First Reformed (2018)

first-reformed-movie-poster-2018Director: Paul Schrader

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Ethan Hawke, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill, Van Hansis, Philip Ettinger

Plot: Reverend Toller is the pastor of the small historic First Reformed Church in upstate New York. The church is celebrating it’s upcoming two hundred and fiftieth anniversary very soon, and whilst preparing for the celebrations, Toller’s faith and wellbeing are threatened by tragic events.

My Thoughts: First Reformed seems to be the movie that every blogger is talking about at the moment, and I’m not one to stray away from the bandwagon, so I gave it a watch at the first opportunity I could get. I tried not to read too much about it beforehand because it seemed like one of those kind of movies.

I’ll tell you what kind of movie it is. It’s the kind that makes you go ‘WHAT?!’ at the end of it, and instead of sleeping that night, you run through your head what it all means until you end up putting yourself into an existential crisis. Safe to say, I had a lot of caffeine to get me through the following day.

Whilst I love a movie that makes me think, I’m not religious at all and so I found a lot of the movie hard to understand. If I were though, I could absolutely see First Reformed being one of my favourite movies of the year. It’s powerful stuff, that’s for sure.

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Best Bit: The growing relationship between Toller and Mary. They are both in so much pain, yet they give so much to help each other. Their friendship is what kept me going through the movie, as it’s quite slow.

Worst Bit: This will only make sense if you’ve seen the movie but, the floating scene. That’s where I crossed the line between barely understanding everything and accepting this movie wasn’t really made for me.

Fun Trivia: Writer/director Paul Schrader stated in a Q&A at Rotterdam Film Festival 2018 that he was surprised while editing the film to notice how many similarities there were with Taxi Driver, a film he also wrote.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 glasses of whiskey, that you should really avoid if you have health issues, and most definitely not mix with Pepto Bismol.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-movie-posterDirector: Ol Parker

Genre: Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Main Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Andy Garcia, Lily James, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Hugh Skinner, Pierce Brosnan, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Cher, Meryl Streep

Plot: Taking place 5 years after the original movie, Sophie is planning a grand opening party for the Bella Donna hotel. As her plans come crashing down, she learns more about her mother and how she met Sophie’s 3 fathers.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know how I found myself watching this at the cinema last night. I’m not an ABBA fan and would struggle to name 10 of their hits, but I watched the original movie about 2 years ago when it was picked for a family movie night, and despite finding it completely cheesy, it had a certain charm to it that made it hard to not like it.

Here We Go Again brings much of the same charm, if not more. If you can look beyond the cheese and the subpar acting (no one was really trying their best here) then there’s a lot of joy to be found. The cast is huge, there was no way I could cut it down for the post without doing someone a disservice, and if seeing Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård doing the Titanic pose doesn’t warm your heart and turn your frown upside down then nothing will!

What I thought was so clever though was how well the ‘young’ actors and actresses did. I mean Lily James is just stunning no matter what she does, and the boys had the characteristics down to a T! It was Jessica Keenan Wynn who stole the show for me though as a younger Christine Baranski. It was almost scary how similar she was.

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Best Bit: The Greek Passport Control guy was hilarious when he judged everyone’s photos. The bit never got old, in fact, it got funnier every single time.

Worst Bit: Not being an ABBA fan I only knew a handful of the songs, so I felt pretty left out when the people either side of me in the cinema were bopping along and hoping no one noticed them singing.

Fun Trivia: Meryl Streep and Lily James, the two actresses portraying Donna, are distant relatives – ninth cousins, three times removed to be precise.

My Rating: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was a 3.5 out of 5 up until now, when writing this post made me realise I enjoyed it more than I thought. A solid 4 out of 5 crazy outfits it is!

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