Blogathons · Movie Reviews

Arthur Christmas (2011) – Christmas in July Blogathon

There might be a long-awaited heatwave in the UK right now, but today we’re talking about Christmas! It’s July, and that means it’s time for another of Drew’s Movie Reviews’ Christmas in July Blogathons! I’ve taken part for a good few years now and it’s something I always look forward to, I just love Christmas so much! Check out his original post here to find out more about the blogathon.

In previous years I’ve made lists, drawn posters and generally tried to think outside of the box. But this year I’m keeping it simple and I’m bringing you a movie review of Arthur Christmas (2011). It’s a movie I’ve never seen before but it’s been on my watchlist for 5 years now. I know it’s something I would enjoy but once November/Winter comes around, there’s so much going on and there’s so many beloved movies to watch that I’ve never found the time for something new. I’ll always pick an old favourite like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) or Jingle All The Way (1996) before I take a risk on something new. So the blogathon was the perfect opportunity for me to watch Arthur Christmas and see if it’s worth it.

arthur-christmas-movie-posterArthur Christmas is an animated movie made in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations. If I’d known all along that Aardman was involved I would have seen it immediately, you can always rely on them to pack in a ridiculous amount of detail into their work. The animation is a beautiful blend of claymation meeting digital, it’s nothing that stands out against today’s animations but it’s still gorgeous.

It also has a wonderful voice cast. James McAvoy plays Arthur, one of Santa’s sons who works in the post room and has so much passion for making Christmas perfect for each child. He reads every letter and always makes sure the children get exactly what they ask for. Hugh Laurie voices Steve, Santa’s other son and heir to the suit. Steve’s worked hard to modernise the night of Christmas Eve with technology and efficiency, but he cares more for numbers and stats than the magic of it all. Santa himself and his wife are voiced by Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. I’m sure they’ve done so much more but they will always be Slughorn and Umbridge to me.

Arthur Christmas is, I guess, a very to-the-book Christmas movie whereby Christmas is in danger of being ruined and it’s up to the underdogs to save it. I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s done well and Arthur Christmas absolutely smashes it. The best Christmas movies are those that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and this is one of them. It’s the subtle jokes like the elves delivering presents and switching the oven on because the adults had forgotten after putting the turkey in before bed. That’s just one very small example off the top of my head.

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If I had any complaint at all it would be this question. Did the people involved in making this movie have young children AT ALL? Find me a child still asleep on Christmas morning past 7am and I’ll eat the laptop I’ve been using to work from home with. By 7am the presents are already opened and the house is chaos!

But anyway – in conclusion, Arthur Christmas will 100% be re-watched many a time in my house, when the real Christmas is here.

Now, my favourite part of Drew’s blogathon is the party he hosts at the end of it. We all get to bring a guest of our choice, someone we’d like to meet under the mistletoe. I’ve been very fickle and brought a new guest every year and 2021 is going to be no different. There’s only one person on my naughty list this year and the god of mischief himself, Loki, aka Tom Hiddleston. Drew, if we’re allowed to come in costume I’ll put together my very best Sylvie outfit!

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Blogathons

Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021

Drew and Kim are back again with their Ultimate Decades Blogathon! In previous years they’ve covered the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s – but rather than go back further in time this year they’re switching up the format and are focusing on years ending in a 1. You can find a list with all of this year’s entries here. With so many movies in so many eligible years, it was impossible for me to pick just 1 movie to talk about so instead I’m bringing you 5 of my favourite movies spanning 5 decades!

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1971 – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

I’ve watched very few movies from the 70s but one of those just so happens to be one of my childhood classics. Watching it now, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is quite a terrifying story but as a child it was magical. Didn’t we all just wish we could visit the factory and eat all the sweets and chocolate we could?

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1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

This blogathon serves as a perfect reminder that I need to have an Indiana Jones marathon soon. I remember watching the Indiana Jones live show at Disney World as a child and thinking I was watching the real deal. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve seen every movie in the franchise yet so watch this space but in the meantime, can we all agree Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best of them all?

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1991 – Beauty and the Beast

I talk about this amazing, greatest of all time Disney movie far too much so I’ll keep this brief but come on, this was the only option for me. My Mum likes to tell me that this movie was played so much when I was little the VHS tape was worn to nothing but as it’s also her favourite Disney movie I’m not convinced that it was me who demanded it be played daily.

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2001 – Donnie Darko

There were a lot of movies I wanted to pick for this year but it has to be Donnie Darko. It opened my eyes to a movie genre that wasn’t animation, action or comedy and was basically the beginning of my love for weird movies. There’s something new to discover with every watch of Donnie Darko.

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2011 – The Muppets

Yes, I know this is an odd choice. There were some fantastic movies released in 2011, but I’ve realised that subconsciously I’ve been picking movies that mean something to me on a deeper level rather than simply great movies, and so I had to pick The Muppets. If I were to explain my sense of humour to you – this movie is it. It’s essentially me in movie form. And fun fact – at our wedding we walked back down the aisle to ‘Life’s a Happy Song’!

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!

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2011

Remember how I said I was going to publish one of these posts a day in the run-up to the New Year? Yeah, sorry. Don’t worry, at my usual rate I should be done by Easter! I’ll create a page on my blog’s menu bar for these lists now as I try and pick up speed a little. If you didn’t see my 2010 list, I’m trying to put together a Top 100 Movies of the Decade list, but with 10 movies from each year as opposed to an overall list. I’m weak.

These lists will get better as they go, but as I mentioned last time, I only started movie blogging in 2014, and I still have so many movies I should see. I guess there’s always an option to update the lists, though!

2011 Movies Seen: 45

This was surprisingly difficult to rank. Although I haven’t seen many 2011 releases, I really liked a lot of them, so finding 10 was no problem. I’m not completely happy with the order though, I think I would change them every day.

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#10 Thor

I know the original Thor movie wasn’t at the top of many people’s lists but for me, it was the movie that got me invested in the MCU. I loved the simplicity of it, the introduction to Asgard, to one of the MCU’s best villains, Loki, and well, Chris Hemsworth as Thor. What more can I say!

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#9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

I’m glad the idea of splitting final movies in franchises into 2 parts didn’t stick around long, because it’s just unnecessary. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 might not have been my favourite Harry Potter movie, but even on a bad day I still love the franchise.

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#8 Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America has grown on me over the years. I don’t know why for sure, but I was never a big fan to begin with. It has nothing to do with Chris Evans, who is fantastic, but the character just didn’t do it for me. I’ve seen the error of my ways, though!

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#7 Horrible Bosses

You can admit it, you hate me for this being here, higher than 2 MCU movies. It’s okay. But the trio of Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis is too perfect for me to not include it. I saw it in the cinema back when it was busy every night, and comedies are best watched with company, strangers or not.

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#6 The Help

I need to see this again. 2011 me was painfully naive when it came to movies. Comedies and action movies were my go-to, and I only watched The Help because of my little obsession with Emma Stone. It was moving, upsetting and hilarious at the same time, and well worth a watch.

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#5 The Muppets

I’m going to stop trying to defend my choices now and just run with them. The Muppets were basically my childhood. I was raised on them. There was no way I was not going to love this new movie. The soundtrack is to die for, the cameos are brilliant and relentless, and it was funny from start to finish. Fun fact – at my wedding, after we said our vows, we walked back down the aisle to ‘Life’s A Happy Song’.

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#4 Source Code

Jake Gyllenhall. On a train. Trying to stop a bomber. He dies, he’s brought back to the train. Mystery! Explosions! Plot twist! If you need more than those things to enjoy a movie, I don’t know what to tell you.

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#3 Crazy, Stupid, Love

Literally the best modern-day rom-com out there. Don’t tell me I’m wrong. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have perfect chemistry together. We’ve since had Gangster Squad (not that good) and La La Land (perfect) with them together and I’m sure we’re due a reunion by now!

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#2 Drive

Speaking of Ryan Gosling. Drive is a weird one for me. I watched it, yes, because I was on a Ryan Gosling thirst, and I hated every second of it. It was pretentious and boring, but it felt like something my husband (then, boyfriend) would love, so the next day I told him to watch it and ended up watching it with him. On a second viewing, everything made sense, and I loved it! Weird, right?

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#1 The Cabin in the Woods

I’m still not sure if The Cabin in the Woods should stay as my #1 choice for the year, but it certainly deserves its place for now. On the surface, this should have been your average modern horror movie but somehow it’s a horror, comedy and sci-fi movie in one and it works!

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Blockbuster Flops

Sometimes, after spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars on acting talent, special effects and marketing, a movie flops at the box office. More often than not, these movies are Blockbusters – those movies sometimes based on other movies, books or TV shows. Most of the time, the flop is justified. The movie was just downright terrible. But that isn’t always the case, and I guess this week Wandering Through the Shelves has set us bloggers the task of defending some of those failed movies.

I used this Wikipedia article to help me define what the biggest movie flops are, and these are 3 of those movies that I don’t think deserved to do so badly.

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Ghostbusters (2016) Production Budget: $144m Worldwide Gross: £229m

I loved the all-female Ghostbusters remake. Not because I’m a woman and I want women to have bigger roles in the industry, but because it was a fun movie and it made me laugh. In fact, it was the first Ghostbusters movie I ever watched, I watched the original for the first time last year and wasn’t that impressed (don’t @ me). What annoys me so much is wondering how much of a factor internet trolls were to the failure of the remake. If anyone’s seen the movie and hated it that’s fine, everyone has their own opinion, but to hate on a movie before even seeing it is just childish!

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Rise of the Guardians (2012) Production Budget: $145m Worldwide Gross: £306m

Honestly, I was shocked to find Rise of the Guardians in that Wikipedia list. I think it’s such a beautiful animated movie. It’s definitely geared more towards being a Christmas movie but it covers a lot of other holidays too. The voice cast is stellar (Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law to name a few) and the story is so sweet. If you’ve never seen it before please just do me this one favour and give it a try!

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Green Lantern (2011) Production Budget: $220m Worldwide Gross: $219m

Yeah, yeah, you rolled your eyes so hard I heard them! I know Green Lantern isn’t a good movie. I watched it before I got into the genre and didn’t know better. Anyone who’s ever read a Green Lantern comic could write a better script, and the bad guy was butchered in the development phases. BUT. Are you telling me that Green Lantern deserves a flop sticker when movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad are labeled as huge successes?