Movie Reviews

Emma. (2020)

emma-movie-poster-review-2020Director: Autumn de Wilde

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 124 Minutes

Main Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny¬†Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, Miranda Hart

Plot: Based on the 1800’s novel by Jane Austin, Emma Woodhouse is a young, independent and wealthy woman with a passion for matchmaking.

My Thoughts: What happens when you have an ODEON Limitless card, a period-drama loving bestie and a free Sunday evening? You end up at the cinema, watching Emma. I don’t know how much longer I can hold onto my ‘I don’t like period dramas’ membership card, but I’m coming very close to losing it by now, I reckon. I just get driven mad by the insane way these characters talk, and nothing much ever seems to happen apart from tea-drinking, gossiping and dancing at balls. But I have to admit, I did enjoy this one.

For a start, the cast is just too good. I’ve missed Anya Taylor-Joy, and she’s perfect in this role. Viewers over the sea won’t know who Miranda Hart is and I worry her humour won’t translate well, but she is a NATIONAL TREASURE in the UK and she’s a delight in this movie. Fans of Netflix’s Sex Education will be pleased too as Tanya Reynolds has a fairly big part and although he isn’t credited, I swear Connor Swindells is there, too.

But anyway, I did enjoy this. It’s full of silly little moments and I found myself laughing more than I thought I would. The characters are tough to keep track of at first but I warmed to most of them instantly. Emma is a tough character to portray I guess because at face value, she’s quite unlikeable. She makes terrible choices and comes across as quite stuck up. In fact, Jane Austen herself described the character as “a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like”. By the end of the movie, she does definitely redeem herself, though.

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Am I at risk of being converted into a period drama fan? Probably not. But will I be going to the cinema with the bestie for the next Austen-type movie that comes out? Absolutely. She brings me wine, after all.

Best Bit: The entire movie is a feast for the eyes, but oh, the cakes! I would quite happily walk around in ridiculous dresses for the chance to feast on some of those gorgeous looking macarons. I also laughed every time we got to see that one fed up Dad. Poor guy is regretting many of his life choices, I’m sure.

Worst Bit: You guys, Emma made my precious Miranda CRY. We had a weirdly busy screen for a Sunday night whilst the storm was raging outside, and I have never heard such an audible gasp at the offending line Emma said.

Fun Trivia: Clueless (1995) is a loose American modern adaptation of the novel, set in Beverly Hills and starring Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz (Emma).

My Rating: 3 and a half tarts out of 5. Put on your poshest, British voice and repeat after me, “You MUST sample the tart!”

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Movie Reviews

Dolittle (2020)

dolittle-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Mantzoukas

Plot: John Dolittle, famed doctor and veterinarian with a talent of speaking to animals, turned to a life of seclusion after losing his wife. His peace is disturbed one day when a young boy turns up at his door with an injured squirrel, as well as a young girl summoning him to save the Queen who is on her deathbed.

My Thoughts: Doctor Dolittle (1998) is one of my childhood favourites, so I was always going to be interested to see this remake/reimagining. By the sounds of it, this newer version stays much truer to the original source book. And look at that cast list! I usually chop down the list to just the main, big names, but that’s impossible in this case. How on earth all these names signed up for this movie is beyond me. Some of them are instantly recognisable, like Jason Mantzoukas, very much playing himself…if he were a dragonfly.

Let me get to the point – you’ve probably read a lot of negativity surrounding this movie, and I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind. I still can’t work out where in the UK Robert Downey Jr.’s accent was meant to be from, but he seemed to struggle with it so much he never expressed a single emotion throughout the whole movie. It feels very much like he’s turning up just to collect his paycheck. It’s all very silly and predictable.

BUT. This movie wasn’t made with most of us in mind. It’s a movie for children. And I’m sure children will love watching a dog in glasses dragging its butt across the floor, a gorilla kick a tiger in his private parts, a grown man pulling objects out of a dragon’s ass, and a polar bear complaining about being cold all the time. There are a few adult jokes scattered throughout to keep the parents chuckling, and I’m sure it’ll be a hit this half-term in the UK.

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Best Bit: In the credits, they show a shot of each of the animals along with the name of who voiced them, and my friend Steph and I turned to each other at the same time when Chee-Chee the gorilla came up and went “THAT WAS RAMI MALEK?” It’s almost enough to need to see it again.

Worst Bit: I’ve already mentioned it but seriously, what accent was that? I’d decided it must have been Scottish, and then I read someone else’s’ review where they said it was Welsh! I should know, shouldn’t I? And yet I’m clueless.

Fun Trivia: Nicolas Cage turned down the role of King Rassouli.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 bagpipes which were retrieved from…well, I think you can guess where.

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Random Posts

Going Off Topic (#25) Crazy, Stupid, Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Whether you’re on a fancy getaway this weekend or having a microwave meal in front of the TV, I hope you have a fab time. I feel like my last few Off Topic posts have been a bit dull and depressing, so I’m going to try and lighten the mood today. Tonight, once the kiddo is in bed, me and my husband will be cooking up a storm with the fancy meal deal we picked up from Marks & Spencers and polishing off a bottle of red wine, whilst watching our annual traditional Valentine’s movie of Crazy, Stupid, Love!

Speaking of the kiddo, when she isn’t robbing me of sleep or causing me endless anxiety, she’s absolutely hilarious lately. She always has been, but she’s starting to speak in full sentences and she’s so crafty and clever. The other day I offered her a dinner of pasta or chicken and her response was “Ermm…chocolate coins”. Yesterday she spent most of the day telling me she wanted to go and see Santa. I work from home on Wednesdays so we spend the day together and usually try to sneak in a trip to the library or soft play. Here she is – eating a cake in her own special way and just generally looking cooler than I ever wish I could!

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February has been a very mixed month for movies, so far. I’m keeping up my momentum of watching as many movies as I can which has been great, but I’ve seen very few great movies this month. The huge exception is Birds of Prey, or Harley Quin: Birds of Prey, or whatever WB decide to call it in an attempt to stick a plaster/bandaid on the hurt they’ve caused by not bothering to tell anyone their own movie exists.

I’ve finished Season 2 of Sex Education finally, and I’m fully on board with the hype now. My brother was telling me that his college’s bathrooms are plastered with posters of Eric and his famous line “Wash your hands, you detty pig!” I’m so, so angry with Isaac though! I hated his character at first but really warmed to him, and I’d have been happy for him to get together with Maeve, but what he did in the last episode was unforgivable.

I also started to watch The Outsider which is looking really promising so far. Out of the very few books I’ve actually read – this is one of them so I’m excited to see how closely the story follows the book! In amongst all of this I’ve been watching Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Netflix which is a terrible guilty pleasure of mine.

So wherever you are, whatever you’re doing – have a fantabulous weekend!

Movie Reviews

Black Swan (2010)

black-swan-movie-review-2010-posterDirector: Darren Aronofsky

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Horror

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Millepied, Ksenia Solo, Sebastian Stan

Plot: Nina is a young, talented ballerina who finds herself fighting for the position of the Swan Queen in her company’s latest production. She is pushed back initially for not being able to embody the Black Swan as well as the White Swan, but as she strives for perfection, her mental state suffers.

My Thoughts: My youngest brother is a huge fan of twisty movies like Inception, Shutter Island and Memento. Can you imagine my frustration when he refuses to watch Fight Club because “I don’t want to watch a movie about boxing”?! I think he’s avoiding it on purpose now, the argument has gone on for years. Anyway…I guess in a way I’m guilty of the same, I’ve avoided Black Swan because I’m not really a fan of ballet.

Yes, there is a lot of ballet in this movie. There is some incredible dancing, as well as some shots of the dancer’s injured feet that made me cringe – but it’s not surprising with how much time these talented people spend on their toes. Black Swan is so much more than this though, it’s the story of a beautiful, shy girl’s descent into madness, and it’s such a thrilling ride. I’ve seen criminally little of Natalie Portman’s work so I’m open to suggestions of where to turn next, and this is also the first serious role of Mila Kunis’ I’ve seen, she was brilliant too.

10 years later, I think I might be the only person who hasn’t seen this movie yet, but on the rare chance you haven’t, definitely add this to your watch list. It’s slow in places but the payoff is so worth it. Whilst you’re at it, help me convince my brother to watch Fight Club. When I tell him it isn’t about boxing, he says “what is it about then?” and looks less than impressed when I tell him the first rule of Fight Club.

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Best Bit: The ending was so wild. I won’t spoil anything of course but the last 10 minutes are adrenaline-fuelled and you find yourself needing to know if what you just saw was real. You do find out – and bam, what a final shot. Just stunning.

Worst Bit: It’s been 10 years and we don’t have a spin-off movie about what happened to Winona Ryder’s character? Come on Hollywood, sort it out!

Fun Trivia: Natalie Portman met her future husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of this film. Portman herself pointed out the irony that his character in the film scoffs when asked if he’d have sex with Nina, and joked that obviously, he was a good actor.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of the comfiest-looking slipper boots that I just want to hand out to everyone in this movie.

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Movie Reviews

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

birds-of-prey-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Cathy Yan

Genre: Comedy, Action, Crime

Runtime: 109 Minutes

Main Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ewan McGregor, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ali Wong

Plot: Harley Quinn and the Joker have broken up, for real this time. Without the Joker to protect her, however, half of Gotham City now wants Harley dead for a number of reasons. Whilst trying to deal with the target on her back, Harley gets caught up with Dinah Lance, Detective Renee Montoya, Huntress, and Cassandra Cain when the notorious Black Mask is after a priceless diamond.

My Thoughts: Let this review, and every other review out there, be a step towards what Warner Brothers’ marketing department should have, and should still be, doing. Which is, to actually promote the Birds of Prey. If I skipped the trailers at the cinema I doubt I would have even known of this movie’s existence. And now it’s being hailed as a flop. Which is a damn shame, because it’s a great movie, and a huge step up from the disaster that was Suicide Squad (2016).

Birds of Prey is such a feast for the eyes. It’s an explosion of colour, action, violence, comedy, and fantabulous costume design. If you thought Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man was perfect casting, let me raise you Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie is just stunning in this role in every sense of the word. In fact, the casting as a whole is spectacularly on point here. Shoutout to Ewan McGregor here for somehow being a revolting villain and yet so funny at the same time. I lay awake last night hearing him say ‘EWWWW’ over and over again.

Yes, the story is a bit wild and quite literally all over the place. The first half, in particular, is particularly messy but the story never gets confusing thanks to Harley talking us through it. I can only describe Birds of Prey as a cross between Deadpool and John Wick. This isn’t a story about heroines, it isn’t a story about villains. It’s a story about women who are going out on their own for the first time and standing up for themselves, and it’s so much fun.

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I can only hope word of mouth gets this movie the attention it deserves so that we can have a sequel, but it isn’t looking likely right now.

Best Bit: How can I even pick one? Harley walking through the police station shooting glitter all over the place? Dinah Lance obliterating henchmen with her voice? Black Mask telling us about his shrunken heads? Cassandra just casually pickpocketing everyone she walks past? How about slo-mo fight sequences under sprinklers? Too. Many. Iconic. Scenes. I shaved my balls for this?

Worst Bit: Getting a phone call halfway through the movie to tell you your kid is throwing up everywhere and you need to come home. Poor kid was right as rain the next morning, and I went out the next night to try again!
In the actual movie though? Detective Renee Montoya, I love you girl, but you need to show more respect for the perfect egg sandwich.

Fun Trivia: Before Ewan McGregor was cast as Black Mask, Sharlto Copley and Sam Rockwell were considered to play Black Mask. Rockwell passed on the role but was considered the “archetype” for the casting.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 burritos. When laxatives and prune juice don’t work their magic, you can always count on a dodgy burrito…

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Movie Reviews

Uncut Gems (2019)

uncut-gems-2019-netflix-movie-reviewDirector: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield, Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, Judd Hirsch, John Amos, Trinidad James

Plot: Howard is a charismatic gems dealer who is up to his eyeballs in debt. When he gets his hands on an extremely rare Ethiopian uncut rock of gems, he makes a series of high-stake bets which don’t go to plan.

My Thoughts: I’m having a scroll through my Twitter feed and can see everyone talking about a new Adam Sandler movie, called Uncut Gems. I’m confused, for two reasons. One, from the poster I thought it was a documentary. Two, everyone was saying how amazing it was, and that Sandler should have been nominated for an Oscar. Am I in the Bad Place? I didn’t know Adam Sandler could act! Colour me intrigued.

I’ve watched movies that have made me happy, movies that have made me sad, scared, sometimes even sick, but I don’t think I’ve watched anything that’s made me feel so stressed before! My husband walked in at around the halfway point and asked what was going on, and at that point I was like, I don’t know what to tell you! This Howard guy makes terrible choices and everyone is just shouting all the time!

I liked it though. It’s kind of impossible to not get sucked into Howard’s life, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to see him win or fail. He’s a bit of a jerk but his bets were so crazy I knew there would be a sense of wonder if he did actually pull it off in the end. As for Adam Sandler himself, I don’t know if I would call his performance Oscar-worthy, but it’s definitely the best performance I’ve seen of his.

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Best Bit: So many of the loud, shouty scenes merged into one in my mind but there’s this moment where Howard’s on the phone to at least 2 different people, Lakeith Stanfield is also shouting at him, everyone is rushing around and then the poor fish are almost murdered. That’s definitely the stand-out scene for sure.

Worst Bit: The door to Howard’s shop is definitely up there with the door to the cabin in The Hateful Eight in the list of ass***e doors. One won’t open, the other won’t shut!

Fun Trivia: Uncut Gems features the 4th most f-words in film history, exactly 408 times.

My Rating: 3 and a half fake Rolex’s…you’ll have to shout louder than everyone else in this movie to complain about them, though!

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