Blockers (2018) Review

Blockers (2018)

Directed by Kay Cannon

Starring: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night.

My Opinion:

Look! I went to a silly sex comedy! Not normally my choice of movie to go to in the cinema (Comedies are usually a “wait for Netflix” thing for me), but I had a day of freedom and chose to go to whatever movies I could manage. This immediately followed Love, Simon (my review for that is HERE).

Blockers was fine. I got a few good laughs out of it but I’ll probably forget most of it in a few years. It’s quite similar to the Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow type of comedies so you should like this one if you like those. But this one was directed by a woman (Kay Cannon). Yay! See? We can make dumb sex comedies just as well as the dudes! And it IS a dumb sex comedy. It’s had some decent reviews, making me think it might slightly transcend the usual predictable & stereotypical sex comedies. Not really. It’s the same sort of thing and the central female teen characters aren’t any different from the male teens in other sex comedies. But I suppose that’s progress somewhat? And the storyline isn’t quite as predictable as it could’ve been. There are three girls who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night and the end result for each of their stories isn’t necessarily what you’ll guess.

I can’t fault any of the performances. Leslie Mann was probably the best, so if you hate her you may not love this. What’s sad is that I’m really showing my age as she’s the one I could most relate to. John Cena was quite funny. He’s another wrestler, right?? Funny how those wrestlers do comedy pretty well (I guess it’s not much different than their main job). The other guy was a bit annoying (Ike Barinholtz – I don’t really know him). The three girls were all likable enough. And did we see Gary Cole’s actual penis?! I’ll have to tell my mom – she loved him in Midnight Caller. There’s a puke scene reminiscent of Stand By Me (but of course not as good as that) and I’m still grossed out by ass beer.

As far as dumb sex comedies go, Blockers was okay. Not the best but not the worst. It’s not as straightforward as “Don’t let our daughters have sex but it’s okay if our sons do!” as everyone seems to be thinking since everyone loves to immediately freak out these days without getting all the facts. I hate people. American Pie is certainly better and I probably slightly preferred the Bad Neighbors movies when it comes to current dumb comedies but Blockers was all it needed to be. I think it could’ve done with being raunchier, to be honest. It felt like they were holding back a little (probably because everyone is an uptight asshole nowadays). As a female, I found nothing offensive unlike in some of the sex comedies from my day. I’d still like to see a truly great modern sex comedy, though. But I did appreciate that this one had some heart with its daughter/parent relationships, making it a little more likable than some.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Love, Simon (2018) Review 

Love, Simon (2018)

Directed by Greg Berlanti

Based on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Starring: Nick Robinson, Bryson Pitts, Nye Reynolds, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Keiynan Lonsdale, Miles Heizer, Logan Miller, Talitha Bateman, Skye Mowbray, Tony Hale, Natasha Rothwell, Drew Starkey, Clark Moore, Joey Pollari, Mackenzie Lintz

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

My Opinion:

I recently read the YA novel this movie is based on (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – review HERE). I enjoyed the book and would say it’s one of the better YA romances I’ve read recently so was looking forward to seeing how well they did with the movie adaptation (even though romance isn’t really my thing). I have to say that this is one of the rare occasions where the movie is possibly slightly better than the book. It’s close.

They did change quite a few details from the book, which doesn’t always work for people who want to see the story in the exact same way. For example: They added more humor to the movie (a lot of this via a vice principal who didn’t exist in the novel) and Simon has only one instead of two sisters. The changes don’t negatively affect the overall story, though. Simon still feels like the same character from the book and the romance still works well. Actually, Simon feels a little more “real” in the film. His internal struggle is also somehow more apparent and believable in the movie. I think Nick Robinson has done a good job with Simon as it’s not often that a movie character feels slightly more fleshed out than the book character. His family also feel closer in the movie and I liked that they spent plenty of time focusing on his relationship with his them as well as with his friends.

I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good teen book and/or movie. If you’re a reader, I definitely recommend reading the book and then watching the movie. There are enough changes that it’s worth knowing both stories. Overall, the film is slightly better and the characters feel more realistic but I far prefer the ending in the book. I’ll of course avoid spoilers but the film adds a little too much drama to a final scene, making me prefer the more likely scenario in the book. This scene was the only time the film felt a little false, though. Overall, the topic is handled very well. The movie uses humor and sensitivity and thankfully never goes over the top on drama. Being from the John Hughes generation, I can’t say I’m going to be able to fully relate to a modern teen movie but I’m glad that current teens have films like Love, Simon. It’s a good film with enjoyable characters and I’m sure it’ll be a favorite for many current teens. Judging by its 8.1 rating on IMDb, it seems to be a favorite already.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli & Every Day by David Levithan (Book Reviews)

I recently posted mini-reviews of these books in my March Roundup of all that I watched & read last month. I’m posting these same reviews again as Love, Simon is now out in UK cinemas and Every Day has a release date of April 20th.

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

The movie adaptation of this (Love, Simon) came out in UK cinemas last Friday. This is a YA book (yeah, I do like YA books) and it’s one of the better ones I’ve read in this genre in the past few years. I’m not normally one for YA “romance” (give me the apocalyptic stuff!) but this one was done well and I really bought into this relationship. In the book, Simon is a gay high school student who connects with then starts an anonymous online relationship with another student at his school. I’ve never wanted a couple to get together so bad! The boy Simon talks to is extremely protective of his identity and Simon struggles with this as he wants to meet the boy he’s fallen in love with. I was like “Tell him who you are!!” (you, the reader, aren’t aware of his identity either). Beyond that, there’s not much to say about this book as it’s a fairly typical YA romance. But it’s a good one. I can’t wait to see the movie, which has had excellent reviews. I’ve even heard rumors of it having a John Hughes vibe?! Sounds good to me!

My Rating: 4/5

Every Day by David Levithan

This is a book that I read because, like Mortal Engines (mini-review HERE), I loved the original concept. It’s hard to find stories that feel unique. And, again, it’s a YA romance (Ugh. Sorry!). Here’s the synopsis from Amazon: “Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . .” The story does feel truly original and I really appreciated that. However, I just didn’t quite connect with the characters. A, who switches bodies every single day, was very interesting as you get some insight into the mind of someone who doesn’t define themselves by their body, gender, family, friends, etc. since these things change every single day. As I said, it’s a great concept but the book is just okay. I didn’t find myself caring as much about these characters as I’d have liked. This also has a movie adaptation coming out this month, but the reviews are meh. I’ll still watch it to see how they handle the story, though.

My Rating: 3/5

Here are the trailers for the movies:

A Quiet Place (2018) Review

A Quiet Place (2018)

Directed by John Krasinski

Screenplay by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

My Opinion:

I was really looking forward to this movie well before all the hype. I liked the sound (ha!) of the plot synopsis as it seemed like an original idea plus I really like Emily Blunt so that helped as well. And Emily Blunt is a proper actress – she wouldn’t be in a BAD horror movie! Well, okay – Wind Chill wasn’t the greatest (although I kind of liked it but that’s probably only because of Blunt). Anyway, good modern horror movies are extremely hard to find and I’m very picky when it comes to this genre. There’s been an improvement, however, in the past few years with things such as It Follows and The Babadook and I’m happy to say that A Quiet Place continues this trend of original, well-acted, and smart horror films.

First of all, this movie does what I think is the most important thing in all movies, really, but is often ignored in the horror genre: it takes time setting up and making you care about the characters. Just like with the It adaptation last year (another chance to mention It – I loved that film). I’ll stay completely spoiler free in this review but I think it’s known that A Quiet Place focuses on one family as they struggle to survive in complete silence. It’s obvious that the parents love each other. How sweet – Blunt & Krasinski may actually have a loving real-life Hollywood marriage. I hope so! I want another Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward Hollywood love story. I’d like to believe the love is real because it comes across that way in the film. They were both great and the kids also did really well. You know the parents will do whatever it takes to protect their family.

By the way – Yes, it was really was hard to eat popcorn in this movie. Crunch crunch crunch! Hats off to those in my cinema – everyone actually stayed really quiet for this film. Shocking! You always have some asshole ruining things but I think, as the film was so quiet, everyone was too self-conscious to make any noise. Now if we could just get everyone to not distract the audience with their BRIGHT FUCKING PHONE SCREENS! What sort of movie could make people not want to look at their phones, I wonder? Hmm…. (Wasn’t an issue for me in this film since I was in the front row)


What else can I say? You’ve already seen all the reviews raving over this & heard all the hype. This is a brilliantly acted and thoroughly effective horror film. It didn’t scare me but no movies ever really do so maybe that’s just me (I’ve watched too many movies!). But I was very tense as I wanted this loving family to survive and, for a change, I wasn’t able to predict what would happen (unlike with the majority of cliché modern horrors). I’m happy to say that A Quiet Place lives up to all the hype. I’m loving this new trend of modern horror movies actually being damn good films. Can the Academy please recognize this one with some Oscar nominations next year? It’s time to start giving these films more credit when it’s deserved.

My Rating: 8/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: March 2018

I didn’t manage to see many movies in the cinema in March and most that I watched at home were meh. But I did love I, Tonya! And Ready Player One was fun. I’ll do mini-reviews below for the ones I haven’t reviewed yet…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

I, Tonya – 8/10
Ready Player One – 8/10
Game Night – 7.5/10
Annihilation – 7/10
Atonement – 6/10


MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

I, Tonya – 8/10

Ready Player One – 8/10

Game Night – 7.5/10

Personal Shopper – I liked this although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’m not a fan of Kristen Stewart so wasn’t planning on watching this until reading that it had a supernatural twist. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.” It’s an odd mix of mystery, supernatural, indie, and Kristen Stewart nudity. Not as supernatural as I was hoping but a decent story that kept me interested. – 7/10

Hidden Figures – Finally catching up on more of last year’s Oscar nominees! This is a fantastic story that I fully admit to knowing nothing about before the movie was made. It’s the type of movie I wish there was more of now that my kid is the right sort of age for these things: inspirational people & true stories in a family-friendly format. However, it still comes across as a little bit too much of a phony feelgood Hollywood movie. The story is important & I’m glad that more is now known about these women. Even though the whole “running miles to the segregated bathroom each day” was mostly bullshit. The three main performances were strong (I especially liked Janelle Monáe – I’d like to see her in more films). It’s worth watching, especially with your kids. But be sure to look into the real women as well since, to be expected, Hollywood changed things and amalgamated characters to make more drama than actually existed within the NASA environment. – 7/10

Annihilation – 7/10

The Seven Year Itch – I decided to check out more of Billy Wilder & Marilyn Monroe after thoroughly enjoying Some Like It Hot (my mini-review is HERE). The Seven Year Itch hasn’t aged nearly as well. I know it was a different time & I always keep this in mind when watching older films but this one really feels out of place now with the “all men are simple idiots who can’t help themselves around beautiful women” trope. But I do think Monroe was truly iconic and, although her naïve sexy blonde thing also feels out of place today, there’s no denying a certain likability there despite what I suspect was an ability to only play one type of character (but I know I need to watch more than just two of her movies to see if that was the case). Monroe is the true star of this film while the “tempted male” (Tom Ewell), who talks outloud to himself through the whole film, is quite annoying. I do wonder if I’d feel this way if he’d been played by someone like Jack Lemmon, who may have made the character much more likable & funny. Thanks to Wilder there’s still some sharp writing, though, and it’s worth watching for some very iconic Monroe scenes (including the one with the famous white dress being blown up by the subway grate). What’s interesting is that the scene is nothing like the pictures you’ve seen where you see all of her: you only see shots of her legs & her face separately. Sadly, I read this bit of trivia at IMDb, which adds a terrible twist to that scene: “Not without a distinct ring of irony, the nine-month Marilyn Monroe-Joe DiMaggio marriage officially ended during this shoot. DiMaggio was furious about the filming of the scene where his wife’s dress blows up, and the next day, Monroe reportedly required make-up to cover up bruises from the ensuing domestic fight. Three weeks later, she filed for divorce.” Horrible. But I think it’s well known that, despite being one of the most famous sex symbols of all time, it didn’t bring Monroe much happiness. – 7/10

Tickled – This is a documentary investigating a bizarre practice called “Competitive Endurance Tickling”. The filmmaker, David Farrier, discovered videos online of late teen/twentysomething males tickling tied-up males. It seemed strange but fairly innocent until he decided to look into things further for his documentary. The story takes a very sinister turn when he discovers that these young men were blackmailed and threatened over the videos. He then starts receiving very disturbing threats as he gets deeper into the story and the true indentity of the person behind the videos & harassment. This is certainly one of the more odd & intriguing documentaries I’ve seen & I do recommend it if you like a weird story. It reminded me a bit of Catfish (2010) in that both are so unbelievable that they almost feel staged. But I don’t think this was – it just needs to be seen to be believed. (This probably deserves a higher rating but I’m not a huge fan of documentaries & tend to rate them lower). – 6.5/10

Teen Witch – Hahaha! Oh. Wow. This is BAD. I’m not sure how I managed to miss out on a teen movie back in 1989 but, for some reason, this one passed me by. I’m giving it a decent rating, however, as it’s so bad that it almost achieves that “so bad it’s good” status. Not in a Road House kind of way (which is so bad it’s AWESOME) but the many silly bits are quite entertaining. It’s hard to pick a favorite part but the “I Like Boys” dance routine in the locker room was pretty fucking hilarious – I’ve put that video at the end of this post if you want a laugh. And if you like 80’s cheese, you should definitely watch Teen Witch. To be fair, I think it knows it’s cheesy… – 6/10

Table 19 – I didn’t know beforehand who’d written this story (Mark & Jay Duplass). Ugh, those mumblecore guys. I’m not really a fan of that subgenre. But Table 19 isn’t a mumblecore film, FYI (though I’m not sure why since it mostly fits the definition – maybe it’s excluded since some stuff actually happens in this movie). Here’s the Wikipedia definition if you don’t know what I’m talking about & link to list of films: “Mumblecore is a subgenre of independent film characterized by naturalistic acting and dialogue (often improvised), low-budget film production, an emphasis on dialogue over plot, and a focus on the personal relationships of people in their 20s and 30s.” Looking at that, though, I see that I do like some of the mumblegore movies (mumblecore in the horror genre). Mostly the Ti West films such as The House Of The Devil but I can definitely see how those got the mumblegore label. Who wants to watch millennials sitting around & whining about their lives for two hours while never actually doing anything?! I just realized what mumblecore is… It’s all those whiny bitches I try to avoid on social media! No thanks. Oops – I’m meant to be talking about Table 19. It’s borderline mumblecore and it did take me a while to get into it but I liked that it went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. It gets more serious than it first seems it’s going to be and I ended up not hating Anna Kendrick like you may at first because of her behavior at the beginning. It’s an okay film but just be aware of the writers beforehand and know that you’re not going to be getting too much of a plot. Wow – I really doubt I’ve talked anyone into watching this. It’s not bad. It’s an interesting assortment of characters and I ended up liking those played by Kendrick, Stephen Merchant & especially June Squibb. – 6/10

Free Fire – This was my first Ben Wheatley film and… Meh. It looks like some of his other films are considered mumblegore so I guess that tells me that I may not be a fan. I thought the story and characters were okay but it’s really just Tarantino-light. It’s a boring version of Reservoir Dogs without the witty banter. The hubby hated it & fell asleep after moaning about the terrible editing or something (I don’t notice that sort of thing) but I kept watching as it kept me slightly interested. But only slightly. Maybe Wheatley’s other (non-mumble) movies are better? – 6/10

The Levelling – I saw a review really praising this when it came out last year & liked the sound of if. IMDb synopsis: “Somerset, October 2014. When Clover Catto (Ellie Kendrick) receives a call telling her that her younger brother Harry (Joe Blakemore) is dead, she must return to her family farm and face the man she hasn’t spoken to in years: her father Aubrey (David Troughton).” Boring indie drama. Complete waste of my time although I suppose there were some okay performances. Sorry – this just isn’t my type of thing at all but it may work for others who enjoy dark & dreary dramas in which very little happens. And it’s so grey & wet & rainy & muddy – I get enough of that in real-life England. Screw that. – 5/10

It Comes At Night – Another 2017 movie that I was wanting to see ASAP due to its rave reviews at the time. WTF?! I was bored out of my damn mind! I’m starting to truly believe that IMDb is being filled with fake reviews written by the studios. This has a 78 out of 100 metascore?! Fuck off! Nothing happens in this but, to be fair, there’s more of a plot than the mumblegore stuff. The performances are good, especially from Joel Edgerton’s son in the movie (Kelvin Harrison Jr). But. But. Ugh. I don’t know. If someone here did like this, I’d genuinely be interested to hear why. Because maybe I’m missing something since, for a horror, it has a decent IMDb user rating as well (6.2). I’m really annoyed with the shitty movies I wasted time on in March. I have too many other things to do. – 4.5/10

Demolition Man – Wow. This movie is absolutely dreadful. Like Teen Witch, this one passed me by for some reason even though I was just out of high school & watching this kind of crap. I’m actually shocked at how bad it is. Not “so bad it’s good”. Just plain BAD. I thought I’d finally be watching some kick ass 90’s action flick like Speed or something (a good Sandra Bullock movie!). I had no idea this was a cheesy “comedy”. Not gonna lie, though – I fell asleep. I saw maybe 40 minutes. In five years of blogging, I’ve forced myself to finish every movie I watch no matter how shitty. No more! I don’t have the time. This movie broke me. I can’t continue. I just can’t. – Not Rated As I Refuse To Finish It

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – This book was pretty great! I’d never ever heard of this series until seeing the movie adaptation listed on IMDb, currently scheduled for a December 2018 release. Here’s the synopsis: “Many years after the “Sixty Minute War,” cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.” Cities on wheels “eating” smaller cities. That’s nuts! I love the concept. And in this first book, the focus is on the city of London. The movie appears to have Peter Jackson involvement and will be directed by someone who did the visual effects for a lot of his films (Christian Rivers). I’m really looking forward to the movie. If done right, it could be great. As for the book, I’ll try to do a separate full review of it before the movie. It’s a “kids book” but aimed at the same sort of age range as Harry Potter. It’s one of the more entertaining books I’ve read in a while. – 4/5

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – The movie adaptation of this (Love, Simon) comes out in UK cinemas this Friday. This is a YA book (yeah, I do like YA books) and it’s one of the better ones I’ve read in this genre in the past few years. I’m not normally one for YA “romance” (give me the apocalyptic stuff!) but this one was done well and I really bought into this relationship. In the book, Simon is a gay high school student who connects with then starts an anonymous online relationship with another student at his school. I’ve never wanted a couple to get together so bad! The boy Simon talks to is extremely protective of his identity and Simon struggles with this as he wants to meet the boy he’s fallen in love with. I was like “Tell him who you are!!” (you, the reader, aren’t aware of his identity either). Beyond that, there’s not much to say about this book as it’s a fairly typical YA romance. But it’s a good one. I can’t wait to see the movie, which has had excellent reviews. I’ve even heard rumors of it having a John Hughes vibe?! Sounds good to me! – 4/5

Every Day by David Levithan – Again, this is a book that I read because, like Mortal Engines, I loved the original concept. It’s hard to find stories that feel unique. And, again, it’s a YA romance (Ugh. Sorry!). Here’s the synopsis from Amazon: “Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . .” The story does feel truly original and I really appreciated that. However, I just didn’t quite connect with the characters. A, who switches bodies every single day, was very interesting as you get some insight into the mind of someone who doesn’t define themselves by their body, gender, family, friends, etc. since these things change every single day. As I said, it’s a great concept but the book is just okay. I didn’t find myself caring as much about these characters as I’d have liked. This also has a movie adaptation coming out this month, but the reviews are meh. I’ll still watch it to see how they handle the story, though. – 3/5

Annnnnd…. I’m still in the middle of Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King. I’ll finish it someday!

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Grey’s Anatomy – It’s shit.

The Walking Dead – It’s even more shit than Grey’s Anatomy.

I seriously need to get back onto the Black Mirrors. Or find some reruns of The Golden Girls or something! TV sucks now.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Again, not much! I just plan to review my monthly Blind Spot movie (Citizen Kane or Enter The Dragon) & any films I see in the cinema.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

A Quiet Place – Ohhh – a horror movie with excellent reviews?! I’m super excited for this & will try to go to it this weekend. However, It Comes At Night also had great reviews & it was shit. So who knows! Horror is very subjective.

Love, Simon – Definitely going to this as well as I really enjoyed the book.

Thoroughbreds – This looks interesting. Kind of Heathers-like maybe?? (But of course nothing can top that). May try to catch this one and try to not be upset at yet again seeing Anton Yelchin in a movie (RIP – I really liked him).

I Kill Giants – Liked the sound of this but some are saying it’s too similar to and not nearly as good as A Monster Calls.

Ghost Stories – Supernatural short stories?? SO my type of thing! But since reviews are now meh, I may wait for Netflix.

Wonderstruck – Based on a book by the same guy who wrote Hugo, which I loved as a movie. Wondering if it’s a good family movie to take the kid to…

Tully – Diablo Cody & Jason Reitman? I’m, like, the exact target audience for this. I’m very likely to check this out. I loved Juno.

Every Day – As I said above, the book is okay but the movie has meh reviews so far. I’ll watch it but may wait for Netflix.

Wildling – What IS this?! Another horror movie with fantastic reviews?!?! Liv Tyler & Brad Dourif????? I’m extremely curious about this one!

Avengers: Infinity War – Yeah. I’ll go to it. Of course. But I’m bored with superheroes. I’ll mainly be watching it for sexy Thor and all the Guardians Of The Galaxy characters! THOSE I love.

Will Wait To Watch On Netflix If I Can Be Arsed With These:
The Hurricane Heist, Rampage, Truth Or Dare, The Titan, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society

Now, here’s a small taste of what you’ll experience if you ever watch Teen Witch: 😉

Ready Player One (2018) Review 

Ready Player One (2018)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Based on Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

My Opinion:

Where do I start?? I really enjoyed this film and, yes, I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t realize so many people had a problem with the book until reading Twitter these past few months. What the fuck was with all the backlash?! Fucking hell, people. Get a grip. It’s a fun, harmless story that was written for nerds obsessed with 80’s pop culture. Not your kind of thing? Fine. Don’t read the book or watch the movie. Maybe just shut the fuck up and let people reminisce if that’s what makes them happy? I really enjoy Twitter but the self-righteous bullshit is very hard to handle sometimes.

Okay – I’m clearly in a bad mood! I’ll just talk about the movie now. If you’ve read and enjoyed the book, be aware that there are loads of changes. This normally bothers me but I kind of liked it this time. I felt like I was watching a whole new story involving the same characters and it was entertaining to watch & not already know what was going to happen every step of the way. I kind of feel like there are two completely separate Ready Player One stories now and both are enjoyable. I’ll stay spoiler free so won’t go into any details but the biggest things changed (completely!) are the challenges involved in finding each key. Being a big film fan, I loved one of these new challenges and I’m very glad that bit stayed a surprise for me. So try to avoid spoilers and watch this soon if you’re a pop culture nerd like me.

I’ll say this, though – the movie doesn’t stay as true to the “EIGHTIES!!!!” thing as the book. I understand this will have been done to please a more general movie audience but it’s kind of a shame. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still shitloads of 80’s pop culture but it’s not as in-your-face as the book. Which is good in some ways but I still feel that the 80’s kids are being a tiny bit cheated with the film version. And the movie goes more “movie nerd” than “game nerd”, which is definitely more my kind of thing so I’m not complaining. But I think the lovers of classic video games may be a little disappointed at them having a far smaller part in the film.

I’m still trying to sort my thoughts out on this movie. I know this is one where I really should wait a while before writing about it… Is it going to be an all-time favorite Spielberg movie of mine? Probably not but he has so many great ones that it would be hard for him to ever top his classic films. I did do my Top Ten Steven Spielberg Movies HERE and I can say that Ready Player One wouldn’t make it onto that list. But I’ll post an updated list sometime and it will probably make it into the ten since I’d count the Indiana Jones (trilogy!!) as one on my own blog.

Sorry – I know I’ve said very little in this “review”. I’m having to keep things short on the blog lately due to lack of time. Plus I think it’s important to avoid spoilers for this one, making it hard to discuss. Plus… I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed having a new Spielberg sci-fi thrill ride of a film. It was a lot of fun to watch and I’d forgotten it was 2 hours & 20 minutes long as it didn’t feel that way since there’s always so much going on. The characters, though changed slightly, are done as well as they need to be to keep the audience interested in their story and I think Spielberg improved things by focusing even more on their friendship.

Overall, the changes made for the movie were mostly improvements on what I realize isn’t exactly classic American literature. Yes, Spielberg “has done it again!”. I love Spielberg and I love him returning to this style of sci-fi. However, like the 80’s pop culture the story wishes to emulate, this movie will always just feel like a tribute to Spielberg’s best films as opposed to actually being one of his best. I really enjoyed Ready Player One, I’ll definitely watch it again, and I’ll buy it as soon as it’s released on DVD. But I’d still rather watch a genuine classic film from the Eighties instead.

My Rating: 8/10

Is There A Scene After The Credits?: No, there’s nothing during or after the credits.

Atonement (2007) Blind Spot Review

Happy 33rd Birthday To Keira Knightley.

As today is her birthday, I figured I might as well get my Blind Spot review of Atonement out of the way. I didn’t like it.

Atonement (2007)

Directed by Joe Wright

Based on Atonement by Ian McEwan

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.

My Opinion:

These are the 2018 Blind Spot films I’ve watched so far, from least favorite to favorite:

4. Atonement
3. Gleaming The Cube
2. The French Connection
1. Citizen Kane

Yeah, Atonement is last. This is my third year of doing this Blind Spot thing (my previous two years of lists are HERE) and Atonement may be my least favorite overall. I take that back – it’s probably The Last Temptation Of Christ.

Atonement is certainly not a bad film in any way and its cinematography was beautful. However, I found it boring and, worst of all, I hated the characters. I suppose my irrational dislike of Keira Knightley may be partly to blame (Sorry Keira Knightley – I hope you have a good birthday anyway!). She recently said something along the lines of only wanting to be in these period dramas now because women are always being raped in modern movies. Fair enough – that’s something I hate being thrown into films for no good reason. But did she forget about the entire central plot of Atonement?! Sheesh. Actors are so annoying. And I’m sorry if that’s a major spoiler – the rape is pretty early on in the film. I just found that to be a stupid comment, especially as there have been some very strong female characters in modern movies these last several years who’ve not been raped. Maybe she should watch more movies?


So, this is the movie that got the young Saoirse Ronan noticed with an Oscar nomination. She’s very good in this, although her character is a hateful little brat at first. But she grows & she learns. I’m guessing this was better portrayed in the novel. She clearly is forever remorseful over ruining two people’s lives with her lies but it still didn’t feel like she truly suffered as she should have. At least, she certainly didn’t suffer as much as her sister & her sister’s lover (Knightley & James McAvoy).

Knightley & McAvoy were both very good as well, although I always find that Knightley comes across as very “cold”. Man – I’m really sounding like I hate Knightley… Sorry! I did prefer McAvoy and felt genuinely sorry for his suffering at the hands of that little shit played by Ronan.


*Not Ronan but same character when older and less of a shit

Okay, I admit that this is a good movie and the problem is that it’s just not my type of thing. The acting, the score, and the cinematography were all strong and the story itself was good even though I found its execution odd (in the beginning, they keep going backwards & redoing scenes from different perspectives and it felt clunky & just annoyed me). There’s also a scene involving a letter that isn’t explained well and I didn’t know what the hell had happened until I read a full plot synopsis. The second half of the film luckily didn’t do the weird jumping around thing (from what I remember) but that just made things feel inconsistent.


*This dress was gorgeous

FYI – Knightley is okay with the C word being used in a movie! As long as it’s a period drama. 😉 I just happen to prefer this kind of period drama to the Knightley kind. I hated every character in this movie (other than McAvoy’s) and I usually don’t enjoy a film when that’s the case. The odd storytelling style also didn’t help. Maybe I’d have liked the book more, as I do think it’s a good story & I always like stories that span so many decades. Don’t skip this movie if you think it’s your type of thing. It’s just not mine…

My Rating: 6/10

Game Night (2018) Review

Game Night (2018)

Directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Kyle Chandler

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Game Night follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a real-life mystery.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this film and it’s a shame we don’t get many movies like this nowadays. I’m very picky when it comes to comedy and rarely like current films in the genre so I often avoid them completely. Game Night has the right blend of clever humor as well as an entertaining story. It’s not going to change the world and it’s not some all-time comedy classic but at least you won’t feel like you’ve actually lost brain cells just by watching it. It’s a fun popcorn movie that doesn’t treat its audience like complete morons.

Hey – this was co-directed by the little brother from Freaks And Geeks. I love that show!!! Anyone else love that show? But, FYI – this movie is nothing like the output from other Freaks And Geeks alumni (such as Seth Rogen). Game Night is better than that. Here’s the Freaks And Geeks kid (he’s 32 now. When did I get so old?!):


Speaking of TV shows for old people like me, I had a crush on Jason Bateman back in the 1980s. Not so much from Silver Spoons but from the thoroughly underrated, hilarious, ahead-of-its-time It’s Your Move. People couldn’t handle that sort of humor back then as I suppose it wasn’t all warm & fuzzy like Growing Pains or something. Anyway, Bateman had great comedic chops from a young age and I’m always happy to see him in stuff now. Maybe I should finally check out Arrested Development?! Or Horrible Bosses? Did I just use the words “comedic chops”?? Bateman & Rachel McAdams are really funny in this, playing a married couple who are both extremely competitive when it comes to their Game Nights with their friends.


I don’t know what else to say about this as comedy is so subjective but I would think I could recommend it to most people who are around the same sort of age as me (which is right in between the ages of Bateman & McAdams). The humor isn’t exactly subtle but it’s not the outrageous in-your-face stuff like in Bridesmaids, etc. It might not be one for twentysomethings – It’s probably more for the sort of old farts like me who would have a board game night with friends. I’d love game nights with the right group of people! Who wants a board game night with me?? Just please don’t order a kidnapping mystery.

I enjoyed Game Night a lot. It’s fun. The dark humor works. The thriller/action stuff works. The opening titles were really good. Everyone was funny and no one was annoying. Bateman & McAdams were especially good and believable as a married couple. But it’s still not quite as good as Freaks And Geeks or It’s Your Move

My Rating: 7.5/10

Is there a scene after the credits? Yes – During the credits as well as one at the very end. Not sure if the final one is worth staying for but I liked it.

He’s so handsome…

Annihilation (2018) Review

Annihilation (2018)

Directed by Alex Garland

Based on Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Annihilation follows a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone full of mutating landscapes and creatures.

My Opinion:

I’m really glad this got rave reviews. I love a good sci-fi film. It’s great that there seems to have been a resurgence of hard sci-fi in the past few years with things such as Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Alex Garland’s directorial debut Ex Machina. However, I seem to be one of the very few who found Annihilation a bit of a disappointment.

I’m definitely a Garland fan. Besides Ex Machina, which I thought was absolutely brilliant, he wrote the screenplays for 28 Days Later…., Sunshine, and Dredd. I love all those, so maybe that’s why Annihilation was disappointing? That may be part of it but I think the biggest problem was that I read the book first (by Jeff VanderMeer) and I liked it a lot.

The movie follows the book quite closely to begin with but then goes off the rails. I do wonder how I’d feel if I’d not read the book? I’d probably have loved how utterly bizarre the film becomes at the end (I love weird shit). But you know what? The book is even more crazy. I really wanted to review the book as I enjoyed it so much but never did as I had no clue how to describe it. The novel perfectly conveyed this overall eerie feeling that stayed with me long after reading it. Unfortunately, my favorite parts (and the creepiest) were completely left out of the film. I can kind of understand why as it would’ve been hard to translate to film without it looking cheesy, but… Shit. I was so looking forward to seeing how those parts would be handled. In the book, there was a mysterious underground structure that seemed somehow linked to the lighthouse but was far more disturbing. The film kind of combined the two places a little bit but I still feel cheated.

Okay, I’ll try to focus on the positive now because I do still think this is a good sci-fi movie even though it doesn’t quite live up to the novel. I loved the look of this film and the gorgeous “Shimmer” they enter. The world inside The Shimmer looked as strange & beautful as how I’d imagined it. The ending involving the lighthouse was enjoyable even though it was completely different to what I was expecting. And, yes, I liked it being a group of women but this is the same as in the book anyway. To be honest, I’m giving less and less of a shit about who stars in a film as long as the story is good and the acting doesn’t totally suck.


The characters aren’t that well developed but I can’t complain as that’s the same in the book as well. We actually get far more backstory involving Portman’s hubby, played by Oscar Isaac, and the rest of the women than we did in the book. The book is truly only about its story, which was fine since it’s a strong one. Adding more to the characters for the film was a smart move as I think connecting with the characters is more necessary when it comes to film. I didn’t think any of the acting really stood out, though. Tessa Thompson was possibly the strongest but it’s not a huge role. I love Jennifer Jason Leigh but she’s not much different from usual in this. Sadly, I’d probably say the same of Portman. This was another thing a little disappointing as I thought the acting was so strong in Ex Machina (especially Vikander). I’m not saying anyone did a bad job, though. They’re all good actors but are just a bit MEH in this. And I found the final predictable scene in this a little too cheesy and “Hollywood” after watching this great bizarre story that can’t be easily explained.

So. I dunno. Maybe I should stop trying to read every single book before its film adaptation! My true love is film and I know this is a case where I definitely liked the film less than I would’ve if I hadn’t read the novel. However, it’s a damn good book so I’m still glad I read it and I highly recommend it to hard sci-fi fans. I guess I better read the rest of the Southern Reach Trilogy now (Annihilation is Book 1). I was waiting to see the film before continuing but now I wish I’d finished all three first. I can say I’m still an Alex Garland fan, though. I eagerly await his next project and hope he continues in this genre.

My Rating: 7/10

I, Tonya (2017) Review

I, Tonya (2017)

Directed by Craig Gillespie

Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, Mckenna Grace

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

My Opinion:

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I’m still contemplating putting it as my number one movie of those released in the UK this year. I do think Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri & The Shape Of Water are better “films” but, to be honest, I probably “liked” I, Tonya more. It’s a shame it wasn’t up for Best Picture as it’s certainly much better than Get Out and probably even Lady Bird. I know I liked it more than Darkest Hour, although that was very good. I’ve not seen the other Best Picture nominees, FYI. Oh well – at least the Academy recognized Margot Robbie & Allison Janney. They were absolutely fantastic! I was rooting for Robbie to win as well as Janney.


For any non-Americans who aren’t around the same sort of age as me (not much younger than Harding now), you may not realize what a huge story the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing was at the time. It was insane! Perfect tabloid fodder. I’m not a big “news” person and I’m not at all into tabloids but I lapped that damn story up. And it was weird how it all turned into a “Poor Tonya” thing in the media (after Kerrigan’s personality came across as thoroughly unlikable). As Robbie’s Harding said in this movie, Kerrigan won a silver medal and looked like she’d just stepped in poo (or something like that). Okay, I admit to being Team Tonya instead of Team Nancy. But, hey, that’s the most I’ve ever watched of the Olympics! In the end, though, I was definitely Team Oksana Baiul. She was far more graceful on the ice and seemed really sweet. She deserved that gold medal and I was happy she won. (Seriously – these are three of the only athletes I can even name….).


Back to the movie! I have no idea how factual it is. Did Harding really not know about the planned attack? Maybe not. Probably not. But Robbie was brilliant as Harding! Especially at the end, when she learns her consequences for the attack. If this movie was made to make us sympathetic to Harding, I’d say it worked. Was her mom really that much of a bitch?! Holy hell! Janney was hateful (but funny) as fuck. I suppose it annoys some people, just like when this incident happened, that a lot of people seem to be on Harding’s side in this whole thing. I do think it’s sad that her career was ruined because of it and that this incident will be with her forever. Instead of being known for skating, she’s known for the attack and the whole media circus. It will follow her until the day she dies (same for Kerrigan). Oh, and I think Sebastian Stan deserves a mention as Harding’s abusive hubby Jeff Gillooly. He’s overshadowed by Janney & Robbie but he was so good I kept forgetting it was him – he was almost unrecognizable. He possibly became his character even more than his co-stars. Subtle is good too. Oh! And that cute little girl from Gifted (Mckenna Grace) briefly plays Harding at a young age. She’s also very good. An actress to keep an eye on.


Obviously, I enjoyed this film a lot but I’ve always been very interested in this story. I don’t think you need to know anything about the true story to enjoy this, though. It’s a very well-written film and the dark humor was done perfectly. The mockumentary style suits this crazy tabloid incident and the main performances are all Oscar-worthy. Honestly, I’m confused as to why this didn’t get a Best Picture nomination? Three Billboards also has the same sort of blend of dark humor, serious drama, and great acting that I, Tonya does. Oh well – I highly recommend this movie to anyone, especially film-loving bloggers who haven’t seen it yet.

My Rating: 8/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2018

Well, it’s now March and the Oscars were last night. I hope they announced the correct winners this year! (I have no idea since I’m writing this before the Oscars… I hope Blade Runner 2049 won some stuff). I hope something got fucked up, though. That wrong Best Picture announcement was hilarious.

**Update to say I watched I, Tonya just before the Oscars. Loved it. Would love to see wins for the actresses! I’ll review it later this week.**

Let’s see how I wasted February…. I watched more movies than I realized.

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

The Shape Of Water – 8/10
Lady Bird – 7.5/10
The Greatest Showman – 7.5/10
Darkest Hour – 7.5/10
Good Time – 7/10
Gleaming The Cube – 6.5/10
Black Panther – 6.5/10
Kong: Skull Island – 6/10
The Cloverfield Paradox – 5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

The Shape Of Water – 8/10
Lady Bird – 7.5/10
The Greatest Showman – 7.5/10
Darkest Hour – 7.5/10
• The King’s Speech – 7.5/10 (This is in the IMDB Top 250 so I’ll do a full review at some point. I watched it after liking Darkest Hour.)
Good Time – 7/10
Black Panther – 6.5/10
Kong: Skull Island – 6/10
The Cloverfield Paradox – 5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

• You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames: This is an extremely short novel (under 100 pages and the book is quite tiny). So it’s worth a read as it won’t take you long! The story is very straightforward but you get a small glimpse of the main character’s unhinged mind (played by Joaquin Phoenix in the film adaptation). I have to say this will probably be a case of the movie improving on the book and I can see Phoenix truly being able to delve into the depths of a damaged mind in a way the short story was unable to. I’ll wait for Netflix, though, as the hammer rampages will be a bit too much for me to witness on film.

I’m still in the middle of Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King. It’s very very long, so I’m taking a break. I’m currently reading Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli before the movie (Love, Simon) comes out next month.

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Well, Grey’s Anatomy has started up again so I half watch that shit while playing on my phone. And, of course, The Walking Dead has started up again too. Why do I still watch that?! This mid-season premiere had the most pointless death yet. I don’t know if they can ever turn things around again. I’m bored with this show.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Nothing. Too busy! But I plan to keep watching movies…

Upcoming Movies I Want To See (by UK release date):

Game Night – This looks fun & fairly original. Will try to make it to see this one.

Gringo – Not really my type of genre but some big names in this & the trailer looks okay. One I’ll probably watch on Netflix, though.

You Were Never Really Here – Will watch this as I read the book but it will be a Netflix watch for me since I’m a wuss with violence. I can hide my face behind a pillow whenever Joaquin grabs his hammer.

Annihilation – Really liked this book & cannot WAIT for the film after the rave reviews. Wish I could see it on the big screen but, since society sucks & only watches shit like Fifty Shades, this is going straight to Netflix in the UK in a couple of weeks. Screw you, society!

A Wrinkle In Time – Was really hoping to read this book with my kid before the movie but she doesn’t seem bothered. Maybe I’ll quickly read it by myself. I have to say that the movie looks a little cheesy in the trailer (the costumes more than anything). But maybe that’s what they look like in the book. Dunno!

Pacific Rim Uprising – Braindead popcorn movie. I did enjoy the first one. If this gets really horrible reviews, though, I’ll wait & watch it at home.

Unsane – Don’t know much about this but am intrigued by a Steven Soderbergh horror/thriller….

Ready Player One – This was my most anticipated movie of 2018 as I love Spielberg & love the 80s & thoroughly enjoyed the book. I have to say that I don’t like the look of this one so much after the newest trailer & posters. I think too much has been changed, especially things that were a secret until the end of the book now clearly being known from the start. I’m now worried about liking this film. Damn.

The “Meh, maybe on Netflix if I can be bothered” movies:

Red Sparrow, A Fantastic Woman, Monster Family, Mum & Dad, Wonder Wheel, Tomb Raider, The Square, Mary Magdalene, Peter Rabbit, Proud Mary, Isle Of Dogs, Blockers

My Oscar Picks For The 90th Annual Academy Awards

It’s almost time for the Oscars! I love/hate them so much!! 🙂

I’ve seen quite a few nominees, but have missed out on some that I do badly want to see. Oh I hate it when so few cinemas show the “worthy” or indie films! Of the nominees I’ve not managed to see yet, the only ones I really want to watch are:

Call Me By Your Name
The Florida Project
All the Money in the World
War For The Planet Of The Apes
Loving Vincent
Wonder
Faces/Places
The Silent Child

Of the Best Picture nominees, I must admit I have no interest in Dunkirk or Phantom Thread. I’ll watch The Post on Netflix or whatever at home.

**Post updated since I’ve now seen I, Tonya. Loved it.**

Nominees I’ve Seen (including everything with at least one nomination):

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2. Blade Runner: 2049
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5. I, Tonya
6. Baby Driver
7. The Shape Of Water
8. Lady Bird
9. Darkest Hour
10. Logan
11. The Greatest Showman
12. Coco
13. Mudbound
14. The Big Sick
15. Get Out
16. Kong: Skull Island
17. Beauty and the Beast
18. The Boss Baby

Other Nominees Seen (Shorts):
Lou
Garden Party
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Now onto the “predictions”! As usual, I’m not too bothered about who wins. For each category, I’ll put what I personally want to win & what I think will actually win. Here we go….

NOMINEES:

Best Picture:
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water (Also WANT – It’s close between this & Three Billboards)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WANT & WILL)

Directing:
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, Shape of Water (WANT & WILL)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (WANT & WILL)
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Actress in a Leading Role:
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WILL)
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (WANT)
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya (WANT & WILL)
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WANT)
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WILL)

Adapted Screenplay:
James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name (WILL)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green, Logan
Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Mudbound (WANT)

Original Screenplay:
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird (WANT)
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WILL)

Animated Feature Film:
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco (WANT & WILL)
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Foreign Language Film:
A Fantastic Woman (Chile) (WILL)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia) (WANT)
Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

Documentary Feature:
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces/Places (WANT & WILL)
Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

Cinematography:
Roger A. Deakins, Blade Runner: 2049 (WANT & WILL)
Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
Dan Laustsen, The Shape of Water

Film Editing:
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver (WANT)
Lee Smith, Dunkirk (WILL)
Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya
Sidney Wolinsky, The Shape of Water
Jon Gregory, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Production Design:
Beauty and the Beast (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)
Blade Runner: 2049 (Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola) (WANT & WILL)
Darkest Hour (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)
Dunkirk (Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis)
The Shape of Water (Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin)

Costume Design:
Jacqueline Durran, Beauty and the Beast
Jacqueline Durran, Darkest Hour
Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread (WILL)
Luis Sequeira, The Shape of Water (WANT)
Consolota Boyle, Victoria & Abdul

Makeup and Hairstyling:
Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick, Darkest Hour (WANT & WILL)
Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard, Victoria & Abdul
Arjen Tuiten, Wonder

Original Score:
Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water (WILL)
John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (WANT)
Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Original Song:
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
“Remember Me,” Coco
“Stand Up for Something,” Marshall
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman (WANT & WILL)

Sound Editing:
Julian Slater, Baby Driver
Mark Mangini and Theo Green, Blade Runner 2049
Richard King and Alex Gibson, Dunkirk (WILL)
Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira, The Shape of Water
Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (WANT)

Sound Mixing:
Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin, and Mary H. Ellis, Baby Driver
Ron Bartlett, Dough Hemphill, and Mac Ruth, Blade Runner 2049
Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landarker, and Gary A. Rizzo, Dunkirk (WILL)
Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern, and Glen Gauthier, The Shape of Water
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Stuart Wilson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (WANT)

Visual Effects:
Blade Runner 2049 (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, and Richard R. Hoover)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, and Dan Sudick)
Kong: Skull Island (Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, and Mike Meinardus)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould) (WANT)
War for the Planet of the Apes (Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, and Joel Whist) (WILL)

Animated Short Film:
Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou (WANT & WILL)
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Live Action Short Film:
DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child (WANT)
Watu Wote: All of Us (WILL)

Documentary Short Subject:
Edith and Eddie (WILL)
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (WANT)
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Oscar Nominated Movie Review Roundup


I have come here to hire billboards and kick ass… and I’m all out of billboards.

Thanks to the hubby for the Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri & They Live mashup. He loves doing those. 🙂 I can’t think of a better quote to go with this one. Hmm…

Well, the Oscars are on Sunday night (the middle of the night in the UK, which means I’ll be a zombie for work on Monday). I’ve managed to see way more Oscar nominees than last year, so I thought I should do a quick post with a roundup of all my reviews of the nominees. I’ll include everything that has at least one nomination. And, of course, I’ll rank them!

I’m gutted that I’ve not managed to make it to see I, Tonya this week with the crappy weather & snow in the UK. If I manage to see it over the weekend, I’ll review it before the Oscars air. It’s one I really want to see – I’ve always been fascinated by that story.

**Post updated since I HAVE now seen I, Tonya. Loved it! But no time to review it before the Oscars. I’ll review it next week.**

Ranked from favorite to least favorite movie, here are the links to my reviews of the 2017 Oscar nominated films I’ve seen so far:

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2. Blade Runner: 2049
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
5. I, Tonya
6. Baby Driver

7. The Shape Of Water
8. Lady Bird
9. Darkest Hour
10. Logan
11. The Greatest Showman

12. Coco
13. Mudbound
14. The Big Sick
15. Get Out
16. Kong: Skull Island
17. Beauty and the Beast
18. The Boss Baby

Other Nominees Seen (Shorts):

Lou: Cute, like all Pixar shorts, and I liked the anti-bullying message. Not their strongest short, though.

Garden Party: Another animated short with Lou, which certainly won’t beat Pixar (I don’t know about the other nominees). The animation is impressive, especially as it was made by 3D animation students as their graduation film. The story is an odd one. I liked the somewhat surprising ending (don’t watch it with your young kids).

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405: This was an interesting short documentary about artist Mindy Alper, who has channeled her depression and anxiety from a traumatic childhood into her art. It’s worth a watch as it’s on YouTube (link HERE). 

Tomorrow I’ll post my Oscar Winner predictions. 🙂

Lady Bird (2017) Review

Lady Bird (2017)

Directed & Written by Greta Gerwig

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Lois Smith

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, it is a coming-of-age story of a high-school senior (Ronan) and her turbulent relationship with her mother (Metcalf).

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this. It’s indie, though, so I had to go to a fancy, snobby cinema to actually be able to see it. There were sofas & fucking cushions. People had tea delivered to them. I don’t drink tea. I just wanted to stuff my face with popcorn. So I just sat there hungry instead (but comfy!).

Here’s a funny thing: I sat next to what appeared to be a grandmother with her 20-something granddaughter. They were talking about films (Yay! My kind of people) and the grandmother was talking about drive-ins and what they’re like in America. She told the granddaughter she needs to go to America sometime. The girl scoffed & said “Ha. No thanks! I’m alright. Not at the moment!“. I smiled to myself. Ahh… My home country is well & truly fucked. British people used to dream of visiting America. Now the thought of going there seems insane and potentially dangerous. What the fuck has happened? You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Shall I actually talk about this movie, which is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay? Does it deserve all the acclaim? Hmm. Yes & no. Maybe in the acting categories, at least. It’s a good coming of age film, a subgenre I love, but it’s not the absolute best of its kind that I’ve seen. I probably slightly preferred the previous  year’s The Edge Of Seventeen. Where were the nominations for that female-directed & written film??

The Oscars are going to get more interesting now & I’m very glad that they’re going to be more inclusive. But……. I dunno. Should Lady Bird be up for Best Picture & Director? I’m not sure about that but I don’t mind seeing it nominated for Best Picture. Lady Bird & Get Out do look like the odd ones out when looking at the more heavyweight nominees but not all movies have to be boring, heavy dramas to be good films. What I really want to see is the Oscars being more inclusive of ALL genres of films, regardless of who made them. A good movie is a good movie. The Oscars have always hated things like fantasy, science fiction, comedy, and horror. Brilliant films seem to be ignored if they’re not some boring ass historical drama that the majority of the public has no interest in seeing. The nominee I’m happiest about this year is The Shape Of Water. That’s slightly out of the Academy’s comfort zone. I want more stuff like that at the Oscars! Now if they can just accept science fiction… Arrival only getting ONE Oscar (Sound Editing) is a damn crime!!! Screw you, Academy!

Back to Lady Bird. I loved the tumultuous relationship between mother & daughter (Saoirse Ronan & Laurie Metcalf, both deserving of their nominations). Being both a mother & a daughter, I can confirm that it can be a complicated relationship at times & the film makes these characters feel real in their feelings & behavior. I’d have actually liked it to focus even more on the mother/daughter relationship than it did. I’d have liked slightly more time spent on Lady Bird’s relationships with her whole family, but the film does well with the character development in its hour & a half running time.

We get to see a lot of Lady Bird’s life at school with her best friend and with a couple of love interests. I loved her best friend (Beanie Feldstein). It made me wish I’d had a female friend in high school! But I went to school with a bunch of bitches. Lucas Hedges, from Manchester By The Sea, did well but there’s not a lot of time spent on him. And I finally got to see this Timothée Chalamet kid in a movie. He’s fine – it’s not a huge role and he’s an annoying rich boy so I’ll need to see him in more stuff. I still badly want to see Call Me By Your Name. Saoirse Ronan is the star of this, though, and I’m amazed that I never thought about the fact that she does NOT sound American in real life, so she must have done the accent well! Ronan & Metcalf make this film better. Without them, I’d have found it pretty average. But I kept hearing Andy’s mother from Toy Story… She didn’t have this much trouble with Andy!

Lady Bird is good but it’s indie and it’s definitely aimed more at females and at teenagers. Is it All-Time-Greatest-Best-Picture material? Not really. I’ve seen other coming of age films more worthy of Oscar nominations but I’m glad the Academy, through recognizing a wider variety of filmmakers, is probably going to end up giving us more variety in the film genres that receive nominations. Not all movies have to be The English Freaking Patient. (Lady Bird is far better than that one…)

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Shape Of Water (2017) Review

The Shape Of Water (2017)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in Baltimore in 1962, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who falls in love with a captured humanoid-amphibian creature.

My Opinion:

It felt like the longest wait EVER to finally see The Shape Of Water in the UK. It came out on Valentine’s Day with that Fifty Shades Shit. Give me the fish man over that crap any day! I was really excited as this is my type of thing & I think Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth is fantastic. I probably hyped this one up too much in my mind after months of anticipation. I did really like it but Pan’s Labyrinth is still by far del Toro’s best. This is my second favorite he’s directed that I’ve seen, though.

Where do I start?! It’s pretty bad when you can believe in a love story involving a fish man more than one in some sappy romcom bullshit starring Kate Hudson (or whoever has replaced her nowadays – I’m not a big romcom chick). Doug Jones does well giving life to… Umm… Fish Man! Do I have to keep calling him that??? Okay – he’s officially credited as Amphibian Man / The Asset. The whole point of most of del Toro’s work seems to be that the true monsters are those who appear normal on the outside and, as expected, that’s the theme here. You’ll feel for Amphibian Man and understand why the character played by Sally Hawkins wants to protect him. You may not want to have sex with him, though. Who knows. Maybe you will! That’s just not for me, but I’m sure I’d have a lovely platonic friendship with Amphibian Man.

The overall story was more predictable & straightforward than I was expecting. Michael Shannon made for a good baddie as usual but his performance also felt a bit phoned in. That’s probably because he does this type of role so often. He’s quite a one-dimensional baddie, which was a little disappointing. But I do love to truly hate the bad guy in a movie and he certainly manages to achieve that here.

Besides Amphibian Man, we have four main human characters who help him out. Sally Hawkins is of course the cleaner who falls in love with him, Octavia Spencer is her friend & co-worker, Richard Jenkins is her friend & neighbor, and Michael Stuhlbarg is a scientist who doesn’t approve of the treatment of Amphibian Man. Hawkins, Spencer & Jenkins are all up for acting Oscars and I’m happy with that. I loved that Hawkins was mute, making her connection with Amphibian Man even stronger. Hawkins & Jones do a great job expressing their emotions without words. I especially liked Jenkins as her neighbor and Spencer was once again a very likeable friend of our main character, though it would be nice to see her as more than just the friendly sidekick (I’ve not yet seen Hidden Figures).

The characters are what make this movie and I really enjoyed them. The story is simple as are its themes but I still like its theme of love & acceptance, which is still relevant today. Set in 1962, all our characters have to deal with intolerance (the mute Hawkins as well as Jenkins & Spencer due to sexual orientation and race). While I despise anything too overtly political in movies, The Shape Of Water remains subtle and this group of people and the parallels with the treatment of Amphibian Man work really well. There are some beautiful scenes & cinematography as well as a lovely score (it’s also nominated for cinematography, production design & score).

I hope The Shape Of Water does well at the Oscars but I keep flipping back & forth on if I prefer this or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This one is more “me” but I think Three Billboards may be slightly ahead for me. I’d be interested to see if my opinion changes in a year. The Shape Of Water feels more timeless & cinematic and may be the more highly acclaimed film in the future. Oh, and as one last thing, I have to add that I love where Hawkins lived in this film. Guillermo del Toro knows how to please cinephiles!

My Rating: 8/10

**By the way – Sally Hawkins is a serial masturbator in this. I may have to add to My Top Five Movie Scenes Of Self-Pleasure

Darkest Hour (2017) Review

Darkest Hour (2017)

Directed by Joe Wright

Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, Ben Mendelsohn

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Darkest Hour stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and is a fictionalised account of his early days as Prime Minister, as Nazi Germany swept across Western Europe, threatening to defeat Great Britain during World War II, leading to friction at the highest levels of government.

My Opinion:

I’m not a history buff. It was always one of my least favorite subjects in school. I wonder why? I just always found it boring. I like fictional stories set in the future. We were all wankers in the past. Of course, we’re even bigger wankers now so… I guess there’s not much hope for the future anyway.

But I liked this movie far more than I was expecting. Gary Oldman is probably the biggest reason. He’s brilliant! Give him the damn Oscar, Academy!!! And the story was intense. Okay, I’m no history buff but I at least have a very basic knowledge of WWII. I can’t imagine living in the UK during that time. I didn’t know just how intense it became during the “Darkest Hour”, though. UK kids should be watching this movie (mine did). They should have a better understanding of British history than they probably do. In my defense, I grew up in America so the only real focus in my history lessons was, of course, ‘Murrica. F*^k yeah!

Back to Oldman. Ahhh, he’s so good! To be fair, I can’t say I know much about Churchill’s look & voice. All I know is that it did NOT feel like I was watching Gary Oldman. I do like watching movies where actors play real life people but I always feel like I’m watching that actor playing make-believe. Like anyone Tom Hanks plays… He’s a good actor but I feel like I’m watching Hanks playing a role the entire time. You don’t have to suspend disbelief when it comes to Oldman and that’s what I love. I like movies & stories more than the actors themselves. I want to fully buy into the characters. Oldman has always been a true chameleon, though, as mentioned in My Top Ten Gary Oldman Movies post (which I’ve just updated to add Darkest Hour). If he doesn’t win the Oscar this year, the Academy can go f*^k itself (Okay, I say this a lot. The winners often piss me off).

The WWII story itself held my attention the whole time (it helps when you have very little knowledge of what happened). I actually finally watched The King’s Speech after seeing this and it was interesting to see some of the same events from the King’s perspective instead of Churchill’s (That’s a good movie too, by the way – Not sure why I never wanted to watch it). Now I’m just waiting for Dunkirk to show up on Netflix or Prime and that will fill in my gaps in knowledge on that, which is a big part of Darkest Hour. What would I do without pretty movies giving me nice, glossy history lessons?!

WWII history aside, though, Darkest Hour also shows Churchill’s relationships with various people and this is what I most care about in movies. We see him with his wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), his young secretary (Lily James), and the King (Ben Mendelsohn, not Colin Firth), as well as many other political dudes (but the first three are the main focus). His interactions with the two women were especially good & gave you more insight into Churchill as a person instead of just as a Prime Minister.

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit despite not being big on historical films and highly recommend it to anyone who loved Dunkirk. It makes no sense to watch that one without watching this one as well. As for me, I just find Christopher Nolan overrated so that’s my excuse for waiting for that one to show up on one of my movie services…

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Directed by Michael Gracey

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum’s creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and the lives of its star attractions.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this movie. I saw it a good few weeks ago & I’m glad I didn’t review it right away as this is one of those films that has really grown on me since seeing it. I can understand why it’s getting repeat viewings & why it’s still playing in cinemas so long after its release.

Now, I have to say I don’t think this is a perfect film. Far from it! It’s certainly not up there with the biggest musical classics such as The Sound Of Music or Singin’ In The Rain (My list of my Top Ten Movie Musicals can he found HERE). I don’t think it will age quite as well as the classics but it’s a fun film & the songs are far more catchy & memorable than those in La La Land. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a “better” movie than La La Land but I enjoyed it a lot more than that one. It feels more genuine & has more heart. Unlike La La Land, it’s not pretentious or “trying too hard”. Sorry – I can’t help but compare the two since they’re both current musicals. Seeing this has actually made me like La La Land even less.

Where do I start? I’ve always been intrigued by circuses & that whole lifestyle so I enjoyed the story in this one (I don’t know how accurate the story of P. T. Barnum actually is in this, though). One of the only slightly negative things I’ve read about this was how they “glossed over” the treatment of the entertainers (called “Freaks”) in the old days. I disagree. This is a musical, not a documentary. It’s lighthearted, yes, but it certainly didn’t ignore the poor treatment of these people. We all know how horribly they were treated. It was a different time and the movie does what it can to celebrate people’s differences. This does give me the opportunity to again mention a movie that I love & that I think deserves more attention – Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks. It was very ahead of its time & I’d recommend it to all bloggers. I reviewed it HERE (one of the rare reviews that I actually put some effort into). 😉

Back to the movie. Jackman is very good but that’s to be expected. You can tell he really enjoys doing films like this & I think that really shows in his performance. Who doesn’t like Jackman?! He seems like a sweetie. And I’m starting to like Zac Efron as well! I think I’ll always see him as a kid but he was really good in this and was great in the scenes with Jackman & with Zendaya. As for him & Zendaya, I loved that romance. I think that relationship will be a big part of the reason why people like this film so much. I loved their scene together with the hoop thingy. They’re so young & so cute (I sound like such a granny!).

There are so many characters & different types of relationships in this, which is probably another reason why it’s done so well as most people will have a different character they like or can relate to. It also felt like we got to know most of them pretty well. They spent an equal amount of time on Barnum’s personal life with his wife & young daughters as well as his professional life with his circus family. The song & dance numbers looked great and, as I already mentioned, the songs are quite memorable (I’m glad one of them, This Is Me, is up for an Oscar). I’m not sure if that song is my favorite but I’ve only seen the movie once. I’ll know better when I’ve heard the soundtrack a few times, which is likely as my young daughter liked this movie a lot. And I think that’s another reason this film has done well: it appeals to all ages.


I may have been wrong when I said at the start of this review that this may not age quite as well as the classics. I do think it’ll definitely age much better than La La Land, which doesn’t appeal to all ages in the same way that this does. Oops – I’ve brought La La Land into this again! Sorry. I’ll stop rambling now & just say that The Greatest Showman is a fun family musical. Ignore the snobby critics.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Good Time & Kong: Skull Island Movie Reviews

Two quickie reviews for two 2017 movies that I finally saw. Then I’m going to focus on reviewing movies with at least one Oscar nomination (Kong: Skull Island has one nomination so I guess I’m kind of starting today). Next week I’ll review The Shape Of Water, Darkest Hour, and hopefully both Lady Bird & I, Tonya if I manage to see them after they’re released tomorrow. Oh, and tomorrow I’ll finally review The Greatest Showman (nominated in the Best Song category).

Good Time (2017)

Directed by Ben Safdie & Josh Safdie

Written by Josh Safdie & Ronald Bronstein

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress, Taliah Webster, Necro

Music by Oneohtrix Point Never

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After a heist goes awry, a bank robber spends a night trying to free his mentally handicapped brother from being sent to Riker’s Island prison.

My Opinion:

Good Time is one of those films that’s quite good but soooooo extremely “indie” that there’s absolutely no one in real life who I could recommend it to. Only you movie bloggers! 😉

So it appears this was directed by two filmmakers who are brothers & one also does the writing while the other also does the acting (in this case, playing the mentally handicapped brother of Robert Pattinson). This is certainly no Twilight! It’s good to see Pattinson in something so different. He does very well in this as a complete fuck-up who clearly loves & wants to take care of his brother despite not knowing at all what’s actually best for him.

I don’t really know what to say about this. You’ll either like its indie style or you won’t. Stuff happens but it’s the meandering sort of storyline that’s so common in indie films. The way that Pattinson’s character does absolutely everything wrong when it comes to his choices in life was amusing. I liked his brother (played by director Ben Safdie) and you really can’t help but kind of want things to work out for these two bumbling criminals. Oh! But, more than anything, I really liked the electronic score done by Oneohtrix Point Never. I’m a sucker for a good score & I know that really helped me to like this movie a little more than I otherwise might have. It kind of brought It Follows to mind. A good score is very important, filmmakers! Well done Safdie brothers & Oneohtrix Point Never.

My Rating: 7/10

**Forgot to say Jennifer Jason Leigh is barely in this. Damn. I like her.

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Based on King Kong by Merian C. Cooper & Edgar Wallace

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in 1973, the film follows a team of scientists and a US Army unit recently withdrawn from the Vietnam War who travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific and encounter terrifying creatures and the mighty Kong.

My Opinion:

Speaking of good music in a film, Kong: Skull Island has this as well. This time, though, it was a kick ass soundtrack as opposed to the score (I can’t recall the score). The soundtrack was easily my favorite thing about this movie. What is it with Vietnam-era songs?? I love the angry songs from that time in history. Warning: I’m going to go off on a short non-movie-related rant here. Throughout history, the worst times for the human race have often resulted in fantastic music being made. People pour their hearts into their art during the most desperate times. So… Why does music FUCKING suck nowadays? Hmm?! The world is completely fucked up right now so where’s the great music as a result?????? I’ve wondered this for a while now.

Okay – let’s talk about this movie. It really kind of sucked. I hated it at first. I was mega tired & attempted to watch it & zonked out about 30 minutes in. I remember muttering something like “can’t they make a good monster movie….zzzzzzzz…..snore…….”. Then I tried again and still thought it sucked but kind of enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure sort of way. I think this was mainly thanks to (besides the soundtrack) John C. Reilly. Easily the best character. It took far too long to finally introduce him! No wonder I fell asleep the first time.

Oh. I suppose I should mention the monsters??? MonsterSSSS (plural). Was Kong not enough?! What’s with people these days? Never satisfied! I thought Kong was done quite well. And he was a far more developed character than all those random army guys who were there just to die in entertaining ways. Kong was cool – I think I could be friends with that dude. This movie really did improve in the second half (more Reilly & more Kong). So. I dunno. I enjoyed it yet thought it was a pretty bad film. Fun but bad. Like Road House! No. Wait. Road House is fucking awesome. That’s an 8/10 goodbad movie. Kong isn’t bad enough nor good enough to be goodbad. I’m making no sense. I’m mega tired again.

Awesome Vietnam songs! Black Sabbath & David Bowie! Holy shit! John C. Reilly great. Kong very good. Too many monsters spoil things (ONE other big monster to fight Kong is all we need). Rest of the characters extremely weak, especially all those random army guys. But I still always like having Samuel L. Jackson in a movie so that was a bonus. I enjoyed it more than Godzilla (2014). But I have to say that the best monster movie I’ve seen recently is definitely Colossal.

My Rating: 6/10

From the soundtrack: Time Has Come Today by The Chamber Brothers

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Review

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Directed by Julius Onah

Starring: Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows an international group of astronauts aboard a space station who, after using a particle accelerator to try to solve Earth’s energy crisis, must find a way home after accidentally traveling to an alternate dimension.

My Opinion:

Well. This was pretty fucking terrible. I can’t be bothered to say much about this movie so this will be more of a short rant than a “review”. Seriously, though – it sucked! I’m so annoyed. This was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018. Ugh! Bad. Very bad. I knew something was up when it was suddenly on Netflix instead of going into cinemas. Now I’m worried about Mute & Annihilation going straight to Netflix. Two more films I was really excited about!

I loved the first Cloverfield. I’m one of the few who didn’t exactly love 10 Cloverfield Lane but I thought it was a decent enough addition to a series of films that promised to be the next Twilight Zone-type thing. I’m obsessed with the original Twilight Zone TV show and got really excited when it was revealed that was the direction these individual Cloverfield movies would be taking. Oh man – we’re off to a bad start. These are going to end up like the Lost TV show, not the brilliant The Twilight Zone. I should’ve known! Go away, J. J. Abrams! These are all going to be set in “alternate universes”, aren’t they? Fuck that shit. Lazy fucking writing. This is like the damn island moving. Argh!

Where do I start? Oh, I don’t care. First of all, why did this movie feel like a TV show? I felt like I was watching a long episode of Black Mirror. Black Mirror is good for what it is but I like the movie experience. You know – some sweeping cinematic epic! Okay – I suppose Cloverfield isn’t some Sergio Leone movie but, still. Did this have a low budget or something? If I want to watch a TV show, I’ll watch a TV show.

Second of all, these characters sucked. There was no set up. Straight into the story! I didn’t know a damn thing about these people, so why would I care if they survive? Our main character, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, was the only one who got some time spent on her but they must have done a shitty job since I didn’t even realize her kids had died. Is that a spoiler?! I don’t think so as I think you’re meant to know that from the start but I somehow managed to miss that. It really would’ve helped to know that. Shit. Maybe it’s not known from the start?! If so, why the fuck not?!?! Hopefully I didn’t spoil that. But, seriously, your experience will be spoiled anyway if you watch this. Because this movie sucked. (Did I mention that?).

I should point out that Gugu Mbatha-Raw actually starred in what’s so far my favorite Black Mirror episode (San Junipero– I’ve not seen Series 4 yet). Probably didn’t help that “This feels like a TV show” feeling I had! Anyway – just watch Black Mirror instead of this if you want interesting morality tales with a modern technology twist. Some episodes aren’t great but overall the show is much better than this movie. And much closer to being the next Twilight Zone (although nothing will ever touch that).

Hey! The Norwegian Steve Buscemi guy (Aksel Hennie) was in this! I’ve only ever seen him in Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters. That was a decent movie. Watch that instead of this as well. And Daniel Brühl was in Rush with Chris Hemsworth’s naked butt. Great film! Watch that instead of this too. Elizabeth Debicki was in Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2. A million times better than this! Chris O’Dowd was in Bridesmaids. I dislike that film but it was still better than this one. John Ortiz was in lots of stuff, including A Dog’s Purpose , which I also liked waaaaaaay more than this. David Oyelowo was in Interstellar. I hate that overrated movie but I hated this one much more. Zhang Ziyi was in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Guess what? That’s also WAY fucking better than this movie. What’s my point? Watch those movies instead! And watch Life (2017). Life sucked. I now like Life much more since seeing The Cloverfield Paradox, which is an even shittier version of Life. AND WATCH ARRIVAL!!! THAT is good sci-fi.

Man, have I even talked about this movie at all? I can’t be bothered. A bunch of twats go into space and fuck around with a particle accelerator and rip a hole in the space time continuum (I don’t know if they used that phrase – I’ve ripped that off from Star Trek). Weird shit happens but you won’t care if they all die anyway. Some gross shit happens but none of it is nearly as interesting as the gross shit in Life. I only liked one character. Well, no – I liked Gugu Mbatha-Raw okay but didn’t care too much as I couldn’t get into the movie. But Chris O’Dowd was somewhat enjoyable. His character was the only one who had a personality, at least. So. Yeah. I guess I’ll end this “review” on that one positive statement.

My Rating: 5/10

*It probably deserves an even lower rating but it’s still sci-fi and I’m a sucker for this genre. As annoyed as I am, I’ll probably still watch Cloverfield 4 since “supernatural Nazis” sounds bizarre enough to maybe work better than Paradox did…..

Black Panther (2018) Review

Black Panther (2018)

Directed by Ryan Coogler

Based on Black Panther by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict that has global consequences.

My Opinion:

I’ll keep this quick. As I say every time, I’m getting quite bored with superhero movies and even more bored with attempting to “review” them. They’re fun to watch & I do enjoy them but I’m not exactly deeply invested in these Marvel storylines. I usually ask the hubby to refresh my memory on characters & previous stories whenever we watch another Marvel film. They’re popcorn movies. I like the eye candy (THOR!) and the action. I’m afraid to say that, with Black Panther, I was thoroughly & very unexpectedly bored for the first half of the film. It does pick up but I really expected the movie to be better than it was. Maybe the hype hurt things. I usually try to avoid hype but it wasn’t easy this time.


Although I was disappointed with the movie itself, I can’t say the same of the characters. I thought they were very strong and I especially loved the three main female characters, who are given loads of screen time and quite frankly steal the show. Don’t get me wrong – Chadwick Boseman is great and Black Panther is a super cool character while Michael B. Jordan made a very good & complex villain but those women kicked ass. But as much as Lupita Nyong’o & especially Danai Gurira kicked ass, it was the wise-cracking little sister Letitia Wright that I most enjoyed. Her cheeky interactions with big brother Boseman were great and the Bond-like scene where she shows off all her fancy gadgets was the absolute best.


Then there was the lovely nation of Wakanda. I think the problem was that the movie took too long to finally let us fully see Wakanda, especially the super cool advanced technology. I found the first half of this movie extremely slow but, okay, I know I’m not a filmmaker and don’t know what could have been done better. All I know is that I was bored for at least an hour, which I can’t say of other Marvel films. Sorry! Wakanda was beautiful. The characters were great (other than Martin Freeman & Andy Serkis, who were written as fools and severely underdeveloped). I just didn’t care about the story. At all. I’m really happy that I liked the characters as this is actually the most important thing to me in films but I was still hoping for a better movie overall.

As I said, though, I don’t normally give too much of a shit about these Marvel storylines. Unfortunately, I think Black Panther has come at a time where I just really can’t get into these movies anymore. After the Guardians Of The Galaxy films (now easily my favorite superhero movies) & Thor: Ragnarok, I know that the more lighthearted & “funny” comic book movies are my thing. Those are definitely the ones for me. Give me Deadpool over Avengers: Infinity War. So I really am sorry for the slightly low rating I’m giving Black Panther. Maybe it doesn’t deserve it but I also believe it doesn’t deserve the massively high ratings I’ve seen. It has some very strong points but it was a disappointment for me personally, especially after the hype. It’s good. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s one of the better comic book movies but it’s not the best.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Gleaming The Cube (1989) Blind Spot Review

Gleaming The Cube (1989) (aka A Brother’s Justice and Skate Or Die)

Directed by Graeme Clifford

Starring: Christian Slater, Steven Bauer, Richard Herd, Le Tuan, Min Luong, Art Chudabala, Ed Lauter, Micole Mercurio, Peter Kwong, Max Perlich, Tony Hawk, Christian Jacobs, Buddy Joe Hooker

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Gleaming the Cube featured Christian Slater as Brian Kelly, a 16-year-old skateboarder investigating the death of his adopted Vietnamese brother.

My Opinion:

I’m getting this month’s Blind Spot review out of the way so I can focus on reviewing 2018 releases & Oscar nominees in these two weeks before the Oscars. So, yeah – I’m reviewing an old Christian Slater movie before things like The Shape Of Water & Black Panther, both of which I saw last week. I really liked one of those. But I’ll get to them later…

These are the 2018 Blind Spot films I’ve watched so far, from least favorite to favorite:

4. Atonement
3. Gleaming The Cube
2. The French Connection
1. Citizen Kane

I honestly don’t have much to say about Gleaming The Cube. It’s quite dated, as I’d expected. I put it on my Blind Spot list since I’m an 80s/early 90s teen and I adored Christian Slater at that time but, for whatever reason, I never saw this film. As far as “skater boy” movies go, I’m sure it’s far from the best. The only other one I can think of that I’ve actually seen is Lords Of Dogtown (that was better). But I had fun with the sheer 80s cheesetasticness of this. Tony Hawk has a small part in this as one of Slater’s group of skater friends. There were loads of other skateboarders in the film (I’ve only heard of Hawk). Here’s the list from Wikipedia if you’re interested:

“The skating technical advisor for the film was original Z-Boy Stacy Peralta. Among the skateboarders who appear in the film as stunt skaters are Mike McGill, “Gator” Mark Rogowski, Rodney Mullen, Rich Dunlop, Eric Dressen, Lance Mountain, Mike Vallely, Chris Black, Ted Ehr, Natas Kaupas, Chris Borst, and Steve Saiz. Tony Hawk (Buddy) and Tommy Guerrero (Sam), then members of the Bones Brigade, appear in the film as members of Brian’s skate crew. Future lead singer of The Aquabats and creator of Yo Gabba Gabba!, Christian Jacobs, also appears in the film as Gremic.”

I love Yo Gabba Gabba! Okay, I’ll steal the “definition” of Gleaming The Cube from Wikipedia as well:

“The title of the film refers to the cryptic question “Have you ever gleemed [sic] inside a cube?” that Garry Scott Davis (GSD) asked Neil Blender in an interview in the December 1983 issue of Thrasher magazine. In the film, Christian Slater’s character defines “gleaming the cube” as “pushing your limits to the edge.””

The film follows Slater trying to find out the truth about his brother’s death, which was made to look like a suicide. In typical 80s fashion, this teen investigating what ends up being a smuggling crime ring isn’t exactly realistic and of course ends with a silly but fun chase scene involving skateboards and his group of skater friends. But it’s an enjoyable film and I’ve seen far cheesier. Definitely worth watching if you like Slater & movies of that era. I know I’d have really liked this if I’d seen it in 1989.

I’ll quickly add that there are some other likable characters in this besides Slater & the skaters (hey, that rhymes). The murdered brother, the brother’s ex-girlfriend (who Slater teams up with following the murder), and the cool detective who originally finds Slater & his friends a nuisance but who later predictably comes to Slater’s aid in his investigation. He was cool. He was in Scarface and then loads of other stuff but I think Scarface was one of his only really big roles. Here he is (Steven Bauer):

I know that Gleaming The Cube is no Citizen Kane but I like to fill my Blind Spot list with some of those “Why did I never see this movie that looks like my sort of thing?” films as well as worthy classics. It was worth finally watching this. It’s certainly not in the same league as Slater films such as Heathers or Pump Up The Volume, of course. It’s more along the lines of The Legend Of Billie Jean (but not as good as that – Billie Jean kicks ass)! I’ve added it to My Top Ten Christian Slater Movies list (it does make the Top Ten). Okay, I gotta go so I’m keeping this review short. I have stuff to do. I’m gonna go gleam that cube!

My Rating: 6.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: January 2018

Happy February! YES, January is over!!! (I hate January). And since movies cheer me up, I watched quite a few during the darkest & dreariest month of the year. Here’s what I watched…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED THIS MONTH (ranked best to worst):

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriMy Rating: 8/10
The French ConnectionMy Rating: 7.5/10
CocoMy Rating: 7.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED THIS MONTH (ranked best to worst):

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – I really liked this movie & it’s easily my favorite of Martin McDonagh’s films. It’s also my favorite of the three Best Picture nominees I’ve seen (this, Darkest Hour & Get Out) but I’m hoping to see a few more before the Oscars. My Rating: 8/10

Colossal – I actually kind of loved this movie. No, not kind of. I did love it. Not what I was expecting as Anne Hathaway annoys me! I’ve already posted My Top Ten Movies Of 2017 list so won’t amend it but Colossal would be in the Top Ten (I’d put it at 8 after Gerald’s Game & before Thor: Ragnarok). THIS is the type of movie that I want to see. Something truly original. I’m sooo sick of all the remakes & reboots & superheroes. I highly recommend this one to fellow bloggers who are sick of seeing the same old predictable shit all the time. My Rating: 8/10

Coco – I’ve already reviewed this so I’ll say it’s another lovely film by Pixar but sadly not my favorite from the brilliant studio. My Rating: 7.5/10

Citizen Kane – This is a 2018 Blind Spot choice so I’ll review it in full at some point. Hoped to love it more. My Rating: 7.5/10

Mudbound – Yikes. A hard watch. This is a Netflix original that I admit to only watching because it got some Oscar nominations. I’m not good with heavy dramas as I often find them too upsetting, especially if they’re true stories or something that could realistically have happened. The movie itself is just okay – I was very bored for the first half. But the characters and acting are very strong and I immediately loved the characters played by Garrett Hedlund & Jason Mitchell, two soldiers who become friends after returning home from WWII and have to deal with the extreme racism of the time. I knew it would all go to shit and I got very emotional & couldn’t watch the screen at one point (Sorry – trying to avoid spoilers but you’ll know when watching it that it’s all leading up to something bad). This is why I don’t watch many realistic dramas. I like to use movies as escapism from all the shit in the world. But I can say this movie certainly does its job in making you feel for these characters (as well as feeling an extreme hatred toward others – I was fucking angry). It’s worth watching for the performances as long as you know it’s a heavy drama but it’s slow going at first and is overlong. I was only really interested in the friendship forming between the two soldiers – the movie dragged when spending time on Jason Clarke’s & Carey Mulligan’s boring characters. My Rating: 7/10

Ghost In The Shell (2017) – I watched the original anime film last year as a Blind Spot movie (review HERE) and thought it was pretty damn fantastic. Of COURSE this doesn’t even come close to the original but, as far as dumbed-down Hollywood versions of classics go, I’ve seen far worse than this one. It had some great visuals (taken directly from the original) and was well-paced and entertaining in that braindead blockbuster type of way. It was disappointing that they dumbed it down, especially at the end as it started off fairly promising. But, hey – that’s Hollywood for you. Just please watch the original before watching this! My Rating: 6.5/10

The Big Sick – A solid film about a real couple with funny moments but far more drama than I was expecting. I was intrigued by the story (it’s quite an interesting relationship story!) but it was very slow to start and felt a little long. Well-written and worth a one-time watch. My Rating: 6.5/10

The Red Turtle – I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan so was really looking forward to this co-Ghibli production. It’s a sweet & lovely film but, unlike my beloved Ghibli movies that I could watch over and over and over again (and have), The Red Turtle is a one-off watch for me. Kind of disapponting & a little bit slow. Sorry. I’m glad I finally saw it, though. My Rating: 6.5/10

Gleaming The Cube – Another Blind Spot choice (weird one, I know), I’ll review this in full at some point. My Rating: 6.5/10

Atonement – And another Blind Spot movie! I’m trying to get ahead. I’ll review this at some point too but I can tell you it was a massive disappointment. I kind of sort of hated it. My Rating: 6/10

Nymphomaniac: Vol I & Vol II – I have a slight fascination with Lars von Trier’s films although I don’t know if I can exactly they say that I’ve actually “liked” any of them. Maybe Melancholia. Nymphomaniac: Vol I & Vol II are by far my least favorites of his work that I’ve seen. I just didn’t see the point of these movies. To shock? I certainly didn’t give the slightest shit about any of the characters. If you want to see a film that’s a better exploration of sex addiction, watch Shame instead. And I’ve now seen waaaaaay more penises than I ever wanted to see. So, uh, thanks for that, von Trier. I guess. My Rating: 5/10

The Boss Baby – I watched this since it’s an Oscar nominee. Yes, this is the world we live in. Humanity deserves The Boss Baby. Because humanity sucks. Okay, The Boss Baby sucks but I’ve seen worse animated kids’ movies, which is a fucking scary statement. The Boss Baby is weird as shit but at least it’s, um, an original idea? I said something nice! My Rating: 4.5/10

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe – Why do I bother to watch modern horror movies when 90% of them suck? Like this one. I don’t know if I have the energy to again do horror movie reviews for all of October this year. If I do, I’ll review this piece of shit. For now, I’ll be nice again and say that at least this one also had a fairly original concept and going through the stages of the autopsy was kind of interesting. My Rating: 4.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

This month has been mega hectic so I’m still in the middle of the book I started in December: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & son Owen King. Enjoying it so far! It’s a thick book… I think my next one needs to be more lightweight. I’ll probably read A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle with my kid next in anticipation of the film adaptation in March.

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Black Mirror – Season 2, Episodes 2-4 (White Bear, The Waldo Moment, White Christmas. Season 3, Episodes 1-5 (Nosedive, Playtest, Shut Up And Dance, San Junipero, Men Against Fire) – Clearly, I’m working my way through the Black Mirrors so I’ve watched no other TV shows. One left to go then I can finally start season 4!

As I’ve watched so many and would like to discuss each episode, I’ll do a full Black Mirror post once I’ve seen them all. For now, San Junipero is my favorite episode. I’ll also say that I’m really enjoying the show as it’s right up my alley. However, I find it somewhat overrated. Being a big fan of the original Twilight Zone, I think that was a far more groundbreaking show. Black Mirror just adds a more modern twist to the exact same morality tales as were in The Twilight Zone. Anyway! As I love to rank stuff, here’s my ranking so far (from favorite to least favorite):

San Junipero
White Bear
Be Right Back
Nosedive
Fifteen Million Merits
White Christmas
Men Against Fire
Playtest
The National Anthem
The Waldo Moment
The Entire History Of You
Shut Up And Dance

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Oscars Shit!!!

It’s that time of year! It’s like the Super Bowl for movie nerds! I love/hate the Academy Awards. They’re absolute bullshit and the wrong things win all the time but, fuck it, I’ll probably always watch the stupid show. At least there was some excitement last year with the wrong winner being announced. Best thing to happen to the show in years!

I don’t have any huge blog plans for the Oscars as I’m taking it easy on blogging. I’ll probably just do a post choosing what I want to win & what I think will win for each category. However, I do plan to try to watch as many nominees as possible since most are coming out in the UK over this next month. I’ll review any more Oscar nominees that I watch. These are the nominees I’ve seen so far (not ranked! I’m slacking):

(Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Mudbound, Logan, Coco, The Big Sick, Blade Runner: 2049, Baby Driver, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Boss Baby, Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405, Lou, Garden Party)

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Loads that I want to see this month! I can’t wait! In order of release date…

Winchester – Er. Damn. Bad reviews so far! I’d really liked the sound of this. May wait for Netflix now.

Black Panther – I’ll watch it but, as I’ve said many times on this blog, I’m superheroed-out. I’m bored. But this looks promising.

The Shape Of Water – The one I’m most excited about. Finally! Out on Valentine’s Day here. This is one I won’t be missing.

Lady Bird – Another big nominee so will do my best to see this as well.

I, Tonya – I’ve always been fascinated by this fucked-up true story. Really looking forward to finally getting to see this.

Annihilation – I read this book last year and really liked it so can’t wait to see how they manage to make a movie out of it (it’s weird). But I don’t know what’s up with this. Apparently it’s “too intelligent” for the general public so they’re planning to now not release it in UK cinemas? WTF?!? Give the public some damn credit! Oh. Wait. This is the world in which The Boss Baby is an Oscar nominee. Never mind. 😉 Supposedly Annihilation will be released in the UK straight to Netflix instead….

I saw Darkest Hour over the weekend so will try to review that this week. Gary Oldman is freaking fantastic. Give him the Oscar!

Have a great February, everyone!

**Oh, holy shit! The new Cloverfield movie is on Netflix! I am SO watching that ASAFP!!!!!** 🙂

The French Connection (1971) Blind Spot Review

Happy 88th Birthday To Gene Hackman!

I didn’t even realize it was Hackman’s birthday when I decided to review this today as my first Blind Spot movie of 2018. What are the odds?! (Umm… 1 in 365, I guess???). Anyway! Happy Birthday, Mr. Hackman! Here are my thoughts on finally seeing The French Connection for the first time…

The French Connection (1971)

Directed by William Friedkin

Based on The French Connection by Robin Moore

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, Frédéric de Pasquale, Bill Hickman, Ann Rebbot, Harold Gary, Arlene Farber, Eddie Egan, André Ernotte, Sonny Grosso

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

My Opinion:

I’ve actually already managed to watch 4 of my 2018 Blind Spot choices and I’m not all that impressed so far. Here’s my ranking (I’ll review 1 each month):

4. Atonement
3. Gleaming The Cube
2. The French Connection
1. Citizen Kane

Well, the top two are clearly leagues ahead of numbers 3 & 4. But I didn’t like The French Connection nearly as much as I thought I would considering that I do love a good, gritty, manly 70’s film (I’m a weird girl). It was okay. The famous car chase was pretty cool. But, man – Hackman’s Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle was hard to like. That’s quite a popular character – I knew that name before even seeing the movie. He’s a jerk. But I realize that’s kind of the whole point. I’ll come back to that in a bit…

This movie won the Best Picture Oscar. I didn’t realize that when I watched it. I’ve added it to my ranked list of Best Picture winners I’ve seen HERE (I put it as 26th). It beat Oscar nominees: A Clockwork Orange, Fiddler on the Roof (another Blind Spot choice! Not seen it yet), The Last Picture Show & Nicholas and Alexandra (Oh wow – I’ve never even heard of this). Hmm. Yes, it deserved to win over those I’ve seen although I do like the controversial A Clockwork Orange.

“Crime drama” will never be a favorite genre of mine but I do appreciate when one is really good. This one is very good but I’ve seen better in the genre. I watched The Untouchables, another crime drama, for this Blind Spot thing last year. That was fantastic! I think a big part of that was the fact that I really liked the characters. Well, the Ennio Morricone score helped too. Fantastic score with well-developed, likable characters always works for me. I can’t currently remember the music in The French Connection (think it was jazz?) and I can’t say the characters are exactly likable. These reasons will be why I didn’t connect (ha!) with it quite as much but it’s certainly worth watching if you haven’t seen it. I do understand why it’s so well regarded.


Gene Hackman & Roy Scheider, who play the NYC cops in The French Connection, are both very good (Hackman won the Best Actor Oscar & Scheider was nominated for Best Supporting Actor). Hackman’s Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle is an iconic character & he plays it well. I know this is based on a true story & these characters are (loosely?) based real-life people. I don’t know how true to life the characters are. The thing that some people (aka: millennials. I may get in trouble for that. 😉 ) might struggle with when watching this nowadays is Popeye’s womanizing, racist ways. He’s not easy to like but, as I said, that’s kind of the point. He’s determined to solve the drug smuggling crime in this film and it seems he will do whatever it takes, no matter who gets hurt. This specific job becomes an obsession for him and I do appreciate the strong characterization. However, it does make it hard to root for the supposed “good guys” in this film.

Overall, I did enjoy this film although it won’t become a personal favorite. I do approve of its many awards & its status as a classic. As for Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, he’s an iconic character. He’s flawed but he feels real. I’d rather watch a movie with strong characters like these, even when unlikable, than watch a movie whose characters have no depth.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Directed & Written by Martin McDonagh

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

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

My Opinion:

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

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

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

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

My Rating: 8/10

Coco (2017) Review

Coco (2017) Review

Directed by Lee Unkrich

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

Music by Michael Giacchino

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

My Opinion:

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

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

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

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

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


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

My Rating: 7.5/10

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