Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

ralph-breaks-the-internet-movie-2018Director: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

Genre: Family, Animation, Comedy

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Bill Hader

Plot: When Vanellope’s game is broken and at risk of being taken away for good, she and Ralph venture into the Internet in order to save it.

My Thoughts: I’m always cautious of sequels but I was so excited by the trailers for Ralph Breaks the Internet that I couldn’t help but get myself hyped up. There is so much to love about this movie, and the creativity behind bringing the Internet to life was brilliant. I’m one of the few that didn’t hate The Emoji Movie, but regardless, Disney have outdone themselves here. There are so many details it would be impossible to list them all, but highlights of mine include the Search Bar (including several autofill jokes), the eBay layout and the way some video game characters move.

Other things to love? The moment Ralph and Vanellope enter Oh My Disney. I wanted so much more of that. Of course we already knew the princesses would be making an appearance but it doesn’t get old. We even get Stormtroopers! And who else here is guilty of taking at least one ‘Which Dinsey princess are you?’ quiz?

I realise that the target audience here is children but where the movie fell flat for me was the moral message behind it all. Yes, there’s an interesting story here of how best friends move on, but I don’t think it was handled in the best way, and since when was Ralph quite so insecure?

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Best Bit: Vanellope gets her own musical number in this movie, and it could not be more glorious. Disney have been great in the last few years and poking fun at themselves, and that’s what makes ‘A Place Called Slaughter Race’ so amazing. Is it available on Spotify? I had to check, I couldn’t wait to find out the answer…IT IS. Apologies to any passenger I happen to have in my car over the next 2 weeks – this is going to be on repeat.

Worst Bit: The big ‘virus’ scene at the end just went on a bit too long, and you know what? It was so creepy! I honestly felt worried for the small kids in our screen, it really was the stuff of nightmares. Plus, we were told how the virus could be destroyed, but that’s not how it ended up happening? Nit-picking I know, but still…

Fun Trivia: When an Internet advertisement tells Ralph “Sassy housewives want to meet you,” the woman on the image is Aunt Cass from Big Hero 6 (2014).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 glass slippers, which Cinderella isn’t afraid to smash in order to shank you!

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Beautiful Boy (2018)

beautiful-boy-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Felix Van Groeningen

Genre: Drama, Biography

Runtime: 111 Minutes

Main Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Christian Convery, Oakley Bull, Kue Lawrence

Plot: Beautiful Boy is a movie based on a pair of best selling memoirs written by father and son David and Nic Sheff, chronicling the experiences of Nic’s drug addiction, recovery and relapse, and the effects on himself and his family.

My Thoughts: So this was Monday night’s ODEON Screen Unseen movie! I’ve come to learn that the cryptic clues they give out always point to a movie they know everyone is hyped to see – when really it isn’t! I’m sure they’d angled their clues for A Simple Favor to make it seem it would be Bohemian Rhapsody, and every clue this time around could easily point to Glass. Thing is – Screen Unseen movies are always the lesser known movies regular movie-goers would skip, so it was never really going to be Glass.

Still, when the screen came up with Beautiful Boy, it was funny to hear the groans by several people, and then we had a few walkouts. I still find that odd, if you’ve come out to see a secret screening, are you not willing to give whatever’s shown a go?

Anyway! Gosh, this was a tough watch. It’s the perfect movie for this kind of screening because as much as I’ve been looking forward to seeing Carell and Chalamet’s performances, I just can’t get excited about the movie itself. Can anyone be excited about a movie like this?

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As I knew they would be, the performances were exceptional. I’ve been a huge fan of Carell since The Office, and I never thought he would be doing such serious and hard-hitting roles after! It suits him though. The main thing that didn’t sit well with me though was I never found myself invested in the characters enough, and I don’t know why. It also feels much longer than it’s runtime.

Best Bit: In the first part of the movie there are a few times that father and son embrace and say ‘everything’ to each other. I knew there would be a moment that we would find out when and my heart exploded into a million little pieces.

Worst Bit: Honestly, there’s no moment in the movie that I would deem ‘bad’. There are several scenes that are tough to watch for sure though.

Fun Trivia: The real Nic Sheff stated in a Q & A that the drawing book that David, Steve Carell in the movie finds of his son’s addiction struggles was drawn by Nic’s real-life half-brother Jasper Sheff.

My Rating: I can’t think of something funny to use as my rating that isn’t wildly inappropriate, so Beautiful Boy gets a very sensible 3 and a half stars from me.

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Mini Reviews: Office Parties, Zombies & Puppets

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I’ve been on a bit of a movie binge over the last week or so, to the point where I don’t even know where to begin with writing a post for each of them, so rather than half-write a bunch of posts that will most likely stay in draft, I thought it was better to keep up my writing rhythm and throw out a few thoughts on some of them. There’s a very mixed bag here!

What I’ve been trying to do is tick some movies off my ever-growing watchlist. I did tick one off but then got distracted by a Christmas movie I forgot existed, and a terrible movie I knew would be terrible but I watched anyway. Maybe one day I’ll learn!

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Office Christmas Party (2016)

I missed this in the cinema when it was released, and by the time it came out on DVD it was summer, and it felt totally wrong to watch it then, which is what ultimately led me to forget it’s existence! Sure it’s a stereotypical comedy to the core, but it’s got a great cast and whilst it isn’t funny all the time, I don’t think it was half as bad as the reviews I’d read said it was. Not one that’ll get a rewatch every year but you can do a lot worse with your time I think.

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

This one has been sat on my watchlist for so long I can’t remember who recommended it to me or why, which led to one of the funniest viewing experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers, but I can safely assume someone told me to see this after a discussion about how much I love a good plot twist. I had NO IDEA what would happen when the gang reached the Titty Twister, and although it threw me into confusion for a while, I enjoyed it for what it was. Is the TV Show worth a watch?

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The Happytime Murders (2018)

So maybe I’m just becoming an old prude, but I pretty much hated this movie. I’m a huge Muppets fan and thought the idea of an R rated movie about puppet murders was a brilliant idea – and I still think it could have been brilliant but it was ruined by the outrageously needless sex scenes which were verging on the line of being pornographic. Am I a prude? I don’t know, maybe, but I’m still too angry to really care.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

the-ballad-buster-scruggs-netflix-posterDirector: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Western

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Jonjo O’Neill, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz

Plot: An anthology movie comprised of six different stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West.

My Thoughts: Despite it being a Netflix release, I was so excited to see The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. I’ve never hated a Coen brothers movie (although I’ve enjoyed some more than others) and the trailer was hilarious. It’s a long-ass movie but knowing it was split into six stories eased my mind a little. I’ve always been a fidget!

The first segment with Buster Scruggs is nothing short of a masterpiece. I was laughing from start to finish. My husband was trying to play World of Warcraft and cursed me as he shut his game down thinking he had found his new all-time-favourite movie. The comedic timing, the crazy action, the musical numbers, ugh! Just perfect. And then it ended, and it dawned on me that Buster Scruggs was only a very minor part of this movie.

Maybe that revelation tainted it for me, but from there I just grew more and more bored with each of the other stories. They still had some great moments, but it felt like I was watching a whole lot of nothing before being rewarded with those short glimpses of brilliance. Each story also felt longer than the one before it, making the whole thing feel about 3 hours long.

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I think I’m probably in the minority here though, and I can absolutely see why most people loved it. I guess I was expecting the whole thing to be as crazy and funny as the first segment, and I set myself up for disappointment. One thing I will say though, the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous. I paid more attention to the landscape than what the characters were doing half the time.

Best Bit: The way Buster Scruggs killed the guy at the cards table was just epic. It was that perfect mix of shock and humour that makes you jump and laugh at the same time. Then the musical number that followed. Heck, I need to watch that segment again…and again!

Worst Bit: There’s no moment in particular, but I can’t comment on the sixth and final story at all because my brain had completely switched off by that point, and I was playing the Disney Emoji game on my phone instead, trying to unlock Darth Vader. (I got him)

Fun Trivia: The poker hand that Buster Scruggs refuses to play, two pair aces and eights, is infamously known as the “dead man’s hand” as it was reportedly the hand-drawn to Wild Bill Hickok before he was shot and killed.

My Rating: 2 and a half clever chickens who can answer simple math questions.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

fantastic-beasts-crimes-grindelwald-poster-2018Director: David Yates

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, Brontis Jodorowsky

Plot: Jack Sparrow Grindelwald has escaped imprisonment and had begun his mission of recruiting wizards to his cause. At least that’s what the likes of IMDB tell me. Mild spoilers ahead this time folks, because I need to rant.

My Thoughts: I’m not mad, I’m disappointed, and I don’t know where to start so excuse the word vomit that’s about to happen. How about we start with the fact that Grindelwald doesn’t really commit many crimes in this movie? He murders a few people (I don’t know who or why) and makes some funky blue flames, but is that really what the movie is about? How about we rename it to Fantastic Beasts: Who is Credence? What is Credence? Why is Credence?

Where is the magic here? The original Harry Potter movies were beautiful stories, perfect for watching with the family over the holidays. We got a really short segment of Newt and Leta during their time at Hogwarts and oh, how I didn’t want it to end. I miss that school hall, the Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons, the huge beautiful castle. That’s all I want. Not a stretched to breaking point thinly veiled plot with some magical creatures thrown in for good measure.

There are so many characters in this movie it’s impossible to keep track of them all, and throwing in romance arcs for the sake of it only made things worse. Jacob and Tina, even Queenie were great characters in the first movie but I felt like their personalities just disappeared in FB:CoG. I did enjoy Jude Law’s Dumbledore though, I wasn’t sure about that casting choice but he really made it work.

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As a normal movie sequel not part of the Wizarding World, it was a reasonably decent story that was simply half an hour too long and lacked emotion. As an addition to the Wizarding World, it was a huge disappointment for me. I’m always going to be extra critical though, I was practically raised on the Harry Potter books and movies! At the very least, it laid a lot of groundwork for the 3rd installment which I’m holding all my hopes for.

Best Bit: When we learned what Leta’s boggart turned into, it took me by complete surprise and absolutely broke me. It was a (pun not intended) fantastic bit of storytelling and it was so emotional. In fact she was my favourite character by far in the whole movie, she was so interesting! Slytherins always are though!

Worst Bit: So in the first 10 minutes we find out that the entire movie is really about finding out who Credence really is. 2 HOURS LATER we find out and honestly, was it a surprise to anyone? You can’t drag it out that long and expect your audience to not put two and two together.

Fun Trivia: Newt Scamander carries a wand, practices magic, and works for the Ministry of Magic even though he was expelled from Hogwarts, which puzzled several fans online especially since Hagrid wasn’t afforded those liberties. J.K. Rowling explained that the reason for this will be revealed throughout the series. (This made me lol. Is she going to explain all the other inaccuracies too?)

My Rating: 2 and a half Nifflers out of 5. Let’s face it, that cheeky little buggar was the real star of this movie.

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