Frozen II (2019)

frozen-2-movie-poster-review-2019Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Main Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter

Plot: Since the events of Frozen (2013), the city of Arendelle is peaceful. That is, until Elsa begins hearing a strange sound calling her to en enchanted forest surrounded by fog. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, the group travel into the unknown.

My Thoughts: I didn’t actually want to write a review for Frozen II to begin with, because as much as I loved it, all I find myself talking about is the bits I didn’t like, and I knew anything I wrote would become a whinge fest. So I want to push out all these positives first. Yes, I was really looking forward to it. Yes, I had an absolute blast watching it! But I didn’t love it as much as the original, and without trying to sound like a hipster, I loved the original before the hype took off.

It largely comes down to two things. The songs were nowhere near as good as the first. I may have had 6 years to listen to the original soundtrack compared with a week for the sequel, but with the exception of Lost In The Woods none of the other songs stuck with me. Elsa gets two powerful numbers this time around but neither are Let It Go. Olaf gets another song of his own showcasing his hilarious naivety, but it’s not as catchy as In Summer. My other gripe is with Anna. She’s my favourite character, and I was really hoping she would get the chance to shine this time around, but her only purpose was to follow Elsa around and beg her to do everything together.

See – I told you I was going to sound negative! It’s still a brilliant movie, though. The plot is more complex and it’s a much more mature story, which is perfect because those little kids who fell in love with the original are teenagers now. My littlest brother sang Olaf’s song in a talent competition when he was 11 years old – and now he’s too cool to even watch Frozen II!

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Best Bit: As much as I loved Kristoff’s cheesy musical number, nothing at all beats Olaf explaining the plot of the original movie. In fact, I would quite happily watch an Olaf recap of any sequel movie, ever. Disney – can you get Josh Gad on the case of summing up The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi for us?

Worst Bit: I saw what you were trying to do, Disney. You know how much we love that snowman and you wanted to make us cry. But nothing will be sadder than “some people are worth melting for” and so my eyes stayed dryer than the desert that John Wick had to trek through.

Fun Trivia: Exactly like its predecessor Frozen (2013), the final line of the film is Elsa asking “Are you ready?”

My Rating: 3 and a half Oscars that Lost In The Woods deserves for Best Original Song in February!

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Girl Week 2019: Female Directors of 2019

For now the 5th year running, Dell at Dell on Movies is celebrating all things female in the movie world with his Girl Week Blogathon. Last year I decided to write a post about my favourite female directors of the year, and came to a shocking discovery that out of the 47 2018 releases I’d seen so far that year, only 4 were directed by women. FOUR. Can you believe that? It meant that instead of writing about my favourite 4 movies directed by women, I had to talk about literally the only 4 movies directed by women that I’d seen!

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So this year it seemed only right to check my stats for 2019 so far and see if there’s been any difference. At the time of writing, I’ve seen 70 of this year’s releases so far, and 8 of them have been directed by women. That’s still shockingly bad, isn’t it? 2 of those 8 are co-directed by women, too.

To be completely honest – I don’t make a concentrated effort to find female-directed movies. I’d had to look up each movie in my diary on Letterboxd because I don’t pay much attention. Next year, I think I owe it to my fellow gals to actively watch their movies!

Still, 8 gives me a big enough number to at least do a Top 5, so let’s crack on with that. Missing out on my Top 5 are:
#8 Wine Country, Directed by Amy Poehler
#7 Someone Great, Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
#6 Little, Directed by Tina Gordon Chism

Which leave my Top 5 as:

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#5 Late Night, Directed by Nisha Ganatra

I’m of the opinion right now that Emma Thompson can actually do no wrong. Even in the most mediocre movie, her mere presence lights up the screen. I missed Late Night in the cinemas because of the luke-warm reviews but gave it a chance in the end. Whilst I didn’t love it, I still laughed a lot. There’s plenty to like here, even if it does get a little heavy on the politics at times.

Nisha Ganatra has also directed Chutney Popcorn (1999).

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#4 Captain Marvel, Directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden

It’s that time of year now where I sound like a broken record, “NO WAY was this released this year” but seriously, does Captain Marvel feel as recent as it is to anyone else? Perhaps it’s just because the trolls have been crying for over a year now. I’m well overdue a rewatch of Captain Marvel but flaws aside I really enjoyed it, and I thought Captain Marvel made a fine addition to the team in Endgame, too.

Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden also directed Half Nelson (2006).

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#3 Always Be My Maybe, Directed by Nahnatchka Khan

2019 has to go down as the year of Keanu Reeves, right? Can we all hand-on-heart honestly say we would have watched this little Netflix gem if we didn’t know Keanu Reeves had the best cameo of all time in it? Keanu aside, whilst the movie world is flooded with lame romcoms, Always Be My Maybe is one of the good, if not great ones, and is equal parts hilarious and heart warming. Well worth a watch if you haven’t already.

Always Be My Maybe (2019) is Nahnatchka Khan’s directional debut. 

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#2 Frozen 2, Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

I haven’t written my full post for Frozen 2 yet because it’s one of those movies that I really enjoyed, but ask me to talk about it and I can only nitpick at the parts I didn’t like. It IS good though. It has a big theme around growing up, and maturity, which is fitting really for it’s main audience who are 6 years older than they were when the original came out! Can you tell I’m completely avoiding talking about my feelings towards it? Watch this space…

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee also directed Frozen (2013).

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#1 Booksmart, Directed by Olivia Wilde

This one sure divided opinions, huh? There’s a ‘this is the next Superbad’ camp and a ‘this is entirely overrated’ camp from what I could tell. I was never a huge fan of Superbad to be honest, but I loved Booksmart. Not all the jokes landed, but it was a perfect representation of female friendship.

Booksmart (2019) is Olivia Wilde’s directional debut.

Finally – if you don’t already follow Dell on Movies you should right that wrong straight away, keep an eye out on his blog for a Girl Week roundup next week!