Friday, 21 October 2016

Review: Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

I’ll give any movie a try, within reason. I don’t listen to critic reviews, but I place a lot of faith into bloggers’ opinions. Bloggers review movies for fun in their spare time, you know you’re going to get nothing but their own opinions from their reviews. Hunt for the Wilderpeople only came into my radar a few weeks ago, and every blog review I read had nothing but praise for it. That was enough to convince me to add it to my watch list, but once I realised that it’s directed by Taika Waititi, the genius behind What We Do in the Shadows, I made it my mission to watch it as soon as possible.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is based off a book by Barry Crump called Wild Pork and Watercress. It has that book-adaptation feel to it (don’t ask me to explain that feeling - I can’t) anyway, and it’s broken up into Chapters which sum up the ongoings well. In fact, I’d really love to give the book a go, I hope it’s as funny as the movie.

Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a troubled young boy, moving around different foster homes. He’s dropped out at the farm belonging to Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (Sam Neill) as a last chance. If he screws this up, he’s going to end up in Juvy. Ricky struggles to settle in his new home, despite the love and attention given to him by Bella, and so he runs away into the bush. Hec goes out to find him, and the result is a national manhunt for the pair as it appears that Hec has kidnapped Ricky.

It’s a funny coincidence that I watched this in the same week as Swiss Army Man, because they both have a lot of similarities!


Waititi’s style is clear in this movie. It’s got that same sense of humour as What We Do in the Shadows, and it’s quirky from start to finish. Julian Dennison absolutely shines as the child star of the movie, and his delivery of the witty lines is perfect. He’s just like a lot of other 13 year olds, thinking he’s a gangster because he’s shoplifted a chocolate bar, played GTA and listens to rap music. Yet he’s such a likeable character!

Every time I watch a movie set in New Zealand, I’m taken back by the beauty of the country. I’m sure a lot of work went into the cinematography, but honestly, the setting does half the work itself, it’s gorgeous to look at.


The movie walks that line of Comedy and Drama perfectly without throwing the tone all over the place. It has some horrendously sad moments that had me sobbing quite openly, although I won’t discuss why because of spoilers, but it’s also one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. The dialogue is brilliant, thanks in part to the chemistry Julian Dennison and Sam Neill share. 

I’ve been trying to balance this review out with a few negatives to warrant the 9/10 score I wanted to give it, but I’m really struggling. Originally I thought the roles of the Child Protection Officer and her Policeman companion were too campy, but actually, they fit the overall feel of the movie perfectly, especially when I try to compare it to What We Do in the Shadows. I very rarely give perfect marks to any movie, I think there’s always room for improvement, but I can’t find it here!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Halloweenie Review: Krampus (2015)

October is Halloweenie month here at Flick Chicks, the month that Jenna and I put on our big girl pants and force ourselves to sit through a few horror movies. You can read more about it in our announcement post here!

Upon realising that Jenna and I don’t live close enough to watch every single scary movie together, I think I fell into my comfort zone a bit, Christmas movies! Krampus (2015) was originally going to be the movie of choice for my family’s annual ‘weekend before Christmas’ cinema trip, until I managed to convince them it was by no means a movie for children, and hey, perhaps we should see The Force Awakens instead?! I have since happily reported back to my Mum she would not have survived this movie.

Krampus is exactly what you think it is. One Christmas Eve, a young boy has a hard time understanding why his family have to get together every year when they clearly can’t stand each other, and in his anger, he accidentally summons a horde of Christmas demons to his home, led by none other than Krampus himself.

The opening scene to this movie might just be my favourite of any festive films I’ve seen. The contrast of the beautiful music “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” with the chaotic, hellish scenes of the rush before the big day, screaming children sat on the laps of miserable mall Santas, people barging others out of the way to finish their shopping, it was so well done. The movie also stars some of my favourite faces from TV, Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Allison Tolman (Fargo) and David Koechner (The Office) so I had plenty to look forward to.


As funny as it was, the first chunk of the movie felt like a poor man’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for a cheesy festive flick. It’s actually easy to forget that you’re watching a horror, that it, until a once hopeful letter to Santa gets torn up and thrown out of the window. From there, it’s a fast paced, adrenaline fuelled ride to hell. It’s quite jumpy in parts, especially the scenes outside in the blizzard, but I got used to it after a while. Watching the movie through a layer of cardigan sure helps.

I do have a few issues with Krampus. It’s described as a Horror Comedy, but it doesn’t blend the two genres well at all. The first half is pure comedy, the second part is pure horror, but that cheesy kind of horror that makes you laugh because it’s a bit well, bad. Perhaps that’s what the team was going for, but it felt off to me. The characters were scary enough, that’s for sure. It’ll be a while before I forget that teddy bear’s face!


If you can see past the corny one liners, Krampus is actually quite enjoyable. It also has quite a sentimental lesson behind it, and although it felt rushed, I enjoyed the ending. It wasn’t as ‘happily ever after’ as I expected it to be. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

My Favourite 'Halloween Special' TV Episodes

Until now, I never really got into Halloween in the movie sense, I was too much of a wuss. For the record, I still am, but I’m doing it for the blog this year! Anyway, what I always look forward to in October is the Halloween Specials that my most loved TV Shows air. So, to take my mind off the Babadook, and that creepy teddy from Krampus (he was in my dream last night) I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of my favourite Halloween Specials!


Costume Contest (The Office US, Season 7, Episode 8)
You could always count on The Office to put on a good Halloween episode, I could have dedicated the whole post to them, but my favourite of them all has to be Costume Contest from Season 7. Gabe dressed as Lady Gaga was absolutely hilarious, but in another beautiful moment from one of my favorite TV couples, Jim finally gives in to his hatred of ‘couple costumes’ and turns up with baby Cece, dressed as Popeye and Swee’Pea to match Pam dressed at Olive Oyl.


Halloween (New Girl, Season 2, Episode 6)
So, perhaps not the most exciting name for a Halloween episode, but Season 2 brought a fantastic haunted house themed episode. Jess is working the night shift at a haunted house nearby, and the gang thinks she looks like a zombie Woody Allen. I’m sure my fellow movie bloggers appreciated the impressions that followed. This episode also features one of my favorite Winston moments that I’m still not convinced was scripted, “Shelby you made me so mad my mustache is coming off!”.


Halloween I, II & III (Brooklyn Nine Nine)
Oh boy, okay I’m breaking my own rules now. So far, every year Brooklyn Nine Nine features a Halloween special that gets bigger and better every year. It started in Season 1 where Jake makes a bet with Captain Holt that he can steal his Medal of Valor before the night is over. In Season 2, Jake steps up his game and bets that he can steal Captain Holt’s watch from his very own wrist. Last year the whole precinct was divided into two teams to see who can steal a crown from the interrogation room. I really hope this theme continues into the latest season!


Epidemiology (Community, Season 2, Episode 6)
Ah, why did I give up on Community? It was such a brilliant show in the early seasons. Anyway! Epidemiology kicks off with Dean Pelton dressed as Lady Gaga (is there a theme here!?) for the annual Greendale Halloween Party. There’s something wrong with the food, which it turns out the Dean bought on the cheap from an army surplus store. The catastrophic result is that the entire college gets put on lockdown as what seems like a zombie outbreak occurs.


Two Guys, a Girl and a Psycho Halloween (Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Season 2, Episode 6)
You know it took over 10 years for the UK to get this show on DVD? A crime, I say! Hilarious to watch if you’re a fan of either Ryan Reynolds or Nathan Fillion, by the way. Anyway, Two Guys, a Girl and a Psycho Halloween was a really clever episode, where a psycho version of Berg shows up and goes on a murderous rampage. At a costume party, his friends have no idea that this isn’t the Berg that they know and love, until they come across the real Berg. The episode comes to a close in the pizza place (of course) as they attempt to work out which Berg is real.

I could honestly talk (type) all day about Halloween specials, so I should leave it there. I’m so looking forward to seeing what my current TV shows come up with for 2016! What’s your favourite Halloween Special? I’d love to know!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Halloweenie Review: The Babadook (2014)

There are several coping mechanisms that I use when watching a horror movie. My favourite is keeping a cardigan nearby, and watching the tense scenes through it. Cardigans are the perfect thickness for obscuring most of the scariness without blocking the screen entirely. Hoodies are no good, as I sadly learnt whilst watching It Follows, they’re just too thick. They’re perfect for weepy movies though, I just pull up the hood and hide myself away. My latest trick for horrors that I can find on VOD however is watching on my tablet with headphones. Super easy to look away from and tear out a headphone when the creepy music is just too much.

The Babadook (2014) is a wonderfully creepy movie. Amelia (Essie Davis) is still struggling with the tragic death of her husband 7 years ago. Her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is having problems of his own. He’s plagued by a monster that not only keeps him awake at night, but has led to him becoming quite a violent and disturbed young boy. Just when things seem like they can’t get worse for this Mother and Son, they read a book called Mister Babadook, turning their lives into a living nightmare.

I got pulled into a false sense of security with this movie’s first half, which does a brilliant job at building the two leading characters and explores their backstories and the reasons why they are who they are. It honestly makes a great movie of it’s own right, without the horror part that follows. It was easy to take an instant disliking to Samuel, he seemed to be the stereotypical ‘weird kid’ you expect from a horror movie, but my heart ached for him and Amelia after a while. It was such a sad situation.


Sadly, the movie moves on from their tragedy and cranks up the scare factor once the ‘Mister Babadook’ book is found. The book itself is written in that rhyming couplet style that many children’s books are written, and starts off fairly innocent. You know, until the part about wishing you were dead. That was a bit off. Amelia does the WRONG thing by tearing the book up that night (personally I would have burnt it, and my entire house down) which I can only assume just angered the Babadook.

I can’t even tell you through words just how terrifying the sound the Babadook makes. Even through headphones rather than quality, cinema speakers, it’s chilling, and I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. Move over Godzilla, you ain't got nothing on this hat-wearing monster.


What I liked the most was that we didn’t actually see the Babadook that often. We just didn’t need to, the atmosphere and the music is enough, and it makes those scenes with him in that bit more powerful. Admittedly, I was hiding for a lot of the final chunk of the movie, whispering (spoiler alert) ‘please not the dog’ over and over again, but it was a justified kind of scaredness, I wasn’t just hiding from endless jump scares.

I’m so glad I braved this one, and ooh boy, that ending! I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it was definitely not what I was expecting.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Review: Everybody Wants Some (2016)

UPDATED POST with Jenna's Review: So, I have a lot of apologising to do. Last year when Boyhood stole the glory that I thought Birdman deserved, I had a grump and kind of swore off any Richard Linklater movies. School of Rock was the only movie of his I’d actually seen, but when I hold a grudge I put 100% into it, so I told myself I wouldn’t watch any more than that. I hear nothing but praise for the Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy, and I know Dazed and Confused is a cult favourite, but I had a grump on me. So when the trailer came out for Everybody Wants Some (2016) I grumbled some more. I didn’t find it funny, and it had ‘he who must not be named’ attached to it, so I was going to avoid it like the plague.

But, y’no, curiosity killed the cat, and every review I read upon it’s release was not only positive, but absolutely singing it’s praises, so I sucked up my pride and went out to see it.  I didn't think about it nearly as much as Allie, I saw Allie's review and popped it onto my 'to watch' list and only just got around to actually watching it.

It’s hard to explain the plot, because there isn’t one, really. The movie starts with Jake (Blake Jenner AKA that guy from the later seasons of Glee) arriving at a college house that he’ll be living in three days before classes start. Jake will be sharing the house with the rest of the school’s baseball team. After introducing himself to the guys, he goes out with a few of them to rustle up some girls for a party they’re going to throw that night, despite the fact their coach has given them only 2 rules. No alcohol in the house and no girls allowed upstairs. Safe to say, it’s not long before both of those rules are broken.


From that, the rest of the movie moves from one party to the next, with a separate plot of Jake chasing after Beverley (Zoey Deutch). It’s fun filled from start to finish, with raunchy moments, booze, short shorts, baseball, booze, moustaches, drugs, ping pong, booze, cowboys, the occasional fight, and did I mention booze? I don’t know how I got so engrossed watching these characters that normally I would find so annoying. I found myself laughing at nearly everything Finn (Glen Powell) said, and I was waiting (not so) patiently to see whether the guys were right, whether Beuter (Will Brittain) would ever return after finding out his girlfriend might be pregnant.  I should have realised before watching that this was a Richard Linklater films and he likes the types of films where nothing really happens, but I just kept getting this feeling that something bad was going to happen.  

I was convinced someone was going to get injured before first practice or they were going to get caught having a party in the house or someone was going to die from drugs and then the film just ended.  I did really enjoy the film, I feel like I want to watch it again without the 'edge of my seat' panic about someone dying/being injured/getting caught.  I wasn't ever bored and the film flew by - I loved all the various outfits as they attended different style clubs, disco to country to punk.  

What I loved the most about Everybody Wants Some is how natural it felt. I’ve seen plenty of college comedies, they rely on d!ck jokes, fart jokes and naked women to get their laughs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy most of those comedies, but this just feels more real. I found myself laughing with the characters, rather than laughing at event unfolding, it’s kind of hard to explain. Of course, I wish Beverley wasn’t the only main female character, but I can forgive that.


I’ll definitely watch this again soon, it’s one I’m trying to recommend to friends and family right now. There’s still a lot of 2016 to go, but there’s a good chance this will be in my Top 10 of the year.   I don't think this will make my Top 10 but I'm not sure yet, I feel like I should have more idea of what my top 10 will look like with less than 3 months to go but hey ho!

So, Richard Linklater, consider this my formal apology for being a grump, I’m cutting myself a nice big slice of humble pie right now and I’ll go enjoy it in front of the TV later when I watch Dazed and Confused. I’m still not convinced Boyhood will be better than Birdman, but I’ll give it ago, for you.

Apparently, this is the 'spiritual' sequel to Dazed and Confused so I feel like I really need to give that a go now.

Oh, and I have to know? Is that Space Invaders trick for real?!  I really want to know this!