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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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#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!

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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.

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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!

Going off Topic (#5) The chocolate on my biscuits has melted…

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It’s just too warm! I’m in the UK, it’s currently 29 degrees, (84 Fahrenheit for those that use it) I’m practically dying from hayfever, and I’m pregnant enough now that everyone I meet is asking me “how are you coping in this heat?”. Not well, thank you, I can’t sleep at night and my nose is at risk of dripping with no warning whatsoever. I can’t even enjoy a fruit cider or cocktail slushie in the garden, so go away and leave me to sulk!

Obligatory British-weather rant over.

So, I’ve kind of got back into the swing of blogging on a regular basis again! I had to take a break because I just found myself not really watching any movies, and that kind of makes it hard to actually blog about movies, you know? However, I’ve found my mojo again, even though I STILL haven’t seen Wonder Woman. The universe just doesn’t want me to. I’ve got plans to see it tonight actually, mainly as an excuse for cinnamon buns ice cream and an air-conditioned room. Keep your fingers crossed for me – I might be there tonight!

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I’ve kept fairly on top of blogging about everything that I’ve seen lately. In case you missed them, this month so far I’ve reviewed Shimmer Lake (2017), Fist Fight (2017), Before I Fall (2017), The Belko Experiment (2017) and Baywatch (2017). I doubt I’ll review it but I watched Tower Heist (2011) on a whim the other week. My husband and I stuck on a DVD, a trailer for that came on and we thought ‘eh, let’s see if we can watch that instead!’. It was alright, kind of what you’d expect with that title, but had some good stars in. I also watched CHiPS (2017) over the weekend, I kind of enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as heavy on the comedy as I thought it would be.

Last night I watched Personal Shopper (2017). I knew the name just because it was mentioned a lot in Cannes Film Festival posts I’d read, but I honestly had no idea what it was about. It stars Kristen Stewart, and with the title, I thought it would be some kind of ‘Devil Wears Prada’ kind of movie but it’s actually a spiritual ghost story! Not what I expected at all. It’s got a lot of depth and a very cryptic ending, which didn’t sit well with me, but made sense when I researched it afterwards. Not my cup of tea if I’m honest, but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who loved it.

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TV wise, I’m loving the hell out of Fargo Season 3. I struggled with the first episode but it’s just gotten stronger each week. I’ve never seen David Thewlis like this before, in fact I actually struggle to watch some of his scenes. Ewan McGregor might just be my favourite actor of 2017 at this rate, and I’m dying to dig up some more of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s filmography. The finale is this week, arghhhhh! I’m hearing a lot of good things about Twin Peaks, can any readers recommend that I give that a go once I have a Fargo-shaped hole in my life?

I wouldn’t ramble at you for 500 words without giving you something good to read at the end of it all, so here are some of my favourite posts from the last week or so:

Cinematic Corner reviews Wonder Woman – and she’s got me so hyped for it!

Two Dollar Cinema reviews The Mummy – I haven’t seen it myself but I can guarantee his review is more entertaining than the blockbuster itself!

Dell on Movies writes a moving post following the death of Adam West this month.

Life of this City Girl reviews my favourite food-related movie, Chef. Aaaaand now I’m hungry again.

Review: Baywatch (2017)

baywatch-movie-review-2017Okay, so I still haven’t seen Wonder Woman (the world has decided I’m not meant to see it I swear) so I’m really sorry I’m presenting you with Baywatch rather than that. Hear me out though! I got an offer for a date night with my bestie, and it was going to involve Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream. I am a pregnant lady dammit, and I’m weak! Plus, I find Dwayne Johnson so irresistibly likeable, I felt like I owed him one.

In this remake of the original TV Show, Dwayne Johnson is the Lieutenant of Baywatch, or head of the Life Guards for a simpler term. Summer is here, and him and his team are holding tryouts for 3 new positions on the squad. Zac Efron is a twice Gold-winning Olympic swimmer who has been disgraced after throwing up in the pool, and so he’s been sent to the bay…I’m actually not sure why. It was some kind of plea deal?

See, the plot is kind of all over the place. It’s not enough to be a simple, summer comedy. It’s also a crime-solving movie, and Priyanka Chopra is our bad guy. She’s murdering people left right and centre, covering them up as accidents, so that she can…control some real estate? Again – I’m honestly not sure what exactly she was doing.

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All this would be forgivable in my eyes if the movie was funny, but it just isn’t. I chuckled a few times, I gagged at all 3 mentions of dead people smelling like dairy products (I’m feeling ill thinking about it) and I got bored very quickly of the penis jokes. Even this might be almost forgivable if I had some eye candy to admire, but as much as I love Zac Efron, he looks plain weird with his new, 5% body-fat self. Please refer to Ryan Reynolds in Blade Trinity for that one!

…Hold up, I lost about 10 minutes on Google image search there. What was I saying? I’m sorry Dwayne Johnson, I’m actually on your side in this Rotten Tomatoes battle you have going on, but this wasn’t the movie to use. A bit of stupidity is fun, look at San Andreas, but this was too much. There’s a moment when Zac walks past a sea urchin and Dwayne lectures him all about what they are and what they do – and then they simply walk off. “Oh” I think, “that’ll be important to the plot later then, us as the audience must be too dumb to know what a sea urchin is.” Low and behold! It turns up in the finale.

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I forgot about this scene. This was quite funny!

I have to mention the CGI too. On the whole it wasn’t too bad, but in an early scene with a boat on fire, with fire surrounding it in the water, I thought I might have been watching Sharknado. It was seriously THAT BAD. How much of the budget did they blow just to have David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson turn up?

I realise I’ve spent this whole post slagging the movie off, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience on the whole, it just was nowhere near as good as I hoped. I never expected a masterpiece, but I usually enjoy these summer comedies a lot more! Apologies to my friend Steph if she’s reading this and actually kind of loved the movie – I still had a really fun night!

Ideally I would give Baywatch 2 out of 5 concealed boners, or dead guy penises (penis’s? peni?) but that would be gross, so 2 important-to-the-plot sea urchins it is!

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Review: The Belko Experiment (2017)

the-belko-experiment-2017-movie-reviewWhat’s this? 2 posts in 3 days? Is it possible that I’m getting back into a blogging routine again? Argh, I’ve cursed it now. You won’t hear from me for a week at least now. Anyway! This also marks the 3rd night in a row I’ve watched a movie on nothing more than a whim, and this time it was The Belko Experiment. I’d heard the name crop up on a few blogs when it was released in cinemas, but I tried to avoid reading too much because it seemed like one of those movies that was better the less you knew.

In Bogtoa, Colombia, there is a high-rise office block, home to a government orientated business named Belko Industries. Due to nature of the work, Belko requires all non-national employees to wear tracking chips, which is odd enough, but on one particular work day, the local employees are all turned away at the gates, and that’s where this twisted social experiment starts, for the remaining 80 employees within the building.

I’ll admit, I was expecting this to be more of a psychological kind of thriller, rather than the blood bath that it was, so that’s skewed my judgement a little, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The movie builds up to the main event nicely, introducing most of the main characters with a pretty cool cast including Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, John C. McGinley and John Gallagher Jr just to name a few!

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Once the building is locked down and the announcement made that the employees have just 20 minutes to murder 2 of their colleagues, the mind games really start. It’s always interesting to see how these characters react to such an ultimatum, and I have to admit I would be the one who runs to hide in the stationery cabinet. No wonder Hollywood hasn’t made a movie about me yet! If anyone else really enjoyed that element of the movie I highly recommend Circle (2015) which follows the same concept on a much more intimate level.

The Belko Experiment is gory as hell (for me anyway!) so I wouldn’t recommend watching this with dinner…especially if it involves pasta sauce. I reckon every office worker out there should give this a watch though, who hasn’t daydreamed about bashing their boss’s head in with a tape dispenser? Hi boss, if you’re reading. I just made that up to be funny, I promise.

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Of course I won’t ruin the ending for you, but I’m a little torn on how to feel about it. It felt like the easy way out to me, but then I can’t imagine any other ending that would have made sense, unless of course this was an M Night Shamalamadingdong movie! I just wish it had some more mind games. 3 out of 5 tape dispensers for me. I always said those things are so heavy they could do some serious damage…

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Mini Reviews: Fist Fight (2017), Shimmer Lake (2017), & Before I Fall (2017)

The last couple of weeks have been so crazy that I haven’t been on this blog for what feels like forever! In my defence, it was purely because I had nothing to blog about – that kind of happens when you don’t actually get round to watching anything. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I’ve caught up over the weekend and watched a few fairly mediocre movies that were perfect for some mini reviews.

Ready to be underwhelmed?

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Why wasn’t this movie called Teacher Fight? That’s what’s said at least 100 times, and I honestly had to double check that wasn’t the real title. Starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day, this was a real ‘meh’ comedy that was as predictable as hell. I have a soft spot for Charlie Day’s comedic charm so I can forgive it slightly, and it had a few moments that made me chuckle, but you can lump it with 2017’s lame comedies.

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I’ll admit, I quite enjoyed Shimmer Lake. The problem is, if I had to explain it to anyone, I’d say it’s a cross between Fargo and Memento. That sounds like a combination made in heaven, but it’s nowhere near as good. It’s a crime/mystery/thriller told in that backwards, Memento style, and most of the main characters are quite quirky in that Fargo sense, but it’s just not as polished, plot and direction wise. Still, I quite enjoyed it and wasn’t expecting the ending at all!

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Speaking of movies that seem far too familiar, I also watched Before I Fall. 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.

I feel like I’ve brought you a bit of a mediocre Monday, but I’m sure something great will come along soon. I’m seeing Wonder Woman tomorrow night, but because I’ve been away I don’t actually know what the general consensus is. Is it good, you guys?