It Chapter Two (2019)

it-chapter-two-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Andy Muschietti

Genre: Horror, Drama, Fantasy

Runtime: 169 Minutes

Main Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer

Plot: Set twenty-seven years after 2017’s It, the Losers Club have all grown up and moved out of Derry, except Mike, who has spent those years researching Pennywise and how he can be stopped for good. When Mike realises that ‘it’ is back, he brings the Losers Club back together to stop that evil clown for good.

My Thoughts: My toddler has finally gotten over her jetlag and realised that night time is, in fact, the time for sleeping, so I took the opportunity to go and scare myself selfless at the cinema. I did put a call out on my Instagram in case any family or friends wanted to keep me company and/or laugh at me panicking, but I had no takers so I made sure I sat in a corner where nothing could hurt me. I’m pathetic, aren’t I? Thankfully, Chapter Two isn’t as scary as the first, only because most of the scares kind of came with a bit of warning this time.

Can we talk for a moment about how amazing the casting choices have been for both movies? Chapter One was practically a coming of age movie that just so happened to be a horror, and the strongest part of Chapter Two was again the characters and how they’ve grown over the years. They’re all still losers in their own ways, and it was so easy to tell which of the kids they were playing the grown-up versions of.

One thing I worried about was the length. Chapter Two is just under 3 hours long, and you all know I’m the first to complain about length (that sounds a bit rude, come to think of it). I just don’t have the attention span for long movies, and my bladder is useless after having a baby. You know what, though? It didn’t feel anywhere near as long as it is – that’s how invested I felt in the story. If you’d told me it was half the claimed runtime I wouldn’t argue with you.

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The only thing I picked fault with in Chapter One was that by the time it came to the final showdown, I didn’t feel that scared of Pennywise anymore. This time, it was the opposite. I was coping just fine until they went into the creepy house. For that final hour, I had to keep reminding myself to breathe!

Best Bit: Oh man, that cute little dog behind the ‘Not Scary At All’ door was Goose’s brother from another mother, wasn’t it? I kept looking away, expecting a scare, and just when I thought it was safe again and looked back at the screen, BAM.

Worst Bit: That mirrored room scene can GO TO HELL. Not only because it freaked me out and upset me, but the only man who should be running around a mirrored room and look damn fine whilst doing so is John Wick.

Fun Trivia: Bill Hader was unaware that Bill Skarsgård can actually move his eyes in two different directions. Hader asked Skarsgård what kind of editing was done to achieve the effect in the first movie. Skarsgård, in full costume and makeup, responded by saying “Oh, you mean this?” and doing it, causing Hader to freak out.
I’ve seen the photos of this and they’re glorious!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 red balloons, none of which you’ll find at my daughter’s birthday party I’m currently planning, because the mere sight of them now freaks me out!

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

x-men-dark-phoenix-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Simon Kinberg

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Main Cast: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Plot: During a mission to save some of NASA’s astronauts, Jean Gray obtains unimaginable powers that she can’t control, and they corrupt her. The remaining X-Men are left to decide whether she can be saved before she becomes too much of a threat to humanity.

My Thoughts: It’s not that I’ve been actively avoiding the X-Men movies, I’ve just never had that much of an interest in them. I’ve missed a few, and I know nothing about the timeline or most of the mutants powers, so when I watch one of the movies I feel like an elderly person who’s just been handed an iPad. Lost! That said, when the internet hails a movie as being awful, my morbid curiosity kicks in, so I had to find out for myself if Dark Phoenix is as bad as the critics say.

I’ll cut straight to the chase – it isn’t. It’s not a great movie, it has a lot of flaws, but it’s far from being a disaster. I mean, I was entertained the whole time and that’s all you can ask for sometimes. The trailer was quite misleading, I thought most of the movie would be filled with action scenes of the different mutants trying to take down Jean Gray while she kicked their asses, but those kind of scenes were far and few between.

What stood out the most to me was the dialogue. Who wrote it?! It felt like it had either been dumbed down for the audience or just lazily done…by a 10-year old. Regardless, I still enjoyed the movie, and I liked the ending. It felt like it wrapped up the story for these characters but set up an opportunity for some new movies. Hopefully, those ones will be received better!

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Best Bit: The best scene without a doubt was the fight outside Jean Gray’s family home. The slo-mo bits are just too cool. I really fell in love with Nightcrawler though – he’s adorable! Poor guy was nothing more than a mutant Uber during half the movie but he got his chance to kick some ass towards the end.

Worst Bit: Never did I ever think my complaints would include Michael Fassbender but…he pulled the subway train up out of the ground…and used it to make a fancy entrance into that house?! Is that honestly all he wanted to do with it?!

Fun Trivia: At the end of the movie, Professor Xavier and Magneto meet for a chess game at a Parisian cafe named “Les Vieux Copains” meaning “Old buddies”, apparently located on the “Rue de la Paix” literally the “street of Peace”.

My Rating: 3 ripe, juicy tomatoes, grown lovingly on Magneto’s farm.

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Glass (2019)

glass-2019-movie-poster-reviewDirector: M. Night Shyamalan

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Main Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlyane Woodard, Luke Kirby, Adam David Thompson

Plot: David Dunn, the security guard we all remember from Unbreakable (2000) is using his powers, with the help of his Son, to track down Kevin Wendell Crumb, as well as the rest of ‘The Horde’.

My Thoughts: So I really didn’t know much about Glass before heading out to see it. I’ve obviously seen Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016) so I knew all about the characters, but I knew nothing about what Glass would actually be about. One thing for sure is, boy have I missed Bruce Willis on the big screen! I haven’t seen anything from him in a long time, and he’s always fun to watch.

I have to be careful how much I say about the plot because there are a few twists and turns that I don’t want to ruin. So keeping it brief, the introduction of Sarah Paulson’s character really shakes things up in terms of what we’re lead to believe…but there’s such strong evidence it’s really hard to fully get on board with this theory.

What was really neat thought was to find out more about our three main characters, especially David and Mr Glass, who we haven’t learned about in almost 20 years (20 years!!). The story of when Mr Glass was a child was particularly hard to watch, as heartbreaking as it was.

glass-2019-david-dunn-kevin-elijah

Best Bit: James McAvoy just absolutely shines in this role, or should that be in these roles. I thought the same thing when I watched Split, but I don’t think anyone else could play it/them anywhere near as well. The fact that you can tell which personality has ‘come to the light’ by McAvoy’s facial expressions alone is just fantastic.

Worst Bit: What an anti-climatic ending. The screen I was in was quite busy and everyone seemed to have the same ‘oh’ reaction. I’m not saying I could have written a better ending myself of course but still. Couldn’t we have just had Mark Wahlberg show up, tie the movies into the ‘The Happening’ events? Shyamalan Cinematic Universe anyone? After the amazing moment in the credits of finding out Split’s connections, I was really hoping for something else…

Fun Trivia: James McAvoy based one of his 23 multiple personalities on a young Saoirse Ronan. The pair had worked together on “Atonement”.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 clovers, reminding me of another funny opportunity. Was anyone else hoping Glass would suddenly reveal a connection to the Cloverfield Universe? Clearly, all I wanted from this movie was a dumb tie-in…

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Mini Reviews: Okja (2017), Gifted (2017) & Atonement (2007)

I’ve been trying to find a bit of a theme for my mini review posts recently. My mini reviews are basically an eruption of thoughts without much focus at the best of times, so it’s nice to have a bit of order somewhere. So what do a super pig, a mathematical genius kid and a 10-year old period drama have in common? I watched them all over the last 2 weeks and they all made me ugly cry!

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Okja (2017)

Back in 2014, the blogging world alerted me to Snowpiercer (2014), a crazy movie directed by Joon-ho Bong. Last month, a movie recommendation site threw a fascinating crime story called Memories of Murder (2003) at me, also by the same director. So, when my blog feed got filled with mentions of Joon-ho Bong’s latest movie about a super pig named Okja, I knew I had to see it!

Okja had just been released on Netflix so I didn’t even bother with a trailer. I figured it would be some kind of family-orientated movie with a happy ending. Ohh, I was so wrong. This movie is dark. So, very dark. It’s worth it alone for the cast to be honest, but Okja is a movie that will make even the biggest meat-eaters out there question themselves. I did a lot of crying and felt guilty as hell about my bacon sarnie the next morning…

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Gifted (2017)

So I judged Okja terribly, but Gifted is absolutely a movie for the whole family! It stars Chris Evans as a single parent to his niece, who just so happens to be a mathematical genius just like her late Mother. It sounds like your bog-standard, average family movie but there’s a lot to be enjoyed here, it certainly stands out from the crowd. Think Matilda meets Manchester by the Sea!

Unlike a lot of child actors, McKenna Grace is an absolute gem and a pleasure to watch in this movie. Her comedic delivery is spot on and she nails that dead-pan kind of humour. I really hope she lands some more lead roles in the future because she’s one to watch! Gifted really pulls on your heart strings and I wouldn’t say it has a predictable plot at all, I was left guessing right up to the end.

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Atonement (2007)

Why did I watch Atonement when I have such a passionate dislike for period dramas? My littlest Brother was coming to stay and I told him we’d have a movie night. He loves plot-twist movies but wanted to watch something none of us had seen before, so I put together a little list. Atonement wasn’t what we watched (we went with The Village) but it kept cropping up in my searches and I couldn’t understand why a movie like that would be considered a plot twist movie. Safe to say, my curiosity got the best of me.

I ended up watching Atonement over 2 days in the end, and at the point the movie tells us who actually committed the crime, I whinged and complained about wasting so much time to a twist that wasn’t even a twist. Then I realised I still had another 20 minutes of the movie to go. If you’ve seen Atonement, well, I know you won’t have forgotten what happened next. That ending destroyed me. I went to bed in silence that night and still felt upset the day after!