What I Watched & Read: November 2019

I know, it’s a little too far into December for a November round-up post to be acceptable but I’ve been behind on so many things! Can we just pretend for a while it’s the very start of December and I still have loads of time to sort Christmas out? Good, thanks. So, as it’s the start of December, as usual here’s a little recap of what I watched last month. I’m throwing in a book I read too, because I’ve let my book review posts slip and it’s a shame not to mention them.

The middle of November sucked, I didn’t watch a movie at all for like, a week and a half, but despite that I still saw 11 movies throughout the month, which isn’t so bad. No TV shows though other than The Mandalorian, which is glorious. Going to be so sad when that finishes!

Anyway, here’s what I watched that I haven’t written a full post for:

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Crawl (2019)

I pretty much dismissed this movie but a whole bunch of you said it was good and I always listen to you so I gave it a go. And yeah! It was a lot better than I expected for a movie about alligators in a hurricane. It felt super claustrophobic at times. Not sure I’ll ever want to watch it again mind, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.

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Stuber (2019)

This started out great. I was all up for a feature-length movie about Stu desperately trying to improve his Uber rating, but then Dave Bautista turned up. Then it turned into more of a buddy cop movie. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that too, but it felt like 2 very different movies mashed together and didn’t work that well in the end. Kumail Nanjiani is one of the funniest guys I’ve discovered in the last few years though, I’ll happily watch whatever he does next!

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A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)

This was a rewatch for me, and I rewatched Bad Moms last night too. I’m struggling with being a Mum these last couple of weeks but oh man, these movies help me to get out of my head. The scene with the mall Santa is too epic!

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The Report (2019)

I still haven’t got around to writing anything for The Report. I really enjoyed it, gave it an 8/10, but it’s tough to write about. It’s a shocking story, but it’s not the most exciting thing to talk about. Adam Driver carries it, without him this would have fallen pretty flat. It was absolutely worth a watch for me for educational purposes if nothing else!

These are the movies I watched in November that I already wrote about, in case you missed them:

Chicago (2002)
Let It Snow (2019)
Last Christmas (2019)
Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
Frozen II (2019)
Eli (2019)
Knives Out (2019)

Now, books! I read 2 books in November which is better than I normally manage. I set my expectations too high this year, I just don’t have as much reading time as I thought.

The Final Winter by Iain Rob Wright

This sounded like it would be a bit like The Day After Tomorrow with some horror elements in, and it started out well with the introduction of the characters, but it took a real nosedive from the half way point. The characters took on these annoyingly stereotypical traits and to be perfectly honest, I stopped caring about what happened to them. The ending was unexpected, and probably would have been great if I was still interested by then.

Hunted by Darcy Coates

I loooooved this book. A young girl goes missing in the woods after taking a solo holiday, and her brother and friends come looking for her. Her camera was recovered by another tourist, and the girl’s brother and friends try to put the pieces together to work out where she might have vanished to. The photos start out normal, but then get strange, and a dark figure can be seen in them. The local police don’t seem to be interested, they deal with a national average of missing persons cases – so the youths take it upon themselves to find her.

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

anna-and-the-apocalypse-2017-posterDirector: John McPhail

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Main Cast: Ella Hunt, Sarah Swire, Malcolm Cumming, Christopher Leveaux, Paul Kaye, Ben Wiggins, Mark Benton, Marli Siu

Plot: A zombie apocalypse has struck the quiet town of Little Haven. Anna and her friends are approaching the end of their time at Sixth Form and face difficult situations in their lives. Together, they fight for the survival, to the tune of a catchy soundtrack.

My Thoughts: Anna and the Apocalypse was all over my blog feed last month. I’d barely heard of it until then but from what I read it was a hilarious zombie musical, which, lets face it, sounds downright amazing. I didn’t manage to track down a copy in time for Halloween but just like The Nightmare Before Christmas, this movie fits into that perfect little niche of being a spooky movie and a festive movie! Huzzah!

Let’s get straight to the point, we all knew I was going to like this movie. The songs are super catchy, it’s funny, a bit scary, and just all round good fun. Typically though, I started watching it late at night and only stayed awake for the first half. The day after I was at the cinema to see Last Christmas, which, if you didn’t know from my review or Twitter yet, broke my heart into a million pieces. To cheer myself up I thought the second half of Anna and the Apocalypse would be the perfect remedy.

Slight spoiler alert? IT WASN’T. I won’t ruin the movie for you of course, but let me just say, pay particular attention to the lyrics of the songs. No Such Thing As A Hollywood Ending in particular. My nerves were already on thin ice and I ended up falling into a pit of sorrow by the end of this. I highly recommend it, though. If you’re a fan of movies like Shaun of the Dead and don’t mind a cheesy musical, this is perfect.

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Best Bit: The Headmaster was already hilariously evil, but when Anna and co went back to the school to find he’d completely lost it? Brilliant – and his song had me in stitches! I also loved the irony of the song where Anna’s walking to school that morning and everything is completely falling apart behind her.

Worst Bit: I came here for gore and jokes, not to have my heart pulled out from my chest. Or maybe I’m just an emotional wreck anyway, who even knows anymore.

Fun Trivia: One of the posts seen in the #EvacSelfie bit was from “Ash Campbell” – a mashup of Ash Williams/Bruce Campbell from the Evil Dead franchise.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Christmas dinners you’ll find your creepy headmaster eating whilst zombies take over your school.

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Thursday Movie Picks: Scientists

There are so many Thursday Movie Picks themes that I end up skipping because I can’t think of enough movies I’ve even seen to fit – let alone 3 great choices that I can recommend. That is, until Thursday rolls around, I read everyone else’s posts and realise that I’ve watched more than I thought…and then kick myself for not picking them myself!

I almost did the same with this week’s theme of Scientists. Then I made myself sit down and think, and lo and behold, I have a list as long as my arm! I’ve whittled that down to 3 choices with a slight mini-theme. These 3 movies are ones that I really enjoyed, but something stopped them from being amazing.

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Annihilation (2018)

A mysterious, creepy movie with a stellar female cast and Oscar Isaac? I mean, this movie couldn’t be awful if it tried. Annihilation made a lot of ‘Best of 2018’ lists, and rightly so, to be honest. The scene with that bear creature mimicking the scream was downright terrifying and a moment I’ll never forget, but the movie lost me at the end. I love a weird ending but this one was just too much.

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Downsizing (2017)

I’m still so gutted about how much potential Downsizing wasted. A future world where humans can be shrunk in order to save the planet, and all the fiscal and political issues that arise as a result? This could have been a smashing TV series, but it doesn’t work at all as a movie. Too much plot got packed in with not enough time, and a lot of threads just lead nowhere. I love the idea of it all though, and I hope the story gets picked up and done better sometime.

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A Cure for Wellness (2016)

I feel like in the run-up to this movie’s release, there was so much hype, and then…the movie came out, and no one made a fuss. I didn’t even see it in the cinema, but I’m glad I still watched it. It’s long, but it’s got the creep and mystery factor that keep you going. I shamefully can’t even remember the ending, but I know it was one that you either loved or hated.

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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

The Babysitter (2017)

the-babysitter-movie-review-poster-2017Director: McG (no, I didn’t pass out at the keyboard mid-typing…that’s this guy’s name, apparently)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino

Plot: Cole is, without a doubt, a bit of a wimp. His classmates at school would use a much worse term for it, but poor Cole is afraid of everything and is the only kid in school who still has a babysitter. Thankfully, his babysitter just so happens to be super cool and super hot, and one night Cole decides to spy on her after bedtime.

My Thoughts: Last week I watched Ready or Not, the first Samara Weaving movie I’d seen, and I kind of fell in love with her. I mean she’s beautiful, funny, and kicks ass, so who wouldn’t? When I spotted her face on the poster for The Babysitter whilst scrolling through Netflix I knew I needed to watch it, so I went in literally blind, not knowing what the movie was about at all. Whilst it’s not up on that same level as Ready or Not, The Babysitter is definitely a fun watch for the spooky season!

I really felt for Cole. He tries his hardest to stick up for himself, but his home life is hardly desirable. His parents are too focused on saving their failing marriage to give him the attention he deserves. Thankfully, his babysitter, Bee, is everything he needs in a friend. She drives away the bullies, teaches him how to properly defend against himself, and gets involved in his nerdy games. I guess it’s a real shame she’s the leader of some cult, huh?

From the moment the movie went from ‘this is a nice story’ to ‘what the $*%&’ it was a wild ride to the credits. It’s a short movie anyway but it feels even shorter with how mental it goes. Honestly, the biggest takeaway I took from it was that if Home Alone was remade sometime soon (like every other movie is) then it would by no means be a family movie!

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Worst Bit: I loved Bee’s character so much that it felt like a complete betrayal to see her kind of mocking the nerdy guy she’d invited to the house to play spin the bottle. Come on Bee, I thought you were on the nerds’ side…

Best Bit: …BAM. Two knives to the head. Didn’t see it coming at all. Might have actually peed myself a little. 10/10 would recommend.

Fun Trivia: In the original script, Sonya was the cheerleader, Allison was a journalist for the school paper, John was called “John the Baptist” and Max had dreadlocks. The characters were later reimagined to more closely reflect stereotypes of slasher movie victims, only in this film, they’re the antagonists.

My Rating: 3 and a half bottles to play spin the bottle with. If the hot girl gets dared to kiss everyone in the room? RUN.

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Mini-Reviews: Movies Watched in July

I basically fell off the blogging wagon this month, so I’m really sorry for neglecting everyone else’s blogs over the last few weeks. I still managed to watch 13 movies though and post full reviews for most, which isn’t too bad I guess!

Summer feels like it’s come and gone already in the UK but I can’t help but be a bit smug as I’m going on holiday in less than 3 weeks now. That obviously means I’ll be away from the blog again for 2 weeks, but I’ve got some of my older reviews from my previous blog scheduled on those days just to keep this little corner of the internet active, and I’ll catch up as best as I can when I’m back!

For now though, as usual, here are some mini-reviews for the movies I watched last month but never got around to writing about…

mini-review-hotel-artemis-2017

Hotel Artemis (2018)

This was so disappointing. It had such a good premise, not dissimilar to the Continental hotel in the John Wick series, the cast was full of stars, but it all fell flat. It was a bit style over substance and when I couldn’t really care less about any of the characters, it makes for a tough watch. It was alright, but nothing more.

mini-review-it-comes-at-night-2016

It Comes at Night (2017)

I’d file this movie in the same drawer as Bird Box (2018). It’s a dark but quiet little horror movie, and although I mostly enjoyed watching it, it was also super depressing and kind of bummed me out a little. Worth a watch for sure but not when you’re already in need of a pick me up!

mini-review-little-2019

Little (2019)

Okay, I actually enjoyed Little more than I thought I would. It’s one of those ‘Freaky Friday’ type comedies that suffers from the common problem of the main character being really unlikeable, but her younger self is so damn sassy and entertaining that I had a good time watching it anyway!

mini-review-alita-battle-angel

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

January was a rough month and I wasn’t 100% sold by the trailer for Alita so I skipped it. I think a younger audience would have an amazing time with this movie but it wasn’t for me. In terms of visuals, it was absolutely stunning and the world-building was fascinating, but I didn’t care for the story. It just wasn’t that original and didn’t bring anything new to the table.

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The Lion King (2019)

Umm…I really didn’t write a full review for this?! How did I manage that? Anyway – boo to the haters, I’ve been really enjoying the live action Disney remakes and don’t want them to slow down any time soon. I loved The Lion King. I literally started crying the second The Circle of Life started playing, and Timon and Pumba had me laughing out loud. It’s a little weird seeing the animals not as expressive, but that’s the only thing I could fault.

And so in case you missed any, these are the movies I did full reviews for in July:

Yesterday (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Odd Thomas (2013)
Midsommar (2019)
The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
The Lake House (2006)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

The Current War (2017)

the-current-war-2017-movie-reviewDirector: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen, Damien Molony

Plot: Set in the 1800s, The Current War is a retelling of the cutthroat race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system will change the way the world works.

My Thoughts: So this is how my week has gone. Love Island has finished and I have no more distractions on an evening – huzzah! So let’s see what’s new at the cinema…oh wait. NOTHING. Did no one want to release anything at all whilst The Lion King is playing for its first week? The only thing new in my local was The Current War, a movie that was meant to be released in 2017 but got shelved because of the Weinstein scandal. I can’t say I was excited to see it but look at that cast! It was worth a go just for them.

History was my least favourite subject at school – I detested it. So the great thing about biopic movies for me is that I don’t actually know what’s going to happen! Which is terrible I suppose, but at least it made a not-so-interesting subject matter a little more exciting for me. I have to admit as well – it wasn’t until the day after that I realised the pun in the name of the movie, the ‘current’ war…no, neither me or my toddler are sleeping well this week!

I have to say though, I did enjoy the movie. It was quite fascinating the lengths that Edison went to during the race, and I had to laugh at the irony of the fact that Westinghouse years later was awarded “The Edison Award” for his work! It’s not a movie I’ll probably watch again, but it was much more interesting than I thought it would be. Solid performances all round, too!

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Best Bit: I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch playing an up-his-own-arse genius. I think he’s at risk of being typecast right now but when he does it so well it’s hard to criticise him for it.

Worst Bit: I did actually know about what happened to the first electric chair trial, but must have forgotten about it. I can’t imagine how it must have felt when it failed to work not once but twice!

Fun Trivia: Jake Gyllenhaal was originally cast alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, however, Gyllenhaal dropped out and Michael Shannon was brought as a replacement.

My Rating: 3 bright, shiny lightbulbs that might kill you, if you listen to Edison.

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P.S. Does anyone else think Michael Shannon looks like Ron Swanson in the poster?