Happy Birthday To Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), who turns 47 today.
I have to admit that I’m only a recent fan of The Rock. I don’t watch wrestling so didn’t really notice him until he became a big blockbuster movie star (I’m not talking about shit like Tooth Fairy). Also, he seems so sweet & likable on Twitter, etc. I like an actor who doesn’t seem like a dick in real life! Mostly, though, I’ve become a bit of a fan thanks to my daughter. She loves The Rock! Which means I’ve seen a lot of his movies that I otherwise may not have bothered to watch. I think it’s adorable that she likes him. Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger for my generation, The Rock is the big action star for her generation.
There’s still a lot I haven’t seen, though, as he’s done so many of the types of movies that aren’t really my thing (Fast & Furious, etc). I’ve listed all I’ve not seen at the end. So, at the moment, my “Top Ten” is a cheat as I’ve only seen nine. Oh well. I can add to this list later. I’ll definitely be watching the next Jumanji movie (loved the last one).
So for now, these are My Top Ten (nine…) Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Movies, counting down to my favorite:
9. Baywatch(Good god this was horrible! You know it’s bad when it’s lower than Tooth Fairy. And, no – the kid hasn’t seen this one.)
Movies I’ve Not Yet Seen: Longshot, The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King, Welcome To The Jungle, Walking Tall, Doom, Be Cool, Gridiron Gang, Southland Tales, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Planet 51, Why Did I Get Married Too?, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast & Furious 5 & 6 & 7 & 8, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Empire State, Pain & Gain, Snitch, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Hercules, Jem And The Holograms, Central Intelligence
I’ll keep these fairly short. I have 5 more recent films to discuss after these so here are two quickies for two enjoyable movies that definitely won’t be winning any Oscars…
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The story follows a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly built skyscraper, the tallest in the world, after it is taken over by criminals and set on fire.
Yeah, this was silly. Die Hard with extra cheese. I love how when the below poster came out, people laughed at how it would be impossible for a human to make that leap. No shit – it’s that kind of movie. No human could do the majority of what The Rock does in this (and in most of his movies). Sometimes you just have to sit back, eat your popcorn, and enjoy the ride. I laughed out loud a few times at the ridiculousness. But that’s okay sometimes! This is far from “good” but it’s an enjoyable enough disaster movie. It’s better than some & worse than some in this genre. As for Dwayne Johnson disaster movies, I liked it a little less than Rampage but definitely more than San Andreas.
Johnson was the same as always in this. He’s likable in these sort of roles. He definitely has a certain charm going on. I’m not sure when I started liking him? He’s not my type of actor AT ALL. I think it’s because my kid seems to like him & that’s cute. He’s the big action star of her generation like Arnold Schwarzenegger was for mine, I guess. I liked that Neve Campbell’s role didn’t have her being the completely useless wife that needs rescuing. Well, she does need rescuing since she’s stuck in a massive, burning skyscraper that she can’t scale like King Fucking Kong the way her hubby The Rock can! But she’s smart and makes some decent decisions. Their two young kids (a girl and a boy) are adorable (so that you of course want their hero dad to rescue them).
The baddies are cliché but I’d be disappointed if they weren’t in this type of film. And Enter The Dragon once again proves what a massive influence it still has on filmmaking with an over-the-top “hall of mirrors” scene that you know from the start will play a big role at the end (just like when The Rock fixes his wife’s phone – we all saw that coming!). Whatever. This movie was silly fun. And someone at our showing thought it would be funny to go outside & pull the building’s fire alarm 15 minutes before the end, making the entire cinema have to evacuate. But we were allowed back in to watch the predictable ending. Yay.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Directed by Jeff Tomsic
Based on It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It by Russell Adams
Starring: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) The film is based on a true story that was published in The Wall Street Journal about a group of grown men, played by Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner, who spend one month a year playing the game of tag.
I’ve heard very little about this film but also found it silly yet quite enjoyable. And I love that it’s based on a true story. Seriously! A group of 9 friends have been playing the game of tag since high school (23 years ago). The article about the real guys is fascinating – here’s the link: It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It by Russell Adams.
Now, there’s no WAY they actually do all the crazy over-the-top stuff that’s in this film (they’d all be dead by now) but they show some clips of the real guys at the end and they do go as far as dressing up in disguise and hiding in bushes to tag each other. The article mentions that they have to instruct fellow employees when the game is on to not let certain people into the building. And a couple of their poor wives have had the fright of their lives when their husbands have been tagged. Crazy! But quite sweet. I like how the game has kept this group in contact for all these years (it’s played every year for all of February – I think it was May in the film). And the film gets the slightly cheesy point of the importance of friendship & “staying young at heart” across quite well at the end.
As for the movie itself, it’s funny. I don’t know if it does the true story justice or not, though, as it clearly ramps things up more than it needed to as it’s a pretty fascinating story anyway. Jeremy Renner is the main one they’re all eager to tag as he’s never been “it”. He’s like some kind of crazy ninja assassin, which isn’t very realistic. Hell, one of the 9 real life guys is now a priest! Hilarious. I doubt any of them are ninja assassins. And I doubt any of the real wives are as into the game & competitive as Isla Fisher, who once again plays “crazy bitch”. I think a better film probably could have been made of this story but, if you go into it knowing it’s a great concept that’s had the typical Hollywood exaggeration treatment, you should have fun with it. It was a good day out for the hubby & me as I think we needed a simple film to de-stress that day.
My Rating: 7/10
Oh! Tag had a great soundtrack too. Mostly old school (well, 90’s) hip hop with some Ozzy, Danzig & Pixies thrown in. So that helped our enjoyment as well. Here’s a sample of A Tribe Called Quest & The Pharcyde in this film…
I’m not finding much time for blogging at the moment but I’ll still try to do these monthly updates (over halfway through the next month!). I only managed to review one movie in July, although I did see quite a few in the cinema. I’ll try to review those over the next few weeks. And at some point I’ll manage to reply to comments too! Sorry I’ve not been around for those…
• The Light Between Oceans – I’m not sure why I stuck this on as it didn’t look like my type of thing (Oh yeah… because Michael Fassbender is hot). I thought it was very good and Alicia Vikander & Rachel Weisz were especially great at conveying the emotions involved in motherhood. It was easy to feel bad for both sides, even knowing that one was very much in the wrong. Good movie but probably more for women/mothers/grown-ups. – 7.5/10
• Hotel Artemis – I’ll review this in full as well. Liked it much more than I expected to. – 7.5/10
• The Secret Of Marrowbone – Will review this too. I thought it was a solid psychological horror compared to most the horror crap out there these days. – 7/10
• Charade – I figured it was time to check out another Audrey Hepburn film after watching Roman Holiday a while back. I preferred this one, which I didn’t realize was going to be a bit of a comedic spoof of Alfred Hitchcock-type films. Hepburn & Cary Grant were adorable together, it had a great Henry Mancini score, and the opening titles were fantastic (I thought they were done by Saul Bass as they looked like Hitchcock titles but looked it up & they were done by Maurice Binder, who did titles for James Bond films). I wanted to like this movie more than I did, though. It does deserve a higher rating than I’m giving it. I think I’m just not normally a fan of the 60’s “screwball” comedies and prefer a full-on Hitchcock suspense film to the mix of genres in Charade. I can see why this would have its fans, though – it’s a fun movie with that great 60’s look and very iconic stars. – 7/10
• Tag – I’ll review this as well. Love that this is based on a real group of guys. – 7/10
• Say When (aka Laggies) – I’ve said on here before that Keira Knightley annoys the hell out of me, so I’m not entirely sure why I keep watching her movies. I suppose it’s because she does “chick flicks” that suck less than most of them do plus the hubby will let me watch them alone. I enjoyed this one (despite it being Knightley!). It’s about a twentysomething who needs to grow up & do something with her life and, hell, I think most of us can relate to that (even if, like me, you’re almost double her age). It’s not the greatest film ever but I liked it as I could somewhat relate to it plus Sam Rockwell was great as the quirky dad of Knightley’s new teenage friend (Chloe Moretz). Actually, Rockwell was the best thing about this… he made up for Knightley. – 6.5/10
• Happy Death Day – I was really annoyed that I missed this in the cinema last year as it sounded like a fun horror in the slightly-cheesy 80’s slasher style I’ll always have affection for (since I’m old). But the movie was a disappointment, although it’s enjoyable enough for an hour and a half of your time. I just think I won’t remember a thing about it in a few years. The biggest problem was probably that the main character was a hateful bitch, so it was hard to care if she’d ever be able to stop her murder from happening. Yeah, she changes at the end (as to be expected – the whole point is that she needs to be a better person), but… Meh. I think my expectations were just too high. This concept was obviously done so well in Groundhog Day that nothing that’s tried to use that same idea has worked as well. If you want a non-horror teen movie with the same idea, I enjoyed Before I Fall slightly more than this one. And if you want a modern horror comedy with a cheesy 80’s thing going on, The Final Girls was better than this one as well. – 6.5/10
• Skyscraper – I’ll review this. So cheesy! – 6.5/10
• Call Me By Your Name – I was sooooo looking forward to this one and really annoyed that I didn’t have the opportunity to see it before the Oscars. But I found it a bit boring? And I didn’t care about or like the characters in the slightest. Not sure why? The acting was fine. But the only real enjoyment I got out of this was loving the Psychedelic Furs song in it and thinking that Italy looks fucking gorgeous and how much I’d love to be living the life of these rich fuckers in 1980’s Italy. Actually, I think that’s the reason I couldn’t relate to this – not the fact that it’s a male romance but that I really can’t relate to their extravagant lifestyle. Did they do any work?! I want that life. I couldn’t truly feel sorry for Chalamet when he got to live such a privileged life. Plus, the romance was more lust than love. I didn’t feel a true connection between them despite Chalamet & Hammer both giving good performances. I just didn’t feel their heartbreak. Sorry! And that peach bit was gross. – 6.5/10
• Elle – Umm. Not sure how I felt about this. I thought it was gonna be a good “revenge” drama but it’s not as straightforward as that. Stupid me should’ve looked at the director first – I’d have known what I was getting into with a Paul Verhoeven film! Well, Isabelle Huppert was fantastic so I can see why she was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. She’s 65 now?! She’s sexy as hell (I can say that without being creepy since I’m female). The subject matter (rape) is certainly uncomfortable, though. Don’t watch if you’re overly sensitive. – 6.5/10
• Force Majeure – This was disappointing, especially as it had good reviews. The story revolves around an avalanche (that doesn’t end up hurting anyone) and the way the husband/father of a family of four has the instinct to run away from the danger instead of trying to protect his wife & kids. It’s listed as a comedy drama for some reason so I was expecting some good dark humour but it’s really just a straightforward drama. The acting is fine but it’s hard to really like anyone involved despite family problems being relatable to everyone. The movie is overlong and slightly boring as very little happens. – 6.5/10
• The Incredible Hulk – I’ve now finally seen the only current MCU film I’d not yet seen! Damn – I guess I better update My Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranking. Well, I’m in no hurry since this one certainly isn’t my favorite. It’s possibly in last place, although it’s not as bad as I was expecting. It’s just a little boring and felt somewhat pointless? Meh. Norton and Tyler were fine but we all see Ruffalo as the Hulk now anyway. I did like a couple of nods to the TV series, though, since I’m old & watched that show… – 6/10
• A Ghost Story – What a load of pretentious twaddle. I was all prepared to like this, too, since I like Rooney Mara for some reason (even though she displays zero emotion in everything I’ve ever seen her in). To be fair, I can appreciate what this story was trying to achieve (does life have meaning or will we all just die and fade away and be forgotten blah blah blah). It’s actually quite a depressing film but do we really need to be reminded that life sucks, especially with the current state of the world?? Here’s my Twitter “tweet review” of this movie: Well. That was tedious. #AGhostStory ✨🏠👫🎹🎧🚗 💢 💀👻🙍🏻♀️🥧👩👧👦👻🍽💢😱🏚🏗🏙👩🏼🌾👻💀💀💀🏠👫👻👻📜🕳✨ – 6/10
• Tromeo & Juliet – I’d seen most of Tromeo & Juliet in the past but decided to finally watch it all in, like, solidarity with James Gunn. Or something like that. He wrote this. It’s a fucking Troma film. Anyone who has seen a Troma film knows that the whole damn point is that they’re in extremely poor taste. They’re bad movies that are meant to be bad movies. And this one is as dreadful as the rest. No… Wait. To be fair, it’s quite well written for a Troma film. I still “like” The Toxic Avenger the most but Tromeo & Juliet has more memorable moments than most Troma films. I suppose it’s a masterpiece when compared to other movies from this studio. Here’s an image of the infamous penis monster in the film. You’re welcome. (And the next Guardians Of The Galaxy movie better not suck now. I love those films!) – 5/10
• Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me – A couple of years ago, I spent a week reviewing Adrienne Shelly films after loving her own film Waitress and wanting to explore her older (and very indie) work as an actress. As I say, her old films are the very definition of indie and not easy to get a hold of so, when this one popped up on Amazon Prime in the UK, I watched it immediately. It’s… not good. But Shelly is as adorable and charming as always. I really wish she’d made it bigger in films much better than this one. But, in a way, I suppose that would have ruined some of that mysterious indie charm that she had? Anyway, I suppose this isn’t the worst low budget film I’ve ever seen but it tries too hard to be quirky. Sean Young plays batshit crazy the same way she always does and the Adult film star playing Shelly’s sister is truly hateful (but she’s meant to be so she plays the role well, I guess). I’d have hated the movie if it hadn’t been for Shelly and her love interest (played by Max Parrish) having good chemistry and being pretty likable. – 5/10
• Tooth Fairy – Okay, my kid seems to have a thing for The Rock so we’re encouraging that and letting her watch the more family-friendly films of his. Yeah. Um. This one is pretty bad. I know it’s aimed at kids, but… Yikes. This is why I’m such a big fan of family films that are actually decent and manage to entertain people of all ages. Kids aren’t stupid – they know when a movie, like this one, is just a little too dumb. I’m glad Dwayne Johnson is doing better stuff now! By the way – the brilliant Julie Andrews is in this. Why, Julie? Why?!?!? – 4/10
• The Snowman – What the FUCK was this?! How was this so bad?? Okay, I read and kind of enjoyed the book (review HERE) although it’s not the greatest and maybe a little cheesy. But they seriously could have made a decent film from the material. This movie was just… embarrassing. I’m sort of embarrassed that I still watched it despite the bad reviews. Trust the reviews. Maybe read the book if you think it sounds like a decent story. They changed quite a few things anyway (not for the better). Why did they start with this story anyway since it’s not the first book in a series involving this detective (played by Fassbender). I’m still annoyed I read the book assuming it was a one-off or at least the first book since a movie was being made of it. I’m not even going to start on Val Kilmer’s performance in this film. I don’t have the energy… – 4/10
• The Emoji Movie – It’s as bad as you’ve heard. Okay – I can’t “review” this as I got too annoyed and ended up playing around on my phone the whole time. At home, by the way – people who play around on their phones in the cinema deserve severe punishment. Such as being forced to watch The Emoji Movie... – 3.5/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)
• Strange Weather by Joe Hill (Snapshot & Loaded) – Oh I love Joe Hill. I’m starting to almost love his work as much as his dad’s (Stephen King). But maybe that’s because it’s becoming more & more like reading a King story… Hell, I won’t complain at that. I want another Stephen King! To be fair, Hill’s stories feel more “fresh” in some ways as they’re more modern. I’m also a sucker for the stuff he references as we’re clearly a similar age with similar pop culture tastes. This is a book of four novellas and I read these first two stories in July (I’ve finished the rest now – will talk about them in my August Roundup).
Story One: Snapshot – I really liked this story – it’s maybe my favorite of the four (and, admittedly, the most King-like). I think it’s possibly also the shortest but I love a short story when it’s a good one. As always, I love a great concept and this (as well as Aloft) has a great one. Basically, a mysterious camera seems to “steal” the memories of those whose photos are taken with it. And I’ll leave it at that – I’ve already given away too much. I love supernatural weirdness. – 4/5
Story Two: Loaded– This was a really good story about various people and how guns have been a part of their lives (and how they bring them all together at the end). Knowing how vocal King & Hill are on Twitter, I think I know how they feel about America’s ridiculous gun obsession. I didn’t find this story preachy, though – it’s told in a straightforward way and it’s scary how believable it is. Because it’s the same damn story we hear coming from America every day and what those outside of the U.S. can’t understand. WELL! Fuck all that. It pisses me off. This is why I prefer supernatural stories about memory-stealing cameras! Good job, though, Hill – this was very well-written and your scariest story yet. Please go back to writing about weird things that I know probably won’t actually kill me or anyone I know… – 4/5
• They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – I have to stop reading YA books. I can’t help it… they’re easy reads! And usually enjoyable. This one is pretty good. As usual, I read it because I liked the concept (it’s set in a world where everyone receives a call on the last day of their lives to tell them that they’ll die within the next 24 hours). Obviously, the book is about living our lives to their fullest as we never know if each day may be our last. The story follows two strangers: teenage boys who receive the call & meet each other (through the “Last Friend” app) and decide to spend their last day on earth together. It’s pretty heartbreaking but I can’t say I really connected with the characters. I liked how their personalities were so different, though, as the more outgoing boy tries to bring the other boy, who has always been afraid of living, out of his shell for just one day. – 3/5
Currently Reading: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (oops. YA again)
TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)
• Sharp Objects – I really liked this book by Gillian Flynn and its throughly fucked-up characters. When I found out that Amy Adams would star in the TV adaptation, I was thrilled (love her!!). And then I was thrilled when they cast It’s Sophia Lillis to play the young version of the character. Perfection! They look so damn alike. It’s ridiculous that Chastain is playing her in the next It film. PAH! They look nothing alike. It should be Adams! Anyway – Adams is brilliant in this. As is Lillis, but that’s a much smaller part. As is Patricia Clarkson. As is everyone. So far, the show has been quite faithful to the book. I’m liking this adaptation far more than Big Little Lies, which made changes from the book which I really didn’t like (like making Witherspoon unfaithful!). Looking forward to seeing the rest of this & seeing everyone’s reaction to the ending…
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
No plans – I probably won’t post much. Well, I already haven’t… the month is almost over! I’ll try to catch up on reviewing cinema releases I’ve seen.
Upcoming Movies I Want To See:
As I said, the month is almost over but these are the August releases I want/wanted to see…
• Ant-Man And The Wasp – Saw it. Really enjoyed it. Will try to review it.
• Mission: Impossible – Fallout – I actually just watched Rogue Nation in preparation but have decided I now don’t have the energy for this film as it’s so long… Netflix!
• The Meg – But only at a “cheap” cinema. Not a film I wanna see at full price!
• Christopher Robin – Looks cute. Will probably go to this.
• The Darkest Minds – More fucking Dystopian YA?! I love Dystopian YA. Anyone know if this is okay for a mature 9-year-old who knows Tooth Fairy is shit?
• BlacKkKlansman – Anyone know if this is okay for a 9-year-old? HA! Just kidding!!!! Oh shit. I forgot you can’t joke online! People will realize that was a joke, right????? Anyway – I want to see this.
• The Happytime Murders – Hmm. I don’t know. I’m not sure about this one. But I did love Avenue Q…
• Upgrade – Like the sound of this one but it may be a “wait for Netflix” type of thing.
• Searching – See same comment as for Upgrade…
Now check out these awesome Charade titles and the fantastic Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs from back in the old days when music didn’t suck ass like it all does now…