Toy Story 4 (2019)

toy-story-4-movie-review-posterDirector: Josh Cooley

Genre: Family, Adventure, Comedy, Animation

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan Michael-Key, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki

Plot: Now Andy’s toys have settled in their new home with Bonnie, Woody is finding himself left behind in the closet when it comes to playtime. Ever faithful to his child, when Bonnie is upset about attending Kindergarten Orientation Day, he hitches a ride with her and witnesses the creation of Forky, a toy Bonnie makes out of trash. She’s besotted with him, and Woody makes it his goal to keep Forky safe and Bonnie happy.

My Thoughts: I was one of the first people to rage when Toy Story 4 was announced. Toy Story 3 gave us the perfect ending, and so another movie felt like a cash grab, which would have tainted a perfect trilogy. The hype and my general love of Disney/Pixar and Toy Story won me over in the last few weeks and I was dying to see #4, although I was still slightly hesitant and a little pessimistic about the new character, Forky, who the entire world seems to have gone nuts for.

Well – it took about 5 seconds of Forky’s screen time for me to fall in love. You just can’t help yourself, he’s too funny. I remember feeling the same way about the other sequels that introduced new toys, but Pixar are just too good at what they do. The simple thing of returning to the Toy Story world was just magical, and it was so nice to see the cinema full of other adults who have grown up with these movies. I honestly got goosebumps at the music!

Bo Peep is back – shamefully I don’t even remember her being absent from the last movie but oh my god is Bo Peep a badass! Now a lost toy, she leads a little ragtag bunch of other toys and it reminded me so much of Mad Max. She was a real highlight of the movie, much of which takes place in an antique store, home to the kind of creepy Gabby Gabby with a broken voicebox and her cronies who scared me more than the entirety of Brightburn (2019) which I watched the night before. This movie is a U?! Mind you – Sid’s toys in the original movie were just as scary.

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I haven’t mentioned the man of the moment yet – Keanu Reeves, who I couldn’t avoid lately even if I wanted to. Keanu voices Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt driver who was ditched after his commercial oversold him. Guess what toy my little girl is going to be treated to come payday? My husband is going to kill me…

Best Bit: When Forky is brought home and doesn’t understand that he’s a toy, he keeps shouting ‘trash!’ and jumping into whatever wastebin he can find, leaving poor Woody up all night every night throwing him back onto the bed into Bonnie’s arms. It was just too funny, and oh Woody, I feel for you!

Worst Bit: Curse my STUPID Mum feelings – I cried 3 times during this movie. The ending got me, of course, I think you’d have to be a monster to not get a little emotional at the ending, but the occasions where a little girl was upset and crying? My heart actually hurt just watching it. I can’t deal with it!

Fun Trivia: Boo from Monsters Inc (2001) can be seen behind Bonnie at kindergarten orientation when she creates Forky.
I THOUGHT that was Boo! I didn’t spot the pizza planet truck though, good job I’m going to see the movie again this weekend.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 bins of trash…hide them from Forky!

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Aladdin (2019)

aladdin-movie-poster-review-2019Director: Guy Ritchie

Genre: Family, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 128 Minutes

Main Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Numan Acar

Plot: “Street Rat” Aladdin is convinced by the Vizier Jafar to venture into the Cave of Wonders to seek out the magic lamp – with the power to make wishes come true.

My Thoughts: It feels like the internet has been complaining about Will Smith playing the Genie for years now – and now we can finally see him in the role! I honestly felt neutral about the casting choice…I mean, would anyone have been happy with any casting choice? All I ever saw were complaints, not suggestions. Anyway – I thought Will Smith did a brilliant job. The Genie’s story was slightly changed anyway, and I thought Will brought a ‘Fresh Prince’ vibe to the character that really worked. Colour me impressed!

In fact, with the exception of Jafar (he shouldn’t have been so young and good-looking!) the casting choices here were second to none. Mena Massoud is adorable as Aladdin, he has the boyish charms he was meant to have, and Naomi Scott takes the already wonderful character of Jasmine and gives her this sense of power that she never had before.

I feel like the general consensus is that people don’t want these remakes but honestly? Keep them coming, Disney! Will they ever replace the originals? Absolutely not – but if they’re bringing a new, younger audience to these beloved stories who don’t want to watch ‘dated’ animated movies, then I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

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Best Bit: Guy Ritchie as Director seemed like an odd choice but he’s injected a lot of humour into the movie that wasn’t there before, and it works so well. My favourite moment will always be the A Whole New World sequence, but Prince Ali introducing himself at the palace comes a very, very close second.

Worst Bit: It was a bit too long (how is this almost 40 minutes longer than the original, there isn’t that much new content!) and Jafar is the weak link here. He isn’t menacing, and I thought his unsightly appearance in the original added a lot to his character. Am I complaining because Jafar is hot in 2019? Yes, I guess I am.

Fun Trivia: During the scene when Aladdin asks Genie to “make him a prince”, Genie produces an actual prince in the background. The prince is dressed in colors of pink & lime green, the same colors in the title logo & a nod to Will Smith’s comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990). So, the Genie created the Fresh Prince for Aladdin.

My Rating: 4 and a half jars of jam that Prince Ali can’t stop talking about – better get some bread!

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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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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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Incredibles 2 (2018)

incredibles-2-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Brad Bird

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Main Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Bush, Brad Bird, Phil LaMarr, Jonathan Banks

Plot: Elastigirl teams up with entrepreneur and superhero advocate Winston Deavor on a mission to make all ‘Supers’ legal again, whilst Mr Incredible stays at home with a mission of his own – looking after their three children.

My Thoughts: Boy am I glad that I caught up on the original Incredibles movie before seeing the sequel, because it literally picks up exactly where the original left off 14 years ago. It’s absolutely amazing comparing the same scene in both movies because you can see just how far animation technology has come in those years.

I’ll get straight to the point – I really loved it. Maybe it’s the soppy parent in me, but I enjoyed every second! Sure, you can smell the twist coming a mile away (it’s kind of the same as the original anyway) but I think we need to remember that kids are the main audience for this movie, and it’ll shock and surprise most of them.

I imagine I’m easily pleased but as great as all the superhero action was, it was the family moments that I enjoyed the most. It’s just those stereotypical moments that are absurd yet so true. I remember struggling with my homework and my Mum wasn’t any help at all because she couldn’t understand it herself! I remember those mornings as a teenager where I would decide that I hated everything and every one. Now, as a parent myself, I understand those moments where simply trying to keep a very mobile baby alive is exhausting!

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Best Bit: Jack Jack’s powers. In fact, any time Jack Jack was even on screen. He absolutely stole the scene throughout the entire movie!

Worst Bit: For the movie itself, it was probably just a tad too long. Also – how bizarre was the short beforehand, Bao? The moment where the Mum ate her dumpling child had our whole screen laugh in shocked confusion. Now I’ve looked it up I understand it, but it was one of the most confusing things I’ve seen!

Fun Trivia: A typo on the movie theatre marquis where Tony is dropped off towards the end of the movie reads “A113”, one of the most famous recurring Easter Eggs. Several Pixar producers and animators studied at California Institute of the Arts in classroom A113 and this number appears in every Pixar film.

My Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 cookie num nums, which you’ll need to keep handy…

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Going Off Topic (#4) I fell off the blogging wagon and landed in Disneyland Paris

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I’ve been for a while, and I’m so sorry! Turns out being pregnant kind of sucks sometimes. Between all the sleeping, nausea, bathroom breaks and panicking, I wasn’t leaving myself with much time to actually watch anything, let alone blog about it. I’m into the second trimester now though, and feeling more lively, which was good timing as I’ve just got back from Disneyland Paris!

It was a trip I’ve had booked for a long time now with my husband and 4 of our friends. In fact, it’s the first holiday we’ve been on as a group of friends! We had the best time and got far too much shopping done, but we couldn’t resist the pins and a couple of outfits for our baby girl! That’s right! We had an elective gender scan booked the night before we traveled, and we’re having a girl. I’m over the moon!

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Although I haven’t been watching much, I’ve got some reading done over the last few weeks. I read the first book in Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, Mr. Mercedes (LOVED it) and I’m actually over halfway in to the second book now, Finders Keepers. In between those books, a blogging friend of mine, Chris Widdop emailed me and asked if I would be interested in reading one of his novels, Velcro: The Ninja Kat. I jumped at the opportunity and Chris kindly gifted me the whole trilogy. I’ll have my review posted soon! Chris, you’re a talented guy.

I watched the first episode of Fargo: Season 3 before flying to Paris. I’m a huge fan of Season 1, and I thought Season 2 was pretty good too, but half way into the first episode of Season 3 I almost gave up. Too many characters were being introduced with no hint of a real plot, but I’m glad I stuck it out because I was hooked by the end. I’m really interested to see where this leads.

Also on my radar is 13 Reasons Why. This seems to be the show on everyone’s minds right now and I’m trying to stay away from reviews until I can watch it myself. I get the gist of what it’s about and the news of a Season 2 has confused me, but I won’t look into it any further. I have a feeling this show won’t take me long to get through!

I’ve been avoiding talking about movies because of how terribly I’ve done. I’ve watched 3 movies in 2 weeks! How bad is that! I watched Aladdin with my husband before our Disney trip because he hadn’t seen it since he was little, and I forgot how much I love that movie. Adam Driver’s SNL sketch of ‘A Whole New World’ has ruined that scene for me though. No, no, that’s a bad choice of wording. I’d actually prefer Adam Driver’s version slotted in to the original movie!

I FINALLY got to watch Get Out, after feeling like the only person in the world who hadn’t seen it. I went in virtually blind as many of you recommended, and I enjoyed it. I wish I loved it though, but I think the hype killed it for me a bit. It was fascinating, and funny in a ‘should I be laughing at this’ kind of way but the twists weren’t so shocking to me. That ending was absolutely genius though, I’ll give it that!

We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on opening night at our nearest IMAX, and it was hella fun. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Rocket any more than I already did, but I just fell for that little trash panda! I still prefer the original, but I knew more of the soundtrack in that one, and I’m a sucker for an origin story. Unless it’s Batman. I’m so fed up of his origin story.

So, I’ve been playing catch up on everyone else’s blogs, but here are some of my favourite posts that I read today:

The Punk Theory shared 5 of her Favourite Shows from when she was little.

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger reviews my all-time favourite romcom, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Rambling Film reminded me that Odd Thomas needs to be pushed to the top of my watch list.

Epileptic Moondancer reviews Get Out perfectly!

Two Dollar Cinema reviews my favourite trashy movie of the moment, Collateral Beauty.

Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

beauty-and-the-beast-2017-reviewYou want to know the only thing that moving house hasn’t stopped me from doing? Going to see my all-time favourite childhood movie being turned into a live action remake! Plus, with the week off work we’ve had, it meant getting to see it while everyone else was either in school or work. Empty screen, result! Also meant that I could sing along without being kicked out, bonus!

Normally our cherished movies being remade is a reason to sulk and moan, but I’ve been so excited since Disney announced Beauty and the Beast was the next to be revisited. I didn’t need a new angle, a new story, I just wanted to see that wonderful old animation get the live action treatment. I was so impressed with the casting! Hermoine was my idol growing up so I knew Emma Watson would nail the role, and Josh Gad is so perfect for LeFou I swear his animated counterpart was drawn with him in mind already. Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen could do no wrong in my mind, and although I wasn’t 100% on board with Luke Evans as Gaston, I was open-minded.

Thankfully, the story hasn’t been changed much at all. The plot holes that the die-hard Disney fans picked up on have been filled, and we got a lot more backstory into the Beast and Belle herself. We didn’t need it of course, but it was interesting at least. I’m sure it’s going to be a sour point for some critics, but this is how I feel; I love cake and chocolate, and if someone gave me more than I could eat, I don’t see that as a bad thing.

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Let me tell you what I loved. Hearing my favourite songs remade. I genuinely shed a tear during Belle’s song, it was perfect. Yes, Emma Watson has been through the auto tune several times, but she probably still sounds better than I do singing in the car. Gaston! Luke Evans completely won me over, I’m converted. LUMIERE. That wonderful candlestick went from being an okay character in the original to completely stealing my heart in the remake. He stole the show in every scene he was in! Also, that snowball fight was brilliant.

Here’s my little nitpicks. I was so excited to see Josh Gad, but he completely overdid LeFou, and I didn’t like the voice he put on for it. The bromance was already evident in the original, and I just don’t see the need to push it so hard like he did. They changed Gaston’s song too, and I still don’t know how I feel about it. Still, when that’s all I can really complain about, it’s not half bad is it?

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All in all, I loved it. These live action remakes really are strong. I wasn’t a massive fan of the original Cinderella and Jungle Book, but the remakes won me over, and Beauty and the Beast was just as strong. I’m excited for whichever one is next! This movie gets 4 and a half out of five dozen eggs.

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