Movie Reviews

The Devil All the Time (2020)

the-devil-all-time-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Antonio Campos

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 138 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Robert Pattinson, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge

Plot: Set in a town called Knockemstiff in Ohio,  the story revolves around Arvin (Tom Holland), orphaned at a young age and surrounded by violence and grief. Arvin tries his hardest to live a good, honest life, despite the sinister characters around him.

My Thoughts: You know how my mind works by now, I stumble into an actor or actress obsession and then I make it my goal to watch anything and everything they’ve ever starred in. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve watched many a terrible movie starring Robert Pattinson, and I have to say, I wasn’t even looking forward to The Devil All the Time. I watched the trailer a few times and it just didn’t seem like my kind of movie. And well, sometimes it’s when your expectations are rock bottom that you find yourself a movie you enjoy the most. I don’t think this one is perfect, it’s very bleak, quite depressing and at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s been playing on my mind for almost a week now since I watched it.

Tom Holland is phenomenal here. He might be known best as Spider-Man in a playful role, but he really shows off his talents here. I don’t have a clue when it comes to awards and I know this movie hasn’t had great reviews but surely Tom Holland deserves some kind of nomination for this? His accent is impeccable and the way he transforms from a quiet boy to the man seeking revenge is just…incredible! Also, I know the buzz is around how Robert Pattinson steals the show as the corrupted and deceitful Revered (he is excellent, I won’t argue), the show-stealer for me was Harry Melling, who we all know as Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter! I hope we get to see him in more movies.

There are so many characters in the movie it can be hard to keep track, and not all of their stories are really necessary, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. The movie had a The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) kind of feel to me, I’m not sure what that niche little category would be called. It’s not a happy movie, it’s not a fun movie, but it tells an interesting story and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

devil-all-time-2020-netflix-tom-holland

Best Bit: The stand off between Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson towards the end was particularly good, I thought.  It was tense and uncomfortable for the right reasons, and the perfect example of how great both actors are.

Worst Bit: Imagine being a Pattinson fan, watching this and thinking yes, this man could actually tempt me into going to church, just to find out that like almost everyone else in this movie, he’s a massive twat. Sigh…

Fun Trivia: Robert Pattinson didn’t work with a dialect coach and crafted his high-pitched Southern drawl on his own. The actor hid his accent from everyone – including director Antonio Campos – until day one of filming. Other actors sent Campos recordings of the voices they were working on – but not Pattinson, preferring to rehearse by himself and getting self-conscious by being judged before actually standing in front of the camera.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 spiders that Harry Melling actually dumped on his head for that stand-out scene, ugh!

devil-all-time-harry-melling-spiders

Movie Reviews

The Aftermath (2019)

the-aftermath-movie-review-poster-2019Director: James Kent

Genre: Drama, Romance, War

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast: Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgard, Jason Clarke, Alexander Scheer, Fionn O’Shea, Frederick Preston, Flora Thiemann

Plot: In the aftermath of World War II, British Colonel Lewis Morgan and his wife Rachael are assigned to live in Hamburg, in the house of German widower Stefan and his daughter. Rachael and Lewis’ relationship is strained enough already, but these current living conditions push old and new tensions to the surface.

My Thoughts: Are you even on a long haul flight if you don’t have a dodgy movie watching experience? Thanks to my cinema membership I’d seen most of the movies that the in-flight entertainment system had to offer, but I missed The Aftermath. I’m not a huge fan of period dramas but when you’re stuck thousands of feet in the air with a sleeping toddler across your lap, it’ll do. I should also mention I had no headphones so I watched the whole thing with subtitles only.

You know what, I actually really enjoyed it. I wasn’t bothered by the war setting, and goodness me was the plot predictable, but without sound you can really focus on the performances, and they were stellar. Perfect casting all round! I watched the last 20 minutes again back at home with sound because I fell asleep, so I got to experience the real cheesy lines twice. I mean, when you’re about to say the words to end a marriage, can you really be ballroom dancing at the same time?

Also, why is Alexander Skarsgard so dreamy? I’ve watched him twice recently, this time as a potential Nazi and last time as a complete dirtbag and yet…I don’t know. Guy knows what to rock a sweater vest, that’s for sure.

the-aftermath-jason-clarke-keira-knightley

Best Bit: As if the romance blossoming between Rachael and Stefan couldn’t get any sweeter, they end up having a Beauty and the Beast style snowball fight. I was so ready for the teacups to start talking.

Worst Bit: I’m sure ‘back in my day’ they edited the crap out of movies before putting them on these flight entertainment systems. There’s nothing like being sat in the aisle seat close to the toilets on a full flight to find yourself confronted with one of the slowest sex scenes ever. The cringe is real!

Fun Trivia: Keira Knightly uses a body double for the nude scenes in the film.
Apologies, but this was literally the best bit of trivia that IMDB had to offer me…

My Rating: 3 and a half snowballs that I could totally use in a romantic snowball fight, but I’m too competitive and like to aim for the face.

the-aftermath-2019-snowball-fight

Movie Reviews

Pet Sematary (2019)

pet-sematary-movie-poster-review-2019Director: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence, Lucas Lavoie, Hugo Lavoie, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera

Plot: In the woods near a family’s home lies a cemetery for pets, and beyond it, a mysterious piece of land where whatever is buried there comes back to life, but not the same as they were before.

My Thoughts: I got cocky. I found peace with the horror genre and have seen and enjoyed a lot of the modern horror movies that got a lot of praise. I guess I decided that I’m now a converted horror fan and can deal with anything, which is how I found myself at the cinema to see Pet Sematary on opening night. I know I’m a wimp but it really scared me! It’s the tension, I can’t handle it.

With my critic hat on, the movie was alright. It’s based on a Stephen King novel so you know the story is going to be good, but I got the feeling a lot of the detail got missed out. If anything, it’s made me want to read the book. At least that can’t scream or hiss at me. The biggest problem I have is that every interesting part about the movie was in the trailer. If you’ve seen it, you’ve honestly seen the whole movie, which is a shame really. It’s a famous story so they surely didn’t need to give away so many details.

John Lithgow was the star of the show for me, I forgot how good of an actor he is actually. His character had the most depth, but again I feel like there was so much backstory that got left out. It’s not like the movie was too long and had to be cut down, I’d have happily sat there for another 10 minutes. That’s a lie, I practically ran back to my car…

pet-sematary-ellie-church-cat-2019

Best Bit: When Louis was at the hospital trying to save the lad who had literally lost half of his face/head, the moment that followed was the only scare that took me and everyone else by surprise. Those are the cinema moments I love, when everyone collectively jumps and then there’s a mumble of nervous laughter.

Worst Bit: Someone really cranked the fog machine up to 11, didn’t they? It looked a bit silly. Also, when I got home just before 11pm, my neighbour suddenly appeared behind my car and scared the living daylights of me. Then, when I stepped inside, my cat was sat on the stairs directly in front of me, staring at me. Because of course he was. Jerk.

Fun Trivia: When Rachel is returning home from Boston, there is a highway sign that says “Derry 20 miles”. An Easter egg for “IT”.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 speeding lorries that are to blame for most of the trauma in this movie. Surely someone in the town should report the drivers?!

pet-sematary-review-speeding-lorry

Movie Reviews

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.

first-man-neil-armstrong-ryan-gosling

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*.

first-man-movie-review-score-bracelet