that it didn’t totally suck like I was expecting. Okay – the story itself was stupid as shit & completely pointless. But, damn – it had some fun outfits and an absolutely kick ass soundtrack. Why did they have to use such good music in a stupid Disney live-action thing?! Ugh! I loved hearing so many good songs but, man, those songs deserve to be in far better films. – 6.5/10

The Goldfinch – First of all, I read this book and it felt like it took me FOREVER because it was so damn long (seriously – I think it took me about a year to read). It’s a long book and spends a very long time developing the characters and spans many years, so there was no way a 2 1/2 hour movie was going to do it justice. As much as I hate a mini series & dragging a story out for TV, I think this probably should’ve been a mini series instead. However, I thought the film did a surprisingly good job squeezing in so much of the story. It mainly skipped over the time the main character spends as a boy in Las Vegas which, to be fair, dragged on for way too long in the book anyway. The only thing that was a shame was that it meant cutting out quite a bit of the Boris character, who was possibly the best thing about the book (besides wondering what would happen with the painting).

I think the movie kind of made me further appreciate the book as it is actually a decent story. So I’m giving this a decent rating as the movie was far better than I was expecting. However, if you’ve not read the book, I think the movie would probably be difficult to follow as they really do gloss over stuff. I have a feeling that those who liked this movie did read the book first. But I’d only recommend the book if you like reading epic stories with fairly unlikeable characters. Not gonna lie – the book was a real slog to read. Maybe it’s why I quite liked the movie… I don’t know. It’s a hard one to recommend! I can understand why it got poor reviews but it’s a pretty damn good adaptation. I liked it. – 7/10

– Wonder Woman 1984 – Was glad to finally see this without extra cost but had extremely low expectations due to terrible reviews. Well, it’s not that bad. It’s certainly not as bad as its IMDb rating (5.4/10). Okay, it’s also not very good but I didn’t hate it. I thought the first Wonder Woman was quite good so it’s a shame this didn’t live up to it. I think Wonder Woman herself was perfectly fine in this, so they didn’t ruin the character, and the story wasn’t awful. I think the main two problems were 1. The movie was too damn long and 2. The villains were rubbish. Kristen Wiig’s wasn’t quite so bad & they did a decent job developing her character and letting us see her rise & fall. Pedro Pascal was terrible, however. I mean the character as well as the acting (sorry, I don’t think he’s very good despite loving The Mandalorian – that show would be just as good with a different actor). Oh – I also don’t think they did a very good job of making this look like it was set in 1984 just by throwing a few ugly outfits on people and having Chris Pine give a fashion show. And where was all the ’80s music?! Disappointing, as I love the ’80s. Meh. Whatever. There are far better superhero movies but also worse ones. I’m bored with them all. This one will just be very forgettable. – 6/10

Wish Dragon – This was fine. I don’t have a lot to say about this animated film other than that it was better than a lot of the stuff that slightly bigger studios such as DreamWorks put out. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Determined teen Din is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.” I liked the animation, the characters were likeable, and the dragon was fun (even though he was a bit too similar to Aladdin’s Genie). It’s also not quite as “kiddie” as it looks. It’s certainly appropriate for very young kids but I’d say preteens would be perfectly happy watching this too (the main boy & girl are 19 in this). Decent film for one that I believe went straight to Netflix? – 6.5/10

Bliss – I was really looking forward to seeing this as I really liked Mike Cahill’s Another Earth & especially I Origins. This one is unfortunately not nearly as good. I was intrigued by the concept & did like the story. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “A mind-bending love story following Greg who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel, a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is a computer simulation.” It started out okay but the story got messy & it just didn’t work as well as his other films. The biggest problem was that it felt completely miscast. Owen Wilson & Salma Hayek were okay but just didn’t really work together. They’re also too famous – This would have been better with lesser known actors. Too bad Cahill didn’t use his usual favorite, Brit Marling. She’d have been good. Oh well – I did still like the story so it was worth a watch but I’d highly recommend his other films first. – 6/10

Black Christmas (2019) – Er. Um. UGH. Okay… This movie was mostly pretty damn terrible but for some reason I kind of liked it? At least at the beginning – that all went out the window at the very end. Holy hell! What a pile of shit ending!!! First of all: Yes, I saw the original but it was many many years ago so I should probably rewatch it. So I won’t be comparing them as I don’t remember that one well enough. I just wish Blumhouse would stop rebooting or remaking (or whatever you want to call it) old horror films. Well, that’s plenty of studios, actually. And these newer films are sometimes so different than the originals that I don’t understand why they use the same name. No, I lie – they use the same name because they’re more likely to make money from a known name. Pisses me off. Honestly, they could’ve given this one a completely different name from the original as I don’t think they’re very similar beyond the setting.

So. They kind of had a good idea here but just did such an awful job of cramming the agenda into this film. Spoiler: It’s basically about the rape culture at universities. Which is an important and serious topic not really suited for this seriously stupid horror movie. To be fair, it maybe could have worked if the film had treated the topic more seriously and if the ending hadn’t been laughable. It’s a shame as a well written film on this topic could’ve turned out well. Maybe a more serious type of horror such as Midsommar? Hell, that’s basically a toxic-male-hating film too about slightly inattentive boyfriends, right?

I did really like Imogen Poots in this so luckily the main character was fine. I like her in most things but I mostly think I just love that name. POOTS! Imagine having to grow up with the name Poots!! Her main SJW best friend (sorry to use that phrase but it’s the whole point of that character) was okay but very quickly gets on your nerves as you’d expect. I did kind of like the one friend who was really dumb (she was also good in The White Lotus). And one other thing I did really like in this movie was their song. That was a good scene. I like seeing rapists named & shamed. So the movie started out well…

While I do think this movie ended up being dreadful thanks to its ridiculously over-the-top ending, I think it has been unfairly rated way too low on IMDb. 3.4/10?! Okay, that will be those who see it as having a man-hating agenda. I suppose it does but I think it could have gotten away with it & done a better job of making its point if the ending wasn’t SO in-your-face about, um, toxic masculinity. Dammit! This movie made me use the phrases SJW & toxic masculinity. Phrases I steer WELL clear of on Twitter! And I’ve written waaaaay more than I wanted to about a pretty bad horror movie. I just wish it had done a better job of making its point in a more subtle fashion. Cramming your beliefs down viewers’ throats never works, even when viewers agree with what you’re trying to say (as I do). – 5.5/10

The Big Year – This was fine? A very safe & inoffensive movie. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “It was based on the 2004 nonfiction book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. The book followed three men on a quest for a Big Year – a competition among birders to see who can see and identify the greatest number of species of birds in North America (north of Mexico) in a calendar year.” So it’s an intriguing story. I had no idea this was a real thing that people do?! Of course the characters themselves are fictional (Owen Wilson is especially over-the-top in his bird obsession) but it’s still interesting that people do this in real life. As I said, it’s just a very safe film. Pleasant. The kind of thing you can have on in the background while visiting with family on a Sunday afternoon. So… somewhat forgettable but was a nice watch & I always love Jack Black. Steve Martin was also good but Black was the best character & he was very understated compared to his usual sort of crazy antics. – 6/10

Over Her Dead Body – This sucked. Cliché & predictable every step of the way. The story is about a controlling woman (Eva Longoria) who dies on her wedding day (you’ll see the obvious death coming a mile away). She then haunts the first woman who shows an interest in her husband-to-have-been about a year later & tries to keep them apart. I 100% watched this because I love Paul Rudd. Who doesn’t?! A controlling dead bitch wouldn’t keep me away from him either! But, of course, she sees the error of her ways and that she needs to let him move on with his life. Duh. I’d have given a spoiler warning there but it’s not a spoiler when you already know the stupid ending from the very start. Whatever – it’s a dumb romcom & not trying to win Oscars or something. So I’ll be nice with my rating since Paul Rudd was of course adorable in this. – 5/10

Movies Rewatched:

Rear Window – Finally convinced my daughter to watch her first Alfred Hitchcock film! 🙂 And I started her on my favorite. I’ve always loved Rear Window & how we get a glimpse of various peoples’ lives through their windows. I was always most concerned about Miss Lonelyhearts & loved the newlywed couple who kept their blinds closed for days. Plus James Stewart is always great & Grace Kelly is gorgeous & classy in all her fancy outfits. I know I always wear a dress & pearls around the house like in the above photo! Such a fun & stylish film. Trying to convince the kid to watch The Birds next. Let’s have another look at Grace Kelly… – 9.5/10

The Lost Boys – YES! Adore this movie. And, yes, it’s my favorite vampire movie. Of course – I was a young teenager when it came out & had a crush on The Two Coreys. I don’t know what else to say about it but you’ll either love this lightweight teen horror comedy or you won’t. The characters are fun, everyone is young & pretty & super cool, and it has great quotables. Death by stereo! Love it. Oh, and it has that greased-up saxophone player. Hubba hubba. Maggots, Michael! You’re eating maggots! –9/10

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Reviewed this in full already for the big John Hughes Blogathon I did years ago. Obviously, I’m Gen X so naturally a big fan of John Hughes (which is why I did the blogathon). Still think this one is great although The Breakfast Club is still my favorite. – 9/10

Wreck-It Ralph – I liked this one a lot the first time I saw it but it grew on me more & more and it’s now easily one of my very favorites of modern-era animated Disney. I think the story is very clever and I love the characters (yes, even Vanellope although I’m sure she gets on some people’s nerves). And I like the Sugar Rush song (seriously – I have it on my Apple playlist). Is it normal for me as an adult to rewatch these movies as much as kids do?! – 8.5/10

Robin Hood (1973) – For whatever reason, I’d not watched this Disney movie a million times like a lot of the others so figured it was time for a rewatch as I didn’t remember it well. I really enjoyed it! Not sure why I never watched it much. The characters and a couple of the songs were fun. Glad I gave it a rewatch after all these years. – 7.5/10

Spider-Man (2002) – Not sure if I have the energy but think I need to rewatch all these Spider-Man movies before the new film comes out. Mainly need to watch with my daughter who hasn’t seen any pre-Tom-Holland ones. Wanted to watch the second of these before rating this one as I seem to remember it being quite good? I like this one, though. We’ll give it a 7 & see if 2 is a 7.5! Don’t remember loving any of the rest. Still think the first couple of Tobey Maguire ones are the best, though, even though I think Tom Holland is decent. – 7/10

Attack The Block – I really like this one although I can’t explain exactly why as the main characters are a group of young criminals. But the aliens are quite effective and it’s a decent alien invasion movie, which I always enjoy. – 7/10

Practical Magic – A bit girly for me but I have to like chick flicks sometimes, right?? – 6.5/10

The Island – Think this is pretty decent for a, uh, Michael Bay film. Until it turns too Michael Bay-like at the end. But it starts out well & the story is fine & Steve Buscemi is in it & Steve Buscemi rules. So, good enough. – 6.5/10

The Hole (2009) – Trying to ease the daughter into horror as she’s not a big fan like I was at her age. Well, she didn’t like this one. It’s a very odd film. Expected so much more from Joe Dante as Gremlins is awesome. But this one is weird. It’s not really scary but it’s hard to know what sort of age it’s aimed at as it IS far too scary for kids at least. But teens & older would mostly find it silly. I don’t think it’s a horrible film – I think it’s just one that would only be liked by a small percentage of people if they’re just the right sort of age when they watch it. I just don’t know what age that might be! 10/11/12, maybe? – 6/10

Okay – as I was stuck in bed for most of August, I usually had movies playing in the background so put on a lot of favorites. I’ve already reviewed most of them in the past: The Wizard Of Oz, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats (I love this one & think it’s an underrated Disney classic).

Shorts:

Short Circuit Shorts: Season 2 – These are really good animated shorts on Disney Plus. Of season two, Going Home really stood out. It was heartbreaking but a great short film.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Okay, I also watched way too many TV shows while stuck in bed. These are in no particular order…

The White Lotus – Enjoyed this! It’s certainly not for everyone but I liked the dark humor & the characters were good. And Jennifer Coolidge was as fun to watch as always. And, MAN, I hated that newlywed husband! What a prick. I also liked that it was a short series. I hate things that drag on for years. I think a new series will focus on new people? Will definitely check it out based on Season 1.

Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi, 僕だけがいない街) – This was quite good. I knew nothing about this Japanese anime series so am glad I gave it a chance. Here’s the IMDB synopsis: “29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is sent back in time 18 years to prevent the events leading to his mother’s death, which began with a series of kidnappings while he was in 5th grade.” Again, I really liked the “one short series” thing.

Cruel Summer – This was kind of terrible and cheesy but I also kind of liked it? It was very “YA” and the acting was all pretty dreadful other than from the actress Olivia Holt. But I think I’ll forever be a sucker for YA drama. I don’t believe this was based on a book but this is exactly the kind of guilty pleasure YA stuff I still like to read. There’s a lot of back & forth as to who is telling the truth and you never know who to trust. It’s also set in the ’90s, which was fun, back when I was just a little older than these characters. It takes place in flashbacks all exactly three years apart in the two girls’ lives. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “In a small Texas town, popular teen Kate, is abducted. Seemingly unrelated, a girl named Jeanette goes from being a sweet, awkward outside to the most popular girl in town, but by 1995 she has become the most-despised person in America.

Dark: S1 E1 – The hubby & I have decided to start watching this but have only seen one episode so I can’t say much yet. I’m certainly intrigued, though!! Very good first episode.

Nine Perfect Strangers: S1 E1-4 – My god – look at all these “adult drama” TV shows I watched in August! Not normally my type of thing. I’m liking this okay but The White Lotus was much better than what I’ve seen of this so far. Still interested to see what happens, though, and I think the acting is very good. I especially like Melissa McCarthy in this much more serious role & Bobby Cannavale. They’re really good so far. And I’m interested to see what will become of Regina Hall’s character (and all the guests, really).

Monsters At Work: S1 E6-9 – Yep – I love this show!! Said more about it HERE. Hope there’s a Season 2!

Steins;gate: S1 E1 – Decided to check out this anime series after really liking Erased. Well, the first episode hasn’t grabbed me. Will try a couple more…

The Crown: S4 E3-4 – Finally watching the Diana episodes I’ve been looking forward to for ages! I’m enjoying them but I don’t buy into the person playing Diana at all. Which is a shame.

TV Shows Rewatched:

Star Trek: The Next Generation: S1 – This is an all-time favorite of mine so am enjoying revisiting.

The Golden Girls: Various episodes – Can always stick on an episode of this to cheer me up. 🙂

Grey’s Anatomy: S1 – Daughter wanted to watch this as it’s her friend’s favorite show. Oh boy – I’d forgotten how inappropriate some of it is. But it’s rated 12, so, oh well – I guess I saw similar shows at her age. Anyway – I’ve watched this show for 17 years & have a love/hate relationship with it. Seeing Season 1 again was strange. It really was a better show at the start…

BOOKS READ

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Four Story Collection: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life Of Chuck, If It Bleeds & Rat)Oops. I read another Stephen King book… Well, I enjoyed it. I always love his shorter story collections. I’ll say just a tiny bit about each. Not sure what to rate it as it’s good but not as strong as some of his other collections. I suppose I’d give the whole thing this: – 3.5/5

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – Really liked this very simple story of a boy who gifts an iPhone to an elderly neighbour. But the story of course gets a little more weird later on…

The Life Of Chuck – Thought this three-part story (told in reverse order) was interesting. The first story was really good & very clever when you later realise what’s going on. The second story was okay & the final one was good with the right amount of creepiness but also strong characters & not a full-on “horror”.

If It Bleeds – This is a short story continuing on from The Outsider (which I actually didn’t like very much). However, it revolves around one of my favorite new Stephen King characters: Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes. She’s a love her or hate her & I love her so like that King keeps using her as well as other likeable previous characters. So I enjoyed this story mainly because I got to revisit these characters again.

Rat – This is the most “Stephen King” story about a writer (shocker! can’t remember if he was also in Maine…) who makes a deal with a talking rat when he wishes to write a successful novel. It’s a twist on The Monkey’s Paw and is a better story than you’d think it could be considering it has a talking rat. But King can write the weird stuff well!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans for September but am considering doing October Horror Month again since I skipped it last year. But it would just be me reposting reviews of all the horror movies I’ve watched in the past year.

**I end these posts with a good song from one of the movies I watched but the Fear Street Trilogy & Cruella had LOADS of good songs! Well, I already posted David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World & I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges in those reviews. So here’s Time Of The Season by The Zombies (which was in Cruella):

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021) Review

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Directed by Leigh Janiak

Based on Fear Street by R. L. Stine

Fear Street Part One: 1994

Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Maya Hawke, Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

Starring: Several people from the first film plus Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, Chiara Aurelia

Fear Street Part Three: 1666

Starring: Pretty much everyone from the first two films (even the dead ones, which is a little silly!)

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia – this is for the first one but covers all three films which are just set in different years):
The film follows a group of teenagers in Shadyside who are terrorized by an ancient evil responsible for a series of brutal murders that have plagued the town for centuries.

My Opinion:

Quicker to review these all together as it’s one overall story running through all three films. I can’t decide which was better: 1994 or 1978. I think maybe 1994 was the slightly better film but I enjoyed 1978 the most as I’m always a sucker for the ’70s & the ’80s and liked the (obvious) Friday The 13th vibe of being set in a summer camp. Wasn’t as crazy about 1666 and the dodgy accents they all had but I don’t usually like horrors set in that sort of time period as much. But I did like the end of that film & thought the whole story came together pretty well (although it was a bit silly), making it a better trilogy with a more coherent story than a lot of old slasher movies managed.

I’ll say this: Don’t be fooled by the R.L. Stine connection. This is NOT Goosebumps! I was surprised when I saw these were rated 18. Oh man, they are gory. They’re full-on slashers. They were a bit much for me (but I’m a wuss). I know I grew up on slashers (big fan of the Nightmare On Elm Streets) but I could always count on old gore looking super fake. Well, the Fear Street films do have that same fake kind of gore – I think I’m just more sensitive in my old age. They were fun films, though, and I appreciate them trying to do an old school slasher & doing a trilogy all at once was an ambitious risk that I think worked. The characters maybe could’ve been a little better but they were okay (I liked the nerdy little brother the most).

I started by giving the first two films a slightly higher rating. I may change my mind but I lowered them as I don’t think they’re quite as good as some other horrors of the last several years. To be fair, they can’t be compared to things like The Babadook or Midsommar as those are very different from the “slasher” horror genre. But, as I watched 1978, I couldn’t help but keep thinking of The Final Girls which is also set in a summer camp but is spoofing slashers & which I enjoyed much more. I do admittedly love horror comedies, which aren’t for everyone, but I feel the Fear Street movies may have been better with a bit of dark humor thrown in instead of being so serious. I’m fine with the first one starting out very much like Scream & the second being Friday The 13th as I know it’s an homage to those but some may instead see them as derivative. So I think “spoof” horror comedies work a little better as everyone understands exactly what those are trying to do.

Also, although I loved the music in the first two films, it was very overused. I think they wanted to prove what years they were set in so they used as many songs as possible from those eras. 1994 was interesting as I have a love/hate relationship with ’90s music (I appreciated the Radiohead). And I looooved the 1978 soundtrack. They prominently used David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World and I had that song stuck in my head for days afterward (which is good, as that song is awesome). So I personally appreciated the music (how could they afford the rights to so many songs?!) but don’t think the movies did a great job of making it seem like they were actually set in each of the years & relied too much on the cool music to tell us the era.

My complaints are minor, though, and I did enjoy this trilogy. It’s not trying to be some brilliant new horror – it’s just trying to make an entertaining old school slasher. The trilogy is flawed but fun. I do wish I liked the third film a bit more as it was kind of a letdown after the first two. But I’d watch more of these if they make more.

My Ratings:

Fear Street Part One: 1994 – 6.5/10
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 – 6.5/10
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – 6/10

Here’s David Bowie’s brilliant The Man Who Sold The World:

Cruella (2021) Review

Cruella (2021)

Directed by Craig Gillespie

Based on The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mark Strong

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in London during the punk rock movement of the 1970s, the film revolves around Estella Miller, an aspiring fashion designer, as she explores the path that will lead her to become a notorious up-and-coming fashion designer known as Cruella de Vil.

My Opinion:

Hmm. I was all prepared to absolutely hate this. I’m not a huge fan of Emma Stone and I’m also really annoyed with them rehashing great animated Disney classics to make shitty live action movies (just to extend the rights to these characters for longer or whatever – I know it’s some greedy business deal thing like that). And I love One Hundred And One Dalmatians. Now I’m kind of annoyed that this movie didn’t totally suck. To be fair, I’ve not hated these “villain origin” stories quite as much as the completely pointless straight copies such as Beauty And The Beast. Heck, I kind of liked the Maleficent films. But I also don’t think we need a backstory to make us feel sympathy for the villains. Can’t they sometimes just be evil for no reason? Am I meant to like Cruella now even though she later wants to skin adorable puppies?! By the way, I had her reason for hating dalmatians ruined before seeing this. Oh man is it DUMB. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at that bit at the beginning. But what I don’t understand is that she later finds out it’s not exactly what she thought so, by the end of the movie, she doesn’t really hate dalmatians so we still don’t have a reason as to why she later wants to skin them. So the start was pointless. WTF? Is she just plain evil after all? Stupid.

Okay – I still didn’t love Emma Stone but the outfits were fun and Emma Thompson seemed to be having a blast as a truly evil bitch and the soundtrack was awesome. Some of the song choices made no sense and some were so damn obvious it was almost embarrassing. But, dammit, some of my absolute favorite songs were in this. It annoyed me. Don’t taint good music!!! I won’t go listing them all but a few of the best were Sympathy For The Devil by The Rolling Stones (god that was obvious but goddamn it’s a good song), Time Of The Season by The Zombies & I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges (though performed by an actor – oh my god kind of an obvious choice but not really as slightly obscure and I love that song sooooooo much that I’m annoyed it’s been introduced to Millennials now thanks to Emma f*%king Stone!!!!). 😉 Honestly. Ugh. It’s like when the youngsters suddenly liked some ’70s songs after they heard them in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Old music is the best! It’s been around for years! Seek some songs out before they’re put into cheesy Disney movies!


*This part totally ripped off The Hunger Games, though*

So… I loved this soundtrack. And I’m annoyed that it was so good. It really did help elevate the film as I thought the story was pretty ridiculous and unnecessary. But the film’s look & sound were good. They did well with that. It was a much better movie overall than I’d been expecting it to be. Damn.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Gotta end this with I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges (love Iggy Pop):

Watched, Read, Reviewed: July 2021

Happy August! I’m very behind on this roundup. I’ve been in the hospital, though, so guess I have an excuse.

I managed to squeeze in 10 movies in July (plus 3 watched with the family). And one was started in June & I watched it in chunks over two months because I absolutely hated it (I can’t leave a movie unfinished). So here we go…

MOVIES WATCHED IN JULY (ranked best to worst):

Wings Of Desire – I’d been wanting to see this for years after liking its (sort of) remake City Of Angels. They’re very different films, though, and this is certainly the better film. I’ve reviewed it in full at the link if you want to read more but I’ll just say it’s a lovely & way existential film & I’m happy to have finally seen it. It also has a lot in common with another favorite I’ve watched for the first time since starting this blog: A Matter Of Life And Death. I highly recommend both to fellow movie bloggers. Here’s the IMDb synopsis for Wings Of Desire if you’re curious: “An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.” – 8/10

VFW – From Wings Of Desire to VFW! I have well-rounded movie tastes. I really enjoyed this one despite the extreme violence. I just really liked this group of old dudes! Especially loved that William Sadler was in this & he seemed to be having loads of fun in the role. He’ll always be my favorite Grim Reaper! Stephen Lang is great in the main role as a tough Vietnam veteran who has to defend his bar slash VFW post from crazed drug addicts who are after a girl who has taken shelter in the bar. Lang is one of those guys who has been in shitloads but I never really noticed him until he played that freak in Don’t Breathe (which I didn’t love). He’s perfect here, though, and I loved the main friendship he had with fellow veterans Sadler & Fred Williamson. And as if these three aren’t cool enough, they also crammed in other “Hey, it’s that guy” actors as further fellow veterans forced to kick ass in as many violent ways as possible. We also have The Karate Kid & Cobra Kai big baddie Martin Kove, George Wendt of Cheers fame, and David Patrick Kelly from the absolute classics The Warriors & The Crow. Oh, and the girl in this, Sierra McCormick, was in a very obscure film that I liked a lot called The Vast Of Night so it was cool seeing her although her character could’ve been a bit more likeable. She should’ve been more grateful to these old dudes whose lives she’s put in danger.

VFW has real Hobo With A Shotgun, Dredd, From Dusk Till Dawn, and even a bit of The Crow vibes going on. So if you like those, you’ll probably like this! Although it’s quite not as good as those (well, maybe as good as Hobo). A few days after watching this I also realized what else it is: It’s an example of every day on Twitter. Honestly. It’s the Boomers vs the Millennials. I wonder if that was on purpose?? And, being Gen X, I did the same thing we all do and just minded my own business while watching these people fight it out. Was definitely with the Boomers on this one, though. Loved seeing them kick ass. – 7/10

Waves – This is one of those depressing movies with good & powerful performances that was worth a watch but I sure as shit wouldn’t want to watch it again. It’s an interesting one as it’s very much two movies in one. I think a lot of people prefer the first half but it was too much for me. The first half is very chaotic, intensified by the music which was seriously stressing me out and you could tell it was all leading up to something bad happening (but I liked the use of Tame Impala at the start). And why was everyone in this movie always sticking their heads out the windows of moving cars – Have they not seen Hereditary?! I preferred the second half, which focused on the characters trying to put their lives back together and had some tender moments. I liked the younger sister the most, played by Taylor Russell from Escape Room (which I enjoyed even though it was stupid). The father, played by Sterling K. Brown who I liked a lot in Hotel Artemis, was also good but man was he difficult to like. He was way too hard on his son (which was part of the point of the movie). Well, it’s a good film with very good performances and I’d recommend if you like depressing human dramas. Maybe don’t watch it as a double feature with Requiem For A Dream. That would be a fun night! – 7/10

Cherry – This was a weird one. I think I liked it okay? Despite none of the characters being very likeable or sympathetic. I felt like this movie was trying too hard to be “worthy”, though. I felt like it had a good story (from the book Cherry partly based on the real life of author Nico Walker) but failed to make what could’ve been a truly great film out of it. I think the Russo Brothers were the wrong directors for it. Holland was good despite looking way too young for the role and therefore being hard to believe. I reviewed it at the link if you want to basically just read more of me bitching about the stars looking too young. – 6.5/10

Upstream Color – Was glad to finally see this on Amazon Prime U.K. as I’ve been wanting to see it ever since I saw Shane Carruth’s other & even more confusing film Primer. Mainstream Color is a bit weird and very “what the fuck is going on?”. I couldn’t quite figure out the meaning in Upstream Color (if there is one). What is this movie trying to tell us? And what was up with the pigs?! Well, I talked about it a bit more at the link but I certainly have no answers. Here’s the IMDb synopsis so you know what you’re getting into if you check this one out: “A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.” – 6.5/10

The Empty Man – Hmm. I suppose this was pretty decent for a modern horror film. So many people were going on about it that I decided to check it out on Disney Plus. I thought it started out pretty great. I really liked the stuff at the start on the mountain & thought it was still pretty good when the teenagers first got involved in the next section of the film. The movie also had a great creepy vibe, partly thanks to the music I think, so I was glad I was watching it alone late at night & getting the heebie jeebies a little as I find so few horror movies to be very creepy. I like being creeped out! Give me a creepy atmospheric supernatural horror over gory stuff. I’d say one thing in this was too violent for my taste (not sure why that one person had to die so violently?!) but otherwise it wasn’t too over the top. I think it just fell apart for me at the end. It was a decent story & I was certainly intrigued as to what was going on but, I dunno. The ending was okay but I do feel let down by horror movie endings the majority of the time for some reason. I guess I’ve seen far worse endings. Overall, this was pretty good compared to most the modern horror crap out there. Oh! And I really liked that creepy skeleton in that image. Kind of a spoiler but not really – it’s at the start of the film & is also what convinced me to watch this when someone posted that image on Twitter. – 6.5/10

The Most Dangerous Game – Saw this pop up on Amazon Prime & was aware of the story by Richard Connell being a classic (inspired by those rich assholes who hunt big game) so thought the 1932 film should be interesting. Plus I really enjoyed the 2020 film The Hunt! Not that they’re at all similar, of course, but the “hunting of humans” idea is the same. This was good but I wish I’d just looked it up on YouTube (it’s available) as the one on Prime is a horrible colorised version. Why do they do that?! Anyway, it was still a good film even with dodgy coloring. It’s a timeless story & works just as well today. Maybe even more so now, as hunting big game is somehow still a thing. How?!? The thought of the tables being turned is great. This version stars Joel McCrea, Fay Wray and Leslie Banks. Hey! The King Kong actress! I should really watch that version again. Anyway, she was good and far less “damsel in distress” than you’d expect in such an old film. I kept thinking she really looks like Penelope Ann Miller – she could have played her in her life story. I think this film has actually aged quite well & would recommend watching the black & white version on YouTube. – 7/10

Rango – As part of my Best Picture Project, I also named several Best International Features that I want to watch as well as the only TWO Best Animated Features I’ve not seen. Rango was one of them (the other is Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which I can’t say I’m really looking forward to). Rango is a weird one! I enjoyed it & I liked some of the quirky & somewhat adult humor. Best Animated Oscar material, though?? Nah. Must have been no Disney or Pixar movies that year! Guess I better go look… Yep! That was the case. The other nominees were A Cat In Paris, Chico And Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Puss In Boots. Weak year! So I’d say, in this case, it was worthy of the win although my vote would’ve gone to Kung Fu Panda 2. But Rango was a fun film & I enjoyed Johnny Depp being his great old-school Johnny Deppiest as Rango (before all that Amber drama). And it clearly kept referencing the Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas look (right?), again reminding me that I still need to see that film as well. – 6.5/10

Stowaway – I liked this Netflix film. It could’ve been better but it certainly could’ve been much worse. I really liked the story & the moral dilemma that occurs, although having no explanation whatsoever as to how this guy ended up as a stowaway on this spaceship thingy was kind of strange. So don’t expect to find out how he ended up there! I thought it dealt with the overall story well, though, and I liked the characters and the ending. Plus I’m always a sucker for sci-fi. I don’t think it deserves as low of a rating as it has on IMDb. – 6/10

Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar – What the hell was this shit?! Man, I really don’t get on with modern “comedies”. To be fair, I did like these two main characters (played by Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo). They did make me giggle a few times & I thought “I wish these characters were in a better movie”. The story with the “baddie” was stupid as hell & my least favorite thing about the movie. It’s a very weird film, although I do like a bit of weird humor so didn’t hate all of it. Sometimes weird works & sometimes it doesn’t (like the dumb plot with the evil woman & Jamie Dornan’s stupid dance number). Meh. I guess I’ve seen worse. At least the two main characters were fun. – 5/10

Margaret – This was the movie I watched in chunks over two months because OH MY GOD I HATED IT but I had to finish the damn thing since I don’t like to leave movies unfinished. Is it a bad film? No. Does it have some of the most hateful characters I’ve ever seen in a movie? Yes. I have no desire to watch some horrible teenager be a complete bitch for TWO AND A HALF PAINFUL HOURS. Most everyone in this was hateful but Anna Paquin’s character really took the fucking cake. And I like Allison Janney & think she’s a good actress but that ridiculous overacting during the death scene was cringeworthy. I just didn’t understand most of these characters’ reactions or intentions, especially Paquin’s. What was she trying to accomplish?? The death was her fault as well (though more the driver’s as its his responsibility). Oh, the story is that she distracts a bus driver who ends up running over & killing a woman. Then Paquin is a complete bitch for the next two hours but doesn’t actually seem to feel any guilt over the incident anyway so god knows why she’s so utterly repulsive. Ugh. Hated this movie & these characters so much. I didn’t exactly love Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea either but it was much better than this. The people in that film were also horrible at times but at least you did feel sympathy for them and understood why they were so broken. Those in Margaret had no excuses for their awful behavior. I’ll never understand movies that want us to watch hateful, unsympathetic (and uninteresting) characters for two and a half hours. Two and a half hours!!!! Sorry I keep mentioning the length – it was just a looooooong & painful film to have to suffer through. I’m being nice with my score since, um, I dunno… He’s a “worthy” filmmaker so I don’t dare give it lower, I guess. – 4/10

Movies Rewatched:

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – What can I say? This movie came out when I was a teenager & I still love it & adore the characters of Bill & Ted. These dudes are so fun & loveably dumb. It’ll always be a favorite movie of mine. I don’t see how anyone could watch this movie without a big, goofy grin on their face. And I love that my daughter loves it too – she’s the one who insisted that we rewatch this one again. – 9/10

Independence Day – Always liked this film but hadn’t rewatched it in years. Has it aged well? Fairly well, but it does feel dated in that way that many ’90s movies do. I don’t know what it is, but ’90s movies have aged badly. People dump on ’70s & ’80s movies sometimes but the very best from those decades have held up very well and there are loads of absolute classics from then. Anyway, I still enjoyed this one again despite the cheesiness. I really liked this era of action-star Will Smith when he was in a lot of good movies. And I still like Brent Spiner in this, which made my Star Trek TNG-loving nerd very happy in 1996. Still a fun guilty pleasure. – 7.5/10

Shorts:

Short Circuit Shorts: Season 1– Watched all of these Disney Plus shorts & thought they were quite good. All were very colorful & had good stories. I especially liked Downtown, Drop & Jing Hua. Enjoyed these more than the SparkShorts & thought they seemed more polished than those (but I think that’s the point of those so I’m not dissing them). It was nice that each had a small intro with the creators discussing the shorts as well. I love all the shorts on Disney Plus & have watched them quite a bit. I sometimes wonder if anyone else watches them or if most just watch the films.

The Simpsons: The Good, The Bart And The Loki – This was cute. I’m enjoying these Simpsons shorts they’ve been doing on Disney Plus. The Star Wars one was better, though.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

DOCUMENTARIES/MISCELLANEOUS:

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? – Enjoyed this documentary on Apple TV+. I’m a HUGE Peanuts fan. I liked that this documentary included a new Peanuts cartoon in between the interviews with people discussing what the comics meant to them. It’s an odd selection of guests and I know some people feel it has an agenda (I think the point, though, is that Peanuts had a wide appeal and many people were able to identify with at least one of the characters). I’m happy to know that my favorite, Drew Barrymore, is also a Peanuts fan as she was one of those being interviewed. And of course Kevin Smith is in this too – is there anything that dude isn’t a fan of?! I like Charles Schulz & he seemed like a good man with common sense beliefs.

I’m happy that one of the final things we did pre-pandemic was go to a great Charles Schulz exhibition up in London. It was brilliant & I got loads of photos of my beloved daughter with my beloved Snoopy. Also have a picture of me in Lucy’s “psychiatric help” booth thingy that I thought of posting here but I don’t know how to make photos not be HUGE and I don’t want to scare anyone with my huge not-properly-resized face. Anyway – that was a great time & I’m so glad we did that. I will always adore the Peanuts characters. And I think that Snoopy is one of the all-time greatest creations in this world. Love that cheeky beagle!

Anthrax Interviews – Thank you to the hubby for sending me a link that has a load of videos where Anthrax discuss their career. He sent it because of one video where Keanu Reeves discusses how he ended up in the Anthrax video Safe Home (you can find the article & links to that as well as all of the videos at Metal Sucks HERE). He knows I love Anthrax and Keanu! Really enjoyed watching that & Reeves is SO damn sweet & lovable as always. He’s such a lovely, positive dude & it’s great that so many people now realize it & that he’s so respected & liked now. (But he’s OURS – Gen X have always loved Reeves & we’re the ones who made him famous. Younger people can like him too but he’s OURS). 😉

I accidentally clicked the wrong link when looking for the Reeves video & ended up being treated to another fantastic video where they talk about doing the music for the John Carpenter movie Ghosts Of Mars. John Carpenter is also in the video talking about how he enjoyed working with Anthrax for the film and I loved how much the band were freaking out & being total fanboys about working with the brilliant Carpenter. Here’s the link to the Carpenter episode.

TV SHOWS WATCHED (not ranked in any specific order because I can’t decide the order since so many of these are good…)

Monsters At Work: S1 E1-5 – I’m enjoying this probably way too much for an adult. Well, for a person of adult age, I should say. It’s good!! I adore Monsters, Inc & Mike Wazowski is one of my favorite animated characters (helps that I love Billy Crystal). I really thought it would focus only on the new characters but we get loads of Mike & Sulley in each episode too. Yay! Plus, my favorite bit, Mike’s Comedy Class as an end bit to each episode. But the newly added characters are great too, so the whole thing works very well.

Sweet Tooth: S1 – As a family, we’ve really struggled to find one good TV series suitable for all of us. We also like stories that are a little “weird” or sci-fi and not very mainstream most of the time so it’s hard to find TV shows that the three of us like. Am so glad we gave this a try! Liked this a lot and we’re all really looking forward to the next series (well, think the hubby & I liked it slightly more than the daughter but she did enjoy it too). It’s about time Netflix gave us a show that’s not a huge disappointment! Well, Stranger Things was great for series one but then took a huge poop. Hopefully Sweet Tooth stays good…

Lisey’s Story – Okay, this was a weird one. I can see people not liking this but, having read and liked the book a lot, I would have said it would be an extremely hard story to adapt. To be fair, I think they did as well as they could with a very strange story. I’d obviously recommend the book first but did enjoy seeing this interpretation, especially the world of “Boo’ya Moon”. I thought that world was quite effective & eerie. So I enjoyed this but would very much hesitate to recommend it to anyone other than hardcore Stephen King fans who’ve read the book.

Ted Lasso: S2 E1-2 – So… I’ve had to cancel Apple TV+ to save some money. It’s why I quickly watched Lisey’s Story & the first two episodes of this. Broke my heart, as this show is so sweet & funny and always a good pick-me-up. 😦 I figure I’ll get it again in the future & binge all of season 2. The first episode with the dog incident was hilarious & I loved the Magnolia references.

Loki: S1 E5-6 – Enjoyed this series but still like WandaVision the most of the newest Marvel shows on Disney Plus. I’d say I liked the start of this series more than the end, but know the end is important for setting up the next movies & all that. But, not being a reader of the comics or having any knowledge of the “baddie”, it didn’t mean much to me. Still a good series, though, and not a snoozefest like The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.

The Crown: S3 E8-10, S4 E1-2 – I finally made it to the Diana episodes! They’re fine. As I’ve said, I don’t like this “second cast” at all compared to the first cast in the first seasons. The same goes for Diana – I don’t buy that person as Diana just because of a similar haircut & all the annoying head-tilting. But the story is still fascinating (despite not being fully true, I know I know) so I’m still enjoying watching it.

Grey’s Anatomy: S17 E14-17 – That was the end of the season?! Didn’t even realize I was watching the finale. No one died! None of the usual tragedies & cliffhangers!! Series 17: The Covid Series. What a drag that was! Hopefully this means they’re at least doing one more season since I doubt they’d end on such a dud.

My Hero Academia: S1 E1 – I’d forgotten we watched an episode of this to check the appropriateness for the kid. It was fine but am sure it gets better. May watch more but it’s Demon Slayer that I really want to watch (but that does sound way too violent to be a family-watch).

Toradora! – Just mentioning this as I’ve seen bits & pieces as my daughter watches it so much. Maybe I can get her to review it like she did HERE for Jungle Cruise! So I can’t say much as I don’t pay much attention. All I know is that the girl in it seems extremely high maintenance and everyone is SO dramatic in that way all anime teens seem to be. And one episode seemed to be about everyone obsessing over boobs as the teens all had to wear swimsuits for their boy/girl swimming classes so the material seems a bit iffy at times! Oh well. Teen issues & dramas, I guess.

Love, Death & Robots – S1 E3: The Witness – I hated this. I’ve only seen three of these episodes now & two of them were far too violent & gratuitous with the female nudity. Gross. Were these made by horny teenage boys? I wanted to watch cute & cool robots. Hell, this one didn’t even have any fucking robots!! This series has such a high IMDb rating but I have zero desire to watch more based on two of the three that I’ve seen.

BOOKS READ

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman – Look! I read something other than a Stephen King book! I first read Malerman’s Bird Box, which I really enjoyed (so much more than the film). But what really blew me away was the short story at the end of that book: Ghastle And Yule. Absolutely brilliant! I loved it so much that I tweeted the author about it (I never do that) and got a nice reply. So I’ve decided that I want to read all his stuff now (though his stuff isn’t always the easiest to get a hold of). After Bird Box I read Black Mad Wheel, from the library, and now this which showed up on Amazon for only £2 for the paperback. Good deal!

What I like so far about Malerman is that he doesn’t stick to just one genre. For the most part, they’ve all been a little bit on the weird or supernatural side of things (which is right up my alley). This one is kind of a Western but with supernatural elements. I liked it. Probably my third favorite of the three full-length novels I’ve read but I’ve liked all I’ve read so far so am looking forward to reading more of his work. Here’s the plot synopsis from Amazon: “Only three people know Carol Evers’ secret. Her best friend, who’s dead. Her husband, who hates her. Her ex-lover, who left her. Carol suffers from a dreadful affliction which makes her fall into long comas, waking slumbers indistinguishable from death. Her husband Dwight wants her next “death” to be her last. He will claim her fortune by pronouncing her dead … and burying her alive. The infamous outlaw James Moxie, once Carol’s lover, rides the Trail again – pursued by murder and mayhem – to save the woman he loves. And all the while, Carol is a prisoner in her own body. hearing her funeral plans, summoning every ounce of will to survive…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Work. Sleep. Watch movies.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Everything!!! 😦 The Suicide Squad, Jungle Cruise, Black Widow, Escape Room 2, The Forever Purge, A Quiet Place Part II which I think has come & gone plus whatever else is currently out & coming out soon. I’m not keeping track of cinema releases since I’m not ready to go back to cinemas & have people breathing all over me (to be fair, I wasn’t a fan of having people anywhere near me before the pandemic). But I really am missing new releases!

I suppose the music clip that I should end this post with today is Safe Home by Anthrax featuring the lovely Keanu Reeves:

Jungle Cruise (2021) Review By The Kid

My kid watched Jungle Cruise with a friend yesterday. I’ve not seen it so asked her if she’d like to write a quick review for my blog. So here’s a 12-year-old’s opinion of Jungle Cruise… 😊

Jungle Cruise (2021)

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Based on The Jungle Cruise by Walt Disney

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti

My kid’s review

short synopsis :
🌴🛳
lily houghton has a goal she’s trying to reach. she needs the tears of the moon to heal sicknesses, fevers etc. she steals the arrowhead, which helps her locate the tears, and sets off to find them. though others want the arrowhead as well and go after her. lily runs off looking for a cruise with a skipper and they make a swift escape 😁

my opinion :
👍👎
it was decent. it got a bit slow at times and i got a little bored during parts of it but big twists kept coming that stopped me from getting really bored ( even though i’m smart enough to guess the plot twists before they even happen because they’re all cliché 🙄 )

it could have been better though because lots of it was predictable and quite often the stuff would chop and change way too quickly and i’d look away for a few seconds then not know what was going on.

but overall it was decent and i give it a 6.5/10

Cherry (2021) Review

Cherry (2021)

Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Based on Cherry by Nico Walker

Starring: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Michael Rispoli, Jeff Wahlberg

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows an Army veteran suffering from PTSD, who resorts to robbing banks to support his opioid addiction.

My Opinion:

This was a weird one. I think I liked it okay? Despite none of the characters being very likeable or sympathetic. I felt like this movie was trying too hard to be “worthy”, though. I felt like it had a good story (from the book Cherry partly based on the real life of author Nico Walker) but failed to make what could’ve been a truly great film out of it.

I think part of what didn’t quite make this work for me is the fact that I’m old & grumpy plus maybe a tiny bit film-snobby at times. First of all: I’m old. Tom Holland & Ciara Bravo are both good in this. I can’t fault their performances in any way whatsoever. But, damn. I know they’re in their early twenties & it’s great they cast age appropriate people instead of really old fuckers pretending to be young like in Grease or something, but… They both look about 15 to me. As I said, I do think they did a really good job and it’s partly me just me being so old but I couldn’t fully buy into these two cute, tiny, 15-year-old-looking people being drug addicts (and one also being a hardened war veteran with PTSD). Not fair, I know. They were good. I did like them in this movie even if I couldn’t fully believe the characters based mainly on how they look.

Oh, and I just wanted to make sure to mention Ciara Bravo’s coat at the start of the movie. It’s adorable!! I love it. I want one. But I’m old & not young & pretty like her so it wouldn’t look cute on me anyway. The above picture was the only one I could find of it online with the writing up in the corner (I dunno where it’s from – I found it HERE).

Anyway! Back to problem number two for me: I can be a tiny bit film snobby. I admit to very much preferring movies from the ’70s & ’80s above all other decades. As I watched this, I kept thinking that it could be a classic now if it had been made in the dirty, gritty ’70s (yeah, yeah – I know it’s based on a book that didn’t exist then but you know what I mean). The war bits especially made me think of things like Full Metal Jacket (yeah, yeah – I know that’s an ’80s movie but it’s set during Vietnam so you know what I mean). And then I just thought this movie could’ve been great if made in the past by some amazing director like Stanley Kubrick (you know, had the book existed in his lifetime). Maybe the Russo Brothers just aren’t the best choice for this type of movie? Their MCU stuff is good but a gritty war & drug drama is obviously a very different type of movie. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Cherry will be seen as a classic 30/40 years from now in the same way as things like Apocalypse Now (Maybe? Probably not.).

Well, I think I liked this movie anyway despite it being far from perfect & trying a little too hard. But I wanted to see what would happen with these characters & did want to see them turn their lives around. I also really liked that it was sort of at least three movies in one: the college years, the war years, and the bank-robbing PTSD drug addict years. The war years were probably the strongest parts of the movie but the drug years were quite good too (in a stressful sort of way, I guess). Better character development would’ve been good: So the girl’s parents only showed up briefly in her life once while she was in the hospital & then just disappeared again? And what about the family of Holland’s character – did I just miss that? I feel like something was said but I missed it. Did he have no family? I also think more of a dark humor running through this may have been good (there was a hint of this but not in a way that really worked – Kubrick would’ve been good at that!).

Oh, and Jack Reynor is in this (the drug section). I’ve liked him ever since the fantastic Sing Street & liked him in this too. I looked him up just now to see his age compared with Holland & he’s only about four years older. Yet I fully believed him in this role. He seems so much older. So maybe I am being unfair on Holland (and Bravo) just for looking soooooo damn young. Good performances anyway. They certainly made me never want to go to war or become addicted to drugs! Not that those were ever on my list of things I want to do… I want her coat, though.

My Rating: 7/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: June 2021

Well, I posted a “Goodbye” post last week but I already had this post 90% written so there was no point keeping it in Drafts. I’ve now negotiated new marital terms & conditions and I might be allowed to watch some movies in July. So, yay, I guess maybe I’ll have some movies for a “July Roundup” post next month & this won’t have to become a cooking blog! Good, because I don’t want to learn how to cook.

So here are the SIXTEEN MOVIES I watched in June. Hope that number is acceptable!

MOVIES WATCHED IN JUNE (ranked best to worst):

Gandhi – I finally made myself watch a film that fulfils both my Best Picture Project AND my IMDb Top 250 Challenge! It was between this & Lawrence Of Arabia which I also really need to get around to watching. Gandhi won because, I’ll be totally honest, it’s about half an hour shorter. Well, this film is fantastic & I’m so glad I finally took the time to watch it. In fact, I can now say I have a new “best & favorite film watched in 2021” so I’m happy enough to take a small movie break now since I’ve finally watched a truly great film.

I’m absolutely rubbish when it comes to having, well, pretty much any historical knowledge. So I admittedly knew very little about Gandhi & can’t comment on this film’s accuracy, though what little I’ve read since seems to be what I saw in this movie. But, as a film, it’s excellent and fully deserving of a Best Picture Oscar. Remember when Best Pictures gave us truly epic filmmaking like this?! I miss those days. Let’s see what it beat: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie & The Verdict. Well, I’ve only seen Tootsie & E.T., which I love, but I think I can safely say that Gandhi is the clear winner here despite not seeing the other two. Gandhi won eight of its eleven nominations. Richard Attenborough also deservingly won Best Director & Ben Kingsley won for his absolutely brilliant performance as Mahatma Gandhi. It was worth watching just for his performance, as I thought it was truly one of the best performances I’ve ever seen (and I watch a lot of movies – just ask my family!). But, luckily, the movie lived up to its great central performance as well. I feel the actors can sometimes outshine a film & I prefer a really good film to a really good performance. I was very happy to get both in this case.

When it comes to movies like these, I don’t know what else to say. The awards were rightly deserved & I highly recommend it to all film lovers. A great film is a great film. What annoys me is that this film is shockingly not in the IMDb Top 250 anymore. I’m still working off the 2013 Top 250 list and classics such as Gandhi are being replaced by too many current releases now such as the Marvel superhero films. I think IMDb need to re-think how they determine what ends up in the 250! Infinity War is NOT better than Gandhi. Ridiculous! I know it’s just a stupid list but people do look at it & really good old films are now not getting the recognition they still deserve. – 8.5/10

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Not entirely sure why but I really liked this movie. Just like with The Woman In The Window, I read the book in preparation for the film but then the movie took years to come out so I don’t even really remember the book now. Why didn’t this film come out in the U.K. until 2021?! So I re-read my mini-review of the book (HERE) & I was very meh about it. I think, in the film, I could just really relate to Cate Blanchett’s character. Not her genius, of course, because I suck at everything – I mean her social awkwardness & introversion. She’s a good character & I felt for her losing her way & giving up on something she loved. And I had completely forgotten this was a Richard Linklater film (so I may be in trouble for watching this alone as the hubby & I are both fans but I can’t see him liking this). It’s not as good as his best movies but it’s still a decent film – it’s just very unlike his other stuff. Not everyone will go for this but I think those who buy into Blanchett’s quirky character will enjoy it. – 7/10

From Here To Eternity – Another movie watched for my Best Picture Project! I’m on a roll! This was also good but not nearly as good as Gandhi. I of course have wanted to see this for years because of that kiss on the beach scene up there. It’s one of those scenes where, unfortunately, it’s not as romantic as I was expecting. In fact, the guy is sort of a jerk in the scene (but I know this was set during WWII and women were treated differently then – I don’t judge old movies based on modern values). Anyway, that’s now three Deborah Kerr movies I’ve watched this year so I’m on a roll with her too! I preferred the others, Black Narcissus & The Innocents, but she was really good in all of these & I’m amazed I’d seen her in so little before now. Everyone was good in this & I was surprised to see Donna Reed as she’s so linked to It’s A Wonderful Life for me. But I was most surprised to like Frank Sinatra’s character the most as I wasn’t really a fan of him as a person. But his character was a strong one & I thought he was really good in this. It’s a good film & probably worthy of its Best Picture Oscar but it’s not going to be a favorite of mine of all the winners. Here’s what it beat: Julius Caesar, The Robe, Roman Holiday & Shane. I’ve only seen the latter two but I’d say the three I’ve seen are equally good. – 7/10

Raya And The Last Dragon – Managed to review this in full at the link. I enjoyed this. I’m always excited for a new animated Disney film but this didn’t quite live up to other recent ones such as Moana. Still a fun film, though, and Raya as a character is a good addition to all the other strong female Disney characters. – 7/10

One Cut Of The Dead (カメラを止めるな!, Kamera o Tomeru na!) – This was fun! I found it weirdly…. Wholesome? Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies.” This is a Japanese horror comedy (or, I guess, a ZomCom) & it’s one where you’re better off not knowing too much before watching it. It also gets better as it goes along so stick with it – I really enjoyed the final act of this movie when it all comes together. The characters were good & I liked the family of three who are involved in the film (especially the mother who goes a little overboard). And it’s not at all “gory” so is worth a watch if you want a lighthearted ZomCom. This was on Film4 in the U.K. but, sadly, I think it has disappeared by now. Sorry! I should review movies while they’re still available to watch. – 7/10

Misbehaviour – I really enjoyed this film based on an interesting true story despite my weird hatred for Keira Knightley (her acting bothers me yet I seem to watch all her damn movies?!). I’ve already reviewed it in full so here’s the very basic IMDb synopsis: “A group of women hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London.” Recommended if you want to watch some women try to bring down the patriarchy & all that. – 7/10

Timecop – This is now the second Jean-Claude Van Damme film I’ve ever watched after seeing Bloodsport a couple of months ago. Goddamn, that movie was FUN! I liked it so much I gave it a full-length review HERE. It was cheesy & cliché & just the right amount of ridiculous to make it into that “so bad it’s good” category (like my beloved Road House!). Timecop, unfortunately, was not nearly as much fun but I did still quite enjoy it and also give it a full review at the link. I’m totally going to watch more Van Damme movies because I want to see how many different ways he can do those sexy splits. – 6.5/10

Shoplifters Of The World – I reviewed this as well. I liked the idea behind it but the way they shoved The Smiths & quotes from their songs very awkwardly into this story as much as possible sadly felt too forced. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “Set in Denver, four friends reel from the sudden break up of The Smiths, while the local radio station is held at gunpoint by a fan, forcing a disgruntled heavy metal DJ to play The Smiths all night.” Yeah, that’s a great idea and could’ve been a great movie if done right. I still enjoyed it, though, and liked hearing all The Smiths songs in it. But for a movie that better incorporated a band’s music into an interesting story, I far preferred Yesterday with all of The Beatles music. – 6.5/10

Kajillionaire – As I said recently in my Butt Boy review, I like weird movies. This is mainly because I watch so many films that it’s nice to see ones that aren’t so predictable for a change. But the weird movies are rarely good movies & some are just plain bad. I’m not sure how I feel about this weird one about a family of three who try to get through life by engaging in small crimes. It’s not bad but I found it a bit of a chore to sit through and it wasn’t weird enough to keep me truly interested. Evan Rachel Wood was interesting as the very awkward daughter & I liked her relationship with Gina Rodriguez who befriends her & joins the family in their petty crimes. They were fun but the parents were hateful. It’s an awkward film and the tone was all over the place. It’s a hard one to describe. I did enjoy watching something so different & unpredictable, though. Glad I watched it but I wouldn’t watch it again. – 6.5/10

Poms – I liked this! It was a bit dumb but fun. I’ve noticed I’m liking movies about old women more & more lately and I realised it’s probably because I’m getting soooo old & that’s depressing. But I’ve loved The Golden Girls since a young age so maybe I just like fun female friendships. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Poms is a 2019 American comedy film directed by Zara Hayes, starring Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston, Alisha Boe, Phyllis Somerville, Charlie Tahan, Bruce McGill, and Rhea Perlman. The film follows a group of women from a retirement community who decide to start a cheerleading squad.” As you can see it has an impressive cast & I especially enjoyed the friendship between Diane Keaton & Jacki Weaver. The movie is a bit silly & slightly far-fetched at times but it’s a nice story about friendship & living your life. – 6.5/10

When A Stranger Calls – I’d been wanting to see this 1979 horror classic for years! “Have you checked the children?” Such a famous line & I think every teen in the ’80s knew where those calls were coming from even if we hadn’t seen this movie. And, yeah, the beginning of this movie is GREAT. The beginning, as a short story on its own, is a classic. I have a feeling that the beginning bit is all that anyone truly remembers because, man, this one falls apart in the middle. It kind of completely goes in a different direction & we don’t see Carol Kane again until the very end when it finally picks up slightly again. So I’m glad I finally watched this but it felt like I’d already seen it since I knew all about the beginning. Didn’t realize there would be so little of that good stuff & then the rest of the movie would drag. But I’m still giving it an extra half a point for having such a well known & often spoofed beginning. – 6.5/10

Saint Maud – Watched this British psychological horror as so many went on about it but it’s one of those films being raved over for the performance. And I agree that Morfydd Clark was very good so this was worth watching for that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.” The movie is fine but does drag a bit. I did like the slowly building tension, though, and thought the ending was good. Not one I’d watch again but am glad I checked out. I recommend it only if you like the more serious type of horrors with good acting. Oh! And was I going crazy or did her face do a weird Soundgarden Black Hole Sun video thing a couple of times when she was having one of her God orgasms?? That was kind of freaky fun. – 6.5/10

Martha Marcy May Marlene – This was okay but not really my sort of thing. I think I put it on as I’m always a little fascinated by cults. As in, I don’t understand how people end up in them. I barely like people as it is so why would I want to live with a bunch of weirdos and have to farm & cook & clean for the rapey men?? I wouldn’t say this film is a good exploration of cults & the thinking involved as you really get NO backstory on how Elizabeth Olsen’s character ended up in this cult or why she chose to stay or even why she chose to leave. I guess it’s a character study film & is more about the performances, which were fine. I suppose it’s a hard topic to explore, though, as I think it’s quite a hard thing for most people to understand. Well, as I said the performances were fine & Elizabeth Olsen gets naked a lot if you want to see that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The plot focuses on a young woman suffering from delusions and paranoia after returning to her family from an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains.” – 6.5/10

Luca – This movie was very sweet & the characters were likeable and I don’t feel right saying anything bad about it as it was so wholesome. But I mostly just found it boring. Unfortunately, it’s just not up to Pixar standards (but those standards are very high). – 6/10

Antebellum – This was… Okay? I really like Janelle Monáe & she was the main reason I watched this so I wish it had been a better film for her. I think the idea for the story was good enough but the execution was pretty terrible. And Jena Malone was awful – I seem to always really dislike her acting (especially after she screwed the dead person in that stupid The Neon Demon pile of shit). I think her performance, as well as that of all the one-dimensional “baddies”, really hurt this movie. But more than anything, I think the big twist being SUCH a huge rip-off of a well known director’s movie really didn’t help (don’t want to name the director but you’ll know exactly what movie I mean if you watch this). It just made me think of how well the other director pulled off that twist & that it was a much better film than this one. Disappointing. – 6/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous

Concert Film:

Stop Making Sense – I don’t really know what to say about a concert film. Weirdly, as a huge lover of movies as well as music, I for some reason never really watch any concerts. But I love the Talking Heads and this has had such great reviews that I decided to check it out since it’s now on Amazon Prime U.K. Yep – it’s great! David Byrne especially is so damn talented & I’ll always love that brilliant voice of his. It’s fantastic how it starts out so stripped down with only Byrne onstage then continues to build & build. I loved it but, hey, you have to love the band to love the concert, right? I’d definitely recommend this but only to Talking Heads fans or to those who maybe don’t know their stuff but want to check it out (makes me sad to type that but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m super old & some readers may not have even heard of the Talking Heads). Hey, my preteen loves them! Especially Psycho Killer. Hmm. Does that make me a good or a bad parent?! (I think it makes me cool). 🙂 – 8/10

Shorts:

Us Again – Enjoyed this lovely short on Disney Plus (which I think was meant to be the one before Raya And The Last Dragon?). Could very much relate to the feeling of being old & not living life to its fullest. Also a nice love story in this one. Very sweet.

Launchpad Shorts On Disney Plus:

Watched this new series on Disney Plus as well. All good & worth a quick watch. I won’t go into the details of each but I’ll rank them starting with my favorite. The two kids were so cute in The Little Prince(ss)…

The Little Prince(ss)
American Eid
The Last of the Chupacabras
Growing Fangs
Let’s Be Tigers
Dinner Is Served

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN JUNE

BOOKS READ

The Running Man by Stephen King – Finally finished re-reading The Bachman Books collection. The Long Walk is still easily my favorite, Rage is okay, and Roadwork is a bit crap. The Running Man is my second favorite of the four. I think it’s a good story & am looking forward to the new film adaptation from Edgar Wright (if that’s still happening??). But I did also really like the Schwarzenegger film which, if I remember, was nothing whatsoever like the book anyway?! Need to rewatch that now to refresh my memory of that too. What can I say? I like dystopian future stories and I liked this world where people have to “play for their lives” on game shows. I didn’t find this story very far-fetched when I first read it over 20 years ago & I find it even more plausible now. The ending is maybe a little silly but, whatever – it’s Stephen King! Who cares. I’m a fan. I feel like I’ve read only Stephen King books in 2021, though. Hmm. Oh well – libraries have been closed thanks to the pandemic & I mainly only buy King’s stuff these days so it’s pretty much all I have to read in the house. 🙂 – 3.5/5

Later by Stephen King – Stephen King again! This is the third of his in this Hard Case Crime series & I’ve enjoyed them all. They’re much shorter & “lighter” reads than his huge horror tomes. This is probably my least favorite of the three, but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s about a kid who sees dead people (yeah, kind of like in The Sixth Sense but not really & they do reference that film in this). It’s a solid ghost story with a likeable kid. It’s possibly a little forgettable but it’s a quick & fun read. My favorite in this series is still Joyland, which I loved, and second is The Colorado Kid which felt very different from King’s “horror” stories. Maybe I should check out some of the many non-King books in this series?? – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Keeping what I say very short!!

Loki: S1 E1-4 – Enjoying this!! Liking it FAR more than The Falcon & The Winter Soldier but still prefer WandaVision.

Children Of The Stones: S1 E4 – Still liking this & wish the hubby would make the time to finish it with me!!! I reviewed what I’ve seen so far HERE if you’re wondering what the heck this is.

My Name Is Earl: S2 E5-9 – Still funny!

Grey’s Anatomy: S17 E10-13 – Still annoying!

The Masked Dancer U.K. – This was a bit stupid & I can’t for the life of me remember who won.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Need to watch fewer movies (not my choice!) but plan to be back in August with a post of what I watched in July.

I always end with music I liked in a movie I watched. Screw The Smiths – I have to go with something from Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense! BUT, I just have to go with this Kermit The Frog version of one of my all-time favorite songs: Once In A Lifetime…

Luca (2021) & Raya And The Last Dragon (2021) Reviews

Can’t believe I didn’t review these two big new Disney & Pixar releases right away. Well, I’ll be posting my June Roundup post next week but figured I better give these slightly more than just the mini-reviews in those posts. Here we go…

Raya And The Last Dragon (2021)

Directed by Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada

Starring: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Thalia Tran, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk

Music by James Newton Howard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.

My Opinion:

I was weirdly looking forward to this. Well, maybe that’s not weird? Plenty of middle-aged women love Disney movies. My mom & grandma do too. We grew up with them. I thought this looked really good in the trailer & watched it as soon as it became available as part of the Disney Plus subscription. It’s good. I liked the animation and there were some strong characters & a decent story. Is it as strong as Disney’s very best films? No, but it’s far from the worst and has quite a reputation to live up to if compared to the best. It’s also sadly not nearly good as Moana, which it’s of course going to be compared to the most as that’s also quite recent & was very good. Who cares? It’s still an enjoyable film. And I loved her pet Tuk Tuk! Forget the dragons – I want my own Tuk Tuk!


So cute!

I’m sure what either does or very much doesn’t work for people watching this is Awkwafina as Sisu the dragon. She’s very “love her or hate her”. Well, luckily I like her (and her vag) just fine so I liked her as the quirky dragon. But I prefer when Disney doesn’t use very obvious voices & over-the-top comedians who can throw you out of the story a bit & make the films less “timeless”. I’m actually not crazy about Robin Williams in Aladdin for this same reason & I liked Williams as an actor & comedian a lot (RIP – I will forever be sad about that). I guess I just like my Disney films to stand the test of time but, hey, I’m old school. Or maybe just old… Oh well – I liked the Awkwafina dragon anyway. And I loved Tuk Tuk, as I said, and of course Raya is yet another great new addition to the “strong female Disney characters” thing so I was happy as they’re really the three main characters we see the most. Oh, and Raya’s dad was kinda hot.

I think this movie unfortunately loses its way in the middle of the film. It started out very strong and the ending was fine (although, come to think of it, I kind of can’t fully remember the ending now!). I feel like I say this in half my reviews lately (I’m old & I’m tired) but I did snooze a little in the middle so could do with watching this again sometime. I liked it enough that I wouldn’t mind a rewatch. I think, mainly, too many additional characters got added along the way and they weren’t that great compared to those I’ve already mentioned. In fact, one was really annoying (the dumb baby). Even my daughter was like “that baby is dumb” so I’m afraid my pickiness about movies is rubbing off on her. (Dumb baby is in the image below). There was also probably a bit too much going on story-wise for any young kids to follow with so many different regions fighting each other and so many characters to keep track of. I feel a little unfair rating this when I know I could do with rewatching it. But the middle bit & the dumb baby did make me lose interest for a while. Maybe I’ll change my mind & up the rating half a point after a rewatch.

My Rating: 7/10

Luca (2021)

Directed by Enrico Casarosa

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli, Jim Gaffigan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On the Italian Riviera, an unlikely but strong friendship grows between a human being and a sea monster disguised as a human.

My Opinion:

My beloved Pixar! I’m such a big Pixar fan. I think their best movies are among some of the very best movies overall, even compared to non-animated films. And anyone who knows me knows I love to rank movies so, if you really need to know, here’s my Pixar ranking (from my least favorite to my favorite):

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

Not seen Cars 3 – Maybe I should watch that…

Okay, I honestly feel really bad about putting Luca last as I thought it was a very sweet & very wholesome film. It was actually so sweet & felt so genuine that I don’t feel right saying anything bad about it. I really did feel like the filmmakers put their hearts into making this & that comes across in the movie. The two boys & the girl they befriended were likeable and watching the movie was… Pleasant? Like, it would be impossible to think mean & nasty thoughts while watching this. It was a nice, peaceful family film.

But I was mostly just bored. And, yes, I fell asleep in the middle of this one too (I did catch up on what I missed later). I’m sorry! I apologise to the filmmakers! Your movie is very sweet and the main three characters are very nice! I complained a bit about Raya having too many characters but I think Luca is missing all the extra “small role” characters that Pixar always do soooo well. Look at how awesome each & every character is in things like Toy Story & Finding Nemo, even down to the ones with very few or even no lines (especially those turtles, dudes!). I wasn’t interested in any of the lesser characters in Luca. Okay, yes – it meant they really got to focus on the main three friends but I’m used to Pixar giving us loads of characters to love in every film. The other characters in Luca were bland other than maybe the weird uncle (I think) who lived very deep in the sea & was nice & weird. Yeah, of course I liked the weird sea monster with no social skills! That’s what this movie needed: More weirdos. It was far too wholesome. I also wasn’t crazy about the animation, which was disappointing as I did like the director’s lovely Pixar short La Luna . This just didn’t look like a Pixar film to me. I guess the style worked better as a short film.

I’ll finish this before I say anything too negative because I don’t think this movie deserves that. It’s certainly not a bad film. Not at all. It’s just not up to Pixar standards. To be fair, I was maybe a little harsh putting it below Cars 2 which I don’t even remember. But, as much as I almost hate those Cars movies, I have to admit those still did a decent job with having more than only three good characters. Sorry. I wanted to like this much more! It did have a lovely message about not hiding your true self so that was nice. (I need to stop saying “nice”)

My Rating: 6/10

Shoplifters Of The World (2021) Review

I posted three weeks ago saying I’d catch up on a bunch of old movie reviews I’ve missed over the years then I completely disappeared & didn’t feel like blogging at all. Probably because I hate to commit to anything! So instead I’ve started writing my roundup post of movies watched in June and some of the mini-reviews got too wordy again. So here’s the first of the slightly longer mini-reviews I’ll post before the full roundup next week…

Shoplifters Of The World (2021)

Directed by Stephen Kijak

Starring: Helena Howard, Ellar Coltrane, Elena Kampouris, Nick Krause, James Bloor, Thomas Lennon, Joe Manganiello

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
1987. Denver, Co. One crazy night in the life of four friends reeling from the sudden demise of iconic British band The Smiths, while the local airwaves are hijacked at gunpoint by an impassioned Smiths fan.

My Opinion:

I liked the idea behind this but the way they shoved The Smiths & quotes from their songs very awkwardly into this story as much as possible sadly felt too forced. Here’s a further synopsis from Wikipedia: “Set in Denver, four friends reel from the sudden break up of The Smiths, while the local radio station is held at gunpoint by a fan, forcing a disgruntled heavy metal DJ to play The Smiths all night.” Yeah, that’s a great idea and could’ve been a great movie if done right.

This is one of those movies that felt like it was made by someone who didn’t live through the ’80s so the characters felt like modern teens (or they might have been early twentysomethings) playing ’80s dress-up. BUT! That’s not the case as I did look into this & the director is slightly older than me so did definitely live through the ’80s. Not sure why the film didn’t quite work, then. Maybe he was trying to also capture a new, younger generation of fans? That won’t work – the youngsters have cancelled Morrissey! I do feel bad for the filmmaker on that as this movie may have been in the works before this latest cancellation. Not the director’s fault. He’s maybe a fan who wanted to do a fun movie based around a band he liked (I’m guessing). So that’s a shame. I can see me wanting to make a similar movie based around a band I love.

I wanted to love this movie. It’s totally my type of thing normally. More than anything I think I just didn’t buy into any of these young actors actually liking The Smiths and I never really felt like I was watching a movie set in the ’80s despite it trying really hard to look like the ’80s. Come on – We didn’t actually go around dressed like full-on Madonna or Siouxsie Sioux or Robert Smith – we’d just use bits of their style, like maybe wearing the Madonna bracelets all up our arms. As for The Smiths, I’m not some hardcore fan. I do like several songs quite a lot and love How Soon Is Now & think it’s truly fantastic but I’m closer to being the metalhead DJ in this (especially at the time – I like The Smiths now but didn’t back then). But I like The Smiths enough to have gotten enjoyment from their songs being played throughout this film. If you hate The Smiths, I can’t imagine you enjoying this film since the story & characters aren’t really strong enough. For a movie that better incorporated a band’s music into an interesting story, I far preferred Yesterday with all of The Beatles music.

And now, after my very negative-sounding review, I’ll give this an okay rating as I did still enjoy it overall. Good music & a decade I love so I can’t complain too much. Ellar Coltrane was fine (That kid from Boyhood! I still think that film was quite an achievement). And Helena Howard was also decent as the main girl & Smiths fan (although I still didn’t buy into any of these people actually liking The Smiths). She appears to have not been in much yet but I can see her having a good career. Joe Manganiello was probably the best as the heavy metal DJ but he’s really the only “known” actor in this. So, yeah, this could’ve been a better film but it was worth a watch. However, I’d still rather watch a movie actually released in the ’80s instead of a current film set then…

My Rating: 6.5/10