Chalet Girl, Austenland & Endless Love Movie Reviews (A Chick Flick Special)

Look at me, watching chick flicks! WHAT?! Well, it happens occasionally – I am a girl, after all. 😉 I just watched Chalet Girl a week ago but the other two were at least a year ago & I never got around to reviewing them so it made sense to do three “chick flick quickies” together. Chicky Flicky Quicky??

Anyway, regulars here will know that I’m not really a chick flick type of girl. My type of chick flick usually involves women kicking ass. Give me Ellen Ripley & Furiosa over romantic bullshit! (Okay, or Drew Barrymore – I watch all of her stuff). So what did I think of these three girly movies? Let’s see!

Chalet Girl (2011)

Directed by Phil Traill

Starring: Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Tamsin Egerton, Ken Duken, Sophia Bush, Bill Bailey, Brooke Shields, Bill Nighy

My Opinion:

I LIKED THIS! There. I said it. Is it good? No. Is it cheesy & predictable? Oh god yes! I don’t care. Screw it. Sometimes it’s nice to just have fun with a movie and not be all judgmental & snobby. I enjoyed this one quite a bit for something that’s not normally very “me”.

I might as well start right away with saying that adorable Felicity Jones is 100% to thank for this movie working & being at all watchable. With another actress, it could have been a disaster. I know she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for The Theory Of Everything (which I have yet to see) and that she has a lead role in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (a Star Wars role! Lucky girl!) but this is the only film I’ve seen her in. It was a bit weird watching this knowing that she’s gone on to much bigger & better things but it’s easy to see why as she’s so damn likeable in this & has that special “thing” that only a handful of actors have (I’m so crap with words. The only other way I can think of to describe that “thing” is “the X Factor” but that makes me think of those stupid singing competitions with Simon Cowell. Puke!). Anyway, she definitely has that here and if I hadn’t liked her, I would have been bored with this movie.

As for this movie, I don’t know how to talk about it without making it sound bad. I mean, it’s not a good movie but I really liked it so don’t want to trash it. It’s very odd in that it’s a British film that couldn’t be more “American”. I moaned the other day in my review of A Long Way Down that too many British movies are bland dramedies so now I’ll be praising a British film that doesn’t feel at all British. I feel bad about that! I have to say, though, if it had actually been American, they’d probably have cast some horrible actress in the lead role so it wouldn’t have worked. So…. Um, hooray for British people! 😉

I think what worked for me, being a girl who likes strong female movie characters, was the fact that Felicity Jones’ Kim fit the bill. She’s young & she’s a bit unsure of herself after the tragic death of her mother but she’s determined to help her father to pay the bills (which is why she takes a job as a chalet girl in the Alps) and, best of all, she’s a former skateboarding champion. That’s cool! (Not that you ever see her riding a skateboard…). But, inevitably, she takes up snowboarding while in the Alps and it turns out that she has a natural talent for it thanks to her skateboarding years. Shocker, huh?! Oh, and there’s of course a big snowboarding competition coming up with a big cash prize! HUH. What are the odds of that?!?!?! lol

Shit. I’m sounding snobby. Hey, what can I say? This movie is cliché every step of the way. We have the snobby, slutty chalet girl who is pissed off at having to work with “poor girl” Kim, we have the rich boy and a forbidden romance with “poor girl” Kim as well as that boy’s rich-bitch mother who doesn’t approve and, finally, we have the tragic past and a fear that must be overcome in order for Kim to get her life back on track. But, hell – it works. There are just enough laughs and annoyingly “feel good” moments that I found it very hard to not like this movie. I didn’t like the rich boyfriend (soooo not my type but I’m sure some girls will like him). However, some really likeable lesser characters, such as the guy who teaches Kim to snowboard as well as my favorite comedian, Bill Bailey, as her father make up for some of the movie’s mistakes (such as Brooke Shields as the disapproving mother of the rich boy – her character is so damn annoying). The movie has lots of fun moments but doesn’t ever get too silly (although these young kids do know how to party & enjoy a bit of naked hot tub fun…).

Most of all, though, Felicity Jones is just seriously loveable as Kim and you’ll want to see her succeed in every clichéd way possible. Unless you have no soul.

My Rating: 7/10

Would A Manly Man Like This?: Possibly. I think it’s definitely the one that men would find the most bearable of these three.

Austenland (2013)

Directed by Jerusha Hess

Based on Austenland by Shannon Hale

Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, James Callis, Jane Seymour, Georgia King

My Opinion:

This movie is weird & utterly ridiculous. Keri Russell plays a lonely American woman obsessed with Jane Austen novels. She saves up her money for “the trip of a lifetime” – a bizarre English retreat run by Jane Seymour where women dress up & partake in Jane Austen-y role play with attractive male actors. Seriously – this movie is bonkers. But, like Chalet Girl, I LIKED THIS ONE TOO!

This has to be the girliest girly movie I’ve watched in years. I should point out that I’ve never read a Jane Austen novel as they just don’t really appeal to me. So, this will have been missing that little extra element of enjoyment for me that I’m sure Austen lovers probably got out of it. I know enough, though, and have watched some period dramas (I actually love the movie Sense & Sensibility) so I was able to enjoy this just fine – I don’t think it’s totally necessary to be an Austen novel reader to like this.

I find Keri Russell to be a pretty likeable actress in what I’ve actually seen her in (she was in one of my absolute favorites of recent years, Waitress, which I plan to praise to high heaven when I do my planned Adrienne Shelly Week at some point). So, I have no complaints there. But, more importantly, my girl Jennifer Coolidge was in this! LOVE her. Yes, she’s once again playing a loveable idiot. Who cares?! It’s funny! I’ll happily watch her play that same idiotic character over & over again. In this, she plays one of the guests at the retreat and, unlike Russell, appears to not have read a Jane Austen novel in her life. She’s just horny & wants some sexy role play with the men. It’s hilarious to see her attempting an English accent and being treated to all the best things at the retreat as she’s paid for the full experience while Russell could only afford the most basic package. A lot of the laughs come from this as Jane Seymour is an evil bitch to poor girl Russell while Coolidge is completely oblivious but totally sweet in her idiocy.

There’s not a lot more that I can really say about this one. It’s the true definition of “chick flick”. I liked that it was quite quirky in its own way, though – the overall concept isn’t really one that we’ve seen in a romcom before. As for the romance, it’s of course there and it’s predictable yet not quite as predictable as some. The movie was a pleasant surprise in that it had more humor than I was expecting and an interesting setup that took some balls to make into a film as this story could have ended up a disaster onscreen (it’s apparently a book but I know nothing about the book). Yes, I said this chick flick has some balls to it! But people with balls would be unlikely to watch this one.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Would A Manly Man Like This?: Oh HELL no! lol. But it’s at least a lot more fun than an actual Jane Austen period drama.

Endless Love (2014)

Directed by Shana Feste

Based on Endless Love by Scott Spencer

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick

My Opinion:

I love how Chalet Girl is linked to my two other movies today. A girl in a small role in Chalet Girl was also in Austenland. And… Brooke Shields was in Chalet Girl as well as the superior 1981 adaptation of the Endless Love novel. Oh dear – I just said “superior adaptation” and everyone knows that the 1981 Endless Love is complete & utter shit! Well, so is the 2014 version. But I liked it! Just not an ALL CAPS “I LIKED IT” as with the other two movies I reviewed. Just a lowercase “i liked it” with no formatting.

The two lovers in this 2014 version are so very pretty. So pretty and BORING AS FUCK. Now, I’m of the age where I should love the original Endless Love. However, I was too young for it at first & then didn’t see it until I was well into my twenties so I don’t have the nostalgia thing going on for it. Goddamn it’s bad. It’s seriously shit. But I kind of liked it. I think it’s the law for a girl my age to like the 1981 film. What that film has, at the very least, is passion. The story is a bit pathetic and Shields & whoever the hell the guy was couldn’t act for shit plus the mother of Shields lovingly watches her daughter having sex with the guy (which was beyond weird & creepy) but at least the guy in 1981 had a believable, obsessive passion. The 2014 film has none of that. What’s the point? I don’t know the book so can only compare this to the 1981 film but that film was about an obsession. Alex Pettyfer’s poor boy loving rich girl Gabriella Wilde in 2014 is all well & good but we’ve seen that story a million times. Take out the dangerous obsession & you just end up with two really pretty people who probably have really pretty but really boring sex.

Alex Pettyfer’s poor “bad boy” isn’t a “bad boy” at all. In fact, he’s a sweetheart. He’s in love but not obsessed – he’s not going to go set things on fire or some crazy shit like that. And I praised Gabriella Wilde in that pointless remake of Carrie but, man oh man, her character in this is so DULL. Talk about zero personality! It’s not necessarily her fault – it’s more likely the script. They’re both so sweet & so cute together, though, which makes for a good enough love story. You can’t exactly hate them as they’re SO FUCKING NICE. Too nice. Just…. Ugh! I don’t know. It’s just pointless to call it Endless Love when it’s a completely different film from the other one (other than a tiny bit of tension from “girl’s dad not approving of boy who isn’t good enough for his daughter”). Give me the crazy 1981 obsession, please! Their acting was worse but at least you know they probably had much better sex!

But I still liked this 2014 film in its own right for some reason I seriously can’t explain. Maybe I just like watching really pretty but really dull people making out.

My Rating: 6/10

Would A Manly Man Like This?: Unlikely. But they may find Gabriella Wilde very pretty in a safe & boring kind of way.

Now here’s that sappy piece of shit Lionel Richie & Diana Ross song from the original movie. Complete with clips full of shitty acting from the original movie! God, I really do like that shitty movie…

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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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