Movie Reviews

Standing Up, Falling Down (2019)

standing-up-falling-down-poster-movie-2019Director: Matt Ratner

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 91 Minutes

Main Cast: Billy Crystal, Ben Schwartz, Grace Gummer, Eloise Mumford, Nate Corddry, Jill Hennessy, Caitlin McGee, Kevin Dunn, Debra Monk

Plot: Mike Wazowski and Sonic the Hedgehog become best friends. Scott (Ben Schwartz) is forced to move back in with his parents as his career as a comedian in LA is struggling. After meeting with Dermatologist Marty (Billy Crystal), the two form an unlikely friendship and help each other with their issues.

My Thoughts:  One of my favourite genre fusions has to be the dramedy, a mix of comedy and drama. It was Little Miss Sunshine (2006) that first caught my attention and I haven’t turned one down since. Sure, there have been bad ones but the good ones are often excellent rather than average. I’d never heard of Standing Up, Falling Down until I got an email about it but as a huge Parks and Rec fan, I was never going to shy away from a movie with Ben Schwartz as the lead. This movie might not bring anything new to the genre but I adored almost every moment of it.

I don’t think I’ve seen Ben Schwartz in a more serious role, and I hope he lands some more on the back of this because he does it well, and of course he shines best in his funnier scenes. It was Billy Crystal who surprised me the most, though. His character has gone through so much pain but he tries to take it in his stride, improve himself and find the good in every moment. He has one scene in particular that I won’t mention for spoilers that really tugged on my heart strings. I haven’t watched many of his movies, I have to admit, but I’ll make an effort to.

What I loved the most was that there was a pivotal moment in the movie that I should have seen coming, in fact I’m sure you all will have done, but I got caught up in the daily lives of these two characters and just didn’t want it to end. I don’t know, I think maybe I’m hyping it up a bit too much, but you know when you find a movie with characters you just feel a real connection with? That’s me with Standing Up, Falling Down. If you give it a go I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Oh and one more thing – that Twitter account, @dermatol_OG, is real! Don’t look it up until you’ve finished the movie though.

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Best Bit: Skipping past the emotional, spoiler-filled moment, Scott’s relationship with his sister is so funny. The banter between them is so real and one of my favourite moments is when Scott turns up at the pretzel stand she works at and ends up terrifying her co-worker.

Worst Bit: I know that Marty did some wrongs in the past but man, he didn’t deserve to be treated the way he did by his own son. That scene on the front lawn was so upsetting to watch.

Fun Trivia: I can only find two bits of trivia for this. One is a huge spoiler and the other is a vulgar reference to The Revenant (2015) that I’ll spare you the trouble of reading.

My Rating: 4 and a half Jägerbombs which, UNLIKE the characters in this movie, I know how to make. WAY too much energy drink was used in those ones!

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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.

Movie Reviews

The Wall of Mexico (2019)

the-wall-of-mexico-2019-poster-movieDirector: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Runtime: 110 Minutes

Main Cast: Jackson Rathbone, Esai Morales, Marisol Sacramento, Carmela Zumbado, Alex Meneses, Moises Arias, Mariel Hemingway, Xander Berkeley

Plot: Don (Jackson Rathbone) takes on a job as a handyman for the Aristas, a wealthy Mexican-American family with two outrageously decadent daughters. The source of the family’s wealth is a mystery to Don until he is told about the well on their property.

My Thoughts: First of all, how great is it to see Jackson Rathbone again? It feels so strange that this movie has come along at a time when I’ve recently re-watched all of the Twilight movies. He’s great here, and the role has clearly done him some good as his IMDB profile is showing a good few movies in the pipeline for him.

I’ve got to be honest with you – I don’t have a lot to say about this movie and it’s given me a week-long writing block. I don’t necessarily mean it as an insult though, sometimes you watch a movie and you think, this is fine, I enjoyed it, and now I’ve moved on. That’s how I feel about The Wall of Mexico. It has a political theme behind it as you can probably guess, but it’s not punchy enough to really make a point. I wish those themes had been pushed harder, that would have made the movie stand out.

Still, it was a decent watch and it’s an indie movie originally screened at the SXSW festival. It’s available to stream TODAY, and as a movie blogger I feel a sense of duty to put a bit of spotlight onto the movies you might not have heard of.

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Best Bit: When Don finally cracks and finds out for himself what the big deal with the water is all about. I loved his outburst. I spent most of the movie thinking the same, what is the obsession?!

Worst Bit: Those sisters are real jerks, for sure. I guess that’s what money does to you!

Fun Trivia Some Words from the Director: “The Wall of Mexico was conceived in reaction to the 2016 election and the continuing turmoil of its consequences. In our film, the clichéd power structures of American pop culture and news are flipped: a white handyman, uneducated and poor, tries to partake of the privileged and enticing world of a wealthy Latino family. To further complicate preconceived notions about ethnicity and culture, we decided to shoot the film on the other side of the looking glass and teamed up with producers and crew from Tijuana.”

My Rating: 2 and a half pairs of binoculars. If you want to work for the Aristas family you’re going to need them for your nightly well duty.

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TV Shows

TV Thoughts: The Boys (Season 1)

the-boys-amazon-tv-show-2019-reviewWhat’s this, Allie? You’re posting about a TV Show? It has been TOO long since I got properly stuck into TV. I much prefer movies which demand less of my time. There’s nothing worse than spending hours over the course of several years being loyal to a show that ends badly, I guess I’ve been burned too many times! Of course, I’ve been loving Modern Family and Schitt’s Creek but they’re happy little 20+ minute episode shows that I tend to watch whilst doing something else (she says, writing a blog post in the middle of Season 5 of Schitt’s Creek).

I’ve heard too many good things about Amazon Prime’s The Boys, though. My husband has been nagged by his friends to watch it too so we decided to watch it together. If you didn’t know already, The Boys is pretty much an anti-superhero show. In a world full of special people with powers, one company has cashed in and suddenly saving the world has budgets, advertising and hidden agendas.

Hughie (Jack Quaid) has his world crashing down on him one day when a superhero accidentally kills his girlfriend. Set on finding answers and closure, he ends up teaming up with vigilante Butcher (Karl Urban) and his crew to bring down the ultimate group of superheros, known as The Seven, headed up by the world’s strongest hero, Homelander (Antony Starr). That’s all I’ll say on plot, because if you’ve watched it already you know what happens, and if you haven’t given the first episode a watch yet…you really should.

The first thing that shocked me about The Boys is the violence and gore – but for good reasons! The moment Hughie’s girlfriend is killed sets that bar perfectly for what you can expect in the rest of the show. Think explosions, guts, severed limbs…the lot. This won’t be the show for you if you don’t like the C word, either. Every sentence that comes out of Butcher’s mouth contains at least one. He is clearly the standout character! For so many years our superhero movies and shows have been made for a family audience so it’s such a breath of fresh air to have The Boys.

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What makes something in the superhero genre stand out for me is the villain, or villains. The greatest villain should be someone we feel conflicted about. Take Thanos from the Marvel Universe for example. He commits a terrible act by literally wiping out half of the human race but…the reasons behind that action aren’t diabolical in the slightest. So with The Boys, who actually is the villain? These superheros are as corrupt as can be but Butcher’s team are murderers!

So in short – we are LOVING this show. We’ll be starting Season 2 tonight and I can only hope it stays being this great.