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!

Book Reviews · Movie Reviews

Book vs Movie: Fahrenheit 451

You all know I’ve been reading more this year, and I’ve tried to write a little review for every book I’ve read. For the Hidden Gems challenge I watched 3 Michael B. Jordan movies including Fahrenheit 451. It was an alright movie, but I knew it was based on a hugely famous book from the 1950s and I was intrigued to find out more about this fictional version of our world and find out the differences. I know there was already a movie adaptation made in 1966 that’s supposedly better than the 2018 version, but after not loving the recent movie and not loving the book either, I can’t dedicate any more time to it!

So, if you’ve never experienced Fahrenheit 451, I’ll give you a brief summary. Firefighters don’t put out fires anymore, they burn books. Why? They’re banned, in a bid to make us all happier. It’s deep, and would I be right in thinking it was studied in schools across the pond? We had to read Of Mice and Men 451 times in the UK.

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What I really wanted to get across was just how different the book and the recent movie are! There are characters in the book that don’t even exist in the movie, meaning the plot has changed dramatically. The movie is of course more stylish, and manages to showcase just how powerful and revered these firefighters are with the use of television, the internet and social media. That’s a huge plus for the movie for sure. I also much preferred the movie version of the main character, Montag, and I promise that has nothing to do with Michael B. Jordan’s looks!

My biggest struggle with the book was the writing style. It felt like every single sentence was written as though it were a meaningful, deep poem, and so pages would go by and I wasn’t sure what, if anything, had even happened. It made for a really slow read.

If you’ll forgive me for being a bit stupid, the question I was left with after watching the movie was this – if the firefighters don’t put out fires anymore, who does?! I was hoping the book would answer that for me. What I learnt from the book was that in this version of our world, houses are now made to be fireproof. Great, okay. So what about forest fires? Car fires? Your house might be build of fire-proof materials but if you burn your dinner too badly you’re still going to set fire to everything inside it, who deals with that?

And here’s the most annoying part, a part of me still wants to watch the 60s movie. Maybe that will finally give me answers…

Movie Reviews

What I Watched: May 2021

It feels so good to be complaining about the weather being too hot. It’s been winter in the UK for forever, and then out of nowhere we’re right in the middle of a heatwave. I just can’t cope, you guys. My winter jumpers have barely left the wardrobe and I’m filling up the paddling pool. Anyway, May brought the return of cinemas here, YAY! It feels SO GOOD. I’m behind on everything to do with the blog, but at least I’ve got another cinema trip booked. I’ve also had my first COVID jab at last which was terrifying (I don’t cope well with jabs) but also kind of amazing. Before I ramble too much, let me share what I’ve watched in the last month…

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (2021) Full Review

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Things Heard & Seen (2021) – I forgot all about this Netflix movie. In my Letterboxd diary I rated it 2/5 and I don’t think it deserves a rating that high. I feel like it started off quite well, but descended into mediocre-ness. It’s just your usual, city-folk move to the country to an old, haunted house kind of movie with some other pointless plots thrown in for the hell of it.

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Shrek the Third (2007) – Remember how last month I used that Netflix feature that just plays something for you at random, and ended up watching 13 Going on 30? Well I gave it another go and ended up with Shrek the Third. I’ve actually never seen it, or the fourth one either! It was good though. Very much the same kind of humour as the first two but just not quite as memorable.

True Lies (1994)Full Review (Film & Wine Club)

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Premonition (2007) – This caught my eye on Netflix. It sounded twisty and I love Sandra Bullock, so I don’t know how it’s escaped me until now. Sandra’s character has a premonition of her husband dying, but the things in her dream start to happen in real life. I loved it, it really took me by surprise, but I wish it ended just 10 minutes earlier. It had a perfect ending, but then it carried on and I wish it had just finished there. Worth a watch if you’re struggling to pick something!

This Is the End (2013) – Seth Rogen and James Franco together is hit and miss for me. Sometimes it’s garbage (I hate Pineapple Express and I won’t apologise) but other times it’s legendary, and I can always count on re-watching This Is the End to cheer me up!

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Mainstream (2020) – Oh I feel so conflicted about this! Definitely worth a watch to see Andrew Garfield having the time of his life, but it’s a messy movie. It’s all to do with influencer culture and how dangerous social media can be, which I’m all for, but Mainstream didn’t have anything to say until at least halfway through. Once the gang have their own TV show, everything from that point is an absolute 10/10 for me, it was fantastic, but everything before that point was just pointless.

Oxygen (2021)Full Review

The Woman in the Window (2021)Full Review

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)Full Review (Film & Wine Club)

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The Unholy (2021) – Ahh, my first cinema trip of 2021. It had to be some fun trash, didn’t it? There’s a good story in there somewhere, and I like the whole ‘when God builds a church, the Devil builds a chapel next door’ vibe to it, but it’s bogged down by the characters and the script which feels a bit lazy. Good enough for a watch with friends and some popcorn though, especially if you like a few jump scares and slenderman-type creatures.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) – This was a Film & Wine Club watch that I haven’t written up yet, so watch this space.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)Full Review

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Army of the Dead (2021) – Yeah, this was alright. I’m not a fan of zombie movies unless they’re comedies but this one had enough of a balance of serious and entertaining. It was way too long, though. Felt like it took all night to get through. It has some stunning cinematography and I enjoyed it enough to look forward to a sequel at least!

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Friends: The Reunion (2021) – Oh, I wasn’t prepared for this. I loved every second of it, until James bloody Corden turned up at least, but he had the decency to keep to his role as host and not try to take over the show. I’ve been pining for some kind of follow-on movie but when the question was asked I agree with their answer, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. Oh, and can cupid please work their magic on Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer? They are SO CUTE!

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) – Another Film & Wine Club movie that I haven’t written up yet, arghh! I’ll be writing all day today, I think.

Cruella (2021) – If I can stop daydreaming about Emma Stone long enough to write something coherent, I will.

A Quiet Place Part II (2021) – Review coming sooooon, I promise!

I also watched Z for Zachariah (2015), Bombshell (2019) & Mary Queen of Scots (2018) for Mettel Ray’s Hidden Gems Challenge. May’s pick was Margot Robbie, and you can see my post here if you missed it.

TV wise, I’ve started re-watching Friends, and I highly doubt I’m alone in that one. Mare of Easttown has come to an end, and oh boy, what a finale! I loved that moment where the case was solved but then something didn’t quite add up. At that moment I completely lost it and started shouting ‘IT WAS ROY, IT WAS ROY’! Sorry, but David Denman will forever and always be known as Roy from The Office for me. I was so hyped because he was my guess from the very first episode, but obviously it turned out I was wrong. As usual. Who’s hyped for Loki next week?!

Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Margot Robbie

Goodness me, I think this is the first Hidden Gems post that I’m writing at the very last minute rather than scheduling well in advance! There’s just too much fun to be had – it’s a 3 day weekend here in the UK and the weather has been STUNNING, meaning very little time to hide indoors and write! But alas, the end of another month is here and so it’s time once again for a Hidden Gems post, a challenge created by the amazing Mettel Ray. Her pick this month is James McAvoy and I’m excited to see what she’s seen – I’m a huge fan but definitely haven’t watched many of his movies. My pick this month if you haven’t seen already is Margot Robbie!

Why Margot Robbie?

Margot has only flown onto my radar in recent years but she’s an actress who I’ve never found any big faults with, I’ve tended to enjoy the things I’ve seen her in. That was until I, Tonya and Bird of Prey where she simply blew me away with her talents! From what I’ve seen of her in interviews she seems like a genuinely lovely person in real life too so I definitely wanted to explore some of the movies she’s been in that I’ve overlooked or simply not heard of.

Statistics

Letterboxd has 30 projects listed under Margot Robbie, I took out 8 (shorts and unreleased movies), leaving 22. Of those 22 movies I’ve already seen 13, a lot more than I thought I had, to be perfectly honest. My favourites include I, Tonya, Birds of Prey and About Time.

I’ve also seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Suicide Squad, The Big Short, Focus, Peter Rabbit, Peter Rabbit 2, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Goodbye Christopher Robin and Slaughterhouse Rulez.

My picks for the challenge were for a variety of reasons and ended up being Z for Zachariah (2015), Bombshell (2019) and Mary Queen of Scots (2018).

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Z for Zachariah (2015)

This movie was actually already in my watchlist so there’s a blogger out there who watched this years ago and wrote a review positive enough that it made it a desirable watch for me! It’s a bit post-apocalyptic, just hunkering down and getting by, lonely kind of movie that winds up focusing on a love triangle between Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine.

And there’s my problem, I guess. There’s no scenario where I wouldn’t pick Chris Pine and those ridiculously blue eyes every single time. On a serious note, it’s a good movie, just too quiet and slow for my liking. Loved the ending, though. That was tense!

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Bombshell (2019)

Obviously this is quite a recent pick that was a January 2020 release for me in the UK. If I’d known what was around the corner I’d have been at the cinema for it in a heartbeat but at the time there were other things to watch and although I loved the cast, the story didn’t seem compelling enough to get me to commit to a cinema trip for it. It’s based on the real-life story of how a group of women take down the head of Fox News for abusive behaviour.

Now, the tale is an infuriating watch and as always with movies like this, the screen of text at the telling explaining the aftermath made me angry as hell, but from the trailer I was expecting this to be told in a style similar to The Big Short or The Wolf of Wall Street, and it really fell short of the mark. An intriguing tale, but told in a dull way, which is a shame.

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Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

I don’t like period dramas, ok? I’ve tried to dance around the subject before but there’s just no point. A period drama featuring royals is, quite frankly, the worst – in my mind at least. But if anyone is going to get me to change my mind it’s going to be a dynamic duo in the form of Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan. It’s a fight for the throne and all I really knew about it was from memes mocking the way Margot Robbie’s character looked.

News flash – I still hate period dramas. The ending to this one was powerful, I’ve got to give it credit for that. The final 15 minutes were something fantastic to behold, it’s just a shame everything before that bored me to tears.

Final Thoughts

Needless to say. I did not find a gem this month. Not even close to finding one. But I can say I’ve seen over half of Margot Robbie’s movie work now and even after watching a few duds, I couldn’t say she put in a bad or a lazy performance. I’ve heard about all the work she’s putting in to push for Gotham City Sirens and I hope she succeeds, she’s certainly the perfect choice for Harley Quinn. Next month is Paul Rudd’s time to shine!