Film Reviews: Gloria Bell. Booksmart. The Secret Life of Pets 2. Aladdin. Ma. Kong: Skull Island. Begin Again

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Gloria Bell

I saw it when visiting my home city and I had that ‘Brooklyn’-movie moment while watching this brilliant film, realising I no longer belong here. The large audience I saw it with tried to ruin the film for me. They were bursting with laughter, alledging the bloke was bulimic and saying ‘this script is so poor’ every few minutes. It didn’t stop me from enjoying Julianne’s performance and the film itself. I liked how his kids were obese and that it was linked to them being loners and not having their lives figured out. And nothing is more fitting than the film ending with Laura Branigan’s version of ‘Gloria’. Sadly, I haven’t seen the original, but I loved A Fantastic Woman and Disobedience, so this was very much for me. I’ve been a fan of Julie Moore since I saw Magnolia as a kid, so naturally, I picked up 2 A1 cinema posters of Gloria earlier this week.

8/10

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Booksmart

I liked it more than last year’s Lady Bird.

9/10

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Nothing more fitting than the first film opening with Taylor Swift’s ‘Welcome To New York’, and this one with Jay Z and Alicia Keys’s ‘Empire State of Mind’. Even if a big part of this one takes place outside of New York. Stay behind after the initial credits for an interesting rendition of Desiigner’s ‘Panda’.

6/10

Aladdin

Scott Weinger’s voice was my favorite part of the animated Aladdin films. I missed it a lot while watching this film, but listening to Naomi Scott sing recompensated some of that loss.

6/10

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Ma

The twenty teenagers at the screening I went to were eating it up. They were laughing and clapping every few minutes.

5/10

Kong: Skull Island

Black Sabbath’s Paranoid playing at the beginning of the intriguing helicopter scene made my day. I had to rewatch that scene after the credits rolled. But why is Skull Island trying to be Jurassic Park so much? This really didn’t need any creatures other than King Kong.

4/10

Begin Again

Listen, I used to be a huge fan of Keira’s around the Domino/Pride and Prejudice/The Atonement time, but all I got from this movie is that Keira Knightley can’t sing.

3/10

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Film Reviews: The Favourite. The Killing of A Sacred Deer. Rocketman. Wild Rose. Captain Marvel. The Curse of La Llorona. Greta. Freddy and Jason. The Silence. Wonder Park. Unicorn Store. I Think We’re Alone Now. The Hustle. Polaroid

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The Favourite

Hatfield House, where The Favourite was filmed has 9 of Sandy Powell’s costumes on display at the moment. You can walk into 9 rooms, including 3 rooms that were used in the film. You can take pictures in Anne’s bedroom, Sarah’s room also known as The Library, and the room where Rachel Weisz and Nicholas Hoult have that staredown in the beginning of the film. You can also walk through The Gallery, better known as the corridor with the gold ceiling where Rachel Weisz pushed Olivia Coleman’s wheelchair after the party. It’s 18 quid and I couldn’t recommend it more! I drove there on Sunday and loved every minute of it. If you’re in the UK, go check it out. Costumes are on display till the 16th of June.

10/10

The Killing of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos’s modern take on Sophie’s Choice. The truly shocking thing about this film is that the mother didn’t offer to sacrifice her life to save either of her two children. What’s worse, she tried to convince the husband they can replace one and just have another.

9/10

Rocketman

I’ve never been Elton’s fan, but after watching this biopic, I can certainly relate to his anger. If you’re in the UK, go see it at Odeon to get an A3 poster with your ticket.

‘Now for my newest trick, I’m gonna fucking kill myself.’

8/10

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Wild Rose

A beautiful story and a shuttering wake up call for everyone, includng myself, who thinks the grass is greener in the US. I’m off to download this wonderful soundtrack.

8/10

Captain Marvel

I’m not a Marvel fan, but this film is more ‘human’ than other superhero films in the Marvel universe, and it has Brie Larson as the lead, so I had to enjoy it. The film also has an interesting soundtrack, including Nirvana’s ‘Come as You Are’.

7/10

The Curse of La Llorona

2019 is the revival of Linda Cardellini’s career. She’s been in Green Book, La Llorona, Avengers and her new Netflix show came out yesterday. I didn’t realise Llorona was part of The Conjuring universe before going in. The script isn’t strong, but the film has a lot of cheap thrills that surprisingly work. The girls in my row where jumping and screaming every time. This is the 200th film I watched this year.

6/10

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Greta

Carrie 2 anyone? Isabelle locking Chloe in that room gave me major Carrie vibes. And what’s with this description? You’re calling Isabelle elderly, Letterboxd? Unnecessarily loud and jumpy music during non-scary scenes sort of ruined the film for me and maybe the fact that the film itself wasn’t scary at all.

‘That little French woman you came with?’

6/10

Freddy and Jason

So we’ve established once and for all that Nightmare on Elm Street is better than Friday the 13th? Good.

6/10

The Silence

It’s a watered down combination of last year’s A Quiet Place and Birdbox, and basically every post apocalyptic horror ever made.

5/10

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Wonder Park

There definitely should be a ‘Don’t do this at home’ warning for kids, as that backyard rollercoaster ride got out of hand real quick. Heck, kids shouldn’t handle nails and I know this is a family film, but no kid can build a rollercoaster without an engineer’s help. Despite all that, there was a sad storyline, the characters and animation were cute and I have always loved amusement parks, so I cannot give Wonder Park less than 2.5 stars, which it probably deserves.

5/10

Unicorn Store

I didn’t like the film and it’s wacko unicorn business, but I do love this poster, the opening scene where the main character paints and Joan Cusack.

5/10

I Think We’re Alone Now

Disappointed that ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ by Tiffany didn’t play once.

4/10

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The Hustle

Is this supposed to be a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake or a sequel to Ocean’s 8? Either way, it was a disastrous attempt. Also, Anne Hathaway’s British sounding, rich bitch role was clearly written for Rose Byrne. This is another poor career choice on Anne’s part.

3/10

Polaroid

Nicked straight from RL Stine’s brilliant ‘Say Cheese and Die!’ series of Goosebumps books. It’s the exact same, but extremely boring. RL Stine should sue them too.

2/10

 

 

Shows I will be following this fall

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Returning shows I’ll be following:

Grey’s Anatomy
Law And Order Special Victims Unit
Shameless
American Horror Story
How to Get Away with Murder
The Goldbergs
When Calls The Heart
Schooled
911
The Resident
Good Girls
Station 19
This is Us
Riverdale
Modern Family
The Simpsons
The Good Fight
The Good Place
Rookie
Seal Team
The Good Doctor

So far there’s only one new TV show I know I’ll be following, Second Act starring The Middle and Everybody Loves Raymond’s Patricia Heaton. I’m still not over The Middle spin off not happening, but I am looking forward to Patricia’s new show.

I’ve only lost For The People this year, so I can already tell it’s going to be a good year.

This is Us Review

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The show that shocked us and broke our hearts and made us appreciate life more all in one. I think the secret weapon that distinguishes This is Us from so many other shows is Kate. No show has ever introduced an obese person and actually showed stuggles of the obese. There were shows that had overweight supporting characters, but their struggles were not shown on camera and they are usually introduced as the ‘always witty and jolly best friend’. There was a show called Starved that portayed lives of people struggling with eating disorders who are members of Overeaters Annonymous, unfortunately the group is not very supportive as they’re being told to hate themselves for depending on food or lack there of, so much. In This is Us, Kate is a member of Overeaters Annonymous and there she also finds her future fiance who faces similar issues and has had suicidal thoughts after his wife cheated on him. For the first month or so I said the show filled my Parenthood void, but it has now gone pass that. It has a seperate place in my heart.

Party of Five Rewatch

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Last month I finished watching Party of Five, only a few days before it was removed from Netflix. My favorite character is Bailey, couple, Bailey and Sarah, I’m sad Jennifer got that spin off and just took off. Notable guest stars I liked: Patricia Heaton, Marla Sokoloff, Lauren Ambrose and Jodie Sweetin. There are so many good storylines, but sadly also many romantic encounters that I just couldn’t stand, first Charlie’s, then Julia’s and finally Bailey’s. Despite that, it was a wonderful family show and some of my favorite episodes and moments include:

  1. Bailey’s Intervention episode – Season 3 episodes 18 and 19
  2. Julia’s teacher hits on her – Season 2 episode 11
  3. Julia’s abortion – Season 2 episode 18
  4. Claudia’s friend played by Marla Sokoloff, best known as Gia from Full House’s stepfather pedophile storyline
  5. Kirsten’s depression arc
  6. The Salingers come across their parents’ killer and tell him how he ruined their lives
  7. Julia’s abusive relationship and the way Bailey reacted when it turned out to be true
  8. Sarah leaves for New York
  9. Claudia is almost raped and it leaves a toll on her, even though she didn’t report it, I liked all the conversations she had with Julia
  10. Charlie’s cancer storyline
  11. Claudia waking Bailey up in the middle of the night to answer a call, yelling ‘Bailey wake up, they want to speak to the oldest.’ Aknowleding the fact we knew very well, that Bailey is the most responsible one, and yes this was before his drinking problem, but he’s still the most responsible and caring of all Salingers

Film Reviews: The Constant Gardener. The Godfather. Us. Five Feet Apart. Ransom. When I Knew. Return to Sender. The Bourne Legacy. Open Water 3: Cage Dive. Beksinscy: Album Wideofoniczny. An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Stong

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The Constant Gardener

I rewatched it on the 7th of March this year, as I couldn’t stop myself from watching it on Rachel Weisz’s birthday. Happy to report I now own it on DVD. Same thoughts as 14 years ago, I certainly would have preferred if they showed us the murders.

9/10

The Godfather

According to Letterboxd I have now seen 3000 films (that I can remember), and I thought that called for a rewatch of one of the classics. Since all of the Godfathers are leaving HBO Go tomorrow, I thought I’d rewatch Part I. I’ll probably rewatch Part II tomorrow, too.

9/10

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Us

People leaving the cinema said it was creepy, but not scary, and it’s true, but I will never look at scissors the same again. Also fantastic use of the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations!

8/10

Ransom

No parent would risk their child’s life and do what Mel Gibson does in this thriller directed by Ron Howard.

6/10

Five Feet Apart

Movies usually make me cry, especially the ones I see at the cinema. Heck, sometimes even trailers do. Yet this film, starring Columbus and The Edge of Seventeen’s Haley Lu Richardson, despite being a drama, didn’t. I wasn’t invested in this storyline at all. Also, I’ve never been a fan of Birdy, yet I recognised her voice straight away.

4/10

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When I Knew

All these stories are absolutely beautiful, it’s really sad but also incredible to think that so many generations of gays had to stay in the closet, being afraid of the stigma and what their families and friends would say and the current generation of teenagers seems to have it so much easier, as the stigma of teens being gay today does not seem to be that big, mostly because of how many gay characters we’ve had in films and TV shows. I remember how hard kids had it 10 years ago when I was in school, and I was speaking to one of my friend’s younger sibling who’s been out since they were 15 and learned that they never get funny looks from anyone under 60 and that they actually discuss homosexuality in school and teachers say experimenting is normal. Anyway here are some of my favorite:

‘Maybe one day, when I knew and coming out will be the same thing’.

‘She told me that she kissed a boy with her tongue and I burst into tears. Because I just couldn’t image that she could have betrayed me in that way.’- Chrissy Mahan

‘I was 17 years old and I had a best friend that I kept wondering why I was so obsessed with her. I would hang out with her and I would want to kiss her the entire time we were hanging out. I remember sitting and watching The Lost Boys and we took the pillows off the back of the couch and we just like, I think we were that close to kissing and I remember that now just like ahhhh, like it was so forbidden but it was so like exactly what I wanted, but I couldn’t quite have it. And then I was actually driving on the way to her house thinking about us being friends and what not and that Goo Goo Dolls song, it was really big at the time and for some reason it triggered something in me. ‘And I don’t want the world to see me, cause I don’t think that they’d understand’. So many times I tried to  push it down, I didn’t want it to be true, but right then, right there, I had to pull the car over and I started balling and I was like oh my god, I’m not just best friends with her, I’m in love with her.’

‘In the first grade, every time I got the chance to sit next to this is cute little blond girl, I got a funny tingling feeling in my stomach.’

‘I would date women he was done with as a way to be closer to him.’

‘The way other boys were looking at girls, that very same process was occurring for me, but I focused on other boys.’

‘I was introduced to my new teacher. I wanted to do everything I could, to make sure he knew that I was there for him.’

‘I would fantasise about her caressing me and doing whatever.’

‘I was looking at the stars and wondering why I felt so empty, why I couldn’t get over this one girl. I couldn’t understand why friendship, a broken friendship could cause me so much heartache and loss. And then it was kind of like this wave hit me, like duh, you’re being pretty stupid, because you love her. It was like this big relief, and this big excitement at the same time. When you have that moment of discovery, it’s kind of like time stands still, and you feel so good, and then you get so scared, because God, you don’t know how people are gonna respond. When I came out, it was one of the worst days of my life, It was so hateful between my mother and I. My dad said to me if we knew you were gay, we would try to fix you and we hope your son is not gonna be gay.’

9/10

Return to Sender

This may as well have been a sequel to Gone Girl and we all know it. A much weaker sequel, but aren’t they always? I loved the father-daughter relationship and hated the psycho vibe between the rapist and the vicitm. As much as I love rape and revenge genre, You don’t create this sicko pseudo relationship with your rapist to maybe eventually get your revenge. What is this, Elle?

5/10

The Bourne Legacy

There was material in his department that indicates he had an unusual fixation with you. Photographs, journal entries, they found several articles of clothing.

Who can blame him, have you seen Rachel?

5/10

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Open Water 3: Cage Dive

43 Meters Down had more cage action than this. Much more. The kids in Cage Dive, also known as Open Water 3 are only in the titled cage for 5 minutes. I liked the first film and the fun ridiculousness of the second one much more than this tiny budget found footage one. And you’re telling me the shark didn’t try to swallow that tiny camera, because, what? It didn’t fit in its jaw?

4/10

Beksinscy: Album Wideofoniczny

Beksinski was one of my favorite artists and his murder shocked me. This video diary brought tears to my eyes and I have spent the last 7 years thinking of life’s fragility, and this documentary really made me realize how short life is.

9/10

An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Stong

The end credits song ruined this very average family movie, which is just a primary school version of The Odd Girl Out. I’ve seen 4 American Girl films, and I’m only ashamed of watching one of them, and it’s not this one. The ones starring pre-teen AnnaSophia Robb and Abigail Breslin were alright for a kids film as well. Good film for a weekly family viewing at my household. My dad would have hated it, my mom sort of loved it.

4/10

Film Reviews: Jackie. Maniac. The Butterfly Effect. Halloween. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. A Family Divided. Christiane F. Strangled. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

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Jackie

This is the 550th new film I watched this year, and I’m really happy it’s this one. Natalie Portman gave a great performance in this aftermath after John Kennedy’s shooting. She sounded very much like Jackie. Emma Stone really snatched that Oscar from her. The shooting scene was very life-like and may be not be for those with a weak stomach.

4/10

Maniac

Speaking of Emma Stone, here’s a Netflix original series she starred it. It also stars Jonah Hill and the girl from Ozark. I watched it for Sally Field. Sad to report I hated every single one of those alternative universes. And all this nonsense for such a ‘normal’ conclusion? Someone once told me I sound just like Jonah Hill, but I don’t see it? My accent does sound American, thanks to 20 years of watching American films and TV Shows, but I don’t think I sound like him. Congrats to Jonah on his massive weight loss. I know how hard it is to change your lifestyle and never look back. I am currently too scared of loose skin to actually lose the weight.

4/10

The Butterfly Effect

I could watch 2 hours of the first 25 minutes of this film, actually I could watch a whole mini series with these kids from Ashton Kutcher’s charater’s flashbacks.

8/10

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Halloween

It was bloody amazing! We’ve waited so long to see Jamie Lee do another Halloween, and she’s back at it again, 40 years since the first one and 16 years since Resurrection. The most important thing? They completely ignored events from Halloween 20 yrs Later and the ridiculous Resurrection that dared to kill Jamie Lee’s character off. My favorite part of this sequel must be Laurie closing the roller shutters after checking every single room. See you in 10 years?

9/10

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

These films are ruining the Harry Potter franchise. At least we got to see Hogwarts. How old was Dumbledore supposed to be in Harry Potter? In 1927, he’s in his 40s. If that wasn’t enough, Professor McGonagall is here too, and she’s in her 30s. Rating would be lower had I not seen it in 3D. Johnny Depp’s acting has gone down hill since the 90s, it’s a shame. He is never getting that Oscar now.

6/10

A Family Divided

I really miss those 90s TV movies about rape that saw a mother or a survivor fight for justice against everyone trying to silence them. Knowing Stephen Collins has been a pedophile his entire adult life ruined my experience with this film. I probably would have liked this film more, had I watched it before 2014. I definitely would not have been so sceptical and angry at the 7th Heaven star. Here he’s covering up his son’s crime. Actually all three men in that family are vile people. As always, Faye Dunaway gives a great perforance and you just route for her the entire film.

5/10

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Christiane F

Just thought of this film out of nowhere for the first time in almost 15 years. Both the book ‘Kids from the Zoo station’ and film were a major hit among kids my age, bigger than Requiem for a Dream. Everyone seemed to be fascinated with it and there was a high demand for the book both in the school and local libraries. It’s a great film too.

8/10

Strangled

This reminded me of that time when the bank sent me on a First Aid course and someone mentioned narcolepsy and this other bloke in his late 60s said ‘that’s when you do it with dead people’ and everyone laughed.

Anyway, this was a pretty good thriller based on a true story.

6/10

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Very average and Keira Knightley’s squicky voice was so annoying.

4/10

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Adventures in Public School

Netflix’s worst original right here. Really bad, until the last 10 seconds. The last 10 seconds were sweet. Highly unlikely, but sweet.

3/10

Wreck-It Ralph

When Shut Up and Drive started playing halfway through the film. Also, I recongised Jack McBrayer’s voice straight away, even though I’ve only seen him on The Middle.

6/10

Ralph Breaks the Internet

I thought it was quite good, until Ralph broke the Internet and the film got so boring I fell asleep. Good old Odeon handed out these magnet Instagram photo frames for fridge.

6/10

Film Reviews: Bohemian Rhapsody. American Animals. Tom Sawyer. Almost Friends. The Grinch. Swept From the Sea. The Favor. My Blueberry Nights. Freaky Friday. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Rad. Return to Nim’s Island

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Lucy Boynton upgraded from being a groupie for some made up Irish group in Sing Street, to a groupie for Queen. The two hour wait till We Are the Champions was worth it, but they never showed us how they came up with this anthem. Saw it once and then took my dad to see it with me. If you never got to experience Queen live, then seeing Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema is close enough. If you love Queen, you’ll love the film, if you don’t care for Queen, you will not find the film special.

8/10

American Animals

Never seen thieves with such guilty conscience. The heist went so very badly you will cringe throughout the last thirty minutes. I’m so happy I got to see it on the big screen

8/10

Tom Sawyer

All the breathtaking shots of that gorgeous steamboat are what makes this film beautiful. There is something familiar in the scene where Jodie and Tom get engaged. The way little Jodie tilts her head, says her line, then smiles awkwardly. We’ve all seen grown up Jodie do that charming head tilt and smirk in many of her films and interviews. These two things were enough for me to enjoy this film, despite never being a big fan of Tom Sawyer’s. I honestly couldn’t tell you whether my year read this book in school or not.

7.5/10

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Almost Friends

This coming of age drama was just what I needed on this sunny day. I could easily relate to Freddie’s character, putting his life on hold for a few years, everyone asking him if he’s depressed and the toxic relationship he had with a parent who loved him, but was stealing from the family on the side. It actually encouraged me to leave the house and go for a walk which never happens.

‘You okay?’
‘Yeah, I was just taking a breath.’

‘You know, I’m starting to think I might be depressed.’

‘You’re a strange guy, Charlie, you know that?’
‘Not so strange, maybe just a little different.’

7.5/10

Swept From the Sea

This film was shot over 20 years before Brexit, and yet the appauling way some of the British villagers treated the Ukranian and his family in this film mirrors the xenophopia part of Brexit so accurately, it’s scary.

6/10

The Grinch

Unnecessary and no singing? Absolutely nothing happened until he got to the girl’s house an hour into the film.

4/10

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The Favor

The husband did her the biggest favor by not divorcing her for all the shit she had pulled throughout the film.

6/10

My Blueberry Nights

I’ve owned this on DVD since 2008 and only watched it 11 years later. I liked the two smaller storylines so much more than the main love story.

‘He was so crazy about me, I couldn’t breathe. So we tried drinking our way back into love, but it never made sense in the morning. So I ran. And every time I came back, he was here. And he was still crazy about me.’

6/10

Freaky Friday

I’ve seen the original film starring little Jodie Foster and the remake with Jamie Lee Curtis many times. I’ve been looking for this made for TV version starring young Gaby Hoffmann and Shelley Young for 20 years and finally got to see it today. I’m happy to report It was everything I thought it would be.

7/10

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The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Should have seen it on the big screen, in 3D, otherwise the rating can’t be any higher.

5/10

Rad

I liked the main song more than the film itself. This is the 500th new film I watched this year.

4/10

Return to Nim’s Island

I love the Irwins, but was the first film this boring and I never noticed it, because of Jodie Foster and her character’s OCD?

3/10