Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Favorite Cinematography

When I first got in movie blogging in 2014 I was only really watching the same kind of movies I’d ever known, all romcoms, comedies and blockbuster action flicks. Being a blogger has obviously opened my eyes to the whole spectrum but back then I had no time for what I know as ‘Oscar movies’. I actually laughed at the trailer for Whiplash (2014) but when I saw it? Wow.

That year, like many movie bloggers, I put together my predictions for the Oscars. They were all blind guesses, I’m not going to lie. Even now there are some categories I still have to make a guess at, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. But one category in particular confused me more than ever, and that was Best Cinematography. To try and explain it to someone else would make me look like a tit, but my best understanding of it now is the way a movie looks. You know those moments where you think wow, that looks beautiful? That’s cinematography.

And that’s the topic of Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks this week. So before I make a bigger fool of myself, let me share some of my favourite shots.

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1917 (2019)

I could have picked 100 shots from this movie, it’s absolutely stunning. But this moment during night time is the one that sticks with me. I was already exhausted and on edge, and then in this quiet, stunning moment there’s a shadow in the distance and we have no idea if they’re a friend or foe.

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La La Land (2016)

Los Angeles has a special place in my heart. My husband and I first visited in 2016 on our honeymoon, and we went back last year with our daughter and my parents and brother to celebrate our 30th birthday. My favourite way to spend the day there was at one of its many beaches, walking the pier was just so peaceful. That’s just one of the many reasons I love La La Land.

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Sicario (2015)

Sicario was one of those first few movies to really shock me when I was still discovering movies outside my comfort zone. It was so tense, and yet absolutely stunning at the same time. The scenes shot at night time were incredible.

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Holiday Horror

I might not know a lot about horror movies, but one thing I can easily talk to you all day about is Christmas movies! This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme (ran by Wandering Through the Shelves) encompasses horror movies set in all kinds of holidays, but I am the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas and so all 3 of my picks this week are festive!

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Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

My first pick is the best, let’s start off strong. Not only is Anna and the Apocalypse a horror movie set at Christmas, it’s also a musical! You heard me. The songs are catchy and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. It also has a lot of heart, Ii wasn’t expecting to cry for this one. If you haven’t seen it yet please give it a chance this year, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Krampus (2015)

Krampus came to town just when I needed it. I wanted to get into horror movies but I was still too scared, but Krampus is more of a horror comedy which is a nicer transition. Plus it stars Toni Collette who basically makes any movie instantly better!

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Black Christmas (2019)

You can’t have good movies all the time, just like you can’t have good Christmas presents all the time (do we really need that many Lynx/Axe gift sets?) so here’s one to avoid. Actually scrap that, because Black Christmas just about falls into that category of being so bad it’s quite funny. If I remember correctly it’s a remake of a movie I’m going to assume was much better in quality.

Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2015

Past the half-way point and we aren’t half-way through January yet, okay, I can do this! 2015 has been an easier year strangely enough. There were a lot of movies I really liked, but not as many that I loved so I didn’t feel as bad striking movies off my list like I did with 2014’s list. Does anyone else feel the same about 2015 or was I grumpy that year? Perhaps I’m just toughening up by making all these lists.

You can find my other Top 100 Movies of the Decade lists here.

2015 Movies Watched: 93
Movies that just missed out: Room, Brooklyn, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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#10 Anomalisa

Not going to lie, I forgot all about this movie until I checked my Letterboxd list for 2015. There was no way I couldn’t mention it, though. I’ve always had a love and appreciation for stop-motion animated movies and Anomalisa is one of the greater ones. It’s quite a dark tale but very thought-provoking and definitely a must-watch for fans of the genre.

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#9 Mad Max: Fury Road

It’s forever a thing that the movies I watch unwillingly turn out to be some of the best ones. I remember clearly seeing Fury Road at the cinema with my guy pals, ready to roll my eyes at it. I hadn’t seen any other Mad Max movie then (and still haven’t, whoops) but it’s hard not to get swept up by the beauty of it all. This was my best-rated action movie until John Wick 3 came along.

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#8 The Martian

Never will I ever take a bottle of ketchup for granted after watching The Martian. I rarely understand space movies but this was the exception, and I never expected it to be so funny as well as nerve-wracking! I told myself 4 years ago I would read the book and still haven’t. Ah, the best-laid plans…

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#7 The Gift

If you’ve never seen The Gift, do me a solid and give it a go. Just don’t look at a poster or watch a trailer, because the marketing team behind it are idiots. I thought this was a horror and it couldn’t be further from it. Jason Bateman plays a dark and serious role which was a first for me. It’s the kind of story where you don’t know who to root for… because you don’t know who the bad guy is.

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#6 Sicario

I’ll never forget making the mistake of putting Sicario on the TV after just sitting down with my dinner. That opening scene…ergh. Anyway, the sequel wasn’t that great but Sicario is still a fantastic movie as a stand-alone. It’s gritty, it’s dark and some of the scenes made me feel almost as tense as the closing scene of Whiplash (2014).

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#5 The Dressmaker

We don’t get enough movies like The Dressmaker, seriously. What looked to be a dull drama is actually a fascinating drama, romance, black comedy and murder mystery movie all in one. It’s quirky, odd and just downright entertaining from start to finish. One of those movies I wish I could watch again for the very first time.

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#4 The Hateful Eight

I still stand by the fact that the first hour of this movie drags like a bitch but after that, I was glued to my seat. My experience was probably helped by the fact the UK was having a snowstorm of its own when I went to the cinema so I felt fully immersed, but I just love a whodunit and so The Hateful Eight ticked all the boxes for me.

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#3 Inside Out

Who would have thought a movie about emotions could be so good? This came out in the cinemas during a really tough time of my life and maybe that aided my enjoyment of it, but it’s still an absolutely stunning movie. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me want to watch it over and over, and it doesn’t get much better than this.

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#2 Spotlight

You know you’re a movie blogger when you can say one of your favourite movies is about a team of reporters uncovering the scandal of child molestation within the Catholic churches. Definitely feels weird to say. Still, Spotlight is just a downright fantastically well-made movie and fully deserved the Best Picture Oscar.

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#1 Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Not going to apologise for any Star Wars sequel movie making these lists! The Force Awakens deserves extra love because it was the movie that finally converted me into a Star Wars fan. It also kicked off my Adam Driver obsession, which I guess I should be grateful for!

Lists

Best and Worst Amy Poehler Movies

I had so much fun writing my Best and Worst Will Ferrel Movies post a couple of months ago, I’ve been looking for an excuse to write another. For these kinds of posts, I usually head over to IMDB and check birthday dates because trying to pick an actor or actress out of thin air is virtually impossible. Turns out it’s one of my favourite comedic actress’ birthday today so I’m presenting you with my Best and Worst Amy Poehler Movies!

Her favourite role of mine will always be Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation. That show grew to be my most loved TV show of all time, and Leslie is just one of those characters who I admire and relate to so much. If you’ve never watched Parks & Rec please, please give it a go! As of the time of this post being published I’m pretty sure it’s on Netflix. The first Season is slow to get into (but short!) but a few episodes into Season 2, I guarantee you’ll be hooked if you’ve stuck it out that far.

Anyway, I’m talking movies today. So without further ado, these are my 3 favourite Amy Poehler movies:

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Sisters (2015)

If Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are together, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. The way they bounce off each other is simply brilliant, and after their short appearance at the Oscars I hope one day they’ll present the whole night! Sisters is one of those comedies that can be hilarious if you’re in the right mood. Poehler and Fey play sisters (funnily enough) who are summoned to clean out their childhood bedroom so that their parents can sell the house. It’s rude, it’s funny, and there are plenty of cameos to spot, too!

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Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

This one is worth a watch for the cast alone! I only watched it myself for the first time recently so seeing a baby faced Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper was a funny experience. The movie itself is basically the crazy antics of a summer camp, full of romance, mischief, and ending with a big talent competition. I might just make this movie a summer tradition.

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Inside Out (2015)

No prizes for guessing Inside Out would be my favourite. There aren’t many Disney/Pixar movies I don’t love but this one struck a chord with me like no other. Casting is so important when it comes to animation, and especially so when the animated characters are, in fact, emotions. Amy Poehler voices Joy, and I couldn’t think of anyone else more perfect for the role!

Now I’ve spread positiveness and love all over this post, time to highlight a couple of stinkers…

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The House (2017)

You could make the argument that The House was just a ‘meh’ movie rather than a bad one, but I was so disappointed that it wasn’t anywhere near as good as I hoped! Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell (that’s an odd coincidence, actually) and a whole bunch of familiar faces from Parks & Rec, together in one movie? Combined with a trailer that never failed to make me laugh, no matter how many times I saw it? I was so excited. And it turned out to be such an unforgettable movie.

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Wine Country (2019)

And speaking of promising casts, let’s look no further than this year’s Netflix release, Wine Country. You know how I said Amy Poehler and Tina Fey together was a guaranteed good time? I guess there’s always an exception to the rule. The story itself was interesting enough, but Wine Country was far from a good comedy.

So, judging by my Will Ferrel post, this is the part where you all tell me about an amazing movie that I haven’t even heard of, let alone watched. Last time, many of you told me about a great Will Ferrell flick, Stranger Than Fiction (2006). For the record, I haven’t seen it yet, but I plan to this week. What’s your favourite Amy Poehler movie?

Lists

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?