Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Directed & Written by Martin McDonagh

Starring: Frances McDormand, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Sam Rockwell, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving, Clarke Peters

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a mother who, when the police in her town fail to find a suspect in her daughter’s murder, rents three billboards to call public attention to the unsolved crime, polarizing the community.

My Opinion:

I watched this the other day as part of a “double feature” with Coco (which I reviewed HERE). I love Pixar and was expecting to like Coco far more but I preferred Three Billboards. It’s a great film! I don’t know why but maybe it’s because my expectations were low whereas they were very high for Coco.

It’s that time of year in the UK when we get the “Oscar-worthy” stuff like this. Because what better way to make the shittiest month of the year even MORE depressing than by releasing all the dark & dreary Oscar dramas?! Manchester By The Sea? Hell yeah! Just what I want to watch in f*^king January! But I kind of loved Three Billboards. It’s another “Oscar drama” but it’s so well-written and wonderfully acted and the dark humor throughout it really made it a much more rewarding watch (for me, at least) than the usual heavy Oscar dramas. Okay, I know the Oscar nominations aren’t out yet but this will most likely be one of them and, at the moment, I can say I’d be happy to see it win. We’ll see what it’s up against – most of the films still aren’t out here yet.

Where do I begin? With the acting? I loved everyone in this. I’m a bit weird in that I don’t care too much about the acting in a film, as long as it isn’t terrible and as long as it’s not someone I can’t stand the sight of (like Gwyneth Paltrow or something). But, man – everyone did a brilliant job in this. Our main three, Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson & Sam Rockwell, were insanely good. Like, I want to hug them and thank them for being in this movie. Seriously. And I hate a lot of actors! When did Woody Harrelson get so great??? I loved him in Edge Of Seventeen as well. He’s going to end up a favorite actor of mine at this rate. I wouldn’t have expected that ten years ago. Everyone else as well, though, even down to the small parts – all were great. Perfect casting. I’d love to see the acting win plenty of Oscars for this film.

I’m not sure why my expectations were so low for this film. I really enjoyed Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges. I also thought Seven Psychopaths, though flawed, was pretty good overall. Three Billboards is now easily my favorite (yes, even over In Bruges). And no Colin Farrell in this! Yay! I’d recommend this to anyone who was a fan of McDonagh’s previous two films as it has the same sort of style. However, this is much darker material (a teenage girl is murdered) and the emotions feel more genuine than in his previous films. The movie gets the right balance between drama & humor and it wasn’t a “heavy” watch in the way I was expecting. I’m actually not a fan of things like Fargo (I never finished it) and preferred the way that these characters felt more real to me. I suppose it’s a combination of the acting and the writing, which has come together perfectly in Three Billboards whereas McDonagh’s other two films didn’t work quite as well overall. I’m now really looking forward to seeing more of his films in the future. And as he likes to re-use actors, I hope he sticks with McDormand, Harrelson & Rockwell.

My Rating: 8/10

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Coco (2017) Review

Coco (2017) Review

Directed by Lee Unkrich

Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Edward James Olmos

Music by Michael Giacchino

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.

My Opinion:

Finally! I hate how we have to wait months for Pixar movies to be released in the UK. What’s up with that?!?! I adore Pixar! So, thanks to months of hype about Coco, maybe that’s why I was slightly underwhelmed. Cute movie & nice story but it certainly won’t be at the top of my list of favorite Pixar films. I did do a list of My Top Pixar Movies HERE. Actually, that list needs updating. Okay, I’ll do it in this post! Here’s my Pixar Movie Rankings (counting down to my very favorite & including Coco):

18. Cars 2
17. Cars
16. The Good Dinosaur
15. Finding Dory
14. Monsters University
13. Coco
12. Ratatouille
11. Brave
10. A Bug’s Life
9. Up
8. The Incredibles
7. Toy Story 2
6. Toy Story 3
5. Inside Out
4. Finding Nemo
3. Monsters, Inc.
2. Toy Story
1. WALL-E

13th? Hmm. That’s disappointing. I do think Coco was hurt slightly by Book Of Life coming out first. My daughter said afterwards that Coco was okay but that she likes Book Of Life more. That’s unfortunate as I think Coco is definitely the superior film. It’s more timeless and has a better story. I liked the focus on family & following your dreams compared to the more complicated love story in Book Of Life, which I think fewer people can relate to.

I’ll keep this short. Coco is still a far better film than all the animated stuff we get from the Non-Disney/Pixar studios in Hollywood. I just have incredibly high standards when it comes to Pixar and some movies have been a bit disappointing in recent years. But even the worst Pixar films are FAR from “bad” (well, the Cars films leave a lot to be desired).

Coco’s lead character, Miguel, is strong and I really liked Héctor (voiced by Gael García Bernal). We don’t get to know a lot of Miguel’s family as well as I’d have liked, though (Plus they come off as a bit unlikeable at first). I also thought the movie was quite slow to begin with. Pixar movies usually grab me from the start but I didn’t really get into Coco until almost halfway through the film. The “reveal” was also very obvious from early on but, I dunno… I suppose that’s just because I watch too many movies. As always with Pixar, the film was lovely to look at (Even all the use of orange, my least favorite color! It looked great in this). Mostly, I just didn’t fully connect with the story & the characters in the same way that I usually do with Pixar movies.


This review is coming across as far more negative than I’m intending. Sorry! Coco is a really good film. I just look at that list of Pixar movies above and most of them are stronger films than this one. And I consider both WALL-E & Inside Out to be damn near masterpieces that transcend the whole “Oh, that’s just an animated kids’ movie” thing. (Which isn’t how I feel about animated films – I just know that some people see them as nothing more than “cartoons”). Coco is no WALL-E or Inside Out or the beautiful beginning of Up but it’s also not some other studio’s piece of shit like Trolls or something. Yay, Pixar! You’re still the best. I’m sure Coco will grow on me after I see it on DVD several times…

My Rating: 7.5/10

**I did a “double feature” of Coco & Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (great combo!). I’ll try to review Three Billboards tomorrow or Friday. I really didn’t expect that to be the one that I preferred of the two but I liked it a lot.

My 2018 Blind Spot Choices & Blog Resolutions

Well, it’s Year 6 of my blog & Year 3 of me doing this Blind Spot Project where we make ourselves watch 12 movies in a year that we’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Most people choose classics but I like to mix it up with some random shit as well since watching 12 “worthy classics” sounds like a drag. Besides, I have my IMDB Top 250 Challenge for the boring stuff!

Having said that, though, I’ve chosen far too many worthy films this year (some of which will also double up with the IMDB Top 250 thing). Other than the below Christian Slater movie… Sorry – there’s no longer any excuse for me having never seen a movie starring one of my teenage crushes in my favorite movie decade (I’m sure it’s not great). I have to admit that I’m not overly excited about a lot that are on this list, though. Hopefully I’ll feel differently at the end of 2018 since they’re obviously critically acclaimed for a reason. And, again, I have several “alternate” choices due to possible lack of availability and/or time and/or depending on what the hubby will let me watch without him.

So here are My 2018 Blind Spot Choices:

The French Connection

Citizen Kane

Midnight Express

Enter The Dragon

Gandhi

Atonement

Fiddler On The Roof

Quadrophenia

Metropolis

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Gleaming The Cube

The Gold Rush

Alternates:

El Topo
Tetsuo
Solaris (1972)
Once Upon A Time In America
The Right Stuff
Lawrence Of Arabia
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Paprika

2018 Blog Resolutions:

I already covered this on my big five-year blogiversary post but my “blog resolutions” are simple this year: To reduce the time I spend on this blog.

As much as I enjoy this online movie diary, I really need to focus on other stuff going on in my life. I’ll still log everything I watch in 2018 & do “month-in-review” posts where I’ll briefly discuss what I saw & read each month.

Here’s what I’ll still be posting:

Blind Spot Movie Reviews: One each month, probably toward the end of the month.

Reviews of 2018 UK cinema releases: I’ll still try to review all the current films that I watch since this is what people are most interested in discussing.

Monthly Recap Posts At The End Of Each Month: To briefly discuss everything that I watched & read each month.

Other than that, I’ll sometimes post reviews of movies I watch at home if I can be bothered or if they’re in the IMDb Top 250 or if one is so fantastic that I absolutely MUST tell you all about it! 😉 And, maybe once in a blue moon, I’ll
post a Top Ten list. People seem to enjoy them but I’m burnt out & need a break from them.

That’s it! I won’t completely abandon this place and I’ll still be on Twitter (it’s far less time-consuming but also full of angry people who stress me out). I wish you all a wonderful 2018!

Last week I posted all my 2017 Year-End Lists:

IMDB Top 250 Challenge Update: Only 50 Left To Go

My 2017 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked

My Top Ten Books Read In 2017

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2017

My Top Ten Movies Of 2017

My Top Ten Movies Of 2017

Here’s my final list of 2017: All the movies released in the UK in 2017 that I saw. As always, I’ve ranked them from my least favorite to my favorite. Remember that the UK gets all the “Oscar” stuff in January & February (so annoying), so a lot of last year’s nominees are here. And I need to point out that I missed out on seeing a lot this year so I’ve listed some of those at the end.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2018 is a good year for films other than just superhero movies. Here are My Top Ten Movies Of 2017 (starting at the bottom – I saw 37 & there’s one tie):

36-31

36. Sing
35. Smurfs: The Lost Village
34. 1922
33. Beauty And The Beast (2017)
32. Jackie
31. Okja

Top Thirty

30. The Fits
29. Life
28. Mother!
27. Alien: Covenant
26. Split
25. Ancien And The Magic Tablet (aka Napping Princess)
24. Before I Fall
23. Despicable Me 3
22. The Babysitter
21. Get Out

Top Twenty

20. Manchester By The Sea
19. Spider-Man: Homecoming
18. La La Land
17. Gifted
16. A Dog’s Purpose
15. Moonlight
14. Lion
13. T2 Trainspotting
12. John Wick: Chapter 2
11. The LEGO Batman Movie

Top Ten

10. TIE: Logan & Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

9. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

8. Thor: Ragnarok

7. Gerald’s Game

6. Wonder Woman

5. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

4. Baby Driver

3. Blade Runner 2049

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

1. It

As I said, I missed out on more films than usual that I really wanted to see this year. Some of these are probably even Top Ten contenders so it’s worth mentioning that I’ve not seen them (I especially want to see the ones in bold):

A Monster Calls, Hidden Figures, Kong: Skull Island, Ghost In The Shell, The Circle, Colossal, The Red Turtle, My Life As A Courgette, It Comes At Night, War For The Planet Of The Apes, The Beguiled, Dunkirk, Atomic Blonde, A Ghost Story, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, The Dark Tower, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Glass Castle, Happy Death Day, Call Me By Your Name, Murder On The Orient Express, Wonder, Brigsy Bear, Better Watch Out, The Greatest Showman

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2017

I watched a lot of movies at home this year (87) and I feel like these movies get ignored as people only list current releases in their year-end lists. Well, I’ll be posting My Top Ten Movies Released In 2017 tomorrow. But I always enjoy this list slightly more. Once again, I watched some true older classics at home this year.

87 movies are too many to list but I do have the full list (ranked & rated because I’m a loser!) HERE if you really want to see them all plus which ones are at the very bottom (Lifeforce & The Neon Demon, FYI). So let’s talk about the 30 best ones!

From my “least” favorite to my favorite, here are My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2017 (release dates prior to 2017). But starting at #30 – I just like to be consistent with my “Top Ten” list names. 😉

Top Thirty

30. Doctor Strange
29. Roman Holiday
28. The Color Of Money
27. Chef
26. Dogville
25. Miss You Already
24. The Wave (2015)
23. The Gift
22. The Age Of Adaline
21. The Beguiled (1971)

Top Twenty

20. Hell Or High Water
19. The French Connection
18. Arrietty
17. Coherence
16. The Final Girls
15. The Raid
14. The King & I
13. Some Like It Hot
12. House (Hausu 1977)
11. The Hustler

Top Ten

10. Sicario

9. Jackie Brown

8. Million Dollar Baby

7. The Frame

6. Wolf Children

5. Ghost In The Shell (1995)

4. The Untouchables

3. Watership Down

2. Train To Busan

1. Rocky

See you tomorrow with My Top Ten Movies Of 2017 (released in the UK in 2017).

My 2017 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked

This is the second year I’ve done the Blind Spot thing and I’ve really enjoyed it. I saw 24 great films these past two years! (Here’s my ranked list of my 2016 Blind Spot choices)

I think my choices were slightly stronger last year but I still really liked all of the below films except number 12 and I think the top 7 are especially brilliant.

So here are My 2017 Blind Spot Movies, (from my least favorite to my favorite):

12. The Last Temptation Of Christ

11. Altered States

10. The Raid

9. The King & I

8. House (Hausu) (1977)

7. The Hustler

6. Jackie Brown

5. Wolf Children

4. Ghost In The Shell

3. The Untouchables

2. Watership Down

1. Rocky

See you tomorrow for my ranked list of all the books that I read in 2017.

IMDB Top 250 Challenge Update: Only 50 Left To Go

Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂 I figured it was time to have a look at how well I’m doing on my IMDB Top 250 Challenge.

I started this project on the 1st of January 2013 having already seen 150 of the 250 movies in the Top 250 IMDb list at that time. My goal was to watch the remaining 100. I’ve been taking my time but, five years later, I’ve managed to watch 50. Only 50 left to go!

I’ve enjoyed this project & it’s been worth doing as it has “forced” me to finally watch some true classics. So I figured I’d do a list of the 50 that I’ve watched.

So here are My IMDB Top 250 Project Movies Watched So Far (Ranked From Least Favorite To Very Favorite): (and I rated them all, too! What a loser…)

50-41:

50. Mary And Max – watched 7/6/13 – Rating: 4/10

49. Slumdog Millionaire – watched 28/4/13 – Rating: 5/10

48. Life Of Pi – watched 15/1/13 – Rating: 6.5/10

47. Manhattan – watched 15/10/16 – Rating: 6.5/10

46. Warrior – watched 22/8/15 – Rating: 6/10

45. A Separation – watched 9/8/14 – Rating: 6.5/10

44. The Night Of The Hunter – watched 15/8/17 – Rating: 6.5/10

43. On The Waterfront – watched 9/9/14 – Rating: 7/10

42. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? – watched 24/3/13 – Rating: 7/10

41. Paths Of Glory – watched 22/8/15 – Rating: 6.5/10

Top Forty:

40. Raging Bull – watched 29/9/13 – Rating: 7/10

39. Unforgiven – watched 17/8/14 – Rating: 6.5/10

38. Dog Day Afternoon – watched 18/1/13 – Rating: 7/10

37. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid – watched 26/1/13 – Rating: 7/10

36. Anatomy Of A Murder – watched 2/8/15 – Rating: 7/10

35. Witness For The Prosecution – watched 12/1/13 – Rating: 7/10

34. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – watched 9/9/14 – Rating: 7/10

33. Roman Holiday – watched 5/12/17 – Rating: 7/10

32. A Fistful Of Dollars – watched 28/4/16 – Rating: 7/10

31. Sleuth – watched 5/2/13 – Rating: 7/10

Top Thirty:

30. City Of God – watched 18/1/14 – Rating: 8/10

29. Bicycle Thieves – watched 5/6/13 – Rating: 7.5/10

28. Rashômon – watched 16/8/14 – Rating: 7/10

27. Shadow Of A Doubt – watched 5/1/13 – Rating: 7/10

26. Notorious – watched 6/5/13 – Rating: 7.5/10

25. Sunset Boulevard – watched 7/11/15 – Rating: 7.5/10

24. For A Few Dollars More – watched 14/5/16 – Rating: 7.5/10

23. Some Like It Hot – watched 2/12/17 – Rating: 7.5/10

22. Rope – watched 4/1/13 – Rating: 7.5/10

21. The Hustler – watched 7/1/17 – Rating: 8/10

Top Twenty:

20. Nosferatu (1922) – watched 14/7/13 – Rating: 7.5/10

19. M – watched 26/9/15 – Rating: 7.5/10

18. Once Upon A Time In The West – watched 02/07/13 – Rating: 8/10

17. Full Metal Jacket – watched 11/5/14 – Rating: 8/10

16. Million Dollar Baby – watched 11/2/17 – Rating: 8/10

15. Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro) – watched 14/9/14 – Rating: 7/10

14. Ikiru – watched 1/1/16 – Rating: 8/10

13. The Untouchables – watched 16/8/17 – Rating: 8/10

12. The Secret In Their Eyes – watched 23/3/13 – Rating: 8/10

11. The Kid – watched 19/2/13 – Rating: 8.5/10

Top Ten:

10. Grave Of The Fireflies (Hotaru no haka) – watched 1/1/15 – Rating: 8/10

9. The Great Escape – watched 28/10/13 – Rating: 8.5/10

8. Laputa: Castle In The Sky – watched 7/3/13 – Rating: 8/10

7. Rocky – watched 12/2/17 – Rating: 8.5/10

6. Modern Times – watched 1/1/13 – Rating: 9/10

5. Princess Mononoke – watched 25/1/13 – Rating: 8.5/10

4. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – watched 16/2/16 – Rating: 8/10

3. The Bridge On The River Kwai – watched 23/6/13 – Rating: 9/10

2. City Lights – watched 15/2/13 – Rating: 9/10

1. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) – watched 2/11/14 – Rating: 9/10

See you tomorrow with my ranked list of the 12 Blind Spot movies I watched in 2017.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) Review

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017)

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Based on Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

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

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

My Opinion:

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating: 7.5/10

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

The Frame, The Fits & Before I Fall Movie Reviews

Here are three quickie reviews for three more movies before I post my 2017 end-of-year lists. Two are 2017 (UK release) films & I try to review all current movies by the end of the year. The other one is just one that I really really liked. Here we go…

The Fits (2015)

Directed by Anna Rose Holmer

Starring: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers, Antonio A. B. Grant Jr.

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Toni (Royalty Hightower), an 11-year-old tomboy who struggles to fit into a girls’ dance troupe, which begins to suffer from an inexplicable epidemic of violent fits.

My Opinion:

This film is a hard one to explain. It’s indie as f*^k and I’d never ever recommend it to anyone other than hardcore film fans (like you guys!). Yeah, it’s one of those festival films so it’s 2015 but was only released in the UK this year. It’s good. It’s “arty”. Royalty Hightower, who plays the “11-year-old tomboy”, is the best thing about it. From what I read, a real life dance team was found for this film and Hightower was one of them. She feels very real, probably due to the fact that she wasn’t an actor. I think, with young people in films, it’s sometimes better when they aren’t from an acting background as actors can come across as too fake.

I watched this because I was intrigued by the synopsis (and also because I was short on time & it’s only 1 hour & 12 minutes!). I read this at Wikipedia, which explains where director & writer Anna Rose Holmer got the idea for the film:

“While developing the script, Holmer was inspired by real-life stories of communities succumbing to fits of hysteria. She first became interested in historic cases of mass psychogenic illness and conversion disorder while producing Ballet 422 (2014). Examples of outbreaks of seizure-like attacks and uncontrollable spasms date back to the Middle Ages, but there are still cases of this occurring today. In 2007, a group of high school girls in Virginia suffered from “twitching arms and legs” that eventually resolved itself. Holmer’s research into this subject, specifically cases like the Dancing Plague, and the pattern of these fits emerging amongst young women inspired her to explore the nature of this subject in a coming of age dance-film.”

Bizarre. I’ve never heard of this sort of thing. Anyway, if you watch this, don’t expect a straightforward exploration of this topic. Or any exploration whatsoever. The film is quite atmospheric, which is something I enjoy but won’t be to everyone’s taste. This probably isn’t a great comparison but this film reminded me a little bit of the feeling I had while watching Picnic At Hanging RockPicnic is certainly the better film but I liked the mysterious tension throughout The Fits. It deserves a higher rating than I’m giving it but I have to say this is one of those movies that you’re unlikely to watch more than once and a lot of people would find it very slow & be frustrated by its lack of explanation. It’s very well made and I loved its originality, however, and I liked how “real” the characters felt. I’d be interested in seeing more films made by Anna Rose Holmer. 

My Rating: 6.5/10

Before I Fall (2017)

Directed by Ry Russo-Young

Based on Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Jennifer Beals, Diego Boneta, Elena Kampouris

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over and over, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.

My Opinion:

Teen movie based on a YA novel! Once again, I’ll admit to still enjoying teen movies & YA fiction. Us adults were teens once – we can still relate! I was actually going to read this book before the movie but gave up after having it on reserve at the library for ages. Yeah, the library! I’m a library nerd. I realized fairly recently that, like, you can read books from there for free. 😉

Anyway. This is Groundhog Day with the twist being that this pretty teenage girl has to relive the last day of her life over & over again. She tries to make changes each time to see if she can stop the cycle, which always results in her death at the end of the day. Zoey Deutch plays the main girl. She’s so adorable. She looks soooo much like her mom Lea Thompson!

I really enjoyed this movie. It certainly won’t be winning any Oscars and the plot felt far from original but I love the “Groundhog Day story” that has been done so many times (I badly wanted to see Happy Death Day this year as well but didn’t manage it). It’s always fun to see the different ways this storyline can play out. I’m not sure why this didn’t come out in cinemas in the UK like it was originally meant to as it’s better than half the shit that gets a cinema release.

I can’t give this a higher rating as I have to admit that, while it’s fun & I liked it far more than I was expecting, it still felt quite shallow. The whole point is that Deutch’s popular character starts to see what life is like for those in her high school who don’t have it as easy as she does. Her boyfriend and her circle of friends are the popular assholes that most of us despised in school. Deutch is the “nice one” of the group anyway so it feels unfair that she’s the one with this fate. The story also feels a bit too forced and the characters are extremely one-dimensional. Other than Deutch, everyone is a “popular asshole!” or “unhappy & uncool nerd!”. Teenagers are more complex than that. Still, I liked this movie. Deutch has her mother’s charm. Also, this movie has a Grimes song in it (Genesis)! I love Grimes (I wrote about her HERE). I’ve included the video for Genesis at the end of this post.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Frame (2014)

Directed & Written & Music by Jamin Winans

Starring: David Carranza, Tiffany Mualem, Cal Bartlett, Christopher Soren Kelly, Anthony Nuccio

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Two strangers find their lives colliding in an impossible way. Alex is a methodical cargo thief working for a dangerous cartel. Sam is a determined paramedic trying to save the world while running from her past.

My Opinion:

I loved this movie. One of my favorite blogs here is mossfilm because he’s introduced me to a lot of great obscure sci-fi movies that I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. The Frame is one of these films. I’m not going to say a lot about it as his review is PERFECT (you can read it HERE). This is my favorite genre and I love when we get a film like The Frame, which feels truly fresh & original. It’s a bit arty smarty-pants but I loved the story and the fantastic visuals.

I don’t know how to discuss this one without giving too much away. The mossfilm review does say a bit about the plot if you’re interested. I think, if you love this genre and like to see a story which will surprise you & keep you guessing, you may be best going into this one knowing as little as possible. I’ll say that it tackles some interesting themes (like faith & fate) and I think it’s one from which different viewers will come away with different questions and feelings about it. For me, I saw it as a very unique love story and I thought the two main characters were fantastic (Alex the cargo thief played by David Carranza and Sam the paramedic played by Tiffany Mualem). Others will see it as something far deeper than the simple love story at its core (and it is) but, more than anything, the story itself is damn good. I watch a lot of movies so I get bored seeing the same predictable stories over & over again. I want more stuff like The Frame. I’ll never forget watching it, whereas I forget half the mainstream movies that I watch a year or so after seeing them.

I so want to talk more about this movie but I’m trying to avoid spoilers! Can someone else please watch it so we can discuss it?? 😉 The Frame is currently available on Amazon Prime Video in the UK & I highly recommend checking it out before it disappears since it’s an obscure one that could later be hard to find. Here’s a spoiler-free way of describing it: The Frame is like a really good long episode of Black Mirror. But more arty. And what I’ve seen of Black Mirror so far is great. Watch The Frame.

My Rating: 8.5/10

There are a couple of trailers for The Frame. One gives away too much of the story so I don’t recommend that one. The one below shows only images from the film. Still, I recommend knowing nothing beforehand but this is the safer trailer if you’re interested:

And this is the video for the Grimes song Genesis in Before I Fall. It’s weird. I love it.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: December 2017

I hope you all had a great Christmas/time-off-of-work holiday! Can you believe it’s almost 2018? Can you believe the world even survived 2017?!? Well, here’s the shit I watched & read in December. Yeah, I know the month isn’t quite over. I’ll probably be watching Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle today or tomorrow… (I did! I’ve edited the post to add it)

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Star Wars: The Last JediMy Rating: 8/10
Wolf ChildrenMy Rating: 8/10
Jumanji: Welcome To The JungleMy Rating: 7.5/10
Ace In The Hole – My Rating: 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – I wasn’t sure how I felt about this after seeing it. Mainly, I was disappointed. I’ve now just seen it a second time, worried I’d end up hating it. I actually liked it more. Maybe it will grow on me… My Rating: 8/10

Some Like It Hot – I thoroughly enjoyed this Billy Wilder classic, which I watched as well as Roman Holiday to get more IMDB Top 250 films ticked off my list. I’m not a huge comedy fan so they’re never my first choice of films to watch. But this is good comedy. Maybe I should stick to old stuff? The writing is so much better than the shit we get today. I do love Jack Lemmon & he was easily my favorite thing about this. This is also the first Marilyn Monroe movie I’ve ever seen and I can now understand her sex appeal, although I can’t picture her playing any other sort of role. The character of Sugar Kane was perfect for her, though, and these three made for a fantastic trio (Tony Curtis being the other one). This was certainly one of the more enjoyable Top 250 films that I’ve watched in quite a while. My Rating: 7.5/10

Jumanji: Welcome To The JungleNot gonna lie – this film is a lot of fun & I really enjoyed it. I’ll review it in full on Sunday. My Rating: 7.5/10 (reviewed HERE)

Lion – I’m desperately trying to watch some of the many 2017 UK cinema releases that I missed out on before posting my end-of-year lists next week but I don’t think I’ll manage to see many more. I’ve started with all the “Oscar” movies, which we got here in January. They’ve been disappointing (Moonlight, Manchester By The Sea, Super Boring Jackie). All good but not “all-time great Oscar classics”. Lion is the same but I enjoyed it the most (although Moonlight & Manchester By The Sea are better films). I’m just not a heavy drama person & I’m a sucker for uplifting, happy endings. And Lion has an amazing true story which gave me warm fuzzies. I admit to not knowing the true story, however, and don’t know how much was added for dramatic effect. The ending felt a little too… Perfect? I wonder if that’s exactly how that went down. As a film, Lion is flawed. The pacing isn’t great and it felt far longer than it was. I had no idea that Dev Patel was only in half the film (he shows up halfway through) but that was okay as the young boy playing him in the first half (Sunny Pawar) was great. Where’s HIS nomination?! I liked how they spent a good amount of time showing his bond with his brother in the beginning. I expected to prefer the second half of the film but that’s where it dragged plus Rooney Mara felt a bit pointless. Nicole Kidman was very good (I used to hate her but I’m starting to like her). I’m rambling. Lion is a feel-good true story with good performances but the movie could’ve been a bit better. My Rating: 7/10

Roman Holiday Another one to tick off my Top 250 list. I was a little disappointed with this one. I think I had images from another Audrey Hepburn film confused with this one (not Breakfast At Tiffany’s or My Fair Lady – I’ve seen those). Anyway – it turned out that I knew nothing about this plot whatsoever or that she was a princess in it. I think it hasn’t aged as well as some of her more iconic films but I think that’s mainly because this same story has now been done in a lot of films since, although I recognize that it was probably a very original idea at the time. So the story itself is just okay but Hepburn & Gregory Peck are great together, which will be what makes this a beloved classic. Hepburn won an Oscar for Roman Holiday and I did enjoy seeing this fashion icon in an early role as I’ve not seen many of her films. Hubby pointed out that, along with Some Like It Hot, I watched two very different female icons of their time and it’s interesting to compare the two. I can see why both had their fans but I can’t identify with Hepburn in any way whatsoever. I guess I have no class. Plus, I like some curves and Monroe had some va-va-VOOM. But I also can’t identify with that! Conclusion: I like what I’ve seen of both of them. I need to watch more of their films. My Rating: 7/10

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – This was cute. Why the hell did people have such a problem with it?? People need to chill the f*%k out sometimes! It’s not as good as Frozen Fever but still enjoyable and I once again loved Anna’s & Elsa’s dresses. My Rating: 6.5/10

Life – Another 2017 film that I’ve just caught up on. Meh. It’s a highly flawed film but I did get some enjoyment out of it and I thought the alien was fairly well done. And the deaths were super gross in kind of a cool way. The characters were poorly developed but, if you’re simply wanting a death-by-evil-alien film, this will do. It’s interesting that it came out the same year as Alien: Covenant & I know some people preferred Life. As much as Covenant pissed me the hell off, I still have to say it’s the better film. Slightly. But both suck and Alien & Aliens kick the living SHIT out of them. My Rating: 6/10

StorksThis was fine. The babies were adorable. It’s not like this is a Disney or Pixar film, which are in a league of their own. But it was far better & more enjoyable than that stupid Sing movie that I watched last month. My Rating: 5.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt – This strange Western is the only novel I managed to read this month, plus half of a book of short horror stories (called Alfred Hitchcock’s Book Of Horror Stories: No. 6. This is soooo my type of thing). The Sisters Brothers 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 next year 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.

Currently Reading: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King– I was so happy to get this for Christmas! Love the concept. I’m about ten pages in… Hopefully I’ll be finished by the time I do my end-of-January post.

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Black Mirror – Season 1, Episode 3: The Entire History Of You & Season 2, Episode 1: Be Right Back‬. I’m loving this show & glad I’m finally watching it. I have to say, though, that The Entire History Of You was a very weak episode (starring the new Doctor Who Doctor Jodie Whittaker, I should add). But I expect there to be brilliant ones & bad ones and this one was a poor rip-off of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind but with hateful characters. Luckily, Be Right Back got the show back on track & is my favorite episode so far. Starring Domhnall Gleeson & Hayley Atwell, it was a thoughtful look at dealing with grief in a strange new way as well as questioning whether our social media personalities are a true reflection of who we really are.

Grey’s Anatomy: Season 14 so far. Why do I watch this stupid show? I think it’s because the hubby won’t let me watch anything without him that he might have the tiniest bit of interest in watching. So I get stuck watching shit like Grey’s Anatomy when alone. Thanks, hubby! ;-P

• The Walking Dead: Season 8 so far. The Walking Dead sucks SO much now that I’ve ranked it below Grey’s F*^king Anatomy. Someone bring Frank Darabont back! I don’t care how mean he is! He wouldn’t have written this season’s dumbest & most pointless death EVER. But, like Grey’s Anatomy, I’ve stuck with it this long that I feel I have to watch to the end. Watching the TV screen like a damn zombie…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

YEAR-END BEST OF 2017 LISTS!!!!! Yeah, I love lists. I have a different list ready to post every day next week starting on Monday. You’ll be sick of me by next Friday (if you aren’t already). 😉 Here are the lists I’ll be posting next week:

– My IMDB Top 250 Challenge Update
– My 2017 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked
– My Top Ten Books Read In 2017
– My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2017 (Release dates prior to 2017)
– My Top Ten Movies Of 2017 (Released in the UK in 2017)

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

I have to admit that I lose the will to live a little bit when looking at the list of upcoming 2018 films. Can anything other than superhero movies be made? Please?!?!? There are a few I’m looking forward to, though. It’ll be great to finally get to see The Shape Of Water in February after hearing about it for so long. But let’s see what’s out in January that I want to see…

Coco. Finally! I hate how the UK has to wait so long for Pixar films. Yet we get the Marvel stuff before America… I’d rather get the Pixar stuff first!

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Guess I gotta watch this with all the high ratings. Looks good. But I’m looking forward to February more. There are loads of movies I want to see in February! But I’ll talk about those in my January month-end recap.

See you all in 2018. Hope you have a Happy New Year! 🙂

I’m sorry. This pops into my head anytime I hear the Coco movie mentioned. Baking soda! Make it stop!!!

Wolf Children (2012) Blind Spot Review

Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪, Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda

Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story follows a young mother who is left to raise two half-human half-wolf children, Ame and Yuki, after their werewolf father dies.

My Opinion:

Here’s a list of all the Blind Spot films I watched this year from my least favorite to my favorite:

12. The Last Temptation Of Christ
11. Altered States
10. The Raid
9. The King & I
8. House (Hausu) (1977)
7. The Hustler
6. Jackie Brown
5. Wolf Children
4. Ghost In The Shell
3. The Untouchables
2. Watership Down
1. Rocky

Wolf Children is the second Mamoru Hosoda film I’ve seen after watching Summer Wars as a 2016 Blind Spot choice (I’m watching these out of order – I really need to watch his film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It’ll be a 2018 Blind Spot choice). Summer Wars was fun & I loved the concept but it’s easy to see why Wolf Children seems to be Hosoda’s most critically acclaimed film so far. It’s a beautifully animated film with far stronger characters than most live-action films can manage these days. 

My Japanese anime experience is mostly limited to the Studio Ghibli stuff, Akira & Ghost In The Shell. The latter two are clearly more hardcore “grown-up” anime while half of the Studio Ghibli stuff is kid-friendly and half is aimed more at teenagers & up. Wolf Children is like the slighty more grown-up & coming-of-age Ghibli films (Spirited Away is the easiest comparison). It’s not as magically bizzare as the Hayao Miyazaki Ghiblis (what IS?!) but I have to admit that I liked it more than most of the non-Miyazaki Ghiblis. I’ll definitely be watching the rest of Hosoda’s biggest films but know that I’ve now seen the one considered his best. Oh, and FYI: I noticed that his 2015 film The Boy And The Beast is on Amazon Prime Video if you have that. I need to find the time to watch that.


As I said, I can see why Wolf Children has received so much praise. It’s beautiful to look at, especially the scenes set in the snowy woods. The wolf children themselves are absolutely adorable. I want some wolf babies! Okay, maybe not: I have to admit that the wolf/human sex scene was a little disturbing. I suppose teenage Twilight girls would probably like this film… Oh, shit. I’m not comparing this to Twilight! Sorry!!! This is nothing like Twilight!!!!

Human/Wolf sex aside, the love story is tastefully done and the movie is more about the story of the children as they grow up and try to fit in with the other human children in their community. I loved these two characters with their strong & very different personalities (shy & scared brother, bold & outgoing older sister) and the way that their personalities are affected by their experiences as they grow older. I do always love a good coming of age film and Wolf Children is a great addition to that genre. I’m very glad that I added this to my Blind Spot list and finally got around to watching it. There will definitely be some more anime in my 2018 Blind Spot list, which I’ll post in a couple of weeks.

My Rating: 8/10

See you tomorrow with my month-in-review post & next week for all my 2017 year-end lists! I think I keep this blog going only to be able to do the year-end lists. 😉 Love them! I’ll be posting:

– My IMDB Top 250 Challenge Update
– My 2017 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked
– My Top Ten Books Read In 2017
– My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2017 (Release dates prior to 2017)
– My Top Ten Movies Of 2017 (Released in the UK in 2017)

My Top Ten Samuel L. Jackson Movies

Happy Birthday to Samuel L. Jackson, who is 69 today.

I love Jackson! I’m not sure if I ever see him as anything other than Samuel L. Jackson in his roles… But that’s okay since he’s cool.

And, holy crap, Jackson has been in loads of stuff. He has 167 credits with another 10 “upcoming” roles listed at IMDb. I know he does a lot of cameos so I’ve included every movie I’ve seen where he’s been given a credit (other than Inglourious Basterds, where he apparently provided an “uncredited voice”). I’ll be honest – I don’t remember him in some of the below films. And some I saw so long ago that I barely remember the films themselves so I’ve left them off the main list & listed them separately.

So, counting down to my favorites (films, not performances) & including everything I’ve seen, here are My Top Ten Samuel L. Jackson Movies:

29-21:

29. Cell
28. Sea Of Love
27. The Long Kiss Goodnight
26. A Time To Kill
25. Jumper
24. Deep Blue Sea
23. Die Hard: With A Vengeance
22. Snakes On A Plane
21. Big Game

Top Twenty:

20. The Hateful Eight
19. Patriot Games
18. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
17. Out Of Sight
16. Kingsman: The Secret Service
15. 1408
14. Do The Right Thing
13. Coming To America
12. Fluke
11. Unbreakable

Top Ten:

10. Django Unchained

9. True Romance

8. The Avengers Movies

7. The Star Wars Prequels

6. Pulp Fiction

5. Jackie Brown

4. Kill Bill: Vol 2

3. Goodfellas

2. The Incredibles

1. Jurassic Park

Some I Saw But Don’t Remember Well Enough To Include In List:
Menace II Society, Juice, Lakeview Terrace, Loaded Weapon, Sphere, Changing Lanes

Some I’ve Not Seen:
The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Kong: Skull Island, The Legend Of Tarzan, RoboCop (2014), Turbo, Old Boy (2013), The Other Guys, Black Snake Moan, Coach Carter, The xXx Movies, The 51st State, Shaft, Rules Of Engagement, The Red Violin, The Negotiator, 187, Hard Eight, Trees Lounge, Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, The Exorcist III, Betsy’s Wedding

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Review

***SPOILER-FREE Initial Thoughts***

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Directed & Written by Rian Johnson

Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro

Music by John Williams

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.

My Opinion:

When I reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens (HERE), I wrote about it right after seeing it and before having time to fully process it. I didn’t want to put a rating on it right away & I didn’t want to go overboard on raving about how much I loved it just in case I was still too high on the feeling of having seen a new STAR WARS MOVIE!!!!

I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy and I can’t see ever loving one of the new films quite as much but The Force Awakens came very close. I knew immediately that I loved it, even though I tried to hold back a bit when first writing about it. With The Last Jedi, it’s a bit different. I’m again writing this too soon after seeing it, which I don’t really like to do as I like to think about a film first. However, this time I’m not worried about going overboard raving about my love of the movie. This time, I’m afraid of being too harsh. This time, I don’t immediately love the movie. At least, I don’t think I do. I hate to make a statement like that so soon as maybe I’ll change my mind. I hope I change my mind.

Don’t worry – this isn’t like the prequels. This is a good film. I think the problem, for me, is that it isn’t much like Star Wars. I didn’t feel that way about The Force Awakens. That film instantly felt like a part of the Star Wars universe. I love Rey & Finn & BB-8 and it didn’t take long at all for me to accept them as a part of that world. I don’t feel that way about any of the new characters introduced in The Last Jedi. In fact, I thought there were too many new additions and it took time away from further developing existing characters that I actually care about.

Okay – let’s do this a different way otherwise I’ll just ramble on incoherently. As I’m still processing the film, I’ll try to separate my thoughts out into the good stuff & the not-so-good stuff.

What I Liked:

Several Great Moments Linking To The Original Trilogy. Well, this is tough to talk about in any sort of way as I have to stay completely spoiler-free. I mean, I’m not Holly Willoughby (yeah, she spoiled something major live on TV. you can see a clip here if you really want a big spoiler. luckily, I don’t watch TV). There are a few really good moments involving original trilogy characters and those moments made me feel all warm & fuzzy. And I guess that’s all I can say. Let’s discuss this movie like crazy in the comments, though! My comment section can be a spoiler zone!

Again Seeing Characters I Know & Love. Obviously. How awesome to see Luke doing much more than just standing there & staring at Rey. And Mark Hamill does a fantastic job, by the way. Loved him! And Leia… I’ll forever be heartbroken about Carrie Fisher and hate knowing she can’t be in the final film. Luckily, she does have plenty to do in this one compared to the last one. R2-D2 (my personal favorite), C-3PO, Chewbacca… I adore these characters. I grew up with them. I’ll always love seeing them up on screen. And, of course, it was great to see Rey & Kylo Ren develop much more (especially Kylo, as he came across as a slightly whiny emo kid last time). Finn has a lot to do but I felt he was quite wasted and far preferred his storyline in The Force Awakens. Poe also has a much bigger role this time but I don’t really feel much of a connection with him. And BB-8 rules. I do care about these Force Awakens characters, even though it’ll never be quite as much as I care about the original trilogy characters. Unfortunately, I can’t say I care about any of the new characters in The Last Jedi (more about that later).

Porgs. They’re cute.

What I Didn’t Like So Much:

Porgs. They’re utterly & completely pointless.

The New Characters. Oh man. After the fantastic job they did with the introduction of new characters in The Force Awakens, I really was expecting to walk away from this one with at least a couple of new favorites. The best new addition is probably Rose. I liked her & Kelly Marie Tran did well in the role but it’s far too big of a part. We already have our main characters. I think this wasn’t helped by the fact that her storyline dragged a little and, by having so much time devoted to it, it was taking time away from characters we already know and want to see much more of than we do (I’ll get to this later – don’t expect to see very much of the “lesser” original trilogy characters in this). Laura Dern also does a good job, but… Why should I care about this character who has come from out of nowhere? There are other characters around Leia who we already know & who I’d have rather seen given more authority & screen time. Benicio del Toro was very Benicio del Toro. Meh.

Not Enough Of The Original Trilogy Characters. Maybe a tiny spoiler but don’t expect to see much of R2-D2, C-3PO or Chewbacca. I’m extremely disappointed with how little screen time they got.

Some Of The Comedy. I love the small bits of comedy in the Star Wars original trilogy & in The Force Awakens. There’s even more in this, which was unexpected as it’s a dark film but wasn’t totally unwelcome. We need bits of comedy that are done well & they worked perfectly in the previous films. I got a few giggles from The Last Jedi but I have to agree with the hubby when he said that the humor in this one felt more like what we get in a Marvel movie. Okay, fine. I guess. But it didn’t feel like Star Wars humor. It just didn’t quite fit.

Very Few Great Images. I’ve seen some comments already about how good this movie looks. I agree there’s some “pretty” imagery. The use of red works really well. But the whole film is so damn dark. And there weren’t really any moments where I thought “wow – that’s a great, artistic shot”. I can think of SO many images from the original trilogy that looked amazing and like something you’d hang up and frame as a work of art. I know not everyone cares about this sort of thing but it’s very important to me. It’s a big part of why I’m a weird girl who likes things like Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns. They’re gorgeous. I want to see art up on the big screen. This movie feels more focused on telling its (somewhat convoluted) story. The story is important, yes. But so is everything else. Check out this video the hubby sent me of “The Star Wars: Concept Trailer“, which shows what Star Wars would look like if all of Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art had been used. Can we please get these students to work on the next Star Wars film??

The Shades Of Gray. This is something that people will either love or hate (mostly love). It seems there can be no simple good vs evil in movies anymore. Everyone wants shades of gray and conflicted characters and blah blah blah. And that’s fine & I totally get that. That’s exactly what I want from a lot of films, especially sci-fi. From things like Blade Runner 2049. From Star Wars? Not quite so much. Give me the Joseph Campbell hero’s journey thing. It was done beautifully in the original trilogy and the formula clearly works otherwise there wouldn’t be this massive Star Wars following. The Force Awakens started to follow the same pattern. Now? I don’t know. Just be prepared to see these movies go in a completely different direction now. And R2-D2 & C-3PO will clearly no longer be our “droid guides” through this journey. They seem to have been cast aside. Which leads me to my next gripe…

The Way It Feels Like The Original Trilogy Characters Are Being Cast Aside. I’m very happy that Luke & Leia are given loads of screen time in this. I don’t really have any complaints about how their characters were handled. As I said, though, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca and some other characters I won’t mention (not sure what’s common knowledge when it comes to others) are truly cast aside in this film. It felt almost as though Rian Johnson wants rid of them & to focus more on all new characters. I know times are very different nowadays and people are demanding that things be new & constantly changed, but this is the most beloved film franchise. Do it justice. Don’t throw it away. Did J.J. Abrams do too much “fan service” in The Force Awakens? Maybe. But this is Star Wars. The rules are a little different. Surely you can keep old as well as new fans happy.

I Can’t See Where They’ll Go With The Next Film Or Why We Should Care. I also can’t say much about this in order to avoid spoilers. Let’s just say that I’m less excited about the next film now. I think it’s going to be too “different” for my own liking. The hubby & I have discussed this movie quite a bit since seeing it (as much as I love it, he’s a far bigger Star Wars fan than I am) and I think we both feel similar in not yet knowing exactly what to think about it. It’s disappointing to not instantly love it. One thing he asked me is if I feel that these sequels are adding to the story in a way that feels right or if they’re starting to kind of ruin the magic of the original trilogy now. Okay – that’s not quite how he phrased it but it was something like that. At this point in time, I can say that I thought The Force Awakens was taking my beloved Star Wars forward in a way that would do no harm to the original trilogy’s legacy. After seeing The Last Jedi, I’m not sure if I can make that same statement. I guess we’ll have to see where Episode IX takes us and just hope that it doesn’t damage something that so many of us love.

Overall, at the moment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has left me feeling a little bit cold. Which is heartbreaking. I’ll give it my initial rating, which I may think is a bit too low once I’ve watched the movie a second time. We’ll see (and maybe it will change depending on what I think of the next film & how it all ties in). But I can’t see my rating going up by more than half a point.

My Rating: 8/10

Now let’s discuss this movie in the Comments! SPOILERS ALLOWED!!! I’m dying to discuss this. 🙂 Just try to still put a warning & a bit of a gap….

My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies

Happy Birthday to Steve Buscemi, who turns 60 today.

I love Steve Buscemi. What a great face! I like an interesting face. And I like when he’s in those Adam Sandler movies. I don’t care what people say – I don’t hate Sandler (but I don’t love him, either).

Anyway! It’s close to Christmas & I have a lot of bullshit going on & I don’t have time to dilly-dally (I love that word). So let’s just get to my countdown…

Here are My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies (ranked by how much I like the movie – not by performance). I’ve seen 24 in total, though, so let’s start counting down from 24 to be awkward.

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

24. Rising Sun
23. Domestic Disturbance
22. The Grifters
21. Mr. Deeds
20. Escape From L.A.
19. The Island
18. The Hotel Transylvania Movies
17. Grown Ups
16. Ghost World
15. 28 Days
14. Billy Madison
13. Airheads
12. Fargo
11. Armageddon

Top Ten:

10. The Big Lebowski

9. Big Daddy

8. Monsters University

7. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

6. Big Fish

5. Pulp Fiction

4. Con Air

3. Reservoir Dogs

2. The Wedding Singer

1. Monsters, Inc.

Need To Re-Watch:
Monster House (I know I liked it at the time but don’t remember it now)

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Billy Bathgate, The Hudsucker Proxy, Desperado, Interview, On The Road

Honorable Mention:

I need to mention an episode of Tales From The Crypt called Forever Ambergris, which starred Steve Buscemi & The Who’s Roger Daltrey. I reviewed that episode in full a couple of years ago and, for some odd reason, it’s become my second most-viewed post of the past five years. A week doesn’t go by without it getting some views. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because of the nasty images from it that I posted (it was a pretty damn gross episode!). This is Buscemi and it’s not the worst he looks in the show:

Well, I have to say that I’m happy it’s one of my most-viewed posts since it’s one of my favorites. I went to town on that one! I actually made a half-arsed effort to make that one somewhat entertaining. What I mean is this: it sucks slightly less than my usual shit. So here’s a link to that post if you’re bothered. 🙂

Oh, and tomorrow afternoon I’ll do my best to post my review of a little indie film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi…. (I’m so damn excited!).

Ace In The Hole (1951) Review

Happy 101st Birthday (tomorrow) to Kirk Douglas! Last year, I reviewed his film The Fury for his 100th birthday & said that I really should review Spartacus for birthday 101. And I’ve totally not watched it yet again! Maybe for birthday 102. 🙂

Instead, I noticed this obscure Billy Wilder film showing on TV & was intrigued by its synopsis. Here’s my review of the Kirk Douglas film Ace In The Hole

Ace In The Hole (1951) (aka The Big Carnival)

Directed by Billy Wilder

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Ace in the Hole (aka The Big Carnival) is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper.

My Opinion:

I’ve now seen more Billy Wilder films than I realized. He has an impressive resume (CV to the British)! Let’s see what I’ve seen… The Apartment (my favorite), Witness For The Prosecution, Sunset Boulevard, Double Idemnity, and Some Like It Hot (I just watched this over the weekend & thoroughly enjoyed it). So I really liked the sound of Ace In The Hole and was happy to watch it as I’ve been impressed with Wilder’s cleverly written & entertaining films so far.

I’d say that this movie certainly has his fantastic writing style and its themes make it feel far ahead of its time and just as relevant nowadays (maybe even more so now). But I can see why it’s not as well known as the others I’ve just listed. No, I lie – I can’t explain why it’s not as good as the others. It’s just not as memorable. The writing is just as clever but, compared to those others, it’s lacking the truly iconic imagery & quotable lines that I instantly think of from all of Wilder’s other movies.

It’s a good story, however. It’s very dark and shows the lengths the media will go to in order to sell newspapers. The medium may be different nowadays but things haven’t changed at all. I suppose the only difference is that nowadays we have people happily willing to exploit themselves thanks to the Internet. In Ace In The Hole, Kirk Douglas plays a shady reporter who happens upon a story involving a man who has become trapped in a collapsed cave. In order to prolong the story, Douglas helps convince those involved in the rescue effort to use a method that will take much longer to free the man. I won’t say much beyond that to avoid spoilers but the whole thing becomes a big story and lots of people travel to the site of this cave-in, which becomes a big spectacle (the movie was also known as The Big Carnival as they literally turn the place into a carnival while the man remains trapped).

Overall, Ace In The Hole isn’t Wilder’s best film but it’s worth watching if you’re a fan of his work. It’s much darker & more cynical than a lot of his other films, which seems to be a big reason why the film wasn’t that well received at the time. I liked it as I always enjoy films that show humanity in its worst (true) light. Douglas does well as the cocky reporter and I think he took his shirt off at least once if I remember correctly (seriously – that guy is always half naked in his movies. What’s up with that??). It probably deserves a slightly higher rating and it’s a well written film but it’s a bit disappointing compared to Wilder’s most famous movies.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2017

I’m again starting up a month-in-review post as I can’t find the time lately to do full movie reviews but would still like to at least briefly discuss the things I’ve seen & read each month. Here’s a quick look at the month of November…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Only one movie reviewed this month due to lack of time:

The Untouchables, which was my November 2017 Blind Spot choice. Great film! Glad I finally watched it. My Rating: 8/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

• The French Connection – This is a Blind Spot 2018 choice of mine & I decided to get a head start by watching it now. It’s good but not as good as I was expecting. I definitely preferred The Untouchables. I’ll review this film in depth in January after posting my full list of 2018 Blind Spot films… My Rating: 7.5/10

• Moonlight – This was good. Was it “All-time classic, Oscar-worthy” good? Not really. It’s probably the best of the nominees, though, as it was weak year (La La Land is overrated). Mahershala Ali was very good & had a “presence” that not all actors have. I’m glad he won the Supporting Actor Oscar but was disappointed to find it was quite a small role. I’m also glad that Naomie Harris didn’t win as I feel that exact same sort of role has been played far better in countless other films. I really liked the character of Kevin (especially adult Kevin), who is the one & only friend of the main protagonist, Chiron. But it was very hard to feel a connection to Chiron, played by three actors in three stages of life, due to his traumatic childhood making him extremely shy and reserved. I felt sympathy for him but couldn’t feel much more than that as we never really got to “know” him. Moonlight is a good film but it wasn’t as emotionally powerful as I was hoping. It did pick up in the final half hour or so and I really liked the ending. I think it’s a better film and that the emotions felt much more genuine than in Manchester By The Sea, which I watched as a double feature with this (what a fun time that was!). But this is also one of those “heavy Oscar dramas” that I’ll probably only watch once then never again. My Rating: 7/10

• Manchester By The Sea – Hmm. This was okay but it felt a little contrived. I don’t do well with heavy dramas but I especially struggle with ones that don’t come across as fully genuine. I was surprised to find there was a bit of a dark humor throughout the film, especially with how Casey Affleck & his nephew (Lucas Hedges) interacted, which was a welcome relief from all the depressing drama! Hedges was fun to watch as a pretty typical & well-liked teenage boy. Affleck did well as a seemingly emotionless man whose tragic past has forever completely changed who he is as a person. When you find out why, f*^k…. No one should have to go through that and your heart breaks for him while, at the same time, you kind of hate him. And then, of course, it sounds like he may not be the nicest guy in real life. And then you get really annoyed and try to just think of this as the fictional movie that it is. Holy shit it’s depressing. At least Moonlight felt a little more hopeful, I guess. My Rating: 7/10

• Jackie – Erm. I’m sorry but I was thoroughly bored while watching this, which I certainly hadn’t been expecting. I’m terrible when it comes to anything to do with history (it was always my least favorite subject in school) and I truly knew nothing about Jackie O. And, after watching this movie, I still feel like I know absolutely nothing. I know that Portman was supposedly very good only because that’s what people said. Did Jackie really sound like that??? Bizarre. I just found it very difficult to care, which is quite a feat as you’d think such a traumatic true story would create a very sympathetic character. I don’t know. Sorry! I just thought this was a truly weak film considering its powerful potential. My Rating: 6/10

• Sing – Ugh. Sing was shit. I know it’s not Disney or Pixar so I had pretty low expectations anyway. But… Sheesh. I wish they’d stop pumping out crap like this. Kids are smart. They want better than this! My Rating: 4.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst):

• Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – I read this as it’s being made into a television series by HBO & starring my girl crush Amy Adams. Gillian Flynn also wrote Gone Girl, which I reviewed HERE and which I liked okay despite thinking it was a bit f*^ked-up. Holy hell… Gone Girl ain’t got nothing on Sharp Objects!!! These may be the most f*^ked-up characters EVER. And I kind of enjoyed the book. It’s so seriously f*^ked-up and over-the-top that I ended up quite entertained. I guess. I’m not sure if you can take that as a recommendation or not… 😉 My Rating: 3.5/5

• Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – I read this as it’s supposedly going to be made into a film by one of my favorite directors, Richard Linklater. It’s an odd book, told mostly through e-mails and letters between characters. It’s about a teenage girl whose eccentric mother, Bernadette, goes missing. Bernadette is indeed an intriguing character and I can see why Linklater would be interested in putting her on the big screen. I found it very hard to get into this book & its storytelling style, though. The characters are fun but you’d probably either love this book or hate it depending on if you buy into the characters or not. My Rating: 3/5

• The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – This is a Young Adult novel about a teenage girl whose older sister dies unexpectedly. Again, I read this as it looks like they’re planning on making it into a movie but there are no specific details yet. I thought the story handled grief quite well and that the characters were strong but it’s very much a “YA” novel so won’t be for everyone. My Rating: 3/5

Currently Reading: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt – This will be a 2018 Western film starring John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix & Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m struggling to get into this one…

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Black Mirror: Season 1, Episode 2: Fifteen Million Merits – I’ve finally convinced the hubby to start watching these with me after I recovered from episode 1 (that was seriously f*^ked-up). My all-time favorite TV show is the original The Twilight Zone so I knew Black Mirror would probably be my sort of thing. I liked episode two a hell of a lot more than the first one and now can’t wait to continue. I loved the dystopian future displayed in episode 2 and, of course, the usual morality lessons that were done in the same way in the 1950s with The Twilight Zone (that show was SO ahead of its time!). Daniel Kaluuya, from Get Out, did a very good job in this (I wonder if this role is what got him noticed for that film). I really hope the rest of the episodes are as good…

Stranger Things: Season 2 – As with all things with as much hype as this show, season 2 didn’t manage to quite live up to season 1. I just sincerely hope they know when to quit with this one instead of dragging it out for years (like The Walking Dead!!! Ugh). What I did love was seeing these thoroughly likable characters again and getting to know them even better. I still like this show a lot and think that, if they make just one more season and concentrate on making it a damn good final season, it’ll be seen as a bit of a classic years from now. The story isn’t perfect but the characters and the style make it lots of fun.

• The Walking Dead: Season 8 so far – I’ve fallen behind & not watched the last two episodes that aired. Because I’M BORED!! This show started out strong but has gotten worse & worse every season. I’ve had enough. At this point I’m continuing just because I’ve watched it so long now that I feel like I have to see it through to the end. Meh.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

As December is the month from hell, I have no blog plans. Damn you, Christmas! I sound like Scrooge. All I want to make sure to do is review my December Blind Spot film (Wolf Children). But it’s unlikely that I’ll make it to the cinema to see any films. Other than THE ONLY film that MATTERS…

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Yeah, baby! I’m not missing this one. My ticket has been booked for ages. Can’t wait!!!

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle – Okay, I admit that I want to see this one. I love Jack Black. Since the kid wants to see it too, it’s likely that we’ll make this one a Family Movie Night.

Beyond these two, I don’t even have a clue what’s coming out this month. I’ve fallen so behind on new releases this year. So feel free to make any recommendations on movies I shouldn’t miss! 🙂

Happy 5th Blogiversary To Me

Yikes. Five years?! I honestly didn’t think I’d be doing this movie blogging thing for five years.

I want to say a huge thank you to the fellow bloggers who’ve dropped by in these last five years & had little chats with me on my silly movie & book reviews. I’m sorry I’ve been around a lot less this year and hate that it’s becoming almost impossible to spend any time on my blog or on the blogs that I follow. The whole reason for starting this blog was so that I could discuss movies with fellow film lovers since, in the real world, it’s hard to find obsessive movie nerds. You think I talk about movies all day long with people at work? Hell no! (That would be fun, though – where can I get a job like that?). So, thank you again to the special few who were here from the start and are still around and to all the lovely newer bloggers who’ve come along since. I feel like an “old blogger” now!

I always say I need to cut back on the time I spend here and I’ve done that this year but I’ll be doing it even more in 2018. I’d always kind of planned on quitting on my 5th anniversary but I’d miss the occasional movie chats as well as the one other reason I keep this thing going: to use it as a “movie diary” and keep a log of all I’ve seen & read. Because, as well as being a movie nerd, I’m also massive LIST NERD! I now have a record of every movie I’ve watched since 2012. Which is totally not important when the world is f*^%ing falling apart, right?! To psychoanalyze myself, I think it helps keeps me calm in the face of all the bullshit in the world. Or something. Nicely ordered lists! Nicely ordered lists could create world peace!!

So, I do have a plan to keep this blog going with a bare minimum of posts in 2018. I’ll focus only on reviewing 12 more Blind Spot movies (as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that project) and the 2018 UK cinema releases I manage to see. The main other thing I’ll do is bring back an end-of-month post so I can at least very briefly discuss all I’ve watched in that month. At the moment, the movies I watch at home are getting no attention as I don’t have time for full-length reviews. I’ve watched a lot of really good movies this year and am annoyed to have not even mentioned some of them (For example, I really liked an obscure movie called The Frame. Here’s the IMDb link. I believe it’s still showing on Amazon Video.)

With these blogiversary posts, I tend to do a “Year In Review” post since it’s close to the end of the year anyway. This time, I’m going to do a “Five-Year Review“(!!). One thing I can really thank this blog for is that I’ve seen some TRULY brilliant movies since starting it because of things like my IMDB Top 250 Challenge and the Blind Spot project. Knowing you’ll be writing for a blog kind of helps “force” you to finally watch the more highly acclaimed classics you’d been avoiding for no good reason. Plus there’ve been some damn good new movies released since 2012. SO GET READY FOR SOME LISTS!!!! Let’s see if these can create universal harmony.

Here are some ranked lists of my favorite movies I’ve seen & the best books I’ve read for the very first time since starting this blog in November 2012….

My Top 20 Books Read Since 2012 (No one gives a shit about books so let’s get this list out of the way first.): 😉

Top Twenty:

20. End Of Watch by Stephen King
19. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
18. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
17. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
16. The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker
15. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
14. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
13. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
12. Horns by Joe Hill
11. The Fireman by Joe Hill

Top Ten:

10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
9. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
8. The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
7. Joyland by Stephen King
6. The Martian by Andy Weir
5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
3. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett
2. Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin
1. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

My Top 30 Older Movies Seen For The First Time Since Starting This Blog (Movies Released Before November 2012):

Top Thirty:

30. Daft Punk’s Electroma
29. The Return Of The Living Dead
28. Million Dollar Baby
27. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari
26. Escape From Alcatraz
25. Howl’s Moving Castle
24. The Last Unicorn
23. Ghost In The Shell (1995)
22. Ikiru
21. Natural Born Killers

Top Twenty:

20. The Untouchables
19. The Secret In Their Eyes
18. The Kid
17. Watership Down
16. Grave Of The Fireflies
15. Escape From New York
14. Battle Royale
13. Kiki’s Delivery Service
12. The Great Escape
11. Laputa: Castle In The Sky

Top Ten:

10. Road House (Seriously. How had I never seen this huge slice of AWESOMEBAD?!)
9. Rocky
8. Modern Times
7. Princess Mononoke
6. Akira
5. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
4. The Bridge On The River Kwai
3. City Lights
2. The Warriors
1. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind 

(If you only knew how many times I flipped numbers 1 & 2 around…)

My Top 30 New Releases Seen For The First Time Since Starting This Blog (Movies Released After November 2012):

Top Thirty:

30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
29. Your Name
28. Rush
27. Circle
26. Gravity
25. Robot & Frank
24. The Way Way Back
23. Baby Driver
22. Wreck-It Ralph
21. Edge Of Tomorrow

Top Twenty:

20. Train To Busan
19. The Wolf Of Wall Street
18. The Lego Movie
17. Ex Machina
16. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
15. It Follows
14. The Babadook
13. Predestination
12. Space Station 76
11. Sing Street

Top Ten:

10. In Your Eyes
9. Frozen
8. Blade Runner 2049
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
6. It
5. Inside Out
4. Guardians Of The Galaxy
3. Arrival
2. Room
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Yep – I can’t NOT have a Star Wars film as my number one movie released since 2012. I can’t wait for The Last Jedi in a couple of weeks!

As you can see from these lists, I really do have this blog to thank for my newfound love of Studio Ghibli & Charlie Chaplin. I’d seen & loved My Neighbor Totoro & Spirited Away before blogging but decided to watch all the rest of the Miyazaki films for a month of Ghibli reviews. I’d seen no Chaplin at all before 2012. I highly recommend his stuff to all true film lovers, especially City Lights & Modern Times.

Oh yeah! I also discovered a love of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, it seems. I loved The Dollars Trilogy (especially the music in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly) and Once Upon A Time In The West. Brilliant! Thank you, blog! 

The other two directors I’ve been trying to further explore are John Carpenter (I’d already seen the majority of his best films, though) and Akira Kurosawa. That’s why they have the only two films in the lists above which I haven’t yet reviewed as I want to devote an entire week (or month) to their work someday in the future.

Okay – it’s time for me to shut up. You all probably stopped reading halfway through my lists anyway. Ha! I don’t know how many movies I’ve seen in these last five years (I’m too lazy to count, although I do have them all listed year by year on my blog pages). But I’d say I average about 100 per year. So… Narrowing it down to 60 favorites out of 500 isn’t too bad! Thank you again, everyone! Especially those who made it to the very end of this post… 😉

Now, as I feel really bad about putting The Warriors in second place after originally having it at number one, I’ll end this post with the ending of the movie. Seems appropriate. All our lives deserve appropriate songs that play over our end credits. Hmm. That sounded a little morbid. Sing it, Joe!

Actually, I want Morricone to score my real life end credits…

The Untouchables (1987) Blind Spot Review

The Untouchables (1987)

Directed by Brian De Palma

Based on The Untouchables by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley

Starring: Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

My Opinion:

Here’s a list of all the Blind Spot films I watched this year from my least favorite to my favorite:

12. The Last Temptation Of Christ
11. Altered States
10. The Raid
9. The King & I
8. House (Hausu) (1977)
7. The Hustler
6. Jackie Brown
5. Wolf Children
4. Ghost In The Shell
3. The Untouchables
2. Watership Down
1. Rocky

Well, damn. I liked The Untouchables far more than I was expecting. It’s a great film. I have to admit that “crime” drama, especially when based on true crime, is quite possibly my least favorite movie genre. I don’t know why but know I’m probably in the minority. The Silence Of The Lambs? Not a fan. Not that that was exactly true crime. As for true crime, I couldn’t even make it through that Making A Murderer thing that everyone was talking about on Netflix. I don’t know the outcome. I stopped watching halfway through and wondered why it couldn’t just be a two-hour documentary.

But back to The Untouchables. I have NO clue how true it is to real events. Okay – I looked into in a bit and it looks like this film is almost entirely fiction. That’s fine – true crime upsets me anyway. Well, however much of it is true or not, I thoroughly enjoyed this film as a work of art & entertainment. It deserves more acclaim. And I was probably further drawn into it thanks to the Ennio Morricone score as well. Man I love that f*^king genius. I’d say I’m also a fan of quite a few of Brian De Palma’s older movies and I think this is his best film (that I’ve seen, that is, but I’m pretty sure I’ve now seen all those worth watching). I prefer it to Scarface but, since I’m always completely honest, Carrie is still my personal favorite of his although I know it’s flawed.

As with all the movies that I like the most, The Untouchables is full of strong characters and relationships. In this case, it’s the camaraderie amongst the team put together by Federal Agent Eliot Ness to bring down criminal Al Capone. That team was nicknamed The Untouchables, FYI, as it was claimed that they never took bribes and were incorruptible. These guys here – I loved ’em:

Yeah! Even Sean Connery was likable. Anal bum cover! He was the main partner to Ness and my favorite character. His Irish(?!) accent seemed a bit dodgy but that’s Connery for you. He won an Oscar for this role anyway (yay!) so I guess it didn’t matter. And I’ve never been a huge fan of Andy García but he was super cool in this. To be honest, I thought the only weak one in this film was Robert De Niro as Al Capone. I liked that his part was smaller than I expected (this is meant to be the story of Ness & The Untouchables, after all). He’s just done the gangster thing much better in other movies. Sorry, De Niro fans!

There are some great iconic scenes in this film as well, such as the bit with the baby buggy that most of you will have seen in clips over the years as I had. Oh, and I’ve not even mentioned Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness… I think we all got pretty sick of Costner by the mid-90s, right? I honestly would happily never watch him in another movie again, which is probably a little unfair but, f*^k it, he won’t be reading this. However, I have to admit that he was pretty perfect in the role of Ness so I have zero complaints. Good job, Kevin Costner!

I just want to end this with what my hubby said about the movie when we were discussing it & I think Costner ties into this a bit: This movie would be considered more of a classic up there with the likes of The Godfather if it had been made in the 70s instead of the 80s. As much as I love the 80s, it didn’t produce a lot of all-time classics and the gritty look & feel of Seventies filmmaking would have really given this film the extra edge it seems to be missing. Plus there’s the fact that Kevin Costner is in it… He just doesn’t scream “star of all-time gangster classic!” to me. Why am I so anti-Costner?! I have no idea. He was good in this. I liked this a hell of a lot and find it odd that it isn’t more highly rated (it’s not even in the IMDB Top 250, which I think it deserves to be). Quite frankly, it deserved a Best Picture Oscar nomination as well. These were the nominees that year: The Last Emperor, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory & Moonstruck. Whaaat? Okay – I’ve not seen winner The Last Emperor but The Untouchables is better than all the other nominees (although I have a soft spot for Fatal Attraction). Stupid Oscars. If you haven’t seen The Untouchables and you’re interested in doing the Blind Spot thing, I’d recommend adding it to your list. It’s well worth the watch.

My Rating: 8/10

TAG – Five Flaming Hotties

I was tagged by blogger MIB (of MIB’s Instant Headache) to participate in the Five Flaming Hotties blog game thingymabob. So here are the rules as that’s a requirement and I don’t want a kitten to die or something if I don’t post them:

– Mention the name of the blog you were tagged by, as well as the creators of this game Realweegiemidget Reviews and Thoughts All Sorts, linking back to all blogs involved and including the picture above.
– List five of your greatest hotties from TV and/or film, i.e. crushes/objects of your affection, including musicians or sports stars too.
– Tell us how you were “introduced” to them and why you like them/what appeals.
– Add some appealing pictures.
– Tag seven bloggers for their Five Flaming Hotties.
– Post the rules.

Well, I’m not going to tag people but anyone who reads this is free to participate if they choose to do so. What can I say? I’m more of a dog person anyway. 😉

I must confess that I’m old and not exactly full of lust for any famous people anymore (other than Chris Hemsworth). And, lately, it seems like we’re finding out that a bunch of them are disgustingly horrible people (although we probably suspected that already), which makes doing a list like this even more difficult. I’m already thinking “Oh man, I listed The Cosby Show as one of my favorite TV shows in an old post on this blog as well as posting a Kevin Spacey Top Ten. Am I going to have to go deleting old posts now that we’re finding out that Hollywood is nasty???” I’d probably have to lose half my blog content. Just make good movies & be good people, dammit!

Okay – I’ll pick five hotties & I sincerely hope that they’re nice people in real life. Because, although it sounds like bullshit, what turns me on the most is 1) Someone who is genuine & honest and who can be trusted (my biggest pet peeves are arrogance, phoney people & backstabbers) 2) Someone with a great sense of humor and 3) Someone with a brain and common sense (number three seems especially hard to find these days). I also like laidback people who aren’t full of drama. Fucking chill, people! I feel like the world is completely fucking insane at the moment. Seriously – I’m struggling to do this post because I’m too annoyed lately to be able to do something lighthearted & fun like this.

Okay. Shut up, woman! Let’s just do this Hotties thing. I contemplated putting both men & women in this list as I find a lot of women very beautiful although I’m not attracted to them. But I’ll stick to men since that’s my thing. Unless they’re assholes – I’m not one of those girls who likes the mean guys. Instant turn off!

Wait. You know what? I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to list fictional movie characters I like based on personality as well as looks. I need to know a guy isn’t an asshole before I can decide if I actually find him attractive and that’s the honest truth. Fictional characters can’t let me down! Lloyd Dobler will forever be nothing but a sweetheart. So here we go…

5. Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. Played by Michael Schoeffling.

As far as looks only, Jake Ryan was my ideal hunk as a teen. Brown hair, brown eyes, perfect face (although, looking at him now, he seems a bit too “handsome dull”). He’d have been higher on this list at one point but, although he was sweet to the nerd girl, his personality was a bit “handsome dull” as well. I’m also pretty sure that Jake Ryan was a meathead jock getting by on a C average and he didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor. So, he was really only “nice” & “handsome”. There’s not enough going on besides the good looks but I’d be lying to myself if I excluded him from this list. All girls my age had a huge crush on the completely unattainable Jake Ryan. (Because, honestly – there’s no fucking way that a “Jake Ryan” would like the quiet nerd girl in real life).

4. Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. Played by John Cusack.

THE perfect (and, of course, fictional) boyfriend. And, unlike Jake Ryan, he felt much more realistic. It felt like he could be MY boyfriend. But Lloyd Dobler holding that damn boom box over his head ruined boys for me throughout my teens & early twenties. No one could actually match up to that. I know there are some very nice guys in the world but I certainly wasn’t surrounded by any in late 80s/early 90s Midwest America. My school had no Lloyd Doblers! We had asshole versions of Jake Ryan (minus the insanely handsome thing).

3. Kyle Reese in The Terminator. Played by Michael Biehn.

Where the hell can a girl find a cute, sensitive virgin willing to risk his life and travel into the past to save her from a killer robot? Is that really too much to ask? We all deserve a Kyle Reese! And a Dwayne Hicks who will try to protect us from aliens even though we’re kick-ass ladies who can protect ourselves from those bitches…

2. Mark Hunter (Hard Harry) in Pump Up The Volume. Played by Christian Slater.

Hard Harry was one of my absolute biggest movie crushes when this movie came out. I wanted to be Samantha Mathis in this movie & to make-out with sweet, shy, sensitive Mark BUT, at the same time, I identified more with Mark and wanted to be a female version of his quiet teen who came out of his shell while raising hell as an unknown pirate DJ.

Honorable mention: Christian Slater’s Adam in Untamed Heart. Where can I find a sensitive boy with a baboon heart who brings me Christmas trees?!?

1. Chris Hemsworth. In anything & everything. Played by a hot Australian.

Okay, sorry. He’s not fictional. But he’s so damn pretty. Look at him!!! I could stare at him all day. I’m so shallow. I was pretending I’m not shallow! To be fair, he seems like a nice guy. Like most people, I watch enough celebrity interviews to get an idea of what these celebrities are like (there are plenty I can’t stand). Hemsworth seems very laidback & is always sweet about his family. So I’ll assume he’s perfect and nice and funny (not sure about brainy, though?). And, as a bonus, he’s FLAMING HOT! 🙂 Oh, here’s my Thor: Ragnarok review. I sooooo love funny Thor…. ❤️🔥

October Horror Month Roundup & My Top Ten

Happy Halloween, everyone! This wraps up another year of October Horror Month for me, which always makes me a little sad (but also a little happy since I can go back to reviewing all sorts of genres instead of just horror). Until October 2018… 🙂

Ah, the horror genre. Between horror & comedy, I’d have to say we get the largest number of movies that are complete & utter shit. Very disappointing. I suppose part of the reason may be that they’re probably the cheapest types of movies to make but, also, people’s tastes vary so widely on these genres so only a small handful end up with praise & high ratings.

It felt like I reviewed only a couple of good horrors in 2016 & that the rest were dreadful. This year I’ve again seen some truly abysmal horrors but, overall, I lucked out and saw some really good ones. Yay! On this list of 32 movies: I loved numbers 1-4, I liked numbers 5-9 quite a lot, and I thought numbers 10-15 were fine & had fun with them. The rest were meh or awful. But 15 decent ones out of 32 is REALLY good for the horror genre! Oh, I should add that I cheated a little & threw a few “thrillers” in as well. 

So here’s my ranked list, counting down to My Top Ten Horror & Thriller Movies Watched For 2017 October Horror Month:

32. The Forest
31. Lifeforce
30. The Neon Demon
29. Poltergeist (2015)
28. The Girl On The Train
27. Byzantium
26. Only Lovers Left Alive

25. Cooties
24. 1922
23. Cell
22. Ghostbusters (2016)
21. Ouija: Origin Of Evil

Top Twenty:

20. Green Room
19. Mother!
18. Alien: Covenant
17. Split
16. Get Out

15. Monster Hunter (aka Dark Was The Night)
14. The Watcher In The Woods
13. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
12. Before I Wake
11. The Babysitter

Top Ten:

10. The Witch
9. Pontypool
8. The Wailing
7. The Gift
6. Coherence

5. The Final Girls
4. House (Hausu) (1977)
3. Gerald’s Game
2. Train To Busan
1. It (2017)

Phew. Horror Month is over! Now I can go watch something happy & fun. Any recommendations? 🙂

Train To Busan (2016) Review

Train To Busan (부산행, 釜山行, Busanhaeng)

Directed by Yeon Sang-ho

Starring: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok,Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean zombie apocalyptic action thriller film. The film takes place on a train to Busan, as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks in the country and compromises the safety of the passengers.

My Opinion:

Happy Halloween! This is my final movie review for October Horror Month & I’ll post a recap later ranking all 32 horror movies I’ve watched in the past year. I’m ending with Train To Busan as it was my favorite horror that I saw this year. Well, that I saw at home – there’s one I saw in the cinema that I’ve ranked as number one.

So why was this movie so good? More than anything, it was the characters. How many times does it need to be said that we need characters we actually give a shit about if we’re meant to care if they survive or not? Why do so few horror movies bother to spend any time developing their characters? I’m not saying Train To Busan was perfect but we got to know the main characters really well and there was just enough time spent on several of the lesser characters too, making for a much more enjoyable (and intense) experience for the audience.

Yes, this is another “apocalyptic zombie film” and we’ve had loads of these in the last several years. However, this is a genre I’ve adored ever since falling in love with Romero’s original Dawn Of The Dead a good twenty years ago & I have yet to tire of these films. As long as they’re done right, that is. There are too many shit ones lately. Train To Busan is done right and I highly recommend it, even if you’re getting sick of zombie movies.


I know this is my last review of the month but I’m going to keep it short due to lack of time but, also, there’s not much more that I can say about this movie. The story, set mostly on a train (believe it or not!), is just original enough to feel like a somewhat fresh take on the zombie thing. The action moves along at a nice pace and the gore is at the right level (nothing overboard or extreme). And, most importantly, we get to know the characters and want to see them survive this sudden plague. Mainly: a father & his young daughter and a man & his pregnant wife. I loved seeing these strangers come together while trying to survive this violent outbreak. I’m so glad I finally got the opportunity to see this one and I hope that more people will check it out. It’s a good human story that I think even those who don’t necessarily love horror films might like.

My Rating: 8.5/10

House (Hausu 1977) Blind Spot Review

House (1977)
Japanese: ハウス Hausu

Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi

Starring: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Ai Matubara, Kumiko Oba, Mieko Sato, Eriko Tanaka, Masayo Miyako, Yōko Minamida

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A schoolgirl and six of her classmates travel to her aunt’s country home, which tries to devour the girls in bizarre ways.

My Opinion:

Here’s a list of the Blind Spot films I’ve watched this year from my least favorite to my favorite (I’ve finished watching them all! Just need to review the rest):

12. The Last Temptation Of Christ
11. Altered States
10. The Raid
9. The King & I
8. House (Hausu 1977)
7. The Hustler
6. Jackie Brown
5. Wolf Children
4. Ghost In The Shell
3. The Untouchables
2. Watership Down
1. Rocky

I first heard about Hausu when Anna of Film Grimoire reviewed it (HERE). It looked truly bizarre from the images & I knew I had to see it so it got added to my Blind Spot list. Well, I’ve now finally seen it and I can confirm that it is, indeed, truly bizarre. Love it. We need more truly bizarre movies that are as entertaining as this one!

Er. I have no idea how to go about reviewing this. I read this at Wikipedia, which I found interesting:

“Following the success of the American film Jaws, a proposition came from the Toho film studio for Nobuhiko Obayashi to develop a similar script. To find inspiration for the story, Obayashi discussed ideas with his pre-teen daughter Chigumi Obayashi. Nobuhiko sought her ideas, believing that adults “only think about things they understand … everything stays on that boring human level” while “children can come up with things that can’t be explained”. Several of Chigumi’s ideas were included in House…”

It then gets more specific on what bits in the film were from the mind of the director’s daughter and it’s all the weirdest & most entertaining parts (mainly the ones involving the house “devouring” the girls). Maybe more pre-teens should be consulted when making movies if this is the crazy result! Of course, this came out in 1977 – times were more trippy back then. Also, I love how this movie came about because of the success of Jaws?! Haha! This is nothing whatsoever like Jaws, FYI. People get eaten, so… I guess that’s the connection.

By the way, this is a horror comedy. I highly recommend it as I think this is one of those films that everyone should experience at least once, especially film fans. Just know beforehand to not take it seriously and don’t expect the meandering storyline to fully make sense. This is also from the above Wikipedia link:

“Obayashi recalled that his producer told him that Toho was tired of losing money on comprehensible films and were ready to let Obayashi direct the House script, which they felt was incomprehensible.”

The overall story, which seems to have been written around the director’s daughter’s ideas, is actually better than I expected and involves the aunt the girls are staying with. There’s clearly something not quite right with that aunt. And her cat…


The story, which is messy but fun, isn’t really important anyway. The best thing about this film is its imagery. So many scenes in this movie will forever be stuck in my head. There’s a tiny bit of blood (nothing gory) and some nudity so it’s definitely only for teens & adults but it’s like watching a slightly fucked up cartoon. It’s a good one for someone like me, who likes weird and creepy but struggles with the gory stuff.

Finally, I’ll end by saying that this horror (comedy) movie gets one more thing very right where so many other horror movies fail: I loved the characters. But I’m not talking about well developed characters or anything serious like that. The teenagers who visit this weird house in the countryside are also cartoonish in the way they’re given silly names with matching personalities. That was a lot of fun. Here are their names: Gorgeous, Kung Fu, Prof, Fantasy, Mac, Melody & Sweet. Kind of like the Seven Dwarfs, I suppose (characters I also love). I was especially fond of Kung Fu, who, as you might guess, goes around practicing her martial arts skills the whole time. What else can I say? This movie is weird as hell and loads of fun. I highly recommend it but be patient if you watch it as it starts out very slow. Don’t worry – shit gets crazy once they arrive at the HAUSU!

My Rating: 8/10

The Babysitter (2017) Review

The Babysitter (2017)

Directed by McG

Starring: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, Emily Alyn Lind, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter.

My Opinion:

I liked the sound of this Netflix movie so decided I better watch it quick before October finishes and I’ll feel like taking a break from horror movies for a while. Plus, it’s a horror comedy and I’m often preferring those to just plain horror these days. It’s a fun movie but doesn’t quite make it onto My Top Ten Horror Comedies list (but I did add it as an honorable mention). At least it’s a hell of a lot better than Cooties, the only other horror comedy that I watched this month. And a quick shoutout to another horror comedy that I only saw for the first time last year and really liked plus I just realized I hadn’t yet added it to the above list: Trick ‘r Treat (2007). I got to thinking of it since Leslie Bibb was in that as well as The Babysitter. Both these films are worth checking out if you enjoy horror comedies.

The best part of this movie is the friendship between 12-year-old Judah Lewis and his sexy 16-year-old “babysitter” Samara Weaving, employed by his overprotective parents. The babysitter is protective of this awkward 12-year-old, sticking up for him when he’s harassed by bullies after school. She’s hot, of course, and he’s obviously got a crush on her but I liked that the movie didn’t make it weird: they’re more like a nerdy brother & protective older sister. Their conversations, although clearly written for nerd culture fanboys & fangirls, were a lot of fun. I’m always a sucker for good movie quotes & references.


Not at all predictable…

They do all they can to make the babysitter in this a nerd’s dreamgirl but that’s okay – that’s the whole point of this movie. Hot people (especially hot chicks who like Star Trek & Alien) and plenty of gore. This movie is meant to be fun and it is. As an added bonus, it’s actually pretty well-written, too – especially for this genre. And by that, I mean the characters & their lines. The overall story is pretty lame (I’ll stay spoiler-free so I won’t say what this freaky babysitter gets up to when the kid is asleep). But the focus is definitely only on comedy, gore & hot people. There’s no suspense or moody atmosphere or anything the slightest bit scary. The “horror story” is an afterthought, which is fine as long as you aren’t looking for a creepy film to watch for Halloween. The Babysitter is the movie you might start with as part of a Halloween marathon, when it’s not yet dark outside and you just want some laughs before moving onto the scary stuff.

There’s not much else that I can say about this one. The movie was exactly what I expected and I enjoyed it. Our two main characters were really good as was the smaller role of the boy’s classmate & neighbor girl (Emily Alyn Lind), who convinces him to stay awake to see what his babysitter gets up to after he goes to bed (since, of course, sexy babysitters all have orgies once the kids go to sleep). The other teens who show up include Robbie Amell & Bella Thorne, who were both in The DUFF (which I actually really liked). These actors mean nothing to me since I’m old but I know that young people on Twitter hate Bella Thorne with a passion for some reason (I have no idea why. Teen drama!). They both did well as the disposable asshole characters they’re meant to be. Hana Mae Lee, the funny mumbly one from Pitch Perfect, is another one of the teens as is Andrew Bachelor, who I’ve not seen in anything else. Sorry. And I see they’re all mid to late 20s other than 20-year-old Thorne. Ha! As I assumed. Gotta love how movie teens are usually pushing 30. Or 40, like in Grease. 😉

My Rating: 7/10

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Review

***SPOILER-FREE REVIEW (as far as I’m aware!!)***

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Directed by Taika Waititi

Based on Thor by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

My Opinion:

As I always say when I start these superhero movie reviews, I’m getting very superheroed-out. However, I do have fun with the Marvel ones even though I wouldn’t call myself a massive fan. But then the Guardians Of The Galaxy films came along and it turns out that the “funny superhero movie” thing is MUCH more my type of thing! I love GOTG. And as for the Avengers, Thor is probably my favorite character because, um. I dunno? I’m trying to think of something mature to say… Okay, I like Thor the most because Chris Hemsworth is visually appealing. Okay?!

Of the standalone movies, the first Iron Man may be my favorite and I think the first Thor film is quite weak. But then I liked Thor: The Dark World a hell of a lot more than the first film and, with the Avengers films, we were able to see Thor develop much more of a personality. The “Thor with a sense of humor” thing that started to appear really worked for the character and I’m very happy that they’ve finally gone fully in that direction with this film. I’m surprised it’s getting such good reviews overall, though, as I can’t see “funny Thor” working for everyone? I hated Batman V Superman with a passion (yeah, I know that’s DC) and that whole “dark, brooding, depressing” superhero bullshit annoys me. But some people love that. Those who love dark & brooding are unlikely to love this new version of Thor. I personally love this new version of Thor (and all versions of Thor, including shirtless Thor) but my only negative comment is that this film does feel out of place in amongst all the other Marvel Avengers movies. It doesn’t really “fit”. I don’t know how some fans will feel about that.

I lied: I have one more negative comment so I’ll get that out of the way now. The story in this movie isn’t anything special. It’s your typical Marvel plot. But I honestly never give much of a shit about any of the Marvel plots as they all seem the same to me anyway & I see these all as “popcorn” movies that I don’t want to have to think about. I don’t mean to sound dismissive of these films as I know they have so many fans – I just see them in a different sort of way than a full-on fanboy or fangirl would see them. I don’t think I can say that this movie really added anything important to the overall Avengers stories. It was just a lot of fun to watch, which is the main thing that a superhero movie should be (in my opinion).


Here are the positives: there are loads of genuinely funny moments, Thor and Hulk are hilarious together, and I thought all the new characters were very good (especially Tessa Thompson’s super cool Valkyrie & Cate Blanchett’s super evil Hela). Oh, and Jeff Goldblum, of course. I didn’t realize he had such a big following! People seem to love him & he’s very funny in this. I also really liked Karl Urban (Oh yeah – I like Dredd a lot & that’s dark & depressing! Hmm) and I liked seeing Idris Elba get to do more than I can remember him getting to do in the other Thor films (I could do with re-watching them but doubt I’ll ever bother). And I think everyone knows that director Taika Waititi plays a character named Korg. He’s pretty damn hilarious and was clearly a favorite with the audience in my cinema. Oh, and it was one of those weird times when some people in my cinema clapped & cheered at the end of the movie. I always find that strange (it’s not a play!) but it gives you an idea of how some feel about Thor: Ragnarok – I saw a lot of people who clearly had a great time watching this.

I liked this movie a lot but, for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I didn’t love it. It seems like all the elements are there for me to love it. I think Taika Waititi is very funny, I far prefer fun & lighthearted superhero movies like this, and I loooooove Chris Hemsworth. The new characters are great, I laughed quite a bit, and even though I haven’t listened to Led Zeppelin in years after having a big phase of worshipping them in my teens I never stopped loving Immigrant Song (because it kicks ass) and its use, though predictable, is perfect for this movie. So why don’t I love this movie? I disagree with the hubby quite a bit on movies these days but I have to agree with him saying that this movie feels a bit “throwaway”. It’s fun but, years from now, it may not stand up as well when compared to some of the strongest Marvel films.

Also, I’ll remain spoiler-free but just a warning if you bring kids under 12: this movie is more violent than some and there’s one particular moment that was quite horrifying. My daughter turned to me with a look of horror on her face but I don’t think I was much comfort since I had a similar look of horror. 😉 But you know kids: they bounce back quick. About 15 minutes later she whispered “I love this movie!” while I still had yet to fully recover. The moment is listed in the parents’ guide at IMDb if you really need to know beforehand but it’s a major spoiler. Also, this movie is a lower rating in the UK but is a PG-13 in America. Damn. As we got it here first, I had no warning beforehand so be careful if taking sensitive kids to this. Knowing America, though, it probably only got the higher rating there for some “dirty talk” that will go over kids’ heads anyway. 

My Rating: 7.5/10

Is there a scene after the credits? Duh. Of course. One partway through and one at the very end. Worth staying for if you like to get the full experience.

Stan Lee Cameo: I feel like I should start rating these… I loved this one. Another fun cameo and he was the perfect person for this part. 🙂

Before I Wake (2016) Review

Last year for my month of horror in October, I reviewed three Mike Flanagan movies: Oculus, Absentia & Hush. This year I’m reviewing three more: Gerald’s Game (reviewed Tuesday), Before I Wake and Ouija: Origin Of Evil (reviewed yesterday). Let’s see how Before I Wake compares to the rest of his films…

Before I Wake (2016)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Written by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish, Dash Mihok

Music by Danny Elfman & The Newton Brothers

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.

My Opinion:

I actually quite liked this movie, although I can’t exactly say it’s “good”. In my review of Ouija: Origin Of Evil yesterday, I complained about how that was just another predictable supernatural film. Before I Wake is again more of the same but the overall story and some of the imagery made it feel a little more unique than Ouija. I enjoyed the story & the characters enough to overlook its flaws.

I watched this for two reasons: Mike Flanagan as well as Jacob Tremblay, who I thought was fantastic in Room. Tremblay gave one of the best child performances ever in that movie so I was curious what he’d be like in something else, especially a horror that’s not exactly “Oscar-worthy” like Room. Yeah…. He’s fine in this movie but it’s a role any child actor could’ve done. It’s a shame it was a bit of a waste to use him in this but I suppose his name is big enough now to help sell an unknown film such as this one. I’m curious to see how his film Wonder will turn out. Hopefully it will be a better role for him but I suppose no role will ever live up to the Room role.

Oh, look! Thomas Jane is in this! I’ve come full circle in my Stephen King/Mike Flanagan Week since Jane was in King’s 1922. I like Jane & he was fine as the adoptive father. However – it was the mother, Kate Bosworth, who had the bigger role. She was good (as far as acting in basic supernatural horrors goes). I’ve always liked her fine so it’s good to see her in something as it feels like she’s sort of disappeared. Small spoiler but not really as it’s at the start of the film: Jane & Bosworth are adopting Tremblay after the tragic death of their own son. I often avoid movies involving the loss of the child as I find that subject matter too upsetting but I think Jane & especially Bosworth did very well in conveying their grief. It may be why I liked this movie quite a bit more than Ouija even though I’m giving it a similar rating: I just really felt for the parents in this and for Tremblay & the revelation regarding his nightmarish “gift” of having his dreams come to life.

As to be predicted, his dreams are at first nice ones that bring beautiful things, such as a room full of colorful butterflies, to life. I liked these scenes a lot – it was great imagery for a horror movie. I can’t find images of the butterflies online for some reason. Anyway, as also to be predicted, the dreams soon turn to nightmares and the manifestation of a scary spirit of some sort. Yeah, I know: We’ve seen this sort of thing in loads of movies.

The movie then goes the way of most supernatural horrors: the end is a little messy and you’ll either like it or you won’t. I personally liked the direction the story went & how they chose to end this one. I’ll say the “revelation” was one that I hadn’t immediately predicted so it gets bonus points from me for that. Yes, I enjoyed Before I Wake but, as most films in this genre, the story will be one that either does or doesn’t work for you. It worked for me.

My Rating: 6.5/10

My Mike Flanagan Movie Ranking (from least favorite to favorite):

6. Oculus
5. Ouija: Origin Of Evil
4. Before I Wake
3. Hush
2. Absentia
1. Gerald’s Game