Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Rachel Matthews, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin, Ruby Modine
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.
Here’s a quickie review for yet another “meh” modern horror film. I don’t know why I keep watching modern horrors. I guess I’m a bigger horror fan than I like to admit. If scrolling through Netflix, I’ll always choose a horror over a comedy or a girly romance. However, as much as modern horror sucks, I didn’t hate these Happy Death Day films (my “meh” review of the first film is HERE). They’re fine for a bit of fluffy, PG-13-level-horrorfun. In fact, I preferred this sequel to the first one, although I can definitely see some absolutely hating this one as it takes a weird sci-fi direction and really ups the comedy to make this a horror comedy (even though it’s not labelled as that, which will be misleading to straightforward horror fans).
I suppose the main reason I enjoyed this one more was because the main character is no longer a bitch. I know the whole point of the first film was that her experience made her a better person but I never enjoy watching a hateful protagonist. Why should I care about the fate of someone who’s an absolute twat? This role is played by Jessica Rothe and the only praise I’ve really seen for this film is for her performance. She does carry both of these movies and does do a good job. The rest of the actors are very weak in comparison and I can’t decide if the comic relief of a rival girl in this one was annoying as hell or kind of funny. Her character is certainly cheesy but really gave the movie a 1980’s slasher comedy vibe and I’m a sucker for that decade.
That’s probably another reason why I don’t hate these movies: they’re clearly trying for a fun 80’s slasher comedy thing. I’m thinking of things like April Fool’s Day (which, by the way, is awesome and a million times better than Happy Death Day so I’d recommend that over these films). I’m happy that there’s some love for the silly 80’s horror that I grew up on so I appreciate that films such as these two and The Final Girls are being made as an homage to that era. The Final Girls is superior to the Death Day films but none of them manage to fully capture the spirit of the slasher classics and I can’t say that the Death Day films aren’t quite flawed overall. The story gets far too messy in this sequel and is really just a copy of the first film but with added (fun but unnecessary) sci-fi and way more silliness. It’ll definitely be hated by some people. My hubby thought it was abysmal while I thought it was cheesy but had some fun moments and, thankfully, a main character that I didn’t hate this time. It wasn’t worth the cost of going to see it in the cinema, though. We had some time to kill and it’s the only option we had. Wait for Netflix on this one.
Finally – here are two review re-posts of two horror movies I watched this year that weren’t truly dreadful. I didn’t love them but they were watchable, unlike most the horror films I saw at home this year…
Happy Death Day (2017)
Directed by Christopher B. Landon
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Happy Death Day follows a college student who is murdered on her birthday and begins reliving the day over and over again; at that point, she sets out to find the killer and stop her death.
My Brief Opinion:
I was really annoyed that I missed this in the cinema last year as it sounded like a fun horror in the slightly-cheesy 80’s slasher style I’ll always have affection for (since I’m old). But the movie was a disappointment, although it’s enjoyable enough for an hour and a half of your time. I just think I won’t remember a thing about it in a few years. The biggest problem was probably that the main character was a hateful bitch, so it was hard to care if she’d ever be able to stop her murder from happening. Yeah, she changes at the end (as to be expected – the whole point is that she needs to be a better person), but… Meh. I think my expectations were just too high. This concept was obviously done so well in Groundhog Day that nothing that’s tried to use that same idea has worked as well. If you want a non-horror teen movie with the same idea, I enjoyed Before I Fall slightly more than this one. And if you want a modern horror comedy with a cheesy 80’s thing going on, The Final Girls was better than this one as well.
My Rating: 6.5/10
The Ritual (2017)
Directed by David Bruckner
Based on The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.
My Brief Opinion:
Still not sure about this horror film. For the most part, I think I liked it. It was atmospheric and genuinely creepy at times (I rarely find horror movies scary in any way). The conflict between this group of friends due to something that happens at the beginning worked quite well with the story later on of the presence in the forest and the way it brings out hidden resentment. The thing that will make people love this or hate this is the ending. The movie changes and becomes a much different film from the Blair Witch type of beginning and this won’t work for everyone. I didn’t mind the ending but preferred the more mysterious, less in-your-face start to the film.
I’m not finding much time for blogging at the moment but I’ll still try to do these monthly updates (over halfway through the next month!). I only managed to review one movie in July, although I did see quite a few in the cinema. I’ll try to review those over the next few weeks. And at some point I’ll manage to reply to comments too! Sorry I’ve not been around for those…
• The Light Between Oceans – I’m not sure why I stuck this on as it didn’t look like my type of thing (Oh yeah… because Michael Fassbender is hot). I thought it was very good and Alicia Vikander & Rachel Weisz were especially great at conveying the emotions involved in motherhood. It was easy to feel bad for both sides, even knowing that one was very much in the wrong. Good movie but probably more for women/mothers/grown-ups. – 7.5/10
• Hotel Artemis – I’ll review this in full as well. Liked it much more than I expected to. – 7.5/10
• The Secret Of Marrowbone – Will review this too. I thought it was a solid psychological horror compared to most the horror crap out there these days. – 7/10
• Charade – I figured it was time to check out another Audrey Hepburn film after watching Roman Holiday a while back. I preferred this one, which I didn’t realize was going to be a bit of a comedic spoof of Alfred Hitchcock-type films. Hepburn & Cary Grant were adorable together, it had a great Henry Mancini score, and the opening titles were fantastic (I thought they were done by Saul Bass as they looked like Hitchcock titles but looked it up & they were done by Maurice Binder, who did titles for James Bond films). I wanted to like this movie more than I did, though. It does deserve a higher rating than I’m giving it. I think I’m just not normally a fan of the 60’s “screwball” comedies and prefer a full-on Hitchcock suspense film to the mix of genres in Charade. I can see why this would have its fans, though – it’s a fun movie with that great 60’s look and very iconic stars. – 7/10
• Tag – I’ll review this as well. Love that this is based on a real group of guys. – 7/10
• Say When (aka Laggies) – I’ve said on here before that Keira Knightley annoys the hell out of me, so I’m not entirely sure why I keep watching her movies. I suppose it’s because she does “chick flicks” that suck less than most of them do plus the hubby will let me watch them alone. I enjoyed this one (despite it being Knightley!). It’s about a twentysomething who needs to grow up & do something with her life and, hell, I think most of us can relate to that (even if, like me, you’re almost double her age). It’s not the greatest film ever but I liked it as I could somewhat relate to it plus Sam Rockwell was great as the quirky dad of Knightley’s new teenage friend (Chloe Moretz). Actually, Rockwell was the best thing about this… he made up for Knightley. – 6.5/10
• Happy Death Day – I was really annoyed that I missed this in the cinema last year as it sounded like a fun horror in the slightly-cheesy 80’s slasher style I’ll always have affection for (since I’m old). But the movie was a disappointment, although it’s enjoyable enough for an hour and a half of your time. I just think I won’t remember a thing about it in a few years. The biggest problem was probably that the main character was a hateful bitch, so it was hard to care if she’d ever be able to stop her murder from happening. Yeah, she changes at the end (as to be expected – the whole point is that she needs to be a better person), but… Meh. I think my expectations were just too high. This concept was obviously done so well in Groundhog Day that nothing that’s tried to use that same idea has worked as well. If you want a non-horror teen movie with the same idea, I enjoyed Before I Fall slightly more than this one. And if you want a modern horror comedy with a cheesy 80’s thing going on, The Final Girls was better than this one as well. – 6.5/10
• Skyscraper – I’ll review this. So cheesy! – 6.5/10
• Call Me By Your Name – I was sooooo looking forward to this one and really annoyed that I didn’t have the opportunity to see it before the Oscars. But I found it a bit boring? And I didn’t care about or like the characters in the slightest. Not sure why? The acting was fine. But the only real enjoyment I got out of this was loving the Psychedelic Furs song in it and thinking that Italy looks fucking gorgeous and how much I’d love to be living the life of these rich fuckers in 1980’s Italy. Actually, I think that’s the reason I couldn’t relate to this – not the fact that it’s a male romance but that I really can’t relate to their extravagant lifestyle. Did they do any work?! I want that life. I couldn’t truly feel sorry for Chalamet when he got to live such a privileged life. Plus, the romance was more lust than love. I didn’t feel a true connection between them despite Chalamet & Hammer both giving good performances. I just didn’t feel their heartbreak. Sorry! And that peach bit was gross. – 6.5/10
• Elle – Umm. Not sure how I felt about this. I thought it was gonna be a good “revenge” drama but it’s not as straightforward as that. Stupid me should’ve looked at the director first – I’d have known what I was getting into with a Paul Verhoeven film! Well, Isabelle Huppert was fantastic so I can see why she was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. She’s 65 now?! She’s sexy as hell (I can say that without being creepy since I’m female). The subject matter (rape) is certainly uncomfortable, though. Don’t watch if you’re overly sensitive. – 6.5/10
• Force Majeure – This was disappointing, especially as it had good reviews. The story revolves around an avalanche (that doesn’t end up hurting anyone) and the way the husband/father of a family of four has the instinct to run away from the danger instead of trying to protect his wife & kids. It’s listed as a comedy drama for some reason so I was expecting some good dark humour but it’s really just a straightforward drama. The acting is fine but it’s hard to really like anyone involved despite family problems being relatable to everyone. The movie is overlong and slightly boring as very little happens. – 6.5/10
• The Incredible Hulk – I’ve now finally seen the only current MCU film I’d not yet seen! Damn – I guess I better update My Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranking. Well, I’m in no hurry since this one certainly isn’t my favorite. It’s possibly in last place, although it’s not as bad as I was expecting. It’s just a little boring and felt somewhat pointless? Meh. Norton and Tyler were fine but we all see Ruffalo as the Hulk now anyway. I did like a couple of nods to the TV series, though, since I’m old & watched that show… – 6/10
• A Ghost Story – What a load of pretentious twaddle. I was all prepared to like this, too, since I like Rooney Mara for some reason (even though she displays zero emotion in everything I’ve ever seen her in). To be fair, I can appreciate what this story was trying to achieve (does life have meaning or will we all just die and fade away and be forgotten blah blah blah). It’s actually quite a depressing film but do we really need to be reminded that life sucks, especially with the current state of the world?? Here’s my Twitter “tweet review” of this movie: Well. That was tedious. #AGhostStory ✨🏠👫🎹🎧🚗 💢 💀👻🙍🏻♀️🥧👩👧👦👻🍽💢😱🏚🏗🏙👩🏼🌾👻💀💀💀🏠👫👻👻📜🕳✨ – 6/10
• Tromeo & Juliet – I’d seen most of Tromeo & Juliet in the past but decided to finally watch it all in, like, solidarity with James Gunn. Or something like that. He wrote this. It’s a fucking Troma film. Anyone who has seen a Troma film knows that the whole damn point is that they’re in extremely poor taste. They’re bad movies that are meant to be bad movies. And this one is as dreadful as the rest. No… Wait. To be fair, it’s quite well written for a Troma film. I still “like” The Toxic Avenger the most but Tromeo & Juliet has more memorable moments than most Troma films. I suppose it’s a masterpiece when compared to other movies from this studio. Here’s an image of the infamous penis monster in the film. You’re welcome. (And the next Guardians Of The Galaxy movie better not suck now. I love those films!) – 5/10
• Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me – A couple of years ago, I spent a week reviewing Adrienne Shelly films after loving her own film Waitress and wanting to explore her older (and very indie) work as an actress. As I say, her old films are the very definition of indie and not easy to get a hold of so, when this one popped up on Amazon Prime in the UK, I watched it immediately. It’s… not good. But Shelly is as adorable and charming as always. I really wish she’d made it bigger in films much better than this one. But, in a way, I suppose that would have ruined some of that mysterious indie charm that she had? Anyway, I suppose this isn’t the worst low budget film I’ve ever seen but it tries too hard to be quirky. Sean Young plays batshit crazy the same way she always does and the Adult film star playing Shelly’s sister is truly hateful (but she’s meant to be so she plays the role well, I guess). I’d have hated the movie if it hadn’t been for Shelly and her love interest (played by Max Parrish) having good chemistry and being pretty likable. – 5/10
• Tooth Fairy – Okay, my kid seems to have a thing for The Rock so we’re encouraging that and letting her watch the more family-friendly films of his. Yeah. Um. This one is pretty bad. I know it’s aimed at kids, but… Yikes. This is why I’m such a big fan of family films that are actually decent and manage to entertain people of all ages. Kids aren’t stupid – they know when a movie, like this one, is just a little too dumb. I’m glad Dwayne Johnson is doing better stuff now! By the way – the brilliant Julie Andrews is in this. Why, Julie? Why?!?!? – 4/10
• The Snowman – What the FUCK was this?! How was this so bad?? Okay, I read and kind of enjoyed the book (review HERE) although it’s not the greatest and maybe a little cheesy. But they seriously could have made a decent film from the material. This movie was just… embarrassing. I’m sort of embarrassed that I still watched it despite the bad reviews. Trust the reviews. Maybe read the book if you think it sounds like a decent story. They changed quite a few things anyway (not for the better). Why did they start with this story anyway since it’s not the first book in a series involving this detective (played by Fassbender). I’m still annoyed I read the book assuming it was a one-off or at least the first book since a movie was being made of it. I’m not even going to start on Val Kilmer’s performance in this film. I don’t have the energy… – 4/10
• The Emoji Movie – It’s as bad as you’ve heard. Okay – I can’t “review” this as I got too annoyed and ended up playing around on my phone the whole time. At home, by the way – people who play around on their phones in the cinema deserve severe punishment. Such as being forced to watch The Emoji Movie... – 3.5/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)
• Strange Weather by Joe Hill (Snapshot & Loaded) – Oh I love Joe Hill. I’m starting to almost love his work as much as his dad’s (Stephen King). But maybe that’s because it’s becoming more & more like reading a King story… Hell, I won’t complain at that. I want another Stephen King! To be fair, Hill’s stories feel more “fresh” in some ways as they’re more modern. I’m also a sucker for the stuff he references as we’re clearly a similar age with similar pop culture tastes. This is a book of four novellas and I read these first two stories in July (I’ve finished the rest now – will talk about them in my August Roundup).
Story One: Snapshot – I really liked this story – it’s maybe my favorite of the four (and, admittedly, the most King-like). I think it’s possibly also the shortest but I love a short story when it’s a good one. As always, I love a great concept and this (as well as Aloft) has a great one. Basically, a mysterious camera seems to “steal” the memories of those whose photos are taken with it. And I’ll leave it at that – I’ve already given away too much. I love supernatural weirdness. – 4/5
Story Two: Loaded– This was a really good story about various people and how guns have been a part of their lives (and how they bring them all together at the end). Knowing how vocal King & Hill are on Twitter, I think I know how they feel about America’s ridiculous gun obsession. I didn’t find this story preachy, though – it’s told in a straightforward way and it’s scary how believable it is. Because it’s the same damn story we hear coming from America every day and what those outside of the U.S. can’t understand. WELL! Fuck all that. It pisses me off. This is why I prefer supernatural stories about memory-stealing cameras! Good job, though, Hill – this was very well-written and your scariest story yet. Please go back to writing about weird things that I know probably won’t actually kill me or anyone I know… – 4/5
• They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – I have to stop reading YA books. I can’t help it… they’re easy reads! And usually enjoyable. This one is pretty good. As usual, I read it because I liked the concept (it’s set in a world where everyone receives a call on the last day of their lives to tell them that they’ll die within the next 24 hours). Obviously, the book is about living our lives to their fullest as we never know if each day may be our last. The story follows two strangers: teenage boys who receive the call & meet each other (through the “Last Friend” app) and decide to spend their last day on earth together. It’s pretty heartbreaking but I can’t say I really connected with the characters. I liked how their personalities were so different, though, as the more outgoing boy tries to bring the other boy, who has always been afraid of living, out of his shell for just one day. – 3/5
Currently Reading: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (oops. YA again)
TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)
• Sharp Objects – I really liked this book by Gillian Flynn and its throughly fucked-up characters. When I found out that Amy Adams would star in the TV adaptation, I was thrilled (love her!!). And then I was thrilled when they cast It’s Sophia Lillis to play the young version of the character. Perfection! They look so damn alike. It’s ridiculous that Chastain is playing her in the next It film. PAH! They look nothing alike. It should be Adams! Anyway – Adams is brilliant in this. As is Lillis, but that’s a much smaller part. As is Patricia Clarkson. As is everyone. So far, the show has been quite faithful to the book. I’m liking this adaptation far more than Big Little Lies, which made changes from the book which I really didn’t like (like making Witherspoon unfaithful!). Looking forward to seeing the rest of this & seeing everyone’s reaction to the ending…
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
No plans – I probably won’t post much. Well, I already haven’t… the month is almost over! I’ll try to catch up on reviewing cinema releases I’ve seen.
Upcoming Movies I Want To See:
As I said, the month is almost over but these are the August releases I want/wanted to see…
• Ant-Man And The Wasp – Saw it. Really enjoyed it. Will try to review it.
• Mission: Impossible – Fallout – I actually just watched Rogue Nation in preparation but have decided I now don’t have the energy for this film as it’s so long… Netflix!
• The Meg – But only at a “cheap” cinema. Not a film I wanna see at full price!
• Christopher Robin – Looks cute. Will probably go to this.
• The Darkest Minds – More fucking Dystopian YA?! I love Dystopian YA. Anyone know if this is okay for a mature 9-year-old who knows Tooth Fairy is shit?
• BlacKkKlansman – Anyone know if this is okay for a 9-year-old? HA! Just kidding!!!! Oh shit. I forgot you can’t joke online! People will realize that was a joke, right????? Anyway – I want to see this.
• The Happytime Murders – Hmm. I don’t know. I’m not sure about this one. But I did love Avenue Q…
• Upgrade – Like the sound of this one but it may be a “wait for Netflix” type of thing.
• Searching – See same comment as for Upgrade…
Now check out these awesome Charade titles and the fantastic Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs from back in the old days when music didn’t suck ass like it all does now…