Beautiful Boy (2018)

beautiful-boy-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Felix Van Groeningen

Genre: Drama, Biography

Runtime: 111 Minutes

Main Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Christian Convery, Oakley Bull, Kue Lawrence

Plot: Beautiful Boy is a movie based on a pair of best selling memoirs written by father and son David and Nic Sheff, chronicling the experiences of Nic’s drug addiction, recovery and relapse, and the effects on himself and his family.

My Thoughts: So this was Monday night’s ODEON Screen Unseen movie! I’ve come to learn that the cryptic clues they give out always point to a movie they know everyone is hyped to see – when really it isn’t! I’m sure they’d angled their clues for A Simple Favor to make it seem it would be Bohemian Rhapsody, and every clue this time around could easily point to Glass. Thing is – Screen Unseen movies are always the lesser known movies regular movie-goers would skip, so it was never really going to be Glass.

Still, when the screen came up with Beautiful Boy, it was funny to hear the groans by several people, and then we had a few walkouts. I still find that odd, if you’ve come out to see a secret screening, are you not willing to give whatever’s shown a go?

Anyway! Gosh, this was a tough watch. It’s the perfect movie for this kind of screening because as much as I’ve been looking forward to seeing Carell and Chalamet’s performances, I just can’t get excited about the movie itself. Can anyone be excited about a movie like this?

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As I knew they would be, the performances were exceptional. I’ve been a huge fan of Carell since The Office, and I never thought he would be doing such serious and hard-hitting roles after! It suits him though. The main thing that didn’t sit well with me though was I never found myself invested in the characters enough, and I don’t know why. It also feels much longer than it’s runtime.

Best Bit: In the first part of the movie there are a few times that father and son embrace and say ‘everything’ to each other. I knew there would be a moment that we would find out when and my heart exploded into a million little pieces.

Worst Bit: Honestly, there’s no moment in the movie that I would deem ‘bad’. There are several scenes that are tough to watch for sure though.

Fun Trivia: The real Nic Sheff stated in a Q & A that the drawing book that David, Steve Carell in the movie finds of his son’s addiction struggles was drawn by Nic’s real-life half-brother Jasper Sheff.

My Rating: I can’t think of something funny to use as my rating that isn’t wildly inappropriate, so Beautiful Boy gets a very sensible 3 and a half stars from me.

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

bohemian-rhapsody-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Bryan Singer

Genre: Biography, Music, Drama

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillan, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker, Meneka Das, Ace Bhatti

Plot: The real-life story of how the legendary rock band Queen came to be, starting with how they got together and ending with their epic performance at Live Aid in 1985.

My Thoughts: Sometimes I’m the worst English lass in history. I don’t drink tea (only herbal), I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Doctor Who, and I’m not a Queen fan. I do eat biscuits and complain about the weather though, that’s the only thing keeping me on this odd little island I guess.

Anyway I digress, but I wanted to make the point that I’m coming at this movie knowing nothing about Queen apart from the lyrics to no less than 5 of their songs. I can’t speak for how well Rami played Freddie Mercury, because I’ve never watched a performance of his – but in a way, I think that’s why I was so set on watching Bohemian Rhapsody, I wanted to know Queen’s story.

Due to me mixing up screen times, my old blogging bestie Jenna and I ended up having to watch the movie in IMAX – and oh boy am I glad we did. (My husband will be laughing to himself reading this because I rarely shut up about how much I love IMAX. It’s amazing, ok?!) If the room was emptier we would have been up on our feet stomping and clapping for We Will Rock You, it was a brilliant experience.

I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody anyway, and I drove home playing the album on the loudest volume my car could take before it started vibrating. I dig what Queen stand (stood?) for, and it’s amazing what the band achieved. I can’t help but feel some of the story along the way has been dramatised (maybe it hasn’t – who am I to judge?) and I felt the focus of the story lost its way around the half-way mark, but those are my only real complaints.

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Best Bit: The Live Aid concert for sure. By that point, I’d been converted into a fan and with the IMAX surround sound, it really gave me quite a thrill!

Worst Bit: Paul. Everything about him. Was his part in the Queen story exaggerated for the movie? I don’t know – but he was a venomous snake. May his phone be forever on low battery.

Fun Trivia: Sacha Baron Cohen was the original choice to play Freddie Mercury. He left the project due to creative differences with the band’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. The deal with Baron Cohen fell apart after May voiced upset after finding that the project would only be a biopic of Freddie Mercury and not the rest of Queen. May felt that it should focus on the other members and the aftermath of Mercury’s death. He also voiced his negative opinion of the casting choice of Baron Cohen, whom he felt was too much of a comedic actor who wouldn’t do Mercury justice in drama.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of Freddie Mercury’s cats. Did he have 4, or 5? I can only remember that tabby one that gave the best dirty looks.

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First Man (2018)

first-man-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Damien Chazelle

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 141 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Olivia Hamilton, Ciarán Hinds, Pablo Schreiber

Plot: The real-life story behind Neil Armstrong, and how he found himself leading the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon on 20th July 1969.

My Thoughts: Not gonna lie, I had to really push myself to go and see First Man. It had great reviews, it’s directed by the amazing Damien Chazelle, it stars Ryan Gosling, it’s in the running for the Oscars – it was ticking so many boxes for me. But it’s a long movie, and it’s a subject I honestly don’t have much interest in. As usual, I’m really glad I went in the end!

First Man probably takes 3rd place in Damien Chazelle’s movies for me, but it’s still a fantastic movie. I didn’t expect it to have so many ‘space-y’ moments, and the opening in particular quite literally took my breath away. Then you have the heartbreaking family moments that had me openly sobbing in the middle of the room – not embarrassing at all. So – it almost takes the dramatic elements of Whiplash (2014) and the heart-crushing elements of La La Land (2016).

Ryan Gosling was great throughout in a calm, and fairly quiet role, with a much bigger personality bubbling on the surface. I don’t know Neil Armstrong at all well enough to know how well Gosling matches up, but still. Claire Foy didn’t get as many moments as I thought she would, but the scene where she tells Neil to explain to his kids that there’s a chance he won’t survive the mission was powerful as hell.

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Best Bit: No surprises here, but the best moment was watching Neil first walk on the moon. Especially when you find out what he brought with him…I felt it coming and I was a wreck! A moment that I wish I’d been able to witness in IMAX to be honest.

Worst Bit: Not a ‘bit’ in particular, but it felt like the first hour or so raced by, and then the pacing fell to a snail pace, which really doesn’t help when the movie is 20 minutes too long to begin with!

Fun Trivia: In the breakfast scene just before Apollo 11 launched, the artist sketching Armstrong is Chris Calle, son of the NASA artist Paul Calle. Chris was playing his father who actually sketched the crew that morning.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 wooden-beaded bracelets…don’t make me explain why…*sobs*.

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Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

goodbye-christopher-robin-movie-review-2017Aww man I broke my ‘post every 3 days’ streak! I blame the little one, who this week decided that sleeping through the night actually wasn’t all that fun, and it’s much better to wake up several times instead. Oh, and also to never nap in the day either. Today’s post is sponsored by takeaway pizza and energy drinks…enjoy the nonsense and endless typos!

Sleep deprivation and complex movies don’t mix well so I decided to give something a little lighter a try this week and watched Goodbye Christopher Robin. I’ll admit I don’t know the story behind how that silly old pooh bear was created and you won’t find me turning down a movie starring Domhnall Gleeson so it seemed like the perfect choice! If you didn’t know either, the movie follows the story of creator Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie – who seems to be in everything lately) and his son Christopher Robin/Billy Moon (played at different ages by Will Tilston & Alex Lawther).

You know what? Every new parent needs to see this movie. If you feel bad about yourself as a parent – watch this movie. Because Billy Moon’s parents sucked. I know it was the ‘norm’ in those times to hire a nanny who basically raised your children for you, but Alan and Daphne especially were so cold towards Billy that it made my heart hurt.

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My favourite chunk of the movie is when Alan is left to look after his son alone and the two begin to bond in the woods. They are such magical moments! It’s also quite fascinating to see where the book characters came from, and how they got their names. Then it takes a turn for the worst again. You know those terrible parents who enter their kids in beauty pageants? It can’t be worse than pushing your kid into a bear enclosure for a photo opportunity!

And then of course we have the inescapable heart breaking moment. You guys, I cried my heart out. My little one was having a rare nap in my arms at the time and she nearly needed a clothes change from my tears. Oh motherhood, why have you turned me into such a pussy? I knew the moment was coming, the start of the whole movie alerts you to what’s going to happen, but still! Ugh.

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Of course, Alan gets his redemption in a way, but I never, ever warmed to Daphne. I wonder if it was intentional, but I still hated her by the end of it all.

Gosh doesn’t it sound like I hated this movie? I loved it! It just made me feel all the feels.  Also like a much better parent than I feel I am 99% of the time. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already. A solid 4 out of 5 silly old bears from me.

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Review: Darkest Hour (2018)

darkest-hour-movie-review-2018Every year when it comes to Awards Season, there’s always that one movie that I just can’t bring myself to watch. I’ll groan at the very thought of it, but I really try to watch at least the nominated Best Picture movies. Boyhood is the exception. I still can’t face that. Anyway, this year’s movie for me is Darkest Hour. I’d honestly rather watch the terrible alien/sci-fi movie by almost the same name, but I know if I save it till last I’ll never watch it at all, so I sucked it up!

I don’t do history, I don’t do war and I most certainly don’t do politics, and Darkest Hour is all of these. It is essentially a retelling of Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister of the UK in the middle of World War II, making the impossible decision whether to make terms with Hitler or fight to the bitter end.

Honestly, this movie just wasn’t for me. I loved Dunkirk (2017) because despite it being a war movie, it showed purely the action side of things. I mean, at least this was a more fun way of learning about World War II than sitting in my actual history lessons back in school? I’ll give it this though, Gary Oldman as Churchill is nothing short of amazing. He is completely unrecognisable, and brought so much life to the role.

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Speaking of which, shout out to Ben Mendelsohn! He’s such a chameleon, that’s why I love him. I’ve seen him play a space nazi, a down on his luck gambling addict and now a British king, and every role seems to come so naturally to him. I’m so looking forward to seeing him in Ready Player One later this year!

So seeings as I’m going to really struggle to talk about this one, let me tell you the character I identified the most with, Elizabeth Layton, played by Lily James. Poor girl is a typist for the grumpiest bloke ever, and it’s not easy when he’s changing his mind on words and shouting! It reminded me of my first boss who I did a lot of admin for. He’d stand right behind me and dictate what he wanted me to type, which is incredibly difficult for a nervous dyslexic like me! Even the best of us can’t type with someone breathing down their neck.

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I can appreciate Darkest Hour for it’s performances, and I’m sure it’ll do well at the BAFTAs next month. It’s just really not my cup of tea. I know it’s a well made, well acted movie, but I rate my reviews on a mix of that and also how much I enjoyed it, and so that’s why this gets 3 out of 5 ‘V for Victory’ signs from me.

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Review: Battle of the Sexes (2017)

battle-of-the-sexes-movie-review-2017If there’s anyone who can get me interested enough to sit through a biographical drama of tennis, it’s Emma Stone and Steve Carell. When I heard last year they were going to be starring in a movie together, I think I got my hopes up for another Crazy, Stupid, Love. If you can’t tell, I’m not the biggest fan of biographic movies (although I’m beginning to turn, to be honest) and sports has never been my thing.

Battle of the Sexes (2017) tells the true story of the 1973 tennis match between Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) and Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in the sports world’s biggest struggle for women and equality. Fed up of women champions being offered as little as an eighth of the prize money that men are offered, Billie Jean starts her own tennis championship for women.

Meanwhile, self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs, in the midst of his struggles with a gambling addiction and a failing marriage, offers to play a match against the women of the tennis world with a huge prize fund, in the ultimate battle of the sexes. It’s an offer that Billie Jean ultimately can’t refuse, but she must also deal with her own personal struggles in her life.

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What I love the most about this movie is how engaging the story is. I was expecting something heavily political, something with a lot of tennis lingo that would go over my head, something that would end up boring the pants off me essentially. But I was engrossed from the very start; I guess my lack of knowledge about the great Billie Jean was also to thank.

You see whilst on tour, Billie Jean ends up falling in love with a hairdresser called Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough). The two have an exciting affair, but get caught by Billie Jean’s husband, Larry (Austin Stowell). Larry is one of the kindest characters I’ve ever seen on screen. He finds out about his wife’s affair but instead of confronting her, he does all he can to support her through the build up to the big match, even offering to call Marilyn to help whilst Billie Jean was ill. My heart genuinely hurt for the guy.

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And then of course we have Bobby Riggs who provides a lot of the laughs during the movie. His sexist comments are so shocking at times and yet he remains an extremely likeable guy, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. His act stayed strong right up until the final match (I won’t tell you the outcome just in case you’re like me and had no idea how it would go) but the way his story ended was perfectly fitting.

Just before the credits roll the movie gives us a summary of what happened after the game which really moved me, and then we got shown photos of the real Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, and I just can’t believe how similar they are!

If you can’t tell, I have so much love for this movie. I honestly can’t find anything negative to say about it, so that’s why Battle of the Sexes gets 5 out of 5 tennis balls from me.

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Review: Sully (2016)

sully-movie-review-2016Everyone loves a bit of Tom Hanks, he’s like the parfait of actors! I feel like I’ve neglected him a little lately though. Even though I tried, I just couldn’t get into Bridge of Spies last year, and I haven’t seen Inferno yet, either. I’ll catch up on the latter, promise. The trailer for Sully seems to have been everywhere in the run up to it’s release in the UK, and that clip on the plane where that lady sends what she must be thinking is her last text message makes me well up every time I see it. I don’t think my eyes have ever threatened to cry at a trailer before!

Sully (2016) is the movie retelling of the events that happened in New York on 15th January 2009 when he landed US Airways flight 1549 onto (into?) the Hudson River, after both engines failed from a bird strike shortly after take off. Captain Phillips Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) was hailed a hero after the landing when it was confirmed that all 155 passengers and crew survived, but an investigation was started to find out whether Sully could have actually turned back, or landed at a nearby airport.

I’ll admit that even though I recall this event taking place, I didn’t know any of the details, which in all honesty, makes a movie like this all the more compelling to watch. I just can’t even imagine how it must have felt to be Sully in that moment when the birds struck the engines. A few years ago when driving my car home, my brakes failed and I freaked the hell out, how on earth does someone stay so calm when both engines fail whilst flying over New York city?! It’s chilling stuff, I tell you.

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As horrifying as the actual events on the plane were, it almost pales in comparison to the actions of the board in charge of the investigation. Never have a group of people in a movie made me so angry. I understand why these investigations take place, but there needs to be some human decency involved. Maybe these scenes were dramatised slightly, but they treated Sully and his co-Pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) like criminals.

The scenes involving the plane’s emergency landing were so well done. It makes me wish that I’d gone to see it in IMAX. Mixed in with my feelings of rage were also soft warm feelings at the kindness of everyone involved in rescuing those 155 people. I don’t remember the exact count but it was literally a matter of minutes, rather than hours, to get everyone on dry land. I got quite teary on more than one occasion.

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What I found most spectacular was during the end credits when photos were shown of actual incident back in 2009. When I say that it was a perfect re-enactment, I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. It’s uncanny!

So it’s thumbs up all round from me, but an extra thumb for Tom Hanks, who is an acting chameleon in more than one way. Here he is as Sully, next to the actual Sully, and here he also is, doing his best impression of Bill Murray. Just kidding, that’s actually Bill Murray himself, but this is my favourite celebrity photo of 2016!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, Sully gets 4 planes out of 5 from me.

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