First Man (2018)

first-man-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Damien Chazelle

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 141 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Olivia Hamilton, Ciarán Hinds, Pablo Schreiber

Plot: The real-life story behind Neil Armstrong, and how he found himself leading the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon on 20th July 1969.

My Thoughts: Not gonna lie, I had to really push myself to go and see First Man. It had great reviews, it’s directed by the amazing Damien Chazelle, it stars Ryan Gosling, it’s in the running for the Oscars – it was ticking so many boxes for me. But it’s a long movie, and it’s a subject I honestly don’t have much interest in. As usual, I’m really glad I went in the end!

First Man probably takes 3rd place in Damien Chazelle’s movies for me, but it’s still a fantastic movie. I didn’t expect it to have so many ‘space-y’ moments, and the opening in particular quite literally took my breath away. Then you have the heartbreaking family moments that had me openly sobbing in the middle of the room – not embarrassing at all. So – it almost takes the dramatic elements of Whiplash (2014) and the heart-crushing elements of La La Land (2016).

Ryan Gosling was great throughout in a calm, and fairly quiet role, with a much bigger personality bubbling on the surface. I don’t know Neil Armstrong at all well enough to know how well Gosling matches up, but still. Claire Foy didn’t get as many moments as I thought she would, but the scene where she tells Neil to explain to his kids that there’s a chance he won’t survive the mission was powerful as hell.

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Best Bit: No surprises here, but the best moment was watching Neil first walk on the moon. Especially when you find out what he brought with him…I felt it coming and I was a wreck! A moment that I wish I’d been able to witness in IMAX to be honest.

Worst Bit: Not a ‘bit’ in particular, but it felt like the first hour or so raced by, and then the pacing fell to a snail pace, which really doesn’t help when the movie is 20 minutes too long to begin with!

Fun Trivia: In the breakfast scene just before Apollo 11 launched, the artist sketching Armstrong is Chris Calle, son of the NASA artist Paul Calle. Chris was playing his father who actually sketched the crew that morning.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 wooden-beaded bracelets…don’t make me explain why…*sobs*.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Review: Darkest Hour (2018)

darkest-hour-movie-review-2018Every year when it comes to Awards Season, there’s always that one movie that I just can’t bring myself to watch. I’ll groan at the very thought of it, but I really try to watch at least the nominated Best Picture movies. Boyhood is the exception. I still can’t face that. Anyway, this year’s movie for me is Darkest Hour. I’d honestly rather watch the terrible alien/sci-fi movie by almost the same name, but I know if I save it till last I’ll never watch it at all, so I sucked it up!

I don’t do history, I don’t do war and I most certainly don’t do politics, and Darkest Hour is all of these. It is essentially a retelling of Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister of the UK in the middle of World War II, making the impossible decision whether to make terms with Hitler or fight to the bitter end.

Honestly, this movie just wasn’t for me. I loved Dunkirk (2017) because despite it being a war movie, it showed purely the action side of things. I mean, at least this was a more fun way of learning about World War II than sitting in my actual history lessons back in school? I’ll give it this though, Gary Oldman as Churchill is nothing short of amazing. He is completely unrecognisable, and brought so much life to the role.

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Speaking of which, shout out to Ben Mendelsohn! He’s such a chameleon, that’s why I love him. I’ve seen him play a space nazi, a down on his luck gambling addict and now a British king, and every role seems to come so naturally to him. I’m so looking forward to seeing him in Ready Player One later this year!

So seeings as I’m going to really struggle to talk about this one, let me tell you the character I identified the most with, Elizabeth Layton, played by Lily James. Poor girl is a typist for the grumpiest bloke ever, and it’s not easy when he’s changing his mind on words and shouting! It reminded me of my first boss who I did a lot of admin for. He’d stand right behind me and dictate what he wanted me to type, which is incredibly difficult for a nervous dyslexic like me! Even the best of us can’t type with someone breathing down their neck.

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I can appreciate Darkest Hour for it’s performances, and I’m sure it’ll do well at the BAFTAs next month. It’s just really not my cup of tea. I know it’s a well made, well acted movie, but I rate my reviews on a mix of that and also how much I enjoyed it, and so that’s why this gets 3 out of 5 ‘V for Victory’ signs from me.

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Review: Dunkirk (2017)

dunkirk-movie-review-2017I feel as movie bloggers we always encourage everyone around us to go and see movies at the cinema, to experience them in the way they should be, but deep down there are plenty of movies just as great viewed on our TVs at home, it’s just the atmosphere of the cinema that we enjoy so much. Big, action movies are obviously always great on the big screen but if there is ever a movie I will regret not seeing at the cinema, actually, in IMAX, it’s Dunkirk (2017).

Does anyone else feel like they were waiting ages for Dunkirk to be released? I’m sure we got that teaser trailer at least a year before it was actually released. I don’t know why I didn’t trek out for it, especially with Christopher Nolan at the helm, but I’ve never had much of an interest in historical or war movies.

Even as someone completely ignorant to history (it was my least favourite subject at school), I knew the story of what happened at Dunkirk, so I’ll be brief in explaining what it’s all about. The movie essentially follows several heroes in the evacuation of the soldiers trapped on the beach of Dunkirk during World War II.

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If you’ve seen the trailer, and felt the tension in those 2 minutes, that’s essentially what the entire movie is. 1 hour and 46 minutes of pure, white knuckled tension. In fact, I think there’s an argument to be made that Dunkirk isn’t a movie at all, it’s more of an experience. I felt drained after the credits rolled, and it wasn’t just baby-induced sleep deprivation, I swear.

Despite not getting and kind of backstory or development to any of the main characters, I really felt for every one of them, especially Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. I won’t talk spoilers here, but Cillian Murphy’s character winds up doing something awful, and yet I couldn’t feel anger towards him, and Tom Hardy’s character’s story was breathtaking and heartbreaking. Every story here is worth shouting about, but those are the two that stood out the most for me.

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As someone who avidly avoids movies in this genre, I honestly can’t say a bad word about Dunkirk, and I’ll be watching it again as soon as possible. I know it’s one my husband would enjoy so it might even be as soon as this weekend, we’ll see. Can I start a petition for it to be re-released in the cinema so I can see it properly? I can only imagine the atmosphere as each screen emptied after each viewing.

Out of respect for the true story behind this movie it seems wrong to do my usual silly rating, so I’m keeping it simple today and giving Dunkirk a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars. Probably my favourite movie of 2017, and even though I have so many of last year’s releases to catch up on, I’m confident it will stay as my number 1 choice!

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