It (2017)

it-2017-movie-review-red-balloonDirector: Andy Muschietti

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim

Plot: Set in the Summer of 1989, a group of kids known as the Losers Club team up to destroy a shape-shifting monster that plagues their town of Derry every 27 years.

My Thoughts: I imagine most married couples on their 3rd Wedding Anniversary go out for a candlelit meal and reminisce about their big day and tell each other how much they love each other. They probably buy each other sweet gifts, too. Not us! I got him a deposit paid and an appointment booked for a tattoo, and he bought me my own domain name for the blog – I’m officially http://oftenofftopic.co.uk! Also – we stayed in, put the little one to bed and watched the scariest movie we’ve ever seen, whilst making fun of each other’s faces. Who says love is dead?

I’m sure you guys can list off several movies scarier than 2017’s It, but we’re wimps and we scare easily. To be honest, we both wanted to see It mainly because we’d heard that it’s actually a really decent movie – and it is! I loved the ‘Stand By Me’ vibe the movie had, the group of kids had such a real friendship and they all shone in their own ways. I guess it’s impossible to not mention it’s similarities to Stranger Things – that show sure took a lot of inspiration from this.

I’ve come to admit recently that I’m starting to become a fan of horror movies, but the one thing I can’t stand are jump scares for the sake of them. There aren’t any here. There are loads of moments that terrified me, but I got caught off guard and the scares were integral parts of the story. This is how I want to be scared! It and Hereditary are definitely my top horror picks so far.

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Best Bit: The scene where the kids are together and the old film reel starts playing all by itself. Each time it flicks you can see Pennywise the clown get closer and then…bam! We both literally jumped out of our seats and then started laughing at ourselves.

Worst Bit: I don’t think there was a weak moment in all honesty, but the final showdown between the kids and Pennywise dragged on for a little too long. It kind of felt at that point there were no scares left and the movie was just going through the motions towards its conclusion.

Fun Trivia: Some lines of dialogue were improvised by the actors. Much of the Richie / Eddie banter was improv. Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie) actually wrote a lot of Finn Wolfhard’s (Richie) jokes.

My Rating: 4 and a half arm casts out of 5, which you shouldn’t let someone sign for you if you’re a member of the Losers Club…

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Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in April

I’ve barely been on the blog for the last week. I was so desperate to avoid spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones that I had a bit of a technology shut down! As a result, I haven’t done as many full reviews as I normally would, so here’s a quick rundown of what I watched in April and what I thought:

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Unicorn Store (2017)

I’ve wanted to see Unicorn Store ever since another blogger wrote about it after it’s festival premiere 2 years ago, so I was giddy when I found out it dropped onto Netflix without any warning in April! It lived up to all my expectations, it was cute, it was weird, it was colourful, and Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson have the most amazing friendship! Definitely not a movie for everyone but I honestly feel like I was the target audience for it.

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Baby Mama (2008)

Straight after watching Unicorn Store I spotted the poster for Baby Mama on Netflix. A movie starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler about motherhood that I hadn’t seen yet or even heard of?! Sign me up! It wasn’t the greatest comedy out there by a long shot but you can always count on these leading ladies to make you laugh. I’m still kind of kicking myself for not seeing the obvious twists coming, though.

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Cam (2018)

You can put Cam straight onto a list of movies you should never watch on public transport! I’m so glad my husband was too engrossed in his game to pay much attention to what I was doing because he straight up would have thought I was watching porn. This movie was quite a surprise though. I wish there was a better explanation for it all at the end but if you’re a fan of Black Mirror this movie was made for you.

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Someone Great (2019)

This was one of those ‘Oh let’s see what’s new on Netflix, that looks like some trashy fun’ kind of movie picks. Jane the Virgin broke up with her boyfriend, she’s leaving town soon and her best buds get together for one last time. It was fun enough but everything about it screamed ‘Millennial’ and as one myself I couldn’t tell if it was trying to appeal to me or take the piss out of me.

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Step Brothers (2008)

So last month I ignored everyone and watched Holmes & Watson, and it was just as terrible as you all said. It brought up memories of Step Brothers though, a movie I haven’t seen in 10 years, and I couldn’t remember any of it. It wasn’t the legendary comedy I thought it was back in its day but it was a lot of fun and reminded me that Will Ferrel doesn’t always do awful movies.

Of course, I did still do a few full reviews in April, and if you missed any you can find them here:

Dumbo (2019)
Life Itself (2018)
Pet Sematary (2019)
Missing Link (2019)
Frank & Lola (2016)
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Heat (1995)
Escape Room (2019)

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in March

March has been one of my best movie watching months for a long time now! My home life in general is looking up again, I’ve been able to make it to the cinema a whopping 7 times and when I’ve stayed home I’ve felt awake enough to actually sit through a whole movie. That all sounds very normal I know, but I’ve had a rocky start to the year so it’s so nice to be feeling normal again!

Anyway, as per usual it’s too time-consuming to write a full review for everything that I watch, so here is a collection of mini reviews for the movies I watched in March but haven’t mentioned on the blog yet.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

Will we ever get bored with the ‘head injury causes weird and magical things to happen’ genre? I don’t think I will, because this entry by Rebel Wilson was surprisingly good! It’s a rom-com that makes fun of rom-coms and although it starts to lose its charm towards the end it’s still a decent comedy. I’ll never be able to hear the word ‘beguiling’ without laughing though now.

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

I’m pretty sure everyone who watched this movie said it was the worst movie of 2018. So why did I watch it? I kind of love Will Ferrell, and comedy can be really subjective so I thought there was a chance I might enjoy it. No – you were all right, it was terrible. The worst part is that my husband actually kind of loved it and keeps quoting vulgar lines from it around the house.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I avoided it for so long because I assumed it would be one of those fairly terrible horrors riddled with pointless jump scares. Thankfully, the bloggerverse correctly informed me it’s more of a comedy, and the sequel is kind of awesome, so I listened to you all and gave it a go. It started off a little scary but other than that it’s not bad at all. I actually liked the sequel even more!

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What Men Want (2019)

Taraji P. Henson is an absolute queen, but not even she could save this mess. It takes way too long before her character is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her, and although it gets funnier from that point, it was a bit of a case of too little, too late. Tracy Morgan is basically playing Tracy Jordan and all I took home was the feeling that I wanted to rewatch 30 Rock.

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Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Yes, I willingly went to the cinema to watch a bunch of old guys living in Cornwall sing sea shanties. It was a slow week for new releases, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Cornwall over the years on holiday so I gave it a chance. I was the youngest audience member by at least 30 years but do you know what? It wasn’t half bad. Your typical, charming little British movie.

In case you missed any, these are the movies I watched in March that actually got proper reviews:

Cold Pursuit (2019)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Triple Frontier (2019)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Us (2019)

Thursday Movie Picks: Private Eye

Thursday Movie Picks

Does anyone else find that the Thursday Movie Picks weeks they think are going to be the easiest, turn out to be the hardest? This week’s theme is Private Eye, and I love a good detective thriller, but as I scrolled and scrolled through my film diary it turns out most of the ones I’ve seen are to do with police departments rather than private detectives.

That said, I still found 3 good picks for this week – but I’m really excited to see everyone else’s as I know I’ll be adding a lot to my watch list! As always, let me remind you that Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Check out the schedule and join us if you don’t already!

Without further ado, here are my 3 favourite movies featuring private detectives…

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

When a family member disappears without a trace 40 years ago, her uncle suspects murder and hires a journalist and hacker to act as private detectives. It’s based on a book which is an excellent read and although the 2011 remake by David Fincher is still a very good movie, the 2009 original is far better. It’s darker, grittier, and stays truer to its source material. I haven’t seen the very latest one yet but I know it can’t be as good.

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Based on the classic Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express is arguably a bit style over substance, but it’s a fun watch regardless! When a murder occurs on the train he’s a passenger on, detective Hercule Poirot is hired to solve the case. I haven’t read the book to know how accurate the adaptation is, and although I wouldn’t say its a very in-depth mystery, it makes a good Saturday night with a takeout movie.

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Gone Baby Gone (2007)

If you’re looking for a detective story that’s darker and packs an emotional punch, look no further than Gone Baby Gone. Directed by Ben Affleck, it’s the story of how a 4-year-old girl goes missing, how the local cops are helpless in trying to solve the case, and how the girl’s aunt hires 2 private detectives as her last resort. The movie’s tagline is “Everyone wants the truth…until they find it”, which I think is perfect.

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in February

A week or so ago I made a post with some mini-reviews of the movies that I’d watched in January but hadn’t got round to mentioning or reviewing on my blog. You can find that post here. It was mainly because I’ve started putting my reviews into my film diary on Letterboxd and I wanted to have a little something written for everything I’d seen! It was fun to do so I might keep it going.

Anyway, there were four movies I watched in February that I haven’t told you about, two of them being Netflix documentaries that I had no idea how to actually review properly. Here’s what they were…

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

When I crawled out of the rock I’d been living under and finally heard about Velvet Buzzsaw, I was so hyped. Then I found out it was getting a Netflix release that weekend! I watched it as soon as I could. Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing in this role, he plays weird so well. He’s one of those actors I would blindly watch anything for. The movie was a lot of fun but it wasn’t that memorable in all honesty. I was expecting more.

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Fyre (2019)

Oh my God. With every new disaster that happened during the planning of Fyre Festival I just wanted a note to come up on the screen to tell me it was all a joke and it didn’t happen. What a bunch of idiots. The fact that some of them haven’t even learned from the mess is baffling! My favourite moment was when they said something about the ridiculous amount of money spent on influencer marketing over social media, and then all it took was a photo of a cheese sandwich to bring it crashing down.

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Wild Rose (2018)

I got to see Wild Rose really early thanks to a secret screening at my local Odeon. It was the first time I didn’t look at any of the clues either so I went in completely blind which was great. It’s the story of a young Mum from Glasgow who dreams of being a Country singer. Thing is, I found the main character to be so damn unlikeable that I really struggled to watch the movie, and it dragged like hell. I think I’m alone in that assessment though, it has really positive reviews overall.

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Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

For a few weeks now I’ve seen people talking about Abducted in Plain Sight on Facebook, so the FOMO was strong and I put it on during dinner one night. Excuse the blasphemy but Christ almighty this documentary made me angry! As a parent myself, I don’t know how that woman’s parents can live with themselves. They were stupid enough in their actions before the first abduction, but to allow it to happen again?! I don’t want to live on this planet anymore…

Mock and Roll (2017)

mock-and-roll-movie-poster-2017Director: Ben Bacharach-White

Genre: Comedy, Music

Runtime: 84 Minutes

Main Cast: Aditi Molly Bhanja, Chris Wolfe, Pakob Jarernpone, Andrew Yackel, William Scarborough, KateLynn E. Newberry, Melissa O’Brien, Brian Bowman, Michael Compton

Plot: Liberty Mean is a struggling Black Owls parody band. When one of the members’ brother chooses their story as a video project, we get a glimpse into their lives as they attempt to raise the money needed to get them to the SXSW (South by South West) festival in order to find fame.

My Thoughts: I have fond memories of the time I actually got to visit SXSW through work, and the fact that Mock and Roll has already won awards in the film festival circuit was enough to convince me to give it a watch. It’s also being compared to This Is Spinal Tap (which I’m yet to see) so it had to be good!

In the first 5 minutes, we find out that the band has gone to an extreme length to raise the funds they need, landing themselves in jail. I should have taken note of this scene as a sign of things to come but straight afterward we’re given a proper introduction to each of the band members, Robin, Rick, Tom and Bun. I think I could quite happily watch a TV Series about these 4 characters, I really warmed to them instantly. They’re the true definition of opposites attract in some ways.

Another highlight was the soundtrack. Admittedly I’ve never listened to Black Owls so I didn’t know the original lyrics to the songs being parodied, but there’s music aplenty in the movie and it’s performed really well. I’d definitely recommend Mock and Roll to both movie fans who like to watch something a little different and indie, and also to rock music fans.

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Best Bit: Bun has some great movie trivia to share with the group, which I think redeems him from the terrible decisions he makes to help the band raise money! It was in these moments that the movie surprised me with its twists and turns.

Worst Bit: I think the only thing is, I would struggle to sell this movie to friends and family who exclusively watch wide-release and blockbuster movies. It’s a low budget indie movie and it shows – but if you’re open minded there’s a lot to like.

My Rating: 3 and a half priceless pieces of art out of 5, which, if you’re ever asked to transport to a total stranger in exchange for a lot of money, you should consider asking why.

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Note: I was provided with a copy of this movie in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday Movie Picks: The Cold

Thursday Movie Picks

Look at me, 2 weeks into the New Year and still keeping up with my resolutions! If only I could get rid of all the leftover Christmas food in the house so easily. This week’s theme for Wanderer’s Thursday Movie Picks couldn’t have been timed any better, because I am so fed up of the cold now! It always feels like Christmas brings the end of Winter when actually Spring is still so far away…

Still, it’s the perfect excuse to stick a pair of slippers on over fluffy socks, make a giant mug of tea and watch a few movies! Here are my picks this week.

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Wind River (2017)

Wind River is a fantastic murder mystery movie set in snowy Wyoming, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen who provide their best performances yet. It’s a dark story that left me feeling cold for a number of reasons, but also one of those movies that I had to mull over for a few days before deciding how I felt about it.

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The Hateful Eight (2015)

Speaking of good mystery stories, I really enjoyed The Hateful Eight. It’s been on my mind this week anyway because I’ve just seen Bad Times at the El Royale and they share similarities. Boring side note – we have a conservatory at home which is like a glass igloo in winter, any time anyone opens the door I’m reminded of the door in The Hateful Eight!

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The Grey (2011)

Okay so maybe not all of my picks this week are great movies, but The Grey features Liam Neeson trudging his way through snowy Alaska after surviving a plane crash…and ends with him having a fist fight with a rabid wolf. That’s just badass, if not a little silly. The toughest thing I ever did in the snow was fall on my arse and only cried for a few minutes.