Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Horror

Spooky season has well and truly arrived! The nights are getting darker, the air is getting colder, and you can’t go to a supermarket without being confronted by pumpkins or sweets! It’s the perfect time of year to hibernate indoors with a hot drink and a scary movie. This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Teen Horror, and since finally welcoming horror movies into my life I’ve seen quite a few!

Here are my three favourites:

teen-horror-movies-it-follows-2014

It Follows (2014)

Also known as the supernatural STD movie, It Follows is one of the few movies that genuinely scared the crap out of me both whilst I was watching it and for days afterward. Basically, it starts with one girl after a sexual encounter. ‘It’ follows her, only ‘It’ can take any form it wishes and moves at a slow pace until it finds you and kills you. You’re the only person who can see ‘It’, also. The only way to stop ‘It’ is to have sex with someone else and pass it on to them.

teen-horror-movies-happy-death-day-2017

Happy Death Day (2017)

I’m so fed up with Groundhog Day-style movies that I avoided Happy Death Day until this year. It’s so good though! You can probably guess the plot, a teen girl is murdered one night and then wakes up at the start of the same day, only to die over and over again. It’s a bit jumpy, but it’s also quite funny and the sequel is surprisingly even better than the original!

teen-horror-movies-midsommar-2019

Midsommar (2019)

It only feels like yesterday that Midsommar was released but I’m starting to learn that with Ari Aster’s movies, you aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. After suffering a family tragedy, Dani travels to Sweden with her awful boyfriend and his friends to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. It’s a quiet movie for a horror, and a lot of the worse moments happen off-screen, but it’s a glorious movie.

Advertisements

The Babadook (2014)

the-babadook-movie-review-poster-2014There are several coping mechanisms that I use when watching a horror movie. My favourite is keeping a cardigan nearby, and watching the tense scenes through it. Cardigans are the perfect thickness for obscuring most of the scariness without blocking the screen entirely. Hoodies are no good, as I sadly learned whilst watching It Follows, they’re just too thick. They’re perfect for weepy movies though, I just pull up the hood and hide myself away. My latest trick for horrors that I can find on VOD, however, is watching on my tablet with headphones. Super easy to look away from and tear out a headphone when the creepy music is just too much.

The Babadook (2014) is a wonderfully creepy movie. Amelia (Essie Davis) is still struggling with the tragic death of her husband 7 years ago. Her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is having problems of his own. He’s plagued by a monster that not only keeps him awake at night but has led to him becoming quite a violent and disturbed young boy. Just when things seem like they can’t get worse for this Mother and Son, they read a book called Mister Babadook, turning their lives into a living nightmare.

I got pulled into a false sense of security with this movie’s first half, which does a brilliant job at building the two leading characters and explores their backstories and the reasons why they are who they are. It honestly makes a great movie of its own right, without the horror part that follows. It was easy to take an instant disliking to Samuel, he seemed to be the stereotypical ‘weird kid’ you expect from a horror movie, but my heart ached for him and Amelia after a while. It was such a sad situation.

Sadly, the movie moves on from their tragedy and cranks up the scare factor once the ‘Mister Babadook’ book is found. The book itself is written in that rhyming couplet style that many children’s books are written, and starts off fairly innocent. You know, until the part about wishing you were dead. That was a bit off. Amelia does the WRONG thing by tearing the book up that night (personally I would have burnt it, and my entire house down) which I can only assume just angered the Babadook.

the-babadook-2014-childrens-book

I can’t even tell you through words just how terrifying the sound the Babadook makes. Even through headphones rather than quality, cinema speakers, it’s chilling, and I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. Move over Godzilla, you ain’t got nothing on this hat-wearing monster.

What I liked the most was that we didn’t actually see the Babadook that often. We just didn’t need to, the atmosphere and the music are enough, and it makes those scenes with him in that bit more powerful. Admittedly, I was hiding for a lot of the final chunk of the movie, whispering (spoiler alert) ‘please not the dog’ over and over again, but it was a justified kind of scaredness, I wasn’t just hiding from endless jump scares.

I’m so glad I braved this one, and ooh boy, that ending! I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it was definitely not what I was expecting.

(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

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:

will-ferrell-daddys-home

#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.

will-ferrell-anchorman-ron-burgundy

#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?

will-ferrell-the-lego-movie

#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.

will-ferrell-austin-powers

#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…”

will-ferrell-elf

#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…

will-ferrell-holmes-watson

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: 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!

period-drama-movies-favourite-emma-stone

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.

period-drama-movies-help-emma-stone

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”.

period-drama-movies-magic-moonlight-emma-stone

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.

Thursday Movie Picks: Interview

Thursday Movie Picks

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s almost Easter! It’s almost time for it to be acceptable to stuff our faces with chocolate, wayhey! Did I buy my toddler a chocolate egg? Of course I did. Did I pick her the one that just so happened to be my favourite too? You can bet your ass I did. Chocolate is bad for you, kiddo.

Today’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Interview. Did I ever mention that I work in recruitment? Well, to be honest, I don’t, I’m a Sales & Marketing Administrator, but I work for a recruitment agency – so the theme is quite relevant for me! It’s a shame most real interviews don’t happen the way they do in the movies, but the consultants I work with have more than a few odd stories to share.

So, this week I’ll be sharing my favourite interview scenes from movies!

movie-job-interviews-ted-2012

Ted (2012)

I don’t think I could even type out what Ted said in his interview for the job at the grocery store it was so obscene, but it’s one of the best bits of the movie! I still can’t believe my brother convinced our mum to watch this movie…

movie-job-interviews-the-imitation-game-2014

The Imitation Game (2014)

Based on the true story of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game is far from a comedy, but the scene in which Alan is interviewed for the job of cracking the code is deadpan humour at it’s finest!

movie-job-interviews-nightcrawler-2014

Nightcrawler (2014)

It is so much easier to get a job in movies! All Rick needed was a driving license, a cell phone, knowledge of LA and the freedom to start the job immediately. I had to laugh when he revealed that he worked as a landscaper until he realised he had hay fever.

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

magic-in-the-moonlight-2014-movie-posterDirector: Woody Allen

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Main Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney

Plot: Set in the 1920s, Colin Firth plays a talented magician who spends his spare time debunking psychics. His pal Howard tells him about a young American psychic played by Emma Stone who has Howard absolutely convinced, so he abandons his family holiday to expose this psychic as the fraud she is.

My Thoughts: It wasn’t intentional but until a few months ago I’d never seen a Woody Allen movie. Maybe they’ve simply never appealed to me, but I wanted to change that so I started with Cafe Society (2016) and then moved on to Magic in the Moonlight (2014). I wouldn’t say I’ve been converted into a huge Woody Allen fan now but both movies were enjoyable enough. Are there any Woody Allen fans out there who can suggest where I should look next?

Anyway, I might not have loved it, but I really enjoyed Magic in the Moonlight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colin Firth play such a hilarious, stuck up his own arse guy, but he makes it work so well! There’s definitely something hypocritical about a guy performing tricks for a living who does so whilst dressed as a Chinese man who just so happens to get a kick out of calling psychics frauds, but that just adds to the humour of it all.

Emma Stone is mesmerising as usual, she’s been my favourite actress for a long time now. Weirdly enough one of the only movies I’m still yet to see of hers just so happens to be another Woody Allen flick. Although the movie feels really slow, I was compelled to keep watching to find out whether she truly was a real psychic or a fraud. The conclusion is worth it!

magic-in-the-moonlight-emma-stone-colin-firth

Overall, I felt it fell short of being truly remarkable. The romance arc didn’t feel genuine enough to me, and although it had its funny moments there weren’t enough. Likewise, the mystery element wasn’t as strong as I would have hoped. Regardless, I still had fun watching it, and it’s not a bad movie in the slightest.

Best Bit: The twist reveal was my favourite part. Although I’d pretty much come to the conclusion myself by that point, it was still satisfying, and the chair trick took me by surprise!

Worst Bit: Brice was the most annoying character I’ve seen in a while. Ugh. Grow a spine, man! He was like a drooling puppy, but not in a cute way. Plus I wouldn’t care if it was Bradley Cooper or Justin Timberlake, anyone playing a ukelele and singing right in front of me is enough to make me cringe.

Fun Trivia: Wei Ling Soo, Stanley’s onstage persona, is a reference to Chung Ling Soo, the stage name of William Ellsworth Robinson (1861-1918), a popular magician in the U.S. and Europe for many years. Chung Ling Soo also tried to debunk spiritualists, and even wrote a book about it in 1898.

My Rating: 3 and a half spinning chairs. Just double check before you sit down, however, that you’re not about to sit in Colin Firth’s lap.

magic-in-the-moonlight-spinning-chair

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Enjoying

Thursday Movie Picks

Happy Thursday, everyone! That’s a weird sentence to type, especially as it’s technically Monday right now. I missed out on last week’s topic of Cold War so I’m being extra-organised this week. Before I begin, let me remind you that Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves, check out her blog if you’d like to join in!

This week’s theme is Movies You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Enjoying, suggested by Brittani at Rambling Film. This is going to be such a fun and varied week, I can’t wait to read what everyone else chose! It was reasonably difficult to think of 3 movies, only because I tend to avoid movies I think I might hate. If I do end up watching one I normally do hate it, which to be honest is fun to blog about but it’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a movie!

Here are my choices this week…

thought-you-would-hate-it-follows

It Follows (2014)

It’s not that I thought It Follows was going to be a bad movie – in fact, I chose to watch it because it got great reviews – but it was approaching Halloween a few years ago and I was desperate to start watching more horror movies. I was expecting to find myself watching behind a cushion for a while before giving up and turning it off but I was gripped. It scared the pants off me and haunted me for at least a week afterward but it was so good! I definitely recommend it to any other scaredy cats out there like me wanting to dip their toes into the genre.

thought-you-would-hate-the-boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls (2014)

I was so salty when the Oscar nominations came in and The Lego Movie didn’t get any love. In my mind, it was the winner so it was a huge snub, and the fact that The Boxtrolls, a movie I’d barely even heard of was there was just despicable. So much so that I vowed to boycott the movie and never watch it. I don’t know why I gave it a chance, in the end, maybe I wanted to prove to myself how undeserving it was but I absolutely loved it when I finally gave in!

thought-you-would-hate-the-man-from-uncle

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Maybe it was Henry Cavill (I just don’t like him that much) or maybe it was something else, but I wasn’t bothered at all by the trailers for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It just looked like another average action movie to me and I’d seen a lot of them around that time so I just kind of forgot about it. It was only when multiple people raved about it to me after it’s DVD release that I gave it a go and really enjoyed it. It was so funny, and Henry Cavill was actually amazing, and I was sold in literally the first 5 minutes.

I think what I’ve learned this week is that between 2014 and 2015 I was very grumpy and didn’t give enough movies the chance they deserved! I’m much more open-minded now.