Christmas in July Blogathon: 5 Movies to Show my Daughter

ORIGINALLY POSTED at Drew’s Movie Reviews here. Please check out Drew’s blog and the rest of the entries to his Christmas in July blogathon!

I can’t believe I’m taking part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon for the 3rd year running! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year, and so I don’t need many excuses to talk about the festive season and related movies. Thank you Drew for hosting again!

This year, Christmas is going to be pretty different for me, as I’ll have a 2-month old baby! Part of me is dreading the chaos, but mostly I’m looking forward to making the holiday a magical time for this little one. Of course, that’s going to include brainwashing introducing her to some of my favourite Christmas movies! That’s why this year, I decided to dedicate my blogathon post to 5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter.

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The Snowman (1982)

Wait, don’t call Child Protection Services yet! I don’t mean the upcoming horror/thriller by the same name. I mean the classic British Christmas TV movie, The Snowman, where a boy builds a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. It’s a magical story and features one of the most beautiful songs, ‘Walking in the Air’. We might even follow it up with the 2012 sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, but it still makes me cry!

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Shrek the Halls (2007)

How on Earth is Shrek the Halls 10 years old already?! Another short TV movie that’s been an annual event in my family since it was released. We’re big Shrek fans in my family (only the first 2 movies though) and we sadly know all the words to this! If you’ve never seen it, after the hustle and bustle of the Shrek family settling down on Christmas Eve, Donkey, Shrek & Fiona tell the tale of the night before Christmas…in their own special way!

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppets were a huge part of my childhood, it was my favourite show when I was little and I’ve continued to love them ever since. In fact, the song ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ from the 2011 movie was the song my husband and I walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day! I’m hoping my daughter will have the same sense of humour as I do, so I’m sure she’ll love watching The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Whilst those are 3 movies that I think any child would easily enjoy, mine is going to have accept the fact that she’s going to have her Mum & Dad’s favourite Christmas movies ever forced upon her. Let’s start with Dad, shall we?

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Jingle All the Way (1996)

I can’t believe that 9 years ago I had no idea Jingle All the Way existed. I was invited to my (now) husband’s parents house over Christmas where they sat for their annual watch of this movie, and I loved every second. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to eat a cookie around me without me shouting ‘put that cookie down, NOW!’. So whether she loves it or hates it, a bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger is always needed at Christmas!

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I talk far too much about the National Lampoon’s movies so I’ll keep this brief, but there’s no way it couldn’t have been in this list! I’m just dreading the moment in a few years time where my daughter will complain about having to watch it and exclaim ‘this movie is as old as you!’.

Finally, part of Drew’s tradition is to host a party of our favourite celebrities, and we all get to add a name to the guest list. I think it’s only fair that I throw Dan Stevens an invite this year, and carefully place as much mistletoe around the venue as possible!

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Review: Colossal (2017)

colossal-movie-review-2017I am SO hyped up and excited to tell you all about Colossal, but equally bummed out because I can’t actually tell you that much without spoiling a truly weird and wonderful cinematic experience! I’m not sure Jenna believed me when I told her I wanted to see this for the crazy plot, mainly because Dan Stevens is in it and I’m developing a bit of an obsession, but honestly, I’ve been on the lookout for a movie that is both new and a bit unique, rather than a remake or sequel.

Here’s what I can tell you about the plot. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is out of control and out of a job. Her party mentality forces her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) to kick her out and force her to move back to her hometown. Around that time, a giant monster is reported to have attacked the city of Seoul, and Gloria discovers that she is directly connected to this monster.

It takes a while for the movie to kick itself into gear, I’ll admit. The first 20 minutes are largely unnecessary (apart from that intriguing opening scene) and it begins to feel like a stereotypical romcom. If you can get past that though, the rest is a wild ride. This isn’t a romance movie, as much as you might be thinking, especially when Gloria’s childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) shows up. It’s also quite hilarious in moments, but it’s not a comedy. This is a drama that gets dark as hell towards the end. You’ve been warned!

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The whole main cast is wonderful. I haven’t seen much of Anne Hathaway but she’s a delight to watch in this, and not annoying in the slightest for playing such a destructive character. I love Jason Sudeikis’ comedies, but I’ve never seen him in a role like this, and whilst he’s not going to take home an Oscar for his performance, this dude can act! Dan Stevens is obviously wonderful (and British this time!) but his role is very minor.

What I really want to tell you though is to give this movie a chance. Watch the trailer, by all means, but know that the actual story is much bigger than you think it is. Don’t read up too much on it either, go in as blind as you can. It’s a miracle in 2017 to have a trailer actually give away very little about the story. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man: Homecoming!

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Colossal isn’t perfect. It’s messy at times, but it’s unique and I think it deserves so much credit for going out there and doing something different for a change. In a year full of sequels and remakes I have high hopes that Colossal will be in my Top 10 of 2017 by the end of the year! It gets 4 and a half out of 5 inflatable mattresses from me, an extra half point awarded for weirdness.

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Review: The Guest (2014)

the-guest-movie-review-2014It’s happening again, you guys. I can feel a new obsession coming on, and this time it’s in the form of Dan Stevens. I spotted The Guest on a monthly recap list another blogger wrote recently (I can’t remember who – sorry!) and it sounded like my cup of tea. The fact that Dan Stevens played the lead was intriguing, I’d so far seen him as a big furry beast and a messed up X-Men Mutant, so I was interested to see him in another role. I’ve got to say though, how does he managed to look so much like Bradley Cooper in this poster? It’s weird!

Anyway, the plot is simple enough. Dan Stevens plays David, a soldier who introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their Son who died in action. However, this isn’t a airy fairy drama where David reconnects a broken family or anything like that. Instead, a whole pile a seemingly accidental deaths take place, and things start to turn a bit weird.

I don’t even know how to describe the tone of this movie, it might be different for everyone. For me it was a cross between Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love! It had those moody, dark scenes, a stand out soundtrack, but also some outrageously funny mentoring scenes and sex appeal. I’m not kidding about that last part! I had to send my friend Steph (she understands me) a screenshot of Dan Stevens stood seductively, knowing full well what he looked like, wet after a shower and naked except for a towel that was dangerously low. *cough* Is anyone else warm?

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If I tried to be a real blogger rather than a fangirl, I’d tell you that the pacing is completely off in parts, and that the final third is somewhat confusing and a bit of a cop out. It also feels quite long considering the reasonable runtime. I read though that around 20 minutes of footage got cut before the release, which explains the confusion at least. Nonetheless, it’s a movie well worth watching as it’s something a little bit different! Plus Dan Stevens. Did I mention how blue his eyes are?

So where do I go next? I really, REALLY don’t want to watch Downton Abbey (it’s not my cup of tea) and so before I start the downward spiral of working my way through his entire filmography, can any of your recommend me some good Dan Stevens movies? I’m off to see Colossal tomorrow night which I think he’s in, although in a minor role.

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But anyway, I do recommend The Guest, but only if there’s nothing big at the top of your watchlist. It’s a bit of fun, and it’s something both guys and gals will enjoy.

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TV Rambles: Big Little Lies, Legion & Girls

Is it just me or are having a really slow few weeks for movie releases? I’ve been struggling to find something to watch lately, which has led me to watch a fair bit of TV, which I guess is never a bad thing!

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Big Little Lies (2017)

Big Little Lies seems to be on everyone’s minds (and screens) lately. Based on the best-selling novel by Liane Moriarty, and not to be confused with the similar sounding Pretty Little Liars, this is a 1 season, dramatic story with a murder mystery lying underneath. It also hosts one of the most incredible casts I’ve ever seen on TV, with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley & Alexander Skarsgard to name a few.

I’ve only read 1 novel by Liane Moriarty so far and I kind of hated it (Truly Madly Guilty) so I was worried about starting Big Little Lies, but the hype dragged me in and I couldn’t help myself. I needn’t have, this show caught me instantly and I binge watched the hell out of it in the end. I actually got so absorbed into these characters’ lives that I forgot about the mystery it was building up to.

That’s my advice if you want to give the show a go, just relax and enjoy every episode for what it is, rather than try and play detective. The final episode absolutely blew me away, but if I tried to over analyse everything I saw it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. It definitely lives up to the hype!

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Legion (2017 – )

I hadn’t seen much advertising at all for Legion, but it was recommended by my husband’s friends who had got hooked so we decided to give it a try. Guys – this is the weirdest TV show I have ever had the joy of witnessing. It’s produced by FX Productions in association with Marvel Television, set in the X-Men Universe. Dan Stevens plays the main character, David Haller, a man with incredible abilities that he’s unaware of, thanks to the fact he’s been in a psychiatric hospital for years to treat his apparent schizophrenia.

Seriously, I’m not messing around when I say how weird it all is. Prepare yourself to be shocked by mysterious characters not being who you thought they were, and for a giant, fat scary man to show up out of the blue. There’s also a children’s book called ‘The World’s Angriest Boy in the World’ so you know…there’s that. Honestly? I would have quite happily given up after the first episode, but it gets so much better. It’s one of those shows where every episode seems to end on a ‘WTF’ moment.

The only thing that really bugged me by the end of the season was David’s love interest, Syd. She had her uses in the first few episodes but after that she just came across as whiny and needy. She has powers too of course, but doesn’t even want to use them, and yet she somehow holds enough merit to be part of the main squad? It doesn’t sit with me, sister.

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Girls (2012 – 2017)

Okay, I realise I’m the only person in the world who likes Girls (or so it seems) but it seemed to make sense to make this post a triple whammy, and the final season has just finished! I started watching this show just before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out so I could get to know Adam Driver better, and ended up falling in love with the show and spiraling into an Adam Driver obsession. Sigh. Why do I do this to myself?

This final season has been so full of highs and lows. I was all in for Hannah (Lena Dunham) to finally grow up and raise a child, I could have cried for joy when Adam (Adam Driver) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) to realise they’re the worst couple ever, and right now I’m just about ready to campaign for Elijah (Andrew Rannells) to have his own show.

I guess at the back of my mind though I always saw Hannah and Adam as end game. I’m hopeless I know, they were terrible for each other sometimes, but I felt like Adam was the only one to ever call Hannah out on her crap, and Hannah made Adam seem like a normal human being. As normal as Adam could ever be at least. I’ll hand it to Lena, it all ended realistically, but it was still a hard pill to swallow. I can always rewatch the first few seasons I guess.

So, that’s left me with a huge TV-shaped hole in my life! Are there any new shows out there that I have to try? Fargo starts tonight doesn’t it? Yaaaaaaas!

Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

beauty-and-the-beast-2017-reviewYou want to know the only thing that moving house hasn’t stopped me from doing? Going to see my all-time favourite childhood movie being turned into a live action remake! Plus, with the week off work we’ve had, it meant getting to see it while everyone else was either in school or work. Empty screen, result! Also meant that I could sing along without being kicked out, bonus!

Normally our cherished movies being remade is a reason to sulk and moan, but I’ve been so excited since Disney announced Beauty and the Beast was the next to be revisited. I didn’t need a new angle, a new story, I just wanted to see that wonderful old animation get the live action treatment. I was so impressed with the casting! Hermoine was my idol growing up so I knew Emma Watson would nail the role, and Josh Gad is so perfect for LeFou I swear his animated counterpart was drawn with him in mind already. Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen could do no wrong in my mind, and although I wasn’t 100% on board with Luke Evans as Gaston, I was open-minded.

Thankfully, the story hasn’t been changed much at all. The plot holes that the die-hard Disney fans picked up on have been filled, and we got a lot more backstory into the Beast and Belle herself. We didn’t need it of course, but it was interesting at least. I’m sure it’s going to be a sour point for some critics, but this is how I feel; I love cake and chocolate, and if someone gave me more than I could eat, I don’t see that as a bad thing.

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Let me tell you what I loved. Hearing my favourite songs remade. I genuinely shed a tear during Belle’s song, it was perfect. Yes, Emma Watson has been through the auto tune several times, but she probably still sounds better than I do singing in the car. Gaston! Luke Evans completely won me over, I’m converted. LUMIERE. That wonderful candlestick went from being an okay character in the original to completely stealing my heart in the remake. He stole the show in every scene he was in! Also, that snowball fight was brilliant.

Here’s my little nitpicks. I was so excited to see Josh Gad, but he completely overdid LeFou, and I didn’t like the voice he put on for it. The bromance was already evident in the original, and I just don’t see the need to push it so hard like he did. They changed Gaston’s song too, and I still don’t know how I feel about it. Still, when that’s all I can really complain about, it’s not half bad is it?

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All in all, I loved it. These live action remakes really are strong. I wasn’t a massive fan of the original Cinderella and Jungle Book, but the remakes won me over, and Beauty and the Beast was just as strong. I’m excited for whichever one is next! This movie gets 4 and a half out of five dozen eggs.

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