Movie Reviews

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

hitmans-wifes-bodyguard-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Patrick Hughes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 99 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Gary Oldman, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Blake Ritson

Plot: Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is on sabbatical after the events of the first movie, he’s taken a vacation in Capri (like the pants) and he’s given up guns. That all comes crashing down on him very quickly when Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) turns up, guns blazing, to recruit him to help free Sonia’s captured husband Darius (Samuel L. Jackson).

My Thoughts: These big movie releases are really sneaking up on me. It felt like winter and lockdown 3 were never going to end and now here we are, slap bang in the middle of summer! It’s always good to see Ryan Reynolds on the big screen though, even if the movie isn’t good I know I’m in for some fun. Which, as it turns out, is exactly how last night panned out for me. The original Hitman’s Bodyguard movie was decent, but nothing new, and this sequel is…eh. The plot sucks, let me be blunt. It’s textbook comedy/crime/action down to the letter, but the main trio make it worth it.

You’ll be bitterly disappointed if you were hoping for a clever storyline with some jaw-dropping action scenes, but if you’re up for an hour and a half of Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson kicking ass and being sarcastic a$$holes, then this is the movie for you. Ryan Reynolds gets to be his usual sarcastic self, Samuel L. Jackson gets to say his favourite ‘M’ word at least a dozen times, and Salma Hayek is surprisingly the biggest potty mouth of them all, and they have great chemistry together. I would actually be up for a third movie if it ever happened just for them.

It’s a shame that the plot sucked, but I wouldn’t trade the humour for a better storyline. The movie doesn’t try to be anything more than a fun night at the cinema with a bucket of popcorn. It follows that stereotypical kidnap, revenge, someone you thought was good turned out to be bad, heroes save the day business. All in all, worth a watch if you know what to expect!

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Best Bit: Ryan Reynolds just has no shame, does he? I laughed so hard when his character got thrown into a giant wall of Aviation gin (his own company, if you didn’t already know). I was expecting references to Wrexham Football Club and Mint Mobile to come next. Or did they happen and I just missed them?

Worst Bit: So, when The Change-Up (2011) was released, it was my favourite comedy ever for a long time and I watched it a lot. I mean, A LOT. So much so that Alan Arkin will now forever be known as Ryan Reynolds’ Dad in my mind. So you can imagine my excitement when the mystery built over who Michael Bryce’s father was! The actual reveal was even better though, Ii have to admit.

Fun Trivia: Ryan Reynolds has said of being slapped around in this movie: “In Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, I’m slapped in the face twice by Salma Hayek and once by Samuel L. Jackson. For the record, it was Salma who didn’t pull the punches. Not even once. I can still feel the sharp sting of her tiny hand working its way into my soft Hollywood cheekbones. May God have mercy on her soul.”

My Rating: 3 out of 5 guns that Michael will absolutely not touch, because he’s on sabbatical!

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Movie Reviews

A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

a-quiet-place-part-2-movie-poster-reviewDirector: John Krasinski

Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Main Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Wayne Duvall

Plot: Following the events of the first movie, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her remaining family stumble across an old family friend (Cillian Murphy) and their hopes of survival are raised when Regan (Millicent Simmonds) thinks she’s deciphered a code heard on the radio.

My Thoughts: It felt so surreal and bittersweet to be at the cinema for A Quiet Place II, more than a year after it was originally meant to be released. Seconds into the movie I also realised that although I saw the original at the cinema too, it terrified me and I also had company – this time I was alone (with a room of socially distanced strangers I guess, but still). The movie opened with an extended version of the trailer we all must have seen 100 times now, with a glimpse into how the disaster began. It was so tense on the big screen and of course the first jump scare got me by surprise, curse you car horn!

John Krasinski has done it again, folks. Part II is every bit scary, bleak and tense as the original. There are some things that don’t work quite as well. In the original we don’t have a clue where the story is going or who, if anyone, is going to survive. Part II sets out a very clear path and doesn’t deviate from that course, but the wild ride to get there is well worth it. The other members of the Abbott family take a back seat in this movie, leaving Regan to take control of the story and the screen time. It’s a wise choice though, as her deafness creates some prime opportunities for scares.

The biggest thing that confused me was the overall theme that the movie was going for. It was mentioned more than once about how the disaster had changed everyone, how the people left weren’t worth saving and I thought that was going to be a bigger deal than it was. You know, where the real monsters are us humans rather than the creepy things they’re all trying to avoid? Maybe it’ll be something that carries into the third movie.

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Best Bit: I enjoyed the whole movie but the flashback part at the very beginning was just done so well. It was 100% the right decision to not include it in the first movie but it was interesting to see how it started and how quickly everything went to hell. If John Krasinski puts his finger to his lips, you best shut up fast!

Worst Bit: Oh, Marcus (Noah Jupe) was so annoying. How has that kid survived this far, man?! Talk about terrible choices. Other than that, you can tell who in the room had seen the original because of the audible groan when Evelyn walks past that nail in the floorboards – none of us will forget that traumatic moment!

Fun Trivia: Emily Blunt admitted that she was initially hesitant to join the project as she didn’t feel like she could top the first movie. However, she was on board after she heard John Krasinski ‘s pitch of the first bus scene. She also admitted that the first take of that scene is in the movie as she was also terrified in real life by the stunt, which had the bus coming at her at 40 miles per hour.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 cloths that you should TRIPLE CHECK are lying on the door catch correctly!

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Movie Reviews

Cruella (2021)

cruella-movie-poster-review-2021Director: Craig Gillespie

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Mark Strong, John McCrea, Emily Beecham, Tipper Seifert-Cleveland, Kayvan Novak

Plot: Set in London in the 1970’s. a young Estella is determined to make a name for herself in the world of fashion. Forced to live with two fellow thieves whilst they were all still children, Estella grows up surviving through petty crime until she finally gets herself a job working for the designer she admires most, The Baroness.

My Thoughts: I’m in that small camp of people who are all for these live-action Disney remakes. I’m yet to encounter one that butchers a precious childhood memory and most (I’ll admit, not all) have been fantastic, so no complaints from me here. However, I’m not a fan of 101 Dalmatians. I just didn’t really watch it as a kid, so I don’t have that nostalgic tie to it. I have a soft spot for villains though and I’m OBSESSED with Emma Stone, so I’ve been really looking forward to Cruella. Letting Emma Stone unleash her inner crazy side is always the right thing to do.

The movie has it’s issues. The pacing and the long runtime didn’t work at all towards the end. It felt like the movie had come to a satisfying conclusion with an opening to a sequel and then no, there’s still another 30 mins to go so put that popcorn back down! Also, am I meant to be rooting for Jasper and Horace so much? It’s fun because the henchmen are only ever background noise in most movies and yet they almost steal the limelight here.

Emma Thompson makes an excellent villain here. There’s no good vs evil in Cruella, just one evil vs a bigger evil and oh these girls are on fire. I just can’t. It’s taken over a week to make my thoughts coherent, I might actually love Emma Stone more than Adam Driver at this point. She’s the perfect choice for this clumsy girl just trying to make an impression, and somehow even better with the black and white hair and the outfits and the cane and the “darling” and oh, just simply breathtaking. Give the movie a chance, just for me? And stay for the mid-credits to see what’s coming over the horizon from Disney.

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Best Bit: I enjoyed this from the start, but the movie is at it’s best when Cruella finally takes over Estella and the battle between her and The Baroness truly begins. The outfits just keep getting better and better until that moment of ‘oh no, she didn’t, did she?’

Worst Bit: It’s definitely messed up when I find myself happily watching movies about terrorists or husbands avenging their murdered wives, but watching a movie about a woman who kills dogs for fun gives me pause. I won’t spoil how Disney handled that element to Cruella’s character but I was so tense about it!

Fun Trivia: A popular myth is that filming was delayed due to Emma Stone dislocating her shoulder at a Spice Girls concert in London, where she fell off her friend’s shoulders in June 2019. Stone later explained that the night before the Spice Girls concert she was running in boots on a wood floor, slipped, and broke her shoulder in two places. She went to the concert with her arm in a sling, and didn’t go in for an x-ray until the next day. Filming was delayed while Stone went to physical therapy.

My Rating: I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether this is a 4 or a 4.5, I need something in between those two. But for now, it’s a solid 4.5 circular slices of banana stuck to Estella’s face.

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Movie Reviews

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) – Film & Wine Club

mr-and-mrs-smith-movie-reviewDirector: Doug Liman

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 120 Minutes

Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz, Rachael Huntley, Michelle Monaghan, Stephanie March

Plot: John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) have been happily married for five (or six!) years, but they’re now stuck in a rut. It’s remarkable they made it that far, as unbeknownst to each other, they’re both spies, working for rival organisations. It all comes crashing down on them when they both become each other’s next target.

My Thoughts: So we realised that I have a particular type of movie at our last Film & Wine Club, and this time we learnt that my Mum does too! Her two picks so far have been True Lies and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Clearly, she loves spy movies where the spies lie to their spouses about their profession! Now I’m wondering if she might be a spy… Anyway, I was excited to see her next pick because I’ve heard it’s a fun movie and I’ve actually seen very little of Angelina Jolie’s work!

It was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. You obviously have to go in with an open mind, I couldn’t hide a chocolate bar from my husband, let alone a secret life as a spy, but if you’re up for a bit of silliness there’s a lot to enjoy! Whilst I’ll always hold a grudge on behalf of Jennifer Aniston, it’s impossible to deny the chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie here. I mean, my goodness, I need to open a window just thinking about them together! That might be the UK heatwave though, come to think of it.

One of my favourite little details was the teams behind the Smiths. Jane works alongside an all-female team and they have a stunning building to work in, with plush furnishings and a neat and calm atmosphere. Whereas John and his boys barely look dressed at the best of times and work from one of the most run-down rooms I’ve ever seen. The banter is so much fun, too. It felt a little bit too long for me but it’s definitely something I would watch again.

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Best Bit: There are some great moments where I really thought for a moment one of them might have actually killed the other, but the fight scene at their house is by far the best scene in the whole movie, I think most people who have seen this would agree. Although I bet dominatrix Angelina Jolie would be a close second!

Worst Bit: I use this phrase too much, but if I put my critic hat on I’d say the movie works best when it isn’t fulfilling the plot. It needs one of course but some of the story just feels forced and it’s just a lot more fun to see spies in action!

Fun Trivia: After the Smiths discover each other’s identities, Jane speeds away in the car and John runs after her. He ends up tripping and crashing through a fence, and his gun goes off. The trip was a mistake, and Brad Pitt’s reaction, as well as his following ad-lib, “Oh dear God!”, were genuine.

My Rating: 3 and a half broken glasses to use whilst raising a toast to a happy marriage.

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Movie Reviews

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) – Film & Wine Club

peanut-butter-falcon-movie-reviewWell, it’s a good job we had to skip a week of Film & Wine Club (more about that here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) because I’m so behind on writing! My Mum had social plans, how dare she, right?! Me and Dad reckon she made plans on purpose because the next movie choice just happened to be one of his! For context, the last time my Dad was allowed to pick a movie was his birthday around 3 years ago when he made us all watch the full-length version of Lawrence of Arabia. Obviously, a classic movie, but with the amount of pause breaks my family have it took us around 5 hours (perhaps a slight exaggeration!).

Anyway, the third pick was another of mine, The Peanut Butter Falcon! A re-watch for me of course so I won’t do a full review of it but it certainly made me realise something. Put on the spot to pick 3 great movies that I want to recommend, the first 2 were both movies containing an adventure in the wild with 2 characters who at first don’t like each other much, but become family by the end. Turns out I have a type without even knowing! My third film into the hat was Donnie Darko which I later realised I’d already convinced my family to see, I have a back-up in mind but I can’t tell you guys because my parents read here!

I adore The Peanut Butter Falcon, though. It’s a beautiful story about friendship, family, overcoming the impossible and living life to the full, following your dreams. Zak (Zachary Gottsagen) is a young guy with Down’s Syndrome, forced to live in a retirement home but desperate to escape to find the wrestling school ran by his hero. Whilst on the run he meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who is also on the run after making some dangerous enemies. Tyler recently lost his brother and holds himself guilty, which ultimately leads him to helping Zak pursue his dream whilst also escaping his predicament.

I could put on my critic hat and talk about how great it is to see Down’s syndrome represented in such a positive light, something I’ve never seen in any other movie, and how phenomenal it was for Zachary Gottsagen to play that role, and I would be so right! But all I really need to say is how wholesome the movie is. I dare you to try and dislike it.

That watch was over 2 weeks ago so tomorrow I’ll fill in the gaps with another Film & Wine Club post, then I’ll be up to date! But after this we picked another film out of the hat and it turned out to be another of my Mum’s choices, Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), so stay tuned for my thoughts on that!