Movie Reviews

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

the-trial-chicago-7-netflix-movie-review-posterDirector: Aaron Sorkin

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharpe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton

Plot: At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, what was intended to be a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War turned violent. The organisers of the protest were all charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, and this movie is the story of that trial that went on for months.

My Thoughts: Let’s file this under ‘movies that taught Allie about actual history’ because this is another historical event I was oblivious to until now. I guess that’s why movies like this are so important! Courtroom dramas can be difficult to get right I think, when they don’t work they can be slow, dull even, but when they’re done right? They are fascinating, frustrating, and compelling. I’m happy to say that The Trail of the Chicago 7 falls into the latter category for me. I haven’t been this engrossed in a movie since, well…possibly all year, to be honest.

I wouldn’t even pretend to understand American politics so I was a little lost at first but once the trial actually started I was in for the long haul, and it didn’t take long until I was shouting at the TV. It’s the Chicago 7, right, so why are there 8 men on trial? The 8th man was Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He was in Chicago during the riot for all of 4 hours, but was brought in essentially so that there was a black man to scare the jury. Think that’s bad? The man didn’t even have a lawyer present! That’s only the start of the shocking, dirty tactics at hand here, I’ll let you see the rest for yourselves.

The movies doesn’t stop outside of the courtroom though, we get to see what happens in between each day of the trial too, as well as flashbacks to what happened in the run up to and during the protest itself. This is where we get to see the relationship between the defense grow stronger but also strain at the seams. It’s a tough movie to sell to the average Netflix user, it certainly doesn’t scream ‘fun’, but I haven’t felt this way about a movie like this since Spotlight (2015). Each performance is on point, and if I’m praising Eddie Redmayne then you know I really mean it, because he normally just winds me up.

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Best Bit:  The cast is stacked, there’s no other way to say it, and everyone puts in 110% making it almost impossible to pick a stand out performance, I could write a whole post in itself just to talk about everyone. Eddie Redmayne reminds me that he’s actually pretty darn talented, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just a delight to see in new movies again but the actor who blew me away was Sacha Baron Cohen. I’ve only seen his silly, comedic roles which he’s great at, and I’ve never seen him like this. He still brings most of the laughs but when he takes the stand as a witness it genuinely shocked me.

Worst Bit: There’s nothing about this movie that makes me want to say “I didn’t like this bit” or “this scene kinda sucked”. Yes, the start confused me a little but that’s on me. But there was a moment that made me so uncomfortable that I felt quite nautious, and that was when *SPOILERS* Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was dragged out of court and brought back gagged and tied to his chair. Like, that ACTUALLY happened. 

Fun Trivia: As a method actor, Jeremy Strong (Jerry Rubin) begged writer-director Aaron Sorkin to get him teargassed as well as being thrown on the ground by an ex-cop portraying a riot police officer. Sorkin refused to have this happen on set.

My Rating:  A full 5 gavels, and it wouldn’t matter how loud Judge Hoffman smacked them, that room was never going to quiet down in the end.

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Movie Reviews

Pixie (2020)

pixie-2020-movie-review-posterDirector: Barnaby Thompson

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Main Cast: Olivia Cooke, Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack, Alec Baldwin, Colm Meaney, Chris Walley, Dylan Moran, Sebastian de Souza

Plot: Pixie (Olivia Cooke) is on a mission to avenge her Mother’s death and flee to San Francisco to start a new life, but to do that she must first team up with a couple of guys (Ben Hardy & Daryl McCormack) to sell the drugs that were stolen from Catholic Priest gangsters.

My Thoughts: Not only was it nice to see trailers for a new movie and then actually get to watch it at the cinema without it being delayed by a year, but I got to see it a week early with my ODEON membership, hurrah! Pixie is one of those extraordinary little movies that my friends outside of the UK have probably never even heard of, but it’s a lot of fun. I can’t help but compare it to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) for a personal reason. I don’t generally like period dramas,or zombie movies, but the two combined was highly enjoyable. It’s the same for Pixie, I don’t love gangster movies and I can count the number of westerns I’ve seen on one hand, but Pixie combines the two genres and it works!

Most of you will know how it ends before it’s even really begun, my husband sure did when I got home. I told him how much I enjoyed it, he guessed how it ended, I fumed at him that he was right and how did he know and he said he’d worked it out from the trailer alone. So if you’re looking for something deep with genuine surprises this isn’t for you but if you’re happy enough to sit and enjoy the ride like I did then it’s definitely worth a watch!

Ireland is such a beautiful country, I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting once but I’d love to go again. This movie is the perfect advertisement for the lesser-known parts of the country. Plus, I don’t know about you but I could listen to the Irish accent all day long, so it was a given I think that I would enjoy Pixie. There was a couple in the room who found every joke so much funnier than the rest of us, and found every gory death much more shocking, it was really wholesome. When this COVID nonsense is over I’d love to watch a movie with them!

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Best Bit: You should never trust small town rumors. When the two lads are gushing over Pixie and get told a rumor about how she loves to take experimental photography in the bedroom, the two of them argue over who should be the one to knock on her door. There are no winners in this game except Pixie, the sooner you learn that, the better.

Worst Bit: I don’t even know if this should go under best bit or worst bit, and I might not even be correct in saying this but Alec Baldwin’s Irish accent was hilarious. The 2020 trifecta of funny accents goes to Alec Baldwin in Pixie, Robert Downey Jr. in Dolittle and Robert Pattinson in The Devil All the Time!

Fun Trivia: As of early 2020, Olivia Cooke and Ben Hardy are in a relationship after meeting on the set of ‘Pixie’. (This is actually the only bit of trivia I would fine I’m afraid…lucky Ben Hardy!)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 guns that Alec Baldwin says…let me try this…”teese gons aren’t going to shoot temselves”!

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Movie Reviews

Kajillionaire (2020)

kajillionaire-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Miranda July

Genre: Crime, Drama

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Main Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Debra Winger, Richard Jenkins, Mark Ivanir, Madeleine Coghlan, Steve Park, Challen Cates

Plot: 26-year-old Old Dolio has been raised by her parents to be a small time, petty criminal, helping to pay the rent by stealing packages from the post office and preying on the generosity of the wealthy to get by. In the middle of a lost baggage claim heist, her parents enlist the help of Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), a stranger they met on the plane, in a last ditch attempt to avoid homelessness.

My Thoughts: This is the kind of movie I’ve been waiting all year for. I would happily push all of this years and next years blockbusters into 2022 if it meant getting to watch movies like Kajillionaire. Sadly the cinema industry wouldn’t survive, so for now I’ll watch whatever I can and sit through the Bond trailer in silent rage. Kajillionaire is a heist movie like no other I’ve ever seen. Imagine Ocean’s Eleven was actually a Sundance movie, and that’s what you get. Evan Rachel Wood is completely unrecognizable as Old Dolio, with her over-sized tracksuit and gruff voice.

We’re thrown straight into this family’s life straight away, watching them wait for an opening outside the post office. And you have to think, a family this hard done by must be so close at the very least? But it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Old Dolio and her parents are business partners who split everything 3-ways, they don’t do love, or hugs. And really, that’s all Old Dolio has ever known until Melanie comes into their lives. Melanie is a ray of sunshine in a world of darkness, and the whole family is smitten by her. That’s when things really become strained.

I tried to explain the basics of the movie to my husband when I got home as I usually do, and it was so difficult. Kajillionaire is funny, shocking, and heart warming all at the same time, and my husbands response was, “Is it like that movie you love where Willem Dafoe looks after that Motel near Disney World?” He’s talking about The Florida Project (2017) if you hadn’t worked it out, and he is so right. These kind of movies were made for me.

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Best Bit: *SPOILERS* When the gang were at the old gentleman’s home and they made Old Dolio wait in his bedroom for him to die so they can take his chequebook. He’s clearly in pain and waiting to pass and it’s such a tender moment watching her help him through it. To then find out he was still alive was such a funny shock.

Worst Bit: It wasn’t a bad moment in terms of the quality of the movie, but when we find out why her parents even called her Old Dolio is just broke my heart, poor girl never stood a chance.

Fun Trivia: I can’t seem to find anything fun to share with you, but from the looks of it, the movie will be released digitally on Friday 16th October so please give it a watch if you aren’t able or comfortable to go to the cinema!

My Rating: 4 and a half buckets that you’ll need to scoop up those bubbles leaking from the wall every afternoon.

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Movie Reviews

The Wall of Mexico (2019)

the-wall-of-mexico-2019-poster-movieDirector: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Runtime: 110 Minutes

Main Cast: Jackson Rathbone, Esai Morales, Marisol Sacramento, Carmela Zumbado, Alex Meneses, Moises Arias, Mariel Hemingway, Xander Berkeley

Plot: Don (Jackson Rathbone) takes on a job as a handyman for the Aristas, a wealthy Mexican-American family with two outrageously decadent daughters. The source of the family’s wealth is a mystery to Don until he is told about the well on their property.

My Thoughts: First of all, how great is it to see Jackson Rathbone again? It feels so strange that this movie has come along at a time when I’ve recently re-watched all of the Twilight movies. He’s great here, and the role has clearly done him some good as his IMDB profile is showing a good few movies in the pipeline for him.

I’ve got to be honest with you – I don’t have a lot to say about this movie and it’s given me a week-long writing block. I don’t necessarily mean it as an insult though, sometimes you watch a movie and you think, this is fine, I enjoyed it, and now I’ve moved on. That’s how I feel about The Wall of Mexico. It has a political theme behind it as you can probably guess, but it’s not punchy enough to really make a point. I wish those themes had been pushed harder, that would have made the movie stand out.

Still, it was a decent watch and it’s an indie movie originally screened at the SXSW festival. It’s available to stream TODAY, and as a movie blogger I feel a sense of duty to put a bit of spotlight onto the movies you might not have heard of.

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Best Bit: When Don finally cracks and finds out for himself what the big deal with the water is all about. I loved his outburst. I spent most of the movie thinking the same, what is the obsession?!

Worst Bit: Those sisters are real jerks, for sure. I guess that’s what money does to you!

Fun Trivia Some Words from the Director: “The Wall of Mexico was conceived in reaction to the 2016 election and the continuing turmoil of its consequences. In our film, the clichéd power structures of American pop culture and news are flipped: a white handyman, uneducated and poor, tries to partake of the privileged and enticing world of a wealthy Latino family. To further complicate preconceived notions about ethnicity and culture, we decided to shoot the film on the other side of the looking glass and teamed up with producers and crew from Tijuana.”

My Rating: 2 and a half pairs of binoculars. If you want to work for the Aristas family you’re going to need them for your nightly well duty.

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Movie Reviews

Enola Holmes (2020)

enola-holmes-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Harry Bradbeer

Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Crime

Runtime: 123 Minutes

Main Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter, Louis Partridge, Burn Gorman, Adeel Akhtar, Frances de la Tour, Fiona Shaw

Plot: Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) is the young sister of Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and Mycroft (Sam Claflin) Holmes. When their Mother (Helena Bonham Carter) goes missing, Enola follows in the footsteps of her family and starts to track her down, whilst Mycroft is set on enrolling her into an all-girls school to learn how to become a ‘proper’ lady.

My Thoughts: While the cinemas are getting barely any new movies at the moment (last night I watched a British romance about a pair of 60+ year olds who meet whilst walking their dogs), Netflix is treating us for sure. Never have I ever been so happy to part with £5.99 every month. I adored the BBC’s Sherlock show and Millie Bobby Brown is one of the best things about Stranger Things so I was so excited for Enola Holmes! On the whole I had a lot of fun watching it and I think it’ll be a great family movie for many.

We see the story through Enola’s eyes and it’s easy to follow with her character breaking the fourth wall constantly to keep us in the loop. Some might find it irritating but I’ve always enjoyed fourth wall breaks. You can just tell that Millie Bobby Brown is having the time of her life playing this character and rightfully so, with the elaborate costumes, energetic fight scenes and a fine sense of adventure. I love a good mystery and a shocking reveal but this was too simple for me and not anything like I got used to with BBC’s Sherlock. Which is, ultimately, unfair, because I don’t think the target audiences are the same.

The story is neatly tied up at the end and the whole thing feels very wholesome. I almost wish that the overall mystery hadn’t been solved because I’d quite like a sequel to be honest!

enola-holmes-break-fourth-wall-millie-bobby-brown

Best Bit: Just the overall vibe of the movie is what makes it so great. It has this certain charm about it that just makes you smile, you know? This is the kind of movie we need in a year like this.

Worst Bit: Henry Cavill is NOT my Sherlock. I’m sorry Henry, I love you, I really do, and you won me over as Geralt in The Witcher, but your Sherlock pales in comparison in Benedict Cumberbatch’s. Cavill’s Sherlock has way too much heart about him and whilst it might keep in tone with the rest of the movie, it doesn’t sit well with me.

Fun Trivia: No reference to a younger sister was ever made in the original Doyle stories. Some readers have speculated that there could be another Holmes sibling, citing the fact that Sherlock never mentioned that he had a brother (Mycroft) until he showed up at Baker Street.

My Rating: 3 and a half newspapers in which I have hidden several riddles for you to solve…just kidding, I’m not that smart. Or am I?

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