Review: Downsizing (2017)

downsizing-movie-review-2017After falling in love with Colossal (2017) last year for it’s unique story line, I was over the moon when I saw a trailer for Downsizing (2017). 2 movies in the same year with an interesting, different tale to tell that isn’t a remake or a sequel? Count me in! Plus it stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz and Jason Sudeikis? Shut up and take my money, cinema lady.

Us humans are slowly killing the Earth with our waste, and quite frankly, we’re running out of room. It’s a miracle then, when scientists discover the ability to irreversibly shrink people down to a fraction of their actual size. Years later, tiny settlements have been set up and roughly 3% (or was it 5%?) of the world’s population are now tiny. It’s environmentally friendly, and also economically friendly, as your money is worth a heck of a lot more when you’re only 5 inches tall.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are a married couple who make the difficult decision to downsize themselves. Things go belly-up however when Paul wakes up after the process to discover his wife changed her mind at the last minute, leaving him behind. Thus, Paul starts his new, tiny life.

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I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I’m actually gutted, but also impressed to learn that this is an original screenplay rather than one adapted from a book. So many details have been thought about, from the intricate details on how the downsizing process works to the social issues that would arise from this. Things such as terrorism, as these tiny people are so hard to track, or how they should be able to vote as they don’t contribute much back. It really is a lot to think about!

Sadly, it’s also this movie’s huge problem. None of these issues are explored at all, they’re just brought up and never really mentioned again. The thing is, if these areas weren’t mentioned, we all would have complained that the movie was too simple, so it was never going to win really. Downsizing should have been a TV Series, where each season could have been dedicated to a particular issue. Heck, the first season could have just been about how the process began!

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There’s still some fun to be had though, mainly with the relationship that Paul strikes up with Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau). At first Ngoc Lan seems like a timid cleaner, but she has the most amazing personality and completely overpowers Paul in every single scene. She alone makes this movie worth a watch!

The other thing I have to wonder is what was cut from the movie? One of the coolest moments in the trailer was a giant bottle of vodka being drank by the tiny people. If a scene intended to actually sell the movie was cut, what else? Mind you, it’s long enough as it is!

All in all, I’m gutted this movie wasn’t a TV Show instead, so that the story and all the ideas behind it couldn’t have been explored properly. It’s 3 out of 5 bottles of vodka from me!

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Mini Reviews: The Snowman (2017), Lady Bird (2017) & Call Me by Your Name (2017)

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Not that I want to jinx it or anything, but I’ve been doing better than I thought at watching movies these last couple of weeks! Mainly thanks to it being awards season and wanting to at least have a clue about what’s what of course. The BAFTAs are in a week’s time and I still have a few nominated movies I’d like to catch (Phantom Thread, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool & I, Tonya) but I’m closer than I’ve ever been I think.

I do like to write a little something about each movie I’ve seen but some of the award movies are so hard to write about, so I thought it would be a good time for a Mini Reviews post! Every now and again though I need something a little lighter to watch in between these powerful movies, and that’s how The Snowman has found it’s way here.

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The Snowman (2017) is one of those movies I saw the trailer for ages ago, got super excited for it, and then forgot all about it. That is, until it started cropping up onto everyone’s ‘Worst of 2017’ posts. Torn between taking everyone’s advice and punishing myself, I decided to give it a go anyway. It couldn’t be that bad, right? Read this next bit in a Janice voice. Oh. My. God.

It should have been something I loved. A crime/mystery where Michael Fassbender is trying to solve a series of murders where a snowman is left behind at the scene of the crime. You know, one of those whodunit movies. Only The Snowman just didn’t make any sense. The start was so weird I questioned whether I was even watching the right movie! Plus, there’s throwing in some red herrings and there’s making half the plot completely pointless. Ugh!

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I didn’t know anything at all about Lady Bird (2017) until Saoirse Ronan was on the Ellen Show promoting it, and then I knew I had to see it. I also spent the next hour trying to work out how to even pronounce Saoirse (it’s sur-shah if you were wondering). Gosh, it’s like Domnhall Gleeson all over again! Bless you lovely Irish people.

Anyway! Lady Bird is a beautiful coming of age movie in which Saoirse plays a seventeen year old girl wanting to escape her small home town and live out her dreams at college in New York. I loved every single minute of this. I usually feel luke-warm about these kind of movies but I saw so much of myself in Lady Bird. It’s one of my favourites of the year for sure and I so hope Saoirse wins the Oscar!

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So, Darkest Hour was the one I was least excited about seeing, but after that it was Call Me by Your Name (2017). I know everyone loves it, but I need my romance to have a splash of comedy, and it didn’t look like this was going to give it to me. Set in beautiful northern Italy, a young lad named Elio falls in love with his Father’s research assistant Oliver.

It’s such a slow burn, and I really struggled to stay alert through the whole two hours plus of it all. I can appreciate the beauty in it, and if anything it really makes me want to visit Italy myself, but this just wasn’t the movie for me. Plus I can never, ever eat a peach again without thinking about that scene. Shudder.

Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

the-cloverfield-paradox-review-2018The Superbowl isn’t a big deal over here in the UK, nor is it watchable at a decent time in the day thanks to the time zones, so I woke up on Monday morning to a lot of exciting news! A Han Solo trailer (I’m holding onto all hope it’s good), some other big movie announcements, and the crazy news that not only is the new Cloverfield movie ready, it’s released right now on Netflix! You’ve got to hand it to everyone responsible for keeping that under wraps so well in days like these.

I’ll admit I’m a little sad it’s not out in the cinema, but it’s such a breath of fresh air to watch a movie you’ve been anticipating for a long time without seeing a single trailer or knowing anything about it! I’d like to say I wish Star Wars Episode 9 could be released like that, but I’ll be scouring the internet for any news on that for the next (almost) 2 years!

So, this new addition to the Cloverfield movie universe is The Cloverfield Paradox, and it’s a story set in space following an international crew aboard a space station who accidentally smash into an alternate dimension whilst using a particle accelerator to try and solve Earth’s energy crisis. Bit different to a creepy guy in a bunker, right?

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What I love about this discovery is how much it opens up possibilities in the Cloverfield universe. There was no energy crisis mentioned in the previous movies – that’s because those movies happened in different dimensions! The team can literally do whatever they like now, and it sounds like they are as the next instalment is set during World War II.

Sadly, one only needs to Google the name of this movie to discover that the internet hates it. Sigh. I can understand their points, the plot is a bit silly in places but for me that’s what makes it so much fun. If I’m watching Sci-Fi I don’t always want it to be ridiculously hard to understand like Interstellar, or terrifying like Alien. Sometimes I just want to be entertained! Besides, as silly as it is I still think it’s better quality than last year’s Life and the previous year’s Passengers.

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I found the crew to be incredibly likeable, and I felt a real connection to Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character Hamilton. She’s the star here and she’s presented with such a horrible situation that I won’t go into for spoilerific reasons. Perhaps many will disagree but I thought the story took a lot of twists that were unexpected, and I really didn’t have a clue how it would end until the credits themselves. How cool would that final moment have been on the big screen though?!

I realise I’m completely in the majority here on enjoying The Cloverfield Paradox but that’s okay with me. I give it 4 out of 5 severed arms!

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Point Break (1991) vs. Point Break (2015)

I was feeling pretty blue last week, but a visit from my family and a chat about movies never fails to perk me up a bit. They’re forever taking recommendations from me, but this time I got some recommendations from them! Turns out one of my Mum’s favourite movies is Point Break (1991), a movie I’ve always known the name of but knew nothing about, and so not only did I give it a go last week, I also watched the 2015 remake so I could compare the two.

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Let me explain the plot of the original first just in case you haven’t seen it yet either. There’s a group of people robbing banks dressed as former Presidents of the US, and thanks to some footage from one of the crimes, one detective has the theory that the criminals are surfers. Keanu Reeves is an undercover cop that worms his way into the surf scene in Los Angeles and ultimately finds himself becoming close friends with the leader, played by Patrick Swayze.

No need to beat around the bush, it was fairly obvious that the gang that Keanu Reeves got himself in with was going to be the gang committing the crimes. But that’s not really the point, because this movie has so much else to offer. It has tension, action by the bucket-load and a romance that doesn’t feel unnecessary or forced. It also has one of the coolest scenes ever (Keanu Reeves on his back shooting at the sky) that I recognised from being spoofed and referenced in other things I’ve seen.

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I loved the ending, too. I thought it would end with the bad guys being caught, the good guys live happily ever after, blah blah blah, but the actual ending was a welcome surprise to me. Plus dare I admit it, I feel a Keanu Reeves obsession coming on. Is this the right time to admit I’ve never seen The Matrix?

Anyway, it was whilst on a high from seeing Point Break that I decided I would watch the 2015 remake. Oh what a stupid mistake that was! It’s impossible to write something coherent and intelligent about the differences, but allow me to list some of the things that annoyed me the most:

– New Keanu Reeves was blond and new Patrick Swayze was a brunette which confused the hell out of me constantly

– The actual bank robberies were mentioned briefly and that was it, rather than them playing a huge part of the story

– Any actual plot was thrown away in favour of stunts

– The only moments that were properly remade from the original were done in terrible ways. The moment Utah started shooting at the sky made me laugh it was so bad.

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Honestly, they could have just copied the movie frame by frame, word by word and it would have been better. I’m all for giving an old story a new lease of life but the best parts were trashed and replaced with crazy stunts just for the sake of action.

Put simply, it was LAME. I’ll stick with the original, thanks!

Bonus GIF:

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My 5 Least Favourite Movies of 2017

You can’t have a ‘Favourites of 2017‘ list without a Least Favourites one, right? This one was more difficult to put together to be honest, because having less time for movies generally means you avoid ones you know you aren’t going to enjoy. That said, this list was originally 8, but that doesn’t sit well with me, so a few movies had a lucky escape from being included.

I would say these 5 movies aren’t technically bad, they just massively disappointed me. That’s kind of worse, isn’t it? It’s like when your parents or teachers aren’t mad at you, they’re disappointed in you. That shame sticks with you!

But anyway, let’s kick off…

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Is it commonly accepted that the first Pirates movie was cool as hell? I hope it is, because it’s true. But it’s a franchise that’s been used too much now, and this one just didn’t excite me at all. Doesn’t help that I’ve missed one of them along the way either!

4. Home Again

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Normally I’m totally down for a rom com starring Reese Witherspoon and 3 hot guys, but Home Again was just lame. I didn’t care about any of the characters, so it all got real boring real fast. Stick with This Means War!

3. Fist Fight

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Now I’m mad. Fist Fight had all the right ingredients to be a half decent comedy that you might rewatch on rainy days, but the only remotely funny parts were all in the trailer. Plus, why on God’s green earth was it called Fist Fight when the saying in the movie is Teacher Fight?!

2. The Dark Tower

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UGH. Matthew McConaughey just RUBS me up the wrong way. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed The Dark Tower if he wasn’t in it, but it was mediocre at best. Plus it has the worst dialogue…
“Did you miss me?”
*shoots and misses*
“I guess you did”
UGH.

1. Song to Song

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One of my most hated movies ever. 2 whole hours where no scene lasts longer than 5 seconds, no one smiles, nothing makes sense. It has the most amazing cast and still sucked. Not even Ryan Gosling making a turkey out of a napkin could save this for me.

So tell me guys, what was your most disappointing or hated movie of 2017?

My 15 Favourite Movies of 2017

I might have completely fallen off the movie wagon in the latter part of 2017, but I’ve been catching up as best as I can, and although there are still some big ones I’m yet to see, I’ve seen and enjoyed enough that I can put together a list of not just 10, but 15 movies I loved in 2017!

Please remember I always stick to UK release dates on this blog, so some inclusions here I realise were 2016 releases around the globe, and others have only just been released (Three Billboards for example) so won’t be on my list until next year.

I’ve tried to rank these as best as I can but I would probably change the order every single day depending on my mood! But without further ado, let me celebrate my favourite movies of 2017.

15. A Ghost Story

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Weird and wonderful, and got me thinking for a long time afterwards. Not just about pie. Pie still makes me feel uneasy after this…

14. A Bad Moms Christmas

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I love Christmas movies, and this is no exception. Plus I’m a bad Mom myself now too, so it’s totally relatable. I didn’t get to sit on Santa’s lap this year though.

13. Battle of the Sexes

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Took me completely by surprise! Loved every minute of this story about Billie Jean King, I don’t think I’ll ever not enjoy a movie with Emma Stone or Steve Carell.

12. Hidden Figures

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Who knew a true story of such a powerful band of women could be amazingly entertaining at the same time!

11. Hacksaw Ridge

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One of 2 war movies in this list – and I don’t like war movies! It made me laugh (thanks Vince Vaughn), cry and crap my pants. I still have nightmares about that green flare.

10. Wonder Woman

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I haven’t loved any of the DCU movies until now. Wonder Woman kicks ass and brings some much needed humour too. Plus I now have a massive girl crush on Gal Gadot.

9. Lion

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Although I was looking forward to seeing Lion, I didn’t expect the story to steal my heart in the way that it did. The ending is amazing, especially when you learn why the movie is called Lion in the first place!

8. Logan

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2017 brought a few new things when it came to superhero movies, Logan being one of them! It was about time the grown ups got to see Wolverine being a badass.

7. Colossal

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Colossal is such a cool movie that not enough people have even heard of, let alone watched. If Anne Hathaway controlling a giant monster unintentionally isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what is.

6. Beauty and the Beast

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A remake of one of my favourite Disney movies, and although it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I loved it. The casting in particular was spot on, and the inclusion of new/extra songs gave it a fresh feel.

5. Baby Driver

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Who knew that guy from The Fault in Our Stars could be such a cool, leading guy? Cool is the most accurate word I can use to describe Baby Driver. Side note – it was also the last time I went to the cinema whilst being hugely pregnant!

4. Dunkirk

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I think I’ve lost the right to say I don’t like war movies now I have 2 in this list. Whoops. What more can I say about Dunkirk? It’s an experience, and an experience everyone should witness.

3. The Greatest Showman

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Oh you guys, I’m still riding the hype from seeing this movie. The soundtrack is my go-to for all my park walks with the pushchair. The more I go on about it the less and less my husband wants to see it with me when it comes out on DVD, boo!

2. La La Land

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It’s hard to believe La La Land was actually a 2017 release in the UK, I must have seen it at least 5 times by now! One of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen, and it’s always a joy to see Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling together on screen.

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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I can’t help it. It was always going to by my number 1 spot. There’s no other movie I was looking forward to more, and no other movie that will get obsessively re-watched as The Last Jedi. The next 2 years are going to be a killer wait!

I’m predictable I know, but I could honestly have these in a completely different order by tomorrow so I have to call it somewhere. Next I’ll be working on my least favourite movies of 2017 which will most likely be a little shorter, as having less free time means I’ve been a little more picky about what I watch. It still hasn’t stopped me being massively let down a few times though!

Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

goodbye-christopher-robin-movie-review-2017Aww man I broke my ‘post every 3 days’ streak! I blame the little one, who this week decided that sleeping through the night actually wasn’t all that fun, and it’s much better to wake up several times instead. Oh, and also to never nap in the day either. Today’s post is sponsored by takeaway pizza and energy drinks…enjoy the nonsense and endless typos!

Sleep deprivation and complex movies don’t mix well so I decided to give something a little lighter a try this week and watched Goodbye Christopher Robin. I’ll admit I don’t know the story behind how that silly old pooh bear was created and you won’t find me turning down a movie starring Domhnall Gleeson so it seemed like the perfect choice! If you didn’t know either, the movie follows the story of creator Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie – who seems to be in everything lately) and his son Christopher Robin/Billy Moon (played at different ages by Will Tilston & Alex Lawther).

You know what? Every new parent needs to see this movie. If you feel bad about yourself as a parent – watch this movie. Because Billy Moon’s parents sucked. I know it was the ‘norm’ in those times to hire a nanny who basically raised your children for you, but Alan and Daphne especially were so cold towards Billy that it made my heart hurt.

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My favourite chunk of the movie is when Alan is left to look after his son alone and the two begin to bond in the woods. They are such magical moments! It’s also quite fascinating to see where the book characters came from, and how they got their names. Then it takes a turn for the worst again. You know those terrible parents who enter their kids in beauty pageants? It can’t be worse than pushing your kid into a bear enclosure for a photo opportunity!

And then of course we have the inescapable heart breaking moment. You guys, I cried my heart out. My little one was having a rare nap in my arms at the time and she nearly needed a clothes change from my tears. Oh motherhood, why have you turned me into such a pussy? I knew the moment was coming, the start of the whole movie alerts you to what’s going to happen, but still! Ugh.

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Of course, Alan gets his redemption in a way, but I never, ever warmed to Daphne. I wonder if it was intentional, but I still hated her by the end of it all.

Gosh doesn’t it sound like I hated this movie? I loved it! It just made me feel all the feels.  Also like a much better parent than I feel I am 99% of the time. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already. A solid 4 out of 5 silly old bears from me.

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