Movie Reviews

Jungle Cruise (2021)

jungle-cruise-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Runtime: 127 Minutes

Main Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Edgar Ramírez, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti, Veronica Falcón, Dani Rovira, Sulem Calderon

Plot: Based on the Disneyland ride, Jungle Cruise is the story of Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and how she and her brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall) hire the help of local skipper Frank (Dwayne Johnson) in order to find a long-lost ancient tree with healing powers that could change the future of medicine.

My Thoughts: Well hello, summer blockbusters! I enjoyed a year of indie releases but I have to admit, it’s so much fun going to the cinema for a big, loud, dumb blockbuster movie starring Dwayne Johnson. Sorry Scorsese, but that is cinema *chef’s kiss*. Jungle Cruise is one of my favourite Disneyland rides and although I couldn’t fathom how a boat ride full of Dad jokes could be turned into a 2-hour movie, I’ve been excited for it ever since it was announced. It’s a lot of fun and a perfect summer movie for families, although there were quite a few jump scares!

I’m just learning that Jack Whitehall isn’t well liked on Film Twitter? That’s fair enough, but let’s not get hasty and put him on the same shelf as that other UK comedian who we all find annoying, I can’t even bring myself to say his name. The thing with Jack Whitehall is he’s a bit of a posh d**khead, but he knows he is and that’s all part of his humour. He must have the hardest working agent in the world to get this role but he’s perfect for it, as is everyone else in this movie, to be honest. Dwayne Johnson is all over action movies lately and he brings the charisma and energy you expect from him (but I’m going to be gutted when I finally get back to Disneyland and he isn’t my skipper). Emily Blunt is as gorgeous as ever and kicking ass which we love to see. Jesse Plemons is having the time of his life!

The whole thing has a Pirates of the Caribbean vibe which is expected, and the long runtime whizzes by with the action starting straight after the opening credits. It was so great watching it in a busy cinema screen and being part of the buzz. It was the first time a cinema trip felt ‘normal’ since I went to see Rise of Skywalker I think. If this is the start of Disney continuing to turn their rides into movies I’m here for it, but the only way to turn It’s a Small World into a movie would be for it to be a 15-rated horror movie, thank you please.

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Best Bit: I wanted to watch those early scenes on loop for the whole duration. Dwayne Johnson being the skipper for the cruise full of tourists and telling the jokes that the actual skippers at Disneyland do was just so magical for me. If I closed my eyes I could be back there, celebrating my 30th birthday with a churro in one hand!

Worst Bit: I’m so glad my little one isn’t old enough to see this yet because there were so many parents exchanging looks after a certain character was killed off and shouted ‘scheisse!’. The kids in the row in front of me were laughing out loud and repeating it and although it might be a ‘worst bit’ for the parents, it was a ‘best bit’ for me!

Fun Trivia: There are several elements from the park attraction featured in the trailer. The most notable is the “back side of water” gag that most of the cast members use during the attraction.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 suitcases belonging to McGregor that got dumped into the river.

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Movie Reviews

A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

a-quiet-place-part-2-movie-poster-reviewDirector: John Krasinski

Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Main Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Wayne Duvall

Plot: Following the events of the first movie, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and her remaining family stumble across an old family friend (Cillian Murphy) and their hopes of survival are raised when Regan (Millicent Simmonds) thinks she’s deciphered a code heard on the radio.

My Thoughts: It felt so surreal and bittersweet to be at the cinema for A Quiet Place II, more than a year after it was originally meant to be released. Seconds into the movie I also realised that although I saw the original at the cinema too, it terrified me and I also had company – this time I was alone (with a room of socially distanced strangers I guess, but still). The movie opened with an extended version of the trailer we all must have seen 100 times now, with a glimpse into how the disaster began. It was so tense on the big screen and of course the first jump scare got me by surprise, curse you car horn!

John Krasinski has done it again, folks. Part II is every bit scary, bleak and tense as the original. There are some things that don’t work quite as well. In the original we don’t have a clue where the story is going or who, if anyone, is going to survive. Part II sets out a very clear path and doesn’t deviate from that course, but the wild ride to get there is well worth it. The other members of the Abbott family take a back seat in this movie, leaving Regan to take control of the story and the screen time. It’s a wise choice though, as her deafness creates some prime opportunities for scares.

The biggest thing that confused me was the overall theme that the movie was going for. It was mentioned more than once about how the disaster had changed everyone, how the people left weren’t worth saving and I thought that was going to be a bigger deal than it was. You know, where the real monsters are us humans rather than the creepy things they’re all trying to avoid? Maybe it’ll be something that carries into the third movie.

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Best Bit: I enjoyed the whole movie but the flashback part at the very beginning was just done so well. It was 100% the right decision to not include it in the first movie but it was interesting to see how it started and how quickly everything went to hell. If John Krasinski puts his finger to his lips, you best shut up fast!

Worst Bit: Oh, Marcus (Noah Jupe) was so annoying. How has that kid survived this far, man?! Talk about terrible choices. Other than that, you can tell who in the room had seen the original because of the audible groan when Evelyn walks past that nail in the floorboards – none of us will forget that traumatic moment!

Fun Trivia: Emily Blunt admitted that she was initially hesitant to join the project as she didn’t feel like she could top the first movie. However, she was on board after she heard John Krasinski ‘s pitch of the first bus scene. She also admitted that the first take of that scene is in the movie as she was also terrified in real life by the stunt, which had the bus coming at her at 40 miles per hour.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 cloths that you should TRIPLE CHECK are lying on the door catch correctly!

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Movie Reviews

Mini Reviews: Movies Watched in January

Since I’ve started logging all of my reviews on my Letterboxd account, I can’t help but feel jittery about those movies logged in my film diary that I didn’t write anything for. I like things like that to be all uniform and neat (why I can’t apply this to my house I don’t know) and so I think a monthly round-up of the movies that forgotten about is a good idea. I get to write a little about everything I’ve seen, and my film diary will be satisfying to look at.

Of course, it’s already mid-February so I best catch up quick! There were 4 movies I saw in January that never got any love on the blog, so here they are now in brief…

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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I missed Bad Times at the cinema, they only showed it for about a week and always at weird times, so I was desperate to finally give it a watch. I thoroughly enjoyed the weirdness of it all and the performances all-round were stellar. Highlights were the scene with Cynthia Erivo singing and clapping to hide Jeff Bridges digging up the floorboards, and Chris Hemsworth in all his glory. Sign me up for his weird Fight Club!

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Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Shamefully I’ve never seen the original Mary Poppins, so I think I enjoyed this sequel(?) more than the average blogger. The sets and costumes were gorgeous and the whole movie had a wonderful charm about it. It’s just a shame none of the songs were particularly memorable, although enjoyable at the time. Lin-Manuel Miranda is an absolute treasure and I demand he be more present on our screens!

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Stan & Ollie (2018)

I’m slightly too young to appreciate the comedic duo Laurel & Hardy so I was really looking forward to seeing Stan & Ollie, almost as an educational watch more than anything. The movie was interesting enough, the performances absolutely fine, but I’m baffled at how a movie about comedians turned out to be quite so dull. The only thing I really loved about it was Stan’s wife’s cold, deadpan humour. She was ace.

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Widows (2018)

How/why I missed Widows at the cinema is beyond me. I was so excited to see it, and oh boy it did not disappoint. Viola Davis was absolutely terrifying, I would 100% not mess with her. The political side-plot got me confused for a while but I caught up eventually. Plus, isn’t it great when a movie pulls a sudden twist on you that you never saw coming? I can’t recommend this one enough – it would have been in my Top 10 of 2018 if I’d watched it earlier.

Blogathons · Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Starring Real Life Couples

Thursday Movie Picks

Happy Thursday, everyone! Here in the UK we’re finally starting to see glimpses of Spring arriving. After we had our best summer ever last year, this winter is feeling particularly long, so I can’t wait until the day that I can think about not blasting the heating wherever I am. Anyway, Thursday brings a new topic for Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves, and this week we’re talking about movies starring real life couples.

This is a particularly tough week for me as I generally don’t know a lot about the lives of most actors and actresses, but there are definitely some standout choices here. Let’s do this!

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Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively, Green Lantern (2011) 

My blog went a whole 2 years before I mentioned Green Lantern. That was a pretty good run, I think. I’m in the handful of people who enjoyed that movie for what it was, although once I got invested in the comics afterward I could see what a disaster it was. Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively weren’t together during the creation of this movie – but it’s how they met and if the Green Lantern movie is responsible for creating this beautiful couple, it can’t be all bad – can it?

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Emily Blunt & John Krasinski, A Quiet Place (2018)

Never will I ever forget the day I learned my sweet Jim Halpert was married (sorry, oh wonderful husband of mine). I don’t follow celebrity gossip much but these guys just seem so sweet and genuine, and I’m such a huge fan of both of their works. A Quiet Place, in particular, is one of my favorites, and it’s largely responsible for me finally getting into the horror genre.

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Melissa McCarthy & Ben Falcone, EVERY MOVIE EVER.

Okay but seriously, how amazing is it that Melissa McCarthy’s husband appears in practically every movie she’s in? I honestly find as much joy in spotting him as I did in spotting Stan Lee in the Marvel movies. I almost choked when I saw him in Can You Ever Forgive Me? but it was fascinating to then learn that he was cast well before she even was! I can see 2 movies in development for Melissa on IMDB at the moment, I wonder if he’ll be in those…

Movie Reviews

Review: A Quiet Place (2018)

A-Quiet-Place-movie-review-2018I know this isn’t a big deal for most people (or any people actually, other than my Mum) but can you believe I actually went to the cinema to see A Quiet Place? With my blogging buddy Jenna no less? Me, who only even started watching horror movies in recent years, and even then only at home in broad daylight, went to the cinema at nighttime to see A Quiet Place. If life were a video game, I just unlocked an achievement right there. It’s actually all my fellow bloggers’ fault for hyping this movie up so much and getting me excited.

Similar to last year’s Get Out (2017), this movie has been talked about so much now I think everyone knows the plot, but if not I’ll quickly recap it now, seeing as that’s what I do anyway! A Quiet Place is set in the very near future, where most of Earth’s population has been wiped out by an invasion of aliens who are totally blind but with an excellent sense of hearing. Because of this, Lee (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their children are forced to live in near-silence in order to survive.

Because of this, the majority of the movie is extremely quiet, if not silent, with very little or no soundtrack in the background. That alone ramps up the tension to near breaking point in the darkened cinema, so even though the jump scares are mostly such simple things, they scare the absolute pants off of you. Or me at least, anyway. Once you finally get settled and used to the lack of noise, something happens to set you on edge again. The pacing is really clever in that regard.

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Of course, it’s not a horror without someone doing something stupid. Guess what? Evelyn is pregnant. Lady, what on earth were you thinking?! I don’t care if you’ve already had 3 kids, you can’t give birth in silence and raise a baby that way. Could you not have taken some condoms from the supermarket?

All jokes aside though, A Quiet Place is a really, really good movie. It’s tense and scary enough to give you a real fright when you watch it, but for someone with an overactive imagination like me, it won’t give you nightmares afterwards. It’s the only time a horror hasn’t played on my mind actually, but I think that’s because the scare factor is making a sound, and back in reality I know that I’m okay to make noise, so I was quite happy. I’m odd, I know.

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Can we take a moment here to appreciate John Krasinski? Our adorable and hilarious Jim Halpert has only gone and directed and starred in what will probably be hailed as 2018’s greatest horror movie. Michael Scott would be proud.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed A Quiet Place. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to see it again anytime soon, but I can highly recommend it as a great horror movie for the wuss’s like me to go and see. I think I saw on Facebook earlier this week that it’s getting a sequel too – although I’m not sure how to feel about that. Anyway, 4 and a half toy rockets from me. Just take out the batteries, please.

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