Joker (2019)

joker-2019-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Todd Phillips

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 122 Minutes

Main Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill, Josh Pais

Plot: Simple enough, this is the story about how a troubled man called Arthur Fleck descended further into madness and took a name familiar to most, Joker.

My Thoughts: Let’s skip past all the drama and controversy around Joker for this post, shall we? Enough people have covered it far better than I can, anyway.

I wasn’t expecting to love this movie. I hated the last Joaquin Phoenix movie I watched, I’m not a big Batman fan, and whilst I avoided reading too many reviews before I got to see it myself, I kept seeing Joker being compared to Taxi Driver…a classic which I can’t stand! So yep, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Although, enjoy and love are two strange words to use to describe your feelings for Joker, because it’s dark. Hella dark.

In fact, in between feeling uncomfortable, our audience laughed quite a few times during the movie. Not because we’re all sickos who found what Arthur was doing funny, but because the tension was getting so thick we seemed to find that collective nervous laughter was the best way to relieve it a little! I always find that the best bad guys are the characters who are utterly evil, but you can see and sympathise with how they ended up that way. You don’t have to condone their actions at all, but you can understand them.

Noone (in their right mind) thought Thanos’ idea to wipe out 50% of the planet with a click of his fingers was a good act, but we couldn’t help but admit that he had a point, you know? I hope the Academy throw some love this movie’s way, even if it’ll inflate Todd Phillips’ ego even further…maybe we’ll get some more stupid quotes from him!

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Best Bit: When Arthur made his appearance on Murray’s show. I felt like I knew how that scene was going to pan out, but it still didn’t prepare me for that moment.

Worst Bit: *BIG SPOILERS* The second we got to see a young Bruce Wayne I thought to myself, if we have to sit through Batman’s goddamn origin story one more time I will scream. WHY do we need to keep seeing this?! We KNOW what happened. It could have been left as a subtle hint, just a glimpse, something off-camera, but no. Let’s make a big deal of it. Again. 

Fun Trivia: The ending of the film where the Joker is in Arkham is meant to be ambiguous as the viewer is given to draw a line about what exactly did happen and did not happen throughout the movie because everything is from Arthur’s perspective. This is further hinted when he says to the doctor “You wouldn’t get it” when he was asked what he finds funny implying that the whole thing was one big joke to him.

My Rating: 4 and a half guns which you should NOT take with you to work if you’ve got a gig pretending to be a clown in a children’s hospital…

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Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Horror

Spooky season has well and truly arrived! The nights are getting darker, the air is getting colder, and you can’t go to a supermarket without being confronted by pumpkins or sweets! It’s the perfect time of year to hibernate indoors with a hot drink and a scary movie. This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Teen Horror, and since finally welcoming horror movies into my life I’ve seen quite a few!

Here are my three favourites:

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It Follows (2014)

Also known as the supernatural STD movie, It Follows is one of the few movies that genuinely scared the crap out of me both whilst I was watching it and for days afterward. Basically, it starts with one girl after a sexual encounter. ‘It’ follows her, only ‘It’ can take any form it wishes and moves at a slow pace until it finds you and kills you. You’re the only person who can see ‘It’, also. The only way to stop ‘It’ is to have sex with someone else and pass it on to them.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I’m so fed up with Groundhog Day-style movies that I avoided Happy Death Day until this year. It’s so good though! You can probably guess the plot, a teen girl is murdered one night and then wakes up at the start of the same day, only to die over and over again. It’s a bit jumpy, but it’s also quite funny and the sequel is surprisingly even better than the original!

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Midsommar (2019)

It only feels like yesterday that Midsommar was released but I’m starting to learn that with Ari Aster’s movies, you aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. After suffering a family tragedy, Dani travels to Sweden with her awful boyfriend and his friends to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. It’s a quiet movie for a horror, and a lot of the worse moments happen off-screen, but it’s a glorious movie.

The Babysitter (2017)

the-babysitter-movie-review-poster-2017Director: McG (no, I didn’t pass out at the keyboard mid-typing…that’s this guy’s name, apparently)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino

Plot: Cole is, without a doubt, a bit of a wimp. His classmates at school would use a much worse term for it, but poor Cole is afraid of everything and is the only kid in school who still has a babysitter. Thankfully, his babysitter just so happens to be super cool and super hot, and one night Cole decides to spy on her after bedtime.

My Thoughts: Last week I watched Ready or Not, the first Samara Weaving movie I’d seen, and I kind of fell in love with her. I mean she’s beautiful, funny, and kicks ass, so who wouldn’t? When I spotted her face on the poster for The Babysitter whilst scrolling through Netflix I knew I needed to watch it, so I went in literally blind, not knowing what the movie was about at all. Whilst it’s not up on that same level as Ready or Not, The Babysitter is definitely a fun watch for the spooky season!

I really felt for Cole. He tries his hardest to stick up for himself, but his home life is hardly desirable. His parents are too focused on saving their failing marriage to give him the attention he deserves. Thankfully, his babysitter, Bee, is everything he needs in a friend. She drives away the bullies, teaches him how to properly defend against himself, and gets involved in his nerdy games. I guess it’s a real shame she’s the leader of some cult, huh?

From the moment the movie went from ‘this is a nice story’ to ‘what the $*%&’ it was a wild ride to the credits. It’s a short movie anyway but it feels even shorter with how mental it goes. Honestly, the biggest takeaway I took from it was that if Home Alone was remade sometime soon (like every other movie is) then it would by no means be a family movie!

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Worst Bit: I loved Bee’s character so much that it felt like a complete betrayal to see her kind of mocking the nerdy guy she’d invited to the house to play spin the bottle. Come on Bee, I thought you were on the nerds’ side…

Best Bit: …BAM. Two knives to the head. Didn’t see it coming at all. Might have actually peed myself a little. 10/10 would recommend.

Fun Trivia: In the original script, Sonya was the cheerleader, Allison was a journalist for the school paper, John was called “John the Baptist” and Max had dreadlocks. The characters were later reimagined to more closely reflect stereotypes of slasher movie victims, only in this film, they’re the antagonists.

My Rating: 3 and a half bottles to play spin the bottle with. If the hot girl gets dared to kiss everyone in the room? RUN.

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What I Watched: September 2019

Well, this month has been pretty nuts, to say the least. on the first day of September I was on vacation in Disneyland, and today I’m dealing with a poorly toddler and working out how to deal with the fact my office is moving in December. Oh life, how you love to throw curveballs at me. Did I mention that said toddler is going to be TWO this month? I cannot even.

Amongst all the fun, jetlag, illnesses and stress I still managed to watch a few movies. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found movies to be a good escape from the real world, even just for a couple of hours. I’m glad my movie mojo is back though because there are so many October releases I’m looking forward to!

First, the movies I watched but never got around to reviewing properly…

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The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Okay, this was actually a rewatch, and I already did a full review back in July, but I needed to see Adam Driver in that smart car again and let me tell you, he didn’t disappoint. Still love that song, too.

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Plus One (2019)

I saw the poster on Netflix when I was having one of those ‘ugh, don’t know what to watch’ nights and genuinely thought it was Joel McHale. I realised very quickly that it wasn’t (I also thought Dax Shepard and Sam Rockwell were the same person for years) but I was in the mood for a romcom so I stuck it out. It’s your average, boy and girl who are only friends go to loads of weddings together and fall in love kind of movie. Nothing to go crazy about, but an enjoyable watch nontheless.

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Late Night (2019)

Despite the lukewarm reviews I was gutted to miss this in the cinemas. Emma Thompson seems to pop up in cameos in everything lately and she’s always the best part of whatever she’s in. She obviously has a bigger role in Late Night and is still the best part of the movie, but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. I’m all for political jokes but they got old really fast, and this movie isn’t going to age well.

sept-the-drop-2014

The Drop (2014)

What can I say? It’s a movie in which a scruffy Tom Hardy rescues an injured dog, adopts him and kicks the ass of anyone who dares to threaten said dog. If that’s not enough for you then ugh, there’s just no pleasing you!

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Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

Yes, I was in a VERY odd mood the other night. Jim Carrey movies were my goto in my teens and yet I don’t know how I avoided Ace Ventura for so long! I loved it, it cheered me right up and I can tick another Carrey movie off my list. It makes for a funny watch in 2019 though, there’s no way a script like this would be greenlighted in this day!

And then, just in case you missed any, these are the movies I watched in September that I did write a full review for:

The Aftermath (2019) 
It: Chapter Two (2019)
Downton Abbey (2019)
The Perfection (2018)
Ad Astra (2019)
Ready or Not (2019)

Ready or Not (2019)

ready-or-not-2019-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Mystery

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque

Plot: When someone new joins the wealthy Le Domas family, they must take part in their long-standing tradition – play a game at midnight. On her wedding night, Grace draws the card some family members dreaded seeing, Hide & Seek. Grace now has until dawn to remain hidden whilst her in-laws hunt her down…with the intent to murder her.

My Thoughts: Sometimes, the movies you watch with no real expectations are the ones that take you by surprise the most. My husband convinced me to go out and see Ready or Not to take my mind off things (it’s all a bit stressful at home & work right now) and I agreed – and had an absolute blast. I expected a bit of silly fun and that’s what I got, from start to finish. It’s so hard to find that balance of comedy and horror, and I switched between laughing my socks off and hiding behind my hands constantly.

Samara Weaving is absolutely amazing in this. Female leads in horrors have been nothing short of incredible for the last 2 years, and I hope they got some kind of recognition for it eventually. Her character’s transition from terrified bride to bad-ass woman is a delight to witness, one the final scenes with her backed into a corner weirdling a knife had the whole audience doing this nervous kind of laugh.

I thought I knew how it would all end, and I would have been satisfied with what I’d conjured up. But oh boy – what an actual ending! Never would I ever have thought it would go that way, but it was glorious to behold. And that final shot (and line)…perfect! I’m so, so glad I gave it a chance, it’s ended up being a movie I think will probably be in my Top 10 by the end of the year.

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Best Bit: *SPOILERS* The whole time I was thinking, what if this pact with the devil thing really is just a load of nonsense? That would be quite funny. Only for it to actually seem that way? My face was like that gif of Andy from Parks & Rec (you know the one). Just a few moments later…that explosion? I think I made an audible noise…but I don’t know what it was.

Worst Bit: *MORE SPOILERS* Oh Alex, what a mamas boy. I already thought you were lame for spending half the movie cuffed to the bed but come on!

Fun Trivia: *JUST A FEW MORE SPOILERS* Six of the methods of murder available in the various editions of the board game “Clue” are used in the film. The Pepper Box Revolver is used by Emilie and her son Georgie, Grace strangles the butler Stevens, the ceremonial wine is poisoned, Aunt Helene decapitates a maid with an axe, a dagger is used for the sacrificial ceremony, and Grace hits Tony in the face with a lantern, like the candlestick.

My Rating: 4 and a half Converse trainers. Never have they ever been so damn cool!

ready-or-not-2019-wedding-converse

Ad Astra (2019)

ad-astra-movie-review-poster-2019Director: James Gray

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 123 Minutes

Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler, Jamie Kennedy, John Ortiz, Greg Bryk

Plot: Astronaut Roy McBride travels through the solar system to learn the truth about his father who went missing years ago, as well as finding out what is causing an attack of solar flares on Earth which have the potential of destroying the planet.

My Thoughts: Before I start my rant I want to be clear, I don’t go into any movie expecting or wanting to dislike it. Even widely hated movies – I try to find the good in them. I can absolutely see why the majority love Ad Astra, and I wouldn’t argue their points, but it didn’t work for me at all. There are plenty of movies in the same genre that I’ve loved, but I couldn’t love Ad Astra. I’m going to flag the rest of my post as spoiler territory just so I can make my points without being cryptic!

Firstly – did Roy really need to travel all the way to Mars to make that transmission? Are you telling me that in this future, where you can buy a Subway sandwich ON THE MOON, that you can’t pre-record a message and transmit it to wherever they know Roy’s father is? That alone was frustrating me endlessly. Also – kudos to Helen for sneaking Roy onto that ship so he could find his father, but could she not have given someone else in the crew a heads up? Come on Helen!

I’m all for a surprise ending, but this one was just really depressing. I liked finding out that actually, there’s a super high chance that us humans are the only intelligent beings in the universe (too many sci-fi movies are like, ALIENS) but it just made everything seem so…pointless. Like, I guess you could argue that Mad Max: Fury Road was just as pointless, but at least the ride was fun!

ad-astra-brad-pitt-transmission-2019

Best Bit: The buggy chase and shootout scene on the moon was pretty darn cool, right? The whole movie is full of beautiful cinematography but that scene, in particular, was pretty breathtaking.

Worst Bit: Why scare the crap out of me with a giant, crazed, murderous space monkey, which seemed to add nothing to the plot? I’m filing Ad Astra in the same cabinet at Nocturnal Animals for jump scares that are unforgivable.

Fun Trivia: While shooting the climactic scene, Brad Pitt ended up crying unprompted in character. But as the scene takes place in zero-g, Pitt told director James Gray that the tear should be edited in post to float like a bubble off his face, rather than run down his cheek. “You gotta replace my tear, that’s not how it works in zero-gravity,” Pitt reportedly said, to which Gray responded, “I’m sorry, I’m keeping it. The acting’s too good, buddy.”

My Rating: 2 Subway sandwiches which you can purchase once disembarking your commercial Virgin Atlantic flight to the moon.

ad-astra-2019-subway-on-the-moon

The Perfection (2018)

the-perfection-2018-netflix-movie-reviewDirector: Richard Shepard

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 90 Minutes

Main Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman, Molly Grace, Milah Thompson

Plot: Charlotte was once a musical prodigy until her mother fell ill and she was forced to become her full-time carer. When her mother passes, Charlotte contacts her old cello tutor and asks to catch up, where she meets her replacement, Lizzie. The two strike up an unusual friendship and travel together, but Lizzie is unwell.

My Thoughts: I only watched this movie 2 nights ago but I keep forgetting what it’s called. Then when I finally remember, all I can think of is that Michael Fassbender ‘perfection’ meme. So, yeah. Anyway, whilst stuck trying to pick a movie to watch that wasn’t too long and didn’t require my full attention, I stumbled across The Perfection in my Netflix recommendations. The premise didn’t sound the most thrilling, but clocking in at just 90 minutes long, it wouldn’t be a huge loss if it was a bit rubbish.

This post will be spoiler-free but I definitely urge you to go into the movie as blind as possible if it’s something you’re interested in because it’s one of those movies that’s best enjoyed that way. My husband kept asking me from across the room, ‘what’s that movie even about?’ and I ended up with 3 different answers as the movie went on.
1. This troubled cello girl is angry that some new girl has taken her fame, she’s probably going to murder her.
2. No, wait, I think it’s actually some kind of disease outbreak kind of movie. That new girl is screwed.
3. My bad, that guy is a terrible, terrible person and he’s going dowwwwwwn.

It’s not the most groundbreaking thriller around, the middle part is hundreds times better than the ending and it’s about as exciting as a movie about cello players can be, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a go. I wouldn’t rush to watch it or anything but it’s a fun watch!

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Best Bit: That middle reveal was actually a brilliant movie moment. I was laughing my ass off about how ridiculous it was that Charlotte pulled out a butchers knife from nowhere, and then the movie rewound and I was like oh. Oh! OH MY GOD. It’s just a shame that the finale (whilst pretty cool) just couldn’t live up to the awesomeness of that moment.

Worst Bit: It’s got a really slow start. I’m not ashamed to say I strayed my attention to my phone until that guy got really sick and I wondered what direction the movie was heading in. If you can make it that far then you’re set!

Fun Trivia: When Anton is showing the Chapel to new student Zhang Li, he asks her to sing a musical note, specifically an A-sharp. The note Zhang Li then sings is indeed a perfect A-sharp, which would indicate Zhang Li has perfect pitch, a rare talent only exceptional musicians possess in which they are able to sing or identify any note by ear.

My Rating: 3 bottles of ibuprofen which can cure hangovers with no problems, but don’t help much when there are bugs crawling under your skin…

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