Don’t Breathe (2016)

dont-breathe-movie-poster-review-2016Director: Fede Alvarez

Genre: Crime, Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Main Cast: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Emma Bercovici, Franciska Töröcsik

Plot: Three young friends put their skills and resources together to burgle houses. They find themselves targetting one house in particular when they learn of a sizeable fortune kept within, but their plans change for the worst when they learn the owner of the house is a blind veteran.

My Thoughts: This is the kind of horror movie I actively avoid, but whilst reading other blog posts and comments recently I’ve seen so many people mention Don’t Breathe and how good it was, and after wussing out on Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House (I can’t do it guys, I tried) I put on my big girl pants on got on with it! Who knew Clay Jenson was such a naughty boy eh?

Jokes aside, it’s a really decent movie. Scared the pants off me, and even pulled my husband’s attention away from his wargames – a high honour, I’ll have you know. It’s got a few cheap jumpscares in, but most of the scary moments are just in the atmosphere and wondering when the CREEPY BLIND GUY IS GOING TO TURN UP AGAIN. I would never make it as a criminal…

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Best Part: This was originally going to be my worst part. When the girl is hiding in the closet sending a text message to Clay Jenson. WHY. DON’T DO THAT. I started flapping my arms about trying to convince her to put her phone down, and lo and behold, once she hit send on that message, MY PHONE WENT OFF. It’s a good job it’s a well-loved and battered phone in the first place because it ended up on the floor.

Worst Part: The turkey baster. Turkey. Baster. Christmas dinner is ruined for me now.

Fun Trivia: Stephen Lang wore contact lenses that greatly restricted his vision, particularly in low light. The other actors, in the scene taking place in the dark, wore lenses that made them look like they had dilated pupils but also greatly restricted their vision.

My Rating: My husband gave me a look of disgust when I suggested using turkey basters as the rating, so Don’t Breathe gets 4 out of 5 ‘quiet’ signs…that means keep your phones on silent!

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Going Off Topic #13 – Parenting: 1 Year In

44265550_10217821723441193_4970120654394228736_nSo it’s official, my little girl has officially lived longer than any houseplant I’ve ever owned. I’d say she’s the only living thing I’ve kept alive this long but my 2 cats are going to be 5 this year, but in their defence, they pretty much look after themselves. It was Daisy’s 1st Birthday yesterday and her big family party is tomorrow afternoon, so whilst I’ve been too busy retrieving balls from the ball pit and baking cakes I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the last year.

Being a parent is tough, guys. Everyone warns you about how tiring it is and how you’ll miss all the sleep you used to get, but there are so many other things I wish I was better prepared for. It’s been an absolute joy, of course, I mean my once little potato-baby is now a proper little person on the verge of walking all by herself, with one of the funniest personalities I’ve ever known.

I’d geared myself up for sleep deprivation. It’s tough, but I’ve never been a big sleeper and I don’t ever nap in the day so most days I can deal with it, but you know what they don’t warn you about?

Worrying – So. Much. Worrying. Especially in the early days. What did parents do before the days of Google? I have lost count of the number of searches I’ve done about poop, nap schedules, milestones, and heaps more. I’m still guilty of trying to compare my little girl to babies of a similar age, wondering whether she’s developing as quickly as she should be.

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In fact, let me use this post as a little page of advice I wish I could give myself a year ago. Here you go, Allie from the past, here’s what I wish you knew then that I know now!

Disappointment – There are going to be people in your life that let you down. There are some that you think will be super close to your little one, but they aren’t. Thing is, although your world completely revolves around her, they have lives of their own – and they won’t be knocking on your door every week to see her or message you all the time to ask how she’s doing. There will be others who you were personally really close to, but having a baby wrecks your social life and you won’t see or speak to them as much anymore. It’s tough to come to terms with, but you’ll get there.

Schedules – Oh, the schedules. Who knew babies didn’t come with one and followed them perfectly? You work so hard to get them into a routine of feeding and napping that works with your day, and then they throw it out the window and you have to work a new one out. I wish I’d learned sooner to try and go with the flow a little better.

Standards – Before your baby is born, there are going to be so many things that make you say “I’m not going to do that as a parent”. You might stick to some of them, but you’re soon going to realise that giving your baby a dummy to soothe her, or bringing a tablet loaded with kid’s shows to a restaurant isn’t a bad thing. It makes life easier, it’s harming no-one, there should be no shame!

Advice – Advice from anyone without a baby is going to wind you the hell up. Who in their right mind came up with the advice, ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’. Firstly – who can sleep on demand anyway? Secondly – what if the baby will only sleep if she’s lying on your chest? Scrap that even – WHAT IF THE BABY JUST DOESN’T SLEEP?

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Post Natal Depression – This has been tough. It’s so hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, but it’s real and it’s so hard to deal with. It ties into every other single problem in this list. It means going for walks in the snow in the darkest days of winter to reset your batteries, it means trying to make excuses to get out of social events because you can only cope with leaving the house if it fits exactly into the schedule you’ve worked so hard to develop. Again – people aren’t going to understand, and even assume you’re being lousy and lame for backing out, but it gets better.

As horrible as all of this is – it’s so, so worth it at the end of the day. Celebrating those milestones, having strangers tell you how adorable your little one is, seeing her smiles, hearing her laugh, and recently, having her launch herself at you whilst saying ‘Mumumumum’ makes all the heartache worth it.

Sure, by 6pm I find myself counting down the minutes until her bedtime, but the second she’s asleep? My phone is open so I can look at photos of her and then I miss her. What a rollercoaster…

(Sorry if you’ve actually sat and read all of that – my usual movie posts will be resuming shortly!)

Venom (2018)

venom-movie-poster-2018-reviewDirector: Ruben Fleischer

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Woody Harrelson, Peggy Lu, Sope Aluko, Wayne Pére

Plot: Eddie Brock, a once-famed reporter loses everything after trying to reveal the truth behind the ethically immoral work of Dr. Carlton Drake. After acquiring the powers of a symbiote – Eddie has to work with Venom in order to make things right.

My Thoughts: I almost skipped seeing this movie, and that would have been a huge mistake! See, when Suicide Squad came out, the critics hated it, but audiences loved it (apparently?). The same happened with Batman V Superman. I wasn’t impressed with either, and so when Venom received the same verdict, I got put off. Thank you, Twitter though, because I left it to a vote and you guys did not disappoint!

I’m reasonably well-versed in comics and superheroes but knew nothing about Venom. I haven’t even seen Spider-Man 3 so I literally knew nothing, so as far as comic-accuracy is concerned, I can’t comment. I also refuse to check this with my husband after he mocked me for pronouncing symbiote wrong – he’s such a nerd.

Anyway – I had such a fun time at the cinema seeing this. Yes, it takes far too long to get going, yes, the plot has several issues and contradicts itself. But! The action is wild, the humor is thick and fast when it finally arrives, and it was memorable for all the right reasons, and I absolutely cannot wait to see it again! Can Tom Hardy please do more lighter roles like this, please?

The team responsible for putting the trailer together for Venom need firing. They chose a scene to showcase the humorous side of the movie which is right at the very end, and without getting to know Venom it came across so weird and awkward, but when you see the movie and you have the context – it works! Thankfully more and more movie fans seem to be ignoring the critics, so fingers crossed we’ll be getting a sequel.

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Best Bit: It’s so hard to pick one because most of the Venom moments are hilarious. I think my personal favorite is Venom daring Eddie to jump out of the building, and then calling him a pussy for opting for the elevator instead. Also lobsters.

Worst Bit: The chicken. The eating of the chicken. I’ve dealt with enough sickness bugs over the last few weeks to stomach that scene. I’m genuinely feeling quite ill even thinking about it.

Fun Trivia: Tom Hardy’s son Louis Thomas Hardy is a fan of Venom, and Hardy took the role to please him: “I wanted to do something my son could watch. So I did something where I bite people’s heads off.” Louis also guided his father on how to appropriately portray Brock/Venom, since Hardy didn’t know the character very well.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 turds in the wind!

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My 5 Favourite Dan Stevens Performances

A very Happy Birthday to one of the most important men in my life…Dan Stevens! No, wait that’s not right…I mean my husband! Today he joins me in the final run-up to being 30…yikes! And yes, he loves to remind me that I am in fact older than him (by 2 whole months) and will be 30 before he is. He’s a funny one.

Wait – I just read that paragraph back and it looks like I’m talking about Dan Stevens being my husband…

Let me clarify. It is both my husband’s and Dan Stevens’ birthday today…but they are 2 very different men! But as my husband hasn’t featured in a feature-length movie, this post is dedicated to my 5 favourite performances by Dan Stevens.

Still with me? Here we go…

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#5 Colossal (2016)

Only Dan Stevens can get away with being an uppity annoying boyfriend with a posh accent and not make me hate him. On a side note, if you’ve never seen Colossal you really, really ought to. It’s one of the most original yet recent movies I’ve ever seen! By now I’m fairly sure I’m owed some money in royalties for the number of times I’ve tried to sell this movie.

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#4 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)

I ended up watching this whilst falling down a Dan Stevens shaped rabbit hole last year – which is something I need to fall deeper into because funnily enough, having a bay put a stop to that! Anyway, I have two words to sum up why I love his character so much in this movie…HUGE?! ACKMAN?!

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#3 Beauty and the Beast (2017)

This remake seemed to be received like marmite last year, but I loved every minute of it. I just think it’s quite incredible that through all the CGI, the Beast was still very much Dan Stevens, and if you ever have the (dis)pleasure of being on a car ride with me, you’ll be treated to my very loud rendition of Evermore!

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#2 The Guest (2014)

So, several of my fellow bloggers urged me to see The Guest, in which Dan Stevens plays a psychotic mass murderer and raises the temperature in the room by more than a few degrees by wearing nothing but a bathroom towel. *cough* I mean, his performance was very well acted and…nope, I have nothing else more to say.

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#1 Legion (2017 – )

Even though it’s a TV Show rather than a movie, it would feel wrong for the #1 spot to not be the performance of Dan Stevens that made me think “oh, this guy is GOOD.” I really need to catch up and see Season 2 soon, because if it’s half as good as the first then it’s going to be amazing.

What would you include in your Top 5 Dan Stevens performances? What have I missed that I need to see?

A Star Is Born (2018)

a-star-is-born-movie-review-2018Director: Bradley Cooper

Genre: Romance, Music, Drama

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Bonnie Somerville, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Harney, Rebecca Field, Rafi Gavron, William Belli, Anthony Ramos

Plot: After one of his shows, Jackson Maine meets and falls for struggling musician Ally, who already gave up on her dreams of being in the spotlight. Jackson coaxes her back into it but as her career finally takes off, Jackson’s personal issues put a strain on their whirlwind romance.

My Thoughts: Apologies in advance for any typos in this post, it’ll be because I’m still SOBBING over this movie. I’ve been so excited to see this and I was gutted to miss out on the advanced screening I got an invite for, so I pretty much raced to the cinema on opening night to see it. Sometimes you just know a movie is going to be great, and I wasn’t wrong here.

I don’t even know where to start. This is Bradley Cooper at his very best (and he’s already amazing) but Lady Gaga? Lady goshdarn Gaga absolutely steals the show. I don’t know enough about them to know if she’s in the running for an Oscar but if it were up to me she would have one! I haven’t had my heart shattered by a movie since La La Land, and now I don’t know if it will ever recover.

For such a long movie the time just flies by, definitely helped by the amazing soundtrack. Annoyingly it wasn’t released onto Spotify until yesterday so I’ve had to put up with playing Shallow on repeat on YouTube until then. It’s got to at least get a nomination for Best Original Song, right? Is it an original song, or was it in the original movie this is a remake of? I’ll have to look it up.

I thought I knew where the story was going. I really did think I had it all worked out, and I wasn’t mad because the movie is so well made it would have been forgivable, but then I had the rug pulled out from under me. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure. The only thing that kept me from curling up in a ball in the cinema was the lady behind me loudly bawling her eyes out. I hope she’s doing ok!

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Best Bit: Jackson Maine and Ally performing Shallow together on stage for the first time. It’s not even my favourite song (that award goes to Always Remember Us This Way) but it’s such a beautiful moment and gave me goosebumps.

Worst Bit: The final song. Not because it was a bad song, or even a bad moment, but that was the hardest part to watch. I was so sad I felt a little sick.

Fun Trivia: For his role as Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper was taught to play guitar by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson. The pair hung out in Cooper’s basement almost every night for a year so that Cooper could learn how to perform and present himself like a musician. Cooper is backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real for his stage performances. Veteran dialect coach Tim Monich worked for several months with Cooper to help him better flesh out his vocal singing range.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 fake boobs that Jackson Maine will sign for you if you ask him nicely!

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