Happy 8th Blogiversary To Me

Hello Everyone! Another year of blogging. Why am I still here?!? No one else is. Oh well – I have to keep this movie diary going. If I didn’t spend time making lists, I don’t know what the hell I’d do with myself. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Avoid people. (And that was before lockdown…)

What can I say? 2020 has been a terrible year for the whole world. So I just keep watching movies & reading books as usual. And that’s all I write about on this blog so I’ll shut up now & just stick to that. 🙂

As the year is almost over, here are my current Top Ten Movie Lists For 2020 So Far. Very awkward doing a “2020 Releases” list this year as I always go by U.K. cinema release date. But as so many went straight to streaming services, it was harder to determine which movies “became available to watch in the U.K. in the year 2020”. I ignored festival release dates. I may be wrong on some of these. Oh, who the hell cares what list they end up on?!

My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2020 So Far:

1. Parasite – 7.5/10
2. The Platform – 7.5/10
3. Bill & Ted Face The Music – 7/10
4. Jojo Rabbit – 7/10
5. The Gentlemen – 7/10
6. Weathering With You – 7/10
7. A Whisker Away – 7/10
8. Onward – 7/10
9. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – 7/10
10. Color Out Of Space – 6.5/10

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Seen In 2020 So Far:

1. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – 7.5/10
2. Meet Me In St. Louis – 7.5/10
3. The Peanut Butter Falcon – 7.5/10
4. Mid90s – 7.5/10
5. First Man – 7.5/10
6. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – 7/10
7. Little Women – 7/10
8. Long Shot – 7/10
9. Crimson Peak – 7/10
10. The Vast Of Night – 7/10

The full list of everything I’ve watched in 2020 is HERE.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: March 2020

Hi all. Hope everyone is well & keeping safe.

I haven’t posted any of these monthly updates since February. Obviously, it all seems a bit pointless at the moment. I’m not watching many “new to me” films anyway since I seem to be sticking with movies I’ve already seen & know that I like or think the kid would like. I’ve still kept these monthly lists in my drafts, though, so I might as well catch up on posting them. I’ll keep my thoughts brief (I can’t remember much after five months anyway). Here’s what I watched & read back in March 2020…

MOVIES REVIEWED IN MARCH

Onward – Last film I watched in the cinema. I reviewed it in full at the link. Enjoyed it but a weak entry from Pixar. – 7/10

MOVIES WATCHED IN MARCH (ranked best to worst)

This Boy’s Life – Been wanting to check this out for years to see the performances from Robert De Niro & a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Actually didn’t know beforehand that it was about author Tobias Wolff (played by DiCaprio). I then thought “Oh, I read his book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test!” But, never mind, that was written by Tom Wolfe. I know nothing about Tobias Wolff (except that his stepdad, played by De Niro, was a bit of an asshole). Well, they both delivered the expected good performances but biographical dramas have never really been my thing. It’s a good film but not one I’d watch again. – 7/10

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (4 mosche di velluto grigio) – Was excited to see this Dario Argento film available on Amazon Prime as I’ve been wanting to explore more of the Italian giallo horror thing since finding Phenomena interesting then thinking Deep Red was pretty damn great. Was super disappointed that Four Flies was only available dubbed in English. Argh! I hate when films are dubbed. It’s distracting & definitely ruins the film but, meh – I was in lockdown so I watched it anyway. It’s certainly nowhere near the level of Deep Red or Suspiria. As usual, there was some imagery I liked (like that doll thing up there – I love a creepy doll thing & Argento clearly does too). Shit, I dunno – I remember almost nothing about this five months later whereas I remember all of Deep Red plus its brilliant score. At least the story was ALMOST coherent in Four Flies, which I can’t say for all of Argento’s stuff (especially Inferno, which is later in this list). It also had a truly silly but fun way in which the killer got discovered so I guess I’ll give it an extra point for that. But if you’re new to Argento just watch Deep Red, which is his most accessible film. – 6.5/10

All The Bright Places – I liked this YA novel a lot. I admit I read waaaaaay too many YA books but this was definitely one of my favorites when it comes to the romance/drama side of the genre. It had very strong characters & it left me feeling emotionally drained in a way that many YA books don’t manage as so many of them feel a bit shallow. So I highly recommend the book to fans of YA along the lines of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, etc. The film adaptation, though? Meh. Disappointing. I didn’t feel they captured the characters at all, especially the boy & it was extremely important to get him right. You can feel his pain & desperation in the book but the film character left me a bit cold. To be fair, I don’t think this is the actor’s fault as he’s such a complex character that they never would have been able to bring to the screen in the same way. Overall, it’s an okay film so I’m sure people like it but I know just how good the book is so I’m hoping people will read the book first. Then, yes, it’s worth seeing the adaptation afterwards if you’re interested. – 6.5/10

Dark Shadows – This was the ONLY Tim Burton-directed film I’d not seen so I finally checked it out. Ugh. I suppose I should update my Tim Burton Movie Rankings HERE but I’m too lazy at the moment. It’s probably second or third to last anyway. What a huge disappointment, especially after it started out okay. Then it all went to shit in the final third. I did enjoy the ensemble cast, though – I do love Michelle Pfeiffer & am happy that (I think?) we’re allowed to like Johnny Depp again (Are we?! Hard to keep track these days). Alice Cooper was also in this (as Alice Cooper). So, bonus points for that since I love Cooper (even though the cameo was stupid and felt forced into the story – it worked much better in Wayne’s World!). The story was just messy and the characters were hateful. Eva Green is sexy but her psycho slut character was just dumb. Meh. Whatever. I’ll give it an okay score since, as I said, it started out okay plus it had some style, as to be expected from Burton. And Alice Cooper is in it. – 6/10

Inferno (1980) – Again, I was excited to see a Dario Argento film was going to be showing on TV on Film4. I don’t have a way to record anymore so, as it was the start of lockdown & everything was shit, I was determined to stay up to watch this at its 1:30am showtime. Not worth it!! Damn. First of all, this was ALSO dubbed. What? Why?? Let’s be honest – only proper film nerds are gonna watch foreign films in the middle of the night and film nerds want subtitles. So, again, this will have hurt my enjoyment of this one. When I mentioned that Four Flies was somewhat coherent (as far as Argento films go)? Inferno was an incoherent mess. I don’t know what the fuck was going on, but of course it didn’t help that I was exhausted & worried about viruses at that point (well, I still am now). Anyway – I don’t think anyone watches Italian horror for a good story so I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the imagery & bright red blood & supernatural weirdness. Again, there’s some good imagery in this one but not nearly enough to make up for how weak this movie is compared to Suspiria. Here’s a bit about it from Wikipedia: A thematic sequel to Suspiria (1977), the film is the second part of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, though it is the first in the trilogy to explore the idea of the Three Mothers. The long-delayed concluding entry, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. Yeah, so this is sort of a sequel to Suspiria. Too bad it sucks. But it doesn’t sound as bad as the third film! Released in 2007? I’ll skip that one. Give me good old Seventies/early Eighties horror. At least this one is worth a try if you like Argento’s style as it’s still almost a 70’s film but with a weird ass early 80’s prog score from Keith Emerson. But at least that gives it a cheese-factor that often works for me personally. I kind of hated yet liked the score – I think I’ll add it to my playlist now & I bet it grows on me along with all the other horror scores I like to have creepily playing in the background while I work from home. Give me a Goblin score instead, though! Goblin are a huge part of the reason for Deep Red & Suspiria being the superior Argento films I’ve seen so far. Watch those. Only watch Inferno if you absolutely love Suspiria and want another witchy Argento fix but go in with very low expectations. And don’t watch it dubbed. I’m just too broke to watch films in the way I prefer. – 6/10

Rewatched:

As I said above, a lot of the movies I’ve watched during lockdown have been ones I’ve already seen. Comfort movies, I guess. And some have been ones I’ve wanted to introduce my daughter to, like all the X-Men films (which she LOVED). I better point out that she’s not seen Logan, of course – too violent. I don’t have the energy to write too much about all the re-watches. If I happened to have reviewed them in full in the past, I’ll include the review link.

Jaws – A classic. Still love it but not to the same degree that others my age do. You HAVE to admit it takes a while for this one to pick up. It only becomes truly great once the three guys go out on the boat together. From there, yes, it becomes a brilliant & iconic film. – 8/10

The Hunger Games – I reviewed all but the first Hunger Games film in full as I started this blog just as the first one came out. I should try to review it in full some day as it’s the best of the four (although Catching Fire is very good too). I think these films get some very unfair treatment and it’s likely only because they are part of the YA genre. “Young Adult” is a dirty phrase to people who have become far too judgemental & seem to think art shouldn’t exist for anyone under 25. There’s awful YA & fantastic YA. These books are great reads and the films are very good adaptations while Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss. Okay, I didn’t like the final book but I think everyone felt the same way about that one. It was a disappointing conclusion. You can’t say it wasn’t well-written, though, and you certainly can’t accuse her of selling out to keep fans happy in the end. It’s a strong series & will be seen as a classic in its genre. And I say this as someone who has also read & loved Battle Royale & its film adaptation. The stories are very different, with The Hunger Games exploring some pretty complex political themes for stories aimed at such a young audience. I actually read Battle Royale after liking that adaptation so much as I wanted a more in-depth look into the reasons why they made those kids kill each other but unfortunately didn’t get much more of an explanation than you get in the movie. So don’t start talking shit about The Hunger Games. For this genre, it’s a very good series. If you don’t like the books or films, it may be because they weren’t written for you. It doesn’t make them bad and, as far as the films go, Lawrence acted her ass off and the characters were far more well-developed & empathetic than in many films – especially Woody Harrelson as Haymitch (why can’t we get his story as a prequel??). – 8/10

Coming To America – Still think this is a pretty damn funny 80’s classic. They don’t make decent fun-but-dumb comedy anymore. Comedy movies are just plain dumb nowadays. – 7/10

50 First Dates – I’m Generation X so I’m not an Adam Sandler hater. It was cool for anyone younger than Gen X to hate Sandler until Uncut Gems. You know what? You’re not allowed to like him if you didn’t like him before Uncut Gems. You can’t suddenly claim him like you tried to claim Keanu Reeves. Reeves is ours and so is Sandler, whether he’s in a good movie or a bad one (and, yes, he’s been in some very BAD ones). Sandler was good in Uncut Gems but it was a thoroughly unenjoyable film. I just wanted it to finish (I really liked Good Time, though, FYI). Give me his “dumb” old comedies instead. The Wedding Singer is great and would probably be more universally loved had it starred someone else (maybe Paul Rudd? He seems acceptable to younger people). I also happen to think Big Daddy & 50 First Dates are good so these are my top three Sandler films. Admittedly, the rest start to go downhill but he’s still had more successful films than many actors, especially in the comedy genre, so he’s clearly doing something right. And I love Drew Barrymore as well & think they’re adorable together in this, The Wedding Singer, and even Blended. Drew is especially sweet in 50 First Dates – she elevates this one quite a bit & is the true star of this film. You keep making films, Adam! I’ll watch them. Even when they suck. Just drag Drew into them when you can – they turn out much better than the ones you do with Jennifer Aniston. – 7/10

Click – Um, Click wasn’t as good. Its heart was in the right place (all about appreciating what you have in life & all that). But the comedy didn’t work as well & got too dumb at times. It also felt like it carried on for too long (too lazy to go check the runtime but it felt too long). However, Christopher Walken was a welcome kooky addition, as he is in everything he’s ever in. So I’ll give it an extra half a point for that. And also for the dog always humping that toy. Sometimes dumb comedy works, such as dogs predictably humping things. – 6/10

MUSIC, BOOKS, TV, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Joe Hisaishi – Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi – What can I say? I ADORE Studio Ghibli. But I won’t go into that as I’ve gone on & on about Studio Ghibli so much on this blog. So of course I love this album as so much of it is the music he composed for Ghibli films. He’s a genius. He should be more well known (Well, he’s probably huge in Japan? What do I know!). Special shoutout especially to Hisaishi’s music for My Neighbor Totoro & Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind. Gorgeous. Also my two favorite Ghibli films. The music in a film is very important to me, so it’s probably not a coincidence that they have the best scores as well. He’s to Ghibli what Morricone is to Leone’s films (to me, at least). Perfection.

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream – This is a heavy metal album with each song being about a different horror film. It couldn’t be more perfect for me & my interests & this silly blog! I really like this album, although it’s heavier than the classic type of metal I tend to go for. I just wish I’d known about it last October when I did what will probably be my last ever October Horror Month on this blog. I don’t know if I’ll ever do a proper post on this blog again or if I’ll even post anything else at all after this but this album needs its own specific post. There’s too much to cover, as I’d like to discuss each song as well each of the movies the songs are dedicated to (many of them, such as A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Shining, The Crow & even the not-so-horror Edward Scissorhands being absolute favorite films of mine). So, I’ll make no promises but I’ll try to discuss this album in full sometime. Probably in October while everyone is watching horror movies. I recommend this album to heavy metal horror movie lovers. Thanks to the guy who recommended this album to me! It’s so me. (I thanked him in real life since he’s a real life person – I won’t pretend I discovered this album on my own).

BOOKS READ

Dune by Frank Herbert – I started this at the beginning of lockdown as I obviously wanted to finally read it before the Denis Villeneuve adaptation. It took me several months to finish as I couldn’t concentrate. I did really like it – Life is just very distracting at the moment. I’ll write a bit about it in June’s roundup post, as I think that’s when I finished it.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Like reading books, I’m also finding it hard to concentrate on TV shows at the moment. I’ve still watched only an episode or two of each of these.

Locke & Key – Love Joe Hill’s books & especially his short story collections. Not read the graphic novel this is based on, however, but the story is intriguing. I’d like to read it first. So far, I’m liking the show but I find it far easier to watch a movie than to try to finish an entire series of something. How on earth do people manage to binge watch an entire show over a weekend?? I feel like I’m busier than I’ve ever been. I’m exhausted.

The Storyteller – This is weird as shit! It’s a Jim Henson show from the late Eighties narrated by the brilliant John Hurt and I’d somehow never heard of it. I watched only one episode (Hans My Hedgehog). It was bizarre & creepy and I’m pretty sure it gave me nightmares that night. I’d forgotten I’d watched this. I want to see the rest.

Parks & Recreation – Watched a couple episodes. It’s just okay? Am I the only person who doesn’t love TV shows from the last 20 years?

The Creeps – Watched a few episodes of this Goosebumps-like show with the kid. I’m a lover of weird & bizarre stories, especially with a twist, and I’m always trying & failing to get her to also fall in love with things like The Twilight Zone. She liked this show okay. Think Black Mirror but for kids. But it’s not great. And it’s certainly no masterpiece like The Twilight Zone.

Love, Death & Robots – Watched two or three episodes. Sounded like the EXACT thing the hubby & I would love (sci-fi & robots!!!). We weren’t impressed. And one episode was so over-the-top gory and unnecessarily sexual. Hubby said something along the lines of how it felt like it was made for horny 13-year-old boys (he’ll say I’ve misquoted him when he reads this). That’s accurate, though. Maybe the other episodes are better but what I’ve seen so far was a bit pathetic. How can they fuck up a show about robots?! Robots are awesome! Dammit.

BLOG PLANS FOR AUGUST

I’ll try to do a weekly post of my monthly roundups for April, May, June & July but I’m making no guarantees.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See (I made this list in February so I’m leaving it here for myself as I’ve still not seen even the ones that did get released. I can’t remember what half of these are now…):

The Invisible Man, Dark Waters, The Hunt, Swallow (looked interesting), VFW (what the heck is this?),The New Mutants (ha! will this ever see the light of day?), The Secret Garden, Trolls World Tour (oh god no – why is this listed?! the first one was bad enough), Antlers, Promising Young Woman (don’t remember this), Dream Horse (nor this), Proxima, Finding The Way Back (nor this), Antebellum (nor this), A Quiet Place Part II (still want to see this as really liked A Quiet Place)

Here’s Joe Hisaishi’s beautiful Path Of The Wind from My Neighbor Totoro:

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2020

Happy March everyone! I’m cold! February was worse than January for a change. And February’s movie releases were as disappointing as the weather. Here’s everything I watched & read & listened to in February...

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Parasite – 7.5/10
Little Women – 7/10
Jojo Rabbit – 7/10
Weathering With You – 7/10
1917 – 7/10
Long Shot – 7/10
Burning – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

The Gentlemen – I enjoyed this Guy Ritchie film. It’s good to see him back doing the “London gangster” type stuff since, quite frankly, it’s what he does best. I mean, WTF was Aladdin all about?! (Not that I’ve seen it – I’m boycotting Disney live-action remakes! But Aladdin looked especially rubbish). Lock Stock & Snatch are very enjoyable movies, though. If you’re a fan of those, I guarantee that you’ll like The Gentlemen as well. The only thing I’d say it has against it is that the story gets too convoluted. I think it’s trying too hard to be a little too clever at times. However, the characters are very strong & make up for the meandering plot. Matthew McConaughey is great & super cool as the powerful drug lord (well, it’s just marijuana so I don’t know if that exactly makes you a drug lord). I can’t believe how much I like McConaughey as an actor now after all the shitty rom-com stuff he did at first. Other standouts are Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, and surprisingly Colin Farrell and, even MORE surprisingly, Hugh Grant as a sleazeball you can’t help but kind of like. His & Farrell’s roles are a lot of fun, and I normally don’t like either actor. Farrell’s character seems the most “pointless” in a way but I’m glad they added him in anyway as he was fun to watch. There’s a lot of double crossing & back stabbing and it was nice not being able to predict what was going to happen every step of the way. As I said, though, the story was a little more messy than I’d have liked but overall I can’t complain as I got far more enjoyment from watching this than some of the dreary Oscar nominees in January. Oh, and they swear like absolute motherfuckers in this one. I love a good sweary movie. – 7/10

Onward – 7/10

The Call Of The Wild – I found this family-friendly film based on a classic American novel (that I never read – shame on me) very enjoyable as well. As I said, I never read the book so can’t compare it so I’m only speaking of my experience with the movie. It’s about a dog named Buck who is stolen from his family & sold to become a sled dog in Alaska during the time of the Gold Rush. Buck is a dog and who the hell doesn’t love a dog?! Plus there’s grumpy old Harrison Ford. Who the hell doesn’t love grumpy old Harrison Ford?! That’s all I needed to convince me to check this one out. And I’ll say once again that there are NOT enough “family films” being made these days (besides shitty live-action Disney remakes). We’re a household of big movie fans and it’s felt like we’ve had nothing to take our daughter to see in the cinema in months. Movies are either for adults or are too “kiddie” lately (being almost pre-teen she has no interest in those). She brought a friend to this & they both liked it and of course especially liked Buck. I’m assuming this is a toned-down version of the book and that there’s more focus on Buck feeling the “call of the wild” in the novel but, as a film, I think this does well to make you feel like you know Buck & what he’s thinking. The movie gets stronger once Ford plays a more active role later on. I’d have liked to know a little more of Ford’s backstory but they tell you enough to understand his character & his bond with Buck. It’s a lovely story & I’m sure it’s a very good book (just like Little Women, which I also never read). Damn. I really should’ve read more American classics as a kid & teen instead of just Stephen King. – 7/10

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl – This was an odd one! I love Japanese anime & have been exploring more of it beyond just the Studio Ghibli stuff. I knew nothing about this one but liked the look of it from what I’d seen of images from it. I just realised in looking it up now that it’s from the same director, Masaaki Yuasa, as Lu Over The Wall (which I reviewed HERE). I’d say this one is the stronger film but both are fun & quite “cute”. Cute sounds kind of insulting but I can’t think of a better way to describe the animation style. Lu is aimed younger, though, while this one has a slightly more grown-up storyline involving romance, guys who keep losing their underwear, and drinking lots of alcohol. Honestly, the story is pretty damn weird at times & I have no idea how to go about reviewing this. But I like weird so I had fun watching it although I didn’t love it. If you like Japanese anime and if you like quirky movies, you might want to check this one out. – 6.5/10

Midnight Sun – Why do I watch so much YA romance bullshit? Oh yeah – Because I secretly like YA romance bullshit. Shh – Don’t tell anyone! This is an American remake of a Japanese film & I of course wanted to see the Japanese film instead. It’s about a teenage girl with xeroderma pigmentosum, which means she can’t ever go out into sunlight as it will kill her. But she’s a teenage girl & has had a crush on a neighbor boy who has gone past her window every day since they were kids. The boy is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son, FYI. But he’s no Terminator. The Terminator & Predator are WAY better movies than Midnight Sun. Obviously. Hell, Kindergarten Cop is better. Where was I?? Midnight Sun is fine as far as this weird subgenre of “dying teen romance” goes. But it’s got some of the most ridiculously cliché shit I’ve seen in a while, especially at the end. One cheesy bit at the end actually made me drop my overall score slightly. If you like this genre, it’s worth an easy watch as the two leads are likeable enough. But The Fault In Our Stars & especially Five Feet Apart are much better so I’d recommend those first. I also preferred Everything, Everything. Man – I watch too much of this genre… – 6/10

Uncut Gems – Had to check this out as everyone was raving about it on Twitter. And, once again, I’m wondering why the hell I listen to people on Twitter. I know it’s popular to hate Adam Sandler but I’ve never had a problem with him and do really enjoy SOME of his movies. It probably helps that he’s from my generation of Saturday Night Live (the years of my beloved Wayne’s World!!). I did also watch the Safdie Brothers’ film Good Time & really liked it so I was looking forward to Uncut Gems. I couldn’t get into this film at all. It’s honestly nothing but shouting & hateful characters the whole time. It gave me a headache. However, I agree with the general consensus that Adam Sandler is good in this. He is. It’s maybe worth a watch just to see him in a very different role. Maybe. I just wish the movie wasn’t so annoying. And I could’ve done without seeing up Sandler’s butthole. – 5.5/10

Birds Of Prey – Um. Ugh. Yikes. Damn… This was bad. Sorry! But what an absolute fucking mess of a film. And I wanted to like it. I really really did. To be fair, I’ve not really liked any of the DC movies other than Wonder Woman. Not being a fan in the first place probably didn’t help. I do think Margot Robbie is good as Harley Quinn but she was such a hateful character it was hard to really give a shit about her. She’s unhinged to the point of being silly instead of just being fun. The best thing about this movie was at the very end when the women team up & work together (then becoming the Birds Of Prey). So the reason for the title of the movie isn’t until the very end. I have to say that I’d find a movie about this group of female vigilantes FAR more interesting than this mess of a Harley Quinn story. The next movie should’ve been called Birds Of Prey as this one was really about Quinn with little development of the other female characters until the end. And I did like those characters, especially Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s. Maybe a spin-off Birds Of Prey movie wouldn’t suck as much. Even without the inclusion of Harley Quinn it could be okay. Meh. Waste of time. Worst movie I’ve gone to so far this year. – 5.5/10

Freeway – Wow. This was awful. I like Reese Witherspoon but had never seen this 1996 film with Kiefer Sutherland where he’s a creepy pervert serial killer & she’s a trashy juvenile delinquent. It’s apparently a dark satirical take on Little Red Riding Hood. I normally love dark humor (Heathers is a big favorite) but I can’t say I enjoyed Freeway at all. I do think Witherspoon is good, though. I knew she’d be a big star after seeing her in The Man In The Moon in 1991. She’s good in Freeway although it’s strange seeing her playing someone so trashy. If you want to see her saying all kinds of filthy shit, this movie is the one for you. It’s just one of those movies where everyone is so hateful that it’s hard to get any enjoyment out of it. For a far better satirical black comedy starring Witherspoon, I’d recommend Election instead of this one. – 4.5/10

Rewatched:

Pretty In Pink – Still love it. Of course – it’s a John Hughes film. – 8/10

BOOKS, MUSIC, TV, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

I actually listened to some NEW music in February. Shocking! I finally have access to a streaming service. Yeah, finally. What can I say? I’m old school. I still play CDs. So I finally have some music to talk about in this section. I’ll start with that. But I won’t rate or “review” music as I wouldn’t know how to go about doing that. Plus my musical tastes change way too often…

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Petals For Armor I by Hayley Williams – I mainly listened to this to get my daughter into Hayley Williams as she likes some Paramore. But, hell, I’m the one who ended up loving this EP (especially the song Simmer). The songs are unusual. Very grown-up (the kid liked Simmer but I don’t think the rest went down well). I’m now looking forward to this full album being released in May. I liked all the albums I listened to in February but my very favorite song from all of them is Simmer (I’ve put the video at the end of this post).

The Slow Rush by Tame Impala – I don’t have a lot to say about this as I’ve only listened to it once while working. I like Tame Impala so was looking forward to this. It’s super chilled. So, yeah – it was perfect while I was concentrating on working. Will give it more of a proper listen at some point. I’ll say I felt quite calm & relaxed that day so maybe it was good to not be blasting metal into my ears for a change.

Miss Anthropocene by Grimes – I admit it – I kind of like Grimes. I liked her before the whole Elon Musk thing when no one knew who she was. I even did a post about her for the Music Video Friday series I did for a while (Grimes post HERE. I really enjoyed that series…). Yeah, she’s fucking nutty. Yeah, I don’t like all of her songs and some of what she does is pretentious as shit. But I adore those two songs in that post I did & I happily listened to Miss Anthropocene as soon as she released it. I’ve listened to it quite a bit. I really like it, especially the songs Violence, 4ÆM, My Name Is Dark & You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around. I have to keep skipping Darkseid, though – what the fuck is that?!

Ordinary Man by Ozzy Osbourne – Of course I like this. I’ve loved Ozzy most of my life now. I have so much Black Sabbath & solo Ozzy stuff on various playlists that I don’t think a week ever goes by where I don’t hear his voice. Which is probably why I’ve only listened to this album a couple of times so far. I have loads of Ozzy already! Again, I’ve listened to this while working so I have to give it a proper listen some weekend. Liking it so far. But didn’t expect not to…

BOOKS READ

Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira – Damn me & my annoying inability to stop reading YA books. I can’t help it – they’re simple reads! This one is about a teenage girl whose sister has died (we don’t know exactly how or why at the beginning). At school, she’s given an assignment to write to a famous person. She starts writing to various dead celebrities & the story is all told through her letters to them. She sorts out her feelings about her sister & her death as she writes mainly to people both she & her sister liked (Kurt Cobain & my beloved River Phoenix being two of the main ones). It’s a decent book. If you like YA stuff, it’s worth a read. I’ve read better but I’ve also certainly read worse. – 3/5

Currently Reading Dune by Frank Herbert. What the hell have I gotten myself into?! Crazy time to start something so heavy when I’m so damn busy. But one of my only New Year’s Resolutions this year was to finally read this before the new film comes out. I’m digging all, um, 32 pages I’ve managed to read so far…

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Picard – Have fallen so behind on watching this due to lack of time. Managed two episodes so far. Loving seeing my beloved Patrick Stewart as Picard again but not quite feeling this show yet. We’ll see. But nothing will ever live up to Star Trek: The Next Generation for me.

The Witcher – Watched the first episode of this. Will watch a couple more to see how I feel (but not sure when I’ll find the time!).

The Creeps – This Goosebumps-esque British kids’ show is SO up my alley. Watched a couple episodes with my daughter. I love eerie stories with a twist! I adored The Twilight Zone as a kid but I can’t convince mine to watch a black & white show from the 1950s with me. Damn. Guess we have The Creeps as a compromise. (It’s very tame, though. I’d prefer creepier).

Locke & Key – Can’t wait to watch this if I can ever find the time. I managed about ten minutes of the first episode. I’m intrigued. As Joe Hill is one of my favorite authors, I’ll definitely be watching it even though I’ve not read his graphic novel this show is based on.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I have no plans other than to hopefully continue posting these monthly roundups. But as I’m listening to music a bit more again, it got me thinking about how much I enjoyed my Music Video Friday series (I especially loved the Billy Idol post with Brian of Hard Ticket To Home Video). No one read the posts but I had fun reminiscing when putting them together. Maybe I’ll start posting those again sometimes. Or maybe at least a Song Of The Week post each Friday…

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Fantasy Island – This looks like it could be dreadful so I’ll probably wait to watch it on Netflix. Like all shitty horror movies… (I watch too many)

The Photograph – From IMDb, this is “A series of intertwining love stories set in the past and in the present.” Well, that’s vague. Could be good?

Onward – Seen it! A little disappointing for a Pixar movie but still better than most things made by other animation studios.

Escape From Pretoria – Not sure this is my type of thing. Will see if reviews are good. Still freaks me out that Daniel Radcliffe is a grown-up in movies now.

Military Wives – This looks so British. A Sunday afternoon Netflix flick…

Bacurau – The plot synopsis for this is intriguing. Is it horror?? Mystery?? Will wait to see if reviews are good.

Misbehaviour – Damn, I hate Keira Knightley but this looks interesting.

A Quiet Place Part II – Will definitely go to this as I liked the first film a lot.

The Jesus Rolls – I’m not bothered about this since, unlike most people, I wasn’t that into The Big Lebowski. Loved that rug, though.

Radioactive – I’m sure this will be worth watching but can wait for Netflix.

Mulan – I’ve been boycotting these rubbish Disney live-action remakes ever since that stupid Beauty And The Beast remake. But Mulan looks really good in the trailers… Hmm…

Vivarium – Love the sound of this movie but can’t stand Jesse Eisenberg.

Here’s the Hayley Williams song Simmer:

Onward (2020) Review

Onward (2020)

Directed by Dan Scanlon

Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer

Production company Walt Disney Pictures & Pixar Animation Studios

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.

My Opinion:

Ahh – My beloved Pixar. Pixar is up there with Studio Ghibli & Akira Kurosawa films for me in that they’re responsible for making so many movies I love & their very best are cinematic perfection (in my opinion, obviously). Pixar could do no wrong until the Cars movies came along & they’ve unfortunately had a few missteps since then. The Disney “sequelitis” thing has hurt the Pixar brand slightly, although Pixar’s weakest films are still far better than the majority of output from other animation studios. Onward is good but it’s certainly not one of Pixar’s best. However, I appreciate getting an original story instead of yet another sequel (Toy Story 4 was very disappointing after the third one had such a perfect ending & made for a fantastic trilogy).

Okay – not that anyone cares but you know I love to make lists & rank things. So here’s My Pixar Movie Ranking (Wow – I never watched Cars 3? I’m clearly not into those…). Figured this was worth doing to see where I’d place Onward:

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

So, Onward is unfortunately one of the weakest “original” stories but still better than all the sequels (other than Toy Story 2 & 3, which are great). To be honest, I enjoyed it a bit more than Coco. Coco is lovely to look at & a better “film” but I liked the Onward main characters & the relationship between the two brothers.

I think maybe the most difficult thing with Onward was trying to NOT keep getting Weekend At Bernie’s vibes from it as they dragged their dad around on their journey. As usual, Pixar know how to pull on those heartstrings & there are some lovely moments in this film that are kind of ruined by that stupid Andrew McCarthy movie popping up in my head. Damn you, Andrew McCarthy! (I’m just extra mad at him as I also re-watched Pretty In Pink over the weekend. I will always be #TeamDuckie!).

I’ll try to keep this short as I’m not really planning on doing many full movie reviews this year but, as it’s Pixar, I had to write a little about it. Having just watched Onward, I’m not yet sure how I feel about it. Maybe it will grow on me as some Pixar movies did after a re-watch but I don’t think that will happen in this case & I can’t see ever loving it as I do those at the top of my Pixar list. The overall story is fine but a little weak, especially when compared to just how brilliantly inventive Pixar ideas often are (I’m still amazed by Monsters, Inc. Genius idea). The minor characters in Onward are also disappointing, which is a shame as Pixar often have such strong characters in even the smallest roles. Look at something like Finding Nemo – I love each & every damn sea creature in that thing! They all have such unique personalities. No one stands out in Onward other than the two brothers.

However, I think Onward handles the topic of losing someone well. It manages to make you care about the brothers & their dad, at least, and to yet again simultaneously warm & break your damn heart at the end in usual Pixar fashion. I won’t give too much away but, ultimately, this story is about the two brothers and they’re what make this movie work. They help make up for there being no memorable other characters (maybe that’s the reason why, so the focus is on the brothers & them wanting to see their dad again). I saw people freaking out on Twitter when someone said Onward is Frozen for boys (with people pointing out that both boys & girls can like both of these movies). Chill out, people. The comparison is accurate in that Frozen is about sisters & Onward is about brothers. They’re both about family & love & loss. They’re good films that everyone should be able to relate to in some way. I do wish Onward was a better film overall as its heart is in the right place. Well, you never know – maybe it will grow on me a bit.

My Rating: 7/10