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.

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Horror Movie Houses

Happy start of the spooky season, folks! Anyone else waiting for the plot twist in our lives that reveals we’ve been living in a horror movie since the start of 2020? I’m still hugely out of my depth in the horror genre but I reckon I’ve seen enough to take part in the Halloween editions of Wandering Through the Shelves‘ Thursday Movie Picks this year. According to my Letterboxd account I’ve watched a total of 118 horror movies which isn’t a lot at all, but I’m embracing it this October!

This week’s theme is Horror Movie Houses. Generally speaking, I hate the kind of horror movies that take place in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere when it’s always dark and forever raining, but I do have 3 choices to share with you today. They’re all from 2019, the year I welcomed the horror genre into my life, and all center around a house in some way or another.

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The Lighthouse (2019)

I have to thank my local cinema for showing this again for one night only this week – feeding the Pattinson obsession but also giving my ideas for this week’s theme! It’s a tough movie to sell to your average movie fan,  and I don’t do a good job of explaining it, either. I mean basically, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe go crazy whilst working together in a lighthouse. Dafoe gives a cracking shouty rant about lobster and Pattinson craves a steak so badly he would…well, let’s say it’s the first time I’ve ever envied a steak before.

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Vivarium (2019)

Put this at the top of the list of movies NOT to watch whilst in lockdown. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg play a young couple looking to buy their first home. An unnerving estate agent shows them to a house in a new-build neighborhood but they find themselves trapped. No matter which direction they head in, it always leads them back to this house. I’ll admit that the idea wasn’t executed perfectly, but it has so much potential.

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Ready or Not (2019)

I saved the best till last. Please give this a watch if you haven’t already! Samara Weaving marries into an unusual and wealthy family, their funds all thanks to their board game empire. As is tradition, on the night of the wedding the bride picks a card which determines the game they all play. She picks hide and seek. Harmless, yes? Think again. If she gets found, she is to be murdered. And so commences the greatest, goriest, yet funniest game of hide and seek in a beautiful house full of great hiding spots.

Lists

UPDATED – Top 100 Movies of the Decade: 2019

When I started my little Top 100 Movies of the Decade project I said from the outset that I would update it over time. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure when that would be, but I didn’t expect it to be within a year of writing it. However, over lockdown I watched 2 movies from 2019 and 2018 that absolutely blew me away. I wasn’t blogging at the time and so there isn’t a dedicated post for them here, so instead it only seemed right that I updated my current lists for those years.

That’s going to mean kicking Klaus from the Top 10 but man, 2019 was a cracking year for movies! You can see my additions in red, just in case it isn’t obvious.

Phew – what a wild ride this little project has been! Yes, I wimped out of ranking 100 movies across 10 years, but with the exception of 2010-2013, I feel like I’ve picked some solid choices here. It’s been such a fun exercise looking back at everything I’ve watched over the last 10 years, seeing how much my taste in movies has broadened and matured. It was probably handy that I took longer than I thought to make these lists because now I’ve arrived at 2019, there are movies in this list I only got the chance to see very recently, and they would have missed out otherwise.

2019 was a pretty incredible year for movies if my rankings are anything to go by. For my starter list, I only included anything that I rated 4.5/5 or higher, and I gave 21 movies that score! Just like with 2018’s list, I’m crossing movies out that could very well be in my Top 5 on another day.

Have a look at my other lists here if you haven’t seen them already!

2019 Movies Watched: 109
Movies that just missed out: Klaus, Ready or Not, The Lion King, The Dead Don’t Die, Toy Story 4, Midsommar, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, Shazam!, Good Boys, Booksmart

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#10 Joker

You might think for all my annoyance at Joaquin Phoenix taking Adam Driver’s awards that I hated Joker, but I really enjoyed it. I said at the time Phoenix should get an Oscar for his part. But then Marriage Story came along and changed my mind. I feel stuck in the middle! I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this – sorry.

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#9 Marriage Story

Netflix sure had a good year last year! December also brought us Marriage Story, a painfully emotional story of a couple dealing with a messy divorce whilst trying to be the best parent they can be for their son. Even if you haven’t watched the movie you’re probably aware of ‘the scene’. I almost felt like I needed to turn away, like I’d walked into a very real and ugly situation. Such a good movie!

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#8 Avengers: Endgame

The MCU movies haven’t gotten a lot of love from me in these posts but I’ve found that as much as I enjoy them, I rarely rewatch them. I don’t know why. That said, 2019 brought the culmination of every MCU story so far, and it was a spectacle. So many great moments, and it was a lot of fun to be part of the crowd on opening weekend.

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#7 Parasite

Director Bong Joon Ho said something that really struck a chord with me at the Golden Globes this year. “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” I’ve seen so few foreign-language movies, but the ones I have I found to be incredible. Parasite is such a unique movie in how it crosses genres. I thought I knew where the story was leading, but no!

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#6 1917

See, if I wasn’t so late for everything 1917 would never have made this list, because I only watched it last week. I wonder if we’ll start to see more of this one-take style of movie and get fed up of it, but it was the perfect way of telling the story of these 2 young soldiers sent on a seemingly impossible mission. See it in the cinema if you can, it won’t be the same at home!

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#5 Jojo Rabbit

Honestly, as soon as I heard Taika Waititi was making a movie about a young boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler, I knew it would be in my Top 10 of the year list. No one can make a movie like this like Waititi can. It’s somehow hilarious, shocking, and moving all at the same time.

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#4 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

It’s not a list made by yours truly without a controversial pick, is it? Whatever your thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker, for me, Star Wars is Star Wars. Has my opinion changed with time? Yes, because I can’t help but over analyse everything. But the 5 minutes we got of Ben Solo means this movie earns it’s spot here regardless.

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#3 The Peanut Butter Falcon

If you don’t know it already, I’m a total idiot. I avoided The Peanut Butter Falcon because something in the back of my mind told me it was a war movie (!?). It wasn’t until I caught the trailer on Netflix that I was like, hold up…? It’s actually one of the most beautiful, heartwarming movies I’ve ever seen. Someone on Letterboxd described it as the movie equivalent of a hug and I couldn’t word it better myself. It belongs on my imaginary shelf of amazing movies, right in between Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016).

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#2 Knives Out

The wait for Knives Out felt so long, you guys. I was hyping myself up for so long I was terrified I was building myself up for a fall. But it delivered on everything I hoped it would. What a fantastic little mystery movie. I wondered if it would hold up on a second viewing when you already know how it’s going to end, and so on, and somehow it was even better.

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#1 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Parabellum was my #1 movie of 2019 at its halfway point, but I thought by year-end something would knock it down at least one place. It hasn’t. I give all my ratings on a mix of whether I thought it was actually a good movie, and my enjoyment of it. I enjoyed the hell out of Parabellum, and I just can’t find fault with it. How many trilogies can say their 3rd movie was even better than their previous 2? There’s no way Chapter 4 can be this good but I have everything crossed that it is!