Movie Reviews

The Guilty (2021)

the-guilty-2021-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime

Runtime: 91 Minutes

Main Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard, Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano, Bill Burr

Plot: Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) has been demoted to a call dispatch desk after an incident. He’s coming up towards the end of his shift when a call comes in from a woman who has been kidnapped.

My Thoughts: I only learnt about The Guilty around 5-6 weeks ago but I’ve been desperate to see it ever since. I’m a huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal and I heard the movie being compared with Tom Hardy’s Locke (2013) which I found fascinating, so I’ve been counting down the days! I find these one-location movies to be quite spectacular. They could quite easily be boring so a lot of tension is needed to keep the tempo, and The Guilty has tension by the bucket-load!

It’s a remake of a Danish movie from 2018 by the same name, and I’ve heard the original is far superior. You’ll have to forgive me for not knowing about it sooner but I guess not being able to compare greatly helped my enjoyment of this remake, because I loved it! Well, as much as you can enjoy an hour and a half of being stressed beyond belief, that is. Joe isn’t a likeable character, he’s clearly done something wrong to have been assigned to this desk in the first place, he’s separated from his wife, and he’s hostile towards his colleagues. But his dedication to the job and wanting to do the right thing is admirable.

So, I’ll hold up my hands and promise to watch the original, but for now I have to say, The Guilty was everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved pretty much every second, I didn’t want to pause it for anything, I just needed to know what was going to happen next!

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Best Bit: I mean, the reality is shocking but watching Joe shout at the cyclist calling for help and repeatedly hanging up on him made me laugh so hard and it was the perfect way to ease the tension just a little!

Worst Bit: The only thing I can really find to complain about was the ending. It was good to finally find out what happened in the events leading up to that fateful night on call, but at the end of the day it didn’t really add anything to the story, really. Maybe that’s one part that’s done a lot better in the original, I’ll have to find out for myself.

Fun Trivia: Because someone near director Antoine Fuqua tested positive for Covid-19 mere days before the film began shooting, he had to isolate. Faqua directed the entire film from a van with monitors rather than on the soundstage with the actors.

My Rating: 4 and a half inhalers that I almost needed myself whilst watching the last few scenes of this movie.

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Movie Reviews

Fear of Rain (2021)

fear-of-rain-movie-review-2021-posterDirector: Castille Landon

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 109 Minutes

Main Cast: Katherine Heigl, Harry Connick Jr, Madison Iseman, Israel Broussard, Eugenie Bondurant, Julia Vasi, Enuka Okuma, Hudson Rogers

Plot: Rain (Madison Iseman) suffers from schizophrenia and terrifying hallucinations. After returning home from the hospital after another episode, she is convinced she sees through her window that her neighbour has kidnapped a child.

My Thoughts: I’ve two lessons for you today. Number one, don’t judge a movie based on it’s title because I really thought this was going to be a horror movie about someone, or a bunch of people, terrified of actual rain. Number two, I should hand in my (non-existant) blogger badge because it seems that just lately I love trash movies and hate on good ones. I’m sorry, okay! But I loved the heck out of this one and because I went in totally blind, I didn’t realise how much it’s been bashed until I logged my rating in on Letterboxd.

If you’ve been thinking about watching Fear of Rain, it’s best enjoyed knowing as little as possible. I won’t talk openly about spoilers (I’ll hide them if I mention something) but if you want to find out more, you’ve come to the right place. I un-apologetically enjoyed it, but I can’t defend it’s issues. The whole ‘mentally-unstable, unreliable narrator’ plot device has been used time and time again, most recently in this year’s The Woman in the Window, so there’s nothing original here. There are several characters you want to scream at for making terrible choices. You know straight away there’s only one question to be answered – did Rain witness a real crime or was it a hallucination? But.

Here’s the but. The story takes so many twists and turns that I found it impossible not to enjoy. I didn’t really care what the outcome at the end was going to be, I was just along for the ride. I was surprised several times! I never see the twist coming, though. And that’s a great trait to have when it comes to movies, I think. It must suck if you can sniff out a plot twist before the reveal!

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Best Bit: I’m going to as vague as I can here so I don’t have to censor too much. But there’s an ‘oh s**t’ moment when a twist is revealed and it’s pretty awesome. What’s better? The twist that comes after that one!

Worst Bit: I know I said I didn’t care too much about the outcome, and I didn’t, but there’s one detail that bugs me that could have been easily fixed. *SPOILERS* Did we ever find out what the neighbour’s motive was? It just felt so random!

Fun Trivia: Many of the medications that Rain takes (around 19:33) for her schizophrenia diagnosis are listed atypical anti-psychotics (many are prescribed for mood disorders as well).
I’m stretching the meaning of the word ‘fun’ here, aren’t I? In my defence, this was the only bit of trivia on IMDB for this movie!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 umbrellas that you can use if you have a fear of rain, unlike anyone in this movie.

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Movie Reviews

Vivo (2021)

vivo-netflix-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Kirk DeMicco

Genre: Family, Animation, Adventure, Musical

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos González, Brian Tyree Henry, Gloria Estefan, Michael Rooker, Nicole Byer

Plot: Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda), a cute kinkajou with a passion for music, embarks on a mission to deliver a song to the famous musician Marta, written by Vivo’s best friend as a declaration of his love for her.

My Thoughts: I recall seeing the teaser trailer for Vivo a few months ago, I was excited because of Lin-Manuel’s involvement but didn’t follow it’s release, and now it’s here! I’m going to try and write something coherent but it’s going to be blatantly obvious to you how much I loved this movie. Every musical has one shot at hooking you with it’s opening number, and I was grinning from ear to ear in the first minute of Vivo. I just adore Lin-Manuel’s song writing abilities, and he has such an iconic voice. Most musicals I watch have maybe one, two at most songs that I can recall from memory after a first watch, but all of these songs were stuck in my memory.

Vivo is such a fun character, a dedicated friend but too caught up in following a set plan. Then we have Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), a ten-year-old girl with the hair of my DREAMS who bears a lot of similarities to the character of Lilo from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch (2002). She marches to the beat of her own drum (and now that song is on repeat in my head) and stays true to herself, even if that means she’s lonely and struggles to make friends.

The story itself is generic and by the book. It’s an adventure with two unlikely heroes, not friends at first but besties by the end, on a mission that goes wrong at every turn but works out fine in the end. There’s nothing shocking that happens, but when the characters are so loveable, the animation so gorgeous and the songs catchy as hell, it’s easily forgivable. After this and The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021), Sony Animation is on a huge winning streak, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Best Bit: There was so much I loved, but when the songs were the strongest part of the movie it makes sense to pick my favourite musical number. Inside Your Heart should probably be the one that stands out most because of it’s connection to the story, but for me it was Keep the Beat. It was the moment Vivo realised he was going to have to rely on a new friend in the form of Gabi, and it featured a perfect blend of this song and also Gabi’s song previously. Not to mention some of my favourite lyrics ever, “All I can do when the tank runs dry, is see what’s in reserve”.

Worst Bit: We learned early on that Gabi lost her father years ago, but I wasn’t expecting Sony to pull a Disney/Pixar crush of my emotions like this movie did. It was during the race in Miami when Gabi was exasperated with her mother about delivering the song, it had to be done because Andrés never got to say ‘I love you’. I was staring at the screen silently screaming ‘don’t say it, don’t say it’ and then of course Gabi went on to say that she never got to say her last words to her father and NOW I’m crying again just thinking about it!

Fun Trivia: Sony Animation’s third Netflix exclusive film, after The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) and Wish Dragon (2021). Well, this answers my question about what comes next for Sony Animation. Turns out I already missed a movie of theirs!

My Rating: It’s taking all my willpower not to give this full marks, and I may well return to this review soon and change it but for now, it’s 4 and a half accordions rolling around in a bag like something from a horror movie.

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Movie Reviews

What I Watched: July 2021

Why hello there, August! It’s my birthday month which means everyone has to be nice to me. Or that’s what I think the rules are, anyway. Can someone remind my three-year-old? What a wild age. One minute she tells me she never wants to play with me again (I asked her to eat her dinner) and the next she’s giving me kisses and telling me she loves me. She’s cute and hilarious though so I’ll forgive her – I think my husband would say the same about me, to be perfectly honest. Let’s talk movies though, shall we? I’ve watched loads this month, but haven’t been so great about writing about them afterwards.

That’s the beauty of these little round-up posts though, I get to talk a little bit about everything I’ve seen without trying to find the time to write a full review for each movie. Here’s what I watched in July!

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Fatherhood (2021) – I genuinely forgot I watched this, which serves about right as a review I guess. It has some sweet moments and raises some genuine issues that single Dads are facing right now, but it’s just not memorable enough. I find Kevin Hart so enjoyable though so I’ll forever watch his movies, but he’s at his best when he sticks to pure comedy.

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Fear Street: 1994 (2021) – I’m not a huge fan of slasher horror movies but I do like to keep up to date with the Netflix Originals and I was intrigued about the three part movies all coming out on a weekly schedule rather than having to wait at least a year, so of course I watched Fear Street. It didn’t convert me to the genre but it was stylish and I really like the cast so I still had a good time watching it.

Black Widow (2021) Full Review

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Fear Street: 1978 (2021) – This was probably my favourite of the three Fear Street movies. It was interesting going back in time to delve deeper into the mystery and the soundtrack was brilliant. I feel like I’m yet to see a movie about summer camp that doesn’t involve kids being murdered though? So kind of grateful they aren’t a thing in the UK!

Arthur Christmas (2011)Full Review for Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon

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Werewolves Within (2021) – I’m not aware of the video game this movie is based on but I know very well the board game/card game Werewolves which is very much the same thing. I think I took this movie too seriously to begin with and I wasn’t enjoying it much, but once I let go a bit I had a much better experience and loved the conclusion to it. Such a great cast, too! Sam Richardson is quickly becoming one of my favourite comedic actors.

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The Tomorrow War (2021) – Bit gutted I didn’t find the time to write a full review for this one because I had a blast watching it. It’s loud, it’s expensive but it’s a proper popcorn movie and if you don’t get your head too wrapped up in the logic of the time travel then it’s really fun. It was so weird that Sam Richardson was in this too as I had only watched Werewolves Within the night before. If you’d like to know my Mum’s review of this, it was “I think Chris Pratt should stick to comedy”. Clearly she wanted Dwayne Johnson as the lead!

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Good on Paper (2021) – I’m not aware of Iliza Shlesinger so I was watching this just for the romcom vibes. I liked how it was a bit different to the generic movies of this genre but UGH. The characters. I mostly had problems with the character of Dennis, the guy who is meant to be the ‘good on paper’ boyfriend. He’s downright unlikeable from the very beginning so I was never invested in the relationship for a minute.

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)Full Review

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Fear Street: 1666 (2021) – Probably my least favourite of the three movies but I did still enjoy it. The first half felt a bit ‘by the book’ but it was a satisfying conclusion and the final fight in the shopping mall was super cool. I hope Netflix do something like this again, I would definitely be up for it.

Goodfellas (1990)Full Review for Film & Wine Club

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Pig (2021) – Two new Nic Cage movies in one year? We’re being spoiled. I loved Willy’s Wonderland (2021), it was the right combination of gory and absurd, and I have to admit I went into Pig mostly blind. I was expecting some sort of Big Lebowski type movie but it wasn’t that at all. It’s a must quieter movie about grief and I was pretty blindsided. At first I was disappointed, but I’ve appreciated the movie more as time has gone by.

what-i-watched-gunpowder-milkshake

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) – Now this is what I was expecting Pig to be more like! I was down for this movie for the name alone but I’d read a lot of lukewarm reviews so I wasn’t expecting much. Gunpowder Milkshake has many comparisons to John Wick and whilst it’s not on the same level as that franchise, it’s still a lot of fun. There’s some fun worldbuilding and great action scenes and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m a fan of Karen Gillan but she didn’t quite feel like lead material here, that’s my main gripe.

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The Forever Purge (2021) – I’ve missed a couple of movies in this franchise but it was so hot outside and inside that I just needed a couple of hours in an air-conditioned room, so off to the cinema I went. I wish these Purge movies were of a higher quality because it’s such a good concept, but they’re enjoyable regardless. The concept of this one is that when the 12 hour Purge ends, people don’t actually stop and the killing gets worse. And let’s face it, if the Purge were real, that’s EXACTLY what would happen.

Thelma & Louise (1991)Full Review for Film & Wine Club

Old (2021)Full Review

what-i-watched-last-letter-from-your-lover

The Last Letter from Your Lover (2021) – Oh I do love my ODEON membership and being able to see movies early every now and again. This kind of sappy romantic movie isn’t usually my kind of thing but when you’re in a cinema with no distractions it’s easy to get sucked into the story and I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought. Callum Turner was surprisingly good, but as much as I like Felicity Jones I can’t help but feel like she was miscast. She’s not believable as someone who loves to swear, Emilia Clarke would have been my choice.

Jungle Cruise (2021) – Full Review coming soon

Movie Reviews

The Woman in the Window (2021)

the-woman-in-the-window-poster-movieDirector: Joe Wright

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Main Cast: Amy Adams, Fred Hechinger, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jeanine Serralles, Anthony Mackie, Maria Bozeman

Plot: Anna (Amy Adams) lives alone in her New York home as she suffers terribly from agoraphobia, rendering her unable to go outside. Whilst spying on her neighbours she witnesses an awful act of violence, but not everything is as it seems.

My Thoughts: Well, I suppose if there’s one thing to learn from this movie, and it’s don’t name your movie by describing where the female character is! The majority hated The Girl on the Train (2016) and they don’t seem thrilled by The Woman in the Window, either. General consensus seems to be that the books they are based on are incredible, but not the movies. Truth be told, I enjoyed both! I’m a sucker for a bit of mystery, and I guess for Amy Adams too. I’d definitely recommend giving it a watch and making your own mind up.

It’s taken the Hitchcock classic Rear Window (1954), made it more modern and thrown in the confusion of having an unreliable narrator. I only need two things from a movie like this, for it to be engaging enough to keep me interested throughout, and to have a killer twist that I didn’t see coming. And this is why I like it – it did both! If you’ve read the book but hated the movie then I get it, if things have been changed and characters weren’t portrayed right, that’s fair enough. I’d be interested to know how similar the endings were, as that was the only part I wasn’t a fan of.

In fact, I’ve read the boo can you let me know in the comments? Because I’ve got a million questions! Is the ending the same? Does Anna have a tenant in the book? Were there any characters missing/added? Of course, I could just read the book for myself. I guess at the end of the day what I’m trying to say is I either have a terrible taste in Amy Adams movies, or you should take the negative reviews with a pinch of salt.

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Best Bit: It amuses me no end to see actors appear in a movie from a TV show that I’ve watched recently, so you can imagine my glee when both Wyatt Russell and Anthony Mackie showed up in this after I recently finished watching Falcon and the Winter Soldier!

Worst Bit: I won’t elaborate for obvious reasons, but I wasn’t a fan of the ending. Not so much what actually happened, but just how it did. It felt a bit cheap and more like something I’d find in a horror movie released in January, you know?

Fun Trivia: As this movie does share quite a number of plot elements of Rear Window (1954), as well as contain many Hitchcock-inspired film gimmicks, the director winks at the audience at the beginning of the film by a slow pan past a monitor displaying several frames of Raymond Burr choking Jimmy Stewart from Rear Window (1954).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 bits of post that, if aren’t addressed to you, you should not open!

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