Movie Reviews

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

eurovision-song-contest-fire-saga-2020Director: David Dobkin

Genre: Music, Comedy

Runtime: 123 Minutes

Main Cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, Demi Lovato, Jamie Demetriou, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Graham Norton

Plot: Lifelong friends Lars and Sigrit have forever dreamed of performing at the Eurovision Song Contest and representing their home country, Iceland. When the team responsible pick their 12th entry at random, Fire Saga is chosen to take part and Lars and Sigrit are given the chance to make their dreams come true.

My Thoughts: I’m not ashamed to say I was really looking forward to the release of this movie. Will Ferrell is hit and miss for me, but mostly a hit, and whilst I wouldn’t call myself one of the biggest Eurovision fans, I love the cheese of it all and the catchy tunes, so that’s what I was hoping for.  This is a movie most will scoff at, but I found it a clever mix of pure comedy and feel good, follow your dreams and it paid off. It opens with a fantastically funny musical number and then takes a while to find it’s feet, but after the first half-hour I was sold.

That may, of course, be thanks to the character Dan Stevens plays. I haven’t been following movie news or watching trailers during these last couple of months so I kind of went in blind but when he showed up, I actually did a little scream. You can ask my husband. The spend the next 90 minutes rolling his eyes at me. This is Dan Stevens’ best role since The Guest (2014). I mean it. He’s arguably the best part of the whole movie.

If you enjoy the kind of comedy that comes with Will Ferrell, and if you like music-orientated movies like Pitch Perfect (2012), then you’re going to find a lot to love here. It was kind of ironic that we got this movie in a year when we didn’t get an actual Eurovision, but that’s just another thing to look forward to in 2021. Oh, and the UK still got 0 points. Cheers for that painful reminder!

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Best Bit: I know they were written to be a bit daft but…I just love the songs in this! They’re all on Spotify thankfully, I can’t wait to sing them badly and loudly in the car on the way to work when I finally go back. But the best moment could have possibly been when those 4 dancers tore Dan Stevens’ shirt off of his body mid-song. You guys…they got PAID to make Dan Stevens shirtless. I’m in the wrong job for sure…

Worst Bit: With ABBA songs playing and Pierce Brosnan on screen doing a terrible accent, I got Mama Mia flashbacks. And what’s worse? I remembered how much I enjoyed the Mama Mia sequel.

Fun Trivia: Will Ferrell’s interest in the Eurovision Song Contest began when his Swedish wife Viveca Paulin took him to her cousin’s house in May 1999 and the family turned the competition on. Since then, he kept following it. In 2014, Ferrell travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark to watch the final.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stunning, well-endowed Greek statues which Dan Stevens’ character claims to have no idea that they look identical to him.

Going Off Topic

Going Off Topic (#26) I booked a cinema ticket!

I’ve avoided doing an Off Topic post for a while just because I feared it would turn into a rambling essay of misery, but I have a lot to talk about today and if I don’t get my words out now any reviews I write will be more illegible than usual.

Things are still pretty rough, as they are for, well, the whole world, but in the UK we’re at least starting to see a glimpse of morality. I’m still on furlough with no return date, so every day I’m battling the fear of losing my job in the middle of one of the worst economic climates ever, but all I can do about that is hope and form a backup plan. On 4th July we’ll see pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, libraries and outdoor leisure facilities opening up, meaning I can take my little girl to the park to play on the swings and slides! I am SO excited to be able to have some more freedom.

Me and my little girl have made the most of our time together by getting out into the fresh air and going for walks, but at the end of the day, she’s 2. There’s only so much we can do before she either gets bored or her little legs get tired so it’s going to be great to have some new activities to do together.

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Cinemas can also reopen on this date and my local has Odeon has announced they will be reopening on 16th July. You can bet I booked a ticket the very second I was able to. On Friday 17th July I’ll be watching Inception (2010) on the big screen for it’s 10th anniversary. I can’t wait!

Of course, things like this stir up the emotions of everyone. I open my Facebook and Instagram to see posts slamming anyone thinking about going to the pub or cinema. Sigh. I wish we could have a little more kindness on the matter. If someone isn’t comfortable to be going out yet, that’s absolutely fine. The world is a terrifying place right now. But if someone is looking forward to doing some of the things they used to do before lockdown? Can we just let them enjoy that?

ANYWAY. New cinema releases are on the horizon and it’s all very exciting. I also really need to catch up on writing reviews because there are so many great movies I’ve watched at home that I then haven’t found the creativity to write about. There are also plenty of terrible movies that I need to tell you to avoid!

Also, I’ve been using an RSS feed called Feeder for a few years to keep track of the blogs I follow but recently it glitched and lost some of my blogs without telling me which ones so I’m starting to make the move to Feedly instead. Do you use a particularly good site to keep track that you can recommend?

While you’re still reading, if you happened to miss his post, Drew is hosting his annual Christmas in July blogathon next month and, as it’s my favourite annual blogathon, I am obliged to remind you in case you want to take part! I’m going to be drawing up a set of terribly drawn Christmas Movie Posters for the event, probably after a frozen cocktail tonight, and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s posts.

Finally – sending you all love during these weird and wonderful times. Take care, and keep safe ❤

Movie Reviews

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

da-5-bloods-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Spike Lee

Genre: Adventure, Drama, War

Runtime: 154 Minutes

Main Cast: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Melanie Thierry, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Le Y Lan, Chadwick Boseman

Plot: Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin are all African American veterans returning to Vietnam to find the remains of their fallen brother and reclaim some buried treasure. Along the way, the 4 men are troubled by their pasts and their mission becomes more and more deadly with every step.

My Thoughts: I saw a lot of hype over Da 5 Bloods on Twitter and so I was desperate to see it for myself. I had no idea it was a Netflix original until I went onto the app to binge more terrible TV, so I was delighted to have something better to watch! I’m shamefully not well versed in Spike Lee’s movies but I really enjoyed BlacKkKlansman (2018) so I had high hopes for this. I think it’s the kind of movie where every viewer will have a different experience but for me, this was a slow burner that lagged to begin with but more than paid off in the end.

Movies like this depend strongly on their leading characters. If we can’t connect with them, if we can’t feel strong feelings for them, the movie is doomed. I adored these guys though. They fought in a war that wasn’t theirs, and they wear the scars from their struggles. I wanted every one of them to succeed.

The moment the movie went from ‘alright, pretty good’ to ‘holy crap this is great’ for me was in the jungle, just after the treasure had been found. It was a wild ride from then on, with plenty of surprises along the way. The part with the landmines in particular – I would have LOVED to be in the cinema for that. Man, I miss the cinema…

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Best Bit: When Delroy Lindo’s character Paul went off on his own – those scenes were absolutely fantastic. If Delroy isn’t in the running for an Oscar for this then we riot!

Worst Bit: As much as I enjoyed and appreciated the flashback scenes, not using any kind of anti-ageing technology really took me out of the moment. I’m guessing it was all down to budget in the end, but when Scorsese gets given goodness even knows how many millions to make The Irishman (2019), it feels unfair. But then, I kind of hated The Irishman, so.

Fun Trivia: The reason why the characters appear old during the war flashbacks is because it isn’t a flashback but instead it is the characters remembering the past, therefore they remember the past with their current age. It also symbolizes that in their mind, they are still in Vietnam and will continue to be in Vietnam, never fully being able to move on from that war.
(Okay, I found this trivia after I’d written the rest of my post. I stand corrected, this makes a lot of sense.)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ‘Make America Great Again’ hats.

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Movie Reviews

Artemis Fowl (2020)

artemis-fowl-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Kenneth Branagh

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Ferida Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Joshua McGuire, Colin Farrell, Judi Dench

Plot: Artemis Fowl Senior has been kidnapped by…a hooded baddie with a raspy voice. This mysterious person wants Artemis Fowl Junior to find a magical object called the ‘Aculos’. Young Artemis is about to learn that the Irish tales of fairies that his father read to him every night are real.

My Thoughts: I didn’t write this post to hop on the ‘we hate Artemis Fowl’ bandwagon. I went in with an open mind, hoping to enjoy it. My tastes in movies aren’t always the best and I often have a soft spot for family movies. Not for Artemis Fowl, though. This is up there with Jupiter Ascending (2015) for me. It’s all just a bit…dumb. Which is a shame, because I hear the book is excellent. Then again, I also hear the movie strayed away from its source material.

Firstly, what dirt does Josh Gad have on Disney? He must just be on their payroll by now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy, but if you want to cast someone scruffy with a gruff voice, why would you cast Josh Gad? Which brings me to Judi Dench. Goodness me, the last thing I saw her in was Cats (2019). My throat actually hurt every time I had to hear Judi Dench put on that voice. Whyyyyyyyyyy.

I didn’t have a problem with the story itself, but it felt like it was told in the least exciting way possible. There’s a huge, hidden world out there with fairies and dwarves and goblins, but I felt no magic at all. It also didn’t help that little Artemis Fowl himself is one of the most unlikeable characters in the movie. I cared an awful lot more about the young fairy Holly Short than him, and he was just as unlikeable at the end, too.

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Best Bit: At the mid-point of the mess that is this year, with cinemas still not open and Tenet pushed back 2 weeks, I was just happy to be watching a new release, good or bad!

Worst Bit: According to my husband, watching Josh Gad expand his jaw to tunnel his way through the ground and fart out dirt was the most horrifying thing he’s seen in his life. And he quite literally watched in the moment our daughter was born. So…there’s that. Sorry if you lost your appetite.

Fun Trivia: The film has been in development since 2001. Eoin Colfer (author of the book) has jokingly stated that the movie would be finished two years after he died.

My Rating: 2 packs of throat lozenges that I’ve been saving for Judi Dench. Is she okay?

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Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Prequels

Happy Thursday, folks! If it even is Thursday. I should have stuck with Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks from the start of lockdown really, but it’s been so difficult to find any love for movies since the end of March. Now’s a good as time as any though, right? So this Thursday we’re talking about movie prequels.

The movie world is rife with sequels of varying quality, but prequels are rarer to come by. I have to admit, I couldn’t find 3 prequels that Ii can say I ‘loved’, but I did find some that I enjoyed.

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Bumblebee (2018)

I haven’t seen all of the Transformers movies. I enjoyed the first one, as cheesy and silly as it was, and I’m fairly sure I watched Revenge of the Fallen. After that, I honestly couldn’t say. If it weren’t for my ODEON card I doubt I would have given Bumblebee a chance, but do you know what? It was a really decent movie! Full of heart and stunning action sequences, and Bumblebee has always been my favourite Transformer anyway.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Something funny I read online that I’ve never forgotten is “Noone hates Star Wars movies as much as Star Wars fans”. It’s so true! From the chatter I heard though, the consensus was that Rogue One was a solid addition to the series. It’s not one I find myself wanting to rewatch as much as the other movies, but I loved K-2SO so much. It had some pretty dodgy CGI that isn’t going to age well but the Darth Vader corridor scene more than makes up for it.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Are you ready for a confession? I’ve only seen 1 of the Lord of the Rings movies. I don’t know why I’ve not made an effort to see the others, they should be my ideal kind of movie, but it just hasn’t happened. I really enjoyed all 3 of the prequel movies, and I read the book for the first time afterwards, too. It’s wild how they made 3 movies out of such a small book!