Movie Reviews

Back to the Future (1985)

back-to-the-future-1985-poster-reviewDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Main Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo

Plot: A high school student named Marty is sent back in time 30 years after his friend and eccentric scientist Doc Brown invents a time-travel machine out of a DeLorean. He must be careful though – because his actions have consequences which could erase him and his family from existence.

My Thoughts: What a wild time to be alive. On Sunday evening, me and the bestie went out on our first cinema date since mid-March…to see a movie released 4 years before we were even born! Our local Odeon is still closed but we have a Showcase very close too which has been showing all sorts of older movies. Now, I kept this quiet until we were actually sat in our seats incase she disowned me…but I didn’t think I had ever seen Back to the Future until that night. There’s a good chance I did as a kid, didn’t we all? But I couldn’t remember any of it.

So let’s cut to the chase…I loved it. I’ve always loved time travel theory so it was never going to disappoint. I’d have maybe liked it to have delved deeper into the theory but I guess 1) this is a family movie and 2) there are sequels…so I can’t complain. How adorable is Michael J. Fox in this? If I’d watched it as a teen I definitely would have had a crush. You know what threw me though? If I closed my eyes when he was speaking…it’s Tom Holland! So weird.

Back to the Future is, at its heart, good, fun storytelling. It’s nothing too flashy, there aren’t any gimmicks, just loveable characters and a fantastic story. You just know that everything is going to be okay in the end, but it doesn’t stop the climactic scene where Doc desperately tries to fix the cables from making your heart pump fast. It was so cool to watch this for (possibly) the first time on the big screen. I can’t wait to see the sequels. Are they good?

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Best Bit: It’s definitely toeing the line of being just plain creepy, but Marty going back 30 years and meeting his Mum who totally has the hots for him? It was a joke that never got old.

Worst Bit: Speaking of creepy…Biff! I mean, in family movies today you just wouldn’t be allowed to have a character like him. He was so, well, rapey!

Fun Trivia: The rights to the film and its sequels are owned by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. In a 2015 interview, Zemeckis maintained that no reboot or remake of the franchise would be authorized during his or Gale’s lifetime.

My Rating: 4 and a half orange bodywarmers floatation jackets.

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Movie Reviews

Hamilton (2020)

hamilton-disney-poster-review-2020Director: Thomas Kail (Screenplay written by Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Genre: Musical, Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 160 Minutes

Main Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Chris Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones

Plot: A recording of the live performance of the Broadway hit Hamilton from 2016, telling the story of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton.

My Thoughts: Every now and again I get the pleasure of watching something that I love so wholeheartedly, I find myself at a complete loss for words. I tried to write my post earlier in the week but it turned into a 500+ word ramble about a musical play I was in as a kid, I’m all for going off topic every now and again (hence the blog name) but this was too much, so you can look forward to that in a future post of its own soon. So back on track. I’ve never been a theatre person. When I went to New York for my honeymoon my husband and I made the effort to see a show on Broadway, how can you not? We chose Finding Neverland because it was a) Disney and b) a musical, and we had such a good time. So yes, Hamilton was a must when it got released on Disney+.

My knowledge of American history all comes down to one of my favourite ever games, Assassins Creed III. I know enough to know who the main characters in Hamilton are and how the story goes, which was handy. As for the show itself, I knew nothing at all. When the first song started with that hip hop vibe (I sound 900 saying that) I was really taken aback, but oh boy, it goes so well. There isn’t a single song in the whole performance that didn’t make me want to get up and cheer.

So there you have it, a review that tells you next to nothing useful. Not that I write ‘proper’ reviews anyway but…just go and watch Hamilton.

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Best Bit: I feel like every new song became my favourite song, but the ones that stick out the most to me are My Shot, You’ll Be Back, Right Hand Man, What’d I Miss, Cabinet Battle #1…okay you get my point. I tried to only pick my favourites and it’s still a long list.

Worst Bit: If I tried to fault it at all, the only thing I can think of it that the second half feels slower than the first, but it still contains some epic moments, and the finale itself is just beautiful.

Fun Trivia: The cost of filming the show in June 2016 for later exhibition as an independent movie was financed by its three main producers for less than $10 million. In February 2020, Disney paid $75 million for the worldwide rights to release it, believed to be the largest price ever paid for a single film acquisition. Other studios that expressed interest in the film rights included Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox (which would eventually be acquired by Disney) and Netflix.

My Rating: A full 5 copies of Assassin’s Creed III which gave me all the background knowledge of American history I needed to understand what was actually going on.

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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.

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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.

da-5-bloods-make-america-great-again

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.

artemis-fowl-2020-ferida-shaw-disney

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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