Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

ralph-breaks-the-internet-movie-2018Director: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

Genre: Family, Animation, Comedy

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Main Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Bill Hader

Plot: When Vanellope’s game is broken and at risk of being taken away for good, she and Ralph venture into the Internet in order to save it.

My Thoughts: I’m always cautious of sequels but I was so excited by the trailers for Ralph Breaks the Internet that I couldn’t help but get myself hyped up. There is so much to love about this movie, and the creativity behind bringing the Internet to life was brilliant. I’m one of the few that didn’t hate The Emoji Movie, but regardless, Disney have outdone themselves here. There are so many details it would be impossible to list them all, but highlights of mine include the Search Bar (including several autofill jokes), the eBay layout and the way some video game characters move.

Other things to love? The moment Ralph and Vanellope enter Oh My Disney. I wanted so much more of that. Of course we already knew the princesses would be making an appearance but it doesn’t get old. We even get Stormtroopers! And who else here is guilty of taking at least one ‘Which Dinsey princess are you?’ quiz?

I realise that the target audience here is children but where the movie fell flat for me was the moral message behind it all. Yes, there’s an interesting story here of how best friends move on, but I don’t think it was handled in the best way, and since when was Ralph quite so insecure?

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Best Bit: Vanellope gets her own musical number in this movie, and it could not be more glorious. Disney have been great in the last few years and poking fun at themselves, and that’s what makes ‘A Place Called Slaughter Race’ so amazing. Is it available on Spotify? I had to check, I couldn’t wait to find out the answer…IT IS. Apologies to any passenger I happen to have in my car over the next 2 weeks – this is going to be on repeat.

Worst Bit: The big ‘virus’ scene at the end just went on a bit too long, and you know what? It was so creepy! I honestly felt worried for the small kids in our screen, it really was the stuff of nightmares. Plus, we were told how the virus could be destroyed, but that’s not how it ended up happening? Nit-picking I know, but still…

Fun Trivia: When an Internet advertisement tells Ralph “Sassy housewives want to meet you,” the woman on the image is Aunt Cass from Big Hero 6 (2014).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 glass slippers, which Cinderella isn’t afraid to smash in order to shank you!

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

the-ballad-buster-scruggs-netflix-posterDirector: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Western

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Jonjo O’Neill, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz

Plot: An anthology movie comprised of six different stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West.

My Thoughts: Despite it being a Netflix release, I was so excited to see The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. I’ve never hated a Coen brothers movie (although I’ve enjoyed some more than others) and the trailer was hilarious. It’s a long-ass movie but knowing it was split into six stories eased my mind a little. I’ve always been a fidget!

The first segment with Buster Scruggs is nothing short of a masterpiece. I was laughing from start to finish. My husband was trying to play World of Warcraft and cursed me as he shut his game down thinking he had found his new all-time-favourite movie. The comedic timing, the crazy action, the musical numbers, ugh! Just perfect. And then it ended, and it dawned on me that Buster Scruggs was only a very minor part of this movie.

Maybe that revelation tainted it for me, but from there I just grew more and more bored with each of the other stories. They still had some great moments, but it felt like I was watching a whole lot of nothing before being rewarded with those short glimpses of brilliance. Each story also felt longer than the one before it, making the whole thing feel about 3 hours long.

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I think I’m probably in the minority here though, and I can absolutely see why most people loved it. I guess I was expecting the whole thing to be as crazy and funny as the first segment, and I set myself up for disappointment. One thing I will say though, the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous. I paid more attention to the landscape than what the characters were doing half the time.

Best Bit: The way Buster Scruggs killed the guy at the cards table was just epic. It was that perfect mix of shock and humour that makes you jump and laugh at the same time. Then the musical number that followed. Heck, I need to watch that segment again…and again!

Worst Bit: There’s no moment in particular, but I can’t comment on the sixth and final story at all because my brain had completely switched off by that point, and I was playing the Disney Emoji game on my phone instead, trying to unlock Darth Vader. (I got him)

Fun Trivia: The poker hand that Buster Scruggs refuses to play, two pair aces and eights, is infamously known as the “dead man’s hand” as it was reportedly the hand-drawn to Wild Bill Hickok before he was shot and killed.

My Rating: 2 and a half clever chickens who can answer simple math questions.

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The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

the-christmas-chronicles-2018-netflix-movieDirector: Clay Kaytis

Genre: Adventure, Family, Comedy, Fantasy

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Main Cast: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Oliver Hudson, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Martin Roach, Lamorne Morris

Plot: After spotting what looks like Santa Claus’ arm in one of their old family Christmas home movies, siblings Kate and Teddy hatch a plan to try and catch Santa on video, ultimately leading to his sleigh getting broken, and Christmas being left at risk of being ruined.

My Thoughts: Netflix made their own Christmas movie, and cast Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. Do we all need any other reasons to give it a go? One thing is for sure, Kurt Russell is a great Santa, although to quote my husband, he isn’t as ‘sweary’ as he perhaps could have been. There’s a good reason for that though I think, The Christmas Chronicles is very much your typical family-friendly festive movie.

There’s nothing new to be found here, there are plenty of cliches including one sibling not being a true believer, Christmas needs saving, etc but it has enough charm to be an enjoyable watch from start to finish. Plus, I don’t remember another Christmas movie where Santa has a blast during a car chase sequence with cops whilst driving a Dodge Challenger! “I’ve traded 8 reindeer for 400 horses!”.

So whilst it might not make its way onto my list of movies that simply must be watched every year, if you have a Netflix account you can’t really go wrong with giving this a watch for a bit of feel-good fun.

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Best Bit: Whilst incarcerated, Kurt Russell hands out musical instruments to his fellow inmates and uses a group of hookers as backing singers in a fairly epic jailhouse rock-style musical number. Yep, you read that right!

Worst Bit: I forgave the ‘fake news’ line without much trouble. But I’m fairly certain I saw one of those odd, annoying elves doing the floss, and that just made me sigh and shake my head…

Fun Trivia: This movie features yet another Kurt Russell connection to Elvis Presley, of which there have been several in his career. Kurt Russell’s first movie was in the Elvis movie “It Happened at the World’s Fair” (1963) where Elvis pays Russell to kick him in the shin. 16 years later, Russell portrayed Elvis in a TV movie “Elvis” (1979). Then, 15 years later, Russell lent his voice to the actor playing a young Elvis Presley in “Forrest Gump” (1994). 7 years after that, Russell played an ex-con who robs a casino during an Elvis Impersonator Convention in Vegas in “3000 MIles to Graceland” (2001). And here in The Christmas Chronicles (2018), the song that Santa (Russell) sings in the jail scene is one of Elvis’ most popular Christmas songs, “Santa Claus is Back in Town” (1957).

My Rating: 3 out of 5 chainsaws, which are apparently wielded by tiny little flossing elves who aren’t afraid to castrate a teenaged boy if need be.

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Sorry to Bother You (2018)

sorry-to-bother-you-movie-review-2018Director: Boots Riley

Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comedy

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Mahari Crown, Lily James

Plot: Set in an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green learns the secret to success, using his “white voice”, which propels him into…madness! That’s the best job I can do in summing up this crazy movie.

My Thoughts: I got to see Sorry to Bother You over a week before it’s UK release thanks to ODEON Screen Unseen! The clues are usually ridiculously cryptic but I was pretty certain it was going to be this, although I was just as certain last time and that didn’t end very well. There were quite a few cheers when the secret movie was revealed so I guess it wasn’t only me who was really looking forward to it!

I thought I had seen the weirdest movie ever when I watched The Lobster. Then I thought the same when I watched Swiss Army Man. Oh boy, Sorry to Bother You is going to hold that award for a long time yet! I was ready for weird, I already knew about the “white voice”, but I was so not ready for what I witnessed. I’ve let it sink in for 48 hours now and I’m still not sure what I really think.

What I am certain about however is that I need to see it again. There are so many tiny details crammed in that I know it’ll be a great rewatch. One thing I didn’t miss however were Tessa Thompson’s dildo earrings! Again, not even close to being the craziest thing about this movie!

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Best Bit: I absolutely loved the scene where Cassius is taken into the golden elevator. I thought that sequence code was going to go on forever, and it made me and the rest of the screen really laugh. Oh, oh, I just remembered…have a cola and smile, bitch! Do you think my husband would be mad at me if I threw a can of Pepsi at him and shouted that?

Worst Bit: There isn’t a specific part that I didn’t enjoy, but I did nod off slightly when it came to Detroit’s art show. I’m not an arty person myself so it just didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Fun Trivia: During the bar scene, when Danny Glover’s character is asked why he isn’t dancing, he responds with the, “I’m too old for this shit” line made famous from his role as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movie franchise.

My Rating: This rating is bound to change because I feel like it’s the kind of movie that will grow on me with time, but for now it gets 3 and a half out of 5 jade doors…not olive doors, jade doors!

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The Grinch (2018)

the-grinch-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family

Runtime: 86 Minutes

Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Cameron Seely, Pharrell Williams, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury

Plot: The age-old story of why the Grinch hates Christmas, and how he steals Christmas away from all who live in Whoville.

My Thoughts: I’m ‘that person’ who patiently waits for Halloween to be over so I can get the Christmas decorations out of the cupboard, make my house smell like a batch of mulled wine is forever being brewed, and live on a diet consisting almost solely on mince pies until the big day. That also means I’ve been itching to watch my first Christmas movie of the year, even if it meant watching a movie about a grumpy green guy who hates it!

We all know the story of the Grinch by now, don’t we? We’re all probably questioning whether we needed an animated remake too, aren’t we? Thing is, do I really need to buy another box of mince pies this weekend? Not really – but they’re going to brighten up my day anyway! If you’re hoping to see some kind of twist on the original then you’ll be sorely disappointed, but it’s really hard to not be pulled into the charm of it all!

I don’t remember the last Illumination movie I watched at the cinema – do they all have their own shorts now? This came with a Minions short called Yellow is the New Black, a fun little story but honestly, I’m pretty tired of the little yellow guys now.

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Best Bit: I can’t pick one moment, but my favourite thing about the movie (and most animations to be honest) is the little funny details that you could miss if you blink. Do you question why the Grinch is naked when every Who in the village wears clothes? I realise now why I might struggle to sleep at night if this is what I’m thinking…anyway! There are so many little hidden jokes in here you’ll need to watch it at least twice to spot them all.

Worst Bit: If it wasn’t embarrassing enough to be sitting in a packed cinema screen on opening night by myself surrounded by families, the swift punch to the feelings towards the end of the movie made me cry…which in turn made another Mum start chatting with me on the way out. 4 months I’ve managed to stay incognito!

Fun Trivia: In Despicable Me 3 (2017), the oldest of Gru’s girls, Margo, is seen wearing a T-shirt with this version of the Grinch on the front. Being as both are from Illumination Entertainment, this was clearly a nod to the upcoming film. In the first Despicable Me (2010) film, Margo had a Lorax shirt, teasing Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax (2012), a fellow Dr. Seuss film.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 screaming goats, which have the power to make any and every child under 10 years old laugh till they cry!

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The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

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Director: David Lowery

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Keith Carradine, Elisabeth Moss

Plot: The real-life story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), including his amazing escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to a long string of heists that followed. Chasing Forrest down is Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) who is fascinated by both Forrest and his crimes.

My Thoughts: I got to see The Old Man & the Gun over a month in advance of its December 2018 release in the UK, thanks to ODEON’s Screen Unseen. They release 4 ridiculously cryptic clues in the run-up, although it’s reasonably easy to whittle down what few movies it could be based on release dates alone. This time though, I was so convinced it was going to be Widows (2018) that I would have offered to reimburse everyone’s tickets if it wasn’t. Not only was I wrong, but it was also a movie I had never even heard about!

This, however, led to my first completely blind cinema showing which was pretty exciting. I just wish I had loved the movie more than I did. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a fascinating movie, and I can’t believe that it’s a true story. It’s just…for a movie all about bank robberies…it was kind of dull!

I’m just not the target audience for this at all. I’m sure Robert Redford fans will have an amazing time, and rightly so, he puts in an excellent performance, but it was just too quiet and understated for me. When it finished, I heard the man next to me turn to his cinema buddy and say “I really liked that. It was a nice movie.” I think he summed it up perfectly – this is a nice movie.

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Best Bit: The bemused faces on Forrest’s victims as they recount the crime, commenting on how much of a gentleman he was and how happy he looked made me chuckle every single time. That, and the ending got a laugh out of everyone in the room too.

Worst Bit: Not necessarily a bad moment but when John hands Forrest a $100 bill I couldn’t understand why. Was it the same bill that Forrest left a note for John on? It didn’t look the same. Was he simply paying him back, settling their debt? I don’t know!

Fun Trivia: In an interview he gave during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Robert Redford talked about this comedic film being a good note to end on, since the actor wanted his “last acting job to be fun.”

My Rating: 2 and a half $100 bills from me. Are they blank, or do they have a note on? You tell me!

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The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

the-spy-who-dumped-me-poster-movieDirector: Susanna Fogel

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj, Kev Adams, Gillian Anderson, Ivanna Sakhno

Plot: Best friends Audrey and Morgan find themselves in the middle of an international terrorist conspiracy when Audrey learns that her ex-boyfriend is, in fact, a spy.

My Thoughts: After watching the reboot of Ghostbusters I realised I would blindly follow Kate McKinnon into whatever movies she happened to star in afterward. That said, I didn’t need much convincing to see The Spy Who Dumped Me, it ticks all of my Comedy boxes!

It’s always a worry with Comedies when the trailer makes the movie look so darn funny. Is it a good sign of what’s to come, or is it a case that the only funny jokes have all been crammed into the trailer, leaving nothing good left to look forward to? I’d say this movie sits comfortably in the middle of those two scenarios. Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis gel so well together, and I would love to see them in another comedy, but this one won’t be in anyone’s Top 10 of the year.

It had plenty of laugh out loud moments, but it’s at least 20 minutes too long, so the laughs are spread out between a heck of a lot of plot. The twists come at you almost as quickly as the jokes do, most of them obvious but it did leave me guessing a few times. I think if you’re looking for a Comedy with a spy theme you’re better off watching Spy (2015), but I do still recommend The Spy Who Dumped Me!

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Best Bit: The scene with the Cab/Taxi/Uber driver Lukas. You know when you come out of the cinema after watching something like Mission: Impossible or Fast & Furious and you want to drive home like you’re in the movie? (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who feels like this) Lukas gets to live out that fantasy!

Worst Bit: Towards the end at the big flashy event, the scene with the trapeze act fell a bit flat, I thought. It was just a little too silly, and seemed to go on forever!

Fun Trivia: The movie “Red Sparrow” shot footage in the same Budapest café that was used in “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” After “Red Sparrow” finished filming, director Susanna Fogel said that there were plans to tear down the café in order to renovate the building, but they offered to let “The Spy Who Dumped Me” destroy it first.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 lipsticks from me. Don’t open them though…you might not like what you find inside. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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