Review: A Ghost Story (2017)

a-ghost-story-movie-review-2017It’s October! It’s that time of year when I put on my big girl pants, man up a little and watch a few scary movies. Last year was a huge success (for a wimp like me!) as I watched It Follows, Krampus, The Babadook, and even the classic, Psycho. This year I’d quite like to outdo myself, but instead I’ve started on one big fail. Look at that poster! It looks terrifying, right? Only here’s the thing – A Ghost Story isn’t even a horror movie. Doh.

That’s my fault for walking in blind really, but I’ve always stood by my opinion that it’s the best way to go into a movie. So no, A Ghost Story isn’t a horror, instead it’s a cracking little indie movie about a ghost trapped in his home, forced to simply stand by and watch as time flies by.

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play a young couple with troubles in their relationship, which are only made worse when Casey Affleck’s character is killed in a car accident. He wakes up in the hospital as a ghost in the most recognisable way, under a sheet with holes cut out as eyes. After he walks back home, he watches Rooney Mara’s character deal with the aftermath and eventually moves out of the house, leaving behind a note hidden in the wall – something she’s enjoyed doing all her life.

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It took a good half an hour for this movie to really kick in and get interesting for me, I’ll admit. I started to wonder what the point was, and some of the shots were almost painfully long in that arty kind of way. It also took me a while to work out why the director would choose to film in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1, but during some scenes I felt genuinely claustrophobic, and then the reason became clear.

I don’t want to talk too much about the rest of the story, because I think you should go in knowing as little as you can but the last 20 minutes or so completely baffled me. Just when you think you’ve got your head wrapped around what’s happening, you get the rug pulled out from under you, but in a simple sense, rather than a shocking, plot twist sense. It was one of those endings I had to read up on, and just like the choice of aspect ratio, it became immediately clear to me.

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Oh! I have to say, despite it not being a horror movie, I still have to say “screw you!” for the TWO jump scares that sneakily made their appearance…it’s a good job my due date is still nearly two weeks away because they gave me such a freight I swear they might have brought on contractions.

So really, other than the slow start, I really enjoyed A Ghost Story. It perhaps wasn’t the scary start to the month I was expecting, but I’m glad I gave it a go nonetheless. It gets 4 out of 5 sympathy pies from me, which is making me feel nauseous just thinking about it, because no one needs to watch Rooney Mara sobbing and demolishing an entire pie in a five minute shot.

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Review: A Cure for Wellness (2017)

a-cure-for-wellness-movie-review-2017Some movies look really promising when you catch that first trailer, and then they fall off your radar. Some movies look like they’re definitely worth a watch, but when you see the runtime you feel put off. 5 months after it’s release in the UK, coming in at a whopper of 2 hours and 26 minutes, A Cure for Wellness hit both criteria for me! Thankfully, my Flick Chick Jenna came to stay over the weekend and recommend that we give it a go! It’s amazing how much easier a long movie is to watch when you can have several snack and chat pause breaks.

You probably don’t need me to tell you that A Cure for Wellness is a weird movie. Dane Dehaan plays an ambitious young executive known as Lockhart, sent by his company to retrieve their CEO from a mysterious wellness centre in the Swiss Alps. When he arrives, things seem a little…off. Although the residents are known as ‘guests’ free to leave whenever they wish, no one has actually ever left, and they all seem quite odd. In fact, you could almost say they look ill, which surely can’t be right?

Dane Dehaan has always reminded me of a young Leonardo DiCaprio for some reason, so with that in mind it was impossible to not try and compare this movie to Shutter Island. It has it’s similarities for sure, but they’re very different movies.

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Perhaps it was the dessert and the company, but I didn’t feel like this was a particularly long movie. There were definitely scenes that didn’t add much to the narrative of the story, but what they did provide was their ability to give you the creeps. There’s a mystery to solve here in the mountains, and the pieces of the puzzle are fed to us slowly in a way that helps us put it all together, but the atmosphere of it all leaves us wondering if we can trust our own judgement or not, which is exactly what’s happening to Lockhart.

Some scenes are difficult to watch, and one in particular (involving a dentists chair and a drill!) was impossible! We had to cover our ears, look away and make noises until it was all over. I peeked every now and again, and wished I didn’t.

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Is it the best mystery/thriller out there? No, and I feel like it might even be a bit of a love/hate kind of movie for most, but there was enough here to keep me interested and guessing as to how it might end. I think I had a much better experience watching it with someone – I don’t think I could have put up with it solo. Right at the very end we’re left with a very confusing scene which opens up a whole bunch of questions. My favourite thing about these kind of endings is that everyone will have their own take on it!

I was pleasantly surprised by The Cure for Wellness, and so it gets 4 out of 5 glasses of water (that you should absolutely NOT drink) 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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#squadgoals

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!

What the Hell Happened in Lady in the Water (2006)?

A couple of weeks ago I felt in the right kind of mood for an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and found myself watching The Happening (review here). Shyamalan gets a lot of hate, and in fairness I’ve mainly watched his better movies, but I’m rapidly finding myself wanting to watch everything he’s done for the hell of it. The Happening was an absolute disaster in more ways than one, but you guys, it was so much fun to watch and make fun of.

lady-in-the-water-review-2006When I reviewed it for the blog, some of you mentioned Lady in the Water, telling me it was even worse. You realise what you set in motion in that moment, right? I had to watch it!

It took me 2 days, and 3 sitting to actually get through it, it was actually that bad. There were times I wanted to call it quits, but I stuck with it for the sake of the blog. I can’t write a review I’m afraid, mainly because I’m still not sure what actually happened in front of my eyes, but for my own sake (and yours) I’m going to try and explain what happened. Spoilers ahead, but you’re not missing out on much!

The movie opens with a stick man explanation of the people who live in the water world, watching over us land folk, until we got greedy and forgot about them. Every now and again they send their water kids to our world, but most of them get eaten by wolves. Um, okay.

Then we see a stuttering Paul Giamatti, the only maintenance man in a huge apartment complex, talking with his pool cleaner about how dirty it is. It’s almost like there’s someone living there, eh, eh?

Bingo. Bryce Dallas Howard is the lady in the water. Giamatti tries to take her outside, but they get attacked by a grass wolf. Stay with me now, this isn’t even that weird yet.

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It’s called a Scrunt apparently, which sounds like the world’s worst Pokemon to me.

I don’t remember how, but we somehow learn her name is Story, and she is a Narf. I guess Narfs are the people from the water world, but what a terrible name.

It just so happens that one of the resident’s mothers knows all about the story of the Narfs, which is super lucky, but to convince this old lady to tell him the story, Giamatti has to convince her that he is actually a child (?!) and finds himself sat on her sofa with a milk mustache. No innuendo, I swear.

It turns out that Story is trying to find the ‘chosen one’ who’s a writer, leading Giamatti on a goose chase around the building. He meets a grumpy film critic, a group of rowdy lads, a crossword puzzle loving Jeffrey Wright and his son who reads cereal boxes, and a dude who only works out his right side of his body. Oh! And Mr M. Night Shyamalan himself, who’s writing a Cookbook that has nothing to do with cooking. Right.

I’m being way too detailed here, let’s speed things up a bit.

Old lady says that for Story to get home, they need a Guardian, a Healer, a Translator, a something else (I forgot) and a Guild.

The Translator turns out to be the puzzle fan’s kid, who stares at a cupboard of cereal to work out they need to perform a ceremony.

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I really wasn’t kidding about the cereal you guys…

The Healer is some other lady who sees butterflies everywhere by the pool.

The Guild is the group of lads, who decide the best way to get Story home is to throw a huge party for the grumpy film critic.

Cue party time, and suddenly about 200 people live in this weird complex.

There’s a band, and them playing is crucial to the ceremony apparently, but they aren’t paying attention, and getting someone to go and tap them on the shoulder is out of the question for some reason.

The grass wolf has managed to find his way into the complex at this point, and ends up eating the film critic after he does this weird speech. Does Shyamalan hate critics? I bet he did after releasing this movie. Maybe he saw it coming, and just didn’t care.

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Turns out this guy saves the day in the end. By staring at the grass wolf.

I just lost it at this point, seriously. A giant eagle flies overhead and takes Story away, and then the credits rolled.

WHAT. THE. HELL. YOU. GUYS.

Dare I ask, has M. Night Shyamalan made anything worse than this? I need to know, just in case I have a sudden lapse in judgement and find myself with nothing better to watch on a Sunday night.

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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