Double Review: Rough Night (2017) & The House (2017)

What do you do when you haven’t got stuck into a great movie for a while, and you’re also mentally preparing yourself to get back into blogging and actually expressing opinions and thoughts on said movies? Switch your brain off and get stuck into 2 sub-par comedies of course!

Has 2017 had a great comedy yet? I’m behind so maybe I’ve missed it, or maybe I’m just losing my sense of humour. We’re definitely owed a few laughs though!

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Rough Night (2017)

There’s been a huge rise lately of female-centred comedies, which I am all for of course, but not all are hitting the mark. Rough Night features an all female cast (if we forget about the dead stripper) and even a past female relationship which wasn’t thrown in our faces which I definitely appreciate. However, what could have been a modern day Weekend at Bernies fell rather flat.

The main issue I found with Rough Night was the overall tone. It didn’t know what kind of movie it wanted to be. We’ve all seen the trailer, we know the group accidentally kill a stripper that comes to their home, but that scene itself was actually really dark…

Common sense got thrown out of the window and just when I started to get into the silliness of it all again, things got deep real fast and left me confused again. One thing I’ll say though is it wasn’t the disaster I thought it would be, and I actually quite enjoyed all of the main actresses, even if my beloved Kate McKinnon was a bit over the top. Stay with the credits for this one though, if nothing else made you laugh McKinnon’s song will!

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The House (2017)

I was dying to see The House ever since I saw a trailer. I had no visions of it being an outstanding comedy, but I loved the cast so much I was just happy knowing that I’d be able to see them all in something new.  In The House, Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell are parents struggling to afford their daughter’s tuition after her scholarship is taken away. They team up with their best friend, Jason Mantzoukas and set up their own casino.

So yeah, the funniest moments are all in the trailer. The plot is wafer thin and it’s predictable throughout. But it’s a fairly short movie by today’s standards at just under an hour and a half, and I’ve certainly spent the same amount of time doing worse things! My Parks and Rec senses were in overdrive in the town hall meeting scene with so many familiar faces, especially with Amy Poehler herself there!

I think my favourite running joke was Will Ferrell’s complete inability to count, or deal with math of any kind to be honest. I don’t know if it was as funny as it seemed to me or if it was one of the few jokes that just so happened to land, but it honestly made me laugh out loud each time. I’m easily amused I think!

How is 2017 doing comedy wise though overall? Are there some hidden gems I should hunt down or look forward to? The Big Sick (2017) was fantastic – but I need a laugh out loud comedy right now!

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Going Off Topic (#7) Identity Crisis

This might just be the longest I’ve gone without blogging. Pregnancy is hard, you guys! I’ve got just less than 4 weeks till my due date now, and I’m at that point where I don’t remember what life was like not being pregnant. I don’t remember sleeping through the night without needing to pee, or being able to get off the sofa without effort, discomfort, and grunting noises.

I’ve watched very little movies lately – I just haven’t had the energy, and that got me thinking long and hard about what I want to do with this little blog of mine.

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First things first, I’m finding my passion for movies again. That happened fairly soon after a friend asked me about an upcoming release that I realised I hadn’t even heard of, let alone seen a trailer for or had on my watch list. I feel so out of the loop! It made me quite sad tell the truth, so that’s the start of getting back on top of things for me.

One thing I have been doing more of though is reading books. It might take me over a week to get through one because my reading time is so fragmented, but I haven’t loved reading so much since I was a kid in school, so I’d like to blog some more about what I’ve been reading.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I know fairly soon the life I know is going to be turned upside down. I love to write and I need to make more time for it, but my go-to subject of movies might get difficult to blog about for a while.

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I might start blogging more and more about my life in general, because it helps me, and it serves the purpose of a journal too – something I used to love doing when I was younger.

I’ll still blog about my hobbies as much as I can – but I hope you guys are also okay with me sharing some life stories more often than I normally do.

Christmas in July Blogathon: 5 Movies to Show my Daughter

ORIGINALLY POSTED at Drew’s Movie Reviews here. Please check out Drew’s blog and the rest of the entries to his Christmas in July blogathon!

I can’t believe I’m taking part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon for the 3rd year running! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year, and so I don’t need many excuses to talk about the festive season and related movies. Thank you Drew for hosting again!

This year, Christmas is going to be pretty different for me, as I’ll have a 2-month old baby! Part of me is dreading the chaos, but mostly I’m looking forward to making the holiday a magical time for this little one. Of course, that’s going to include brainwashing introducing her to some of my favourite Christmas movies! That’s why this year, I decided to dedicate my blogathon post to 5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter.

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The Snowman (1982)

Wait, don’t call Child Protection Services yet! I don’t mean the upcoming horror/thriller by the same name. I mean the classic British Christmas TV movie, The Snowman, where a boy builds a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. It’s a magical story and features one of the most beautiful songs, ‘Walking in the Air’. We might even follow it up with the 2012 sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, but it still makes me cry!

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Shrek the Halls (2007)

How on Earth is Shrek the Halls 10 years old already?! Another short TV movie that’s been an annual event in my family since it was released. We’re big Shrek fans in my family (only the first 2 movies though) and we sadly know all the words to this! If you’ve never seen it, after the hustle and bustle of the Shrek family settling down on Christmas Eve, Donkey, Shrek & Fiona tell the tale of the night before Christmas…in their own special way!

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppets were a huge part of my childhood, it was my favourite show when I was little and I’ve continued to love them ever since. In fact, the song ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ from the 2011 movie was the song my husband and I walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day! I’m hoping my daughter will have the same sense of humour as I do, so I’m sure she’ll love watching The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Whilst those are 3 movies that I think any child would easily enjoy, mine is going to have accept the fact that she’s going to have her Mum & Dad’s favourite Christmas movies ever forced upon her. Let’s start with Dad, shall we?

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Jingle All the Way (1996)

I can’t believe that 9 years ago I had no idea Jingle All the Way existed. I was invited to my (now) husband’s parents house over Christmas where they sat for their annual watch of this movie, and I loved every second. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to eat a cookie around me without me shouting ‘put that cookie down, NOW!’. So whether she loves it or hates it, a bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger is always needed at Christmas!

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I talk far too much about the National Lampoon’s movies so I’ll keep this brief, but there’s no way it couldn’t have been in this list! I’m just dreading the moment in a few years time where my daughter will complain about having to watch it and exclaim ‘this movie is as old as you!’.

Finally, part of Drew’s tradition is to host a party of our favourite celebrities, and we all get to add a name to the guest list. I think it’s only fair that I throw Dan Stevens an invite this year, and carefully place as much mistletoe around the venue as possible!

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Review: Life (2017)

life-movie-poster-review-2017You know that saying, ‘be careful what you wish for’? Years I’ve been waiting for a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds together. Years! 2 of my ultimate favourite Hollywood hunks in 1 movie. I guess I imagined it would be some kind of romcom, preferably starring myself caught in a love triangle. Alas, it seems only half of my request was eventually heard, and although I got both stars together, it was for a Sci-Fi/Horror. Really, movie gods?!

What makes things even worse is that on paper, and in the trailer in fact, Life (2017) is nothing more than an Alien ripoff. You’ve got a spaceship, a solid crew, a mission to extract and protect a life form found on Mars. Hey presto, turns out the life form is dangerous and hostile! Now it’s a survival game. I sound bitter I know but here’s the shocker, Life is actually a pretty decent movie!

For a start, the crew are all extremely likeable, and they’re smart! Yes, you’ve got one who won’t stop harping on about protocols and rule-breaking, but when protocols are broken they’re for a logical reason, rather than a dumb reason for a jump scare. For a wuss like me, Life was a fairly scary movie, but that’s because this life-form (AKA Calvin) is so small and stealthy, and unpredictable. I’m glad I waited for a home release because some scenes are tense as hell.

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I’ll admit that at the halfway point my interest started to wane slightly. That might be because (highlight for spoiler) Ryan Reynolds got killed off in the first 30 minutes – perhaps I should have seen it coming, but it does drift into far too familiar territory after a while. Yes, Calvin is on the loose, no, we aren’t sure how the crew are going to survive, if they do at all, so just get on with the story so we can find out how it ends!

Life even had it’s emotional moments, mainly centered around a children’s book you may know quite well, Goodnight Moon. You can forget listening to Tom Hardy reading bedtime stories, try watching Jake Gyllenhaal read Goodnight Moon whilst stuck in the situation he’s in and not get misty eyes!

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Finally, and I’ll have to obscure this paragraph mostly for spoiler reasons, I can’t end this post without mentioning the ending. Should I have seen it coming? Maybe? I don’t know, but it caught me completely off guard! That moment when you realise who (and what) is in that capsule that landed in the sea straight up gave me the chills. I’d rather Life stay as a standalone movie but if it had a sequel, heck I’d probably go and see it.

For being surprisingly good as a totally unoriginal movie, Life gets 3 and a half copies of that darn children’s book I’m now never going to be able to buy for my own kiddo.

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Going off Topic (#6) What have I become?!

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I’m in such a blogging rut right now. When I can bring myself to sit down with my laptop for an hour and get the creative juices flowing, I love it and I’m reminded about why I have a blog in the first place. I press ‘publish’ with glee and update my links, and think about drafting up a couple more posts to keep me going for the week. That doesn’t happen and then I fall off the wagon completely for a few days at a time, so I’m really sorry for not visiting everyone elses’ blogs very often.

I’m determined to get back on track, though! Come October when this little monster is born I know I’m going to have to take a bit of a break, but I’d like to stay as active as I can till then. Besides, I’ve been watching tons of things lately so it’s not like I don’t have anything to write about!

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Speaking of giving birth in October…I’m officially a pregnant lady you guys. I know I’ve been pregnant since January, but I actually look like a proper pregnant lady now! Getting out of bed in the morning is like trying to reenact a turtle stuck on it’s back, and strangers on the street aren’t afraid to approach me in case I’m just fat.

We’ve made an amazing start on the nursery! The walls have been painted, the cot has been bought and assembled, and THE CUTEST PRAM IN THE WORLD is being delivered today. Why am I suddenly obsessed with pastel pinks/purples and unicorns?! Who is this person I have become?! I’m starting to plan when to go on maternity leave…this is all getting a bit real now.

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Our cat Loki, ‘helping’ to build the cot, and the cutest pram in the world!

Let’s talk movies before I start to panic, shall we?

Like I mentioned, I’ve been watching quite a few things that I haven’t actually discussed/reviewed here yet! Most recently, I watched Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) after Cinematic Corner reminded me Dan Stevens was in it. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it sooner to be honest, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Night at the Museum movies. They aren’t comedic masterpieces, but they’re great family movies! Dan Stevens didn’t disappoint, and now I have to apologise to anyone caught in the firing line of me randomly shouting out ‘HUGE?! ACKMAN?!’ without any warning whatsoever!

I can’t believe I haven’t done a Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) post yet. That was a brilliant movie, and despite my grumbles about the 1,000,001 trailers showing every single action scene, there was still plenty to enjoy.

Far too long after my Dad recommending it, I watched Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) one night when I was feeling down. That and Airplane! (1980) might just be my favourite comedies of all time. It’s just my kind of humour! I heard the other 2 Naked Gun movies aren’t as great though. Can anyone recommend anything else I might enjoy based off this?

I was going to do a post after watching In Bruges (2008) last month, but when I tried to explain it to my husband, I think he really wants to see it too so I might watch it again with him before I do that. Isn’t it annoying when someone won’t watch a movie with you till you’ve seen it yourself and can confirm how good it is? I think that’s how I ended up watching Drive twice in 2 days!

Don’t ask me about Mulholland Drive (2001). I appreciate it for what it is, but it hurt my head so much. You know when you’re watching a movie and you’re confused as hell, but you know all the pieces will come together in the last 20 minutes? Yeah, no. That didn’t happen…

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Also, I think I’m FINALLY going to see Baby Driver tomorrow night! I’m fully expecting us to be the only couple in the room seeings as the whole world has seen it already.

This is the part where I would share some links to my fellow bloggers’ posts, but I’m so far behind right now! I promise I’ll have another off topic ramble soon, but in the meantime I’ll be doing plenty of reading. Thanks for sticking with me!

Mini Reviews: Okja (2017), Gifted (2017) & Atonement (2007)

I’ve been trying to find a bit of a theme for my mini review posts recently. My mini reviews are basically an eruption of thoughts without much focus at the best of times, so it’s nice to have a bit of order somewhere. So what do a super pig, a mathematical genius kid and a 10-year old period drama have in common? I watched them all over the last 2 weeks and they all made me ugly cry!

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Okja (2017)

Back in 2014, the blogging world alerted me to Snowpiercer (2014), a crazy movie directed by Joon-ho Bong. Last month, a movie recommendation site threw a fascinating crime story called Memories of Murder (2003) at me, also by the same director. So, when my blog feed got filled with mentions of Joon-ho Bong’s latest movie about a super pig named Okja, I knew I had to see it!

Okja had just been released on Netflix so I didn’t even bother with a trailer. I figured it would be some kind of family-orientated movie with a happy ending. Ohh, I was so wrong. This movie is dark. So, very dark. It’s worth it alone for the cast to be honest, but Okja is a movie that will make even the biggest meat-eaters out there question themselves. I did a lot of crying and felt guilty as hell about my bacon sarnie the next morning…

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Gifted (2017)

So I judged Okja terribly, but Gifted is absolutely a movie for the whole family! It stars Chris Evans as a single parent to his niece, who just so happens to be a mathematical genius just like her late Mother. It sounds like your bog-standard, average family movie but there’s a lot to be enjoyed here, it certainly stands out from the crowd. Think Matilda meets Manchester by the Sea!

Unlike a lot of child actors, McKenna Grace is an absolute gem and a pleasure to watch in this movie. Her comedic delivery is spot on and she nails that dead-pan kind of humour. I really hope she lands some more lead roles in the future because she’s one to watch! Gifted really pulls on your heart strings and I wouldn’t say it has a predictable plot at all, I was left guessing right up to the end.

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Atonement (2007)

Why did I watch Atonement when I have such a passionate dislike for period dramas? My littlest Brother was coming to stay and I told him we’d have a movie night. He loves plot-twist movies but wanted to watch something none of us had seen before, so I put together a little list. Atonement wasn’t what we watched (we went with The Village) but it kept cropping up in my searches and I couldn’t understand why a movie like that would be considered a plot twist movie. Safe to say, my curiosity got the best of me.

I ended up watching Atonement over 2 days in the end, and at the point the movie tells us who actually committed the crime, I whinged and complained about wasting so much time to a twist that wasn’t even a twist. Then I realised I still had another 20 minutes of the movie to go. If you’ve seen Atonement, well, I know you won’t have forgotten what happened next. That ending destroyed me. I went to bed in silence that night and still felt upset the day after!

Review: A Cure for Wellness (2017)

a-cure-for-wellness-movie-review-2017Some movies look really promising when you catch that first trailer, and then they fall off your radar. Some movies look like they’re definitely worth a watch, but when you see the runtime you feel put off. 5 months after it’s release in the UK, coming in at a whopper of 2 hours and 26 minutes, A Cure for Wellness hit both criteria for me! Thankfully, my Flick Chick Jenna came to stay over the weekend and recommend that we give it a go! It’s amazing how much easier a long movie is to watch when you can have several snack and chat pause breaks.

You probably don’t need me to tell you that A Cure for Wellness is a weird movie. Dane Dehaan plays an ambitious young executive known as Lockhart, sent by his company to retrieve their CEO from a mysterious wellness centre in the Swiss Alps. When he arrives, things seem a little…off. Although the residents are known as ‘guests’ free to leave whenever they wish, no one has actually ever left, and they all seem quite odd. In fact, you could almost say they look ill, which surely can’t be right?

Dane Dehaan has always reminded me of a young Leonardo DiCaprio for some reason, so with that in mind it was impossible to not try and compare this movie to Shutter Island. It has it’s similarities for sure, but they’re very different movies.

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Perhaps it was the dessert and the company, but I didn’t feel like this was a particularly long movie. There were definitely scenes that didn’t add much to the narrative of the story, but what they did provide was their ability to give you the creeps. There’s a mystery to solve here in the mountains, and the pieces of the puzzle are fed to us slowly in a way that helps us put it all together, but the atmosphere of it all leaves us wondering if we can trust our own judgement or not, which is exactly what’s happening to Lockhart.

Some scenes are difficult to watch, and one in particular (involving a dentists chair and a drill!) was impossible! We had to cover our ears, look away and make noises until it was all over. I peeked every now and again, and wished I didn’t.

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Is it the best mystery/thriller out there? No, and I feel like it might even be a bit of a love/hate kind of movie for most, but there was enough here to keep me interested and guessing as to how it might end. I think I had a much better experience watching it with someone – I don’t think I could have put up with it solo. Right at the very end we’re left with a very confusing scene which opens up a whole bunch of questions. My favourite thing about these kind of endings is that everyone will have their own take on it!

I was pleasantly surprised by The Cure for Wellness, and so it gets 4 out of 5 glasses of water (that you should absolutely NOT drink) from me.

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