Watched, Read, Reviewed: December 2021

Happy New Year, everyone! 2022. My god.

Tried in December to catch up on the shitloads of 2021 films I missed. Missed everything in the cinema & the 2021 leftovers on services that I missed didn’t look that great anyway so it’s likely I’ll never bother with those now (but I do wish I’d seen The Green Knight). So I’m calling it a year & just posting a disappointing Top Ten Movies Of The Year list later this week. At least I saw loads of fantastic pre-2021 movies this year so that will be a Top Ten list too.

*Edit to add: I watched The Green Knight last night so added a quick review below. Spoiler: I thought it SUCKED!

Here’s everything I watched in December…

MOVIES WATCHED IN DECEMBER (ranked best to worst):

Don’t Look Up – Liked this a lot & am glad I managed to finish my year on this one. Thought it was a pretty clever & scarily accurate satire of this fucked up world we’re now living in. It gave me some good laughs & it had fun performances from all the big name stars in it. I managed to quickly review it in full at the link yesterday. – 7.5/10

The Lost Daughter – Quickly reviewed this yesterday as well as I also liked this film a lot. Great end to 2021 on Netflix with these two! Olivia Colman & Jessie Buckley were both very good at portraying the difficulties of motherhood and sometimes wanting more out of life. There’s a growing sense of tension through the whole movie that I thought was handled really well. Great directorial debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal. – 7.5/10

Encanto – Already reviewed this last week. Enjoyed this one although it’s not exactly up there with Disney’s all-time best. What I liked: the main girl (Mirabel) was likeable (and I liked her dress and, as a glasses wearer, her funky glasses), the different magical powers each family member had were fun, I liked the cute little cousin who was due to get his own power & the cousin who could hear everything, and the overall message about the importance of family was good. The weakest thing? Unfortunately, that was maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs plus I suppose the animation style wasn’t my favorite but it was still a lovely looking film (I prefer the older, classic Disney animation style). I still really enjoyed Encanto although it hasn’t instantly grabbed me like a lot of other Disney & Pixar films have. It would maybe grow on me after a rewatch. – 7/10

Ron’s Gone Wrong – Reviewed this as well. There’s not much I love more in movies than adorable robots. I’m always a sucker for a cute robot! WALL-E is my favorite Pixar movie & R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character so this movie was clearly one I was eager to see.

I liked it! It’s not a perfect film. Ron is definitely what makes this film work. The other characters are fine but none of them really stand out like Ron the robot. The grandma is fun & the main boy’s friendship with Ron was really sweet but the cute robot in a movie like this is always going to steal the show. I also really liked the message in this film & thought the film had a pretty brave bittersweet ending. – 7/10

Tokyo Godfathers – I started watching this anime film years ago but for whatever reason I never finished it so, as it’s set on Christmas Eve & as it’s recently been added to Netflix, I figured it was time to finally finish it at Christmastime. Because I’ve clearly been too lazy in all this time to just get up off my ass & play my DVD of it.

It’s a fun film with three strong characters who lovingly bicker a lot & a cute baby that they find. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo discover a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

This is one of those anime movies that can be a little goofy at times in between some heavy subject matter. It was written & directed by Satoshi Kon, whose other films include Perfect Blue (still need to see that) and Paprika (a very interesting film I should really try to rewatch sometime & actually review as it was one of my Blind Spot movies in 2019). Paprika is the better film of the two I’ve seen but Tokyo Godfathers is perhaps a little more “accessible” & certainly less strange (but I’m a big fan of strange). The characters are the best thing about the movie and I especially liked Hana, who immediately develops a motherly affection for the abandoned baby. It’s a heartwarming & at times heartbreaking film, as are all the best movies set during Christmas. Glad I finally made the time for this one. – 7/10

Pig – Had to of course see what all the fuss was about on this one so managed to pick up a really cheap DVD of it (£2.99!). Did a full review of this already so I’ll just say that Cage was good in this & the movie explored loneliness & grief in an interesting way. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I appreciated its subtlety. A nice break from Crazy Cage, too (although I do enjoy Crazy Cage). – 7/10

The Unforgivable – Also already reviewed. Bullock’s character has just come out of prison after serving many years for killing a cop when they came to take her much younger sister away from her. It took a while to get into this one & Bullock’s character was pretty unsympathetic to begin with. However, I really liked the end of this one (including something I should’ve seen coming). Also, the film used a fantastic piano version of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place toward the end & I thought it set the mood perfectly. So the film was a bit slow overall & certainly wasn’t perfect but from that bit on it got much better & really did redeem itself at the end. – 6.5/10

The Last Duel – Reviewed this too (wow – I managed to review more than usual!). I’ll just say I wasn’t really a fan & thought this movie was just okay. The haircuts sucked, the men were all assholes, and Ridley Scott has far better films. Just watch Rashomon instead. – 6/10

The Power Of The Dog – Another one I reviewed & was very disappointed in unlike all of Film Twitter. This one bored the shit out of me. Sorry! But I did really like the end. Yay! Once I actually realised what had happened and that there was a plan all along, I guess, and I was like “Ohhh… Nice one!”. The ending almost made me rank this just above The Last Duel but the rest of this film was so bloody boring that I guess I’ll keep this one below the mullet duel. – 6/10

Anna And The Apocalypse – Was talking about Christmas movies on Twitter before Christmas & so many mentioned liking this one that I figured I should check it out. Sadly, this one didn’t really work for me. Luckily, I don’t think any of those Twitter people read my blog! I appreciate its concept. A zombie Christmas musical?! Fantastic! I’m a big zombie movie fan (mostly Romero) so really did think I’d like this. I can’t say I really bought into the characters, although the main girl was fine. I think maybe I was expecting more of a comedy? It’s listed as comedy but it’s certainly no Shaun Of The Dead. I can’t say I remember how any of the songs go, either. Meh. It was a good idea. – 5.5/10

Red Notice – Damn, this was a bit sucky. Thought it would be a bit more fun with these three big names plus I like them all usually. Sadly, though, this is the first time I thought that Ryan Reynolds was just too Ryan Reynolds. He’s really just playing himself in this. The comedy just fell a bit flat & there was one scene where the background of an arena they were in looked SO dodgy that I said “WTF is up with that background?!” and I’m not someone who tends to notice that sort of stuff usually. Not the worst film of the year but very forgettable. I expect to not remember a thing about it in a year. – 5.5/10

The Fan (1981) – Got excited when I saw this listed on Talking Pictures TV as I still have a massive crush on Michael Biehn thanks to The Terminator & Aliens. And, my god, such big stars in this with him! Lauren Bacall, James Garner & Maureen Stapleton. Biehn plays a psycho stalker who is obsessed with the big star played by Lauren Bacall. Honestly, though, this movie was pretty damn bad. How embarrassing, especially for Bacall! I can’t say I’d recommend this unless you have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Biehn like I do. So I got mild enjoyment out of this, at least. I do kind of like stalker movies. Play Misty For Me was a much better stalker movie if you like that kind of thing, though. – 5.5/10

Chaos Walking – Knew this wasn’t meant to be great but I read the book a couple years ago & I really like seeing the movie adaptations of the books I read. Wasn’t a fan of the book, though, so had pretty low expectations for the movie. I think it was adapted fairly well from what I remember of the story but the story isn’t the greatest even though the idea seemed like a good one. A waste of the talent in this. Here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re curious: “Two unlikely companions embark on a perilous adventure through the badlands of an unexplored planet as they try to escape a dangerous and disorienting reality where all thoughts are seen and heard by everyone.”- 5/10

The Green Knight – I’m quickly adding this (with no image, as I don’t want a Green Knight image to be what’s displayed on my tweet as it uses the last image added). I just watched it last night thinking “Maybe it’ll be 2021 Top Ten material!” but OH MY GOD IT SUCKED! What a huge waste of time. I know I’ve said this before but I’m never listening to Film Twitter again!!! What a load of pretentious bollocks. I should’ve trusted my instincts when I thought “This is by the guy who did A Ghost Story so it may end up boring as shit just like that one”. God, I think I preferred A Ghost Story! At least that did manage to create a hell of a sense of crushing loneliness. The Green Knight did have some good imagery, which I admit I can be a sucker for, but it had nothing else. Hated it. You’ve wasted my time once again, Film Twitter! – 5/10 (Added half a point for the ridiculous talking fox & the naked lady giants)

Movies Rewatched In December:

Point Break – LOVE IT! Have loved Keanu Reeves for years & watched this movie SO many times when it came out. So had to stick this one on when it popped up on Netflix even though I’ve seen it shitloads. Keanu is so beautiful in this… Oh, and I love that this kick-ass action film was directed by a woman. – 9/10

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs – Put this Disney classic on over the Christmas break. What can I say? I love Disney films & this 1937 film easily stands the test of time as well as all the very best of Disney’s work. I wish the modern Disney films would try to be as timeless but I feel too many “of the moment” jokes get thrown in now, which will date the films years from now. Return to making timeless classics like this one! Oh, and I love the dwarfs. So cute. All the best Disney films have lovable characters like that. – 8/10

The Muppets Christmas Carol – Managed to rewatch some Christmas favorites with the family. Who doesn’t love the Muppets?! This is a fantastic adaptation of what’s probably the very best Christmas story. – 8/10

Home Alone – Another Christmas favorite, although the hubby & I like it much more than our daughter does. Our love of John Hughes maybe helps. I think this is a brilliant family film & wish they’d make more family films like this one. – 8/10

ElfElf is silly but is really good fun. Think it’s the last decent Christmas film to be made that still has a classic feel to it, probably thanks to the Rankin/Bass inspired style at the start. – 8/10

Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Far From The Tree – Assume this was the short meant to be before Encanto so we watched this before it. Nice story about a raccoon being overprotective of its young child. I could relate to that as I’m too overprotective.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

Watched a lot of TV in December, most of it good.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Cobra Kai: S4 – We all binged this in one day! We never binge anything but we were obviously all off work & school. I’ve absolutely loved all of Cobra Kai. The Karate Kid is a favorite & I think they’ve done a brilliant job of combining these ’80s characters with current teens. I can’t believe I have a crush on Johnny Lawrence the bully now! He’s the best thing about the show & I love how he’s stuck in the ’80s & doesn’t understand current teenager-speak. Yes, it’s kind of getting “same old same old” at this point but it’s still loads of fun to watch.

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E1 – Only one episode so far so can’t really judge it yet. The first episode was good & it’s great getting more Star Wars content but I can’t say that episode one has instantly grabbed me the way the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian did.

Yellowjackets: S1 E1-7 – Thoroughly enjoying this story about a 1996 girls soccer team whose plane crashed, resulting in them apparently having to turn to violence & possibly cannibalism to survive. It’s told in flashbacks & I of course love that the grown up actresses are my age so I’d say this is very Gen X & current teen aimed. Well, Juliet Lewis is about my age & there’s NO WAY she was in high school still in 1996 but whatever (it would be even better if the high school flashbacks were late ’80s/early ’90s). So I’m loving this but I’m the right target audience for it.

Hawkeye: S1 E3-6 – Thought this one was fun & liked the characters. WandaVision & Loki were better but I liked this one way more than that boring The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Are we gonna get another season focused just on Kate Bishop? I’d watch that.

Chucky: S1 – This was a weird one. At times I thought it was pretty damn good for a slasher TV show & at others I thought it kind of took a shit (mostly with the addition of Jennifer Tilly, although she was fun, and the real life daughter of Brad Dourif). I admit, though, that I only ever saw Child’s Play 1 through 3 so those characters mean nothing to me while fans of those last movies were maybe happy with their appearance. Anyway, this started out quite strong & I thought the bits with the teens were all good & Chucky was entertaining like always. Then it all took a nosedive at the end. Oh well. I still enjoyed the show overall.

Mare Of Easttown: S1 – I only stuck this on one night as I needed a show to stick on when I’m on my own & bored but it’s not at all the type of thing I tend to go for as I’m weirdly not a crime drama person like everyone else seems to be. I don’t know how I felt about it. I didn’t hate it but, my god, this town was full of assholes & killers & cheaters & just generally a bunch of really unlikeable people. By the end, I really liked Kate Winslet’s character even though she was also very hard to like at times but I think she was fantastic in this role. I also loved her mother, played by Jean Smart, and enjoyed the small funny moments in the show especially between these two characters. The mystery itself was okay but, god, is everyone a pervy piece of shit in this town?! I can see why people liked the show, though. The characters are strong & I’d maybe be interested in seeing them all again in a second season if that’s the plan…?

Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E4-8 – God this new season is boring. Meh.

And Just Like That…: S1 E1-5 – I’m not exactly a big Sex & The City fan but I did watch them all & thought it was clever at times and enjoyed the friendships even though I could relate to none of the four women whatsofuckingever. This version, though… Ugh. I dunno. It’s pretty desperate so far with some shitty writing. They probably should’ve just left it alone.

Looking For Alaska: S1 E1 – I read this John Green book so figured I better check out this adaptation. Faithful so far – will see how it goes but I didn’t really love the book anyway.

Maya And The Three: S1 E1 – Watched the first episode as it’s made by the Book Of Life people, which my daughter absolutely loved for about a year of her life. I wasn’t feeling it so doubt I’ll continue with it.

TV Rewatched:

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Absolute CLASSIC. Perfection. I am a massive Peanuts fan & I adore this. Watch it every Christmas.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Another true Christmas classic that I watch every year & also adore. Love that Rankin/Bass style, which they lovingly referenced in the beginning of Elf. They don’t make ’em like they used to! This is also perfection.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – Ditto! Timeless classic! I’m of course talking about the original animated special, not that godawful Jim Carrey movie. Yuck! I’ll especially always love his poor dog Max & those fantastic lyrics to the songs. Absolutely brilliant.

Game Of Thrones: S1 E1 – Halfway through reading the first book so thought I’d rewatch episode 1. I have to say that, so far from what I remember of the show, it’s extremely faithful to the first book. Loved seeing this again while understanding a bit more & knowing the characters much better now.

Quantum Leap: S1 E1 – Wish the family would continue this with me, especially as this was a two-episode story… I loved Quantum Leap so have been looking forward to revisiting it. The first scene of episode 1 was far cheesier than I remembered, though! Wow. Thank god it got much much better.

Malcolm In The Middle: S1 E1 – Recommended this to the kid. Think she liked the first episode okay.

BOOKS READ

I’m halfway through reading A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. So don’t expect monthly book reviews while I’m reading these as each will probably take me months to read. Although I may read different books in between each so I don’t wear myself out. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, though. It’s just a big damn commitment!!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Honestly, my main New Year’s resolution is to watch fewer movies for a while. I want to watch better films the next couple of months. Quality over quantity! It’s also exhausting doing these roundup posts with shitloads of films.

It’s stupid but the end of each year almost becomes a bit stressful as I get desperate to finish watching as many of that year’s releases that I can which are available to me. I’m more annoyed than I should be that there are several on services now that I’ve not managed to see yet, although I expect what I’ve not seen of those to be pretty shit anyway. It’s the cinema-only releases that I badly want to see as soon as possible.

I mentioned this last month but these are some of the many 2021 movies that I have yet to see:

Last Night In Soho, Malignant, West Side Story, Quiet Place II, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Old, The Conjuring, Coda, The Suicide Squad, The Forever Purge, The Father, In The Heights, Spencer, Another Round, Mass, I’m Your Man, Finch, Antlers, Petite Maman, Psycho Goreman, Black Bear, Censor, The Sparks Brothers, Titane, Jungle Cruise, Army Of Thieves, The Tomorrow War, Halloween Kills, Eternals, The Worst Person In The World

Upcoming 2022 Releases That I Want To See:

Across The Spider-Verse, Suzume no tojimari, The Black Phone (Joe Hill fan!), Thor, Top Gun: Maverick, Turning Red, Doctor Strange, Don’t Worry Darling, Nightmare Alley, Lightyear, Minions (Hey, I like those cheeky little dudes!).

Hope I manage to see these by the end of 2022…

Here’s Radiohead since I mentioned it in The Unforgivable.

The Unforgivable, The Last Duel & The Power Of The Dog Reviews

Squeezing out a few more reviews of 2021 releases before I post my December roundup & then will try to post my 2021 Top Ten lists. None of these are making it into my Top Ten Movies of the year…

The Unforgivable (2021)

Directed by Nora Fingscheidt

Based on Unforgiven by Sally Wainwright

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas, Linda Emond, Aisling Franciosi, Rob Morgan, Viola Davis

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A woman is released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime and re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past.

My Opinion:

I was clearly trying to squeeze in some final 2021 releases on streaming services in December or else I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this one so quickly (if at all). It was okay, though. And, yes, I enjoyed it much more than the next two I’m reviewing.

Bullock’s character has just come out of prison after serving many years for killing a cop when they came to take her much younger sister away from her. I believe it was because their parents had died and Bullock wanted to be left alone to raise her sister (massive age difference – the sister was five & Bullock looked well into her twenties in the flashbacks so I don’t know why she couldn’t raise her?!). Anyway, it took a while to get into this one & Bullock’s character was pretty unsympathetic to begin with.

With movies, I’ll sometimes rate & rank them when I’m still in the middle of watching them as I don’t want to forget to log them. This is one time where I had to move it up the list & up the rating slightly once it got to the end. I really liked the end of this one, including something I should’ve seen coming. Also, the film used a fantastic piano version of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place toward the end & I thought it set the mood perfectly. So the film was a bit slow overall & certainly wasn’t perfect but from that bit on it got much better & really did redeem itself at the end.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Last Duel (2021)

Directed by Ridley Scott

Based on The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager

Starring: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in medieval France, the film stars Damon as Jean de Carrouges, a knight who challenges his former friend, squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a judicial duel after Jean’s wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), accuses Jacques of raping her. The events leading up to the duel are divided into three distinct chapters, reflecting the contradictory perspectives of the three main characters.

My Opinion:

WTF? Okay… I don’t know if I’m just super picky now or if I’m just finding it hard to enjoy films lately as life has been shitty but I feel like every single newly released movie (at least one perceived to be “worthy” due to its director or stars or its agenda) gets absolutely raved over by Film Twitter & I find myself agreeing with them less & less the past couple of years.

This movie was okay? I do love a few of Ridley Scott’s films (I ranked them here recently) but this certainly wouldn’t make my top ten list of his work. Once I got past the annoying haircuts (yeah, yeah – I know that’s not important) I thought I’d start caring about the story or the characters but I can’t say that I did. I thought the men were rubbish (acting-wise as well as the characters being super hateful). Jodie Comer was fine & I obviously was on her side through the whole thing & wish she could’ve just gone on a Kill Bill bloody rampage with those pricks but obviously that couldn’t happen back then since, you know, women were treated like nothing more than another piece of property in olden times (not that we’re treated much better now). I didn’t exactly think it was some “ohmygodOscarWORTHY!!!” performance or something, though. Are my standards too high or are everyone else’s too low?! The movie was okay. Yes, once it FINALLY got to the duel it got somewhat exciting. And, yes, I always like seeing multiple versions of the same story but this isn’t exactly up there with Rashomon, is it? I was stupidly looking at the IMDb Top 250 recently & it depresses me. All the older films are being replaced by everything new & current. Are people just going to completely stop watching movies that are more than ten years old?

Okay. I’ll stop bitching now. This movie was fine but Scott has far better films. And I really wish I could just watch all of Akira Kurosawa’s films instead of wasting my time on mediocre current releases.

My Rating: 6/10

The Power Of The Dog (2021)

Directed by Jane Campion

Based on The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

My Opinion:

Another one sort of raved over on Film Twitter but this one bored the shit out of me. Sorry! Just… Ugh. I don’t know. I do appreciate some very worthy films but I also want to be entertained sometimes if possible. I’ll give it this: I think the acting was slightly better than in The Last Duel. No distracting haircuts, at least! Also……. I did really like the end! Yay! Once I actually realised what had happened and that there was a plan all along, I guess, and I was like “Ohhh… Nice one!”. The ending almost made me rank this just above The Last Duel but the rest of this film was so bloody boring that I guess I’ll keep this one below the mullet duel.

My Rating: 6/10

Bird Box (2018) & Winchester (2018) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for the rubbish films Bird Box & Winchester

Bird Box (2018)

Directed by Susanne Bier

Based on Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Danielle Macdonald, Sarah Paulson

Music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, as she tries to protect herself and two children from malevolent supernatural entities that make people who look at them go insane and commit suicide.

My Brief Opinion:

Ugh. I read the book by Josh Malerman (review HERE) and enjoyed it. Really good story only let down slightly by unlikable characters. I like Bullock but she was so wrong for this role. Not that it matters, I suppose, but the character in the book is half her age. Then the film changed the story so much until the very end. I don’t understand why films make changes when completely unnecessary and when it actually makes the story worse. This does pick up a little toward the end when the focus is on Bullock and the kids (and when it also isn’t straying so far from the book). Dreadful acting in this film, as well. Just read the book.

My Rating: 5/10

Winchester (2018)

Directed by The Spierig Brothers

Starring: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Helen Mirren as heiress Sarah Winchester, with Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook, and follows Winchester as she is haunted by spirits inside her San Jose mansion in 1906.

My Brief Opinion:

Bloody hell. Modern horror really does suck. What an utter snoozefest this was. Again, it sounded so good on IMDb: “Ensconced in her sprawling California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.” How did they manage to make an intriguing story so damn boring? And what a waste of Helen Mirren (I like that saucy lady) and Sarah Snook (absolutely brilliant in the fantastic Predestination). To be fair, I was paying zero attention by the end since I was playing on my phone out of sheer boredom. Maybe I missed something that made this good? Unlikely since it was up for a bunch of Razzie Awards, I guess.

My Rating: 5/10

Ocean’s Eight (2018) Review

Ocean’s Eight (2018) (or is it Ocean’s 8???)

Directed by Gary Ross

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a group of women, led by Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean, who plan a highly sophisticated heist of the Met Gala in New York City.

My Opinion:

I like the Ocean’s films. Well, I didn’t actually see the last one… Oops! Guess I better watch that now. Think I missed something important?! Anyway, I enjoyed the first two but I can’t say I really remember much at all about them now. Heist movies are fun but not a favorite genre of mine. They’re popcorn movies to me. Fun, lazy Sunday afternoon movies. Ocean’s Eight was the same thing. It was fun & I enjoyed it, mainly thanks to its stars & their characters. But I probably won’t remember much about it a few years from now.

This film’s star power is far stronger than the story itself. I even like seven out of eight of these women! I find a lot of actors/actresses annoying for no good reason. By the way, the annoying one is Anne Hathaway. However, she’s fine in this in that she’s meant to be an annoying diva and she played the role well.


I really liked these characters & their very different personalities. Strangely, I possibly liked the main character the least (Sandra Bullock), although she seemed to be having fun as a “bad girl” for a change. I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite but it would be between the characters played by Cate Blanchett, Awkwafina, Rihanna & Helena Bonham Carter. Bonham Carter once again does “lady slightly off her rocker” but she does that kind of role SO well. If I could be any of them, I’d probably choose Blanchett’s character. She’s sexy & super cool. Rihanna’s hacker character was also great. I thought she might be distracting in this but that wasn’t the case at all. As the hubby & I discussed later, the only one who threw us both out of the movie was James Corden. Ugh! It really would’ve been better if he hadn’t suddenly shown up toward the end. He’s a million times more annoying than Hathaway. Oh, and Awkwafina’s character was a lot of fun – I’d never heard of her before this movie.


I haven’t said a lot about the film itself but this isn’t the type of movie you need to thoroughly discuss & overanalyze. It’s meant to be entertaining & it was. It was a little overlong. The heist was, of course, the most enjoyable part but the movie needed to end more quickly after the heist as it did drag a bit afterwards (I mostly blame Corden). I’m not sure if all their “thieving” methods were actually at all plausible but, meh, who cares about those sort of details? It’s fiction. The Met Gala setting was a good idea and I’m now FAR less annoyed than I was a year or so ago when we all first heard those Kardashithingies would be in this (THE most annoying things in the universe -I’d rather watch James Corden 24/7). But it made sense to have them there in the background (it truly was just in the background. Phew.) Fun heist, fun characters, fun movie but average story, a little too long, not believable, and James Corden. No, Ocean’s Eight isn’t perfect but is definitely worth a watch to see these actresses together.

My Rating: 6.5/10

My Top Ten Sandra Bullock Movies

Happy Birthday to Sandra Bullock, who turns 53 today.

Remember when Sandra Bullock & Julia Roberts were making all that silly rom-com stuff around the same sort of time? I always preferred Bullock. I think most people did… (Am I right??!!). It’s weird how Roberts had a sort of backlash against her that Bullock seemed to escape. Now I’m wondering which of the two has actually been in better films overall. Hmm. I’m pretty sure I like more Bullock films than Roberts films. Guess I should do a Roberts Top Ten sometime… Of which, considering I’m not a huge chick flick lover, Steel Magnolias would be number one. Because it’s awesome, despite being one of the absolute chick flickiest! And Pretty Woman deserves more credit than it gets – it’s mega quotable.

But back to Bullock! I bet British people found her name funny when she became famous. Bollocks! I don’t have a lot to say here. I like Bullock. She seems pretty sweet in real life & has been in a lot of throwaway but enjoyable films. I’m happy she has an Oscar but, I do apologize, I’ve not seen her in that role. That movie looked too pukey feelgood Americana. If you can convince me otherwise, I’ll try to watch it & not be so judge-y. Anyway, everyone likes Bullock! Right?!

Here are My Top Ten Sandra Bullock Movies, ranked from least favorite to favorite movie (not by performance):

**Note: I know it seems like I say this a lot, but… WOW, I barely remember half of these! So don’t take the lower part of this list too seriously. 😉

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

21. Miss Congeniality 2 (a vague memory of this being bad)
20. Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood (barely remember)
19. Speed 2: Cruise Control (yikes)
18. Two Weeks Notice (barely remember)
17. Premonition (barely remember)
16. Murder By Numbers (barely remember)
15. The Net (barely remember)
14. Forces Of Nature (remember-ish)
13. The Vanishing (am aware I should see the original instead)
12. A Time To Kill (too upsetting)
11. Crash (not Oscar-worthy)

10. Hope Floats (remember liking the cute little girl at the time. didn’t know it was Mae Whitman! need to rewatch)

9. Minions

8. 28 Days

7. Miss Congeniality

6. The Thing Called Love

5. While You Were Sleeping

4. Practical Magic (could actually do with re-watching this as well)

3. The Lake House

2. Gravity

1. Speed

I think I still have a secret desire for Bullock & Reeves to marry in real life…

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Demolition Man, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, In Love And War, The Prince Of Egypt, The Proposal, All About Steve, The Blind Side, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Heat, Our Brand Is Crisis

Minions (2015) Review

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Minions (2015)

Directed by Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda

Starring Voice Actors:
Pierre Coffin
Sandra Bullock
Jon Hamm
Michael Keaton
Allison Janney
Steve Coogan
Geoffrey Rush

Production company: Illumination Entertainment

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.

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My Opinion:

First of all, I must confess that I love minions. LOVE THEM!!!! They’re hilarious and adorable and I desperately want some of my own (to do my evil bidding, of course). I specifically want a Bob after seeing this movie – he’s so sweet with his little teddy bear!

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So, anyway – I’m probably going to be far more forgiving of this movie’s flaws because…. MINIONS!!!! 🙂 Is this movie great? No. Is it even remotely as good as Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2? Hell no. But that’s okay – I didn’t expect it to be. I was hoping it would be better than it was, though, so that was a little disappointing. For the record, I think the first Despicable Me is absolutely brilliant (which shocked me as I’ve never really loved a kids’ film that wasn’t made by Pixar or Disney). I think it’s very funny as well as very sweet (without being schmaltzy). The relationship between Gru & the girls is done perfectly and I knew when they announced there would be a movie with just the minions that it would never live up to the Despicable Mes as Gru and the girls are what really make those movies so great. The fault with Minions isn’t the minions, though – they’re just as silly and loveable as ever. Unfortunately, the story and script are very weak as are all the non-minion characters. Bullock’s Scarlet Overkill is especially boring – I found her and the family the minions first meet to all be a bit stupid and pointless. We cared about Gru in Despicable Me and, even when he was at his most evil, he was at least funny & entertaining. In Minions, I really just wanted the human characters to go away. Maybe the next minions movie should be nothing but minions??? I suppose it would have to be narrated or subtitled through the whole thing, though… Okay, I suppose it wouldn’t work. I’d still watch it, though!

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I’m keeping this review short because, well, there isn’t much to say. If you adore the minions as much as I do, you’ll have fun with this movie even though you’ll recognize that it’s far from perfect. If you’re not a fan of the Despicable Me films or of the minions, I wouldn’t recommend Minions (I’m not sure why you’d want to watch it anyway in that case). I had plenty of fun laughs throughout the film but it’s lacking the heart of Despicable Me (as well as the amazing Pharrell soundtracks). For a soundtrack full of pre-existing music, though, I’d have to say that I did really enjoy the great 60’s songs they chose for the film (from The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, etc). Plus, thank god, they were smart enough to include Mellow Yellow by Donovan! (because, like, minions are YELLOW! Yeah?!). 🙂 I also enjoyed several 60’s pop culture references but, overall, it didn’t make up for the mediocre story and villain. I still love those minions, though!!!! Just do me a favor & watch Despicable Me instead if you’ve never seen it.

My Rating: 6.5/10

And if you’re curious, these would be my Despicable Me ratings:
Despicable Me: 9/10
Despicable Me 2: 7.5/10
**Updated post to add Despicable Me 3: 7/10**

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My six-year-old’s opinion: I’ve not done this as a “family” review as, to be honest, I’d have watched Minions even if I didn’t have a kid. But I did ask her for her opinion of the movie as I always do after we watch one together. She of course enjoyed it and giggled plenty throughout the film but I know she didn’t like it as much as Despicable Me. She gives the Despicable Me films 10/10 & Minions 8/10 (she tends to rate things too highly). 😉 She sat pretty still through the whole movie so it did keep her attention the entire time. I’d say it’s definitely worth going to if your kids love the minions as much as mine does. Oh, and her favorite bit has to do with a famous band (but I can’t say any more to avoid spoilers).

What my hubby had to say:
“Such a wasted opportunity. Yes I giggled at the odd thing here and there… but what a waste of some of the most iconic creations of the past ten years.”

Is there a scene after the credits? YES! There are a lot of scenes throughout the credits but there’s also a very long scene after the credits as well. It’s worth staying for (in my opinion. if you’re a music lover…).

Top Ten Actresses I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything

Okay – it was fun bitching about my most hated actors & actresses last week but now it’s time to do another list that Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are has done. You can see her list of “The Top Ten Actresses That I’d See In Pretty Much AnythingHERE. So here’s my own list of actresses I love. (Yes – I do love Drew Barrymore!). 🙂

With my favorite actors list, I’ve had to narrow it down by only including living actors so I’ve done the same here. Otherwise, Grace Kelly would be on this list. Now here are The Ten Actresses I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything (in no particular order…):

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Amy Adams
Best Movie: Her or Catch Me If You Can but she was lovely in Junebug

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Emily Blunt
Best Movie: Edge Of Tomorrow but I also love The Adjustment Bureau

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Melanie Laurent
Best Movie: Inglourious Basterds

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Jennifer Lawrence
Best Movie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Drew Barrymore
Best Movie: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial but I also love The Wedding Singer & Whip It

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Chloe Grace Moretz
Best Movie: Hugo

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Sandra Bullock
Best Movie: Gravity but I do love Speed. (Gravity helped to put Bullock back on this list. But I still wouldn’t watch that thing she did with Melissa McCarthy. Damn! I missed her on my “Most Annoying” list…

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Carey Mulligan
Best Movie: Shame but she was better in Never Let Me Go. (If I’ve forgotten someone, Carey Mulligan would be the first one replaced. I found her disappointing in Shame and beyond bland in The Great Gatsby. Hopefully she’ll have another good role soon…)

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Elisabeth Shue
Best Movie: Adventures In Babysitting

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Michelle Pfeiffer
Best Movie: Ladyhawke

Gravity (2013) Review

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Gravity (2013)

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Starring:
Sandra Bullock
George Clooney
Ed Harris
Orto Ignatiussen
Paul Sharma
Amy Warren
Basher Savage

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Two astronauts fight for survival and a way to get back home after an accident leaves them adrift in space and without communications with Earth.

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My Opinion:

Gravity has been out for ages everywhere other than the UK, it seems, so there have already been plenty of reviews telling us all how great the film is. Now that all the hype has died down a bit, I’ll try to review this as best I can and decide if it’s worth all the praise it has received.

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First of all, I’ve said it plenty before but I better say it again: I know nothing about filmmaking. All I know is when something looks good or looks bad. Gravity is beautiful to look at. I saw it in IMAX 3D as the recommendation seemed to be to see it this way if at all possible. It was worth the extra cost – And this is from someone who does NOT like 3D. When there’s the option, I rarely choose to see a film in 3D. It looks blurry to me and I usually just find it too distracting. Gravity was the kind of 3D I like – I forgot I was even watching a 3D film most of the time. It was subtle & not “in your face” (I don’t want things jumping out of the screen at me). So the film looks great and I’d recommend seeing it in 3D if you can, although I’d be interested in seeing the 2D version now as well.

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To my hubby’s annoyance, I kept saying “this better be better than Avatar!”. I did fear that, because the film was meant to look lovely, that it would have no substance otherwise and wouldn’t be a very interesting story. I didn’t really enjoy Avatar as a film so I didn’t care that it “looked nice”. Luckily, this wasn’t the case with Gravity.

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I know nothing about space travel or science so can’t say if all of that was accurate but who cares? If you’re one of those types who can never suspend disbelief and just enjoy a movie, this MAY not be the film for you. I don’t know. It’s just a movie and it’s meant to entertain us. Clooney’s & especially Bullock’s backstories are… well, I don’t want to use the word “contrived” because that’s not really fair as it’s a very good film. What stories in films AREN’T? What matters is if you buy into the characters & their stories and I definitely did in Gravity. Both Clooney & Bullock give great performances and I very much felt for Bullock’s present (and past) situation. Her story worked and the backstory, to me, felt necessary to have a better understanding of her character. But as the film has so little dialogue, it was nice that we were only given as much information as we needed about the characters in order to know them. It’s impressive that Clooney & Bullock were able to make us care so much about their characters – top notch acting on their parts. This is what “makes” a film for me – not impressive CGI or 3D stuff (although it’s nice when these things work as well).

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As for the “action”, this film was much more exciting than I’d been expecting. We’d all heard about how there are so few people in it & not much dialogue so I wasn’t expecting a ton of action even though it’s obviously about an accident that occurs while these people are in space. Gravity is very exciting! Heart-pounding action at times and the great kind where you feel like you’re almost a part of it and are experiencing it with the characters instead of just watching them on a (very big in my case) screen. I suppose this may lose a little something for those who decide to watch this on their TV for the first time. I’d be interested to see this at home when it’s out on DVD & see if it has the same effect on me. I’ll still enjoy the story but I wonder if you’ll be able to “lose” yourself in the film in the same way. So, yeah – try to watch this one in the cinema (or theater if you’re American).

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Is this film for everyone? No. This is why I’m enjoying this blogging thing – I know you’re all true film lovers (it takes commitment to run a movie blog!). Will the 22-year-old I work with who loves Michael Bay movies & only ever watches illegal bootlegs because the cinema “costs too much” like Gravity? Extremely unlikely. I’m already trying to prepare myself for the day he comes in & says something along the lines of “I watched Gravity. I didn’t like it. I was bored”. It will happen. Gravity wasn’t made for him. It was made for “us” – all us lovely movie blogger types who are maybe a little misunderstood at times because we really REALLY like movies and perhaps talk about them a bit too much when in the presence of those who don’t quite understand our fascination. Gravity is the kind of movie we wait for. We wait for movies like this while we sit through endless sequels and remakes because it’s all that’s usually on offer and because we forever live in the hope that one of them may actually be good. We suffer through these mediocre films because we’re sometimes given a pleasant surprise when one of them ends up being okay. And we sit through them because we know that sometimes, just sometimes, we’re rewarded with something like Gravity.

My Rating: 9/10

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Where does it rank?:

Movies I’ve Seen In 2013

Jon Hamm Joins Sandra Bullock in Despicable Me Spin-Off Minions

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I love these dudes. 🙂 Can’t wait for Despicable Me 2 & the Minions spin-off. This article from SlashFilm contains the following synopsis:

This spinoff establishes that Minions have existed since the beginning of time, in service of history’s most ambitiously evil villains. Through their lovable ineptitude, Minions have managed to thwart and ultimately destroy all of those bad guys. This story picks up in the 1960s, before they hench-ed for Gru. With no more super-villains to serve, the Minions fall into a collective depression and three of them set out to seek a new evil master. They wind up at a villain convention, where they compete for the right to be henchmen for Scarlet Overkill, whose Audrey Hepburn-like high style appearance belies her world domination ambition and her aspirations to become the world’s first female super-villain.