Going Off Topic #14 – 1,000 Movies Later

So this is quite exciting! Since I opened a Letterboxd account around 3 years ago, I’ve not only kept a movie diary to log all the movies I watch (and my ratings) but also put a good few hours into logging every movie I’ve seen previously. Whilst I can’t say for sure I managed to remember them all – I’ve spent enough time on it to be able to say I’m 99% confident that I located them all.

Why is this exciting do you ask? Well, when I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last week and logged it in my movie diary, I realised it was my 1,000th movie! I have officially seen 1,000 movies in my lifetime. I know that number means very little to a lot of movie bloggers out there but it’s a pretty cool milestone!

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It also marks the 81st movie I’ve seen this year…I’m hoping the festive period will give me the final push I need to make my target of 100 for the year!

Speaking of the end of the year on its way…I’m gearing up for the festive season! I’m off to see The Grinch tonight (an odd choice maybe for the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas) and on the weekend we’re going to get stuck into Christmas shopping and decorating the house. Last Christmas was really odd having such a small baby so I’m extra excited for this year! Santa has already started getting presents ready…

Do you know what’s weird though? I don’t feel like this year has a big Christmas release at the cinema. We had the Hobbit movies for 3 years running, then Star Wars Episode VII, Rogue One, Star Wars Episode VIII…and then what? Fantastic Beasts is out next week, that’s too early. I’m looking forward to Aquaman but I don’t feel the hype…Disney really should have let Solo have a Christmas release.

Anyway, however you’re spending it, I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

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Director: David Lowery

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Keith Carradine, Elisabeth Moss

Plot: The real-life story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), including his amazing escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to a long string of heists that followed. Chasing Forrest down is Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) who is fascinated by both Forrest and his crimes.

My Thoughts: I got to see The Old Man & the Gun over a month in advance of its December 2018 release in the UK, thanks to ODEON’s Screen Unseen. They release 4 ridiculously cryptic clues in the run-up, although it’s reasonably easy to whittle down what few movies it could be based on release dates alone. This time though, I was so convinced it was going to be Widows (2018) that I would have offered to reimburse everyone’s tickets if it wasn’t. Not only was I wrong, but it was also a movie I had never even heard about!

This, however, led to my first completely blind cinema showing which was pretty exciting. I just wish I had loved the movie more than I did. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a fascinating movie, and I can’t believe that it’s a true story. It’s just…for a movie all about bank robberies…it was kind of dull!

I’m just not the target audience for this at all. I’m sure Robert Redford fans will have an amazing time, and rightly so, he puts in an excellent performance, but it was just too quiet and understated for me. When it finished, I heard the man next to me turn to his cinema buddy and say “I really liked that. It was a nice movie.” I think he summed it up perfectly – this is a nice movie.

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Best Bit: The bemused faces on Forrest’s victims as they recount the crime, commenting on how much of a gentleman he was and how happy he looked made me chuckle every single time. That, and the ending got a laugh out of everyone in the room too.

Worst Bit: Not necessarily a bad moment but when John hands Forrest a $100 bill I couldn’t understand why. Was it the same bill that Forrest left a note for John on? It didn’t look the same. Was he simply paying him back, settling their debt? I don’t know!

Fun Trivia: In an interview he gave during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Robert Redford talked about this comedic film being a good note to end on, since the actor wanted his “last acting job to be fun.”

My Rating: 2 and a half $100 bills from me. Are they blank, or do they have a note on? You tell me!

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The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

the-spy-who-dumped-me-poster-movieDirector: Susanna Fogel

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj, Kev Adams, Gillian Anderson, Ivanna Sakhno

Plot: Best friends Audrey and Morgan find themselves in the middle of an international terrorist conspiracy when Audrey learns that her ex-boyfriend is, in fact, a spy.

My Thoughts: After watching the reboot of Ghostbusters I realised I would blindly follow Kate McKinnon into whatever movies she happened to star in afterward. That said, I didn’t need much convincing to see The Spy Who Dumped Me, it ticks all of my Comedy boxes!

It’s always a worry with Comedies when the trailer makes the movie look so darn funny. Is it a good sign of what’s to come, or is it a case that the only funny jokes have all been crammed into the trailer, leaving nothing good left to look forward to? I’d say this movie sits comfortably in the middle of those two scenarios. Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis gel so well together, and I would love to see them in another comedy, but this one won’t be in anyone’s Top 10 of the year.

It had plenty of laugh out loud moments, but it’s at least 20 minutes too long, so the laughs are spread out between a heck of a lot of plot. The twists come at you almost as quickly as the jokes do, most of them obvious but it did leave me guessing a few times. I think if you’re looking for a Comedy with a spy theme you’re better off watching Spy (2015), but I do still recommend The Spy Who Dumped Me!

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Best Bit: The scene with the Cab/Taxi/Uber driver Lukas. You know when you come out of the cinema after watching something like Mission: Impossible or Fast & Furious and you want to drive home like you’re in the movie? (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who feels like this) Lukas gets to live out that fantasy!

Worst Bit: Towards the end at the big flashy event, the scene with the trapeze act fell a bit flat, I thought. It was just a little too silly, and seemed to go on forever!

Fun Trivia: The movie “Red Sparrow” shot footage in the same Budapest café that was used in “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” After “Red Sparrow” finished filming, director Susanna Fogel said that there were plans to tear down the café in order to renovate the building, but they offered to let “The Spy Who Dumped Me” destroy it first.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 lipsticks from me. Don’t open them though…you might not like what you find inside. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

bohemian-rhapsody-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Bryan Singer

Genre: Biography, Music, Drama

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillan, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker, Meneka Das, Ace Bhatti

Plot: The real-life story of how the legendary rock band Queen came to be, starting with how they got together and ending with their epic performance at Live Aid in 1985.

My Thoughts: Sometimes I’m the worst English lass in history. I don’t drink tea (only herbal), I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Doctor Who, and I’m not a Queen fan. I do eat biscuits and complain about the weather though, that’s the only thing keeping me on this odd little island I guess.

Anyway I digress, but I wanted to make the point that I’m coming at this movie knowing nothing about Queen apart from the lyrics to no less than 5 of their songs. I can’t speak for how well Rami played Freddie Mercury, because I’ve never watched a performance of his – but in a way, I think that’s why I was so set on watching Bohemian Rhapsody, I wanted to know Queen’s story.

Due to me mixing up screen times, my old blogging bestie Jenna and I ended up having to watch the movie in IMAX – and oh boy am I glad we did. (My husband will be laughing to himself reading this because I rarely shut up about how much I love IMAX. It’s amazing, ok?!) If the room was emptier we would have been up on our feet stomping and clapping for We Will Rock You, it was a brilliant experience.

I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody anyway, and I drove home playing the album on the loudest volume my car could take before it started vibrating. I dig what Queen stand (stood?) for, and it’s amazing what the band achieved. I can’t help but feel some of the story along the way has been dramatised (maybe it hasn’t – who am I to judge?) and I felt the focus of the story lost its way around the half-way mark, but those are my only real complaints.

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Best Bit: The Live Aid concert for sure. By that point, I’d been converted into a fan and with the IMAX surround sound, it really gave me quite a thrill!

Worst Bit: Paul. Everything about him. Was his part in the Queen story exaggerated for the movie? I don’t know – but he was a venomous snake. May his phone be forever on low battery.

Fun Trivia: Sacha Baron Cohen was the original choice to play Freddie Mercury. He left the project due to creative differences with the band’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. The deal with Baron Cohen fell apart after May voiced upset after finding that the project would only be a biopic of Freddie Mercury and not the rest of Queen. May felt that it should focus on the other members and the aftermath of Mercury’s death. He also voiced his negative opinion of the casting choice of Baron Cohen, whom he felt was too much of a comedic actor who wouldn’t do Mercury justice in drama.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of Freddie Mercury’s cats. Did he have 4, or 5? I can only remember that tabby one that gave the best dirty looks.

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First Man (2018)

first-man-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Damien Chazelle

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 141 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Olivia Hamilton, Ciarán Hinds, Pablo Schreiber

Plot: The real-life story behind Neil Armstrong, and how he found himself leading the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon on 20th July 1969.

My Thoughts: Not gonna lie, I had to really push myself to go and see First Man. It had great reviews, it’s directed by the amazing Damien Chazelle, it stars Ryan Gosling, it’s in the running for the Oscars – it was ticking so many boxes for me. But it’s a long movie, and it’s a subject I honestly don’t have much interest in. As usual, I’m really glad I went in the end!

First Man probably takes 3rd place in Damien Chazelle’s movies for me, but it’s still a fantastic movie. I didn’t expect it to have so many ‘space-y’ moments, and the opening in particular quite literally took my breath away. Then you have the heartbreaking family moments that had me openly sobbing in the middle of the room – not embarrassing at all. So – it almost takes the dramatic elements of Whiplash (2014) and the heart-crushing elements of La La Land (2016).

Ryan Gosling was great throughout in a calm, and fairly quiet role, with a much bigger personality bubbling on the surface. I don’t know Neil Armstrong at all well enough to know how well Gosling matches up, but still. Claire Foy didn’t get as many moments as I thought she would, but the scene where she tells Neil to explain to his kids that there’s a chance he won’t survive the mission was powerful as hell.

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Best Bit: No surprises here, but the best moment was watching Neil first walk on the moon. Especially when you find out what he brought with him…I felt it coming and I was a wreck! A moment that I wish I’d been able to witness in IMAX to be honest.

Worst Bit: Not a ‘bit’ in particular, but it felt like the first hour or so raced by, and then the pacing fell to a snail pace, which really doesn’t help when the movie is 20 minutes too long to begin with!

Fun Trivia: In the breakfast scene just before Apollo 11 launched, the artist sketching Armstrong is Chris Calle, son of the NASA artist Paul Calle. Chris was playing his father who actually sketched the crew that morning.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 wooden-beaded bracelets…don’t make me explain why…*sobs*.

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