Movie Reviews

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

barb-star-vista-del-mar-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Josh Greenbaum

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Main Cast: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., Vanessa Bayer, Fortune Feimster, Phyllis Smith, Reyn Doi, Andy Garcia

Plot: Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) have been best friends as long as they can remember. When they both lose their jobs at the local furniture store, they decide to go on vacation for the very first time to Vista Del Mar in Florida where they get caught up in an evil villain’s plot to kill everyone in town.

My Thoughts: I should have had faith in Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, writers of Bridesmaids (2011) and now Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. But the original trailer gave nothing away and just seemed a bit odd. I was’t wrong, it’s VERY odd. But in the best way possible. This movie is like Bridesmaids meets The Muppets meets Austin Powers and through all the craziness it just…works. Wiig and Mumolo are perfect together, and if you thought Jamie Dornan was on a bit of a losing streak then look no further. He’s an absolute show stealer here and can someone tell me where I can get one of those fish shirts for my husband?

Seriously, I hope Dornan lands another comedy after this. He randomly bursts into song several times, singing to the camera, singing his prayers to seagulls and I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. The movie is slow at first and my attention drifted until Barb and Star actually got to Vista Del Mar, albeit at the wrong hotel. From that moment on I was hooked.

This is the kind of movie that really splits an audience. I just know if I could have seen this in a cinema, when the credits roll half the room will be skipping out with a smile on their face and the others will be muttering ‘what the actual f**k did I just watch’. If you appreciate the sense of humour in movies like The Muppets then you’ll definitely get a kick out of this. It’s silly, plain and simple. It’s also a heart warming story about friendship and falling in love. It also wasn’t until after the movie that I realised the villain is also played by Kristen Wiig! I knew she looked familiar and I couldn’t for the life of me work out why till I looked it up.

barb-star-vista-del-mar-jamie-dornan

Best Bit: It’s actually impossible to pick just one stand out moment, and this is definitely a movie where you pick up on more jokes each time you watch it, but the bit that had me laughing the most was when the second spy, played by Damon Wayans Jr. was introduced. It’s a repeating joke of him giving away all his personal details and it tickled me!

Worst Bit: There’s a moment where Barb and Star are saved from certain death by their billowing culottes, the movie starts with a description of the trousers often worn by middle aged women and it made me a little sad because they’re my favourite trousers to wear in the summer! Am I old?!

Fun Trivia: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo previously co-wrote and starred together in Bridesmaids (2011). Both films also feature Wendi McLendon-Covey.

My Rating: 4 seagulls listening to Jamie Dornan’s prayers.

barb-star-jamie-dornan-seagull-prayers

Movie Reviews

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

wonder-woman-1984-poster-reviewDirector: Patty Jenkins

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Runtime: 151 Minutes

Main Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Gabriella Wilde, Lilly Aspell, Kristoffer Polaha

Plot: It’s now 1984, Diana (Gal Gadot) is still mourning Steve (Chris Pine) and everything changes when she happens to befriend Barbara (Kristen Wiig), her clumsy work colleague tasked with identifying a mysterious artifact.

My Thoughts: As much as I want to gush about how much I loved this movie, I’m keeping my review SPOILER FREE. The UK somehow got it earlier than a lot of countries (which never happens), and there are so few cinemas actually open that I feel incredibly lucky to have watched it on release night so I’m not spoiling anything until my top 10 of the year list, which this will definitely be a part of. I enjoyed Wonder Woman (2017) just fine but the final act killed my buzz a little, but that wasn’t the case with this sequel. It’s a long movie but the time whizzes by and I really didn’t want it to end. It’s been wonderful to have the time to watch more indie movies this year but nothing beats walking into that cinema for the year’s biggest blockbuster.

Gal Gadot is quite simply breath taking in every sense of the word. We don’t get to see Wonder Woman in costume an awful lot but it makes those action moments stand out even further, and it’s clear the team behind Diana’s outfits were having a blast. Diana’s moments with Steve were adorable, and I’ve always been a fan of those ‘fish out of water’ scenes so watching Steve be fascinated by everything the 80’s has to offer was so funny. I thought Kristen Wiig was an odd casting choice when I saw the first trailer but she’s perfect in the role of Barbara and watching her character change from the ditzy, fun-loving work colleague to the cold, bitter villain she becomes was great. Pedro Pascal absolutely steals the show whenever he’s on screen, though. His character is up there with my favourite comic-villains of all time.

I’m not sure what more I can say without getting into spoiler-ish territory, so I’ll finish here by telling you that I enjoyed Wonder Woman 1984 much more than I thought I would. We get to see more of Diana’s will and daring from when she was a child, we get some thrilling action shots, a beautiful romance story and some laughs along the way. What more can you really ask for?

wonder-woman-1984-mall-gal-gadot

Best Bit: Whenever Diana’s theme music kicked in my heart started racing. My favourite scene was the car chase in Egypt, there’s clips of it in the trailer of course but the actual full scene is stunning.

Worst Bit: I have a few problems related to the artifact that I can’t talk about yet and they’re probably me just nit-picking, but other than that the only thing I didn’t like was when Barbara turned full Cheetah. I’m not saying that the release of the movie Cats (2019) is what caused the world to fall apart but…they both happened at the same time and I’d like to not be reminded of that!

Fun Trivia: The role of Cheetah was first offered to Emma Stone but she declined. The role was then offered to Kristen Wiig, Patty Jenkins’s first choice.

My Rating: 4 and a half fanny packs (they’re called bum bags in the UK!) which not even Chris Pine can make look sexy.

wonder-woman-1984-usa-fanny-pack

Movie Reviews

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

how-to-train-dragon-hidden-world-posterDirector: Dean DeBlois

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Main Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington

Plot: After rescuing countless dragons, Hiccup and the rest of the clan are rapidly outgrowing the Isle of Berk. They’re also becoming well-known to other, nefarious clans with sinister motives.

My Thoughts: There was no way that I would miss seeing a How to Train Your Dragon movie but truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of the second one. I was annoyed when what could have been a great plot twist was flaunted in every single trailer, and the whole thing just seemed messy. That said, I’m super happy to say that The Hidden World goes back to its simpler routes, and is a really satisfying finale to the series.

Toothless of course is the star of the show again, this time he’s found a female Night Fury (or Light Fury) and becomes rather lovesick – not helpful when you’re the alpha in the pack and your entire clan is on the run of course. The scenes where he’s trying to impress his love interest are nothing but adorable and quite hilarious!

What is it about animated family movies that make me cry so much? Scrap that – we all know that everything makes me cry now but still! As an almost 30-year-old woman, I should have seen where the story was going but I didn’t and my heart broke into tiny little pieces.

how-to-train-dragon-hidden-world-hiccup-astryd

Still, I love how it was all tied up in the end. It was the perfect ending and so magical for children, too. I wish every series would end on a high like this, instead of churning out sequel after sequel until no one cares anymore.

Best Bit: SAND. Sorry Anakin but you should see how pretty the sand is! It sounds silly I know but it just shows how amazing technology is these days. The visuals in the whole movie were amazing, and I loved the dragon scale armor that Hiccup and the gang wore too. Seriously cool!

Worst Bit: The whole ‘Berk is more than this island, WE are Berk’ speech sounded really familiar. Have you guys been watching Thor: Ragnarok lately?

Fun Trivia: DreamWorks Animation’s first trilogy in which each movie was distributed by a different film studio: Paramount distributed How to Train Your Dragon (2010), 20th Century Fox distributed How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), and Universal will be distributing How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019).
(For such a fun movie, all the trivia I could find was really dull!)

My Rating: 3 and a half Viking sailboats, riding towards the misty waterfalls…

how-train-dragon-hidden-world-viking-boat

Movie Reviews

Review: Downsizing (2017)

downsizing-movie-review-2017After falling in love with Colossal (2017) last year for it’s unique story line, I was over the moon when I saw a trailer for Downsizing (2017). 2 movies in the same year with an interesting, different tale to tell that isn’t a remake or a sequel? Count me in! Plus it stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz and Jason Sudeikis? Shut up and take my money, cinema lady.

Us humans are slowly killing the Earth with our waste, and quite frankly, we’re running out of room. It’s a miracle then, when scientists discover the ability to irreversibly shrink people down to a fraction of their actual size. Years later, tiny settlements have been set up and roughly 3% (or was it 5%?) of the world’s population are now tiny. It’s environmentally friendly, and also economically friendly, as your money is worth a heck of a lot more when you’re only 5 inches tall.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are a married couple who make the difficult decision to downsize themselves. Things go belly-up however when Paul wakes up after the process to discover his wife changed her mind at the last minute, leaving him behind. Thus, Paul starts his new, tiny life.

downsizing-movie-matt-damon-jason-sudeikis

I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I’m actually gutted, but also impressed to learn that this is an original screenplay rather than one adapted from a book. So many details have been thought about, from the intricate details on how the downsizing process works to the social issues that would arise from this. Things such as terrorism, as these tiny people are so hard to track, or how they should be able to vote as they don’t contribute much back. It really is a lot to think about!

Sadly, it’s also this movie’s huge problem. None of these issues are explored at all, they’re just brought up and never really mentioned again. The thing is, if these areas weren’t mentioned, we all would have complained that the movie was too simple, so it was never going to win really. Downsizing should have been a TV Series, where each season could have been dedicated to a particular issue. Heck, the first season could have just been about how the process began!

downsizing-matt-damon-movie-hong-chau

There’s still some fun to be had though, mainly with the relationship that Paul strikes up with Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau). At first Ngoc Lan seems like a timid cleaner, but she has the most amazing personality and completely overpowers Paul in every single scene. She alone makes this movie worth a watch!

The other thing I have to wonder is what was cut from the movie? One of the coolest moments in the trailer was a giant bottle of vodka being drank by the tiny people. If a scene intended to actually sell the movie was cut, what else? Mind you, it’s long enough as it is!

All in all, I’m gutted this movie wasn’t a TV Show instead, so that the story and all the ideas behind it couldn’t have been explored properly. It’s 3 out of 5 bottles of vodka from me!

downsizing-movie-2017-review-score-vodka