Arrival (2016)

(I’m on holiday right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

arrival-2016-movie-review-posterOh boy. I know this year has been a bit of a stinker for blockbusters, but overall I personally think it’s been a fantastic year, and now a new movie has rocked up threatening to become my favourite of the whole year. November, you are awesome. This also means that I’ve been to the cinema for two weeks in a row, which is honestly the first time that’s happened all year. Two Amy Adams movies in a row, too!

Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve, the master behind Sicario, Prisoners, Enemy and Incendies. He’s currently working on Blade Runner 2049. This man is fantastic, I can’t emphasise that enough. I haven’t watched a movie of his yet that hasn’t wowed me, and Arrival is no exception. The UK has been marketing the hell out of this flick, in fact, last time I was at the cinema, during the trailers we were shown 2 different Arrival trailers in a row. It was starting to get on my nerves a tad, but only because I didn’t want to know so much before going in.

First and foremost, this isn’t a Sci-Fi in the typical sense. It’s an alien invasion, for sure, but if you’re expecting Independence Day then this isn’t the movie for you. The world is most definitely at risk here, but there’s no room-shaking action sequences or alien punching of any kind. Our main character is Louise (Amy Adams), an expert linguist recruited to work with scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) to learn from the aliens what their purpose on Earth is. Twelve pods have descended in seemingly random locations around the world, and they don’t seem intent to blow us into smithereens.

I never excelled in science, and I can’t speak a second language, so I was grateful for the fact that I could easily understand what was happening during the movie, and actually found myself completely in awe of the linguistic work that Louise was doing. It’s fascinating stuff! How she went about teaching the aliens (heptapods, if you’ll excuse my most likely bad spelling) simple vocabulary, to lead up to actually asking a question was something that seemed impossible at first, but when broken down into stages, actually made a lot of sense.

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Louise herself is a captivating character. We are drawn to her instantly and warm to her within the first few scenes when we’re shown a tragic moment in her life. She feels so real, and relatable. I’m pretty sure if we were sent up into a pod to talk with an alien we would freak out as much as she did, rather than staying cool and calm, with our hair and make-up perfectly intact. But I’m getting off-topic now.

I’m almost trying not to talk about the movie to be honest because I want to be really careful about what I say. The less you know, the better, because the final 20 minutes of Arrival was one of my favourite movie experiences ever. That feeling in your mind of everything clicking into place is just amazing.

Safe to say, my husband fully forgave me for scaring the crap out of him last week when we saw Nocturnal Animals, and he’s even gone so far as to say this might be his favourite movie of all time! It’s definitely threatening to become my favourite of the year.

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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

avengers-endgame-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Runtime: 181 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly,

Plot: Directly following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos’ snap with the infinity gauntlet that wiped out 50% of all living creatures. The remaining Avengers team up to try to save them.

My Thoughts: This has to be the biggest movie event of all time. 21 movies spanning 11 years. All leading up to this very moment, it’s incredible when you really think about it. Some idiot posted a leak before its release which I managed to avoid but other than that, my social media feeds have been free of spoilers which I’m truly grateful for. I felt excited, sick and nervous going in to see Endgame on Tuesday night! There are spoilers ahead for the entire movie because I have no idea how to talk about it otherwise.

The trailers gave nothing away, and please, please movie gods, let all trailers do this. There’s no better feeling than not having any clue as to what’s going to happen, or even how your favourite character is going to look! Honestly, I struggle to find the words because the movie was perfect – in my eyes at least. The focus may have been on the original Avengers but every character got their spot of the limelight and the ending was so fitting. It’s the end of an era and although some of the character arcs were devasting, it ended exactly how it should have done.

Do you know what, though? I started this post almost a week ago and I’m struggling to even put my thoughts into words. It was more than just a movie, it was an experience, and I’m so excited to see where the Marvel universe goes next!

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Best Bit: I’m going to cheat and pick two because arguably, the best scenes were the farewells that we gave to our retiring Avengers, but what Marvel does better than the rest is humour, and the scene with Thor and Korg playing Fortnite absolutely killed me. I laughed so loud I probably missed half of it, but it’s not like I needed an excuse to watch the movie again!

Worst Bit: Fat Thor! On a serious note, it’s a completely logical arc for his character to go through, but my selfish-ass wanted to perv on Thor for 3 hours!

Fun Trivia: At Tony Stark’s funeral, a teenage boy is seen standing behind Scarlet Witch and Bucky. This is Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), the boy from Iron Man 3 (2013) who let Tony use his shed when he needed to repair his Iron Man suit.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 empty taco shells from Ant-Man. Hopefully, Hulk has a few more to share!

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Tag (2018)

tag-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Jeff Tomsic

Genre: Comedy

Main Cast: Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb

Plot: Every year during the month of May, Hoagie and his friends take part in an epic game of tag. They go to huge lengths to tag each other, including getting a job at the company one of them works for. In this particular year, Jerry has said it’s last year taking part, and as he has never been tagged, the rest of the gang are determined to get him.

My Thoughts: I feel so conflicted about this movie. On one hand, I love that Tag is a different comedy story to most that we see these days. Based on a true story too! I also love this cast, and they gel so well together. I’ve never seen Jeremy Renner in a comedy before and he actually did really well.

On the other hand, whilst Tag started strong, it lagged in the middle, and then in the final 20 minutes or so the tone changed completely, which threw me off balance. Also, although I found it quite funny in places, 24 hours after seeing it I’m struggling to remember any specific jokes, apart from one which went too far. Ultimately, it was fun while it lasted but was kind of forgettable to me.

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Best Bit: Whenever the gang try to tag Jerry – played by Jeremy Renner, he goes into an ultra slo-mo analysis of every move, and it never got old! It’s such a shame that Jerry couldn’t be an Avenger instead of Hawkeye!

Worst Bit: I love inappropriate jokes as much as the next terrible person but repeatedly making jokes about miscarriage was too cringy for me, and soured my mood a little. Do it once and you’ll get a shocked “should I laugh at this” reaction but 10 more times and I just cringe.

Fun Trivia: The film was based on the true events of the lives of former high school classmates (Bill Akers, Patrick Schultheis, Sean Raftis and Mike Konesky). As teenagers during the 1980’s, they would entertain themselves by playing the schoolyard game during breaks at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington.

My Rating: 2 and a half watches out 5. Synchronise them if you can, unless you don’t know how, don’t have a watch, or don’t believe that time itself is a construct!

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