Movie Reviews

Coronavirus Double Feature: Contagion (2011) & Isle of Dogs (2018)

I’m not making fun of the terrible situation happening all around the world right now, but just as I watched lots of wedding movies when I was planning my own, watching movies about parenting when I was pregnant, I seem to have found myself watching movies about pandemics what with Coronavirus getting worse each day. If you can’t make light of a bad situation, what can you do?

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It started with Isle of Dogs, which has been on my watchlist ever since it came out 2 years ago. I had no idea what it was actually about other than that it was a Wes Anderson movie and I definitely needed to see it. Once I realised it was about how all dogs get banished to an island because of an outbreak of canine flu, my mind started creating links, and I don’t know about anyone else but for me it seems all my family, friends and work colleagues have been watching Contagion over the weekend so hey presto! Double feature.

Isle of Dogs is a delightful little movie. I’ve always been a fan of stop motion animation and know the sheer amount of work that goes into creating each second of footage. I never expected it to still look so ‘Wes Anderson-y’, if that makes sense? It’s only been in very recent years that I’ve discovered Wes Anderson, and I’m definitely a fan. There’s so much to enjoy about Isle of Dogs, from its gorgeous art style to its witty dialogue, to its heartwarming story.

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Which brings us to Contagion, a movie that is currently sitting at #5 in the iTunes Movie Chart, beating movies such as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Doctor Sleep. I guess the biggest draw about Contagion is that apart from the fact the virus in the movie kills it’s victim within a matter of days, so many other details are scarily similar to the Cornonavirus!

It boasts a stellar cast including Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and Jude Law, and if you haven’t watched it yet, give it a couple of hours of your time instead of stockpiling toilet paper!

On a serious note – since I started this post there has been a confirmed case of Coronavirus at the hospital 2 miles from my house, and our Government has delayed reporting on the current number of cases today. It’s a scary world to be in right now, so stay safe, and wash your hands you detty pigs!

Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit (2018)

peter-rabbit-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Will Gluck

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sia, Fayssal Bazzi, Colin Moody

Plot: Based on the beloved character Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit and his friends are suddenly granted the freedom of Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch when he passes away, but their fun and games soon come to an end when McGregor’s nephew takes over the ownership of the estate.

My Thoughts: Oh how sweet, Allie is starting to watch movies with her kid! Nope, sorry. I’m deep in Star Wars withdrawal and so last night once the kiddo was in bed, I curled up on the sofa for a double dose of Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley. What can I say? I’m desperate – and it’s been a while since I went on a Domhnall Gleeson binge. Plus I have to admit, I saw the trailer for the sequel and it actually looked quite funny.

Bias be damned, Domhnall Gleeson was an absolute star in this. He really went and threw his all into this movie. He has such a flair for comedy and his rages are hilarious. If General Hux could have had an alternative ending, let it be this movie. Gleeson was literally channelling his inner Hux the entire time and I was 100% there for it. I love the idea of him trying his best to chill out, trying some bird watching as a hobby that he’s absolutely terrible at.

As for the movie itself, I totally get it if you don’t like it. I watch too much Peter Rabbit on a daily basis because of the animated show that’s on Cbeebies every day, and it’s a strange set-up. Like, I’m sorry, but these rabbits are absolute jerks. They’re thieves, and in the movie, they’re even worse. In some scenes, the movie plays out like some sort of reverse Home Alone where Kevin is actually the bad guy?!

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If you fell for the charms of Paddington (2014) then do me a favour and give this a go. It might not pack as much charm, but it’s essentially the best romcom of 2018.

Best Bit: How about Domhnall Gleeson beating the crap out of a Harrods bear? Or saying “I’m chill, man” whilst strangling Peter? Or basically any time Daisy Ridley’s CGI bunny was on screen? There were so many great moments. Lots of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ jokes too like the Bananagrams game.

Worst Bit: As much as I strangely loved this movie, I just can’t see (hear?) past James Corden’s voice as Peter Rabbit. He doesn’t even try. It’s just…his voice. James Corden went from being a beloved, little-known star in the UK to making it big worldwide, getting big-headed about it, and now he’s just kinda irritating.
Also – how dare you dye General Hux’s hair black. How very, very dare you.

Fun Trivia: In February 2018 – 24 hours after its release – Sony apologised to advocates from food allergy groups who said the scene with a farmer going into allergic shock isn’t funny and also encourages food bullying.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ice cream trucks with flashing lights. I don’t know why but that joke really tickled me!

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Lists

Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2018

Are you actually kidding me? I’ve done 8 of these lists now, you’d think I would have become hardened to only picking the very best movies that I truly loved. I should have it down to a cold-hearted process, right? I just counted my starter list for 2018, and it has 21 movies on it. 21! That’s not including a lot of movies I really enjoyed but knew they weren’t quite Top 10 material. I have to cut this list in half, and chop another off after that.

Maybe 2018 was a fantastic year for movies, but it’s maybe more down to me re-finding my love for this little hobby of mine after losing myself at the start of the year. Either way, this is going to be tough. Here goes nothing. You can find my other lists here.

2018 Movies Watched: 84
Movies that just missed out: Bandersnatch, Bird Box, The Favourite, Incredibles 2, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, A Quiet Place, Game Night, Love Simon, American Animals

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#10 BlacKkKlansman

I knew what to expect about a movie where an African American cop teams up with a Jewish cop to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, but I didn’t think it would be so entertaining. Come for the important message, stay for the performances.

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#9 Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Watching this movie was never on my agenda until Melissa McCarthy started getting nominations left, right and centre for it. I’m very love her or hate her with McCarthy but she was incredible here, and Richard E. Grant is a delight too. It’s a story that some might find a bit dry but I was enthralled.

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#8 Hereditary

Hereditary was the first movie I went to see by myself with my shiny new Odeon card. I must have been mad, but it was a great experience. I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending but there are scenes in that movie that still bug me and haunt me, and they always will!

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#7 Widows

Badass women doing badass things – count me in. Viola Davs is absolutely terrifying in Widows, I 100% would not want to be on her bad side. There are bound to be some copycat style movies following this, but Widows will remain the original and best.

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#6 Ant-Man and the Wasp

Look – I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sure this is at the bottom of everyone’s favourite MCU movies but there was something about Ant-Man and the Wasp that struck a chord with me. It’s funny, it’s got great action scenes and it’s just…wholesome.

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#5 Green Book

Green Book is another of those movies I would have skipped if I didn’t make a habit of watching all the Best Picture nominees. I know it wasn’t a popular winner but I loved it. The story was engaging, the message powerful, and it had a surprising number of funny moments. I’m still a little mad Mahershala Ali was considered a Supporting Actor rather than Lead Actor, though.

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#4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So the internet decided that Into the Spider-Verse was the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I thought there was no way that could be true, but there’s only one way to find out. Turns out, the internet was right! From the stylish animation, to the smart story, funny one-liners and characters that should be annoying but aren’t, I loved every minute of this.

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#3 A Simple Favor

A comedy/mystery movie directed by Paul Feig and starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is like, right up there on my list of dream movies. There was no way I wasn’t going to love A Simple Favor. It’s stylish, sexy and mysterious, and although it gets way too over the top at the end, it’s a wild ride.

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#2 A Star Is Born

I’ve listened to the soundtrack from A Star Is Born countless times since watching the movie, but I’m yet to bring myself to actually rewatch it. It’s such a beautifully painful story, but ugh, my heart hasn’t recovered quite yet.

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#1 Searching

An odd choice, I admit, but let me explain. I love movies that bring something a little different to the table. All scenes in Searching are through a screen, be it a laptop, mobile, CCTV, FaceTime. That alone makes it great in my eyes. The cherry on the top is a simply brilliant mystery story that twists and turns constantly, with a hugely satisfying conclusion. Love it.

Blogathons

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.

Movie Reviews

The Perfection (2018)

the-perfection-2018-netflix-movie-reviewDirector: Richard Shepard

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 90 Minutes

Main Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman, Molly Grace, Milah Thompson

Plot: Charlotte was once a musical prodigy until her mother fell ill and she was forced to become her full-time carer. When her mother passes, Charlotte contacts her old cello tutor and asks to catch up, where she meets her replacement, Lizzie. The two strike up an unusual friendship and travel together, but Lizzie is unwell.

My Thoughts: I only watched this movie 2 nights ago but I keep forgetting what it’s called. Then when I finally remember, all I can think of is that Michael Fassbender ‘perfection’ meme. So, yeah. Anyway, whilst stuck trying to pick a movie to watch that wasn’t too long and didn’t require my full attention, I stumbled across The Perfection in my Netflix recommendations. The premise didn’t sound the most thrilling, but clocking in at just 90 minutes long, it wouldn’t be a huge loss if it was a bit rubbish.

This post will be spoiler-free but I definitely urge you to go into the movie as blind as possible if it’s something you’re interested in because it’s one of those movies that’s best enjoyed that way. My husband kept asking me from across the room, ‘what’s that movie even about?’ and I ended up with 3 different answers as the movie went on.
1. This troubled cello girl is angry that some new girl has taken her fame, she’s probably going to murder her.
2. No, wait, I think it’s actually some kind of disease outbreak kind of movie. That new girl is screwed.
3. My bad, that guy is a terrible, terrible person and he’s going dowwwwwwn.

It’s not the most groundbreaking thriller around, the middle part is hundreds times better than the ending and it’s about as exciting as a movie about cello players can be, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a go. I wouldn’t rush to watch it or anything but it’s a fun watch!

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Best Bit: That middle reveal was actually a brilliant movie moment. I was laughing my ass off about how ridiculous it was that Charlotte pulled out a butchers knife from nowhere, and then the movie rewound and I was like oh. Oh! OH MY GOD. It’s just a shame that the finale (whilst pretty cool) just couldn’t live up to the awesomeness of that moment.

Worst Bit: It’s got a really slow start. I’m not ashamed to say I strayed my attention to my phone until that guy got really sick and I wondered what direction the movie was heading in. If you can make it that far then you’re set!

Fun Trivia: When Anton is showing the Chapel to new student Zhang Li, he asks her to sing a musical note, specifically an A-sharp. The note Zhang Li then sings is indeed a perfect A-sharp, which would indicate Zhang Li has perfect pitch, a rare talent only exceptional musicians possess in which they are able to sing or identify any note by ear.

My Rating: 3 bottles of ibuprofen which can cure hangovers with no problems, but don’t help much when there are bugs crawling under your skin…

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Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Language Movies

Shame on me, it’s been forever since I took part in Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks. I got into the swing of it, came across a week where I had nothing to contribute, and then fell off the wagon, hard. Typically now I’m back off holiday this week’s theme is a real struggle for me, but I do (just about) have 3 movies to bring to the table this week.

The theme, of course, is Non-English Language Movies. I’ve largely avoided these movies for the majority of my life because…well. I’m from England where we rarely learn any other language at a high level, and the thought of reading a movie was offputting. I’ve widened my horizons in recent years though, and I’ll happily watch any movie that other bloggers are raving about, no matter the language!

Here are my 3 favourites that I’ve seen so far…

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Incendies (2010)

If you’ve seen any of Denis Villenueve’s other movies (Prisoners, Sicario, Enemy, to name a few) then you know you’re in for a wild, often brutal ride. There are no happy endings here. Incendies is the story of a set of twins traveling to the Middle East to discover their family history, and it was one of those endings that has haunted me ever since. 100% a must watch!

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Memories of Murder (2003)

Speaking of no happy endings…Joon-ho Bong’s Memories of Murder was an exhausting (but worth it!) watch. It deals with three detectives desperately trying to solve the case of multiple murders. If you’ve watched Wind River (2017) and found it a good watch, then this should definitely be next on your list.

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Roma (2018)

A weird choice, considering I wasn’t exactly singing it’s praises when I reviewed it last year, but despite Roma not being the most exciting movie I’ve ever seen, it’s stuck with me ever since. On the surface, it’s a quiet story of a housemaid and the life she leads, but there are some really powerful moments in there.

Movie Reviews

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…

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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)