Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Against the Crowd Blogathon 2016

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We’ve been following Dell on Movies and taken part in a few of his brilliant blogathons for a couple of years now, and I was so happy to see in our Blogger feed that he was hosting his Against the Crowd blogathon again, this year in partnership with KG’s Movie Rants! We somehow missed last year’s edition so there was no way I was going to let that happen again. Especially so soon after watching a ‘must watch classic’ that I actually kind of hated, and have been too scared to review…

As always, a blogathon comes with a set of rules, and here they are in Dell’s own words:

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 75% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 35% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

5. Comment on this post, or on KG's Movie Rants with the two movies you intend on writing on.

6. Publish your post on any day from Monday August 22 through Friday August 26, 2016.

Even better, check out Dell’s original post here to find out more and to check out the other banners.

Let’s kick this off!

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The Departed (2006)
Everyone loves The Departed, right? It’s ranked #42 on IMDB’s Top 250, and it features some of the biggest names in the movie industry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson to name just a few. There’s a cop who’s undercover as a gang member, and a gang member undercover as a cop, there’s backstabbing, deceit, lies, etc. I lost track of who was actually working for who very quickly, and boy was it a long movie!

Spoiler alert right now for the very few who haven’t seen this...was it really worth anything in the end anyway? I spent the last 20 minutes or so with my jaw on the floor because it was just such a ‘WTF’ moment. In fact, let me tell you a funny story. On the way home from our honeymoon, my husband and I couldn’t get seats next to each other on one of the flights, so we caught up at JFK once we landed. I asked him what movies he’d watched and he said he watched The Departed. ‘Ugh!’ I cried out in the middle of Departure Gate 18. ‘I hated that movie. Everyone just died in the end anyway!’. That’s the moment my husband told me he’d ‘started’ to watch the movie. He still had half an hour left. Sorry, love. He has since seen the ending, and explained (at length) the importance of it all. I smiled and nodded the whole time to make up for spoiling the ending like a jerk.



Taxi Driver (1976)
This is also listed on IMDB's Top 250 and a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so it must be good right?  Every person I have spoken to who has seen this film has loved it and I just don't get it. I don't hate it by any stretch, I just didn't particularly enjoy it.  I think there is a chance that I am missing something that everyone else is getting because I don't understand why everyone loves it.

I have gone into depth in a full review on the blog previously so I won't ramble on too much about the ins and outs of this one but I felt like it took a long time to get into the real heart of the story and honestly in the last few scenes I actually started to enjoy it.  It just took too long to get to that point.  Maybe i'll watch it again at some point and give it another chance, who knows!

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Chappie (2015)
So I went digging through the Rotten Tomatoes website for this one. There are plenty of terrible movies that I kind of liked, but not enough to defend publicly. Once I started scrolling through the ‘rotten’ movies, I was heartbroken to spot Chappie on the list! 

The plot is a little crazy, sure, and I know a lot of people hated on Ninja and Yolandi (I still don’t know who they are) but Chappie alone made me love his movie. I always have a soft spot for the underdog, and so Chappie was loveable from the very start as the cursed robot forever coming back damaged from every mission. Then he was given artificial intelligence, he gets excited about rubber chickens, and going for rides in the car. I’d like my own Chappie please, with the orange antennae and reject sticker and everything.

It didn’t have the political agenda that District 9 had, but I thought the lessons about how impressionable Chappie was in his ‘infancy’ were well thought out, and I’ll carry on defending this movie for as long as I’m a blogger!



Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
I was not on the bandwagon with this one, I wasn't thrilled when they announced Ben Affleck as Batman and so I gave up on being excited.  I put it to the back of my mind, hardly watched any of the trailers and managed to completely miss it in the cinemas.  Therefore, I missed a lot of the negativity surrounding the film, I refuse to read reviews before making my own choices so all the negative reviews just went over my head.  

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to watch it, so armed with a glass of wine and an endless supply of junk food, I prepared myself to be disappointed....and then I wasn't.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the greatest film in the world but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.  I like all the actors that were in it and it provided a fix for my latest Jesse Eisenberg obsession (thanks Now you see me 2!!).  I do have a full review to write up for this so I won't go into too much detail but I thought the story was clever pitching Batman against Superman (even if it was only for a short time) and the introduction of Wonder Woman. Considering I am more Marvel than DC, I really was surprised that I enjoyed it but I think my lack of expectations made it that much better.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Mini Reviews: The Driftless Area (2016), Mojave (2016) & Central Intelligence (2016)

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As the middle of the year got closer, I was able to catch up on 2016 releases that I'd missed at the cinema. Some were great, others not so, and a select few were just plain 'meh'. I find an odd sense of pleasure writing a review about a movie I hated, but movies that fall into that middle ground are harder to write about, so today I present a Mini Reviews special for those!

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The Driftless Area (2016)
What even is this movie?! It felt like it was trying to be two very different things. On one side, it was a dramatic romance, with what I think is a huge plot twist I won’t mention, but it’s so glaringly obvious I’m not even sure if it’s meant to be a twist. On the other side, it’s a thrilling cat and mouse chase, full of danger. The Driftless Area (2016) could have been either of these, and done it reasonably well, but it failed by being both. I watched this solely for the cast, whom I love, but I was left pretty disappointed. I expected more from Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel and Aubrey Plaza, they are some of my favourite faces! An interesting watch, but forgettable.





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Mojave (2016)
I spotted Mojave (2016 here in the UK) on a VOD platform, mainly because of the beautiful Oscar Isaac’s face. It was tempting to watch it there and then, but I checked out the plot summary at least before I made up my mind. IMDB describes this as ‘A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelganger, a homicidal drifter’. Um, what? I spent 50% of the time watching this raging about the fact that Tom (Garrett Hedlund) looks nothing at all like his ‘doppelganger’, until I looked it up and realised the word has two different meanings. The other 50% I was cringing every time Oscar Isaac said the word ‘brother’ in that accent. Ugh.





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Central Intelligence (2016)
Comedies are always hit and miss, but I was hoping to enjoy Central Intelligence (2016) more than I did. It was decent, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have great chemistry together, but the plot fell a little short. In fact, it felt like the exact same plot from another comedy I can’t recall right now. I’d like to see these guys pair up again, though! It was nice to see some of my other favourite faces, although *spoiler alert* because his reappearance was the plot twist, Aaron Paul saying ‘bitch’ made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

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My husband (awww!!) and I made right fools of ourselves at the cinema. It’s not very often that we see a movie in 3D, but we thought we’d make an exception for Star Trek Beyond. It looked stunning in the trailers, after all. We scoffed some dinner after work, I grabbed our 3D glasses out of the cupboard, and we raced off to the cinema (to catch a few Pokemon before the trailers of course). Mistake number 1. I’d stuffed our 3D glasses into my handbag. My very lovely Loungefly Stormtrooper handbag. Mistake number 2. My husband was wearing his favourite Darth Vader shirt. Mistake number 3. Those 3D glasses? They’re special edition Star Wars ones. I swear, the staff didn’t know whether we were being trolls or just plain stupid. Haha!! Star Wars junkies turning up to see Star Trek...why don't I know this story! We didn't look very cool taking those glasses to see Suicide Squad either...

Anyway, Star Trek Beyond is the third installment of the rebooted franchise, and in this movie we find the Enterprise’s crew 3 years into their 5 year mission. Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) is questioning his commitment, and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is also considering leaving for personal reasons. The two agree to talk just before a distress call comes in, which turns out to be a trap.

Oh boy. That alien attack on the Enterprise inside the nebula was absolutely stunning. It honestly felt like the finale to the movie rather than the introduction. That was the moment I was glad to have shelled out for 3D. That scene was my favourite from the whole movie, actually. You know how it goes in these flicks, the heroes are facing certain doom but you just know they’ll make it out okay in the end. I was honestly fearing for everyone’s lives at that point, it was so well written, acted and shot. The sight of the Enterprise hurtling through space to crash was so sad.  I loved this scene and it did feel like the end of the movie, I am glad however that I didn't watch it in 3D...my god...I thought  I was going to spew countless times.  The spinning, oh god the spinning - I felt actual nausea....urgh!  Had i seen it in 3D I would not have gotten through it without being reintroduced to my earlier Nandos! You went to Nandos without me?! I'm hurt.

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Speaking of sad, there I was clutching my pack of tissues ready for Chekov’s (Anton Yelchin) scenes, when I forgot all about Leonard Nemoy! There were a few touching tributes to him, both in the movie itself and the credits. I wasn’t expecting Chekov to have such a big role in this movie, which was bittersweet in a way. As much as I wanted to see him, I couldn’t help but feel a bit gutted. I don’t know if it was done deliberately (I don’t know how if it was) but there’s a bit right at the end when a toast is made to ‘friends no longer with us’ and I swear the camera was focused on Chekov. Sob… It actually did and I think it was done on purpose, that what I read anyway, it was on the internet so it must be true...right?!

I was fully prepared to be all emotional, I shed a few tears at both the tributes to Leonard Nemoy and Anton Yelchin but I waited for the credits and that got me!  I was blubbing like a baby, oh man!  My Dad was seriously embarrassed to be seen with me!

Cool action and touching tributes aside, I didn’t enjoy Star Trek Beyond as much as I hoped I would. It was a solid movie, but I loved the other 2 so much it would take nothing short of perfection for me to gush about this installment. It was just lacking something, and I’m not sure what. I didn’t understand the lead villain Krall (Idris Elba) very well for a start. It’s only in the final action sequence that you learn who he really is, and at that point I’d kind of stopped caring. That sounds harsher than I mean it to, actually. He was no Khan, let’s face it!  You were never going to like any bad guy as much as Khan, you are a biased source!!  I actually liked Krall as a bad guy and loved the story behind his bad-guy-ness!! My biggest issue is that I hadn't done much research into the cast beforehand and spent most of the film trying to work out who the bloody actor was! 

When I found out Justin Lin was taking over the director role and after I saw the trailer, I was genuinely concerned that it would be all action and fire power and no story.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The story was great and there was just the right amount of action, I loved the hints of comedy that we have come to love from this franchise.  

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The Spock and Bones (Karl Urban) team up was a great choice, I could listen to the two of them bicker at each other for ages, but they were the only ones providing the laughs this time. That said, I really enjoyed the new character, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and her appreciation for loud music. A solid movie all round, but just not quite as good as I was hoping. The 3D was definitely worth it!

This didn't quite match up to the first two but it was entertaining enough to stop me fidgeting and there was a good mix of comedy, action and sentimentality.







Friday, 19 August 2016

Sunshine Blogger Award - Thank You!

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Flick Chicks is something that Jenna and I work on for a bit of fun in our spare time, so knowing that there are people out there in the world reading our rambles honestly makes us so happy. For the record, we’d probably still ramble even if no one was reading, but that’s just our nature! That said, to find out in one week we had been nominated not once, but twice for the Sunshine Blogger Award, that was pretty darn amazing.  I am always amazed when we get nominated for things like this because I forget that people other than us actually read what we write!

Our huge thanks goes to Caz at Let’s Go To The Movies and Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews! Go and check their blogs out if you aren’t following them already.

To accept our award, we simply have to:
Post the award on your blog (Done!)
Thank the person who nominated you (Done!)
Answer the 11 questions they set you
Pick another 11 bloggers (and let them know they are nominated!)
Set them 11 questions

Right, as we’ve been nominated twice, it’s only right that we tackle both sets of questions. We’ll start with Caz’s and then move on to Drew’s.

What is your favourite comic book film?
There are so many now that’s a hard one...but I’ll go with Thor (2011).
Ohhh mine would have to be Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Which actor do you watch in anything and everything?
Too many to list! Adam Driver, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds to name just a few... ha! just a few of Allies obsessions! 
Tom Hanks for me oh and Taron Egerton

Netflix or Amazon Video?
Netflix but that’s only because I’ve never had Amazon Video.
Ditto!

What is your favourite song (can be of all time or of the moment)?
Right now it’s Heathens by Twenty One Pilots, from the Suicide Squad soundtrack.
I'm not sure I have a favourite song of all time but my favourite song of the moment is Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons

Do you like going to the Theatre?
I’ve only ever been once in my life, I went to see Finding Neverland in New York as part of my honeymoon, but I loved every second of it.
Not really, I have tried and tried but I just don't see the appeal - the cinema is much better!

How often do you go to the cinema?
I try to go once a week, but it normally ends up being 2-3 times a month instead.
About twice a week, depends on whats on though

Batman or Superman?
Batman!
Superman

What was the last TV series you watched from start to finish?
30 Rock! I loved it. Before that it was Parks & Recreation, which I loved even more.
Fresh Meat and Gilmore Girls (again!)

Do you think Twitter actually gets you many hits on your blog?
It does! Not a lot, but then we’re only a small blog anyway.
I have no idea, Allie is the tech queen of our dream team, she knows where all out hits come from - I barely know what day it is most of the time.

What do you love about blogging?
I love being able to share my movie-related thoughts with others who share that passion. I also love discovering lesser-known movies that I’d have never found otherwise.
The rambling and the ranting - I wish I had more time to do it though

What do you hate about blogging?
Honestly, nothing. It’s hard sometimes to find the time to blog, but I’ve never seen it as a chore.
I struggle to fit it in with work, I want to do it more it just always seems to be the last thing on my list - and then I get annoyed that I haven't spent more time on it!

                                          -------------------------------------------

Who is your favorite actor?
I go through phases, but my all time favourite actor is Jake Gyllenhaal.
Tom Hanks

Who is your favorite actress?
Emma Stone, always!
Oooh I don't know - Meryl Streep would be waay up there and my guilty pleasure would have to be Goldie Hawn!!

Do you prefer to have a physical DVD/Blu-Ray disk or a digital copy?
I love how effortless digital copies are, but for a movie I really love, I have to have the hard copy.
My DVD collection has recently stopped growing, that needs to change - I love having them all in order

Do you prefer special editions or are you content with just having a copy of the film?
I’ll only buy the DVD/Blu-Ray of a movie I really love so I like to have all those bonus features to watch.
I'm quite happy with just the film but I do love deleted scenes and outtakes after a great movie.

What is your favorite place you have traveled?
New York City. I don’t think I’d want to live there, but I’ve been twice now and I’d love to go back again. That said, I fell in love with the chilled vibe of San Diego, but I was only there for 2 days.
San Francisco - I left my heart there (sorry!!) 

What is your favorite place to travel to in your town?
I don’t live anywhere exciting (just outside of Birmingham, UK) but we have some lovely countryside around that I like visiting.
The cinema - I don't like outdoorsy things!

If a genie could grant you one wish, what would it be?
3 more wishes? I’m kidding...I wish I could re-live my wedding day and honeymoon from earlier this year over again, it was the best time of my life. You old romantic! 
I want money! (Money can't buy happiness but its more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bike!)

If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Mind reading. Since I was little I’d watch other people around me and wonder what they were thinking at that time. 
Time travel, there is so much I would do differently if I had the chance.

What made you decide to start blogging?
Jenna and I talked movies all the time when we worked together, sending mini-reviews of sorts by email. Once we both got new jobs, that was how we kept in touch, and it was kind of a mutual idea we both had one night over a Chinese takeaway. And the rest is history! I had already started  a sort of lifestyle blog of sorts but when Flick Chicks came along, that got kicked to the curb!

What are you proud of most about your blog?
I’m proud that it’s been nearly 2 and a half years and we’re still going strong. Not that I expected us to fail or anything, but I’m not great at keeping habits.
I am proud that it's still going but mostly of Allie for keeping it going.  Half way through our blogging careers I got a new job and house that have sort of taken over my life - if it hadn't been for Allie this blog would not exist now.

What have you learned from being a blogger?
That it’s okay to hate a movie that ‘everyone’ loves, and vice versa. Most of the time, you’re not the only one that feels that way!
Make the time for the things you enjoy doing - now I just need to do as I say not as I do!

Right, time to nominate some other bloggers! This is tough, but we’re going to go with the newest blogs that we’ve been following lately. They are:

Carly Hearts Movies - https://carlyheartsmovies.com/
Cinema Axis - https://cinemaaxis.com 
emmakwall (explains it all) - https://emmakwall.com/ 
Sinekdoks - https://sinekdoks.com 
The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger - https://zuts.wordpress.com 
What About Movies? - https://whataboutmovies.com 

That’s not 11 I know, but I don’t want to pick anyone for the sake of it! So, fellow bloggers, if you’re up to it, here are 11 questions for you:

Settle an ongoing Flick Chicks debate for us. Which Ryan is best, Reynolds or Gosling?

Who do you think Rey’s Parents are? (We’re talking Star Wars here)

What was the first movie you saw in the cinema?

What’s your ultimate guilty pleasure movie?

What’s your go-to cinema snack?

What’s your best piece of advice for new bloggers?

Is there a movie out there that you hate with a passion, and why?

If you could create a sequel for any movie that currently doesn’t have one, which one would it be?

What other hobbies do you have, aside from movies and blogging?

If a movie was made about your life, who would you cast to play you?

What’s been your favourite movie of the year so far?

Feel free to answer the questions in a comment below if you don’t fancy creating a whole post for it. Also, if anyone else wants to take a shot at our questions, we’d love to hear your answers!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Review: Circle (2015)

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I’m back with another Grampy suggestion special! I’ve had to take them with a pinch of salt lately after one fateful movie night where he shunned Everest in favour of The Last Witch Hunter...but I couldn’t resist the sound of this latest suggestion.

Circle (2015) is a small, low budget movie which opens with 50 strangers awakening to find themselves all stood on circles, forming a large circle, in an even larger circular room. Notice the theme? Every 1-2 minutes, someone in the circle is executed by an electrical surge from the centre of the room. It seemingly chooses its victims at random, but the group soon realise that they have the power to choose who is sent to their death, by voting in secret.

From there, the movie descends into chaos as leaders attempt to emerge to decide who in the group should die first. Within the group are people from all ages, races, religions, classes, professions, and it doesn’t take long before personal prejudices come into play. Attempts to not vote at all fail, attempts to all vote one person to the left or right fail, and so the group are forced to make terrible decisions. It really does make you wonder what you would do in that situation yourself. Honestly, as much as I’d like to think I’d be a brave soul who would keep a level head, I would probably hop off my circle and end it all on my own terms! That’s a bit dark when I think about it, ha.

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This movie is definitely not for everyone, I accept that. As I said, it’s a small budget kind of movie. There are no faces here I recognised from other movies, and the entirety of the movie takes place within the circular room. It’s very narrative-driven, which admittedly is something I would normally struggle with, but I was so drawn into the conversation, wondering who was going to go next, who was going to survive at the end, how this group of people got here in the first place, and what on earth would happen when just one person was left. Circle is a short movie anyway with a runtime of 87 minutes, but the time flew by much quicker.

It’s not a perfect movie by any means. You have to question how level headed some of the characters actually are. They freak out to begin with, but stay quite calm for the rest of the time. It definitely needed a few characters having a panic attack or simply sat in their circle sobbing relentlessly to feel slightly more real. The reveal of who/what is behind the whole situation also felt a bit short, and didn’t have much of a ‘wow’ factor. I can forgive that though, because the whole focus of the movie is the characters, and how they make these decisions. 

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If I could describe it in simpler terms, I’d say that Circle is like 12 Angry Men on crack. The movie 12 Angry Men that is, not 12 actual men who are angry and...you get what I mean. Sorry to compare it to such a legendary movie, but that’s honestly the first thing that came into my head. All I can say is, if Circle sounds like something you think you’d enjoy, give it a try! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.