I, Tonya (2017) Review

I, Tonya (2017)

Directed by Craig Gillespie

Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, Mckenna Grace

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

My Opinion:

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I’m still contemplating putting it as my number one movie of those released in the UK this year. I do think Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri & The Shape Of Water are better “films” but, to be honest, I probably “liked” I, Tonya more. It’s a shame it wasn’t up for Best Picture as it’s certainly much better than Get Out and probably even Lady Bird. I know I liked it more than Darkest Hour, although that was very good. I’ve not seen the other Best Picture nominees, FYI. Oh well – at least the Academy recognized Margot Robbie & Allison Janney. They were absolutely fantastic! I was rooting for Robbie to win as well as Janney.

For any non-Americans who aren’t around the same sort of age as me (not much younger than Harding now), you may not realize what a huge story the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing was at the time. It was insane! Perfect tabloid fodder. I’m not a big “news” person and I’m not at all into tabloids but I lapped that damn story up. And it was weird how it all turned into a “Poor Tonya” thing in the media (after Kerrigan’s personality came across as thoroughly unlikable). As Robbie’s Harding said in this movie, Kerrigan won a silver medal and looked like she’d just stepped in poo (or something like that). Okay, I admit to being Team Tonya instead of Team Nancy. But, hey, that’s the most I’ve ever watched of the Olympics! In the end, though, I was definitely Team Oksana Baiul. She was far more graceful on the ice and seemed really sweet. She deserved that gold medal and I was happy she won. (Seriously – these are three of the only athletes I can even name….).

Back to the movie! I have no idea how factual it is. Did Harding really not know about the planned attack? Maybe not. Probably not. But Robbie was brilliant as Harding! Especially at the end, when she learns her consequences for the attack. If this movie was made to make us sympathetic to Harding, I’d say it worked. Was her mom really that much of a bitch?! Holy hell! Janney was hateful (but funny) as fuck. I suppose it annoys some people, just like when this incident happened, that a lot of people seem to be on Harding’s side in this whole thing. I do think it’s sad that her career was ruined because of it and that this incident will be with her forever. Instead of being known for skating, she’s known for the attack and the whole media circus. It will follow her until the day she dies (same for Kerrigan). Oh, and I think Sebastian Stan deserves a mention as Harding’s abusive hubby Jeff Gillooly. He’s overshadowed by Janney & Robbie but he was so good I kept forgetting it was him – he was almost unrecognizable. He possibly became his character even more than his co-stars. Subtle is good too. Oh! And that cute little girl from Gifted (Mckenna Grace) briefly plays Harding at a young age. She’s also very good. An actress to keep an eye on.

Obviously, I enjoyed this film a lot but I’ve always been very interested in this story. I don’t think you need to know anything about the true story to enjoy this, though. It’s a very well-written film and the dark humor was done perfectly. The mockumentary style suits this crazy tabloid incident and the main performances are all Oscar-worthy. Honestly, I’m confused as to why this didn’t get a Best Picture nomination? Three Billboards also has the same sort of blend of dark humor, serious drama, and great acting that I, Tonya does. Oh well – I highly recommend this movie to anyone, especially film-loving bloggers who haven’t seen it yet.

My Rating: 8/10


Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) Review

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017)

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Based on Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks, Missi Pyle

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set twenty-one years after the first film, the film follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, and playing as the characters they chose, must beat the game in order to return home. The film is also a tribute to Robin Williams, star of the original.

My Opinion:

I’ll be honest – I really liked this movie. It was exactly what I was in the mood for the other day. I needed a fun, chill-out, popcorn movie.

The first Jumanji isn’t exactly near & dear to my heart as I wasn’t the right age for it when it came out (I was in my damn 20s already. Shit I’m old). It’s a good family classic, though. I watched it again a couple of weeks ago with my daughter to refresh my memory. Sheesh – I can’t say it has aged all that well. How terrible did those monkeys look?! Even the kid commented on that. However, she absolutely loved the film. I was surprised. So the story and the characters stand the test of time even if other things about the movie aren’t doing so well now.

As I like but don’t have some kind of huge childhood affection for the first film, I had zero issues with them updating the story for current times. I thought they did a really good job adapting it to a video game this time around and I actually prefer this film to the first one. But don’t tell my kid that – she still loves the first one much more. The story just feels far less messy in this one plus I enjoyed there being a lot more humor. And penis jokes. Lots of penis jokes! But as I’m an old woman with a Beavis & Butthead sense of humor, I appreciate a good penis joke.

The teenagers were all fine in this but we don’t spend loads of time with them as they become their avatars in the game. The avatars (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart & Karen Gillan) were great. I’ve not seen that many Dwayne Johnson films but I can say that this is the most I’ve ever liked him in a movie. He was very funny, as was Karen Gillan. There’s this whole flirting scene involving Gillan & Jack Black that’s pretty damn hilarious. Love him or hate him (I love him), Black seems to be having a lot of fun in this film and Kevin Hart also does well as his usual Kevin Hart self. You know what you’re gonna get with Black & Hart, though, so the bigger surprise was how funny Johnson & Gillan were.

Yeah, I really liked Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. As the kid gets older, I’m enjoying seeing more of these family films that are actually entertaining for the whole family instead of just the kids. But with penis jokes. Beware the penis jokes! I think this movie is aimed a bit older than the first Jumanji.

My Rating: 7.5/10

It looks like this is my last review of 2017. Hope you all have a fun New Year’s Eve! See you in 2018 with my end-of-year Best Of 2017 lists, starting tomorrow.

Ant-Man (2015) Review

Ant-Man (2015)

Directed by Peyton Reed

Story by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish

Based on Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas

Plot Synopsis:
Superhero ants.

My Opinion:

I finally saw Ant-Man! It was… okay. Everyone has reviewed it by now so the general vibe I got was that it wasn’t exactly the best superhero movie ever but it was a bit of fun anyway. Yep – that’s pretty much it.

First of all: Paul Rudd. I’ve talked of my love for Paul Rudd here a few times. I’d say he’s definitely the best thing about this and, had it been someone else playing Ant-Man, I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I mean, it’s about a tiny little superhero with an army of ants. It’s weird! The movie could have been a total disaster but I think they just managed to actually pull it off thanks to Rudd more than anything else.

With Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish writing this, I was hoping for a slightly better story (I found Cornish’s Attack The Block to be a pleasant surprise). The story was okay but it was kind of “same old same old”, as with most Marvel movies. I’m getting a tad bored with the superhero thing so I did appreciate that Ant-Man felt a little “different” (although nowhere near as different as Guardians Of The Galaxy, which is probably why that remains my favorite superhero movie of recent times & maybe my favorite ever).

You know what else I’m bored with? Reviewing superhero movies. I’m kind of glad to hear that Fantastic Four sucks so I don’t have to waste my time on that one. What else can I really say about Ant-Man?? If you love the Marvel films, you know you kind of need to see this as they’re all connected. As always, I don’t know a thing about the comics so I can’t compare but I doubt Ant-Man was anyone’s favorite character in the first place so I think Paul Rudd did a good job making such a potentially boring superhero so likeable.

Oh! Being a woman & mother of a young girl, I have to admit that my favorite element of the story involved Rudd’s scenes with his character’s daughter. She was so adorable! Nothing melts women’s hearts more than seeing a daddy protecting his daughter. Also, although you see it coming (which is fine as all Marvel films are pretty predictable), there’s a scene during the big climax at the end that was fantastic & saved the movie a little for me. I didn’t think Ant-Man was at all bad but the final half hour or so did really up my opinion of the movie as a whole.


I know I sound a little bored with this movie but it’s just the overall superhero thing that doesn’t excite me so much anymore. They’re fun popcorn movies & I’m sure I’ll watch them all but I’m waiting for another one to surprise me in the way that Guardians Of The Galaxy did. I’d have to say I actually enjoyed Ant-Man more than some of the sequels involving Marvel’s much more famous superheroes (such as Iron Man). In fact, I’d almost say that I enjoyed this one a little more than Avengers: Age Of Ultron, although I think Ultron is a better film. I don’t know… Ant-Man is an enjoyable enough experience. I’m just happy that, of the two, Fantastic Four is the massive failure instead. I do love my Paul Rudd and am glad he did pretty well in this one.

My Rating: 7/10

Is There A Scene After The Credits? Don’t be silly – of course there is! Two, actually – a mid-credits & one after the credits. Fairly worth staying for…