Movie Catch Up 10

Loved

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Okja

“Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a fascinating animal named Okja.” IMDB

Okja is not the first made for Netflix film but it is the first one I have seen. It is controversial in many ways which I won’t go into – this review does a better job of giving you some of the story about what happened at Cannes and also why this movie would probably not have been made without Netflix.

Having seen the trailer for this movie I had a pretty good idea of what I would be in for. I said to the other half – I don’t know if I want to watch this movie with you because I am pretty sure it is going to make me cry. I thought some more about it and I said to myself, I can control my emotions! So one Friday night I said I am determined I will not cry about a CGI superpig, we will watch it together.

Not only did I cry about a cgi superpig, but it was completely ugly crying. I do not want to spoil any of this movie for you because I do think it is worth seeing, though I believe you will need Netflix to be able to see it I do wonder if they might allow TV networks to purchase it and show it at a later time in order to give this movie a larger audience. Okja raised a lot of questions for me that I am still not sure I have answers for, and even a week later I still find myself thinking about it.

This movie had a great cast many of whom were playing teeny tiny parts compared to other parts they have done. Every part counts and these performances added up to make something great. Tilda Swinton is in this movie, and there are two of her! That was something I really loved. I did feel like Giancarlo Esposito was under-utilised and I wanted to know more about his character and what his motivations were as that did not seem especially clear. I also felt like a lot had been cut out of this movie and that might have been one of the things cut.

It was lovely to see Stephen Yeun away from The Walking Dead though his role was fairly small he provided one of my biggest laugh out loud moments of the movie when he showed his new tattoo. Jake Gyllenhaal played such a crazy character who was also quite evil. I was not sure whether to laugh or despise him, though despise him won out after a particularly brutal series of events. Paul Dano was here too, with a beautiful, calming character in the midst of much character craziness.

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Before I Fall

“February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.” IMDB

I forget where I heard about this movie but wherever it was marketed it to me as similar to Groundhog Day which is one of my favourite movies of all time, so how could I resist? One icy Saturday afternoon when I decided to use the soft sole express and had 90 minutes to fill where I could not walk around the house, I thought this movie would be perfect. And I was right. I really enjoyed it overall. Though some of the music in the movie, in particular the party scene which we saw multiple times, I was not a great fan of.

It was kind of all my favourite movies as a teenager mixed together to create a new thing entirely and very well done. The Groundhog Day aspect was excellent. If you like that movie you will probably enjoy this even if you don’t enjoy watching angsty emo teenagers.

I enjoyed the cast overall but Zoey Dutch played the main role of Sam and I think she was brilliant in it. I had never seen her before in anything but I became a fan and will definitely look out for more of her work.

Disliked

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To The Bone

“A young woman is dealing with anorexia. She meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.” IMDB

Another very controversial Netflix movie, but this one is Not Great At All and in my opinion it had nothing to do with any of the controversial reasons why. It just seemed to be absolutely pointless and have no message at all. It did not educate, it did not illuminate, it did very little at all.

Keanu Reeves was completely wasted as a doctor who was supposedly unconventional in the way he treated this disease – I would say this doctor had no plan or idea of how to treat this disease or perhaps if he did, we never got to see or understand what his treatment might be. Other than taking his patients to see some rain art, because they are alive, but it seemed to me like an excuse to have a montage of people dancing in the rain.

What a lost opportunity for the people who do suffer from eating disorders, to have their stories told in an engaging and educational way. It is my understanding that the lead actress – Lily Collins who happens to be Phil Collins daughter – has suffered from this disease, as had the director. I am not sure what exactly they were trying to achieve here but I felt like whatever it was, they did not manage it.

movies

Movie Catch Up 9

Some quick movie bites today.

Loved

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Florence Foster Jenkins

“The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.” IMDB

I do not even know what to say about this film. I feel like all the words will not be enough. It was just beautiful. The costumes were stunning, the hair and makeup was gorgeous, everything was delightfully sparkly. The scene with the sparkly star head dress, I could watch that over and over. Photos do not do it justice, the movement of the stars, so beautiful.

And at the end when it takes a sad turn towards the tragic, one cannot help but feel that Florence Foster Jenkins truly sucked the marrow out of life, and when she came to die, discovered that she had truly sung, even if it was off key.

Bring your kleenex for this one folks, Meryl is in fine form and you will need them. Earplugs are optional. I highly recommend this film.

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Christine

“The story of Christine Chubbuck, a 1970s TV reporter struggling with depression and professional frustrations as she tries to advance her career.” IMDB

Some films never quite get the recognition or attention they deserve. Christine is one such movie. Set in the mid 70s the costumes and sets are incredibly well done and that is what I noticed at first, until the first rate performances took over. What a great ensemble cast this is, backing up the main star Rebecca Hall beautifully.

Michael C Hall was the main reason I had this on my to-watch list and he was great as always. Another stand out was Timothy Simons who plays Jonah on Veep – I really liked his performance here. A pleasant surprise was J. Smith-Cameron who I loved from Rectify, here playing the mother of Christine.

This is not a happy story as Christine was the first person ever to attempt suicide live on television. It is a story well told and performed. Would I recommend it? As long as you know this is not a happy story and especially if you are a fan of any of the cast.

Disliked

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

“Remake of the 1956 film noir film “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” in which a writer’s plan to expose a corrupt district attorney takes an unexpected turn.” IMDB

Given that one of my favourite movies of all time is a remake of a movie from the mid-50’s which starred Michael Douglas – A Perfect Murder – I had high hopes for this one which also starred Michael Douglas plus that cute guy from Desperate Housewives AKA Jesse Metcalfe. My high hopes were sadly not met.

You know when you are part way into a movie and you just know it is bad and is going to get worse? That is how I felt here. So about 16 minutes into this one, I turned it off and put on A Perfect Murder instead. It was the right thing to do. :)

movies

Movie Catch Up 8

Loved

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John Wick 2

“After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.” IMDB

I talked about the first John Wick last week – we have now seen the second one. It was somehow even more beautiful than the first one, in every aspect. The budget has clearly gone up, so the fake death scenes were a bit more bloody and sometimes even slightly gory, perhaps this would be too much for some who did enjoy the first one.

We learn a little bit more about the hitman universe this time, which I appreciated a lot. In particular we learned why the suits are a must – they are basically a bullet proof vest hidden in a suit. I loved that the costume designer played the part of the tailor and he was utterly fantastic in *both* roles. The costumes in this are excellent.

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In the first movie a story was told about John Wick killing 3 people with a pencil, and this time we see exactly how he does that. I kind of feel like the myth was better than the actuality but it certainly gave all involved an opportunity to showcase their skills, whether it be stuntmen, actors, art department and/or prop department, and probably more people than we will ever know about. It makes me hope there will be a DVD commentary track so we can find out more about how this was done.

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There are a lot of big names showing up in this movie and I imagine there will be even more in the next one. Everybody is going to want to get killed by John Wick! The stand out for me was Common. That is the first time I have seen him in a movie bu I am now a fan so I will be putting some of his other works on my to-see list.

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The other stand out features of this film was the amazing cinematography, there were some stunningly gorgeous shots in here. The set design was truly killer especially in the last museum sequences, and the beginning action sequence of this film where John attempts to retrieve his stolen car was so incredible and brilliantly done. I loved the door thing.

Recently they announced they will be doing a TV series spin off from this world called The Continental, which is the hotel chain that is home to the world’s league of assassins. No cast has been announced yet but I do believe this is a great idea and there are so many stories that could be told here. If Lance Reddick signs on, the levels of awesomeness will be huge. I want to know more about his character! However he is likely to be in Bosch season 4, which might make that difficult.

This is the best action movie I have ever seen. Ever. Truly great work by everyone involved. It makes total sense to me that both of these John Wick movies were directed by Chad Stahelski who has a long career as a stunt performer and coordinator. If this is what happens when stunt performers direct movies, then we need a lot more stunt performers to direct movies.

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Buster’s Mal Heart

“A family man’s chance encounter with a conspiracy-obsessed drifter leaves him on the run from the police and an impending event known as The Inversion.” IMDB

Am I here? Who am I? Why am I here? Should I grab a stock pot, put it on the kitchen counter, and poop in it? These are all questions that came to me as a surprise when I watched this film. I think there was life before seeing that scene, and life afterwards, and the two are not the same thing. I did not screenshot it for you, see how nice I am? ;) But it was quite the sight.

It did not take long for me to become a huge Rami Malek fan. The camera loves him, even when he has all the hair and the beard they add on in parts of this movie. I have no idea what the heck this movie was all about or whether *any* of it was real, at all. Rami has such a talent for making the unreal seem like it is real. He does it beautifully in Mr Robot, too.

I enjoyed every minute Rami was on the screen, and if you are a fan you will too. if you are not a fan, this is not a movie for you. I would not have enjoyed this at all with a lesser actor or someone I was not a fan of. I have no clue what this movie was trying to tell me. Was it all a dream? Was it caused by sleep deprivation? Was it mental illness? What really happened, and in what order did it happen?

It is especially interesting that Rami Malek signed up to do this movie *before* he signed onto Mr Robot, and yet the two could easily be entwined within each other, some of the same themes run through here, and there is some music at times which felt like it could be put into Mr Robot.

All I have are questions, and zero answers. I loved this movie even though I am – like Buster and Jonah, completely and totally lost. Am I floating in a boat, out at sea, covered in frogs? I DON’T KNOW. :)

The one thing I do know, I am excited to see Bohemian Rhapsody where Rami will play the role of Freddie Mercury, due for release in late 2018.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.” IMDB

I have never seen or read anything Harry Potter related at all. I saw part of the trailer for this a while ago and I thought I might like to see it, so when I discovered The Other Half intended to watch it I said I would like to sit in.

I think it might actually be a quite scary place, the inner mind of J.K. Rowling, if some of these beasts actually live there. But it might also be quite a magical place. This movie certainly was magical. There will be a second one, and this might be one we go to the cinema to see, along with John Wick 3.

I am not the biggest fan of CGI stuff and there was a lot of it in this movie, but I did love the movie. Even though I have an irrational dislike of Eddie Redmayne. It is odd, because I have seen movies where he was in them and I quite enjoyed them, I just do not like the guy and I have no idea why. It might be hair related. I did want to get a pair of scissors and just trim his hair slightly shorter, so it was not quite so close to his eyes.

movies

Movie Catch Up 7

This week we have a Men I Love To Watch trilogy.

Loved

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John Wick

“An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.” IMDB

At first glance this may not seem to be the kind of movie I would enjoy, especially if you look at my previous movie catch up posts. But I am a fan of Keanu – I have been ever since Bill and Ted back in 1990. SO-CRATES. And then there was Point Break and Speed, where he proved he could be an action star.circlek

I would probably not have found my way to this movie at all if I had not gone to visit The Other Half as he was watching it, because it is not my kind of thing. But I walked into a scene that I found interesting, and I spotted more than one actor I enjoy watching in it. So I said I would like to see the whole thing. And wow, was it quite the show!

But I need to offer one word of warning. There is a huge reason John Wick – who had retired – un-retires. And it is probably one of the most difficult things for me to watch when it comes to movies and luckily I knew about it in advance so I did not have a massive sad, which I would have if I had not known. But I really do not want to spoil the movie for anyone who has not seen it yet.

That one I will not spoil it for you event sets John Wick off on a rampage of epic proportions. And because of what that event is, I was right there with him, and likely 99% of the world was as well.

These movies involve a lot of people fake dying and sometimes that is not very pretty to look at however the fight scenes and the John Wick Shoots Every Bad Guy In Sight But Conveniently Misses Innocent Bystanders scenes are so beautifully choreographed, it is almost like interpretative dance. A ballet of death, of sorts. Not a ballet for the feint of heart and there is a lot of shooting, so do not watch this movie if you are offended by violence and shooting.

The movie soundtrack is excellent, my particular favourite was Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson but there was a lot of great thumping bass songs, too.

I have to credit the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul insider podcasts for giving me a respect for how things are done in teevee and movie land. There were some scenes in here where I was just wow, how much time, effort and work went into that!

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Hands down this is the 2nd best action movie (the 1st best will be here next week) I have seen in a long, long time. Some of the shots are SO gorgeous. There are some great names in this cast, everyone from Lance Reddick (seen above, who I love watching in the TV show Bosch) to Ian McShane to John Leguizamo to Willem Dafoe – plus the wonderful bonus of Toby Leonard Moore for us Billions fans.

I really loved that most of the main characters were suited up in very gorgeous menswear suits most of the time. Though if you are a hitman, perhaps there are better colours of shirt than white. And if it is bucketing down rain and you are fighting in a suit complete with waistcoat and tie that might be a bit of a hindrance to your performance in real life but it sure looks great on the screen.

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Anthropoid

“Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler.” IMDB
This movie contains two men I love to watch – Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy sporting a haircut that reminded me very much of an early Mark Owen hairstyle. In fact his resemblance to my favourite pop star was mildly jarring to me throughout the entire movie.marko

Mark Owen from Take That

I really should research these kinds of movies before I watch them but that tends to spoil them. In this case I am very glad I did not as not knowing the outcome ramps up the tension levels for me. If you plan to watch this movie I strongly recommend you do not research this operation either.

I am not going to say anything about what actually happens in this movie other than to say this is an important story which was extremely difficult to watch. I am glad I had no idea what I was letting myself in for or else I may not have watched it at all. Approach with caution is all I can suggest. It might be that I find the Nazi regime more scary than most things.

I will say that I had planned to see this in the cinema when it was released and having seen it now I am very glad I did not. I think it would have been too much to witness all of this on the big screen. I was enough of a mess having seen it on the TV.

The performances are excellent by everyone in the cast, especially Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy but they are ably supported here by a truly wonderful supporting cast. The writing is great, the tension is high and for at least the last 40 minutes I was completely freaking out. I understand in real life the events that took place in that 40 minutes went on for 6 hours. That is completely unimaginable to me.

The end result that Sean Ellis directed, co-wrote, produced, operated the camera and was the cinematographer for is an incredible effort. He is someone I will be keeping an eye on, this was so well done. I cannot believe one person was responsible for so much of it. That is a lot of work.

Liked

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Come and Find Me

“When his girlfriend goes missing, David must track down her whereabouts after he realizes she’s not who she was pretending to be.” IMDB

The only reason I chose this movie was because Aaron Paul was in it. I have been a huge fan since he was in Breaking Bad. Sometimes even the best actors end up in Not Great movies and this was one such occasion. I think the biggest problem here was the huge amount of flashbacks for no apparent reason. Every time the story began to pick up the pace and you would get comfortable and/or interested in the “now” suddenly the movie would flash back to the “then”.

Garret Dillahunt was the stand out cast member other than Aaron Paul, and an unexpected star of the movie was Canada, where this movie was filmed. Aaron does his usual reliable work, and that was enjoyable, but this is not something I would go back to watch a second time.

Directed and written by Zack Whedon – the brother of Joss and Jed – I also suspect that these two tasks did not mesh very well. Sometimes when you have written something, you cannot see the trees for the forest when it comes time to direct that same something. The story might have been better served if someone else had directed it.

Men I Love To Watch, movies

Movie Catch Up 6

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This week we have a Helen Mirren movie trifecta. I’ll watch anything she is in. I love her style and in some ways it is very similar to mine – not so much the lace but the element of always bringing something unexpected. Is there any role Dame Helen cannot play to perfection? I think not. She brings her A game to every single character she inhabits.

Just because I can, here there are Four Helen Mirrens in the same room, it took me a while at first to work out which was the real one, and I only worked it out because that one moved.

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Eye in the Sky

“Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.” IMDB

This movie has a great cast, including our Helen Mirren obviously, Alan Rickman in his last ever on screen role before he passed away – there were two more movies released with just his voice – Barkhad Abdi who has a great tension filled foot chase, plus Aaron Paul who of course I love. The very delightful newcomer actress Aisha Takow plays a young girl trying to sell bread.

This is a tough storyline to watch, with many people discussing whether or not the mission can go ahead. When the politicians get involved of course it becomes even more convoluted. At the moment with all the terror attacks happening, this movie is timely in exploring the issues around taking action before an attack is carried out even if it puts innocent people in danger VS what might happen if the authorities do not act.

Helen Mirren plays a colonel in this movie and she is determined and resolute in her belief of what is the right and necessary thing to do, right now. And had she been listened to at the beginning, things might have turned out very differently. But then this would not have been much of a movie.

I do recommend this movie if you are looking for something to make you think and of course if you are a fan of any of the cast you will enjoy it, the performances are excellent. I would give it 7 wax Helen Mirrens out of 10 because she is part of an ensemble cast here but she is quite a big part of it.

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Woman in Gold

“Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the Austrian government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family.” IMDB

Best to have apple strudel on hand because early on in this film when Helen Mirren serves some to an incredibly dorky version of Ryan Reynolds, you will want some. Who knew it was possible to make Ryan Reynolds not drop dead gorgeous?

When this movie takes off, it takes the viewer places I did not quite expect to go. This is why I love movies overall – when you start the film you do not expect or know what you will see and how you will feel. This particular movie had me experiencing almost all the emotions in less than 2 hours and the ending definitely requires Kleenex.

This is a very difficult movie to watch, especially the flashback scenes of Austria when the Nazis took over. This movie will probably make you angry. Having said that, the performances are – as one would expect – excellent. In the flashback scenes Tatiana Maslany plays the younger version of Helen Mirren’s character and it is amazing how alike they actually look, I had never realised it before. Max Irons is also in the movie, long a favourite actor of mine.

In the middle of the movie the tension ratchets up to almost unbearable levels when in flashback Maria and Fritz make a run for it, which may have you reaching for the Google to find out the outcome but do not do it, no matter what. Let the movie tell you this story. Like any movie there is more to the real life story than what you see in the film and once you have finished watching, then you may google. :)

The levels of love that I have for this movie are so high, even though it made me ugly cry. Wow, that rhymes! Added bonus, it features the airport from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as a shooting location. I strongly recommend this one and would give it 10 wax Helen Mirrens out of 10 because she truly is the star of this movie.

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State of Play

“When a congressional aide is killed, a Washington D.C. journalist starts investigating the case involving the congressman, his old college friend.” IMDB

This is one of the older movies in my to-be-watched directory, released in 2009. It is an adaptation of the 2003 BBC One miniseries which I had enjoyed and the cast of the adaptation is somewhat spectacular. Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels just to give you an overview.

I really enjoyed this movie, every single cast member brought their A game, even Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck who I can usually do without. Rachel McAdams really saved this one for me, I am such a fan of hers since Morning Glory.

It makes me want to go back and watch the original, which I probably will do over the next few weeks. That one had Bill Nighy and David Morrissey who is probably best known now for his role as The Governor in The Walking Dead.

I would give it 4 wax Helen Mirrens out of 10 because she is in this movie but not as much as she could have been though when you do see her it is well worth the price of admission.

movies, Women I Love To Watch

Movie Catch Up 5

Loved

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The Light Between Oceans

“A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from a drifting rowing boat.” IMDB

Prepare the kleenex, you will need them. Oh, what a magical yet deeply heart breaking story with a great cast many of whom you will recognise if you are Australian.

I did not realise going into it that this had people like Garry McDonald and Bryan Brown in it, though that is probably the reason it went onto my “movies I want to see” list. By the time I got to watch it I had forgotten who was in it. What a great surprise for me when the credits were playing at the start, to see those names appear. I am a huge Garry McDonald fan. Had I remembered, I would have watched this movie a lot sooner.

Also Jack Thompson was there as a crusty Aussie seaman, a role I believe he was born to play and should have played a lot more often instead of butchering the American accent as he has been known to do on occasion AKA that time he played the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in Broken Arrow.

The entire cast was fantastic. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander were especially amazing in this movie, as was Rachel Weisz. I might quietly be turning into a fan of the Fassbender. I also enjoyed Anthony Hayes who has been building up a repertoire of great roles over the years and every role I have seen him in I have enjoyed his performace, particularly memorable was the detective in Animal Kingdom.

I only disliked one thing about this movie and that was a couple of moments of lens flare – a thing that happens when you point a camera at the sun – which broke into the feeling that this was a real story and we were somehow magically taken back in time to the 1920s and suspended in space watching these people live their lives.

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I do not mind lens flare on most occasions, in fact there are some times I truly love it, but a movie set in the 1920s before the modern world was a thing is not a good place for it in my opinion. Also pointing the camera at the sun makes it really hard for your audience to look at that shot. :) As you can see from that screenshot I took, my apologies but I wanted to be able to show you what I was talking about. You see the green stripe across the back of the actor there? That is lens flare.

This was not an easy movie to watch at times. It felt incredibly real. At all times minus the few lens flare moments it was beautifully done and the landscapes were haunting.

I would NOT recommend it to anyone who has experienced the loss of a child because this movie explores that subject quite thoroughly from several different angles and it was distressing to me who has not gone through that, I imagine it would be even more so to those who have.

Liked

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To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters

“A chronicle of the Brontë sisters’ battle to overcome obstacles and publish their novels, which would become some of the greatest in the English language.” IMDB

A couple of minutes into this movie, I very nearly decided to stop watching it. My hand was on the stop button on the remote. The beginning was very, very weird with what seemed to be a supernatural element, fiery halos above some children. I was thinking, what the heck is this?
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Then it looked like it was going to turn into a normal movie with normal characters and I decided to keep watching it, only moments later to have another flashback with the same children who I now recognised as the main characters and they were DEEPLY annoying, screaming and yelling. I was just about to turn it off and say this movie is not for me when it went back to the adult characters and stayed there for a long while, and turned into a movie I really enjoyed. I am very glad I did not turn it off now.

One of my favourite books of all time is The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall. I am not such a fan of the other Brontë books to be honest, I am more a Jane Austen fan. Watching this movie and finding out about their brother Branwell now I completely understand why my favourite book was written.

Branwell had an alcohol and drug problem and all three sisters had to watch his decline via this disease and his eventual death with tuberculosis, which unfortunately took two of the other sisters within 6 months of his death, well before their time. It also robbed all of us of their further literary works.

I did not love the ending of this movie either, for unknown reasons it suddenly switched to present day and took us on a somewhat terrifying whirlwind tour of the museum made from the rectory, in particular the gift shop seemed to get quite a visit from a steadicam operator. BYO motion sickness tablets..

But the part in between was excellent and the costumes and locations were quite good also. You may realise by now that I am a great fan of movies that are set in the past especially anything English and from the Victorian times.

I would recommend it if you are a fan of this kind of movie. Just grit your teeth through the first 5 minutes or so, and you can stop the movie once you get to modern times if you like, nothing happens other than taking a nauseating spin through the museum and gift shop and then one final shot of the three sisters out on the moors.

Disliked

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The 9th Life of Louis Drax

“A psychologist who begins working with a young boy who has suffered a near-fatal fall finds himself drawn into a mystery that tests the boundaries of fantasy and reality.” IMDB

Aaron Paul and Jamie Dornan together in a movie? Sign me up, I’m totally on board. Somewhat unfortunately, the two never appear together on screen at the same time in this one. This movie was not what I expected and I would not really recommend it to anyone else.

The ending of the movie and a moment of incredible acting on the part of Aaron Paul redeemed it somewhat magically in my eyes. Even so, it is not a movie I would watch again and I think that puts it on the disliked list for me. Which is bizarre seeing how much I love these two actors.

I was not a fan of the story at all, especially the cruelty to hamsters element. Had that happened earlier in the movie I might have switched it off. I really did not like Louis Drax as a character to begin with but when he began to explain his views on owning a pet, I actively started hating him which was troubling to me, as he was a child. I did enjoy Oliver Platt, but I have enjoyed him in so many things, the most favourite being Oliver Babish in The West Wing.

I think this movie proves that you need more than just great actors – the story overall needs to be something people can relate to. This movie had too much fantasy and at times it skewed to the supernatural or science fiction which I do not always enjoy unless it is done very well.. This was not.

I’ve mentioned before that I do not dislike a lot of movies and I was very surprised to find I disliked this one.

movies

Movie Catch Up 4

Something different this week – here are 3 movies I loved. The more movies I watch, the more I notice they tend to fall into the loved or liked category. Is that good choosing on my part, or on the part of my most favourite actors?
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Queen Of Katwe

“A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.” IMDB

I know absolutely nothing about chess. I do not understand the game and I have never taken the time to learn about it. There just always seemed to be other things to do. This is a movie about a girl who becomes a chess champion. So I was quite worried going into this that I would not understand what was going on for much of the time. I should not have worried.

This was truly one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen and I do not mean that in a way like a feast for the eyes, tricky camera angles or amazing photography though there was some great shots in here and I loved the use of colourful costumes and landscapes. I mean beautiful in the story it tells and the people it tells us about. The entire cast is wonderful. David Olewayo and Lupita N’yongo lead a cast of actors who are new to acting but certainly incredibly good at it.

I am a HUGE Lupita fan but my love for her began thanks to her amazing choices fashion wise. Some stars just take the red carpet more seriously than other stars do and Lupita became a fashion icon for me a few years ago when she was nominated for an Oscar for her incredible performance in 12 Years A Slave. She did win it and quite rightly so.

I loved this movie so much, but I particularly loved the ending and then the gorgeous part where they put the actor next to the real person. I cried happy tears, it was so wonderful.
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The Girl On The Train

“A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.” IMDB

Wow, this movie got some terrible reviews and I am not quite sure why. Maybe because I came into this knowing absolutely nothing about it, I had not read the book, and I had no expectations at all other than knowing I usually enjoy movies with Emily Blunt in them.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Rebecca Ferguson in this movie, I loved her in The White Queen mini series. Alison Janney snuck in here as a surprise to me as well. I actually really enjoyed this movie. And at one point I looked up at the clock and it was 8:30pm, the next minute I looked up to see an hour had gone by and I had not even noticed it, so entranced and enthralled was I in this story.

I am not going to tell you anything about it at all. My hope is you know as little as I did if and when you see this.
blackmass1

Black Mass

“The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston.” IMDB

So the thing with Johnny Depp movies is – it will either be one of two things. Incredibly brilliant, or deeply Not Great. In this instance he is ably supported with a great cast including Jesse Plemons, Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kevin Bacon. And that is a good thing, because I found Johnny Depp incredibly creepy in this role. The blue eye contacts certainly made him look different.

I have loved Jesse Plemons ever since his epic role as Todd in the final season of Breaking Bad. I was very pleased to see him in this movie – when I sat down to watch it the only cast member I knew about was Johnny Depp. Sometimes that is the best way to watch a movie – completely cold with no idea who is in it. Jesse is very Matt-Damon-Esque in this role, though there is not *quite* enough of him for me.

I was amazed at how you could see almost every single pore and wrinkle on the face of the actors in this movie. The focus was SO deadly sharp! I am afraid my screenshots have not done any justice to the levels of focus in this film.

There was one scene which had one of the best shots of people talking in a car that I have seen in a movie, ever. And we have seen that shot a lot of times, haven’t we?blackmass2

This film did an amazing job of taking great actors and making them super creepy. In particular Joel Edgerton. Whitey killed quite a few people so there are a few murders in the movie. Realistically though they could easily have made this movie without including any of that. There was more than enough story here to fill two movies let alone one.

I loved this more for the sheer quality of the acting and the technical aspects – that sharp focus and what it could do for the film drew me in. If you are a fan of any of the actors involved you might enjoy this as much as I did, otherwise you might want to give it a miss, especially if you do not want to see violent scenes. Well, I don’t want to see them either but I understand their role and purpose, so I tolerate them when they appear.

movies

Movie Catch Up 3

Loved

thefounder

The Founder

“The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.” IMDB

I absolutely loved this movie even though it is basically the story of how Ray Kroc stole pretty much everything from the *actual* founders of Mcdonalds. It was incredibly well done, the script was engaging and it grabbed me right from the start. In the latter half of the film, though, at the exact same time as I was loving it, I was so angry about the story it was telling me so beautifully.

This is probably the best role I have ever seen Michael Keaton perform, and he does it incredibly well. The entire cast is fantastic but especially the Mcdonald Brothers, played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch.

My favourite part of the movie is when the Mcdonald brothers were telling their story of how they came up with the “speedee” system. I don’t normally put clips from the movies up here but this one was so brilliant I am going to share it.

I almost feel like the Mcdonald brothers could have been a great movie just on their own. I deeply loved those guys and I wanted to spend more time with them. It felt a bit like Mike Ehrmanraut from Breaking Bad – I just want to watch that guy do anything, for hours on end. And in Better Call Saul they are indulging me – I got to watch Mike take a car to pieces last week, it was everything I dreamed it could be.

The phone calls back and forth between Kroc and the Mcdonald brothers were pure gold. It is very hard to make that kind of stuff play on screen as well as it did.

Nice guys finish last of course, and that is exactly what ended up happening to the Mcdonald brothers. But even though you know from the get-go that this will be the eventual outcome, you spend the movie wishing it would turn out differently for them – and that Kroc would get what he deserves, which was NOT a massive fast food and real estate empire.

I do recommend this movie. You will love it yet hate it but there is no doubt you will enjoy every minute of it, especially the precious minutes you will get to spend with the Mcdonald brothers.

Liked

invisible

The Invisible Woman

“At the height of his career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death.” IMDB

I was torn about whether I liked or loved this. 91% of it was loved- the costumes, the locations, the acting, all of this was brilliant. I did not like how it was told in flashback, it made the story quite confusing to me and especially how it ended quite abruptly and never really explained what happened to Charles Dickens or their relationship.

As with so many movies now, I had to go and do some research afterwards to know more. And rightly so, how do you condense a 13 year affair into a movie? This is a story which might have been better told in miniseries form.

This is a movie I would need to watch several more times to decide how I feel about it, so for now it sits squarely in the liked column. I will watch it again just because the costumes were so great.

Disliked

complicated

It’s Complicated

“When attending their son’s college graduation, a couple reignite the spark in their relationship. But the complicated fact is they’re divorced and he’s remarried.” IMDB

I never thought I would hate a movie with a cast as great as this, but BOY did I hate this. Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, this should be a winner. It was most definitely not. I spent much of the movie cringing and debating whether I should stop watching this. Deeply terrible. Why did I keep watching this for an hour? WHHHHHYYYYYYYY? For the sake of completion? Because I wanted to know what happened to the characters?

Thankfully, I did switch it off at 1 hour 7 minutes, and I deleted it from the hard drive soon afterwards so I could not be tempted to watch the rest of it. The movie did run for another hour and I am glad I did not waste that time watching it.

When I checked it on IMDB I was unsurprised to find it was written by the same person who wrote The Intern. So now I have a writer to avoid permanently. One stinker is bad, two and you are OUT.

movies

Movie Catch Up 2

Loved

theinfiltrator

The Infiltrator

“A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Pablo Escobar.” (IMDB)

Bryan Cranston is one of my favorite actors of all time. Team him up with John Leguizamo who is yet another favourite and chances were this was going to be a winner even if the script is terrible.. but it wasn’t terrible. It was great. I loved everything about it. It felt slightly like a bit more upmarket version of Donnie Brasco.

The costumes, the lighting, the amazing homes on occasion contrasted with the reality of the lives of those undercover. Underneath it all there was this great tension, like at any minute everything could go very wrong indeed, and now and then things did go very wrong.

This movie did receive some mixed reviews elsewhere. Diane Kruger was impossibly gorgeous, Benjamin Bratt appears in a very silver foxy role – and silver suits him – Juliet Aubrey was great as the long suffering wife of an undercover agent and Olympia Dukakis has a small but effortlessly fabulous part especially delightful for those of us who have loved her since the mid 80’s.

I do feel the need to read the book this was based on now.

Liked

lifemovie

Life

“A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.” (IMDB)

Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson together on screen. I should have been literally glued to my chair, laptop lid closed, watching this. I’ve been fans of both of these guys for years now. Sadly the movie did not grab me. I found the runaround that James Dean gave Dennis Stock far too annoying. In fact the way he treated everyone deeply irritated me.

I think the truth is, Dane was doing way too good a job here of almost inhabiting the skin of James Dean and I just did not like that guy. It probably does not help that I know almost nothing about him and have never seen any of his movies. I am sure if you are a James Dean fan perhaps you would have enjoyed this movie far more than I did.

The one time this movie did grab me was when James went to a dance at his old high school. On that occasion he was charming and lovely to the people there. If this movie had been about that guy I saw in that moment, I probably would have loved this. But by all accounts, that is not who James Dean was at all.

Robert Pattinson has a habit of choosing not great projects. I sat through a couple of really deeply terrible movies just because he was in them. I mean, hello, The Rover. This one was ok and he was ok in it. But not ok enough to keep my laptop closed for the entire movie.

The costumes were pretty great, as were the locations. In general this movie was very well done. It is just a shame the person it was all about was so annoying.

Disliked

Patriots Day

“The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.” IMDB

Obviously as this is based on a real event where people were injured and killed, his movie is NOT for anyone who can’t deal with gory images. I understand they are kinda sorta telling the story of what happened but I think they could have gone a little lighter on showing the injuries.

Also I think if you are going to put an actor as well known as John Goodman into heavy makeup and dark eyebrows to resemble someone else, that is a Not Great idea. Every time I heard his voice I was freaked out by what he looked like. It also has Kevin Bacon which is never a bad thing.

Mark Wahlberg is pretty incredible in his role, but I am a fan of his. If you don’t like him you are probably not going to enjoy this movie, because his character is central to everything that happened – and it is a completely fictional character. There was no one police officer involved in almost every aspect of the bombing and aftermath. There were many wonderful people who did not have their part of the story told here.

That is where the film falls down for me – it is impossible to suspend my disbelief. I would have preferred a version with the “real” police officers played by actors, but then it would not have been so Wahlberg-esque. This is an important story and I feel it would have been better to stick to facts not make up a convenient character for “movie” reasons.

I was quite horrified at what they did with the “interrogation” of the wife, especially holding up a printed out photo of her dead husband which I do suspect may have been the real image, I never saw it myself though so I can’t be certain. That was unexpected and quite gory and unnecessary.

On the plus side, I did think J.K. Simmons was amazing as Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese especially in the Watertown shootout scenes. Alex Wolff as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Themo Melikidze as Tamerlan Tsarnaev did some amazing work in tough roles as the terrorist brothers. Jimmy O. Yang was incredible as Dun Meng and that particular aspect of the story is one many are unaware of.

Would I recommend it as a movie to watch? That is such a difficult question. Probably not and that is a shame. This was a missed opportunity to tell the real story of what happened, not some half-real half-fake version.

All of these movies are older movies from 2015 and 2016. They would now be available on DVD as well as via various movie streaming services. 

movies

Movie Catch Up 1

movies

Loved

siege

The Siege of Jadotville

“Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan leads a stand off with troops against French and Belgian Mercenaries in the Congo during the early 1960s.” IMDB

Unknown to a lot of the world, Jamie Dornan is in fact an excellent actor. If you’d seen any of the Fifty Shades shiznit you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. If you’d seen The Fall, the Irish series in which Jamie plays a serial killer you would know how excellent he is. If they give him some good material and allow him to use his Irish accent the results are sure to be fantastic.

There is a quite a bit of swearing in this movie. It is understandable given the situation the characters are placed in. I felt a bit like swearing just watching it. I did not know anything about this historical event and this is exactly the reason why movies like this are made.

The rest of the cast truly stepped up to the plate, in particular Conor MacNeill and Sam Keeley were stand outs. It was so wonderful that they could include the grandson of Pat Quinlan in the cast.

What an incredible – and surprisingly uplifting – story – none of which I will spoil for you – and it is told extremely well. I think this might be one of the best movies I am likely to see this year. We will see!

pemberley

Death Comes To Pemberley

“Elizabeth and Darcy, now six years married, are preparing for their annual ball when festivities are brought to an abrupt halt. “ IMDB

Technically this is a 3 part mini-series, not a movie. This was made in 2013. I saw it back then and loved it but a recent read of the book inspired a rewatch.

Some members of the cast who were unknown to me on first viewing have gone on to significant careers – in particular Matthew Rhys appeared in The Americans, Matthew Goode appeared in decent roles in The Good Wife and Downton Abbey just after making this, Jenna Coleman has gone on to a huge starring role in Victoria, Eleanor Tomlinson went on to a fantastic role in Poldark and James Norton next appeared in War and Peace and Happy Valley.

Essentially this little mini series packs a huge punch not just in star power but also in excellence overall – the production quality is incredibly high, the locations are gorgeous, the costumes are very well done. It is everything great about British television in one beautiful package and I highly recommend you find it and watch it. While Colin Firth will always be my favourite Mr Darcy, I think Matthew Rhys did an excellent job here, and his sideburns were very impressive indeed.

Liked

zfor

Z for Zachariah

“In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.” IMDB

I loved this book growing up, it is one that I borrowed many times from the library but I never owned it. It has been a long time since I read the book. I enjoyed this movie because Chiwetel Ejiofor is an incredible actor – I have loved him since Kinky Boots. Margot Robbie was great.

But then The Eyebrows AKA Chris Pine showed up. I’d forgotten he was in the movie. This took the movie from loved to liked for me. Your mileage may vary. Maybe you like The Eyebrows. :)
keanu

The Whole Truth

“A defense attorney works to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father.” IMDB

This is a courtroom drama with Keanu Reeves and Renee Zellweger. It should have been excellent. The whole truth is, the storylines were terrible. I get the concept the writer was going for, to try and have all these possible truths and only one whole truth, but one of the possible truths they went with was just plain cringeworthy to say the least.

The idea of having the person on trial flat out refusing to speak to their lawyer or anyone else at all felt quite ridiculous. If you are a fan of Keanu or Renee, you may enjoy this even despite the bad storylines. Even though I enjoyed their performances enough to put this film in the liked category, I would not recommend this film to anyone else.

Disliked

jamie

Fifty Shades Darker

“While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.” IMDB

I liked the first movie and I am a big fan of both Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson but boy did the director really screw this up. Or maybe it is all the fault of E L James herself. Maybe the only reason the first movie was semi-good was because the director worked and fought hard to get her own vision on the screen and not the vision of the book author.

Though why the vision of any author or any director would have Anastasia running around in her underwear and yet Christian wears track pants in the gym.. that will forever remain a mystery. I have never seen a man have so much sex with his clothes on as Christian Grey does.

I’ll watch the last one but only because I like completion and I like the two main stars. It was the same director for the final two movies and they were filmed all at once so I expect Freed to be just as dismal.

intern

The Intern

“70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.” IMDB

I thought this was going to be great but wow, what a waste of a great cast. I would have said you can’t really take Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro and create a stinker of a movie but boy they sure accomplished that. This was bad. Very very bad. If you are looking for a great “workplace” movie, my suggestion is Morning Glory, track that down and give this one a big miss.

movies