Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film depicts the events leading up to the brutal murder of a New York City housewife (Dickinson) before following a prostitute (Allen) who witnesses the crime, and her attempts to solve it with the help of the victim’s son (Gordon). It contains several direct references to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho.
Oh I do love these mildly filthy ‘70s & ‘80s De Palma films. And I love how these sort of movies always show women taking steamy, sensual showers. Twice in this film! Always slowly soaping up their bits while moaning in pleasure. Yeah, we don’t take showers like that. Or maybe I’m doing something wrong? De Palma likes to murder these women or have tampons pelted at them after these steamy showers so I think I’ll stick to my boring, unsexy showers.
Anyway. I liked this. It very much fits in with his other work from that era, of which I’m a big fan. I think Carrie & Phantom Of The Paradise are great. This one isn’t nearly as good as those, of course, but is more along the lines of Sisters & The Fury (but with less “horror” and much more “horny”). I badly need to rewatch Blow Out & Body Double as I saw those at WAY too young of an age so don’t remember much now. I miss these sort of films & think I may be a bigger (old school) De Palma fan than I’ve realised. And then to also make something as fantastic as The Untouchables (and so very different from this type of stuff) is crazy.
Hooray for sleazy old ‘70s & ‘80s De Palma films! They can’t make movies like this anymore.
Starring: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider
Music by Howard Shore & Ornette Coleman
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.
I’m a fan of Cronenberg but had never seen this so was glad to see it on services. It has a great noir look but I was slightly disappointed at first until the vagina-looking thing on the typewriter-bug started talking & then the penis-tentacles on the other bug started oozing & I was like “There’s the Cronenberg I love!”
The story is indeed bizarre, even more so than the original films written by Cronenberg himself. I liked it but it’s not up there with his other body horror for me, although I still prefer this kind of work to things such as A History Of Violence, etc. I mainly just wasn’t as into this story. I’ll blame William S. Burroughs for that, as I’ve loved other adaptations Cronenberg has done such as The Fly & The Dead Zone. I admit to having no knowledge of this work, though, so hope fans were happy with this adaptation. I did throughly enjoy the visuals I was expecting from the body horror master and am happy to say it’s yet another Cronenberg film I’ll never forget thanks to some imagery that will be stuck in my brain forever.
I’ll be totally honest on the story, though – I don’t know what the hell was going on but I’m too old & too tired to care enough to look into what his oozing & talking vaginas and penises were meant to represent THIS time. I think there may have been a little bit of “Be true to yourself” in there. Or not. I have no clue. But I like that idea. I’ll pretend that’s what the talking vagina bug was telling me. Besides the obvious “Don’t snort insecticide“. Which you’d think would be obvious but didn’t some people do similar thinking it would stop them getting Covid? Oh I love humans!
I’ve ranked all the Cronenberg films I’ve seen here. Yes, I need to explore more of his work besides just the body horror.
Starring: Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels, Ray Liotta, Margaret Colin, Tracey Walter, John Waters
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) A free-spirited woman “kidnaps” a yuppie for a weekend of adventure. But the fun quickly takes a dangerous turn when her ex-convict husband shows up.
Really enjoyed this. Having grown up in the ‘80s, I’m very fond of the VHS covers I’d see when renting movies. There are still quite a few I remember very well that I never got around to actually seeing (this being one of them, as well as After Hours which I’ve wanted to see for all these years & still haven’t). I always love an ‘80s New York setting & the scenes in the city didn’t disappoint. At first I was a bit annoyed with Melanie Griffith’s “Manic Pixie Dream Girl Before The Phrase Existed” character but she grew on me a lot. And I really liked Jeff Daniels in this – he’s an underrated actor.
The film was fun as we watched Griffith & Daniels on their crazy day out but it really picked up with the appearance of Ray Liotta as Griffith’s menacing ex. Liotta really could play unhinged characters perfectly & he’s absolutely brilliant in this film. Loved him in this. It’s an odd film & I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first. But when it finished, I think I kind of loved it. And it’s so ‘80s, which is always a hit with me. Likely not a film for everyone these days but one that I’m sure is a favorite of some Gen Xers around my age.
I need to stop wasting my time on all the current releases just to keep up with Film Twitter, etc, when I far prefer older films like this. Especially from directors such as Jonathan Demme. After watching this, I decided to keep up the trend by watching two other older films I’d not yet seen from Cronenberg & De Palma as I like their work (Naked Lunch & Dressed To Kill). Definitely liked Something Wild the most but all three were far more rewarding than any of the 2023 releases I’ve seen so far this year.
Oh, just need to add that I’m terrible at remembering movie character names so tend to use the names of the actors when talking about a movie. But I know Daniels was named Charlie in this because, fucking hell, Griffith says “Charlie” A LOT…
Based on Characters by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, James Jude Courtney
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The plot follows Corey Cunningham, a young man who falls in love with Laurie Strode’s granddaughter while a series of events, including crossing paths with Michael Myers, render him a murderous outcast.
I’m not a massive Halloween series fan, although I’ve watched them all other than Resurrection & the second Rob Zombie one as I’d suffered enough through his first piece of shit (I’m an Elm Street girl). I do think the 1978 Halloween is a horror classic, with one of the all-time best music themes, but I could live without the rest. Well, the second film is okay. Having said that, I thought Halloween Ends wasn’t terrible? It’s still a pretty rubbish horror film just like all the other Halloween sequels but it’s certainly not the worst in this entire series.
Of this specific trilogy, I think the first film is actually quite good & the best by FAR but I liked Ends more than Kills. At least it tried something different? But I’m guessing that hardcore Halloween fans weren’t fond of this one? Hell, Michael Myers is barely even in it! But that’s fine with me since I think he’s kind of a shit villain anyway. He’s boring. So I liked what they tried to do with the character of Corey (even though he was annoying). And the opening scene was good.
But I’ll still forget this film a year from now, the way I barely even remember Kills now. It just didn’t feel like much actually happened in this film. It was very anticlimactic. And it’s nice that Laurie Strode is baking pumpkin pies & talking about cherry blossoms & shit but that was also pretty silly. Meh. Whatever. To be honest, I don’t know how I’d except them to “end” these films. Would like to think Strode could indeed get a happy ending at least. But you know they’ll make more of these fucking movies…
I reviewed Halloween 1 through 6 here for Halloween a couple of years ago. Definitely like “The Loomis Timeline” (or whatever they call each of these) the most. Too bad these three David Gordon Green films didn’t go well after a strong start in 2018.
These 2023 films were fine. Okay. Meh. Nothing to write home about. Blah. I’m so bored with “fine”. Liked The Mother the most out of these.
The Mother (2023)
Directed by Niki Caro
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, Paul Raci, Gael García Bernal
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life.
This was fine. Love “protective kick-ass mother” movies so watched this to see the mother/daughter scenes more than the action. The story & the action were okay but preferred watching Lopez with the daughter & having to make heartbreaking decisions to do whatever it takes to protect her.
I think Lopez deserves more credit, as she’s proven she can easily do something like this just as well as comedy & romance. She’s been in some decent films but let’s get her into even better ones. Have really liked her in all her recent straight-to-streaming films (this, Shotgun Wedding & Marry Me). She was the best thing about all of them and made them worth watching.
Oh, I should add that I liked the music used in this movie: Massive Attack, Kate Bush & Grimes (yes I like Grimes).
My Rating: 6/10
Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)
Directed by David Lowery
Based on Walt Disney’s Peter Pan Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie
Starring: Jude Law, Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Yara Shahidi, Alyssa Wapanatâhk, Joshua Pickering, Jacobi Jupe, Molly Parker, Alan Tudyk, Jim Gaffigan
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The story follows Peter Pan and Wendy, who go to the magical world of Neverland with Wendy’s brothers and Peter’s best friend Tinker Bell. Along the way, Wendy embarks on the adventure that will change her life and encounters Peter’s archenemy Captain Hook.
This was also… Fine?
There’s nothing really wrong with this adaptation so I don’t see why it’s getting such bad reviews. There have been far worse live action Disney films (Hello, Tom Hanks Pinocchio?!). But, meh. This has never been one of my favorite stories anyway. Are we supposed to grow up or not?! The acting from the kids was a little dodgy but I liked Tinker Bell not being a total bitch.
My Rating: 6/10
Rye Lane (2023)
Directed by Raine Allen-Miller
Starring: David Jonsson, Vivian Oparah
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It stars David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah as two strangers who have a chance encounter, after having both been through recent breakups, and spend the day getting to know each other.
Liked the couple, enjoyed the London setting, love A Tribe Called Quest, was a little bored by the story. A pleasant enough film – I think I’m just finding it difficult to relate to twentysomethings these days. Fun cameo.
Starring: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meier, Falilou Seck, Jürgen Tarrach, Henriette Richter-Röhl, Monika Oschek
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) In order to obtain research funds for her studies, a scientist accepts an offer to participate in an extraordinary experiment: for three weeks, she is to live with a humanoid robot, created to make her happy.
Always love sci-fi films exploring AI & its dangers & what it means to be human. I’ll always watch this subgenre although it’s been done so much that the ideas have pretty much all been explored in previous films already.
I’d say this one brings something fairly new to the table, though, in really focusing on if we could have a truly meaningful relationship with a robot specifically built to be our ideal mate in every way. It’s certainly something to think about. So I could have a Chris Hemsworth-looking robot that pretends to be madly in love with me & caters to my every need?! Hmm. Several years ago I’d have gone “No thanks!” (I’ve seen The Terminator way too many times) but the human race is pissing me off so damn much lately that I’m thinking, you know, “Mayyyyyybe?”…
My Rating: 7.5/10
20th Century Girl (2022) (Korean: 20세기소녀)
Directed & Written by Bang Woo-ri
Starring: Kim Yoo-jung, Byeon Woo-seok, Park Jung-woo, Roh Yoon-seo
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) A South Korean film that depicts the friendship and freshness of first love against the backdrop of 1999.
My daughter really likes this South Korean romance drama & has watched it several times. Was so happy when she actually asked me to watch it with her! If you like overly dramatic teen romances, this one is well worth a watch. Very likeable characters & a good story. Will be shocked if they don’t do an annoyingly pointless American remake. If they do, watch the original instead.
But, man – these teens really need to learn how to communicate. Would have stopped so many misunderstandings in this. And those girls were soooo dramatic. That was cute, though. It’s a sweet film.
My Rating: 7/10
John And The Hole (2021)
Directed by Pascual Sisto
Based on El Pozo by Nicolás Giacobone
Starring: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film revolves around a boy who discovers an unfinished bunker in the neighboring woods of his home.
Was intrigued despite the bad reviews as I wanted to know why a boy stuck his family down a hole. Unfortunately, when the film ended, I still wanted to know why a boy stuck his family down a hole.
Didn’t hate this movie, though, and still liked the idea. Just don’t go into it expecting an explanation. Do wonder if it has a deeper meaning that I missed. And I think it may be trying to say something about how much it sucks to be an adult? But it also might just be a movie about a boy who stuck his family down a hole.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Will Poulter, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Linda Cardellini, Nathan Fillion, Sylvester Stallone
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) In the film, the Guardians embark on a mission to protect Rocket (Cooper) from the High Evolutionary (Iwuji).
The Guardians Of The Galaxy films are my favorite of the MCU, probably as they’re a little different & I’m not a huge Marvel fan overall although I do enjoy the movies. So was very much looking forward to this. Enjoyed seeing my favorite characters again but found this disappointing compared to the first two films. I like the GOTG as they’re fun & I far prefer my superhero films to be fun and more lightweight than the dreariness we get from that other comic movie universe. Some heavy stuff still happens in these but the humor & soundtracks are great.
Although Vol 3 still had the humor & the songs, the loss of Gamora obviously had an effect on that sense of fun. And, not gonna lie, I miss the OG Groot & especially adorable Baby Groot. My favorite of the Guardians, he was given very little to do in this one & I also missed seeing his relationship with Rocket in this. As for Rocket, his backstory was good and added a lot to his character but it was so dark and depressing and, yes, I also missed his smart ass wisecracks even though I know the whole point is for him to stop being that way with his best friends who he loves. Think Drax & Mantis are underrated & did like what they did with them in Vol 3. Loved Cosmo. Good dog!
I think the biggest problem was the story & the villains in this. Although it was good for Rocket’s development, I wasn’t feeling that story overall and absolutely hated the villain. Obviously, as he’s evil. But I mean I thought he was a rubbish character & his annoying overacting was terrible. And my god that one bit with him was gross plus the whole Rocket story was very upsetting. I know they aim these at the now-adults who grew up on them but I think they need to remember that kids love these movies too (I say that as a fan of Gunn’s work such as Slither). The Adam Warlock character was also a bit rubbish, although he does improve.
I just think all the stories going on in this were weak & a bit messy when all I wanted was to get more time with these great characters interacting with each other. The story got in the way. We barely got to see Rocket or Groot with the others and of course things can’t be the same with Gamora, making Star-Lord sad the whole time. I don’t think we got a great goodbye for these characters. I know they can’t all have perfect, happy endings and I’m fine with that as I love bittersweet – I just wanted to see them all together a bit more for this one last time.
Oh well. As I said, I still really enjoyed seeing these characters again & the first two films still top my MCU ranking. Because of the characters, I have Vol 3 ranked quite high (currently in the top ten if I don’t change my mind). But, if it wasn’t for them being my favorites, this film would rank far lower if I was honest. It’s not the great film the reviews would suggest. Certainly not the worst of the MCU, but somewhere in the middle.
Managed to again review all the movies that I watched throughout April separately so I’ll just rank them below & include the review links. Also managed to watch a full series of a new show (hated it), read a book, and listened to some new music which is rare since music sucks now (but it’s from an old fart band, of course, because I’m an old fart).
An Irish Goodbye – This won Best Live-Action short at the Oscars. The only other one I’ve seen is Le Pupille, which I didn’t like as much as this one. Thought this was a very sweet & funny look at two brothers dealing with the death of a parent. Good stuff. Am glad it won, although I obviously can’t compare it to all the others. I’ll try to watch the rest if they pop up on services like this one did.
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN APRIL
TV SHOWS WATCHED (not ranked)
– The Mandalorian: S3 E6-8 – Loved it. Love Grogu. My favorite show in years. Is it still as great as at first? Nah, probably the weakest series of the three but still great. And I’m now heartbroken to have no new Grogu content to look forward to each week. 😭 Was saying to the hubby “You know I’m not on my phone looking up sexy men or something – It’s most likely I’m searching for cute Grogu clips to rewatch”.
– Beef: S1– Pretty much hated this. Could any of these characters have been any more hateful? (Except for the daughter – she was adorable). I just didn’t see the point of this show? I guess it was showing how road rage can escalate but this story was just fucking ridiculous. And why did that one specific person have such a gross & violent death compared to everyone else who was an asshole as well & deserved no better? I mainly watched this as I like Steven Yeun (and Glenn was my favorite Walking Dead character). But when I saw it was an A24 thing I knew it might be a pretentious piece of shit so it’s my own damn fault for watching it I guess.
– Sweet Tooth: S2 E1– Liked Season 1 so was looking forward to finally seeing this. But, honestly, I’ve forgotten too much of Season 1 so was a bit lost during this first episode of Season 2. Need a shorter wait between each series. I’ve watched a million other things since then! Including Cocaine Bear, which this boy was in. So I kept thinking “Cocaine Bear kid!”. Will try to watch more, though. Still an interesting story.
– Schitt’s Creek: S1 E12-13, S2 E1-2 – Continuing this as it’s honestly the perfect sort of thing to stick on in the background while you’re doing other shit. Like writing a blog review. Super insulting, probably. But I do like it.
– Grey’s Anatomy: S19 E1-14– I have a love/hate relationship with this show. 19 years, man – I can’t stop watching now. I actually think this season has been better than other recent ones so far. The women’s clinic stuff has been really good & needs to be shown because things are f*^king crazy over there. And I quite like the above new batch of interns or whatever they are. Sometimes the group of newbies they get on the show each season are just annoying as hell.
– The Amazing World Of Gumball: S1 – Daughter was obsessed with this show when younger & I only ever saw bits & pieces of it. It’s absolutely fucking nuts. Now I know why she’s such a (lovable) weirdo. 🙂 She was very happy it suddenly became available again on one of our services for the first time in years so I decided to watch them with her as she’s still a big fan. But now it’s disappeared from the service again. Not happy! Was enjoying this way more than I probably should as a grown woman… For a taste of Gumball, I posted about it in my Anthropomorphic Cuteness series here (I miss those posts).
– Heavenly Delusion (天国大魔境, Tengoku Daimakyō): S1 E1 – Japanese dystopian anime – Seemed right up my alley! Hubby & I watched a couple more episodes in May & we’re losing interest. It’s a bit of a mess. Not sure if we’ll continue.
– Outer Banks: S1 E1-3 – Meh. Daughter & I decided to check this out. We’re not really feeling it & probably won’t continue. For me, everyone is just too young & too good looking & too unrealistic. Annoying teenage bullshit.
– The Other People by C.J. Tudor – C.J. Tudor is my new favorite author. She’s a combination of my two faves: Dean Koontz crossed with Stephen King but with a bit less of the supernatural shit I love (but still some) & a bit more “crime” (it’s the section where they put her books in my local library). The Chalk Man was great & I liked The Burning Girls a lot. I liked this one & The Taking Of Annie Thorne a bit less but still found the story very enjoyable. She does love to take you on a twisty turny journey. Actually, she’s probably mostly influenced by Harlan Coben but I have less experience with his work (mostly just the TV adaptations). Yeah, it’s lightweight but that’s what I like to read – I’m too busy watching movies to read a heavy book. Although I’m still working my way through Watership Down, so I do attempt to read some classics! Here’s the synopsis for The Other People (via Amazon):
“Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again.
Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.” – My Rating: 3/5
MUSIC LISTENED TO IN APRIL
– Metallica – 72 Seasons – Yay! New music for us old farts! I like what I’ve heard so far. I haven’t given it a really good listen yet as have had it playing while working. I wrote a bit about how much I loved Metallica in high school when I used to do my Music Video Friday series & I posted the video for The Unforgiven.
Must admit I’ve ignored Metallica’s newer stuff for many years now & continue to just listen to their oldest albums (up through the Black album, then Load & Reload were disappointing, then I loved Garage, Inc – anyone else have a Garage Days cassette at the time? I loved that thing. God I’m old). Nothing will ever top Lightning & Master, though. Those albums are amazing. I can only think of one song I’ve liked since Garage, Inc (The Day That Never Comes). Am I missing out? Should I give their last few albums a chance too?
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
Probably gonna sign up for one month of Apple TV to binge the latest season of Ted Lasso & watch Tetris & all the 2022 Apple TV movies that I missed. And it looks like Halloween Ends is being added to one of my services in May so I’ll be checking that out.
Might as well end this post with the title track from the new Metallica album…
My last two April reviews are two interesting horror films from last year. One of them is very much my type of thing which I didn’t love at first but has gone way up in my estimation since seeing it. I can’t quite decide how I feel about the other one but I know I’d never watch it again.
Directed & Written by Andrew Semans
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Grace Kaufman, Michael Esper, Tim Roth
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The plot follows Margaret (Hall) as she tries to maintain control of her life when an abusive ex-boyfriend (Roth) re-appears in her vicinity.
Initially gave this a lower rating but have upped it after giving the film some more thought. At first saw it as simply a story of trauma from an abusive relationship, which it is, but then saw it as being just as much about motherhood & all the fears that come with that and I could then relate even more to Rebecca Hall’s character. Would’ve made a good double feature with Men and am sure this one is just as divisive as both indeed get pretty damn weird (which I appreciate). I preferred this one being more than just “all men are evil”, though, and Hall gives a great performance. Hate to use the word but Men also got a little too pretentious whereas this one for the most part stayed just the right side of that line. I feel it’s one that could go up in my estimation the more I think about it (as it already has).
I admit I do like a film that I have to look up afterwards to try to figure out what it’s meant to mean & love when there can be different interpretations. As I said, for me I could relate to the fears about motherhood & wanting to protect your child & how hard it is to let them go when they reach adulthood themselves. Others will get different things from this movie and I think there can be plenty of discussion on what’s real & what’s maybe not in this story. It’s definitely a like it or absolutely hate it film and I appreciate that it’s one I’m going to be thinking about for a while.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Piggy (2022) (Spanish: Cerdita)
Directed by Carlota Pereda
Based on Piggy (short film) by Carlota Pereda
Starring: Laura Galán, Richard Holmes, Carmen Machi, Irene Ferreiro, Camille Aguilar, Claudia Salas, Pilar Castro
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) An overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls poolside while holidaying in her village. The long walk home will change the rest of her life.
Not sure how I feel about this movie. I can’t stand bullies so hated seeing this girl being tormented. Even though high school was a very very long time ago for me and I was never the victim of any severe bullying as one of the invisible “not popular but not unpopular” people, I still remember every single seemingly insignificant cruel thing from classmates & “friends” to this day. That teenage bullshit stays with you forever. And this character is humiliated, which is hard to watch. I’m so thankful that in my day social media didn’t exist, at least. I can’t imagine being a teenager nowadays.
So, yes, I didn’t feel any sympathy for the “mean girls” other than a little bit for the blonde one who clearly went along with things due to peer pressure. Being “in the middle”, I’m sure I didn’t always stand up for people when I could have as a teen (although I do remember speaking out sometimes). It’s very hard to do that at that age. Just not sure how I wanted this story to go or to end. And the main girl did some really stupid things, which was a little frustrating as I wanted to be fully on her side. I don’t know. I think I wanted the end to go the other way but that may not have been best for her character.
The one thing I do like about this movie is that it will have you questioning if you’d have done the same thing in her situation. I know we all like to think we’d do the right thing but you can certainly see why this character would hesitate to help after what they’ve put her through for presumably years. So I liked that moral dilemma but not sure I liked how that idea was executed in this film or how much bullying we had to watch this girl endure.
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) Follows Allison, whose life falls apart following her involvement in a fatal accident.
I really liked this despite being very sick of Florence Pugh. I’d say it’s my favorite straight-to-streaming film so far this year. Yes it’s a bit too over-the-top on drama but I liked the characters, especially Morgan Freeman’s character (always love him) and the granddaughter. Felt heartbroken for them. Unfortunately, Pugh’s character was the least sympathetic but she did well enough in the role. Her singing was annoying & so “Zach Braff trying to make girl seem cool”. Really liked why Freeman’s character did the model train stuff, though. It’s not a perfect film and is too tidy & predictable at the end but the characters & story worked for me. Things like this do happen & it’s hard to imagine how those involved are able to move on with their lives.
Man I love Freeman’s voice. (But don’t we all?)
My Rating: 7.5/10
Directed by Alexis Jacknow
Starring: Dianna Agron, Jay Ali, Melora Hardin, Saul Rubinek
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) This film by writer/director Alexis Jacknow will follow a woman’s desperate attempt to fix her broken biological clock.
Well, I have a new last place of the 2023 U.K. releases I’ve seen so far. I liked the idea of this, as society puts too much pressure on women to become mothers. But it didn’t really explore that and just ended up being a dumb film & a dull horror. Not the first time a decent poster fooled me into watching a bad movie! And it won’t be the last…
My Rating: 4.5/10
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Directed by James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong, Earl Boen, Joe Morton
Music by Brad Fiedel
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) In the film, the malevolent artificial intelligence Skynet sends a Terminator—a highly advanced killing machine—back in time to 1995 to kill the future leader of the human resistance John Connor, when he is a child. The resistance sends back a less-advanced, reprogrammed Terminator to protect Connor and ensure the future of humanity.
Absolute classic. Enjoying introducing my teen to my favorites from my own teen years. I remember this film blowing my mind when I went to it in high school & how massively popular it was (and how I loved seeing it spoofed in my next big movie obsession Wayne’s World). I watched this so many times back then but hadn’t watched it in probably almost 20 years. Still adore it. Have to admit that I saw this before seeing The Terminator but this of course made me watch that one and I loved it even more (I’m in the “The Terminator is better than T2” camp but they’re both amazing).
Sarah Connor kicked ass, Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled these sort of movies and I miss sci-fi action films being this damn good, the scene with Aliens woman, the man & the milk carton is still an all-time favorite of mine, Guns N’ Roses used to be cool believe it or not, and I’m to this day still weirdly upset over Miles Dyson. I really need to give James Cameron more credit as he’s clearly the reason I fell in love with sci-fi action films thanks to T1 & T2 but especially thanks to Aliens, which is possibly my absolute favorite movie ever if you forced me to only choose one film.
Happy Friday! 🙂 Ending the week with some good films I watched this month.
In The Mood For Love (2000) (Chinese: 花樣年華, 花样年华)
Directed & Written by Wong Kar-wai
Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It portrays a man (Tony Leung) and a woman (Maggie Cheung) whose spouses have an affair together and who slowly develop feelings for each other.
Been desperate to see this for years as it’s compared to Brief Encounter, which I love, because nothing beats intense sexual tension. Far sexier than any actual sex scenes. This film looks beautiful and my god her outfits were gorgeous. I wanted this couple to live happily ever after together so bad. Great film. Was hoping to instantly adore it a bit more but am thinking it’s one that will grow on me even more in retrospect. I know it’s one that will certainly stay on my mind.
My Rating: 8/10
I couldn’t find a better image but the above dress changed color as she moved & it was amazing…
La Haine (1995)
Directed & Written by Mathieu Kassovitz
Starring: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film chronicles a day and night in the lives of three friends from a poor immigrant neighbourhood in the suburbs of Paris. The title derives from a line spoken by one of them, Hubert: “La haine attire la haine!”, “hatred breeds hatred”.
This was very good and one I wasn’t expecting to fully appreciate as I find it difficult to watch movies with unsympathetic characters. But it beautifully captured social injustice & the resulting civil unrest. Feels just as relevant today, especially as things continue to get even more extreme in parts of America. I really felt for the character of Hubert, who made an effort & just wanted a better life. Loved the film’s strong & deeply affecting ending – it’s one of those endings that will stay with you. I watched this as part of my IMDb Top 250 Project and am glad the project has made me see films like this that I otherwise may have not chosen to watch.
I’ve ranked this fairly high in my list of all foreign films I’ve seen here (excluding anime which is in its own list here).
My Rating: 8/10
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (2018) (Japanese: 君の膵臓をたべたい, Kimi no Suizō o Tabetai)
Directed by Shinichiro Ushijima
Based on I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino
Was eager to see this cherry-blossom-in-your-face YA anime version of the teen-romance-with-terminal-illness subgenre as I love anime & still enjoy YA romance at my advanced age & that poster looked so pretty but, mainly, I loved the title. The title is explained & it’s pretty sweet & everything about this film is typical YA anime romance. Meaning the teens are far too dramatic and borderline annoying (especially the girl) but it has that anime charm that I always enjoy. So I liked this one a lot although it’s certainly not up there with the very best of the YA anime romance films from Makoto Shinkai, whose work this most resembles. So certainly watch this if you like his stuff but I’d also recommend all of Shinkai‘s work including 5 Centimeters Per Second, which this most reminded me of probably thanks to the cherry blossoms. Must admit I’m a sucker for those gorgeous cherry blossoms.
Check out this worthy shit that I watched! I realized this month that I’ll watch absolutely anything. From these silent classics to crap like The Death Of Dick Long & The FP to an Adam Sandler film to Super Mario Bros & Minions to In The Mood For Love & La Haine (I’m reviewing those last two tomorrow). Those last two were damn good (as were these two).
Man With A Movie Camera (1929) (Russian: Человек с киноаппаратом)
Directed & Written by Dziga Vertov
Cinematography by Mikhail Kaufman
“Plot” Synopsis: (via IMDb) A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.
Not gonna lie – I have a list on Letterboxd of My Favorite Film From Each Year (here) going back to 1920 but I was missing 1928 & 1929. Seeing that they were the most popular from those years, I watched this & The Passion Of Joan Of Arc.
I love films but know nothing whatsoever about filmmaking, so I can’t really comment on that side of things but the camerawork & techniques used in this are indeed extremely impressive for the time. Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia explaining what’s been used in this film: “Man with a Movie Camera is famous for the range of cinematic techniques Vertov invented, employed or developed, such as multiple exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, match cuts, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, reversed footage, stop motion animations and self-reflexive visuals (at one point it features a split-screen tracking shot; the sides have opposite Dutch angles).”
FYI – I don’t know what a Dutch angle is but it sounds kinky.
That’s all obviously very impressive but, for me, I found just watching these people living their lives in 1920’s Soviet Union to be absolutely fascinating. I have no idea what version I saw but it also had some added modern music that was very calming. Wasn’t expecting to enjoy an experimental silent documentary with no story but I was enthralled. There’s even a shirtless Top Gun-style volleyball scene in the middle of this for your viewing pleasure.
Oh, and the above poster for this movie is cool as hell.
My Rating: 8/10
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928) (French: La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc)
Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Starring: Renée Jeanne Falconetti, Eugène Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The Passion of Joan of Arc is a 1928 French silent historical film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. The film summarizes the time that Joan of Arc was a captive of England, depicting her trial and execution.
As mentioned above, this was my 1928 choice to watch for my Letterboxd list of My Favorite Film From Each Year.
This is a powerful film. But I have zero clue how to review it. I really need to watch more old films like this. I’ll just say that Renée Jeanne Falconetti was fantastic as Joan of Arc. What a stunning performance. I feel like we don’t get that sort of emotion in films in the same way today. I may have chosen to watch this to complete my list, but I’m glad it made me check this out. Excellent film.
Speaking of excellent, I felt bad that I kept thinking “Noah’s wife?”. Thanks, Bill & Ted!
My Rating: 8/10
Reviewed Nope separately earlier today as it didn’t really fit in with these two movies. Boy are my feelings mixed on that one…
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, Brandon Perea, Keith David
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as horse-wrangling siblings attempting to capture evidence of an unidentified flying object.
Still trying to decide how I feel about this movie. I liked it (I think) but I also think it’s a bit of a mess. Actually, I think it may be more than “a bit” of a mess but Jordan Peele seems to be one of those current directors who everyone thinks is a genius & can do no wrong (such as Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, etc etc). I have mixed feelings on all their work but the one thing I do like is their originality. I am so bored with sequels, reboots, and superheroes. I want original stories & to have a film actually surprise me sometimes. So I give directors such as these credit for that even though I don’t always like their films.
I like Peele’s ideas. While I wasn’t fully on the Get Out bandwagon, I can see what people saw in it. However, I think Us was pretty great & deserves more credit than it seems to get – I rewatched that again recently & it went up a lot in my estimation. I did find some of that story too messy as well, though, with too many things that didn’t add up. But it sure as hell was an original story, so I love that about it. It’s like Peele is almost there on making a truly brilliant horror film. The potential is there. The storylines need to be tighter.
Nope was a step backwards. While there were parts of it that I liked (the chimp storyline & the design of the reveal of the thing I don’t want to spoil), I think for the most part it’s… kind of a bad film? I feel like, if this was from a different director, it would have been trashed by critics. How can this have a slightly higher rating than Us on Letterboxd? Or am I missing something? I suppose he was going for the “bad ’50s UFO sci-fi movie” thing, which I do appreciate. There’s nothing I love more than sci-fi and I dig that he’s done this funky sci-fi UFO horror thing. It’s why I did still enjoy this movie & am giving it a decent rating despite thinking it’s a mess & not actually very good. But, again, it’s quite an original story so I’m still going to take that over all the sequels, reboots & superheroes. It was far too slow, though. I have patience but it took a very long time for this film to finally get interesting. It’s not a good thing when a movie feels far longer than it actually is. I’m also not sure what point it was trying to make or if it didn’t have much of a message this time and we were just expecting that because of his previous films. And I’d have liked to see much more of the “inside” (trying to avoid spoilers here). I liked that bit a lot. Nice & weird. It gave me brief Under The Skin vibes. We needed more of that weirdness.
I don’t want to ramble on about Nope forever. I’ll leave it here for now as maybe I’ll change my mind on it like I did with Us. I just re-read my Us review and I was pretty lukewarm on that one at first. I can’t see this one going up in my estimation like that did, though. I can’t even see ever wanting to rewatch this to see if my opinion changes so that’s not a good sign as I very happily rewatched Us. I’ll just say that lately I don’t have the time or energy to do long reviews like I used to do on my blog but, sometimes, I end up writing a lot if I find a movie interesting. This is especially true with divisive films – I wrote quite a bit about Ari Aster’s Hereditary & Midsommar. I always prefer divisive films to the many boring films. I like that Peele’s films are thought-provoking in the same way as Aster’s but more palatable. I have yet to really love a film from either director, though. I appreciate their work more than I actually like their work. I think I could love one someday but it’s a nope for Nope being that one.
My Rating: 7/10(I think I’m being too generous)
Was going to post this with two other movie reviews I’ve done but then this ended up so long I decided to do it as a separate post. So later today I’ll post my double review of two very worthy silent films from the 1920s. Nope felt out of place in the same post as those anyway…
Four 2023 movies today. One I even saw in the cinema! It was okay but very kiddie. One straight-to-streaming was decent & the other two were meh…
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)
Directed by Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic
Based on Mario by Nintendo
Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film features an origin story for the brothers Mario and Luigi, two Italian-American plumbers who are transported to an alternate world and become entangled in a battle between the Mushroom Kingdom, led by Princess Peach, and the Koopas, led by Bowser.
This was cute. It’s aimed very young (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I’m an old fart of the Space Invaders generation & never been into games (except Duke Nukem, Myst & Plants Vs Zombies – what a dork). So I don’t know much about Mario etc & wasn’t going to get the same level of nostalgic enjoyment out of this. I’m sure little kids love it, though, and the characters were fun even though I only knew some of them. I adore Jack Black so he was my favorite thing about this (and I can’t get that Peaches song out of my head). The story is simple but, hey, it’s for kids. Cute & inoffensive entertainment for the family with probably just enough to keep the older Mario fans in the audience happy as well.
Oh! I should add that I loved that adorable little blue flame dude of doom as well. Blue flame dude & Jack Black rule this movie.
My Rating: 6/10
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (2023)
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone, Hugh Grant
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film is about a spy, Orson Fortune (Statham), who must retrieve a stolen high-tech device before an arms dealer (Grant) can sell it to the highest bidder.
A bit confused by the really bad reviews as I thought this was quite fun. Admittedly, it’s not my favorite genre & I do prefer when these types of stories are more lightweight like this. Maybe people were disappointed by a little less in-your-face action than usual but I can live without excessive action scenes. This wasn’t as good as Ritchie’s recent The Gentlemen but I in some ways preferred that this one was more subtle. Shockingly, Hugh Grant was great in both films – this type of role really suits him. And Aubrey Plaza is finally growing on me – Plaza & Grant were the best things about this. Jason Statham was tolerable as well (though could be easily replaced by any action dude). Also liked seeing Cary “As You Wish” Elwes and Josh Hartnett did well as a famous Tom Cruise-y movie star. The story, which I don’t ever give the tiniest shit about in these sort of action movies anyway, was decent enough for this kind of thing. Why all the hate? It’s one of the better straight-to-streaming films I’ve seen in a while.
My Rating: 6.5/10
We Have A Ghost (2023)
Directed by Christopher Landon
Based on “Ernest” by Geoff Manaugh
Starring: David Harbour, Jahi Winston, Anthony Mackie
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) Finding a ghost named Ernest haunting their new home turns Kevin’s family into overnight social media sensations. But when Kevin and Ernest investigate the mystery of Ernest’s past, they become a target of the CIA.
This was slightly better than I was expecting. A likeable family, a simple but enjoyable mystery, and Jennifer Coolidge (who I’d happily watch in anything). A shame it’s longer than it needs to be thanks to an unnecessary government agency plot. But I thought the ending was quite lovely. Felt a little choked up!
My Rating: 6.5/10
I can’t for the life of me find a poster for this movie…
Murder Mystery 2 (2023)
Directed by Jeremy Garelick
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Strong, Mélanie Laurent, Jodie Turner-Smith, John Kani
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) Full-time detectives Nick and Audrey are struggling to get their private eye agency off the ground. They find themselves at the center of international abduction when their friend Maharaja, is kidnapped at his own lavish wedding.
This was fine – not the best Adam Sandler comedy but certainly not the worst. Sandler doesn’t have the same magic with Aniston as he does with Drew Barrymore but they still have decent chemistry & Aniston seemed to be having fun with this. Not gonna lie, I’ll completely forget this one in a year (just like I don’t remember the first film). It’s a safe, inoffensive Sandler comedy. Worth watching if you like Sandler (I do) but you’re probably not going to watch this if you’re one of his haters anyway.
Might as well stick the three shittiest movies I watched this month into one post…
The FP (2011)
Directed by Brandon Trost & Jason Trost
Starring: Jason Trost, Lee Valmassy, Caitlyn Folley, Art Hsu, Nick Principe, Dov Tiefenbach, Clifton Collins, Jr., Sean Whalen
Narrated by James Remar (I’m including this as he’s in The Warriors, which rules)
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film focuses on two gangs, the 248 and the 245, fighting for control of Frazier Park (the FP). The gangs settle their disputes by playing Beat-Beat Revelation, a music video game similar to Dance Dance Revolution. Gang member JTRO (Jason Trost) trains to defeat L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy), the leader of a rival gang.
Sometimes you just want to watch something that sounds dumb as hell. Gangs playing a version of Dance Dance Revolution to determine who rules the streets? Nice. Can see this wanted to end up a cult classic but it’s not as fun or as “goodbad” as needed to achieve that. Think I was hoping for a Turbo Kid with the dystopian setting but this isn’t nearly as memorable or as entertaining. I’ve given it an extra half point for originality, though.
My Rating: 5.5/10
The Death Of Dick Long (2019)
Directed by Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Michael Abbott Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, Roy Wood Jr., Sunita Mani
Plot Synopsis: You don’t want to know.
Watched this already knowing what it was about (sort of – I thought it was, erm, the other way around) but figured “Why not? I watched Butt Boy so I guess I can watch this.” I mainly checked this out as it’s another movie by one of The Daniels and I seem to be in the minority in disliking EEAAO & Swiss Army Man. I can say I’m still not a fan after Dick Long but this movie was unlikely to be the one to make me a fan if I didn’t even like their movies that didn’t involve ******* a *****. (If you really want to know what I’ve censored, I’ll spoil it for you in the comments. And maybe ruin your day a bit.)
I’ll give it this: It’s weird & I have a fascination with weird movies so will always check them out because at least they’re memorable I guess (I’ll unfortunately never forget this one), I liked the two female cops & the humor in those scenes, and the main dude was a decent enough actor. How do you talk someone into starring in this? No wonder Scheinert had to play Dick Long. Was surprised that this story was told in a pretty straightforward way. It does have some dark humor but I was expecting much more based on how bizarre their other films are. This isn’t exactly a film I’d ever recommend to anyone but maybe watch it if you really love The Daniels & feel like you absolutely must see the previous work of Scheinert.
Just want to add that Jess Weixler is also in this so she must love being in strange films. She was in Teeth (which I have to admit that I liked) & also in what’s possibly the weirdest film I’ve ever seen (Chained For Life). Too bad she wasn’t in Butt Boy!
My Rating: 5/10
A Boy And His Dog (1975)
Directed by L.Q. Jones
Based on A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison
Starring: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Alvy Moore, Jason Robards
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) A young man and his telepathic dog wander a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
I watched this as I love post-apocalyptic films, especially from the ‘70s & ‘80s, and I was intrigued by the wacky synopsis of a dude & his telepathic dog in a dystopian wasteland. But, man, this movie hates women. Turns out the dog helps the dude (Don Johnson) find women to rape. But then the film takes an even more bizarre turn & that’s when it gets more interesting and could have caused this to become a cult classic. Then they completely fucked it up by not ending the movie at the perfect spot, which would have been a very fitting end for the main character.
Hard to know what to rate this as I appreciate the absolute madness of the middle of the film and I love the setting & its very ‘70s feel. Not at all a fan of the misogyny, though. We have enough of that in present day America. (This is set in 2024 so, hey, scarily accurate still!)
Three mega short reviews today. Also pretty pointless reviews as I slept through half of two of these. 🙂
Minions: The Rise Of Gru (2022)
Directed by Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Julie Andrews, Alan Arkin, Michelle Yeoh
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) In the film, an eleven-year-old Gru plans to become a supervillain with the help of his Minions, which leads to a showdown with a malevolent team, the Vicious 6.
Not ashamed to admit that I like minions. Those little dudes are fun. But, man, this movie wasn’t very good. I’m a big fan of Despicable Me and think that first film has a lot of heart & is surprisingly as good as some of the Pixar & Disney stuff. But the sequels and now especially these Minions movies are missing what made the first film so great, which was Gru’s growing relationship with those three girls. Minions are still lots of goofy fun but I’m missing the heart of Despicable Me.
Also, I have to admit that I fell asleep for a while in the middle of this but it’s very unlikely I’ll bother to catch up on the bits I missed. Which isn’t saying much as I always try to finish a movie I’ve started.
*Wait… My beloved Jean-Claude Van Damme was in this?! I really must stop sleeping through movies…
My Rating: 6/10
Black Bear (2020)
Directed & Written by Lawrence Michael Levine
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon, Paola Lázaro, Grantham Coleman
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.
This started out promising. Atmospheric with an unsettling feel that I appreciated. Liked the first half of the film far more than the second half, though, which really dragged despite a good performance from Aubrey Plaza. Not a bad film, just a “what was the point?” film. Worth watching for Plaza, who is hit or miss for me, but I’d lost interest by the end.
My Rating: 6/10
Bullet Train (2022)
Directed by David Leitch
Starring: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, Sandra Bullock
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Bullet Train stars Brad Pitt as an operative who must battle killers while riding a bullet train.
I fell asleep. I don’t know why I wasn’t feeling this one as there’s certainly plenty of action & I like Brad Pitt & I thought Aaron Taylor-Johnson was good. But I had no clue WTF was going on, not that it mattered as I don’t think the “plot” was important. Think it was just trying too hard to be cool & not living up to Tarantino, John Wick, etc. I’ll attempt to finish it sometime but unlikely my rating will change.
*Wait… Michael Shannon & Sandra Bullock were in this?! I really must stop sleeping through movies…
Happy April! Here’s what I watched in March. I managed to post reviews of all the movies already, so I’ve included the links to the full reviews. How fucking organised am I?! 🙂
MOVIES WATCHED IN MARCH (ranked best to worst):
– Elvis – Really enjoyed this despite it being a very flawed film. Austin Butler was fantastic (sad he didn’t win the Oscar), Tom Hanks was terrible, and I’m not an Elvis fan but it gave me more of an appreciation of him & how he was taken advantage of. – 7.5/10
– Fall – This was so dumb and so cheesy and so predictable and I enjoyed it so much more than the vast majority of films I’ve watched in the past year. It was exactly what I was expecting & wanting and you can guarantee I’ll watch the sequel just announced. Kind of loved it. – 7.5/10
– Where The Crawdads Sing – How is Marsh Girl less socially awkward than I am?! She’s also far too pretty & miraculously smart & of course learns how to read in a heartwarming montage & accomplishes far more in life than most of us ever will. But I liked her and I liked the nice boyfriend & the couple from the town who helped her and I liked the story & ending. One of the better films I’ve seen so far this year. – 7.5/10
– A Hard Day’s Night – I’m a huge music fan & absolutely love The Beatles. This was a lot of fun. I loved how much goofy fun John Lennon was having and Ringo Starr’s storyline was the best and his so-bad-it’s-good acting ended up being one of my favorite things about this. I want to watch everything else they did now. They seemed to be having a blast making this. – 7.5/10
– Cocaine Bear – I thoroughly enjoyed this. But it wasn’t good. I absolutely love horror comedy & this was unfortunately very weak in comparison to the really great movies we’ve had in this genre. It could’ve used a lot more comedy & stronger characters. But, dammit, I still got plenty of enjoyment out of seeing a bear high on cocaine. – 7/10
– Scream VI – I’d say this reboot (or requel if I must use that stupid word) has worked quite well for me and I think Scream 5 was a good introduction of the Scream series to a new generation of younger fans. At first, I was maybe enjoying this one a little more than number 5 and I liked the city setting (which they could have done SO much more with) but this one fell apart for me at the end. Overall, I think 5 was a stronger film but they’re both a good start to some new Scream films & I look forward to another. – 7/10
– Boston Strangler – Thought this was a bit too good for straight-to-streaming. I liked this far more than I was expecting despite it being the “murder” genre I don’t like. It may be because it didn’t dwell or linger too much on the murders and wasn’t too graphic. It was more from the viewpoint of these two female reporters trying to cover this story & of course encountering difficulties being women in that profession back in the 1960s. I liked that approach & liked this more than some films in this genre that feel far too exploitative when it comes to true crime with real victims. – 7/10
– Marcel The Shell With Shoes On – This was sweet & wholesome. Was expecting to love it but thought it was just okay. Of the Animated Oscar nominees this year, Pinocchio was definitely the best so I’m glad it won. – 7/10
– To Leslie – Am a bit baffled by the huge amount of celebrity praise for this as it’s a quite average “addiction movie” that we’ve seen many times. Think Andrea Riseborough was worthy of her Oscar nomination, though, as she did give a really good performance. She was especially good in the second half of the movie. Worth checking out for Riseborough and for the second half of the film, which ended up winning me over with a strong ending. – 7/10
– Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania – Enjoyed this but can see why plenty of people didn’t. I don’t mind the more “out there” & slightly weird MCU films but am assuming this one was just too weird for the more mainstream Marvel crowd. It’s a bit dumb but it’s saved by Paul Rudd being likeable as Ant-Man (as always) and Michelle Pfeiffer having a large role and being awesome (as always). She was great in this & my favorite thing about the film. I had some fun with it but it’s still feeling like they should’ve stopped after Endgame. – 6.5/10
– The Black Phone – Was desperate to see this as I’m a big fan of Joe Hill. Was disappointed with this film. While there were some things I really appreciated, such as the great performances from the two main child stars (Mason Thames & Madeleine McGraw) & Ethan Hawke’s creepy performance & masks, the film was just too slow & quite dull considering I thought it was a simple yet brilliant story. As I like the story & was impressed by the performances it was still worth the watch. – 6.5/10
– Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – I’ll just say that this movie starts out okay & I think the characters are very strong but I lost interest in the middle and the whole thing was just a bit messy. I’m just getting bored with these average MCU films. – 6.5/10
– Bodies Bodies Bodies – I did hate this & the extremely annoying characters at first but it kind of grew on me as the death toll mounted and I did really like how it ended. But these assholes were still just far too annoying. There’s not a chance in hell that I’d ever sit through this movie a second time. Entertaining enough for a one-off watch, though, and as I said I appreciated its ending. And I did think Maria Bakalova was pretty good. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m finally too old for this shit. – 6/10
– Triangle Of Sadness– I now have a least favorite Best Picture nominee out of the six I’ve seen for this year. EEAAO was my previous least favorite so I’m feeling very out of touch as I can’t quite figure out what people saw in these. What am I missing? The rich people puke & shit all over the place and I didn’t really see what point the movie was trying to make. That rich people suck?! Like, duh. No shit. Whatever – I reviewed it in full at the link – 5.5/10
– Come True – I love a good obscure sci-fi film with an interesting concept so this sounded right up my alley. Soon realised that the “slow burn” mentioned in so many reviews was due to nothing happening until the very end. Which can be okay sometimes if that ending is amazing but this one was a let down. But I appreciate that films like this get made and I think this one shows some promise. Am sure it has some fans even though it didn’t really work for me. – 5.5/10
Movies Rewatched In March:
– Ghost – Had the urge to rewatch this one as I liked it a lot when it came out in high school & I have fond memories of seeing it on a double date. I think it holds up well & that Whoopi Goldberg is just fantastic in it. Still like the story in this movie a lot, the romance is good if you like that kind of thing, the baddie is oh so hateful, and Whoopi adds perfect comedic relief. They just don’t make such all-around entertaining films like this anymore. – 8/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN MARCH
Watched quite a few TV shows but doing horribly on reading books this year…
TV SHOWS WATCHED
– The Mandalorian: S3 E1-5 – The Grogu Show is back!!!! I don’t feel like reviewing this yet. Maybe when the series is fully finished. But, seriously, I only truly care about Grogu in all honesty. I love that adorable little dude with all my heart. Grogu trying to cuddle that Babu Frik species dude almost made my heart explode.
– The Last Of Us: S1 E8-9 – Enjoyed this show, despite it being a bit too The Walking Dead at times. Looking forward to the next one but, apparently, it’s going to be very different? So who knows. I know nothing whatsoever about the game. Gonna be hard to avoid spoilers before the next one comes out in however many years.
– South Park: S26 E1-6 – Not sure why we’ve missed a lot of South Park in recent years as we always enjoy it. Tend to watch an episode when we hear about a specific one that interests us. In this case it was The Worldwide Privacy Tour, which was great. Also thought the ChatGPT episode Deep Learning was pretty brilliant. Enjoying watching this show regularly again.
– Schitt’s Creek: S1 E1-11 – Wanted another half hour sitcom to replace my beloved new discovery of Community last year (which we still rewatch). This isn’t laugh-out-loud funny like Community & not one I’d ever rewatch in the same way & have favorite specific episodes of etc etc. But it’s an enjoyable enough watch and the characters are really growing on me. Almost done with season 1 already. It’s kind of a “leave it on in the background or while eating supper” show. Which sounds insulting but isn’t meant to be…
– Square Pegs: S1 E1 – Decided to rewatch another ’80s TV show pilot on YouTube. Been enjoying that as don’t see American TV reruns here (except for Friends & The Simpsons – holy shit, they’re always on). This was SO fucking ’80s. Valley girl speak, young Sarah Jessica Parker, pre-Lost Boys Jamie Gertz, and a performance from The Waitresses (they did the theme song too). Not a good show but still a fun bit of nostalgia.
– Bill Bailey: Larks In Transit – Loved this! Happy the hubby & I found this on services when looking for something to watch as we’ve always enjoyed Bailey’s wacky sense of humor & had a lot of fun going to one of his shows. For some reason I’ve never liked many comedians & don’t watch a lot of stand-up but Bailey always absolutely cracks me up. Such a brilliant musician and smart as hell as well. And hilariously nuts. Can see him not being for everyone, though. I’d maybe recommend him to you, Film Miasma. Not sure! But we both like Community… 🙂 Looks like this whole show is on YouTube here (but don’t know if it’ll play outside the U.K.)
I’m halfway through reading Watership Down by Richard Adams. Good but, man, that’s one long book about bunnies! So I’m taking a break & reading something lightweight now (from a new favorite author – C.J. Tudor) then will go back to the bunnies.
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
Maybe I’ll post some individual reviews again after putting them on Letterboxd. If I have the energy. Which is unlikely in my old age.
Upcoming Movies I Want To See:
I see that Nope, Resurrection & Piggy are all coming to one of my services end of April so I’m excited about that. And hoping to go see John Wick 4.
I normally end on some music from a movie I watched but I might as well post Bill Bailey’s Larks In Transit here as well while it’s still available. It’s full of great music anyway. Especially love his heavy metal while walking around his house… 🙂
Posting the last of my March movie reviews. Figured I might as well stick these in a separate post before my monthly roundup since I’ve already reviewed all the rest of the movies that I watched in March. Had never seen The Beatles movie but Ghost was obviously a rewatch…
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Directed by Richard Lester
Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film portrays 36 hours in the lives of the group as they prepare for a television performance.
I’m a huge music fan & absolutely love The Beatles. Easily one of my top five bands & they probably have the largest number of songs I love by just one group. But I’ve never been one to obsess over band members themselves & had only watched Yellow Submarine (love it) and Peter Jackson’s Get Back (fantastic).
This was a lot of fun, although I was worried at first as it gets off to a rocky start and oh boy that was quite the acting (but, yeah, who cares – they’re musicians & this was clearly for their fans). So it took some getting used to but the movie won me over by the end. And the great music obviously helped. I loved how much goofy fun John Lennon was having and Ringo Starr’s storyline was the best and his so-bad-it’s-good acting ended up being one of my favorite things about this. I want to watch everything else they did now. They seemed to be having a blast making this (just like Foo Fighters in Studio 666).
And not that anyone asked, but here’s my Beatles Top Ten 🙂
10. TIE: Happiness Is A Warm Gun & Carry That Weight
9. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
8. I Am The Walrus
7. Helter Skelter
6. A Day In The Life
5. In My Life
4. Dear Prudence
3. Across The Universe
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
1. Eleanor Rigby
My Rating: 7.5/10
Directed by Jerry Zucker
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The plot centers on Sam Wheat (Swayze), a murdered banker, whose ghost sets out to save his girlfriend, Molly Jensen (Moore), from the person who killed him – through the help of the psychic Oda Mae Brown (Goldberg).
Had the urge to rewatch this one as I liked it a lot when it came out in high school & I have fond memories of seeing it on a double date. I think it holds up well & that Whoopi Goldberg is just fantastic in it. Am so glad she won the Oscar for this – they really don’t like to reward comedic roles very often. And I’d forgotten just how much Demi Moore cries in the movie. If there was an Academy Award just for crying she’d have definitely been nominated that year too.
Still like the story in this movie a lot, the romance is good if you like that kind of thing, the baddie is oh so hateful, and Whoopi adds perfect comedic relief. They just don’t make such all-around entertaining films like this anymore. I feel like there’s something that most everyone could find to like in this film, whether you like romance, mystery, comedy, or the supernatural. But its rating seems a bit low so what do I know? And, like it or not, the pottery scene is a classic. You know a scene is iconic when there are loads of parodies (and when it gets referenced in Community). A very entertaining film. Wish we could have more like this one again.
Four quickies today! One movie I thoroughly enjoyed, one I found disappointing, one full of the most annoying & hateful twats imaginable, and one that was sadly not very good despite the poster & plot synopsis sounding intriguing.
Directed by Scott Mann
Starring: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Darrell Dennis
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film is about two women who climb a 2,000 foot (610 m) tall radio tower and become stranded at the top. Dumb bitches! (that dumb bitches part isn’t via Wikipedia – that’s via Me)
This was so dumb and so cheesy and so predictable and I enjoyed it so much more than the vast majority of films I’ve watched in the past year. It was exactly what I was expecting & wanting and you can guarantee I’ll watch the sequel just announced. I have an intense fear of heights so knew I wouldn’t be watching this in the cinema but that I’d watch it on a little screen the second it showed up on services. I do love “how the hell are they gonna get out of this crazy predicament” films. Is there a name for this genre of film?! We need more of them. I want more. Any recommendations for similar films? I’ll watch them all!
Oh. And I just wanted to add that I LOVE Converse & have had a pair in most every color but I fell on my ass on some slightly slippery cobblestones once because Converse are slippery as fuck. Are they really the shoe of choice for expert climbers?! I’m guessing not. But what do I know? Other than the fact that climbing up a tower like this is probably not a good idea, of course.
My Rating: 7.5/10 (I enjoyed this so much I was tempted to give it an 8/10 but it’s not a “good” enough film for an 8)
The Black Phone (2021)
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Based on “The Black Phone” by Joe Hill
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) In the film, an abducted teenager (Thames) uses a mysterious telephone to communicate with the previous victims of his deranged captor (Hawke).
Been desperate to see this as I’m a big fan of Joe Hill (and his father Stephen King, of course). Was disappointed with this film. While there were some things I really appreciated, such as the great performances from the two main child stars (Mason Thames & Madeleine McGraw – will be on the lookout for them in future projects), the film was just too slow & quite dull considering I thought it was a simple yet brilliant story. It was too obvious that it was a short story stretched into a film. Thought Ethan Hawke was effectively creepy & liked the mask.
The film just didn’t quite work and I can’t figure out exactly why as there are some great elements to it plus I always love a ‘70s or ‘80s setting. As I like the story a lot & was impressed by the performances it was certainly worth the watch. My expectations were maybe just too high as I was hoping to love this.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
Directed by Halina Reijn
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game turns deadly in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong.
Mixed feelings on this. Admit I expected to hate it as I’d heard that the characters were hateful (and, my god, they sure as shit are) and I can’t stand movies filled with nothing but annoying assholes. But that sometimes works for horror as we get to see the fuckers die, right?
I did hate this at first but it kind of grew on me as the death toll mounted and I did really like how it ended. Plus I like shit that glows in the dark. So I initially gave this half a point more but then changed it back after thinking about the movie a bit more. Because, I’m sorry, these assholes were just far too annoying. There’s not a chance in hell that I’d ever sit through this movie a second time. Entertaining enough for a one-off watch, though, and as I said I appreciated its ending. And I did think Maria Bakalova was pretty good. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m finally too old for this shit.
My Rating: 6/10
Come True (2020)
Directed by Anthony Scott Burns
Starring: Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film plot follows a teenage runaway who takes part in a sleep study that becomes a nightmarish descent into the depths of her mind and a frightening examination of the power of dreams.
I love a good obscure sci-fi film with an interesting concept so this sounded right up my alley. Plus the poster was cool. Soon realised that the “slow burn” mentioned in so many reviews was due to nothing happening until the very end. Which can be okay sometimes if that ending is amazing but this one was a let down. Sort of felt like this would’ve been better as a short film as it had a good look & mood but not enough story. But I appreciate that films like this get made and I think this one shows some promise. Am sure it has some fans even though it didn’t really work for me.
I watch a lot of movies like this and sometimes find an absolute gem. This reminded me of a great obscure sci-fi film that did work for me that I’m always recommending & that absolutely no one I know has watched. If you like this kind of thing, check out The Frame (2014).￼
I’ve managed to already review all the movies I’ve watched this month. Yay, me! So I decided to post them all this week instead of waiting for my monthly roundup post.
Three quickies below. One movie I quite liked, one movie I thought was a bit dull but had a good performance, and one movie I think I kind of hated. Of course, the one I liked the most is the one that had no Oscar nominations.
Where The Crawdads Sing (2022)
Directed by Olivia Newman
Based on Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt, Sterling Macer, Jr., Jojo Regina, Garret Dillahunt, Ahna O’Reilly, David Strathairn
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The story follows an abandoned yet defiant girl, Kya, who raises herself to adulthood in a North Carolina marshland, becoming a naturalist in the process. When the town’s hotshot is found dead, she is the prime suspect and is tried for murder.
How is Marsh Girl less socially awkward than I am?!
This is one of those movies I really liked but can’t explain why. Some of it is ridiculous. “Marsh Girl” is far too pretty & miraculously smart & of course learns how to read in a heartwarming montage & accomplishes far more in life than most of us ever will. But I liked her and I liked the nice boyfriend & the couple from the town who helped her and I liked the story. That’s good enough for me. And I always like when assholes get what they deserve. Hell yeah. And I loved the ending. One of the better films I’ve seen so far this year.
My Rating: 7.5/10
To Leslie (2022)
Directed by Michael Morris
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Andre Royo, Owen Teague, Stephen Root, James Landry Hebert, Marc Maron, Allison Janney
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film stars Andrea Riseborough as Leslie Rowland, a single mother and alcoholic who squanders all the prize money she received after winning the lottery. She soon finds the chance to redeem herself when a motel owner offers her a job.
Had to see what all the fuss was about. Am a bit baffled by the huge amount of celebrity praise as it’s a quite average “addiction movie” that we’ve seen many times. Think Andrea Riseborough was worthy of her Oscar nomination, though, as she did give a really good performance. She was especially good in the second half of the movie, which was much better than its very slow start. Worth checking out for Riseborough and for the second half of the film, which ended up winning me over with a strong ending.
My Rating: 7/10
Triangle Of Sadness (2022)
Directed & Written by Ruben Östlund
Starring: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Burić, Iris Berben, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Amanda Walker, Oliver Ford Davies, Sunnyi Melles, Woody Harrelson
Plot Synopsis: Rich people suck. And vomit. And shit.
I now have a least favorite Best Picture nominee out of the six I’ve seen this year. EEAAO was my previous least favorite so I’m feeling very out of touch as I can’t quite figure out what people saw in these. What am I missing?
This started out okay in Part 1. Charlbi Dean (RIP) & Harris Dickinson played the only characters I almost gave a shit about. Okay, I know we’re meant to hate them all but do we really need so many movies stating the fucking obvious about the rich? Society is never going to change. I guess I’d just rather watch them get eaten by zombies in Land Of The Dead or something than see them vomiting & shitting all over the place. Or, speaking of society, I’d rather watch Society (1989). I thought The Menu was a bit of a mess but Triangle made me appreciate that similar story a bit more, although I think they both failed to make much of a point and aren’t as clever as they think. And I’d heard that this one was fun? It was far too long & I kept checking how much time was remaining once the puking & shitting started (there’s still loads of time left after that). It’s probably the least fun I’ve had watching a movie in a long time.
Okay, I wasn’t a fan of this movie but I didn’t absolutely hate it. I did like Charlbi Dean & Harris Dickinson as mentioned. And I thought Woody Harrelson was pretty great, although he’s played this sort of drunk dude so many times (but he’s so good at that so that’s fine). And, like most everyone, I also liked Dolly de Leon and the whole “I’m the Captain” thing in Part 3. That was good. So I’ve given an extra half a star for these four people. The bad just far outweighed the good in this film for me. Part 1 & 3 were bearable but I thought Part 2 would never end. I’m glad I watched it as I try to watch all the Best Picture nominees but I wouldn’t want to suffer through this one a second time.
Starring: Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It is loosely inspired by the true story of the “Cocaine Bear”, an American black bear that ingested nearly 75 lb (34 kg) of lost cocaine.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. But it wasn’t good. I absolutely love horror comedy & this was unfortunately very weak in comparison to the really great movies we’ve had in this genre. It could’ve used a lot more comedy & stronger characters.
But, dammit, I still got plenty of enjoyment out of seeing a bear high on cocaine and a couple of moments did get a laugh out of me. With this great of a story & movie title, it’s just a shame the movie wasn’t the brilliant masterpiece it could’ve been. I’m giving it a half point more than it probably deserves but… it’s a movie called Cocaine Bear for crying out loud. With a bear covered in cocaine on the poster. I have to give it an extra half point just for that (plus I like Keri Russell).
My Rating: 7/10
Boston Strangler (2023)
Directed & Written by Matt Ruskin
Starring: Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, Alessandro Nivola, Chris Cooper, David Dastmalchian, Morgan Spector
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It is based on the true story of the Boston Strangler, who in the 1960s killed 13 women in Boston.
Thought this was a bit too good for straight-to-streaming. Weirdly, the one genre I tend to dislike the most is “murder” – specifically movies based on true crime murders (serial killers especially) or inspired by them. It leaves me left out of a lot of conversations when most people love watching true crime stuff on Netflix. And I may be the only person, certainly in the film community at least, who doesn’t love The Silence Of The Lambs & never even finished watching Zodiac.
However, I liked this movie far more than I was expecting despite it being in this genre. It may be because it didn’t dwell or linger too much on the murders and wasn’t too graphic. It was more from the viewpoint of these two female reporters trying to cover this story & of course encountering difficulties being women in that profession back in the 1960s. The mystery was intriguing, too (I knew nothing of the true story). Am a bit confused by the somewhat low rating on Letterboxd as I would think true crime fans would still like this one based on it being a fascinating murder mystery. Maybe some just don’t like the story being told through these reporters? I liked that approach & liked this more than some films in this genre that feel far too exploitative when it comes to true crime with real victims.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, Katy O’Brian, William Jackson Harper, Bill Murray, Michelle Pfeiffer, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) In the film, Lang and Van Dyne are transported to the Quantum Realm along with their family and face Kang the Conqueror.
Enjoyed this but can see why plenty of people didn’t. As I always say in these reviews, I watch all the MCU films but I’m certainly not a massive fan & it’s starting to feel like an obligation to watch them now (because why stop at this point?!). I think the MCU characters are strong but the same old story over & over gets tiresome. So this is probably why I like the Guardians Of The Galaxy films the most as they at least feel a little different plus I like my superhero movies to be more lighthearted. I also don’t mind the more “out there” & slightly weird ones but am assuming this one was just a bit too weird for the more mainstream Marvel crowd. Because it’s pretty damn weird. But I like weird. Except for MODOK… That was terrible and looked dumb as Hell. Preferred Broccoli Head! And Holes dude.
Anyway. This one is a bit dumb but it’s saved by Paul Rudd being likeable as Ant-Man (as always) and Michelle Pfeiffer having a large role and being awesome (as always). She was great in this & my favorite thing about the film. Sadly found Kang a bit weak as the big super villain but maybe that’s just me – I never give much of a shit about the baddies because they’re all the same & are always defeated in the end anyway.
I feel bad as I really did want to like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which I watched just after this but that ended up being a disappointment overall. While I certainly think it’s *better* than this one, I had much more fun with Quantumania so have ranked it higher on my ranked MCU list. Both are still quite low on that list, though. These movies need to get better. At this point, it’s still feeling like they should’ve stopped after Endgame.
This wasn’t much of a review but I never know what to say when it comes to these Marvel films. Basically, Quantumania = Meh. But I loved Michelle Pfeiffer & Paul Rudd & counting his number of holes.
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Jack Champion, Henry Czerny, Mason Gooding, Liana Liberato, Dermot Mulroney, Devyn Nekoda, Jenna Ortega, Tony Revolori, Josh Segarra, Samara Weaving, Hayden Panettiere, Courteney Cox
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Scream VI follows a new Ghostface killer who targets the survivors of the “Woodsboro legacy attacks” in New York City.
I think the first Scream film is a brilliant slasher classic. I saw 2, 3 & 4 when they came out but have never rewatched them & admit I remember almost nothing about them now. As a series, Elm Street is my slasher franchise of choice (Wes Craven obviously knew how to make these). As with pretty much all horror sequels, both the Elm Street & Scream ones didn’t even come close to the first film (well, except for Dream Warriors which kicks ass) but I do remember the Scream ones still being much better than the majority of slasher sequels (I’ll rewatch them someday).
So, with little knowledge of 2, 3 & 4, I’d say this reboot (or requel if I must use that stupid word) has worked quite well for me and I think Scream 5 was a very good introduction of the Scream series to a new generation of younger fans. They’ve stayed pretty respectful to the original characters (more than I can say for the Star Wars sequel trilogy!) and the new characters are decent. Both 5 & 6 are a little too “same old same old” but that’s what people tend to want from a slasher franchise and I don’t think this formula is too boring yet. Didn’t like the look hubby gave me when they mentioned Letterboxd users, though. Ha. Nice one, Scream VI! You know your shit.
At first, I was maybe enjoying this one a little more than number 5 and I liked the city setting (which they could have done SO much more with) but this one fell apart for me at the end. Not my favourite “reveal” in this series. Wouldn’t say I loved the end of 5 either, though, but to be honest I’m almost always disappointed by horror movie endings – they’re rarely perfect. Overall, I think 5 was a stronger film but they’re both a good start to some new Scream films & I look forward to another.
Despite being less & less interested in the Oscars in recent years, I still try to watch as many nominees as I can. It’s been difficult the past few years since no longer being able to make as many cinema trips but did manage several trips so far this year plus quite a few have been on streaming services. Not seen some of the big nominees yet but think I’ve seen the ones that will win a lot of the awards & saw quite a few documentaries & shorts.
I’ve managed to review all I’ve seen. Here are my links to my reviews, ranked from my favorite to least favorite film.But I have to say that none of this year’s nominees will be all-time favorite films for me, which is often the case with nominees the past several years…:
Below are all the nominees. I don’t care too much who wins this year. I’ll put a ❤️ by my favorite/the one I want to win & a 🏆 by the one I think will win. Apologies if you’re reading this on something that doesn’t show those emojis (should be fine as this blog only has like 1 reader). 😉
Best Original Song
“Applause” by Diane Warren for Tell It Like a Woman
“Hold My Hand” by Lady Gaga and Bloodpop for Top Gun: Maverick🏆
“Lift Me Up” by Tems, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and Ryan Coogler for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“Naatu Naatu” by Kala Bhairava, M. M. Keeravani, Rahul Sipligunj for RRR
“This Is a Life” by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski for Everything Everywhere All at Once❤️
With the Oscars being on tonight, I figured I’d quickly post these reviews of a few more Oscar nominated films. Will do a full post later today with all the nominees & links to all my reviews of the 23 nominees I’ve seen.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Wenham, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Luke Bracey
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It chronicles the life of the American rock and roll singer and actor Elvis Presley under the management of Colonel Tom Parker.
Really liked this but, wow – how can some of this be so great & some of it so absolutely dreadful? Definitely an example of a performance highly deserving of an Oscar but a movie that is not.
I should start by saying that I know almost nothing about Elvis. Despite being a big music & movie lover, I’ve never liked many of his songs & have never seen his films. So, no, I can’t say how accurate these performances truly are, especially Hanks as I only know ”of” Colonel Tom Parker. But damn I thought Austin Butler was amazing. If he doesn’t win an Oscar but a rather rubbish version of Freddie Mercury did (and a really good version of Elton John wasn’t even nominated), I’ll be very annoyed. He oozes charisma & sex appeal in this film and I think he really captures the crazy effect that Elvis had on sexually repressed ‘50s America. He makes this movie. He feels like a star, which you need if you’re going to play someone as big as Elvis. I was impressed with how well he did as young Elvis as well as an older Elvis with many personal demons. Knew only a little of how much Elvis had been taken advantage of so found the ending quite heartbreaking and would say I appreciate the story of the life of this megastar a little bit more now. Know a documentary would be much more accurate, though, as I’m sure Luhrmann has taken many liberties with the facts.
To quickly get the dreadful out of the way: Baz Luhrmann & Tom Hanks. For the most part, I don’t get on with Luhrmann’s films. I appreciate his style when it works but it often doesn’t. Found a lot of it just plain cringy in Elvis and the mixing in of modern music, which I know is his thing and is okay sometimes, was terrible in this. It was annoying and threw me out of the film a few times. And then there was Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. Oh boy. As I said, I know nothing about the real man but if he was truly as awful as this film makes him out to be (sounds like that’s the case), why did this story get told through him? The character was so obnoxious (did he actually talk like that?!) and we had to listen to him telling this story through the whole damn movie. I guess it kind of makes sense as he was so controlling of Elvis that he didn’t get to live his own life because of Parker. Maybe that’s why Luhrmann made the decision to have the story told through him but I just wanted more of Butler and WAY less of Hanks. I’ve never disliked Hanks before! So Luhrmann must be partly to blame.
Oh well. The movie itself could’ve been much better but Butler was so fantastic & the story of Elvis is so fascinating that I still got a lot of enjoyment out of the film. Well worth the watch despite its big flaws, even if like me you’re not really a fan of Elvis Presley.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (2021)
Directed by Dean Fleischer Camp
Starring: Jenny Slate, Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, Dean Fleischer Camp, Lesley Stahl, Isabella Rossellini
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It is based on a series of shorts of the same name written by Slate and Fleischer Camp. Slate reprises her voice role as Marcel, an anthropomorphic shell living with his grandmother Connie.
Was eager to see this as it very much looked like my kind of thing (heartwarming & adorable – I love that shit plus adore cute anthropomorphic things). With the Pixar Oscar nominee being so disappointing this year, I was expecting to like Marcel the most but Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is easily my favorite & the one I think deserves to win.
Still enjoyed Marcel but was a little underwhelmed by the story. And although it was a clever idea, the way it was presented as a documentary didn’t quite work for me and I can see why this probably worked better in the original shorts (if they were done that way?) than it did in this full-length film. Marcel was very cute, Jenny Slate’s voice was perfect, and his relationship with his grandmother was very sweet. For me, the movie slightly crossed the line into being a little too saccharine & trying a bit too hard. Did enjoy seeing the inventive ways of doing things that Marcel & his grandmother had to find to live their lives once they found themselves alone. And liked it showing how horrible society has become in this social media obsessed world (without being preachy about it).
It’s a nice film & my second favorite of this year’s Animated nominees but it may not be saying much as I think the other two I’ve seen are not very good at all (not seen Puss In Boots). I didn’t find Marcel as moving as I was hoping. It’s nowhere near the very best animated films from the studios I love the most (Studio Ghibli, Pixar & Disney). Am disappointed that Pixar have been so unreliable with their recent films and am missing the emotion we got from their very best stuff.
I’ve watched every Marvel movie (ranked here) and do enjoy them but I’m not a massive fan and it’s feeling like an obligation to watch them now. Would’ve been happy for them to stop at Endgame – the films are seeming more & more messy and pointless now.
With all of these films, I like the characters much more than the stories themselves & that was especially true of this film. The MCU has done a fantastic job developing some fascinating characters. The women in this are great. Letitia Wright & Danai Gurira were so much fun to watch & I liked their interactions with each other. Lupita Nyong’o was as brilliant as always as was Angela Bassett who definitely has a shot at winning that Oscar tonight. And the introduction of Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams was a nice addition – would’ve liked a bit more to do with her. So this one was off to a good start with strong characters. They obviously had a huge hole to fill and not having Chadwick Boseman is still heartbreaking but I thought they did well with handling that.
Then it turned into the same MCU formula we always get. Which, fine, I get it – That’s what people want. Why mess with something so many people clearly love & is making them tons of money? But I often lose interest in these films halfway through when the same old fight scenes & the same old storylines occur plus this was FAR longer than it needed to be, which didn’t help. Although I care most about liking the main characters, it helps if I also buy into the story & the obligatory villain. The story wasn’t too bad but those blue Avatar-looking fuckers & boring-Aquaman ankle-wings dude weren’t working for me. I completely lost interest in the middle this time. I just wanted to get back to seeing the main kick-ass female characters together. The middle of this just went off the deep end (literally).
So I’m mixed on this one. Good characters but overall a bit of a mess. But, as I say, I’m not a huge MCU fan so I’m going to be a bit more negative. I admit I like the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies the most so I obviously just like my superhero movies to be a bit more fun & lightweight than this one. It’s why I far prefer the MCU to current DC films.