Watched, Read, Reviewed: May 2021

Happy June! Here’s a quick roundup of all I watched in May. I managed to do quite a few reviews in May as well. I’ll review the rest below…

The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Kind Hearts And Coronets, Hud, Abominable, Seconds, Happiest Season, Army Of The Dead, The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, Underwater, Unhinged, Rent-A-Pal, Butt Boy, The Woman In The Window, Good Boys, The Lighthouse, The Good Liar, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, The Witches, Dick Johnson Is Dead, Cats, The Crow, Big Daddy, The Princess And The Frog, Mars Attacks!, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, My Name Is Earl, The Crown, Grey’s Anatomy, The Flight Attendant, Pick Of The Litter, Friends: The Reunion, Eurovision 2021

I also re-posted my review I did of Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead (far better than Army Of The Dead!).

MOVIES WATCHED IN MAY (ranked best to worst):

The Invisible Man (2020) – I’ve linked my full review. I thought this was a surprisingly good & effective horror thriller. – 7.5/10

The Hunt (2020) – Reviewed this in full as well. It really went up in my estimation after thinking it over for a few days. I liked its idea & message. I appreciated its effort to be a smart satire on American politics. – 7.5/10

Hud – Ended up writing too much for this so posted a separate full review this week. I love young Paul Newman so watched this not knowing he’d break my heart as he plays an absolute bastard. He’s fantastic, though, as are all the performances and I highly recommend it for the brilliant acting. I especially loved the characters played by Patricia Neal & Brandon deWilde and Melvyn Douglas was great as Hud’s father (he won an Oscar along with Neal). – 7.5/10

Kind Hearts And Coronets – This was fun! I think it’s my first classic Ealing Studios film & I’d like to watch more now. And Alec Guinness was a delight in this! I reviewed this yesterday so here’s the the IMDb synopsis for anyone who might not know it: A distant poor relative of the Duke D’Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.” – 7.5/10

Abominable – Reviewed this in full too. I’m not normally a fan of DreamWorks but I liked this one a lot. It may be my favorite of their animated films now. – 7.5/10

Seconds – Been meaning to watch this for years as it sounded like it could be a creepy movie with a Twilight Zone type of story, which is exactly the sort of thing I love. And it was that kind of thing! Sort of. I enjoyed it. Reviewed it yesterday as well so here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re curious: “An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity – one that comes with its own price.” – 7/10

Happiest Season – Also reviewed this & I really enjoyed it despite not being a big rom-com girl. The characters really made this film. The two leads were good, especially Kristen Stewart, and their friends & family were lots of fun. Liked the rom as well as the com! – 7/10

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – Did a brief review of this. A great animated film aimed at all ages. I love it when they make a “family film” for everyone. Strong characters & good humor. And even a John Carpenter reference from the movie-loving teenager! – 7/10

Army Of The Dead – Reviewed this too. I was really looking forward to this as I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead (despite Romero’s film being an all-time favorite of mine plus I normally hate remakes, reboots, etc). I admit to hating most of his other movies, though, other than Watchmen. This was fine. Fun but could have been much better. – 7/10

Underwater – Kristen Stewart was also really good in this one although “action star” is an unusual role for her. Took a while to get to the cool stuff but that was fun & the ending was great. – 6.5/10

Unhinged – This is one of those movies that I know isn’t a very good film but I liked it in that ’90s-style thriller kind of way. I enjoyed the ride! – 6.5/10

Rent-A-Pal – This was a weird one, so I reviewed it in full as I do appreciate a weird film. It was better than I was expecting! A creepy character study of a lonely man’s descent into madness. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you’re curious: “1990: David, 40, looks after his dementia mom. He uses a video dating service to no avail. He buys a “Rent-A-Pal” video tape and things change.” – 6.5/10

Butt Boy – Speaking of weird films, I’d say you can’t get much weirder than this one! I reviewed this in full as well. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.” So, yes, this movie is about people disappearing up the above dude’s butt. Not sure if I’d recommend this but it’s not actually a bad film and, if you do watch it, I guarantee you won’t forget it. – 6.5/10

Good Boys – This was fine and I giggled a few times but only watch it if you like thoroughly inappropriate humor (I do). The three young boys are likeable, especially the first boy in that picture – he was sweet & hilarious, but it’s slightly uncomfortable to have them in such a filthy film. I read that when they asked the director what certain naughty things in the movie meant that he told them to go ask their parents. I think the movie just manages to get away with the crude jokes as the young boys remain innocent in the film and don’t understand a lot of what they see or hear. Such as when they find sex toys & have no idea what they are, resulting in a funny gift later in the film. Anál! (I have no idea if I used that thing above the letter A correctly). Well, it’s a fun but mostly forgettable movie. Enjoy this type of thing while you can. I’m still surprised when crude humor movies get made. Thought these kind of movies were banned now! Oh, and it’s yet another current movie that uses one of two old Grimes songs I loved before the Musk years. All her old stuff keeps ending up in teen movies now! – 6/10

The Lighthouse – Pretentious bollocks! I should act all smart & say this is brilliant and a deep exploration of, um, I dunno… Mermaid vaginas, apparently? But, really, it’s just a couple of dudes who can’t handle being alone on an island so they get drunk, masturbate a lot, piss, fart, poop, dream about screwing mermaids, and eventually become violent. Because: Men. Or something. I’ll be nice & give it a decent rating for, um, it looking nice or whatever and being all black & white because it’s for smart people and only smart people like films with no color oh my god. And I guess they gave good performances. Or… Whatever. – 6/10

The Good Liar – I watched this because I really like Ian McKellen & Helen Mirren. It’s one of those crime thrillers that unfortunately is a bit boring and drags in some places until it finally picks up at the very end & gives us an okay finale. I liked the ending enough that it made me up the overall score by half a point but I do wish the whole movie had been a lot better. Also, even though I liked it, the end is a tad too ridiculous but that’s never bothered me much with these types of films. The novel it’s based on is probably better & hopefully tied things up a bit more nicely than the movie managed to do. – 6/10

The Woman In The Window – Meh. I read the book so was looking forward to this adaptation, especially as I like Amy Adams. This was a pretty dull “thriller” and they wasted some big name stars in very small roles in this. Disappointing. – 5.5/10

Never Rarely Sometimes Always – This is an indie film (or, at least, has an indie feel – I have no idea what’s actually indie anymore) that I know is good as it has worthy performances and it feels very real. But this type of thing just isn’t for me. I gave it a chance due to good reviews, but…. Nah. No thanks. The actresses did do very well, though, and Sidney Flanigan did an especially good job as the teen with an unwanted pregnancy. Probably a far too difficult subject for some and this is a pretty heavy drama so best to avoid if you’d find the topic upsetting. And the pregnant teen is very hard to like but the whole point is that she has no support from her family (Man, I hated her dad). Far preferred these girls to those wankers on that Lighthouse island, though! – 6/10

The Witches – Okay, I actually thought this movie was bloody terrible but I liked the main kid (Jahzir Bruno) and Octavia Spencer so much that I’m giving this an extra point to make up for the -1,000 points I want to subtract from it for Anne Hathaway’s dreadful performance and those horrible witches that I found far too disturbing for a kids’ film. I know they’re meant to be hideous but bloody hell! And Hathaway was so over-the-top and what in god’s creation was that stupid accent?! Honestly, the kid and his grandmother were so likeable and the beginning had great Motown music and the whole thing was going far better than I was expecting until those stupid ass witches showed up & ruined the whole film. Kind of important to get the witches right in a movie called The Witches! Disclaimer: I probably have no right to judge this anyway as I never read the Roald Dahl book NOR watched the 1990 film with Anjelica Huston that everyone seems to far prefer.5.5/10

Cats – Yes, it’s as bad as everyone said it was. I’ve given it an extra point for having that one good song. I’m forever to going to have nightmares about that Rebel Wilson scene where she eats the dancing cockroaches. What in the actual Jellicle fuck was that?! – 3/10

Documentaries & Shorts:

Dick Johnson Is Dead – Not sure why I put this on as I’m not big on documentaries so am not really a good judge & never know how to rate them. I suppose it’s a decent enough documentary exploring life & death. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Dick Johnson Is Dead is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Kirsten Johnson. The story focuses on Johnson’s father Richard, who suffers from dementia, portraying different ways—some of them violent “accidents”—in which he could ultimately die. In each scenario, the elderly Johnson plays along with his daughter’s black humor and imaginative fantasies.” Black humor is right up my alley but didn’t really work for me in this. I don’t know why. Sorry! It was a good idea for a documentary and I appreciate the effort but the whole thing, especially the funeral, was just too odd for me. Maybe I only like black humor when it’s fictional characters. – 6/10

The Force Awakens From Its Nap – This Star Wars/ The Simpsons mash-up was really cute. Fun! And… That’s all I have to say. It’s a short. Very few shorts on Disney Plus aren’t good fun. We watch them a lot.

22 Vs. Earth – Another good short from Pixar, though not up there with their absolute best. Was good to see more of the 22 character and there were some funny moments. And I still think those kid soul thingies have adorable voices. But I still wish Soul was a bit better than it ended up being and I felt cheated by the end. More of Joe may have been better. Or more of Joe & 22 together.

Movies Rewatched In May:

The Crow – I absolutely adore this film. I was in college when this came out so I think young wannabe-goth me thought this movie was cool as hell plus I loved the soundtrack and, of course, some of the film’s iconic imagery. It also has this tragic aura forever hanging over it because of Brandon Lee’s incredibly sad death during filming which probably adds to the cult status it’s seemed to achieve. Such a sad loss – I still wish we could’ve seen so much more of what Lee & River Phoenix had to offer (showing my age again! Sorry – I’ll never be over these two celebrity deaths!). Anyway, I admit I’d not rewatched this in years after watching it to death in my early twenties. Do I still love it? Oh yes, I’m glad to say that’s not changed a bit. Do I still think it’s good? Umm. Not really. This movie admittedly isn’t the greatest. My young judgment was clouded by its cool gothic darkness! Who cares? It’s still cool as shit. I still listen to the soundtrack. I still love this film and its tragic romance. I don’t care! I love it! Oh, and I just want to add that I had to leave a bunch of movies behind when I moved to the U.K. so I gave them to my grandma. She told me later how much she liked that movie The Crow that I left behind. My grandma is 92 now. She’s also clearly cool as shit. – 9/10

Big Daddy – I like Adam Sandler too! I don’t care! So sue me! 🙂 I did a mini-review of this at the link if you’re interested. I admit he’s had some absolute duds but Big Daddy is easily a favorite of mine. I kind of want to give it half a point more but may be judged for already giving an Adam Sandler movie a higher rating than that Lighthouse wankfest above… – 7/10

The Princess And The Frog – This is a better film than Big Daddy so should really be above it but I’m too lazy to move it now. I’d move it up if Tiana had been human for longer! She spent too long as that frog. I wanted more of cool human Tiana in pretty dresses. Where did that come from?! That’s pretty girly for me. Not enough human Tiana and the slightly too annoying Prince are the only negatives, though. Oh, and that other girl (Charlotte) is annoying too but she does grow on you through the film so we’ll forgive that. I remember this coming out just before Tangled and everyone seeming to love that one but I prefer this. I prefer how they stuck with the classic “Disney Princess” animation style for this film. What can I say? I’m old school. The songs are also better overall and I love the Almost There song & great animation in that scene. I like this one. It’s not perfect but is still a really good addition to the many Disney Princess films. – 7.5/10

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Already reviewed this so don’t need to say much but, yes, I’m a Tim Burton fan. This is definitely not one of my favorites but I still like its style and wanted Burton to make a film of it when I read the book as I knew he’d be the perfect choice. – 6.5/10

Mars Attacks! – Not gonna lie, this Tim Burton film definitely isn’t a favorite either. But it’s so uniquely Burton that I can’t help but have some affection for it and its style despite thinking it’s not very good. And I miss having Jack Nicholson in movies! My kid is a Burton fan too so we’re still working through his filmography (she’s seen all the best already, though). Not sure what she thought of this one but think she liked Miss Peregrine okay. But nothing will live up to The Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride for her. – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN MAY

TV SHOWS WATCHED:

Friends: The Reunion – I know some people have a weird hatred of Friends. Not sure why as it was a well-written show with strong characters. I really liked it. Phoebe & Joey helped a lot, though – easily the best & funniest characters. It was great seeing them all together again, even though they got James Corden to host the show. Why, God, Why?!?! Stop hiring that guy! Some of the guests were weird, too. What, you have time for Justin F*%king Bieber but not a lot of the regulars from the show?? Still, am glad they managed to get some good surprise guests from the show. And Phoebe and Joey are still the best. Matt LeBlanc made jokes that were references to the show that the other actors didn’t pick up on & it was adorable that he seems to actually be a fan of the show. Funny to think some of them didn’t really watch it while others did. And Lisa Kudrow was as funny as always and the most fun in this reunion show. Not many people could’ve pulled off the Phoebe character. Or Smelly Cat! She was so perfect in that role. They all were, really – they did a great job choosing this cast. Sad that we’ll probably never see them all together again but I’m glad they did a reunion interview show instead of some actual new episode/movie about the characters. Do NOT want that. It ended well so let’s leave these characters alone.

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 – Ahh. Eurovision. It’s a love/hate relationship. As an American who didn’t grow up with this cheesy goodness, I can’t help but be a little fascinated by it and do watch it every year. Amazing how bad the songs are for a “song contest”! You’d think we’d get a good one far more often. To be fair, there have been a few decent ones in very recent years and of course some good ones from years ago (we have Eurovision to thank for ABBA after all, who won with Waterloo in 1974). Since I moved to the U.K. and started watching it, my favorite remains Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah which won for Finland in 2006. HA! God that was cheesy/hilarious/catchy! Love it. There were a few songs that didn’t suck this year as well. But I’ve already forgotten them all as usual. The winner this year was Italy with the song Zitti e buoni by Måneskin. It’s a shame that Iceland’s Daði Freyr song this year wasn’t quite as good as what they would’ve used in 2020 as THAT song, Think About Things, is actually pretty good (it’s on my playlist!). Speaking of Iceland, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga was a thoroughly entertaining movie & completely captured the spirit of the contest. Loved that there were references to it & the song JaJa Ding Dong in the show this year. The songs are FAR too good in the film, though.

My Name Is Earl: S1 E14-25, S2 E1-4 – Still working through rewatching this & really enjoying it again. The kid loves it (especially when there’s inappropriate humor).

The Crown: S3 E7 – I’m going to get to the Diana years eventually! Still not feeling the cast in Season 3, which is why it’s taking forever to finish it. What even WAS episode 7?? Oh, it was the one focusing on Philip’s obsession with the moon landing. A bit meh but enjoyed the moon landing stuff & Philip meeting the astronauts.

Grey’s Anatomy: S17 E6-9 – They’re still talking about Covid! Ugh. I know this may be the final season and I’d be fine with no longer having the obligation to watch this but I don’t really want it to end on the Covid season. But there aren’t enough good characters anymore since they kicked the majority off the show or gave them stupid deaths to kill them off.

Pick Of The Litter: S1 – I liked this! I watched this after really liking the documentary of the same name. The documentary was better but I liked that the show gave us more of what happened with the guide dogs & those they were given to and how they had to work together with assistance at first to get used to their new dogs. What’s not to like about adorable puppies being trained to be amazing helpers and making a huge difference in someone’s life?

The Flight Attendant: S1 – This was a weird one. It has amazing Saul Bass-inspired opening credits so that got me excited for a good murder mystery when I watched the first episode. The show was a big disappointment and the main character was flaky & very unlikeable so it was hard to give a shit about what would happen to her. Some of the other characters were okay, though, such as her lawyer friend and the dead hottie she wakes up next to in a hotel. But I didn’t really enjoy this show at all and this is why I don’t watch much TV as it feels like a huge waste of time unlike a bad movie only wasting two hours at most. Oh, I also liked Rosie Perez in this but her character has a weird subplot thrown in which I realized wasn’t going to be resolved in the end, meaning there’s going to be another season. Ugh. This is why I like movies! Most of them wrap everything up at the end (Unless a sequel is already planned, of course). I can’t be bothered wasting any more time on this show.

Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.: S1 E1 – What on Earth is this shit on Disney Plus?! Well, I watched one episode and that was enough. It’s like Robot Chicken if Robot Chicken wasn’t funny.

BOOKS READ:

I fully finished reading Roadwork by Stephen King in May, which I reviewed HERE last month. Not my favorite King book. I’ve now started re-reading The Running Man, his final story in The Bachman Books collection, which I’m enjoying much more than Roadwork.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’ll maybe think about going back to posting individual movie reviews as I managed so many in May. I guess they don’t really take any more time than the long roundup posts where I try to review them all at once.

As we’re already into June, here’s what I’ve watched so far this month:

Stop Making Sense – 7.5/10
Misbehaviour – 7/10
When A Stranger Calls – 6.5/10

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Well, crap. I guess cinemas are open again. That’s nice for staff & those who feel safe to go, of course, but I won’t be going so I’ll be missing out on new releases. Really want to see A Quiet Place Part II as I really liked the first film. Also want to see that new Conjuring movie even though I don’t exactly love the Conjuring Universe (but I’ve seen them all so have to watch it eventually!). Looking forward to finally watching Raya And The Last Dragon tonight.

I usually end with a music clip from a movie I’ve watched for the first time but think I should go with something from The Crow soundtrack this time. Here’s Burn by The Cure….

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2021

Happy March, everyone! I watched way too many movies in February. To be fair, though, I did have a week off of work so what else was I going to do?! 🙂

Here are my quickie reviews of every movie & TV show I watched (and two books I read)…

MOVIES WATCHED IN FEBRUARY (ranked best to worst):

Les Diaboliques – I unfortunately saw the terrible 1996 remake of this starring Sharon Stone years ago. Rubbish! I thought I’d managed to completely put it out of my mind until halfway through this original French film, when I suddenly remembered the whole story. Damn. Well, it’s still a fantastic murder-plot-mystery thriller and I’d highly recommend the original film, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, to anyone who likes this sort of genre. (Seriously, do NOT watch the 1996 remake. Ugh.) The wife & the mistress of the same abusive asshole plot to murder him & make it look like an accident. But many weird & inexplicable things happen as the story unfolds. The actresses in this (Simone Signoret & Véra Clouzot) are fantastic and you are rooting for them (especially the poor wife) through the whole film. And do you know what happened when the credits came up at the end of this 1955 movie?! A warning to not spoil the ending of the film for others so that they could enjoy it too! Funny. So people were dicks about spoiling movies in 1955 just like they are in 2021. At least they could avoid Twitter in 1955. – 7.5/10

Willy’s Wonderland – I was never a huge fan of Nicolas Cage but he’s finally growing on me since Mandy. Mandy grew on me a lot too – I wasn’t sure how I felt right away but now I love that film & its look and its amazing score. I now want every Nicolas Cage movie to live up to Mandy but I don’t think any ever will. I did enjoy Color Out Of Space & it certainly gave Mandy a run for its money on “weirdness”. I love weird. It was no Mandy but I’m loving that Cage chooses such bizarre films with cult movie potential. He’s done similar again with Willy’s Wonderland but in the horror comedy genre this time (a favorite subgenre of mine). I was so damn excited to see the trailer for a film starring Cage battling demonic animatronic characters. Love this idea! The film sadly didn’t quite live up to its amazing potential but I still had a lot of fun with it. And Cage was as bonkers as always, even while remaining silent through the whole film. It has a good ’80s slasher sort of vibe to it as well, so I appreciated that. The ’80s had some of the best “bad” horror movies & I’ll always happily watch this kind of thing. – 7.5/10

**Decided to up the rating to 7.5…

The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – Not gonna lie: YA books & movies are a guilty pleasure of mine. Think this one was just a short story instead of a full novel and I’ve not read it but I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. It’s a good story with likeable characters & that’s all I ask for from this genre. It’s also yet anotherGroundhog Day” setup. How many times can this same thing be done?! I think it doesn’t matter as long as the story still manages to feel like it has a unique twist on having to live the same day over & over and this movie does achieve that. Let’s see… Edge Of Tomorrow is still obviously the best film since Groundhog Day with this theme but I’d have to say I preferred The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things to the Happy Death Day movies & Before I Fall. Recommended if you do like the YA genre & a good story. – 7.5/10

**Decided to up the rating to 7.5…

Palmer – I really enjoyed this movie, even though I don’t always go for dramas. It depends on the characters & I liked the characters in this. Justin Timberlake was good as a guy just out of prison who has to try to make a new start & I liked Alisha Wainwright as the teacher of the young boy Timberlake’s character finds himself stuck with when the boy’s troubled mother disappears. The true star is the boy, however, played by Ryder Allen. He’s adorable & super likeable. I think movies often don’t get kids’ characters quite right. They’re sometimes just so obviously saying lines written by an adult screenwriter so it feels awkward (see review below for an example). They don’t act like real kids that age would act. Or, more often, they’re made to be far too “bratty”, which isn’t very realistic either. Not saying kids are never bratty (because they certainly are!!) but I hate how it’s so exaggerated in movies. The boy in this seems real & you just want him to have the best possible life. Yes, the film may be quite predictable & it’s nothing we haven’t seen before but a predictable feelgood film doesn’t exactly do anyone any harm. I liked it. – 7/10

All The President’s Men – I have a confession: This is NOT my type of film. At all. I just very rarely enjoy “historical dramas”. Same goes for true crime. Man, I hate true crime! I have no interest in all the true crime stuff on Netflix that people always go on about. I don’t know why. But I especially hate politics & crime & most of the crappy stuff that goes on in real life. I mainly watch movies for escapism so often go for sci-fi or fantasy or horror. Or, well, any genre really as long as it’s fiction. If I want a genuinely true story, I’ll watch a documentary.

I thought I’d give this one a chance, though, as it’s a respected classic and I really like Robert Redford & Dustin Hoffman. Yeah. It’s good. I guess it’s what you’d call a slow burn as you watch the story gradually unfold through the eyes of the reporters. It felt very “real” but, me being the person-least-interested-in-history-in-the-history-of-history, I haven’t got the slightest clue as to how accurate this movie is on the whole Watergate Richard Nixon thingy. Redford & Hoffman are great (as always). Everyone looks very ’70s which is also great (as always). I ended up playing on my phone through most of this, though, and only kind of paid attention when I realised they were talking to the Deep Throat guy (only porn movie I own!).

I’m sorry. I’m a terrible, terrible movie blogger. This is a classic & I lost interest & I played on my phone & I still have no knowledge of Watergate. But, hey – it’s super tame anyway compared to all the political bullshit these days! Watergate seems like child’s play now. I’ll give this movie a decent score but know it deserves an even higher rating. And speaking of child’s play, it certainly deserves a higher rating than what I gave the Child’s Play 2019 reboot! But I also gave that a 7/10 (it was fun)… – 7/10

Level 16 – No, this movie isn’t exactly the best or most original thing ever made but it IS very much my type of story so I quite enjoyed it. It’s on Netflix & this is the plot synopsis from Wikipedia: “Level 16 is a 2018 sci-fi thriller by filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy. It follows a group of girls who live at a “school” which educates them about how to be perfect young women for families that they are told will eventually adopt them. Two girls work together to uncover the truth about their captivity.” By the way, do NOT look this up on IMDb if you want to see it. The images they show ruin the whole story! WTF? So I knew what was going to happen. But I still enjoyed it. Being someone who grew up loving The Twilight Zone from a very young age, I’d have guessed the ending of this movie anyway as it’s pretty predictable if you watch as much of this sort of thing as I do. I suppose you younger people may also know what to expect if you like Black Mirror. But this is still worth a watch if you like mysterious sci-fi thrillers. – 6.5/10

I Care A Lot – I hadn’t planned on watching this until it ended up being so divisive on Twitter. Man, some people really hate this movie! But others seemed to really enjoy it. Well, movies with such a strong reaction always get me curious so I checked it out expecting to absolutely hate it as I usually despise hateful characters. I want characters to like & to root for!

I enjoyed this film. It’s not one I’ll ever watch again but I enjoyed the ride & thought the performances were good. It goes a bit overboard at the end but, whatever, it’s just a movie so that never really bothers me. And, with everyone going on about how evil these characters are, I thought they’d be far worse. Seriously?! Yeah, Rosamund Pike & Peter Dinklage are assholes. But that’s the whole point? We’re not meant to like them. And there have been many characters in movies just as bad & also much worse. Why such a strong reaction to these characters? Seems strange. I’d also point out that they both have one other person who they clearly love & do truly care about. That’s more than can be said for a lot of “evil” movie characters.

Anyway. I liked this far more than I was expecting so it was a nice surprise. I especially liked Dianne Wiest (always makes me think of The Lost Boys & Edward Scissorhands – she has a great filmography!) & Eiza González was very good as well. So there are two characters who are a little less evil if you really can’t handle Pike & Dinklage. I’d almost give this a higher rating but it’s not a “rewatcher” for me. I’d say just don’t necessarily avoid it based on people being all weird about it. – 6.5/10

Greenland – This was a perfectly fine disaster movie. Not the best but certainly not the worst of this genre. The characters were more likeable than in some of them (I especially liked Scott Glenn as the grandfather). I think we’re all just desperate for blockbuster action movies during lockdown??? So everyone seems to be giving it slightly more praise than it may actually deserve. We’d probably be more harsh on it if we weren’t all stuck indoors with nothing but mediocre Netflix stuff to watch. Compared to most of the straight-to-streaming films we’ve had in the past year, this is one of the better ones. Still far prefer Deep Impact but this was at least less cheesy than Armageddon. – 6.5/10

9 – Somehow missed out on this when released even though its style is the type of thing I like plus I love anything post-apocalyptic. It’s a bit Tim Burton-esque. Which makes sense, as he produced it (he saw & liked the original 9 short film, so produced this feature length film). I wanted to like this one more, as I loved the look and it had so many great names involved. Here’s the synopsis & its stars from Wikipedia: “The film stars the voice of Elijah Wood as a small ragdoll-like robot who awakens shortly after the end of mankind, and must find eight other robots to figure out the mystery behind humanity’s destruction while tangling with the vicious creations of a massive soul-stealing machine, alongside other voices of John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover with Martin Landau and Fred Tatasciore.” I think the story just kind of fell apart plus I wasn’t crazy about the ending. Still a great looking film, though, and am glad to have finally seen it. – 6.5/10

Malcolm & Marie – This was fine. Not sure how to go about reviewing it. It certainly had some issues & some of it came across a bit too “I’m a brilliant filmmaker and my movies are masterpieces and everyone else is an idiot”. Malcolm was hateful as hell as the pretentious filmmaker and complete asshole of a boyfriend. I don’t think I’ve seen anything else that Sam Levinson has done but, looking at his filmography, it doesn’t look all that impressive (does he see himself as Malcolm??). Movies that come across too condescending do annoy the hell out of me. I had the same issues with Marriage Story (I hated that). I didn’t hate this one but I can’t see myself ever wanting to watch it again. Zendaya is definitely the best thing about the film & she does a great job. It’s worth watching just for her performance. John David Washington is good as well, I guess, as he certainly manages to make you hate his character. And people moaned about the characters being too hateful in I Care A Lot?!? Honestly, the guy was a prick. I kind of wanted her to stab him. That would have been a fun turn of events! It would be cool for a movie to go from being all arthouse pretentious to some f*^ked up horror movie like From Dusk Till Dawn at the end. I want to see that version of Malcolm & Marie! I’ll be nice & give it an extra half a point for the good performances. It also made me want some good ‘ol American Mac & Cheese. – 6.5/10

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – This was… Fine? Man, I’ve seen so many “fine” movies in the past year. I’m bored!! Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward.” Emma Roberts is in this. And that guy in the photo who I know from nothing else (Keir Gilchrist. Oops – looks like he was in It Follows, which I loved). And Zach Galifianakis, the dude everyone thought was the guy in the Robert Redford meme on Twitter. It’s a predictable but harmless film. Meh. – 6/10

Finding ‘Ohana – This was fine too. Kind of Goonies-light. Very much aimed at kids, so it wasn’t really for me, but I could see why a kid might really like this one. The characters are fun and they mention “nips” a lot. And one of the girls loves Keanu Reeves, which is totally understandable. Cute movie but watch it with a kid of 11 or younger. – 6/10

News Of The World – This movie probably deserves a higher rating. To be fair, I watched it knowing it’s not really at all my type of thing. I think I just feel like I should watch any big new releases that other bloggers are talking about but I’ve been underwhelmed with 90% of the newer films released on streaming services in the past year. Hanks was his usual Hanks-self & the girl was pretty good (Helena Zengel). And I was pretty bored. It ended well, though. So that’s nice. – 6/10

Over The Moon – This started out strong but I lost interest halfway through (and may have fallen asleep for a while). It’s a cute movie with a likeable girl and fun younger boy and adorable pet rabbit. It’s also a musical but the songs aren’t very good. It may have actually been better without the songs. It’s also another movie very much aimed at kids (mine is a bit too old for it & seemed bored by the end). Am sure young kids would like it and the super cute pet bunny, though. – 5.5/10

In Fabric – This was bizarre. I was very excited to see this on BBC iPlayer as it looked like just my type of thing. I like to watch these “Giallo-inspired” movies. But then they end up being really shit & I think I’d have been better off just watching an actual Italian horror from the ’70s instead of a very poor imitation. Hated that Suspiria remake too! What was the point of that?? Well, at least this was an original story instead of a remake, I guess.

I did like director Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio okay but this one didn’t really work. I’d say there were certain things I liked about it, though. The score & the look were fine (even though it’s ripping off the Giallo style – Again, I should have just checked out another Dario Argento film even though I know none are as good as Deep Red or Suspiria). There are also two stories in this weird “killer dress” movie & the second one sucks. The first one, starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste & Gwendoline Christie, actually wasn’t too bad & I’d be giving the film a higher rating if it had ended there. Why did they feel the need to add the second? Also, the movie is veeeeery slow & the first story dragged on for far longer than it needed to. I think this may have actually been a decent horror anthology instead with four or five movies involving the killer dress. I’d watch several really good stories about a killer dress! Why do one okay story & one completely rubbish one?? Well, I don’t recommend this unless you like slightly boring modern movies that poorly rip off ’70s horror classics (if you liked The Love Witch, which I thought was terrible, you’d probably like In Fabric). – 5/10

Saint Frances – Didn’t like this one. This is just one of those movies where you don’t really care about anyone. The main character is boring & self-absorbed. The only decent characters are the cute young girl & her mother who has a new baby so needs to hire the main character as a nanny to help take of her. Where I mentioned in the review for Palmer above that a lot of writers don’t seem to know how to write child characters? This is one of those. The girl is super cute and I think 5 or 6 years old but talks like an adult sometimes. It doesn’t work. And I know I did a list of My Top Ten Period Dramas but there was waaaaay too much of that in this movie. No thanks. – 5/10

Shorts & Miscellaneous

Wayne & Garth for Uber Eats – I’m a huge Wayne’s World fan. I (kind of) reviewed it HERE. I love Wayne and adore Garth and they’re the two movie characters I’d probably most like to hang out with. I couldn’t believe it when I found out there was a two and a half hour Wayne & Garth Uber Eats “ad”. There is! It’s HERE! And I watched all of it. It was the perfect thing to just stick on in the background – it really feels like you’re just hanging out with Wayne & Garth in Wayne’s basement. There are a couple of guest stars too (one of them is super cool but not a surprise to fans). Highly recommend leaving this on one day if you’re a fan of these guys & just want to hang out with them for a couple of hours.

Rewatched

The Breakfast Club – It would have been the 71st birthday of John Hughes in February & we felt like rewatching a couple of his films. I also again shared all the links to all the guest reviews from the John Hughes Blogathon I had here. Well, I already reviewed The Breakfast Club at the above link so won’t do that here. I’ll just say that I still love it now as much as I did in the ’80s. It’s still my favorite Hughes movie. – 9/10

The Matrix – Thought it was time to introduce this one to the kid. She loved it! She does love a really interesting concept. I have to admit I’d not rewatched it in years, especially after the horrible sequels. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this again & think it has aged very well. I’m now maybe a bit more excited about The Matrix 4 (even though the last two were huge disappointments). We’ll see. It won’t live up to the first film, though. It really is a modern classic. – 8.5/10

Sixteen Candles – Watched this one too in honor of John Hughes. It’s another favorite (reviewed in full in my link). – 8.5/10

Ponyo – Rewatching a lot of my Studio Ghibli favorites. Again, I won’t go into this as I reviewed it in full at the link but I love Ghibli & Ponyo is great. Am also very happy to have introduced another blogger to Studio Ghibli via this film, which she chose as the first one to check out. You can read Claire’s review of Ponyo HERE at Cinematic Delights. Think we may have a new Ghibli fan! 🙂 – 8/10

Catch Me If You Can – Still love this Steven Spielberg movie. Think it doesn’t get quite as much attention as his other films but it’s such a fascinating true story plus Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio & Christopher Walken are all fantastic. Highly recommend it if you’ve never seen it. – 8/10

Tremors – Hadn’t watched this one in years after watching it many times in my teens. I remember this being on TV all the time in America. It’s unfortunately one that ended up being not quite as good as I remembered but it’s still a really fun monster movie slash horror comedy. – 7/10

The Devil Wears Prada – I do enjoy this movie, despite finding Anne Hathaway annoying & not being a big “chick flick” girl and not being into fashion whatsoever (what a stupid waste of money). But the story is fun, Emily Blunt is entertaining, and Meryl Streep is great as a complete & total bitch. She’d get along with Malcolm! Hey, this character is super hateful but people don’t moan about this movie like they moaned about I Care A Lot… Oh, I also admit that I like any movie that has a makeover scene. Why?!? No idea. Oh, and I also like Stanley Tucci. This is one of the better “chick flicks”. I shouldn’t call it that, though. I hate that term. This is a good film. What do we call the equivalent male films starring the likes of Steven Seagal, etc? Those don’t get condescending names, do they?! And there are some terrible “bro movies”. – 7.5/10

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – Another rewatch that wasn’t as good as I’d remembered. Still think it’s a fun film, though, and there’s nothing else quite like it so I like that as I watch too many movies that all feel the same. It’s very of its time, though, so can see its fans mainly being of the right age when this came out who have a thing for all the fairly big name actors in it. They’ll be nostalgic for it the same way that I am for ’80s movies that don’t necessarily translate to a new, younger audience. – 7/10

The Maze Runner – I remember quite liking this when it came out. It even made me buy the books after so I could read them (even though I prefer to read the book before seeing the movie). Wow, those books were disappointing!! Maybe that’s partly why I didn’t enjoy this film as much on the rewatch, as I know how terrible the sequels were and how strange the books were. Too bad, as this first movie is still a decent film in the YA dystopian genre. – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Moon by James Herbert – Supernatural horror is my favorite genre to read. This book had been lying around the house for years so I finally read it since libraries have been closed for the past year. Also, I really liked Herbert’s freaky deaky book The Rats so decided I might as well try a second book of his. The Rats was more fun (but super gross). Moon is about a guy with a psychic connection to some psycho murderer & it’s exactly what you’d expect from this type of story. I’ve read loads of stories like this, so… I don’t have a lot to say. It passed the time & I’ll completely forget it years from now. Kind of like how all the Dean Koontz books I read all meld together in my mind & I honestly never know if I read one years ago or not but I still love to read his stuff… – 2.5/5

Iggie’s House by Judy Blume – As I said, libraries have been closed for a year so I’m grabbing whatever books are around the house. I stocked up on Judy Blume books from charity shops for my kid years ago as I grew up on Blume’s books. I’d actually not read this one as a kid and I’m obviously not the target audience now (the kid is too old for it now too – Damn, I don’t think she read all the Judy Blumes I got her!). It’s about racism & obviously seems dated now plus it’s overly simplistic. But it’s also clearly aimed at very young kids so I suppose it’s a good introduction to this sort of topic for them. The kids in it are good characters & they don’t fully understand the adults & their behaviour. It’s written from the point of view of an 11-year-old girl & I think Blume does well to get inside the head of a kid this age. Like I said above, many adults don’t seem to know how to write kids but Blume does, which is why kids liked her books at the time (don’t think they’re as popular now, unfortunately, due to many probably seeming dated). – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

The Muppet Show – Watched four or five of these when they showed up on Disney Plus. Loved how excited everyone was on Twitter! Everyone seemed to be watching them at the same time. This show is a classic & it’s amazing how much I giggled while watching these again despite being an adult (well, not sure I’m an adult but I’m old). I absolutely adore the genuinely funny family comedy in this show. It’s brilliant. The two best we’ve rewatched so far are the Rita Moreno & Mark Hamill episodes (obviously seen the Hamill one many times, though). Wish we had access to ALL of them but think certain episodes, such as the Johnny Cash one, have been pulled? Well, at least that 12 second message they’ve slapped onto the start of each episode of this amazing show gives you time to go grab a snack. Guess we just have to be thankful that they let us watch some stuff from the past still? It won’t last. Grab this stuff on DVD before they go fully Fahrenheit 451 on our asses.

WandaVision: Season 1 Episodes 5-8 – Really been enjoying this even though I’m not a huge Marvel fan (seen all the MCU films, though). I do like how original this show feels as I was getting bored with all the superhero stories, which all end up being exactly the same in all the films. Although, the same thing is obviously happening on this show now as more is being revealed & they’re no longer on the “classic TV sitcom” thing, which was fun. Also, I’ve never seen an episode of Modern Family – it was more fun when I understood the references. The penultimate episode was a bit of a letdown but it needed to lead into the finale at the end of this week, so it did well in getting us all excited for the final episode. Really looking forward to it & will be sure to avoid Twitter on Friday until I’ve seen it.

21 Jump Street: Season 1 Episodes 1 (double Episode) & 2 – This is on Amazon Prime U.K., FYI. Being Gen X, I loved this show at the time & was of course in love with Johnny Depp. Forced my kid to watch the first few episodes. She likes it so far. Yay! I was surprised as it’s admittedly a bit dated. There was also a guest star in the first one whose acting was truly abysmal & we both had a good laugh over that. Hoping to watch some more, as I know it got better & also a bit more serious later on.

Raising Hope: Season 1 Episodes 1-11 – This is on Disney Star. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone! Am pretty sure we’re the only family watching it as clearly no one has complained about it yet to force a 12 second warning message onto it. I’d seen some of these at the time (off & on – I had a young baby). I’d kind of forgotten about it & how funny it was. We’re loving watching these (especially the kid as it’s borderline inappropriate). What can I say? I love sitcoms about dysfunctional American families. They’re the only types of sitcoms I’ve ever really gone for. I hate “perfect” families. Give me the f*#ked up ones! Can see why I like this, as it’s created by the same guy (Greg Garcia) who did My Name Is Earl. Loved that too.

The Crown: Season 3 Episode 3 – Still seriously not feeling the new cast in The Crown, which is probably why we’ve slowed way down on watching these. Man, Claire Foy & Co were so much better!! Episode 3 of Season 3 (Aberfan) was really good. A very tragic story I knew of but didn’t know much about. Heartbreaking. Will try to watch more as want to get to the Diana years but am not loving the show currently.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’m going to try to get back onto watching films for my 2013 IMDb Top 250 Challenge as I only have 34 of those 250 left to watch. I’ll post about that sometime soon & rank the 65 that I’ve watched for the project so far.

I’m also going to start a Best Picture Oscar Project & try to watch all the Best Picture Oscar Winners. Will post about that closer to Oscar-time. I just realised after watching It Happened One Night in January that I’ve seen a lot of the winners anyway (there are only 31 I have yet to see).

I’d also planned to stick a list of my favorite old movies recently added to Disney Star U.K. at the end of this post but it’s ended up long enough already so I won’t bore you with my weird taste in movies. I’ll just say that I’m super excited that Ladyhawke & Can’t Buy Me love are on there, so that gives you an idea of my Gen X tastes. Maybe I’ll bore you all with a separate post about it.

Let’s end with a classic clip from The Muppet Show

Watched, Read, Reviewed: March 2020

Hi all. Hope everyone is well & keeping safe.

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

MOVIES REVIEWED IN MARCH

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

MOVIES WATCHED IN MARCH (ranked best to worst)

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

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

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

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

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

Rewatched:

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

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

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

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

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

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

MUSIC, BOOKS, TV, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

MUSIC LISTENED TO

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

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

BOOKS READ

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

TV SHOWS WATCHED

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG PLANS FOR AUGUST

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

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

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

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

Watched, Read, Reviewed: April 2019

Happy (middle of) May, everyone! Why is it still cold?! Here’s what I watched and partially read in April…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Avengers: Endgame – 8/10
Dumbo – 7/10
Shazam! – 7/10
Pet Sematary – 7/10
Greta – 6.5/10
Unicorn Store – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Avengers: Endgame – 8/10

Wind River – This was really good. This was directed & written by Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote the brilliant Sicario and Hell Or High Water. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “A veteran hunter helps an FBI agent investigate the murder of a young woman on a Wyoming Native American reservation.” As someone who isn’t normally a fan of “crime dramas”, I loved all three of these films. I think this is probably thanks to Sheridan’s writing as the characters are so strong and so real. You can feel the grief of the parents of the murdered girl and the conversations, especially between Renner’s character & the murdered girl’s father, come across as very genuine. I often find that movie dialogue feels phoney so I love that Sheridan’s characters in these three films feel so natural & are so well-developed. And, yeah, it was kind of fun seeing Hawkeye & Scarlet Witch together in this. I highly recommend this movie if you like a serious crime drama that takes its time focusing on the characters, which is always important to me. If you liked either of the other two Sheridan films I mentioned, you should like Wind River too. – 7.5/10


The Hunt (Jagten) – Finally got around to watching this as I wanted to see Mads Mikkelsen‘s performance plus the film was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and is in the IMDb Top 250. It’s not a topic I’m comfortable with but it was handled well & Mikkelsen was fantastic. It takes place in a small community and focuses on how a little lie/misunderstanding goes too far & completely destroys Mikkelsen’s life. It’s a good film with great performances and I’d recommend it but you have to be in the mood for a serious drama. – 7.5/10


Cold War – This was a very good but not a great film. I was hoping for a bit more when people raved about this last year (it was up for the Best Foreign Film Oscar along with Roma & Shoplifters (which is the one I want to see the most). Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “In the 1950s, a music director falls in love with a singer and tries to persuade her to flee communist Poland for France.” I did enjoy the story and the look of the film plus I love when a storyline spans so many years (especially when it involves lovers separated & reunited over those years). I think the biggest problem for me was that, unfortunately, I didn’t like the female character. She was very hard to like and I didn’t understand why she did what she did (I’ll leave it at that as I’m obviously avoiding spoilers). I at first liked how headstrong she was but it was frustrating as her personality caused so much pain by the end. It was still a good film and I did like the male lead – I was just hoping to like them both and to want them together. Oh well – At least Cold War was much better than that snoozefest winner Roma… – 7/10

Dumbo – 7/10

Shazam! – 7/10

Pet Sematary – 7/10

Greta – 6.5/10


Repulsion – This film deserves to be higher on the list. It’s artsy fartsy & “worthy” but I can’t say I exactly enjoyed it. However, Catherine Deneuve was very good & it’s worth watching for her performance. I decided to watch this Roman Polanski film after liking Deneuve in a somewhat similar role in Belle de Jour. I haven’t seen her in much – I don’t know why she played a sexually repressed woman in both of these but she handles this type of character well. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you don’t know anything about Repulsion: “A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister’s boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.” Obviously, having come out in 1965, it seems tame now but I would imagine this was a very shocking film at the time. The pacing is very slow & it does take a long time before much of anything happens, so bear that in mind if you choose to watch it. I have to say I preferred Belle de Jour. I was hoping this would be much weirder, based on that image I used at the top of this post of Deneuve in the hallway with all the hands coming out of the walls. It’s not, though – it’s a pretty straightforward story of a woman who may have experienced sexual abuse in the past (I think this is implied), which eventually drives her insane. Deneuve is great in these films, though, and I’d watch her in other movies based on what I’ve seen so far. – 7/10

Unicorn Store – 6.5/10


Eddie The Eagle – This was fine. It’s a pretty typical British feel-good family movie. I didn’t know a thing about the real life guy or his story so I found it interesting. He was certainly a character. The film itself is just okay, though. Yeah, it’s a little cheesy and I’d say the performances are a bit phoned-in but, hell, who cares? It’s a nice story and we could use more nice stories nowadays. If you liked Cool Runnings, it’s very likely you’d enjoy this one as well. And the final half hour makes up for the film being somewhat slow to get going. – 6/10


Black Snake Moan – I’ve been on a Samuel L. Jackson kick lately. Love him! So I figured I’d finally check this one out. Well, this was an odd one. And, man, I didn’t think I’d ever see Christina Ricci naked, which was disturbing as she’ll always be a little kid to me (despite not being TOO much younger than me). I’m not sure what to say about this film. At least it wasn’t boring? It was hard to like the characters to begin with but Jackson’s & even Ricci’s do grow on you, especially as you get to know why Ricci’s is as messed-up as she is. I liked the strange friendship between these two and you do want everyone to find happiness at the end. Also, the music was really good. Was that Jackson really singing?! That was a treat. Overall, I did like the film and enjoyed that it was so “different”. But I can’t say it’s one I’d have the desire to watch a second time. – 6/10


Must Love Dogs – This was dull. A lifeless & predictable rom-com. To be fair, this isn’t exactly a favorite genre of mine so I may not be the best judge. I tend to watch movies like these if I like the stars and I love both Diane Lane & John Cusack, although I’ve gone off of him slightly in recent years. I think I’ll always just see him as perfect boyfriend Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. Anyway. Hmm. What can I say? The story goes exactly as you’d expect. What was disappointing was that Lane & Cusack had ZERO chemistry. Think this was more Cusack’s fault as he seemed bored while Lane was as charming as she usually is, even though she’s seriously typecast in this genre. Oh! And there weren’t enough dogs. Must Love DOGS. Where were the loads of cute fucking dogs?! False advertising! Meh. Whatever. I’ll forget this movie in a year. Oh – Stockard Channing was quite enjoyable in this, though. – 5.5/10


Suspiria (2018) – What. The. Actual. Fuck. Okay, I admit I’ve only seen the original Suspiria once and don’t remember much other than the Goblin score, which I fricking love and listen to regularly. I know I liked the overall vibe. I really should watch the film again. Italian horror is one of the very few genres I’ve not yet really explored. This remake is an incoherent mess. It’s laughable, especially in the final half hour. At least I was “rewarded” with a good laugh over the ending’s absolute ridiculousness after suffering through this otherwise boring thing for HOURS (2 hours & 32 fucking minutes!!!).

Why do they keep remaking films that are considered classics?! WHY?!? I don’t get it. I understand that there are fans of the giallo horror thing but don’t understand why, if people want a 2018 giallo movie, filmmakers can’t just make an original film with the same characteristics???? I’d totally watch that. Why shit on a classic’s legacy? I think this was also disappointing as the trailer and especially the poster (which is great!) almost made this look promising despite it starring Dakota Johnson. As much as remakes & reboots piss me off, I admit that they occasionally work and have even liked a few. I’m a fan of 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead even though the 1978 film is one of my all-time favorite movies, probably because it wasn’t a straight remake but more of a respectful & enjoyable reimagining. It almost felt as if 2018 Suspiria had zero regard for what made the original such a beloved classic for many horror fans.

I’ve read no reviews of this version but am *assuming* that those who love the original hated this and those who loved this hated or probably didn’t even see the original. I’d like to hear from anyone who loves both versions of Suspiria – I’d love to know the reasons why. I saw so many people on Horror Twitter raving about this remake so I’m actually quite confused as I thought it was a dreadful mess. Give me Mandy instead of 2018 Suspiria! It’s hard to not compare the two as they’re both pretentious artsy horror films that came out the same year and are both extremely divisive. Mandy is weird as hell but has originality and style. Suspiria tries too hard and just comes across as desperate and phoney.

I should say something nice… Um. I think Thom Yorke was a great choice to do the music for this and was one of the reasons I wanted to watch the film. The music starts out promising in the very beginning but then I no longer noticed it. I don’t know if there was less music in the second half or if I just no longer noticed it as I slowly lost the will to live. But nothing will EVER beat the original’s Goblin score anyway so why bother. – 4.5/10


The Grand Budapest Hotel – This is an IMDb Top 250 film so I might review it at some point with the others I’ve watched this year. I hated it. I got sick of people telling me I should watch it so I finally did. Just trust me when I say I hate Wes Anderson films! 😉 – 5/10


Barely Lethal – Like Black Snake Moan, I mainly watched this because of Samuel L. Jackson. Also, the IMDb plot synopsis sounds quite fun: “A teenage special ops agent coveting a “normal” adolescence fakes her own death and enrolls in a suburban high school. She quickly learns that surviving the treacherous waters of high school is more challenging than international espionage.” See? That sounds like a great setup! Unfortunately, the movie is a bore. It could’ve been a great teen flick with dark humor but it’s unfunny with underdeveloped characters you don’t give a shit about. Whatever. I have no energy left to write about this and the next two films after my lengthy Suspiria rant. Let’s just say that it’s pretty bad that I have several films ranked BELOW Suspiria. At least parts of Suspiria were memorable. There! I said another nice thing about Suspiria! I’ve just said the word Suspiria way too many times. Anyway – I always prefer memorable, even when I hate a film, to one that’s just plain dull. – 5/10


The Spy Who Dumped Me – Ugh. Not sure why I watched this as I hate the majority of modern comedies. I like the two actresses, though, and often find Kate McKinnon funny so gave it a chance. She’s funny at times but the film is so fucking bad that it didn’t matter. What a waste of time. Maybe I need a new hobby. – 4/10


Baywatch – Good Lord. I can’t do this. I’m too tired for another rant. This is quite possibly the biggest pile of shit I’ve seen since Jennifer’s Body. It may even be worse than Jug Face. I’ve never seen a less funny “comedy”. I think I need to stop watching movies. Maybe I’ll become a food blog. I hate cooking and I hate food but I hate that shit like this gets made and widely distributed while indie & foreign films with rave reviews that I desperately want to see don’t show anywhere near me and often don’t show up on any of the many services I can’t afford but pay for anyway just to stand a chance of seeing ONE decent fucking film once in a blue moon!!!! – 2/10

Re-Watched:

Save The Last Dance – I love that the kid is getting older and liking more films such as Save The Last Dance. We’ll be onto teen movies before too long. Can’t wait to start on the introduction of John Hughes movies! Okay – she’ll probably hate those since most teens seem to hate those these days. Oh well. I enjoyed watching Save The Last Dance again as I’d not seen it in years. It’s not my era (I’m clearly an 80s/early 90s teen) but it’s an enjoyable teen dance flick (the kid loves Honey as well). It’s a bit dated & cheesy but I’m sure it’s a favorite for many girls who were teenagers in 2001. I kind of miss the teen dance flick genre… – 6.5/10

Fell Asleep During:

Dog Days – I think I need a new section for “Movies I can’t review because I slept through them“. This happens a lot. I’m old and I’m tired. I slept off and on through Dog Days. It seemed to be a perfectly fine, bland, wholesome family film. Needed more dogs. I might have stayed awake for a load of cute puppies. But at least it had way more dogs than Must Love Dogs!!!! I didn’t feel as cheated by a misleading title this time.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Been too busy so haven’t been reading as much. Have started The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub. Really good so far! Not sure why I never read this King novel as I try to read everything he writes…

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Game Of Thrones – *Sigh*

This post is so damn long. I’m tired. I don’t have the energy to get into what a massive disappointment the final season of Game Of Thrones has been so far. I’m writing this after seeing the first four episodes of the final season so a lot has happened but it all feels very rushed. It feels like the writers said “Let’s just get this fucking thing over with”. Screw it – I’ll wait & maybe write more in next month’s post after the series has finished. Maybe the final episodes will turn everything around & make this show good again.

Tales Of The Unexpected – Just after moving to the UK, I discovered Tales Of The Unexpected. As my favorite TV show EVER is The Twilight Zone, imagine my delight to discover a British show with similar weird stories & good twists. Years ago they did a marathon of these shows on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day & I spent hours watching them. Do I know how to party or WHAT?! My all-nighters tend to involve watching weird shit. Anyway – I noticed this was on Now TV so I’ve been watching these episodes off & on again. They’re good to stick on while using the exercise bike. I still love the show. Good job, Roald Dahl! Here’s the IMDb link to Tales Of The Unexpected for any Americans who may not know what the hell I’m talking about…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans! Too busy. As always, I’ll try to review what I see in the cinema.

May Movie Releases I Might Watch:

The Curse Of La Llorona – Will wait for Netflix like I do with most shitty horror. I watch too much shitty horror.

Long Shot – Looks like a decent enough but probably predictable Seth Rogen rom-com. Might try to check it out (after payday – I’m broke!).

Tolkien – Am interested in this as love Tolkien’s writing but will wait for Netflix. I’m not that into biographies.

Vox Lux – Liked the sound of this Natalie Portman movie but reviews aren’t great. Damn. Will skip for now. As I said, I’m broke!

A Dog’s Journey – I actually liked A Dog’s Purpose quite a bit (and it had lots of DOGS in it!!!) so I do want to see this sequel.

High Life – Like Mandy & Suspiria, this sounds like another extremely divisive, artsy fartsy, highly pretentious film. PLUS it’s sci-fi, my favorite genre?! This is SO the type of thing I’ll watch and either love to death or hate with the same passion as Suspiria. Can’t wait!!!

Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Saw this already. It’s, um… Well, it’s a Pokémon movie. I think you need to be a serious Pokémon fan to truly like this one. I fully admit to loving Pikachu, though. Pikachu is adorable and a great character.

The Hustle – Nah. Fuck this. I’ve been burned by too many shitty comedies. I may never watch another modern “comedy” thanks to Baywatch.

Destination WeddingKeanu Reeves & Winona Ryder!!! You’d have to pay me to NOT watch this.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Keanu Reeves again!!! Love him so will of course watch this, despite these films not actually being favorites of mine. Oh that adorable dog from the first one!!!! I might cry now. Why have I mentioned dogs so much in this post?! I don’t even have a dog. I want a John Wick beagle…

Aladdin – No. Fuck off with these live-action Disney remakes. I said Dumbo would be my last one & meant it. And this one looks awful from the trailer! Looks like a low budget straight-to-DVD mess.

Rocketman – Yep. Will check this one out as I love a music biopic, even when I don’t necessarily love the artist. Would anyone admit to liking Elton John’s music?? It’s old fart music (I can say that since I’m an old fart). I think his life story will be fascinating, though.

Booksmart – This sounds like it could be a fun teen flick.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters – Have there been trailers for this?? I’m very out of the loop at the moment. Hope this is a kick-ass blockbuster.

Ma – This could be fun or utterly ridiculous. Will wait for reviews.

Here’s the brilliant Goblin theme music from the only version of Suspiria that should be watched…

Dumbo (2019) Review

Dumbo (2019)

Directed by Tim Burton

Based on Disney’s Dumbo by Otto Englander, Joe Grant & Dick Huemer and on Dumbo by Helen Aberson & Harold Pearl

Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’m really sick of these Disney live-action remakes of animated classics. I don’t see the point. From recent trailers, The Lion King looks like a soulless copy and Aladdin looks absolutely dreadful. Beauty And The Beast pretty much sucked (but I can’t stand Emma Watson so that didn’t help). I didn’t mind Cinderella but I wonder if it would just annoy me if I watched it again now that I’m sick of all these live-action remakes. I’ve kind of vowed to no longer waste my money going to see this shit.

But I knew I’d go to Dumbo because it’s Tim Burton. I’m a hypocrite. I know his best films are far in the past but I still haven’t given up on him and I wanted to see what he’d do with this film. Plus Dumbo himself was so adorable in the trailers. I’ve always loved that baby elephant! Well, I enjoyed this film. It’s a good one to end on. I’ll happily watch no more live-action remakes after this one.

I feel like I have to justify liking a live-action remake. What can I say? I still love that baby elephant. Of course this comes nowhere near the original film and it breaks my heart that some kids may be watching these remakes before the animated films. Or not watching the animated films at all. For some reason, I prefer when these remakes aren’t an exact copy (which The Lion King looks like). I don’t mind having extra bits of story added on, making it feel like an entirely separate film and therefore not messing with the original film’s legacy in my mind. This movie isn’t Dumbo to me. It never will be. But I think they did well with the character of Dumbo himself and he was by far the best thing about this film (as he should be). Dumbo is the true star of this movie.


The reviews I’ve read have all said that it’s the human characters that let this film down. This is true, although they aren’t terrible. They’re bland but not hateful. The only truly weak one is Michael Keaton’s completely generic baddie but the rest are good enough to support the overall story about a flying elephant. Colin Farrell and his two children (Nico Parker & Finley Hobbins), who are the main human characters, are fine but these roles could’ve been played by anyone. However, Danny DeVito & Eva Green are fun to watch and perfect for Tim Burton’s films – you can understand why he sticks with his favorite actors in so many of his films. The human stories were good enough to keep the film interesting while not overlooking the fact that the one story that really matters is Dumbo’s. And I liked the ending. I’m fine with all the changes in the second half as it’s so different from the original that it hasn’t destroyed my love for the animated film. I also liked how they incorporated the Pink Elephants On Parade bit into this film.

Is it weird that I feel bad for liking the new Dumbo?? I do seriously wish they’d stop with these live-action remakes but, in this case, I was happy seeing this character in a new way. He’s always been a favorite Disney character of mine and I think they did a good job with the look him. They got a good balance between making him look like a real elephant but also sort of “cartoony”, and his adorable blue eyes are very expressive. They did a better job with him than with the other CGI animals in these Disney remakes. I also enjoyed the overall production design of this film, but that’s usually the case with Burton’s movies. None of these Disney remakes will ever top the animated classics but at least the 2019 Dumbo hasn’t destroyed the original film’s legacy for me.

My Rating: 7/10

I’ve added Dumbo to my full ranked list of all the Tim Burton movies I’ve seen HERE. I guess I better finally watch Dark Shadows as it’s the only full-length film he’s directed that I’ve not seen.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016) & The Girl On The Train (2016) Reviews

Two quick reviews of two film adaptations of two books I read. My reviews of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs can be found HERE & The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins HERE. Okay, one is a thriller but the other is close enough to being a “horror” so I’m doing these for October Horror Month. Let’s see what I thought of the movies…

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016)

Directed by Tim Burton

Screenplay by Jane Goldman

Based on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

My Opinion:

When I was in the middle of reading this book years ago, I said to the hubby “Tim Burton needs to make this into a movie”. Imagine my surprise when Hollywood did something right for a change! He was the absolute perfect choice to adapt this book & he did a very good job with it. The problem is that 1) I didn’t exactly love the book, although I loved the “gimmick” of the old photographs that were used throughout it and 2) Tim Burton hasn’t made anything truly fantastic in years, which still breaks my heart as I absolutely adored his oldest films. I’d say this was somewhat a return to form for Burton but, as I said, I didn’t love the source material so was unlikely to love the movie.

From what I remember of the book, it seems a faithful adaptation until the end. But I didn’t care enough to continue reading the books so it’s possible the movie continues a bit into the next book for all I know? I wouldn’t say it renewed my interest enough to read the remaining books but I’d certainly watch a sequel if Burton makes one. The performances were pretty strong and, like Burton being the perfect choice for director, I think Eva Green was a perfect choice for playing Miss Peregrine. The child actors also all did a good job (I think Burton always does well in casting his films), with the lead young roles (played by Asa Butterfield & Ella Purnell) as the standouts. Terence Stamp & especially Judi Dench weren’t given much to do, which was a shame. And I enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson as always (who doesn’t love Sam Jackson?!) but he’s phoning it in a bit with this baddie role. Sorry, Mr. Jackson! I apologize a trillion times!


Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a good adaptation of a bizarre book thanks to its also bizarre director. And I liked the look & vibe of it, as I always do with Burton’s style. I wish I liked both the book and the film more than I do, though. I like “weird” so can’t really put my finger on why the story didn’t quite work for me. With the book, I think I just couldn’t connect with the characters. To be fair, I think Burton improved on this with the film and I’d say this is one of those cases where the movie might be slightly better than the book. It also helped that it got a proper ending, as opposed to the open-ended cliffhanger that just left me frustrated with the book.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Girl On The Train (2016)

Directed by Tate Taylor

Based on The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Lisa Kudrow

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

My Opinion:

I thought this book, although fun in a pulp-y sort of way, was pretty horrible. This was mainly because the characters were all truly hateful. The story itself was okay and I found it a very quick read as I wanted to get to the resolution of its mystery but, wow, I didn’t give the slightest crap what would happen to any of the characters. Not even ONE likable person? Really?? I’ll never understand stories that choose to make us despise everyone in them. And the thing with the baby upset me too much (and kind of pissed me off).

Well, the movie is a faithful adaptation, so… What can I say? I didn’t like the book so I wasn’t going to like a faithful adaptation anyway. The fact that is stars Emily Blunt, who is kind of a girl crush of mine, is what made me even bother to stick this on one evening & half pay attention to it. Meh. I don’t know. I just didn’t care. The actors did what they could with the material but the material was weak. Hold on a second – in this double review, Danny Elfman did the music for this movie but not the Tim Burton movie?! Now that’s bizarre.

My Rating: 5/10

My Blog’s August 2016 Recap

Happy September, everyone! I know I say this same sort of thing every month but I’m serious this time: When the hell did it suddenly become September?! Ahh… Back to school, after school clubs, no holidays & having no life. Not that I have a life any other month of the year anyway. Oh, and then it’ll be winter & I’ll moan even more. God I hate winter. Oh wow – I’m sounding so positive! Here’s a recap of what I posted in August…

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: Stranger Things Poster Art By Kyle Lambert. Holy shitballs – people love Stranger Things! I had a lot of comments on this post. I didn’t say much other than that I was watching it & that I liked the above artwork by artist Kyle Lambert. I did really enjoy the show & I want to see more. The hype was a bit much, though, and the “1980s” thing felt too forced sometimes. But, hell, I adore that decade so I’m not going to complain about that too much.

My Favorite Post: The Legend Of Billie Jean, Less Than Zero & Private School “80’s Quickie Movie Reviews” Post. Speaking of the 1980s, my favorite post was probably the one with my three short reviews of movies from my favorite decade. I’ll always love discussing & reminiscing about movies from this time period, even though I’m pretty much on my own when I do. This post got 5 comments & hardly any views. Ha! Don’t care – I’ll never stop posting about movies that no one under 35 has seen. (Btw – there were boobs in that post. Maybe it’ll get some views now…) 😉

*Baby Dory is one of the most adorable things ever

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: Finding Dory

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
The Legend Of Billie Jean
Pete’s Dragon
Finding Dory
The Book Thief
Lights Out
Swallows And Amazons
Less Than Zero
Paper Towns
Private School

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
Pete’s Dragon
Lights Out
Swallows And Amazons

At Home (ranked best to worst):
Carol
The Good Dinosaur
Fright Night (2011)
The Invitation
Pan

TOP TEN LISTS

Top Ten Celebrities With Color Names
Top Ten Madonna Songs
Top Ten Christian Slater Movies
Top Ten Tim Burton Movies

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “Jennifer Connelly white top”. The pervy Googlers strike again! Okay, there’s the photo of said white top above. Various versions of this search term come up a lot – the photo is from the rather bad film Career Opportunities, which I reviewed HERE for my John Hughes Blogathon. The post also contains a pervy gif of Connelly suggestively riding a toy horse while wearing said white top. I apologize – I clearly encouraged the pervy Googlers with that post…

My Favorite Search Term: “film mit killer penis”. It’s my favorite this month because WTF is that? I can usually figure out why a search term brought someone to my blog but, nope, not this time. Were they trying to type “film WITH killer penis“? If so, I’m still pretty sure I haven’t written about a movie with a killer penis. Were they searching for the Tromeo & Juliet penis monster from my Class Of Nuke ‘Em High review? Eh. Maybe.

Here are my top search terms for the month:

BOOKS

I kept it in the King family with my selection of books in August!

Book I Reviewed: The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Book I Finished Reading: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Book I Started Reading: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

August was the first month where I didn’t manage to watch or review anything from my 2016 Blind Spot list. Too busy. Oh well – I promise I’ll still do 12 by the end of the year. I realized that I put three horror movies on my list so I plan to post reviews of all three in October (including Phenomena, starring Jennifer Connelly once again in a white top!). I’ll probably post the missing Blind Spot review in November. You all told me last month that it should be Zodiac so I’ll try to make that my November post & then Akira in December.

For September, I’m again going to take it easy on posts due to lack of time for blogging. I have more of my “lazy but fun” actor top tens already written & scheduled for the entire month (yay me!). Oh, and Music Video Friday is ready to go for the entire month as well. No one looks at those posts. Don’t care – I like ’em! 😉 I’ll post reviews of movies I see in the cinema but I mainly want to spend September writing my horror movie reviews for my usual October Month Of Horror.

Upcoming Movies:

I missed out on lots of movies I wanted to go to in August (again, too busy). Not sure what I’ll manage of this month’s cinema releases but I’ll probably see Sausage Party this week. I think Kubo And The Two Strings looks good so we’re very likely to go to that one as a family. Not sure how I feel about Blair Witch – I’ll probably watch that at home if it gets halfway decent reviews since (shock horror!) I liked the original film. Does this ruin my movie blogger cred? I’d rather have a root canal than watch Bridget Jones’s Baby! The Girl With All The Gifts looks like my type of thing so I’ll attempt to make it to that one. Swiss Army Man sounds SO completely WTF that I HAVE to watch it eventually but I’m not sure if it’s worth a trip to the cinema.

Finally, I’m very much looking forward to Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I read the book (which I reviewed HERE) and said while reading it that Tim Burton should make the film if they decided to adapt it. Such a perfect choice – I can’t wait to see what he does with it even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book overall.

Okay – I always end these with a music clip related to something I posted or watched in the past month. So I’m just going to go ahead & once again post the theme song from The Legend Of Billie Jean: Pat Benatar’s Invincible. Because it’s awesome. Enjoy the glory of 1985! 🙂

My Top Ten Tim Burton Movies

Happy Birthday to Tim Burton, who turns 58 today.

I figured it was time to do a full updated list of My Top Ten Tim Burton Movies. Okay – I WAS going to include only the movies he has directed but I just cannot exclude The Nightmare Before Christmas. That movie is SO Burton’s film – it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t the director. I also really liked his Vincent & Frankenweenie short films but will only list full-length movies.

Well, here’s My Tim Burton Top Ten! But I’ll rank all that I’ve seen…

The Rest:

18. Alice In Wonderland
17. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
16. Sleepy Hollow
15. Planet Of The Apes
14. Big Eyes
13. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
12. Frankenweenie
11. Dumbo

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Mars Attacks! & Batman Returns

9. Beetlejuice

8. Big Fish

7. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

6. Corpse Bride

5. Batman

4. Ed Wood

3. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

1. Edward Scissorhands

Not Seen:
Dark Shadows

And here’s the Ice Dance scene from Edward Scissorhands. This is one of my all-time favorite movie scenes and Danny Elfman’s beautiful music in this clip still gives me chills every time I watch it. I watch this clip every once in a while for a pick-me-up (along with the final scenes from Cinema Paradiso & City Lights). Gorgeous. Perfection. This is the type of scene that made me fall in love with movies. 🙂

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Book Review) 

I mentioned this book HERE when I ranked & did mini-reviews of the books I’d read in 2013. It was a super mini-review for this one as I planned to do a longer review of it at some point. So, here you go! It only took me two years!

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

What It’s About: (via Wikipedia)
The book tells the tale of a boy who, following a horrific family tragedy, follows clues that take him to an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island. The story is told through a combination of narrative and vernacular photographs from the personal archives of collectors listed by the author.

My Thoughts:

I fully admit that the eerie photographs used throughout this book are what drew me to it. It’s yet another Young Adult book, a genre which has become so popular with every age these days, but at least it’s quite “different” from the rest. I still think the idea behind this book is genius! I love that the author collects weird old photographs & ended up writing a story around them. I think that’s very creative. Unfortunately, I didn’t really love the story.

(Is this one of the creepiest photos you’ve ever seen or what?!)

As I say, I read this in 2013 (possibly even 2012) so I’m not going to get into any specifics at this point. I did think the story was clever, about a group of “peculiar” children at an orphanage who seem to each have strange & mysterious talents or “powers”. It’s a very odd book & I’m usually a fan of odd. But, for whatever reason that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, it didn’t really work for me although it seemed like the type of thing that would be right up my alley. As with most books I don’t fully enjoy, I think I just didn’t buy into the characters that much (including the main boy, Jacob, who has to unravel the mystery of his grandfather’s strange photographs).

I do think a big part of my problem, which probably isn’t fair to this book, is that I had NO idea that it was the first book in a series when I read it. I think the second book wasn’t yet out and, although I do enjoy YA books such as The Hunger Games trilogy, I’d been reading a lot of series books at that point & was looking for a stand-alone book to read. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the end and there wasn’t a satisfying conclusion! It’s very much a “to be continued” ending. As long as you know that before reading it, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed like I was.

I’m choosing to finally “review” this now as, obviously, this is mainly a movie blog & I’ve been wanting to write a little something about the book before Tim Burton’s film comes out early next year. I do love to read but struggle with book reviews – I find it far easier to talk about movies. But I still enjoy discussing books with all of you in the comments so I’ll do my best to give you a few more of my crappy book reviews by the end of this year – I’ve read A LOT! 😉

Anyway, I remember saying to my husband while reading this how it would make an excellent Tim Burton movie. Am I good or what?! Clearly someone read my mind! I was very happy when Burton was later chosen to make the film as, although I didn’t totally love it, the book is very original and had a “look” in my mind that perfectly fits Tim Burton’s gothic style. I know his films have been disappointing in recent years but, if he gets this one right, I think it could be very good. And if it’s good, it’ll probably interest me in continuing with the story. Eva Green, although too “young & pretty” for how I pictured Miss Peregrine, does feel like a perfect choice to match the book’s style as does Asa Butterfield as Jacob. I’m actually really looking forward to this film adaptation! I was probably too harsh on the book but, perhaps if I read the next book, I’ll start to like it a little more. As long as there’s some sort of conclusion? Has anyone read the second book, Hollow City??

My Rating: 3/5

Oh god! It’s those creepy kids again! This photo is the stuff of nightmares!!!!

Big Eyes (2014) Review

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Big Eyes (2014)

Directed by Tim Burton

Starring:
Amy Adams
Christoph Waltz
Danny Huston
Jon Polito
Krysten Ritter
Jason Schwartzman
Terence Stamp

Running time: 106 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film focuses on American artist Margaret Keane (Adams), whose work was fraudulently claimed in the 1950s and 1960s by her then-husband, Walter Keane (Waltz), and their heated divorce trial after Margaret accused Walter of stealing credit for her paintings.

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My Opinion:

Tim Burton. Oh Tim Burton. Remember when you made stuff like Edward Scissorhands? Remember how awesome that movie was?! What the hell happened?

Okay, we all know how disappointing Tim Burton’s films have become in recent years. Is Big Eyes a return to Burton’s glory days? Unfortunately not. But at least it’s better than things like Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and Alice In Wonderland. Burton plays it safe with Big Eyes – he just tells an interesting story in a straightforward way (except for a brief bit that looks like Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun video but that was to be expected, really, based on the look of Margaret Keane’s “big eye” paintings). It’s not exactly going to be anyone’s all-time favorite movie as it doesn’t have the originality or magic of things like Edward Scissorhands or The Nightmare Before Christmas but it’s a decent enough look at an artist’s real life story.

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I feel like I say this with every “true story” movie but I knew nothing about the story of Margaret Keane beforehand. It’s a fascinating story and a reminder of how glad I am to not have been a woman living in the 1950s or 60s. Amy Adams does a good job & is the highlight of the film. I’d heard some negative things about Christoph Waltz in this and was hoping they weren’t true as I thought he was amazing in Django Unchained. Maybe he’s only at his best when working with Tarantino? Maybe the role in Big Eyes just wasn’t quite right for him? Maybe it’s just because the character of Walter Keane is SUCH an unlikable prick and watching him control his wife and take credit for her work is uncomfortable to watch? I don’t know but, unfortunately, I didn’t like Christoph Waltz in this role.

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Honestly, I can’t think of anything else to say about this movie. Other than: Is it me, or does Amy Adams have a hairy face? In a couple scenes where the light was shining on her chin, she seemed to have tiny whiskers. Where am I going with this review?? Sorry! I have a massive headache & my mind is elsewhere. I’ve decided no one actually reads these reviews anyway, right? I think people just scroll to the rating. 😉 Meh. This movie is fine. The story is interesting. I’ll never watch it again. Those paintings are weird.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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I haven’t done one of these in ages – Here’s a Tim Burton Haiku:

Edward Scissorhands!
Then Willy Wonka remake?
Why, Tim Burton, Why?!

I was totally distracted while writing this review so I texted my hubby my shitty Tim Burton haiku. He went a little haiku crazy & texted these back to me. Yeah, these are the important kinds of conversations we have with each other… 😉

Beetlejuice PeeWee
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Need more like these, Tim

What mischief follows
Beetlejuice beetlejuice bee…
Just fuckin’ with ya.. ;-p

His muses depart
Helena Bonham Carter
And Lisa Marie

Birds nest for hairdo
Gothic daydreams his playground
Don’t keep using Depp

Big Fish (2003) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe has already reviewed The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE). Thanks for all the reviews, Zoe! 🙂 Now let’s hear her thoughts on Big Fish, IMDB rank 242 out of 250.

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Here is another film I undertook to see for Table9Mutant and her IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having a blast with this as I have been given the opportunity to go back and revisit some great  movies again, and there were quite a few that I had been meaning to get to again and look into. Without further ado, let me commence with sharing my feelings on Big Fish.

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“A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.” – Will Bloom

The story revolves around a dying father and his son, who is trying to learn more about his dad by piecing together the stories he has gathered over the years. The son winds up re-creating his father’s elusive life in a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts he knows. Through these tales, the son begins to understand his father’s great feats and his failings. (IMDB)

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“They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true.” – Edward Bloom

An 8/10 for Big Fish. This is a Tim Burton film, and certainly one of his finest films. While you can see it is a Burton flick due to the fantastical presentation of things, the story reels you in more effectively than many he has told recently, resonating with you when all is said and done. Big Fish boasts a phenomenal cast and they all bring the goods to the table effortlessly. Helena Bonham Carter was, as always, incredibly impressive. There was plenty of humour to go around in this movie without it getting old or too extremely cheesy or feeling too forced, but not enough for it to take front and centre stage either. Jessica Lange was perfectly cast to play Sandra K Bloom, she was beautiful, sweet, caring and a wonderful mother and loyal wife. Alison Lohman could conceivably have been her when she was younger, and I liked that you could see that Lange had grown from the woman that Lohman was. Ewan McGregor was fantastic to watch as the young Edward Bloom, and wove an impressive story, undertaking to show you something whimsical if only you would accompany him on his journey. Billy Crudup played the embittered and frustrated son that still loves his father though he does not like him very much. He played that well and was convincing. At times I could understand his frustration, and then at other times I thought it was excessive. The costume design was just amazing in here, telling a story completely on its own. I like how the movie explored reconciliation (without it being some serious overkill crap) and how people identify things differently, and the truth is simply how something is perceived.

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“I don’t think I’ll ever dry out.” – Sandra Templeton

There were so many scenes that were just put together so well and were just beautiful. I loved the scene where the young Edward Bloom finally sets eyes on a young Sandra Templeton and instantly falls in love. Time stops and it just lingers there, and he walks through it. Everything is frozen around him, the popcorn hangs in the air and gets brushed aside, he steps through hoops to get to her, the whole time completely enthralled, and the next thing you know time catches up, double time. It was just such an arrestingly beautiful scene and demands your attention, that you watch it and see how it all comes together. There are a few of these. This is also a beautiful story of true love and how it can last, how sometimes things just are perfect in life, and that is just that.  The score worked for this movie, too, but I must say is rather forgettable when all is said and done at the end of the day. Typical Danny Elfman/Tim Burton collaboration, and that is by no which means said in a demeaning manner. Big Fish is inspiring, though at times it gets annoying to watch father and son arguing all the time. Albert Finney was great to play the old man that Edward Bloom became. It was a lovely journey to follow through, to see what the son thought of his father and his stories, to see how he desperately just wanted the truth and was willing to dig for it, and how his father was just a passionate storyteller who loved his son, no matter what his son thought of him.

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“Everybody’s there, and I mean everybody. And the strange thing is, there’s not a sad face to be found, everyone’s just so happy to see you.” – Will Bloom

I must say that the present day storytelling was nice in the movie, but I was much more excited for and taken by the wonderful past experiences that Edward had to tell, the outline of his youth, the things that he had done, the places he had gone, the people he had met. They were insanely interesting and even though the tales are tall and a little ludicrous, when they are told the way they were laid out here, one is almost willing to forget that the movie is supposed to be deeply steeped in realism, and go out on a whim that Edward had the magical experiences that he proclaimed to. However, when the present rolls around again and you see it all as it is, that is when you know that he cannot seriously be telling the truth, everything is so plain and boring outside of his mind. Big Fish is a beautiful and stunning story, with an enchanting fairy tale element to it that works on many levels; this movie is definitely worth checking out if you have not done so already!