Missing Link (2019)

missing-link-movie-review-poster-2019Director: Chris Butler

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams

Plot: Sir Lionel Frost is desperate to join the Adventurer’s Guild and gain the respect he deserves. Mr Link is the last of his kind and longs to find his long-lost relatives in Shangri-La. Together, the two team up to help each other with their dreams.

My Thoughts: I’ve always had a soft spot for animated movies, and a fascination for stop motion. It absolutely blows my mind the amount of work and effort that goes into it, and when technology is at a place now that a similar effect could probably be created digitally, it’s a blessing that Laika Studios still make their animations this way. Hours and hours of work just to create a couple of seconds of footage! Anyway, let’s talk about Missing Link.

After falling head over heels for their last movie, Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) I was dead excited to see Missing Link, especially with that voice cast! Sadly the movie didn’t have many showings at my local and I doubt it’ll even be in the cinema very long in the UK, despite the marketing effort. It was a great movie, but it doesn’t beat Kubo for me, mainly because that gut-punch of emotions was missing.

Still, Missing Link has one of those stories that is simple enough for the younger audience with enough jokes for the adults to enjoy too. Don’t expect anything too deep and just enjoy the adventure and you’re bound to have a good time! Laika are on an absolute roll, and I can’t wait to see what they make next.

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Best Bit: I loved how Mr Link took everything Frost said literally. “Throw this rope over the wall”. He throws the entire lot, grapple hook included, over the wall and as stupid as it was it just tickled me and I laughed embarrassingly loudly. There’s also the scene where Mr Link gets to pick his own name, and that was just as funny!

Worst Bit: You can probably tell by now I loved this mostly for the animation. But what didn’t sit right with me was the look of Adelina’s character. She just didn’t seem to quite fit in with the style of every other human character in the movie and it was kind of distracting at times.

Fun Trivia: Missing Link is the first Laika film to feature an all adult cast, where the last four films, all the lead roles have been performed by children.

My Rating: 4 out 5 green tweed waistcoats which Mr Link can just about squeeze into. Those poor buttons!

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Pet Sematary (2019)

pet-sematary-movie-poster-review-2019Director: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Lucas Lavoie, Hugo Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera

Plot: In the woods near a family’s home lies a cemetery for pets, and beyond it, a mysterious piece of land where whatever is buried there comes back to life, but not the same as they were before.

My Thoughts: I got cocky. I found peace with the horror genre and have seen and enjoyed a lot of the modern horror movies that got a lot of praise. I guess I decided that I’m now a converted horror fan and can deal with anything, which is how I found myself at the cinema to see Pet Sematary on opening night. I know I’m a wimp but it really scared me! It’s the tension, I can’t handle it.

With my critic hat on, the movie was alright. It’s based on a Stephen King novel so you know the story is going to be good, but I got the feeling a lot of the detail got missed out. If anything, it’s made me want to read the book. At least that can’t scream or hiss at me. The biggest problem I have is that every interesting part about the movie was in the trailer. If you’ve seen it, you’ve honestly seen the whole movie, which is a shame really. It’s a famous story so they surely didn’t need to give away so many details.

John Lithgow was the star of the show for me, I forgot how good of an actor he is actually. His character had the most depth, but again I feel like there was so much backstory that got left out. It’s not like the movie was too long and had to be cut down, I’d have happily sat there for another 10 minutes. That’s a lie, I practically ran back to my car…

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Best Bit: When Louis was at the hospital trying to save the lad who had literally lost half of his face/head, the moment that followed was the only scare that took me and everyone else by surprise. Those are the cinema moments I love, when everyone collectively jumps and then there’s a mumble of nervous laughter.

Worst Bit: Someone really cranked the fog machine up to 11, didn’t they? It looked a bit silly. Also, when I got home just before 11pm, my neighbour suddenly appeared behind my car and scared the living daylights of me. Then, when I stepped inside, my cat was sat on the stairs directly in front of me, staring at me. Because of course he was. Jerk.

Fun Trivia: When Rachel is returning home from Boston, there is a highway sign that says “Derry 20 miles”. An Easter egg for “IT”.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 speeding lorries that are to blame for most of the trauma in this movie. Surely someone in the town should report the drivers?!

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Dumbo (2019)

dumbo-movie-review-2019-disneyDirector: Tim Burton

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Roshan Seth, Sharon Rooney

Plot: Dumbo the elephant is born into the circus and although initially shunned for his extraordinarily large ears, he soon becomes the star of the show thanks to his ability to fly. The circus is bought out by a wealthy man with sinister plans, and all Dumbo wants is to find his Mother.

My Thoughts: I was never a huge fan of the original Dumbo as a child, it just didn’t appeal to me. However, Disney are running at full speed with their live-action remakes right now and as a Disney fan, there’s not going to be a single remake I don’t go and see within a week of its opening. I’m weak! I’ve mostly really enjoyed the remakes so far but I didn’t love Dumbo.

Now Dumbo himself is absolutely adorable. Why all these people in the movie mocked him I don’t know! The biggest problem is that the movie focuses too much on the human characters and not Dumbo himself. Colin Farrell is fun to watch as a struggling Father, and Danny DeVito is right at the top of his game, his character was one of the best parts of the whole movie. The kids are quite annoying though and Michael Keaton’s character was so terrible he was funny in the wrong sense. I thought at several moments that his hair was about to slide off his head!

It gets better as it goes on though, and I did enjoy it on the whole. Considering how I wasn’t fussed about the original I liked the remake more than I expected to, it just felt lacking. Where was the ol’ Disney humour? Also, this is directed by Tim Burton. Really? One of the reasons I worried about the remake was that he would make it too weird, but nothing about the movie cried Tim Burton to me.

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Best Bit: There was a kid sat near me, no older than 5, who had already been told off by his parents for being a general nuisance. 10 minutes into the movie he shouted out “I’ve finished my sweets, I’ve finished my popcorn, and now I’ve got nothing else to do but watch this boring movie!” I damn near choked from laughter!
But seriously, there’s an adorable scene where Dumbo watches these dancing bubbles in the shape of elephants…and it’s so, so beautiful.

Worst Bit: I mentioned Michael Keaton already, didn’t I? I mean, he looked like he was having a grand old time but he was just so ridiculous. There’s also a moment where Colin Farrell seemingly travels on a horse through a busy city just as fast as Dumbo flies over the water…yeah, okay.

Fun Trivia: There was a swear jar on set. Whenever an actor cursed, they needed to put money in the jar. At the end of shooting, the total was given to charity. Allegedly, Colin Farrell was the worst offender and was responsible for the majority of the money.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 feathers…I don’t know whether it’s those or my hayfever kicking in but I can’t stop sneezing today!

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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.

mini-review-fishermans-friends-2019

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)

Shazam! (2019)

shazam-movie-poster-review-2019Director: David F. Sandberg

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

Plot: Whilst searching for his long-lost Mother, 14-year-old Billy Batson is summoned before ‘The Wizard’ to receive the powers of Shazam. His attempts to learn his superpowers (and profit from them) draws the attention of Thaddius Sivana, enraged with envy and out for revenge against Billy for taking what was his.

My Thoughts: I know next to nothing about Shazam, apart from the fact he used to be called Captain Marvel (what a confusing coincidence!) and to tell you the truth I wasn’t sold by the trailer. It didn’t give much away, but it looked goofy as hell and I couldn’t work out if it was intentional or just…terrible. I got the chance to see it a week early though and that was a chance I couldn’t pass up. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I loved the hell out of this movie!

Shazam strips everything back from modern superhero movies. There’s obviously still CGI involved but it isn’t flaunted in your face every 2 seconds. It can’t get away with simply looking great, it relies on a good storyline, which it has. Billy’s story is really quite heartbreaking, and he has flaws just like any other person. The bad guy actually has a decent backstory and genuine motives for being evil. To top it all off, it’s actually really funny, which for a DC movie is a rare sight!

And yes, it’s goofy. But it’s supposed to be, that’s all part of the charm. Adult Shazam acts like a 14-year-old with superpowers…because he’s a 14-year-old with superpowers. He’s irresponsible with them. Think of him as a family friendly Deadpool, which sounds like an insult but I mean it with the highest praise. DC even manages to make fun of itself a little, whilst still having some serious plot lines. Okay, I’m a little gutted they missed out on a legit chance to call Billy’s mother Martha, but maybe that would have been one step too far.

shazam-movie-2019-zachary-levi

Time will tell whether I’m on my own in the Shazam! fan club, but for now I’ll quite happily hold my hands up and say it’s the best DC movie made in recent years.

Oh – and is it just me or is Asher Angel (Billy Batson) secretly Arya Stark’s twin brother?!

Best Bit: When Billy and Freddy are trying to skip school by fooling the security guard. It’s such a small moment in the movie but I laughed so hard, and so did everyone around me. I won’t ruin it for you but keep an eye out for it!

Worst Bit: As well-developed as the bad guy was, I can’t help but feel like involving the 7 deadly sins was a bit of a waste. Apart from envy, the others don’t really serve any kind of purpose and they may as well have just been ordinary monsters.

Fun Trivia: Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have a hero called Captain Marvel, whose films star Djimon Hounsou and release in 2019. However, both are different: Shazam! (2019) is a male teenager who received godly powers and a superhuman form. Captain Marvel (2019) is a female superhero who received alien powers.

My Rating: 4 and a half cases of your finest beer, thank you!

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