Thursday Movie Picks: Movies You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Enjoying

Thursday Movie Picks

Happy Thursday, everyone! That’s a weird sentence to type, especially as it’s technically Monday right now. I missed out on last week’s topic of Cold War so I’m being extra-organised this week. Before I begin, let me remind you that Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves, check out her blog if you’d like to join in!

This week’s theme is Movies You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Enjoying, suggested by Brittani at Rambling Film. This is going to be such a fun and varied week, I can’t wait to read what everyone else chose! It was reasonably difficult to think of 3 movies, only because I tend to avoid movies I think I might hate. If I do end up watching one I normally do hate it, which to be honest is fun to blog about but it’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a movie!

Here are my choices this week…

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It Follows (2014)

It’s not that I thought It Follows was going to be a bad movie – in fact, I chose to watch it because it got great reviews – but it was approaching Halloween a few years ago and I was desperate to start watching more horror movies. I was expecting to find myself watching behind a cushion for a while before giving up and turning it off but I was gripped. It scared the pants off me and haunted me for at least a week afterward but it was so good! I definitely recommend it to any other scaredy cats out there like me wanting to dip their toes into the genre.

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The Boxtrolls (2014)

I was so salty when the Oscar nominations came in and The Lego Movie didn’t get any love. In my mind, it was the winner so it was a huge snub, and the fact that The Boxtrolls, a movie I’d barely even heard of was there was just despicable. So much so that I vowed to boycott the movie and never watch it. I don’t know why I gave it a chance, in the end, maybe I wanted to prove to myself how undeserving it was but I absolutely loved it when I finally gave in!

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Maybe it was Henry Cavill (I just don’t like him that much) or maybe it was something else, but I wasn’t bothered at all by the trailers for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It just looked like another average action movie to me and I’d seen a lot of them around that time so I just kind of forgot about it. It was only when multiple people raved about it to me after it’s DVD release that I gave it a go and really enjoyed it. It was so funny, and Henry Cavill was actually amazing, and I was sold in literally the first 5 minutes.

I think what I’ve learned this week is that between 2014 and 2015 I was very grumpy and didn’t give enough movies the chance they deserved! I’m much more open-minded now.

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Thursday Movie Picks: The Cold

Thursday Movie Picks

Look at me, 2 weeks into the New Year and still keeping up with my resolutions! If only I could get rid of all the leftover Christmas food in the house so easily. This week’s theme for Wanderer’s Thursday Movie Picks couldn’t have been timed any better, because I am so fed up of the cold now! It always feels like Christmas brings the end of Winter when actually Spring is still so far away…

Still, it’s the perfect excuse to stick a pair of slippers on over fluffy socks, make a giant mug of tea and watch a few movies! Here are my picks this week.

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Wind River (2017)

Wind River is a fantastic murder mystery movie set in snowy Wyoming, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen who provide their best performances yet. It’s a dark story that left me feeling cold for a number of reasons, but also one of those movies that I had to mull over for a few days before deciding how I felt about it.

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The Hateful Eight (2015)

Speaking of good mystery stories, I really enjoyed The Hateful Eight. It’s been on my mind this week anyway because I’ve just seen Bad Times at the El Royale and they share similarities. Boring side note – we have a conservatory at home which is like a glass igloo in winter, any time anyone opens the door I’m reminded of the door in The Hateful Eight!

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The Grey (2011)

Okay so maybe not all of my picks this week are great movies, but The Grey features Liam Neeson trudging his way through snowy Alaska after surviving a plane crash…and ends with him having a fist fight with a rabid wolf. That’s just badass, if not a little silly. The toughest thing I ever did in the snow was fall on my arse and only cried for a few minutes.

Point Break (1991) vs. Point Break (2015)

I was feeling pretty blue last week, but a visit from my family and a chat about movies never fails to perk me up a bit. They’re forever taking recommendations from me, but this time I got some recommendations from them! Turns out one of my Mum’s favourite movies is Point Break (1991), a movie I’ve always known the name of but knew nothing about, and so not only did I give it a go last week, I also watched the 2015 remake so I could compare the two.

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Let me explain the plot of the original first just in case you haven’t seen it yet either. There’s a group of people robbing banks dressed as former Presidents of the US, and thanks to some footage from one of the crimes, one detective has the theory that the criminals are surfers. Keanu Reeves is an undercover cop that worms his way into the surf scene in Los Angeles and ultimately finds himself becoming close friends with the leader, played by Patrick Swayze.

No need to beat around the bush, it was fairly obvious that the gang that Keanu Reeves got himself in with was going to be the gang committing the crimes. But that’s not really the point, because this movie has so much else to offer. It has tension, action by the bucket-load and a romance that doesn’t feel unnecessary or forced. It also has one of the coolest scenes ever (Keanu Reeves on his back shooting at the sky) that I recognised from being spoofed and referenced in other things I’ve seen.

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I loved the ending, too. I thought it would end with the bad guys being caught, the good guys live happily ever after, blah blah blah, but the actual ending was a welcome surprise to me. Plus dare I admit it, I feel a Keanu Reeves obsession coming on. Is this the right time to admit I’ve never seen The Matrix?

Anyway, it was whilst on a high from seeing Point Break that I decided I would watch the 2015 remake. Oh what a stupid mistake that was! It’s impossible to write something coherent and intelligent about the differences, but allow me to list some of the things that annoyed me the most:

– New Keanu Reeves was blond and new Patrick Swayze was a brunette which confused the hell out of me constantly

– The actual bank robberies were mentioned briefly and that was it, rather than them playing a huge part of the story

– Any actual plot was thrown away in favour of stunts

– The only moments that were properly remade from the original were done in terrible ways. The moment Utah started shooting at the sky made me laugh it was so bad.

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Honestly, they could have just copied the movie frame by frame, word by word and it would have been better. I’m all for giving an old story a new lease of life but the best parts were trashed and replaced with crazy stunts just for the sake of action.

Put simply, it was LAME. I’ll stick with the original, thanks!

Bonus GIF:

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Review: Focus (2015)

focus-movie-review-2015It was time I took a break from catching up on as many award-nominated movies as possible, and watch something a little easier to digest, something that had been recommended to me by my movie-loving family (a long time ago, and on multiple occasions, sorry!). Time for Focus (2015)! Besides, who can turn down a Will Smith movie? I just love the guy.

Focus (2015) is a reasonably straight forward Crime/Drama movie in which Will Smith plays Nicky, a veteran con man takes an apprentice under his wing, Jess, played by Margot Robbie. A heated romance ensues, but without warning Nicky breaks up the relationship. 3 years later Jess shows back up whilst Nicky is in the middle of the biggest con of his career, and she throws him off track completely.

I feel like this movie was split into two distinctive halves. First we have an introduction of sorts into just how talented Nicky is not just with sleight of hand, but also psychology and suggestion. This was without a doubt my favourite part of the movie after a certain scene in which it is shown to us the audience the sheer level of work and skill that went into the con at the sports game. It’s like something Derren Brown would do!

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The second half leaves us wondering – Is Nicky conning Jess? Is Jess conning Nicky? It’s the more action packed half, and comes to an explosive conclusion. It might have been fairly predictable, but there was still one more twist that I didn’t see coming.

I think what makes Focus so enjoyable is the chemistry between Will Smith and Margot Robbie. They’re both people I love to see, but they work together so well! It reminded me that their relationship in Suicide Squad was what made it entertaining to be honest.

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My only complaint is that I wanted more of that first half. Watching the team work the crowds, lifting watches, jewellery, handbags and more from clueless victims. Seeing Nicky explain all the suggestions he left behind in the lead up to (and during) the sports game. I actually turned onto high alert after that part, wondering if the movie itself was doing that to us. Were there little details hidden throughout the movie that would lead up to something shocking we should have seen coming? That never happened, sadly.

Still, as a Saturday night movie with a glass of wine and a takeaway, you can do no wrong by watching Focus. It’s flashy, it’s fun, and you can brag to your family/friends if you manage to work out the ending before it’s too late, just like my Mum who’s very pleased with herself (proud of you, Mum!). From me, Focus gets 3.5 out of 5 things I stole from you whilst reading this. Psyche!

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