Movie Reviews

The Lodge (2019)

the-lodge-movie-review-2019Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

Genre:  Drama, Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast:  Riley Keogh, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Katelyn Wells, Rebecca Faulkenberry

Plot: A tragedy in the family changes the lives of siblings Aiden and Mia. Around Christmas time, they visit the family lodge with their Dad and his Fiancee – but the atmosphere is as frosty as the weather outside. Aiden and Mia dig up some strange things about their future Step-Mum’s past – and then things get weird.

My Thoughts: With life starting to show signs of getting back to normal in a coronavirus filled world, I’m trying to get back into movies and blogging and generally just feeling a bit more ‘me’. I started with catching up on a movie I heard a lot of people talking about after the cinemas shut – The Lodge. I could tell it was a movie best watched with no knowledge about the story and so that’s how I went in, and I definitely urge you to do the same. I’ll hide any spoilers I happen to mention.

I think you would definitely be forgiven for drawing comparisons between The Lodge and the works of horror director Ari Aster. It blends extreme grief with horror elements to give that uncomfortable tone, and now that I think of it, it uses that dollhouse theme that Hereditary has, too. As much as I enjoyed The Lodge though, I don’t rank it as high as Hereditary or Midsommar.

It’s slow going until that point after the movie sleepover and all the things go missing, but it was wild after that. The ending, in particular, was one of those that made me audibly gasp – I certainly won’t forget it for a long time. Also, this is the second thing I’ve watched this year where Richard Armitage plays a Dad who makes terrible decisions. You should watch The Stranger on Netflix if you haven’t already!

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Best Bit: I kept flip-flopping on the idea of #SPOILERS# the trio actually dying in the night because of the heater, as suggested by Aiden #END OF SPOILERS# but when it’s finally confirmed what actually happened? Oh man – I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character (or two) more than in that moment!

Worst Bit: What is it that horror movies have against pets? I get it, it made me feel the feelings that the movie wanted me to feel, but oh man!

Fun Trivia: The dog’s name is Grady, which is the character name of Overlook Hotel’s care-taker in Stephen King’s story of “The Shining”. (Coincidence? Maybe!)

My Rating: 3 and a half completely unsafe gas heaters that you should never, ever use. Especially when you’re likely to drop to sleep any second.

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Movie Reviews

Extraction (2020)

extraction-2020-movie-review-posterDirector: Sam Hargrave

Genre: Action, Thriller

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Pankaj Tripathi, David Harbour, Bryon Lerum, Ryder Lerum

Plot: Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake (yes, you read that right), a fearless mercenary offering his services on the black market. He’s hired to rescue the kidnapped son of an infamous drug lord, and although the mission seems straightforward enough, things soon take a turn for the worse.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know what day of lockdown we’re on now. I lost myself along the way but I’m trying to crawl my way back. Now I’ve gotten back into movies I’ve taken the opportunity to start ticking movies off my watchlist, but today I’m here to talk about Netflix’s latest hit, Extraction (2020). Was I in it for the plot? Let’s not kid ourselves. I was in for Chris Hemsworth, covered in sweat and dirt, kicking ass. #sorrynotsorry

Maybe it’s because we don’t have many new offerings right now, but I really, really enjoyed it! It doesn’t bring anything new to the action movie scene, it’s terribly predictable at times, and David Harbour was massively underused, but everything else was just pretty spot on. I didn’t find myself drifting towards my phone at any point and I found myself pretty invested in the story, plus the action scenes ranged from pretty good to downright epic.

In fact, it can’t be that bad of a movie because I hear a sequel has been confirmed. Yikes, though. Do we really need a sequel? I get that the ending could be taken 2 ways depending on how you feel about that final scene, but the way I imagined it, a sequel isn’t really possible.

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Best Bit: I know it’s all anyone can talk about when it comes to this movie but that 11-minute or however long one-take action shot was hella cool. I’ve never felt so part of an action movie before, what a shame none of us will be able to experience that scene in a cinema!

Worst Bit: When the movie started, with the scene of a battered Chris Hemsworth seeking cover behind a car on a busy bridge, I called how the movie would end. I kind of meant it as a joke, but…I’ve never been so disappointed to be right before.

Fun Trivia: The movie was shot in a city in India, Ahmedabad, and the public went berserk to see Chris Hemsworth. Many fans stayed at the set for as long as 15 hours to get a glimpse of him.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 rakes, which believe it or not, are used in one scene where Tyler Rake does, in fact, kill a man…with a rake.

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Movie Reviews

Onward (2020)

onward-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Dan Scanlon

Genre: Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Animation

Runtime: 102 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez, Kyle Bornheimer, Lena Waithe, Ali Wong

Plot: Years ago, the world was a magical place. But magic is a hard skill to master, and so as time went on, the mythical creatures in this world found newer and easier ways to get by. When Ian Lightfoot turns 16, his mother presents him and his older brother Barley with a gift from their father who passed away before Ian was born, a staff and a spell with the power to bring their father back from the dead for one day.

My Thoughts: After so many years, Disney Pixar don’t need to furnish me with any marketing. Just give me a date for when their next movie comes out and I’ll be there. That said, does anyone else feel the marketing for Onward has been a little…light? Not only that, in the trailers I saw over the past few months, I can’t help but feel like Onward could easily be mistaken for a Dreamworks movie. It has that kind of vibe to it, you know?

And if I’m brutally honest, I wasn’t blown away by the movie for a while. I was absorbed in the world-building, and I loved Ian and Barley as characters, but it felt like a very straightfoward, colour by numbers kind of story for a while. However. There was a moment around halfway through, when Ian and Barley are dancing with their father, that it all finally clicked, and the Disney Pixar magic kicked in, and every moment after that was just so good!

No spoilers of course but the ending really took me by surprise. I mean, you can see where the story is leading and you know what the climax will involve, but it didn’t go the way I thought at all which is always welcome. Oh boy did I cry though. It was up there with “Take her to the moon for me” on my Disney Pixar crying scale.

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Best Bit: The spells that Ian learns throughout the story are so much fun and took me back to my Harry Potter days. Aloft Elevar is the new Wingardium Leviosa, people. However! My absolute favourite bit was the creature that I will not reveal for spoilers and…let’s say…the finishing touch the curse brings it. I laughed quite loudly at that.

Worst Bit: I’m not fully sold on the mum’s boyfriend as a character. For a movie centring its themes on family, death and grief and everything that follows, I would have expected there to be more about the brother’s feelings towards Colt, other than simply mocking him.

Fun Trivia: Pixar’s iconic Pizza Planet truck appears in the troll bridge toll scene.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 cans of Mountain Dew DOOM. I wish they were real!

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Movie Reviews

Coronavirus Double Feature: Contagion (2011) & Isle of Dogs (2018)

I’m not making fun of the terrible situation happening all around the world right now, but just as I watched lots of wedding movies when I was planning my own, watching movies about parenting when I was pregnant, I seem to have found myself watching movies about pandemics what with Coronavirus getting worse each day. If you can’t make light of a bad situation, what can you do?

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It started with Isle of Dogs, which has been on my watchlist ever since it came out 2 years ago. I had no idea what it was actually about other than that it was a Wes Anderson movie and I definitely needed to see it. Once I realised it was about how all dogs get banished to an island because of an outbreak of canine flu, my mind started creating links, and I don’t know about anyone else but for me it seems all my family, friends and work colleagues have been watching Contagion over the weekend so hey presto! Double feature.

Isle of Dogs is a delightful little movie. I’ve always been a fan of stop motion animation and know the sheer amount of work that goes into creating each second of footage. I never expected it to still look so ‘Wes Anderson-y’, if that makes sense? It’s only been in very recent years that I’ve discovered Wes Anderson, and I’m definitely a fan. There’s so much to enjoy about Isle of Dogs, from its gorgeous art style to its witty dialogue, to its heartwarming story.

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Which brings us to Contagion, a movie that is currently sitting at #5 in the iTunes Movie Chart, beating movies such as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Doctor Sleep. I guess the biggest draw about Contagion is that apart from the fact the virus in the movie kills it’s victim within a matter of days, so many other details are scarily similar to the Cornonavirus!

It boasts a stellar cast including Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and Jude Law, and if you haven’t watched it yet, give it a couple of hours of your time instead of stockpiling toilet paper!

On a serious note – since I started this post there has been a confirmed case of Coronavirus at the hospital 2 miles from my house, and our Government has delayed reporting on the current number of cases today. It’s a scary world to be in right now, so stay safe, and wash your hands you detty pigs!

Movie Reviews

The Invisible Man (2020)

the-invisible-man-2020-movie-reviewDirector: Leigh Whannell

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 124 Minutes

Main Cast: Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman

Plot: Cecilia escapes her abusive husband in the middle of the night and hides at a friend’s house. 2 weeks later she finds out that her husband Adrian has committed suicide and left her his fortune. That night though she begins being stalked by an invisible man, who Cecilia is convinced is Adrian.

My Thoughts: Can Hollywood give Elizabeth Moss a romcom please? Girl deserves one after escaping an abusive partner 2 movies in a row! Jokes aside – I’ve been quietly looking forward to seeing this for a while now. I find the premise of a lot of horror movies interesting but they’re so hit and miss, but the reviews for The Invisible Man have been brilliant, and now I can say deservedly so!

Just the right amount of tension, fear and mystery to keep you entertained for it’s just over 2 hours, and oh man was I scared for most of the first half. The opening scene had me sinking in my seat and hiding in my jumper, and just when you think you’ve reached a calmer moment the music kicks in and the tension starts all over again! It does get a little less scary as certain things are revealed, but that’s when the mystery element turns up a notch so it’s not really an issue.

There seems to be a trend in recent years of horror movies that thrive on removing away a sense, whether it be sight or sound, and it’s so effective. I hate jump scares that feel thrown in for the sake of it, it’s just not enjoyable to me. But this kind of fear is something else – and I love it!

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Best Bit: I won’t spoil it, but there’s a very memorable moment when the whole concept of this invisible man goes from doing little things to scare and anger Cecilia to HOLY S**T what just happened OH MY GOD and I think my jaw hit the floor.

Worst Bit: If you’ve watched the trailer you probably remember a jump scare involving stairs and a bucket of paint. Whilst I’m glad for the warning, it was by far the best scare in the whole movie and if it had remained a secret, it would have been so much more effective. In fact, I think the trailer gives away far too much – it’s better to just jump into this one blindly.

Fun Trivia: Originally was going to be part of the Dark Universe, with Johnny Depp starring as the titular character, and Ed Solomon writing, but changes were made to the Dark Universe to focus on individual storytelling and moving on from the shared universe concept after the box office failure of The Mummy (2017).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of the LOUDEST damn dog bowls in history. I think I actually almost had a heart attack at that moment, I had shooting tingles go down my arms!

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