Blind Spot Series: The Matrix (1999)

the-matrix-1999-blind-spot-movie-reviewDirector: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 136 Minutes

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Gloria Foster, Joe Pantoliano, Marcus Chong, Julian Arahanga, Matt Doran, Belinda McClory

Plot: Set in the future, Neo learns about the true nature of his reality and his role in fighting the war against its controllers.

My Thoughts: This month’s Blind Spot pick couldn’t have been more perfect, I’m about to see John Wick: Chapter 3 again because I loved it so much and I can feel a Keanu Reeves obsession coming on. The Matrix has been the movie so many friends and family mention to me and they can’t believe I’ve never seen it. Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t either but it’s so famous I guess I thought I knew all about it and there wasn’t any point. Neo’s the one, everyone can run up walls, none of us are real, etc, etc. I was only partly right, I guess.

So us humans are real, but the world we know and live in is actually just a simulation, that’s the gist. It’s an absolutely crazy idea, and I spent a lot of the movie questioning things and expecting to find gaping plot holes, but it’s absolutely solid, which shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did because there’s obviously a reason The Matrix is such a widely-loved movie.

The action and fight scenes are really cool, and I bet they were exhilarating in 1999 but they don’t shine as much 20 years later. That said, I’m comparing it to John Wick’s fight scenes which were a step above all other action movies anyway! I mean let’s face it, from a technical point of view, no Sci-Fi movie 20 years old is going to stand up as well in the current year, but it doesn’t distract from the story at all.

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I honestly enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, and now I’m curious – what are the other movies like? From what I hear they aren’t good but I don’t care about ‘critic’ opinions, I trust you guys. My husband says his biggest unpopular opinion is that the third movie is his favourite of the franchise!

Best Bit: GUNS. LOTS OF GUNS. I knew it was coming, but it was so funny when it actually happened. Apologies to everyone else seeing John Wick: Chapter 3 tonight because I might just scream ‘YEEEEAAAAAAAH’ when that moment happens again.

Worst Bit: I know it’s unfair but it’s like I said, it hasn’t aged well. Although I do miss those flip phones. When you were having an argument on the phone it was so satisfying to snap the phone shut to hang up, and you don’t get the same effect with these touch screens…

Fun Trivia: After the lobby shoot-out, the camera pans back, showing the aftermath of the gunfight in the lobby. During this, a piece of one of the pillars falls off. This happened by coincidence during the filming, and was not planned, but was left, since it seemed appropriate.

My Rating: 4 red pills, although I personally might have taken the blue pill and lived in ignorant bliss!

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blind-spot-series-2019-banner-v2The Blind Spot Series was created a few years ago by Ryan at The Matinee, and is now hosted by Sofia at Returning Videotapes. As part of the Series, bloggers choose 1 movie to watch and review each month that is deemed a ‘classic’ or ‘must-watch’. To see the rest of my picks for the year, check out my announcement post here.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

john-wick-chapter-3-parabellum-2019Director: Chad Stahelski

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

Runtime: 130 Minutes

Main Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston

Plot: Directly following on from the previous movie, John Wick is now on the run after killing another member of the international assassin’s guild. Men and women worldwide are now after him, and there’s a $14m bounty on his head.

My Thoughts: I was dragged into the John Wick franchise just before the second movie came out. The husband wanted to go see it so we watched the first one together the night before. It was pretty good! I don’t mind action movies, I don’t often rave about them but they’re enjoyable enough. When the second one introduced all that world-building, I was sold, I think I enjoyed it more than the first. So I was dead excited to see Parabellum! Just as I was leaving the house my husband said: “Oh just so you know, Keanu Reeves can’t run and you’ll never be able to unsee it now”. Thanks!

The opening scene in Parabellum? Keanu Reeves running through New York City. Are you kidding me? Sorry to anyone else who now can’t unsee his Phoebe run. ANYWAY. Let me tell you about how much I loved this movie. I freaking loved every minute – it’s honestly on par with Avengers: Endgame right now. This is the standard that all action movies should aim for!

John Wick beats up a guy and snaps his neck with a book in a library, slaps a horse’s rear so hard that it kicks back and kills another guy, and then he rides that horse in the rain down New York’s busy streets, taking out assassins on motorbikes. All that happens in the first 20 minutes. I was exhausted by the end of the movie! The choreography of the fight scenes is just absolutely second to none, if ever there was an argument to be made for an action movie Oscar this is the time.

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Best Bit: The knife fight was my favourite of all. I’m normally a quiet cinema-goer but even I gasped out loud several times, it was so brutal! You thought John Wick was good with guns? Man knows how to toss an axe!

Worst Bit: Have the bad guys in this franchise really not learned their lesson yet? You don’t hurt the doggos!

Fun Trivia: When shooting in Essaouira, Morocco, the set was besieged by hundreds of stray cats. According to Chad Stahelski, the crew had to build literal walls of cages to house them and, more importantly, to keep them from distracting the dogs featured in the scene.

My Rating: Guns. Lots of guns. Actually only 5 guns…but that’s still full marks from me!

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Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

antman-and-the-wasp-movie-poster-2018Director: Peyton Reed

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Comedy

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Main Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Hannah John-Kamen, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

Plot: Scott Lang has been placed on house arrest after the events of Civil War. During this time, Hope and Hank think they have found a way to locate and rescue Hope’s mother, the original Wasp.

My Thoughts: On Monday night I went to a secret screening at my local Odeon, the first of it’s kind that I’d ever been to. I immediately felt at home as you could only book onto the screening if you were a Limitless card holder, so there were quite a few other people on solo trips like me. The whole room cheered once we realised we were getting to see Ant-Man and the Wasp a few days early! I realise practically the whole world has seen it by now, but us tea-loving folk have to wait for ages sometimes.

I don’t know if the excitement did it, but I absolutely loved every minute of this movie. Paul Rudd is just utterly adorable. Evangeline Lilly kicked ass every time she was on screen. Michael Peña is just a delight. Thanks to the ‘powers’ that Ant-Man and Wasp use, the action scenes are just so different to every other movie out there, and the gimmick doesn’t get old, for me at least.

There were turns in the plot that I didn’t see coming, there were heartwarming moments, I laughed out loud several times. What more can you ask for from a movie? I’ve seen reviews mentioning a wafer-thin plot and a bit of a pointless villain but it didn’t taint the movie for me. You can stick Ant-Man right next to Doctor Strange at the top of my favourite Marvel heroes list!

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Best Bit: The moment I was waiting for – Luis telling a story in his own special way. It only happened once but oh it was so worth it. I laughed so loud I missed half of what was said!

Worst Bit: There weren’t any bad moments, but I ended up watching no less than 3 different trailers for the movie over the last few months so there were so many moments that didn’t have much of an impact for me because I’d already watched them 20 times.

Fun Trivia: Contrary to initial appearances, the Pym’s laboratory building is not an actual building that can be shrunk to the size of a suitcase. On the contrary, that small size is the original size of the object. It has been built of brick construction pieces and miniature models of equipment such as AA batteries for a power source etc., and has been enlarged to a full-size building when the owners wish to enter it without changing their own size.

My Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 playing cards, which will come in handy when I find the time to learn close-up magic tricks!

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Review: Passengers (2016)

Somehow, I managed to put the left over turkey down long enough to make it to the cinema yesterday! Whilst holding off the temptation to see Rogue One again, I made myself see Passengers. Don’t get me started on the trailer that gives away the whole movie, but I was excited to see Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in space. I mean, that’s a winning combo for sure, right?

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I’m going to warn you right now of possible spoilers in this review. Normally I keep my posts safe, but I’m not sure how with this one, so if you’re really looking forward to seeing Passengers, just go ahead and bookmark this page for later!

So, you’ve seen the trailer, you know the plot. Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) are passengers on this huge ship headed for a new planet. The journey will take 120 years, so them and the rest of the passengers are held in suspense pods to keep them preserved. But something happens, and they wake up too early. 90 years too early. Then here’s the movie’s tagline, “There’s a reason they woke up”. Hoo boy, what could the reason be? Sabotage? Were they chosen for something? By someone?

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No. Sadly, there literally isn’t a reason they woke up. Well, we learn how they woke up, but there’s nothing that special about it. Passengers could possibly be the most wrongly advertised movie I’ve ever seen because of that. The plot is kind of lame, and pretty predictable. And yet, it’s still fun to watch. Jim is the first to awake, and I think I’d have been happy with the whole movie being about him exploring the ship. The scene in the cafeteria where he learns that everything but a plain, large coffee is reserved for ‘gold’ members only is kinda hilarious, and there’s plenty more dry humour scattered about.

It’s also super pretty to watch on the big screen. No expenses were spared in the visual department, and the ship itself and the space in which it’s travelling is beautiful, if not a little empty. Plus, with two of the hottest stars in the movie industry as our leading couple, this is going to please both parties on a cinema date, let’s face it! It’s much funnier than I thought it would be, Martin Sheen’s robotic barman was full of character and never fails to provide a few laughs here and there.

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Now I’m really going into spoiler territory, so I’m changing the font colour to help you skip. I wasn’t expecting Laurence Fishburne to turn up, angry bout the fact someone plated a tree on his ship. Sadly, it was kind of obvious that his only purpose was to open the locked door of the command bridge and then die 5 minutes later, after giving Jim and Aurora his security pass. Sigh.

So all in all, Passengers isn’t 2016’s greatest Sci-Fi by a long shot, but there are certainly much worse ways to spend 2 hours of your life. This movie gets 3/5 large coffees from me!

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