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Review: The Florida Project (2017)

the-florida-project-movie-review-2017After being away from the game for far too long, and realising the only movies I’d been watching of late were average blockbusters, I decided to go back to what made me love blogging in the first place – little-known movies that I discovered through other blogs that are well loved. That’s what led me to watch The Florida Project (2017) the other night and re-kindled my love of movies in general.

Set not far away from the most magical place in the world, 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives with her Mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) at the Magic Castle Motel. It’s the summer holiday, and the movie revolves around the antics that Moonee and her friends get up to, as well as the struggles and hardships of Halley and the other adults living at the Motel.

I didn’t warm to this movie, to begin with. I took it at face value, and Moonee and her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera) really wound me up at first. My school had quite a few rough kids and it brought back a few memories. However, once I got a look into their lives and what they had to deal with every day, I fell in love with them. In fact, I feel like I could really relate to the manager of the Motel, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), who has to put up with the nonsense every single day, but still has a soft spot for them.

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After Halley and her friend downstairs Ashley (Mela Murder) fell out big time, it was reasonably clear to me what direction the movie was going to go in, but it didn’t ease the heartbreak that I felt watching Moonee run. What an amazing little actress Brooklynn Prince is! I hope to see her again in more movies to come.

In fact, I was gutted when the movie ended for 2 reasons. The first obviously being because it was so emotional, but secondly, because I could spend all day at the Magic Castle Motel just watching these characters live their lives. I haven’t felt such a strong connection to a character for a long time.

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This is the first movie by Sean Baker that I’ve seen, but I’ve been meaning to watch Tangerine (2015) for a while now and this might just be the push I needed. If you’re looking to watch something a little different than your average movie, I can’t recommend The Florida Project highly enough, it’s one of my favourites of 2017 for sure. Also – it really makes me want to go back to Florida! I haven’t been since I was a kid. 4.5 Magic Bands out of 5 from me – which Halley may or may not have stolen…

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Review: Suburbicon (2017)

suburbicon-movie-review-2017I’ve actually managed to watch a couple of new movies this week, hurray! Ideally, I’d like to blog about all of them, but let’s take baby steps for now and talk about the one I watched most recently, which was Suburbicon. I’m an absolute sucker for a script by the Coen Brothers, but this latest one is actually directed by none other than George Clooney, so I wasn’t as sure. I’ve kept away from reviews where I could, but I did know Suburbicon wasn’t widely loved.

So what’s it about? Suburbicon is a once-peaceful community in the 1950’s where everything seems rosy and everyone gets along until a black family move in and a terrible crime is committed in the house behind them. In that house at the time was Gardner (Matt Damon), his Son Nicky (Noah Jupe), his Wife Rose (Julianne Moore) and his Sister in Law Margaret (also Julianne Moore). Tragically, Rose is killed as a result of the crime, and from there, things just keep getting worse for Gardner.

That’s all I really want to say about the plot because this is one of those movies that takes several twists and turns along the way, and that’s where most of the fun in watching it comes from. It’s not the best Coen movie out there, but I enjoyed it more than I think most did. You could probably argue that the tone was a bit all over the place, but that added to the quirkiness of it all for me.

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The best moment without a doubt is when Oscar Isaac turns up in a role I won’t say for spoiler purposes, but it’s the best 10 minutes of the entire movie. I promise I’m not just saying that because it’s him! Someone in Hollywood please give Oscar some bigger roles – he SO deserves them!

Whilst all this is going on, the upset caused by the black family moving in just keeps escalating until it reaches riot proportions, and this is the only thing I didn’t like as much about Suburbicon. What was the point in it all? I’m sure it connects somehow but it just felt a bit disjointed to me – the movie wouldn’t be lost without those scenes as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps someone can fill me in on what I’m clearly missing?

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Ultimately though, I was quite pleasantly surprised after not setting my hopes up too high. It’s certainly not up there with the likes of Fargo and The Big Lebowski, but I enjoyed it more than Hail Caesar! for sure. 4 out of 5 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from me – you probably shouldn’t eat them though.

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Review: Downsizing (2017)

downsizing-movie-review-2017After falling in love with Colossal (2017) last year for it’s unique story line, I was over the moon when I saw a trailer for Downsizing (2017). 2 movies in the same year with an interesting, different tale to tell that isn’t a remake or a sequel? Count me in! Plus it stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz and Jason Sudeikis? Shut up and take my money, cinema lady.

Us humans are slowly killing the Earth with our waste, and quite frankly, we’re running out of room. It’s a miracle then, when scientists discover the ability to irreversibly shrink people down to a fraction of their actual size. Years later, tiny settlements have been set up and roughly 3% (or was it 5%?) of the world’s population are now tiny. It’s environmentally friendly, and also economically friendly, as your money is worth a heck of a lot more when you’re only 5 inches tall.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are a married couple who make the difficult decision to downsize themselves. Things go belly-up however when Paul wakes up after the process to discover his wife changed her mind at the last minute, leaving him behind. Thus, Paul starts his new, tiny life.

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I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I’m actually gutted, but also impressed to learn that this is an original screenplay rather than one adapted from a book. So many details have been thought about, from the intricate details on how the downsizing process works to the social issues that would arise from this. Things such as terrorism, as these tiny people are so hard to track, or how they should be able to vote as they don’t contribute much back. It really is a lot to think about!

Sadly, it’s also this movie’s huge problem. None of these issues are explored at all, they’re just brought up and never really mentioned again. The thing is, if these areas weren’t mentioned, we all would have complained that the movie was too simple, so it was never going to win really. Downsizing should have been a TV Series, where each season could have been dedicated to a particular issue. Heck, the first season could have just been about how the process began!

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There’s still some fun to be had though, mainly with the relationship that Paul strikes up with Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau). At first Ngoc Lan seems like a timid cleaner, but she has the most amazing personality and completely overpowers Paul in every single scene. She alone makes this movie worth a watch!

The other thing I have to wonder is what was cut from the movie? One of the coolest moments in the trailer was a giant bottle of vodka being drank by the tiny people. If a scene intended to actually sell the movie was cut, what else? Mind you, it’s long enough as it is!

All in all, I’m gutted this movie wasn’t a TV Show instead, so that the story and all the ideas behind it couldn’t have been explored properly. It’s 3 out of 5 bottles of vodka from me!

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Mini Reviews: The Snowman (2017), Lady Bird (2017) & Call Me by Your Name (2017)

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Not that I want to jinx it or anything, but I’ve been doing better than I thought at watching movies these last couple of weeks! Mainly thanks to it being awards season and wanting to at least have a clue about what’s what of course. The BAFTAs are in a week’s time and I still have a few nominated movies I’d like to catch (Phantom Thread, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool & I, Tonya) but I’m closer than I’ve ever been I think.

I do like to write a little something about each movie I’ve seen but some of the award movies are so hard to write about, so I thought it would be a good time for a Mini Reviews post! Every now and again though I need something a little lighter to watch in between these powerful movies, and that’s how The Snowman has found it’s way here.

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The Snowman (2017) is one of those movies I saw the trailer for ages ago, got super excited for it, and then forgot all about it. That is, until it started cropping up onto everyone’s ‘Worst of 2017’ posts. Torn between taking everyone’s advice and punishing myself, I decided to give it a go anyway. It couldn’t be that bad, right? Read this next bit in a Janice voice. Oh. My. God.

It should have been something I loved. A crime/mystery where Michael Fassbender is trying to solve a series of murders where a snowman is left behind at the scene of the crime. You know, one of those whodunit movies. Only The Snowman just didn’t make any sense. The start was so weird I questioned whether I was even watching the right movie! Plus, there’s throwing in some red herrings and there’s making half the plot completely pointless. Ugh!

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I didn’t know anything at all about Lady Bird (2017) until Saoirse Ronan was on the Ellen Show promoting it, and then I knew I had to see it. I also spent the next hour trying to work out how to even pronounce Saoirse (it’s sur-shah if you were wondering). Gosh, it’s like Domnhall Gleeson all over again! Bless you lovely Irish people.

Anyway! Lady Bird is a beautiful coming of age movie in which Saoirse plays a seventeen year old girl wanting to escape her small home town and live out her dreams at college in New York. I loved every single minute of this. I usually feel luke-warm about these kind of movies but I saw so much of myself in Lady Bird. It’s one of my favourites of the year for sure and I so hope Saoirse wins the Oscar!

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So, Darkest Hour was the one I was least excited about seeing, but after that it was Call Me by Your Name (2017). I know everyone loves it, but I need my romance to have a splash of comedy, and it didn’t look like this was going to give it to me. Set in beautiful northern Italy, a young lad named Elio falls in love with his Father’s research assistant Oliver.

It’s such a slow burn, and I really struggled to stay alert through the whole two hours plus of it all. I can appreciate the beauty in it, and if anything it really makes me want to visit Italy myself, but this just wasn’t the movie for me. Plus I can never, ever eat a peach again without thinking about that scene. Shudder.

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My 5 Least Favourite Movies of 2017

You can’t have a ‘Favourites of 2017‘ list without a Least Favourites one, right? This one was more difficult to put together to be honest, because having less time for movies generally means you avoid ones you know you aren’t going to enjoy. That said, this list was originally 8, but that doesn’t sit well with me, so a few movies had a lucky escape from being included.

I would say these 5 movies aren’t technically bad, they just massively disappointed me. That’s kind of worse, isn’t it? It’s like when your parents or teachers aren’t mad at you, they’re disappointed in you. That shame sticks with you!

But anyway, let’s kick off…

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Is it commonly accepted that the first Pirates movie was cool as hell? I hope it is, because it’s true. But it’s a franchise that’s been used too much now, and this one just didn’t excite me at all. Doesn’t help that I’ve missed one of them along the way either!

4. Home Again

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Normally I’m totally down for a rom com starring Reese Witherspoon and 3 hot guys, but Home Again was just lame. I didn’t care about any of the characters, so it all got real boring real fast. Stick with This Means War!

3. Fist Fight

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Now I’m mad. Fist Fight had all the right ingredients to be a half decent comedy that you might rewatch on rainy days, but the only remotely funny parts were all in the trailer. Plus, why on God’s green earth was it called Fist Fight when the saying in the movie is Teacher Fight?!

2. The Dark Tower

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UGH. Matthew McConaughey just RUBS me up the wrong way. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed The Dark Tower if he wasn’t in it, but it was mediocre at best. Plus it has the worst dialogue…
“Did you miss me?”
*shoots and misses*
“I guess you did”
UGH.

1. Song to Song

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One of my most hated movies ever. 2 whole hours where no scene lasts longer than 5 seconds, no one smiles, nothing makes sense. It has the most amazing cast and still sucked. Not even Ryan Gosling making a turkey out of a napkin could save this for me.

So tell me guys, what was your most disappointing or hated movie of 2017?