Lists · Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Michael B. Jordan

With the outdoors opening up and a week’s holiday to the coast, I haven’t watched as many movies as I usually do which led to a Michael B. Jordan crammed week in order to get my hidden gems post in this month! If you aren’t familiar with the Hidden Gems Challenge, it was started by Mettel Ray and you can find her original post here. Her pick for April is Keira Knightley and I can’t wait to see what she watched! Ii think Keira Knightley is a really underrated actress but there’s definitely a lot of her movies that I haven’t seen yet. But enough about Keira – let’s talk Michael B. Jordan!

Why Michael B. Jordan?

Well, he was voted People Magazine’s Sexiest Man in 2020, a title I’m certainly not going to argue about! But also, I can’t think of a single movie of his that I haven’t enjoyed (with the exception of Fantastic Four, but we can’t blame Jordan for that), and so there’s bound to be even more out there just waiting for me to watch! Jordan has a host of smaller awards already, but I definitely feel like an Oscar-worthy role is right around the corner for him.

Statistics

Letterboxd has 34 movies listed under Michael B. Jordan’s name. I took out shorts, documentaries, and unreleased projects which left me with 20. Before the challenge I’d seen 7 of those, not a lot but a decent percentage! Out of the ones I’d already seen some of my favourites include Hardball, Black Panther and Creed.

I’ve also seen Chronicle, Just Mercy, Fantastic Four, and That Awkward Moment.

As before, I tried to pick 3 movies where Michael B. Jordan played a main role, and so my choices ended up being Fahrenheit 451, Fruitvale Station and Creed II.

Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

farenheit-451-michael-b-jordan

Based on a novel by Ray Bradbury, published in the 1950’s, Fahrenheit 451 is set in a dystopian world where books are illegal and firefighters start fires rather than putting them out. I’d heard that the book is great but the modern movie adaptation was terrible. Buuut the combo of Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon was too intriguing to pass up, so this was my first stop.

It’s not a great movie, but it wasn’t the train wreck I was expecting, that’s for sure. I loved the use of future technology that I imagine is one step further than the source material, and although it left me with a ton of unanswered questions, it didn’t put me off, and as a result I’m actually currently reading the novel in the hopes of getting the answers I’m looking for. Like, if the firefighters aren’t putting out fires, who is?!

Fruitvale Station (2013)

fruitvale-station-michael-b-jordan

Fruitvale Station is based on a true story – the event that took place in the early hours of New Year’s Day at Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California, where young Afro-American Oscar Grant was shot by a cop and later died in hospital. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy watch but it’s with regret that I admit I knew nothing about the event, and so it seemed the perfect opportunity to educate myself on this tragic event and also explore one of Michael B. Jordan’s more serious roles. It also stars Octavia Spencer, who just so happens to be another of my choices for the Hidden Gems challenge!

This is a powerful and deeply emotional movie. It opens with real life footage captured by passengers on the train at the station, then goes back in time to explore Oscar’s life, before ending at that tragic night. Oscar isn’t portrayed as a perfect person – he was a real guy who made some bad decisions in his past but was a fantastic father, a loving son and a caring individual. The climatic scene is brutal, unflinching and upsetting to watch, and I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that it’s a movie based on a real event, or the fact that 12 years later murders like this are still a regular occurrence. What is it going to take for this to end?!

Creed II (2018)

creed-ii-michael-b-jordan

I don’t know what stopped me from watching Creed II, I really enjoyed the first one. I think it was released not long after I became a Mum and stopped going to the cinema for a few months, and it just slipped off my radar. Anyway – Creed II follows on from the events of the first movie, but this time, the son of the boxer that caused Adonis Creed’s father’s death is on the scene and challenging the recently crowned world champion to a match. Rocky urges Adonis to turn him down, but this is personal.

I really need to make an effort to watch the other Rocky movies (I’ve only seen the first) because there’s something about these characters that I just adore. I’m not a boxing fan in the least but from what I’ve seen so far, these movies are so much more than the sport. I thought Creed II lacked some of the personal relationships that the first one did so well, but that final fight was so dramatic I could feel myself tense up and actually stop breathing. I’ll be in the cinema for Creed III – that’s a promise!

Final Thoughts

April has been a great month! Or perhaps I should say, the final week in April has been great! As that’s when I squeezed all three of my picks in. Fruitvale Station is without a doubt a hidden gem, and Creed II is very close to being one. Also, I already mentioned that I was so interested in Mettel Ray‘s challenge because I’d tried and failed to do the Blind Spot challenge at least 3 times. Well, I’ve stuck out this challenge for longer than my other attempts and I’m seeing no signs of stopping before the year is out! Next month is dedicated to Margot Robbie, so wish me luck in my picks!

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Buddy Movies

Happy Thursday everyone! I can’t sleep after watching Host (2020) for a second time, so whilst fearing for my life I thought it was about time I got involved again in Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks. If you haven’t seen this type of post before, Wanderer gives us a theme every week and we pick 3 of our favourite movies that fit!

This week’s theme is Female Buddy Movies which I love. The secret to a good buddy movie is chemistry between the leads, I find this either makes or breaks the movie. In no particular order, my favourite female buddy movies are…

female-buddy-movies-the-heat

The Heat (2013)

I can’t even believe this movie is 7 years old, it feels like only yesterday that I watched it for the first time. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy together is a match made in heaven. It’s a buddy cop movie where Sandra Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy plays a foul-mouthed cop. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do!

female-buddy-movies-bad-moms

Bad Moms (2016)

I definitely talk about this movie too much but it deserves all the praise I give it. It was hilarious before I was even a Mum myself and even more so now. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn all play Mums with their own different struggles, but end up becoming the best of friends. There was a Christmas sequel that was just as good, if not better.

female-buddy-movies-pitch-perfect

Pitch Perfect (2012)

This movie is right at the front of my memory as I re-watched it very recently (my Husband loved it, no matter what he might tell you). Anna Kendrick plays a freshman who gets roped into joining the school’s all-girls singing group. It’s a movie full of catchy tunes and female friendship at it’s finest, and a movie I find myself watching at least once a year!

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Break-Ups

There’s something about the changing seasons, days getting shorter and the weather getting colder that makes curling up on the sofa with a hot drink and a sappy movie so appealing to me. So I guess it’s great timing that this week’s Wandering Through the Shelves Thursday Movie Picks theme is break-ups!

When I started scouring my Letterboxd account for possible choices, I very nearly created a theme within a theme of Ryan Gosling break-up movies, but changed my mind at the last minute! It was a good reminder that there are still far too many of his movies I haven’t seen yet, though…

But without further ado, here are my 3 picks for the week:

break-up-movies-the-break-up-2006

The Break-Up (2006)

I know this seems like the laziest choice ever, but I actually really love this movie! Back in the day when I didn’t watch many movies at all, The Break-Up was the first rom-com I watched with an ending that surprised me, it totally bummed me out and I’ve never forgotten about it! Plus, it has my favourite funny argument between a couple ever. “I don’t want you to do the dishes, I want you to WANT to do the dishes!” “Why would I WANT to do the dishes?!”

break-up-movies-begin-again-2013

Begin Again (2013)

Excuse me John Carney, it’s been 3 years since your last movie, we’re due another! You can always count on a John Carney movie to be beautiful and have the best soundtrack ever. I loved Begin Again so much. Keira Knightly plays a talented musician who finds herself single after her long-time boyfriend makes it big in the music industry and leaves her behind. It’s just stunning in all aspects!

break-up-movies-la-la-land-2016

La La Land (2016)

I will never, ever, get over the sadness that the ending to La La Land caused me. It’s just not fair. I thought I was over it, and then on holiday we were stuck in some Los Angeles traffic and I found myself singing ‘Another Day of Sun’ and it brought the pain back to me. I do like that the embarrassment at the Oscars where La La Land was announced as Best Picture just to have it corrected a few minutes later was kind of a parallel to what the audience to this movie ends up going through, though. The irony isn’t lost on me!

Movie Reviews

Odd Thomas (2013)

odd-thomas-movie-review-2013Director: Stephen Sommers

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Main Cast: Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nico Tortorella, Patton Oswalt, Melissa Ordway, Shuler Hensley

Plot: Odd has the ability to see dead people, a strange power he inherited from his Mother, a power he mostly keeps a secret with the exception of his girlfriend Stormy of the Chief of Police. He uses this gift to help the Chief solve murders – but one day brings a foreboding of something much bigger.

My Thoughts: What a strange, yet delightful little movie! I’m still making a dent in my ever-growing watch list, and I think Odd Thomas made the list thanks to one of my lovely Blogging buddies after the sad news of Anton Yelchin’s passing. This is definitely my favourite movie of his that I’ve seen so far. It feels low budget – but in a good way, and it’s a wild ride from start to finish.

Absolutely everything about it is quirky, I mean just look at that plot summary! Odd himself talks us through most of the story, explaining how he can see dead people, and what these strange, shadowy figures are that only a very select few can see (they’re called bodachs). If you’ve ever seen the TV show Pushing Daisies, it’s got the same kind of silly vibe, whilst maintaining a reasonably serious storyline. It’s such a hard thing to explain, but you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it.

Basically, these bodachs follow death – they feed upon it. So when Odd’s town becomes infested with them, it’s a sign that something awful is on the horizon, a mass murder. Teaming up with Stormy and the Chief, Odd works to solve the mystery of what’s about to unfold, and hopefully stop it before it can happen. It’s by no means a perfect movie but it’s so different and out there that I can’t help but love it!

odd-thomas-anton-yelchin-2013

Best Bit: I love a good mystery, and whilst this one is satisfying, it was the ending that took me by surprise. Maybe I should have seen the warning signs, but I didn’t, and when it finally clicked what was happening, I was a big mess of emotions!

Worst Bit: The supernatural elements in this movie are so crazy that it requires Odd to narrate almost everything that happens, which I guess feels a little patronising at times. It isn’t a long movie though, so I can’t help but feel like a few extra opening scenes could have done some of that work instead.

Fun Trivia: Scenes that included Odd and Stormy’s origins were deleted from the film. One including young Stormy and her stepfather and another including young Odd and his mother. Odd’s mother put a gun to his head and is later taken away while cutting paper roses. DJ Shamus and most of Ozzy’s scenes were also deleted from the film.

My Rating: 3 and a half bowling shirts, an omen of terrible things to come…

odd-thomas-2013-bowling-shirt

Movie Reviews · Random Posts

Oldboy (2003) vs. Oldboy (2013)

oldboy-vs-oldboy-2003-2013-versus

I had so much fun writing my Point Break (1991) vs. Point Break (2015) post that I was dying to do something similar. My chance finally arose when I decided that Oldboy (2003) would be my first Blind Spot movie of the year. I’d heard terrible things about the 2013 remake and since I ended up enjoying the South Korean original so much, it was an easy decision!

You can read my full review of the original Oldboy here, but let me recap my thoughts for you quickly. It was brilliant, it was dark, twisted, uncomfortable at many times, and smart. So smart in fact that one of my very few criticisms would be that I struggled to follow the story at some points, but that’s largely down to my inexperience with foreign movies and having to rely on subtitles.

From what I can gather, Oldboy fans didn’t want a remake. Why mess with a classic? The same question is on many lips with all of the Disney remakes we’re getting this year and I can see where they’re coming from, but I do have a counterpoint. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for an Americanised remake to stir curiosity in moviegoers, enough to make them watch the original?

oldboy-2003-oh-dae-su

So let me cut to the chase. I watched the remake. I really enjoyed it! Was it as good as the original? No – but as a couple of my fellow bloggers told me – a lot of the hate is undeserved.

Spike Lee’s version is very much a reimagining of the original, it’s been adapted for a Western audience. One wouldn’t be wrong in saying it’s also been ‘dumbed down’, but I would say not to the point where the twist becomes less shocking.

There were two noticeable nods to the original that I spotted. The street vendor who sold Joe the rubber duck for his daughter is wearing a pair of angel wings, just like Oh Dae-su wore in the opening to the original. Marie has a tattoo of an octopus on her arm which is a reference to the octopus that Oh Dae-su ate in the original. I love spotting things like this and I wonder if there were more!

oldboy-2013-josh-brolin-remake

A few things that I want to complain about:
– The ending didn’t have the same impact. It was moving in the remake but horrifying in the original.
– The bad guy in the remake was almost funny in how over the top he was. The bad guy in the original was quiet and chilling.
– The fight scene in the corridor. You know the one I mean. It was just nowhere near as badass!

All in all, you just can’t beat the original. That said, I really don’t think the remake deserves the hate it got. If you’re intrigued by the premise of the movie but don’t have the patience to read your movie, I don’t think you’d be doing a terrible thing by giving the 2013 version a go.