Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2018

Happy October! Holy shit – I truly don’t know where this year has gone. I’m obviously way behind on this monthly roundup. I figured I better post this one quick before I post my September roundup. So here’s the crap I reviewed & watched in August! Well, it wasn’t all crap. Actually, most of it was good for a change.

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Incredibles 2 – 7.5/10
Hotel Artemis – 7.5/10
Ant-Man And The Wasp – 7/10
The Secret Of Marrowbone – 7/10
Tag – 7/10
The Meg – 7/10
Christopher Robin – 7/10
Skyscraper – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Splendor In The Grass – I’m cheating a little and doing this as a 2018 Blind Spot choice, although it’s not on the list as I was planning on adding it to my 2019 choices. But it happened to be on TV so I watched it and kind of loved it. I’ll do a full Blind Spot review of it sometime soon. – 8/10

Ant-Man And The Wasp – 7/10

The Meg – 7/10

Christopher Robin – 7/10

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – I’m not a huge fan of the Mission: Impossible films although I do think they’re pretty great for this genre. Spy thrillers just aren’t really my thing. I’ve not seen them all (think I missed Ghost Protocol and maybe the second movie). I watched this in preparation for Fallout (oops – I missed it!) and I feel sort of the same about this one as I do the others even though I thought it was a strong film and probably the best I’ve seen so far. I just think I won’t remember much of it a year from now. Sorry! For me, the best thing about it by far was Rebecca Ferguson. She was great. Sexy & kick-ass but also feminine. Girl crush! I love characters like that. Preferred her to Cruise… – 7/10

The Ritual – Still not sure about this horror film. For the most part, I think I liked it. It was atmospheric and genuinely creepy at times (I rarely find horror movies scary in any way). The conflict between this group of friends due to something that happens at the beginning worked quite well with the story later on of the presence in the forest and the way it brings out hidden resentment. The thing that will make people love this or hate this is the ending. The movie changes and becomes a much different film from the Blair Witch type of beginning and this won’t work for everyone. I didn’t mind the ending but preferred the more mysterious, less in-your-face start to the film. – 6/10

We Bought A Zoo – This was a bit disappointing coming from Cameron Crowe. He’s never going to live up to the brilliant Say Anything! I actually don’t know what to say about this movie. It was “nice”. It was inoffensive. Unfortunately, it was completely forgettable. The acting was perfectly fine, I guess. Meh. I need Crowe to give me another Lloyd Dobler… – 6/10

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – This was disappointing as well. I quite liked the first film (despite the anal sex joke – whaaaat?!). The sequel went too overboard for me – it was far too silly in a way that didn’t work like it did in the first film. Plus the lack of Samuel L. Jackson definitely hurts this film. Who doesn’t love Jackson?! Julianne Moore was clearly having fun with her outrageous character but that didn’t really work either. However, I loved Elton John. I’ve never loved Elton John. He was hilarious. No one in this movie was having as much fun as he was. – 6/10

Zathura: A Space Adventure – Wow. I’d never seen this but it’s kind of bad. The first Jumanji film, though flawed and very dated now, is fun. I can see why it has its fans amongst people who were kids when it came out (I don’t love it – I was way too old). But I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Zathura looks pretty terrible and feels very low budget, the older brother is fucking hateful, and what was the point of Kristen Stewart’s character? Talk about not letting the female character get any screen time. I was bored and didn’t care what would happen to these annoying characters. Oh, and my kid was bored too. But she loves Jumanji… – 5/10

Re-Watch: Big Fish – Been watching all the age-appropriate Tim Burton movies with the kid & enjoyed seeing this again as I’d not watched it since going to it in 2003. The kid really liked it and I still feel the same: it’s sweet and lovely but definitely not my favorite Burton. I’ll always prefer his style in films such as Edward Scissorhands and A Nightmare Before Christmas. – 7.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

Strange Weather by Joe Hill (Aloft & Rain) – I reviewed the first two stories in this four story collection last month. Here’s the final two:

Story 3: Aloft – Definitely the most original story in this book! Probably one of the more original stories I’ve read in quite a while, actually. I really enjoyed this one. It’s the least “Stephen King-like” and I loved its non-horror weirdness. I don’t know how to talk about it without spoilers, though. It’s about… a cloud. Yeah. I think you’re best knowing no more than that beforehand if you read this book. It’s a fun story and I think I’ve preferred Hill’s short story collections to his full-length novels so far (I highly recommend his 20th Century Ghosts collection if you’re a fan of his or of his father Stephen King). – 4/5

Story 4: Rain – Definitely my least favorite story in this book, which was disappointing as it was a great (fucked-up) concept. In this story, thunderstorms in various parts of America suddenly start “raining” down sharp needles which rip those unfortunate enough to be caught outside in it to shreds. It started out promising but got too silly with the addition of a cult and then gave us an even more ridiculous ending. Damn. But I still liked it okay since, as I said, it was a good concept. I just wish the story had ended differently or maybe had more believable characters. – 2.5/5

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – I keep saying I need to stop reading these YA books. I can’t help it. I need light, easy reads in between my horror, supernatural, sci-fi, apocalyptic & dystopian stuff! I have to pretend to be girly sometimes. I read this as I really liked Nicola Yoon’s book Everything, Everything. It’s not as strong as that one and the girl definitely isn’t as likeable but it’s a good romance if you like that mushy YA sort of stuff. The story itself is okay (but, again, far less interesting than that in Everything, Everything). It follows a girl & a boy who meet on the day the girl is due to be deported from America as she’s an illegal immigrant. As I said, the girl is borderline unlikeable. She’s not totally hateful – she’s just a bit cold & standoffish. Come to think of it, she reminds me of me… Ha! Shit. Maybe that’s why I could somewhat relate to her. The boy is loveable as shit, though. I was like “just fall in love with him already, bitch!”. His character made the novel much more enjoyable and they had great chemistry. I’m sure they’ll definitely make this into a movie. Oh, yep! Just looked it up. It’s listed on IMDb with a 2019 release. Hollywood is so fucking predictable. – 3/5

Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King & Nightflyers And Other Stories by George R.R. Martin

TV SHOWS WATCHED

I’m still not really watching any TV other than Game Of Thrones & Stranger Things when they’re on so I don’t know why I have a TV section. I’m definitely giving up on The Walking Dead when that starts up again – it’s way too shit now! People think I watch a lot of movies but they’re each one & a half to two hours long. I look at people who binge watch entire seasons of TV in a weekend and think “how the fuck do you have the time?!”. But I did finish watching Sharp Objects since I really liked the book and love Amy Adams. She was fantastic in it and perfect for the role. The show was quite faithful to the book and I thought it was a far better adaptation than Big Little Lies.

I do need to get back to watching Black Mirror – That’s more my type of thing. I’ve watched all but the last series. I’m also a little curious about Maniac on Netflix. Anyone seen that?? It looks like I could either love it or hate it since Emma Stone has the potential to get on my nerves at times. But it’s from the guy who co-wrote the screenplay for It last year, which I freaking loved…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

This update is so late that the coming month is now October. Unfortunately, I can’t do my usual Halloween Horror Month this year where I post nothing but horror movie reviews & top tens. I don’t have the time (or energy!). It’s a shame as I’ve always enjoyed doing that. I did watch a lot of horror films in the past year, however, so at the very least I may do one or two posts with super brief reviews of those.

As for September cinema releases, here are the ones I managed to see and some I missed. I’ll try to do full reviews of these.

Ones I Saw:

A Simple Favor – Needed to waste a couple of hours & went in with zero expectations. Enjoyed the shit out of this one. – 7.5/10

The House With A Clock In Its Walls – Fun. Love having “scary” family films to watch with the kid but thought Goosebumps was better. – 7/10

American Animals – Decent film but I was a little underwhelmed considering the true story is quite interesting yet the film managed to make it somewhat boring. – 6.5/10

The Nun – Meh. Better than those stupid Annabelle movies, at least. – 5.5/10

Some I Missed:

The Predator – I’m glad. The hubby saw it expecting it to be bad but was shocked at just HOW bad it was.

Crazy Rich Asians – Romantic comedy isn’t my thing but the reviews are good so I’ll watch it on Netflix.

King Of Thieves – Am disappointed by the bad reviews as I’ve wanted them to make a movie of this starring Michael Caine ever since the real heist happened. It’s obvious but perfect casting.

Here’s Elton John fucking people up in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Spoilers, obviously. But the movie is a bit shit anyway.

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My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies

Happy Birthday to Steve Buscemi, who turns 60 today.

I love Steve Buscemi. What a great face! I like an interesting face. And I like when he’s in those Adam Sandler movies. I don’t care what people say – I don’t hate Sandler (but I don’t love him, either).

Anyway! It’s close to Christmas & I have a lot of bullshit going on & I don’t have time to dilly-dally (I love that word). So let’s just get to my countdown…

Here are My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies (ranked by how much I like the movie – not by performance). I’ve seen 24 in total, though, so let’s start counting down from 24 to be awkward.

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

24. Rising Sun
23. Domestic Disturbance
22. The Grifters
21. Mr. Deeds
20. Escape From L.A.
19. The Island
18. The Hotel Transylvania Movies
17. Grown Ups
16. Ghost World
15. 28 Days
14. Billy Madison
13. Airheads
12. Fargo
11. Armageddon

Top Ten:

10. The Big Lebowski

9. Big Daddy

8. Monsters University

7. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

6. Big Fish

5. Pulp Fiction

4. Con Air

3. Reservoir Dogs

2. The Wedding Singer

1. Monsters, Inc.

Need To Re-Watch:
Monster House (I know I liked it at the time but don’t remember it now)

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Billy Bathgate, The Hudsucker Proxy, Desperado, Interview, On The Road

Honorable Mention:

I need to mention an episode of Tales From The Crypt called Forever Ambergris, which starred Steve Buscemi & The Who’s Roger Daltrey. I reviewed that episode in full a couple of years ago and, for some odd reason, it’s become my second most-viewed post of the past five years. A week doesn’t go by without it getting some views. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because of the nasty images from it that I posted (it was a pretty damn gross episode!). This is Buscemi and it’s not the worst he looks in the show:

Well, I have to say that I’m happy it’s one of my most-viewed posts since it’s one of my favorites. I went to town on that one! I actually made a half-arsed effort to make that one somewhat entertaining. What I mean is this: it sucks slightly less than my usual shit. So here’s a link to that post if you’re bothered. 🙂

Oh, and tomorrow afternoon I’ll do my best to post my review of a little indie film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi…. (I’m so damn excited!).

My Top Ten Ewan McGregor Movies

Happy Birthday to Ewan McGregor, who turns 46 today. Ewan McGregor isn’t someone I’ve ever thought of as a favorite actor but I’ve always liked him & will happily watch a movie if he’s in it. Plus he’s cute. And, hey, he’s not afraid of some full frontal nudity. Right?! 😀

So happy birthday to sweet Ewan McGregor! Here are My Top Ten Ewan McGregor Movies, counting down to my favorite (and, yeah, starting at 17… I’ve seen 18 in total including a tie. Oh, and more if I didn’t count the Star Wars movies as one. Never mind!).

17. A Life Less Ordinary
16. Nightwatch
15. Young Adam
14. Angels & Demons
13. Blue Juice
12. Beauty And The Beast
11. The Island

TOP TEN:

10. TIE: Moulin Rouge! & Little Voice

9. The Impossible

8. Robots

7. Brassed Off

6. Beginners

5. T2 Trainspotting

4. The Star Wars Prequels

3. Big Fish

2. Shallow Grave

1. Trainspotting

Plus he had a cameo in A Million Ways To Die In The West but I’ve not counted that. The one film of his that I haven’t seen but really want to is Velvet Goldmine.

Have a great weekend, everyone! 🙂

My Top Ten Tim Burton Movies

Happy Birthday to Tim Burton, who turns 58 today.

I figured it was time to do a full updated list of My Top Ten Tim Burton Movies. Okay – I WAS going to include only the movies he has directed but I just cannot exclude The Nightmare Before Christmas. That movie is SO Burton’s film – it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t the director. I also really liked his Vincent & Frankenweenie short films but will only list full-length movies.

Well, here’s My Tim Burton Top Ten! But I’ll rank all that I’ve seen…

The Rest:

18. Alice In Wonderland
17. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
16. Sleepy Hollow
15. Planet Of The Apes
14. Big Eyes
13. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
12. Frankenweenie
11. Dumbo

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Mars Attacks! & Batman Returns

9. Beetlejuice

8. Big Fish

7. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

6. Corpse Bride

5. Batman

4. Ed Wood

3. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

1. Edward Scissorhands

Not Seen:
Dark Shadows

And here’s the Ice Dance scene from Edward Scissorhands. This is one of my all-time favorite movie scenes and Danny Elfman’s beautiful music in this clip still gives me chills every time I watch it. I watch this clip every once in a while for a pick-me-up (along with the final scenes from Cinema Paradiso & City Lights). Gorgeous. Perfection. This is the type of scene that made me fall in love with movies. 🙂

My Top Ten Helena Bonham Carter Movies

Happy Birthday to Helena Bonham Carter, who turns 50 today. 🙂

I’ll be honest – I’ve never paid that much attention to her work & I’ve not even seen her old period-drama-type films. So this Top Ten list will feel pretty incomplete (I’ve listed some big movies of hers that I’ve not seen at the end). I do respect her as an actress and like her zany style offscreen. I actually really liked her quite a lot in a very recent film (Suffragette) so I really should make an attempt to watch the remainder of her big films that I’ve not seen.

So, here are My Top Ten Helena Bonham Carter Movies (that I’ve seen so far) counting down to my favorite movie:

10. Planet Of The Apes
(Not saying this is good – I just liked the remainder even less)

9. Terminator Salvation
(Wow, I don’t remember this one)

8. Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(Apparently she had an uncredited cameo that I don’t recall but I thought this was a pretty decent movie)

7. Cinderella
(She was fun in this one)

6. Suffragette
(Loved her in this & liked the film far more than I was expecting)

5. The Harry Potter Movies
(I should really watch the final film one of these days)

4. Fight Club
(A defining role)

3. Corpse Bride
(Underrated)

2. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
(Love it)

1. Big Fish
(Athough, I badly need to re-watch this again sometime)

The Remainder That I’ve Seen:

Les Misérables (boring)
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (yuck)
Alice In Wonderland (hated it, so really not bothered about the sequel coming out tomorrow)

Some Of The Many That I’ve Not Seen:

A Room With A View
Hamlet
Howards End
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Mighty Aphrodite
The King’s Speech
Dark Shadows
The Lone Ranger

Big Fish (2003) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe has already reviewed The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE). Thanks for all the reviews, Zoe! 🙂 Now let’s hear her thoughts on Big Fish, IMDB rank 242 out of 250.

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Here is another film I undertook to see for Table9Mutant and her IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having a blast with this as I have been given the opportunity to go back and revisit some great  movies again, and there were quite a few that I had been meaning to get to again and look into. Without further ado, let me commence with sharing my feelings on Big Fish.

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“A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.” – Will Bloom

The story revolves around a dying father and his son, who is trying to learn more about his dad by piecing together the stories he has gathered over the years. The son winds up re-creating his father’s elusive life in a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts he knows. Through these tales, the son begins to understand his father’s great feats and his failings. (IMDB)

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“They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true.” – Edward Bloom

An 8/10 for Big Fish. This is a Tim Burton film, and certainly one of his finest films. While you can see it is a Burton flick due to the fantastical presentation of things, the story reels you in more effectively than many he has told recently, resonating with you when all is said and done. Big Fish boasts a phenomenal cast and they all bring the goods to the table effortlessly. Helena Bonham Carter was, as always, incredibly impressive. There was plenty of humour to go around in this movie without it getting old or too extremely cheesy or feeling too forced, but not enough for it to take front and centre stage either. Jessica Lange was perfectly cast to play Sandra K Bloom, she was beautiful, sweet, caring and a wonderful mother and loyal wife. Alison Lohman could conceivably have been her when she was younger, and I liked that you could see that Lange had grown from the woman that Lohman was. Ewan McGregor was fantastic to watch as the young Edward Bloom, and wove an impressive story, undertaking to show you something whimsical if only you would accompany him on his journey. Billy Crudup played the embittered and frustrated son that still loves his father though he does not like him very much. He played that well and was convincing. At times I could understand his frustration, and then at other times I thought it was excessive. The costume design was just amazing in here, telling a story completely on its own. I like how the movie explored reconciliation (without it being some serious overkill crap) and how people identify things differently, and the truth is simply how something is perceived.

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“I don’t think I’ll ever dry out.” – Sandra Templeton

There were so many scenes that were just put together so well and were just beautiful. I loved the scene where the young Edward Bloom finally sets eyes on a young Sandra Templeton and instantly falls in love. Time stops and it just lingers there, and he walks through it. Everything is frozen around him, the popcorn hangs in the air and gets brushed aside, he steps through hoops to get to her, the whole time completely enthralled, and the next thing you know time catches up, double time. It was just such an arrestingly beautiful scene and demands your attention, that you watch it and see how it all comes together. There are a few of these. This is also a beautiful story of true love and how it can last, how sometimes things just are perfect in life, and that is just that.  The score worked for this movie, too, but I must say is rather forgettable when all is said and done at the end of the day. Typical Danny Elfman/Tim Burton collaboration, and that is by no which means said in a demeaning manner. Big Fish is inspiring, though at times it gets annoying to watch father and son arguing all the time. Albert Finney was great to play the old man that Edward Bloom became. It was a lovely journey to follow through, to see what the son thought of his father and his stories, to see how he desperately just wanted the truth and was willing to dig for it, and how his father was just a passionate storyteller who loved his son, no matter what his son thought of him.

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“Everybody’s there, and I mean everybody. And the strange thing is, there’s not a sad face to be found, everyone’s just so happy to see you.” – Will Bloom

I must say that the present day storytelling was nice in the movie, but I was much more excited for and taken by the wonderful past experiences that Edward had to tell, the outline of his youth, the things that he had done, the places he had gone, the people he had met. They were insanely interesting and even though the tales are tall and a little ludicrous, when they are told the way they were laid out here, one is almost willing to forget that the movie is supposed to be deeply steeped in realism, and go out on a whim that Edward had the magical experiences that he proclaimed to. However, when the present rolls around again and you see it all as it is, that is when you know that he cannot seriously be telling the truth, everything is so plain and boring outside of his mind. Big Fish is a beautiful and stunning story, with an enchanting fairy tale element to it that works on many levels; this movie is definitely worth checking out if you have not done so already!