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

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

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019)

Directed by Joachim Rønning

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

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

Production company: Walt Disney Pictures & Roth Films

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

My Opinion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating: 7/10

The Addams Family (2019)

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Based on Characters by Charles Addams

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

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

My Opinion:

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

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

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

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

My Rating: 6/10

Suspiria (2018) Review

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-review of (well, it’s more of a rant about) the pointless 2018 remake of Italian horror classic Suspiria

Suspiria (2018)

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Based on Suspiria by Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Angela Winkler, Alek Wek, Ingrid Caven, Elena Fokina, Sylvie Testud, Renée Soutendijk, Christine LeBoutte, Fabrizia Sacchi, Małgosia Bela, Jessica Harper, Chloë Grace Moretz

Music by Thom Yorke

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Suspiria is a 2018 supernatural horror art film directed by Luca Guadagnino with a screenplay by David Kajganich, inspired by the 1977 Italian film of the same title directed by Dario Argento. Guadagnino’s film, which is set in 1977, stars Dakota Johnson as an American woman who enrolls at a prestigious dance academy in Berlin run by a coven of witches.

My Opinion:

What. The. Actual. Fuck. Okay, I admit I’ve only seen the original Suspiria once and don’t remember much other than the Goblin score, which I fricking love and listen to regularly. I know I liked the overall vibe. I really should watch the film again. Italian horror is one of the very few genres I’ve not yet really explored. This remake is an incoherent mess. It’s laughable, especially in the final half hour. At least I was “rewarded” with a good laugh over the ending’s absolute ridiculousness after suffering through this otherwise boring thing for HOURS (2 hours & 32 fucking minutes!!!).

Why do they keep remaking films that are considered classics?! WHY?!? I don’t get it. I understand that there are fans of the giallo horror thing but don’t understand why, if people want a 2018 giallo movie, filmmakers can’t just make an original film with the same characteristics???? I’d totally watch that. Why shit on a classic’s legacy?

I think this was also disappointing as the trailer and especially the above poster (which is great!) almost made this look promising despite it starring Dakota Johnson. As much as remakes & reboots piss me off, I admit that they occasionally work and have even liked a few. I’m a fan of 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead even though the 1978 film is one of my all-time favorite movies, probably because it wasn’t a straight remake but more of a respectful & enjoyable reimagining. It almost felt as if 2018 Suspiria had zero regard for what made the original such a beloved classic for many horror fans.

I’ve read no reviews of this version but am *assuming* that those who love the original hated this and those who loved this hated or probably didn’t even see the original. I’d like to hear from anyone who loves both versions of Suspiria – I’d love to know the reasons why. I saw so many people on Horror Twitter raving about this remake so I’m actually quite confused as I thought it was a dreadful mess. Give me Mandy instead of 2018 Suspiria! It’s hard to not compare the two as they’re both pretentious artsy horror films that came out the same year and are both extremely divisive. Mandy is weird as hell but has originality and style. Suspiria tries too hard and just comes across as desperate and phoney.

I should say something nice… Um. I think Thom Yorke was a great choice to do the music for this and was one of the reasons I wanted to watch the film. The music starts out promising in the very beginning but then I no longer noticed it. I don’t know if there was less music in the second half or if I just no longer noticed it as I slowly lost the will to live. But nothing will EVER beat the original’s Goblin score anyway so why bother.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Greta (2018) Review

Greta (2018)

Directed by Neil Jordan

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Stephen Rea

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Greta follows a young woman as she befriends a lonely widow who becomes disturbingly obsessed with her.

My Opinion:

I recently re-watched the delightfully “so bad it’s good” Single White Female while stuck in a hotel & mentioned in my review (HERE) that we don’t get enough of those cheesy psychological thrillers anymore that were so common in the 80s & 90s. Thank you, Greta! This is exactly the type of cheesy thriller that I was talking about. Is it a good film? Oh hell no! Is it a fun film? Oh hell yes!

First of all, we have the sexy Isabelle Huppert playing one of my favorite types of characters: A Batshit Crazy Lady. Fuck it. I’m a lady (well, a female). I’m not offended by women so often being portrayed as unhinged in movies. In fact, I did a list of My Top Ten Crazy Ladies In Movies HERE. These movies are meant to be over-the-top fun. Unfortunately, Huppert wasn’t as batshit as I was hoping. She’s a psycho, yes, but can’t really compare with people like Carrie’s mother in Carrie (I love Piper Laurie in that). She’s clearly having fun with the role, though. I’ve been wanting to explore more of her work since developing a slight girl crush on her after seeing Elle. She’s certainly the one who made me choose to go to this instead of waiting for Netflix, although I don’t mind Chloë Grace Moretz. I also like Maika Monroe as an actress but Huppert is the true star of this film. She has a presence that the two younger actresses lack.

Speaking of Chloë Grace Moretz (and Maika Monroe, who plays her best friend & roommate): I love how many things these two fuck up. Love it! I love how the people being terrorized in these types of movies do so many thoroughly predictable & ridiculous things. There are so many overused tropes in this film! That’s normally something that annoys me, especially in horror films, but it’s what I actually WANT to see in a cheesy psychological thriller. The more clichés the better for this genre! It actually made me smile when Moretz did stupid shit. And the “making cookies” scene was awesome. God Moretz was an idiot following that bit. To do something so cool and then to be so dumb… She really is the Bridget Fonda character from Single White Female. Those two naive morons would get along great. And that ending that we ALL saw coming from a mile away! Hilarious. So bad. So goodbad.


Well. That’s it. What else can I say? This movie was exactly what I was hoping it would be: Cheesy & cliché with predictable idiots, a predictable crazy lady, and overacting without being really bad overacting that throws you out of the film. Greta is not a great film. Thank god! I don’t want Oscar-worthiness ruining a perfectly good cheesy thriller with a batshit crazy lady.

My Rating: 6.5/10

**Single White Female still wins, though. High heel scene beats cookie-making scene…

Bad Neighbours 2 (2016) Review 

Bad Neighbours 2 (2016) (aka US Title: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising)

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After a sorority moves in next door, which is even more debaucherous than the fraternity before it, Mac and Kelly have to ask for help from their former enemy, Teddy.

My Opinion:

There’s seriously no need for me to blather on & on for this review – If you liked the first film, you’ll like this one. It’s the exact same movie again but with a sorority instead of a fraternity. It’s not perfect and the first one is of course better, as is the case 90% of the time with all these comedy sequels, but you don’t exactly go to movies like these expecting Sunset Boulevard or something anyway (yeah, I reviewed that yesterday – I’m diverse!). 😉 There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes but you don’t have to rush out to the cinema to see this one unless you really love comedies like these (I went on the cheap day!). I actually quite enjoyed the first movie, as far as modern comedies go, but I haven’t found anything truly funny since The Princess Bride. And Wayne’s World! (Ha! Showing my age). You can find my review of the first movie HERE if you desperately want to read it.

Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne are exactly the same as they were in the first one. There were some decent jokes & they once again had some funny sex scenes (like the opening scene – the movie started out quite promising but lost its way). Well, there was one difference: I think they were possibly even worse parents this time than in the first film! That poor kid. You should enjoy this fine if you’re the age of the sorority girls but us old parents get a little stressed out if we think a kid in a film isn’t being looked after. I’m still freaked out that they left her alone in the house in the first one (they had a baby monitor with) & that the air bag stunt could’ve killed her! But, let’s move on – this is a fictional comedy not meant to be taken seriously… (But, really, you shouldn’t smoke weed around your kids! WTF). Okay. I’m done. Moving on.

I like Chloë Grace Moretz and liked her fine in this but don’t really think that dumb comedies suit her – she should stick to stuff like Kick-Ass & Let Me In. Zac Efron is a bit better in this type of thing. He doesn’t do it for me (gross! he’s a kid!) but girls who like him will be happy to know he’s shirtless & in tiny shorts for lots of this movie.

I don’t really know what to say here. It’s honestly the same movie again. In any other genre, I’d probably complain about that. But, meh – it’s a dumb comedy. Who cares? As long as you get a few chuckles out of it (I did). I did like that this movie has three normal (and slightly nerdy) girls who become friends & decide to start their own “fun” sorority (as opposed to air-headed dress-like-sluts sorority). They decide to do this after leaving a frat party they call too “rapey” & they don’t want anyone calling them a ho. (What’s the plural of a ho?! Hos doesn’t look right but Hoes are garden tools. Hmm. It has to be Hoes, though). Anyway – RIGHT ON with all that! I don’t understand all that college bullshit. It’s just a shame that three girls I’d almost want to hang out with myself at first turn into over-the-top nightmare neighbors for the sake of the movie’s unoriginal plot. They’re probably even worse than the boys in the first film. Oh well. I liked this movie okay & it had its funny moments but it’s unlikely that I’d watch either of them again. Now I must go & call social services on the parents….

My Rating: 6.5/10

**Oh! And I just realized that I can add a scene from Bad Neighbours 2 as an honorable mention in my recent list of My Top Ten Period Scenes In Movies! What is it with Chloë Grace Moretz & period scenes?? She’s Period Proud! 🙂

Top Ten Actresses I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything

Okay – it was fun bitching about my most hated actors & actresses last week but now it’s time to do another list that Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are has done. You can see her list of “The Top Ten Actresses That I’d See In Pretty Much AnythingHERE. So here’s my own list of actresses I love. (Yes – I do love Drew Barrymore!). 🙂

With my favorite actors list, I’ve had to narrow it down by only including living actors so I’ve done the same here. Otherwise, Grace Kelly would be on this list. Now here are The Ten Actresses I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything (in no particular order…):

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Amy Adams
Best Movie: Her or Catch Me If You Can but she was lovely in Junebug

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Emily Blunt
Best Movie: Edge Of Tomorrow but I also love The Adjustment Bureau

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Melanie Laurent
Best Movie: Inglourious Basterds

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Jennifer Lawrence
Best Movie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Drew Barrymore
Best Movie: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial but I also love The Wedding Singer & Whip It

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Chloe Grace Moretz
Best Movie: Hugo

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Sandra Bullock
Best Movie: Gravity but I do love Speed. (Gravity helped to put Bullock back on this list. But I still wouldn’t watch that thing she did with Melissa McCarthy. Damn! I missed her on my “Most Annoying” list…

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Carey Mulligan
Best Movie: Shame but she was better in Never Let Me Go. (If I’ve forgotten someone, Carey Mulligan would be the first one replaced. I found her disappointing in Shame and beyond bland in The Great Gatsby. Hopefully she’ll have another good role soon…)

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Elisabeth Shue
Best Movie: Adventures In Babysitting

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Michelle Pfeiffer
Best Movie: Ladyhawke

Carrie (2013) Review

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Carrie (2013)

Directed by Kimberly Peirce

Based on Carrie by Stephen King

Starring:
Chloë Grace Moretz
Judy Greer
Portia Doubleday
Alex Russell
Gabriella Wilde
Julianne Moore

Running time: 99 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Girl gets period, people piss her off, she becomes psychotic. I have days like that too.

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My Opinion:

First of all, I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Second of all, I have this confession to make: Carrie is one of the only books of his that I’ve not read. Thirdly, I love the original movie – it just makes it into the list of my Top Ten Horror Movies. Fourthly (Thirdly & fourthly are words, right?), REMAKES PISS ME OFF. So what did I think of yet another completely unnecessary remake?

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There may be a few SPOILERS here if you’ve actually not seen the original Carrie. If you have, you can probably read this whole review as this remake is pretty much EXACTLY the same movie but with added mobile phones (cell phones to you Americans). I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything for those who’ve seen the original.

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The Actresses:

I’ve really liked Chloë Grace Moretz in everything I’ve seen her in so far and she does fine as Carrie. Her Carrie does NOT have the same sort of naive innocence yet underlying crazy THING going on behind the eyes that Sissy Spacek had, though. To be fair, I don’t think Moretz had much to work with here as this is just the 1976 movie with YouTube. It’s very hard to not picture Spacek in this role. I suppose it’s also hard to believe that a teenage girl would be as naive & sheltered in 2013 as one may have been in 1976. They show Carrie looking things up on the Internet on school computers in this one – surely she’d be Googling periods & sex & all that stuff her crazy mother tells her is a sin. Moretz is exactly who I’d have also chosen to play Carrie if I’d made this, though – it’s just hard to fully buy into her character if you know the original so well. Same goes for Julianne Moore – SUCH an obvious casting choice (or a lazy choice if you ask Mista Mutant). Yes, she’s good and does exactly what you expect her to do. But, you know… We’ve already seen this role played perfectly by Piper Laurie. Both the 2013 lead actresses are fine & exactly who I’d have chosen. All the other actresses are also fine (especially Gabriella Wilde as Sue Snell & Judy Greer as the gym teacher). But… What’s the point, really?

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The Movie:

Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed this movie (I know it hasn’t sounded like it so far). Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a completely pointless remake and will never top the original for me. But I’ve always liked the story. “Girl gets picked on by bitchy high school girls then gets sweet revenge!”. Who doesn’t like that? Especially if they’re a girl who lived through the dreadful high school experience. Is it just me? Maybe I have issues. I mean, one of my all-time favorite movies is Heathers. Okay, yeah – I may have issues.

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So even though I’ve seen this movie before and knew what would happen, I enjoyed seeing the events unfold once again. And I suppose I should mention Portia Doubleday as that bitch Chris Hargensen. I guess she did a good job as I soooo couldn’t wait for her death scene in this one! I’m not a big fan of horror movies, especially in my old age, and have to admit that I have yet to actually watch the more violent scenes in some of my favorite films. Seriously, I’m a wuss about gore and don’t like violence and think we live in a sad world where people freak out over movies that show a tiny bit of sex but don’t bat an eyelid at their kids playing video games & watching movies with excessive violence and blah blah blah. But, oh man, I wanted to watch the bitch get it in Carrie! And it’s a pretty satisfying end. It’s the only thing I’ll say maybe tops the original. (I have issues with bitchy high school girls. Can you tell?) 😉

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Bitch!

For the boys, I should point out that Gabriella Wilde is REALLY cute. I did like her as Sue Snell.

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Cute!

Summary:

This remake is completely pointless. But… it’s fun and I did enjoy it. If you go into it knowing that you’re going to be watching a not-as-good version of the 1976 movie all over again and if you like the story and even if you LOVE the original movie (as long as you don’t totally worship it), I think you’ll have fun with the remake. The casting choices are spot on but it all feels very hollow. All the actresses do a good job but certainly don’t top the performances in the original. All the scenes are done well enough but, again, don’t exactly top anything in the original. The prom scene especially doesn’t manage to have the intensity of the original and was probably the most disappointing re-made scene.

I understand why things get remade. I’ll fully admit that the original Carrie has NOT aged well and is precious to only those my age but teenagers nowadays are “all gonna laugh” at the 1976 film. They may like this remake, though, and I’d recommend the remake to a teenager instead of the original because I know I’d be wasting my time trying to get a current teen to love the oh-so-70s Carrie. So, yeah – I do understand why things keep getting remade. To make money. To bring a whole new audience to something as they’d never watch the original. Remakes still piss me off, though. And I still think this remake is as pointless as all the rest.

But at least we get to see Carrie get her revenge on those high school bitches once again! That made me happy.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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