Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)

peter-rabbit-2-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Will Gluck

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Main Cast: Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, James Corden, David Oyelowo, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Moody, Hayley Atwell, Sam Neill

Plot:  Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) are happily married, and together have published Bea’s Peter Rabbit book. The book’s success has drawn the attention of a big-deal publisher who wants to make drastic changes to the characters we all know and love. Meanwhile, Peter (James Corden) is struggling to prove he isn’t the tyrant that he’s seen to be.

My Thoughts: Well who would have thought yesterday would be the day. I remember so clearly February 2020, watching Peter Rabbit (2018) for the first time on Netflix, after seeing the trailer for the sequel, talking about Easter plans and what the Easter bunny might bring for my 2-year-old daughter. Then, of course, the world turned upside down and so it felt bittersweet being at the cinema at last! So much has changed in that time, but I’m not here to get all sentimental. I’m here to talk about the only movie that makes James Corden tolerable, Peter Rabbit 2!

It was everything I expected it to be. It’s obviously not on the level of Paddington but hand on heart, Peter Rabbit is in that higher level of animated family films that have lots of appeal for adults, too. There are jokes aplenty for the little ones to enjoy like the screaming rooster and Cottontail’s new love of sugar, but I’d argue that most of the jokes are geared for the adults. How our arguments can last for weeks, what parents pack in their kid’s lunchboxes, and how we act around people we feel inferior to. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all, it’s very self-aware and proves that in a few jokes that break the fourth wall.

The movie’s biggest downfall is the plot. It’s all over the place! If you thought Rise of Skywalker ran at breakneck speed then just see how much story Peter Rabbit 2 crams into it’s 93 minute runtime. Starting a family, writing a new book, kidnap, stuck in a pet shop, meeting new friends, back on the farm, back to Gloucester, back to the farm again. That’s only half of the movie right there. I guess it’s better than being really slow but there are so many things that could have been cut down to slow the pace. But at the end of the day, it was a movie I’ve been waiting a long time for, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Best Bit: So many funny moments but what made me laugh the most was the repeated joke about how annoying Peter’s voice is. I feel like it was obviously a nod to how a lot of people find James Corden a bit…irritating? I couldn’t even explain why I dislike him so much, I think he just has an air of self-importance and sees himself better than everyone else?

Worst Bit: Why do I never see a twist coming? It wasn’t even a bold, crazy twist. I just got caught up in the story and didn’t judge anyone! And that was after I found myself almost crying over Thomas’ tomatoes…what have I become?!

Fun Trivia: In one scene, Peter steps in wet cement and emerges clunking slowly through the streets with his feet trapped inside the now-dried cement. A similar scene happened in the animated film Zootropolis (2016) with Judy Hopps, who is also a rabbit.

My Rating: 3 and a half uneaten celery sticks which I also put into my daughter’s lunchbox in a bid to not be judged!

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Movie Reviews

The Prom (2020)

the-prom-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Ryan Murphy

Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 130 Minutes

Main Cast: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Jo Ellen Pellman, Ariana DeBose, Mary Kay Place, Tracey Ullman

Plot: 4 self-obsessed Broadway stars travel to a small conservative town in Indiana to help out a young girl whose school has cancelled their prom because she wants to take her girlfriend. By getting the prom back on, the stars hope that the publicity will boost their careers.

My Thoughts: Can I first acknowledge the crime that is the fact I had to watch this at home on Netflix with the background noise of my husband playing the PS5 instead of being at the cinema, dancing in my seat? Can you imagine if The Greatest Showman was released this year? Anyway – The Prom might not be my favourite musical ever but there was still so much I loved about it. Firstly, can I get a ‘hell yeah’ for Jo Ellen Pellman, starring in her first feature movie, acting alongside Hollywood legends such as Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman and doing a damn fine job of it? Get it, girl!

You know me, I’m not a theatre person (I’ve seen 1 show in a theatre my whole life) so I had no idea this movie was based on a show, so I can’t comment on how it holds up as an adaptation. I was slightly put off by it’s runtime but honestly, the time whizzed by, I enjoyed every second. I maybe didn’t care so much for the Broadways stars because of their motives, but the rest of the characters? I was there for them. Keegan-Michael Key really surprised me. He elevates every movie he’s in but in this one he showed a side to him I’ve never seen before. His musical number ‘We Look To You’ hit me particularly hard, especially in a year like this.

Forgive me for comparing but when I think about the lesbian couple in The Prom, I can’t help but think about the lesbian couple in Happiest Season (2020). If you read my review you’ll know I loved it, but struggled to get behind the couple. That wasn’t the problem here – I was behind these girls all the way.

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Best Bit: Although I really enjoyed the songs, they weren’t ones that stuck in my memory very well, although I’ll certainly be playing them in my car this week. One song in particular made me laugh and if I’d been in a cinema I might have been clapping along too. It was Andrew Rannells performing ‘Love Thy Neighbor’. It’s not a cheesy musical without a flashy number to rally an entire town!

Worst Bit: You might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned James Corden yet. I can’t quite put my finger on why but he just irritates me as a person. I think he’s got that aura of arrogance, and he often winds me up. I have to say, I didn’t mind him in this, but he was woefully miscast. I don’t have a problem at all with a straight man playing a gay man but was Titus Burgess every in the running for the role? He would have been PERFECT.

Fun Trivia: Nicole Kidman portrays Angie Dickinson, a life long chorus girl who just quit her job of 20 years in the musical Chicago after the producers never let her go on for the role of Roxie Hart. In real life, Kidman turned down the part of Roxie Hart in Chicago (2002).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 glitzy dresses…give it some zazz!

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Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit (2018)

peter-rabbit-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Will Gluck

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sia, Fayssal Bazzi, Colin Moody

Plot: Based on the beloved character Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit and his friends are suddenly granted the freedom of Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch when he passes away, but their fun and games soon come to an end when McGregor’s nephew takes over the ownership of the estate.

My Thoughts: Oh how sweet, Allie is starting to watch movies with her kid! Nope, sorry. I’m deep in Star Wars withdrawal and so last night once the kiddo was in bed, I curled up on the sofa for a double dose of Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley. What can I say? I’m desperate – and it’s been a while since I went on a Domhnall Gleeson binge. Plus I have to admit, I saw the trailer for the sequel and it actually looked quite funny.

Bias be damned, Domhnall Gleeson was an absolute star in this. He really went and threw his all into this movie. He has such a flair for comedy and his rages are hilarious. If General Hux could have had an alternative ending, let it be this movie. Gleeson was literally channelling his inner Hux the entire time and I was 100% there for it. I love the idea of him trying his best to chill out, trying some bird watching as a hobby that he’s absolutely terrible at.

As for the movie itself, I totally get it if you don’t like it. I watch too much Peter Rabbit on a daily basis because of the animated show that’s on Cbeebies every day, and it’s a strange set-up. Like, I’m sorry, but these rabbits are absolute jerks. They’re thieves, and in the movie, they’re even worse. In some scenes, the movie plays out like some sort of reverse Home Alone where Kevin is actually the bad guy?!

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If you fell for the charms of Paddington (2014) then do me a favour and give this a go. It might not pack as much charm, but it’s essentially the best romcom of 2018.

Best Bit: How about Domhnall Gleeson beating the crap out of a Harrods bear? Or saying “I’m chill, man” whilst strangling Peter? Or basically any time Daisy Ridley’s CGI bunny was on screen? There were so many great moments. Lots of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ jokes too like the Bananagrams game.

Worst Bit: As much as I strangely loved this movie, I just can’t see (hear?) past James Corden’s voice as Peter Rabbit. He doesn’t even try. It’s just…his voice. James Corden went from being a beloved, little-known star in the UK to making it big worldwide, getting big-headed about it, and now he’s just kinda irritating.
Also – how dare you dye General Hux’s hair black. How very, very dare you.

Fun Trivia: In February 2018 – 24 hours after its release – Sony apologised to advocates from food allergy groups who said the scene with a farmer going into allergic shock isn’t funny and also encourages food bullying.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ice cream trucks with flashing lights. I don’t know why but that joke really tickled me!

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Movie Reviews

Yesterday (2019)

yesterday-2019-movie-review-posterDirector: Danny Boyle

Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Main Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Kate McKinnon, Camille Chen, Maryana Spivak, Lamorne Morris, James Corden, Joel Fry, Alexander Arnold

Plot: Jack Malik is an aspiring singer/songwriter who can’t seem to catch his big break. He plays in local pubs without attracting attention, and even though his manager (and best friend) gets him a set at a small festival, his tent is virtually empty. One night, during a freak, worldwide blackout, Jack is hit by a bus. When he wakes up in hospital, he comes to discover that he seems to be the only person alive who remembers the hugely famous band, The Beatles.

My Thoughts: I would quite happily swap all these musical biopics for more movies like Yesterday. We get it, they started from nothing, got lucky, did a load of drugs, and became legends. Let’s have some more originality, Hollywood! I wouldn’t call myself a Beatles fan, but I was a huge McFly fan as a teen and they drew an awful lot of inspiration from the Beatles, even doing a lot of covers of their songs, so I knew most of the music in this movie, which always helps.

The start is a little bit clunky, I guess there’s no subtle way to go from ‘guy wakes up in hospital’ to ‘guy realises the Beatles don’t exist’ so it feels a bit of a forced connection, but the movie soon picks up from there. My fellow Brits might know Himesh Patel from Eastenders, but this is the first time I’ve seen him, and he is wonderful! He’s got a natural charm about him and delivers the dead-pan humour effortlessly. Lily James is of course as stunning as always, she lightens up every scene that she’s in.

I loved how the movie didn’t try to explain why there was a blackout and why The Beatles ceased to exist. We don’t need to know, and it would have become silly if it was elaborated on. The relationship between Jack and Ellie was frustrating at times, I honestly wanted to shake Ellie at one point and tell her to just move on, but it all ends well. I don’t think Yesterday is a movie for everyone, but if you like a bit of weird with your romance, then this might be the one for you.

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Best Bit: *MILD SPOILER* Okay, I know it was probably a joke that fell flat for most, but I loved the revelation that it wasn’t just The Beatles that had been wiped from existence. It was a running joke that I wish would have cropped up more, and the Harry Potter moment at the end was brilliant. I don’t want to live in that world!

Worst Bit: Ed Sheeran. Mate, look. You make some really great music, and as much as I’m all for you having cameos in British movies where you get snubbed, you can’t act. Keep the screen time to a minimum, please!

Fun Trivia: Though it wasn’t in the original script, director Danny Boyle was so taken with the discovery of a recording studio by a railway track that he had the text altered to incorporate the trains and utilise the location as Gavin’s studio.

My Rating: 4 cans of…Coke did you say? We don’t have Coke, will Pepsi be okay?

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