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Review: The Commuter (2018)

the-commuter-move-review-2018Don’t pretend you didn’t know this post was coming. Some girls have a love of Nicholas Sparks novels, or fashion, or fine wine. Me? I have a die-hard passion for Liam Neeson movies. Rainy weekend? Liam Neeson movie. Sick day? Liam Neeson movie. Down in the dumps? Liam Neeson movie. Yeah, they’re all kind of the same but hey, you know exactly what to expect!

The Commuter is the love child of Taken and The Polar Express. Okay not really, more like Source Code but it conjures a funny image doesn’t it? Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a down on his luck insurance broker (and an ex-cop, of course) who finds himself caught up in a criminal conspiracy whilst on his commuter train home. There’s someone on his train that doesn’t belong, and he has to find them…and kill them. Sorry, he doesn’t…but you saw what I did there.

I guess The Commuter has a lot of comparisons to Non-Stop (also directed by Jaume Collet-Serra funnily enough) in the sense that the manhunt is taking place in a confined space. It just doesn’t have the same suspense that I felt during Non-Stop, nor does it lead us on wild goose chases. Instead, we get more kick-ass action, such as Liam Neeson beating a guy with an electric guitar. His athletic skills might not be so believable anymore but it’s always fun to see him put up a fight.

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Sadly I didn’t love this movie that much. It was plenty fun to watch, and maybe I’m actually getting tired of watching the same old thing now, but hopefully, it’s just a one-off. Some of the plot didn’t really make sense to me (although that might be my Mum-brain) and the reveal was just a bit…lacklustre.

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So yeah…a slightly shorter post from me than normal but I don’t have much more to say than that. It’s a decent movie but just nothing special. Probably the kind of movie I wouldn’t normally even post about but I miss writing and I haven’t seen anything else for a while! The Commuter gets 2 and a half electric guitars from me, just don’t let Liam Neeson have them.

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Review: Love, Simon (2018)

love-simon-movie-review-2018-posterWho has two thumbs and went to the cinema twice in two weeks? This gal! No, I can’t believe it either. Thanks to my amazing husband for pushing me to actually leave the house and my bestie for being my date! This week was a movie we’d both been really looking forward to and the rave reviews just made us even more excited. Love, Simon might just be the best Rom-Com of 2018 and we’re not even halfway there yet.

Simon (Nick Robinson) is your average teenager. He has two loving parents, a sister who he actually gets on with but wouldn’t dream of telling her and, well actually Simon does a pretty good job of explaining his life in the opening narrative so I won’t take that away from him. Thing is, Simon has a huge secret that no one knows – he’s gay.

Simon’s school has a gossip blog and one day a confession post is published by an author titled as Blue. Blue reveals that he is, in fact, gay, and so Simon creates an anonymous email profile to contact Blue and strike up a friendship which eventually leads to love. That’s the basic plot here, with plenty of other High School drama and antics thrown in here and there. It was so much fun trying to work out who Blue actually was and it was an amazing reveal at the end! I don’t know if it was obvious to anyone else but I never see these things coming.

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It’s the characters that drive movies like these forward and separate the mediocre from the ones you’ll never forget, and the characters in Love, Simon are great. Even the ‘bad guy’ has lovable qualities and you can’t help but find him funny. I absolutely loved Tony Hale as the hilarious Vice Principal, in my favourite role of his since Arrested Development.

In fact, I think my only gripe with the entire movie was that it wasn’t quite angsty enough – but that’s just my own personal preference. There are sad moments for sure but everything still feels a bit sugar coated. Having said that though I think Love, Simon is a really important movie. I was reading through a few reviews on Letterboxd after seeing the movie and some movie fans were using their reviews as their own chance to come out, and I think if a movie can have that kind of positive effect on people then that’s an amazing thing.

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What else I think is great is that it’s a movie for all to enjoy. It doesn’t feel like a movie made for the LGBT community, is accessible for all. If two married women approaching their 30’s (sorry Steph if you’re reading this) can enjoy it, then so can you! Love, Simon gets 4 and a half Halloween Oreos from me and gosh darn it I wish they were available in the UK, they sound delicious.

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Review: Ready Player One (2018)

ready-player-one-review-2018-movieI can’t believe I finally got to see Ready Player One, a movie I’ve been waiting for for 2 years last week, and I’m only just writing about it now. In my defence, I’ve been kept busy in the evenings playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and y’no, I have a baby. A baby who is currently napping waving her blanket in the air and babbling, so this may take a while. Mornings like these make me really want to slip on a VR headset and enter the OASIS!

The movie is set in the not-too-far-away future where we’re all addicted to virtual reality. The creator of this VR called the OASIS has passed away and left behind a competition for everyone in the form of an easter egg hunt. Whoever can find all 3 keys which lead to the egg will win full ownership of the OASIS. It’s a lot to take in, but a good chunk of the opening of the movie explains it all in a fair amount of detail. I’ve read the book so I knew the story anyway, but I do question how much a fresh viewer would take in.

Our focus is on Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), better known by his avatar’s name, Parzival. Wade lives in ‘the Stacks’, a run-down area formed of caravans stacked on top of each other. Wade and his best friend Aech (Lena Waithe) along with fellow ‘Gunters’ (egg hunters) Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) form an alliance to find the egg before corporate douchebag Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) and his army beat them to it.

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My favourite thing about this movie adaptation is the casting – it couldn’t be more perfect. It’s so hard when a beloved book comes on to the big screen and your visions of the characters are shattered by odd casting choices. I couldn’t have chosen a better cast myself in this case. Mark Rylance as the awkward creator of the OASIS is spot on, and I had the goofiest grin on my face every time Ben Mendelsohn showed up. I’m just so gutted that Simon Pegg’s character Ogden wasn’t around very much because he was a much bigger character in the book.

Of course, a lot of the movie is set within the OASIS, so rather than seeing these actors we actually see their avatars, so as you can imagine, it’s CGI-heavy. Rather than it being an attack on the senses though it’s absolutely stunning. I was SO glad I got to see it in the cinema for that reason!

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As you’ve no doubt heard, Ready Player One is packed to the brim of 80’s and gaming references. It’s done so tastefully though that even if you recognise none of them, the movie won’t be spoiled for you. Rather than being thrown at your face all the time, it’s just constantly there in the background, making rewatches a lot of fun I imagine as you’ll spot things you may have missed the first time around.

I loved it if you can’t tell, and my only gripes are from changes from the book, which I know can never be helped. 4 and a half easter eggs from me, which reminds me that I think I still have some left-over chocolate in the cupboard…

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Nevermind – my baby just woke up from her nap.

 

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Review: The Florida Project (2017)

the-florida-project-movie-review-2017After being away from the game for far too long, and realising the only movies I’d been watching of late were average blockbusters, I decided to go back to what made me love blogging in the first place – little-known movies that I discovered through other blogs that are well loved. That’s what led me to watch The Florida Project (2017) the other night and re-kindled my love of movies in general.

Set not far away from the most magical place in the world, 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives with her Mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) at the Magic Castle Motel. It’s the summer holiday, and the movie revolves around the antics that Moonee and her friends get up to, as well as the struggles and hardships of Halley and the other adults living at the Motel.

I didn’t warm to this movie, to begin with. I took it at face value, and Moonee and her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera) really wound me up at first. My school had quite a few rough kids and it brought back a few memories. However, once I got a look into their lives and what they had to deal with every day, I fell in love with them. In fact, I feel like I could really relate to the manager of the Motel, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), who has to put up with the nonsense every single day, but still has a soft spot for them.

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After Halley and her friend downstairs Ashley (Mela Murder) fell out big time, it was reasonably clear to me what direction the movie was going to go in, but it didn’t ease the heartbreak that I felt watching Moonee run. What an amazing little actress Brooklynn Prince is! I hope to see her again in more movies to come.

In fact, I was gutted when the movie ended for 2 reasons. The first obviously being because it was so emotional, but secondly, because I could spend all day at the Magic Castle Motel just watching these characters live their lives. I haven’t felt such a strong connection to a character for a long time.

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This is the first movie by Sean Baker that I’ve seen, but I’ve been meaning to watch Tangerine (2015) for a while now and this might just be the push I needed. If you’re looking to watch something a little different than your average movie, I can’t recommend The Florida Project highly enough, it’s one of my favourites of 2017 for sure. Also – it really makes me want to go back to Florida! I haven’t been since I was a kid. 4.5 Magic Bands out of 5 from me – which Halley may or may not have stolen…

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