Movie Reviews

The Prom (2020)

the-prom-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Ryan Murphy

Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 130 Minutes

Main Cast: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Jo Ellen Pellman, Ariana DeBose, Mary Kay Place, Tracey Ullman

Plot: 4 self-obsessed Broadway stars travel to a small conservative town in Indiana to help out a young girl whose school has cancelled their prom because she wants to take her girlfriend. By getting the prom back on, the stars hope that the publicity will boost their careers.

My Thoughts: Can I first acknowledge the crime that is the fact I had to watch this at home on Netflix with the background noise of my husband playing the PS5 instead of being at the cinema, dancing in my seat? Can you imagine if The Greatest Showman was released this year? Anyway – The Prom might not be my favourite musical ever but there was still so much I loved about it. Firstly, can I get a ‘hell yeah’ for Jo Ellen Pellman, starring in her first feature movie, acting alongside Hollywood legends such as Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman and doing a damn fine job of it? Get it, girl!

You know me, I’m not a theatre person (I’ve seen 1 show in a theatre my whole life) so I had no idea this movie was based on a show, so I can’t comment on how it holds up as an adaptation. I was slightly put off by it’s runtime but honestly, the time whizzed by, I enjoyed every second. I maybe didn’t care so much for the Broadways stars because of their motives, but the rest of the characters? I was there for them. Keegan-Michael Key really surprised me. He elevates every movie he’s in but in this one he showed a side to him I’ve never seen before. His musical number ‘We Look To You’ hit me particularly hard, especially in a year like this.

Forgive me for comparing but when I think about the lesbian couple in The Prom, I can’t help but think about the lesbian couple in Happiest Season (2020). If you read my review you’ll know I loved it, but struggled to get behind the couple. That wasn’t the problem here – I was behind these girls all the way.

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Best Bit: Although I really enjoyed the songs, they weren’t ones that stuck in my memory very well, although I’ll certainly be playing them in my car this week. One song in particular made me laugh and if I’d been in a cinema I might have been clapping along too. It was Andrew Rannells performing ‘Love Thy Neighbor’. It’s not a cheesy musical without a flashy number to rally an entire town!

Worst Bit: You might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned James Corden yet. I can’t quite put my finger on why but he just irritates me as a person. I think he’s got that aura of arrogance, and he often winds me up. I have to say, I didn’t mind him in this, but he was woefully miscast. I don’t have a problem at all with a straight man playing a gay man but was Titus Burgess every in the running for the role? He would have been PERFECT.

Fun Trivia: Nicole Kidman portrays Angie Dickinson, a life long chorus girl who just quit her job of 20 years in the musical Chicago after the producers never let her go on for the role of Roxie Hart. In real life, Kidman turned down the part of Roxie Hart in Chicago (2002).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 glitzy dresses…give it some zazz!

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Movie Reviews

Over the Moon (2020)

over-the-moon-movie-review-2020-netflixDirector: Glen Keane, John Kahrs

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Sandra Oh, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn

Plot: 4 years after Fei Fei’s Mother passes away, her Father has met someone new. Fei Fei can’t understand why her Father no longer loves her Mother, and so she travels to the moon in order to find the Moon Goddess to prove to her Father that love is eternal.

My Thoughts: If you thought only Disney Pixar can make animated musicals with the power to make you cry as hard as you laugh, then think again. Netflix is here to surprise you! I’ve always loved animated movies but avoided Over the Moon when it was released last month because I heard it was all about how a young girl deals with grief and ugh, can anyone in 2020 handle their emotions? Because I sure can’t. I couldn’t stay away forever though and I’m so glad I finally gave it a try. This is such a beautiful movie from its storytelling to its visuals. If this isn’t an Oscar contender I will RIOT.

Very much like Inside Out (2015), the movie tackles such a difficult theme but does so in a beautiful way. As an adult watching, I know that Fei Fei’s Father will never stop loving her Mother, but I also understand that Fei Fei can’t see that. For all she knows, this new woman in his life is completely replacing her Mother, and taking away their family traditions at the same time. She’s also lumped with the prospect of an irritating younger brother, who, bless him, handles everything with the tenacity that only 8 year olds can.

Whilst not all the songs are completely memorable, they fit the scenes perfectly and one in particular made me ugly cry into my lunch. It’s an emotional ride but it’s also such a fun adventure as the soon-to-be siblings explore the moon together in order to find the object that the Moon Goddess is seeking. One of those stellar family movies that the adults can enjoy as much as the little ones. Also – I won’t pretend to know anything about Chinese culture but from what I’ve read, it’s represented excellently here and that sounds like a win to me. I’d say that if you enjoyed Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), you’ll enjoy this too.

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Best Bit: I have two words for you. PHILLIPA. SOO. Hands down the absolute star of 2020 for sure. From the tenacious Eliza Hamilton in…Hamilton (2020) to the lesbian goddess Nadine in The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) to an ACTUAL Moon Goddess in Over the Moon (2020), she is simply incredible. And whilst we may only hear her voice in this movie, she sings the catchiest song by far.

Worst Bit: Maybe the child in me was siding too hard with Fei Fei, but I can’t help but feel like the Father’s new relationship could have been handled better. Yes, it was important to see Fei Fei adopt some of her future Step-Mother’s traditions, but surely they could have incorporated more of their original family traditions too? I’m being brat I think…

Fun Trivia: Audrey Wells’ final written movie before her death in 2018, the film will also be dedicated in loving memory of her.

My Rating: 4 and a half magical moon cakes…nope, still can’t think about that song without crying everywhere…

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Movie Reviews

Holidate (2020)

holidate-movie-poster-review-2020Director: John Whitesell

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Main Cast: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth, Frances Fisher, Jessica Capshaw, Andrew Bachelor, Manish Dayal, Alex Moffatt, Jake Manley, Cynthy Wu

Plot: Sloane (Emma Roberts) is fed up of her family badgering her about not having a boyfriend every holiday, and Jackson (Luke Bracey) is tired of casual dating. When the two of them meet, they agree to be each other’s ‘Holidate’ for every holiday of the year.

My Thoughts: Oh yes, it’s that time of year when Netflix starts dishing out the festive movies. Some will be great, others will be terrible, and most will be a bit of cheesy fun. That’s certainly where Holidate fits in to. I mean, reading the plot alone is enough to make your eyes roll, but as long as the leads are likable and have good chemistry then that’s all you need. Thankfully, Sloane and Jackson are undoubtedly believable as a couple, even though they have a firm dislike of each other at first.

There are some great romcoms out there that try to make fun of their own genre, and when it works, it’s so much fun. I’m thinking of Isn’t It Romantic (2019) in particular – highly recommended if you haven’t seen it already. Holidate tries to do a similar thing, but it doesn’t pull it off quite as well. There is one bit in particular that I loved, and it was when Sloane and Jackson shared their love for Ryan Gosling, and it turned into a full blown reference to Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), one of my favourite movies ever.

So, yes, there were plenty of moments I liked but at the end of the day, it wasn’t that great of a movie. I started to lose interest when it went into the typical plot of the couple falling out only to come back together again. If you’re looking for a festive romcom that pushes the boundaries of the genre then this isn’t the movie for you, but all I wanted was something lighthearted to make me feel a bit festive in these rubbish times and it did the trick for me.

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Best Bit: There’s a scene set at Easter, filmed in slo-mo where dozens of children are running over a hill to collect eggs, shoving each other out of the way and trampling anyone in their path. That’s funny enough, but the song ‘move b***h, get out the way’ was playing and I laughed so hard.

Worst Bit: I struggle to write about movies I found to be mediocre, it’s much easier to write about something I’ve loved or even hated, so this was a tough post to write. What’s worse is that WordPress glitched and deleted the whole draft just as I’d finished…so I’ve had to write it twice!

Fun Trivia: Manish Dayal, who plays Faarooq, a doctor, also plays a doctor on The Resident.

My Rating: 2 and a half copies of Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), the most superior romcom of all.

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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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Movie Reviews

The Devil All the Time (2020)

the-devil-all-time-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Antonio Campos

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 138 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Robert Pattinson, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge

Plot: Set in a town called Knockemstiff in Ohio,  the story revolves around Arvin (Tom Holland), orphaned at a young age and surrounded by violence and grief. Arvin tries his hardest to live a good, honest life, despite the sinister characters around him.

My Thoughts: You know how my mind works by now, I stumble into an actor or actress obsession and then I make it my goal to watch anything and everything they’ve ever starred in. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve watched many a terrible movie starring Robert Pattinson, and I have to say, I wasn’t even looking forward to The Devil All the Time. I watched the trailer a few times and it just didn’t seem like my kind of movie. And well, sometimes it’s when your expectations are rock bottom that you find yourself a movie you enjoy the most. I don’t think this one is perfect, it’s very bleak, quite depressing and at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s been playing on my mind for almost a week now since I watched it.

Tom Holland is phenomenal here. He might be known best as Spider-Man in a playful role, but he really shows off his talents here. I don’t have a clue when it comes to awards and I know this movie hasn’t had great reviews but surely Tom Holland deserves some kind of nomination for this? His accent is impeccable and the way he transforms from a quiet boy to the man seeking revenge is just…incredible! Also, I know the buzz is around how Robert Pattinson steals the show as the corrupted and deceitful Revered (he is excellent, I won’t argue), the show-stealer for me was Harry Melling, who we all know as Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter! I hope we get to see him in more movies.

There are so many characters in the movie it can be hard to keep track, and not all of their stories are really necessary, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. The movie had a The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) kind of feel to me, I’m not sure what that niche little category would be called. It’s not a happy movie, it’s not a fun movie, but it tells an interesting story and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

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Best Bit: The stand off between Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson towards the end was particularly good, I thought.  It was tense and uncomfortable for the right reasons, and the perfect example of how great both actors are.

Worst Bit: Imagine being a Pattinson fan, watching this and thinking yes, this man could actually tempt me into going to church, just to find out that like almost everyone else in this movie, he’s a massive twat. Sigh…

Fun Trivia: Robert Pattinson didn’t work with a dialect coach and crafted his high-pitched Southern drawl on his own. The actor hid his accent from everyone – including director Antonio Campos – until day one of filming. Other actors sent Campos recordings of the voices they were working on – but not Pattinson, preferring to rehearse by himself and getting self-conscious by being judged before actually standing in front of the camera.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 spiders that Harry Melling actually dumped on his head for that stand-out scene, ugh!

devil-all-time-harry-melling-spiders