Life Itself (2018)

life-itself-movie-review-2018-posterDirector: Dan Fogelman

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Antonio Banderas, Laia Costa, Alex Monner, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot: Will and Abby fall in love at college, get married and have a child. But after a cruel twist of nature, tragedy befalls them and the aftershocks affect more people around them throughout the years.

My Thoughts: I don’t know why, but this week I’ve been making an attempt to catch up on the movies I missed which have been hailed as being terrible – it’s an odd hobby but there’s a certain guilty pleasure about awful movies. I’ve seen Serenity (2019) but I can’t put my thoughts into words on that yet. Today I’m talking about Life Itself, but let me share an odd fact about myself first. When I was a kid I’d let my thoughts run away with me. I’d wake up in the night needing the toilet but I was afraid I would wake my parents, and my thoughts continued until I’d caused World War 3 just by having a wee at 2am.

It feels like that’s the kind of message this movie is going for. One small event can lead to much bigger consequences. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows, because this movie is all over the place. I didn’t hate it though, I actually almost loved it. During the opening scenes, I was baffled as to why the movie was so hated. I’d like Samuel L. Jackson to narrate my life, please. I also would have quite happily watched a drunken Oscar Isaac singing in a cafe for the entire movie because the biggest problem for me was the start of the movie was the best part.

If you’re looking for a sappy rom-com this certainly isn’t it, it’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever watched, but there is at least a beautiful message at the end of it all that brings some hope to the melancholy. From what I’ve read, the haters have called it ‘2018’s Collateral Beauty’ and I can’t argue with that. I guess the problem is I really enjoyed that movie!

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Best Bit: Any of the scenes with Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde together. They’re so sickeningly cute, and their dog has the best name ever. Can we please have the rom-com we deserve?

Worst Bit: Once the story switched over to the Gonzales family, that’s where it started to lose me. They were introduced too late into the movie for me to invest in them and so to be brutally honest I just didn’t care that much for their drama.

Fun Trivia: During the writing of the film, Dan Fogelman listened to Bob Dylan’s album Time Out of Mind and in particular the song Love Sick, which opens the film. Written after the divorce of the singer of his second wife, this double album, dating from 1997, speaks of love and mourning with melancholy.

My Rating: 3 double espressos in large cups, that a drunken Oscar Isaac will want to pour 2 healthy measures of whiskey into before staggering about, trying to serenading you.

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Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in March

March has been one of my best movie watching months for a long time now! My home life in general is looking up again, I’ve been able to make it to the cinema a whopping 7 times and when I’ve stayed home I’ve felt awake enough to actually sit through a whole movie. That all sounds very normal I know, but I’ve had a rocky start to the year so it’s so nice to be feeling normal again!

Anyway, as per usual it’s too time-consuming to write a full review for everything that I watch, so here is a collection of mini reviews for the movies I watched in March but haven’t mentioned on the blog yet.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

Will we ever get bored with the ‘head injury causes weird and magical things to happen’ genre? I don’t think I will, because this entry by Rebel Wilson was surprisingly good! It’s a rom-com that makes fun of rom-coms and although it starts to lose its charm towards the end it’s still a decent comedy. I’ll never be able to hear the word ‘beguiling’ without laughing though now.

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

I’m pretty sure everyone who watched this movie said it was the worst movie of 2018. So why did I watch it? I kind of love Will Ferrell, and comedy can be really subjective so I thought there was a chance I might enjoy it. No – you were all right, it was terrible. The worst part is that my husband actually kind of loved it and keeps quoting vulgar lines from it around the house.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I avoided it for so long because I assumed it would be one of those fairly terrible horrors riddled with pointless jump scares. Thankfully, the bloggerverse correctly informed me it’s more of a comedy, and the sequel is kind of awesome, so I listened to you all and gave it a go. It started off a little scary but other than that it’s not bad at all. I actually liked the sequel even more!

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What Men Want (2019)

Taraji P. Henson is an absolute queen, but not even she could save this mess. It takes way too long before her character is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her, and although it gets funnier from that point, it was a bit of a case of too little, too late. Tracy Morgan is basically playing Tracy Jordan and all I took home was the feeling that I wanted to rewatch 30 Rock.

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Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Yes, I willingly went to the cinema to watch a bunch of old guys living in Cornwall sing sea shanties. It was a slow week for new releases, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Cornwall over the years on holiday so I gave it a chance. I was the youngest audience member by at least 30 years but do you know what? It wasn’t half bad. Your typical, charming little British movie.

In case you missed any, these are the movies I watched in March that actually got proper reviews:

Cold Pursuit (2019)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Triple Frontier (2019)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Us (2019)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-2018-movieDirector: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine

Plot: Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man after Kingpin’s use of a dimension-crossing super-collider causes 5 universes to join. Miles now has to learn to use his powers whilst also working with the other Spider people to stop Kingpin and return everyone to their home universes.

My Thoughts: I’m literally the last person in the world to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I’m sure of it. Never have I ever kicked myself so hard for not making the trip to the cinema! Believe in the hype, this movie really is as amazing as everyone is saying it is. Apologies in advance because this review isn’t going to be coherent in the slightest.

Where do I even start? I love animated movies, especially those with something different in their style, and this movie has style in buckets. It looks so cool. Cooler than its looks? The soundtrack. Every single song is perfect. Never did I ever think I would want to watch an animated Spider-Man stuck to the ceiling, singing Sunflower by Post Malone but it was a brilliant moment!

The casting choices? Spot on! I thought Jake Johnson was an odd choice before I watched the movie, but no one else could voice a lazy Spider-Man like he did. Nicolas Cage is hilarious as Spider-Man Noir. Also, does Mahershala Ali have some kind of superpowers when it comes to picking movies? Dude knows how to pick a winner for sure!

spider-man-spider-verse-peter-parker-miles-morales

Honestly, this movie just has everything you could want and more. It’s so funny, it has references aplenty for the comic fans, it has surprises along the way, it’s emotional, it’s just…perfect.

Best Bit: I could pick at least 10 just off the top of my head but the moment I keep replaying in my head is when Peter B. Parker is telling Miles his plan to make and steal a new ‘goober’. “I select a bagel…”

Worst Bit: The credits. I never wanted the movie to be over. Seriously though I can’t find a fault. I thought maybe Peni Parker or Spider-Ham might be annoying but they weren’t!

Fun Trivia: This film was dedicated in memory of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, who died on July 6, 2018, while this film was finishing production. However, this was not the only dedication, as a month before the film was released, Stan Lee died on November 12, 2018. The film was dedicated to both of Spider-Man’s creators.

My Rating: A full 5 out of 5 bagels. This is the best Spider-Man movie out there. Don’t @ me.

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Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in February

A week or so ago I made a post with some mini-reviews of the movies that I’d watched in January but hadn’t got round to mentioning or reviewing on my blog. You can find that post here. It was mainly because I’ve started putting my reviews into my film diary on Letterboxd and I wanted to have a little something written for everything I’d seen! It was fun to do so I might keep it going.

Anyway, there were four movies I watched in February that I haven’t told you about, two of them being Netflix documentaries that I had no idea how to actually review properly. Here’s what they were…

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

When I crawled out of the rock I’d been living under and finally heard about Velvet Buzzsaw, I was so hyped. Then I found out it was getting a Netflix release that weekend! I watched it as soon as I could. Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing in this role, he plays weird so well. He’s one of those actors I would blindly watch anything for. The movie was a lot of fun but it wasn’t that memorable in all honesty. I was expecting more.

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Fyre (2019)

Oh my God. With every new disaster that happened during the planning of Fyre Festival I just wanted a note to come up on the screen to tell me it was all a joke and it didn’t happen. What a bunch of idiots. The fact that some of them haven’t even learned from the mess is baffling! My favourite moment was when they said something about the ridiculous amount of money spent on influencer marketing over social media, and then all it took was a photo of a cheese sandwich to bring it crashing down.

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Wild Rose (2018)

I got to see Wild Rose really early thanks to a secret screening at my local Odeon. It was the first time I didn’t look at any of the clues either so I went in completely blind which was great. It’s the story of a young Mum from Glasgow who dreams of being a Country singer. Thing is, I found the main character to be so damn unlikeable that I really struggled to watch the movie, and it dragged like hell. I think I’m alone in that assessment though, it has really positive reviews overall.

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Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

For a few weeks now I’ve seen people talking about Abducted in Plain Sight on Facebook, so the FOMO was strong and I put it on during dinner one night. Excuse the blasphemy but Christ almighty this documentary made me angry! As a parent myself, I don’t know how that woman’s parents can live with themselves. They were stupid enough in their actions before the first abduction, but to allow it to happen again?! I don’t want to live on this planet anymore…

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in January

Since I’ve started logging all of my reviews on my Letterboxd account, I can’t help but feel jittery about those movies logged in my film diary that I didn’t write anything for. I like things like that to be all uniform and neat (why I can’t apply this to my house I don’t know) and so I think a monthly round-up of the movies that forgotten about is a good idea. I get to write a little about everything I’ve seen, and my film diary will be satisfying to look at.

Of course, it’s already mid-February so I best catch up quick! There were 4 movies I saw in January that never got any love on the blog, so here they are now in brief…

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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I missed Bad Times at the cinema, they only showed it for about a week and always at weird times, so I was desperate to finally give it a watch. I thoroughly enjoyed the weirdness of it all and the performances all-round were stellar. Highlights were the scene with Cynthia Erivo singing and clapping to hide Jeff Bridges digging up the floorboards, and Chris Hemsworth in all his glory. Sign me up for his weird Fight Club!

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Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Shamefully I’ve never seen the original Mary Poppins, so I think I enjoyed this sequel(?) more than the average blogger. The sets and costumes were gorgeous and the whole movie had a wonderful charm about it. It’s just a shame none of the songs were particularly memorable, although enjoyable at the time. Lin-Manuel Miranda is an absolute treasure and I demand he be more present on our screens!

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Stan & Ollie (2018)

I’m slightly too young to appreciate the comedic duo Laurel & Hardy so I was really looking forward to seeing Stan & Ollie, almost as an educational watch more than anything. The movie was interesting enough, the performances absolutely fine, but I’m baffled at how a movie about comedians turned out to be quite so dull. The only thing I really loved about it was Stan’s wife’s cold, deadpan humour. She was ace.

widows-2018-movie-review-viola-davis

Widows (2018)

How/why I missed Widows at the cinema is beyond me. I was so excited to see it, and oh boy it did not disappoint. Viola Davis was absolutely terrifying, I would 100% not mess with her. The political side-plot got me confused for a while but I caught up eventually. Plus, isn’t it great when a movie pulls a sudden twist on you that you never saw coming? I can’t recommend this one enough – it would have been in my Top 10 of 2018 if I’d watched it earlier.