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?

Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Drama

Happy Thursday, everyone! Brightburn is finally out in the UK today so I’m hoping to catch that tonight. I’m not setting my expectations too high, but I’m still looking forward to it. Anyway, Thursday also means Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. I had to do a quick Google search to define this week’s topic of Period Drama, as I’ve always said I hated the genre without really knowing what it is.

To my joy, Google defined it as “a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television”. Well blow me down, it’s a much broader term than I thought it was! Thanks to that revelation, I’m bringing a theme within the theme this week, as my 3 Period Drama picks all star Emma Stone!

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The Favourite (2018)

This, to me, is my dictionary definition of Period Drama. Women in huge, stuffy dresses and men going off to war. What convinced me to see The Favourite though was the cast, obviously including Emma Stone, and the fact that it’s directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, known for creating all things weird and wonderful. Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her performance in this, and she was so deserving of it! I highly recommended this one if you haven’t seen it already.

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The Help (2011)

It’s been years since I watched The Help, but writing this has reminded me how much I want to see it again. Emma Stone plays a writer called Skeeter who decided to interview the black women who look after wealthy families. Again, the cast here is stunning and it’s a shocking look into history. The Help is worth a watch if nothing more than to see Octavia Spencer deliver arguably her most famous line ever, “Eat my s**t”.

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Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

I only watched this one recently, but once I realised my first two picks shared Emma Stone in common I just had to see if I could make it a hat trick, and huzzah! Here we go. I’ve since learned that Woody Allen movies are an acquired taste, so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I quite liked it. It had just the right amount of humour, romance, and mystery to satisfy me.

Blogathons

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!