Movie Reviews

Antebellum (2020)

antebellum-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Janelle Monae, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe, Marque Richardson, Robert Aramayo, Lily Cowles

Plot: Eden (Janelle Monae) finds herself trapped on a plantation, working as a slave in the cotton fields and is biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to escape. Veronica (also Janelle Monae) is a hugely successful business woman and black rights activist but is finding herself being stalked by an unsettling woman with questionable motives. Eden and Veronica’s stories are entwined…but how?

My Thoughts: I’m the biggest sucker for marketing, and I know it, which makes it worse. I was so glad Antebellum got a VoD release rather than be pushed back in cinemas. Why? Because my dumb-ass read “The Producer of Get Out and US” and translated that as Antebellum being Jordan Peele’s latest horror. Antebellum WISHES is could be Jordan Peele’s latest horror. My biggest gripe is that the entire movie is already there in the trailer, plot twist and all. WHY?! Give me the software and I’ll edit you a trailer for it. It might not be good but it’ll at least not spoil the entire movie. Let’s say the trailer for Sixth Sense (1999) included a clip of Bruce Willis’s character being murdered, that’s how revealing it is.

Anyway, it’s not all bad and I’m not here solely to rant. Janelle Monae is incredible and brings so much energy into this movie. Jena Malone plays a very over the top character but she’s fun to watch, at least. The story itself is interesting and kept me engaged throughout, but I guess I was waiting for a twist that wouldn’t happen because without knowing, I already knew it. I realise I’m back to ranting again. I promise I enjoyed parts of this! The scenes at the plantation were the strongest and the opening to the movie was particularly strong and unsettling. See? I can be positive.

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But it always brings me back to the ending. Sure, there’s a bit more to the twist that I didn’t see coming but it winds up feeling anti climatic because we’re never given a why. What was the point in it all? What was the antagonist’s motive? There’s a moment of clarity and then bam! Credits. Oh.

Best Bit:  The shot of Eden walking away with the torch held high was nothing short of awesome. Just like in Birds of Prey (2020) and Ready or Not (2019), I feel like every movie needs a scene wherein a bad ass woman walks away slowly from a burning building.

Worst Bit: Did we ever get an explanation for the creepy little girl following Veronica around in the hotel?!

Fun Trivia: Gerard Bush got the idea from a nightmare he once had. He initially thought it would be a good basis for a short story, but he later developed it with co-director Christopher Renz into a screenplay for a feature film.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 bold lipsticks that I definitely think I could pull off.

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Movie Reviews

The Devil All the Time (2020)

the-devil-all-time-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Antonio Campos

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 138 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Robert Pattinson, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge

Plot: Set in a town called Knockemstiff in Ohio,  the story revolves around Arvin (Tom Holland), orphaned at a young age and surrounded by violence and grief. Arvin tries his hardest to live a good, honest life, despite the sinister characters around him.

My Thoughts: You know how my mind works by now, I stumble into an actor or actress obsession and then I make it my goal to watch anything and everything they’ve ever starred in. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve watched many a terrible movie starring Robert Pattinson, and I have to say, I wasn’t even looking forward to The Devil All the Time. I watched the trailer a few times and it just didn’t seem like my kind of movie. And well, sometimes it’s when your expectations are rock bottom that you find yourself a movie you enjoy the most. I don’t think this one is perfect, it’s very bleak, quite depressing and at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s been playing on my mind for almost a week now since I watched it.

Tom Holland is phenomenal here. He might be known best as Spider-Man in a playful role, but he really shows off his talents here. I don’t have a clue when it comes to awards and I know this movie hasn’t had great reviews but surely Tom Holland deserves some kind of nomination for this? His accent is impeccable and the way he transforms from a quiet boy to the man seeking revenge is just…incredible! Also, I know the buzz is around how Robert Pattinson steals the show as the corrupted and deceitful Revered (he is excellent, I won’t argue), the show-stealer for me was Harry Melling, who we all know as Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter! I hope we get to see him in more movies.

There are so many characters in the movie it can be hard to keep track, and not all of their stories are really necessary, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. The movie had a The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) kind of feel to me, I’m not sure what that niche little category would be called. It’s not a happy movie, it’s not a fun movie, but it tells an interesting story and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

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Best Bit: The stand off between Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson towards the end was particularly good, I thought.  It was tense and uncomfortable for the right reasons, and the perfect example of how great both actors are.

Worst Bit: Imagine being a Pattinson fan, watching this and thinking yes, this man could actually tempt me into going to church, just to find out that like almost everyone else in this movie, he’s a massive twat. Sigh…

Fun Trivia: Robert Pattinson didn’t work with a dialect coach and crafted his high-pitched Southern drawl on his own. The actor hid his accent from everyone – including director Antonio Campos – until day one of filming. Other actors sent Campos recordings of the voices they were working on – but not Pattinson, preferring to rehearse by himself and getting self-conscious by being judged before actually standing in front of the camera.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 spiders that Harry Melling actually dumped on his head for that stand-out scene, ugh!

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Movie Reviews

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

bill-ted-face-music-2020-review-posterDirector: Dean Parisot

Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, William Sadler, Anthony Carrigan, Errin Hayes, Jayma Mays

Plot: The year is 2020. Life, as we know it, is about to end, unless Bill & Ted can write and perform the song to unite and fix the universe before the clock runs out. The duo decide the only way to find that song is to travel in time to take it from themselves, whilst their daughters team up to put together the perfect band.

My Thoughts: I’m not well versed in the Bill & Ted universe. I’ve only seen the first movie and that was recently. I loved it, but the trailer for the new movie left me feeling mixed. On one hand, it’s Bill & Ted! How can a Bill & Ted movie not be fun? On the other hand, it felt SO cringe in places. The UK has had to wait a little longer for the release but it’s exciting nonetheless to have new releases to look forward to. The first 20 minutes or so felt slow and a bit dull, mainly because it was all just extended scenes from the trailer I’ve seen 100+ times, but once Bill & Ted started travelling through time, it was a lot of fun.

We sure have had our fair share of time travel movies this summer, haven’t we?! Meeting the different Bill’s and Ted’s in the future is where a lot of the laughs come from. I wish we could have seen a few more variations as most were already in the trailer. I feel like there were plenty of in-jokes for long-standing fans too, just a few scenes or lines that didn’t quite make sense to me but definitely would for others. Samara Weaving (playing Bill’s daughter) is always a fine addition to any movie but I adored Brigette Lundy-Paine as Ted’s daughter. They managed to capture so much of Ted’s mannerisms from the original movie!

Most of the jokes land, others get a little tired after a while. Kristen Schaal was a great addition to the cast, although I’ll never be able to unsee her Bob’s Burgers character whenever I hear her voice! Dennis Caleb McCoy, the murderous robot got a lot of laughs out of me but I did get ever so slightly bored of his character towards the end. All in all, it was better than I was expecting it to be, and it’s definitely the kind of movie we all need at this point in the disastrous year that is 2020!

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Best Bit: There was something so uplifting about the final scene where the prophesied  song is played. Maybe I’m just a bit soppy but for those few minutes everything really did feel right with the world.

Worst Bit: You know I went through a bit of a Keanu Reeves phase last year. I was already mourning his beard when the first set photos were released but none of those compared to the image of British Ted sporting a huge beer belly. Although, I did feel like Bill was channeling his inner Carole Baskin. And of course, my most sarcastic thanks to my husband who pointed out during a John Wick re-watch that Keanu Reeves can’t run. Seriously! You watch him run in any movie he’s in, including this one. His legs just don’t know how!

Fun Trivia: During filming in a neighborhood in Louisiana, the cast and crew were often greeted by local residents. One day, Keanu Reeves noticed a sign on a lawn that read “You’re breathtaking”. He stopped, got out of the car, went to the sign and autographed it. After finding out to whom the sign belonged, he went to the family and posed for a photo with them.

My Rating: 3 and a half time-travelling phone booths that I think we all wished were real right about now.

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Movie Reviews

After We Collided (2020)

after-we-collided-movie-review-posterDirector: Roger Kumble

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Louise Lombard, Dylan Sprouse, Candice King, Charlie Weber, Shane Paul McGhie, Inanna Sarkis

Plot: Set just a few months after the original movie After (2019), when Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) have broken up. Tessa is getting on with her life, about to start her internship at Vance Publishing while Hardin is struggling to stay afloat without her.

My Thoughts: We’re getting a really slow trickle of new movies into cinemas in the UK and this was one of them. I’ve never heard of it before but my bestie text me the night the tickets were released was like, we NEED to go and see this, and well, who am I to say no? I had to give myself a crash course in the movie, it’s prequel, and the books the movies are based on so let me tell you what little I know. There are 5 books in the After series, written by Anna Todd. They were originally published on Wattpad as Harry Styles fanfiction. Man, where did I go wrong? I wish teenage Allie knew she could have made a career out of writing fanfiction!

I’ll admit, I caught up on the original movie on Netflix and I quite liked it. It was easy, guilty pleasure watching for me. Full of every cliche known to man in the genre but for me it was movie evuivalent to comfort food. I was quietly looking forward to the sequel and clearly a lot of people are because the screen was busier than the opening night of Tenet at our local! We um…kind of hated it. The first 20 minutes at least felt like a blatant rip off of Fifty Shades Darker (2017) but for a teenage audience. Which was, of course, also based on fanfiction…of Twilight. (Is everything leading back to Robert Pattinson for me right now?). Wild, right? I lost count of the sex scenes eventually and the whole experience was just a bit…awkward.

The whole movie is so choppy, one minute Tessa and Hardin are together again, next they fall out, then they’re together again, then they fall out again. Back and forth, over and over again. Maybe we’re just 10 years too old for this series, maybe our teenage selves would have fallen head over heels in love with Hardin but the reality is, Hardin is messed up, he’s no good for Tessa and the two of them need to stay apart. Will we be back for the 2 already confirmed sequels? Yes, we’re committed to this car crash now (sorry Steph).

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Best Bit: I can’t help but get sucked in to the drama, so when Tessa agreed to go along to the New Years party at the frat house and got her own back on that total bitch Molly? I was there for it. Yas, Tessa!

Worst Bit: You know who I haven’t mentioned yet? The adorable, geeky Trevor (Dylan Sprouse). He works at Vance Publishing, is a shy, beautiful nerd and is clearly in love with Tessa. He tries to make a move on her so many times and every single time I wanted to shake Tessa and tell her what a blind idiot she is. #TeamTrevor

Fun Trivia: Roger Kumble directed Cruel Intentions (1999), a film with a plot often compared to the one of Anna Todd’s After. Selma Blair, who plays Carol Young, also starred in Cruel Intentions as Cecile Caldwell.

My Rating: 1 pair of Victoria’s Secret undies. I’m dying to know how much that product placement deal cost, it was painfully obvious!

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Movie Reviews

The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020)

broken-hearts-gallery-review-poster-2020Director: Natalie Krinsky

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Molly Gordon, Phillipa Soo, Suki Waterhouse, Nathan Dales, Nikki Duval, Chris Sandiford

Plot: Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) collects memorabilia from every relationship she’s ever been in. After a particularly bad break up, she happens to meet Nick (Dacre Montgomery) who is in the process of doing up a hotel but is struggling due to a lack of funds. Lucy offers Nick her help and in return, Nick offers up space for Lucy to build the Broken Hearts Gallery, an art display of the objects other people have held onto to remember past relationships.

My Thoughts: I’m really starting to worry about the future of cinemas. My local has never been busy unless it’s opening weekend of the latest blockbuster movie, but it feels so much emptier lately. Last night I was there with the bestie and we were the only ones in the screen for The Broken Hearts Gallery which doesn’t surprise me too much as the movie has had literally no marketing over here but the rest of the building was eerily quiet! With big movies like Wonder Woman now being pushed back to winter, unless we get a steady stream of smaller movies I’m really concerned about what will happen to our cinemas.

Anyway, let me tell you how much I adored this movie. It is SO CUTE. I’m going to try and refrain from gushing about how much I fell in love with Dacre Montgomery but you guys. I loved him enough in Stranger Things but there’s something about him here I can’t explain. His eyes! How can a man be so…pretty? I digress. One of the many things I love about this movie is its lead, Geraldine Viswanathan. What a breath of fresh air to watch a romcom with a relatable woman who isn’t a size 0 supermodel yet is still stunning and plays a character you can just see yourself in? I lost count of the number of times we elbowed each other in the cinema while laughing and saying “that’s me!”.

I think I was smiling from ear to ear most of the time. Lucy and her friends have such great chemistry and share so many funny moments. Phillipa Soo is a particular stand out – Hamilton fans are going to be so happy with her role here. The Broken Hearts Gallery might not be groundbreaking, it has a lot of the stereotypical romcom tropes in it, but it does them all so well that it doesn’t need to break any barriers. Lucy and Nick don’t fall in love straight away, it takes time, and I can’t remember the last time I got so excited to see a first kiss in a movie. I highly recommend this, and yet I worry I might have built it up to be more than it is. Romcom fans will love it, for sure.

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Best Bit: This is impossible to pick because I have so many. Nick’s grand gesture? The karaoke bar? The moment that Jeff finally speaks? There are so many memorable moments, but I guess the one that sticks out is when we realise why it is that Lucy collects all these things in the first place. It added another level to the movie and I think that’s what makes it stand out from the thousands of other romcoms out there.

Worst Bit: I guess it comes down to great writing, directing and acting but I don’t remember the last time I loathed a character as much as Lucy’s ex, Max. When he tried to get back together with her Ii was repulsed! It was a good job we were alone in the room because I was actually shouting at Lucy!

Fun Trivia: The Broken Hearts Gallery was originally scheduled for a July 2020 release, but got pushed back to August 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However it was later pulled from the schedule, eventually being scheduled for a September 11, 2020 release. The film premiered on the Sony Pictures Studios lot as part of the company’s ongoing “Drive-In Experience” event.

My Rating: 4 and a half meerkats…one of Jeff’s favourite animals which he passionately talks about!

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