Unicorn Store (2017) Review

Unicorn Store (2017)

Directed by Brie Larson

Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford, Karan Soni, Mamoudou Athie, Mary Holland, Hamish Linklater

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

My Opinion:

Figured I’d give this a watch because 1) There’s a bunch of weird hate aimed at Brie Larson & I wanted to give her film a chance because I like her as an actress and 2) Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson. I love Jackson. Plus it’s cute that these two seem to be real-life friends. Oh, I suppose there’s also a little bit of 3) I’m a girl so I liked unicorns as a child too, of course.

This movie is perfectly fine. I realize that doesn’t sound like much of a compliment. What I mean is that it’s what I expected: It’s a bit quirky with an indie feel and certainly won’t be liked by everyone. Is it aimed more at females? Yes, but I think all of Larson’s hardcore fans will like it since they like her. It’s very much aimed at her sort of fanbase. “Millennial dreamers” is probably the best way to describe who this movie was made for. If you liked La La Land, I’d be very surprised if you didn’t like this. I probably feel like same way about both films but know that they’re not of my generation so I can’t fully relate to either. They’re enjoyable enough films for a one-time watch, though.

I’ll start with the positives: It may sound stupid but I liked Brie’s cute outfits. I mean, they were like what an 8-year-old stuck in a 30-year-old’s body would wear but it reminded me of the crap I wore in the Eighties and I’m a sucker for nostalgia. It was a little weird but fun to see. I actually watched this with my kid and she was loving the outfits. In fact, she seemed to like this movie quite a bit more than I did so I probably got slightly more enjoyment out of this film thanks to seeing her reaction. And the film’s use of color overall was pleasant to the eye – I’m always a fan of that (although it’s no Mandy! that’s a film that did the color thing right). One more positive? There were Care Bears. As a child of the Eighties, I’ll give this film an extra half a point for the Care Bears. Another positive? Oh Shit. I can’t think of anything. I really thought there’d be more. I’m trying to be positive since I think too many people shit on Brie!


Here’s a positive: I can fully understand why some people actually seem to love this movie and are able to relate to it. If I were ten or even twenty years younger, I think I’d be one of those people. When I was younger, this type of film is very much the sort of thing that I loved. I have some very quirky, “indie” favorites from the Eighties and Unicorn Store has a similar feel to those films despite having slightly different values. So I absolutely wouldn’t tell anyone who loves this that they’re “wrong” (who does that anyway?!) as I can relate to loving non-mainstream movies aimed at my generation. Hopefully that respect can go both ways eventually. What I’m saying is this: Can we ALL stop shitting on movies not aimed at our generation?! My generation loved Eighties films and we still do. Respect our opinions on things like The Breakfast Club and Heathers and we’ll respect yours on things like Unicorn Store. I do at least try to give all films a chance, no matter what year they were made.

Unicorn Store is fine but go into it knowing that it’s right at home on something like Netflix. It has a TV movie feel more than a mainstream cinema release. Some very good actors feel very wasted in this (the always delightful Joan Cusack & especially Jackson, whose role is silly but not silly enough to let his crazy self shine). The movie tries to be quirky yet still plays it far too safe – I was hoping for a lot more weird! But having mentioned Mandy, I’m clearly just a fan of weird. The characters are weak and underdeveloped, including Brie’s. I didn’t relate to her character or really care all that much if she’d actually get that unicorn. It’s a shame as I really wanted to like her. There’s also a weird subplot with a creepy boss that feels out of place and the pacing is very slow but, hell, my kid seemed to be enjoying it so I guess it held her attention well enough. The story itself is fun and unique, however, so I appreciate seeing something that I haven’t seen in a million other movies. Man, I struggle with these reviews for movies that are “just okay”. Yeah. Unicorn Store is just okay. Sorry! I wanted to like it a lot more. To be fair, I think it’s one I’d like more on a re-watch. It’s probably a grower. Here’s that extra half a point for the Care Bears…

My Rating: 6.5/10

If you want a really good unicorn movie, I recommend The Last Unicorn. From 1982. Yay Eighties!!!

Oh, and as for Brie Larson & Samuel L. Jackson movies, I did really enjoy Captain Marvel. The hate for that is absolute bullshit. It’s a fun film. Unicorn Store is, however, a better film than Kong: Skull Island (although that was also fun in an almost “so bad it’s good” way). I think Larson & Jackson work well together.

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Dumbo (2019) Review

Dumbo (2019)

Directed by Tim Burton

Based on Disney’s Dumbo by Otto Englander, Joe Grant & Dick Huemer and on Dumbo by Helen Aberson & Harold Pearl

Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’m really sick of these Disney live-action remakes of animated classics. I don’t see the point. From recent trailers, The Lion King looks like a soulless copy and Aladdin looks absolutely dreadful. Beauty And The Beast pretty much sucked (but I can’t stand Emma Watson so that didn’t help). I didn’t mind Cinderella but I wonder if it would just annoy me if I watched it again now that I’m sick of all these live-action remakes. I’ve kind of vowed to no longer waste my money going to see this shit.

But I knew I’d go to Dumbo because it’s Tim Burton. I’m a hypocrite. I know his best films are far in the past but I still haven’t given up on him and I wanted to see what he’d do with this film. Plus Dumbo himself was so adorable in the trailers. I’ve always loved that baby elephant! Well, I enjoyed this film. It’s a good one to end on. I’ll happily watch no more live-action remakes after this one.

I feel like I have to justify liking a live-action remake. What can I say? I still love that baby elephant. Of course this comes nowhere near the original film and it breaks my heart that some kids may be watching these remakes before the animated films. Or not watching the animated films at all. For some reason, I prefer when these remakes aren’t an exact copy (which The Lion King looks like). I don’t mind having extra bits of story added on, making it feel like an entirely separate film and therefore not messing with the original film’s legacy in my mind. This movie isn’t Dumbo to me. It never will be. But I think they did well with the character of Dumbo himself and he was by far the best thing about this film (as he should be). Dumbo is the true star of this movie.


The reviews I’ve read have all said that it’s the human characters that let this film down. This is true, although they aren’t terrible. They’re bland but not hateful. The only truly weak one is Michael Keaton’s completely generic baddie but the rest are good enough to support the overall story about a flying elephant. Colin Farrell and his two children (Nico Parker & Finley Hobbins), who are the main human characters, are fine but these roles could’ve been played by anyone. However, Danny DeVito & Eva Green are fun to watch and perfect for Tim Burton’s films – you can understand why he sticks with his favorite actors in so many of his films. The human stories were good enough to keep the film interesting while not overlooking the fact that the one story that really matters is Dumbo’s. And I liked the ending. I’m fine with all the changes in the second half as it’s so different from the original that it hasn’t destroyed my love for the animated film. I also liked how they incorporated the Pink Elephants On Parade bit into this film.

Is it weird that I feel bad for liking the new Dumbo?? I do seriously wish they’d stop with these live-action remakes but, in this case, I was happy seeing this character in a new way. He’s always been a favorite Disney character of mine and I think they did a good job with the look him. They got a good balance between making him look like a real elephant but also sort of “cartoony”, and his adorable blue eyes are very expressive. They did a better job with him than with the other CGI animals in these Disney remakes. I also enjoyed the overall production design of this film, but that’s usually the case with Burton’s movies. None of these Disney remakes will ever top the animated classics but at least the 2019 Dumbo hasn’t destroyed the original film’s legacy for me.

My Rating: 7/10

I’ve added Dumbo to my full ranked list of all the Tim Burton movies I’ve seen HERE. I guess I better finally watch Dark Shadows as it’s the only full-length film he’s directed that I’ve not seen.

Pet Sematary (2019) Review

Pet Sematary (2019)

Directed by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer

Based on Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Sonia Maria Chirila, Suzy Stingl, Maria Herrera, AND Leo, Tonic, Jager and JD as Church the Cat

Plot Synopsis: (from IMDb)
Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’ll always have a soft spot for the 1989 adaptation of Pet Sematary. It came out when I was a teenager and was already a huge Stephen King fan by then so I watched the film over & over & over again (teenagers have so much time to waste). I of course read the book as well but, in this case, I have to admit that I remember the first movie much more than the novel as I saw it so many times. I enjoyed this new adaptation as well. I have to say that it even improved on the 1989 film in a few areas. I’ll still always prefer the 1989 movie but can see why some people might prefer this version, especially if they see it first the way I’ll always love the one that I saw first.

As for the improvements, the main thing would be the acting. This was especially true of the daughter (Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed). The emotion and the sheer grief, especially from Jason Clarke as Louis Creed, also felt much more real in this adaptation and his marriage (with Rachel Creed, played by Amy Seimetz) felt stronger. The first half of this film, although it felt like a needless straight copy of the 1989 movie, was a definite improvement overall thanks to the acting and better character development. But I know the original film so well that I was worried I’d be spending the entire time watching the exact same film.


Well, the second half switches things up a lot and I’m still not sure how I feel about that. The movie unfortunately falls apart after its strong start. And can I just say how ANNOYED I am that they ruined the one big twist in the trailers for this movie?! I heard that the trailer had a huge spoiler so had managed to avoid it until seeing it before a movie that I went to last month. Grr. Why do they do that in trailers? The twist was actually a good one that worked well for the film. It would’ve been great to not know that beforehand and I have a feeling I’d have liked this adaptation more if that had been a surprise. The second half also goes a little too cheesy but, to be honest, I don’t know how this story can NOT be a little cheesy. The first was cheesy as well but I think it was handled a little more effectively in the first film. I’m also not sure if I liked the various changes but I did like how damn bleak this new version is. This is one of King’s darkest stories and I liked the dark, misty look to this version and the addition of those creepy animal masks worn for the “pet funerals”. Oh, I forgot to mention Jud Crandall! John Lithgow was fine in this role but you can’t top Fred Gwynne’s Jud. He was probably the best thing about the 1989 film so this version lacks that really memorable character.


Well, I did enjoy this film. But I enjoy every Stephen King adaptation, even the really bad ones. And there are some VERY bad ones! Pet Sematary (2019) is certainly not one of the bad ones but it’s also not one of the best. Sorry for the meh review! It’s just a little meh. I still prefer the first one but this one was good enough to tide me over while I eagerly await It: Chapter 2 (I loved the 2017 adaptation of It).

My Rating: 7/10

I’m obsessed with Stephen King so of course made lists ranking all of his books & film adaptations. Because I’m a list nerd. I ranked all of his books that I’ve read HERE and all movie adaptations HERE. I’ve added the new Pet Sematary to that list…

Shazam! (2019) Review

Shazam! (2019)

Directed by David F. Sandberg

Based on Characters from DC Comics

Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM. – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam.

My Opinion:

I’ll keep this short since I’m scared to review this after seeing death threats on Twitter when people have given this a negative review. Yikes. But I have to keep my promise to myself to at least review the films that I see in the cinema. My anal retentiveness wins out over potential harassment from trolls!

I enjoyed Shazam. Shazam!, I mean. I’m not using that exclamation mark every time – it’s annoying. This film was an odd one, though, and the tone was all over the place. I’m not saying that the whole “lighthearted combined with dark & evil” thing doesn’t work sometimes (it works in Deadpool) but it was a bit too jarring in Shazam. This is partly due to it being promoted as a somewhat family-friendly superhero movie whereas Deadpool, with its higher rating, made it very obvious that kids shouldn’t watch it.

I wanted to like this film more as there were parts that I thought were really funny and the characters (well, the good guys) were so damn likable and very well-developed as far as superhero movies go. I loved them. A special shout-out especially to the adorable Faithe Herman as Darla & a strong performance from Jack Dylan Grazer, who was also great in the fantastic It. Kids are so good in films nowadays. Remember the 70’s & 80’s when child acting usually sucked? Why was that?! I’ll be honest – I think the above characters as well as the other foster kids & their foster parents are what really made this film as they gave the movie some heart. Without them, the movie would feel too cruel and dark. Zachary Levi & Asher Angel were also very good (and very funny) as our main hero but they needed these other characters to round-out the main character and to make us care about him. How much does Asher look like Arya Stark, though?! It was very distracting once I realized.


Now for the bad… Mark Strong gives the villain his all but the character feels like every other baddie we’ve seen in these superhero films. To be fair, a lot of this is due to my own personal superhero movie fatigue. I enjoy them when they’re good but this isn’t my favorite genre and I want to see more than just superheroes and sequels in the cinema. And, as I said, the movie goes a little too dark with his character. I’m not saying dark is bad. I love dark when done right. Hell, if I had to pick a favorite “comic book” movie, I’d choose The Crow. I freaking love that film. But The Crow sure as shit isn’t a family film. There’s no lightness and certainly no adorable little girl named Darla.

Okay – I was going to keep this short! Well, I did enjoy Shazam. It has some very strong good-guy characters and I loved how well they worked together in this film. You care about them. That’s not something that all superhero movies are able to achieve with their characters. The “light” bits also felt a little like something we don’t see in EVERY SINGLE SUPERHERO MOVIE. So I did very much appreciate that and I had some good laughs during the movie. However, that positive is undone slightly by the too-generic and too-dark baddie. Which is a shame. Just be aware of the warnings before you take kids who are a little too young to this one. As always, it depends on each individual kid and if you think they can handle the violence. I tend to read the parent’s guide before films such as these (which does suck when trying to avoid spoilers!).

My Rating: 7/10

Are there scenes after the credits? Yes. One scene during the credits and a more lighthearted one at the very end. Worth staying for if you’re a DC fan but the first one had no meaning to me…

Oh fuck it. I’ll just say it. Honesty is my best (& worst) quality. I preferred Wonder Woman and possibly even Aquaman. I’m in trouble now! I also preferred Captain Marvel. Oh man – I’m in so much trouble now!!!

Watched, Read, Reviewed: March 2019

Holy shit! It’s April! I think I’ll start my New Year’s Diet now. Happy April, everyone! Here’s what I watched & read in March…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Captain Marvel – 7.5/10
Us – 7.5/10
Fighting With My Family – 7.5/10
Border – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Ip Man – This was good. As it was one of my alternate 2019 Blind Spot choices, I’ll do a full review of it at some point. – 7.5/10


The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups) – Again, I’ll try to do a full review of this sometime as it’s a film I watched for my IMDb Top 250 Project. A good film but it won’t be a favorite of mine, unlike a lot of the other Top 250 films I’ve watched since starting that project. – 7.5/10

Captain Marvel – 7.5/10

Us – 7.5/10

Fighting With My Family – 7.5/10


Straight Outta Compton – Been meaning to watch this for ages as I do always enjoy films based on musicians and seeing how they came together & made their music. I’m not going to pretend I was a big fan of N.W.A. This music is indeed from my sort of era but, when I occasionally listen to rap & hip hop instead of my usual rock & metal, I’m more of a Public Enemy or De La Soul girl. I also can’t pretend to know how accurate this movie is but thought it was a thoroughly engaging film (after a slow start) with very good performances. I did love that Ice Cube’s son played Ice Cube. Now I’m wondering if the offspring of famous people have played their parents often?! Okay – I’m going to Google that when I’m done with this post. By the way – Boyz N The Hood is a fantastic film if you never saw it (I should watch Ice Cube in Friday now too – I never did see that one). Okay, I’m getting off topic. As far as music biopics go, this is one of the better examples of how to do one right. It’s interesting seeing this not long after Bohemian Rhapsody. While I did enjoy that one (it was fun), it did come across as a bit phoney and I can understand the backlash even though I do think people are too picky on films that are meant to be crowd-pleasing (watch a Queen documentary if you want “real”). Straight Outta Compton came across as being much more genuine. It’s definitely worth a watch if you like music biopics, even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of N.W.A.’s music. – 7.5/10


Mississippi Burning – This is another 2019 Blind Spot choice so I’ll review it in full before the year is through. Good but certainly not the best Blind Spot film watched so far this year. In The Heat Of The Night was better… – 7/10


Leave No Trace – I was desperate to see this as it had a lot of hype from film fans. It’s very good but I can’t say it’s one I’d feel the need to watch again (I saw people saying they loved it so much they went to see it multiple times). This is from the same director who did Winter’s Bone and it definitely has the same mood & feel, although it’s far less gritty than that one. In the same way that Winter’s Bone had a brilliant performance from Jennifer Lawrence, which I believe was the role that got her noticed, Leave No Trace also features a great performance from a young actress named Thomasin McKenzie. Let’s see if she becomes as famous as Lawrence! If you liked Winter’s Bone and like a realistic drama with great performances, I’d definitely recommend this film. I’ll be honest and say that it’s just not a genre that I typically tend to go for. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia if you’re interested: “The plot follows a veteran father with PTSD (Ben Foster) who lives in the forest with his young daughter (Thomasin McKenzie).” – 7/10

Border – 6.5/10


Curtains – Meh. This probably deserves to be ranked below the next two films as it wasn’t very good but I’m just a sucker for cheesy 80’s slashers. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis for this mediocre horror film with a kick-ass poster: “A slasher film centered on theater and filmmaking, its plot focuses on a group of actresses targeted by a masked killer at a prestigious director’s remote mansion where they are auditioning for a role in a movie.” Here’s the awesome poster:

This stars Samantha Eggar (from David Cronenberg’s brilliant The Brood) as an actress so desperate for a role as a crazy woman in a new film that she has herself checked into a mental hospital for “research”. I’ll say that part of the reason I’ve wanted to see this for years was because of that doll in that cool poster. I love a creepy doll movie! Well, this isn’t a creepy doll movie, although the doll is used in an effective way in a couple of creepy scenes. This movie is fine. It’s a fairly predictable 80’s slasher but better than some of them. It’s worth a watch on Amazon Prime but only if it’s a genre you like. – 6/10


American Mary – This was pretty hardcore. I’d been meaning to watch this film for a while now to see if it would be a contender for My Top Ten Body Horror Movies list. I’m afraid to say I didn’t love the film but thought Katharine Isabelle did a good job in this crazy role. I thought the film started out pretty strong but it loses its way when Isabelle’s character goes so extreme. She starts out quite innocent (although practising surgery on turkey carcasses while wearing sexy lingerie was odd) but then she goes completely batshit crazy and it just didn’t feel realistic after she was set up as this poor, struggling student who loves her sweet grandmother. I have to say, though, that she seemed to have enough money for lingerie for someone so poor! Lingerie is expensive. If you’re poor, surely you should buy clothes that keep you warm?! But I guess she needed the lingerie for turkey surgery. Anyway! There’s a bit of a revenge plot going on in this film and I did enjoy that because I love some good vengeance. And this was some fucked-up vengeance! I just wish the final half of the film hadn’t fallen apart. We start out on Mary’s side but can’t relate to her anymore by the end (at least, I hope no one can relate to her at the end). Oh well. It’s certainly a memorable film! I give it credit for that. I far prefer a memorable film to something so bland that I won’t remember it in a year. – 6/10


The Love Witch – Like American Mary, this was on Film 4 the other week and I was really happy as I’d been intrigued by the look of this one since it first came out. Damn – this was a huge disappointment. While I did indeed love the look of it, I can’t say that I thought the film was good. Film critics will say something about this exploring gender roles or some shit but I thought the film was all style & no substance. However, I appreciate the effort it made on its 60’s aesthetic and the lead actress is definitely beautiful (and half naked quite often, which may be why the positive reviews I’ve seen have mostly been from dudes. Hmm). As a woman, I was hoping to like this a lot more as it’s from a female director and has a strong female role. It’s artsy and pleasing to the eye but the intentionally bad acting and the slow pace made it a chore to even finish it. Still, it has fans and I can see why it would as it’s a unique film. It just didn’t work for me personally, so don’t let my unenthusiastic review keep you from watching it if you like the look of it. – 5.5/10


Coach – Oh you 70’s & 80’s teenage sex comedies! I can’t resist watching these sometimes since I’m so damn old and grew up with these. When I noticed this on Amazon Prime, I had to watch it immediately because of my longtime crush on Michael Biehn (thanks mostly to Kyle Reese). No, this movie isn’t good but it was interesting seeing Biehn so young (the film came out in 1978). It’s one that wouldn’t be made now since, well, the sexy new 30-something basketball coach (Cathy Lee Crosby) has an affair with one of the teenagers on the team (Biehn, of course, since he’s the hot one). It’s actually better than some of the full-on sex comedies from its day – there’s more of a story and not as much stupid, silly shit. They even explore the sexism that was still so common in 1978. Some people do not want her as a coach despite the fact that she’s a goddamn gold medal Olympic athlete. She was hired based on her resume having a unisex first name. Whatever. Coach is still just a basic sexy teenage film from 1978. I’ve seen worse. – 5.5/10


Red Sparrow – Wow. This was… quite bad. Way too long and surprisingly boring, I also found it a chore to finish this one. I think it tries too hard to be serious. It also tries to be sexy, I guess, with Jennifer Lawrence’s nudity and being required to use sex as a weapon, but it just felt gross and weird. I do think Lawrence is a really good actress but we all know her real-life goofy personality so well that this role just didn’t suit her. At all. What’s weird is that this movie made me appreciate Atomic Blonde much more. While that film was also not exactly great, it had a lot more style and a kick-ass soundtrack and it didn’t take itself so damn seriously. I was actually annoyed that I wasted my time watching Red Sparrow. That doesn’t happen often as I can usually find at least one thing to appreciate about a movie. – 5/10

Re-Watches – Saw these years ago but re-watched recently with the kid:

My Girl – Oh man, I love My Girl so much. Always been a fan of this one and thought Anna Chlumsky was adorable and absolutely lovable in this role. And, of course, Macaulay Culkin in a role quite different from his cheeky character in Home Alone. It was also great having Dan Aykroyd & Jamie Lee Curtis in this as they’re so perfect together. It’s a fantastic family movie that explores a distressing topic in a realistic & sensitive way without ever being too soppy or saccharine. The characters feel real as do their relationships. My heart broke a little as my hubby & kid both said they preferred Bridge To Terabithia, which we also watched recently. Well, I’ll always be a bigger fan of My Girl but both are great coming of age films that treat their young audience respectfully and don’t dumb things down. Kids aren’t stupid – they want movies that don’t talk down to them. I wish there were more family films like these. – 8/10


Men In Black – Figured we better re-watch this before the new Men In Black: International with my beloved Chris Hemsworth. I don’t have a lot to say about this one as it was never an absolute favorite of mine but I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s also very unique, which I always appreciate. There’s no other film with a similar story (that I can think of?!). Remember when Will Smith was a big action star making films like this?? I miss these sort of movies. We don’t seem to get enough fun blockbusters anymore. I need to re-watch Independence Day too… – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

‘—All You Zombies—’  by Robert A. Heinlein – I finally read this short story because I loved the movie adaptation (Predestination – my review is HERE). This story truly is short! It was about ten pages. I have to say they actually did a brilliant job adapting this into a full length movie. As the story involves someone “telling” a story, it works in the movie as they show what’s being told in flashbacks. Nothing extra is actually added (well, there was a small subplot but I think that was kind of hinted at in Heinlein’s writing). I love the movie even more now – it’s one of the most faithful film adaptations I’ve seen. I highly recommend the film first, though, which is not normally the way I do things. But the film fleshes out the characters a lot more and uses a more serious tone that works better than the almost dark humor of the original story. But certainly read this afterwards if you appreciate the film. – 4/5

The Rats by James Herbert This was fun! I reserved this at the library after seeing a picture of the cover online and loving the cheesy look of it (not the cover above, although that has a great pulpy look too). This is the first James Herbert book I’ve read and I’m not sure why as this genre is my type of thing. It reminded me a bit of Dean Koontz but it’s certainly more violent than his stuff (and with more sex – it made me realize that Koontz doesn’t get very graphic with the sex stuff. Damn.). I enjoyed this one and I’ll definitely read the rest in the trilogy, although I won’t rush to read them immediately. Oh, if you don’t know the story: this is about large rats taking over London and killing people. Pretty straightforward horror stuff but would make for a good cheesy horror film if they did it right. I see it was made into a movie called Deadly Eyes in 1982 but it sounds dreadful. I love this bit of trivia from IMDb: “Dachshunds were dressed up as rats for the special effects.” Ha! Sounds atrocious! – 3/5

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – Umm. This is yet another dystopian YA book series and I’m starting to think I need to stop reading so much of this genre. What can I say? I love the dystopian shit! Maybe I should explore the “old adult” dystopian novels. OA! Any recommendations? Because I found this book really boring and don’t plan to continue reading the rest of the series. I read this because it’s been adapted into a film, Chaos Walking, which was meant to come out last month but has now been pushed back to 2020. Bad sign! I can’t see how they could easily make this into a good film. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon: “Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets. Then Todd Hewitt unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible. And now he’s going to have to run… “. This book was unnecessarily long and, spoiler… There’s a baddie who never f*^king dies. He keeps coming back again & again like Freddy Freaking Krueger or something. And then, after soooooo many pages of our main character being chased, we don’t get a proper ending. Okay – I knew this was the first book in a series but plenty of first books don’t leave you hanging quite so much. The characters also lack decent development. Considering the length of this, I wanted to care about them more by the end. I don’t know. It’s still a good idea for a story but I’ve read far better YA novels. I’m starting to appreciate Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy more & more. I think it’s time to introduce those to my kid. I could do with re-reading those. That’s great YA writing… – 2/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Well, I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy & The Walking Dead even though they annoy the shit out of me. Bring on the final series of Game Of Thrones!!!! I can’t freaking wait!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

As always, my plan is to watch a few movies. Hopefully good movies! I’m in desperate need of seeing a really good movie. 2019 has been disappointing so far. Also need to read a good book. Any recommendations??

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Pet Sematary – Saw this already. I’m a huge Stephen King fan and love the first adaptation of this, which came out when I was a teenager. I’ll review this in full soon. It mostly feels pointless to have done another film but it does improve on the first adaptation in a few areas.

Shazam! – Saw this as well. Am honestly scared to review it after seeing people on Twitter get death threats for giving this a negative review. Insane. Well, I’ll still review it in full at some point. And I’ll prepare for any backlash since, um, I liked but definitely didn’t love this. It has some good laughs & very likable characters but is also quite a flawed film overall.

The Sisters Brothers – Read this book and did a (super short!) review HERE. It was a fun book although it wasn’t my sort of thing so I’ll wait for Netflix to watch this film adaptation.

Missing Link – Might try to go to this since it’s a Laika film and they’re often good (although they can be a bit hit or miss).

Happy As Lazzaro – Looks like a quirky Italian film. Will wait for Netflix, though.

Wonder Park – Hmm. This actually has fairly bad reviews so far so I’ll skip it. Love that my kid is at the age where she only wants to go to animated films with good reviews. I do try to not let her be too snobby of a film fan, though! I still let her watch some shitty films. Like High School Musical

Hellboy – Is it just me or do the trailers make this look BAD?! I certainly won’t go to it but will watch at home if it ends up being good.

Mid90s – Want to see this but have a feeling it might be too indie to get a full cinema release.

Little – This looks dumb as shit but for some strange reason I kind of want to see it. But I sure as hell won’t spend money on seeing it in the cinema.

Wild Rose – Again, I’d wait for Netflix on this one. I HATE country music but do love stories that revolve around people in the music industry (such as The Rose and A Star Is Born) so I’ll definitely watch it sometime.

Greta – This is so the type of movie that I enjoy watching and that the hubby will happily let me watch without him since it looks a bit shit. This looks like those cheesy 80’s & 90’s guilty pleasure thrillers such as Single White Female. I especially want to see this as Isabelle Huppert is in it and I think I developed a weird sort of girl crush on her after seeing Elle. She’s 66-years-old and sexy as hell. Sounds like she might be some sort of psycho in this? Ohh. Fun!

Dragged Across Concrete – Does look good but, again, I’ll wait to watch it at home. Prefer to watch violent films where I can hide my face behind a pillow.

Avengers: Endgame – HELL YEAH! I’m not even a huge superhero fan but am massively excited about this one. My tickets are already booked.

Eighth Grade – Finally!!! This movie is finally being released in the UK. Been wanting to see it for months.

I always end with some good music that was in something that I watched. This time I have to go with I Got 5 On It feat. Michael Marshall (Tethered Mix) by Luniz from the fantastic Us soundtrack.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt (Book Review)

**Well, this isn’t much of a “review”. This is a re-post of my very brief thoughts when I read this book in December 2017. I thought I’d do a quick post as the movie adaptation is out today. While I couldn’t fully get into the book, I did think at the time that it could make for a good film. We’ll see! I think they’ve chosen the right actors for these roles.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

What It’s About: (via Amazon)
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living-and whom he does it for.

My Thoughts:

This strange Western was interesting. I have to admit that I picked it up (for 50p in a charity shop) based 100% on that cool ass cover up there.

I didn’t love it but it’s not exactly my sort of thing. I did like it, though, and found the story refreshingly original. The characters were also really well developed and I especially liked brother Eli (who will be played by John C. Reilly in the movie and who I think is perfect for the role). The movie will also star Joaquin Phoenix & Jake Gyllenhaal and I think it has the potential to be made into a thoroughly entertaining film. I recommend reading the book first if you like the sound of the movie. It’s probably quite different from anything you’ve read before.

My Rating: 3/5

The Sisters Brothers film was directed by Jacques Audiard & stars John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed & Rutger Hauer.

Here’s the trailer:

Us (2019) Review

Us (2019)

Directed & Written by Jordan Peele

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.

My Opinion:

I saw Us almost a week ago and am still trying to decide how I feel about it. I think it’s a much better film than Jordan Peele’s Get Out, so I’m happy about that. I think what frustrates me nowadays is that so many people like to shout “It’s a masterpiece!” about waaaay too many current releases. If a movie is halfway decent these days, you’ll find a bunch of people with social media accounts declaring it a masterpiece. I swear if I see one more person on Twitter praising Christopher Nolan like he’s some kind of god or saying that the quite-good-but-not-brilliant La La Land is an “all-time classic!!!”, I’m gonna snap like Thanos.

Yeah, there have been some brilliant films in the past decade. There have even been a few where I’ve been guilty of using the word “masterpiece”. I think it’s easy to do when a film lover is on a high after seeing a film they truly loved. But I think we need to see if something stands the test of time. Will Us be seen as an all-time classic 10 years from now? 20? 30? Maybe by some. I think it’ll always be a well-respected film within the horror genre. For me, Us is just a really good horror film. I won’t see it as an all-time classic years from now like I do with films like The Shining or Rosemary’s Baby. It’s not in the same league. However, I respect the film. I’m extremely grateful for “cerebral horror” and loved that this was one of those movies I looked into afterwards to read about all the symbolism and peoples’ different interpretations of the film.

I’ll start with the good: I liked the look of this film. Peele has a good eye for this and there was some great imagery (a lot in the photos in this post, although there are some I won’t post due to spoilers). I also thought the score/soundtrack was pretty great. The look & the music created the sort of moody atmosphere I expect from a good horror film (I’m a sucker for this – that’s why I appreciate films such as Mandy). I also loved once again having a likable group of people. I liked this family. Horror writers have started to finally realize that we want to like the main characters if we’re going to give a shit about what happens to them.


Now for some (small) negatives: For me, the main thing that will probably keep this from becoming a favorite modern horror of mine is that, if you think about the film too much afterwards, the story falls apart. There are too many loose ends and unanswered questions. While I often like this as I hate a movie that spells absolutely everything out for you, in this case you realize that too much doesn’t add up. It’s a great idea for a story, though, and I loved that. I can see why Peele is doing the new The Twilight Zone as this is that type of story. By the way, that’s my all-time favorite TV show so I’m going to be picky as hell with his reboot. All I can say is, as much as I know people are loving this movie, I’m actually expecting better stories for The Twilight Zone. I want ones that don’t fall apart under scrutiny.

And as for one more small negative, I didn’t love Lupita Nyong’o. I really like her as an actress so that was disappointing, especially after I’d heard such high praise. I think she’s great in the main role but, as “Red” (the doppelgänger), I found the character bordering on silly. Oh man, I hate to say that! It’s a small complaint, though. Overall, I really liked the family and their relationship so that made up for the doppelgängers (all of them) not being as creepy as I’d hoped. I just really wanted to love this film. I liked it a lot. It’s very good and I eagerly await Peele’s next film. But, at this point, I don’t think Us will make it into my list of My Top Twenty Horror Movies Of The 21st Century. But it’s possible that this film is one that may go up in my estimation once it has aged a bit more.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Border (2018) Review

Border (2018) (Swedish: Gräns)

Directed by Ali Abbasi

Based on Border by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Starring: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jorgen Thorsson, Ann Petrén, Sten Ljunggren

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A customs officer who can smell fear develops an unusual attraction to a strange traveler while aiding a police investigation which will call into question her entire existence.

My Opinion:

Er. Um. What the fuck did I just watch?! Well. Huh. This was an interesting film…

First of all, this was personally recommended to me by an old high school acquaintance so I thought “What the hell, I’ll check it out” when a local cinema actually showed this one last week. THIS is why I don’t listen to “real life” people. I only trust my fellow movie blog nerds! To be fair, she was right in that this movie is kind of right up my alley. I love foreign films and I appreciate weird. I watch so many films that I get bored with the same old predictable storylines. I want to see a film I’ll remember. Something like Mandy! And, yeah – I suppose Border too. I’ll certainly always remember it, at least. Not gonna lie, though – it’ll mostly be the sex scene and that penis that I remember.

Eva Melander plays the customs officer who can smell fear and she was very good in this film. You could feel her loneliness and how she feels like an outsider. Her performance is the best thing about the movie overall and, without that performance and character, I don’t think this would have as high of a rating as it does (7.1 on IMDb). I do think people rate foreign films a bit too highly sometimes – not all foreign films are good. I did like the creepy animal attraction she had with the mysterious stranger and did enjoy the overall story. For once I can say that I truly had no idea what the hell was going on in a movie.

I’ll keep this short as I think this is one of those films where you’re better off not knowing too much about it beforehand. If you like weird and you like the unexpected and you like bizarre graphic sex and you like foreign films and you like indie films and you like Frozen, you might like this truly strange Swedish film. There’s even a mention of Ikea at one point. YES! I’d have been disappointed if they hadn’t mentioned Ikea. And, yes – I meant the Anna & Elsa Frozen when I said Frozen. This has small Frozen vibes but is most definitely NOT child-friendly. There’s also mention of disturbing things involving children (though thankfully not shown), so be aware of that beforehand. And if you do watch this based on my half-assed review and end up scarred for life, I take no responsibility. Watch at your own risk! You might love it or you might hate it but I promise that you won’t forget it. I’d like to give it a higher rating based mostly on Melander’s performance but don’t think the film itself is as good as it could’ve been.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2019

Oh, look! I’m late with another one of my monthly roundup posts! Oh well. Happy March, everyone! Here’s the stuff I watched & read in February…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Alita: Battle Angel – 7.5/10
The Kid Who Would Be King – 7/10
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – 6.5/10
Happy Death Day 2U – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

In The Heat Of The Night – This is a 2019 Blind Spot choice of mine so I’ll do a full review at some point. I selected it as I want to see more Sidney Poitier movies. Loved him in this. – 7.5/10

Alita: Battle Angel – 7.5/10

Belle de Jour – I’ve always wanted to watch this so was happy when it appeared on Amazon Prime. Kinky Pretentious French Shit! Oh man, this was so tame. I suppose it was saucy for 1967. But, hey, I’ve now watched my first Luis Buñuel movie so I can pretend I’m all smart and arty & shit. And I’d rather watch kinky shit than that Un Chien Andalou eyeball film of his. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia if you don’t know this movie: “Based on the 1928 novel Belle de jour by Joseph Kessel, the film is about a young woman who spends her midweek afternoons as a high-class prostitute, while her husband is at work.” Catherine Deneuve is lovely and very good as the frigid housewife who turns out to be a masochist who wants mud (or was it pig shit?) chucked at her like in that photo up there. She’s unsatisfied in her marriage since her hubby is so perfect and so damn nice. He’s actually quite a hottie (played by Jean Sorel) and a doctor and a total catch so you can’t help but feel sorry for the way his wife is unable to return his affections. It’s a good film, yes. It’s a classic. But it’s a bit boring by today’s standards. And if you’re a Fifty Shades fan (I’ve avoided those books & films like the plague), you’re unlikely to go for the artsy fartsy kinkiness in this. Deneuve can actually act, though, unlike what I’ve managed to see of Dakota Johnson’s work. – 7/10

The Kid Who Would Be King – 7/10

A Silent Voice – I’ve been trying to watch more anime beyond just Studio Ghibli so I checked this out as it’s available on Netflix. I have to say that this one was just “okay”. It’s certainly not up there with the Ghiblis or with the work of directors such as Mamoru Hosoda or Makoto Shinkai. It’s most similar to Shinkai’s work in that the story was a little too “YA” for me but, unlike Shinkai’s films, this one didn’t have the same level of beautiful animation to distract you from the, er, “YA-ness” (I made up a new word!). The story revolves around a teenage boy who befriends a deaf girl he had previously bullied at school when they were younger. The girl and her sister were fairly strong characters but the boy was a little hard to like. Overall, though, the characters weren’t as well developed as they have been in the other anime works I’ve mentioned. Considering that this film is actually quite long, I expected to buy into the characters more. The story also dragged and didn’t seem to really go anywhere until it just suddenly ended. This film was okay but I’d only recommend it to anime fans and certainly not as an introduction for someone new to this genre. – 6.5/10

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – 6.5/10

Happy Death Day 2U – 6.5/10

Truth Or Dare – I did NOT expect to like this AT ALL. Why do I watch so many horror movies I expect to be shitty?! Oh yeah – because my husband doesn’t get mad at me when I watch shitty movies without him. 😉 Anyway, this is a pretty typical cheesy slasher film filled with twenty-something twats. But as far as that sort of thing goes, I actually thought this was fairly decent example of the genre. A good bad horror movie! Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.” I’m a sucker for supernatural horror so was happy about that aspect of the film but know this doesn’t work for everyone. The story actually gave me a Final Destination vibe as this “curse” comes after these characters one by one and there’s seemingly no way out as they are forced to play along or die. The characters were somewhat better than your usual twenty-something horror twats, too. Most were even likable! Only two were assholes. I want to want characters to survive and will never understand why horror films often make absolutely everyone hateful. The overall story is a little predictable and it doesn’t exactly feel like we’re seeing anything new here. However, some of the truths & dares were fairly original and I had a decent enough time watching this knowing it’s slightly silly. The ending was also a bit stupid but, hell, what movie like this doesn’t have a stupid ending?! I’ve seen plenty of twenty-something twat supernatural horrors far worse than this one. – 6/10

Breaking In – This film also wasn’t too bad as far as lightweight “PG-13-Style” home invasion movies go. Is it a bit cheesy? Of course! But are the family likable and do you want them to survive? Yep! Good enough. What more do you need from this sort of movie? I wasn’t expecting something Oscar-worthy here. Gabrielle Union was good and I loved that she was pretty kick-ass for a mother but also not unrealistically so. I actually hate movies like this where a character makes no mistakes whatsoever – that’s unrealistic as we’d all fuck things up in this sort of situation in real life. Wow – Union looks young, though. I had to look up her age and she’s actually a bit older than me. Damn. Lucky her! Well. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is flawed. It’s ridiculous at times. It’s far from perfect. But I liked it. It’s the sort genre we saw a lot more of in the 80’s & 90’s. I miss this kind of straightforward cheesy thriller sometimes. It’s not trying to be anything more than that. – 6/10

Race To Witch Mountain – Almost forgot to add this one because I forgot I’d watched it. That’s because it’s… Forgettable. My kid is obsessed with The Rock, though, so we’ve been working through his movies. I wish I’d seen the original 70’s Disney film, Escape To Witch Mountain, as I’d probably prefer it. I thought this was a remake but it’s actually a continuation of the original story? Is that right? Oh well. The two original kids did have cameos in this, which is cool. Oh! And Meredith Salenger had a small cameo as a reporter named Natalie Gann. Excellent! I love The Journey Of Natty Gann! So I loved Disney’s nod to their other films but, meh, this movie was nothing special. I’m sure some kids who grew up with it like it but I think my own kid was a bit bored. It’s bland, wholesome, live-action Disney. Oh, but the girl (AnnaSophia Robb) was good and was in a lot of these family films when younger. She was also in the excellent Bridge To Terabithia, which I’d recommend over this one. – 5.5/10

Life Of The Party – Meh. I’m not a big fan of Melissa McCarthy or of this sort of comedy. But the kid likes McCarthy (like The Rock!) so I let her watch some of the less saucy bits of this. Which means I saw all of this. I suppose I maybe had a small chuckle. Maybe even two! They both revolved around McCarthy & her character’s friendship with Maya Rudolph. Those two are good together. I kind of feel the way I always feel about these sort of stupid comedies: it’s no more stupid than the stupid comedies with males in the lead roles. They’re equally stupid but the ones with female comedic leads receive unfair treatment that I’ll never understand. But I won’t get too far into that discussion within a review for this particular movie since, overall, this one is a bit shit. But McCarthy and Rudolph are fun to watch together. – 5/10

Re-Watch: Single White Female – God, this movie is so shit. The acting is atrocious. Goddamn I thoroughly enjoyed re-watching this pile of shit all these years later while stuck in a hotel with nothing else to watch. This is the kind of cheesy thriller I was talking about in my Breaking In review. We had so many films like these in the 80’s and especially the early 90’s. I kind of miss these shitty thrillers with bad acting! Remember the movie Malice with Nicole Kidman & Alec Baldwin? That was early 90’s too. I loved that movie for some odd reason. Oh! And how about The Hand That Rocks The Cradle?! I kind of liked that piece of shit too. Man, early 90’s movies were crap. Anyway – Single White Female is kind of in the “So bad it’s good” territory. I love Jennifer Jason Leigh and her overacting here and Bridget Fonda’s, I dunno, underacting? Does she have any emotions at all? And how crap is this movie title? And who the hell doesn’t remember the high heels in this film?! Classic cheese. I kind of feel like giving this a slightly higher rating but can’t in good conscience do that… – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn – I read this as it’s being made into a movie starring my beloved Amy Adams. It’s a “cheesy thriller” like I was talking about in my Single White Female review (though not as much fun). It starts out great and I loved the mystery and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Unfortunately, like most of these sort of thrillers (other than Malice!), this one kind of craps out in the end. Disappointing as I was pretty into the story while reading it. It felt a lot like when I read The Girl On The Train – It’s a real page-turner but, by the end, I felt pretty “meh” about it. It’s better than The Girl On The Train, however, since the characters aren’t hateful as hell. I also loved the Rear Window aspect to this (my favorite Hitchcock film) and how the character had a thing for classic black & white Hitchcock-like films (I’ve added some movies to my Watchlist thanks to this book). Overall, it’s a fun read. It’s slightly forgettable but should make for a decent enough film. Here’s the plot synopsis from Amazon: “Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.”3/5

Now Reading: (I’m in the middle of both of these – I’ll review them next month)…

The Rats by James Herbert – I’ve actually never read a James Herbert book before, despite loving cheesy horror novels. Enjoying this so far. Pretty damn gruesome. Was this never made into a bad movie?! I’d totally want to see that…

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – I started this book as it’s been made into a movie that was meant to come out this month but it’s now saying it’ll be a 2020 release. Not a good sign! I have to say, so far, I can’t see how they could easily make this into a decent movie. It’s also yet another YA dystopian novel (why can’t I stop reading this genre?!). Here’s the film’s plot synopsis from IMDb, which had me very interested: A dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each others’ thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise.

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Kingdom – Again, have been too busy for TV so have still not watched this past the first episode. I really need to as I’m sure it’s SO much better than The Walking DREAD.

Grey’s Anatomy – God I hate/sort-of-love this stupid show. I wish it would end so I could stop watching it.

The Walking Dead – Fuck this show. Someone cancel this, please!!! I’m now forced to watch it to the end since I’ve wasted all these years on it! Help! I’ve fallen a few episodes behind, though – I hope they’ve killed off some more main characters.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No blog plans! But lots of March releases I want to see. 🙂 And I’m desperate to find the time to watch The Love Witch, which was on Film 4 last weekend. Thank god for one channel actually showing films beyond just the mainstream stuff…

Upcoming March Releases I Want To See:

Fighting With My Family – Saw it! It was surprisingly good!

Captain Marvel – Saw it! Enjoyed it much more than I was expecting.

Border – Saw this too. Huh. It’s odd as shit! I’ll review it at some point.

The Kindergarten Teacher – Meh. I’ll wait for Netflix.

The Prodigy – A shitty supernatural horror about a creepy kid? That’s so ME. But I’ll wait for Netflix since I’m sure it’s bad.

Under The Silver Lake – Intriguing synopsis and from the writer & director of It Follows, which I loved. But the reviews are meh so far.

Us – This looks intense. Looking forward to this (and hoping it’s better than Get Out, which I thought was just “okay”).

Five Feet Apart – More YA romance crap. Sounds like The Fault In Our Stars. Barf. (I’ll totally watch this when it’s on Netflix)

At Eternity’s Gate – Will check this out on Netflix for Dafoe’s Oscar-nominated performance as Vincent van Gogh.

Lords Of Chaos – This sounds interesting as hell. Not had the greatest reviews, though.

Dumbo – I’m SO sick of live-action Disney remakes. And how bloody AWFUL does Aladdin look from the trailer?! But I’m a hypocrite and will definitely go to this because, well, it’s Tim Burton and Dumbo looks cute as hell (those big blue eyes!).

Captive State – When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked like it would either be a massive turd or massively awesome. The IMDb rating now suggests it’s a massive turd. Oh well.

There wasn’t a lot of great music in the movies I watched in February. I’ll end with a song featured heavily in Breaking In. It’s not normally my kind of thing but I do like this song. It’s a classic. And there’s something weirdly menacing about it, which is why it worked quite well in the film. I SWEAR this song has been used in countless other films. It’s perfect for movies…

The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You

Fighting With My Family (2019) Review

Fighting With My Family (2019)

Directed & Written by Stephen Merchant

Based on The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family

Starring: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

My Opinion:

Wow. I enjoyed this film waaay more than I was expecting! First of all, I better point out that I’m not a wrestling fan whatsoever and have zero knowledge in that field. So I enjoyed this as a really fun piece of entertainment, however close to the true story this movie may be. I have no idea but I’m sure the rise to fame wasn’t quite as simple as portrayed (but movies always exaggerate that). I see this is based on a documentary about the same people (The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family) so I’m sure that’s worth watching if you’re a wrestling fan and want something that’s going to be more factual.


I have to say that I was never a fan of The Rock but, for some odd reason, my daughter loves him. So he’s really grown on me as I’ve now been forced to watch so many of his movies. Well, FYI: He’s hardly in this but that doesn’t hurt the film in the slightest. This story is about the female pro wrestler (Saraya “Paige” Knight) and her (very British!) wrestling family. The Rock does have a (quite cheesy) cameo but the family are a riot and their story was so bizarrely heartwarming (for a family that regularly bodyslam the shit out of each other). Seriously – as someone who’s very rarely a fan of comedy in movies these days, I have to say I laughed (or at least smiled) quite a lot throughout this film. Especially during scenes involving the parents, played by Lena Headey & Nick Frost. They were hilarious. Give me Headey’s character in this over Cersei! I’d love to see her two characters in the ring together. I think Cersei would have her ass kicked.

I really think this is one of those movies that has something for everyone. It’s a great family film, though not for kids too young due to some saucy language (which isn’t something that bothers me since I have a potty mouth). The family are funny yet lovable and you can tell that they’re very close. There’s some jealousy when one of them becomes a big star but the family never come across as fake and nothing feels over the top: They feel like a slightly bonkers but real family who could be living next door to you. You can tell they have a true passion for what they love, which any viewer can relate to whether or not they share that same interest in wrestling. Lovers of sports as well as haters of sports (like me) should all get something out of this movie. It was also great seeing a typical British community portrayed in the film and seeing how wrestling brought them together. I had no knowledge of this film beforehand so the English setting (in the beginning) was a pleasant surprise. What can I say? I really enjoyed this film! About a family of wrestlers!!! Huh.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Captain Marvel (2019) Review

Captain Marvel (2019)

Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

Based on Captain Marvel by Stan Lee & Gene Colan & Carol Danvers by Roy Thomas & Gene Colan

Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in 1995, the story follows Danvers as she becomes Captain Marvel after Earth is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds.

My Opinion:

I’m short on time & haven’t even done my February Roundup post of movies I’ve watched but figured I better say a little something about Captain Marvel. After all the weird controversy and all the whining and all the sad losers down-voting it online before even seeing it, I didn’t know what the hell to expect. I’ve really enjoyed all the Marvel films although I’d never call them personal favorites and I feel that they’re all the same story and follow the same formula. I’d happily live without more superhero movies for a while. However, the Marvel ones are thoroughly entertaining and have a fun sense of humor that I appreciate (they’re popcorn movies – superhero films should be fun!).

Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick review of Captain Marvel since it’s had such unfair treatment and I wanted another positive review out there in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and, dare I say, I liked it even more than several other MCU films. I thought it was actually stronger as far as story & character development than some of the other standalone origin films (it’s way more fun than Thor, for example, as much as I lust over Hemsworth). I’ve added Captain Marvel to My Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranking (HERE). I’m still on a high after seeing it so, yes, I may have it a little too far up the list but it’ll be obvious that my favorite movies are the “funny” ones and I’m happy to say that Captain Marvel has way more humor than I was expecting. Pretty ironic after all the “why can’t she smile on the poster?” idiocy, huh? Samuel L. Jackson was especially hilarious (I adore that badass motherfucker) and it was a delight seeing him with Larson: Their real-life friendship gives them a great on-screen chemistry.

Wait. No. Goose was the most humorous character! Who the hell doesn’t love Goose after seeing this movie?

Is Captain Marvel a perfect film? No. Does it break Marvel’s formulaic superhero mold? No, other than its superhero lead being female. The movie does drag at the start but I feel the same about most other origin films. I thought they could’ve done much more with the characters played by Bening, Law & even Lashana Lynch as they were very underdeveloped. The young girl was sweet – I’d like to see more of her if they were to ever do another film (Oops – I just Googled her character! We’re likely to see her…).


Larson was really good in this role so I’m happy she’s proven everyone wrong (not that haters would ever admit it). I’ll be honest & say that I wasn’t sure of the casting choice either as she’s so good in serious dramas such as Room & Short Term 12 and I couldn’t picture her as a superhero. And as I said earlier, the Larson/Jackson duo was great. Seeing SO much of Nick Fury was fantastic. It’s about time! I loved him and the de-aging thing was scary good.

Will this movie be speaking to me more, though, since I’m female and was a similar age in 1995 so of course loved the references and the music? Probably. (No Doubt! Garbage! Hole! Blockbuster!!). So what? We all like different things and this movie won’t speak to everyone in the same way. I get that. But to trash it (without even seeing it) makes no sense to me. There’s a bit of “girl power” stuff but it’s not over-the-top or annoying (there’s actually a good message about never giving up, which is a message for everyone). In fact, this film is far less “political” than a lot of other superhero films. It’s a typical MCU film but actually more fun than a lot of them. And as for DC, I actually sort of enjoyed Captain Marvel as an overall film a little more than Wonder Woman. Sorry! I do think Wonder Woman is a stronger character. I’m a total sucker for the Eighties more than the Nineties, though, so I’ll probably prefer the next Wonder Woman. Give me 80’s music over 90’s! It feels a little sexist to compare the two but it’s hard to not make a comparison. Both these female-led films are really good examples of the superhero genre and are undeserving of backlash. But I honestly don’t give a shit when it comes to the genders of a film’s stars: I just want a good, entertaining movie. That’s what I got.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Stan Lee Cameo: First of all, there’s a lovely Stan Lee tribute at the start of the film which I’m sure has left everyone very teary-eyed. Then his cameo, fairly early in the film, was easily one of my favorites (and so adorably 90’s!). They even made a very small change to this cameo after his death, which made it even more meaningful (you can read about it HERE but it’s obviously a spoiler).

End Credits Scenes: There are two end credits scenes. The mid-credits scene has me very excited for Endgame (and got a very big reaction from an equally excited audience in my cinema). Don’t miss this scene. There’s also a funny post credits scene that got a lot of laughs from the clued-up people who stuck around (seriously, people – how do you not know by now that there are scenes after the Marvel end credits start rolling?!). Oh – and not only did the mid-credits scene get a huge reaction, all the funny bits in the film got lots of big laughs from my packed audience. So much for the “predictions” that this film would be a flop & that no one wanted to see it…

Number of people using their phones during this movie: Three. STOP LOOKING AT YOUR FUCKING PHONES IN CINEMAS, PEOPLE! It’s a bright fucking screen in a dark fucking room! Do you really think that the eyes of everyone sitting behind you don’t immediately go to your goddamn bright screen when you look at your phone?! SO FUCKING DISTRACTING. So fuck you very much to the woman who ruined the Stan Lee tribute as well as a very important moment of backstory explanation during this film by flashing her stupid phone. *Rant over*

Here’s No Doubt’s Just A Girl. I’ve always loved this song.

The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Review

The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

Directed & Written by Joe Cornish

Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Rebecca Ferguson, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart, Denise Gough, Noma Dumezweni, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Mark Bonnar, Alexandra Roach, Genevieve O’Reilly, Nick Mohammed, Adam Buxton

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a young boy who finds King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur, and must then use it to stop an ancient enchantress from destroying the world.

My Opinion:

Yes, I’m a grown woman but I still get excited when fun family films get made. I’ll always be a nerd. I was seriously looking forward to this one as I thought Joe Cornish’s previous film (Attack The Block) was pretty damn great. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t quite live up to Attack The Block but it’s still an enjoyable film. It’s also aimed younger so is more appropriate for the whole family if your kids aren’t old enough for Attack The Block.

Louis Ashbourne Serkis does a good job as the protagonist (son of Andy, of course. Ah, showbiz nepotism!). But the best part about this film is Angus Imrie as a young Merlin. He’s silly and likable and makes the film a lot more amusing as, without him, there isn’t a lot of humor plus the pacing is a bit slow at times. Oh, and OF COURSE the scenes involving Patrick Stewart are AWESOME since Patrick Stewart RULES. Stewart plays the old version of Merlin and we unfortunately don’t get to see enough of him. But young Merlin is so much fun that you don’t mind the movie switching back & forth between the two of them.

I don’t have a lot to say about this movie. It’s fun and, as always, I really appreciate when decent family films get made. As a lifelong movie nerd, I want to be able to take my kid to movies that I can get some enjoyment out of as well! I think I hyped this one up too much in my mind because of Attack The Block, though. Overall, this movie felt a lot longer than it was and it definitely dragged in places (I’m afraid it didn’t hold my daughter’s attention very well). I never warmed up to the two bullies that eventually team up with our heroes. Also, all the characters could have been stronger and lacked development. But, hey – it was cool getting a unique twist on the King Arthur legend and it’s great to think that it might get some kids interested in further exploring that story. Some kids will enjoy this more than others will but I’m sure that it could end up being a favorite childhood film for kids who really buy into the story. Joe Cornish is still one to watch – I’d be happy to see him direct another film.

My Rating: 7/10

Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Review

Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Directed & Written by Christopher Landon

Based on Characters by Scott Lobdell

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.

My Opinion:

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-horror fun. 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.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Review

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Based on Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro

Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.

My Opinion:

I went into this with zero expectations or knowledge of the source material. I really enjoyed this film! It’s actually my favorite 2019 cinema release so far (but I’ve not managed to go to many movies so far this year). It’ll be interesting to see where it ranks for me by the end of the year.


First of all, this movie succeeds where so many others spectacularly fail: it has likable and fairly well-developed characters that the audience will actually care about. Okay, it’s a fun action sci-fi movie so there are plenty of one-dimensional characters but the writers clearly put some time & effort into the ones that really matter (they just could’ve spent a little more time on the male love interest). The female cyborg (Rosa Salazar) and the father-figure man who “revives” her (Christoph Waltz) are great characters and their relationship is the best thing about the film. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the look of Alita herself but I thought they did a fantastic job with her. They got a good balance between making her look different from the humans while still seeming human emotionally (especially through her extra big eyes that you quickly get used to) and never entering into creepy uncanny valley territory. She’s more likable than the majority of “human” characters in films these days. I also loved that she’s this kick-ass warrior while at the same time having the feelings and innocence of a sweet teenage girl. This could have come across as really cheesy if not handled right but it works perfectly in this film and I can’t see anyone not getting some enjoyment out of this movie, especially lovers of fun sci-fi action.

I think it’s hard to make a sci-fi film these days that doesn’t feel derivative as there have been so many brilliant stories in this genre. Does the story in Alita feel totally original? No, I suppose it doesn’t. Yet I felt like I was watching a sci-fi film I haven’t really seen before despite it borrowing from so many other films. It’s a cross between Rollerball (1975) & Blade Runner with elements of Bicentennial Man and Ellen Ripley’s Aliens “female kick-ass” action crossed with a good coming of age teen flick. It’s an odd combo that somehow works, making the film a lot of fun and making it feel more unique than it actually is. As for Rollerball, it takes the only good thing about that overall somewhat boring movie: the violent & thoroughly entertaining sport itself. It’s only one small part of Alita, though, as there are so many other storylines going on but it did add some extra fun and action to the film.


I’ve not read reviews so don’t know how others feel about this film but I hope that sci-fi lovers enjoyed it as much as I did, whether male or female. I know there’s sometimes backlash when there’s a female lead in what’s seen as a more male-dominated genre. I’ll never understand that. A good movie is a good movie and the characters are far stronger in Alita than in a lot of sci-fi films, which often lack character development. The amount of action in this should keep fans happy as well. There’s loads of action with some great fight scenes involving all kinds of funky-looking cyborgs that you really want to see Alita kick the shit out of.


Now to give this movie my rating… I struggled with this one! I’d almost up my rating to 8, actually. I might. I often come back to reviews later and adjust my rating. Bear in mind that sci-fi is my favorite genre and this movie is very much my type of thing. The film isn’t perfect. It could’ve been better. It could’ve gone deeper into Alita’s story and her feelings and the meaning of being human (explored more in things such as Ex Machina). The “baddies” were weak and we didn’t get to know enough about their motivations (the characters played Jennifer Connelly and especially Mahershala Ali, who felt a bit wasted in this). Well, sort of played by Ali… I won’t get into that (spoiler). I wouldn’t call this film shallow but it could’ve been more of a “thinky” sci-fi. However, it was a lot of fun to watch and I loved the characters. Sometimes we expect a bit too much from movies. I’d happily watch this one again, which I can’t say for a lot of movies I’ve watched in recent years. I’d love to see this one get a sequel.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Review

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Review

Directed by Mike Mitchell

Based on Lego Construction Toys

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: Lego Duplo invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.

My Opinion:

Damn. What a massive letdown after The Lego Movie, which I thought was one of the best and most original animated family films of these past several years. I think they need to stop with all the freaking sequels for EVERY animated family movie that’s EVER been made. Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, whatever the hell studio made this (Warner?), etc etc etc. STOP! Just stop it, dammit! Surely they now know they’ve gone too far after the huge negative reaction to the atrocious-looking Will Smith Aladdin Genie?!?! Stop it with the sequels and the reboots and the remakes and especially the pointless live-action versions of animated classics! Latest rumor I saw online was a live-action version of A Nightmare Before Christmas. OMG. Don’t touch that! It’s perfect as is! I’ll boycott! I’ll march! I’ll go on a hunger strike! (Okay, maybe not a hunger strike)


Oh. Yeah. Back to The Lego Movie 2. After all my ranting & raving, I can’t quite put my finger on why this one was so bad compared to the first. It just lacked the heart of the original. It felt stale and unoriginal. It felt soulless. It felt like a cash-grab (as do the majority of these animated sequels). The story felt forced to fit in with the ending of the original & the sort of values that movie was promoting. The jokes weren’t as funny and there weren’t as many fun surprises & cameos. It wasn’t clever in the same way the first one was with things like the Kragle and the “Piece of Resistance”; the script for the first film was smart & truly funny. And Tiffany Haddish has quite a big voice role in the sequel, which is not fun to listen to if you find her as obnoxiously annoying and unfunny as I do (If you love her, you’re in luck!). Also, Emmet’s naive & charming cluelessness got less and less charming as this movie went on, but I’m wondering if that’s just me finding the real life Chris Pratt less and less charming lately as well. Man I’m a bitch! I think I need “unknown” celebs to be in movies since there are far too many that get on my nerves. I have to say that I appreciate Ralph Breaks The Internet a bit more now, which I found very disappointing at first. What I realised is that I still loved the characters in that sequel just as much as in the first film, which made up a bit for the story being weak. I found I didn’t care about the characters in The Lego Movie 2, although it was nice getting to know a little more about Wyldstyle (I still like her).


Okay, this movie wasn’t all bad. It just had a lot to live up to. What did I like? I loved the adorable kiddie voices of the Duplo toys. Those smiley stars and hearts with the sweet little voices were cute as shit. There were still plenty of funny jokes – I guess I’m comparing this to the first movie, which was hilarious, but this sequel was still a lot better than most of stuff made by other studios such as DreamWorks (Sorry – I’m not a DreamWorks fan). My daughter and I still got some giggles out of this one, which I always love to see. There’s also a song that’s almost as good/catchy/annoying as Everything Is Awesome so it’s great that they were almost able to match the joy of that song (it’s called, of course, Catchy Song). In the end, though, this sequel was all just a bit forgettable and disposable, which I’d never say about the first film. Oh well. They can’t all be the Citizen Kane of family-friendly animation.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Not sure if I’ll have time this week but I’ll try to review a film I went to just after this one and did really enjoy – Alita: Battle Angel. It was a pleasant surprise.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: January 2019

Yes!!!! January is OVER! Okay – it’s been over for a while – I’m just behind on my monthly update as usual. I f*^king hate January. And I spent it watching loads of shit! WTF? So much for my resolution to watch fewer movies this year and to try to watch more “quality” films. Pfft. Oh well. Let’s see what utter shit I wasted my time on during dark, dreary January 2019…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Aquaman – 7/10
Mary Poppins Returns – 6.5/10
A Dog’s Way Home – 6.5/10
Glass – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Paprika – This is one of my 2019 Blind Spot choices so I’ll review it in full soon. It was okay but I didn’t love it. – 7/10

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – This was okay but it didn’t exactly change my life. I’m starting to wonder if I’m too damn picky (or bitchy) since a lot of people loved this film/game thingy. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been big on video games and this felt more like a game than a proper film to me. As far as the story goes, it’s weaker than a regular Black Mirror episode. The characters were fine but I didn’t care enough to bother trying out various different choices. Who has time to watch something multiple times?! I just read about the other options online afterwards instead. Apparently the ending I got is the hardest one to get to. Hmm. Sounds like the best one anyway. – 6.5/10

Every Day – I kind of liked this. If I was honest, I’d put it above Bandersnatch but I’m always a little embarrassed by the fact that I still read & watch YA stuff. Guilty pleasure! I read the book last year (review HERE) because I loved the concept. Here’s the book synopsis from Amazon: “Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . .” This is one of those rare occasions where I think the movie is slightly better than the book. It’s very faithful to the book so it might be down to its star (the girl – played by Angourie Rice) being quite likable. I remember thinking she was great alongside Ryan Gosling & Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys, considering they’re big stars & she was unknown. Anyway, this is a simple & sweet teen romance with an interesting story. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like this one. 6.5/10

A Dog’s Way Home – 6.5/10

Glass – 6.5/10

Murder On The Orient Express – Had to check this out since I read the book in 2017 when I heard they’d be adapting it again (and that Daisy Ridley & Michelle Pfeiffer would be in it). It’s the first & only Agatha Christie book I’ve read (and one of the only crime/mystery thrillers I’ve read – I stick to horror and sci-fi). It’s a great story and I enjoyed the book but this adaptation was weak. The casting felt very wrong, although I like most of the actors in it. Johnny Depp was the worst. I loved him back in the Edward Scissorhands days. I want that Johnny Depp back! The movie also gets off to a very slow & boring start. It does pick up once they’re on the train (and the murder happens) but, if you’ve read the book and already know the conclusion, it’s not that exciting watching the mystery unfold. They managed to make a murder mystery very dull in this. There are some references to other Christie novels (I think), which fans will probably appreciate but which went over my head. If you love the book and the actors, you still might want to check this film out one rainy afternoon. But I’d definitely recommend the novel over this adaptation if you’re interested in the story. – 6.5/10

2:22 – This sounded so good from the plot synopsis on IMDb: A man’s life is derailed when an ominous pattern of events repeats itself in exactly the same manner every day, ending at precisely 2:22 p.m. Sci-fi weirdness! Totally my type of thing! But it has a really low IMDb rating and bad reviews. This wasn’t great but the reviews are way too harsh. The story was intriguing and a bit romantic if you’re into that. The execution of the story is far from perfect but the people calling it boring clearly haven’t seen that pretentious snoozefest Comet (a somewhat similar genre film involving two lovers). If you like full-on mind-bendy sci-fi weirdness, I highly recommend Coherence or Circle or Predestination over this. If you’re in the mood for more of a romance with a simple story that happens to have a small twist of sci-fi, you may like this one okay. I think I just have some weird thing for Theresa Palmer because I always seem to watch her movies even though she’s rarely in very good ones… – 6/10

Roma – Okay… I’m one of those people who found this film boring. Very boring. Guess I just have no class. I’m sorry but I’m always 100% honest when it comes to my opinion on things and I never pretend to like something that I didn’t enjoy. I actually found it a chore to make it through this one and don’t know how I managed to stay awake. I was exhausted. I deserve a medal! It’s a beautiful looking film, I get that. Alfonso Cuarón is a great filmmaker and I think Gravity and Children Of Men are fantastic. But this? I don’t get it. I hated the family. The main girl was good (the family’s maid, played by Yalitza Aparicio, who is up for an Oscar). Not sure it’s an “Oscar worthy” performance but she’s the only sympathetic character in this. I still didn’t connect with her, though. That may be due to her lack of emotion throughout all that happens but you do feel for her character and want a better life for her. Roma isn’t a bad film, obviously. I just can’t see it sitting alongside Best Picture Oscar winners from the past, which are some epic, all-time classics. But I’d say the same for a lot of Oscar nominees from the past decade or so. The Academy is completely out of touch. I’d love to hear from people who genuinely enjoyed this, though. Honestly – I do want to understand what all the fuss is about. But I know that not one real-life person I know (I know no obsessive movie nerds like me) would like Roma, let alone be able to sit through the whole thing. – 6/10

Dreamscape – This is another 2019 Blind Spot choice so I’ll review it at some point. Worst Blind Spot film I’ve ever chosen… – 6/10

Unsane – This is that Steven Soderbergh movie he filmed on an iPhone. The gimmick doesn’t really work if the movie is boring, though. I wasn’t distracted by the iPhone thing but the story and characters were very weak for a Soderbergh film. He’s not a favorite of mine but this film is certainly no Out Of Sight or Ocean’s Eleven. Sex, Lies, And Videotape had far more interesting characters & dialogue and, for a film of his with a somewhat similar theme, I’d definitely recommend Side Effects over this. This is the first thing I’ve seen Claire Foy in and everyone raves about her but I can’t see why based on this film. That’s probably the fault of the film, though. I didn’t care about her character and whether or not she was crazy. But, hey – Juno Temple rips her tampon out in this & chucks it at Claire Foy so I guess it at least deserves an honorable mention on My Top Ten Period Dramas list… – 6/10

Green Lantern – Why did I watch this?? I’m sick of superhero movies and this one is known to be bad. To be fair, it’s very silly but certainly not the worst superhero movie I’ve seen. I’ll be honest – I enjoyed it more than Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. As I always say, I prefer superhero movies to be fun instead of dark & dreary like those two. So. Meh. This was silly but Reynolds was fun. I’ve seen worse. – 5.5/10

Pitch Perfect 3 – I won’t waste time saying much about this. It’s bad. Hollywood needs to stop milking the shit out of every idea. The first Pitch Perfect was fine. It was a fun concept and I got some laughs out of it (mainly thanks to the weird girl who whispers crazy shit and makes puke angels). There were very few funny moments in this one and a pathetic story. Time to move on! – 5.5/10

Ghost Stories – Wow. This was boring. I normally enjoy horror anthologies and this sounded good on IMDb: “Skeptical professor Phillip Goodman embarks on a trip to the terrifying after finding a file with details of three unexplained cases of apparitions.” The overall story was pretty good, in a Twilight Zone type of way, but the individual stories were bog standard ghost/demon stories and the ways they were presented weren’t at all scary (I’m never a fan of seeing too much, especially when the effects & make-up look cheesy). And the “twist” ending, which was okay, didn’t make up for the previous almost hour and a half of cheesy, boring hauntings. Modern horror is so often a huge disappointment for me. – 5/10

Bird Box – Ugh. I read the book by Josh Malerman (review HERE) and enjoyed it. Really good story only let down slightly by unlikable characters. I like Bullock but she was so wrong for this role. Not that it matters, I suppose, but the character in the book is half her age. Then the film changed the story so much until the very end. I don’t understand why films make changes when completely unnecessary and when it actually makes the story worse. This does pick up a little toward the end when the focus is on Bullock and the kids (and when it also isn’t straying so far from the book). Dreadful acting in this film, as well. Just read the book. – 5/10

Winchester – Bloody hell. Modern horror really does suck. What an utter snoozefest this was. Again, it sounded so good on IMDb: “Ensconced in her sprawling California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.” How did they manage to make an intriguing story so damn boring? And what a waste of Helen Mirren (I like that saucy lady) and Sarah Snook (absolutely brilliant in the fantastic Predestination). To be fair, I was paying zero attention by the end since I was playing on my phone out of sheer boredom. Maybe I missed something that made this good? Unlikely since it’s up for a bunch of Razzie Awards, I guess. – 5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

I got these two short Stephen King novels for Christmas so of course read them immediately. I read everything King writes and I almost prefer his shorter stories to his full novels so I was excited about reading these. They’re fine but not his best.

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar – I liked the setup for this one. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon: “There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson takes the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

One day, while Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground and the chink of an aluminium bat hitting a baseball, a stranger calls out to her.

On a bench in the shade sits a man in a small, neat black hat. He offers Gwendy a mahogany box with coloured buttons. The buttons will produce gifts, such as chocolate which can make you slimmer. But he warns her that the gifts will be small recompense for the responsibility.”

I liked the character of Gwendy and am a sucker for a 70s or 80s time period plus I like a story that spans many years so I enjoyed reading about Gwendy as she grew up throughout this short novel. However, not a lot happens. There’s also very little horror, which was fine by me as I’m just as happy with King’s less horrific books but I can certainly see not all King fans loving this one. I loved the concept and had fun with the story and like that the title sounds slightly dirty. – 3/5

Elevation by Stephen King I think this one really won’t be loved by all King fans. Like Gwendy’s Button Box, it’s not exactly a “horror”. Again, though, I really liked the concept. A guy starts losing weight very quickly, although his outward appearance never changes and his scales register the same weight even if he’s holding something heavy. I couldn’t wait to see where King was going with this odd story. Strangely, this felt more like a story his son (Joe Hill) would write. Hill does weird concepts more often than full-on horror. I love the style of both King & Hill. I maybe liked this one slightly more than Gwendy’s Button Box, actually – but I think that was a better novel overall. – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

None. Am thinking of starting on that South Korean zombie thing Kingdom on Netflix. Looks like something I’d like. Anyone seen it?

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’ll again try to review whatever I watch in the cinema. I’ll also try to review one of my Blind Spot choices (probably Paprika).

February Movie Releases:

Burning – Not a February release but, dammit, I want to see this. It was showing in limited cinemas recently. I need to live in London!

Destroyer – Looks okay but I’ll wait for Netflix.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Was hoping to see this for its Oscar-nominated performances but don’t think there are enough showings.

Escape Room – Cheesy teen horror. Can definitely wait for Netflix.

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Going to miss this now as there are too many other films I want to see. Will probably send the hubby & kid to this while I go to Green Book.

If Beale Street Could Talk – Looks really good. Will try to check it out if I have time.

Alita: Battle Angel – Seen this already. Really enjoyed it! Will try to review it soon.

Boy Erased – Again, I’ll probably wait for Netflix. I can only take so many dreary dramas at once so I’ll focus on the ones up for Oscars first.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – Saw this as well so will also review it soon. Was disappointing compared to the first film, which I thought was great.

Happy Death Day 2 U – Will check this out if reviews are good. I was a little underwhelmed by the first one, although it was a fun story.

Instant Family – Netflix film! Like most silly comedies.

The Kid Who Would Be King – I seriously want to see this because 1. I really liked Joe Cornish’s last film Attack The Block and 2. Patrick Stewart!!!!

On The Basis Of Sex – Another “wait for Netflix” film but I do really like Felicity Jones.

Cold Pursuit – Well, I kind of wanted to see this for its sheer ridiculousness but didn’t know it’s based on a Norwegian film, In Order Of Disappearance, which is currently on Amazon Prime. Now I want to watch THAT instead!

Oh yeah! I always try to end these roundups with music from one of the films I watched. I forgot the very best thing about Bandersnatch: Tangerine Dream! YES!!! 🙂

A Dog’s Way Home (2019) Review

A Dog’s Way Home (2019)

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

Based on A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Starring: Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi, Edward James Olmos, Bryce Dallas Howard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A female dog travels four hundred miles in search of her owner throughout a Colorado wilderness.

My Opinion:

I can’t decide if this was pukey or lovely. Okay – all family films involving cute pets are pukey. But it’s kind of hard to not like them and feel all smooshy inside when you watch them. A cute puppy is a cute puppy! Who doesn’t love a cute puppy?! This film is sweet but it could’ve been better. It’s from the same guy who wrote A Dog’s Purpose, which overall was a much better film with a far more original idea. I’m not gonna lie – I really liked A Dog’s Purpose. My cold, black soul is capable of at least liking cute animals. A Dog’s Way Home is still fun, though, and certainly worth a family movie night at home on your couch.

Oh my god – I have nothing else whatsoever to say about this movie. I’m off to a great start with this blogging thing in 2019! I think I’m just bored. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen anything really good or, at the very least, interesting. I need to see something that can jumpstart my love of film again. Something epic like Arrival. Or something weird as shit like Mandy.

Okay – A Dog’s Way Home is sweet and you’ll enjoy it if you like dogs and have a young kid and like nice, innocent, pure, inoffensive, safe entertainment. Some slightly dodgy CGI ruins it a little and the story isn’t as strong as in A Dog’s Purpose (we’ve seen an animal’s “long journey home” SO many times in movies!). But it was an enjoyable if somewhat forgettable afternoon at the cinema. It was better than Glass, at least. I guess.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Glass (2019) Review

Glass (2019)

Directed & Written by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In the film, David Dunn gets locked in a mental hospital alongside his once-rival Mr. Glass, as well as the multi-personality “The Horde,” and must escape from a psychiatrist who is out to prove the trio do not actually possess super-human abilities.

My Opinion:

Well, this was disappointing. But I did expect it to be disappointing. Maybe I should stop watching movies I expect to be disappointing… I’d save a lot of money!

I like M. Night Shyamalan for the most part. I’ve watched almost all of his movies because I do enjoy his stories and, yes, I like a twist even though he’s known for them so it’s never exactly a big surprise. I can’t say I’ve truly loved any of his films but do think The Sixth Sense is pretty great, especially if you saw it at the time and he wasn’t yet known as “that guy who does twists” (I saw it when it came out and no one yet knew the ending). The Village is also pretty good, although a lot seem to hate it. The rest, however, are unfortunately the very definition of “meh”. But I still weirdly enjoy his movies while watching them. I just never feel the need to ever watch them again…

Okay, I’ve ranked all his movies I’ve seen from my least favorite to my favorite (only the bottom two truly suck):

Lady In The Water
The Happening
Devil
Split
The Visit
Glass
Signs
Unbreakable
The Village
The Sixth Sense

I guess I have Glass pretty high. To be fair, I didn’t hate it (my hubby did). I can see why it has such mixed reviews, though. For me, it was what I expected so I didn’t hate it. I’ve leaned to go into Shyamalan’s films with very low expectations! I think he should be given some credit for creating a whole new comic book/superpowers trilogy that feels unique & original compared to all the damn superhero movies that I’m getting very sick of. It’s just unfortunate that this trilogy doesn’t go out with the bang I was hoping. It’s more of a whimper. Shyamalan likes to go over the top so often – I wish he’d given this a crazy as fuck ending that we’d all remember in the same way we all remember the ending of The Sixth Sense.

Unbreakable is still the best in the trilogy by far but I did like this one more than Split. I loved seeing Bruce Willis and especially Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson again and I far preferred seeing these three together than when it was just James McAvoy being a lone psycho killer (I’ve never been big on murder-y crime movies). Speaking of McAvoy, he’s great in both these films. He’s better than Willis & Jackson, who are kind of just phoning it in for this one (but they’re huge stars – that happens sometimes). I still love Jackson – he’s one of those actors who’ll make me watch a movie just because he’s in it.

Well, that’s it. I need to keep these “reviews” short anyway if I’m going to keep up on reviewing cinema releases this year. I just don’t have much to say about this one other than that it’s a shame that a good idea feels like a bit of a waste after how Glass ends. It feels a bit “So what?”. Good idea, actors I like, and a really good performance from McAvoy made it worth watching, at least. I continue to think Shyamalan has good story ideas and I respect that as it’s more than most of us will ever accomplish. But I wish the end products could be as good as his ideas – only The Sixth Sense has managed to accomplish this.

My Rating: 6.5/10

My Top Ten 2018 Movie Releases

This is my final 2018 Year End List. This one is really annoying as so many good 2017 US films got released in the UK in early 2018. But it’s a huge pain in the ass to try to adjust this list each year according to the US release dates so, once again, I’ve based this list on the UK cinema release dates.

It was an okay year for films but pretty disappointing overall. I certainly won’t have any all-time favorites from 2018 (although I think number 1 was entertaining as hell, number 2 was pretty damn fantastic & number 3 was certainly unique).

So here are My Top Ten 2018 Movie Releases (based on UK release date). Oh, and I saw a shitload so I’ll actually count down from 30. I’ve listed the rest I’ve seen at the end…

Top Thirty

30. Lady Bird – 7/10
29. Rampage – 6.5/10
28. Skyscraper – 6.5/10
27. Tully – 7/10
26. Ralph Breaks The Internet – 7/10
25. Bumblebee – 7/10
24. Game Night – 7/10
23. Tag – 7/10
22. Deadpool 2 – 7/10
21. Ant-Man And The Wasp – 7/10

Top Twenty

20. The Meg – 7/10
19. The Secret Of Marrowbone – 7/10
18. Incredibles 2 – 7.5/10
17. Mirai – 7/10
16. Coco – 7.5/10
15. Bohemian Rhapsody – 7/10
14. Aquaman – 7/10
13. Darkest Hour – 7.5/10
12. A Simple Favor – 7.5/10
11. Hotel Artemis – 7.5/10

Top Ten

10. Ready Player One – 7.5/10

9. Solo: A Star Wars Story – 8/10

8. Avengers: Infinity War – 8/10

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 8/10

6. The Shape Of Water – 8/10

5. A Star Is Born – 8/10

4. A Quiet Place – 8/10

3. Mandy – 7.5/10

2. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – 8/10

1. I, Tonya – 8/10

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

Love, Simon – 7/10, Halloween (2018) – 6.5/10, Hereditary – 6.5/10, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – 6.5/10, The House With A Clock In Its Walls – 6.5/10, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – 6.5/10, Mary Poppins Returns – 6.5/10, The First Purge – 6.5/10, Ocean’s Eight – 6.5/10, Christopher Robin – 6.5/10, Annihilation – 6.5/10, Black Panther – 6.5/10, Blockers – 6/10, Mute – 6/10, Thoroughbreds – 6/10, The Nun – 5.5/10, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – 6/10, American Animals – 6/10, Roma – 6/10, Slaughterhouse Rulez – 5.5/10, The Christmas Chronicles – 5.5/10, Cam – 5/10, Winchester – 5/10, Bird Box – 4.5/10, The Grinch – 4.5/10, The Cloverfield Paradox – 4.5/10

I’ll do one more post sometime next week with my 2019 Blind Spot Choices. I’m then going to take a bit of a blog break (but I’ll catch up on replying to comments first!). Sorry I’ve fallen behind on that again.

Once again, Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

My Top Ten Books Read In 2018

My 2018 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2018

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2018

Here’s my penultimate 2018 Top Ten List (I just wanted to use the word “penultimate”). This is the list I enjoy doing the most each year since I tend to watch more interesting stuff at home than whatever happens to get released in cinemas. I saw some great films at home this year (I love the Top Five). But I also watched WAY too much shit. I especially seem to watch way too many shitty horror films. I think I just keep hoping that one will actually be good but 90% of modern horror sucks so I don’t know why I keep trying. I’m going to try watching more worthy stuff this year!

As I watched so many films in 2018, I’ll make this a Top 30. Any not in the Top 30 were all pretty rubbish anyway. If you desperately want to see the full list of the 150ish (yikes!) movies that I watched in 2018, the full ranked list is HERE.

Here are My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2018 (counting down from 30 but thanks to a tie it’s actually 31. God I’m annoying…)

Top Thirty

30. Elle – 6.5/10
29. Gleaming The Cube – 6.5/10
28. Hidden Figures – 7/10
27. The King’s Speech – 7/10
26. The Seven Year Itch – 7/10
25. Mudbound – 7/10
24. Personal Shopper – 7/10
23. Thief – 7/10
22. What If (aka The F Word) – 7/10
21. Timecrimes – 7/10

Top Twenty

20. Journey To Agartha (aka Children Who Chase Lost Voices) – 7/10
19. Charade – 7/10
18. The Light Between Oceans – 7.5/10
17. Good Time – 7/10
16. The Florida Project – 7/10
15. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – 7.5/10
14. The Rose – 7.5/10
13. Citizen Kane – 7.5/10
12. Brigsby Bear – 7.5/10
11. The Theory Of Everything – 8/10

Top Ten

10. Fist Of Fury – 7.5/10

9. TIE: The Garden Of Words – 7.5/10 & 5 Centimetres Per Second – 7.5/10

8. The Handmaiden – 7.5/10

7. War For The Planet Of The Apes – 8/10

6. Colossal – 8/10

5. Mary And The Witch’s Flower – 7.5/10

4. Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – 7.5/10

3. Metropolis – 8.5/10

2. Splendor In The Grass – 8.5/10

1. Enter The Dragon – 8.5/10

See you tomorrow with my final Top Ten Of 2018: My Top Ten 2018 Movie Releases (based on UK release dates).

My 2018 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked

Day Two of my 2018 Year End Lists! This will be a short one as I didn’t manage to watch all 12 of my Blind Spot choices this year. I always enjoy doing this Blind Spot Project, though, so I’ll choose 12 more for 2019 soon (I’ve already watched Paprika as a 2019 choice). I have to say that my top three for 2018 were definitely worth finally getting around to – I loved them.

Here are My 2018 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked (from my least favorite to my favorite):

8. Tetsuo: The Iron Man

7. Atonement

6. Gleaming The Cube

5. The French Connection

4. Citizen Kane

3. Metropolis

2. Splendor In The Grass

1. Enter The Dragon

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my favorite list: My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2018 (FYI – Enter The Dragon is the top of that list as well. That movie is f*%king awesome). Then I’ll finish on Friday with My Top Ten 2018 Movie Releases (UK release date).

Watched, Read, Reviewed: December 2018

Happy New Year, everyone! 2019. Holy shit. Well, I suppose I better post my December Roundup so I can finally get on with posting my 2018 Year End Top Ten Lists. I love lists!!!! I’ll be posting those the rest of this week. So first of all, here’s what I watched & read in December 2018.

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Splendor In The Grass – 8.5/10
Metropolis – 8.5/10
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – 8/10
A Star Is Born (2018) – 8/10
A Simple Favor – 7.5/10
Aquaman – 7/10
Mirai – 7/10
Journey to Agartha (aka Children Who Chase Lost Voices) – 7/10
The King’s Speech – 7/10
Ralph Breaks The Internet – 7/10
Bumblebee – 7/10
The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – 6.5/10
Mary Poppins Returns – 6.5/10
American Animals – 6/10
Slaughterhouse Rulez – 5.5/10
The Grinch – 4.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

*l’m going to sound grumpy in my reviews below since I’ve already reviewed the stuff I actually liked. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was especially fantastic. Believe the hype! All my reviews are linked.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – 8/10

Aquaman – 7/10

Journey to Agartha (aka Children Who Chase Lost Voices) – 7/10

Bumblebee – 7/10

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – This was my “Christmas present wrapping movie” this year. It wasn’t as much fun as watching Road House while wrapping presents – I’ll be going back to watching that one while wrapping next year. This was still a decent movie, though, and it continues to annoy me that Lily James is so damn cute. Here’s the plot synopsis from Wikipedia: “Set in 1946, the plot follows a London-based writer who begins exchanging letters with residents on the island of Guernsey, which was under German occupation during World War II.I enjoyed the story and the characters were well developed and the romance worked well even though I don’t normally go for that sort of thing. It probably deserves a higher rating but it was still a bit too “chick flick” for my tastes. – 6.5/10

Mary Poppins Returns – 6.5/10

Mute – Hmm. Okay – I’ve been meaning to watch this as I really liked Moon from Duncan Jones (plus he’s cool on Twitter and of course he’s David Bowie’s son and that’s awesome). But then it got pretty bad reviews so I waited. I can see why it got bad reviews. It’s certainly no Moon! The characters are really hateful (the main guy & his girlfriend were okay, I guess. And the young girl). The story was pretty silly and felt a bit pointless after how it ended. It felt like one of those movies where the director had a vision of the backdrop he wanted for the film then wrote a story around it, which didn’t really work. I did like some of the imagery and always love futuristic sci-fi so I didn’t totally hate the film. But I didn’t like it all that much, either. It’s a poor Blade Runner imitation. Overall, it was a big disappointment but I like that Jones got to make the film exactly as he’d wanted. – 6/10

Thoroughbreds – This movie was pretty disappointing as well. I was looking forward to it after hearing comparisons to things like Heathers. I do like a good teen angst movie! Okay – people need to stop calling every angsty teen movie the next Heathers. Nothing will ever live up to Heathers or any of the other 80’s teen movies. Heathers was witty with some of the most quotable dialogue ever and fantastic characters. Thoroughbreds was mostly just boring, which I didn’t expect since the story revolves around the girls planning to kill someone. I do like both these actresses fine and it was good seeing Anton Yelchin again (R.I.P.) so, like with Mute, I didn’t totally hate this. It just felt a bit pointless and a little “up its own arse”. Just because a plot is a little dark, it doesn’t automatically make something a brilliant film. – 6/10

Justice League – I finally watched this since I figured I better see it before watching Aquaman (which I really enjoyed!). Meh. I really can’t get into the DCEU movies, although I did like Wonder Woman & Aquaman. The Batman & Superman movies have been atrocious, though, and I can’t stand Ben Affleck. Like most superhero movies, this felt exactly the same as all the rest. Hell, I barely remember the stupid plot now and I only just watched this last week. These stories are getting boring as hell. However, Wonder Woman has a big role in this film and she’s easily the best thing about it. She saved the movie (somewhat). It’s far better than the Batman & Superman films, at least! But the MCU movies are still so much better overall. At least this one didn’t totally suck. – 6/10

The Christmas Chronicles – Well, this was silly as hell but it’s the sort of thing you’d expect from a family Christmas movie anyway. And who (my age) doesn’t love Kurt Russell?? He’s still awesome, even when old and with hair like 70’s Kenny Rogers. I was a bit like “I kind of want to f*^k this Santa”. Is that inappropriate? I mean, he was in The Thing! The Thing rules. We need a Kurt Russell Santa movie directed by John Carpenter. It wouldn’t have had those dumbass elf(?) rat-looking things. As for this movie, it was fine other than those weirdass elf things. Well, I’m also not so sure about Russell singing the blues in prison (the hubby & I both pointed out a few times that they seemed to be influenced by Adventures In Babysitting for this movie). The movie would’ve been better with less cheese as the story itself, although a thoroughly predictable “dead parent” story, was suitably heartwarming for Christmas. The two kids were quite likeable as well. Can we just have a little less cheese in our Christmas movies?? It’s A Wonderful Life is heartwarming with very little cheese. And no stupid elf rats. – 5.5/10

Amber Lake This was one of those movies with a decent story idea but so poorly executed thanks to a bad script and terrible acting. The clearly very low budget didn’t help either. It really was a wasted opportunity. Oh, and it also uses the Rashômon concept of telling the same story from different perspectives. But that of course worked in the hands of Akira Kurosawa as he was a genius and one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Amber Lake is no Rashômon! Obviously. Um… I don’t actually know what to say about this. Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDb: “Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.” It’s on Amazon Prime in the UK if you’re interested but do yourself a favor & watch Rashômon instead. Or any Kurosawa film. You won’t regret it. I kind of regret watching Amber Lake, though. – 5/10

Cam – I really need to stop trusting tweets from Twitter’s “horror community”. I’ve realized that they rave about every horror movie no matter how good or bad it really is. Cam is yet another Netflix film that everyone thinks is great, probably because they get to watch it at home as part of their subscription, which is a lot easier than dragging your butt off the couch to go the cinema to watch something that’s actually good. Netflix is the new equivalent of “straight to video” in the Eighties. Anyway, after all my bitching I can see why this would have some fans (especially horny guys). And, yes – it’s an original story so I definitely give it credit for that in this day & age of sequels and reboots. It’s a good concept but having a thoroughly annoying character as its focus didn’t really work. I don’t want to hate all the characters in a movie – it just means that I don’t care what happens to them. To be fair, this movie did have a good idea and I think I’d have liked it okay if they’d gone about it differently. Plus the porn thing didn’t work for me, I suppose, since I’m a girl. Hey – whatever happened to Babestation in the UK? Is that still around?? I haven’t been channel surfing at 3am in recent years… – 5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – I like Nick Hornby & have read most of his books. The film adaptation of this came out a few months ago so I figured I better read the book before checking out the movie (Ethan Hawke is in it so I’ll be watching it at some point). The book was okay and very “Hornby” but definitely not one of his best. I like that there’s once again a music connection, as there often is with his stories. In this one, a guy is obsessed with an old rock star who had one big hit album then disappeared. His long suffering girlfriend (or were they married? I don’t remember!) ends up being contacted by the rock star after she posts a review online of his new album. Hey – I review stuff online! I’ve reviewed several Chris Hemsworth movies. Where’s my e-mail from him? Hey Chris – I’m totally up for a hot love affair! Anyway. Where was I? Oh, this book was fine but a little boring. The characters were weak compared to those in other Hornby novels but I sadly related to the pathetic guy in this & his obsession since I get kind of obsessed with stuff like that too. I mean, I obviously have a movie blog. The guy posted on a blog dedicated to the rock star. We’re obsessive nerds. Hornby does seem to write the “obsessive nerd” characters well. The book was a decent enough read but I didn’t love the ending. However, I do think it would make for a good movie so I’ll be watching that as soon as it’s available on whatever service. – 3/5

Currently Reading: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Nothing. Well, Grey’s Anatomy. Ugh. And The Walking Dead. Ugh Ugh. Eagerly awaiting Game Of Thrones and Stranger Things!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’m going to take it easy this month. I actually watched too many movies last year and plan to cut down on that as well. Fewer movies but hopefully better movies. Although I do enjoy writing a bitchy review, obviously. I’ll continue with these monthly roundups and will try to review the movies I see in the cinema. I also plan to continue the Blind Spot Project. I’ll post my 2019 choices for that next week after I finish posting my 2018 Top Ten Lists.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

As usual, January is a weak month for movie releases in the UK. Of the below, I’m only really interested in going to see Glass. The Mule & Green Book also sound decent.

The Favorite – Will wait for Netflix. Not a fan of the director. Hated The Lobster.

Welcome To Marwen – Really liked the plot synopsis for this but it’s had bad reviews.

Colette – Looks like a good story but stars Keira Knightly. Yuck. So will wait for Netflix.

Glass – The one film I’ll definitely go to, even though I’m not a huge fan of this trilogy. But I do like Shyamalan for the most part.

Mary Queen Of Scots – Again, it looks okay but it’s a Netflix movie for me. I’m not big on historical dramas.

The Mule – This stars Clint Eastwood so I can guarantee that my dad will be watching this one…

A Dog’s Way Home – Actually, I’m likely to go to this as well. It’s a cute doggo story so I can guarantee that my daughter will be dragging me to it…

Green Book – I really like the sound of this one and it’s had great reviews. If it’s shown near me, I may go.

There wasn’t a lot of music in the movies I watched in December (other than Mary Poppins Returns, obviously, but those songs were pretty boring). So here’s one of the best songs from Bumblebee’s overuse of 80’s music to shove all its Eightiesness in our faces. Tears For Fears are underrated. Mad World is one of the best songs ever. But they of course didn’t use that one in Bumblebee…

Aquaman (2018) Review

Aquaman (2018)

Directed by James Wan

Based on Aquaman by Mort Weisinger & Paul Norris

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In Aquaman, Arthur Curry, the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, must step forward to lead his people against his half-brother, Orm, who seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms against the surface world.

My Opinion:

Well, this was fun! I wasn’t expecting to like this all that much since DC films tend to suck (other than Wonder Woman). I now like two DCEU movies! Why can’t the others be like this one? Superhero movies should be fun, not dreary and dark and depressing as shit. But maybe that’s just me: I prefer them to all be like Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Aquaman is a bit silly, though, so I’m sure it won’t be for everyone. I loved the silly. It gets a bit more bonkers as the movie goes on, which I also loved. Weirdass giant sea creatures were fun to see in a DC film and the whole underwater thing worked well and gave the movie a different feel from other superhero films, which are all becoming WAY too damn similar. Jason Momoa was also a lot of fun to watch, mainly because you can tell that he’s having a lot of fun playing this character. Okay – and he’s also hot. But my heart still belongs to Thor. Chris Hemsworth is still the ultimate hottie.

The two main female roles were also very strong, which is becoming more popular in movies. We don’t want wussy, useless women. Amber Heard & Nicole Kidman kick ass. Who ever though Kidman would kick ass?? And Amber Heard’s character was cool – I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about her as I’ve never thought she was the greatest actress. Hell, I even really liked the love story between Aquaman’s parents. I don’t normally go for that sort of thing but all the characters were so likeable in this that you wanted everyone to live happily ever after. I can’t say I give the slightest shit about either Superman or Batman in these DCEU films. The characters need to be likeable if we’re going to care about what happens to them! Hollywood still hasn’t quite figured this out.

Beyond that, I don’t know what else to say about this movie. I always struggle to “review” superhero movies. They’re fun & I enjoy them while watching them but it’s not a favorite genre of mine. I don’t expect anything Oscar worthy from them, though – I just want to switch off for a couple of hours & be entertained. Aquaman was definitely entertaining and I may have possibly liked it even more than a few of the MCU movies(!!). It was the final movie I went to in the cinema in 2018 and it was a good one to finish the year. I really enjoyed it (as did the hubby & the kid, so it was a good family movie too).

My Rating: 7/10

I’ll try to post my December Roundup next week followed by all my 2018 Year-End Top Ten lists. So I may sneak in a viewing of Roma this weekend in case it’s worthy of the top ten (I’ll just pretend I watched it in 2018!). For now, these are all the movies I watched in 2018. Yikes. I’m actually going to cut down in 2019…

Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Review

Happy New Year, everyone! I have a couple of leftover movies that I saw in the cinema in December but didn’t review: Mary Poppins Returns & Aquaman. I’ll try to review Aquaman tomorrow (enjoyed that way more than I was expecting!). Then I’ll try to post my December Roundup next week followed by my 2018 Year-End Top Ten Lists. Woohoo! I love lists! 🙂

Here’s my review of Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Directed by Rob Marshall

Based on Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in 1930s London, twenty-five years after the events of the original film, it sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returning after a family tragedy.

My Opinion:

This was fine. Somewhat enjoyable. A bit “So what?”. Completely pointless. I’ve been getting very bored with sequels, prequels, reboots, etc etc etc. I want to see something new. We have a fantastic Mary Poppins film already with a practically perfect Julie Andrews (she’s actually perfect – Andrews IS Mary Poppins). I know reboots, etc, work occasionally and I admit that it can be fun to once again see beloved characters. I think I come across as grumpy too often on this blog! I like the continuation of stories with characters that I like sometimes. But I don’t like when they feel like cash-grabs and/or they feel pointless or just don’t work and feel like inferior copies. Mary Poppins Returns felt like an inferior copy to me.

The thing I disliked the most about this movie is what I thought I would most enjoy: I really didn’t like Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. I normally love Blunt and thought she was the perfect choice when cast. The way she speaks in this got on my nerves (too posh – it sounded phoney) and this film actually made the character somewhat unlikeable. She seemed too stern whereas Andrews was also stern but there was a kindness and playfulness that Blunt didn’t manage to convey. To be fair, I’ve not read the books and Blunt’s version may be more faithful. But a lot of us grew up watching Andrews so I can’t help but compare Blunt to Mary Poppins in the original film. Andrews will always be the only Mary Poppins to me.

The other thing they were never going to live up to in this was the songs in the original film, which are some of the catchiest Disney songs ever. I saw this about a week ago and I can’t say I can immediately remember how any of the songs went. There were a couple that were okay but nothing very memorable, unlike things like A Spoonful Of Sugar or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Okay – one final thing & then I’ll try to say something nice: The story in this was pretty dull as well. Not that anyone is watching this for some complex plot so this isn’t a huge complaint for me. It was just such a predictable & uninteresting story.

Now onto the good things about this movie! I thought some of the sets looked pretty great (I enjoyed the dance number with Lin-Manuel Miranda and the lamplighters as well as the lovely balloon bit at the end). The film was colorful and I loved the costumes, especially what Mary Poppins wore (I like her funky shoes). Speaking of Lin-Manuel Miranda, I liked his character. He was probably my favorite of the new main characters (I found most the others a bit dull, though, and Meryl Streep’s bit was a bit stupid and felt thrown in there just to add Meryl Streep to yet another movie). Oh, and my favorite bits of all: Dick Van Dyke and especially Angela F*^king Lansbury!

Lansbury rules! Love her so much. Have loved her since Murder, She Wrote, which is a totally awesome show (don’t you dare tell me otherwise). And she’s Mrs. Potts, people! And she sounds exactly the same now at 93 as she did in Beauty And The Beast! Lansbury is a national treasure, just like Julie Andrews. By the way – why didn’t Andrews have a cameo?? Perhaps it’s better she’s not associated with this version but giving Lansbury & Van Dyke cameos was the best thing this movie did and really added to my enjoyment. I briefly felt like a kid again thanks to them. I’ll give this movie half a point more just for the addition of Lansbury & Van Dyke…

My Rating: 6.5/10

Splendor In The Grass (1961) Blind Spot Review

Splendor In The Grass (1961)

Directed by Elia Kazan

Starring: Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Pat Hingle, Audrey Christie, Barbara Loden, Zohra Lampert, Fred Stewart, Joanna Roos, John McGovern, Jan Norris, Martine Bartlett, Gary Lockwood, Sandy Dennis, Crystal Field, Marla Adams, Lynn Loring, Phyllis Diller, Sean Garrison

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A fragile Kansas girl’s love for a handsome young man from the town’s most powerful family drives her to heartbreak and madness.

My Opinion:

First, these are the 2018 Blind Spot films I managed to watch this year, from my least favorite to favorite:

8. Tetsuo: The Iron Man
7. Atonement
6. Gleaming The Cube
5. The French Connection
4. Citizen Kane
3. Metropolis
2. Splendor In The Grass
1. Enter The Dragon

Splendor In The Grass was going to be a 2019 Blind Spot choice but it was on TV so I decided to take the opportunity to watch it this year instead. I’m glad I did. I loved it. In ranking these above, I kept changing the order around between this & Metropolis but, while Metropolis is the better and more iconic film, Splendor In The Grass is the one I enjoyed more. It’s quite a girly film for me but I love a devastating, heartbreaking love story. Love should be painful! And god I love some good sexual tension in movies. It was palpable in this. It reminded me a bit of Brief Encounter. So much sexual frustration!

A big reason I wanted to see this was because I wanted to explore more of Natalie Wood’s films. She’s fantastic in this and entirely to thank for this film being so raw and emotional. She makes this movie the classic that it is. Warren Beatty is fine (this was his very first movie role) and they had good chemistry but I think his and all the other roles in this movie could’ve easily been filled by other actors and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Natalie Wood is the true star here and your heart breaks for her and you seriously want these two to rip each other’s clothes off and just have some damn fun. She was so lovely. I mean, look how lovely she is in this mustard top. Who the hell looks good in mustard?!

I suppose there’s also the real-life mysterious drowning of Natalie Wood which now makes the film feel even more tragic. In her despair & heartbreak, her character tries to drown herself and it’s widely known now that she had a terrible fear of water and was dreading doing that scene. This is from IMDb trivia:

“For the scene in which Deanie tries to drown herself in the lake, Natalie Wood asked Elia Kazan if she could do it in a controlled studio tank because she had a great fear of water – particularly dark water. “I assured her it was a very shallow lake and that her feet would always be close to the bottom,” said Kazan. “She said that even if her feet were on the bottom, she’d be in a panic of fear about it. So I asked my assistant, Charlie Maguire, to get into the water with her, just out of camera range, while she played the scene of struggling to save herself. This didn’t entirely reassure her, but she did the scene and did it well – then clutched Charlie. ‘Cut!’ I cried. On dry land she continued to shake with fear, then laughed hysterically, with relief.”

This is one of those films that wouldn’t necessarily be loved by everyone nowadays. I think it depends on if you can watch an older film (this was made in 1961 but set in 1928) and judge it by the standards of its time and when it was set. I see too many people judge older movies based on today’s ideals & morals and it always annoys me. Times change and people change. This movie has very outdated ideas on sex and the roles of men & women but that’s just the way things were. Wood’s character is a “good girl” and expected to stay that way while Beatty’s character is frustrated by his desire to have sex with her but also knowing he can’t “spoil” her so is actually encouraged to have sex with someone else instead. Beatty’s character is quite an asshole, by today’s standards especially, and there are times when the men in this act in ways that aren’t tolerated anymore (as with Beatty’s sister, who is considered an embarrassment to the family as she’s very promiscuous).

As I said, though, it’s Wood’s heartbreaking performance that made this movie such an emotional experience plus I’m always a sucker for tragic romance over a traditional “and they lived happily ever after” fairytale. Give me pain & tragedy! It feels more real. If that’s your type of thing, I think you may enjoy this film and I’d certainly recommend it if you want to see Wood at her best. I loved this movie and it’s probably one of my favorite Blind Spot choices in the three years I’ve been doing the Blind Spot Project.

My Rating: 8.5/10