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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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-movie-posterDirector: Ol Parker

Genre: Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Main Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Andy Garcia, Lily James, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Hugh Skinner, Pierce Brosnan, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Cher, Meryl Streep

Plot: Taking place 5 years after the original movie, Sophie is planning a grand opening party for the Bella Donna hotel. As her plans come crashing down, she learns more about her mother and how she met Sophie’s 3 fathers.

My Thoughts: I don’t even know how I found myself watching this at the cinema last night. I’m not an ABBA fan and would struggle to name 10 of their hits, but I watched the original movie about 2 years ago when it was picked for a family movie night, and despite finding it completely cheesy, it had a certain charm to it that made it hard to not like it.

Here We Go Again brings much of the same charm, if not more. If you can look beyond the cheese and the subpar acting (no one was really trying their best here) then there’s a lot of joy to be found. The cast is huge, there was no way I could cut it down for the post without doing someone a disservice, and if seeing Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård doing the Titanic pose doesn’t warm your heart and turn your frown upside down then nothing will!

What I thought was so clever though was how well the ‘young’ actors and actresses did. I mean Lily James is just stunning no matter what she does, and the boys had the characteristics down to a T! It was Jessica Keenan Wynn who stole the show for me though as a younger Christine Baranski. It was almost scary how similar she was.

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Best Bit: The Greek Passport Control guy was hilarious when he judged everyone’s photos. The bit never got old, in fact, it got funnier every single time.

Worst Bit: Not being an ABBA fan I only knew a handful of the songs, so I felt pretty left out when the people either side of me in the cinema were bopping along and hoping no one noticed them singing.

Fun Trivia: Meryl Streep and Lily James, the two actresses portraying Donna, are distant relatives – ninth cousins, three times removed to be precise.

My Rating: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was a 3.5 out of 5 up until now, when writing this post made me realise I enjoyed it more than I thought. A solid 4 out of 5 crazy outfits it is!

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Review: Darkest Hour (2018)

darkest-hour-movie-review-2018Every year when it comes to Awards Season, there’s always that one movie that I just can’t bring myself to watch. I’ll groan at the very thought of it, but I really try to watch at least the nominated Best Picture movies. Boyhood is the exception. I still can’t face that. Anyway, this year’s movie for me is Darkest Hour. I’d honestly rather watch the terrible alien/sci-fi movie by almost the same name, but I know if I save it till last I’ll never watch it at all, so I sucked it up!

I don’t do history, I don’t do war and I most certainly don’t do politics, and Darkest Hour is all of these. It is essentially a retelling of Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister of the UK in the middle of World War II, making the impossible decision whether to make terms with Hitler or fight to the bitter end.

Honestly, this movie just wasn’t for me. I loved Dunkirk (2017) because despite it being a war movie, it showed purely the action side of things. I mean, at least this was a more fun way of learning about World War II than sitting in my actual history lessons back in school? I’ll give it this though, Gary Oldman as Churchill is nothing short of amazing. He is completely unrecognisable, and brought so much life to the role.

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Speaking of which, shout out to Ben Mendelsohn! He’s such a chameleon, that’s why I love him. I’ve seen him play a space nazi, a down on his luck gambling addict and now a British king, and every role seems to come so naturally to him. I’m so looking forward to seeing him in Ready Player One later this year!

So seeings as I’m going to really struggle to talk about this one, let me tell you the character I identified the most with, Elizabeth Layton, played by Lily James. Poor girl is a typist for the grumpiest bloke ever, and it’s not easy when he’s changing his mind on words and shouting! It reminded me of my first boss who I did a lot of admin for. He’d stand right behind me and dictate what he wanted me to type, which is incredibly difficult for a nervous dyslexic like me! Even the best of us can’t type with someone breathing down their neck.

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I can appreciate Darkest Hour for it’s performances, and I’m sure it’ll do well at the BAFTAs next month. It’s just really not my cup of tea. I know it’s a well made, well acted movie, but I rate my reviews on a mix of that and also how much I enjoyed it, and so that’s why this gets 3 out of 5 ‘V for Victory’ signs from me.

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