Watched, Read, Reviewed: June 2019

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

MOVIES IN JUNE

MOVIES REVIEWED IN JUNE

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

MOVIES WATCHED IN JUNE (ranked best to worst):

Yesterday – 7.5/10

Toy Story 4 – 7.5/10

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

Rocketman7.5/10

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

Ma7/10

Child’s Play (2019)7/10

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

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

Booksmart7/10

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

Brightburn6.5/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re-Watched:

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

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

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

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

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

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

BLOG PLANS FOR JULY

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

July Movies I Want To See:

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

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Midsommar

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

Annabelle Comes Home

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

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

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

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

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

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Child’s Play (2019) Review

Child’s Play (2019)

Directed by Lars Klevberg

Based on Child’s Play by Don Mancini

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill

Music by Bear McCreary

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Child’s Play follows a family that is terrorized by a high-tech doll that rejects its programming, becoming self-aware and murderous.

My Opinion:

What the hell? I, um, quite liked this? This goes against everything that I stand for! It’s silly & ridiculous and it’s yet another goddamn remake (or is it a reboot?!). Whatever – both piss me off. Come up with some original ideas, Hollywood!!! I think I was just in a really good mood when I saw this. Maybe the popcorn was really good that day? Maybe it was the fact that my expectations beforehand could NOT have been any lower? Maybe my hair was looking good? Well, whatever the reason, I had fun watching this. It’s stupid but it’s a nice return to the unapologetic Eighties slasher genre. Most horror movies take themselves too damn seriously nowadays.

I won’t bother comparing this to the original. I like the first few Child’s Play movies just fine but, let’s be honest, they’re not exactly great. I mean, they’re not A Nightmare On Elm Street or a classic slasher like that (THAT remake was atrocious and pissed me the hell off!). So I wasn’t all that bothered about this being remade and, as Chucky is now a high-tech terror and can connect to other electronics from the same company, the movie feels very different anyway so I just see them as entirely separate films. Plus, of course, they changed his look. He looks just as stupid as always, really. Again – I’m not precious about the original so the redesign didn’t bother me. And I of course love Mark Hamill so enjoyed having him as the new Chucky’s voice.

First of all, I’d say they made these characters fairly likeable for a slasher. Andy (Gabriel Bateman) was good and I liked the fact that he’s older than the original Andy (13, I think?). By the way, it’s explained why a 13-year-old boy has a “doll” (which is much more than just a doll now – it’s more of a gadget). His mother (Aubrey Plaza) is also fine, I guess, in her usual annoying way. Yes, it’s also quickly explained why she’s so damn young (she says something about a very eventful Sweet 16). See, movie writers? All you have to do to explain away something that seems a bit stupid is to add in some sort of line like that. Andy also makes a couple of friends his age who are decent characters as well as a likeable neighbor and his mother. So, as far as slashers go, they did a decent job with the characters for a change.

Chucky also has a fun personality in this. Weirdly, he’s kind of a lovable little fucker at first. Fans of the original may miss the much more twisted Chucky, though. I don’t want to give too much away but Chucky going bad in this one is completely different to the (admittedly lame) reason in the original. But it makes for quite a different and ALMOST sympathetic Chucky in this one. I maybe slightly prefer the full-on psycho Chucky of the original but prefer the silly but far LESS silly plot of the new one. I think making Chucky a gadget that can use other electronic devices to kill people in inventive ways was actually quite a good idea to bring Child’s Play up-to-date. One kill, involving some kind of gardening device, was especially wicked. (A tiller. I had to Google that as I know jack shit about gardening. And cooking. And any boring domestic shit like that.)

Child’s Play 2019 is a slasher film that stays very true to the Eightiesstyle slasher. You either like that genre or you don’t. I do as I grew up on it but it’s certainly not for everyone. If it’s not your thing, don’t bother with this movie. If it is, I think you’ll have fun with this remake. They seemed to have fun making it, which I think is important in this genre. Who wants a serious slasher?? I’m going to be way too generous with my rating because I’m feeling nice this week. It’s likely that I’ll lower it by the end of the year but, for now, I have to admit that I liked this movie.

My Rating: 7/10

My Top Ten Creepy Dolls In Movies & Television 

Well, you knew this would be my top ten list for Creepy Dolls Week. I hate dolls, puppets, marionettes, ventriloquist’s dummies, and mannequins (unless there’s some Starship on the movie’s soundtrack). Evil f*^kers! All of them!!!

It was hard to decide on the order for this top ten. I’ve kind of done a combination of how much I liked the movie crossed with how creepy the dolls are. Well, don’t take the order too seriously but I’ve ranked each doll’s creepiness factor.

So here are My Top Ten Movie & TV Creepy Dolls:

10. TIE: The Twilight Zone: Episode – Living Doll (1963) & The Boy (2016)
The Doll: Talky Tina (The Twilight Zone) & Brahms (The Boy)
Doll’s Creepy Rating: Tina: 6/10, Brahms: 7/10

– I adore The Twilight Zone & this episode, starring Telly Savalas as a mean step-father, is a great one. The doll isn’t that scary but it’s a fun story. The Boy, starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan, has a story with a retro 80’s feel & I really enjoyed it even though it’s predictable. Loved the design of the porcelain doll with the “sweet” face. Not all dolls have to be ugly to be creepy.

9. Trilogy of Terror (1975): Part 3 – Amelia
The Doll: A Zuni fetish doll
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 6.5/10

– It’s been a long time since I saw this horror classic starring Karen Black but I certainly remember the “Amelia” segment, unlike the others in the trilogy. The doll was kind of more funny than scary but it’s a must-see of the killer doll subgenre.

8. The Conjuring (2013) & Annabelle (2014)
The Doll: Annabelle, in real life a Raggedy Ann doll
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 7.5/10

I was quite harsh on Annabelle in yesterday’s review. The movie isn’t very good but the doll itself is effectively creepy while the real life story, as shown in The Conjuring, is far more scary than the made-up story in Annabelle.

7. Pin (1988)
The Doll: Pin (short for Pinocchio) – a doctor’s medical dummy
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8.5/10

I caught this bizarre movie on TV late one night when I was maybe about 18 or so & that creepy medical dummy has stayed on my mind ever since. Ugh! Look at it!!! From what I remember, this was actually a pretty good psychological thriller (despite some, er, Flowers In The Attic-y incestuous brother/sister stuff).

6. Dolls (1987)
The Doll(s): Various – there’s a creepy old mansion filled with loads of them
Dolls’ Creepy Rating: 7.5/10

This cheesy 80’s horror is loads of fun (and very tame for a Stuart Gordon film). And the chick from the A-ha Take On Me comic book video is in it!

5. Magic (1978)
The Doll: Fats – a ventriloquist’s dummy controlled by Anthony Hopkins
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8/10

I reviewed this William Goldman written/Richard Attenborough directed film on Monday as one of my Blind Spot choices & recommend it for the great performances from Anthony Hopkins & Burgess Meredith. Good psychological character study also starring Ann-Margret.

4. Dead Of Night (1945)
The Doll: Hugo – a ventriloquist’s dummy controlled by Michael Redgrave
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8/10

This British horror anthology classic is most memorable for the segment involving Michael Redgrave’s ventriloquist & his dummy, which he believes is alive. Fantastic film that was ahead of its time.

3. Child’s Play (1988)
The Doll: Chucky (aka Charles Lee Ray)
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 7/10

I always had a soft spot for the Child’s Play films (well, the first three – I’ve not watched any further). They’re bad. They’re cheesy. They’re SO Eighties (even though the second two were early Nineties. Never mind). They’re from my teen years, though, and we all like what we grew up on. I was in America & knew nothing of the banning in the U.K. & the reason why. I’ve not watched them since but I can’t leave Chucky off a “creepy dolls” list.

2. Poltergeist (1982)
The Doll: A toy clown
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 8/10

Who doesn’t hate a creepy clown? It’s a well-known phobia, which is why there’s a current “crazy clown” phase going on in the U.S. & U.K. Poltergeist is easily the best film on this list & its clown, although only a small part of the film, has haunted us 80’s kids forever.

1. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Episode – Where The Woodbine Twineth (1965)
The Doll: Numa
Doll’s Creepy Rating: 4/10
The Episode’s Creepy Rating: 10/10

This had to be my number one as it’s the one thing responsible for my fear (or, more like a deep distrust now in my old age) of dolls. As you can see, the doll itself in this story wasn’t creepy. Well, there’s a slight creep factor as ALL dolls look like they have murder on their minds but the doll in this was actually very cute and, slight spoiler… Friendly. She’s the best friend of the little girl in the story & the ending of this story scarred me for life. Seriously. The entire episode used to be on YouTube but, at the moment, I can only find a clip of the ending (watch it HERE if you’re curious but I obviously recommend seeing the entire episode if you can). I also found the whole short story, by Davis Grubb, online HERE if you’d like to read it (just remember that it was written in a very different time period). It’s funny – I can barely remember things I watched a year ago but the ending of Where The Woodbine Twineth, which I must have seen at the age of eight or so, is forever burned into my brain. I watched that clip just now, which I last saw probably 30 years ago, and I remembered it like I’d seen it yesterday. That’s the power of good storytelling.

Honorable Mentions:
– The Saw film series (first one 2004) (Doll: Billy The Puppet)
– Dead Silence (2007) (Doll: Billy, a ventriloquist’s dummy)
– The Fear (1995) (Doll: Morty, a wooden mannequin)
Goosebumps (2015) (Doll: Slappy, a ventriloquist’s dummy)
Finders Keepers (2014) (Doll: A possessed doll that may have had a name but I can’t remember & don’t want to watch the movie again because it’s BAD)

A Few Movies I’ve Not seen:
– Puppetmaster (1989) & its sequels
– Demonic Toys (1992)
– Two truly bizarre looking films I’d never heard of until I started looking up creepy doll movies and now I really want to see them! Tourist Trap (1979) & The Pit (1981). Anyone seen these??