Review: The Commuter (2018)

the-commuter-move-review-2018Don’t pretend you didn’t know this post was coming. Some girls have a love of Nicholas Sparks novels, or fashion, or fine wine. Me? I have a die-hard passion for Liam Neeson movies. Rainy weekend? Liam Neeson movie. Sick day? Liam Neeson movie. Down in the dumps? Liam Neeson movie. Yeah, they’re all kind of the same but hey, you know exactly what to expect!

The Commuter is the love child of Taken and The Polar Express. Okay not really, more like Source Code but it conjures a funny image doesn’t it? Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a down on his luck insurance broker (and an ex-cop, of course) who finds himself caught up in a criminal conspiracy whilst on his commuter train home. There’s someone on his train that doesn’t belong, and he has to find them…and kill them. Sorry, he doesn’t…but you saw what I did there.

I guess The Commuter has a lot of comparisons to Non-Stop (also directed by Jaume Collet-Serra funnily enough) in the sense that the manhunt is taking place in a confined space. It just doesn’t have the same suspense that I felt during Non-Stop, nor does it lead us on wild goose chases. Instead, we get more kick-ass action, such as Liam Neeson beating a guy with an electric guitar. His athletic skills might not be so believable anymore but it’s always fun to see him put up a fight.

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Sadly I didn’t love this movie that much. It was plenty fun to watch, and maybe I’m actually getting tired of watching the same old thing now, but hopefully, it’s just a one-off. Some of the plot didn’t really make sense to me (although that might be my Mum-brain) and the reveal was just a bit…lacklustre.

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So yeah…a slightly shorter post from me than normal but I don’t have much more to say than that. It’s a decent movie but just nothing special. Probably the kind of movie I wouldn’t normally even post about but I miss writing and I haven’t seen anything else for a while! The Commuter gets 2 and a half electric guitars from me, just don’t let Liam Neeson have them.

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Review: Ready Player One (2018)

ready-player-one-review-2018-movieI can’t believe I finally got to see Ready Player One, a movie I’ve been waiting for for 2 years last week, and I’m only just writing about it now. In my defence, I’ve been kept busy in the evenings playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and y’no, I have a baby. A baby who is currently napping waving her blanket in the air and babbling, so this may take a while. Mornings like these make me really want to slip on a VR headset and enter the OASIS!

The movie is set in the not-too-far-away future where we’re all addicted to virtual reality. The creator of this VR called the OASIS has passed away and left behind a competition for everyone in the form of an easter egg hunt. Whoever can find all 3 keys which lead to the egg will win full ownership of the OASIS. It’s a lot to take in, but a good chunk of the opening of the movie explains it all in a fair amount of detail. I’ve read the book so I knew the story anyway, but I do question how much a fresh viewer would take in.

Our focus is on Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), better known by his avatar’s name, Parzival. Wade lives in ‘the Stacks’, a run-down area formed of caravans stacked on top of each other. Wade and his best friend Aech (Lena Waithe) along with fellow ‘Gunters’ (egg hunters) Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) form an alliance to find the egg before corporate douchebag Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) and his army beat them to it.

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My favourite thing about this movie adaptation is the casting – it couldn’t be more perfect. It’s so hard when a beloved book comes on to the big screen and your visions of the characters are shattered by odd casting choices. I couldn’t have chosen a better cast myself in this case. Mark Rylance as the awkward creator of the OASIS is spot on, and I had the goofiest grin on my face every time Ben Mendelsohn showed up. I’m just so gutted that Simon Pegg’s character Ogden wasn’t around very much because he was a much bigger character in the book.

Of course, a lot of the movie is set within the OASIS, so rather than seeing these actors we actually see their avatars, so as you can imagine, it’s CGI-heavy. Rather than it being an attack on the senses though it’s absolutely stunning. I was SO glad I got to see it in the cinema for that reason!

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As you’ve no doubt heard, Ready Player One is packed to the brim of 80’s and gaming references. It’s done so tastefully though that even if you recognise none of them, the movie won’t be spoiled for you. Rather than being thrown at your face all the time, it’s just constantly there in the background, making rewatches a lot of fun I imagine as you’ll spot things you may have missed the first time around.

I loved it if you can’t tell, and my only gripes are from changes from the book, which I know can never be helped. 4 and a half easter eggs from me, which reminds me that I think I still have some left-over chocolate in the cupboard…

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Nevermind – my baby just woke up from her nap.

 

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: Dunkirk (2017)

dunkirk-movie-review-2017I feel as movie bloggers we always encourage everyone around us to go and see movies at the cinema, to experience them in the way they should be, but deep down there are plenty of movies just as great viewed on our TVs at home, it’s just the atmosphere of the cinema that we enjoy so much. Big, action movies are obviously always great on the big screen but if there is ever a movie I will regret not seeing at the cinema, actually, in IMAX, it’s Dunkirk (2017).

Does anyone else feel like they were waiting ages for Dunkirk to be released? I’m sure we got that teaser trailer at least a year before it was actually released. I don’t know why I didn’t trek out for it, especially with Christopher Nolan at the helm, but I’ve never had much of an interest in historical or war movies.

Even as someone completely ignorant to history (it was my least favourite subject at school), I knew the story of what happened at Dunkirk, so I’ll be brief in explaining what it’s all about. The movie essentially follows several heroes in the evacuation of the soldiers trapped on the beach of Dunkirk during World War II.

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If you’ve seen the trailer, and felt the tension in those 2 minutes, that’s essentially what the entire movie is. 1 hour and 46 minutes of pure, white knuckled tension. In fact, I think there’s an argument to be made that Dunkirk isn’t a movie at all, it’s more of an experience. I felt drained after the credits rolled, and it wasn’t just baby-induced sleep deprivation, I swear.

Despite not getting and kind of backstory or development to any of the main characters, I really felt for every one of them, especially Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. I won’t talk spoilers here, but Cillian Murphy’s character winds up doing something awful, and yet I couldn’t feel anger towards him, and Tom Hardy’s character’s story was breathtaking and heartbreaking. Every story here is worth shouting about, but those are the two that stood out the most for me.

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As someone who avidly avoids movies in this genre, I honestly can’t say a bad word about Dunkirk, and I’ll be watching it again as soon as possible. I know it’s one my husband would enjoy so it might even be as soon as this weekend, we’ll see. Can I start a petition for it to be re-released in the cinema so I can see it properly? I can only imagine the atmosphere as each screen emptied after each viewing.

Out of respect for the true story behind this movie it seems wrong to do my usual silly rating, so I’m keeping it simple today and giving Dunkirk a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars. Probably my favourite movie of 2017, and even though I have so many of last year’s releases to catch up on, I’m confident it will stay as my number 1 choice!

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Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

star-wars-last-jedi-movie-reviewWeekly cinema trips are a thing of the past for me now, but I still managed to get out to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) thanks to my Mum who babysat while the rest of the family and I braved the weather after steering clear of all social media for the previous 3 days. After finally becoming a Star Wars fan at the ripe age of 26 in the weeks before The Force Awakens came out, I felt almost physically sick with excitement to find out what happened next!

As it’s been out for a few weeks now this review is spoilerific, so steer clear if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want anything spoilt for you!

What is it about that opening music that makes you jump even though you’re expecting it? And has poor General Hux been eating well enough? He looks even pastier than he did before! I loved the scene where Poe Dameron toyed with him, in fact I think it was even better than when he toyed with Kylo Ren (“So who talks first?”). Never change, Poe!

Like so many others, I’ve spent the last 2 years coming up with my own ideas on how I’d like the story to evolve, and I’ve also been rooting for a particular romance to stir! You’ve got to know I’m talking about Kylo Ren and Rey here. “But they hate each other” I heard people say. “Aren’t they totally related anyway?” No, they aren’t! What I wished for I never actually expected to happen, though. Force bond? Shirtless Kylo Ren?! Rian Johnson you are my hero. Matt was right, Kylo is shredded!

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Ahem. Sorry, I’m drifting off into a fangirl ramble now. But that team up fight scene? Awesome! Did you guys see the way Kylo Ren looked at those Praetorian Guards when one dared to hurt his beloved Rey?! *cough* Sorry, I really will stop now.

I’ve been away from the blog world so I’m not in the loop on what you all thought about it, but according to my Facebook feed the world hated it. Was it too long? Maybe, but I would have sat through 3 hours of it to be honest. I read complaints that it was ‘too different’, but are they the same people who claimed The Force Awakens was just a copy of A New Hope? Was the casino scene necessary? Probably not, but I love seeing more of the galaxy. Let’s not talk about Leia Poppins though…

I’m undecided on how I feel about Rose, but that’s definitely due to the lack of Finn/Poe bromance scenes this time around. Shoo, Rose! Is it just me or did Laura Dern feel a bit out of place here? I think she’s great and all but she just seemed…too prim and proper? I can’t put my finger on it. Her heroic actions were jaw dropping though, I can’t deny that.

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How do we all feel about the reveal of Rey’s parents? How mean is Rian Johnson for teasing the subject at least 3 times before we got to find out? There were so many theories floating around, but I honestly wanted her to have nobodies as parents. Not everyone has to be the child of a main character, but it somehow still felt a bit of a downer to hear it confirmed. It’s strange.

Anyway, I’ve actually been to see it twice now thanks to an impromptu date night with my bestie, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Knowing what was going to happen made me appreciate those stand-out scenes even more. I can’t believe we’ve got another 2 year wait now though. I’ve convinced myself that Kylo Ren isn’t going to live to see the credits…

It’s not perfect but I loved it all the same, so The Last Jedi gets 4 and a half un-roasted Porgs from me!

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