Movie Reviews

The Devil All the Time (2020)

the-devil-all-time-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Antonio Campos

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 138 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Robert Pattinson, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge

Plot: Set in a town called Knockemstiff in Ohio,  the story revolves around Arvin (Tom Holland), orphaned at a young age and surrounded by violence and grief. Arvin tries his hardest to live a good, honest life, despite the sinister characters around him.

My Thoughts: You know how my mind works by now, I stumble into an actor or actress obsession and then I make it my goal to watch anything and everything they’ve ever starred in. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve watched many a terrible movie starring Robert Pattinson, and I have to say, I wasn’t even looking forward to The Devil All the Time. I watched the trailer a few times and it just didn’t seem like my kind of movie. And well, sometimes it’s when your expectations are rock bottom that you find yourself a movie you enjoy the most. I don’t think this one is perfect, it’s very bleak, quite depressing and at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s been playing on my mind for almost a week now since I watched it.

Tom Holland is phenomenal here. He might be known best as Spider-Man in a playful role, but he really shows off his talents here. I don’t have a clue when it comes to awards and I know this movie hasn’t had great reviews but surely Tom Holland deserves some kind of nomination for this? His accent is impeccable and the way he transforms from a quiet boy to the man seeking revenge is just…incredible! Also, I know the buzz is around how Robert Pattinson steals the show as the corrupted and deceitful Revered (he is excellent, I won’t argue), the show-stealer for me was Harry Melling, who we all know as Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter! I hope we get to see him in more movies.

There are so many characters in the movie it can be hard to keep track, and not all of their stories are really necessary, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. The movie had a The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) kind of feel to me, I’m not sure what that niche little category would be called. It’s not a happy movie, it’s not a fun movie, but it tells an interesting story and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

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Best Bit: The stand off between Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson towards the end was particularly good, I thought.  It was tense and uncomfortable for the right reasons, and the perfect example of how great both actors are.

Worst Bit: Imagine being a Pattinson fan, watching this and thinking yes, this man could actually tempt me into going to church, just to find out that like almost everyone else in this movie, he’s a massive twat. Sigh…

Fun Trivia: Robert Pattinson didn’t work with a dialect coach and crafted his high-pitched Southern drawl on his own. The actor hid his accent from everyone – including director Antonio Campos – until day one of filming. Other actors sent Campos recordings of the voices they were working on – but not Pattinson, preferring to rehearse by himself and getting self-conscious by being judged before actually standing in front of the camera.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 spiders that Harry Melling actually dumped on his head for that stand-out scene, ugh!

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Movie Reviews

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

bill-ted-face-music-2020-review-posterDirector: Dean Parisot

Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, William Sadler, Anthony Carrigan, Errin Hayes, Jayma Mays

Plot: The year is 2020. Life, as we know it, is about to end, unless Bill & Ted can write and perform the song to unite and fix the universe before the clock runs out. The duo decide the only way to find that song is to travel in time to take it from themselves, whilst their daughters team up to put together the perfect band.

My Thoughts: I’m not well versed in the Bill & Ted universe. I’ve only seen the first movie and that was recently. I loved it, but the trailer for the new movie left me feeling mixed. On one hand, it’s Bill & Ted! How can a Bill & Ted movie not be fun? On the other hand, it felt SO cringe in places. The UK has had to wait a little longer for the release but it’s exciting nonetheless to have new releases to look forward to. The first 20 minutes or so felt slow and a bit dull, mainly because it was all just extended scenes from the trailer I’ve seen 100+ times, but once Bill & Ted started travelling through time, it was a lot of fun.

We sure have had our fair share of time travel movies this summer, haven’t we?! Meeting the different Bill’s and Ted’s in the future is where a lot of the laughs come from. I wish we could have seen a few more variations as most were already in the trailer. I feel like there were plenty of in-jokes for long-standing fans too, just a few scenes or lines that didn’t quite make sense to me but definitely would for others. Samara Weaving (playing Bill’s daughter) is always a fine addition to any movie but I adored Brigette Lundy-Paine as Ted’s daughter. They managed to capture so much of Ted’s mannerisms from the original movie!

Most of the jokes land, others get a little tired after a while. Kristen Schaal was a great addition to the cast, although I’ll never be able to unsee her Bob’s Burgers character whenever I hear her voice! Dennis Caleb McCoy, the murderous robot got a lot of laughs out of me but I did get ever so slightly bored of his character towards the end. All in all, it was better than I was expecting it to be, and it’s definitely the kind of movie we all need at this point in the disastrous year that is 2020!

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Best Bit: There was something so uplifting about the final scene where the prophesied  song is played. Maybe I’m just a bit soppy but for those few minutes everything really did feel right with the world.

Worst Bit: You know I went through a bit of a Keanu Reeves phase last year. I was already mourning his beard when the first set photos were released but none of those compared to the image of British Ted sporting a huge beer belly. Although, I did feel like Bill was channeling his inner Carole Baskin. And of course, my most sarcastic thanks to my husband who pointed out during a John Wick re-watch that Keanu Reeves can’t run. Seriously! You watch him run in any movie he’s in, including this one. His legs just don’t know how!

Fun Trivia: During filming in a neighborhood in Louisiana, the cast and crew were often greeted by local residents. One day, Keanu Reeves noticed a sign on a lawn that read “You’re breathtaking”. He stopped, got out of the car, went to the sign and autographed it. After finding out to whom the sign belonged, he went to the family and posed for a photo with them.

My Rating: 3 and a half time-travelling phone booths that I think we all wished were real right about now.

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Lists

UPDATED – Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2018

When I started my little Top 100 Movies of the Decade project I said from the outset that I would update it over time. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure when that would be, but I didn’t expect it to be within a year of writing it. However, over lockdown I watched 2 movies from 2019 and 2018 that absolutely blew me away. I wasn’t blogging at the time and so there isn’t a dedicated post for them here, so instead it only seemed right that I updated my current lists for those years.

Are you actually kidding me? I’ve done 8 of these lists now, you’d think I would have become hardened to only picking the very best movies that I truly loved. I should have it down to a cold-hearted process, right? I just counted my starter list for 2018, and it has 21 movies on it. 21! That’s not including a lot of movies I really enjoyed but knew they weren’t quite Top 10 material. I have to cut this list in half, and chop another off after that.

Maybe 2018 was a fantastic year for movies, but it’s maybe more down to me re-finding my love for this little hobby of mine after losing myself at the start of the year. Either way, this is going to be tough. Here goes nothing. You can find my other lists here.

2018 Movies Watched: 89
Movies that just missed out: BlacKkKlansman, Bandersnatch, Bird Box, The Favourite, Incredibles 2, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, A Quiet Place, Game Night, Love Simon, American Animals

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#10 Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Watching this movie was never on my agenda until Melissa McCarthy started getting nominations left, right and centre for it. I’m very love her or hate her with McCarthy but she was incredible here, and Richard E. Grant is a delight too. It’s a story that some might find a bit dry but I was enthralled.

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#9 Hereditary

Hereditary was the first movie I went to see by myself with my shiny new Odeon card. I must have been mad, but it was a great experience. I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending but there are scenes in that movie that still bug me and haunt me, and they always will!

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#8 Widows

Badass women doing badass things – count me in. Viola Davs is absolutely terrifying in Widows, I 100% would not want to be on her bad side. There are bound to be some copycat style movies following this, but Widows will remain the original and best.

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#7 Ant-Man and the Wasp

Look – I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sure this is at the bottom of everyone’s favourite MCU movies but there was something about Ant-Man and the Wasp that struck a chord with me. It’s funny, it’s got great action scenes and it’s just…wholesome.

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#6 Green Book

Green Book is another of those movies I would have skipped if I didn’t make a habit of watching all the Best Picture nominees. I know it wasn’t a popular winner but I loved it. The story was engaging, the message powerful, and it had a surprising number of funny moments. I’m still a little mad Mahershala Ali was considered a Supporting Actor rather than Lead Actor, though.

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#5 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So the internet decided that Into the Spider-Verse was the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I thought there was no way that could be true, but there’s only one way to find out. Turns out, the internet was right! From the stylish animation, to the smart story, funny one-liners and characters that should be annoying but aren’t, I loved every minute of this.

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#4 A Simple Favor

A comedy/mystery movie directed by Paul Feig and starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is like, right up there on my list of dream movies. There was no way I wasn’t going to love A Simple Favor. It’s stylish, sexy and mysterious, and although it gets way too over the top at the end, it’s a wild ride.

best-movies-decade-2018-star-is-born

#3 A Star Is Born

I’ve listened to the soundtrack from A Star Is Born countless times since watching the movie, but I’m yet to bring myself to actually rewatch it. It’s such a beautifully painful story, but ugh, my heart hasn’t recovered quite yet.

best-movies-decade-2018-blindspotting

#2 Blindspotting

Ironically, I don’t know how I managed to avoid Blindspotting. I don’t remember seeing a single trailer, and the only time I reacll seeing it’s name was in the outrage on Twitter and the blogs I follow that it was ignored by the Academy. Well, it took falling in love with Hamilton (2020) and wanting to see more of Daveed Diggs to get me to pull my head out of the sand. Blindspotting is a stunner of a movie that is more important now than ever in the current #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’ve seen it twice now and I can’t recommend it enough!

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#1 Searching

An odd choice, I admit, but let me explain. I love movies that bring something a little different to the table. All scenes in Searching are through a screen, be it a laptop, mobile, CCTV, FaceTime. That alone makes it great in my eyes. The cherry on the top is a simply brilliant mystery story that twists and turns constantly, with a hugely satisfying conclusion. Love it.

Lists

UPDATED – Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2019

When I started my little Top 100 Movies of the Decade project I said from the outset that I would update it over time. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure when that would be, but I didn’t expect it to be within a year of writing it. However, over lockdown I watched 2 movies from 2019 and 2018 that absolutely blew me away. I wasn’t blogging at the time and so there isn’t a dedicated post for them here, so instead it only seemed right that I updated my current lists for those years.

That’s going to mean kicking Klaus from the Top 10 but man, 2019 was a cracking year for movies! You can see my additions in red, just in case it isn’t obvious.

Phew – what a wild ride this little project has been! Yes, I wimped out of ranking 100 movies across 10 years, but with the exception of 2010-2013, I feel like I’ve picked some solid choices here. It’s been such a fun exercise looking back at everything I’ve watched over the last 10 years, seeing how much my taste in movies has broadened and matured. It was probably handy that I took longer than I thought to make these lists because now I’ve arrived at 2019, there are movies in this list I only got the chance to see very recently, and they would have missed out otherwise.

2019 was a pretty incredible year for movies if my rankings are anything to go by. For my starter list, I only included anything that I rated 4.5/5 or higher, and I gave 21 movies that score! Just like with 2018’s list, I’m crossing movies out that could very well be in my Top 5 on another day.

Have a look at my other lists here if you haven’t seen them already!

2019 Movies Watched: 109
Movies that just missed out: Klaus, Ready or Not, The Lion King, The Dead Don’t Die, Toy Story 4, Midsommar, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, Shazam!, Good Boys, Booksmart

best-movies-decade-2019-joker

#10 Joker

You might think for all my annoyance at Joaquin Phoenix taking Adam Driver’s awards that I hated Joker, but I really enjoyed it. I said at the time Phoenix should get an Oscar for his part. But then Marriage Story came along and changed my mind. I feel stuck in the middle! I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this – sorry.

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#9 Marriage Story

Netflix sure had a good year last year! December also brought us Marriage Story, a painfully emotional story of a couple dealing with a messy divorce whilst trying to be the best parent they can be for their son. Even if you haven’t watched the movie you’re probably aware of ‘the scene’. I almost felt like I needed to turn away, like I’d walked into a very real and ugly situation. Such a good movie!

best-movies-decade-2019-avengers-endgame

#8 Avengers: Endgame

The MCU movies haven’t gotten a lot of love from me in these posts but I’ve found that as much as I enjoy them, I rarely rewatch them. I don’t know why. That said, 2019 brought the culmination of every MCU story so far, and it was a spectacle. So many great moments, and it was a lot of fun to be part of the crowd on opening weekend.

best-movies-decade-2019-parasite

#7 Parasite

Director Bong Joon Ho said something that really struck a chord with me at the Golden Globes this year. “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” I’ve seen so few foreign-language movies, but the ones I have I found to be incredible. Parasite is such a unique movie in how it crosses genres. I thought I knew where the story was leading, but no!

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#6 1917

See, if I wasn’t so late for everything 1917 would never have made this list, because I only watched it last week. I wonder if we’ll start to see more of this one-take style of movie and get fed up of it, but it was the perfect way of telling the story of these 2 young soldiers sent on a seemingly impossible mission. See it in the cinema if you can, it won’t be the same at home!

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#5 Jojo Rabbit

Honestly, as soon as I heard Taika Waititi was making a movie about a young boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler, I knew it would be in my Top 10 of the year list. No one can make a movie like this like Waititi can. It’s somehow hilarious, shocking, and moving all at the same time.

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#4 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

It’s not a list made by yours truly without a controversial pick, is it? Whatever your thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker, for me, Star Wars is Star Wars. Has my opinion changed with time? Yes, because I can’t help but over analyse everything. But the 5 minutes we got of Ben Solo means this movie earns it’s spot here regardless.

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#3 The Peanut Butter Falcon

If you don’t know it already, I’m a total idiot. I avoided The Peanut Butter Falcon because something in the back of my mind told me it was a war movie (!?). It wasn’t until I caught the trailer on Netflix that I was like, hold up…? It’s actually one of the most beautiful, heartwarming movies I’ve ever seen. Someone on Letterboxd described it as the movie equivalent of a hug and I couldn’t word it better myself. It belongs on my imaginary shelf of amazing movies, right in between Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016).

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#2 Knives Out

The wait for Knives Out felt so long, you guys. I was hyping myself up for so long I was terrified I was building myself up for a fall. But it delivered on everything I hoped it would. What a fantastic little mystery movie. I wondered if it would hold up on a second viewing when you already know how it’s going to end, and so on, and somehow it was even better.

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#1 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Parabellum was my #1 movie of 2019 at its halfway point, but I thought by year-end something would knock it down at least one place. It hasn’t. I give all my ratings on a mix of whether I thought it was actually a good movie, and my enjoyment of it. I enjoyed the hell out of Parabellum, and I just can’t find fault with it. How many trilogies can say their 3rd movie was even better than their previous 2? There’s no way Chapter 4 can be this good but I have everything crossed that it is!

Movie Reviews

After We Collided (2020)

after-we-collided-movie-review-posterDirector: Roger Kumble

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Louise Lombard, Dylan Sprouse, Candice King, Charlie Weber, Shane Paul McGhie, Inanna Sarkis

Plot: Set just a few months after the original movie After (2019), when Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) have broken up. Tessa is getting on with her life, about to start her internship at Vance Publishing while Hardin is struggling to stay afloat without her.

My Thoughts: We’re getting a really slow trickle of new movies into cinemas in the UK and this was one of them. I’ve never heard of it before but my bestie text me the night the tickets were released was like, we NEED to go and see this, and well, who am I to say no? I had to give myself a crash course in the movie, it’s prequel, and the books the movies are based on so let me tell you what little I know. There are 5 books in the After series, written by Anna Todd. They were originally published on Wattpad as Harry Styles fanfiction. Man, where did I go wrong? I wish teenage Allie knew she could have made a career out of writing fanfiction!

I’ll admit, I caught up on the original movie on Netflix and I quite liked it. It was easy, guilty pleasure watching for me. Full of every cliche known to man in the genre but for me it was movie evuivalent to comfort food. I was quietly looking forward to the sequel and clearly a lot of people are because the screen was busier than the opening night of Tenet at our local! We um…kind of hated it. The first 20 minutes at least felt like a blatant rip off of Fifty Shades Darker (2017) but for a teenage audience. Which was, of course, also based on fanfiction…of Twilight. (Is everything leading back to Robert Pattinson for me right now?). Wild, right? I lost count of the sex scenes eventually and the whole experience was just a bit…awkward.

The whole movie is so choppy, one minute Tessa and Hardin are together again, next they fall out, then they’re together again, then they fall out again. Back and forth, over and over again. Maybe we’re just 10 years too old for this series, maybe our teenage selves would have fallen head over heels in love with Hardin but the reality is, Hardin is messed up, he’s no good for Tessa and the two of them need to stay apart. Will we be back for the 2 already confirmed sequels? Yes, we’re committed to this car crash now (sorry Steph).

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Best Bit: I can’t help but get sucked in to the drama, so when Tessa agreed to go along to the New Years party at the frat house and got her own back on that total bitch Molly? I was there for it. Yas, Tessa!

Worst Bit: You know who I haven’t mentioned yet? The adorable, geeky Trevor (Dylan Sprouse). He works at Vance Publishing, is a shy, beautiful nerd and is clearly in love with Tessa. He tries to make a move on her so many times and every single time I wanted to shake Tessa and tell her what a blind idiot she is. #TeamTrevor

Fun Trivia: Roger Kumble directed Cruel Intentions (1999), a film with a plot often compared to the one of Anna Todd’s After. Selma Blair, who plays Carol Young, also starred in Cruel Intentions as Cecile Caldwell.

My Rating: 1 pair of Victoria’s Secret undies. I’m dying to know how much that product placement deal cost, it was painfully obvious!

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