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How It Ends (2018)

how-it-ends-movie-review-2018Director: David M. Rosenthal

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Theo James, Kat Graham, Grace Dove, Nancy Sorel, Nicole Ari Parker, Forest Whitaker, Aaron Hughes, Lanie McAuley, Josh Cruddas, Aidan Ritchie

Plot: Will and Samantha are having a baby. They’re also getting married, but Samantha’s Dad doesn’t know. When Will flies out to ask his disapproving future Father-in-Law for his blessing, an unknown apocalyptic event takes place in Seattle. Will and Samantha’s Dad end up on a road trip across the States to rescue her.

My Thoughts: This movie is hilariously bad. Most ‘end of the world’ movies are, but at the very least they’re entertaining to watch. I don’t know how this one managed to be so darn boring, but I was dying to know how it ended, so that I could move on and get on with my life, mourning my lost 2 hours. Too bad How It Ends has the most ironic title ever…

At first glance it’s hard to tell that it’s a terrible movie. It starts out fine, sets the scene perfectly, introduces it’s main characters well. The acting, whilst non award-worthy, is absolutely fine and the cinematography is pretty good too. The problem is that nothing at all makes sense! 2 days into having no internet connection and the population have turned into characters from Mad Max. Absolutely everyone out on the road is out for blood. Why?

Not to mention all the unexplained moments. Where did Samantha’s Mum go? Ricki, the duo’s car fixer upper, what happened to her? What even is this apocalyptic event? I’m all for a movie that leaves you with questions, but this is ridiculous. You know when you were a kid and you would write stories but get bored after a while and end it with ‘and then they woke up and realised it was all a dream’? That would have been a better ending. Heck, it would have been an ENDING.

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Best Bit: Ricki. That chick is a badass. I don’t know about anyone else but I know for sure she’ll survive somehow.

Worst Bit: “Oh no, my car has run out of fuel. I KNOW. I’ll get this full jerry can of fuel out the boot, pour it all over the car, set it on fire and walk the rest of the way.”

Fun Trivia: The Arlington Bridge in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada, shown in some of the scenes, is 105 years old. It was open on February 5th 1912.

My Rating: One and a half out of five jerry cans. If nothing else, having to Google ‘what is the container you store spare fuel in called’ for this post has at least added to my vocabulary!

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First Reformed (2018)

first-reformed-movie-poster-2018Director: Paul Schrader

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Ethan Hawke, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill, Van Hansis, Philip Ettinger

Plot: Reverend Toller is the pastor of the small historic First Reformed Church in upstate New York. The church is celebrating it’s upcoming two hundred and fiftieth anniversary very soon, and whilst preparing for the celebrations, Toller’s faith and wellbeing are threatened by tragic events.

My Thoughts: First Reformed seems to be the movie that every blogger is talking about at the moment, and I’m not one to stray away from the bandwagon, so I gave it a watch at the first opportunity I could get. I tried not to read too much about it beforehand because it seemed like one of those kind of movies.

I’ll tell you what kind of movie it is. It’s the kind that makes you go ‘WHAT?!’ at the end of it, and instead of sleeping that night, you run through your head what it all means until you end up putting yourself into an existential crisis. Safe to say, I had a lot of caffeine to get me through the following day.

Whilst I love a movie that makes me think, I’m not religious at all and so I found a lot of the movie hard to understand. If I were though, I could absolutely see First Reformed being one of my favourite movies of the year. It’s powerful stuff, that’s for sure.

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Best Bit: The growing relationship between Toller and Mary. They are both in so much pain, yet they give so much to help each other. Their friendship is what kept me going through the movie, as it’s quite slow.

Worst Bit: This will only make sense if you’ve seen the movie but, the floating scene. That’s where I crossed the line between barely understanding everything and accepting this movie wasn’t really made for me.

Fun Trivia: Writer/director Paul Schrader stated in a Q&A at Rotterdam Film Festival 2018 that he was surprised while editing the film to notice how many similarities there were with Taxi Driver, a film he also wrote.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 glasses of whiskey, that you should really avoid if you have health issues, and most definitely not mix with Pepto Bismol.

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Skyscraper (2018)

skyscraper-movie-poster-2018-reviewDirector: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Main Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, McKenna Roberts, Hannah Quinlivan, Roland Møller, Byron Mann, Chin Han

Plot: Will Sawyer once worked as part of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, but quit after a traumatic incident. He started up a small security business and thanks to his connections, he has been given the opportunity to assess the security for the world’s tallest skyscraper before the residential floors are opened. When a fire breaks out in one of the middle floors trapping his wife and children, Will does whatever he can to save them.

My Thoughts: I’m not saying I went into this with low expectations, but I think we all know what kind of movie Skyscraper is going to be. It’s cheesy as hell, and if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen the whole movie already, but I thought it was really entertaining!

I just can’t help but love Dwayne Johnson, he seems like such a genuinely nice guy, and although his movies aren’t going to Oscar nominees, he knows how to make an entertaining popcorn movie, and that’s just what I love to watch sometimes! It’s not too long, the pacing is good, and I was enjoying every minute, so I can’t complain really.

With my critical hat on, the twists are obvious, the bad guys are textbook and there are more than a few glaring plot holes, but if you started watching Skyscraper expecting an elaborate and shocking story then that’s on you!

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Best Bit: As ridiculous as it was, both scenes involving duct tape are brilliant. I want to see those moves used in the next Mission Impossible!

Worst Bit: The scene early on where Will’s wife needs him to fix her phone and he tells her to turn it off and on again. It was so odd that I just knew it was going to come back again at some point in the movie, and when it does it’s groan-worthy.

Fun Trivia: When Will Sawyer and Zhao first meet, Sawyer greets him with some Mandarin, and Zhao replies in the same language but there are no subtitles on the screen. He is asking in jest, “Your Mandarin is quite good; how is your English?”.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 rolls of duct tape. That should be enough to sort out a wound or you know, scale a skyscraper…

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Adrift (2018)

adrift-movie-review-poster-2018Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Genre: Romance, Drama, Adventure

Main Cast: Sam Claflin, Shailene Woodley, Grace Palmer, Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Hawthorne

Plot: The true story of how Richard Sharp and Tami Oldham met by chance, fell in love and sailed thousands of miles to San Diego, where on the way they faced one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

My Thoughts: It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie like this, and as with most movies based on true stories, I had no idea what actually happened to Richard and Tami, so I was really looking forward to seeing Adrift. My excitement dwindled slightly when my cinema buddy Steph was told the air-con in our screen was broken and the temperature in the room was currently 26 degrees. Ugh. For my overseas readers – the UK is going through one it’s longest heatwaves ever, and we don’t cope well in the heat!

On to the movie itself though! I think it’s hard for stories like this to have a good pace going, when you’ve got a couple stranded at sea there’s a risk of it lagging but it’s edited in a really nice way. The movie opens with the aftermath of the storm, and flicks back and forth between past and present so just when it’s at risk of getting dull, it switches again.

I am really starting to warm to Shailene Woodley. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen her in but she just has a certain down-to-earthness about her that I really like. Plus, I’m never going to complain about getting to see Sam Claflin on the big screen, although he spent a lot of time just laying about. The only thing that kept bugging me was it was made clear that Claflin’s character was much older than Woodley’s, but they looked the same age as each other to me! IMDB research has told me there’s a 5-year difference at least…

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Best Bit: The worst proposal in the world scene. It caught me off guard and I did one of those embarrassingly loud ‘HAH’ laughs that was completely involuntary.

Worst Bit: I can’t say for spoiler reasons, but if you’ve seen it (or know the actual true story) you’ll know exactly what I mean. I genuinely felt glum for the rest of the night!

Fun Trivia: According to Shailene Woodley, there were times on the open sea when, except for the director and cinematographer, everybody was throwing up overboard due to severe seasickness.

My Rating: 3 and a half jars of peanut butter out of 5. Use a spoon though, for crying out loud!

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

sicario-2-day-of-the-soldado-movie-reviewDirector: Stefano Sollima

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Main Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener

Plot: The war on the US – Mexico border continues to escalate as the cartels have now begun trafficking terrorists across the border. Matt Graver teams up once again with Alejandro with a plan to start the cartels warring against each other, involving kidnapping the youngest child of the head of the biggest and most powerful cartel.

My Thoughts: I was late to the game when Sicario (2015) came out, but it was well worth catching up with – it’s one of the darkest movies I’ve seen with so much tension. I was expecting more of the same with the sequel, even though I still don’t feel like it needs one. Thankfully as a sequel, it’s a great movie, but still fell a bit short of the mark for me.

Firstly, I didn’t think I would see a more grim opening to a movie than the original Sicario, and now I have. This one is definitely darker, and grittier than the first, mainly due to the subject matter. It doesn’t hold back at all. There’s also a side story running parallel to the main mission about a young boy being recruited by the cartels that’s desperately sad, because I guess even though it’s a fictional movie, this stuff happens in the real world, too.

The only thing that I can complain about is the scale of it all. For me, it felt like the movie started with a huge, wide-spreading story, and as the time went on it ended up becoming more and more about a very small segment of the wider picture.

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Best Bit: It’s a spoiler so I’ll type it really faintly and you can highlight if you want to read it! I was shocked when Alejandro was killed off but when you realise the bullet went straight through his cheeks…it was so gnarly but a really cool moment!

Worst Bit: That opening scene in the supermarket. The moment it dawned on me what I was about to watch. Each time made me jump out my seat and I genuinely felt sick for a while afterwards.

Fun Trivia: Emily Blunt was originally attached to reprise her role in Sicario as FBI Agent Kate Macer. However, director Stefano Sollima ultimately decided not to use Blunt or her character in the film, noting that Macer represented the moral compass in Sicario, whereas he did not want any character to serve as moral guidance in the sequel.

My Rating: 4 school buses out of 5, driving through the dead of night.

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