Happy 10th Blogiversary To Me

Wow. Ten years?! When I started this blog I didn’t think I’d still (sort of) be doing this a decade later.

Well, it’s been the very worst year of my life since the start of January. As watching movies is one of the few things that helps keep me sane, I’ve continued to do that but find it difficult to put much time into the blog at the moment.

I’ve now (finally!) set up a CinemaParrot Letterbxd account (here) so that I can more easily & much more quickly log the films I’ve seen & write very short reviews. I then do a monthly roundup on this blog with my Letterbxd reviews & I’ll try to keep doing that until I maybe have time to do the occasional longer posts here again as well. I miss reading all the blogs but will mainly be on other social media sites for now, especially after I go into the hospital this week & then will be recuperating. I like that word… Recuperating! Even comes up with an emoji: ❤️‍🩹 (Not sure if that’ll show up on the blog)

You can still find me on Twitter for now here: @tableninemutant (I’d make that a direct link but I’m too dumb to figure out how)

I’ve also joined Mastodon with a bunch of other Film Twitter people & so far there’s a lot of good interaction there. And I know how to do a link to that, I think! You can find me here: https://mastodon.world/@CinemaParrotDisco

I’m going to do what I did for my blogiversary last year & just list my Top Ten Lists For 2022 So Far as it’s nearly the end of the year anyway. I have to avoid cinemas (I’ve only gone to see Maverick), so this is mainly movies “released in the U.K. for the first time in whatever format in 2022 that I actually managed to watch”. So, yes, most big cinema releases are sadly missing if they aren’t streaming yet.

So here are My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2022 So Far (very disappointing):

1. Top Gun: Maverick – 8/10
2. Drifting Home – 8/10
3. Prey – 7.5/10
4. Fresh – 7/10
5. Hustle – 7.5/10
6. Thirteen Lives – 7.5/10
7. Mass – 7.5/10
8. Don’t Make Me Go – 7/10
9. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – 7.5/10
10. Dual – 7/10

(I just watched Drifting Home yesterday, knocking Everything Everywhere All At Once out of my top ten to 11th place. Know that’s at the top of many lists but I found it disappointing)

I’ve seen much better older films this year than 2022 releases. Seen so many decent ones that I need to make this one a Top 20. So here are My Top Twenty Older Release Movies Seen In 2022 So Far:

1. Lucky – 8.5/10
2. Columbus – 8.5/10
3. A Star Is Born (1954) – 8.5/10
4. The Red Shoes – 8.5/10
5. Safety Last! – 8.5/10
6. Stalag 17 – 8/10
7. Santa Sangre – 8/10
8. Days Of Heaven – 8/10
9. Memories Of Murder – 7.5/10
10. CODA – 8/10
11. Anomalisa – 8/10
12. Finch – 7.5/10
13. A Quiet Place Part II – 7.5/10
14. Easter Parade – 7.5/10
15. The General (1926) – 8/10
16. Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans – 7.5/10
17. Vivarium – 7.5/10
18. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! – 7/10
19. Rhapsody In August – 7.5/10
20. Sherlock Jr. – 7.5/10

Honorable Mentions (7.5/10): Another Round, Land, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Phantom Carriage & Beast

Okay, I’ve watched a lot of TV & read quite a few books this year too…

Here are My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2022 So Far:

1. Community (why did no one tell me about this show?!)
2. Cobra Kai
3. Yellowjackets
4. Ted Lasso
5. Andor
6. Obi-Wan Kenobi
7. The Outsider
8. House Of The Dragon
9. The Book Of Boba Fett (but the episodes which were pretty much all adorable Grogu & almost no Boring Old Boba Fett would be ranked in 1st place – those ruled!)
10. Stay Close

And My Top Five Books Read In 2022 So Far:

1. The Eyes Of The Dragon by Stephen King
2. A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
3. The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor
4. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
5. Malorie by Josh Malerman

The full list of absolutely everything I’ve watched & read this year is here if you’re super bored or want to see what terrible movies I ranked the lowest (Blonde & Spencer). 🙂

Thanks to those who are still around these parts. I’m glad you’re still here! Hope that everything is going well for all my past & present blog buddies.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2022

Guess I better post my October roundup before it’s time to post my November one.

I don’t know if many people are still around on WordPress but I’ve set up a new Mastodon account here. I don’t plan to give up this blog – just going through a tough time. Am still on Twitter as well for now as @tableninemutant but am most active here on Letterbxd as it’s just so easy to log movies there. Re-posting all my October Letterbxd reviews below…

MOVIES WATCHED IN OCTOBER (ranked best to worst):

Memories Of Murder – Was very happy to see this on Film4. I’d been wanting to watch it even though I’ve never absolutely loved one of Bong Joon-ho‘s films. I do think Parasite is very good & I really like The Host so I was willing to give more of his work a try despite not liking Snowpiercer & Okja. I’m also not a fan of true-crime-inspired murder films, especially involving sexual violence as well, but this was very gripping & I thought it was damn good despite being a genre I often avoid. Due to the subject matter it again won’t exactly be a favorite of mine but it easily ranks just a fraction below Parasite for me. I think it maybe just takes a bit of getting used to his flawed & not always likeable characters to appreciate his films more. His type of characters worked perfectly in this & in Parasite so I can see why they seem to be the most popular of his films. I feel I have a slightly better understanding of his work now since watching this & Barking Dogs Never Bite (also on Film4 & also worth a watch). – 8/10

Rhapsody In August – I can’t believe I accidentally watched an Akira Kurosawa film. Absolutely love his films Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashômon & Yojimbo so have had all the rest of his biggest films on my watchlist for a long time now. I liked the sound of this 1991 Japanese film with Richard Gere, which focuses on the effects of the atomic bomb on three generations of a family, so I started watching it before even realising it was a Kurosawa. It’s a lovely film & I really liked the grandmother and her relationship with the grandkids she’s looking after while their parents are visiting family in America. Definitely worth a watch, especially for Kurosawa fans. Currently on services in the U.K. – 7.5/10

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – I’m a huge Stephen King fan & try to watch every adaptation of his work (I ranked them all here). Really liked this novella from the recent If It Bleeds collection & literally started watching this the second it appeared on Netflix. So I’m obviously going to be overly positive as I tend to like even the bad King adaptations (and there are many bad ones) but I thought this was good & faithful to the book. Jaeden Martell, who was also in the fantastic 2017 version of It, and Donald Sutherland were very good together & I especially liked Kirby Howell-Baptiste as the helpful teacher. This is more of a thriller than a horror so it may not be what some are expecting if they’ve not read the story but it’s still very “King”. I enjoyed it. One of the better straight-to-streaming movies this year. – 7.5/10

Everything Everywhere All At Once – Was very eager to get to finally see this after all the hype & seeing it at the top of so many 2022 movie lists. It looked like it could very much be my type of thing & I do love a good “weird” film. Wow – what a massive disappointment. Am I just getting too picky in my old age or is everyone else getting less picky? I’ve been very disappointed with the most hyped films the past few years but was really hoping this one would be different.

Don’t get me wrong – I did get some enjoyment out of this & always appreciate when something is unique & unpredictable. I always prefer a memorable film, even when bad, to the many bland movies which I can’t even remember a year later. Michelle Yeoh was great and there were many memorable moments that the hubby & I have already referenced a few times since watching this. It was certainly weird, which I like, but I found the story & message to be such a convoluted mess overall that it started to feel like a chore just to make it through to the end. It’s a film I’m glad I watched & experienced to see what all the fuss was about but I’d have no desire to ever watch it again. – 6.5/10

Barking Dogs Never Bite – Watched this just after Memories Of Murder & think I’m starting to appreciate Bong Joon-ho‘s work a little more now. While this one isn’t nearly as good as Memories Of Murder, it still has his typical sort of flawed characters that work so well in (most of) his movies. The only times I’ve not liked his films were when the characters were too over-the-top in Snowpiercer & Okja but this film is much more subtle. Probably not one I’d watch again but certainly worth a one-time watch to see his early work. – 6.5/10

The Company Of Wolves – RIP to the fantastic Angela Lansbury. Always loved her & managed to finally see this one just before her death. She’s perfect as Granny. This is a very odd film & I’m not sure it has aged well but I enjoyed it & can see why it will have fans who saw this one back in the ‘80s when they were kids. Am sure I’d appreciate it more if I’d seen it then. It’s slow & dated but has some fun dream sequences & special effects & creepy horniness. Worth finally seeing but don’t think it’ll be a horror favorite of mine now. – 6.5/10

Catherine Called Birdy – Well this was far more enjoyable than I was expecting. Bella Ramsey aka GoT’s Lyanna Mormont absolutely steals the show as a medieval teenager trying to avoid being married off by her father. It’s a fun coming of age story for girls with a funny & relatable teenage character as well as plenty of humor to be appreciated by adults seeing this too. Worth a watch. And for fans, I believe there are at least five Game Of Thrones actors in this (or more if I missed any). – 6.5/10

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent – Like Everything Everywhere All At Once, this was a big disappointment after a fair amount of hype. Both films were… Just okay? I think you do have to be a Nicolas Cage fan to fully appreciate this one. I’d say I neither like nor dislike him but do like his film choices, such as the brilliant Mandy. So I did enjoy some of the film references but thought the plot wasn’t nearly as clever as Being John Malkovich and I got a bit bored. I also found his talking to one of his movie characters really stupid – It seems like that should have worked but it didn’t. And that dumb kiss. I think the movie tries a bit too hard at times & not hard enough at other times. Hell, if you’re gonna do a movie like this that’s clearly for big Nicolas Cage fans, you might as well go all out with even more fan service than what they had (which was still plenty). With Cage being known for being the crazy dude in so many movies, it was kind of disappointing that this movie wasn’t as weird and over-the-top as I was expecting. – 6.5/10

X – Not sure how I feel about Ti West. I’ve liked but never loved his films. Thought The House Of The Devil was the best & captured that era well. Didn’t think that worked as well with this one trying for a late ‘70s porn vibe. Guess people just liked watching the porn sex?? I thought the story was ridiculously dumb & I didn’t care about any of the characters. Mia Goth did well in her dual role, I guess. Pearl looks like it may be a little more interesting since we got absolutely zero character development in this film. X isn’t terrible but I’d have no desire to ever watch it again. Easily my least favorite Ti West film. – 6/10

Pinocchio (2022) – Yeah… This is pretty bad but I’d had such extremely low expectations that I kind of didn’t hate it. Honestly, I hated the live action Beauty And The Beast much more. Maybe because I really love that animated film but Pinocchio isn’t a big favorite? But I like the story & the overall story is still the same, so… I don’t know what else to say. What’s the point?? These live action Disney remakes are just so bloody pointless. I liked the blatant Disney cuckoo clocks, though. Pathetic, I know. But I want some of those. – 5.5/10

Matriarch – This was pretty bad. It’s one of those horror movies that might be a bit better if every single character wasn’t so damn hateful. Why would I care what happens to the horrible woman in this? I’ll give it this: It gets pretty f*^king weird at the end & I appreciated the Society vibes. But what started out as a fairly creepy film became silly at the end as it got too ridiculous. – 5/10

Blonde – This movie looks nice & Ana de Armas is good at being pretty & tortured but what is the point of this story? I admit I know almost nothing about Marilyn Monroe’s life so I should have just avoided this but I had to see why everyone was so outraged. Why take a real person & make up a bunch of stuff? Why not just create a fictional character & make your rape, abuse & forced-abortion movie without using a dead iconic movie star’s name? Oh yeah – because no one would watch that movie. And I hate people saying “But it’s fictional!”. Yes, us obsessive film fans know that. We look into this kind of info. But the casual movie-watching audience don’t. So there will be plenty of people who saw this & now will think this is her true life story.

I only fairly recently started exploring Monroe’s work & she really had that special something that a lot of the old classic movie stars had that so few have today. Which I guess is why there’s still such an obsession with her all these years later but, FFS, let the woman rest in peace. She deserves better than this. Just watch her movies instead of Blonde. I saw something on Twitter about Blonde’s director trashing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is an absolutely delightful film so I assume that statement was made just to cause further outrage. I’m annoyed that I fell for all the controversy that was clearly stirred up on purpose just to get us all to watch this. Sorry, Marilyn! – 4.5/10

Rewatched In October:

Final Destination – Still think this movie had a great & original idea, which is something I’d like a lot more of in horror. First rewatch in many years & I think it still stands up very well. Easily my favorite of those I’ve seen (1, 2 & 3). I can see why they kept using this idea over & over again even though horror sequels get tiresome. The next two were okay, though. – 7.5/10

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead – This movie is silly but it came out when I was in high school so I liked it. It so clearly wanted to be Adventures In Babysitting from a few years before but it pales in comparison to that masterpiece (yes, I adore that movie). This is still a fun but dated comedy. The daughter seemed to enjoy it. – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

House Of The Dragon: S1 E1-7 – Enjoyed this (finished it in November). But! It’s certainly no Game Of Thrones when that was at its best in the early seasons. The characters aren’t nearly as likeable nor as interesting as they were in GoT but, hell, not many shows can beat a character as good as Tyrion Lannister. Or a family as cool as the Starks. Will say a bit more about this show in the November Roundup post. Maybe. I’ll just say this: I far preferred the younger Rhaenyra, Milly Alcock, to the older one played by Emma D’Arcy. But I often hate changes in actors, such as when everyone got replaced in The Crown. Both Alicents were good, though, and Paddy Considine was great. But, again, I can’t keep these millions of characters straight, just as with GoT. And the fuckers in this one all have such similar names, which really didn’t help either.

Andor: S1 E5-8 – Forget which episode was which as I’ve now seen more than just these. I’ll say this show started strong, then I got a tiny bit bored, then the stuff in the prison was great & I’m really enjoying it again. It’s a very strong Star Wars entry (and I still think it’s better than The Book Of Boba Fett & Obi-Wan Kenobi, probably because it isn’t messing with beloved OT characters in the same way).

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: S1 E1-3 – An intriguing South Korean show I’m in the middle of watching with my daughter (a rewatch for her – she loves it).

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law: S1 E8 – Said a lot about this in last month’s roundup so I’ll just say again that I enjoyed this show. Was a good bit of lightweight fun. And I liked the final episode, especially when she asked about the X-Men.

BOOKS READ

Have a collection of horror short stories from various authors so read the 3 Stephen King shorts in it. Think I’d read two of them in other collections:

Reploids – Don’t think I’d read this before. Fun story but ended SO abruptly…

Dedication – One of King’s more fucked-up stories but still, um, intriguing I guess. Leave it up to King to think this one up. Also saw a quite good short film of this as part of his “Dollar Babies” deal. Kudos to the actress willing to play this role.

Sneakers – Enjoyable story about a ghost haunting a recording studio

Can’t remember any good songs from the movies I saw in October so I’ll end instead with the real Marilyn Monroe’s iconic Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend from the delightful Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:

If It Bleeds, The Colorado Kid & Later by Stephen King (Book Reviews)

For October Horror Month, I figured I might as well drag out some of my reviews of the horror stuff I’ve read in the past two years. Not gonna lie – the majority will be Stephen King books! But there will be a few other authors I’ll be posting this month as well.

Here’s a Stephen King collection of four shorter stories & two of his Hard Case Crime novels to start…

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Four Story Collection: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life Of Chuck, If It Bleeds & Rat)

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. I always love his shorter story collections. I’ll say just a tiny bit about each…

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – Really liked this very simple story of a boy who gifts an iPhone to an elderly neighbour. But the story of course gets a little more weird later on…

The Life Of Chuck – Thought this three-part story (told in reverse order) was interesting. The first story was really good & very clever when you later realise what’s going on. The second story was okay & the final one was good with the right amount of creepiness but also strong characters & not a full-on “horror”.

If It Bleeds – This is a short story continuing on from The Outsider (which I actually didn’t like very much). However, it revolves around one of my favorite new Stephen King characters: Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes. She’s a love her or hate her & I love her so like that King keeps using her as well as other likeable previous characters. So I enjoyed this story mainly because I got to revisit these characters again.

Rat – This is the most “Stephen King” story about a writer (shocker! can’t remember if he was also in Maine…) who makes a deal with a talking rat when he wishes to write a successful novel. It’s a twist on The Monkey’s Paw and is a better story than you’d think it could be considering it has a talking rat. But King can write the weird stuff well!

Not sure what to rate this book overall as it’s good but not as strong as some of his other collections. I suppose I’d give the whole thing this…

My Rating: 3.5/5

**Just going to add this bit from Wikipedia that I just read. Looks like at least three of the stories are going to be adapted: “On July 10, 2020, Deadline Hollywood reported that Netflix had acquired film rights to “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”, to be produced by Blumhouse Productions and Ryan Murphy. “Rat” was optioned by Ben Stiller, who intends to produce, star and direct. Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures has optioned “The Life of Chuck”, with Aronofsky to produce.

Wait. What? Darren Aronofsky?! What an odd choice. Okay, Ben Stiller is weird too. But Aronofsky doing King? I suppose it was a very strange story (the first part) that I can kind of see him doing after Mother!

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

My Thoughts:

Been wanting to read this for years as I really liked the TV show Haven which I knew was only very loosely based on this book. Loosely was an understatement! It just happens to be set in the same small town in Maine. That’s the only true link. At least I think it was Maine. It’s a King book – it must be Maine! It’s set in small-town fishing village Maine & I think I want to live out my elderly years in StephenKingesque small-town Maine. I read too much King.

This is one of his non-horrors and I really liked it. I often like his non-horrors where the focus is on good characters, and they were pretty well developed ones for what was a pretty short book. It’s not as good as the first one I read in this Hard Case Crime series, though (Joyland). Joyland was great! But I’d recommend both to King fans.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Later by Stephen King

My Thoughts:

This is the third novel of King’s in this Hard Case Crime series & I’ve enjoyed them all. They’re much shorter & “lighter” reads than his hefty horror tomes. This is probably my least favorite of the three, but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s about a kid who sees dead people (yeah, kind of like in The Sixth Sense but not really & they do reference that film in this). It’s a solid ghost story with a likeable kid. It’s possibly a little forgettable but it’s a quick & fun read.

My favorite in this series is still Joyland, which I loved, and second is The Colorado Kid which felt very different from King’s “horror” stories. Maybe I should check out some of the many non-King books in this series??

My Rating: 3/5

Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2021

Happy September. September?! Holy shit – when did that happen????

Here’s all I watched & read in August, spent mostly in bed recuperating after a hospital stay. So I was allowed to watch a lot of stuff (what else could I do??). 🙂

MOVIES WATCHED IN AUGUST (ranked best to worst):

Man On Fire – I reviewed this in full at the link. I decided to finally watch it after seeing a thread on Twitter of movies with very different audience & critic ratings (audiences loved it & critics hated it). I really enjoyed it. No, it’s not some good “Oscar worthy” film but it’s a very enjoyable revenge thriller. And it may be predictable but the friendship between Denzel Washington’s & Dakota Fanning’s characters was fantastic & they worked so well together. Plus Denzel is always absolutely perfect in this type of role. Don’t listen to the critics! They need to learn to just enjoy movies sometimes. – 7/10

Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, Czech: Divoká planeta) – Well, this was bizarre!! I won’t say much about it here as I reviewed it in full at the link. This is the strange sort of shit I’m always searching for as I get so bored with mainstream movies since I watch way too many. I’m not sure what the hell was going on but I liked it. It had surreal artwork & a trippy, groovy score so was my type of thing. It’s on the Roku Channel in the U.K. if you’re interested. Here’s the plot synopsis for this animated allegorical tale (from IMDb): “On a faraway planet where blue giants rule, oppressed humanoids rebel against their machine-like leaders.” And I’ll give you one more image below to give you an idea of the animation style… – 7/10

Once Upon A Time In America – Being stuck in bed recuperating after a hospital stay made me decide to finally watch this almost-four-hour epic because what the hell else was I going to do with my time? It’s also a part of my IMDb Top 250 Challenge so it gets another movie crossed off of that list. I reviewed it in the full at the link so luckily don’t again have to say I didn’t love this film. Oops – Just said it! But I’m not a big gangster film fan & everyone was too hateful. I’m definitely a bigger fan of Leone’s Westerns but there’s no denying that this was still a good film even if I didn’t love it. – 7.5/10

Nomadland – And I watched this one while in the hospital as part of my Best Picture Project. Not gonna lie: It’s good but a bit boring. I’m gonna be real! Yes, I’ve ranked Man On Fire above this. Yes, Nomadland is certainly a better film than Man On Fire. But there are no butt bombs in this! I think it’s a deserving Best Picture Winner compared to the other nominees this year but, overall, it’s far from the best winner in the history of the Oscars.

I found the “houseless” lifestyle portrayed in this fascinating and guess I never exactly realized that there are people who live that way (but I’m a bit sheltered). I know there were real-life nomads playing characters in this & they were all very good. Frances McDormand, as always, was also very good as was David Strathairn. It’s not a film I can fault in any way & I thought they did a good job of portraying McDormand’s character’s heartbreak over the loss of her husband as well as her entire town & way of life. Yes, it’s a good film & deserves a higher rating. It’s just one of those movies that I feel I’ve seen once & have no need to see again. I miss having Oscar winning movies that I truly loved & enjoyed. – 7/10

Thrashin’ – Oh how I love finding ’80s movies that I somehow never saw at the time! I enjoyed this. Yes, it’s cheesy. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Two skateboarding gangs battle each other for supremacy, and a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of his rival.” It stars Josh Brolin as the main character with one of the two assholes from Weird Science (Robert Rusler) as his punk rock skateboarding rival. It also had one of the Lost Boys vampires, Sherilyn Fenn, and of course Tony Hawk with a cameo but it must have been very small because I didn’t notice him. Oh!!! And the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in this performing at some club or whatever. So that was cool – It made it feel a little more credible as this sort of California scene makes me think of the Chili Peppers. Romance & skateboarding rivalry in ’80s California. What more can you ask for from a movie?! I love the ’80s. I don’t care. I enjoyed this. (Kind of feel like giving it a higher rating but then it would be the same as what I gave a Best Picture Oscar winner….). – 7/10

Fear Street Trilogy: Fear Street Part One: 1994, Fear Street Part Two: 1978, Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – I reviewed this trilogy at the link so I’ll just say it was fun but certainly not perfect. It had a good soundtrack (especially 1978) & I’d say the overall story that runs through all three films does come together pretty well. Oh, it’s also super gory so don’t be fooled by the R.L. Stine name! These are full-on slashers. I’d watch more if they make more. The trilogy was clearly made by lovers of old school slashers & they did a decent enough job of trying to be like those. – Part One & Two: 6.5/10, Part Three: 6/10

Cruella – Also reviewed this at the link so I don’t have to bitch about it again here. Mainly, I was mostly annoyed that it didn’t totally suck like I was expecting. Okay – the story itself was stupid as shit & completely pointless. But, damn – it had some fun outfits and an absolutely kick ass soundtrack. Why did they have to use such good music in a stupid Disney live-action thing?! Ugh! I loved hearing so many good songs but, man, those songs deserve to be in far better films. – 6.5/10

The Goldfinch – First of all, I read this book and it felt like it took me FOREVER because it was so damn long (seriously – I think it took me about a year to read). It’s a long book and spends a very long time developing the characters and spans many years, so there was no way a 2 1/2 hour movie was going to do it justice. As much as I hate a mini series & dragging a story out for TV, I think this probably should’ve been a mini series instead. However, I thought the film did a surprisingly good job squeezing in so much of the story. It mainly skipped over the time the main character spends as a boy in Las Vegas which, to be fair, dragged on for way too long in the book anyway. The only thing that was a shame was that it meant cutting out quite a bit of the Boris character, who was possibly the best thing about the book (besides wondering what would happen with the painting).

I think the movie kind of made me further appreciate the book as it is actually a decent story. So I’m giving this a decent rating as the movie was far better than I was expecting. However, if you’ve not read the book, I think the movie would probably be difficult to follow as they really do gloss over stuff. I have a feeling that those who liked this movie did read the book first. But I’d only recommend the book if you like reading epic stories with fairly unlikeable characters. Not gonna lie – the book was a real slog to read. Maybe it’s why I quite liked the movie… I don’t know. It’s a hard one to recommend! I can understand why it got poor reviews but it’s a pretty damn good adaptation. I liked it. – 7/10

– Wonder Woman 1984 – Was glad to finally see this without extra cost but had extremely low expectations due to terrible reviews. Well, it’s not that bad. It’s certainly not as bad as its IMDb rating (5.4/10). Okay, it’s also not very good but I didn’t hate it. I thought the first Wonder Woman was quite good so it’s a shame this didn’t live up to it. I think Wonder Woman herself was perfectly fine in this, so they didn’t ruin the character, and the story wasn’t awful. I think the main two problems were 1. The movie was too damn long and 2. The villains were rubbish. Kristen Wiig’s wasn’t quite so bad & they did a decent job developing her character and letting us see her rise & fall. Pedro Pascal was terrible, however. I mean the character as well as the acting (sorry, I don’t think he’s very good despite loving The Mandalorian – that show would be just as good with a different actor). Oh – I also don’t think they did a very good job of making this look like it was set in 1984 just by throwing a few ugly outfits on people and having Chris Pine give a fashion show. And where was all the ’80s music?! Disappointing, as I love the ’80s. Meh. Whatever. There are far better superhero movies but also worse ones. I’m bored with them all. This one will just be very forgettable. – 6/10

Wish Dragon – This was fine. I don’t have a lot to say about this animated film other than that it was better than a lot of the stuff that slightly bigger studios such as DreamWorks put out. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Determined teen Din is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.” I liked the animation, the characters were likeable, and the dragon was fun (even though he was a bit too similar to Aladdin’s Genie). It’s also not quite as “kiddie” as it looks. It’s certainly appropriate for very young kids but I’d say preteens would be perfectly happy watching this too (the main boy & girl are 19 in this). Decent film for one that I believe went straight to Netflix? – 6.5/10

Bliss – I was really looking forward to seeing this as I really liked Mike Cahill’s Another Earth & especially I Origins. This one is unfortunately not nearly as good. I was intrigued by the concept & did like the story. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “A mind-bending love story following Greg who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel, a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is a computer simulation.” It started out okay but the story got messy & it just didn’t work as well as his other films. The biggest problem was that it felt completely miscast. Owen Wilson & Salma Hayek were okay but just didn’t really work together. They’re also too famous – This would have been better with lesser known actors. Too bad Cahill didn’t use his usual favorite, Brit Marling. She’d have been good. Oh well – I did still like the story so it was worth a watch but I’d highly recommend his other films first. – 6/10

Black Christmas (2019) – Er. Um. UGH. Okay… This movie was mostly pretty damn terrible but for some reason I kind of liked it? At least at the beginning – that all went out the window at the very end. Holy hell! What a pile of shit ending!!! First of all: Yes, I saw the original but it was many many years ago so I should probably rewatch it. So I won’t be comparing them as I don’t remember that one well enough. I just wish Blumhouse would stop rebooting or remaking (or whatever you want to call it) old horror films. Well, that’s plenty of studios, actually. And these newer films are sometimes so different than the originals that I don’t understand why they use the same name. No, I lie – they use the same name because they’re more likely to make money from a known name. Pisses me off. Honestly, they could’ve given this one a completely different name from the original as I don’t think they’re very similar beyond the setting.

So. They kind of had a good idea here but just did such an awful job of cramming the agenda into this film. Spoiler: It’s basically about the rape culture at universities. Which is an important and serious topic not really suited for this seriously stupid horror movie. To be fair, it maybe could have worked if the film had treated the topic more seriously and if the ending hadn’t been laughable. It’s a shame as a well written film on this topic could’ve turned out well. Maybe a more serious type of horror such as Midsommar? Hell, that’s basically a toxic-male-hating film too about slightly inattentive boyfriends, right?

I did really like Imogen Poots in this so luckily the main character was fine. I like her in most things but I mostly think I just love that name. POOTS! Imagine having to grow up with the name Poots!! Her main SJW best friend (sorry to use that phrase but it’s the whole point of that character) was okay but very quickly gets on your nerves as you’d expect. I did kind of like the one friend who was really dumb (she was also good in The White Lotus). And one other thing I did really like in this movie was their song. That was a good scene. I like seeing rapists named & shamed. So the movie started out well…

While I do think this movie ended up being dreadful thanks to its ridiculously over-the-top ending, I think it has been unfairly rated way too low on IMDb. 3.4/10?! Okay, that will be those who see it as having a man-hating agenda. I suppose it does but I think it could have gotten away with it & done a better job of making its point if the ending wasn’t SO in-your-face about, um, toxic masculinity. Dammit! This movie made me use the phrases SJW & toxic masculinity. Phrases I steer WELL clear of on Twitter! And I’ve written waaaaay more than I wanted to about a pretty bad horror movie. I just wish it had done a better job of making its point in a more subtle fashion. Cramming your beliefs down viewers’ throats never works, even when viewers agree with what you’re trying to say (as I do). – 5.5/10

The Big Year – This was fine? A very safe & inoffensive movie. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “It was based on the 2004 nonfiction book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. The book followed three men on a quest for a Big Year – a competition among birders to see who can see and identify the greatest number of species of birds in North America (north of Mexico) in a calendar year.” So it’s an intriguing story. I had no idea this was a real thing that people do?! Of course the characters themselves are fictional (Owen Wilson is especially over-the-top in his bird obsession) but it’s still interesting that people do this in real life. As I said, it’s just a very safe film. Pleasant. The kind of thing you can have on in the background while visiting with family on a Sunday afternoon. So… somewhat forgettable but was a nice watch & I always love Jack Black. Steve Martin was also good but Black was the best character & he was very understated compared to his usual sort of crazy antics. – 6/10

Over Her Dead Body – This sucked. Cliché & predictable every step of the way. The story is about a controlling woman (Eva Longoria) who dies on her wedding day (you’ll see the obvious death coming a mile away). She then haunts the first woman who shows an interest in her husband-to-have-been about a year later & tries to keep them apart. I 100% watched this because I love Paul Rudd. Who doesn’t?! A controlling dead bitch wouldn’t keep me away from him either! But, of course, she sees the error of her ways and that she needs to let him move on with his life. Duh. I’d have given a spoiler warning there but it’s not a spoiler when you already know the stupid ending from the very start. Whatever – it’s a dumb romcom & not trying to win Oscars or something. So I’ll be nice with my rating since Paul Rudd was of course adorable in this. – 5/10

Movies Rewatched:

Rear Window – Finally convinced my daughter to watch her first Alfred Hitchcock film! 🙂 And I started her on my favorite. I’ve always loved Rear Window & how we get a glimpse of various peoples’ lives through their windows. I was always most concerned about Miss Lonelyhearts & loved the newlywed couple who kept their blinds closed for days. Plus James Stewart is always great & Grace Kelly is gorgeous & classy in all her fancy outfits. I know I always wear a dress & pearls around the house like in the above photo! Such a fun & stylish film. Trying to convince the kid to watch The Birds next. Let’s have another look at Grace Kelly… – 9.5/10

The Lost Boys – YES! Adore this movie. And, yes, it’s my favorite vampire movie. Of course – I was a young teenager when it came out & had a crush on The Two Coreys. I don’t know what else to say about it but you’ll either love this lightweight teen horror comedy or you won’t. The characters are fun, everyone is young & pretty & super cool, and it has great quotables. Death by stereo! Love it. Oh, and it has that greased-up saxophone player. Hubba hubba. Maggots, Michael! You’re eating maggots! –9/10

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Reviewed this in full already for the big John Hughes Blogathon I did years ago. Obviously, I’m Gen X so naturally a big fan of John Hughes (which is why I did the blogathon). Still think this one is great although The Breakfast Club is still my favorite. – 9/10

Wreck-It Ralph – I liked this one a lot the first time I saw it but it grew on me more & more and it’s now easily one of my very favorites of modern-era animated Disney. I think the story is very clever and I love the characters (yes, even Vanellope although I’m sure she gets on some people’s nerves). And I like the Sugar Rush song (seriously – I have it on my Apple playlist). Is it normal for me as an adult to rewatch these movies as much as kids do?! – 8.5/10

Robin Hood (1973) – For whatever reason, I’d not watched this Disney movie a million times like a lot of the others so figured it was time for a rewatch as I didn’t remember it well. I really enjoyed it! Not sure why I never watched it much. The characters and a couple of the songs were fun. Glad I gave it a rewatch after all these years. – 7.5/10

Spider-Man (2002) – Not sure if I have the energy but think I need to rewatch all these Spider-Man movies before the new film comes out. Mainly need to watch with my daughter who hasn’t seen any pre-Tom-Holland ones. Wanted to watch the second of these before rating this one as I seem to remember it being quite good? I like this one, though. We’ll give it a 7 & see if 2 is a 7.5! Don’t remember loving any of the rest. Still think the first couple of Tobey Maguire ones are the best, though, even though I think Tom Holland is decent. – 7/10

Attack The Block – I really like this one although I can’t explain exactly why as the main characters are a group of young criminals. But the aliens are quite effective and it’s a decent alien invasion movie, which I always enjoy. – 7/10

Practical Magic – A bit girly for me but I have to like chick flicks sometimes, right?? – 6.5/10

The Island – Think this is pretty decent for a, uh, Michael Bay film. Until it turns too Michael Bay-like at the end. But it starts out well & the story is fine & Steve Buscemi is in it & Steve Buscemi rules. So, good enough. – 6.5/10

The Hole (2009) – Trying to ease the daughter into horror as she’s not a big fan like I was at her age. Well, she didn’t like this one. It’s a very odd film. Expected so much more from Joe Dante as Gremlins is awesome. But this one is weird. It’s not really scary but it’s hard to know what sort of age it’s aimed at as it IS far too scary for kids at least. But teens & older would mostly find it silly. I don’t think it’s a horrible film – I think it’s just one that would only be liked by a small percentage of people if they’re just the right sort of age when they watch it. I just don’t know what age that might be! 10/11/12, maybe? – 6/10

Okay – as I was stuck in bed for most of August, I usually had movies playing in the background so put on a lot of favorites. I’ve already reviewed most of them in the past: The Wizard Of Oz, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats (I love this one & think it’s an underrated Disney classic).

Shorts:

Short Circuit Shorts: Season 2 – These are really good animated shorts on Disney Plus. Of season two, Going Home really stood out. It was heartbreaking but a great short film.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Okay, I also watched way too many TV shows while stuck in bed. These are in no particular order…

The White Lotus – Enjoyed this! It’s certainly not for everyone but I liked the dark humor & the characters were good. And Jennifer Coolidge was as fun to watch as always. And, MAN, I hated that newlywed husband! What a prick. I also liked that it was a short series. I hate things that drag on for years. I think a new series will focus on new people? Will definitely check it out based on Season 1.

Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi, 僕だけがいない街) – This was quite good. I knew nothing about this Japanese anime series so am glad I gave it a chance. Here’s the IMDB synopsis: “29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is sent back in time 18 years to prevent the events leading to his mother’s death, which began with a series of kidnappings while he was in 5th grade.” Again, I really liked the “one short series” thing.

Cruel Summer – This was kind of terrible and cheesy but I also kind of liked it? It was very “YA” and the acting was all pretty dreadful other than from the actress Olivia Holt. But I think I’ll forever be a sucker for YA drama. I don’t believe this was based on a book but this is exactly the kind of guilty pleasure YA stuff I still like to read. There’s a lot of back & forth as to who is telling the truth and you never know who to trust. It’s also set in the ’90s, which was fun, back when I was just a little older than these characters. It takes place in flashbacks all exactly three years apart in the two girls’ lives. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “In a small Texas town, popular teen Kate, is abducted. Seemingly unrelated, a girl named Jeanette goes from being a sweet, awkward outside to the most popular girl in town, but by 1995 she has become the most-despised person in America.

Dark: S1 E1 – The hubby & I have decided to start watching this but have only seen one episode so I can’t say much yet. I’m certainly intrigued, though!! Very good first episode.

Nine Perfect Strangers: S1 E1-4 – My god – look at all these “adult drama” TV shows I watched in August! Not normally my type of thing. I’m liking this okay but The White Lotus was much better than what I’ve seen of this so far. Still interested to see what happens, though, and I think the acting is very good. I especially like Melissa McCarthy in this much more serious role & Bobby Cannavale. They’re really good so far. And I’m interested to see what will become of Regina Hall’s character (and all the guests, really).

Monsters At Work: S1 E6-9 – Yep – I love this show!! Said more about it HERE. Hope there’s a Season 2!

Steins;gate: S1 E1 – Decided to check out this anime series after really liking Erased. Well, the first episode hasn’t grabbed me. Will try a couple more…

The Crown: S4 E3-4 – Finally watching the Diana episodes I’ve been looking forward to for ages! I’m enjoying them but I don’t buy into the person playing Diana at all. Which is a shame.

TV Shows Rewatched:

Star Trek: The Next Generation: S1 – This is an all-time favorite of mine so am enjoying revisiting.

The Golden Girls: Various episodes – Can always stick on an episode of this to cheer me up. 🙂

Grey’s Anatomy: S1 – Daughter wanted to watch this as it’s her friend’s favorite show. Oh boy – I’d forgotten how inappropriate some of it is. But it’s rated 12, so, oh well – I guess I saw similar shows at her age. Anyway – I’ve watched this show for 17 years & have a love/hate relationship with it. Seeing Season 1 again was strange. It really was a better show at the start…

BOOKS READ

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Four Story Collection: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life Of Chuck, If It Bleeds & Rat)Oops. I read another Stephen King book… Well, I enjoyed it. I always love his shorter story collections. I’ll say just a tiny bit about each. Not sure what to rate it as it’s good but not as strong as some of his other collections. I suppose I’d give the whole thing this: – 3.5/5

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – Really liked this very simple story of a boy who gifts an iPhone to an elderly neighbour. But the story of course gets a little more weird later on…

The Life Of Chuck – Thought this three-part story (told in reverse order) was interesting. The first story was really good & very clever when you later realise what’s going on. The second story was okay & the final one was good with the right amount of creepiness but also strong characters & not a full-on “horror”.

If It Bleeds – This is a short story continuing on from The Outsider (which I actually didn’t like very much). However, it revolves around one of my favorite new Stephen King characters: Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes. She’s a love her or hate her & I love her so like that King keeps using her as well as other likeable previous characters. So I enjoyed this story mainly because I got to revisit these characters again.

Rat – This is the most “Stephen King” story about a writer (shocker! can’t remember if he was also in Maine…) who makes a deal with a talking rat when he wishes to write a successful novel. It’s a twist on The Monkey’s Paw and is a better story than you’d think it could be considering it has a talking rat. But King can write the weird stuff well!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans for September but am considering doing October Horror Month again since I skipped it last year. But it would just be me reposting reviews of all the horror movies I’ve watched in the past year.

**I end these posts with a good song from one of the movies I watched but the Fear Street Trilogy & Cruella had LOADS of good songs! Well, I already posted David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World & I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges in those reviews. So here’s Time Of The Season by The Zombies (which was in Cruella):