Watched, Read, Reviewed: May 2021

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

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

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

MOVIES WATCHED IN MAY (ranked best to worst):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Documentaries & Shorts:

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

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

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

Movies Rewatched In May:

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

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

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

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

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

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN MAY

TV SHOWS WATCHED:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOOKS READ:

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

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

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

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

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

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

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

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

Army Of The Dead (2021) Review

Army Of The Dead (2021)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Story by Zack Snyder

Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a group of soldiers who plan a Las Vegas casino heist amid a zombie apocalypse.

My Opinion:

I re-posted my review of Zack Snyder’s fantastic Dawn Of The Dead remake yesterday (HERE). I love that film despite hating reboots/remakes and despite the original Romero film being an all-time favorite of mine. It’s a shame that Snyder hasn’t done a film as good as Dawn since (well, Watchmen was pretty good). In fact, I’ve pretty much hated all I’ve seen of his movies other than those two. Don’t tell anyone I said that. Oh god. I’m scared now.

Well, Army Of The Dead is my third-favorite Snyder film! But I suppose that isn’t saying much. It unfortunately doesn’t come close to Dawn for me but I did have fun watching it and, hell, that’s all you really want from a movie about a heist in an apocalyptic Las Vegas infested with zombie strippers & zombie tigers. Still trying to decide how I feel about the zombie tiger. I mean, it was cheesy as hell but it was also a zombie tiger, so… That’s still kind of cool. Cool cheese. Richard Cheese!

Oh, yeah – about Richard Cheese: I’m assuming that was a Richard Cheese song he used at the start? Okay, I thought Cheese’s Down With The Sickness was cleverly used in Dawn but it really threw me to hear that sort of thing used in the same way in Army. Snyder just seemed to be re-using a lot of his old tricks in this movie. Annoying, as I loved his use of music in Dawn but it was just distracting when he used music in the same way in Army (even down to a cheesy “elevator music” type moment with Karma Chameleon in place of Dawn’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy if I remember correctly). And Bad Moon Rising will never be anything other than the An American Werewolf In London song to me. I know this seems a minor complaint but I really love movie scores & soundtracks so it’s something I’m going to notice. Was disappointed at the lack of originality. Oh well. As my hubby & I discussed while watching this, it’s going on 20 years since Snyder’s Dawn remake (oh my god!). So he seems to be relying on the fact that a whole new generation who may not have seen Dawn will be watching this. Apologies as I’m old, though, and Dawn is still fresh in my mind so I can’t help but keep comparing the two in this review.

Dawn also had really great characters (as far as horror movies go) and I feel Snyder tried to achieve the same thing here but, again, he didn’t do as well in Army. That’s probably thanks to James Gunn anyway, who wrote the Dawn screenplay (I love his Guardians Of The Galaxy films & Slither). Don’t get me wrong, though – the characters were still one of the better things about this movie. I liked Dave Bautista and thought he did well in the lead role with his big head & tiny glasses. The girl playing his daughter, Ella Purnell, was also really good. Can I just say that I rewatched Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children two days before Army and didn’t even realise it was the same actress since she wasn’t blonde in this? If someone changes their hair I don’t recognise them at all. Is that weird?! Anyway, those two along with the woman playing the possible love interest of Bautista were by far the best characters. I wish the others had been a bit stronger but there were still a few fun ones (such as the German guy and the other dude helping him with the safe who develop a cute friendship plus the tough chick who brings them into Vegas as she knows the way around). Tig Notaro was also funny as the helicopter pilot & I’d completely forgotten she was brought in to replace someone when I read afterwards that all Notaro’s scenes were filmed later. Well, I guess they did well with that as I didn’t notice! The character seemed to actually be there with them (but maybe I’d have noticed if I knew that fact beforehand – I suck at noticing things like that, obviously, as I also don’t even recognise someone if their hairdo changes).

Um. I don’t know what else to say so maybe it’s better to just wrap this up so I don’t go rambling on and on and on and on (you know, like most Zack Snyder movies do). I just sighed when I saw the two and a half hour running time when I pressed play on this thing. WHY?! It’s not necessary. It’s a zombie movie. I appreciate that it can feel more “epic” when it’s a long film but this isn’t Lawrence Of Fucking Arabia. Longer isn’t necessarily better! (Haha – I’ll refrain from the joke I almost made here). But this review is sounding way more negative than I actually felt. Would I have liked this more if I’d never seen 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead? Yes, that’s very likely. I’ve been moaning that there have been far too many depressing dramas during this pandemic so I was happy to watch a fun zombie “popcorn movie”. And, honestly, I did really like Dave Bautista & Ella Purnell. Zombie tiger was ridiculous but, not gonna lie, also highly entertaining. I was hoping to love this one as I do still love zombie movies even though there are too many now. It just unfortunately didn’t live up to my own hype. It’s far from the best zombie movie out there but it’s also far from the worst.

My Rating: 7/10

Dawn Of The Dead (2004) Review

I’m re-posting this now so that I can post my Army Of The Dead review tomorrow.

This is a review I did as a guest on another blog a long time ago. I’ve sadly lost contact with the people running a lot of the blogs I wrote for in the past, so I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite guest reviews here before the blogs also disappear. As this is a favorite film of mine & as I often tweet this review, it made sense to finally re-post it here after the release of Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead.

This was originally written for Mike at Screenkicker for the Screenkicker Olympics, a great blogathon in which people discussed something movie-related from where they grew up or where they now live. So I chose Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead to represent Wisconsin. You can read the original post HERE, which contains an intro as well but I’ll get straight to the review below…

Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Screenplay by James Gunn

Based on Dawn of the Dead by George A Romero

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Ty Burrell, Kevin Zegers, Mekhi Phifer

Running time: 100 minutes/110 minutes (Director’s Cut)

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Dawn of the Dead is a remake of George A Romero’s 1978 film of the same name. The film depicts a handful of human survivors living in a shopping mall located in the fictional town of Everett, Wisconsin surrounded by swarms of zombies.

My Opinion:

I love zombies. I loved zombies before they were cool, dammit! It’s like those Grateful Dead fans who became fans after Touch Of Grey – What do they call them? Touch Heads? Where am I going with this – I don’t even like The Grateful Dead. Well… I like that “Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine” song! And Touch Of Grey. 😉 And I’ve loved zombies since I first watched Romero’s amazing Night Of The Living Dead and then Dawn Of The Dead (1978), which is just as amazing in a different way and is now one of my all-time favorite movies. Then, in 2004, it was remade. Those who know me may have seen me ranting about how much remakes piss me off! Especially of my favorite movies. So how do I feel about Wisconsin boy Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead remake…?

I love it! There’s a shopping mall and, of course, zombies. But otherwise this feels like a whole new movie – A reimagining as opposed to an inferior copy (like the 2013 Carrie remake – it wasn’t horrible but was completely pointless). 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead gave us lots of varied characters, zombies we couldn’t outrun, a cool spot-the-celebrity-lookalike-zombie game, Disturbed, and a very different feel from the Romero zombie flicks.

I think what works for me, more than anything, are the characters in the film. They feel real. Sure you have a couple of assholes but even they feel like your typical every day assholes as opposed to the psychotic murdering rapist types you get in other post-apocalyptic movies. Okay – things have only just begun (I mean, the world goes to hell in this in just a few hours!) but I like to think we wouldn’t all turn into complete assholes quite so quickly after an apocalypse. The characters help each other and you find yourself liking a lot of them. They’re as developed as they need to be for a horror movie (actually, they’re very well developed as far as horror movies go, where we usually just get a bunch of idiotic girls with big tits dying in various ways). Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Jake Weber are the highlights for me (I had a crush on Jake Weber in this – I’d totally hook up with him in a zombie apocalypse). But even all the lesser characters in this are memorable, such as tough old lady Norma & father/daughter Lindy Booth and… Max Headroom! (Does anyone younger than me know Max Headroom?). Michael Kelly is perfect for his character as he has such a “hey, it’s that guy!” look about him. And I especially love gun-store Andy and all the interaction with him on the rooftop – those are probably my favorite bits of the movie.

I’ll wrap this up but first I have to make a mention of the music & the cameos. I loved the great cameos from original Dawn Of The Dead stars Scott H. Reiniger, Tom Savini (giving yet another Oscar-worthy performance) & especially Ken Foree as a televangelist. And it was nice seeing the “Gaylen Ross” store in the mall. Finally, they did a great job choosing the music in the film. I read at IMDb that Snyder personally chose most of the music, including The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash & Richard Cheese’s cover of Down With The Sickness so… Good job, Snyder! Those worked perfectly. Also loved the elevator music such as Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Have A Nice Day by Stereophonics was a perfect way to start the movie. And the proper Disturbed version of Down With The Sickness at the end is fine by me as I think that’s one of the best songs of the past 15 years. (*2021 update: That song is much more than 15 years old now and man I feel old having to type this*)

All in all, there’s not really anything that I don’t like about this movie. I’m not sure how I feel about the very end (through the credits) but I find that most horror films don’t know how to end. As far as horror movies go, this is a hell of a lot better than most. And as far as zombie movies go, this was definitely a worthy addition and, more importantly, respectful to the original.

My Rating: 8.5/10

I was going to end this post with a clip of Disturbed’s Down With The Sickness but decided to go with Johnny Cash’s fantastic The Man Comes Around instead. And this will be the only time you will find country music on this blog…

**And I apologise in advance for when I re-post my review of Brian Yuzna’s brilliant body horror Society, which I posted on another old blog HERE.

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Wonder Woman (2017)

Directed by Patty Jenkins

Based on Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

My Opinion:

I always struggle to write reviews of superhero movies as I don’t read comics & have zero knowledge of anything superhero-related beyond what I’ve seen in all the mainstream Hollywood films. I’ve watched the majority of them but I don’t obsess over them & I’m not some superfan of superheroes. They’re fun entertainment but I see them as popcorn movies. I’ve grown especially tired of the dark and dreary, too-serious types the last several years. Batman V Superman, which I watched last week in preparation for Wonder Woman, was beyond bad. I knew the reviews weren’t good, but… Wow! I still didn’t expect it to suck as much as it did.


I admit to preferring lighthearted superhero films to the serious ones (I love Guardians Of The Galaxy 1 & 2) but do enjoy the balance that current Marvel films seem to manage with serious stories that still have a sense of humor and fun to them. Wonder Woman is finally a DC film with the right balance. There was plenty of kick-ass action as well as funny moments, there were several strong characters who worked really well together, there’s a positive overall message, and Gadot is perfection. Oh! And I had fun watching it. That’s the way it should be.

I don’t want to get into the whole “sexism” debate & female-only screenings of Wonder Woman & some jerk claiming the director was only hired because she’s female & how some have said that maybe the good reviews are just because people are too scared to talk bad about the first true female superhero movie & blah blah BLAH. Who cares?! Why are people so hung up on this? A good movie is a good movie. And this is a really good movie. This is a far better movie than the majority of superhero films in recent years. And, yeah, its star happens to be a woman. Yay! It’s 2017 – it’s about f*^king time. She kicks ass as well as all the male superheroes. And she sure as shit out-acts some of them (I’m looking at those in Batman V Superman & Suicide Squad, although I’m aware that weak scripts & directing will often result in bad performances so the actors may not be 100% to blame).

I’ve not seen Gal Gadot in anything else besides BvS & wasn’t sure what to expect but she’s truly fantastic and I’m not saying that “just because I’m a woman”. I can’t fault her performance in any way. Heck, I even didn’t mind Chris Pine and he sometimes slightly gets on my nerves. I’d have preferred someone unknown in his role but he did a good job with a really likable character. There are several “sidekicks” during the WWI segment that I really enjoyed and I of course loved all the Amazon women and watching a kick-ass Buttercup train Wonder Woman for battle (Robin Wright, as Gadot’s aunt, was another very big highlight of the film).

I’ll wrap this up before I just ramble on for ages. I thoroughly enjoyed Wonder Woman. Is it perfect? No, it has some flaws. It’s definitely a little too long, especially in the middle during the WWI stuff. Other than that, though, I can’t really think of anything much more negative to say. It turns into a pretty typical superhero vs baddie showdown at the end but that’s what we want from these movies. And it’s a great showdown! Plus, with it being a female superhero doing the fighting, it did feel somewhat original this time.

Oh, I guess the only other slight negative is that I’m not sure this version of Wonder Woman will quite connect with young girls as the movie is aimed at a slightly older audience. I took my 8-year-old to it and she liked it & definitely liked the character but I do know she was a bit bored throughout the middle war segment. However, I don’t think it’s too big of a deal as I think it’s a film that young fans will grow into & like even more as they get a bit older. I don’t think it’s inappropriate for young kids (a couple “procreation” jokes will go right over their heads) – younger audiences will just lose interest a bit during certain parts of this 2 hour 21 minute film. Most importantly, though, this is a female character I’m very happy for my daughter to be seeing in a movie. Wonder Woman is strong & independent with values & beliefs she’s willing to fight for. It feels really good to know that the girls of this generation are starting to get more & more positive female role models in films but I do also hope that we can eventually stop focusing so much on gender and just enjoy a movie because it’s good or an actress because she happens to be really great in a role. There’s absolutely no reason to not take your sons to this film as well as your daughters. Surely any boy will want to see one of the best superhero films of recent years.

My Rating: 8/10

Oh! And I love Wonder Woman’s theme… 🙂

Dawn Of The Dead (2004) Review

20140428-084936 pm.jpg

Mike over at Screenkicker has been running the Screenkicker Olympics, a great blogathon in which people have discussed something movie-related from where they grew up or where they now live. It’s been a really fun blogathon & I’ve enjoyed reading all the entries & voting for the best actors & actresses from around the world in a series of polls (I voted for Chris Hemsworth several times but I don’t think it counted all my extra votes!). Thanks for letting me join in on the fun, Mike! 🙂

Anyway, I chose the 2004 flesh-eating zombie film Dawn Of The Dead to represent my home state. You can read my review HERE. 🙂

Oh, and, what the hell? Are there seriously so few other Twilight Zone lovers?! That show was AWESOME! Here are my All-Time Top Ten TV Shows if you missed it.

20140428-085556 pm.jpg

Man Of Steel (2013) Review

20130618-113143 PM.jpg
Man Of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder

Produced by
Christopher Nolan
Charles Roven
Emma Thomas
Deborah Snyder

Starring
Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Michael Shannon
Diane Lane
Kevin Costner
Laurence Fishburne
Antje Traue
Ayelet Zurer
Russell Crowe

Music by Hans Zimmer

Plot Synopsis:

Honestly, I can’t be bothered. Lol! It’s Superman. You know the general plot.

20130618-113237 PM.jpg
My Opinion (no spoilers):

My reviews have gotten way too wordy. This movie will have already been reviewed a lot (I’m looking forward to catching up on all your great reviews here now that I’ve seen this). So I’m going to try to keep this short & sweet by doing my “good” and “not so good” thing.

20130618-113359 PM.jpg
The Good:

– The casting. It was excellent. So many people in this were the exact right choices for their roles. I thought the very best were actually Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Michael Shannon. Now, Crowe and Costner are NOT actors I like all that much. But they were bloody PERFECT in these roles. And, luckily, Crowe doesn’t sing in this one. Lol. As for Superman himself, Henry Cavill, he seemed the right choice. I’ve only just seen this so still thinking about it. He certainly has the perfect look to play Superman (as I picture Superman which, to my mind because of my age, is mostly Christopher Reeve). I know nothing of the comics (give me a break – I’m a girl). :-p But his look seems just right. And Amy Adams is my favorite actress so I’ll say nothing bad about her. She’s sweet and has an adorable little nose. But she’s the one my hubby didn’t think fit the part. I dunno. I’ll let others decide on that – I just like her as an actress.

– The beginning. It was a little hard to get into at first as it’s very different from the 1978 Superman I grew up with and have an affection for even though I know it’s far from perfect. But thinking about it now, I really liked how Man Of Steel started. It was great seeing so much of his world and getting to know more of his backstory than I previously knew (I have very little Superman knowledge).

– Superman’s families. On his home world and on Earth. As I said, it was great seeing more of his home world and his mother & father. Crowe was perfect as his father. Ayelet Zurer, his mother, seemed a good choice as well from what we see of her. And as I said, Kevin Costner & Diane Lane were absolutely perfect. My favorite bits of the whole movie were probably the ones with Superman & both these families. Very good character development as far as all the parents & their relationships with Superman were concerned.

– Shirtless Superman. Very nice. Overall, he’s not my type. The face is too chiseled and I like my dark-haired guys to have chocolate brown eyes and I like them to have more of a “boy next door” look. He’s too handsome. Nice bare chest, though! And a bit of hair on his chest – not one of these hairless girly boys. Think I preferred him with the beard, too – hides that crazy “man of steel” jaw. Am I going on too much? I’ll shut up now. (Thor is hotter) 😉

20130618-113451 PM.jpg

20130618-113520 PM.jpg

20130618-113540 PM.jpg

The Not So Good:

– Too much action & too much CGI. Yes, there CAN be too much action sometimes and there was too much in this, especially at the end. And too much CGI ALWAYS annoys me. I’m old school that way.

– Some of the character development. It wasn’t too bad at first but I really was expecting more than we got and am a little disappointed by that. Lois Lane was probably the most underdeveloped. Oh, and those she works with – we were suddenly meant to care about them at the end when we’d seen so little of them. And Superman himself could have done with a bit more development. They did try with him, however. But it didn’t QUITE work for me. I didn’t feel his “internal struggle superhero thang” as much as I’d have liked – I think they almost achieved this then messed it up at the end by going so overboard on the action. I’m not entirely sure if this was the fault of the actor, or the script, or what. Perhaps he wasn’t exactly right for the role? I’ve still not decided. And I didn’t fully buy into his relationship with Lois Lane. That felt a bit weak. Thank god for Superman’s parents – without the scenes with them, I think I’d have felt nothing at all for his character. He just really lacks a personality in this. However, we get a little glimpse of personality at the end that I’m really REALLY hoping we get to see more of in a sequel. Give him a personality! And more shirtless scenes.

The flashbacks. This is a minor thing but I didn’t like them showing his childhood & teen years in flashback. I felt the movie kind of lost something doing it this way. I really would have liked to see him grow up on Earth in chronological order. I just didn’t like the “back and forth” at that point in the movie. Plus I’d have liked to see much more of his younger years to better understand his character, especially as the second half of the movie ended up so disappointing compared to the first half.

The finale. It was too much. It was too long. It was WAY over the top. The more I think about it, the more I really did NOT like the last 45 minutes or so of this film. Or however long it was – it FELT very long indeed. Very disappointing after such a strong beginning & middle.

20130618-114003 PM.jpg
Summary:

A promising reboot with a good beginning & middle that is, unfortunately, almost completely destroyed by a very disappointing and ridiculously over-the-top finale. Some excellent casting, particularly both sets of Superman’s parents, is what saves this film and gives it the depth and character development needed to make the audience care in the slightest about these characters & what happens to them. Without Crowe, Costner, Lane & Zurer (the parents), I have to be honest and say that this film would have been a complete and utter disaster. The final scene, however, gave me a glimmer of hope for the sequel. Overall, the movie IS “promising” in that I think there’s the promise of a brilliant sequel in Superman’s future if they do things right next time and make it far more like the first half than the second half of Man Of Steel. Unfortunately, we’re only given the hope of a great movie in the future instead of a great one this time. Disappointing.

My Rating: 6/10

20130618-114045 PM.jpg
So where does Man Of Steel rank in my recent list of My Top Ten Superhero Movies? Have a look HERE. 🙂

And here for all the movies I’ve seen in 2013.

*preparing for the angry comments… Lol!* *Especially now that I’ve edited this & lowered the rating…*