Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Dan Stevens

We survived January, folks! At least I hope we did, because I’m starting Mettel Ray’s Hidden Gems Challenge with such enthusiasm that I’m actually writing this in mid-January, having already watched my 3 chosen Dan Stevens movies. If you want to find out more about the challenge, check out Mettel Ray’s original post.

Why Dan Stevens?

My Dan Stevens phase happened very quickly and out of nowhere, as many of my obsessions do. I’d just started watching Legion with my husband, without realising the lead star also happened to play Beast in the new Disney remake I’d only watched days before. Suddenly, Dan Stevens was cropping up in more things I just happened to be watching and well, who doesn’t fall for those shockingly blue eyes?

Statistics

Letterboxd has 36 movies listed under Dan Stevens’ filmography (although some are shorts and others are unreleased) and before the challenge I had seen 10. Not bad! Out of the ones I’d already seen some of my favourites include The Guest, Eurovision Song Contest, Colossal, and, of course, Beauty and the Beast.

I’ve also seen Her Smell, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Rental, The Call of the Wild, A Walk Among the Tombstones and The Fifth Estate.

I tried to pick 3 movies where Dan was in a lead role, and so my choices ended up being Kill Switch (2017), Apostle (2018) and Permission (2017).

Kill Switch
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Well I started on a right blunder here. Does anyone remember the 2015 movie, Hardcore Henry? It was an action movie shown entirely in a first-person view. To this day I haven’t watched it, because for whatever reason just the trailer gives me motion sickness. Not great when a huge chunk of Kill Switch is also shown in the same view. Hurk!

What I will say though is this. Kill Switch isn’t a very good Sci-Fi movie at all, but it’s ambitious. It also has some absolutely stellar CGI work which is almost baffling considering how small of a movie it is. Seriously, the CGI here is better than in some very recent WB movies I’ve seen…not naming names, of course.

Apostle
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This movie has been on my radar for a while but it took the Hidden Gems challenge to finally push me to see it. It’s quite long and it has a Wicker Man feel to it which just isn’t my kind of movie at all. The genre has just never appealed to me, and I couldn’t tell you why. For most, this would have definitely counted as a gem of a movie, and I can appreciate it for what it is, especially the horror elements.

I like to think I can handle gore in movies quite well, but there were several scenes in here which were really hard to watch – but I say that with praise because it’s clearly a testament to how well those scenes were shot!

Permission
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Here’s the setup. Dan Stevens and Rebecca Hall are, on paper, the perfect couple. They’ve been together ever since school and Dan Stevens is waiting for the perfect moment to propose. But they’ve only ever had sex with each other, and after a suggestion from their friends they decide to sleep with other people to “get it out of their systems”. It’s an AWFUL idea. Frustratingly awful. Some reviewers praised the movie for its unexpected ending but I would have been mad as hell if it ended any other way. There were still some great moments in the movie though that so very almost made me class it as a Hidden Gem.

Their friends are a gay couple with problems of their own, made worse by one’s desire for children. On his walks to the park he meets a struggling Dad (Jason Sudeikis) and I so desperately wanted his character to be gay also so they could be happy together. The prize moment goes to Dan Stevens whilst drunk with the customer who bought a table from him just to sleep with him though. She tells him to do whatever he wants with her, absolutely everything is allowed. What does he do? Spits in her mouth and then bursts into tears. It was so shocking I burst out laughing and terrified my cats.

Final Thoughts

No gems this month then but it’s confirmed one thing to me – this challenge is definitely what I needed to do this year! I probably never would have seen these 3 movies otherwise and although I can’t say I loved them, they were still entertaining and I always enjoy finding new movies out there. Next month it’s Kristen Stewart’s turn!

Movie Reviews

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

eurovision-song-contest-fire-saga-2020Director: David Dobkin

Genre: Music, Comedy

Runtime: 123 Minutes

Main Cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, Demi Lovato, Jamie Demetriou, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Graham Norton

Plot: Lifelong friends Lars and Sigrit have forever dreamed of performing at the Eurovision Song Contest and representing their home country, Iceland. When the team responsible pick their 12th entry at random, Fire Saga is chosen to take part and Lars and Sigrit are given the chance to make their dreams come true.

My Thoughts: I’m not ashamed to say I was really looking forward to the release of this movie. Will Ferrell is hit and miss for me, but mostly a hit, and whilst I wouldn’t call myself one of the biggest Eurovision fans, I love the cheese of it all and the catchy tunes, so that’s what I was hoping for.  This is a movie most will scoff at, but I found it a clever mix of pure comedy and feel good, follow your dreams and it paid off. It opens with a fantastically funny musical number and then takes a while to find it’s feet, but after the first half-hour I was sold.

That may, of course, be thanks to the character Dan Stevens plays. I haven’t been following movie news or watching trailers during these last couple of months so I kind of went in blind but when he showed up, I actually did a little scream. You can ask my husband. The spend the next 90 minutes rolling his eyes at me. This is Dan Stevens’ best role since The Guest (2014). I mean it. He’s arguably the best part of the whole movie.

If you enjoy the kind of comedy that comes with Will Ferrell, and if you like music-orientated movies like Pitch Perfect (2012), then you’re going to find a lot to love here. It was kind of ironic that we got this movie in a year when we didn’t get an actual Eurovision, but that’s just another thing to look forward to in 2021. Oh, and the UK still got 0 points. Cheers for that painful reminder!

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Best Bit: I know they were written to be a bit daft but…I just love the songs in this! They’re all on Spotify thankfully, I can’t wait to sing them badly and loudly in the car on the way to work when I finally go back. But the best moment could have possibly been when those 4 dancers tore Dan Stevens’ shirt off of his body mid-song. You guys…they got PAID to make Dan Stevens shirtless. I’m in the wrong job for sure…

Worst Bit: With ABBA songs playing and Pierce Brosnan on screen doing a terrible accent, I got Mama Mia flashbacks. And what’s worse? I remembered how much I enjoyed the Mama Mia sequel.

Fun Trivia: Will Ferrell’s interest in the Eurovision Song Contest began when his Swedish wife Viveca Paulin took him to her cousin’s house in May 1999 and the family turned the competition on. Since then, he kept following it. In 2014, Ferrell travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark to watch the final.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stunning, well-endowed Greek statues which Dan Stevens’ character claims to have no idea that they look identical to him.

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Lists

My 5 Favourite Dan Stevens Performances

A very Happy Birthday to one of the most important men in my life…Dan Stevens! No, wait that’s not right…I mean my husband! Today he joins me in the final run-up to being 30…yikes! And yes, he loves to remind me that I am in fact older than him (by 2 whole months) and will be 30 before he is. He’s a funny one.

Wait – I just read that paragraph back and it looks like I’m talking about Dan Stevens being my husband…

Let me clarify. It is both my husband’s and Dan Stevens’ birthday today…but they are 2 very different men! But as my husband hasn’t featured in a feature-length movie, this post is dedicated to my 5 favourite performances by Dan Stevens.

Still with me? Here we go…

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#5 Colossal (2016)

Only Dan Stevens can get away with being an uppity annoying boyfriend with a posh accent and not make me hate him. On a side note, if you’ve never seen Colossal you really, really ought to. It’s one of the most original yet recent movies I’ve ever seen! By now I’m fairly sure I’m owed some money in royalties for the number of times I’ve tried to sell this movie.

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#4 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)

I ended up watching this whilst falling down a Dan Stevens shaped rabbit hole last year – which is something I need to fall deeper into because funnily enough, having a bay put a stop to that! Anyway, I have two words to sum up why I love his character so much in this movie…HUGE?! ACKMAN?!

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#3 Beauty and the Beast (2017)

This remake seemed to be received like marmite last year, but I loved every minute of it. I just think it’s quite incredible that through all the CGI, the Beast was still very much Dan Stevens, and if you ever have the (dis)pleasure of being on a car ride with me, you’ll be treated to my very loud rendition of Evermore!

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#2 The Guest (2014)

So, several of my fellow bloggers urged me to see The Guest, in which Dan Stevens plays a psychotic mass murderer and raises the temperature in the room by more than a few degrees by wearing nothing but a bathroom towel. *cough* I mean, his performance was very well acted and…nope, I have nothing else more to say.

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#1 Legion (2017 – )

Even though it’s a TV Show rather than a movie, it would feel wrong for the #1 spot to not be the performance of Dan Stevens that made me think “oh, this guy is GOOD.” I really need to catch up and see Season 2 soon, because if it’s half as good as the first then it’s going to be amazing.

What would you include in your Top 5 Dan Stevens performances? What have I missed that I need to see?

Blogathons

Christmas in July Blogathon: 5 Movies to Show my Daughter

ORIGINALLY POSTED at Drew’s Movie Reviews here. Please check out Drew’s blog and the rest of the entries to his Christmas in July blogathon!

I can’t believe I’m taking part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon for the 3rd year running! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year, and so I don’t need many excuses to talk about the festive season and related movies. Thank you Drew for hosting again!

This year, Christmas is going to be pretty different for me, as I’ll have a 2-month old baby! Part of me is dreading the chaos, but mostly I’m looking forward to making the holiday a magical time for this little one. Of course, that’s going to include brainwashing introducing her to some of my favourite Christmas movies! That’s why this year, I decided to dedicate my blogathon post to 5 Christmas Movies to Show My Daughter.

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The Snowman (1982)

Wait, don’t call Child Protection Services yet! I don’t mean the upcoming horror/thriller by the same name. I mean the classic British Christmas TV movie, The Snowman, where a boy builds a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve. It’s a magical story and features one of the most beautiful songs, ‘Walking in the Air’. We might even follow it up with the 2012 sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, but it still makes me cry!

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Shrek the Halls (2007)

How on Earth is Shrek the Halls 10 years old already?! Another short TV movie that’s been an annual event in my family since it was released. We’re big Shrek fans in my family (only the first 2 movies though) and we sadly know all the words to this! If you’ve never seen it, after the hustle and bustle of the Shrek family settling down on Christmas Eve, Donkey, Shrek & Fiona tell the tale of the night before Christmas…in their own special way!

christmas-in-july-the-muppet-christmas-carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppets were a huge part of my childhood, it was my favourite show when I was little and I’ve continued to love them ever since. In fact, the song ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ from the 2011 movie was the song my husband and I walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day! I’m hoping my daughter will have the same sense of humour as I do, so I’m sure she’ll love watching The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Whilst those are 3 movies that I think any child would easily enjoy, mine is going to have accept the fact that she’s going to have her Mum & Dad’s favourite Christmas movies ever forced upon her. Let’s start with Dad, shall we?

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Jingle All the Way (1996)

I can’t believe that 9 years ago I had no idea Jingle All the Way existed. I was invited to my (now) husband’s parents house over Christmas where they sat for their annual watch of this movie, and I loved every second. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to eat a cookie around me without me shouting ‘put that cookie down, NOW!’. So whether she loves it or hates it, a bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger is always needed at Christmas!

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

I talk far too much about the National Lampoon’s movies so I’ll keep this brief, but there’s no way it couldn’t have been in this list! I’m just dreading the moment in a few years time where my daughter will complain about having to watch it and exclaim ‘this movie is as old as you!’.

Finally, part of Drew’s tradition is to host a party of our favourite celebrities, and we all get to add a name to the guest list. I think it’s only fair that I throw Dan Stevens an invite this year, and carefully place as much mistletoe around the venue as possible!

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Movie Reviews

Review: Colossal (2017)

colossal-movie-review-2017I am SO hyped up and excited to tell you all about Colossal, but equally bummed out because I can’t actually tell you that much without spoiling a truly weird and wonderful cinematic experience! I’m not sure Jenna believed me when I told her I wanted to see this for the crazy plot, mainly because Dan Stevens is in it and I’m developing a bit of an obsession, but honestly, I’ve been on the lookout for a movie that is both new and a bit unique, rather than a remake or sequel.

Here’s what I can tell you about the plot. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is out of control and out of a job. Her party mentality forces her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) to kick her out and force her to move back to her hometown. Around that time, a giant monster is reported to have attacked the city of Seoul, and Gloria discovers that she is directly connected to this monster.

It takes a while for the movie to kick itself into gear, I’ll admit. The first 20 minutes are largely unnecessary (apart from that intriguing opening scene) and it begins to feel like a stereotypical romcom. If you can get past that though, the rest is a wild ride. This isn’t a romance movie, as much as you might be thinking, especially when Gloria’s childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) shows up. It’s also quite hilarious in moments, but it’s not a comedy. This is a drama that gets dark as hell towards the end. You’ve been warned!

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The whole main cast is wonderful. I haven’t seen much of Anne Hathaway but she’s a delight to watch in this, and not annoying in the slightest for playing such a destructive character. I love Jason Sudeikis’ comedies, but I’ve never seen him in a role like this, and whilst he’s not going to take home an Oscar for his performance, this dude can act! Dan Stevens is obviously wonderful (and British this time!) but his role is very minor.

What I really want to tell you though is to give this movie a chance. Watch the trailer, by all means, but know that the actual story is much bigger than you think it is. Don’t read up too much on it either, go in as blind as you can. It’s a miracle in 2017 to have a trailer actually give away very little about the story. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man: Homecoming!

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Colossal isn’t perfect. It’s messy at times, but it’s unique and I think it deserves so much credit for going out there and doing something different for a change. In a year full of sequels and remakes I have high hopes that Colossal will be in my Top 10 of 2017 by the end of the year! It gets 4 and a half out of 5 inflatable mattresses from me, an extra half point awarded for weirdness.

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