Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2018

Happy October! Holy shit – I truly don’t know where this year has gone. I’m obviously way behind on this monthly roundup. I figured I better post this one quick before I post my September roundup. So here’s the crap I reviewed & watched in August! Well, it wasn’t all crap. Actually, most of it was good for a change.

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Incredibles 2 – 7.5/10
Hotel Artemis – 7.5/10
Ant-Man And The Wasp – 7/10
The Secret Of Marrowbone – 7/10
Tag – 7/10
The Meg – 7/10
Christopher Robin – 7/10
Skyscraper – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Splendor In The Grass – I’m cheating a little and doing this as a 2018 Blind Spot choice, although it’s not on the list as I was planning on adding it to my 2019 choices. But it happened to be on TV so I watched it and kind of loved it. I’ll do a full Blind Spot review of it sometime soon. – 8/10

Ant-Man And The Wasp – 7/10

The Meg – 7/10

Christopher Robin – 7/10

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – I’m not a huge fan of the Mission: Impossible films although I do think they’re pretty great for this genre. Spy thrillers just aren’t really my thing. I’ve not seen them all (think I missed Ghost Protocol and maybe the second movie). I watched this in preparation for Fallout (oops – I missed it!) and I feel sort of the same about this one as I do the others even though I thought it was a strong film and probably the best I’ve seen so far. I just think I won’t remember much of it a year from now. Sorry! For me, the best thing about it by far was Rebecca Ferguson. She was great. Sexy & kick-ass but also feminine. Girl crush! I love characters like that. Preferred her to Cruise… – 7/10

The Ritual – 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. – 6/10

We Bought A Zoo – This was a bit disappointing coming from Cameron Crowe. He’s never going to live up to the brilliant Say Anything! I actually don’t know what to say about this movie. It was “nice”. It was inoffensive. Unfortunately, it was completely forgettable. The acting was perfectly fine, I guess. Meh. I need Crowe to give me another Lloyd Dobler… – 6/10

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – This was disappointing as well. I quite liked the first film (despite the anal sex joke – whaaaat?!). The sequel went too overboard for me – it was far too silly in a way that didn’t work like it did in the first film. Plus the lack of Samuel L. Jackson definitely hurts this film. Who doesn’t love Jackson?! Julianne Moore was clearly having fun with her outrageous character but that didn’t really work either. However, I loved Elton John. I’ve never loved Elton John. He was hilarious. No one in this movie was having as much fun as he was. – 6/10

Zathura: A Space Adventure – Wow. I’d never seen this but it’s kind of bad. The first Jumanji film, though flawed and very dated now, is fun. I can see why it has its fans amongst people who were kids when it came out (I don’t love it – I was way too old). But I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Zathura looks pretty terrible and feels very low budget, the older brother is fucking hateful, and what was the point of Kristen Stewart’s character? Talk about not letting the female character get any screen time. I was bored and didn’t care what would happen to these annoying characters. Oh, and my kid was bored too. But she loves Jumanji… – 5/10

Re-Watch: Big Fish – Been watching all the age-appropriate Tim Burton movies with the kid & enjoyed seeing this again as I’d not watched it since going to it in 2003. The kid really liked it and I still feel the same: it’s sweet and lovely but definitely not my favorite Burton. I’ll always prefer his style in films such as Edward Scissorhands and A Nightmare Before Christmas. – 7.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

Strange Weather by Joe Hill (Aloft & Rain) – I reviewed the first two stories in this four story collection last month. Here’s the final two:

Story 3: Aloft – Definitely the most original story in this book! Probably one of the more original stories I’ve read in quite a while, actually. I really enjoyed this one. It’s the least “Stephen King-like” and I loved its non-horror weirdness. I don’t know how to talk about it without spoilers, though. It’s about… a cloud. Yeah. I think you’re best knowing no more than that beforehand if you read this book. It’s a fun story and I think I’ve preferred Hill’s short story collections to his full-length novels so far (I highly recommend his 20th Century Ghosts collection if you’re a fan of his or of his father Stephen King). – 4/5

Story 4: Rain – Definitely my least favorite story in this book, which was disappointing as it was a great (fucked-up) concept. In this story, thunderstorms in various parts of America suddenly start “raining” down sharp needles which rip those unfortunate enough to be caught outside in it to shreds. It started out promising but got too silly with the addition of a cult and then gave us an even more ridiculous ending. Damn. But I still liked it okay since, as I said, it was a good concept. I just wish the story had ended differently or maybe had more believable characters. – 2.5/5

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – I keep saying I need to stop reading these YA books. I can’t help it. I need light, easy reads in between my horror, supernatural, sci-fi, apocalyptic & dystopian stuff! I have to pretend to be girly sometimes. I read this as I really liked Nicola Yoon’s book Everything, Everything. It’s not as strong as that one and the girl definitely isn’t as likeable but it’s a good romance if you like that mushy YA sort of stuff. The story itself is okay (but, again, far less interesting than that in Everything, Everything). It follows a girl & a boy who meet on the day the girl is due to be deported from America as she’s an illegal immigrant. As I said, the girl is borderline unlikeable. She’s not totally hateful – she’s just a bit cold & standoffish. Come to think of it, she reminds me of me… Ha! Shit. Maybe that’s why I could somewhat relate to her. The boy is loveable as shit, though. I was like “just fall in love with him already, bitch!”. His character made the novel much more enjoyable and they had great chemistry. I’m sure they’ll definitely make this into a movie. Oh, yep! Just looked it up. It’s listed on IMDb with a 2019 release. Hollywood is so fucking predictable. – 3/5

Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King & Nightflyers And Other Stories by George R.R. Martin

TV SHOWS WATCHED

I’m still not really watching any TV other than Game Of Thrones & Stranger Things when they’re on so I don’t know why I have a TV section. I’m definitely giving up on The Walking Dead when that starts up again – it’s way too shit now! People think I watch a lot of movies but they’re each one & a half to two hours long. I look at people who binge watch entire seasons of TV in a weekend and think “how the fuck do you have the time?!”. But I did finish watching Sharp Objects since I really liked the book and love Amy Adams. She was fantastic in it and perfect for the role. The show was quite faithful to the book and I thought it was a far better adaptation than Big Little Lies.

I do need to get back to watching Black Mirror – That’s more my type of thing. I’ve watched all but the last series. I’m also a little curious about Maniac on Netflix. Anyone seen that?? It looks like I could either love it or hate it since Emma Stone has the potential to get on my nerves at times. But it’s from the guy who co-wrote the screenplay for It last year, which I freaking loved…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

This update is so late that the coming month is now October. Unfortunately, I can’t do my usual Halloween Horror Month this year where I post nothing but horror movie reviews & top tens. I don’t have the time (or energy!). It’s a shame as I’ve always enjoyed doing that. I did watch a lot of horror films in the past year, however, so at the very least I may do one or two posts with super brief reviews of those.

As for September cinema releases, here are the ones I managed to see and some I missed. I’ll try to do full reviews of these.

Ones I Saw:

A Simple Favor – Needed to waste a couple of hours & went in with zero expectations. Enjoyed the shit out of this one. – 7.5/10

The House With A Clock In Its Walls – Fun. Love having “scary” family films to watch with the kid but thought Goosebumps was better. – 7/10

American Animals – Decent film but I was a little underwhelmed considering the true story is quite interesting yet the film managed to make it somewhat boring. – 6.5/10

The Nun – Meh. Better than those stupid Annabelle movies, at least. – 5.5/10

Some I Missed:

The Predator – I’m glad. The hubby saw it expecting it to be bad but was shocked at just HOW bad it was.

Crazy Rich Asians – Romantic comedy isn’t my thing but the reviews are good so I’ll watch it on Netflix.

King Of Thieves – Am disappointed by the bad reviews as I’ve wanted them to make a movie of this starring Michael Caine ever since the real heist happened. It’s obvious but perfect casting.

Here’s Elton John fucking people up in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Spoilers, obviously. But the movie is a bit shit anyway.

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My Top Ten Kirsten Dunst Movies

Happy 36th Birthday (soon) to Kirsten Dunst.

Her birthday is next Monday but, since I’m watching that Avengers: Infinity War thingy tonight, I figured I better leave Monday free to review that instead. Sorry, Kirsten! You’ve been bumped by the Avengers! Hmm. I’d like to be bumped by Thor.

I like Dunst okay. I wouldn’t say she’s ever been a favorite of mine but she’s a decent actor and I wouldn’t avoid a film if she’s in it. But not that many actors make me avoid films (other than Gwyneth Paltrow, of course).

So here are My Top Ten Kirsten Dunst Movies, counting down to my favorite and ranked by film instead of performance. And including everything I’ve seen. Oh! And I’m kind of cheating again by including animated movies she has provided her voice for so, like with Saoirse Ronan, I can include my beloved Studio Ghibli. 😉

The Rest:

18. Small Soldiers
17. Elizabethtown
16. The Beguiled
15. Mona Lisa Smile
14. Crazy/Beautiful
13. Wimbledon
12. Bring It On
11. All Good Things

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Interview With The Vampire & Hidden Figures

9. Marie Antoinette

8. Midnight Special

7. The Spider-Man Movies

6. Jumanji

5. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

4. Melancholia

3. Anastasia

2. The Virgin Suicides

1. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Some I’ve Not Seen:

The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Greedy, Little Women, Wag The Dog, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dick, The Crow: Salvation, On The Road, Upside Down, Anchorman 2, The Two Faces Of January

Also:

The Bling Ring (she was uncredited so I didn’t include it in the list)

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) Review

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017)

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Based on Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks, Missi Pyle

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set twenty-one years after the first film, the film follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, and playing as the characters they chose, must beat the game in order to return home. The film is also a tribute to Robin Williams, star of the original.

My Opinion:

I’ll be honest – I really liked this movie. It was exactly what I was in the mood for the other day. I needed a fun, chill-out, popcorn movie.

The first Jumanji isn’t exactly near & dear to my heart as I wasn’t the right age for it when it came out (I was in my damn 20s already. Shit I’m old). It’s a good family classic, though. I watched it again a couple of weeks ago with my daughter to refresh my memory. Sheesh – I can’t say it has aged all that well. How terrible did those monkeys look?! Even the kid commented on that. However, she absolutely loved the film. I was surprised. So the story and the characters stand the test of time even if other things about the movie aren’t doing so well now.

As I like but don’t have some kind of huge childhood affection for the first film, I had zero issues with them updating the story for current times. I thought they did a really good job adapting it to a video game this time around and I actually prefer this film to the first one. But don’t tell my kid that – she still loves the first one much more. The story just feels far less messy in this one plus I enjoyed there being a lot more humor. And penis jokes. Lots of penis jokes! But as I’m an old woman with a Beavis & Butthead sense of humor, I appreciate a good penis joke.

The teenagers were all fine in this but we don’t spend loads of time with them as they become their avatars in the game. The avatars (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart & Karen Gillan) were great. I’ve not seen that many Dwayne Johnson films but I can say that this is the most I’ve ever liked him in a movie. He was very funny, as was Karen Gillan. There’s this whole flirting scene involving Gillan & Jack Black that’s pretty damn hilarious. Love him or hate him (I love him), Black seems to be having a lot of fun in this film and Kevin Hart also does well as his usual Kevin Hart self. You know what you’re gonna get with Black & Hart, though, so the bigger surprise was how funny Johnson & Gillan were.

Yeah, I really liked Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. As the kid gets older, I’m enjoying seeing more of these family films that are actually entertaining for the whole family instead of just the kids. But with penis jokes. Beware the penis jokes! I think this movie is aimed a bit older than the first Jumanji.

My Rating: 7.5/10

It looks like this is my last review of 2017. Hope you all have a fun New Year’s Eve! See you in 2018 with my end-of-year Best Of 2017 lists, starting tomorrow.