It (2017)

it-2017-movie-review-red-balloonDirector: Andy Muschietti

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim

Plot: Set in the Summer of 1989, a group of kids known as the Losers Club team up to destroy a shape-shifting monster that plagues their town of Derry every 27 years.

My Thoughts: I imagine most married couples on their 3rd Wedding Anniversary go out for a candlelit meal and reminisce about their big day and tell each other how much they love each other. They probably buy each other sweet gifts, too. Not us! I got him a deposit paid and an appointment booked for a tattoo, and he bought me my own domain name for the blog – I’m officially http://oftenofftopic.co.uk! Also – we stayed in, put the little one to bed and watched the scariest movie we’ve ever seen, whilst making fun of each other’s faces. Who says love is dead?

I’m sure you guys can list off several movies scarier than 2017’s It, but we’re wimps and we scare easily. To be honest, we both wanted to see It mainly because we’d heard that it’s actually a really decent movie – and it is! I loved the ‘Stand By Me’ vibe the movie had, the group of kids had such a real friendship and they all shone in their own ways. I guess it’s impossible to not mention it’s similarities to Stranger Things – that show sure took a lot of inspiration from this.

I’ve come to admit recently that I’m starting to become a fan of horror movies, but the one thing I can’t stand are jump scares for the sake of them. There aren’t any here. There are loads of moments that terrified me, but I got caught off guard and the scares were integral parts of the story. This is how I want to be scared! It and Hereditary are definitely my top horror picks so far.

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Best Bit: The scene where the kids are together and the old film reel starts playing all by itself. Each time it flicks you can see Pennywise the clown get closer and then…bam! We both literally jumped out of our seats and then started laughing at ourselves.

Worst Bit: I don’t think there was a weak moment in all honesty, but the final showdown between the kids and Pennywise dragged on for a little too long. It kind of felt at that point there were no scares left and the movie was just going through the motions towards its conclusion.

Fun Trivia: Some lines of dialogue were improvised by the actors. Much of the Richie / Eddie banter was improv. Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie) actually wrote a lot of Finn Wolfhard’s (Richie) jokes.

My Rating: 4 and a half arm casts out of 5, which you shouldn’t let someone sign for you if you’re a member of the Losers Club…

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Shazam! (2019)

shazam-movie-poster-review-2019Director: David F. Sandberg

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

Plot: Whilst searching for his long-lost Mother, 14-year-old Billy Batson is summoned before ‘The Wizard’ to receive the powers of Shazam. His attempts to learn his superpowers (and profit from them) draws the attention of Thaddius Sivana, enraged with envy and out for revenge against Billy for taking what was his.

My Thoughts: I know next to nothing about Shazam, apart from the fact he used to be called Captain Marvel (what a confusing coincidence!) and to tell you the truth I wasn’t sold by the trailer. It didn’t give much away, but it looked goofy as hell and I couldn’t work out if it was intentional or just…terrible. I got the chance to see it a week early though and that was a chance I couldn’t pass up. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I loved the hell out of this movie!

Shazam strips everything back from modern superhero movies. There’s obviously still CGI involved but it isn’t flaunted in your face every 2 seconds. It can’t get away with simply looking great, it relies on a good storyline, which it has. Billy’s story is really quite heartbreaking, and he has flaws just like any other person. The bad guy actually has a decent backstory and genuine motives for being evil. To top it all off, it’s actually really funny, which for a DC movie is a rare sight!

And yes, it’s goofy. But it’s supposed to be, that’s all part of the charm. Adult Shazam acts like a 14-year-old with superpowers…because he’s a 14-year-old with superpowers. He’s irresponsible with them. Think of him as a family friendly Deadpool, which sounds like an insult but I mean it with the highest praise. DC even manages to make fun of itself a little, whilst still having some serious plot lines. Okay, I’m a little gutted they missed out on a legit chance to call Billy’s mother Martha, but maybe that would have been one step too far.

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Time will tell whether I’m on my own in the Shazam! fan club, but for now I’ll quite happily hold my hands up and say it’s the best DC movie made in recent years.

Oh – and is it just me or is Asher Angel (Billy Batson) secretly Arya Stark’s twin brother?!

Best Bit: When Billy and Freddy are trying to skip school by fooling the security guard. It’s such a small moment in the movie but I laughed so hard, and so did everyone around me. I won’t ruin it for you but keep an eye out for it!

Worst Bit: As well-developed as the bad guy was, I can’t help but feel like involving the 7 deadly sins was a bit of a waste. Apart from envy, the others don’t really serve any kind of purpose and they may as well have just been ordinary monsters.

Fun Trivia: Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have a hero called Captain Marvel, whose films star Djimon Hounsou and release in 2019. However, both are different: Shazam! (2019) is a male teenager who received godly powers and a superhuman form. Captain Marvel (2019) is a female superhero who received alien powers.

My Rating: 4 and a half cases of your finest beer, thank you!

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