With the Oscars being on tonight, I figured I’d quickly post these reviews of a few more Oscar nominated films. Will do a full post later today with all the nominees & links to all my reviews of the 23 nominees I’ve seen.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Wenham, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Luke Bracey
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It chronicles the life of the American rock and roll singer and actor Elvis Presley under the management of Colonel Tom Parker.
Really liked this but, wow – how can some of this be so great & some of it so absolutely dreadful? Definitely an example of a performance highly deserving of an Oscar but a movie that is not.
I should start by saying that I know almost nothing about Elvis. Despite being a big music & movie lover, I’ve never liked many of his songs & have never seen his films. So, no, I can’t say how accurate these performances truly are, especially Hanks as I only know ”of” Colonel Tom Parker. But damn I thought Austin Butler was amazing. If he doesn’t win an Oscar but a rather rubbish version of Freddie Mercury did (and a really good version of Elton John wasn’t even nominated), I’ll be very annoyed. He oozes charisma & sex appeal in this film and I think he really captures the crazy effect that Elvis had on sexually repressed ‘50s America. He makes this movie. He feels like a star, which you need if you’re going to play someone as big as Elvis. I was impressed with how well he did as young Elvis as well as an older Elvis with many personal demons. Knew only a little of how much Elvis had been taken advantage of so found the ending quite heartbreaking and would say I appreciate the story of the life of this megastar a little bit more now. Know a documentary would be much more accurate, though, as I’m sure Luhrmann has taken many liberties with the facts.
To quickly get the dreadful out of the way: Baz Luhrmann & Tom Hanks. For the most part, I don’t get on with Luhrmann’s films. I appreciate his style when it works but it often doesn’t. Found a lot of it just plain cringy in Elvis and the mixing in of modern music, which I know is his thing and is okay sometimes, was terrible in this. It was annoying and threw me out of the film a few times. And then there was Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. Oh boy. As I said, I know nothing about the real man but if he was truly as awful as this film makes him out to be (sounds like that’s the case), why did this story get told through him? The character was so obnoxious (did he actually talk like that?!) and we had to listen to him telling this story through the whole damn movie. I guess it kind of makes sense as he was so controlling of Elvis that he didn’t get to live his own life because of Parker. Maybe that’s why Luhrmann made the decision to have the story told through him but I just wanted more of Butler and WAY less of Hanks. I’ve never disliked Hanks before! So Luhrmann must be partly to blame.
Oh well. The movie itself could’ve been much better but Butler was so fantastic & the story of Elvis is so fascinating that I still got a lot of enjoyment out of the film. Well worth the watch despite its big flaws, even if like me you’re not really a fan of Elvis Presley.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (2021)
Directed by Dean Fleischer Camp
Starring: Jenny Slate, Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, Dean Fleischer Camp, Lesley Stahl, Isabella Rossellini
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) It is based on a series of shorts of the same name written by Slate and Fleischer Camp. Slate reprises her voice role as Marcel, an anthropomorphic shell living with his grandmother Connie.
Was eager to see this as it very much looked like my kind of thing (heartwarming & adorable – I love that shit plus adore cute anthropomorphic things). With the Pixar Oscar nominee being so disappointing this year, I was expecting to like Marcel the most but Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is easily my favorite & the one I think deserves to win.
Still enjoyed Marcel but was a little underwhelmed by the story. And although it was a clever idea, the way it was presented as a documentary didn’t quite work for me and I can see why this probably worked better in the original shorts (if they were done that way?) than it did in this full-length film. Marcel was very cute, Jenny Slate’s voice was perfect, and his relationship with his grandmother was very sweet. For me, the movie slightly crossed the line into being a little too saccharine & trying a bit too hard. Did enjoy seeing the inventive ways of doing things that Marcel & his grandmother had to find to live their lives once they found themselves alone. And liked it showing how horrible society has become in this social media obsessed world (without being preachy about it).
It’s a nice film & my second favorite of this year’s Animated nominees but it may not be saying much as I think the other two I’ve seen are not very good at all (not seen Puss In Boots). I didn’t find Marcel as moving as I was hoping. It’s nowhere near the very best animated films from the studios I love the most (Studio Ghibli, Pixar & Disney). Am disappointed that Pixar have been so unreliable with their recent films and am missing the emotion we got from their very best stuff.
I’ve watched every Marvel movie (ranked here) and do enjoy them but I’m not a massive fan and it’s feeling like an obligation to watch them now. Would’ve been happy for them to stop at Endgame – the films are seeming more & more messy and pointless now.
With all of these films, I like the characters much more than the stories themselves & that was especially true of this film. The MCU has done a fantastic job developing some fascinating characters. The women in this are great. Letitia Wright & Danai Gurira were so much fun to watch & I liked their interactions with each other. Lupita Nyong’o was as brilliant as always as was Angela Bassett who definitely has a shot at winning that Oscar tonight. And the introduction of Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams was a nice addition – would’ve liked a bit more to do with her. So this one was off to a good start with strong characters. They obviously had a huge hole to fill and not having Chadwick Boseman is still heartbreaking but I thought they did well with handling that.
Then it turned into the same MCU formula we always get. Which, fine, I get it – That’s what people want. Why mess with something so many people clearly love & is making them tons of money? But I often lose interest in these films halfway through when the same old fight scenes & the same old storylines occur plus this was FAR longer than it needed to be, which didn’t help. Although I care most about liking the main characters, it helps if I also buy into the story & the obligatory villain. The story wasn’t too bad but those blue Avatar-looking fuckers & boring-Aquaman ankle-wings dude weren’t working for me. I completely lost interest in the middle this time. I just wanted to get back to seeing the main kick-ass female characters together. The middle of this just went off the deep end (literally).
So I’m mixed on this one. Good characters but overall a bit of a mess. But, as I say, I’m not a huge MCU fan so I’m going to be a bit more negative. I admit I like the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies the most so I obviously just like my superhero movies to be a bit more fun & lightweight than this one. It’s why I far prefer the MCU to current DC films.
Guess I better post my October roundup before it’s time to post my November one.
I don’t know if many people are still around on WordPress but I’ve set up a new Mastodon account here. I don’t plan to give up this blog – just going through a tough time. Am still on Twitter as well for now as @tableninemutant but am most active here on Letterbxdas it’s just so easy to log movies there. Re-posting all my October Letterbxd reviews below…
MOVIES WATCHED IN OCTOBER (ranked best to worst):
– Memories Of Murder – Was very happy to see this on Film4. I’d been wanting to watch it even though I’ve never absolutely loved one of Bong Joon-ho‘s films. I do think Parasite is very good & I really like The Host so I was willing to give more of his work a try despite not liking Snowpiercer & Okja. I’m also not a fan of true-crime-inspired murder films, especially involving sexual violence as well, but this was very gripping & I thought it was damn good despite being a genre I often avoid. Due to the subject matter it again won’t exactly be a favorite of mine but it easily ranks just a fraction below Parasite for me. I think it maybe just takes a bit of getting used to his flawed & not always likeable characters to appreciate his films more. His type of characters worked perfectly in this & in Parasite so I can see why they seem to be the most popular of his films. I feel I have a slightly better understanding of his work now since watching this & Barking Dogs Never Bite (also on Film4 & also worth a watch). – 8/10￼￼
– Rhapsody In August – I can’t believe I accidentally watched an Akira Kurosawa film. Absolutely love his films Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashômon & Yojimbo so have had all the rest of his biggest films on my watchlist for a long time now. I liked the sound of this 1991 Japanese film with Richard Gere, which focuses on the effects of the atomic bomb on three generations of a family, so I started watching it before even realising it was a Kurosawa. It’s a lovely film & I really liked the grandmother and her relationship with the grandkids she’s looking after while their parents are visiting family in America. Definitely worth a watch, especially for Kurosawa fans. Currently on services in the U.K. – 7.5/10
– Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – I’m a huge Stephen King fan & try to watch every adaptation of his work (I ranked them all here). Really liked this novella from the recent If It Bleeds collection & literally started watching this the second it appeared on Netflix. So I’m obviously going to be overly positive as I tend to like even the bad King adaptations (and there are many bad ones) but I thought this was good & faithful to the book. Jaeden Martell, who was also in the fantastic 2017 version of It, and Donald Sutherland were very good together & I especially liked Kirby Howell-Baptiste as the helpful teacher. This is more of a thriller than a horror so it may not be what some are expecting if they’ve not read the story but it’s still very “King”. I enjoyed it. One of the better straight-to-streaming movies this year. – 7.5/10
– Everything Everywhere All At Once – Was very eager to get to finally see this after all the hype & seeing it at the top of so many 2022 movie lists. It looked like it could very much be my type of thing & I do love a good “weird” film. Wow – what a massive disappointment. Am I just getting too picky in my old age or is everyone else getting less picky? I’ve been very disappointed with the most hyped films the past few years but was really hoping this one would be different.
Don’t get me wrong – I did get some enjoyment out of this & always appreciate when something is unique & unpredictable. I always prefer a memorable film, even when bad, to the many bland movies which I can’t even remember a year later. Michelle Yeoh was great and there were many memorable moments that the hubby & I have already referenced a few times since watching this. It was certainly weird, which I like, but I found the story & message to be such a convoluted mess overall that it started to feel like a chore just to make it through to the end. It’s a film I’m glad I watched & experienced to see what all the fuss was about but I’d have no desire to ever watch it again. – 6.5/10
– Barking Dogs Never Bite – Watched this just after Memories Of Murder & think I’m starting to appreciate Bong Joon-ho‘s work a little more now. While this one isn’t nearly as good as Memories Of Murder, it still has his typical sort of flawed characters that work so well in (most of) his movies. The only times I’ve not liked his films were when the characters were too over-the-top in Snowpiercer & Okja but this film is much more subtle. Probably not one I’d watch again but certainly worth a one-time watch to see his early work. – 6.5/10
– The Company Of Wolves – RIP to the fantastic Angela Lansbury. Always loved her & managed to finally see this one just before her death. She’s perfect as Granny. This is a very odd film & I’m not sure it has aged well but I enjoyed it & can see why it will have fans who saw this one back in the ‘80s when they were kids. Am sure I’d appreciate it more if I’d seen it then. It’s slow & dated but has some fun dream sequences & special effects & creepy horniness. Worth finally seeing but don’t think it’ll be a horror favorite of mine now. – 6.5/10
– Catherine Called Birdy – Well this was far more enjoyable than I was expecting. Bella Ramsey aka GoT’s Lyanna Mormont absolutely steals the show as a medieval teenager trying to avoid being married off by her father. It’s a fun coming of age story for girls with a funny & relatable teenage character as well as plenty of humor to be appreciated by adults seeing this too. Worth a watch. And for fans, I believe there are at least five Game Of Thrones actors in this (or more if I missed any). – 6.5/10￼
– The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent – Like Everything Everywhere All At Once, this was a big disappointment after a fair amount of hype. Both films were… Just okay? I think you do have to be a Nicolas Cage fan to fully appreciate this one. I’d say I neither like nor dislike him but do like his film choices, such as the brilliant Mandy. So I did enjoy some of the film references but thought the plot wasn’t nearly as clever as Being John Malkovich and I got a bit bored. I also found his talking to one of his movie characters really stupid – It seems like that should have worked but it didn’t. And that dumb kiss. I think the movie tries a bit too hard at times & not hard enough at other times. Hell, if you’re gonna do a movie like this that’s clearly for big Nicolas Cage fans, you might as well go all out with even more fan service than what they had (which was still plenty). With Cage being known for being the crazy dude in so many movies, it was kind of disappointing that this movie wasn’t as weird and over-the-top as I was expecting. – 6.5/10
– X – Not sure how I feel about Ti West. I’ve liked but never loved his films. Thought The House Of The Devil was the best & captured that era well. Didn’t think that worked as well with this one trying for a late ‘70s porn vibe. Guess people just liked watching the porn sex?? I thought the story was ridiculously dumb & I didn’t care about any of the characters. Mia Goth did well in her dual role, I guess. Pearl looks like it may be a little more interesting since we got absolutely zero character development in this film. X isn’t terrible but I’d have no desire to ever watch it again. Easily my least favorite Ti West film. – 6/10
– Pinocchio (2022) – Yeah… This is pretty bad but I’d had such extremely low expectations that I kind of didn’t hate it. Honestly, I hated the live action Beauty And The Beastmuch more. Maybe because I really love that animated film but Pinocchio isn’t a big favorite? But I like the story & the overall story is still the same, so… I don’t know what else to say. What’s the point?? These live action Disney remakes are just so bloody pointless. I liked the blatant Disney cuckoo clocks, though. Pathetic, I know. But I want some of those. – 5.5/10
– Matriarch – This was pretty bad. It’s one of those horror movies that might be a bit better if every single character wasn’t so damn hateful. Why would I care what happens to the horrible woman in this? I’ll give it this: It gets pretty f*^king weird at the end & I appreciated the Society vibes. But what started out as a fairly creepy film became silly at the end as it got too ridiculous. – 5/10
– Blonde – This movie looks nice & Ana de Armas is good at being pretty & tortured but what is the point of this story? I admit I know almost nothing about Marilyn Monroe’s life so I should have just avoided this but I had to see why everyone was so outraged. Why take a real person & make up a bunch of stuff? Why not just create a fictional character & make your rape, abuse & forced-abortion movie without using a dead iconic movie star’s name? Oh yeah – because no one would watch that movie. And I hate people saying “But it’s fictional!”. Yes, us obsessive film fans know that. We look into this kind of info. But the casual movie-watching audience don’t. So there will be plenty of people who saw this & now will think this is her true life story.
I only fairly recently started exploring Monroe’s work & she really had that special something that a lot of the old classic movie stars had that so few have today. Which I guess is why there’s still such an obsession with her all these years later but, FFS, let the woman rest in peace. She deserves better than this. Just watch her movies instead of Blonde. I saw something on Twitter about Blonde’s director trashing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is an absolutely delightful film so I assume that statement was made just to cause further outrage. I’m annoyed that I fell for all the controversy that was clearly stirred up on purpose just to get us all to watch this. Sorry, Marilyn! – 4.5/10
Rewatched In October:
– Final Destination – Still think this movie had a great & original idea, which is something I’d like a lot more of in horror. First rewatch in many years & I think it still stands up very well. Easily my favorite of those I’ve seen (1, 2 & 3). I can see why they kept using this idea over & over again even though horror sequels get tiresome. The next two were okay, though. – 7.5/10
– Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead – This movie is silly but it came out when I was in high school so I liked it. It so clearly wanted to be Adventures In Babysitting from a few years before but it pales in comparison to that masterpiece (yes, I adore that movie). This is still a fun but dated comedy. The daughter seemed to enjoy it. – 6.5/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
TV SHOWS WATCHED
– House Of The Dragon: S1 E1-7 – Enjoyed this (finished it in November). But! It’s certainly no Game Of Thrones when that was at its best in the early seasons. The characters aren’t nearly as likeable nor as interesting as they were in GoT but, hell, not many shows can beat a character as good as Tyrion Lannister. Or a family as cool as the Starks. Will say a bit more about this show in the November Roundup post. Maybe. I’ll just say this: I far preferred the younger Rhaenyra, Milly Alcock, to the older one played by Emma D’Arcy. But I often hate changes in actors, such as when everyone got replaced in The Crown. Both Alicents were good, though, and Paddy Considine was great. But, again, I can’t keep these millions of characters straight, just as with GoT. And the fuckers in this one all have such similar names, which really didn’t help either.
– Andor: S1 E5-8 – Forget which episode was which as I’ve now seen more than just these. I’ll say this show started strong, then I got a tiny bit bored, then the stuff in the prison was great & I’m really enjoying it again. It’s a very strong Star Wars entry (and I still think it’s better than The Book Of Boba Fett & Obi-Wan Kenobi, probably because it isn’t messing with beloved OT characters in the same way).
– It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: S1 E1-3 – An intriguing South Korean show I’m in the middle of watching with my daughter (a rewatch for her – she loves it).
– She-Hulk: Attorney At Law: S1 E8 – Said a lot about this in last month’s roundup so I’ll just say again that I enjoyed this show. Was a good bit of lightweight fun. And I liked the final episode, especially when she asked about the X-Men.
Have a collection of horror short stories from various authors so read the 3 Stephen King shorts in it. Think I’d read two of them in other collections:
– Reploids – Don’t think I’d read this before. Fun story but ended SO abruptly…
– Dedication – One of King’s more fucked-up stories but still, um, intriguing I guess. Leave it up to King to think this one up. Also saw a quite good short film of this as part of his “Dollar Babies” deal. Kudos to the actress willing to play this role.
– Sneakers – Enjoyable story about a ghost haunting a recording studio
Can’t remember any good songs from the movies I saw in October so I’ll end instead with the real Marilyn Monroe’s iconic Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend from the delightful Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:
Happy May! I feel bad as I’ve been neglecting the blogs again. I also recently joined Letterboxd (finally) & I’m finding it far too easy to just quickly log & write very short reviews of films there instead of taking the time to put a full post together for each movie I watch. (Here’s my Letterboxd link for the three people who still read this blog).
But I’ve been doing this blog for almost ten years so I need to at least keep up these monthly posts. And I’ll still post reviews here when I’m in the mood or really love a film. I reviewed half of those below on Letterboxd already so I’ll cheat & copy those here.
Here’s all I watched & read in April…
MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):
– Finch – Post-apocalyptic? A dog?? A robot sidekick??? Did they make this movie specifically for ME?!?! Three things I love! Especially robots. Yes, my favorite Pixar movie is WALL-E & my favorite Star Wars character is R2-D2 (well, Grogu is up there too now! And Yoda). So, this movie was very much my sort of thing and I really enjoyed it.
Speaking of WALL-E, a lot of this film reminded me of that. Mainly the “radiation storms” (or whatever they were) and the fact that Earth is now a wasteland with very few surviving humans (they didn’t get to jump on a fancy spaceship & just get really fat in this one). Plus, of course, there’s a robot. Well, two robots actually! The one Tom Hanks builds in the film plus a little robot he’s been using which he named after Dewey in Silent Running.
The story is pretty simple but it’s more about the relationship between Tom’s character (Finch) & the robot he builds to help take care of his beloved dog. A robot learning what it means to be human?!?!? Yep – this movie is SO my type of thing. Does Finch bring anything new to this genre? Not really. But it’s got heart & a nice relationship between Hanks & the robot. Really enjoyed this film. – 7.5/10
– Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans – A lovely film directed by F. W. Murnau that won the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Picture, one of the two top prizes, at the 1st Academy Awards (Wings was later declared the official Best Picture winner). I enjoyed its style & love story & Janet Gaynor’s performance, which won the first Best Actress Academy Award. I’ve logged it as part of my Best Picture Project to watch all the Best Picture winners. 27 left to go! – 7.5/10
– Sherlock Jr. – Decided to explore more Buster Keaton after recently (finally) watching & thoroughly enjoying The General. This one is possibly even more delightful. A really fun story & once again full of crazy, impressive stunts. Especially loved the scenes within the movie theatre where he works. Great stuff. – 7.5/10
– Fatman – While I would’ve enjoyed this slightly more if I’d had the opportunity to see it during Christmas, I still had good fun watching it. Although “fun” may not be the right word.
I hadn’t read much about this so was expecting more of a comedy instead of the action thriller that it is. I’m sure this film’s tone didn’t work for a lot of people (judging by the movie’s unfairly low rating) but I really liked it. I’m old & tired & have lost faith in humanity just like Gibson’s Chris Kringle. I could totally relate to this version of Santa.
Gibson & Marianne Jean-Baptiste also give us performances that are probably way too good for a movie about someone putting a hit out on Santa Claus. I appreciated that they took their roles seriously & I thought they worked really well together. It’s an odd film but very unlike the many other Christmas movies that are out there so it was great seeing something a bit different. I’d happily watch this one again at Christmastime. – 7/10
– Gosford Park – Didn’t realize this was a Robert Altman film until I stuck it on & it soon became obvious with such a huge ensemble cast of every British actor ever. As bad as Harry Potter for that! I really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces, especially saucy Helen Mirren (not saucy here), Charles Dance Lannister, Richard E. Grant & Derek In The Night Garden Jacobi. I especially liked Kelly Macdonald as I suppose the lead character (and one of the servants so she was likeable) & as always now sounding like Merida the whole time with her great Scottish accent. Oh, and Ryan Phillippe was in this putting on what I assume was a very bad Scottish accent if you were to ask a Scottish person but I have no idea because I suck with accents. Maggie Smith’s rich old bitch character was fun too. Oh! And Emily Watson’s character was also good. God there were loads of people in this…
Anyway. There’s a murder mystery in this which was fun but this movie was more about getting to know the characters. I’m thinking it was at least an hour into the movie when the murder happens? I was like “Get on with the murder already!”. And I’m REALLY bad with keeping track of loads of characters (Game Of Thrones is a huge struggle for me) so I was constantly looking at Wikipedia while watching this to remind myself who each of these characters were & how they were related to each other. I loved how there were two sets of people, though – the rich assholes & all their staff – so it was great seeing the two worlds & getting two sets of intertwining stories. The staff also referred to each other by the name of the rich asshole that each person “serves” (or whatever) which made it a bit easier to know who worked for who (or is it “whom”? Fuck knows. These rich old English characters would know!). I also liked not knowing who (whom?!) was gonna get murdered, although I guessed correctly. But don’t expect some fast paced murder thriller if you watch this. It’s mostly English people talking posh & being snooty the whole time. Still good fun, though, and good acting (as to be expected from some of the best of the best). – 7.5/10
– The Adam Project – I don’t have a lot to say about this except that it’s a safe & enjoyable family film. Which sounds insulting but it’s great that some decent family films still get made. We used to get so many back in the ’80s & I miss them. It’s a story involving time travel, which I always love. Ryan Reynolds is a pilot who goes back in time & meets up with his younger self (in that above photo). It’s a somewhat forgettable story overall but had some sweet moments with Jennifer Garner as his mother & Mark Ruffalo as his father, which reminded me how much I like 13 Going On 30. – 6.5/10
– The Proposal – Aww – Betty White! Like, I think the rest of the world, I absolutely adored her. She was sweet & so damn funny. So I figured I should finally watch this as I never saw it for some reason. As to be expected from a Sandra Bullock rom-com it’s of course predictable as hell but it was still worth the watch. And I loved that Betty got loads of screen time as she was more often a TV star. She’s great in this. I really enjoyed seeing my favorite person from St. Olaf again. – 6.5/10
– Spider-Man: No Way Home – Wow, this was very underwhelming. Admittedly, I’m not some huge MCU fan. I do enjoy the movies & I’ve watched them all but watching most of them just once is enough for me. This one was just so dull & the story was weak. Plus Peter Parker was an idiot. Why did Doctor Strange go along with his stupid idea?! I realise it was just an excuse to bring the three Spider-Mans (er, Spider-Men??) together and fan service can be fun but this was overkill. It felt so focused on bringing everyone together that it forgot to make a good story & forgot to do anything with the characters other than the three Spider-Men and too many old villains I don’t really give a shit about. I take that back – I did like the stuff with Aunt May. She’s been a great character in these films. But, man, THIS is the movie everyone absolutely freaked out about??? I think people were just so happy to go back to the cinema after Covid that it clouded their judgement.
Oh well, I guess I can update my MCU rankings (which I did on Letterboxd HERE but haven’t yet done on my blog). This is currently number 21 for me. – 6/10
– Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions – First of all, I have to say that this was bizarre in that I was thoroughly confused after seeing someone in the cast list after watching this who I did NOT remember seeing in the movie. So I read the full Wikipedia synopsis and, holy shit, it’s an entirely different ending (and beginning too, I believe). We’re not talking a minor difference, either, as I know there are movies with alternate endings like The Butterfly Effect (prefer the original cinema release of that). This was a whole different ending that completely changes what’s happening through the whole damn movie and has different actresses & characters being used. Like, WTF? So if they make another sequel, which ending are they going to carry on from? And why is this annoying me so much when it’s just a throwaway horror movie so it doesn’t really matter?! Ha! Plus, quite frankly, I like the sound of the other (presumably original cinema release) ending much more. So I hope they go with that one, although I think some will find the ending that I saw with a brand new character more entertaining. I thought the new character sucked. I like the other character!
I liked the first of these movies more than I expected to. No, these aren’t great but I do like “lightweight” horror like this for a bit of fun plus I’m a bit of a wuss. If you liked the first, you’ll like this one since it’s just more of the same damn thing. The escape rooms don’t feel as inventive, though, and too many of them are just too damn big. Doesn’t feel like an escape “room” when it’s the size of a damn town. Then the ending gets pretty dumb, at least in the version I saw, but who cares? Right? It was entertaining enough for an hour and a half. The first was of course much better. I’d watch a third one. – 6/10
– The Sky Is Everywhere – I watched this on Apple TV+ as I read the YA novel ages ago, although it wasn’t a favorite & I found the girl a bit annoying. Seemed to be a faithful adaptation from what I remember. The girl from No Exit plays the dead sister (not a spoiler as this is about a girl grieving the loss of her older, talented sister). The two sisters were fine and the rival love interests were fine and, meh, whatever. The movie was fine. It was fine! #Fine – 6/10
– Mandibles – Bizarre film, which is something I always appreciate. Still prefer Quentin Dupieux’s film Rubber but this one was good fun too. And the giant fly was kind of cute. Oh, it’s about two idiots who find a giant fly & decide to keep it & train it to go fetch things for them. Yep, that’s what it’s about. And a girl who shouts everything she says. That was kind of annoying. – 6/10
– Kimi – An okay Steven Soderbergh film but will be a forgettable one for me. Mainly just made me realise that I need to rewatch Blow Out and that Rear Window is a masterpiece. – 5.5/10
– Shadow In The Cloud – I honestly don’t know how to rate this one. It was kind of terrible but I think I also kind of liked it. I think. Kind of. It may be because I have such a strong love of The Twilight Zone & Amazing Stories which this so blatantly wants to be. I kept expecting Moretz to draw some cartoon wheels while yelling about someone being on the wing of the plane. – 5.5/10
– Antlers – This was very disappointing after I thought it looked pretty good plus I like Keri Russell. And… I don’t know what to say about this? Not sure why I didn’t like it? I didn’t really like the underdeveloped characters, I guess. And I normally like “creature” movies but… Meh. I dunno. I just wasn’t feeling this one. – 5.5/10
– Deep Water – What a couple of assholes. Guess they deserved each other. The daughter was adorable, though. Poor kid. This film didn’t help my Molluscophobia. Or Affleckophobia. – 5.5/10
– Nobody – Wasn’t feeling this one either. At all. I should say I don’t really know Bob Odenkirk as I’ve not watched Breaking Bad or whatever got him some fans but he’s just not leading man material in this. To me, at least. The movie is like John Wick without all the stuff that makes John Wick enjoyable (mostly my beloved Keanu Reeves & puppies). I was bored. But I’ll give it an extra half a point for Christopher Lloyd as he’s always likeable. – 5.5/10
Movies Rewatched In April:
– Rain Man – First time watching this again in a long time. Still a great film. Hoffman was deserving of his Oscar but Cruise was also even better than I remembered. Love their relationship by the end. One of the more enjoyable Best Picture winners. – 8/10
– While You Were Sleeping – One of the better Sandra Bullock rom-coms. Watched this with my daughter on a girly night & she really liked it. I told her there are loads more movies like this that we can watch together. 🙂 – 7.5/10
– Jackass: The Movie – Why do I still laugh at these idiots? These movies of course lose that initial element of shock & surprise (and revulsion) on a rewatch, but I still enjoyed seeing this again way more than I like to admit. Off-Road Tattoo is still a favorite. – 6.5/10
Documentaries, Shorts, Miscellaneous:
– Adrienne – Admittedly, I didn’t know of Adrienne Shelly until after her murder. I then saw the film Waitress & absolutely loved it so I’ve tried to see what I can of the films that she starred in. What a loss – would love to have seen what other films she could have made.
This documentary, made by her husband, included loads of home video footage of Adrienne. So it was good to get to know her that way as she was obviously such an indie actress & there will be people who don’t know of her & aren’t aware of her work. In fact, the documentary starts with people waiting in line to watch the Waitress musical based on her movie being asked who Shelly is & they all have no clue. Very sad – Did they not watch the movie (which she starred in as well & wrote & directed) too??? This documentary is also obviously not an easy watch as it does discuss Shelly’s murder as well as her murderer. So that was uncomfortable but I think it’s worth a watch if you’re curious about her & her work. And I highly recommend Waitress. – 7.5/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN APRIL
TV SHOWS WATCHED
– Community: S4 & S5 – I already absolutely raved about this show in my previous two monthly roundups so I don’t need to again. I may be very late to the party but am so glad I decided to watch this one day. I’d heard the last two seasons (5 & 6) aren’t so good. Damn! So far, that seems accurate. I’ll avoid saying who but I’ll just say a needed character (or more) leave and this show worked so well the first four seasons as this group of misfits are perfect together. You really need them all as a group & the show sadly goes downhill pretty quickly without all of them. DAMN! Oh well. There are still fun moments. I still have season 6 & then I can rewatch the brilliant first 4 seasons again.
– Ted Lasso: S2 – Finally grabbed one month of Apple TV+, mainly to see this as I really liked season 1. Still think it’s great with fantastic characters. I also like the rather dark turn they’re taking with Ted this season. Getting a bit serious now! But it somehow still works with the lighthearted humor. Only weak episode was the one focusing on Coach Beard, which is a shame as he’s probably a top 5 character in this for me. Also a little heartbroken at how they’ve decided to change Nathan’s character. But will be interesting to see where they go with that storyline.
– Calls: S1 – I enjoyed this as it was so different but it will definitely not be for everyone. This is also on Apple TV+ & the show is a series of calls that we listen to with images such as the one above as well as the words displayed on the screen. Was happy to be able to read along as it made the stories easier to follow. Each episode is a story on its own with different characters, which was cool, but the stories do also end up connected by the end. Some episodes were much stronger than others but I really liked the overall story which was a bit eerie with a touch of horror & sci-fi. But that’s all very much my type of thing…
– Servant: S1 E1-? – I’m too lazy to look up where I finished but think I must have seen most of season 1 before my one month of Apple TV+ was up. I like M. Night Shyamalan so was interested in seeing this despite being put off by there now being 3 seasons. That’s too much of a commitment! Can’t they make more “limited series” shows, dammit?!? One season & done. Boom! Like the Harlan Coben shows. So, yeah, Servant seems to be doing what I hate but totally expected & draaaaaaaaaagginggggggggg the story out. Just get to the fucking point, TV shows! This is why I stick to movies. Anyway – I now want to know WTF is going on so will probably binge this when I can afford to subscribe for another month (maybe when Ted Lasso starts again). I’ll say I thought episode 1 was great. Nothing I love more than creepy babies & creepy dolls! Was then growing bored after several episodes of nothing happening after that, though.
– Young Rock: S1 E3-6 – This show is super enjoyable considering I know nothing about and am not a fan of pro wrestling. But I do like The Rock and think his character is great & love the relationship he has with his family. It’s a really sweet & wholesome family show! And, being the age I am, I do remember some of these wrestlers. I especially like the episodes with Andre The Giant. Good fun! Perfect for when short on time. Can squeeze a couple in during a lunch break! Not one I feel the urge to binge but it’s good to know it’s there as a quick pick-me-up when the hubby & I have half an hour & feel like watching something.
– Moon Knight: S1 E2-5 – I dunno. I just CANNOT get into this show. At all. Sorry? Man… Disappointing after thinking WandaVision was great & really enjoying Loki & Hawkeye despite not being some big Marvel fan. But I did think The Falcon & The Winter Soldier was a snoozefest. I guess I like that, uh, Moon Knight at least feels like something different from the same old formulaic MCU stuff? So… There’s that, I guess! There. I was complimentary.
– Old Enough: S1 E1 – ? (Too lazy to look again, seen 4 or 5 episodes) – Fun Japanese reality TV show on Netflix where they get adorable toddlers & little kids to run some basic “adult errands” such as going to the supermarket to buy food while cameras follow them around to see what they’ll do. It’s lightweight and SHORT, which I really appreciate. Think some episodes are no more than 15 minutes. Woohoo! I have time for that! Okay, it’s a bit dumb but it’s also really cute. Most kids are fantastic while others are totally shit at doing what they’re asked. Funny.
– Grey’s Anatomy: S18 E9 – This has started up again! Yay. I guess.
– It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown – Should’ve watched more of the Peanuts stuff while I had Apple TV+! Am a massive Peanuts/Snoopy fan. This was sweet & it focused on Sally obsessed with a flower in the middle of Charlie Brown’s baseball game. Watching the rest of these when I subscribe again.
TV Specials Rewatched:
– It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown – Obviously had to watch this again. Watch all the Peanuts holiday specials each year. Is anything better than Snoopy?? 🙂
I read two books in April!! Much quicker reads than the first Game Of Thrones book taking me months to finish. Tried out a new author after reading Emma’s book reviews HERE & thinking they sounded good. Thanks, Emma! Really enjoyed these & already have a third C.J. Tudor book from the library to read next. 🙂
– The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor – Can’t decide which book I liked more but read this first so guess I’ll review it first. First of all I have to say that I could really relate to the mother (my sort of age) and the daughter (a few years older than mine) & their relationship in this. Especially as they love & quote cool movies like Heathers & The Lost Boys. But then, of course, there’s also some great, nasty history involving the small town they move to & two young girls who were tortured & burned alive for not renouncing their faith in Ye Olde English Times. Gotta love English history! Why didn’t they teach us that sort of stuff in American History class?? I might have paid attention. And there’s also a big mystery involving two teen girls who disappeared from this town in (I think) the ’90s. Plus the previous town vicar who died under mysterious circumstances. Woohoo! Oh, and of course the main character’s tragic past that the story slowly pieces together for us.
What I really liked about both these books were all the twists & turns and multiple mysteries to be solved. Reminded me of the Harlan Coben TV shows I watched recently (who C.J. Tudor must also be a fan of as a character in The Chalk Man was reading a Coben book – I really must check out one of his novels too). Not sure why I’ve not read more murder mystery thrillers because I actually love this stuff. I’m just such a sucker for supernatural horror, which is why I stick with Stephen King. But Tudor was compared to King after The Chalk Man & he recommended it to his followers on Twitter (making her go all fangirly. I would too!). I can certainly see the King comparison, especially with The Chalk Man, but she’s more “twisted crime thriller” than “supernatural horror”.
I went off on a tangent there. I really enjoyed this book and its characters. And I only guessed one of the many mysteries quite early on (but one of the biggest ones, so I was proud of myself). Everything else kept me guessing, though. A very fun read. – 4/5
– The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor – I’m guessing this is the more popular Tudor book of these two? I could be wrong but I can see it being slightly more widely appealing. I’d say it’s maybe a fraction better of the two but I far preferred the ending of The Burning Girls & that overall story a bit more. What I liked about The Chalk Man & what probably caused part of the King comparison is the slight Stand By Me & It vibe when the story flashes back to the past and the small group of friends, who are now adults, back when they were 12/13. It also has multiple mysteries like The Burning Girls & I really liked everything to do with the “Wurlitzer Girl” part of the story & just wish we could’ve found out more about her.
Great stuff. I liked this one a lot too & haven’t read books this quickly in ages. I just wanted all the answers ASAP. The Taking of Annie Thorne is next on my To Read list. – 4/5
Currently reading Malorie by Josh Malerman
MUSIC LISTENED TO
– Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love – Figured it was worth mentioning this new album as I so rarely have “new music” to post about. However, I’ve only listened to it once while working so have to give it another listen soon. I do love the Chili Peppers so I’ll just say, from what I heard, this album indeed sounded exactly like the Chili Peppers. But I’m not someone to complain about bands always sounding the same because, screw it – if you have fans why change your sound??
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
No specific plans. Will continue to log movies on Letterboxd & do a monthly roundup post here.
Upcoming Movies I Want To See:
Still not going to the cinema even though people seem to have forgotten that Covid exists but, boy, I want to see Everything Everywhere All At Once SO BAD. Will watch Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness at some point too but I’m in no big rush for that. Also like the sound of The Innocents, The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent (Ew, Pedro Pascal is in that?) & been waiting for Top Gun: Maverick for bloody ages now.
I like to end with a good song from a movie but I’ll use something from Ted Lasso this time. That show gets the rights to use some great music! Here’s one featured heavily in one episode: She’s A Rainbow by The Rolling Stones:
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 another “Groundhog 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 doesachieve 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.
– 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 PonyoHERE 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
– 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…
Hi All. Here’s another roundup post with everything I watched in May. Looks like it was X-Men Month in our household…
MOVIES WATCHED IN MAY
MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):
– Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – I was surprised when this movie turned up in the IMDb Top 250 (a bit later, after starting my project HERE). So I figured I’d check it out as a part of the project that I’m never ever going to finish. This is a lovely, heartwarming & very understated film. It’s inspired by a great true story about a very loyal dog in 1920’s Japan. I’d love to now see the original Japanese film Hachikō Monogatari from 1987. I unfortunately found out a bit too much about the story beforehand so I won’t spoil it if you don’t know it. I think this is one where you’re better going into it without knowing the story beforehand. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll love this film. – 7.5/10
– Fruitvale Station – I watched this at the beginning of May & it of course became even more relevant later on. This is also, unfortunately, a true story. From Wikipedia: “Fruitvale Station is based on the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant, a young man who was killed in 2009 by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale district station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in Oakland.” This was Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut and starred Michael B. Jordan, who of course went on to also be in Coogler’s Black Panther. Jordan was great in this & I always like this sort of approach to telling a story, especially a true one (showing a simple day-in-the-life of the person). The movie follows Grant on his final day, leading up to the fatal shooting. It obviously gets tense as it leads up to what you know is going to happen so it’s of course not an easy watch (which is why I admittedly don’t watch true stories often – I want movies to provide escapism from how shitty the world can be). But it’s a good & important film. – 7.5/10
– The Wraith – I’m always a little shocked when I discover the existence of an ’80s movie that I somehow never saw. This 1986 film showed up on Amazon Prime UK so I had to give it a watch (even though it stars Charlie Sheen. Ew.). But I loved the sound of it from the plot. From Wikipedia: “The Wraith tells the story of an Arizona teen who mysteriously returns from the dead as a supernatural street-racer driving an invulnerable supercar. His intent is to take revenge on the gang who murdered him.” That sounds weird as shit & right up my alley.
The movie is fun & kind of what I expected, although it could’ve been a little cooler. Not sure how, but it obviously didn’t quite make it to cult level status although it had that potential. I think it needed to be a little more bizarre. For a weird plot synopsis, the movie itself wasn’t weird enough. Plus Sheen was a bit dull – maybe this would be a cult film now had it starred someone else? Hell, his brother Emilio would’ve been much better. Which made me think that I really want to watch Repo Man again, as I don’t remember much now but love Harry Dean Stanton.
This is another thing I love about discovering ’80s movies I never saw: I love spotting so many actors I liked, especially if they’re obscure actors I recognise from other ’80s films. Two not-so-obscure ones in The Wraith but it was great seeing Randy Quaid and Clint Howard (this was a big role for him! He’s usually not much more than a cameo). Anyway – it’s a fun movie but it could’ve been better. I want to give it a higher rating than this. I’d probably like it more if it had been one I’d managed to see when I was a teenager. – 6.5/10
– The Wolverine – Wait, was this the bad Wolverine movie or the REALLY bad one?? Oh yeah – the really bad one was Origins. And I’d seen that one before, so it’s in the Rewatched section below. I don’t have the energy to write about the X-Men films, which I watched ALL of (other than Logan & Dark Phoenix) during lockdown. Here’s how I feel about X-Men: I know nothing whatsoever about the comics but absolutely loved the first film when it came out. I was a nerd in my mid-20s & it was the first “superhero” thing I really went for. I just liked the concept & thought the characters were great. I even bought some damn toys (including Professor X, as I already loved Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: TNG). Then the second movie was great. Then…. they all went downhill from there. Damn. But I still really like the whole X-Men thing overall so I’m giving even the worst films no lower than a 6/10. I just wish the movies were better as I still love the story & the characters. Maybe I should look into the comics, huh?
Anyway – the reason for rewatching them all was because my daughter showed an interest in seeing them. She’s very into “girl” superheroes at the moment & spends a lot of time drawing them. Two of her favorites are Kitty Pryde & X-23. The other two are Jessica Jones & Kate Bishop, who I know nothing about, but we managed to find a comic series containing both of them & aimed at pre-teens & she absolutely loves it. And she’s gone for the X-Men movies big time, which is interesting as she didn’t go quite so much for the MCU stuff (as she was too young to grow up with those, I guess, so only saw some of the later films & missed out on watching the characters develop). It’s just interesting as I felt the same way in far preferring X-Men to other superhero stuff at the time. I think it’s great that I was able to pass my nerdy X-Men toys onto my daughter 20 years later. 🙂
Oh yeah – was I meant to be reviewing The Wolverine?! It sucked. I only watched it a few months ago & barely remember it already. Yikes. And I think I fell asleep through part of it. But it sucked a bit less than Origins. How did they make such a mess out of movies about such an awesome character twice?! Luckily Logan turned out good (which is too violent for the kid so she’s not seen that one, FYI). – 6/10
– X-Men: Apocalypse – Ugh. This one was a mess too. It’s such a mess that I’ve ranked it below The Wolverine. However, I’m not sure which one is actually worse. But I just didn’t go for these “First Class” younger X-Men movies as much. Give me old Patrick Stewart instead! But Michael Fassbender is hot, so… I guess there’s that. What even happened in this one again?! Okay – I think I watched too many X-Men movies in one month. Can’t keep them straight! But that’s the problem with superhero movies, which is why this genre is not truly a favorite of mine: They’re all too similar. Same with the MCU films. At least the MCU films did a better job with the origin stories, which I mostly preferred to the Avengers movies as you get much better character development than you do when too many superheroes are all crammed into a movie together. I wish the X-Men movies had managed to do as good of a job following an overall story arc like the MCU movies did. – 6/10
– Dark Places – Oh, look – it’s young Beast from X-Men! Holy shit – I barely remember this movie either. It was only three months ago! My mind has clearly been elsewhere during this pandemic. What’s sad is that I also read this book. From what I remember of the book, this was a faithful adaptation. It just wasn’t my favorite story from Gillian Flynn. Flynn also wrote Gone Girl, which was a very enjoyable book (review here). But what I liked even more was her novel Sharp Objects (sort-of review here). That book was fucked up! And the TV adaptation with Amy Adams was decent. Dark Places was okay but meh. The characters are all pretty hateful (but that’s the case with all of Flynn’s books that I’ve read). Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.” – 5.5/10
I discussed how I feel about X-Men above so I’m not going to discuss each film below. The above were first-time-watches for me but I rewatched all of the below movies in May as well.
– X-Men – Yay! – 7.5/10
– X-Men 2 – Yay too! – 7.5/10
– X-Men: First Class – Not bad but prefer the older characters – 7/10
– Mulan – I want to like Mulan more than I do. I like the story & her character but the rest of the characters & the film are a bit weak. My daughter was obsessed with this one in May and watched it over & over. I actually badly want to see the live-action film as it looks so damn good from the trailer. And I’m someone who HATES all these horrible live-action versions Disney have been doing. Beauty And The Beast with annoying Emma Watson? Yuck! – 7/10
– The Fox And The Hound – I’ve always been fond of this one, as well as The Rescuers, as for some reason I remember both very well from a young age. Not sure how I saw them, as renting movies obviously didn’t exist at that point (god I’m old). With The Rescuers, I think it’s partly due to having a book of it as a little kid as well as a View-Master reel or whatever you called it (goddamn – I really AM old). And I assume I saw it in the cinema on some re-release. I’ll have seen The Fox And The Hound on its original release, so I guess I really liked it as I was the right sort of age for it. And I’ve always liked “animal” Disney stories the most. So I rewatched this one with the kid in May (is it obvious that Disney Plus was new to the U.K. at the start of lockdown?! Perfect timing). Anyway, on a rewatch I have to admit that this is certainly one of Disney’s weaker films. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still far better than movies from that horrible mid-90s into early 2000s Disney phase (Sorry, Hercules & Emperor’s New Groove lovers). Tod & Copper are still completely loveable, though. – 7/10
– X-Men: Days Of Future Past – Wow – I was harsh in my original review of this (linked). I liked it more the second time around. It’s far better than Apocalypse! – 7/10
– X-Men: The Last Stand – Hmm – 6.5/10
– SpaceCamp – I remember liking this movie a lot at the time (1986) but hadn’t seen it in years. Must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the rewatch. I want to give it a higher rating but know that would be due to nostalgia. It’s a VERY ’80s film so may seem a bit dated now but, for me, that’s a big part of its charm. However, it’s a very fun story for kids so I think any watching it now would still have a lot of fun with it. What was really interesting was seeing Joaquin Phoenix (then Leaf Phoenix) as a young child star again. I still see him that way even now (I was instead a big fan of brother River thanks to Stand By Me) but I think anyone younger watching SpaceCamp now would find it very weird seeing the Joker as this sweet little kid.
Screw it – I’m giving this a score that’s probably half a point more than it deserves. I just still really like this one. And if you have young kids interested in space travel, I’d still recommend this movie. Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “The young attendees of a space camp find themselves in space for real when their shuttle is accidentally launched into orbit.” And I now see why it failed at the box office, as I just read this at Wikipedia: “The film received mixed reviews and is famous for being a “marketing nightmare,” as it was released less than five months after the Challenger accident of January 28, 1986 (although filming was completed before the disaster occurred). The film performed poorly at the box office, grossing less than $10 million in the US. The script was later adapted into a novel, which did include references to the Challenger explosion and some of the kids’ decisions to attend Space Camp in the wake of said tragedy.” FYI: SpaceCamp stars Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston (R.I.P. – still in shock at her recent death), Larry B. Scott, Leaf Phoenix, Tate Donovan & Tom Skerritt – 7/10
– Mannequin – Cheesy as fuck but I’m an ’80s kid so of course I still appreciate this stupid movie. – 6.5/10
– National Treasure – Decided to rewatch this with the kid as remember liking it the first time around. It was still enjoyable but more boring than I’d remembered. Honestly, there’s too much in the way of boring American history in this film. America – Fuck Yeah! I imagine this movie didn’t do as well outside the U.S. Sorry, it probably doesn’t help that History was always one of my least favorite subjects. I prefer sci-fi & the future to humanity’s horrible past. I also thought this movie had more of an Indiana Jones vibe to it but it’s really just Indiana Jones if he wasn’t sexy as hell and if he tried to teach you a little too much about history along the way instead of just melting the baddies’ faces off. – 6.5/10
– You’ve Got Mail – This movie is cute and I still like the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan combo but this is the worst of the films they did together. Tom Hanks’ character is also kind of a dick in this one. Tom Hanks can’t be a dick! No, it just doesn’t work. But this is still worth watching if you like these old rom-coms which rarely get made anymore. Why did that stop?! It’s admittedly not my favorite genre but the movies were enjoyable & inoffensive and had some great stars. Just be sure to watch Sleepless In Seattle first as it’s much better. But their best one by far is the quirky Joe Versus The Volcano (which I realise won’t be everyone’s cup of tea). Apparently they also did a movie called Ithaca together in 2016 but I don’t know a thing about that one (I see it was directed by Ryan, though – I’d like to see that now). – 6.5/10
– X-Men Origins: Wolverine – God this one is bad. It deserves a much lower rating but I just can’t help but still like the whole X-Men thing… – 6/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
MUSIC & BOOKS
Nothing “new” to mention here. I’ve just been listening to my usual Apple playlist A LOT lately (it’s one of the best things about working from home: music all day long). One thing I’ll say is that I’ve really been enjoying all the Jóhann Jóhannsson soundtrack stuff that keeps popping up on my playlist while I’m working (particularly the Mandy score). What a loss to the filmmaking world – he did fantastic scores.
I also continued reading Frank Herbert’s Dune throughout May (finishing in June).
TV SHOWS WATCHED
– The Golden Girls – As I said in my April roundup post, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this on Channel 5 during my lunch breaks. I’m really missing it! Now I just work through lunch some of the time. Bring The Golden Girls back!!!
– As I also mentioned, the UK finally got Disney Plus (in April?), so a lot of time was spent watching Disney stuff those first few months. I especially enjoyed watching all the Silly Symphonies with my daughter. Man, I spent a small fortune many years ago trying to buy all those up when they were released in fancy metal tins. Love them. I especially liked the one that introduced Donald Duck as a character. We also enjoyed Pixar In Real Life, some of which are fun & some a bit meh. I swear no one in the Brave episode knew who the hell Merida was & people didn’t seem to catch on to the Up stuff either. Wow – I’d instantly recognise all Disney & Pixar references in real life. And all the Disney & Pixar shorts are great. Where The Golden Girls stopped showing during my lunch breaks, I still sometimes stick on a Disney or Pixar short to watch with the kid during lunch now. She also really liked the Forky Asks A Question shorts. I find Forky a bit annoying, though. Can only take him in small doses, so the shorts are just the right length.
– We did enjoy watching the Andrew Lloyd Webber stuff they showed on Friday nights during the start of lockdown. Very cool that they did that. Can’t say I loved all of them, though. I just have no class. My favorite was probably Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat but we stopped watching The Phantom of the Opera out of boredom. Sorry. See? No class! Jesus Christ Superstar was also disappointing, as I really like the 1973 film. We’ll watch the film version next Easter instead…
– Finally, I started catching up on the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy in May. God that show annoys me. But I can’t quit watching after so many years! And they had the dumbest “write-off” of a character yet with Alex Karev. WTF was that?! Dumb as hell. That was more stupid than when the guy who played George clearly pissed them off on the show so they had his character get hit by a bus & end up in the hospital completely unrecognisable so that they didn’t even need the actor to film that final episode where they kill him off. Haha. So petty.
BLOG PLANS FOR AUGUST
Well, I’ve managed to do my roundup posts up to May now. Didn’t think I’d manage as don’t feel like writing lately. So I guess I’ll try to post June & July as well.
Upcoming Movies I Want To See:
Haven’t bothered with this section as not much is really coming out to see. Plus, I won’t be going to a cinema again for a very, very long time. Feel bad about that as, obviously, movies are my main hobby & I was a regular customer before the pandemic. But I don’t have the money now plus I don’t think it’s safe. Luckily no one reads this blog anyway. 🙂 But the only reviews that ever get any hits are the ones for current releases and I won’t be seeing many of those now.
As for films that were meant to come out in 2020, these are the only ones I badly want to see:
– Bill & Ted Face The Music – I NEED to see this. I’m a big Bill & Ted fan (the whole family are big fans) but it was just announced that it will be a cinema-only release in the UK. Extremely unimpressed at that. Why can’t it be video on demand here as well?!?! This has been my most anticipated movie since the second it was announced. Now we have no clue when we’ll be able to safely see it in the UK plus it’s released an entire month after America gets it anyway. So, yay – the whole movie will have been spoiled by then. Just like how The Mandalorian was spoiled for us. Great.
– Mulan – At least it’s looks like the UK might get a chance to see this one? Who knows, though – we still get screwed over on later releases for some of the Disney Plus stuff too.
– Top Gun: Maverick – I admit it – I love Top Gun. I was really looking forward to this.
– Dune – Well, I finally read the book! I mainly want to see this, though, as Denis Villeneuve is my favorite newer filmmaker.
As I mentioned the great Jóhann Jóhannsson above, here’s something of his from the Mandy score:
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack
Music by Randy Newman
Production Company Walt Disney Pictures & Pixar Animation Studios
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
I adore Pixar. I think they make all-time classic family films that are far better than the majority of live-action films these days. When they became a part of Disney, I knew we might get the problem of “too many sequels” since Disney love to squeeze out these easy money-makers. I know we all love these characters but did we really need yet another Toy Story film after such a perfect trilogy? No, we didn’t. Is it bad? Of course not. Other than the Cars films, Pixar don’t tend to make bad movies. Even their “not as good” films are way better than animated films from other studios. Toy Story 4 really did feel a bit pointless to me, though. While I enjoyed it and liked seeing Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang again, I felt very underwhelmed after thinking about it for a while. I also saw it a second time as extended family wanted to go to it so it was interesting to find that I actually liked it a little less the second time. I didn’t expect that.
I’ll start with the good: Forky is a great new character. I loved his whole existential crisis and wish they had actually explored that much more than they did. We also get a lot of Woody for people who are Woody fans. Wow – these names sound a bit dirty… Who wants a good Woody Forky!?! (I do). I also loved the creepy ass dummies because creepy ass dummies are awesome (I highly recommend the movies Magic and Dead Of Night if you like creepy ass dummies). I loved getting to find out what happened to Bo Peep since they just dropped her ass from these films and it’s great that she turned out to be pretty damn cool. And the animation is AMAZING. Remember when the first Toy Story came out and we were shocked at how brilliant it looked? It looks so primitive now compared to Toy Story 4. OH! I almost forgot to mention Keanu! Keanu Reeves is in this so, of course, his mere presence makes every movie better (in my opinion, at least).
Now for some of the “not so good” things: Buzz Lightyear had nothing to do in this. Neither did Jessie. Both were really wasted in this film (as were all our most beloved original characters other than Woody & Bo Peep, obviously). I know Woody was the focus of this one but that’s always been the case yet other main characters still got some decent screen time in the other movies. I wasn’t all that into the whole Gabby Gabby story, either, as its outcome was so extremely predictable. I also think they haven’t managed to get us to like Bonnie & her family all that much compared to how we feel about Andy & his mother. It just seems like we know Andy far better than we do Bonnie. Oh, and Ducky & Bunny were annoying more often than funny. The only good new addition to this one was Forky. Oh, and Duke Caboom! But that’ll be because I adore Keanu. I’d just rather have spent more time with our favorite characters than with a bunch of new ones. To be fair, a lot of new characters were added to Toy Story 3 as well but they were far stronger than the new additions to this one. I also found that the jokes in this one, for whatever reason, didn’t make me laugh the second time around whereas I still love every funny bit from the other three films. (Well, except for the high-five Combat Carl bit, which cracked me the hell up both times)
Toy Story 4 was okay. At least it’s much better than Monsters University and Finding Dory as far as Pixar sequels go. It just doesn’t have the heart of the first or the third Toy Story or the humor of the second one. People are saying they got emotional all over again with Toy Story 4 but I didn’t feel that way in the slightest. I just about burst into tears at the end of Toy Story 3. Maybe I’m just heartless now? But Inside Out still gets me feeling all emotional every damn time (and I’ve seen that one a lot now), so I think I just have sequel burnout. Enough with the sequels, please! I still love these characters and, yes, I always enjoy seeing them. But I can’t pretend that I didn’t find Toy Story 4 unnecessary.
The film adaptation of The Circle by Dave Eggers is out today in the US (there’s no current UK release date that I can find. Hmm…). It was directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) and stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly & Bill Paxton (R.I.P.). I’ll probably try to go to the film at some point, so will of course review that if I do. For now, here’s my review of the novel…
The Circle by Dave Eggers
What It’s About: (via Amazon) Fast, thrilling and compulsively addictive, The Circle is Dave Eggers’ bestselling novel about our obsession with the internet and where it may lead. When Mae Holland lands her dream job at the world’s most powerful internet company, she has no idea what awaits behind the doors of The Circle…
This is one of those books where I loved the concept & agreed with its stance that, basically, the Internet & big corporations (such as the one that Fincher’s The Social Network is about) are evil. Okay, yes – I’m a blogger and I admit that I love to tweet but I’d happily hop into a time machine to go back to the Eighties and live without this sort of technology as I think we were better off without it. The world is a dreadful place & we’re living in an Orwellian dystopia. But we actually brought this all on ourselves, which I think even Orwell didn’t fully foresee. Hell, even Orwell couldn’t predict something as absurd as the rise of the Kardashi-thingies & wannabes! 😉 I blame them for society’s devolution (enabled by the Internet, of course). But back to this book…
I bring up Orwell as The Circle is indeed in a similar vein to 1984. But dystopian novels are more popular than ever and this is yet another of many that come nowhere near that masterpiece. I was pretty disappointed with The Circle overall. I absolutely love this genre and, as I said, I fully agree with this novel’s beliefs so I did expect to thoroughly enjoy it. In fact, I’ve read 14 books so far this year (that’s a lot for me!) and this is possibly my least favorite. Damn. I didn’t expect that.
I found The Circle a bit too long & meandering. It started out okay but, by halfway through, it was becoming a bit of a chore to read as its lead character (Mae Holland, played by Emma Watson in the film) was becoming more and more and MORE unlikable. I think her character is the main problem I had with the novel as I always struggle to enjoy a book when I hate its main character. This can only very occasionally be made up for if the story is exceptionally good but, unfortunately, this isn’t the case with The Circle. I know the book’s whole point is that The Circle (the evil corporation in the story) is almost cult-like and that its believers follow blindly while the reader can see what’s really going on but, ugh, you just want to slap the shit out of Mae and knock some damn sense into her! I suppose Emma Watson is a good choice for the role in the film, though, as she’s seriously starting to get on my tits lately. But I’m hoping that the film will write her character slightly differently and give her some sense.
Well, I plan to check out the movie anyway since I always like to see how novels get adapted. Maybe they can actually improve on the book (it does happen sometimes). I still really like the overall idea behind the novel & its very obvious message even though I don’t think the story and its unlikable lead character do well to convey that message & the seriousness with which we should be taking it. I think I was just hoping for something a little more insightful and less obvious. The Circle doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know and I’m not sure if it was trying to be satirical or not but, if it was, it gave the novel an odd tone that didn’t really work. I prefer my dystopian literature to either be proper satire or full-on bleak, depressing dreariness! The Circle can’t quite decide what it wants to be but I do appreciate its effort to bring further attention to a very important topic we should be taking far more seriously. I think, unfortunately, the satire maybe doesn’t work simply because this book isn’t as exaggerated as Eggers may have originally intended. This story doesn’t feel like a distant future – it feels like it has already happened.
My Rating: 2.5/5
Here’s a trailer for the movie (as is often the case lately, I think it gives too much away):
Today’s video is Carly Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You, which is not my sort of thing AT ALL. Anyone who knows me probably thought they were on the wrong blog for a second there…
Oh well! Tomorrow is Tom Hanks’ 60th birthday & yesterday I did a list of My Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies so it made sense to post this video for Music Video Friday since he (bizarrely) stars in it. I guess it’s a catchy pop tune if you like that sort of thing. My kid likes this song. That’s okay, though, since she also loves David Bowie. 😉
Here you go! Tom Hanks in a music video! Unfortunately, Justin Bieber is in it as well. I sincerely apologize for that…
Happy Birthday (soon) to Tom Hanks, who turns 60 on Saturday. Who doesn’t like Tom Hanks?! Evil people, that’s who! 😉
Here are My Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies, counting down to my favorite. There are still a lot I’ve not seen! But a lot that I have, as he’s been in so many films. So I’ve ranked all 26 that I’ve seen…
26. The Polar Express
25. Angels & Demons
24. Bachelor Party
23. That Thing You Do!
22. You’ve Got Mail
21. Captain Phillips
20. The Da Vinci Code
19. The Simpsons Movie
18. The Terminal
17. Turner & Hooch
16. The Money Pit
15. Saving Private Ryan
13. A League Of Their Own
12. Apollo 13
11. Road To Perdition
Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Satu of Fairytale Pictures. Thanks for the review, Satu! 🙂 Now let’s see what she thought of Catch Me If You Can, IMDB rank 240 out of 250…
There are another 16 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest 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. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
I originally wrote this review/summary for my scriptwriting course, so there’s more plot details that I usually include but change is good, right? I also added some points. Hope you enjoy reading it. Spoilers ahead.
Sometimes it’s easier living the lie
Catch Me If You Can is a crime dramedy based on a biography of Frank Abagnale Jr., American con-man who succeeded in forging millions of dollars of fake checks while pretending to be a Pan-Am pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, all that before his 19th birthday. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released 2002 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a main character Frank Abagnale Jr., Tom Hanks as a federal officer Hanratty chasing him and Christopher Walken is Frank Sr.
I saw Catch Me If You Can for the first time when it was released in Finland in 2003. I liked it back then and I liked it this time even more, probably because I paid more attention to the details of the film. Spielberg knows how to do details, his films are always looking and sounding great. The film is not overly emotional, so, even though I’m quite emotional person, I didn’t cry during the film. Mostly I guess I was exhilarated and afterwards relieved and in the end, disappointed, at least a bit. The main character is likeable and a con-man, so it’s easy to get excited for him and feel relieved after he manages his mischiefs. Disappointed-part is debatable.
(SPOILERS IN THIS PART) “Sometimes it’s easier living the lie”, says Hanratty at the end of the film. The phrase summarizes the film. Catch Me If You Can is a story of responsibility, growing up and bringing up. It’s a story of owning up. The film might be an adventure to viewer but it also makes you think what is justified in order to get around in one’s life. But in the end, I figure that Catch Me If You Can is a bit too much of a “lesson” about what kind of life you should live. And that is what let me down; the film ended up being one those familiar stories; bad childhood, rebelling child, moral aberrations and again, happily ever after. I kind of wished a bit more demanding ending, I guess.
Even though Spielberg has yet again a child as his lead, Catch Me If You Can is very stylish crime thriller. It has this adult feel and I believe children or even teens would be bored while watching it. The film must be PG because there’s basically no violence and very little of sex and nudity but the story and especially how it’s told tells that the target audience is civilized, smart adults who has taste and style. Catch Me If You Can has jamesbondish vibe to it without the sexual content. One of the Abagnale’s alter-ego is even named Mr. Fleming.
All of the actors are great; obviously. What else would you wait from DiCaprio, Hanks and Walken? Amy Adams also makes unforgettable role in the film as Abagnale’s love interest. That must have been one of the bigger roles in the beginning of her career. Catch Me If You Can got two Oscar nominations for Walken as Frank’s dad, deservedly so, he’s heartbreaking in a small kind of a way, and un-surprisingly to John Williams who smartly scored the film, I liked the music a lot. DiCaprio was also nominated for the Golden Globe. All in all, the film is good, solid 8/10 but it misses the last punch.
Running time: 92 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Starter for 10 is a 2006 British comedy-drama film directed by Tom Vaughan from a screenplay by David Nicholls, adapted from his own novel Starter for Ten. The film stars James McAvoy as a university student who wins a place on a University Challenge quiz team.
I decided to watch this the other day after reading a review from the lovely Emma on MovieRob’s blog (HERE). I’d known about it but hadn’t known that it was set in my beloved 1980s until I read her review so that was all I needed to convince me to watch it.
Starter For Ten is a book by David Nicholls. I’ve not read it (but Emma has & says it’s of course better than the movie). I did read One Day by David Nicholls and, although it’s very flawed, I still liked the book & the movie (despite the fact that Anne Hathaway was in it – staring at Jim Sturgess & his big brown eyes helped a little). Plus, as I said, Starter For 10 is set in the EIGHTIES! Woohoo! Well, unfortunately, the movie is a bit bland. And as for the 1980s, this is one of those movies where it doesn’t actually look or feel all that much like that decade even though they throw in as much music as possible from that era. Don’t get me wrong – I love 80’s music. At one point I looked at the hubby & said “are they actually playing my playlist?” as it’s filled with things like New Order, The Smiths, Tears For Fears and LOADS of songs from The Cure. It’s nice hearing a bunch of my favorite songs but, at the same time, it also feels very lazy on the part of the filmmakers. It’s like “See? Our movie is set in the eighties because we’re playing The Cure! Ignore Alice Eve with her big boobs & her very un-eighties clothes & blonde highlights – just listen to Motörhead!”
I will say this movie is only really worth a watch if you’re a fan of any of its stars or if you enjoy similar British films. There are some very big names in Starter For 10 so it was fun seeing them just before most of them made it really big in blockbusters like the X-Men, Star Trek & Iron Man series of films. The storyline was extremely predictable to the point of almost being annoying (I’m talking especially about the romance!) but, when the group finally appear on the game show they’ve been preparing for, the film does get a little more fun. The movie is very “British” and I couldn’t help but compare it to Nick Hornby’s books & movies. I have to say I far prefer Hornby & would recommend his stuff over this (especially the book High Fidelity). Overall, Starter For 10 just didn’t really work for me. It’s not a bad movie but the predictable plot and one-dimensional characters just left me feeling “Meh. So what?”. Watch it if you like the actors but first check out some Nick Hornby. And The Cure’s greatest hits!
Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. She’s already reviewed The Godfather: Part I (HERE) and Part II (HERE) as well as The Departed (HERE) and The Green Mile (HERE) and Big Fish (HERE) and Snatch (HERE) and Dial M For Murder (HERE). Thanks once again for all the reviews, Zoe! 🙂 Now let’s see what she has to say about Forrest Gump, IMDB rank 19 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.
Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.
When Forrest Gump was still lingering on Miss Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 list of films that had yet to be picked, I thought it was a disgrace! I am a massive fan of Forrest Gump. As you (might) know, I watch it every year around Christmas time, and while I do not watch regular television, God forbid I sit down somewhere and Forrest is on, no matter where in the film. It means that I will be glued to my seat for the remainder of the film. I love it. Well, today I am going to talk about why I love Forrest Gump so much.
“Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you’re gonna be?” – Jenny Curran
SYNOPSIS: A man with a low I.Q. has accomplished great things in his life and been present during significant historic events – in each case, far exceeding what anyone imagined he could do. Yet, despite all the things he has attained, his one true love eludes him. – via IMDB
I enjoy Hanks’s work, I really do. I think he is really good at what he does. His portrayal of Forrest is also one of my favourite roles of his of all time; he just nailed every aspect of Forrest. He is sweet, adorable; deeper than you would expect of him, loyal and pretty brave… or maybe that is just because stupid is as stupid does J Forrest is endearing, and had some wicked cool moments (the way he narrowed his eyes after insisting Jenny go home to Greenbow, Alabama, his overprotectiveness of Jenny, his love for his mom, his knowledge that he isn’t the brightest man in the world, his innocence, wonderful I tell you).
The story set before you is a wonderful journey that you undertake with good old Forrest, Hanks truly making him shine, someone we can almost relate to. As fantastical as the tales are that he shares with us, he is so humble and plain and honest you cannot help but get roped into it all. Everything is possible when Forrest is around. Robin Wright’s depiction of Jenny was great, though she was not necessarily a likable character all the time, you could totally understand why Forrest would be in love with her. She was nice to him throughout, and understood he wasn’t always the sharpest tool of the shed, but loved him in her own way anyway.
I thought the friendship between Bubba and Forrest was awesome. They were so alike in so many ways, they did nothing but complement each other. Forrest Gump travels through some major conflicts in the United States, some big and iconic events, and somehow Forrest has a hand in them somewhere, or an appearance, and I enjoyed how they managed to pull it off, it was really nice. Also, the way Forrest seemed to have influenced many big things in history was exceptionally amusing for me too. Something that you also see a lot of in the film is assassinations – damn, America, you guys didn’t want a lot of people out there! I liked that it was so steeped in history, giving us markers throughout the film.
Lieutenant Dan was also a character that grows on you, he is a bean son of a bitch, but he is pretty important to it all. There are also some truly heartrending moments throughout the film. Forrest Gump effortlessly manages to balance comedy and drama throughout the film, but when things get heavy, they get really heavy. I am just thinking of the things that Jenny in specific put Forrest through, and how that all worked out at the end. What a sweet, touching, amusing film!
Forrest Gump also had the best soundtrack, I absolutely adored it. Not to mention the fact that each and every song was used perfectly and fit for each and every scene, it stays with you. There are some tremendous songs on there, truly rounding out the flick superbly. I relish how infinitely quotable this movie is, and how it never gets old.
Wow, there is so much more to Forrest Gump than I can even mention, just know that it is a wonderful movie and a much watch. I know that there is (I simply cannot understand this) a pretty large group of haters out there over this, but even after all these years, I am still an admirer of it. That’s all I have to say about that.
Running time: 22 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB) It’s a post Christmas play date and the toys have to go up against the fearsome and aggressive new dino toys.
Yes! Another Toy Story short! This aired in the UK on Saturday and I couldn’t wait to see it as I’ve loved all the shorts so far (Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, Partysaurus Rex and of course Toy Story Of Terror, which was a longer TV special like this one). It’s hard to pick a favorite, but… I think it’s probably this one now. And Angel Kitty RULES. 🙂
I’ll say that, yes, this sort of uses the same idea from the first Toy Story film in the same way Toy Story Of Terror was similar to Toy Story 2. I thought this one worked better than Terror, though, and I found myself giggling at funny moments a lot more often this time. I really liked the new characters that are introduced, especially Reptillus Maximus and Angel Kitty with her profound statements said in an adorable child’s voice.
Trixie the dinosaur is the star of this one and I don’t have a problem with that at all – I love it when they focus on characters other than just Buzz, Woody & Jessie. Although Jessie is sadly almost completely absent from this one, the other main characters are still in it enough to keep fans happy. In this story, Trixie wants the chance to play at being a dinosaur for a change and is finally given the chance when Bonnie takes her along for a play date at her friend Mason’s house. It’s a couple of days after Christmas and he’s just received what appears to be the entire set of toys called “Battlesaurs”. I won’t go into the story much more in order to avoid spoilers but it of course has an obvious but simple message that once again fits in with the overall themes in the Toy Story universe. They don’t hammer you over the head with the message or anything like that, unlike in most of my favorite Christmas specials (Charlie Brown, The Grinch… Not that I’m complaining as I loooooove those). My only complaint would possibly be that it didn’t really feel at all like a “Christmas” special but it makes it one you can easily watch year round, I guess.
A worthy addition to the Toy Story franchise, Toy Story That Time Forgot is packed full of the humor we’ve come to expect. I think I laughed even more than the kid I watched this with so, once again, I think they got the balance right with the adults liking it as well as their kids. Bonnie is still as sweet and wildly imaginative as in Toy Story 3 and we get a lot of Rex and especially Trixie, two characters I really like, as well as some great new toys. Plus a cute ending and scene during the credits. Oh, and watch out for the hilarious theme tune! I really had fun with this one. And… Everyone needs an apartment shaped like their own head! 🙂
My Rating: 8/10
Btw – I’m posting a review on Wednesday for Brian De Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise and I’m hoping at least a couple of people will check it out as it’s the type of movie I enjoy reviewing here. But people only want to read about things like Interstellar… 😦 (which I kind of trashed HERE…). Lol 😉
Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. Thanks for being a part of this, Rob! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Saving Private Ryan, IMDB rank 39 out of 250… (as of 01/01/2013)
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.
Thanks again to Ms. Mutant for giving us all a chance to review our favorite movies that are part of the IMDB Top 250!
Certain movies fade within your memory not long after you see them and then there are others that remain engraved in your mind for years, if not decades afterwards.
Saving Private Ryan is a movie that fits into the latter category in my mind.
I recall seeing it in the theater during the Fall of 1998 and being mesmerized and riveted for the close to 3 hours running time.
Steven Spielberg had given us all so many iconic movies over the years up to that point that spanned the whole gamut of Genres. From Jaws to Close Encounters to E.T. to The Indiana Jones trilogy to The Goonies to Jurassic Park and ultimately to his masterpiece Schindler’s List.
Few suspected that he would find a way to even top THAT endeavor, but he did. (or at least matched it)
Saving Private Ryan is truly a companion piece to Schindler’s List because they both deal with different aspects of the horrors of World War II. One deals with the inhabitants of Europe and how they had to deal with the cruelty of the Nazi’s, some due to their heritage and others due to their will to stop injustice from continuing. The other deals with the thousands of American soldiers who traveled far from home to help bring about the downfall of that cruel dictator and his nation that attempted to stop freedom and democracy from spreading.
In both of these movies, Spielberg didn’t hesitate to show the horrific face of war and in some instances strived so hard to show us the hurtful, but truthful shock and awe of those events in history.
I cannot think of any other movie that opens as this one did. To have close to 30 minutes devoted to carnage, despair, fear, trepidation, blood and guts (literally), action, and lots of other very descriptive and poignant moments has been unprecedented in film history, let alone during the first 30 minutes.
Basically this movie charges right in, showing us that war truly is hell. By the time the shit hits the fan, we don’t know any of the characters and (at least back in 1998), we only could recognize Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore. The disorientation that the viewer was hit in the face with from the start was even greater because of the ‘shaky’ camera work that was purposely used to give us the feeling that we are within that very dangerous situation along with the soldiers themselves.
The rest of this movie follows suit and is amazingly done. The story is interesting, the characters are not just ‘stock’ soldiers like in many war movies, the dialogue between the characters and the action all add up to a movie worth seeing over and over again.
I don’t like spoiling movies, so I’m not going to go into much detail about the plot itself because I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few of you out there who have yet to see this.
Basically, like many ‘war’ films, this is an anti-war movie trying to show the futility of war and the importance of every person individually making whatever they do in life and in war count for something.
Once the story gets going, we get to know the characters quite well and each one is developed well enough that we care what will happen to them.
Spielberg purposely chose unknown actors so we wouldn’t be distracted by stars. Ironically, just about all of his “unknown” choices became very popular afterwards. Who doesn’t know the names of Ed Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel and Jeremy Davies?
Shockingly, this movie lost the best picture Oscar to Shakespeare in Love which in my book is the biggest mistake ever made by Oscar voters. As much as Shakespeare was a fun movie, this one is clearly better in every aspect besides comedy (DUH!!). Spielberg himself was awarded the best director Oscar which was extremely rare 16 years ago to have a split between Picture and Director.
This is a movie that is best if watched on the big screen. I personally saw this twice in the theater and am grateful that I did so. Certain films are even more powerful on the big screen and this is one of them even if it’s also quite enjoyable at home.
I’m actually quite surprised that this movie is so low on the IMDB Top 250. I mean c’mon 35!!!!. How is that even possible?
Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe is loving this IMDB project – she’s already reviewed The Departed (which you can read HERE) and she’s planning on doing more! (And may have done another one already…) 😉 Thanks so much for the reviews, Zoe!
Now let’s see what she has to say about The Green Mile, IMDB rank 65 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 HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.
Here’s another entry for Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having so much fun with this, revisiting some movies, checking them all for her, some of them I have been meaning to look into again for so long, and now I finally have the driving factor. This is a movie that I hold most dear, who lived up to every inch of the book, proving that you can, in fact, adapt a book successfully if you just know what you are doing.
“On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job?”
– Paul Edgecomb
The Green Mile is an absolutely stunning tale of the supernatural, faith, the strange things, horror, hope, miracles and all sorts of things. Naturally, when it begins, you don’t really know what is coming. I mean Stephen King is renowned for horrors, but what some people forget is that he is an exceptionally talented author who has more skills than just to terrify the pants off of you. From his strange mind he brought us an account, one that makes you smile, one that makes you sad, one that evokes anger and pity all at once. John Coffey is portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan (R.I.P.), and I think he was superbly cast to play the giant that was accused of the disgusting slayings of two young girls. He is a monster of a man, not the most intelligent person in the world, but shy, wholesome and well-mannered, very incongruent to the hulking monstrosity his physical exterior represents.
“People hurt the ones they love. That’s how it is all around the world.” – John Coffey
Coffey’s character can only grow on you, and if it does not, then there is something fundamentally flawed in you. He was pure innocence in a world of cruelty, anger and hatred, and even though he was wronged, he did not take it out on anyone once. I loved the relationship he developed with the guards Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks), Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn). It was great to see how they interacted with this man on death row. Then there was Tom Hanks, again pulling together a great drama role right here as Paul, the man who had to get to the bottom of whatever was going on, who was drawn in and fascinated by Coffey, a peaceful and pure human being. Naturally not everyone was going to be so nice, and Dough Hutchison did a fine job as Percy Wetmore… in other words, I really did just want to climb over somewhere and kill him. He was inhumane, he was cruel and he deserved so much more than a big, fat slap. He was revolting and evil to the core, and was intent on throwing his weight around and bullying everyone no end. People like that sicken me, and he was incredibly convincing, always selfish, putting himself ahead and being resentful at every available opportunity.
“Try it! You’ll be on the bread lines before the week is out!” – Percy Whetmore
Sam Rockwell was simply brilliant as “Wild Bill” Wharton, and impressed me with his portrayal of the malicious and wicked man. He was undeniably cracked and never once let you forget about it. He was the very embodiment of what I expected from King’s character. I also enjoyed David Morse, whom I find to be an underappreciated actor. He lent dignity and morals to Brutus and gave him real flesh and character. The movie’s pacing was gradual though never boring, but you must not expect something gushing action in every scene, never relenting or letting you breathe. This is a film designed to make you chew over it, think about it and make decisions based on that.
“All I wanted me was a little cornbread, motherfuckers! All I wanted me was a little cornbread!” – William “Wild Bill” Wharton
I enjoyed how the film was set in the thirties, and the appearance of the prison, the uniforms, the way of life… things was done so much differently. Coffey’s gift being discovered was a thing of beauty. Paul had been suffering for a while with a severe bladder infection, and in a moment of fear and pain, Coffey had healed him, fixed the problems. Such is the nature that shows that Coffey is special, that he is amazing and that he should not be where he is, though he is there now and will have to make the best of it. The guards all become rather protective of Coffey and develop a respect and friendship with him, though not everything is destined to go that way. Paul’s relentless need to get to the bottom of what really happened is touching, and it shows you how one person can change your perception in life as well as how you go about it.
I honestly believe The Green Mile is a classic, and most definitely something that everyone should see at least once in their lives. Frank Darabont again gave another striking vision of a King novel, something I am starting to feel only he fully grasps.
I just can’t see God putting a gift like that in the hands of a man who would kill a child. – Paul Edgecomb
Running time: 134 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia) Captain Phillips is based on the true story of 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, an incident during which merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean led by Abduwali Muse. The screenplay was written by Billy Ray, and is based on the 2010 book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty.
Here’s a quickie! I watched this the other night after going to the cinema to watch Her. Trying to squeeze in as many Oscar nominated films as I can before Sunday night! I’ve managed to watch all the best picture nominees now other than 12 Years A Slave, Philomena, and Nebraska. Oh well – I tried! I’m sure 12 Years A Slave will win the majority but… I just couldn’t make myself watch it. Captain Phillips was bad enough – I’m not good with tragic true story types of films. Really not a genre I tend to go for & I fully admit I prefer fiction & escapism when it comes to movies. Probably why I love sci-fi…
Captain Phillips is a solid enough film for its genre. Tom Hanks is great as always. Who doesn’t love Tom Hanks, nicest guy in Hollywood?? Those pirates were so MEAN & I was like “leave Tom Hanks alone!”. Okay – I know this happened to a real guy so I’m not making light of that it’s just that, the ONLY problem I have with Hanks (and I do love the guy), is that I really see him only as Tom Hanks in every role he plays. Even in this where he’s putting on an accent. He’s an excellent actor but he’s just… Tom Hanks! Lovely guy! He’s like everyone’s favorite dad. So I really didn’t like seeing him upset & getting beat up!
As for the movie – Well, I can’t exactly say I “enjoyed” it. It’s well made & all that. It started out very strong but the ending felt like nothing but shouting and more shouting and the pirates doing idiotic things and MORE shouting. It was intense but I was tired and all that shouting started to really get on my nerves. But, I suppose it was probably realistic to the true story. Barkhad Abdi is good (although I’m not sure the performance is Oscar worthy). I really did feel for Hanks’ character more than anything. What a horrible ordeal. The film seemed to end a bit abruptly but I suppose it’s good that it didn’t attempt some “Hollywood” ending. Overall, it’s a good film. It’s just not really my type of genre. Sorry… It’s not bad! I do recommend it if it IS the sort of movie you tend to go for. Hanks is the definite highlight of the film.
Since starting this blog, I’ve only reviewed movies I’ve just recently watched instead of attempting to review old favorites of mine. This felt too difficult for me as I’m not always great with words & feel like I won’t do these movies justice. I’ll attempt to do very SHORT reviews (probably on Fridays) where I talk briefly about what I like about some of my favorite films or films I think deserve a bit more recognition than they get (be warned: there will probably be a lot of 80’s movies because of my age). In most cases, I won’t be re-watching them as I know them so well. I’m starting with Big as I did re-watch that recently.
Directed by Penny Marshall
Running time: 104 minutes
12-year-old Josh Baskin makes a wish to be “big” on an old carnival fortune telling machine after he’s embarrassed in front of a girl he likes when he’s told he’s too short for a ride. To his surprise, he wakes up the next morning as a 30-year-old man.
Why It’s A CPD Classic:
I was in my early teens when this came out & remember going to it in a group with several relatives as it was such a hugely successful family film at the time. I feel like there are very few “family” films like Big these days. Nowadays it would star an Adam Sandler-type instead of someone like Tom Hanks and the humor would be so dumbed down and immature that only the youngest members in the audience would enjoy it while they’d throw in an occasional “dirty” joke to try to entertain the bored adults. The family would walk away from the film (after it’s predictably sentimental ending) with maybe the kids thinking it was okay but the adults just glad that they got to rest for a couple hours while their kids were entertained.
Big appeals to everyone between the ages of 8 and 108. I liked it as a (moody) early teen, my mom liked it, my aunt liked it, my grandma liked it. Everyone liked it in 1988, right? It was a nicer time. The film is wholesome without being annoyingly so (I mean, there’s even some PG boobies-in-bra action). Tom Hanks is on top form as a 12-year-old stuck in the body of a 30-year-old and I can’t imagine anyone else nailing that role the way he did. He’s brilliant and totally believable. We don’t get a bunch of stupid high jinks – we get a young boy who at first is very scared then slowly starts to do his best to adjust to his new life as an adult. We never forget that he’s 12, though, even as we see him mature after getting his first job and “girl”friend – Hanks plays the role perfectly from start to finish. And how loveable was he as we watched this “big kid” playing with toys & spending his paychecks on all the stupid things a 12-year-old boy would and getting the pretty but uptight female co-worker to loosen up & jump on his trampoline?? And then there’s the big piano scene! You have to love Hanks & Robert Loggia dancing on the big piano and playing Heart & Soul. If you don’t love that, I want to hear from you in the comments below! That scene is an all-time classic.
Big is a heartwarming coming-of-age comedy with a character who behaves in a very realistic way to an unrealistic situation. We never forget that we’re watching a 12-year-old boy and the movie doesn’t treat the audience like idiots. It appeals to all ages by telling a simple story in a simple way and having a lot of heart and soul. That’s why it’s a CPD Classic.
Music by Michael Giacchino
Running Time: 22 Minutes
When Bonnie and her mother get a flat tire while travelling, they must spend the night in a motel. The toys are at first excited to be spending the night. But then they begin disappearing one by one…
This 22 minute TV special aired in the UK over the weekend. I’m a huge fan of Toy Story and all things Pixar so I couldn’t wait to see what they’d do for a Halloween Special.
This was a lot of fun and I have a feeling I’ll be watching it every October in the same way that I watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every year.
It starts out with the toys in the back of Bonnie’s car watching a classic black and white horror movie. Mr Pricklepants, being the thespian he is, chuckles as he explains all the horror movie cliches to the other toys and continues to do this after the car gets a flat tire and Bonnie & her mother stay in a motel for the night.
When the humans are asleep, the toys want to explore the motel despite Mr Pricklepants telling them that a motel “is one of the most common locales for a horror film”. After the toys start disappearing, it’s all up to Jessie to face her biggest fear in order to solve the mystery and save her friends. Jessie takes center stage in this one which is nice for a change as Toy Story is often so “boy”. But all the usual main characters are of course in this plenty plus we get to meet a few new toys.
Toy Story Of Terror is a great short. It’s actually quite scary at first (in a kid-friendly sort of way). I know a four-year-old who has watched it about ten times already and always hides during a couple of tense scenes but always laughs like crazy during a couple of bits and ALWAYS asks to immediately watch it again. As with all Pixar stuff, it’s quite a clever and well written little story with a nice twist. Recommended (for all ages). 🙂