Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Monthly Round-Up & Blogger Links: November 2016

Tomorrow is December, guys. Where has this year gone, and why do I still have so many of this year's releases to watch? Tomorrow brings the start of the season of Christmas movies, although I admit I cheated a little and watched Die Hard over the weekend. For the first time! Shame on me, I know. Anyway, I've kept this little blog as busy as I can whilst Jenna is away, and if you've missed any of my reviews this month here they are:

Doctor Strange (2016) 9/10
Swiss Army Man (2016) 8/10
Bad Moms (2016) 8/10
Keanu (2016) 6/10
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016) 5/10
Nocturnal Animals (2016) 9/10
Sausage Party (2016) 5/10
Arrival (2016) 10/10
Tickled (2016) 8/10
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (2016) 7/10


It feels like I haven't watched many movies this month, which is odd because I've had a record number of cinema trips! That sounds impressive, but it's actually 3. I'd like to count 4, because I'm taking Jenna to see Paterson tomorrow, but that's technically the 1st December. But nonetheless, there's still been plenty going  on in November.


1st November brought my Dad's Birthday, and the family finally relented and watched his favourite movie with him, Lawrence of Arabia (1962). It was just under 4 hours long thanks to the special edition DVD he owned, and with all the toilet and snack breaks we took, it was well past our bedtimes by the time it ended, and on a school night no less! Check my post here if you'd like to re-live the journey with us.

I've started my Christmas shopping! Sadly, starting it was about as far as I got. Have you heard that funny saying about having too much month left at the end of money? Story of my life right now. I'm still moving forward with my plan to buy everyone a movie as part of their present, but for now it's a hand-written list until pay day hits for the final time before the big event. 

November also brought the birthday of one of my favourite actors, Adam Driver! To celebrate I made a Top 5 list of my favourite roles of his. I think I should do an updated one next year, because I'm hoping to add Paterson and Silence to it. I still can't believe I'm going to watch Silence, I'm not a Scorsese fan (nothing personal, as fate would have it I've only ever enjoyed 1 of his movies) but that cast is too great to ignore.


In the penultimate week of November, Dell at Dell on Movies introduced Girl Week, and lots of us bloggers get involved by posting about our favourite leading actresses, and movies with a predominately female cast. I got introduced to a whole host of new movies for my watch list, and got involved by posting a list of my favourite leading actresses of 2016 so far.

As far as TV goes, I've quickly caught up with Brooklyn Nine Nine and New Girl now that they're back after their break. These two shows might just be my favourite comedies ever, I swear. Captain Holt just gets funnier every episode (his lines during the dog show had me and husband having to pause so we could stop crying). I just wish Nick and Jess would get back together. Please, TV Gods, please!! I'm finally up to date with Westworld, which is quickly surpassing Stranger Things as my favourite new show of 2016, and I've finished The Fall, which had the most disappointing ending since Dexter. Still hurts.

But enough about me, here's what some of my favourite bloggers have been posting about this month!

I've loved reading everyone's thoughts on Arrival (2016), set to be my #1 of the year. Here are reviews from A Fistful of Films, Cinema Parrot Disco, Dan the Man's Movie Reviews, and Epileptic Moondancer.

Katy at Oh So Geeky dressed up as Matt the Radar Technician for Halloween, and stole my heart in the process.

Although he doesn't have a blog of his own, Joel65913 wrote about A Letter to Three Wives (1949) for Dell on Movies' Girl Week, I can't wait to see this movie for myself.

Katie at She Likes Movies has watched some brilliant movies this month, and reminded me of a couple I need to see for herself. Also Katie, I hope you regain your Christmas spirit soon! I'm thinking of you.

Brittani at Rambling Film covers the 2017 Independent Spirit Award Nominations.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Fall: Season 3

After waiting what felt like 2 years (it might have actually been that long) for Season 3 of The Fall, I never even watched it at the time it was shown on TV. Doh! Talk about double standards. I started watching BBC’s The Fall not long after is started in 2013; it came onto my radar when a bunch of whingers complained about the violence in it. What is it about a show receiving complaints that makes it so irresistible? Maybe it was a ploy all along. Plus, Jamie Dornan was the lead and with the rumours going round that he was playing Mr Grey in Fifty Shades, I wanted to see what he was all about.

If you’ve never heard of The Fall, let me fill you in a little. It’s a British Crime/Drama, a cat and mouse game between the police, led by Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Spector has a career as a grief counselor with a wife and 2 children back at home, but in his spare time he preys on women and murders them in unsettling ways. That’s as far as you need to go if you haven’t seen Season 3 yet, the rest of this post is going to riddled with spoilers.

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Season 2 ended with Spector being shot whilst in police custody, and it was questionable whether he would survive the ordeal when the credits rolled. I liked this ending, and although it would have been a shame if Spector died from the attack, I could envisage how the rest of Season 3 would go. It seemed reasonable to assume he would live, but when Jamie Dornan started promoting the new Season a few weeks before it returned, he told everyone that Spector was going to survive, and that took the edge off a little. Why tease us if it was that obvious?

Episode 1 was arguably more difficult to watch than some of the actual murder scenes. There’s a reason I don’t watch shows like ER! The entire episode was dedicated to the hospital staff trying to save Paul Spector. Interesting, but it was unnecessary to drag it out an entire hour. Of course, the big twist here is when Spector wakes up, he has amnesia, and thinks it’s 2006. I’ll admit, I didn’t see this coming, and it was quite exciting to see how this would change the investigation.

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From there however, everything blurred into one, long episode. There were plenty of new plot points opened up, how Spector’s babysitter Katie (Aisling Franciosi) was going off the rails, how Spector’s poor wife Sally Ann (Bronagh Waugh) was driven to attempt to kill not only herself but her children, and the case being built by the scumbag lawyers against Gibson. The problem is, as interesting as those points were, they got scrunched up and thrown into the trash with that ending.

I haven’t been so mad about a TV Show's ending since Dexter. It’s not the fact that Spector died, it’s the fact that so much story got abandoned in the process. It made the entirety of Season 3 pointless.In the end, I felt much like Gibson. Tired. I even read today that the writers aren’t sure if that’s the actual ending or not. So there might yet be a Season 4! Well, at least a new Season of Fargo is around the corner to fill this void in my life.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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Does anyone else think perfume adverts are more than a little ridiculous? Perhaps now 4DX screens are becoming a thing they have a place in the world, but has anyone really ever paid much attention to these ads? You’re probably actually wondering what the hell perfume has to do with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 

Well, at the cinema the other night, right before the featured trailers aired, an advert of sorts was played for what looked like a period drama movie or TV show starring Domhnall Gleeson (AKA General Hux, AKA my favourite grumpy space ginger). I got so excited I did a little dance in my seat, until I realised it was an advert for Burberry perfume. What. The. Frick?! NOT COOL Burberry, not cool. Although I might buy your aftershave for my husband now...damnit. It works.

Anyway! Harry Potter fans will be aware of the book on every Hogwarts first year’s required reading list, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Who’d have thought all these years later it would be adapted into not one, but 5 movies?! I wish I could go back and tell 12 year old me. This movie is the story of the author of said book, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who travels to New York in 1926 to release one of his beasts back into the wild where he/she belongs. Whilst there, several creatures (including the ever adorable Niffler) escape from Newt’s magical suitcase.

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Newt gets himself into trouble for involving a no-maj (American muggle) called Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and then not wiping his memory, so gets himself caught by disgraced Auror Tina (Katherine Waterson). Amidst all this, a dark wizard called Gellert Grindelwald is on the loose, an anti-magic cult is throwing their weight around, and a rather dapper Colin Farrell is hunting down a talented young witch. Got it? I sure all hell don’t, there’s so much going on!

Let me first say though how wonderful it is to return to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The sheer excitement at hearing that familiar music with the Warner Brothers logo was enough to make me cry (for the second or third time that night, after so many Christmas adverts), and there are plenty of references for the hardcore fans to spot. Eddie Redmayne is the perfect choice for Newt, confident in his abilities and passionate in his subject, but terribly awkward at the same time. It’s the first time I’ve ever really loved him on screen.

The beasts themselves are indeed fantastic. The Niffler is the real show stealer, but all the creatures we are shown either bring laughs or a feeling of awe. It’s a lot of CGI to have thrown around, but it works. Almost the entire supporting cast were new to me, but their characters were played so well and even ones that have a high risk of being annoying (I’m looking at you, Queenie) were actually incredibly likeable.

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Where this movie falls down is largely the messy plot. Considering this franchise is going to be dragged out into 5 movies, there was too much packed into the first installment. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I would have been happy for the entire first movie to be an introduction to Newt and Co, chasing down the beasts across New York. Save the dark wizard stuff for movie number 2! Who is the target audience, anyway? This was far too dark for young children, but the plot was far too obvious for the older fans. It’s a shame.

I’ll always be happy for more Harry Potter movies, but I’d have liked them to go down the Star Wars route with a collection of one offs instead. Let’s have Fantastic Beasts, then how about a movie for Hagrid and how he got kicked out of Hogwarts? A Marauder’s movie would be amazing too! There are so many stories that could be expanded, without the need of dragging them out.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers and fellow Bloggers! Of all the American traditions that we've adopted in the UK, I wish we could make a bigger deal of Thanksgiving, it isn't celebrated at all, but it's such a wonderful holiday. Perhaps not surprisingly, we managed to pick up Black Friday!

Our friend Drew at Drew's Movie Reviews invited us all to tell him why we are thankful for our blog, and for being a blogger, which really got me thinking, and then poor Drew had to deal with the mini-essay response I emailed him. Sorry Drew! The words I sent to him are below, but I urge you all to read his master post here with responses from 8 other bloggers, it was such a heart warming post to read.

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Movies have always been a big part of my life. I was brought up on Disney, which I still hold close to my heart. As I got older, I went through some rough times and movies were my escape. Any movie I’ve watched more than a handful of times, I have memories attached to, both good and bad. I also love to talk about them, but before I started blogging most conversations would go something like:
Me: Oh hey, I watched a brilliant movie over the weekend called ‘—————-’, have you seen it?
Other Person: Nah, it looks rubbish/Yeah it was okay/Why are you watching that when you should be watching ‘—————’ instead?

Eventually, I kept myself to myself. When I met Jenna, my blogging buddy at work, I found we shared a common interest, movies! Not only movies, but talking about movies! My life was changed forever. We shared DVDs, had movie nights together, wrote emails back and forth with little reviews, and my love for all things cinematic was rekindled.

It was only a matter of time before we started a blog called Flick Chicks together. To begin with, we were talking to ourselves, but eventually we found our way into the movie blogosphere by taking part in a blogathon, and got chatting to other bloggers. From there, our little network grew and grew, and every day I get excited to check if there are any new comments on the blog. I’m so thankful for everyone who stops by and takes the time to comment on something I’ve written.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me, and although I haven’t studied film, or even writing or journalism, I love the fact that I can put my thoughts down into words, share it online, and have other bloggers interact with me. We aren’t a snobby scene in the slightest, and I’m thankful for the fact I can be truthful and honest about how I feel about a movie, without being belittled for it. Whether I loved a movie that bombed at the box office, or hated a classic, I can share my thoughts without fear and a lot of times, be surprised that there are others out there who feel the same.

I’m thankful for everything that blogging has brought me. I talk about a lot of you fellow bloggers all the time, and consider you to be my friends. I’m thankful for the comments, and the Twitter mentions, that cheer me up when I’m feeling blue. And I’m thankful to you all for widening my movie horizons. For recommending hidden indie gems that I’d never heard of, and for convincing me to see classics that I thought would be dull. Thank you!

So, I hope you're all enjoying a fantastic day, and stay safe out there tomorrow if you go bargain hunting. Myself, I'll be cooking my specialty spaghetti bolognese and spending the night with my husband, playing computer games together, with our cats inevitably sitting on our keyboards. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review: Tickled (2016)

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In between the cinema trips and desperately trying to catch up with Westworld (which I’ve done - yay!) I put some time aside to check out a documentary that I’d seen reviewed on a few blogs I follow called Tickled. I can count the number of documentaries I’ve seen on one hand, so although I was curious to add to the number, I did wonder how interesting it could be without the dramatics of a regular movie.

Tickled was funded by both Kickstarter and the New Zealand Film Commission in 2014, and is directed by journalist David Farrier and his colleague Dylan Reeve. David makes a living from looking into all things unordinary, so when he saw videos online of ‘Competitive Endurance Tickling’, needless to say his curiosity was tickled! Har har har. That’s where the laughs stop though. These videos are far from ordinary, and feature young men bound by their wrists and ankles, and then tickled by other young men.

There didn’t seem to be a sexual connotation about the videos, the young men were clothed at all times, but the ‘sport’ was certainly weird enough for David to want to look into it. The videos were produced by a company called Jane O’Brien Media, which had it’s own Facebook page, so David sent a message asking if he could conduct an interview with either Jane herself or another producer to learn more for his article.

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Rather than be welcomed with open arms, or politely turned down, David was instead bombarded with hostile responses, pointing out David’s own sexuality and firmly stating that this sport is a “passionately and exclusively heterosexual athletic endurance activity”. When David persisted with his line of enquiry, Jane O’Brien Media sent legal threats and even flew out 3 members of staff to intimidate David and Dylan.

Really, that’s as far into it as I want to go in this post. This is all most other bloggers wrote about, and honestly, if that alone is enough to get you interested than you’ll find the rest of the documentary absolutely fascinating. The way it had me chuckling at how absurd the sport is to suddenly feeling shocked at what was happening is just a little bit unreal.

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As I said, I watch very few documentaries so I don’t feel able to comment on how well it was filmed, edited, etc, but I was hooked from the very first minute right up until the credits rolled. Then I had to sit in silence for about ten minutes while I took it all in. If you’ve already seen Tickled, then check out the Wikipedia page for it, right at the bottom is a section about the response to the documentary from the people involved, and that in itself is quite shocking. It’s definitely a subject that I want to keep updated with!

Has anyone else seen Tickled? If you have it was probably your blog that led me down this rabbit hole! I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you, ha!


Monday, 21 November 2016

Girl Week: The Leading Ladies of 2016

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For the second year running, king of blogathons Dell at Dell on Movies is dedicating this week to movies with female protagonists. It’s Girl Week! From 21st - 27th November he’s aiming to post every single day, so be sure to bookmark his blog if you aren’t already to check his posts out. Dell has been kind enough to ask us all to contribute to this special week, so I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite leading ladies of movies released this year, so far at least!

It was actually quite shocking looking through my film journal for the year and seeing just how few of those movies have a woman in the leading role. Nonetheless, there are a few, and plenty others I haven’t actually seen yet, so let’s kick this off shall we?

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Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals, Arrival)
I didn’t think I would love an Amy Adams character any more than Mary in The Muppets. That probably sounds sarcastic, but I love that movie so much. So no, I didn’t think she could top that for me, and then November came along and brought not one, but two movies with Amy Adams as the lead, and she plays completely different roles in each. Susan in Nocturnal Animals is cold, and cruel, whereas Louise in Arrival is warm and kind, someone we can look up to. November 2016 shall forever be remembered as Amy Adams month in my eyes.

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Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn & Kristen Bell (Bad Moms)
Too many times it’s been said that women can’t be funny. When the trailer for Bad Moms came out though I felt apprehensive. After the deeply disappointing How to be Single, this looked like the typical comedy where the only funny moments are in the trailer. Yet I think Bad Moms surprised a lot of people in the end. It’s funny from start to finish, with several scenes that had me holding my stomach to stop it from aching. Not only does this movie have an all-female leading cast, it has some great supporting actresses too!

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Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
We can always count on the ever wonderful Meryl Streep to put on a good performance. Whilst Florence Foster Jenkins won’t make my Top 10 Movies of 2016 list, it’s still absolutely worth a watch just to see Meryl Streep do what she does best. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, and I still can’t comprehend just how difficult it must be to deliberately sing badly when you actually have an amazing amount of talent in that area.

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Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Until this year I’ve only seen Mary Elizabeth Winstead in smaller roles, and it wasn’t until after watching 10 Cloverfield Lane that I recognised her at all. She really holds her own as the leading character in this thriller. After being rescued/kidnapped and locked in a bunker, Mary plays a fighter trying to discover the truth, rather than a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. It looks like she’s landed a big role in Season 3 of Fargo next year too, so I’m looking forward to that!

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Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters)
Maybe it’s because I’d never seen the original (I have now) but I felt indifferent about the announcement of a remake of Ghostbusters. There was a lot of noise about an all-female cast and a lot of upset hardcore Ghostbusters fans, and then a rush to score the movie as low as possible days before it was even released. I loved it, for the record, and I watched the extended version with my family over the weekend and still loved it. Point proven, women are funny as hell!

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Ellen Page & Allison Janney (Tallulah)
Tallulah is a movie that makes me so grateful for this blogging community, because I don’t think I would have even heard of it otherwise. I’d read glowing reviews and sometimes that’s all I need to go out (or stay in actually, this was on Netflix) and watch a movie straight away. Ellen Page might be the lead in this heartbreaking story about motherhood, but her co-star Allison Janney gives a performance just as strong.

So there you have it, my favourite leading ladies of the year so far. I’m sure if I re-visited this list at the end of year I’ll be adding at least Felicity Jones to it! Don’t forget to check out Dell’s blog to see his Girl Week posts.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

My 5 Favourite Adam Driver Roles

In celebration of Adam Driver’s birthday today, I’ve made a Top 5 list of my favourite roles of his. You probably know him as that tall guy in the mask who likes to throw a temper tantrum, but he’s been in quite a few movies before The Force Awakens! Sadly, a lot of them are very mediocre indies, but he tends to be the hidden gem in them.

Before I kick off, I’d like to throw in an honorable mention, because I seemingly can’t stick to even my own rules, but he played such as small role in this movie I didn’t want to include it. If you haven’t seen Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) yet, you really should, even if it’s just to see this wonderful musical number:


At the time of writing, that video has 1,572,844 views. I think I'm probably responsible for at least 25,000 of those. So now that’s stuck in my head for the rest of the day, here’s the actual top 5:


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#5 Midnight Special (2016), Sevier
Another small role for Adam, but part of a fantastic Sci-Fi movie. Sevier is the NSA agent hunting down Alton, a young boy with special abilities. Sevier becomes quite fascinated by Alton, and ultimately abandons his primary goal to help the boy instead. It’s a very different role to what he normally plays, but his natural goofy charm really shines.


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#4 While We’re Young (2014), Jamie
I’m still mad that this movie wasn’t very good. It could have stuck to a real conventional, predictable romcom plot and I would have enjoyed it more. Jamie and his wife(? girlfriend?) become good friends with an older couple, and both pairs learn from each other, which of course includes goofy/fun Adam Driver, my favourite kind, but of course the movie turns all dark and weird. Classic example of a great role in a bad movie.


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#3 Hungry Hearts (2014), Jude
Where the previous movie left me disappointed, Hungry Hearts just made me mad and sad. Adam Driver’s on-screen wife (I’m sure this time) becomes obsessed with purity, leaving their newborn baby starving and not growing. It’s a difficult movie to watch, but it’s very well acted and my heart just broke for Jude. You want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay, but at the same time, give him a slap and tell him to take control of the situation!


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#2 Girls (2012-2017), Adam Sackler
Maybe I’m cheating a little, because Girls is a TV Show, but hey, this is my list! If anyone out there happened to wonder how Adam Driver got the role in Star Wars, look no further than his character here. Often childish, and occasionally violent, Adam Sackler is a multi-dimensional character. I know it’s not a popular show, but watching Adam’s character grow throughout the seasons has been fascinating, and I hope he has a happy ending when it all ends in 2017.


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#1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Kylo Ren
The role that started this whole obsession of mine just had to be number 1, really. I know Kylo Ren has been shrugged off as a whiny character, but I think there’s a lot of room for character backstory here. You don’t just turn to the dark side for no reason, and I doubt a Snoke Apprenticeship is an easy thing to win. I’m both excited and terrified to see Kylo Ren in the next 2 movies, only because I know he’ll die in the end, and that will make me sad. There’s surely no coming back for him now, no matter how strong the pull from the light is. Is there?


BONUS! I know I already picked an honourable mention, but I just can’t leave this list here. You can’t mention Kylo Ren without mentioning his SNL alter-ego, Matt the Radar Technician. The whole world has seen that clip now, and I’ve seen it too many times to count, but it still makes me laugh. Pleeeeaaaase, powers that be, make Matt canon. I don’t even need to see him, just let General Hux make an off-hand comment about a bumbling idiot in a blonde wig, or something!

It’s now just a few days until Paterson (2016) is released in the UK, and I really can’t wait for that. I don’t think I have a cinema date yet though…

Friday, 18 November 2016

Review: Arrival (2016)

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Oh boy. I know this year has been a bit of a stinker for blockbusters, but overall I personally think it’s been a fantastic year, and now a new movie has rocked up threatening to become my favourite of the whole year. November, you are awesome. This also means that I’ve been to the cinema two weeks in a row, which is honestly the first time that’s happened all year. Two Amy Adams movies in a row, too!

Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve, the master behind Sicario, Prisoners, Enemy and Incendies. He’s currently working on Blade Runner 2049. This man is fantastic, I can’t emphasise that enough. I haven’t watched a movie of his yet that hasn’t wowed me, and Arrival is no exception. The UK has been marketing the hell out of this flick, in fact last time I was at the cinema, during the trailers we were shown 2 different Arrival trailers in a row. It was starting to get on my nerves a tad, but only because I didn’t want to know so much before going in.

First and foremost, this isn’t a Sci-Fi in the typical sense. It’s an alien invasion, for sure, but if you’re expecting Independence Day then this isn’t the movie for you. The world is most definitely at risk here, but there’s no room-shaking action sequences or alien punching of any kind. Our main character is Louise (Amy Adams), an expert linguist recruited to work with scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) to learn from the aliens what their purpose on Earth is. Twelve pods have descended in seemingly random locations around the world, and they don’t seem intent to blow us into smithereens. 

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I never excelled in science, and I can’t speak a second language, so I was grateful for the fact that I could easily understand what was happening during the movie, and actually found myself completely in awe of the linguistic work that Louise was doing. It’s fascinating stuff! How she went about teaching the aliens (heptapods, if you’ll excuse my most likely bad spelling) simple vocabulary, to lead up to actually asking a question was something that seemed impossible at first, but when broken down into stages, actually made a lot of sense.

Louise herself is a captivating character. We are drawn to her instantly and warm to her within the first few scenes when we’re shown a tragic moment in her life. She feels so real, and relatable. I’m pretty sure if we were sent up into a pod to talk with an alien we would freak out as much as she did, rather than staying cool and calm, with our hair and make-up perfectly in tact. But I’m getting off topic now.

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I’m almost trying not to talk about the movie to be honest, because I want to be really careful about what I say. The less you know, the better, because the final 20 minutes of Arrival was one of my favourite movie experiences ever. That feeling in your mind of everything clicking into place is just amazing. 

Safe to say, my husband fully forgave me for scaring the crap out of him last week when we saw Nocturnal Animals, and he’s even gone so far as to say this might be his favourite movie of all time! It’s definitely threatening to become my favourite of the year.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Review: Sausage Party (2016)

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When I posted my ‘2016 Comedy Special’ mini reviews, I thought I’d seen all of the big comedy releases of this summer. Then I spotted someone’s review of Sausage Party in my blogger feed, and I let out a long sigh. There was one I had missed. When Seth Rogen and James Franco are together, they are so hit or miss for me. I’ve never seen one of their movies and thought ‘eh, that was alright’, it’s always one extreme or the other. And I really wasn’t sold by the trailer.

Of course, this animated movie is Seth Rogen’s baby that just so happens to feature James Franco, but I find Seth like that one guy in your friend group or school that's completely lovely and funny on his own, but when he’s with that particular friend, he turns into a complete ass. I sound really bitter, don’t I?

Sausage Party is like every other animated movie you’ve seen starring inanimate objects, with one difference. It’s rude. Like, extremely rude. Sexual jokes, racist jokes, down right dirty jokes, fly left right and center here. The stand out example here is in the opening scene, when a jar of german mustard announces his wishes to eliminate the juice. Say it out loud, and it’ll soon click for you. The ‘f’ in his logo is expertly designed to look like a very infamous symbol, too. That’s when you do that nervous kind of laugh where you know you shouldn’t find it funny, but it’s downright hilarious.

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I actually had quite a bit of hope to begin with. If you’re not aware of the plot yet, the movie is about a bunch of groceries in a supermarket, living their lives, waiting to be chosen by the Gods to be taken to the ‘great beyond’. In this particular store, the groceries start each morning with a song all about it, and how certain they are that absolutely nothing will ge wrong should they be chosen. Sorry, but it’s still not quite as funny as Olaf the Snowman wanting to see what summer is all about!

Frank the sausage (Seth Rogen) is the star of the show, alongside his lover Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a hotdog bun. The two get chosen to leave but everything goes wrong, leaving them with the mission of getting back home to warn everyone else. It’s a simple enough story, but my biggest problem with it is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is this a simple, ‘fart jokes’ comedy, or is a comedy with a hidden, deeper meaning? It’s both, which is confusing as hell.

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But what really ruined it for me was the scene outside, with the zombie corn. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll be shuddering right now because you’ll know exactly what I’m on about. A giant, cartoon-rendered turd on the floor being eaten by zombie corn. And it gets worse, because next on screen is a talking, used condom. I mean USED. Ugh.

I don’t know what I expected really. In some ways, Sausage Party was better than I thought it would be, but it’s still largely unfunny, and downright gross. That’s just me though, I know plenty of people will absolutely love this, because it’s the kind of humour they enjoy. At least I can now say I’ve seen all the big 2016 comedies! I think?


Monday, 14 November 2016

Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

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I don’t remember ever going into the cinema as blind as I did last week for Nocturnal Animals. I’d heard a lot of buzz surrounding the name, I’d watched the trailer (once) which didn’t give much away at all, and I knew Jake Gyllenhaal was in it. That was enough for me, and I somehow convinced my husband to come along too. I don’t know how I did it, but I have a feeling it may have been something to do with the ever beautiful Amy Adams.

Before I go into an actual review, I have to share a funny moment with you. Tuesday and Wednesday showings have a silly amount of adverts before the movie, because of the wildly popular ‘Meerkat Movies’ 2-4-1 deal. This poor couple in front of us were already there when we arrived, sat through the whole slog of ads, the 5 trailers (although we were shown the Arrival trailer twice in a row, odd) and when the BBFC ratings screen came on with ‘Nocturnal Animals’ emblazoned on the left hand side, they realised they were in the wrong screen. I hope they didn’t miss too much of Doctor Strange, because that opening scene was awesome.

Anyway! Nocturnal Animals is a dark movie split into two narratives. First we have Susan (Amy Adams), an art gallery owner living a seemingly-perfect life in her mansion of a house adorned with staff, and a husband who sadly, is hardly ever at home. One morning she receives a parcel from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), a manuscript for a book he’s written that he wants her thoughts on. The book turns out to be dedicated to Susan, but is a dark and twisted story, which haunts her.

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Whenever Susan starts reading the book, we get to see it played out, by Jake Gyllenhaal himself and his book-wife (Isla Fisher). Their story isn’t for the feint-hearted, it’s a cruel and violent tale. Some scenes are particularly difficult to watch, and I get the feeling they were deliberately made as long as possible to make the audience uncomfortable. If that is the case, it definitely worked on me. I kept thinking to myself ‘Oh that won’t actually happen though, they wouldn’t show us that’ and then they did! I’m getting the shivers just thinking about it.

So, whilst we see Edward’s story played out in snippets, we also go back to Susan often to learn more about her, and more importantly, what happened all those years ago between her and Edward. There’s a theme of revenge here for sure, and we know that Susan left him, but not why, or under what circumstances. It’s really well edited in these sections, the way something happens in the book that then takes us back to real life, and editing isn’t something that I normally take notice of.

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Of course, I won’t give anything away, but I love an ambiguous ending. One that’s satisfying enough when taken at face value, but when you start to analyse every little detail, you begin to come up with different theories about certain elements. 

I really loved this movie, but I will NOT forgive that jump scare. You can witness it for yourself, I’m not going to warn you, but it scared the crap out of the entire screen. Then I had to watch the next ten minutes from the corner of my eye in case something else happens. My poor nervous wreck of a husband now labels Nocturnal Animals as ‘that piece of sh*t movie that scared me’. He liked it of course, but he’s a bigger scaredy cat than me!

So yes, big seal of approval from me. Just...skip the opening credits if you can...trust me.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Mini Reviews: Bad Moms (2016), Keanu (2016) & Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

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It's a 2016 comedy special here at Mini Reviews today! As much as I love summer comedies, I didn't get the chance to see them all in the cinema and so I've been saving them up for 1 post. Plus, it's nice to remember these kinds of movies before we move into the seriousness that winter cinema brings!

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Bad Moms (2016)
Amy (Mila Kunis) is fed up of Moms like Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), who take control of the PTA, and scrutinise every single bake sale in case heaven forbid, some of the cake is unhealthy or store bought. She has every right to be fed up! The thought of being a Mom in this decade is terrifying. Thankfully, she isn’t alone, and so Amy befriends Carla (the ever-hilarious Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell, the sweetest human being on Earth) and the three of them wear the label ‘Bad Mom’ with pride.

Perhaps it was the cinema effect, or the wonderful company (this one Jenna and I saw together) but I was laughing from start to finish for this, it took me by surprise. Sure, you had to wonder where everyone’s kids actually were whilst these Moms were partying, but who cares! The whole cast just looked like they had so much fun making this movie. Plus, it has some of the greatest clips in the credits I’ve ever seen.





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Keanu (2016)
How did a movie about a cute little kitten called Keanu slip under my movie radar? In a plot not so different from John Wick (starring Keanu Reeves, geddit?) Rell (Jordan Peele) comes across little Keanu by absolute chance when he is heartbroken from being dumped. He develops an intense love for this kitten but in a case of confused identity, his house gets trashed and Keanu is stolen. Rell teams up with his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) to infiltrate a nearby strip club and get the little furball back.

The movie brings nothing new to the comedy genre, and the plot is entirely predictable, but it’s the chemistry between Key & Peele that makes this so funny. Watching them trying to act ‘gangsta’ never got old, and the recurring George Michael theme was great. It even had a sensible, logical ending, which is often lacking with these kinds of movies. Worth a watch for sure.





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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)
This one came out right around the time of my wedding, and as much as I was looking forward to it, as the day got closer anything wedding related was making me feel ill so it was ages until I eventually saw it. Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are brothers who constantly get each other into trouble, and when their sister’s wedding approaches, they are forced to find ‘nice girls’ to bring as dates. Enter Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) who can’t be further from the description of ‘nice girls’.

A cast as stellar as this should have been a clear winner, but the entire movie was ‘meh’ for me. It had a few solid laughs, a really awkward massage scene, and a boring plot. A huge shame, because I honestly love everyone in that cast list and I had really high hopes. The highlight was when the four got on stage for a musical number, Zac Efron for Pitch Perfect 3 please!





I think this still leaves Ghostbusters (2016) as my favourite comedy of 2016, although I haven't seen them all yet. What about you guys? What's been the funniest for you? Hold up a sec, I just remembered The Nice Guys (2016). That's my favourite!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Christmas Shopping, Movie Blogger Style!

Just a brief pause in movie reviews for a while, because my favourite time of the year is here, and also because Lawrence of Arabia killed me last week and I haven’t seen another movie since. I’m actually going to see Nocturnal Animals tonight though, so I’ll have that to talk about very soon.

But for now, Christmas has arrived (in my world at least) and Sunday brought my annual Christmas Present Planning Meeting. My husband was a little put off at the extremity of it all, until I told him the meeting would kick off with a big American-style breakfast out at one of our favourite restaurants. Ah, sweet bribery.

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The reason I’m even mentioning this on the blog though is because I decided that this year, all of my christmas shopping will have a theme - movies! In previous years I’ve given dozens of Pop Figures (to curb my own addiction) and also board games (I buy the ones I really want to play myself) so I wanted a theme for 2016 too. I’m no movie expert by a long shot, but I like to think that I watch enough to be able to pick out movies for family and friends that they’ll enjoy.

Plus, it makes shopping a lot more fun. With plenty of little ones in the family, there are going to be lots of Disney movies on the list, and I’m torn between choosing my all-time favourites or picking out some lesser known gems. One of my cousins has reached that age where it's ‘cool’ to watch every single horror that comes out and pretend that they weren’t scary in the slightest, and thanks to Halloweenie I now have a few ideas for her.

Then there’s my parents, who love action and mystery, and anything with Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis, bless my Mum. I’m trying to remember whether they’ve seen Unbreakable (2000) yet, because they would love it. Not naming names, but I also have a family member who detests language in movies, so I’ll be heavily studying the Parental Guide’s in IMDB for the next week or so to find something suitable.


I have a brother who loves magic and all things weird, and I’m torn between getting him Chronicle (2012) or Now You See Me (2013). Does anyone know of a movie that heavily features a pug? I have a cousin obsessed with them, but she also loves horses so I have War Horse (2011) sat in my Amazon basket right now.

All in all, I am having a blast with shopping this year. It’s not a chore when you get to sit at your favourite little coffee outlet drinking hot spiced apple and talking about movies! Has anyone else started shopping yet?