Random Posts

Lockdown Day 7 & The Upside (2019)

So the world feels like we’ve entered the upside-down but at least one thing never changes, I’m great at making a plan and failing to stick to it. I’ve been stuck under a bit of a grey cloud these past couple of days, but I was determined to journal this crazy situation and so here I am.

Our supermarkets finally have strict measures in place. There is a limit on how many people are allowed in the store at any time, so you now have to queue to get in. There are now sanitising stations for trolleys and baskets too, huzzah!

You know what’s angered me though? I have an unwell family member right now. They used the NHS 111 online service to answer questions about their symptoms and was told yes, they most definitely have Covid-19 symptoms. They were given a reference number. And that was it. They won’t be tested. You what? How on earth can we report daily figures on the number of cases when we aren’t even testing people with symptoms?!

I’m dreading tomorrow. I’ve now been put on furlough so I’m not working, but my husband’s job falls into the grey area of not being an essential business, but not being public-facing, so he has to go to work still. This past week he’s been working shifts to reduce the number of staff in the unit, so 13:30 – 20:30, but for whatever reason, they’re now scrapping that and so he’s working his using 7:30 – 16:30 from tomorrow. It’s so tough keeping a 2-year old entertained at home all day, I really struggle with it, and now I’m losing my partner in crime, my help, and my only chance at conversation all day.

That’s what I’m finding the hardest about the lockdown. It’s so lonely. Plus, once we’ve finally got the little one to bed, I’m so exhausted and full of anxiety I struggle to enjoy a bit of ‘me time’ with a movie before going to bed and starting over again the next day. Urgh.

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I’m still enjoying Animal Crossing, that game couldn’t have come at a better time, really. And I finally got around to watching The Upside (2019). I wanted to see it at the cinema, missed my chance and then forgot it even existed. Which is a shame, because it’s a really decent movie! Not the flat-out comedy I was expecting, more of a drama than anything else, but Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston have such good chemistry it was hard not to enjoy.

It has a The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) vibe to it, with elements of Me Before You (2016). Well worth a watch if you haven’t already.

UK Netflix finally got Season 6 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine so that’s what I’m watching whilst I write this, and then who knows. I’m torn between watching Underwater (2020) or digging up an old Domhnall Gleeson movie. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well, wherever you are. We’re all in this together ❤

…and now I have that High School Musical song in my head.

Random Posts

Lockdown Day 4 & Bloodshot (2020)

How are we all coping today? My parents decided to let my little girl have her Easter present early so this morning my Dad dropped off a trampoline to our back garden! Contactless delivery of course, couldn’t even say hi which really sucks. I did tell them that a trampoline is very extravagant for an Easter present but they really do spoil her. Anyway, most of the morning was spent in the garden building it and the little one LOVES it. It’s definitely helped that the UK is finally having some decent weather.

My husband is working late shifts this week so he set out after lunch, and me and sprog hopped into the car to drive to some woods we’ve never visited before. I’m trying to use our allotted outdoor exercise time to visit some new, secluded areas. I really enjoyed the walk, but it seems my hatred of staying indoors wasn’t passed down to my daughter, so it was a short walk.

This evening we watched far too much Cory Carson on Netflix. Are anyone else’s kids obsessed with this show? I’ve had to learn what episode my daughter wants to watch based on some rambled clues she gives me. Some are easier than others.
“The ice cream one”
“The doctor one”
“The bye-bye one”
“The stink stinky head one”

Last night, against all advice, I watched Bloodshot (2020). It was pretty much as I expected. Not a total flop but not really a great movie. If it were made and released 15 years ago it would have felt like a better movie, but the techy, superhero-style movies have just moved on way too far now.

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It did get better as it went on though, I quite enjoyed Guy Pearce’s character and the reveal about what they were actually getting Vin Deisel’s character to do. The kind of movie where if you saw it in the cinema it might feel like a wasted visit, but man, I would actually go and watch Cats right now if it meant I could go to my local cinema.

Right now I’m watching The Upside (2019), a movie I really wanted to see and then totally forgot it even existed. More on that tomorrow. For now, keep safe, sane, and happy ❤

Random Posts

Lockdown Day 3 & The Hunt (2020)

Hi guys, you might have noticed I haven’t been around lately. The Coronavirus pretty much ruined my creative writing and my appetite for watching movies. I’m trying though, so whilst I’d probably say I’m still on some sort of hiatus, I thought it would be therapeutic to carry on using the blog as some sort of diary for now.

Today is what feels like Lockdown Day 3 for me in the UK. I’m working from home for the foreseeable future, but I work in a service industry that is essentially closed right now. In the background, my boss is trying to secure government funding to cover our wages whilst we have no work, and hopefully he’s successful. Even so, if work doesn’t pick up for us once this is over, I’m out of a job, and with a mortgage and a child depending on me, that’s causing me real mental issues right now.

So is social media. Our UK lockdown guidelines allow us out of the house to do essential shopping, as well as 1 form of outdoor exercise per day. I’ve been using my time to take my little girl to either the woods or a large outdoor park to run around in, obviously keeping our distance from everyone else. Now, they’re starting to close parks and I’m running out of options. It seems so counter-productive, and sometimes I don’t even dare share photos or videos of our walks because others have interpreted the rules as ‘DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE EVER’ and I feel like I’m passive-aggressively being told I’m a terrible person. I need to get out for my own mental wellbeing, and being out in the woods is far less dangerous than being in a supermarket complaining about how busy it is.

So anyway – that’s how things are right now. Every day is something to overcome, but hey, we’re all in this together. And I guess that’s why it makes me sad when I see so much aggression on my Facebook and Instagram feeds.

I managed to watch The Hunt (2020) though, on Monday night. I already had my cinema ticket booked for it and then, of course, the cinemas got closed, so I was so glad I could stream it! It was absolutely bonkers.

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I’m so impressed that everyone is doing a fabulous job of not mentioning spoilers, but at the same time I’m GUTTED I didn’t see it in the cinema because those first 10 minutes were jaw-droppingly brilliant. It had a real B-Movie vibe about it, but in a good way, and oh that ending! It reminded me a lot of Ready or Not (2019) for all the right reasons.

We also got Disney+ at long last in Europe yesterday. I got a week’s free trial, for now, to see how I get on. I’d love to say I’ve been making the most of it but so far I’ve only watched The Muppets (2011) and way too many episodes of Phineas & Ferb. Whoops.

Tonight I’m either going to watch Bloodshot (2020) or start tackling my never-ending watchlist, I’m undecided yet. Watch this space. For now, I hope you’re all keeping well, and I can’t wait till the day we can complain about someone chewing popcorn too loudly at the cinema! Love to you all ❤

Movie Reviews

Onward (2020)

onward-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Dan Scanlon

Genre: Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Animation

Runtime: 102 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez, Kyle Bornheimer, Lena Waithe, Ali Wong

Plot: Years ago, the world was a magical place. But magic is a hard skill to master, and so as time went on, the mythical creatures in this world found newer and easier ways to get by. When Ian Lightfoot turns 16, his mother presents him and his older brother Barley with a gift from their father who passed away before Ian was born, a staff and a spell with the power to bring their father back from the dead for one day.

My Thoughts: After so many years, Disney Pixar don’t need to furnish me with any marketing. Just give me a date for when their next movie comes out and I’ll be there. That said, does anyone else feel the marketing for Onward has been a little…light? Not only that, in the trailers I saw over the past few months, I can’t help but feel like Onward could easily be mistaken for a Dreamworks movie. It has that kind of vibe to it, you know?

And if I’m brutally honest, I wasn’t blown away by the movie for a while. I was absorbed in the world-building, and I loved Ian and Barley as characters, but it felt like a very straightfoward, colour by numbers kind of story for a while. However. There was a moment around halfway through, when Ian and Barley are dancing with their father, that it all finally clicked, and the Disney Pixar magic kicked in, and every moment after that was just so good!

No spoilers of course but the ending really took me by surprise. I mean, you can see where the story is leading and you know what the climax will involve, but it didn’t go the way I thought at all which is always welcome. Oh boy did I cry though. It was up there with “Take her to the moon for me” on my Disney Pixar crying scale.

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Best Bit: The spells that Ian learns throughout the story are so much fun and took me back to my Harry Potter days. Aloft Elevar is the new Wingardium Leviosa, people. However! My absolute favourite bit was the creature that I will not reveal for spoilers and…let’s say…the finishing touch the curse brings it. I laughed quite loudly at that.

Worst Bit: I’m not fully sold on the mum’s boyfriend as a character. For a movie centring its themes on family, death and grief and everything that follows, I would have expected there to be more about the brother’s feelings towards Colt, other than simply mocking him.

Fun Trivia: Pixar’s iconic Pizza Planet truck appears in the troll bridge toll scene.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 cans of Mountain Dew DOOM. I wish they were real!

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Movie Reviews

Coronavirus Double Feature: Contagion (2011) & Isle of Dogs (2018)

I’m not making fun of the terrible situation happening all around the world right now, but just as I watched lots of wedding movies when I was planning my own, watching movies about parenting when I was pregnant, I seem to have found myself watching movies about pandemics what with Coronavirus getting worse each day. If you can’t make light of a bad situation, what can you do?

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It started with Isle of Dogs, which has been on my watchlist ever since it came out 2 years ago. I had no idea what it was actually about other than that it was a Wes Anderson movie and I definitely needed to see it. Once I realised it was about how all dogs get banished to an island because of an outbreak of canine flu, my mind started creating links, and I don’t know about anyone else but for me it seems all my family, friends and work colleagues have been watching Contagion over the weekend so hey presto! Double feature.

Isle of Dogs is a delightful little movie. I’ve always been a fan of stop motion animation and know the sheer amount of work that goes into creating each second of footage. I never expected it to still look so ‘Wes Anderson-y’, if that makes sense? It’s only been in very recent years that I’ve discovered Wes Anderson, and I’m definitely a fan. There’s so much to enjoy about Isle of Dogs, from its gorgeous art style to its witty dialogue, to its heartwarming story.

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Which brings us to Contagion, a movie that is currently sitting at #5 in the iTunes Movie Chart, beating movies such as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Doctor Sleep. I guess the biggest draw about Contagion is that apart from the fact the virus in the movie kills it’s victim within a matter of days, so many other details are scarily similar to the Cornonavirus!

It boasts a stellar cast including Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and Jude Law, and if you haven’t watched it yet, give it a couple of hours of your time instead of stockpiling toilet paper!

On a serious note – since I started this post there has been a confirmed case of Coronavirus at the hospital 2 miles from my house, and our Government has delayed reporting on the current number of cases today. It’s a scary world to be in right now, so stay safe, and wash your hands you detty pigs!

Movie Reviews

The Invisible Man (2020)

the-invisible-man-2020-movie-reviewDirector: Leigh Whannell

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 124 Minutes

Main Cast: Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman

Plot: Cecilia escapes her abusive husband in the middle of the night and hides at a friend’s house. 2 weeks later she finds out that her husband Adrian has committed suicide and left her his fortune. That night though she begins being stalked by an invisible man, who Cecilia is convinced is Adrian.

My Thoughts: Can Hollywood give Elizabeth Moss a romcom please? Girl deserves one after escaping an abusive partner 2 movies in a row! Jokes aside – I’ve been quietly looking forward to seeing this for a while now. I find the premise of a lot of horror movies interesting but they’re so hit and miss, but the reviews for The Invisible Man have been brilliant, and now I can say deservedly so!

Just the right amount of tension, fear and mystery to keep you entertained for it’s just over 2 hours, and oh man was I scared for most of the first half. The opening scene had me sinking in my seat and hiding in my jumper, and just when you think you’ve reached a calmer moment the music kicks in and the tension starts all over again! It does get a little less scary as certain things are revealed, but that’s when the mystery element turns up a notch so it’s not really an issue.

There seems to be a trend in recent years of horror movies that thrive on removing away a sense, whether it be sight or sound, and it’s so effective. I hate jump scares that feel thrown in for the sake of it, it’s just not enjoyable to me. But this kind of fear is something else – and I love it!

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Best Bit: I won’t spoil it, but there’s a very memorable moment when the whole concept of this invisible man goes from doing little things to scare and anger Cecilia to HOLY S**T what just happened OH MY GOD and I think my jaw hit the floor.

Worst Bit: If you’ve watched the trailer you probably remember a jump scare involving stairs and a bucket of paint. Whilst I’m glad for the warning, it was by far the best scare in the whole movie and if it had remained a secret, it would have been so much more effective. In fact, I think the trailer gives away far too much – it’s better to just jump into this one blindly.

Fun Trivia: Originally was going to be part of the Dark Universe, with Johnny Depp starring as the titular character, and Ed Solomon writing, but changes were made to the Dark Universe to focus on individual storytelling and moving on from the shared universe concept after the box office failure of The Mummy (2017).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of the LOUDEST damn dog bowls in history. I think I actually almost had a heart attack at that moment, I had shooting tingles go down my arms!

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Movie Reviews

Dark Waters (2019)

dark-waters-movie-review-2019-posterDirector: Todd Haynes

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 126 Minutes

Main Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper

Plot: The real-life story of one corporate defence lawyer and his lawsuit against a huge chemical company found to be knowingly poisoning thousands of Americans.

My Thoughts: These thriller-esque biographical movies are quickly becoming favourites of mine. If I can learn something new and shocking and have an absolute blast whilst watching, then what more can I ask for? I honestly thought Dark Waters was by the same director as Spotlight (2015) as they have a very similar style. And they both have Mark Ruffalo! So you’ll have to excuse my confusion. I’d struggle to sell this movie to anyone who hasn’t heard of it because on paper it sounds dry as hell, but it’s so good.

It starts a little slow and takes a while to get going, but Mark Ruffalo is so likeable that I was in it from the start for his character, and his character’s family too. Come the mid-way point of the movie a huge bombshell is dropped, and the pacing turns up tenfold from that point and doesn’t let go. I say it reminds me of Spotlight because that was the last movie I found myself angry watching.

It’s hard for me to fault the movie apart from the pacing at times, but for so long I couldn’t help but feel like Anne Hathaway was being wasted. She was a background character for so long but when the case kicked off, she got her chance to shine and it’s probably one of my favourite performances of hers. I also loved how some of the real people portrayed in the movie actually got cameo roles!

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Best Bit: I’m torn between two moments in the movie. The first being when it was revealed that the problem was so much worse than originally thought. The second was the meeting Ruffalo’s character had with the head of the chemical company, going through all the evidence he had collected. It was so tense.

Worst Bit: Speaking of tense, I never thought I would be so stressed out watching someone turn their key in their car’s ignition. Also – chemical companies suck.

Fun Trivia: Second film Mark Ruffalo has appeared in dealing with the DuPont family. The first was Foxcatcher (2014).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Teflon-coated pans, dug out of my kitchen cupboards and thrown away.

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