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: 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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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: Focus (2015)

focus-movie-review-2015It was time I took a break from catching up on as many award-nominated movies as possible, and watch something a little easier to digest, something that had been recommended to me by my movie-loving family (a long time ago, and on multiple occasions, sorry!). Time for Focus (2015)! Besides, who can turn down a Will Smith movie? I just love the guy.

Focus (2015) is a reasonably straight forward Crime/Drama movie in which Will Smith plays Nicky, a veteran con man takes an apprentice under his wing, Jess, played by Margot Robbie. A heated romance ensues, but without warning Nicky breaks up the relationship. 3 years later Jess shows back up whilst Nicky is in the middle of the biggest con of his career, and she throws him off track completely.

I feel like this movie was split into two distinctive halves. First we have an introduction of sorts into just how talented Nicky is not just with sleight of hand, but also psychology and suggestion. This was without a doubt my favourite part of the movie after a certain scene in which it is shown to us the audience the sheer level of work and skill that went into the con at the sports game. It’s like something Derren Brown would do!

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The second half leaves us wondering – Is Nicky conning Jess? Is Jess conning Nicky? It’s the more action packed half, and comes to an explosive conclusion. It might have been fairly predictable, but there was still one more twist that I didn’t see coming.

I think what makes Focus so enjoyable is the chemistry between Will Smith and Margot Robbie. They’re both people I love to see, but they work together so well! It reminded me that their relationship in Suicide Squad was what made it entertaining to be honest.

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My only complaint is that I wanted more of that first half. Watching the team work the crowds, lifting watches, jewellery, handbags and more from clueless victims. Seeing Nicky explain all the suggestions he left behind in the lead up to (and during) the sports game. I actually turned onto high alert after that part, wondering if the movie itself was doing that to us. Were there little details hidden throughout the movie that would lead up to something shocking we should have seen coming? That never happened, sadly.

Still, as a Saturday night movie with a glass of wine and a takeaway, you can do no wrong by watching Focus. It’s flashy, it’s fun, and you can brag to your family/friends if you manage to work out the ending before it’s too late, just like my Mum who’s very pleased with herself (proud of you, Mum!). From me, Focus gets 3.5 out of 5 things I stole from you whilst reading this. Psyche!

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Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018)

three-billboards-movie-review-2018Ah January, the time when cinemas around the world are filled with terrible movies…unless of course you live in the UK like me. January and February are the months when we finally get the award-nominated movies, and they’re the months that I desperately scrabble around to try and watch them all in time for the big Oscars night (and of course, fail). If there was one movie that I couldn’t miss however, it was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Thanks to being away from the movie world for so long, I only actually heard about this movie last week, but it’s been advertised everywhere now! From what I could tell, it looked bat-shit crazy and had one of the best casts I’ve ever seen, and I was right on the money with those assumptions.

Mildred (Frances McDormand) lost her daughter in a rape and murder case, and after 7 months with no arrests or even leads, she reaches the end of her tether and hires three billboards, outside her town of Ebbing, Missouri no less, to send a message to the Chief of Police Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). Problem is, Willoughby is very well respected within the community, and he’s also dying of cancer, which leads to a lot of public outrage against Mildred.

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Then we have Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a hotheaded cop who’s also a bit of a simpleton…and a racist. Sam Rockwell is an absolute legend here and I’m so glad he’s picking up a lot of attention in the awards season! To tell you anymore about the story here would be an injustice as there’s a lot of twists and turns along the way, but it’s a thrilling ride.

What’s so great about Three Billboards is how perfectly it crosses the line between a hard-hitting, emotional drama, and hilarious black comedy. In fact, as I was watching it all I could think about was In Bruges (2008) and lo and behold, both movies are written and directed by the same guy, Martin McDonagh! Does that make me a real movie fan, being able to pick up on similarities like that?! Just let me pretend…

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I was pretty sure I knew how it would all end, but I was still a little gutted when my suspicions were right. When the rest of the movie was so shocking, I guess I was hoping for a shocking ending too, that’s all. Regardless, this is a cracking movie that I’ll be watching again for sure, and recommending to as many friends and family as possible!

This messes up my usual ranking system of out of 5, but how could I score this movie any differently? 2 and a half billboards out of 3 from me (but really it’s a 4.5/5).

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P.S. I want to be Frances McDormand when I grow up. Lady is a badass.