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…

Finders Keepers by Stephen King (Book Review)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

What It’s About: (via Wikipedia)
Finders Keepers is the second volume in a trilogy focusing on Detective Bill Hodges, following Mr. Mercedes. The book is about the murder of reclusive writer John Rothstein (an amalgamation of John Updike, Philip Roth, and J. D. Salinger), his missing notebooks and the release of his killer from prison after 35 years.

My Thoughts:

I found the first book in this trilogy, Mr Mercedes, very enjoyable (I reviewed it HERE). Stephen King managed to create some of his most likable characters in that book so I can see why it became a trilogy as I was, and I’m sure a lot of people were, happy to continue reading about retired detective Bill Hodges and his odd assortment of friends & now colleagues. I’ve heard good things about the final book and someone hinted that it goes a bit more supernatural, which is much more my kind of thing than a straightforward crime novel, so I’m really looking forward to reading it this year. However, I found this second book quite weak compared to the first one and slightly disappointing overall for a King novel.

I’m not going to do an in-depth review since one of my blog goals this year is to keep my book reviews short. King is easily my favorite author so, when I find a book of his slightly disappointing, it’s still likely that I enjoyed it more than a lot of books that I’ve read from other authors. That’s the case this time – I enjoyed the book but it’s certainly not as good as Mr Mercedes and is one of the more forgettable King novels compared to his other work.

I found I didn’t care about the characters in this one (a young boy, who finds the notebooks & money stolen from a murdered author, and that boy’s family). The boy’s family is struggling with money thanks to the dad being hurt by the Mercedes Killer in the first book. The Finders Keepers murderer himself is uninteresting and it takes quite a long time for Bill Hodges & his friends from the first book to even make an appearance. I kept reading & thinking “When do we get to see the Mr Mercedes characters?!”. I did like the idea of a famous author having so much material hidden away from the world and it may have been nice to actually learn a little more about this author before he was murdered at the very beginning of this novel. He seemed more interesting than the other new characters in this book.

Oh well – it’s a decent story, we get to see Bill Hodges & his friends again, and we get to now move on to the final book (which I’m hoping will be as good as the first one and doesn’t make the mistake of straying from our favorite characters too much).

My Rating: 3/5

Annabelle (2014) & Finders Keepers (2014) Movie Reviews

Welcome to Day 4 of Creepy Dolls Week here at Cinema Parrot Disco! I’ve already reviewed The Boy, Magic, and the imaginatively-titled Dolls. Now let’s have a look at two creepy doll films that, quite frankly, sucked. But, hey – most of the films in this subgenre are pretty crap anyway. More importantly: Are the dolls creepy or not?? Let’s find out…

Annabelle (2014)

Directed by John R. Leonetti

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard (Oh, the lead actress is named Annabelle. Spooky!)

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

My Opinion:

Annabelle the doll appeared in a short story at the beginning of the rather good (for a modern horror film) The Conjuring. She is a possessed doll from the real life case files of supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (or whatever title they go by). The “true story” of Annabelle the doll, as told pretty accurately in The Conjuring, is quite interesting & unsettling. (Read it & see the real pictures HERE. Although you may be a little less creeped out when you find out that “Annabelle” is, in reality, a Raggedy Ann doll). The completely made up story in the movie Annabelle is a pathetic attempt to cash in on the interest shown in the creepy doll at the beginning of The Conjuring. The true story is far better and I’m confused as to why they didn’t just use that instead of making up a silly (and not at all scary) story.

Well, no – it’s obvious why they made up a new story. The story of Annabelle works best as a short story & the whole thing was already covered in The Conjuring. But Hollywood has to make money. Like a vampire, it has to suck the lifeblood out of every idea it can sink its teeth into.


Look! A pram/buggy like on the cover of Rosemary’s Baby! Don’t be fooled – Annabelle is no Rosemary’s Baby…

I think one of my biggest problems with this film, meant to be set in 1970, was the look of it. Look at the pictures in this post – it looks like a low budget TV movie. It felt like they bought all the movie’s sets from IKEA’s retro ’70s Ödmjuk Smörboll line. Yeah, I totally Googled “IKEA product names” just now & then got sidetracked and read an article about the system IKEA uses to come up with those strange product names and, seriously, the article was a million times more fascinating than this movie. Anyway! The furniture, clothing, hairdos, etc, just looked so fake and the main actress looked more like she should be on the set of Friends with that hair & makeup. What’s most surprising is that The Conjuring got the look of this time period SO right and, if I’ve read this correctly, Annabelle’s director was the cinematographer for The Conjuring?? Hmm. Well, to be fair: I’m guessing that Annabelle had a far smaller budget.

I really like Alfre Woodard so it was nice to see her in this & she was great as always. But I like when we see her in bigger roles as it feels like she’s often on the sidelines and the same happens again here. Also, I can’t believe that the story used her in such an outdated fashion! I realize it’s set in 1970 but the movie was made now. Why are they still using this ridiculous trope? Oh well – at least we got some quality acting (no one did a bad job in that department, really).

I’m sounding way too bitchy. It’s not like I’ve ever made a movie, right?? To be fair, Annabelle was exactly what I expected: a braindead cash-grab that I could zone out to for an hour & a half. Not gonna lie – I’m tired & I don’t always want to think. No one wants to think all the time! Sometimes we just want to stare at a TV screen like zombies while chewing on some flesh (although I prefer popcorn). Therefore, I didn’t have a horrible time watching this. I enjoy movies about possessed dolls & have watched a lot of them even though very few of them could be called “good”. Annabelle probably ranks somewhere right in the middle if you were to compare the movies in this subgenre (I’d need to see quite a few more before I could really rank them, especially as I shockingly haven’t seen the Puppetmaster films).

Meh. Whatever. I’ve seen this now. I won’t remember much of it in a year. Annabelle herself is a pretty creepy looking doll, though, so they did an okay job with her design. Like the movie, she’s probably somewhere right in the middle of a “creepy movie dolls” list. Yes, I’ve made that list! You can see where I’ve placed her tomorrow. Unless, like the real doll, she mysteriously moves. 😉 (Oh crap – I’ll shit myself if that happens… Why did I type that?! SHE’S NUMBER NINE!!!! Remember that!)

My Rating: 5/10

Finders Keepers (2014)

Directed by Alexander Yellen

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Patrick Muldoon, Tobin Bell, Marina Sirtis, Justina Machado, Kylie Rogers, Mary Pat Gleason

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A divorced mother of one is thrown into turmoil when her young daughter becomes obsessed with an evil doll left behind by the previous occupants of their new home.

My Opinion:

I really went off on one there on Annabelle! I didn’t even hate that as much as it probably seemed. Annabelle deserves an Oscar compared to this. Don’t worry – I promise to not be as bitchy this time & I’ll keep this one short. 😉 This is a TV movie & I watched it with very low expectations. I suppose I was more harsh on Annabelle as I do have higher standards for a Hollywood film with a bigger budget.

I watched this for three reasons: 1) I knew I’d be doing Creepy Dolls Week and 2) It was on Netflix and 3) I noticed that the little girl in it (Kylie Rogers) was the girl from the underrated Space Station 76, which is one of my favorite films I’ve watched this year. I loved her character in that movie: sweet, lonely, and heartbreaking. She’s fine in Finders Keepers but it’s such a poorly written character. What a shame. At least she has SS76 in her credits – it’ll be interesting to see if she goes on to do many more films.

If you’ve ever watched another horror movie in your life, you’ll know the whole story already. Newly divorced mom moves into new home with daughter, daughter finds super ugly doll hidden in the floorboards which is naturally possessed because all super ugly dolls are possessed, mother has to investigate the history of the doll in order to save her daughter (using the expert opinion of a friend who falls into the same sort of ridiculous trope as Alfre Woodard’s character in Annabelle).

SPOILERS – I’m going to tell you who dies! Because you already know as everything is so damn obvious & cliché.

Oh look! It’s Marina Sirtis from one of my favorite ever TV shows (Star Trek: TNG) as the new friendly neighbor. She’s so dead! Wow – they got Saw’s Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell, to play the child psychologist who suspects the girl’s mother of child abuse instead of the crazy psycho doll hurting the girl. Jigsaw: So Dead. Ex-husband’s new girlfriend: DEAD. Mother’s friend, a college professor (I think?) who is an expert on the type of voodoo or whatever the hell was going on with the doll – I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention because I was bored: So VERY dead! Professor’s assistant: Dead. Um, who else? Oh, that woman with the really recognizable face! Wow – I can’t even remember her character now. Was she a waitress? This movie doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page so I can’t check. Ha! She’s such a “Hey, it’s that gal” actor, though. She was clearly brought in just to: BE DEAD

I think there may have been more but I can’t remember. Guy who sold them the house, maybe? This movie had a high death toll! What about the mother, daughter & ex-husband (who turns out to be nice)? ALIVE! Of course. And living happily ever after. At least, until that cliché “let’s leave this open for a sequel” ending. 

So, yeah – Finders Keepers isn’t a good movie. But it’s a TV movie & I’ve seen worse (I was obsessed with TV movies when I was younger & had spare time to watch loads of shit. So. Much. Wasted. Time.)! At least it had recognizable faces in it (stick to comedy like My Name Is Earl, Jaime Pressly! Loved that show). Is the doll creepy? Fairly. I’d say the doll has a decent design. It doesn’t have a massive head like in the movie’s poster at the top, though. It’s hilarious that it looks as big as the girl in the poster.

My Rating: 3.5/10