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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Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

wonder-woman-movie-poster-2017Hell has finally frozen over huh? Don’t worry – I’m not about to rant about the British heatwave again, but that combined with the fact that DC have released a movie that’s not only taking the box office by storm, but getting rave reviews too? Anything could happen at this point! The promise of air con and ice cream (have I told you enough that my cinema does cinnamon buns ice cream?) was enough to break the curse, and the husband and I finally made it to see Wonder Woman on Monday night. Consider us members of the bandwagon!

After making a brief appearance in Batman V Superman last year, Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, for a solo movie of her own, exploring her origin story. As long as it’s not Batman or Spiderman, I kind of dig an origin story movie, and this one in particular, because I soon realised I knew next to nothing about Wonder Woman herself. I won’t explain the plot to you here, I’m sure at least 80% of the population has seen it by now anyway!

I think one of the biggest problems with DC movies of late is that they’ve been pretty cool to look at, but that’s about it, they’re shallow. Wonder Woman takes that and just adds so much more. With a duo of Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, I honestly don’t know who I have the biggest crush on! Mind you, the glow in the dark bath scene coupled with Chris Pine being tied up with the lasso of truth might just seal the deal for me. *cough* Sorry…

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Honestly though? If you’ll allow me a serious moment here, something I really appreciated was the fact that despite the scenes with numerous tall, beautiful women sparring in tight armour, none of it felt sleazy at all. It was sexy as hell, but classy, and I really have to hand it to the team for that one.

Back to Gal Gadot though. Was anyone else expecting her to be so funny? The clothes shopping montage was hilarious, and her reaction to babies and ice cream just made my heart melt. Can we just scrap the Justice League movie and have a feature film of Wonder Woman and Etta having a girls day out? No! Actually, can we have a DC & Marvel crossover just containing Wonder Woman and Thor generally being confused with everyday objects and life? Please, movie gods!

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I guess the only thing I didn’t enjoy so much was the final battle. It was inevitable really, but just before that moment my mind erased all memory of the sub-par DC movies, but it kind of came back in that CGI-heavy battle. That amazing soundtrack made up for it a little though, I’ll admit.

If you couldn’t tell already, I kinda loved Wonder Woman. My expectations were low for so long, but I got caught into the hype in the last couple of weeks. 4 out of 5 sentimental watches from me. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

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P.S. I’d like you to appreciate the fact I spent 20 minutes looking for a picture of a watch actually from World War I. I’m nothing if not thorough!

Review: Baywatch (2017)

baywatch-movie-review-2017Okay, so I still haven’t seen Wonder Woman (the world has decided I’m not meant to see it I swear) so I’m really sorry I’m presenting you with Baywatch rather than that. Hear me out though! I got an offer for a date night with my bestie, and it was going to involve Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream. I am a pregnant lady dammit, and I’m weak! Plus, I find Dwayne Johnson so irresistibly likeable, I felt like I owed him one.

In this remake of the original TV Show, Dwayne Johnson is the Lieutenant of Baywatch, or head of the Life Guards for a simpler term. Summer is here, and him and his team are holding tryouts for 3 new positions on the squad. Zac Efron is a twice Gold-winning Olympic swimmer who has been disgraced after throwing up in the pool, and so he’s been sent to the bay…I’m actually not sure why. It was some kind of plea deal?

See, the plot is kind of all over the place. It’s not enough to be a simple, summer comedy. It’s also a crime-solving movie, and Priyanka Chopra is our bad guy. She’s murdering people left right and centre, covering them up as accidents, so that she can…control some real estate? Again – I’m honestly not sure what exactly she was doing.

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All this would be forgivable in my eyes if the movie was funny, but it just isn’t. I chuckled a few times, I gagged at all 3 mentions of dead people smelling like dairy products (I’m feeling ill thinking about it) and I got bored very quickly of the penis jokes. Even this might be almost forgivable if I had some eye candy to admire, but as much as I love Zac Efron, he looks plain weird with his new, 5% body-fat self. Please refer to Ryan Reynolds in Blade Trinity for that one!

…Hold up, I lost about 10 minutes on Google image search there. What was I saying? I’m sorry Dwayne Johnson, I’m actually on your side in this Rotten Tomatoes battle you have going on, but this wasn’t the movie to use. A bit of stupidity is fun, look at San Andreas, but this was too much. There’s a moment when Zac walks past a sea urchin and Dwayne lectures him all about what they are and what they do – and then they simply walk off. “Oh” I think, “that’ll be important to the plot later then, us as the audience must be too dumb to know what a sea urchin is.” Low and behold! It turns up in the finale.

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I forgot about this scene. This was quite funny!

I have to mention the CGI too. On the whole it wasn’t too bad, but in an early scene with a boat on fire, with fire surrounding it in the water, I thought I might have been watching Sharknado. It was seriously THAT BAD. How much of the budget did they blow just to have David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson turn up?

I realise I’ve spent this whole post slagging the movie off, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience on the whole, it just was nowhere near as good as I hoped. I never expected a masterpiece, but I usually enjoy these summer comedies a lot more! Apologies to my friend Steph if she’s reading this and actually kind of loved the movie – I still had a really fun night!

Ideally I would give Baywatch 2 out of 5 concealed boners, or dead guy penises (penis’s? peni?) but that would be gross, so 2 important-to-the-plot sea urchins it is!

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Review: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Preparing for a house move is going as well as it can do right now. Our weekends have been spent doing big sort outs rather than relaxing, but it feels good to make a head start at least. There was a moment of sadness in the house on Saturday when my husband had to pack all of his DC, Marvel and Star Wars Lego away in plastic storage boxes, so the timing of a preview weekend for The Lego Batman Movie couldn’t have been more perfect!

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If you watched The Lego Movie back in 2014 (clearly The Academy didn’t because it was ROBBED of a nomination) you’ll already be aware of Lego Batman, voiced by Will Arnett. He’s back, with his own movie this time, and I’m willing to bet my hard earned cash that it’s the greatest DC movie that’ll come out this year.

It’s common knowledge that The Joker is Batman’s greatest villain. Sure, Gotham City has many great bad guys, but it always comes back to The Joker. That’s played on throughout the entire movie, in a humorous, anti-romcom kind of way, which never gets old. The Joker is voiced expertly by Zach Galifianakis, and plays a huge role in this movie, unlike that other recent DC movie where a green-haired Joker barely featured.

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Seriously guys…this movie even handled Batman’s tension with Superman well…and no one had to even mention Martha.

 

To attempt to list the number of characters that feature in this movie would take forever, but it has Justice League members from Superman to Martian Manhunter, and Villains from Bane to The Condiment King. There are also some err, other villains that I don’t think anyone was expecting to turn up. To tell you would be a spoiler, but one character in particular, voiced by Jemaine Clement was simply hilarious.

 

The plot is simple enough, and if you’ve seen the trailers you’ll know most of it already. Batman refuses to admit to the Joker that he needs him, so the Joker sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way, Batman accidentally adopts a young orphan by the name of Richard Grayson (Michael Cera) who you may know better as Robin! Robin just wants a family of his own, and Batman’s greatest fear (apart from snake clowns) is being part of a family again, so that causes issues along the way. It’s a plot that the kids can keep up with, but there’s so much else for the grown ups to enjoy.

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I’m not well versed in Batman lore, but I understood enough references to feel part of it all. There are references everywhere, for Batman fans of all ages, and I have a specific moment in my mind when I say that. The soundtrack is great, but the best tracks are the ones that Batman himself sings/beatboxes/raps. He even narrates the only boring part of movies, the opening title credits!

The Lego Batman movie will appeal to all ages, and just like it’s predecessor, it demands at least one rewatch to spot all the hidden jokes that the animators have hidden. It’s the perfect movie to unwind with in between all these dramatic Oscar movies! 4/5 Lego Bricks from me! Just be careful not to step on them…

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Review: Assassin’s Creed (2017)

assassins-creed-movie-review-2017It took me far too long to see Assassin’s Creed in the cinema, mainly because I was being a good human being for a change and staying at home rather than inflicting my stinky cold on the unsuspecting public. I was so excited to see it though, I’ve been a fan of the games for years. Deep down, I knew t wouldn’t be a ‘great’ movie, because video game moves never are (can the movie gods sort this out, please?) but as long as the action scenes were reminiscent of the game, I would be happy.

Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is a criminal on death row, until he is saved(?) by the scientists at Abstergo and forced to relive the memories of his ancestor, Aguilar, in order to help the scientists, who are actually Templars, to locate the fabled Apple of Eden. Fans of the game know this story inside out, and for newcomers it’s all nicely explained, so I’ll leave it at that, but I guess all you need to know is the Assassins are the good guys!

Let me start with the positives. The action scenes truly are a sight to behold, and they stay so close to the game. Nothing is more satisfying than nailing a jump directly onto your target and taking them out with your hidden blade, and it translates perfectly onto the screen. We got to see the ‘leap of faith’, accompanied with the cry of an eagle which made me a little giddy, and the costumes are beautiful.

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As Aguilar runs through the streets you can hear guards shouting ‘Assassino!’ which will put that twinge of anxiety into any game players, as you thought you’d escaped the last of them. What would have been better? Some kind of inside joke for us – perhaps not missing faces like the buggy game in the series we won’t mention, but some failed parkour would have been brilliant.

Sadly, the strengths are also the movie’s weaknesses. I might be alone in this, but I was never a fan of the parts in the game outside the animus, I was much happier back in time being an assassin. The movie spends WAY too much time outside, and that’s a shame. Also, there is such a strong cast (Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling to name a few) that just feel pretty wasted here.

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One more point from me, and I guess it could be a positive or a negative depending on how you feel. There’s a point in the movie where Michael Fassbender literally tears his shirt off for no reason, it wasn’t stained or damaged from what I could tell, and doesn’t find himself a new one. I certainly wasn’t complaining, but I did hear my husband sigh quite loudly. Maybe it was a swoon?

I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed, for the same reason I enjoyed Warcraft last year, but I can understand the negative reviews it’s been getting. 3 and a half Apples of Eden from me!

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Review: Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 (2003 & 2004)

I’ve been putting this review off for a while, because I’m a little scared of what you might all think. Let me introduce this in my usual way to put my nerves at ease first however.

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My New Year’s Eve was extremely tame, I spent it at home with my ill husband. It was still a good night though, we had take out pizza, played a few board games, and we decided to watch a movie too. There was nothing on Netflix that took our fancy and rather than bringing in the New Year flicking through every movies going ‘no…no…no…’ we grabbed a DVD off the bookcase which we’ve been putting off watching for ages. Kill Bill: Volume 1!

I’m not well versed in Quentin Tarantino movies. I watched The Hateful Eight and Django, and really enjoyed both. Other than that, I’ve only seen Pulp Fiction, and that was alright too. More than anything, it was nice to see where all the references I’ve heard over the years came from. In fact, I’m not even sure why we owned Kill Bill, but I’m guessing that we’ve been told so many times what a classic it is we thought we should see what the fuss is about.

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Perhaps it should have been obvious, but we didn’t realise that Kill Bill is literally a 4 hour movie split into two halves, so we ended up watching Volume 2 the very next day, because we knew if we didn’t, we’d probably never see it.

For those who haven’t seen it, Kill Bill is essentially the story of ‘The Bride’ (Uma Thurman) working her way through a kill list. Her assassin colleagues and boss tried to murder her on her wedding day, but they’re clearly not the A-Grade assassins they make themselves out to be because they failed, and she’s out for revenge.

Let me start with Volume 1. This was a whole barrel of fun. Knowing nothing about the story, the non-linear story really pulled me in, and it’s always enjoyable to watch some bad-ass fighting! In particular I loved the origin story of O-Ren (Lucy Liu) when the movie turned into an anime style animation. The over exaggeration of the bloodiness reminded me of an anime I used to watch called Bleach!

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It felt like everything was leading up to The Bride’s fight with the Crazy 88, which there weren’t 88 of, which is funny in that ironic kind of way. The fight itself was incredible to watch, and the violence doesn’t hold back in the slightest. We ended up watching and going ‘ooh, ouch’ along with it, as if we could feel those blows ourselves! All in all, it was something I normally wouldn’t watch, and although some parts were quite slow, I enjoyed it.

Which brings us to Volume 2…

First of all, I really liked the opening sequence, where we learn what happened at the chapel those 4 or so years ago. That brought me the closure I needed. What stuck out like a sore thumb though, and perhaps I just didn’t notice it in the previous volume, these camera shots in black and white, for reasons I can’t work out. In the buried alive scene, the screen is much smaller and that makes complete sense, but the other shots seemed so random.

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What else felt random? The Bride is buried alive, and she’s about to punch her way out of the box. How is she able to do that? Training montage! It just wasn’t very…subtle. If that scene was much sooner in the movie it would have been a ‘eureka’ moment, but instead it just felt lazy. I fully except at this point that I’m the minority here whinging about a universally accepted great movie!

Even the finale with Bill felt a bit lacklustre. With such a huge build up in Volume 1 to the fight with O-Ren, I was expecting something even bigger for Bill, but it was literally *SPOILER* a punch to the chest that killed him. *SPOILER OVER* I was expecting something a little more…showy?

I still enjoyed both movies, but they just felt overrated to me. Volume 1 was far more enjoyable, but paired together as they should be, Kill Bill gets 3 out of 5 pussy wagons.

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