Movie Reviews

Brahms: The Boy II (2020)

brahms-the-boy-2-movie-poster-2020Director: William Brent Bell

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Main Cast: Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery, Ralph Ineson, Anjali Jay

Plot: Set years after the events of The Boy (2016), Liza, Sean and their young son Jude take a short break to the guesthouse of the infamous Heelshire Mansion in an attempt to find peace and heal after a violent burglary which left Jude traumatised to the point of becoming mute. Whilst exploring the grounds, Jude discovers Brahms, the doll, and quickly befriends him.

Spoilers below for The Boy (2016) Рbe warned! 

My Thoughts: I’ve been doing really well at keeping up with cinema releases so far this year, so I caught up and watched The Boy (2016) last week in preparation for the sequel being released. I know it got fairly mixed reviews but I enjoyed it so much more than I expected to, and it was all down to Brahms and that twist at the end. I loved the fact that the real Brahms was alive, and the doll wasn’t possessed, or at least that was my interpretation. It set it apart from similar movies.

You can imagine my disappointment then, when the sequel just kind of pretends the original never existed. You thought the Star Wars sequels were a mess with the 2 directors doing their own thing? Brahms: The Boy II doesn’t even have a different director, and yet so much of the original movie was ignored. Why? The Boy left on a bit of a cliffhanger anyway, why not build on that? Brahms’ list of rules played a key part in the original, and here they mean nothing at all.

I was invested enough in that creepy doll to at least find some sense of enjoyment from the movie, and it’s always funny watching a horror at the cinema just do to a spot of people watching. I might have been hiding in my cup of wine for the tense moments but some poor girl jumped out of her seat at one point. If I was watching this at home, I think I would have given up and started playing with my phone at the halfway point.

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Best Bit: You just have to laugh at the logic behind characters in movies like this. My home was invaded, I almost died, my son is now mute, I have nightmares every night. I KNOW. Let’s take a vacation to a house in the middle of the woods next door to a creepy mansion. We won’t Google it first, either. Also – if my daughter ever found a doll like Brahms buried in the woods? You can bet your ass I would set it on fire the second I saw it.

Worst Bit: I shout at movies at home all the time, but I’ve never done it at the cinema. I came so close last night, though. The second the mum searched that doll code online I was like, it’s upside down. Turn the paper upside down. HEY. Don’t give up. Ugh. TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN!

Fun Trivia: I can’t find anything even remotely fun for this movie, so have this trivia snippet for the original, instead:
Cast members actually used the doll (“Brahms”) to prank each other on the set. On one occasion, one of the cast members propped the doll up outside of the other actor’s bathroom in their trailer to scare them. Upon seeing this, they hurled the doll outside of their trailer and the crew had to repair it and make a replacement doll.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 croquet mallets to keep handy in case your child ever finds a creepy, porcelain doll.

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Movie Reviews

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

sonic-the-hedgehog-movie-review-2020Director: Jeff Fowler

Genre: Comedy, Action, Family

Runtime: 99 Minutes

Main Cast: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Lee Majdoub, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Frank C. Turner

Plot: Based on the hugely famous video game franchise, Sonic is a hedgehog with extraordinary powers, powers which continually put his life in danger. Whilst on Earth, his powers are detected and mistaken for a terrorist threat, leading the government to put the eccentric Dr Robotnik in charge of tracking Sonic down.

My Thoughts: So I hear that Sonic the Hedgehog is now officially the most successful videogame-adapted movie out there. Huh. I would have preferred Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019) hold that title, but I have to agree with most out there that Sonic the Hedgehog is actually a pretty good movie. And who would have thought, after that initial trailer with the awful design? I’m still not 100% convinced it wasn’t a marketing ploy, but if it was legit – it just goes to show how listening to criticism can actually help in the long term. You listening, Warner Bros. marketing team?

The best kind of family movies are ones that can be enjoyed by both kids and grownups, and Sonic hits the nail on the head on that point. There are fart jokes, Fortnite dances and game references scattered about, and for the adults? We get Jim Carrey. Yes – he’s hilariously miscast in his role, but he’s JIM CARREY. His movies were my childhood, and I’ve missed him so much. He lights up the screen every time he shows up, and yet his appearance never feels out of place. By the end of the movie, he’s also looking much more like his character should. You need to stay through the credits for this one.

So yes. It’s good. It’s probably getting more praise than it should, but I know I wasn’t the only one expecting it to be a trainwreck. It does start a little dull, even with the cliche ‘record scratch, pause, you’re probably wondering how I got into this mess’ trope, but it gets better as it goes on, and I definitely recommend it. Parents, you may as well buckle in, because there’s no doubt we’re getting at least one sequel.

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Best Bit: I have two stand-out moments. One being something that was already in the trailer, the joke with Sonic in the duffel bag, ‘oh yes, there is a child in here, but it’s not mine’. It’s somehow funnier with a crowd! There’s also a moment where Jim Carrey’s in one of his hi-tech vehicles listening to his favourite playlist with a bunch of different green screens behind him – I was laughing so hard!

Worst Bit: So Maddie, our leading female character has this sister called Rachel who just hates Maddie’s fella. Keeps telling her to get a divorce, etc, etc. Why?! I mean, I get that it’s all part of a running joke but like, he’s done absolutely nothing in this movie to deserve that hate!

Fun Trivia: Crazy Carl, the local who’s hunting the “Blue Devil” in Green Hills, shows off a wildly inaccurate drawing of Sonic as a description. This is a reference to Sanic, a pop culture phenomenon about poorly-drawn portrayals of Sonic.

My Rating: 3 and a half tortoises suffering from a severe nervous disorder after Sonic decided to liven up their days a little.

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Movie Reviews

Emma. (2020)

emma-movie-poster-review-2020Director: Autumn de Wilde

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 124 Minutes

Main Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny¬†Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, Miranda Hart

Plot: Based on the 1800’s novel by Jane Austin, Emma Woodhouse is a young, independent and wealthy woman with a passion for matchmaking.

My Thoughts: What happens when you have an ODEON Limitless card, a period-drama loving bestie and a free Sunday evening? You end up at the cinema, watching Emma. I don’t know how much longer I can hold onto my ‘I don’t like period dramas’ membership card, but I’m coming very close to losing it by now, I reckon. I just get driven mad by the insane way these characters talk, and nothing much ever seems to happen apart from tea-drinking, gossiping and dancing at balls. But I have to admit, I did enjoy this one.

For a start, the cast is just too good. I’ve missed Anya Taylor-Joy, and she’s perfect in this role. Viewers over the sea won’t know who Miranda Hart is and I worry her humour won’t translate well, but she is a NATIONAL TREASURE in the UK and she’s a delight in this movie. Fans of Netflix’s Sex Education will be pleased too as Tanya Reynolds has a fairly big part and although he isn’t credited, I swear Connor Swindells is there, too.

But anyway, I did enjoy this. It’s full of silly little moments and I found myself laughing more than I thought I would. The characters are tough to keep track of at first but I warmed to most of them instantly. Emma is a tough character to portray I guess because at face value, she’s quite unlikeable. She makes terrible choices and comes across as quite stuck up. In fact, Jane Austen herself described the character as “a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like”. By the end of the movie, she does definitely redeem herself, though.

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Am I at risk of being converted into a period drama fan? Probably not. But will I be going to the cinema with the bestie for the next Austen-type movie that comes out? Absolutely. She brings me wine, after all.

Best Bit: The entire movie is a feast for the eyes, but oh, the cakes! I would quite happily walk around in ridiculous dresses for the chance to feast on some of those gorgeous looking macarons. I also laughed every time we got to see that one fed up Dad. Poor guy is regretting many of his life choices, I’m sure.

Worst Bit: You guys, Emma made my precious Miranda CRY. We had a weirdly busy screen for a Sunday night whilst the storm was raging outside, and I have never heard such an audible gasp at the offending line Emma said.

Fun Trivia: Clueless (1995) is a loose American modern adaptation of the novel, set in Beverly Hills and starring Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz (Emma).

My Rating: 3 and a half tarts out of 5. Put on your poshest, British voice and repeat after me, “You MUST sample the tart!”

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Movie Reviews

Dolittle (2020)

dolittle-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Mantzoukas

Plot: John Dolittle, famed doctor and veterinarian with a talent of speaking to animals, turned to a life of seclusion after losing his wife. His peace is disturbed one day when a young boy turns up at his door with an injured squirrel, as well as a young girl summoning him to save the Queen who is on her deathbed.

My Thoughts: Doctor Dolittle (1998) is one of my childhood favourites, so I was always going to be interested to see this remake/reimagining. By the sounds of it, this newer version stays much truer to the original source book. And look at that cast list! I usually chop down the list to just the main, big names, but that’s impossible in this case. How on earth all these names signed up for this movie is beyond me. Some of them are instantly recognisable, like Jason Mantzoukas, very much playing himself…if he were a dragonfly.

Let me get to the point – you’ve probably read a lot of negativity surrounding this movie, and I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind. I still can’t work out where in the UK Robert Downey Jr.’s accent was meant to be from, but he seemed to struggle with it so much he never expressed a single emotion throughout the whole movie. It feels very much like he’s turning up just to collect his paycheck. It’s all very silly and predictable.

BUT. This movie wasn’t made with most of us in mind. It’s a movie for children. And I’m sure children will love watching a dog in glasses dragging its butt across the floor, a gorilla kick a tiger in his private parts, a grown man pulling objects out of a dragon’s ass, and a polar bear complaining about being cold all the time. There are a few adult jokes scattered throughout to keep the parents chuckling, and I’m sure it’ll be a hit this half-term in the UK.

dolittle-movie-robert-downey-jr-tom-holland-2020

Best Bit: In the credits, they show a shot of each of the animals along with the name of who voiced them, and my friend Steph and I turned to each other at the same time when Chee-Chee the gorilla came up and went “THAT WAS RAMI MALEK?” It’s almost enough to need to see it again.

Worst Bit: I’ve already mentioned it but seriously, what accent was that? I’d decided it must have been Scottish, and then I read someone else’s’ review where they said it was Welsh! I should know, shouldn’t I? And yet I’m clueless.

Fun Trivia: Nicolas Cage turned down the role of King Rassouli.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 bagpipes which were retrieved from…well, I think you can guess where.

dolittle-movie-dragon-bagpipes-2020

Movie Reviews

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

birds-of-prey-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Cathy Yan

Genre: Comedy, Action, Crime

Runtime: 109 Minutes

Main Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ewan McGregor, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ali Wong

Plot: Harley Quinn and the Joker have broken up, for real this time. Without the Joker to protect her, however, half of Gotham City now wants Harley dead for a number of reasons. Whilst trying to deal with the target on her back, Harley gets caught up with Dinah Lance, Detective Renee Montoya, Huntress, and Cassandra Cain when the notorious Black Mask is after a priceless diamond.

My Thoughts: Let this review, and every other review out there, be a step towards what Warner Brothers’ marketing department should have, and should still be, doing. Which is, to actually promote the Birds of Prey. If I skipped the trailers at the cinema I doubt I would have even known of this movie’s existence. And now it’s being hailed as a flop. Which is a damn shame, because it’s a great movie, and a huge step up from the disaster that was Suicide Squad (2016).

Birds of Prey is such a feast for the eyes. It’s an explosion of colour, action, violence, comedy, and fantabulous costume design. If you thought Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man was perfect casting, let me raise you Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie is just stunning in this role in every sense of the word. In fact, the casting as a whole is spectacularly on point here. Shoutout to Ewan McGregor here for somehow being a revolting villain and yet so funny at the same time. I lay awake last night hearing him say ‘EWWWW’ over and over again.

Yes, the story is a bit wild and quite literally all over the place. The first half, in particular, is particularly messy but the story never gets confusing thanks to Harley talking us through it. I can only describe Birds of Prey as a cross between Deadpool and John Wick. This isn’t a story about heroines, it isn’t a story about villains. It’s a story about women who are going out on their own for the first time and standing up for themselves, and it’s so much fun.

birds-of-prey-2020-margot-robbie-booby-trap

I can only hope word of mouth gets this movie the attention it deserves so that we can have a sequel, but it isn’t looking likely right now.

Best Bit: How can I even pick one? Harley walking through the police station shooting glitter all over the place? Dinah Lance obliterating henchmen with her voice? Black Mask telling us about his shrunken heads? Cassandra just casually pickpocketing everyone she walks past? How about slo-mo fight sequences under sprinklers? Too. Many. Iconic. Scenes. I shaved my balls for this?

Worst Bit: Getting a phone call halfway through the movie to tell you your kid is throwing up everywhere and you need to come home. Poor kid was right as rain the next morning, and I went out the next night to try again!
In the actual movie though? Detective Renee Montoya, I love you girl, but you need to show more respect for the perfect egg sandwich.

Fun Trivia: Before Ewan McGregor was cast as Black Mask, Sharlto Copley and Sam Rockwell were considered to play Black Mask. Rockwell passed on the role but was considered the “archetype” for the casting.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 burritos. When laxatives and prune juice don’t work their magic, you can always count on a dodgy burrito…

birds-of-prey-2020-review-dodgy-burrito

Random Posts

What I Watched: December 2019 & January 2020

Hello February! Thank goodness those 20 weeks of January are finally over. I got so caught up in putting together my Top 100 Movies of the Decade lists that I forgot to do a little roundup of everything I watched in December, so you’ve got a double whammy from me today. I’ve watched loads, and just haven’t found the time to write full reviews for a lot of what I’ve seen! Shame on me, but here are a few words on what I’ve been watching over the last two months.

Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)

Yes, I’m having a weird Andy Samberg phase, okay? Don’t judge me. There’s only so much joy rewatching terrible Adam Driver movies can bring me. I didn’t love Celeste & Jesse Forever as much as I hoped, but only because they were so funny together at the start I never wanted it to end, even though I knew it made sense.

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Funny Games (2007)

This movie was WILD. Thank you to whoever recommended it to me probably about 4 years ago, it’s been sat on my watchlist ever since. At face value it’s a fairly straightforward house invasion movie, but just with that little extra. Such a good ending, too.

The Kitchen (2019)

Honestly? This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It got a bit too much towards the end but I was really into Elisabeth Moss’ character’s story and how she completely turned herself around from being pushed around to being a badass. It also has a vest-wearing Domnhall Gleeson sawing up a dead body in a bathtub. Which isn’t even the weirdest thing I’ve seen him do in a movie.

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Klaus (2019)

I can’t believe I never got around to doing a full review for Klaus. What an amazing little gem of an animated Christmas movie by Netflix! I was thrilled when it won a BAFTA and at this rate, if I even bother to stay up for the Oscars it’ll be to find out if Klaus wins again.

Black Christmas (2019)

Absolute garbage. I always try to find the good in a movie but the only thing Black Christmas had going for it was that it was so trashy, it was kind of fun to watch and poke fun of it.

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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

The first Jumanji remake was surprisingly decent, and even though I knew The Next Level was getting okay reviews I still didn’t believe it could be any good. For me, it worked, because it was very much more of the same, but if you weren’t a fan of the first then you won’t like this, either. The highlight for me was Awkwafina, who somehow does a better Danny Devito impression than the man himself!

Parasite (2019)

What a movie. I thought I knew where the story was going. I was comparing it to Us (2019). Then wow. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong! To anyone hesitant about getting into foreign-language movies because of the subtitles – give this a go. I’ve seen woefully few myself, but if this movie doesn’t convince you to watch more then nothing will.

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Five Feet Apart (2019)

I put so much pressure on myself on New Years Day to start 2020 with an amazing movie that I watched nothing at all. I saw Five Feet Apart instead on January 2nd. Cried like a bitch. Regretted nothing.

Hot Rod (2007)

Yes, I started hunting down Andy Samberg movies on Netflix. DON’T JUDGE, remember? I had a blast watching Hot Rod and I’m gutted I waited so long to see it. It’s one of those movies where if I watched it when it first came out, I’d have seen it 20 times by now, and still be quoting it on a daily basis.

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The Irishman (2019)

I only watched The Irishman because I try to see all the Oscars Best Picture nominees before the actual night. Yes I know it’s got legendary actors, yes I know it’s directed by Martin Scorsese but it was LONG and it was DULL and you’ll never change my mind.

The Other Guys (2010)

After slogging through The Irishman I needed something fun and dumb to relax, and a bunch of you recommended The Other Guys when I made a list of my favourite Will Ferrell movies. I love you guys. This movie was so funny!

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That’s My Boy (2012)

…oh, this awful Adam Sandler movie stars Andy Samberg? Huh, weird. It’s almost like I’m stooping to really low levels…*cough*

Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

I love a good mystery, and despite the lukewarm reviews, I was still keen to see Motherless Brooklyn. It was worth it for Edward Norton’s performance but it was lacking in so many places. It was too slow to make the reveal worth it, sadly.

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Ford v Ferrari / Le Mans ’66 (2019)

Can we not give movies 2 very different names, and use both? My brain can’t cope. Anyway, I enjoyed this so much more than I expected. I like Christian Bale but I’ve never really raved about him, but he was so good here! The final race was thrilling, and I was kind of sad when the whole thing was over.

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019)

This just wasn’t my cup of tea, to be honest. It took me at least half the movie to really get into it, and as much as I love Margot Robbie (she’s amazing) she just felt a bit wasted here. Some of the editing was really weird, too!

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Cats (2019)

Oh, what a movie to end on. Silly, naive me thought all the negativity around Cats was overexaggerated, and musicals usually win me over so I thought I might actually enjoy it. I didn’t. It was weird. Creepy. And every time someone said ‘Jellicle’ I only heard ‘genital’ which I can’t tell made it better or worse.

I also watched The Shining (1980), Doctor Sleep (2019) and Your Name. (2016) but haven’t included them here because I’m planning on writing full posts for them. If you missed any of my full reviews over the last 2 months here they are:

Knives Out (2019)
Frozen II (2019)
Noelle (2019)
Marriage Story (2019)
6 Underground (2019)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Little Women (2019)
The Gentlemen (2020)
Just Mercy (2019)
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
1917 (2019)
Bad Boys for Life (2020)