Thursday Movie Picks: Adaptations

I refuse to believe it’s Thursday already, mainly because it isn’t – I’m just organised for a change and have all my posts this week written in advance! Anyway, another Thursday means another of Wandering Through the Shelves’Thursday Movie Picks. This week’s theme is Adaptations. Basically, movies that have been adapted from other works. There are so many to pick from I’ve decided to go with a theme within the theme.

It’s been a very festive week so far and so all of my picks this week are Christmas movies adapted from books! And yes, my #3 choice is a Christmas movie, don’t you try and tell me otherwise.

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

My local cinema had a showing of this a few years back that me and the family went to go and see. I’d never watched it before and although I really enjoyed it, it’s a tough movie to put into my annual movie rotation for December. It’s based on a short story called The Greatest Gift, by Philip Van Doren Stern. Apparently the Director Frank Capra read the story and bought the film rights straight away. The names of all the characters were changed for the movie.

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The Polar Express (2004)

It feels to me like The Polar Express is only a few years old, and yet I’ve watched it so many years in a row it almost feels like it’s always been around. Almost 20 years before the movie’s release, The Polar Express was a children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. By 1989, the year I was born, it had sold a million copies!

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Die Hard (1988)

Is there ever going to be a year where we aren’t arguing about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie? Probably not, but if you’ve watched the movie so many times you can’t bear it any longer, perhaps you might want to read the book it was based on, Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. Just to confuse you as well, Nothing Lasts Forever is a sequel to The Detective, which also got an adaptation in 1966 starring Frank Sinatra!

Best & Worst Will Ferrell Movies

It’s been ages since I did a list like this but I haven’t watched any movies whilst I’ve been feeling ill – and I find myself in a writing kind of mood so with no reviews to write it seemed like a good time to make a list. IMDB tells me that today is Will Ferrell’s birthday, so what better time to look back at my 5 favourite movies of his, and point out his worst!

Has Will Ferrell played a serious role yet? I’ve seen quite a few of his movies but they’ve all been comedies. As we all know, comedy is hugely subjective, so some of you might disagree with my list entirely, but where would the fun be if we all had the same opinion? I don’t know what my first Will Ferrell movie was, but generally, I think he’s a really funny guy. He was great in The Office in the small role he played, and he’s one of those actors who will always draw me to a movie if he’s in it.

In the last few years, it seems he’s turned his hand towards producing, with a number of projects in the works, but I hope he has an acting role in those projects too! Here are my favourite movies that he’s starred in:

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#5 Daddy’s Home (2015)

This stupid movie grew on me for sure. When I first watched it I wasn’t impressed, and apart from the last scene at the school dance I didn’t find it that funny, but then on one of the flights during my honeymoon we were on one of the older planes with the TV screens in the aisles, and I found myself forced to watch it for a second time. Maybe I was just in a better mood, or maybe it was the free food, but I really enjoyed it upon a rewatch! The sequel was trash though, sadly.

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#4 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

I might be wrong, but I’ve always thought that Ron Burgundy is the role that Will Ferrell is most famous for. I have to admit, I haven’t watched Anchorman for years but I watched it a lot when I was in college and still remember a lot of the lines. It feels like one of those rare comedies that seems to have wide appeal, I’m yet to find someone who didn’t like it…until now maybe?

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#3 The Lego Movie (2014)

I’m still mad that the Academy snubbed this movie! Anyway, I’ve always loved animated movies and I have huge respect for the actors and actresses who can do voice work so well. It’s something I think a lot of people assume is an easy thing to do, but I’ve watched a lot of interviews and read a lot about the work that goes into it, and it sounds tough. Will Ferrell provides the voice of the evil Lord Business here, as well as an in-person role at the end of the movie.

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#2 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Thank you, Dad, for introducing me to Austin Powers when I was a kid. I love those movies so much! They are a must watch if you’ve never seen them before. Will Ferrell only plays a very small role as an Egyptian henchman of Dr. Evil, but his role is one of the most memorable, especially when he is sentenced to death after causing Mr. Bigglesworth the cat to lose all his fur. “I’m still alive! But very badly burned…”

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#1 Elf (2003)

How could my #1 choice be any other movie? I’ll never forget watching this movie for the first time…at the cinema…for my brother’s birthday…in an empty screen…because it was the middle of January! Why was the cinema still playing Elf?! Who knows, but I think I’ve watched it every Christmas since. Buddy the Elf is my spirit animal.

I guess the general rule is that when it’s your birthday, everyone has to be nice to you, but then there are birthday beatings! So, with that in mind, let me share Will Ferrell’s worst movie…

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

Even the poster for this movie annoys me. So much about this movie annoyed me! It actually started on a visual joke that really tickled me, and I had hope that I would be one of the few who would enjoy the rest. Then it gradually got worse and worse until I was actually groaning at some of the jokes. Believe the reviews guys, it really is that bad. I expected so much better!

Over to you guys though…what’s your favourite and least favourite Will Ferrell movie?

Thursday Movie Picks: Unrecognizable Actor Transformation

Thursday Movie Picks

It’s the first Thursday Movie Picks of the month, and it’s April already! Excuse me 2019 but where do you think you’re going? Can we slow down a little? I’m not ready to face my 30th Birthday yet…

This week in the series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves we’re talking about unrecognizable actor transformations. Sometimes it isn’t enough for actors to mentally transform themselves for a role, they have to change themselves physically too, and that’s really quite incredible to me. Trying to eat sensibly a couple of weeks before a wedding is daunting enough!

Anyway, without further ado, here are my picks this week…

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Christian Bale, The Machinist (2004)

Let’s be honest, we could all fill our lists simply with Christian Bale roles this week. The man is nothing but committed to his job. But none of his transformations shocked me more than his in The Machinist. It’s one thing to lose some weight for a role, but he looked like a corpse! He went down to 110 pounds for the role which is shocking enough, but the role he took on next? Batman Begins! Talk about yo-yo dieting! For what it’s worth, The Machinist is a fantastic, twisty movie. I’ve seen it twice now and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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Tom Hanks, Cast Away (2000)

I spent a long time in the shower hiding from my toddler thinking of options for the theme this week when I suddenly remembered Cast Away. I haven’t seen it for years but it was possibly the first Tom Hanks movie I ever saw. During pre-production, Tom Hanks put on 50 pounds in order to appear middle-aged, and then he was given a year off to transform himself into a real cast away. He stopped shaving and cutting his hair, and shed 55 pounds with a tough diet and exercise regime. I’m feeling hungry just thinking about it.

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Matthew Lewis, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

I can’t talk about dieting anymore, so let’s turn to the biggest transformation shocker of the Harry Potter universe, the moment Matthew Lewis turned into bumbling fool to stunning heartthrob. Okay, his transformation may be something he didn’t really have any control over, but at the time he was living proof for all awkward teenagers that there was hope for us yet!

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies You Walked Out Of

Thursday Movie Picks

So, here’s the thing. I’ve never walked out of a movie at the cinema, and I don’t think I ever would, either. If I’ve made the commitment to leave the house and part with my hard-earned money to see a movie, then I’m sticking it out till the end, and worst case scenario, I’ll blog about how crap it was the next day.

That said, there are a few movies I’ve watched at home where despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t watch anymore and I’ve turned it off before the end. Those are the movies that I’m going to be talking about for this week’s Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves.

This is going to be a great week I think, so extra thanks to Brittani at Rambling Film for coming up with the idea! Here are my picks…

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Sideways (2004)

Sideways is a widely loved movie, I know. I was informed of such when it was lent to me, with a promise that I would enjoy it because it had a ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ vibe about it. I HATED this from the very start. Never have I ever seen two more unlikeable characters. For a while it was fun to watch it and complain at the same time, but it’s just over 2 hours long and it was time I would never get back, so I turned it off about half an hour before the end. I couldn’t even look at a bottle of wine for at least a month afterward.

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The Interview (2014)

Fun fact – I can’t stand James Franco. There’s just something about him that winds me up and I can’t put my finger on it. That said, there are movies of his that I’ve really enjoyed, but just as many that I’ve hated. This Is the End is one of my favourite comedies of all time so you know, I’ll always give the guy a chance. The Interview, however, was dull, unfunny, and I don’t think I actually stuck it out for that long at all.

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Superhero Movie (2008)

Remember the early-mid noughties when we had an onslaught of spoof movies for every genre out there? There were a few that my teenage self actually kind of loved. You’ll have to forgive me, this was pre-blogging when I had an appreciation for actual good movies. Whether Superhero Movie was just exceptionally bad, or whether it was just one spoof too many, I couldn’t make it to the end and gave up.

The Incredibles (2004)

the-incredibles-movie-poster-2004Director: Brad Bird

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Main Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Dominique Louis, Teddy Newton, Jean Sincere, Wallace Shawn, Spencer Fox, Lou Romano, Sarah Vowell

Plot: The superheroes have been forced to live normal suburban lives after a series of lawsuits, and that’s exactly what Mr Incredible, Elastigirl and their 3 children have been doing until Mr Incredible is offered an opportunity he can’t refuse which doesn’t turn out the way he thought.

My Thoughts: The start of this movie is hilarious in the worst kind of way. It starts it 1 person suing because his life was saved when he didn’t want it to be and escalates. It sounds bizarre but that’s exactly what would happen if superheroes existed. This is why we can’t have nice things!

It’s been so long since The Incredibles was released that I wasn’t even sure if I’d ever watched it, and it all seemed pretty new to me apart from the final battle so that must be the only bit that I missed! It’s hard to imagine that this movie came out before Marvel and DC had really made their mark on the big screen. It must have been a really fresh movie when it first came out, so I wish I’d seen it then.

I did enjoy it though. I mainly saw it because I’m seeing Incredibles 2 tomorrow night and wanted to know what I was getting myself in to! The family moments are my favourite, just those moments that are so relatable.

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Best Bit: Edna Mode. Just everything Edna Mode, dahling. When she was showing off how fireproof and bulletproof baby Jack Jack’s super suit was, I was almost crying with laughter. The horror!

Worst Bit: It was probably so good at the time, but the animation hasn’t aged well at all. Some parts are just fine but there are certain scenes where the quality really isn’t great. I don’t think I would have noticed as much if it was a childhood favourite of mine though.

Fun Trivia: After Bomb Voyage blows up the safe, Buddy can already be seen as his future alter-ego Syndrome, as a distorted reflection in the safe door, actually commenting about his future.

My Rating: I was going to use capes, but I was told NO CAPES, so it gets 4 out of 5 superhero masks from me!

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Review: Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 (2003 & 2004)

I’ve been putting this review off for a while, because I’m a little scared of what you might all think. Let me introduce this in my usual way to put my nerves at ease first however.

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My New Year’s Eve was extremely tame, I spent it at home with my ill husband. It was still a good night though, we had take out pizza, played a few board games, and we decided to watch a movie too. There was nothing on Netflix that took our fancy and rather than bringing in the New Year flicking through every movies going ‘no…no…no…’ we grabbed a DVD off the bookcase which we’ve been putting off watching for ages. Kill Bill: Volume 1!

I’m not well versed in Quentin Tarantino movies. I watched The Hateful Eight and Django, and really enjoyed both. Other than that, I’ve only seen Pulp Fiction, and that was alright too. More than anything, it was nice to see where all the references I’ve heard over the years came from. In fact, I’m not even sure why we owned Kill Bill, but I’m guessing that we’ve been told so many times what a classic it is we thought we should see what the fuss is about.

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Perhaps it should have been obvious, but we didn’t realise that Kill Bill is literally a 4 hour movie split into two halves, so we ended up watching Volume 2 the very next day, because we knew if we didn’t, we’d probably never see it.

For those who haven’t seen it, Kill Bill is essentially the story of ‘The Bride’ (Uma Thurman) working her way through a kill list. Her assassin colleagues and boss tried to murder her on her wedding day, but they’re clearly not the A-Grade assassins they make themselves out to be because they failed, and she’s out for revenge.

Let me start with Volume 1. This was a whole barrel of fun. Knowing nothing about the story, the non-linear story really pulled me in, and it’s always enjoyable to watch some bad-ass fighting! In particular I loved the origin story of O-Ren (Lucy Liu) when the movie turned into an anime style animation. The over exaggeration of the bloodiness reminded me of an anime I used to watch called Bleach!

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It felt like everything was leading up to The Bride’s fight with the Crazy 88, which there weren’t 88 of, which is funny in that ironic kind of way. The fight itself was incredible to watch, and the violence doesn’t hold back in the slightest. We ended up watching and going ‘ooh, ouch’ along with it, as if we could feel those blows ourselves! All in all, it was something I normally wouldn’t watch, and although some parts were quite slow, I enjoyed it.

Which brings us to Volume 2…

First of all, I really liked the opening sequence, where we learn what happened at the chapel those 4 or so years ago. That brought me the closure I needed. What stuck out like a sore thumb though, and perhaps I just didn’t notice it in the previous volume, these camera shots in black and white, for reasons I can’t work out. In the buried alive scene, the screen is much smaller and that makes complete sense, but the other shots seemed so random.

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What else felt random? The Bride is buried alive, and she’s about to punch her way out of the box. How is she able to do that? Training montage! It just wasn’t very…subtle. If that scene was much sooner in the movie it would have been a ‘eureka’ moment, but instead it just felt lazy. I fully except at this point that I’m the minority here whinging about a universally accepted great movie!

Even the finale with Bill felt a bit lacklustre. With such a huge build up in Volume 1 to the fight with O-Ren, I was expecting something even bigger for Bill, but it was literally *SPOILER* a punch to the chest that killed him. *SPOILER OVER* I was expecting something a little more…showy?

I still enjoyed both movies, but they just felt overrated to me. Volume 1 was far more enjoyable, but paired together as they should be, Kill Bill gets 3 out of 5 pussy wagons.

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