Yesterday (2019)

yesterday-2019-movie-review-posterDirector: Danny Boyle

Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Main Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Kate McKinnon, Camille Chen, Maryana Spivak, Lamorne Morris, James Corden, Joel Fry, Alexander Arnold

Plot: Jack Malik is an aspiring singer/songwriter who can’t seem to catch his big break. He plays in local pubs without attracting attention, and even though his manager (and best friend) gets him a set at a small festival, his tent is virtually empty. One night, during a freak, worldwide blackout, Jack is hit by a bus. When he wakes up in hospital, he comes to discover that he seems to be the only person alive who remembers the hugely famous band, The Beatles.

My Thoughts: I would quite happily swap all these musical biopics for more movies like Yesterday. We get it, they started from nothing, got lucky, did a load of drugs, and became legends. Let’s have some more originality, Hollywood! I wouldn’t call myself a Beatles fan, but I was a huge McFly fan as a teen and they drew an awful lot of inspiration from the Beatles, even doing a lot of covers of their songs, so I knew most of the music in this movie, which always helps.

The start is a little bit clunky, I guess there’s no subtle way to go from ‘guy wakes up in hospital’ to ‘guy realises the Beatles don’t exist’ so it feels a bit of a forced connection, but the movie soon picks up from there. My fellow Brits might know Himesh Patel from Eastenders, but this is the first time I’ve seen him, and he is wonderful! He’s got a natural charm about him and delivers the dead-pan humour effortlessly. Lily James is of course as stunning as always, she lightens up every scene that she’s in.

I loved how the movie didn’t try to explain why there was a blackout and why The Beatles ceased to exist. We don’t need to know, and it would have become silly if it was elaborated on. The relationship between Jack and Ellie was frustrating at times, I honestly wanted to shake Ellie at one point and tell her to just move on, but it all ends well. I don’t think Yesterday is a movie for everyone, but if you like a bit of weird with your romance, then this might be the one for you.

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Best Bit: *MILD SPOILER* Okay, I know it was probably a joke that fell flat for most, but I loved the revelation that it wasn’t just The Beatles that had been wiped from existence. It was a running joke that I wish would have cropped up more, and the Harry Potter moment at the end was brilliant. I don’t want to live in that world!

Worst Bit: Ed Sheeran. Mate, look. You make some really great music, and as much as I’m all for you having cameos in British movies where you get snubbed, you can’t act. Keep the screen time to a minimum, please!

Fun Trivia: Though it wasn’t in the original script, director Danny Boyle was so taken with the discovery of a recording studio by a railway track that he had the text altered to incorporate the trains and utilise the location as Gavin’s studio.

My Rating: 4 cans of…Coke did you say? We don’t have Coke, will Pepsi be okay?

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The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

the-christmas-chronicles-2018-netflix-movieDirector: Clay Kaytis

Genre: Adventure, Family, Comedy, Fantasy

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Main Cast: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Oliver Hudson, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Martin Roach, Lamorne Morris

Plot: After spotting what looks like Santa Claus’ arm in one of their old family Christmas home movies, siblings Kate and Teddy hatch a plan to try and catch Santa on video, ultimately leading to his sleigh getting broken, and Christmas being left at risk of being ruined.

My Thoughts: Netflix made their own Christmas movie, and cast Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. Do we all need any other reasons to give it a go? One thing is for sure, Kurt Russell is a great Santa, although to quote my husband, he isn’t as ‘sweary’ as he perhaps could have been. There’s a good reason for that though I think, The Christmas Chronicles is very much your typical family-friendly festive movie.

There’s nothing new to be found here, there are plenty of cliches including one sibling not being a true believer, Christmas needs saving, etc but it has enough charm to be an enjoyable watch from start to finish. Plus, I don’t remember another Christmas movie where Santa has a blast during a car chase sequence with cops whilst driving a Dodge Challenger! “I’ve traded 8 reindeer for 400 horses!”.

So whilst it might not make its way onto my list of movies that simply must be watched every year, if you have a Netflix account you can’t really go wrong with giving this a watch for a bit of feel-good fun.

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Best Bit: Whilst incarcerated, Kurt Russell hands out musical instruments to his fellow inmates and uses a group of hookers as backing singers in a fairly epic jailhouse rock-style musical number. Yep, you read that right!

Worst Bit: I forgave the ‘fake news’ line without much trouble. But I’m fairly certain I saw one of those odd, annoying elves doing the floss, and that just made me sigh and shake my head…

Fun Trivia: This movie features yet another Kurt Russell connection to Elvis Presley, of which there have been several in his career. Kurt Russell’s first movie was in the Elvis movie “It Happened at the World’s Fair” (1963) where Elvis pays Russell to kick him in the shin. 16 years later, Russell portrayed Elvis in a TV movie “Elvis” (1979). Then, 15 years later, Russell lent his voice to the actor playing a young Elvis Presley in “Forrest Gump” (1994). 7 years after that, Russell played an ex-con who robs a casino during an Elvis Impersonator Convention in Vegas in “3000 MIles to Graceland” (2001). And here in The Christmas Chronicles (2018), the song that Santa (Russell) sings in the jail scene is one of Elvis’ most popular Christmas songs, “Santa Claus is Back in Town” (1957).

My Rating: 3 out of 5 chainsaws, which are apparently wielded by tiny little flossing elves who aren’t afraid to castrate a teenaged boy if need be.

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Review: Game Night (2018)

game-night-movie-review-2018Have I ever mentioned how much I love Jason Bateman comedies? Horrible Bosses and The Change UpĀ are 2 of my favourite movies of all time, and I’m also a big fan of board games and game nights in general so you can imagine how gutted I was to miss the cinema release of Game Night! It was just one of those incidents where plans were made, the showtimes didn’t work, and then by the time the plans are made again, it’s not in the cinema anymore.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) met at a quiz night, fell in love, and hosted a weekly game night for their friends ever since. Things get tense when Max’s extremely successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to visit, and suggests hosting the ultimate game night at his rented accommodation. It’s a murder mystery night where one of the group will be kidnapped, but things take a strange turn…

Sadly if you’ve seen the trailer you’ll know what that turn is, but although it gives away far too much of the story (in my opinion anyway) there’s still a lot of fun to be had, and plenty of surprises along the way. There’s always that fear with comedies that all the good jokes are in the trailer, leaving nothing left, but I found loads more to laugh at this time around.

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If you’re a fan of American sitcoms like I am then there’s also a lot of familiar faces to spot which I always find fun. Jason Bateman gives you exactly what you would expect, but the show-stealer this time round was without a doubt Max’s weird neighbour Gary (Jesse Plemons Am I the only one who had to do a double take to check he wasn’t actually Matt Damon?

Anyway, Gary used to be a part of Max’s weekly game nights but when he split from his wife the group started to avoid him (because he’s quite weird), leaving the gang having to creep into the house so as not to make Gary suspicious.

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Despite all of this though, there’s just something stopping Game Night from being up there with the ultimate comedies for me. Perhaps its a movie that will grow on me more and more, as I’ll definitely be rewatching it at some point, but maybe it’s just that I had to wait so long to see it. It’s still a great comedy by all counts of course!

I feel like the last 20 or so minutes is where most of the real enjoyment is, and if you’ve already seen Game Night you’ll know why. I wondered how many times the movie was going to turn the tables on us! It gets a solid 4 out of 5 squeaky dog toys from me.

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