Review: Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

fifty-shades-darker-movie-review-2017The UK is going through a bit of a crisis right now. No, our tea levels are just fine, but we appear to have a shortage of lettuce thanks to bad weather in Spain! Supermarkets are even putting out signs limiting customers to only 3 lettuce (lettuces?) per customer. Like, who even needs that much salad anyway? What we don’t seem to short of, is cucumbers. We have so many cucumbers that people are leaving them behind in the cinema after watching Fifty Shades Darker.

I’d like to say I watched Fifty Shades Darker because it’s my duty as a movie blogger, but actually, I just love trashy movies, and any excuse to go out on a Wednesday night with one of my girls is good with me!

So, you know the story so far, right? Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a billionaire with very particular tastes in the bedroom, and he meets Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who seems determined to change him. They split up at the end of the first movie because Christian was a little too…rough. *cough* Sorry, it’s the awkward Brit in me, unable to talk about anything sexy without either giggling or coughing and looking away.

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This second instalment of the series is darker, obviously. Ana has a new job, which comes with a creepy boss (Eric Johnson) who brings Ana coffee and would like some…gratification for it. Ahem. There’s also a creepy girl with a bandaged wrist following her around with a gun, and Ana also gets to meet Mrs Robinson (Kim Basinger) who’s responsible for teaching Christian all these terrible things in the first place.

So yes, there’s a lot going on here this time. I’m not sure if I’m dedicated enough to do the math and tell you whether there’s more sex this time, but we’re certainly introduced to some new things. Mainly a pair of silver balls (which do not go where Ana thinks they go) and a spreader bar. Gee, I’m feeling embarrassed just typing this!

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Let’s talk about the good things. The soundtrack is pretty decent, like last time. The story feels much bigger, Dakota Johnson is as lovely as ever, and if you’re watching with friends, it’s a funny experience. If you love trashy movies, of course.

What’s not so good? The first movie was downright hilarious in many places, although I’m not sure if that was intentional. This second movie doesn’t bring many laughs at all. It also feels like it was originally a 4 hour movie that got absolutely slaughtered in the editing room, but it’s long enough as it is, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain. That’s what she said.

All in all, Fifty Shades Darker was exactly what I expected it to be. Haters gonna hate, yadda yadda yadda, but grab a bottle of wine and treat this movie the way you’d treat Sharknado, and have a bit of fun with it. With my blogging hat on however, this movie gets 2 out of 5 cucumbers.

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Book Review: Bloodline, Claudia Gray

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! What are you going to be doing this evening? My husband and I have already reached that “can’t be bothered to go out” stage so we’re cooking a meal together and watching Crazy Stupid Love, which is slowly going to become our Valentine’s Day movie, I can feel it. I’ve been a bit AWOL on the blog for the last few days, it’s been a bit of an odd week, but I think I’m back now!

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Anyway, with the fear of falling behind on book reviews, I wanted to share my thoughts on the very first Star Wars novel I’ve ever read, which is Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. It wasn’t until doing some research that I realised just how many Star Wars novels have been written, which is completely intimidating, but I chose Bloodline as it was written since Disney took over so is classed as ‘canon’, and it’s set just a few years before The Force Awakens takes place. I guess part of me thought I’d learn a little more about Kylo Ren whilst he was still Ben Solo, but this book is focused on Princess Leia.

Claudia Gray is a Young Adult Fiction writer living in New Orleans. She has written nearly 20 published novels so far, and Bloodline isn’t her only Star Wars novel. She Also wrote Lost Stars, which has found a place on my ‘to read’ list.

As I mentioned, this is my first Star Wars novel. You should also know that although I’ve developed a possibly unhealthy love for everything Star Wars, I’m extremely new to it all. I basically sat and watched every movie 2 months before The Force Awakens came out, and converted into a fan from that. I can tell you that Han shot first, I could name you 5 planets without thinking too hard, and I could hold my own in a debate about theories, but I’m still pretty inexperienced.

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Why am I telling you this? Because my first thought when reading Bloodline was ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be so…political’. I know that sounds stupid. This is a WAR. Of course it’s political! But regardless, it took nearly a third of the book before I actually got into the swing of it. Bloodline deals with what Leia went through as a member of the Galactic Senate before The First Order rose, and a fateful mission she undertakes with fellow Senator Ransolm Casterfo.

So, from what I learnt, there are two factions within the New Republic. Leia is part of the Populists, who favour autonomy, and Casterfo is part of the Centrists, who favour a stronger government and military. The fact that Leia and Casterfo joined forces for a particular mission is notable, as the two factions rarely work well together, although Casterfo has several ideals that Leia firmly disagrees with.

As for my reasons for reading Bloodline, I didn’t learn much about Ben Solo, but I guess I never expected to. I’ll just have to wait till The Last Jedi. Ben is mentioned only in Leia’s thoughts, but I learnt that Han Solo never expected to become a Father, nor did he want Ben to train with Luke. Han wanted to teach Ben racing.

Once I got into the swing of it all, and got my head around the politics, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story. It definitely picks up pace in the last third, and was gripping from then on. To tell you much about it would be a disservice to the book, because there are plenty of twists and turns along the way, but if like me, you’re looking to get into the Star Wars novels, Bloodline is a good starting point.

BAFTAs 2017: My Predictions & Wishes

This Sunday brings the only awards show I get to watch at a decent time, the BAFTAs! Hosted by the legendary Stephen Fry, I’ve watched the BAFTAs for a few years now, before I even got into blogging. It’s just a jolly good bit of fun! They’re usually not quite as predictable as other awards either which can be fun.

I’ll try to do some live tweeting on Sunday night whilst watching, but I’m preparing myself for the cringe-fest of acceptance speeches that go on for so long that music starts playing, getting progressively louder until they wrap up and get off stage.

In true movie blogger style, this post is dedicated to my predictions and wishes for the award winners, but this comes with a disclaimer. I am in no way an awards expert, these predictions are a mix of how the other award shows have gone, with a mix of how random the BAFTAs can be sometimes. Still, it’ll be fun to see how many I get right!

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BEST FILM
ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward,
Kevin J. Walsh
MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Thoughts: I still haven’t seen I, Daniel Blake. I think it’s about benefits, and us Brits just love having our opinions on benefits. Apparently. I think La La Land will win though, and that’s my personal preference too!

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling, Lionel Wigram
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

Thoughts: Well, I haven’t managed to see any of these! With a repeat nomination however my bets are on I, Daniel Blake. Did we not make many great movies this year? I thought this category was much better last year, but I may be wrong.

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
The Girl With All the Gifts: MIKE CAREY (Writer), CAMILLE GATIN (Producer)
The Hard Stop: GEORGE AMPONSAH (Writer/Director/Producer), DIONNE WALKER (Writer/Producer)
Notes on Blindness: PETER MIDDLETON (Writer/Director/Producer), JAMES SPINNEY (Writer/Director/Producer), JO-JO ELLISON (Producer)
The Pass: JOHN DONNELLY (Writer), BEN A. WILLIAMS (Director)
Under the Shadow: BABAK ANVARI (Writer/Director), EMILY LEO, OLIVER ROSKILL, LUCAN TOH (Producers)

Thoughts: Crickey, I really focused too much on the Oscars this year. The Girl With All the Gifts is the only movie I’ve heard of in this list, so let’s go with that?

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
JULIETA Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
SON OF SAUL László Nemes, Gábor Sipos
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

Thoughts: Son of Saul picked up an Oscar last year I think, but Toni Erdmann is picking up all sorts of buzz right now, so this is a difficult choice. I’ll hedge my bets with Toni Erdmann I think.

DOCUMENTARY
13th Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish
THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK- THE TOURING YEARS Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Scott Pascucci, Nigel Sinclair
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney
WEINER Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

Thoughts: I’m not big on music, but surely The Beatles: Eight Days a Week is going to win this one?!

ANIMATED FILM
FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight
MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore

Thoughts: ARGH. This is such a difficult category, which could honestly go to any of these nominees. In terms of technicality, I would love it to go to Kubo and the Two Strings, but I think Zootopia will win. I still refuse to call it Zootropolis. It’s a stupid name.

DIRECTOR
ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Thoughts: I want Denis Villenueve to win, because gosh darn it I’ve loved every movie he’s directed, but I think Damien Chazelle will win. La La Land is going to be a big winner on Sunday, I can feel it.

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ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
HELL OR HIGH WATER Taylor Sheridan
I, DANIEL BLAKE Paul Laverty
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins

Thoughts: Seriously, is I, Daniel Blake really that good? I think La La Land will get thus, and I’d like it too, but I feel a slight risk that Manchester by the Sea might snatch it.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
HACKSAW RIDGE Andrew Knight, Robert Schenkkan
HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
LION Luke Davies
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Thoughts: I’m happy for any of these to win. Legitimately happy! My heart wants to say Lion, my head wants to say Arrival. Then, another part of me is still marveling at how Hidden Figures was so entertaining for such a serious movie. I can’t call this one!

LEADING ACTOR
ANDREW GARFIELD Hacksaw Ridge
CASEY AFFLECK Manchester by the Sea
JAKE GYLLENHAAL Nocturnal Animals
RYAN GOSLING La La Land
VIGGO MORTENSEN Captain Fantastic

Thoughts: Hello Jake Gyllenhaal, how did you get here? I think it’s set that Casey Affleck will win this, but I’d like it to go to Andrew Garfield. I wouldn’t be made if Ryan Gosling won, though…

LEADING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS Arrival
EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
EMMA STONE La La Land
MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins
NATALIE PORTMAN Jackie

Thoughts: I still don’t know how Emily Blunt got here. No offense at all, but there are more deserving ladies this year. I think this will go to Emma Stone, but I want Amy Adams to get it as a big two-finger salute to the Academy!

SUPPORTING ACTOR
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON Nocturnal Animals
DEV PATEL Lion
HUGH GRANT Florence Foster Jenkins
JEFF BRIDGES Hell or High Water
MAHERSHALA ALI Moonlight

Thoughts: I’m feeling like Mahershala Ali will win this, and I wouldn’t mind, but I would love Dev Patel to win. He should be in the Lead Actor category to be honest, but I understand now why he’s been placed here. Plus, us Brits love Dev, ever since his very first role in Skins!

ORIGINAL MUSIC
ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
JACKIE Mica Levi
LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz
LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski

Thoughts: This is La La Land‘s award, surely?

CINEMATOGRAPHY
ARRIVAL Bradford Young
HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren
LION Greig Fraser
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Seamus McGarvey

Thoughts: Practically every scene in La La Land was a work of art, that’s my winner for sure!

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EDITING
ARRIVAL Joe Walker
HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert
LA LA LAND Tom Cross
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Jennifer Lame
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Joan Sobel

Thoughts: Now we’re entering the guess work area. I never know if more editing means best editing, but I loved how Hacksaw Ridge was produced. That said, I can’t go wrong with a La La Land guess.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
DOCTOR STRANGE Charles Wood, John Bush
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
LA LA LAND David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

Thoughts: I think Fantastic Beasts might take this one home, just because it’s the BAFTAs! Something’s going to stop the La La Land train eventually.

COSTUME DESIGN
ALLIED Joanna Johnston
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Colleen Atwood
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Consolata Boyle
JACKIE Madeline Fontaine
LA LA LAND Mary Zophres

Thoughts: La La Land is my winner for Emma Stone’s entire wardrobe and Ryan Gosling’s shoes, but Fantastic Beasts is a contender, too. It’s a shame that “bag lady” Jenny Beavan isn’t here this year!

MAKE UP & HAIR
DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips
HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Amanda Knight, Neal Scanlan, Lisa Tomblin

Thoughts: At least BAFTA had enough sense to not nominate Suicide Squad. This is anyone’s guess, really. I’d like to think Hacksaw Ridge has a chance, by my head says Florence Foster Jenkins has this in the bag.

SOUND
ARRIVAL Sylvain Bellemare, Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl
DEEPWATER HORIZON Dror Mohar, Mike Prestwood Smith, Wylie Stateman, Renee Tondelli, David Wyman
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

Thoughts: I’m just not technically-minded enough for this category! I’ve been sat for quite a while now trying to put a guess together…how about Arrival?

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
ARRIVAL Louis Morin
DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

Thoughts: This is such a good category. I so badly want a Rogue One win, but some of the effects in Doctor Strange were mind-boggling, and who can forget how good The Jungle Book was, when little Neel Sethi was the only thing real?

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
ANYA TAYLOR-JOY
LAIA COSTA
LUCAS HEDGES
RUTH NEGGA
TOM HOLLAND

Thoughts: Yaaaaaas I can’t wait for John Boyega to present this! I love him so much. I voted for Ruth Negga for this.

Come on then guys, tell me just how wrong I’ve got all of this. Is anyone else going to be watching on Sunday?

Oscars Special: Lion (2017), Hacksaw Ridge (2017) & Hidden Figures (2017)

I’ve done it, guys. More than 2 weeks to go until Oscars night and I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominees. Mostly thanks to advanced screenings at my local cinemas considering the fact some of these movies aren’t on a wide release yet. Help us out, Academy! The UK loves movies too. This is a super positive Oscars Special post today, because I absolutely adored all three of these movies.

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I’m still thinking that La La Land will take the win, but after watching each of these movies I’ve changed my mind on what my personal favourite is. My other Oscars Special featured Moonlight, Loving and Hell or High Water. I’m yet to write down my thoughts on Manchester by the Sea, because I still don’t know how I actually feel about it.

Also – this Sunday is the BAFTAs! The only award show I get to watch at a decent time of day. I’ll pop together a predictions/wishes post for that later this week, and I suppose I should watch I, Daniel Blake, after all the love it’s been given. Has anyone even watched it?

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I wanted my last Best Picture movie to be something I was really looking forward to seeing so that it didn’t feel like a chore, but part of me wishes I’d seen Lion first now. It’s the story of a young boy named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) who gets separated from his brother and ends up on a train to Calcutta, thousands of miles away from his home. Saroo faces many devastating hardships before he is adopted by a loving Australian couple, and when he grows up, he uses his memories of home and Google Earth to find his family again.

Firstly, little Sunny Pawar is absolutely incredible, and could have handled this entire movie if needed. Equally, this was the best I’ve seen Dev Patel. The story of Saroo is heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure, and the only negatives I can give are some pacing issues around the mid-way point, and the fact I didn’t like Rooney Mara’s character at all. It’s sometimes hard to imagine this is a true story, and when I finally learnt why the movie is called Lion, I ugly-cried everywhere.

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One of the few Oscar movies I could convince my husband to see with me, and maybe the only one I wasn’t looking forward to much. Only because I just don’t do war movies. I can tolerate one for Andrew Garfield though, especially in our local cinema’s special screen with enhanced sound. Hacksaw Ridge is the story of WWII Army Medic Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who serves during the Battle of Okinawa without brandishing a weapon.

This is the movie to change my mind about the genre. It was amazing. Gripping from start to finish despite it’s lengthy run-time, and scared the absolute crap out of me in several parts. If you want to know why I don’t watch horror, it’s because I lost my sh*t during the nightmare sequence and the green flare. Our row was laughing at me. Speaking of laughter, how nice was it to see Vince Vaughn giving his funniest performance since the early 00’s? He killed that role!

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It took far too long for me to see a trailer for Hidden Figures. I’d read reviews from other bloggers and that was enough to get me excited, but I didn’t realise it would be such an entertaining movie! Hidden Figures is another true story, this time about three incredibly talented African-American female mathematicians working for NASA during the race to put a man in space, and their struggles with racism. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe play the lead roles, and they are fantastic.

As I said, on the back of a serious and shocking story of racism in the workplace, Hidden Figures is a highly entertaining movie. From the opening scene, these three ladies are so likeable, you just want them succeed, no matter what. Watching the rest of the workforce’s attitudes change is a delight. Although the plot is entirely predictable, it’s forgiven for being so darn fun.

Review: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Preparing for a house move is going as well as it can do right now. Our weekends have been spent doing big sort outs rather than relaxing, but it feels good to make a head start at least. There was a moment of sadness in the house on Saturday when my husband had to pack all of his DC, Marvel and Star Wars Lego away in plastic storage boxes, so the timing of a preview weekend for The Lego Batman Movie couldn’t have been more perfect!

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If you watched The Lego Movie back in 2014 (clearly The Academy didn’t because it was ROBBED of a nomination) you’ll already be aware of Lego Batman, voiced by Will Arnett. He’s back, with his own movie this time, and I’m willing to bet my hard earned cash that it’s the greatest DC movie that’ll come out this year.

It’s common knowledge that The Joker is Batman’s greatest villain. Sure, Gotham City has many great bad guys, but it always comes back to The Joker. That’s played on throughout the entire movie, in a humorous, anti-romcom kind of way, which never gets old. The Joker is voiced expertly by Zach Galifianakis, and plays a huge role in this movie, unlike that other recent DC movie where a green-haired Joker barely featured.

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Seriously guys…this movie even handled Batman’s tension with Superman well…and no one had to even mention Martha.

 

To attempt to list the number of characters that feature in this movie would take forever, but it has Justice League members from Superman to Martian Manhunter, and Villains from Bane to The Condiment King. There are also some err, other villains that I don’t think anyone was expecting to turn up. To tell you would be a spoiler, but one character in particular, voiced by Jemaine Clement was simply hilarious.

 

The plot is simple enough, and if you’ve seen the trailers you’ll know most of it already. Batman refuses to admit to the Joker that he needs him, so the Joker sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way, Batman accidentally adopts a young orphan by the name of Richard Grayson (Michael Cera) who you may know better as Robin! Robin just wants a family of his own, and Batman’s greatest fear (apart from snake clowns) is being part of a family again, so that causes issues along the way. It’s a plot that the kids can keep up with, but there’s so much else for the grown ups to enjoy.

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I’m not well versed in Batman lore, but I understood enough references to feel part of it all. There are references everywhere, for Batman fans of all ages, and I have a specific moment in my mind when I say that. The soundtrack is great, but the best tracks are the ones that Batman himself sings/beatboxes/raps. He even narrates the only boring part of movies, the opening title credits!

The Lego Batman movie will appeal to all ages, and just like it’s predecessor, it demands at least one rewatch to spot all the hidden jokes that the animators have hidden. It’s the perfect movie to unwind with in between all these dramatic Oscar movies! 4/5 Lego Bricks from me! Just be careful not to step on them…

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Move over La La Land, I have 3 Award Nominations!

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Today is an exciting day, because I’ve been nominated for 2 different Blogger awards! This honestly means a lot to me, especially as Often Off Topic has only been running since December last year. A huge thanks to Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award, and to Keith at Keith Loves Movies and Ruth at FlixChatter for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Plus, what great timing whilst we’re right in the heart of Awards Season!

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I’ll start with the Mystery Blogger Award. Thanks again Drew! Here are the rules:
– Put the award logo/image on your blog
– List the rules.
– Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
– Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
– Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
– You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
– Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
– Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
– Share a link to your best post(s)

The questions that Drew asked were:
1- What is your favorite place you have visited? I’ve loved all of my very few visits to the USA, but my favourite place is New York. It’s where I got engaged, and I went back for my honeymoon. As someone extremely nervous in new surroundings, I love how easy the city is to navigate, and I could sit at Turtle Pond in Central Park all day.
2- What would you do if you had a time machine and didn’t have to worry about the ill effects of time travel? I’d find out how the latest Star Wars trilogy ends!
3- What was your favorite film released last year? Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It has everything a movie could ask for, humour, drama, action, everything!
4- Why did you start blogging? I find writing to be therapeutic, and I love watching and talking about movies, so one day it just clicked that I could combine the two.
5- If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose? Harry Potter for sure. I was a huge nerd in school and so writing huge essays for Professor Snape would be an absolute doddle.

Now, for three things about me. Honestly, I ramble about my personal life far too much on this blog anyway but here’s some fun facts:
1 – I’m a fussy eater. I don’t like my food touching other food on my plate. I hate tomatoes, but I love ketchup. I don’t like raisins unless they’re hidden in cake. I like cheesecake, but only if I don’t think about it, because reminding myself it’s made of cheese puts me off.
2- I’m always cold. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what temperature it is, I’ll eventually get cold. On the last day of our honeymoon in California in June, I walked around Disneyland in a jumper.
3 – I have 8 tattoos! A meeple (look it up) on my finger, ‘all was well’ from Harry Potter on my wrist, Lilo & Stitch on my thigh, the hand-mirror from Beauty & the Beast also on my thigh, an origami X-Wing on my calf, a collection of honeymoon memories on my arm, and my two cats Sherlock and Loki on each of my feet. Sherlock has a deerstalker hat and a pipe, and Loki is wearing the iconic helmet.

For my nominees, I’ve picked bloggers that are reasonably new to me, and say may be new to you too. Check them out if you aren’t following them already:
Moviejoltz
Literary Weapon
CineMuseFilms
Surrender to the Void
Vinnieh

My questions to you are:
1 – How long did it take you to come up with your blog’s name?
2 – What was the last movie you gave up on and didn’t finish?
3 – What’s your favourite Disney song?
4 – Who’s your biggest movie crush right now?
5 – Do you have any tattoos? If not, what would you get?

Don’t feel obliged to put a post together, if you want you could always leave your answers as a comment!

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Moving on to the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks again Keith and Ruth! Here are the rules:
Post the award on your blog
– Thank the person who nominated you
– Answer the 11 questions they set you
– Pick another 11 bloggers (and let them know they are nominated!)
– Give them 11 questions

Simple enough! Here are the questions Keith asked:
1 – What do you like to do in your spare time? Aside from watching movies and blogging, I’m a gamer too! I play far too much World of Warcraft.
2 – What would like to do if you had more time? I’d like to take up a craft. I’m not sure what, but I’d like to be able to make…things.
3 – If you can only watch one movie or TV show the rest of your life, what would it be and why? Parks and Recreation, without a doubt. It’s my go-to DVD when nothing else is on, and it’s the only thing I could honestly never get bored of.
4 – What is your favorite TV show right now? Brooklyn Nine-Nine, although it’s currently on a break. It’s one of those rare gems of a show that actually gets better each season.
5 – What was your favorite movie of 2016? Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It has everything a movie could ask for, humour, drama, action, everything!
6 – What was your least favorite movie of 2016? Get a Job. It was just pants. It was boring, it wasn’t funny, it was a mess.
7 – What is your most anticipated movie of 2017? Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I need to know what happens next!
8 – What is your least anticipated movie of 2017? Wonder Woman. Maybe it’ll be the movie to save the DC Cinematic Universe, maybe it’ll be another ‘meh’ movie. Who knows!
9 – Any movie or TV guilty pleasures? I love rom coms, whether they’re actually good or terrible.
10 – What is your Best Picture winner at this year’s Oscars? La La Land! Lion and Hacksaw Ridge are very close runner ups though.
11 – Do you still watch trailers? I do! I deliberately get to the cinema early enough just to see them.

And here are the questions from Ruth:
1 – What’s your favorite movie quote that nobody else seems to notice? When a conversation around us turns tense, my brother and I often quote Liar, Liar. “Mrs. Cole…a goose!” We make hand gestures too, I don’t know why, but we’ve done it for years!
2 – If someone give you a $1 million dollar budget to do a film, what type of film or genre would you do? I’d love to make a thrilling mystery movie with a cracking twist, but I don’t have the brains for it. I bet I’d make a wonderfully cheesy romcom though!
3 – In relation to question 2. Which non A-lister would you cast? Argh, what qualifies someone as an A-lister? If he’s eligible, Adam Driver! I can totally cast myself in the other leading role, right?
4 – Weekend getaway: Paris, London or Rome? London is too close to home, I’m visiting Paris in May but I’ve never been to Rome, so that’s my pick.
5 – I was going to do a post on this but have no time to finish it. What’s the worst movie you saw in 2016? Get a Job. It had some potential, but it was just a mess. If a movie has been sat on a shelf for 4 years, there’s probably a good reason for it.
6- What’s one particular movie scene you recently saw that still sticks with you? In Hacksaw Ridge, when Doss is still up on the ridge repeating to himself ‘just one more’. I think that’ll stay with me a long time.
7 – Favorite cuisine? I am a simple lady with simple tastes. Just give me a good pizza!
8 – Chris Evans, Chris Pine or Chris Hemsworth? WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE? Ugh. I love them all. Hemsworth!
9 – Name an actor/actress you’ve seen in more than 10 movies? Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. A couple of years ago I tracked down their entire filmography. I regret nothing!
10 – See above. Name the movies. Quite literally everything they’ve been in up until 2015! #noragerts
11 – Name a film you wish had a sequel. This one is going to require more thinking. Perhaps I’ll make a post on it soon!

Here are my nominees. I’m sorry if you’ve been picked already!
Drew’s Movie Reviews
Two Dollar Cinema
The Punk Theory
Cinematic Corner
Rambling Film
Dell on Movies
Life of This City Girl
Mettel Ray
Cinema Parrot Disco
A Film a Day
Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews

Here are my questions to you:
1 – If you could add an Award category to the Oscars, what would you add?
2 – Who is The Last Jedi?
3 – Which Director should take over from Ben Affleck for The Batman?
4 – I need a break from Oscar movies. What should I watch this weekend?
5 – What’s your all time favourite book?
6 – If you were a talk show host, who would be your first guest?
7 – What’s your least favourite movie genre?
8 – What movie are you embarrassed to admit you’ve never seen?
9 – Is Wonder Woman going to save the DC Cinematic Universe?
10 – Which actor/actress do you love enough to see them in anything and everything?
11 – Which movie would you like to experience for the first time again?

Again, please don’t feel obliged to put a post together. If you like you could answer the questions in a comment!

My Disney Mix-Tape

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Today’s post is all thanks to Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews. Last week, in collaboration with Bex at Film Music Central, Drew posted something far greater than simply a list of his favourite Disney songs. He turned them into a full fledged mix-tape listing! You…you know what I mean by mix-tape, right? You’re not too young?

I’m just about old enough to remember sitting on my bedroom floor on a Sunday evening with my hifi stereo, timing the record and stop buttons perfectly to record my own mix-tapes from the radio’s Top 40 hits. The key to success was pressing stop in time so that you wouldn’t catch the DJ’s voice. You see, the art to the perfect mix-tape is not just choosing the right songs, but putting them in the right order so they flow!

You can see Drew and Bex’s choices on Drew’s blog here. Drew was kind enough to let me run with his idea and create my own mix-tape, and I’m sure he would be happy for others to do the same!

Admittedly, I started my mix-tape by scribbling down my favourite Disney songs to sing along to in the car, that’s my theme. Once I’d whittled these down, the hard part was choosing the order. It’s not perfect, but I think I did okay. Let’s press play!

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#1 Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride (Lilo & Stitch) – Staring off with something joyful! Plus it makes me think of the sun, sea and sand which is nice when driving around the rainy, grey UK.

#2 Where You Are (Moana) – Continuing the island theme! Plus, I will never get bored of shouting ‘Consider the COCONUT, Consider it’s TREEEEES’ whilst sat in traffic.

#3 You’ve Got a Friend In Me (Toy Story) – It’s always nice to travel with a friend, and even better if you can serenade them whilst in the car. Sorry, passengers of mine.

#4 In Summer (Frozen) – Speaking of friends, Olaf is just the best friend to have ever, right? Plus, us Brit’s have always dreamed of what a real summer looks like.

#5 I’ve Got a Dream (Tangled) – There’s a dream theme here, but I’ll admit. I just love this song so darn much. Plus, it’s guaranteed to make my husband join in singing with me.

#6 I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan) – Taking a powerful turn here. I also like to sing this song to cars that drive well below the speed limit.

#7 You’re Welcome (Moana) – #sorrynotsorry for another Moana song. Speaking of singing to traffic, I break into a rendition of this when someone pulls out in front of me.

#8 Lava (Lava) – A calming break from all that road rage. Plus, this is the greatest song from any Disney short in my opinion.

#9 Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) – Following on from the beautiful songs theme. I can’t play this with my Mum in the car though. She acts the entire song out!

#10 The Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book) – Let’s finish the way we started, with something cheery. Everyone loves The Bare Necessities!

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#1 It’s a Small World (Disney Theme Parks) – Screw the haters! I love the Small World ride! I love the Small World song! I bet it’s stuck in your head now too, isn’t it?

#2 A Whole New World (Aladdin) – Buuut if you’d prefer, we can have a Whole New World instead. This song got 100x better when Adam Driver sang it on Saturday Night Live.

#3 Hakuna Matata (The Lion King) – In case the road rage returns, it’s important to remember Hakuna Matata. It means no worries, for the rest of your days…

#4 Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) – Okay, I wasn’t sure where to slot this song in, but Gaston’s song is just brilliant, and I pray to the powers that be the new adaptation does it justice.

#5 We Know The Way (Moana) – I know what you’re thinking, another Moana song?! Put that satnav away, I know the way!

#6 Try Everything (Zootopia) If I don’t know the way? We’ll take a slight, scenic detour, and remind ourselves that it’s important to try everything. Even terrifying drives down country roads.

#7 On My Way (Brother Bear) Once I get back to a road with actually marking, and at least 2 lanes, we are well on our way!

#8 I See The Light (Tangled) I hope this isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, because I can do a mean duet of this song all by myself.

#9 Life’s A Happy Song (The Muppets) This is the happiest song in the world, and the perfect outtro to my playlist. Fun fact? This is the song me and my husband walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day!

So there we have it, what do you think? I have actually made this into a Spotify list, so if you can bear to sit through It’s A Small World you can listen to it here!