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.

a-ghost-story-rooney-mara-casey-affleck

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.

a-ghost-story-casey-affleck-bedsheet

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.

a-ghost-story-review-score-pie

Advertisements

Review: Song to Song (2017)

Remember how literally just a few days ago I said I was struggling to name 5 movies that I really didn’t enjoy this year so far? Remember how my list was half-hearted because I didn’t truly hate any of them, I was just disappointed by them? That I actually missed hate-writing about a movie? Turns out the movie gods were listening that day, because they delivered Song to Song.

song-to-song-movie-review-2017

I’ve heard that Terrence Malick movies are often controversial, and a quick check on IMDB confirmed what I thought – until now I haven’t seen a single one of his movies. I gotta say, there were none that really shouted out to me either, but there was no way I could ignore Song to Song. Here’s what I knew:
– Music was a strong feature (I’ve been spoiled by John Carney movies)
– It was set in Austin, Texas (I got to go there for work once and had an amazing time)
– The cast was excellent (Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling & Michael Fassbender)
– It was described as a modern day love story

What could possibly go wrong?

It all started out okay to be honest. It felt a bit qwirky, a bit weird. It was a little raunchy too, so ticks in all the boxes from me. My eyes struggled to adjust to the fact that no single shot seemed to last any longer than 5 seconds, but I thought I’d get used to it. I had over 2 hours of movie to get used to it!

michael-fassbender-song-to-song-human-buffet

About 20 minutes in, it all just went to hell. I couldn’t work out what was going on anymore. I thought it was established that Rooney Mara’s character was together with Michael Fassbender’s, but then she fell for Ryan Gosling. It seemed like some weird love triangle, because Ryan Gosling seemed way more interested in bro’ing it up with Michael Fassbender, but then he got married to Natalie Portman and…are you still reading?

This entire movie hurt my head. None of the characters ever seemed to talk much, or even smile. I’m sorry but, how can you fall in love with someone if all you do is float around silently, looking at them with the face and flair of a catwalk model? It’s infuriating!

song-to-song-rooney-mara-ryan-gosling

I actually gave up at the mid way point and turned the movie off. I thought I could be satisfied with not knowing how the story ended, or wasting another hour of my life whilst risking permanent frown lines from the face I pulled the entire time watching. Alas, the next day the completionist in me couldn’t take it anymore and I watched the rest. Did it get any better? No. Was it worth it? I got to see Ryan Gosling make a turkey out of a napkin (actually one of my favourite party tricks) so there was that.

I’m really sorry to actual, legit movie critics who understood this movie and what it was about, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea at all. 1 and a half napkins from me…you can turn them into turkeys yourself, or ask Ryan Gosling to show you how!

song-to-song-review-score-napkins

Review: What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012)

often-off-topic-pregnancy-announcementIf you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter (probably for the best) then you won’t know, but I’m pregnant! Argh! That still feels weird to admit, mainly because I’m currently pregnant enough for all my clothes to be uncomfortable but not pregnant enough for strangers to pick up on it, I just look like I ate too much at an all-you-can-eat buffet and didn’t get much sleep the night before.

Here’s the proof, anyway! I don’t have any weird cravings yet but what has seemed to happen is that I’ve lost my filter, so you’ll have to excuse my bluntness around here lately. I think I even surprised my Mum the other day. Maybe it’s actually my age, but I just don’t seem to feel the need to think before speaking out loud any more.

Anyway, you’re here for a review, so let me get started. To avoid the ‘advice’ and horror stories from friends and family, I instead turned to movies to find out more about what pregnancy might bring me. I thought What to Expect When You’re Expecting might bring me that.

what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-movie-review

Attempting to follow that age old ‘Love Actually’ formula, this movie features 5 different couples and tells their pregnancy stories. The couples range from super wealthy and famous and their planned pregnancy, to a younger couple facing a dilemma after a one night stand. The cast is decent, with familiar faces such as Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock and Joe Manganiello. Something for everyone!

The movie falls flat for 3 different reasons. Reason the 1st is the same problem all these ‘interconnecting stories’ kind of movies have, there are so many characters with so little time to develop them that as a viewer, I simply don’t care enough about them. In fact, the only character I really connected with was Rosie (Anna Kendrick) and her story was so sad that I wondered why I was sat crying during a comedy movie.

Which brings me to reason numero dos. Is this a comedy, a romance, or a drama? It’s all of them, and none of them. It has 3 great actors well known for their comedic roles (Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock & Rebel Wilson) and yet I didn’t laugh once. One storyline as I mentioned is heart-destroyingly (now I’m just making words up) upsetting, and as a pregnant lady with moods swings this entire movie threw me off balance.

what-to-expect-anna-kendrick-chase-crawford

The last reason is that I didn’t really learn much about what to expect now I’m expecting, other than the fact that people are can be real a$$holes, and I kinda knew that already. Based on my own experiences so far, here’s what this movie was missing:

  • A character marvelling at how their breasts have doubled in size in just 3 months, and their joy in going bra shopping for the first time since they were 13.
  • At no point did I see any character need to pee like their life depend on it, and especially not 5 times in 1 hour.
  • Food featured heavily in this movie (I notice food all the time now) and yet no one felt the need to devour an entire sponge cake, or go completely off their favourite food.
  • No one told any character ‘Oh my gosh, you look more pregnant than the last time I saw you!’ followed up by said person receiving a fist to the face.
  • Also, no one revealed their pregnancy and got the reaction of ‘I knew you’d been eating loads lately!’ again followed up by said person receiving a fist to the face.

Pregnancy is wonderful, you guys. Unlike this movie. Which gets 2 sponge cakes out of 5 from me, because that’s probably all I could eat without being sick. Probably.

sponge-cake-movie-rating

Review: Collateral Beauty (2016)

Seriously, what happened to Collateral Beauty? I saw a trailer for it once or twice last year, and then it just came and went. I can only assume it got buried under all the Oscar movies and Rogue One. Anyway, my good friend Jenna came to see the new house last night, and trying to find a movie that neither of us has seen yet can be quite the challenge, so we settled for Collateral Beauty. Besides, we both love Will Smith (who doesn’t?) so we couldn’t go too wrong.

collateral-beauty-movie-review-2016

Howard (Will Smith) suffers a terrible family tragedy that throws his entire life off balance. In his despair, he writes letters to Love, Time and Death, pouring his sorrow into the words. What he doesn’t expect is a visit from Love, Time and Death themselves (a bit like Scrooge’s visits!) which makes him see things in another light.

collateral-beauty-mixed-reviewsSomething I find really cool about this movie is how much it seems to have split the opinions of the viewers. Check out it’s current ratings chart on Letterboxd! I haven’t seen a more split opinion since watching The Fountain, which for the record, I still don’t know how to feel about. The other thing I got excited about very early on is that this movie is very different to how the trailer makes it out to be. There is so, so much more to the story that what those 2 minutes show you. This was a good surprise, rather than a “what?” kind of Passengers surprise.

collateral-beauty-will-smith-helen-mirren

As for the movie itself, it’s messy, sadly. It has a huge, star-studded cast (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley to name a few) and each has their own complicated story. There’s simply not enough time to get to know these characters well enough, so the emotions thrown at you don’t have a chance to really sink in, leaving you feeling like a bit of a monster for not really feeling anything for them. That said, they have interesting stories to be told, and given some extra time and better pacing, it could have been so good!

What you can’t argue with is Will Smith’s acting talent. I’m not sure if he was trying to bait the Academy with this movie (he was very quiet this year, no?) but his emotions feel genuine, and I can’t stand watching people cry, only because it makes me cry too! To tell you any more about this particular scene would spill into spoiler territory, and I really think if this is something you’d like to see then you should go in as blind as possible.

collateral-beauty-pena-winslet-norton

I’m sure if I watched this again I’d pick up on all sorts of plot holes, but as a one-time experience, I really enjoyed it. It’s a movie with so much heart and a lot to say, so it’s a shame it wasn’t paced very well or in-depth enough. One thing I will say is that the ending in particular is shocking; for better or worse will depend on each individual viewer, but it’s an ending I certainly won’t forget for a long time.

Whether you love it or hate it, Collateral Beauty is a movie that’ll get any movie fan talking at least. I give the movie 3 and a half falling dominoes out of 5!

collateral-beauty-review-score-dominoes

Review: Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

fifty-shades-darker-movie-review-2017The UK is going through a bit of a crisis right now. No, our tea levels are just fine, but we appear to have a shortage of lettuce thanks to bad weather in Spain! Supermarkets are even putting out signs limiting customers to only 3 lettuce (lettuces?) per customer. Like, who even needs that much salad anyway? What we don’t seem to short of, is cucumbers. We have so many cucumbers that people are leaving them behind in the cinema after watching Fifty Shades Darker.

I’d like to say I watched Fifty Shades Darker because it’s my duty as a movie blogger, but actually, I just love trashy movies, and any excuse to go out on a Wednesday night with one of my girls is good with me!

So, you know the story so far, right? Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a billionaire with very particular tastes in the bedroom, and he meets Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who seems determined to change him. They split up at the end of the first movie because Christian was a little too…rough. *cough* Sorry, it’s the awkward Brit in me, unable to talk about anything sexy without either giggling or coughing and looking away.

fifty-shades-darker-dakota-johnson-jamie-dornan

This second instalment of the series is darker, obviously. Ana has a new job, which comes with a creepy boss (Eric Johnson) who brings Ana coffee and would like some…gratification for it. Ahem. There’s also a creepy girl with a bandaged wrist following her around with a gun, and Ana also gets to meet Mrs Robinson (Kim Basinger) who’s responsible for teaching Christian all these terrible things in the first place.

So yes, there’s a lot going on here this time. I’m not sure if I’m dedicated enough to do the math and tell you whether there’s more sex this time, but we’re certainly introduced to some new things. Mainly a pair of silver balls (which do not go where Ana thinks they go) and a spreader bar. Gee, I’m feeling embarrassed just typing this!

fifty-shades-darker-jamie-dornan-dakota-johnson

Let’s talk about the good things. The soundtrack is pretty decent, like last time. The story feels much bigger, Dakota Johnson is as lovely as ever, and if you’re watching with friends, it’s a funny experience. If you love trashy movies, of course.

What’s not so good? The first movie was downright hilarious in many places, although I’m not sure if that was intentional. This second movie doesn’t bring many laughs at all. It also feels like it was originally a 4 hour movie that got absolutely slaughtered in the editing room, but it’s long enough as it is, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain. That’s what she said.

All in all, Fifty Shades Darker was exactly what I expected it to be. Haters gonna hate, yadda yadda yadda, but grab a bottle of wine and treat this movie the way you’d treat Sharknado, and have a bit of fun with it. With my blogging hat on however, this movie gets 2 out of 5 cucumbers.

fifty-shades-darker-cucumbers-rating

Review: La La Land (2017)

la-la-land-review-2017-posterWhen the trailer first came out for La La Land, I felt torn. Yes, the movie was reuniting Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, the most amazing on-screen couple EVER. But it was a musical. I don’t like musicals. That’s what I told people, I don’t ‘do’ musicals. Well, apart from every Disney movie ever made, The Muppets movie, my undying guilty love for High School Musical, and the musical Broadway show I saw on honeymoon. Hm. Turns out I’m a musical fan after all.

Once I’d come to terms with this, I was hyping so much it literally hurt. With every review that cropped up in my feed, I felt a twinge of jealousy that one more person had seen it, whilst I was still waiting. Yet when my time came, I was terrified. When you’ve been looking forward to something for so long, and literally everyone has said how amazing it is (apart from someone on my Facebook feed who shall remain anonymous) you just get this feeling, what if I don’t enjoy it?

I shouldn’t have worried. I know that now. Mercifully, my worry vanished in the opening scene, when a highway full of stand still traffic burst into song about how how much of a beautiful and sunny day it is. People were dancing on top of their cars, a band was playing from the inside of a lorry, and everything was just so colourful. I was grinning from ear to ear, and then Ryan Gosling blared that car horn and I fell in love. To me, Ryan Gosling blaring a car horn is the equivalent to that boombox scene in Say Anything!

la-la-land-city-of-stars-ryan-gosling

Love is the theme here in La La Land. Love for your hometown, for your family and friends, for your dreams. Mia (Emma Stone) is an actress working at a coffee shop at the Warner Bros Studio, attending audition after audition to try and catch her big break. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a struggling musician playing piano at a jazz bar ran by a guy named Bill (J.K. Simmons) who has no appreciation for the music genre. Knowing that La La Land is directed by Damien Chazelle who also directed Whiplash, I wanted so badly for Bill to tell Seb that the music ‘wasn’t his tempo’, but complaining about it general kept me happy enough!

Watching Mia and Seb go from hating each other to loving each other was just so much fun to watch. The scene at the pool party was a favourite of mine, my husband and I were laughing so much I that I think we got a few funny looks for finding it a little too funny. Their musical number whilst walking to find Mia’s car was utter perfection, with the sarcastic comebacks going back and forth. It’s one of those songs you find yourself tapping your feet to without even noticing.

LLL d 12 _2353.NEF

Ugh, I could honestly gush about this movie for hours if I was given the chance. Just give it all the awards, please. The cinematography was stunning, the costumes were a delight (I would kill for Mia’s wardrobe, and my husband wants some of those shoes Seb wore!) and the ending was so bittersweet. I wasn’t even sure why I was crying in the end, I didn’t know whether I was happy or sad.

It was nights like that night that I was so grateful for Spotify, because I stuck the soundtrack on as soon as we got into the car. It was just a shame home was only 10 minutes away! A full 5/5 chicken on sticks from me.

la-la-land-review-chicken-stick

Book Review: It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover

I don’t mean to brag, but it’s the middle of January and I’ve just finished reading my second book. If I read one more, I’ll have read the same number of books than I read in the entirety of 2016. Okay, that’s not that impressive I know, and my movie watching is suffering because of it, but I’m just so glad to be a bookworm again!

For my second read, I picked something from my list like nothing I’ve read before, a romance! For a while I asked myself if Fifty Shades counted as a romance, and then because I’m totally now a hoity-toity book person I scoffed at myself and told myself no, they absolutely do not count, now sit yourself down and read a real romance novel.

colleen-hoover-it-ends-with-us-book-review

So, what is It Ends With Us all about? Let me tell you as little as possible, because you’ll thank me if you end up reading it for yourself. Our main character Lily lives in Boston, with dreams of setting up her own business. She’s determined, and strong, and she makes that dream a reality. She meets a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle one night, and they hit it right off, but said their goodbyes when they realised they want very different things when it comes to relationships.

However, fate brings them together again as it always does in this genre (movie wise at least, I’m new to this) and it’s such a delight when they get together. Everything is going swimmingly until one night when Lily happens across someone from her past. Speaking of which, Lily had a very troubled life as a child, which as readers we get to learn all about, through Lily’s old journals.

giphy-3

These moments were some of my favourites, as young Lily wrote her journals in the form of letters to Ellen DeGeneres. I love this, and it sounds like the kind of thing I would have done, only I’m not sure who I would have addressed my entries to. Probably Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or Kenan and Kel! Anyway, it’s through these journals that we learn about Lily’s first love, Atlas.

However, just as I was really getting into the sickly sweet romantic parts, daydreaming about Dr Ryle Kincaid wearing scrubs and that stethoscope (sorry dear Husband of mine, if you’re reading) I had the metaphorical rug pulled out from under my feet. Believe me when I say that this book gets dark. I was barely getting over the shock of it all when my heart was broken into a million pieces.

giphy-4

I don’t want to say any more than that because it would be a disservice to the book and it’s fantastically talented author Colleen Hoover, but I haven’t felt this way about a book since a certain death in a Harry Potter book, when I wanted to do a Joey from Friends and put it in the freezer to keep me safe. Technology be damned, my kindle wouldn’t thank me for putting it in the freezer for a few hours so it had to go in a cupboard instead.

Well worth a read! If you’ve read it already leave me a comment, I need to talk to someone!