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?

ralph-breaks-the-internet-knowsmore-search-bar

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!

ralph-breaks-the-internet-cinderella-glass-slipper

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

fantastic-beasts-crimes-grindelwald-poster-2018Director: David Yates

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, Brontis Jodorowsky

Plot: Jack Sparrow Grindelwald has escaped imprisonment and had begun his mission of recruiting wizards to his cause. At least that’s what the likes of IMDB tell me. Mild spoilers ahead this time folks, because I need to rant.

My Thoughts: I’m not mad, I’m disappointed, and I don’t know where to start so excuse the word vomit that’s about to happen. How about we start with the fact that Grindelwald doesn’t really commit many crimes in this movie? He murders a few people (I don’t know who or why) and makes some funky blue flames, but is that really what the movie is about? How about we rename it to Fantastic Beasts: Who is Credence? What is Credence? Why is Credence?

Where is the magic here? The original Harry Potter movies were beautiful stories, perfect for watching with the family over the holidays. We got a really short segment of Newt and Leta during their time at Hogwarts and oh, how I didn’t want it to end. I miss that school hall, the Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons, the huge beautiful castle. That’s all I want. Not a stretched to breaking point thinly veiled plot with some magical creatures thrown in for good measure.

There are so many characters in this movie it’s impossible to keep track of them all, and throwing in romance arcs for the sake of it only made things worse. Jacob and Tina, even Queenie were great characters in the first movie but I felt like their personalities just disappeared in FB:CoG. I did enjoy Jude Law’s Dumbledore though, I wasn’t sure about that casting choice but he really made it work.

fantastic-beasts-crimes-grindelwald-poster-2018

As a normal movie sequel not part of the Wizarding World, it was a reasonably decent story that was simply half an hour too long and lacked emotion. As an addition to the Wizarding World, it was a huge disappointment for me. I’m always going to be extra critical though, I was practically raised on the Harry Potter books and movies! At the very least, it laid a lot of groundwork for the 3rd installment which I’m holding all my hopes for.

Best Bit: When we learned what Leta’s boggart turned into, it took me by complete surprise and absolutely broke me. It was a (pun not intended) fantastic bit of storytelling and it was so emotional. In fact she was my favourite character by far in the whole movie, she was so interesting! Slytherins always are though!

Worst Bit: So in the first 10 minutes we find out that the entire movie is really about finding out who Credence really is. 2 HOURS LATER we find out and honestly, was it a surprise to anyone? You can’t drag it out that long and expect your audience to not put two and two together.

Fun Trivia: Newt Scamander carries a wand, practices magic, and works for the Ministry of Magic even though he was expelled from Hogwarts, which puzzled several fans online especially since Hagrid wasn’t afforded those liberties. J.K. Rowling explained that the reason for this will be revealed throughout the series. (This made me lol. Is she going to explain all the other inaccuracies too?)

My Rating: 2 and a half Nifflers out of 5. Let’s face it, that cheeky little buggar was the real star of this movie.

fantastic-beasts-crimes-grindelwald-niffler

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.

the-christmas-chronicles-kurt-russell-santa-claus

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.

the-christmas-chronicles-elf-with-chainsaw

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.

the-grinch-2018-benedict-cumberbatch-max

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!

the-grinch-movie-2018-screaming-goat

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

the-house-with-a-clock-in-its-walls-2018Director: Eli Roth

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Owen Vaccaro, Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Sunny Suljic, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Braxton Bjerken, Lorenza Izzo, Perla Middleton

Plot: When a young boy named Lewis is orphaned he moves in with his magical Uncle in a large creaky house with a mysterious ticktock sound. Together, Lewis and his magical Uncle unlock the secrets behind the noise in the walls.

My Thoughts: After being subjected to the trailer for this movie more times than I ever needed to, as well as being plagued by the radio advert whilst at work, I made fun of it and vowed I would never actually watch it. I realise it’s based on a novel of the same name but come on, there’s not an ounce of creativity in that title! I guess I at least can’t claim false advertising…it does what it says on the tin!

However, I found myself with a free evening and nothing in the cinema with a decent start time than this and Mile 22. I very, very almost went with the latter hoping it would be so bad it would be good, but that day I’d read a few reasonably positive reviews about that house with a clock in the walls, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

You know, it wasn’t actually that bad. It suffers from trying to fit in with a few too many genres at once so doesn’t get a chance to shine in any of them, but there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half of your time. It also makes a decent family movie for the spooky season.

house-clock-walls-owen-vaccaro-jack-black

Best Bit: Cate Blanchett is just amazing in this as Jack Black’s neighbor. Her sarcastic wit was what really kept my interest!

Worst Bit: Jack Black’s head on a baby’s body…Ryan Reynolds just about gets away with having baby legs but this was just so wrong!

Fun Trivia: The bus stops across the street from a theater with the movie, “Space Man from Pluto” on the marquee. The head of Universal Studios wanted “Space Man from Pluto” to be the title of another Amblin Entertainment film produced by Steven Spielberg – but the director on that 1985 film kept the script’s original title, “Back to the Future.”

My Rating: 2 and a half pairs of steampunk goggles. My local cinema was giving away cardboard versions of these which have given me much entertainment as I attempt to convince my 11-month old to keep them on her head long enough for a photo!

house-clock-walls-steampunk-goggles

Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

goodbye-christopher-robin-movie-review-2017Aww man I broke my ‘post every 3 days’ streak! I blame the little one, who this week decided that sleeping through the night actually wasn’t all that fun, and it’s much better to wake up several times instead. Oh, and also to never nap in the day either. Today’s post is sponsored by takeaway pizza and energy drinks…enjoy the nonsense and endless typos!

Sleep deprivation and complex movies don’t mix well so I decided to give something a little lighter a try this week and watched Goodbye Christopher Robin. I’ll admit I don’t know the story behind how that silly old pooh bear was created and you won’t find me turning down a movie starring Domhnall Gleeson so it seemed like the perfect choice! If you didn’t know either, the movie follows the story of creator Alan Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie – who seems to be in everything lately) and his son Christopher Robin/Billy Moon (played at different ages by Will Tilston & Alex Lawther).

You know what? Every new parent needs to see this movie. If you feel bad about yourself as a parent – watch this movie. Because Billy Moon’s parents sucked. I know it was the ‘norm’ in those times to hire a nanny who basically raised your children for you, but Alan and Daphne especially were so cold towards Billy that it made my heart hurt.

goodbye-christopher-robin-domhnall-gleeson

My favourite chunk of the movie is when Alan is left to look after his son alone and the two begin to bond in the woods. They are such magical moments! It’s also quite fascinating to see where the book characters came from, and how they got their names. Then it takes a turn for the worst again. You know those terrible parents who enter their kids in beauty pageants? It can’t be worse than pushing your kid into a bear enclosure for a photo opportunity!

And then of course we have the inescapable heart breaking moment. You guys, I cried my heart out. My little one was having a rare nap in my arms at the time and she nearly needed a clothes change from my tears. Oh motherhood, why have you turned me into such a pussy? I knew the moment was coming, the start of the whole movie alerts you to what’s going to happen, but still! Ugh.

goodbye-christopher-robin-margot-robbie

Of course, Alan gets his redemption in a way, but I never, ever warmed to Daphne. I wonder if it was intentional, but I still hated her by the end of it all.

Gosh doesn’t it sound like I hated this movie? I loved it! It just made me feel all the feels.  Also like a much better parent than I feel I am 99% of the time. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already. A solid 4 out of 5 silly old bears from me.

goodbye-christopher-robin-rating-score-review

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.

beauty-and-the-beast-emma-watson-dan-stevens

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?

beauty-and-the-beast-gaston-luke-evans

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.

beauty-and-the-beast-five-dozen-eggs