Movie Reviews

Artemis Fowl (2020)

artemis-fowl-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Kenneth Branagh

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Ferida Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Joshua McGuire, Colin Farrell, Judi Dench

Plot: Artemis Fowl Senior has been kidnapped by…a hooded baddie with a raspy voice. This mysterious person wants Artemis Fowl Junior to find a magical object called the ‘Aculos’. Young Artemis is about to learn that the Irish tales of fairies that his father read to him every night are real.

My Thoughts: I didn’t write this post to hop on the ‘we hate Artemis Fowl’ bandwagon. I went in with an open mind, hoping to enjoy it. My tastes in movies aren’t always the best and I often have a soft spot for family movies. Not for Artemis Fowl, though. This is up there with Jupiter Ascending (2015) for me. It’s all just a bit…dumb. Which is a shame, because I hear the book is excellent. Then again, I also hear the movie strayed away from its source material.

Firstly, what dirt does Josh Gad have on Disney? He must just be on their payroll by now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy, but if you want to cast someone scruffy with a gruff voice, why would you cast Josh Gad? Which brings me to Judi Dench. Goodness me, the last thing I saw her in was Cats (2019). My throat actually hurt every time I had to hear Judi Dench put on that voice. Whyyyyyyyyyy.

I didn’t have a problem with the story itself, but it felt like it was told in the least exciting way possible. There’s a huge, hidden world out there with fairies and dwarves and goblins, but I felt no magic at all. It also didn’t help that little Artemis Fowl himself is one of the most unlikeable characters in the movie. I cared an awful lot more about the young fairy Holly Short than him, and he was just as unlikeable at the end, too.

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Best Bit: At the mid-point of the mess that is this year, with cinemas still not open and Tenet pushed back 2 weeks, I was just happy to be watching a new release, good or bad!

Worst Bit: According to my husband, watching Josh Gad expand his jaw to tunnel his way through the ground and fart out dirt was the most horrifying thing he’s seen in his life. And he quite literally watched in the moment our daughter was born. So…there’s that. Sorry if you lost your appetite.

Fun Trivia: The film has been in development since 2001. Eoin Colfer (author of the book) has jokingly stated that the movie would be finished two years after he died.

My Rating: 2 packs of throat lozenges that I’ve been saving for Judi Dench. Is she okay?

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Movie Reviews

The Gentlemen (2020)

the-gentlemen-movie-poster-review-2020Director: Guy Ritchie

Genre: Action, Crime, Comedy

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Hugh Grant, Jason Wong, Eliot Sumner

Plot: Micker Pearson runs a multi-billion drugs business but is looking to sell and move on. He has 2 offers on the table but things get complicated when one of Mickey’s top-secret locations gets raided by a young gang.

My Thoughts: I haven’t gotten around to making any new years resolutions yet but if I did, I think ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ would be one of them. Or perhaps, ‘Don’t judge a movie by its trailer’ would be more appropriate. It feels like we’ve had the trailer for The Gentlemen thrust upon us for months now, and every time, although I’ll admit it looked entertaining, I wasn’t convinced it would be a movie I could love. I don’t care for gangster movies and as far as I could see, there wasn’t any kind of solid plot.

How wrong could I be? From an unrecognisable cockney Hugh Grant flirting with world’s sexiest assistant Charlie Hunnam, to Matthew McConaughey not only not irritating me with his face alone but actually being my favourite character, I loved every minute of this. It started out a bit complicated but the story is told via Hugh Grant’s character who talks us through everything, and I quickly caught up.

I do wonder how well it’ll be received out of the UK, only because of the humour. It feels very British to me, with a whole load of f-bombs and c-bombs thrown into almost every sentence. If you’re a fan of movies like In Bruges (2008) – also starring a hilarious Colin Farrell, then you’re going to love this, I think. I don’t know if it’s right to give the first movie of 2020 I saw in the cinema top marks but honestly, it deserves it.

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Best Bit: Colin Farrell and his boys. I always forget how funny Colin Farrell is in these dark comedies. The scene at the boxing club where one of his boys complains that another is being racist had me in tears!

Worst Bit: I came into the screen a couple of minutes late, I was starving and the line at Costa was huge, so I think I missed a couple of minutes and like I said, the first few minutes were a bit of an information overload anyway so I panicked for a while thinking I wasn’t going to understand anything.

Fun Trivia: Towards the end of the film Hugh Grant’s “Fletcher” stands in front of a movie poster for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. a previous Guy Ritchie film he also starred in as slick operative “Waverly”.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 perfectly made cups of tea, so beautifully filmed throughout this glorious movie.

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Movie Reviews

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

(I’m on holiday right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-2016Does anyone else think perfume adverts are more than a little ridiculous? Perhaps now 4DX screens are becoming a thing they have a place in the world, but has anyone really ever paid much attention to these ads? You’re probably actually wondering what the hell perfume has to do with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Well, at the cinema the other night, right before the featured trailers aired, an advert of sorts was played for what looked like a period drama movie or TV show starring Domhnall Gleeson (AKA General Hux, AKA my favourite grumpy space ginger). I got so excited I did a little dance in my seat, until I realised it was an advert for Burberry perfume. What. The. Frick?! NOT COOL Burberry, not cool. Although I might buy your aftershave for my husband now…damnit. It works.

Anyway! Harry Potter fans will be aware of the book on every Hogwarts first year’s required reading list, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Who’d have thought all these years later it would be adapted into not one, but 5 movies?! I wish I could go back and tell 12 year old me. This movie is the story of the author of said book, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who travels to New York in 1926 to release one of his beasts back into the wild where he/she belongs. Whilst there, several creatures (including the ever adorable Niffler) escape from Newt’s magical suitcase.

Newt gets himself into trouble for involving a no-maj (American muggle) called Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and then not wiping his memory, so gets himself caught by disgraced Auror Tina (Katherine Waterson). Amidst all this, a dark wizard called Gellert Grindelwald is on the loose, an anti-magic cult is throwing their weight around, and a rather dapper Colin Farrell is hunting down a talented young witch. Got it? I sure all hell don’t, there’s so much going on!

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Let me first say though how wonderful it is to return to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The sheer excitement at hearing that familiar music with the Warner Brothers logo was enough to make me cry (for the second or third time that night, after so many Christmas adverts), and there are plenty of references for the hardcore fans to spot. Eddie Redmayne is the perfect choice for Newt, confident in his abilities and passionate in his subject, but terribly awkward at the same time. It’s the first time I’ve ever really loved him on screen.

The beasts themselves are indeed fantastic. The Niffler is the real show-stealer, but all the creatures we are shown either bring laughs or a feeling of awe. It’s a lot of CGI to have thrown around, but it works. Almost the entire supporting cast were new to me, but their characters were played so well and even ones that have a high risk of being annoying (I’m looking at you, Queenie) were actually incredibly likable.

Where this movie falls down is largely the messy plot. Considering this franchise is going to be dragged out into 5 movies, there was too much packed into the first installment. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I would have been happy for the entire first movie to be an introduction to Newt and Co, chasing down the beasts across New York. Save the dark wizard stuff for movie number 2! Who is the target audience, anyway? This was far too dark for young children, but the plot was far too obvious for the older fans. It’s a shame.

I’ll always be happy for more Harry Potter movies, but I’d have liked them to go down the Star Wars route with a collection of one-offs instead. Let’s have Fantastic Beasts, then how about a movie for Hagrid and how he got kicked out of Hogwarts? A Marauder’s movie would be amazing too! There are so many stories that could be expanded, without the need of dragging them out.

Movie Reviews

Dumbo (2019)

dumbo-movie-review-2019-disneyDirector: Tim Burton

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Roshan Seth, Sharon Rooney

Plot: Dumbo the elephant is born into the circus and although initially shunned for his extraordinarily large ears, he soon becomes the star of the show thanks to his ability to fly. The circus is bought out by a wealthy man with sinister plans, and all Dumbo wants is to find his Mother.

My Thoughts: I was never a huge fan of the original Dumbo as a child, it just didn’t appeal to me. However, Disney are running at full speed with their live-action remakes right now and as a Disney fan, there’s not going to be a single remake I don’t go and see within a week of its opening. I’m weak! I’ve mostly really enjoyed the remakes so far but I didn’t love Dumbo.

Now Dumbo himself is absolutely adorable. Why all these people in the movie mocked him I don’t know! The biggest problem is that the movie focuses too much on the human characters and not Dumbo himself. Colin Farrell is fun to watch as a struggling Father, and Danny DeVito is right at the top of his game, his character was one of the best parts of the whole movie. The kids are quite annoying though and Michael Keaton’s character was so terrible he was funny in the wrong sense. I thought at several moments that his hair was about to slide off his head!

It gets better as it goes on though, and I did enjoy it on the whole. Considering how I wasn’t fussed about the original I liked the remake more than I expected to, it just felt lacking. Where was the ol’ Disney humour? Also, this is directed by Tim Burton. Really? One of the reasons I worried about the remake was that he would make it too weird, but nothing about the movie cried Tim Burton to me.

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Best Bit: There was a kid sat near me, no older than 5, who had already been told off by his parents for being a general nuisance. 10 minutes into the movie he shouted out “I’ve finished my sweets, I’ve finished my popcorn, and now I’ve got nothing else to do but watch this boring movie!” I damn near choked from laughter!
But seriously, there’s an adorable scene where Dumbo watches these dancing bubbles in the shape of elephants…and it’s so, so beautiful.

Worst Bit: I mentioned Michael Keaton already, didn’t I? I mean, he looked like he was having a grand old time but he was just so ridiculous. There’s also a moment where Colin Farrell seemingly travels on a horse through a busy city just as fast as Dumbo flies over the water…yeah, okay.

Fun Trivia: There was a swear jar on set. Whenever an actor cursed, they needed to put money in the jar. At the end of shooting, the total was given to charity. Allegedly, Colin Farrell was the worst offender and was responsible for the majority of the money.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 feathers…I don’t know whether it’s those or my hayfever kicking in but I can’t stop sneezing today!

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