Movie Reviews

I Care a Lot (2021)

i-care-a-lot-movie-poster-review-2021Director: J Blakeson

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Main Cast: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eliza González, Dianne Wiest, Chris Messina, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Macon Blair

Plot: Marla (Rosamund Pike) runs a tightly knit scam as a court-appointed legal guardian by trapping vulnerable patients into her care and taking their money. When Marla and her partner Fran (Eliza González) think they’ve hit the jackpot in the form of Jennifer (Wiest), a lady with no family whatsoever, they pounce, only to find things aren’t exactly as they seem.

My Thoughts: After my initial confusion of how I was even meant to watch this movie (UK Netflix even lists it when you search and then is like…no, we don’t have that) I summoned my cats and hunkered down. It’s been too long since I last saw Rosamund Pike and knowing she was going to play a villain with that stunning haircut only she could pull off? That’s peak excitement level for me right there. Let’s not go into the debate rife on Twitter about not being able to root for an evil character, we don’t have to root for her to enjoy the movie. It worked for Joker, it worked for American Psycho and works just fine here. Seriously – what is it about female led movies that causes such a storm?

I really enjoyed this though, it’s absolutely wild. Rosamund Pike doesn’t get anywhere near enough credit and spotlight as she deserves. She is stone cold here. Of course we want to see her lose but man, we can appreciate how bad ass she is. It’s quite scary though to think that this might be a fictional movie, but this scam must happen in real life, too. Peter Dinklage gives us another enemy to despise and he’s an interesting choice. Personally I haven’t enjoyed any of his roles outside of Game of Thrones, and I can’t pinpoint why yet. The only character I felt somewhat sorry for was Eliza González’s character Fran. She was the only one who seemed to have a hint of a moral compass.

It gets way too silly in the third act, that’s the movie’s only downfall in my eyes. I’m fine with things being a bit non-realistic but it got so dramatic in some points that it was a bit exhausting. The ending definitely made up for that, though. I’ll say that much. All in all, I had high expectations from the initial trailer and most of those expectations were met. I definitely recommend I Care a Lot!

i-care-a-lot-2021-rosamund-pike-eliza-gonzalez

Best Bit: One of the strongest elements of this movie is it’s opening scenes – they were absolutely perfect. The fury of the son who lost his court appeal followed by Marla’s fierce lecture? It was cinematic perfection. *chefs kiss*

Worst Bit: Picture this – you work in a convenience store out in the middle of nowhere. Someone walks in late at night, soaking wet, badly injured…and you don’t check on them at all?!

Fun Trivia: When Marla Grayson is on the phone with Sam Rice, he asks her if she has heard of the Milgram experiment, which references a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram where subjects obeyed authority figures (i.e. giving electric shocks to people) regardless of possible consequences.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 vape pens which have never looked cooler than in the hands of Marla Grayson.

i-care-a-lot-rosamund-pike-vaping-vape

Book Reviews

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

So far, so good, I’m still on track for my Goodreads Challenge of 20 books read in 2021! For my next book I chose something more out of my comfort zone. At the time of writing, Where the Crawdads Sing has been in the New York Times Best Sellers list for 120 weeks. Can you believe that? It wouldn’t actually matter to me what the book was about, something that good would instantly be on my radar.

In a quiet fishing village called Barkley Cove, a young girl known locally as ‘the Marsh Girl’ fends for herself after the rest of her family has left her. She’s smart and resourceful and manages to get by. Running parallel to her story is a murder case, that of Chase Andrews, a young man who was very popular in the village. As they always do, the two stories combine when the Marsh Girl (Kya) is found to be a suspect.

I found this book to be very slow and difficult to get lost in to begin with. I had to keep flicking back to the start of the chapters to try and remind myself where I was in the story’s timeline. A few chapters in though, it clicked and there were some nights I found myself reading until I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Ii felt so desperately sad for Kya and the hardship that she’s suffered. Not many people would be able to endure what she did, but she kept going.

If you read here often enough you’ll know I’m a sucker for a mystery so you’ll believe me when I say I found the murder case and the trial the most fascinating part to read. I won’t give anything away of course but it was a really satisfying end with a final twist that shocked me. I can definitely see why it’s been so popular and I have no doubt that movie rights will be snapped up in due course. Well worth a read!

Movie Reviews

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

barb-star-vista-del-mar-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Josh Greenbaum

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Main Cast: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., Vanessa Bayer, Fortune Feimster, Phyllis Smith, Reyn Doi, Andy Garcia

Plot: Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) have been best friends as long as they can remember. When they both lose their jobs at the local furniture store, they decide to go on vacation for the very first time to Vista Del Mar in Florida where they get caught up in an evil villain’s plot to kill everyone in town.

My Thoughts: I should have had faith in Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, writers of Bridesmaids (2011) and now Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. But the original trailer gave nothing away and just seemed a bit odd. I was’t wrong, it’s VERY odd. But in the best way possible. This movie is like Bridesmaids meets The Muppets meets Austin Powers and through all the craziness it just…works. Wiig and Mumolo are perfect together, and if you thought Jamie Dornan was on a bit of a losing streak then look no further. He’s an absolute show stealer here and can someone tell me where I can get one of those fish shirts for my husband?

Seriously, I hope Dornan lands another comedy after this. He randomly bursts into song several times, singing to the camera, singing his prayers to seagulls and I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. The movie is slow at first and my attention drifted until Barb and Star actually got to Vista Del Mar, albeit at the wrong hotel. From that moment on I was hooked.

This is the kind of movie that really splits an audience. I just know if I could have seen this in a cinema, when the credits roll half the room will be skipping out with a smile on their face and the others will be muttering ‘what the actual f**k did I just watch’. If you appreciate the sense of humour in movies like The Muppets then you’ll definitely get a kick out of this. It’s silly, plain and simple. It’s also a heart warming story about friendship and falling in love. It also wasn’t until after the movie that I realised the villain is also played by Kristen Wiig! I knew she looked familiar and I couldn’t for the life of me work out why till I looked it up.

barb-star-vista-del-mar-jamie-dornan

Best Bit: It’s actually impossible to pick just one stand out moment, and this is definitely a movie where you pick up on more jokes each time you watch it, but the bit that had me laughing the most was when the second spy, played by Damon Wayans Jr. was introduced. It’s a repeating joke of him giving away all his personal details and it tickled me!

Worst Bit: There’s a moment where Barb and Star are saved from certain death by their billowing culottes, the movie starts with a description of the trousers often worn by middle aged women and it made me a little sad because they’re my favourite trousers to wear in the summer! Am I old?!

Fun Trivia: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo previously co-wrote and starred together in Bridesmaids (2011). Both films also feature Wendi McLendon-Covey.

My Rating: 4 seagulls listening to Jamie Dornan’s prayers.

barb-star-jamie-dornan-seagull-prayers

Movie Reviews

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

willys-wonderland-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Kevin Lewis

Genre: Action, Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Main Cast: Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Beth Grant, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Caylee Cowan, David Sheftell, Terayle Hill

Plot: Nic Cage (his character is only known as ‘The Janitor’) is driving through a quiet town when his car breaks down. The guy running the local garage agrees to fix his car for free if Nic spends the night cleaning an abandoned family restaurant. Willy’s Wonderland is the name of the place, and unbeknownst to Nic, it’s full of murderous animatronic creatures.

My Thoughts: This movie is straight-up bonkers. Imagine if cinemas were open and you could have gone for a double bill of Willy’s Wonderland and Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar? I love that two crazy movies were released on the same day. This is the kind of movie I would have been obsessed over as a teenager. I’d be hunting down a Willy’s Wonderland tee as fast as I could…to be honest, I’d kind of like one now.

I feel like we’re due a bit of a Nicolas Cage resurgence, or maybe that’s just me. I found myself watching Next (2007) on Netflix the other week and as stupid as it was, it was a lot of fun. It’s kind of a running theme with his movies, isn’t it? He doesn’t speak a single word in Willy’s Wonderland, just grunts, drinks punch, cleans and kicks ass. The cleaning powers of Mrs Hinch combined with the deadliness of John Wick, that’s what you get here. Having Beth Grant in this movie would have been the perfect excuse to have a character that looked like Frank, the rabbit from Donnie Darko (2001) – what a missed opportunity!

It’s not a clever movie, some things just don’t make sense. You’ve got these animatronic characters with goofy faces somehow able to murder kids in seconds, but that’s kind of the point. You don’t watch it for a clever plot and truly terrifying monsters. You watch it for the laughs, to see Nicolas Cage have to change his shirt for the 5th time because he’s covered in oil again, or having to stop what he’s doing because his watch is beeping and it’s time for another can of punch.

willys-wonderland-2021-nicolas-cage-emily-tosta

Best Bit: Those characters were creepy enough when they weren’t cursed but the sight of them now? Combined with the eerie tune of ‘It’s your biiiiirthday, and we want you to have fun’ I was somehow scared and laughing out loud at the same time.

Worst Bit: You know how in some countries, movies get renamed? In the UK, My Life as a Zucchini is called My Life as a Courgette. Makes sense, that’s literally what the vegetable is known as here. Zootopia is Zootropolis, annoying, but it’s to do with a zoo by the same name somewhere in Europe so makes sense in a legal aspect. THIS movie in the UK is Wally’s Wonderland. WHY? Is it because in the UK a willy is a penis? We don’t call that guy who makes chocolates and sweets Wally Wonka? I’m irrationally irritated about it.

Fun Trivia: When the trailer was released, several fans of the extremely popular horror video game Five Nights at Freddy’s (2014), which has a movie version in production from director Chris Columbus, pointed out how the plot for this film is the exact same as Freddy’s: people are attacked by animatronic characters at a Chuck E. Cheese type restaurant.

My Rating: 3 and a half rolls of duct tape which I doubt any medical professional would recommend you use on open wounds.

willys-wonderland-2021-nicolas-cage-duct-tape

Movie Reviews

Red Dot (2021)

red-dot-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Alain Darborg

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Main Cast: Nanna Blondell, Johannes Kuhnke, Anastasios Soulis, Kalled Mustonen, Thomas Hanzon, Anna Azcárate

Plot: David and Nadja’s relationship is under a lot of strain, not helped by the fact that Nadja has just discovered she’s pregnant. As a surprise, David plans a few days break away in the mountains but during their first night they find themselves fighting for their lives from an unknown shooter.

My Thoughts: Thank goodness for Netflix, because the way things are going in the UK right now, we won’t be in cinemas until the end of the year. UGH. We’re also having the coldest week in almost 30 years and it’s really putting me in a bad mood now. There’s nothing like watching a fictional couple try to escape death to cheer you up, right? This little Swedish movie was a good watch to be completely honest, not without it’s issues but certainly decent.

My biggest issue is with a trope that always bugs me. It starts with it’s ending, then goes back to the beginning of the story. So first we see David, heavily injured in the snow, with Nadja hobbling away from him, also injured. There is, of course, more to the ending than that but it definitely takes away a lot of the tension for the rest of the movie. For example, there’s a scene where David falls through an ice covered lake and Nadja can’t find him. That would normally have me on the edge of my seat but when I know for a fact that he’s going to be okay? It’s not as thrilling.

The strongest part of the movie is in the two biggest questions. Who is trying to murder this couple? And why? We’re given a few suspects and motives but they seem to be quite weak, so it’s interesting watching that develop. The final reveal was definitely a huge surprise to me, and it really changed how I felt towards the characters. For better or worse, I’m not sure. Either way, Red Dot isn’t a fantastic movie but it’s good enough for me.

red-dot-2021-netflix-murder-mystery

Best Bit: That first night, when the red dot appeared – that was a really tense moment. It’s a shame that it was quite short lived, considering the title of the movie I thought it would play a bigger part. But for that moment at least, I really felt the fear that the couple did.

Worst Bit: *MILD SPOILERS* The second I realised they were taking the dog with them on that trip, I knew what his fate was going to be. I hate that movies like this rely on killing off the family dog for thrills. This one was particularly brutal and hard to watch, too.

Fun Trivia: Nothing to find I’m afraid, so have this fun fact about the Northern Lights instead. The International Space Station sits at the same altitude as the Northern Lights meaning astronauts can see the lights from the side.

My Rating: 3 drones equipped with filming devices. If you happen to catch anything interesting on them then you know, maybe hand the footage TO THE POLICE.

red-dot-movie-netflix-drone-footage