Review: Song to Song (2017)

Remember how literally just a few days ago I said I was struggling to name 5 movies that I really didn’t enjoy this year so far? Remember how my list was half-hearted because I didn’t truly hate any of them, I was just disappointed by them? That I actually missed hate-writing about a movie? Turns out the movie gods were listening that day, because they delivered Song to Song.

song-to-song-movie-review-2017

I’ve heard that Terrence Malick movies are often controversial, and a quick check on IMDB confirmed what I thought – until now I haven’t seen a single one of his movies. I gotta say, there were none that really shouted out to me either, but there was no way I could ignore Song to Song. Here’s what I knew:
– Music was a strong feature (I’ve been spoiled by John Carney movies)
– It was set in Austin, Texas (I got to go there for work once and had an amazing time)
– The cast was excellent (Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling & Michael Fassbender)
– It was described as a modern day love story

What could possibly go wrong?

It all started out okay to be honest. It felt a bit qwirky, a bit weird. It was a little raunchy too, so ticks in all the boxes from me. My eyes struggled to adjust to the fact that no single shot seemed to last any longer than 5 seconds, but I thought I’d get used to it. I had over 2 hours of movie to get used to it!

michael-fassbender-song-to-song-human-buffet

About 20 minutes in, it all just went to hell. I couldn’t work out what was going on anymore. I thought it was established that Rooney Mara’s character was together with Michael Fassbender’s, but then she fell for Ryan Gosling. It seemed like some weird love triangle, because Ryan Gosling seemed way more interested in bro’ing it up with Michael Fassbender, but then he got married to Natalie Portman and…are you still reading?

This entire movie hurt my head. None of the characters ever seemed to talk much, or even smile. I’m sorry but, how can you fall in love with someone if all you do is float around silently, looking at them with the face and flair of a catwalk model? It’s infuriating!

song-to-song-rooney-mara-ryan-gosling

I actually gave up at the mid way point and turned the movie off. I thought I could be satisfied with not knowing how the story ended, or wasting another hour of my life whilst risking permanent frown lines from the face I pulled the entire time watching. Alas, the next day the completionist in me couldn’t take it anymore and I watched the rest. Did it get any better? No. Was it worth it? I got to see Ryan Gosling make a turkey out of a napkin (actually one of my favourite party tricks) so there was that.

I’m really sorry to actual, legit movie critics who understood this movie and what it was about, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea at all. 1 and a half napkins from me…you can turn them into turkeys yourself, or ask Ryan Gosling to show you how!

song-to-song-review-score-napkins

Advertisements

The 5 Worst Movies of 2017…So Far

This is slightly later than I was expecting, but I’m back! A few days ago I posted my 5 Best Movies of 2017 so far, and now I’m here with the worst. This is what’s strange though. It’s actually been REALLY difficult to scrape 5 movies together. Not because of trying to whittle them down to 5, but I just haven’t seen many bad movies so far! I’m putting that down to the fact I’m behind on recent releases and so I’ve concentrated on recommendations so far.

I almost wussed out and did a list of 4 but that just felt wrong, so I do have 5 movies for you. However! Take some of these with a pinch of salt, because the first 2 picks aren’t that bad at all, they’re just mediocre enough to make this list.

Oh, and another quick reminder, I go by UK release dates!

worst-movies-2017-despicable-me-3

 

#5 Despicable Me 3 

This is what I mean. So I actually quite enjoyed watching Despicable Me 3. Is it something I’ll ever watch again? Probably not. Oh wait, of course I will. Sometime soon my life is going to full of kids movies. The story is a little too simple. the plot predictable, and despite me not being a fan of their solo movie, the minions are still the funniest part. Nonetheless, I did quite enjoy Agnes’ quest to find a real unicorn! Did they really need to tie it in with that other Dreamworks movie, Sing?! Ugh.

worst-movies-2017-before-i-fall

#4 Before I Fall

Again, this movie isn’t so bad, it’s just quite forgettable. It’s the teenage-angst version of Groundhog Day, basically. A good premise, and again an ending I didn’t see coming, but the problem with these kind of movies comes with the repetition. How many times do you want to watch the same girl’s school ritual? Let’s just put these kind of movies in the same lock box as all the Freaky Friday ones. Funnily enough, the day after I saw this I spotted the trailer for Happy Death Day, so I guess these Groundhog Day movies are making a comeback. Sigh.

worst-movies-2017-fifty-shades-darker

#3 Fifty Shades Darker

As a warm-blooded female, I’m really kind of neutral on the whole Fifty Shades business, I can enjoy the series for what it is, and it’s always a good excuse for a girls movie night, in or out. Whereas the first movie was quite funny however (intentional or not, who knows) this one lacked, and it was really quite obvious where its origins were, badly-written fanfiction. That ending was cringey as hell!

worst-movies-2017-fist-fight

#2 Fist Fight

Eh, I kind of knew Fist Fight would end up in a list like this before I watched it, but I don’t mind sitting through an hour and a half of comedy with Ice Cube and Charlie Day. It has a few funny moments, mostly the same moments that were in the trailers, but it mostly falls flat. Enjoyable at the time, but I’m not going to remember this one in a year’s time.

worst-movies-2017-baywatch

#1 Baywatch

It ENRAGES me how bad this movie was. ENRAGES me. I LOVE Dwayne Johnson, and I’m 100% on his side for calling out the critics on their crap. But this wasn’t the movie to do that on the back of. All the elements of a decent summer comedy were there, so why did it suck so hard? Most of the jokes were completely forgotten the second I left the cinema, and not even Zac Efron’s body could save the day. I never thought I’d say this but honey, you need to put on a little weight!

Sigh. Last year’s list was so much more fun to write, because my hatred was so strong, but this list feels kind of meh. Why I’m complaining I don’t know, surely all we want to see are great movies? But there’s a weird joy in hate-writing about bad movies, and I haven’t had that yet this year. Send me your terrible suggestions folks!

My Top 5 Road Trip Movies – With Drew’s Movie Reviews

The ever wonderful Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews invited me to write a guest post with him for his blog, and we decided upon Road Trip Movies! I urge you to check out his original post here. However, if you don’t follow him already (are you crazy?) then here’s a summary of our picks:

I so wish road trips were more of a thing in the UK. I guess the main problem is that we’re just a tiny little island, and our roads kind of suck. Nevermind though, because I get to live the dream through movies! These are my top 5 road trip movies.

best-road-trip-movies-paul-2011

#5 Paul (2011)
Speaking of British folk who dream of an American road trip, that’s what Paul is all about! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play 2 comic book geeks travelling across the US, ticking landmarks off their bucket list. Everything kind of goes haywire when they encounter an actual alien outside of Area 51. It’s not up there with Shaun of the Dead, but you can always count on this duo to make a comedy worth watching!

best-road-trip-movies-borat-2006

#4 Borat (2006)
How is this movie 11 years old now? Sacha Baron Cohen plays Borat, sent on a trip to the US to report on what Kazakhstan TV says is the greatest country in the world. It preys on people who have no idea it’s a fictional movie, it’s innappropriate, but it’s funny as hell and stole the hearts of many of us Brits, including me. It spawned a lot of copycat movies which were terrible, but this one stands strong.

best-road-trip-movies-chef-2014

#3 Chef (2014)
Chef is the ultimate food porn movie, the kind of movie you absolutely cannot watch unless you’ve just eaten a full meal, and even then your stomach will surprise you by rumbling! It’s also a beautiful, heart warming story about a chef played by Jon Favreau who quits his job and takes a trip with his son across the US in a food truck. Isn’t that just the perfect to travel?

best-road-trip-movies-little-miss-sunshine-2006

#2 Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
It’s impossible to explain Little Miss Sunshine to anyone without making it sound like the most depressing movie ever. A family take a road trip to take their chubby, uncoordinated daughter to a beauty pageant. Along for the ride is their Uncle who recently tried to commit suicide and well, I’ll let the rest be a surprise if you haven’t seen it before. It’s one of those rare movies that absolutely nails the blend of drama and comedy.

best-road-trip-movies-national-lampoons-vacation

#1 National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
National Lampoon’s Vacation isn’t just the greatest family road trip movie ever. It might just be my #1 movie of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I watched this as a child. You don’t need to have had a road trip to identify with this one, just any holiday will do, or even any car journey spent with family. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and it holds up surprisingly well after all these years.

In fact, I love this movie so much that part of our Californian Honeymoon last year involved a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which you may not know is where the fictional theme park Walley World in National Lampoon’s Vacation was set. Whilst there we managed to recreate this famous scene!

national-lampoons-vacation-arrest-six-flags

Here are Drew’s picks, in his own words (in italics to save confusion)

drewpost15) Dumb and Dumber

Dumb and Dumber is the kind of film that, on paper, seems like it should fail. Two dimwits travel across the country to deliver a briefcase that one of them thought was left behind by mistake. However, it is one of the funniest films from the 90s and one of Jim Carrey’s best films. And that is why it works, because of Carrey and Jeff Daniels. They have a chemistry that feels genuine. It gives the film a lot of heart that it might not have otherwise. As Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey) travel to Aspen, Colorado, they cause all kinds of mayhem that garner some great laughs.

4) The Cannonball Rundrewpost2

I feel like The Cannonball Run is a forgotten 1980s gem. Released in the early 80s, it stars some of the biggest stars of the time, including Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, and many others. I feel that of all the movie genres, comedies differ the most between eras and act as a timecapsule of their era. Every decade seems to have their own flavor or sense of humor. I mention that because it is very different from a comedy you would find these days, but I love it. It is much more subtle, think along the lines of The Naked Gun. I can honestly say they don’t make them like this anymore.

drewpost33) Finding Nemo

You might not think of Finding Nemo as a road trip film but it has all the classic staples of a traditional road trip film. A group of people traveling to a destination together? Check. Film has many side characters who only show up for a scene or two? Check. Group feels closer at end of film? Check. What makes this Pixar classic a classic are the characters and their story. Merlin just wants to find his missing son, Nemo. Along the way, he runs into the forgetful Dory, who joins him on his search. The story is so simple but it works. By following the road trip formula, Pixar was able to really explore the characters that would not have worked as well in another way.

2) Planes, Trains and Automobilesdrewpost4

A John Hughes classic. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the movie on this list I saw for the first time most recently. I don’t know how it took me so long to watch this movie. Both Steve Martin and John Candy have been favorite comedic actors of mine and the two of them are absolutely fantastic together. Their chemistry is some of the best in any comedy film. Even after seeing it several times now, I still can’t help but laugh at Neal Page’s (Martin) misfortune and Del Griffith’s (Candy) good-natured clumsiness. This was very close to being my number one spot but it was barely inched out by another John Hughes film.

drewpost51) National Lampoon’s Vacation

Ah, the OG road trip movie (probably not, don’t quote me on that). I think I was drawn to National Lampoon’s Vacation based on the movie poster / cover art, honestly. How can that be called anything less than epic? This is one of those films that anyone can relate to. Clark just wants to give his family the perfect vacation, his wife Ellen wants to get to Walley World in one piece, while their children, Rusty and Audrey, would rather be anywhere else. The Griswolds are constantly finding themselves in precarious situations that you can’t help but laugh it. If you ever think your family has problems, watch this film and you’ll instantly feel better.

Honorary mentions include Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Tommy Boy, Fanboys, and Zombieland.

But wait, there’s more! Here’s Allie again to tell you about it:

Now, it was my suggestion to Drew that we throw in a little something extra into this post for a bit of fun. My question was, if you could go on holiday or vacation anywhere from a movie, either fictional or real, where would you go? I probably should have thought about my answer before suggesting that because that’s why my part of this post has taken so long to write! Thinking of things I’ve watched recently though, I would absolutely love to explore the island of Themyscira, from Wonder Woman (2017). I haven’t had a true beach holiday in years, and that island looked stunning. Plus, I’m not exactly going to complain if Chris Pine just happened to wash up on the shore whilst I was sipping a cocktail!

A place I would really like to go would be the Republic capital planet of Coruscant. However, that might be a little bit further of a trip than Allie had in mind. So instead, I would travel to Hogwarts. It would be fun to see the best school of witchcraft and wizardry the UK has to offer. Not to mention driving through that picturesque country side.

The 5 Best Movies of 2017…So Far

It’s hard to believe we’re half way through the year already! I’ve done pretty abysmally at keeping up to date with current movies so far, but it would be rude not to do a Top 5 list of my favourites so far! I’m expecting Okja and Baby Driver to be great movies, but as I haven’t seen them yet, they can’t be in this list!

I’d just like to throw in a few honourable mentions first: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, Table 19, Hidden Figures & Hacksaw Ridge.

Just note, I always go by UK release dates for this list, otherwise those amazing Oscar movies would never make my lists as they’re always released in January!

best-movies-2017-beauty-and-the-beast

#5 Beauty and the Beast

Is the Beauty and the Beast remake better than the original? No, it’s not even on par with it, but I feel like one of the few that still absolutely loved it. Yes, Emma Watson was wrung through the auto-tune a few times, but would you rather have a singer play the role who can’t act to save their life? It was the casting that won me over, even for roles I was skeptical about, such as Luke Evans, who turned out to be the perfect Gaston. I honestly couldn’t have asked for much more!

best-movies-2017-wonder-woman

#4 Wonder Woman

If you told me in January that Wonder Woman was going to feature in any kind of Top list written by me, I would have laughed at you, but I think we were all a little surprised at just how good the latest offering from DC was. Let’s hope this is the turning point we’ve all been waiting for! Gal Gadot has stolen my heart you guys.

best-movies-2017-lion

#3 Lion

I might have only just stopped ugly-crying whenever I think about the ending to Lion. I knew from the trailers it was going to be something I would enjoy, but when half of the movie is dominated by a child actor you can’t help but be a little wary. Thankfully, little Sunny Pawar is an absolute superstar, and it’s impossible not to love him. It’s still hard to believe this is a true story, it’s simply incredible. Oh man, I just remembered why the movie is actually called Lion and now I’m crying all over again!

best-movies-2017-colossal

#2 Colossal

No, I will never stop talking about Colossal. It’s my hidden gem of 2017, and I don’t care if I sound like a broken record! Is it the greatest movie of all time? No. Is the story completely polished? No, but it’s a completely unique tale in a year full of sequels, and Anne Hathaway is a delight to watch in this crazy role. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it seems to be unheard of outside of the blogging world, and I’d love for more people to give it a try.

best-movies-2017-la-la-land

#1 La La Land

It’s rare that I actually re-watch movies in recent years, mainly because my watch list is longer than my arm and I love the thrill of finding new, great things to watch, but I’ve seen La La Land 3 times now, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to the soundtrack. It’s a good job that Spotify doesn’t keep those records actually. (Please don’t tell me it does). I’m a sucker for anything starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling together because of their chemistry, and I seem to be loving musicals lately too, so this was a sure winner!

I’ll be back in the week with my Top 5 Worst Movies of 2017 so far list but for now, I’d love to know what movies have been your favourite so far! What have I missed, that I need to catch up on?

TV Rambles: Fargo Season 3

Aw geez, I’ve been looking forward to Season 3 of Fargo even more than Game of Thrones this year and I can’t believe it’s already over! Where did 10 weeks go? I deliberately stayed away from every bit of news as I could so everything would be a surprise. In fact, by the time Episode 1 aired, all I actually knew was that it starred Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

fargo-season-3-title-stussy-parking

I gotta say, the first half of Episode 1 didn’t get me at all. I loved the fact McGregor was playing both brothers, but I felt like so much information was being thrown at me with no links whatsoever. That all changed the second David Thewlis came onto screen. I had no idea he was even in this season and it took a full minute for my brain to register it was even him. What a character! It was a wild ride from that moment on.

Just like the previous seasons, this one is an entirely new story set in an entirely different year, but still linked to the bigger Fargo universe. Also joining the cast is Carrie Coon, a newbie to me, playing Gloria Burgle. Gloria is the former Chief of the local police department, and together with traffic cop Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) she is the force that just won’t quit when she knows to trust her instincts.

fargo-season-3-david-thewlis-goran-bogdan-andy-yu

I think Season 1 will always hold that key place in my heart as my favourite season, but this one is only just so slightly behind. The story was as brilliant as you can expect, but it was the characters this time round that really made it special. I’ve never seen David Thewlis play the bad guy, let alone a guy so disgusting in both a literal and metaphorical sense. Some of his scenes were honestly difficult to watch (though it may just be pregnancy nausea on my behalf) and so I have to give him a shout out for that.

Ewan McGregor also shone in both of his roles, managing to play the 2 Stussy brothers so well that it was easy to forget they’re played by the same person. I’m actually tempted to say he did a better job than Tom Hardy did in Legend!

fargo-season-3-mary-elizabeth-winstead

The real MVPs for me though were Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Carrie Coon. These ladies just steal every scene that they’re in, and they kick ass. Both of their characters go on such emotional journeys, and they’re just a pleasure to watch. I seriously hope these ladies land some big roles in the future, because they’re ones to watch for sure.

I won’t go into of course, but can I just mention that ending? Perfect. I love it and I hate it at the same time, because we’ll never know what happened after those 5 minutes. Arghhhh. Now I have a Fargo-shaped hole in my life. I really hope we get a Season 4 in the future!

Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

memories-of-murder-2003-movie-reviewAfter a string of 2017 releases, it’s quite refreshing to blog about a movie a little older! Let me tell you about a cool website I stumbled across the other day. It’s called Taste, and basically how it works is that you complete a profile by rating movies that it throws at you. Once your profile is complete, you’re left with a list of movie recommendations based on your tastes. Simple, huh? I wanted to give it a try, so I completed my profile, and the number 1 recommendation for me was Memories of Murder (2003). There was only 1 way to find out whether the site was any good really, wasn’t there?

Directed by Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer & Okja), Memories of Murder is based on a real life serial murder case in South Korea. In October 1986, a young woman is found raped and murdered in a field. Detective Park Doo-man (Kang-ho Song) is first on the scene and has never dealt with a case like this before. It’s clear that him and the rest of the department are well out of their depth, so another detective, Seo Tae-yoon (Sang-kyung Kim) from Seoul, volunteers to help.

If I remember rightly, this might be my 2nd ever foreign language movie. It’s shameful actually, because the only other one I’ve seen (Incendies) was absolutely incredible, so I’m definitely open to suggestions. In fact, I almost enjoy a subtitled movie more, because my mind simply isn’t allowed to wander, or I’ll miss a huge chunk of what’s actually going on.

memories-of-murder-kang-ho-song

Memories of Murder is a reasonably long movie, but it doesn’t ever really slow in pace. From the opening of the movie, we’re presented with the first victim, and the way the story flows it really does feel like we’re part of the investigative team as they desperately search for clues. Once the team work out that these murders only happen at night when it rains, the tension really ramps up. I felt just as frustrated as the detectives when things didn’t go their way, although Park Doo-man’s investigate techniques are extremely questionable!

In fact, his character started out as quite unlikable for me. He was presented with a decent lead, but rather than work with the suspect to gather as much intelligence as he could, Park Doo-man actually creates false evidence to make the suspect look even more guilty, and actually tortures him until he gets a confession. It’s quite hard to watch in some parts. By the end of the movie though, you can see how much his character has grown.

memories-of-murder-serial-killer-zodiac

Memories of Murder is up there with Zodiac as my joint-favourite detective movie I think. As far as that website goes, it was spot on with recommending me something to watch! I’m not affiliated with them in any way by the way, just to make that clear. I just like sharing interesting things with you. This movie gets 4 out of 5 Nike (or should that be Nice?) sneakers from me.

memories-of-murder-rating-score-nike-sneaker

 

 

 

By the way, in case you’re curious, it’s also recommending me Persepolis, Letters from Iwo Jima, Short Term 12, In Bruges and City of God, to name a few. I’ll be tracking these down soon!)

Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

wonder-woman-movie-poster-2017Hell has finally frozen over huh? Don’t worry – I’m not about to rant about the British heatwave again, but that combined with the fact that DC have released a movie that’s not only taking the box office by storm, but getting rave reviews too? Anything could happen at this point! The promise of air con and ice cream (have I told you enough that my cinema does cinnamon buns ice cream?) was enough to break the curse, and the husband and I finally made it to see Wonder Woman on Monday night. Consider us members of the bandwagon!

After making a brief appearance in Batman V Superman last year, Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, for a solo movie of her own, exploring her origin story. As long as it’s not Batman or Spiderman, I kind of dig an origin story movie, and this one in particular, because I soon realised I knew next to nothing about Wonder Woman herself. I won’t explain the plot to you here, I’m sure at least 80% of the population has seen it by now anyway!

I think one of the biggest problems with DC movies of late is that they’ve been pretty cool to look at, but that’s about it, they’re shallow. Wonder Woman takes that and just adds so much more. With a duo of Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, I honestly don’t know who I have the biggest crush on! Mind you, the glow in the dark bath scene coupled with Chris Pine being tied up with the lasso of truth might just seal the deal for me. *cough* Sorry…

wonder-woman-group-photo-squad-goals

#squadgoals

Honestly though? If you’ll allow me a serious moment here, something I really appreciated was the fact that despite the scenes with numerous tall, beautiful women sparring in tight armour, none of it felt sleazy at all. It was sexy as hell, but classy, and I really have to hand it to the team for that one.

Back to Gal Gadot though. Was anyone else expecting her to be so funny? The clothes shopping montage was hilarious, and her reaction to babies and ice cream just made my heart melt. Can we just scrap the Justice League movie and have a feature film of Wonder Woman and Etta having a girls day out? No! Actually, can we have a DC & Marvel crossover just containing Wonder Woman and Thor generally being confused with everyday objects and life? Please, movie gods!

wonder-woman-2017-gal-gadot

I guess the only thing I didn’t enjoy so much was the final battle. It was inevitable really, but just before that moment my mind erased all memory of the sub-par DC movies, but it kind of came back in that CGI-heavy battle. That amazing soundtrack made up for it a little though, I’ll admit.

If you couldn’t tell already, I kinda loved Wonder Woman. My expectations were low for so long, but I got caught into the hype in the last couple of weeks. 4 out of 5 sentimental watches from me. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

wonder-woman-2017-review-score-watch

P.S. I’d like you to appreciate the fact I spent 20 minutes looking for a picture of a watch actually from World War I. I’m nothing if not thorough!