Mini Reviews: Okja (2017), Gifted (2017) & Atonement (2007)

I’ve been trying to find a bit of a theme for my mini review posts recently. My mini reviews are basically an eruption of thoughts without much focus at the best of times, so it’s nice to have a bit of order somewhere. So what do a super pig, a mathematical genius kid and a 10-year old period drama have in common? I watched them all over the last 2 weeks and they all made me ugly cry!

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Okja (2017)

Back in 2014, the blogging world alerted me to Snowpiercer (2014), a crazy movie directed by Joon-ho Bong. Last month, a movie recommendation site threw a fascinating crime story called Memories of Murder (2003) at me, also by the same director. So, when my blog feed got filled with mentions of Joon-ho Bong’s latest movie about a super pig named Okja, I knew I had to see it!

Okja had just been released on Netflix so I didn’t even bother with a trailer. I figured it would be some kind of family-orientated movie with a happy ending. Ohh, I was so wrong. This movie is dark. So, very dark. It’s worth it alone for the cast to be honest, but Okja is a movie that will make even the biggest meat-eaters out there question themselves. I did a lot of crying and felt guilty as hell about my bacon sarnie the next morning…

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Gifted (2017)

So I judged Okja terribly, but Gifted is absolutely a movie for the whole family! It stars Chris Evans as a single parent to his niece, who just so happens to be a mathematical genius just like her late Mother. It sounds like your bog-standard, average family movie but there’s a lot to be enjoyed here, it certainly stands out from the crowd. Think Matilda meets Manchester by the Sea!

Unlike a lot of child actors, McKenna Grace is an absolute gem and a pleasure to watch in this movie. Her comedic delivery is spot on and she nails that dead-pan kind of humour. I really hope she lands some more lead roles in the future because she’s one to watch! Gifted really pulls on your heart strings and I wouldn’t say it has a predictable plot at all, I was left guessing right up to the end.

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Atonement (2007)

Why did I watch Atonement when I have such a passionate dislike for period dramas? My littlest Brother was coming to stay and I told him we’d have a movie night. He loves plot-twist movies but wanted to watch something none of us had seen before, so I put together a little list. Atonement wasn’t what we watched (we went with The Village) but it kept cropping up in my searches and I couldn’t understand why a movie like that would be considered a plot twist movie. Safe to say, my curiosity got the best of me.

I ended up watching Atonement over 2 days in the end, and at the point the movie tells us who actually committed the crime, I whinged and complained about wasting so much time to a twist that wasn’t even a twist. Then I realised I still had another 20 minutes of the movie to go. If you’ve seen Atonement, well, I know you won’t have forgotten what happened next. That ending destroyed me. I went to bed in silence that night and still felt upset the day after!

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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?

Thursday Movie Picks Television Edition: Superheroes/Super Powers

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Does anyone remember the days when superheroes were confined to comic book pages, rather than dominating our screens? I feel like it wasn’t that long ago, and yet I don’t remember a time now that didn’t involve waiting for that year’s big Marvel or DC release. Then these masked heroes made their way onto our screens at home, and that was deadly exciting. Although nowadays, every show is connected in some way, and if you aren’t fully caught up with each hero’s individual show, the crossovers are going to confuse you.

Sigh. Can we go back to the days of Smallville, when we only had to worry about 1 show? Someone’s going to tell me there was a connected show to that now, and make me look silly, I just know it.

Anyway! This Thursday brings another series from Wandering Through The Shelves, and this week we’re talking about Superheroes and Super Powers, which is good, because my opening paragraph would have looked silly if we weren’t. These are my favourites:

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I’m specifically talking about Season 1 of The Flash here, because that was some great TV. A good origin story, a cast with genuine chemistry, and a really, really good bad guy. There was mystery, and a little time travel made the story even better. I gave up somewhere in the middle of Season 2 because it was just getting ridiculous. Does anyone still watch this? Does it get better again?

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Who would have thought that the Daredevil character would be redeemed after that terrible movie, which for the record I guiltily enjoyed? At this point I feel Netflix are unstoppable at the moment, and Daredevil has some of the greatest fight scenes ever made in terms of both filming and choreography. I’m behind on the rest of the Marvel/Netflix shows though!

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I might be ‘pushing’ my luck here but Pushing Daisies was such an amazing show! Lee Pace’s character, a piemaker, has the powers to bring any dead person back to life, simply by touching them. The downside? If he touches them again, they stay dead forever. He uses these powers to bring back his childhood sweetheart, who he know can’t even hug. This show could have been so morbid, but it’s colourful and often hilarious!

Going Off Topic (#2) I need a Panic Room of my own!

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I watched Panic Room last night for the first time. It’s a movie I’ve been dying to see for ages, because I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have recommended it to me. For some reason, when I tell them the kind of movies I like, this is the first thing that springs to mind. So, I enjoyed the movie plenty, but I think I expected more? I guess I know how the people disappointed with La La Land feel.

Now I’m sounding ungrateful, I know. It was a very suspenseful movie and if I saw it at the cinema I would have been wetting myself. It was also one of the very few roles that I liked Jared Leto in, and has got to (surely?) be the only movie Kristen Stewart has been in that she hasn’t been given stick for!

This week I feel like I could do with a Panic Room of my own to hide out in. Doesn’t it suck when the actual real world and adult responsibilities gets in the way of having fun, watching movies, and blogging? I hope I can tell you more soon, but the house move is progressing rather quickly! We had a meeting with our Solicitor to go through the contracts and we had to pretend that we knew what he was talking about, so we nodded at the right moments, frowned in thought often and signed our lives away several times.

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Now we just have to wait for a date! Meanwhile, we should be packing, but ain’t nobody got time for that? It’s best to wait till moving day and just throw everything into a van, right?

In movie news, if you have a Netflix subscription and you haven’t watched Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy, Valentine’s Day Special yet, you really ought to. I was hooked from the first musical number about Christmas being only 10 months away. I also watched The Founder which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Man was I craving a cheeseburger the whole time though. We had to head straight to a family birthday party when it finished and I came so close to taking a detour it’s not even funny.

I’m behind on book reviews, because I’ve finished Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty and started on Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. Truly Madly Guilty is one of the most frustrating books I think I’ll ever read, but the payoff at the end made it worth it. I think. I’m not sure how to review it without sounding like I hated though, so watch this space, and don’t ever take me seriously. The mere mention of the word barbecue probably brings my Husband out in a rash, because he was the one to face my daily rants whilst reading that book. Sorry, honey.

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Enough about me though. Apologies to my favourite bloggers who’s posts I’ve missed, but I’ve been catching up over the weekend and I’ll be back in full force soon enough. Here are some of the great posts I’ve read lately:

Natasha at Life of this City Girl reviews my favourite movie of 2016, Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Mickey at Our Movie Life shares 10 Hollywood Celebrities he’d like to have dinner with. I feel like a list of my own coming soon!

Brittani at Rambling Film has cast her 2017 Oscar Predictions. I won’t be able to watch this year so I’ll look forward to her reactions post!

Sean at Assholes Watching Movies was later to the John Wick game than me, but he’s seen and reviewed John Wick 2 already, so we’ll call it a draw.