Movie Reviews

Over the Moon (2020)

over-the-moon-movie-review-2020-netflixDirector: Glen Keane, John Kahrs

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Sandra Oh, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn

Plot: 4 years after Fei Fei’s Mother passes away, her Father has met someone new. Fei Fei can’t understand why her Father no longer loves her Mother, and so she travels to the moon in order to find the Moon Goddess to prove to her Father that love is eternal.

My Thoughts: If you thought only Disney Pixar can make animated musicals with the power to make you cry as hard as you laugh, then think again. Netflix is here to surprise you! I’ve always loved animated movies but avoided Over the Moon when it was released last month because I heard it was all about how a young girl deals with grief and ugh, can anyone in 2020 handle their emotions? Because I sure can’t. I couldn’t stay away forever though and I’m so glad I finally gave it a try. This is such a beautiful movie from its storytelling to its visuals. If this isn’t an Oscar contender I will RIOT.

Very much like Inside Out (2015), the movie tackles such a difficult theme but does so in a beautiful way. As an adult watching, I know that Fei Fei’s Father will never stop loving her Mother, but I also understand that Fei Fei can’t see that. For all she knows, this new woman in his life is completely replacing her Mother, and taking away their family traditions at the same time. She’s also lumped with the prospect of an irritating younger brother, who, bless him, handles everything with the tenacity that only 8 year olds can.

Whilst not all the songs are completely memorable, they fit the scenes perfectly and one in particular made me ugly cry into my lunch. It’s an emotional ride but it’s also such a fun adventure as the soon-to-be siblings explore the moon together in order to find the object that the Moon Goddess is seeking. One of those stellar family movies that the adults can enjoy as much as the little ones. Also – I won’t pretend to know anything about Chinese culture but from what I’ve read, it’s represented excellently here and that sounds like a win to me. I’d say that if you enjoyed Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), you’ll enjoy this too.

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Best Bit: I have two words for you. PHILLIPA. SOO. Hands down the absolute star of 2020 for sure. From the tenacious Eliza Hamilton in…Hamilton (2020) to the lesbian goddess Nadine in The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) to an ACTUAL Moon Goddess in Over the Moon (2020), she is simply incredible. And whilst we may only hear her voice in this movie, she sings the catchiest song by far.

Worst Bit: Maybe the child in me was siding too hard with Fei Fei, but I can’t help but feel like the Father’s new relationship could have been handled better. Yes, it was important to see Fei Fei adopt some of her future Step-Mother’s traditions, but surely they could have incorporated more of their original family traditions too? I’m being brat I think…

Fun Trivia: Audrey Wells’ final written movie before her death in 2018, the film will also be dedicated in loving memory of her.

My Rating: 4 and a half magical moon cakes…nope, still can’t think about that song without crying everywhere…

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Movie Reviews

Holidate (2020)

holidate-movie-poster-review-2020Director: John Whitesell

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Main Cast: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth, Frances Fisher, Jessica Capshaw, Andrew Bachelor, Manish Dayal, Alex Moffatt, Jake Manley, Cynthy Wu

Plot: Sloane (Emma Roberts) is fed up of her family badgering her about not having a boyfriend every holiday, and Jackson (Luke Bracey) is tired of casual dating. When the two of them meet, they agree to be each other’s ‘Holidate’ for every holiday of the year.

My Thoughts: Oh yes, it’s that time of year when Netflix starts dishing out the festive movies. Some will be great, others will be terrible, and most will be a bit of cheesy fun. That’s certainly where Holidate fits in to. I mean, reading the plot alone is enough to make your eyes roll, but as long as the leads are likable and have good chemistry then that’s all you need. Thankfully, Sloane and Jackson are undoubtedly believable as a couple, even though they have a firm dislike of each other at first.

There are some great romcoms out there that try to make fun of their own genre, and when it works, it’s so much fun. I’m thinking of Isn’t It Romantic (2019) in particular – highly recommended if you haven’t seen it already. Holidate tries to do a similar thing, but it doesn’t pull it off quite as well. There is one bit in particular that I loved, and it was when Sloane and Jackson shared their love for Ryan Gosling, and it turned into a full blown reference to Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), one of my favourite movies ever.

So, yes, there were plenty of moments I liked but at the end of the day, it wasn’t that great of a movie. I started to lose interest when it went into the typical plot of the couple falling out only to come back together again. If you’re looking for a festive romcom that pushes the boundaries of the genre then this isn’t the movie for you, but all I wanted was something lighthearted to make me feel a bit festive in these rubbish times and it did the trick for me.

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Best Bit: There’s a scene set at Easter, filmed in slo-mo where dozens of children are running over a hill to collect eggs, shoving each other out of the way and trampling anyone in their path. That’s funny enough, but the song ‘move b***h, get out the way’ was playing and I laughed so hard.

Worst Bit: I struggle to write about movies I found to be mediocre, it’s much easier to write about something I’ve loved or even hated, so this was a tough post to write. What’s worse is that WordPress glitched and deleted the whole draft just as I’d finished…so I’ve had to write it twice!

Fun Trivia: Manish Dayal, who plays Faarooq, a doctor, also plays a doctor on The Resident.

My Rating: 2 and a half copies of Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), the most superior romcom of all.

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Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Bookish Movies

England has just entered what is being called ‘Lockdown 2’ so I completely forgot it was Thursday today until I was checking my blog feed. I just feel like all new things should start on a Monday, you know? More on the lockdown later this week though, I have something fun for you all this Sunday. So – this Thursday Wandering Through the Shelves is asking us to share some of our favourite ‘bookish’ movies.

It’ll be a really interesting week as there are many ways to interpret the theme, but all of my choices are movies I’ve loved for years now, and their main characters all love books.

thursday-movie-picks-bookish-beauty-beast

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Everyone in Belle’s town finds her odd because her favourite pastime is reading a book. Maybe it’s because it was my most watched Disney movie as a child but as a pre-teen who loved nothing more than reading, I saw myself in Belle, and she’ll always be my favourite Disney princess because of that.

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Matilda (1996)

What is it with childhood movies and their hatred of children who like to read?! Belle might have alienated her town for her hobby but Matilda was scorned by her very own parents for it! Seriously though, Matilda is just such a classic, I’m terrified it’s going to be re-made within the next few years and as much as I’d hate that to happen, I’d still be super interested in the casting choices.

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The Good Girl (2002)

Back when I was a mopey teenager with a love of the TV show Friends, a discovery of movies outside my childhood favourites and a growing crush on Jake Gyllenhaal, The Good Girl came along and fulfilled all of my desires. It’s a mopey movie and I watched and re-watched my DVD (or it may even have been a VHS) so many times. I loved Gyllenhaal’s character Holden, and his obsession with the book The Catcher in the Rye.

Movie Reviews

What I Watched: October 2020

Pretty sure I blinked and then Halloween happened! Where did this month go? I’d planned lots of spooky movies to watch and basically got around to watching…virtually none of them. It’s the thought that counts, right? As of Thursday this week the UK is going back into lockdown which obviously means the cinemas are closing again, so maybe I’ll catch up on some horrors after all. Or…I could make a head start on Christmas. Decisions, decisions!

Anyway, as I usually like to do at the start of the month, here’s a little rundown of everything I’ve watched during the previous month, as I never get round to writing a full post for everything I see:

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The Boys in the Band (2020)

There was so much I loved about this Netflix movie, the cast alone was the main selling point for me. I didn’t realise that it was based on a play though (I’m uncultured) and if like me, you aren’t used to the theater, it’s a bit of a tough watch as it’s so dialogue heavy. Still a great watch, though.

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Jigsaw (2017)

My local cinema made a great attempt at showing some older movies to fill their screens and although I’d only watched the first movie in the Saw series, I’d seen enough to still enjoy Jigsaw. As much as one can enjoy a movie about people being tortured in creative ways, that is!

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Power Rangers (2017)

Following Stranger Things and The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020), the bestie has a huge crush on Dacre Montgomery, whose name we now know we’ve been pronouncing terribly wrong for a while now. Naturally, I hunted down another of his movies for us to watch and landed upon Power Rangers. It was alright, wasn’t great, wasn’t terrible. I heard fans of the old show were pleased though so that’s always good.

Love Actually (2003)

What an absolute classic. I was over the moon to be able to see this in the cinema again. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried pretty much throughout the entire thing. It’s a movie that makes me emotional anyway but some scenes hit harder than others as time goes on. For example, the opening scene of families being reunited and hugging each other. That’s hard to watch in 2020 without getting at least a little teary.

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Hubie Halloween (2020)

I had such a busy week when I watched Hubie Halloween that I didn’t write anything about it and I’m gutted because I actually quite enjoyed this Adam Sandler movie! I find him quite hit and miss but this was just the right level of silly for me. My favourite bit was the running joke of Hubie’s Mum’s t-shirts with wild slogans.

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American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020)

I didn’t write anything about this one because I felt physically sick after watching it. I don’t watch many true crime shows but this one is fantastically made with all real footage.

little-evil-movie-review-2017

Little Evil (2017)

How did I not catch Little Evil during my short lived Adam Scott obsession? It’s a silly little movie about a stepson who may actually be the devil. It’s nothing deep but it got a few laughs out of me.

Hereditary (2018)

This was a Halloween-y re-watch but a first watch for my husband who hates horror movies (sorry, love). I think he dealt with it fairly well up until the last 10-15 minutes which he made me forward wind slowly whilst explaining to him what was happening!

inheritance-movie-review-2020

Inheritance (2020)

Inheritance seemed to just crop up out of nowhere one day on Netflix. A mysterious tale following the death in a family is a story right up my street and it was pretty great up until the inevitable twist, and then it all got a bit silly. Still worth it for Simon Pegg though, I do have a soft spot for him.

rebecca-movie-review-2020

Rebecca (2020)

Everyone’s reviews for this are wildly different which is always interesting. I for one have never seen the original and know nothing about it, so I can’t compare. I found it dreadfully dull, though. Armie Hammer has been in some real duds just lately.

love-and-monsters-movie-review-2020

Love and Monsters (2020)

Don’t you just love it when a movie surprises you? Love and Monsters feels like a cross between Zombieland (2009) and Bird Box (2018) but for a slightly younger audience. The CGI is decent for such a small movie and Dylan O’Brien is just adorable.

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All My Life (2020)

This is based on a real-life story about a young couple who fall in love and find out that one of them is dying. It feels mean to judge a movie like this but as much as I enjoyed it, the first half irritated me just because everything felt ‘too happy’ if that makes sense. Harry Shum Jr is a good actor but Jessica Rothe constantly steals the show – she’s incredible and I hope she lands an Oscar-worthy role soon because she can handle it for sure.

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The Witches (2020)

If the internet is banging on about how terrible a movie is then that’s all I need to want to see it myself. Someone was trying to decide what 2020 release was worse between this, Dolittle and Artemis Fowl. Well now I’ve seen all 3 so I can weigh in on the subject. The Witches wasn’t all that bad in my opinion, just not incredibly exciting. It has a truly horrible ending but in the movie’s defense, that’s how the book ended too!

It Follows (2014)

I watched this with my parents and littlest brother just before Halloween – we all love movies and we needed something not overly scary because my poor Mum gets terrified. It’s still one of my favourite horrors and I think my Mum did okay with it too until their Uber arrived and my husband called out, “Jen do you see that man up the road there?” He’s so mean!

I also watched the new Netflix release Holidate (2020) but I want to try and do a proper post for that one. In case you missed any of my full reviews this month here they are:

The Wall of Mexico (2019)
Kajillionaire (2020)
Pixie (2020)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Saint Maud (2020)
Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

Movie Reviews

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

borat-2-subsequent-movie-film-poster-2020Director: Jason Woliner

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova, Dani Popescu, Manuel Vieru

Plot: 14 years after the events of Borat (2006), our beloved Kazakh friend returns to America with his daughter in order to deliver her to Mike Pence, hoping that this gift will result in the two countries finding peace once again.

My Thoughts:  Just when you think 2020 can’t get any stranger, Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a new Borat movie! How on earth has it been 14 years since the original?! It feels like only yesterday that I was at college and we’d all be saying “I like!” or “very nice!”. I got so confused with the release date though, I’ve been spoiled by Wednesday Netflix releases so assumed Borat would be Wednesday too…sad! Anyway -I’m giving you a spoiler warning from this point down because it’s impossible to talk about a movie of this nature without giving anything away.

It’s not as good as the original for the most part but it never could be, the character is too well known to have that level of anonymity ever again. But it has some absolutely cracking moments that more than makes up for it. A lot of the sequel is clearly scripted and those moments aren’t as strong, although Maria Bakalova as Borat’s daughter was a great addition, she’s genuinely really funny.  I still can’t get over the fact that so much of the movie was made during lockdown in Spring, though. It’s incredible really, and it’ll be fascinating to relive some of those moments years later.

What I enjoyed the most was seeing the very best and worst in people. The lady that Borat left his daughter with was trying so hard to do the right thing, and that little old Jewish lady? She’s the most wholesome lady on the planet, I swear. Then of course you have the two men that Borat quarantines with…wow! If you thought the song from the original about throwing Jews down the well was shocking…wait till the anti-lockdown protest! My favourite line has to be at the dress shop, “where is the no means yes section?”!

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Best Bit: Don’t even try to tell me that wasn’t one of the greatest plot twists in cinematic history. Forget conspiring that China manufactured Coronavirus, stop burning down 5G masts…it was Borat himself who spread it around the world! I love it, I actually screamed a little at that part and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Worst Bit: I mean, Rudy Giuliani is all I need to say here. Look mate, no-one believes you were just tucking your shirt in. But let’s not give him our time. I’m all for gross humour but Borat’s daughter dancing at that ball was just too much for me!

Fun Trivia: Sacha Baron Cohen sat nearly five hours in a toilet stall at the 2020 CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) until Vice President Mike Pence was about to appear on stage.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 baby shower cupcakes…please don’t eat the baby…

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