Movie Reviews

Black Widow (2021)

black-widow-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Cate Shortland

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Olga Kurylenko, Ray Winstone, O.T. Fagbenle, William Hurt, Simona Zivkovska, Yolanda Lynes

Plot: Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) finds herself reunited with her long-lost sister, Yelena (Florence Pugh). Begrudgingly, they both work together to take down the force that ruined their childhoods and turned them into trained killers.

My Thoughts: Can we talk about how great it is to witness the Marvel opening title on the big screen again? Actual chills. Black Widow and No Time to Die are going to be the most surreal cinema experiences for me because of all the delays. Black Widow has never been one of my favourite Avengers, but I was so excited to see Florence Pugh in the MCU, and she didn’t disappoint. She’s easily the best thing about this movie – no offence to Scarlett or anyone else but Florence just dominated.

Black Widow has a dark, upsetting opening act that surprised me. It’s no secret that Natasha had a rough upbringing of course but having it all spelled out on screen is something different entirely. I worried that would be the tone of the whole movie, but it quickly lightened up once the sisters met. Ddavid Harbour creates a lot of laughs and Rachel Weisz is also great in her role, but the aging is a little odd. Marvel has so much technology behind them so the decision to not try and age Rachel Weisz at all for the scenes in the present was weird.

I had a great time though, and I wish this movie came out before Endgame. It would have given Black Widow so much more character and made her death have a bigger impact. Of course, it would mean the end-credits scene couldn’t exist, and this was a good one. Suddenly, a character from Falcon and the Winter Soldier makes much more sense! I’m really excited to see where that leads.

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Best Bit: Basically, any time Florence Pugh did anything at all, my face was like a child on Christmas day. I don’t know what was better, her love for the vest that she bought with all the pockets (I want one) or the way she mocked Natasha posing all the time and her disgust when she tried it for herself.

Worst Bit: *MINOR SPOILERS* So, I guess the controversial topic will be the character Taskmaster. I didn’t read enough of the comics to really know the character or form an opinion but clearly the character was a man in the comics. I don’t have a problem with Taskmaster being a woman in the movies, it actually fits in really well with the narrative, but I just feel like Marvel already pulled this reveal stunt in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Ghost. You know, the whole ‘this costume looks like it was made for a man but HEY, there’s a woman inside!’

Fun Trivia: Black Widow’s wrist-mounted tasers are colored yellow. This is an homage to Natasha Romanova’s classic Black Widow costume, which was an all-black suit with yellow bracelets.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 shots of vodka that I wish I was drinking instead of the travel mug of tea I took to the cinema with me.

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Movie Reviews

Little Women (2019)

little-women-2019-movie-review-posterDirector: Greta Gerwig

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, James Norton

Plot: Based on the classic novel, Little Women is the story of the 4 March sisters each eager to live their own lives, as told by one of the four herself, Jo March.

My Thoughts: Are we talking enough about Florence Pugh? Because I don’t think we are. In January 2019 she went from an actress I’d never heard of to my favourite actress of the year. Which is how I found myself watching Little Women after Christmas. I’ve never read the novel, nor watched the original movie, and I don’t think there will ever be a day I can say I love period dramas but damn it, I will watch one for Florence Pugh!

I actually ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. With a cast like this, it’s hard not to enjoy it, and Saoirse Ronan was made for roles like Jo March. I found the sisters slightly irritating to begin with but it was so easy to warm to them. Timothée Chalamet gets more interesting the more I see of him too. Were we meant to both love his character and want to slap him at the same time? Because that’s how I felt!

From watching Friends all those years ago I knew there was going to be an upsetting moment somewhere along the way but I’d forgotten who/when/why. Ugh, even though you know what’s coming before it happens it doesn’t make it any easier. Why am I like this? When I left the cinema I was positive I liked the movie, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I actually enjoyed it. It’s one of those I need to sleep on.

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Best Bit: Florence Pugh having a tantrum is big, floofy (yes, spellchecker, floofy is a word, take your red, squiggly line away from here) skirts is what I live for. Also, there’s a scene in which she’s wearing a flower crown and dancing in a circle and I got Midsommar vibes. So need to see that movie again.

Worst Bit: Time jumps! I’m not thick enough that I need a ‘7 years earlier’ stamp in every scene but oh man was I confused. One sister had a fringe in the old scenes that she doesn’t have in the present scenes but that was honestly the only way I could tell which timeline we were on.

Fun Trivia: Emma Watson took over the role of Meg March from Emma Stone, who became unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with promoting The Favourite (2018). Ironically, Stone previously took over the role of Mia in La La Land (2016) after Watson dropped out of the project due to the commitment of her role as Belle in the Disney live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (2017).
I love both Emmas but this definitely worked out for the best.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 peaches that thankfully Timeothée Chalamet was not holding at any moment in this movie.

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Movie Reviews

Fighting with My Family (2019)

fighting-with-my-family-movie-2019Director: Stephen Merchant

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast: Florence Pugh, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Stephen Merchant

Plot: Saraya Knight was born into a wrestling family. Her family perform wrestling shows across the country and even run their own wrestling school. Saraya and her brother Zak get the opportunity to try out for the WWE but troubles start when only Saraya is picked. Based on the true story of UK-wrestler Paige.

My Thoughts: I’m not a wrestling fan at all but I’m a sucker for Dwayne Johnson and I love British comedies, so I was really looking forward to seeing Fighting with My Family. As it turned out, despite a couple of cameos that didn’t mean anything to me, you don’t need to be a wrestling fan to enjoy this great little movie!

I think it was marketed as a pure comedy, but it actually has a lot of depth to it. I wouldn’t say it’s as perfect as Little Miss Sunshine, but it’s got that vibe for sure. When the movie is quite serious most of the time, it makes those few comedic moments that much funnier, and I laughed out loud quite a few times during this one. Stephen Merchant both wrote and directed this movie, and he did a fantastic job.

Dwayne Johnson only has a few scenes but they’re great moments. Vince Vaughn was a delight too! I don’t think I’ve seen him since he was the coach/captain/whatever in Hacksaw Ridge, and he’s back as a coach here. Nick Frost is as funny as you would expect him to be and Cersei Lannister Lena Headey is almost unrecognisable as a rock-chick come wrestler. And that’s just the supporting cast!

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2019 is turning out to be quite a pleasant surprise so far for movies, I really hope the trend continues!

Best Bit: The scene at the family dinner table where Saraya’s family were doing their best to be polite was brilliant. It was British humour at it’s finest. That and the end credits had me in stitches!

Worst Bit: Saraya and Zak’s brother seemed like a completely unnecessary character to me. All he did was be released from prison and give some advice to Zak, and that was about it. I thought he might end up dragging Zak further down when he started to spiral out of control, but it never got that dark.

Fun Trivia: Dwayne Johnson was filming Fast & Furious 6 (2013) in the UK when he discovered the 2012 Channel 4 documentary “The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family” on TV in his hotel room about a crazy English family of wrestlers. The ‘underdog’ aspect of it instantly appealed to him, prompting him to contact British writer Stephen Merchant about developing the story into a feature-length biopic.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 monster truck tyres that I sure as hell couldn’t flip over multiple times like those badass ladies did.

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