Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

memories-of-murder-2003-movie-reviewAfter a string of 2017 releases, it’s quite refreshing to blog about a movie a little older! Let me tell you about a cool website I stumbled across the other day. It’s called Taste, and basically how it works is that you complete a profile by rating movies that it throws at you. Once your profile is complete, you’re left with a list of movie recommendations based on your tastes. Simple, huh? I wanted to give it a try, so I completed my profile, and the number 1 recommendation for me was Memories of Murder (2003). There was only 1 way to find out whether the site was any good really, wasn’t there?

Directed by Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer & Okja), Memories of Murder is based on a real life serial murder case in South Korea. In October 1986, a young woman is found raped and murdered in a field. Detective Park Doo-man (Kang-ho Song) is first on the scene and has never dealt with a case like this before. It’s clear that him and the rest of the department are well out of their depth, so another detective, Seo Tae-yoon (Sang-kyung Kim) from Seoul, volunteers to help.

If I remember rightly, this might be my 2nd ever foreign language movie. It’s shameful actually, because the only other one I’ve seen (Incendies) was absolutely incredible, so I’m definitely open to suggestions. In fact, I almost enjoy a subtitled movie more, because my mind simply isn’t allowed to wander, or I’ll miss a huge chunk of what’s actually going on.

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Memories of Murder is a reasonably long movie, but it doesn’t ever really slow in pace. From the opening of the movie, we’re presented with the first victim, and the way the story flows it really does feel like we’re part of the investigative team as they desperately search for clues. Once the team work out that these murders only happen at night when it rains, the tension really ramps up. I felt just as frustrated as the detectives when things didn’t go their way, although Park Doo-man’s investigate techniques are extremely questionable!

In fact, his character started out as quite unlikable for me. He was presented with a decent lead, but rather than work with the suspect to gather as much intelligence as he could, Park Doo-man actually creates false evidence to make the suspect look even more guilty, and actually tortures him until he gets a confession. It’s quite hard to watch in some parts. By the end of the movie though, you can see how much his character has grown.

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Memories of Murder is up there with Zodiac as my joint-favourite detective movie I think. As far as that website goes, it was spot on with recommending me something to watch! I’m not affiliated with them in any way by the way, just to make that clear. I just like sharing interesting things with you. This movie gets 4 out of 5 Nike (or should that be Nice?) sneakers from me.

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By the way, in case you’re curious, it’s also recommending me Persepolis, Letters from Iwo Jima, Short Term 12, In Bruges and City of God, to name a few. I’ll be tracking these down soon!)

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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!

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 Belko Experiment (2017)

the-belko-experiment-2017-movie-reviewWhat’s this? 2 posts in 3 days? Is it possible that I’m getting back into a blogging routine again? Argh, I’ve cursed it now. You won’t hear from me for a week at least now. Anyway! This also marks the 3rd night in a row I’ve watched a movie on nothing more than a whim, and this time it was The Belko Experiment. I’d heard the name crop up on a few blogs when it was released in cinemas, but I tried to avoid reading too much because it seemed like one of those movies that was better the less you knew.

In Bogtoa, Colombia, there is a high-rise office block, home to a government orientated business named Belko Industries. Due to nature of the work, Belko requires all non-national employees to wear tracking chips, which is odd enough, but on one particular work day, the local employees are all turned away at the gates, and that’s where this twisted social experiment starts, for the remaining 80 employees within the building.

I’ll admit, I was expecting this to be more of a psychological kind of thriller, rather than the blood bath that it was, so that’s skewed my judgement a little, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The movie builds up to the main event nicely, introducing most of the main characters with a pretty cool cast including Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, John C. McGinley and John Gallagher Jr just to name a few!

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Once the building is locked down and the announcement made that the employees have just 20 minutes to murder 2 of their colleagues, the mind games really start. It’s always interesting to see how these characters react to such an ultimatum, and I have to admit I would be the one who runs to hide in the stationery cabinet. No wonder Hollywood hasn’t made a movie about me yet! If anyone else really enjoyed that element of the movie I highly recommend Circle (2015) which follows the same concept on a much more intimate level.

The Belko Experiment is gory as hell (for me anyway!) so I wouldn’t recommend watching this with dinner…especially if it involves pasta sauce. I reckon every office worker out there should give this a watch though, who hasn’t daydreamed about bashing their boss’s head in with a tape dispenser? Hi boss, if you’re reading. I just made that up to be funny, I promise.

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Of course I won’t ruin the ending for you, but I’m a little torn on how to feel about it. It felt like the easy way out to me, but then I can’t imagine any other ending that would have made sense, unless of course this was an M Night Shamalamadingdong movie! I just wish it had some more mind games. 3 out of 5 tape dispensers for me. I always said those things are so heavy they could do some serious damage…

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Mini Reviews: Fist Fight (2017), Shimmer Lake (2017), & Before I Fall (2017)

The last couple of weeks have been so crazy that I haven’t been on this blog for what feels like forever! In my defence, it was purely because I had nothing to blog about – that kind of happens when you don’t actually get round to watching anything. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I’ve caught up over the weekend and watched a few fairly mediocre movies that were perfect for some mini reviews.

Ready to be underwhelmed?

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Why wasn’t this movie called Teacher Fight? That’s what’s said at least 100 times, and I honestly had to double check that wasn’t the real title. Starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day, this was a real ‘meh’ comedy that was as predictable as hell. I have a soft spot for Charlie Day’s comedic charm so I can forgive it slightly, and it had a few moments that made me chuckle, but you can lump it with 2017’s lame comedies.

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I’ll admit, I quite enjoyed Shimmer Lake. The problem is, if I had to explain it to anyone, I’d say it’s a cross between Fargo and Memento. That sounds like a combination made in heaven, but it’s nowhere near as good. It’s a crime/mystery/thriller told in that backwards, Memento style, and most of the main characters are quite quirky in that Fargo sense, but it’s just not as polished, plot and direction wise. Still, I quite enjoyed it and wasn’t expecting the ending at all!

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Speaking of movies that seem far too familiar, I also watched Before I Fall. It’s the teenage-angst version of Groundhog Day, basically. A good premise, and again an ending I didn’t see coming, but the problem with these kind of movies comes with the repetition. How many times do you want to watch the same girl’s school ritual? Let’s just put these kind of movies in the same lock box as all the Freaky Friday ones.

I feel like I’ve brought you a bit of a mediocre Monday, but I’m sure something great will come along soon. I’m seeing Wonder Woman tomorrow night, but because I’ve been away I don’t actually know what the general consensus is. Is it good, you guys?

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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