Movie Reviews

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) – Film & Wine Club

mr-and-mrs-smith-movie-reviewDirector: Doug Liman

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 120 Minutes

Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz, Rachael Huntley, Michelle Monaghan, Stephanie March

Plot: John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) have been happily married for five (or six!) years, but they’re now stuck in a rut. It’s remarkable they made it that far, as unbeknownst to each other, they’re both spies, working for rival organisations. It all comes crashing down on them when they both become each other’s next target.

My Thoughts: So we realised that I have a particular type of movie at our last Film & Wine Club, and this time we learnt that my Mum does too! Her two picks so far have been True Lies and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Clearly, she loves spy movies where the spies lie to their spouses about their profession! Now I’m wondering if she might be a spy… Anyway, I was excited to see her next pick because I’ve heard it’s a fun movie and I’ve actually seen very little of Angelina Jolie’s work!

It was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. You obviously have to go in with an open mind, I couldn’t hide a chocolate bar from my husband, let alone a secret life as a spy, but if you’re up for a bit of silliness there’s a lot to enjoy! Whilst I’ll always hold a grudge on behalf of Jennifer Aniston, it’s impossible to deny the chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie here. I mean, my goodness, I need to open a window just thinking about them together! That might be the UK heatwave though, come to think of it.

One of my favourite little details was the teams behind the Smiths. Jane works alongside an all-female team and they have a stunning building to work in, with plush furnishings and a neat and calm atmosphere. Whereas John and his boys barely look dressed at the best of times and work from one of the most run-down rooms I’ve ever seen. The banter is so much fun, too. It felt a little bit too long for me but it’s definitely something I would watch again.

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Best Bit: There are some great moments where I really thought for a moment one of them might have actually killed the other, but the fight scene at their house is by far the best scene in the whole movie, I think most people who have seen this would agree. Although I bet dominatrix Angelina Jolie would be a close second!

Worst Bit: I use this phrase too much, but if I put my critic hat on I’d say the movie works best when it isn’t fulfilling the plot. It needs one of course but some of the story just feels forced and it’s just a lot more fun to see spies in action!

Fun Trivia: After the Smiths discover each other’s identities, Jane speeds away in the car and John runs after her. He ends up tripping and crashing through a fence, and his gun goes off. The trip was a mistake, and Brad Pitt’s reaction, as well as his following ad-lib, “Oh dear God!”, were genuine.

My Rating: 3 and a half broken glasses to use whilst raising a toast to a happy marriage.

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Movie Reviews

Promising Young Woman (2020)

promising-young-woman-poster-review-2020Director: Emerald Fennell

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Molly Shannon, Adam Brody, Max Greenfield, Chris Lowell

Plot: After suffering a tragedy in her past, Cassie (Carey Mulligan) takes her revenge on the predatory men she seeks out on a weekly basis at her local bar.

My Thoughts: A slight ramble from me before I begin. The pandemic has really thrown my creativity out of the window this year but something amazing still came from it. A little dream came true and I was accepted as a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics. One of the perks of memberships is sporadically receiving screener links to not-yet released movies and so finding myself watching Promising Young Woman at home, 2 months before it’s UK release with a screener copy that has a watermark with my name on? That’s made my year, for sure. But on with the review!

We get thrown straight into the thick of it when a group of guys in a bar are leering at Cassie, seemingly drunk and alone. One of the guys eventually comes over to offer to get Cassie home, but they end up at his house instead. When the guy starts pushing himself onto Cassie she snaps, completely sober, to teach him a lesson. YAS Cassie. Her quest for vengeance has taken a huge toll on her life, though. Her relationship with her parents is terrible and she threw away a chance at a highly successful medical career. To talk more about the plot would be doing a disservice because just with movies like Gone Girl (2014) – the less you know, the better.

But it’s more than just the story, there is so much more to marvel over. There are things I rarely pay attention to in most movies such as soundtrack and cinematography, but it’s impossible to ignore here. There’s a harrowing version of Britney Spears’ Toxic that gave me actual goosebumps, and every single shot looks like it was set up to be used for a poster. It’s just stunning. I didn’t know what to expect at all and I think that helped too.

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Best Bit: This would change on a daily basis, but the ending is the bit that sticks out the most to me. I know it’s been one of the few things that others have found fault in, but when my hopes were dashed and my jaw had been on the floor for many minutes, what happened at the wedding just blew me away.

Worst Bit: I’ll be as vague as I can but the bedroom scene at the bachelor party. I don’t remember feeling as awful as I did in that moment when watching any other movie.

Fun Trivia: The title is a reference to Brock Turner, a Stanford University student who was convicted of sexual assault in 2016. Despite his conviction, he was referred to by some as a “Promising Young Man.”

My Rating: 5 out of 5 notebooks, and don’t you ever do something that leads to your name being inside one of them.

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Movie Reviews

Ready or Not (2019)

ready-or-not-2019-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Mystery

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Nicky Guadagni, Elyse Levesque

Plot: When someone new joins the wealthy Le Domas family, they must take part in their long-standing tradition – play a game at midnight. On her wedding night, Grace draws the card some family members dreaded seeing, Hide & Seek. Grace now has until dawn to remain hidden whilst her in-laws hunt her down…with the intent to murder her.

My Thoughts: Sometimes, the movies you watch with no real expectations are the ones that take you by surprise the most. My husband convinced me to go out and see Ready or Not to take my mind off things (it’s all a bit stressful at home & work right now) and I agreed – and had an absolute blast. I expected a bit of silly fun and that’s what I got, from start to finish. It’s so hard to find that balance of comedy and horror, and I switched between laughing my socks off and hiding behind my hands constantly.

Samara Weaving is absolutely amazing in this. Female leads in horrors have been nothing short of incredible for the last 2 years, and I hope they got some kind of recognition for it eventually. Her character’s transition from terrified bride to bad-ass woman is a delight to witness, one the final scenes with her backed into a corner weirdling a knife had the whole audience doing this nervous kind of laugh.

I thought I knew how it would all end, and I would have been satisfied with what I’d conjured up. But oh boy – what an actual ending! Never would I ever have thought it would go that way, but it was glorious to behold. And that final shot (and line)…perfect! I’m so, so glad I gave it a chance, it’s ended up being a movie I think will probably be in my Top 10 by the end of the year.

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Best Bit: *SPOILERS* The whole time I was thinking, what if this pact with the devil thing really is just a load of nonsense? That would be quite funny. Only for it to actually seem that way? My face was like that gif of Andy from Parks & Rec (you know the one). Just a few moments later…that explosion? I think I made an audible noise…but I don’t know what it was.

Worst Bit: *MORE SPOILERS* Oh Alex, what a mamas boy. I already thought you were lame for spending half the movie cuffed to the bed but come on!

Fun Trivia: *JUST A FEW MORE SPOILERS* Six of the methods of murder available in the various editions of the board game “Clue” are used in the film. The Pepper Box Revolver is used by Emilie and her son Georgie, Grace strangles the butler Stevens, the ceremonial wine is poisoned, Aunt Helene decapitates a maid with an axe, a dagger is used for the sacrificial ceremony, and Grace hits Tony in the face with a lantern, like the candlestick.

My Rating: 4 and a half Converse trainers. Never have they ever been so damn cool!

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