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.

woman-in-window-amy-adams-2021

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!

woman-in-window-wyatt-russell

Movie Reviews

Oxygen (2021)

oxygen-movie-review-netflix-2021-posterDirector: Alexandre Aja

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Main  Cast: Mélanie Laurent, Malik Zidi, Laura Boujenah, Eric Herson-Macarel, Mathieu Amalric

Plot: A woman (Mélanie Laurent) wakes up to find herself trapped in a cryogenic chamber with to recollection of how she got there. To make things worse, there’s been a malfunction within the chamber and the oxygen is running out fast.

My Thoughts: Today is a huge day in the UK! Our cinemas have reopened their doors. There’s still not much to see until summer but I’ll be there tonight with a travel mug full of tea! Normal service will resume shortly here with blockbuster reviews aplenty but I have to admit, it’s been a lot of fun having the time to watch smaller releases. I’ll definitely pledge to make more time for them in the future, but until then I’m bringing you a few thoughts on a new French movie on Netflix called Oxygen. Think about that Ryan Reynolds movie Buried (2010), but make it a high-tech sci-fi movie instead!

It’s impossible to talk much about this movie without giving too much away, you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s well worth a watch. In the words of the great Bong Joon Ho, “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”. Of course, you also have the option of Netflix dubbing the audio for you, too. It’s not a dialogue-heavy movie either, so it’s perfect for movie fans wanting to dip their toe into foreign releases.

But anyway, let me tell you what I can, safely. It’s a great mystery, this woman who finds herself trapped has so many questions to answer. For a start, who is she? She’s struggling to recall any memories. What happened to the chamber to cause the damage to the oxygen tank? How is she going to get out? Having some questions answered just leads to more being raised. The chamber comes with an AI by the name of M.I.L.O. who, whilst helpful, can only do so much, and also becomes more of a hindrance in some moments. Just take my word and give it a go!

oxygen-movie-netflix-would-you-like-sedative

Best Bit: I…really can’t tell you that. But I’ll tell you something else. All great dramas have those few minutes of comedic respite, and Oxygen does too. You’ll find yourself chuckling at the line “Would you like a sedative?” eventually, I promise!

Worst Bit: This is one of those movies where I wouldn’t mind an ambiguous ending, the final shot didn’t stir much in me to be honest. I also found the first 20 mins or so to be quite slow, but it’s just the tension building and it’s forgivable by the end of the movie.

Fun Trivia: Anne Hathaway was originally attached to the project. She later dropped out and was replaced by Noomi Rapace. After the project was put into turnaround, Mélanie Laurent was cast in the lead role when Alexandre Aja came on board.

My Rating: This was originally a 4 out of 5 panic buttons, but after thinking on it for a few days, it’s a 4 and a half!

oxygen-movie-review-score-panic

Movie Reviews · TV Shows

What I Watched: April 2021

Well hello there May! Can someone remind the British weather that it is in fact, May? There are exciting times ahead. Cinemas are going to be given the green light to open on the 17th, and indoor entertainment and hospitality opens up, too. I can’t WAIT. I don’t even like popcorn that much but on that Monday I’m buying the biggest bucket of popcorn that the cinema sells. I’ll watch anything, and everything! I’m not taking anything for granted ever again.

Let’s move onto movies before I make myself emotional. A week’s holiday slowed my movie watching down (not that I minded in the slightest!) but I still saw some great things in April. Here they are!

what-i-watched-the-father-2020

The Father (2020) – I tried to write a full review of this, it’s still sat in my drafts now. I just couldn’t put my muddled thoughts into actual words though. Just know that it really is as good as you’ve heard. The Academy might have royally screwed up on that fateful night, but Anthony Hopkins fully deserves that award. There are plenty of movies out there that give a perspective of what living with memory loss, but none quite like this.

what-i-watched-godzilla-kong-2021

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) – This kind of movie should only be watched on the big screen, but I’d rather have watched it at home than not at all. I’m not a huge fan of these monster movies but they’re fun, and Godzilla vs. Kong kept the lame, human side of the story to a minimum which was a choice that worked well.

what-i-watched-chaos-walking-2021

Chaos Walking (2021) – I’m a bit gutted that I didn’t love Chaos Walking, it had so much going for it. I loved the idea of only men’s thoughts being projected, visible and audible for all to hear – but not women’s. It felt like there was a huge mystery and a cover up that was right around the corner, but it never really came to fruition. It was enough to make me want to read the book that the movie is based on though, so that’s something.

what-i-watched-mank-2020

Mank (2020) – I always make an effort to watch all the major awards movies, and I did so gladly this year, other than Mank. I love David Fincher as a director but not even his name could make me excited for this movie. I tried really hard, but I only made it to the 20-minute mark before I gave up, This just isn’t the movie for me.

Thunder Force (2021)Full Review

Nobody (2021)Full Review

what-i-watched-netflix-documentary

Why Did You Kill Me? (2021) – I don’t talk a lot about documentaries, mainly because I watch so few, but also because I don’t really know how to rate them. This one was an interesting find on Netflix about how social media and cat-fishing was used to track down a murderer.

what-i-watched-stowaway-2021

Stowaway (2021) – This one just snuck it’s way really quietly onto Netflix one day, didn’t it?! A really interesting sci-fi drama set in space, demonstrating that terrible decision where sacrificing one life could save many more. I didn’t like the ending at all, but it certainly didn’t taint the rest of the movie for me.

what-i-watched-13-going-30

13 Going on 30 (2004) – I’ve just realised I was heavily dependent on Netflix in April! So, you might have heard of this new Netflix feature that’s designed to stop you from spending hours trying to decide what to watch. You just press a button, and Netflix does the choosing for you. Well, I tried it, and it chose 13 Going on 30 for me. Hmm. I mean, the dance sequence to Thriller made it all worthwhile, but at the same time…I haven’t pressed that button since.

what-i-watched-housebound-2014

Housebound (2014) – I’m annoyed that I’m so behind on reviews right now, because I really want to write one for this. I’ve a new found appreciation and love for New Zealand cinema. Their sense of humour resonates so clearly with me! If you enjoyed What We Do in the Shadows, you’re going to love Housebound.

what-i-watched-stay-2005

Stay (2005) – Last week I ticked a couple of movies off my watch list that had been there for so long I forgot who recommended them and why. Stay was one of those! I love dark, twisty movies so that’s why, and that’s exactly what Stay was! Starring a very young Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling – I didn’t have enough concentration to fully appreciate it but it’s worth a watch for sure as long as you’re wide awake and alert!

I also watched Fahrenheit 451 (2018), Fruitvale Station (2013) and Creed II (2018) as part of Mettel Ray‘s Hidden Gems Challenge, and you can find my Michael B. Jordan post here.

TV wise, I finished watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The final 2 episodes were much stronger than the middle 2 episodes, and I was satisfied with the ending. Sam is going to be a great Captain America! I didn’t love it in the same way I loved Wandavision, I wasn’t interested in the Flag Smashers’ story. I’m hugely excited to see what’s on the horizon for John Walker. Next month brings Loki, the Marvel show I’ve been looking forward to the most!

I also watched The Flight Attendant, a show I’ve been meaning to see for ages. I’ve been a fan of Kaley Cuoco ever since 8 Simple Rules so I was over the moon for her to land a big role like this, and I hope the show’s success leads to bigger and better roles for her. I enjoyed the mystery behind this show, it kept every one of the eight episodes full of tension!

This week I decided to get on board with a show before the hype is already over – I’ve started Mare of Easttown! The first episode threw WAY too many characters at me (typical HBO) but I’ve just finished watching the second episode and it all makes more sense now.

What have you all enjoyed in April?

Movie Reviews

Deadly Illusions (2021)

deadly-illusions-2021-netflix-movie-reviewDirector: Anna Elizabeth James

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Main Cast: Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Shanola Hampton, Lora Martinez-Cunningham, Greer Grammer, Grayson Berry, Marie Wagenman

Plot: Mary (Kristin Davis) is an award-winning writer tasked with writing one last novel. Struggling with writer’s block, she hires a young girl named Grace (Greer Grammer) to help look after her children and her home. Grace fits in with the family immediately and the kids adore her, but after a while things at home get a little…strange.

My Thoughts: I should have known. I should have known a movie called Deadly Illusions couldn’t be good. It sounds like the name of a punk or emo band that the weird kids at school are part of. But last week I said I was going to stop judging books by their covers and so I gave Deadly Illusions the benefit of the doubt. It really is as bad as it sounds, I’m not sure where to begin. I guess the saving grace (pun intended) is that it was so fantastically bad that I was invested for the whole ride.

Firstly, nothing at all happens for a good hour, it’s painfully slow. Even when the drama does kick in, it’s far too late to save it. Then there’s the fact that most of the plot doesn’t even make sense. Mary gets visited by her publishers, the company is in trouble and they desperately need her to write a new novel to save them. Okay, that sounds fair. But they’re willing to pay Mary $2m in advance, regardless of how well the book sells. I’m no business woman but if that’s how they conduct their finances then it’s really no surprise that they’re struggling.

Moving on to some spoiler territory (I won’t ruin the twisty ending though) – Mary is quite happy to cheat on her husband with Grace, but is furious when she finds that he’s also cheating with Grace? Double standards, much? It’s all just sloppy, lazy writing and half-hearted acting. I wouldn’t recommend this at all, it’s absurdity kept me interested for it’s almost 2-hour runtime but I clearly don’t have anything better to do!

deadly-illusions-2021-sex-and-city-greer-grammer

Best Bit: I don’t have an academy award on my shelves at home so I’m hardly one to judge, but the acting here is sometimes hilariously bad. I won’t give details but there’s a scene where a character comes across a dead body and screams ‘Oh my God!’ and it actually sounds like an excited scream – it was unintentionally hilarious.

Worst Bit: I can forgive so, so much – but there’s a moment where a dog gets kicked for absolutely no reason and that’s just not okay in my books!

Fun Trivia: Kristin Davis broke her “no nudity clause” in this film. She went the whole series of Sex in The City without disrobe.

My Rating: Half a laptop that you should always use to do a background check on anyone you’re about to hire to look after your kids.

deadly-illusions-netflix-review-terrible

Movie Reviews

Moxie (2021)

moxie-movie-review-poster-2021-netflixDirector: Amy Poehler

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 111 Minutes

Main Cast: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Nico Hiraga, Sabrina Haskett, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Ike Barinholtz, Josephine Langford, Clark Gregg, Amy Poehler

Plot: After a shocking display at her school where new girl Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Pena) stands up to the boys voting and making lists about the girls, Vivian (Hadley Robinson) discovers her mother’s rebellious past and finds the inspiration to start Moxie, a magazine calling for all the girls at school to rise up against the way they’re treated.

My Thoughts: I adore Amy Poehler, ever since I fell in love with her character Lesley in Parks and Recreation. I was so excited to see her directional debut Wine Country (2019) but it was a real let down. That said, I was more than willing to give Moxie (2021) a watch and I’m SO glad I did, it’s brilliant. I wouldn’t call myself a rebel exactly but I do rebel in my own, smaller ways. High School was where I was most rebellious, I think. On the last day of school it’s a tradition (in just the UK or elsewhere too?) to get all your friends to write messages or sign their names on your school shirt. On our last day we were told that it wasn’t allowed, no reason for it, we just weren’t allowed to. Well, I didn’t listen and I encouraged my school mates to do the same, and we did. By lunchtime I was sent to the Head Teacher’s office for being disruptive but by that point so many of us had rebelled their only choice was to let us continue or send our whole year home. We won!

Anyway, I’m digressing massively. The girls at Vivian’s school are subject to judgement every day, and not even just from the boys. One girl is sent home for wearing a tank top by a female teacher. The worst part? Another female student was wearing almost the exact same top, but she wasn’t as developed so it was deemed fine. I guess it’s clear that although we’ve come a long way as females, we still have a lot of work ahead of us! Despite tackling serious issues, Moxie is still a fun and vibrant movie, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.

If anything, I think the characters were maybe a little too stereotypical, but I’m nitpicking here and trying to find faults, on the whole I had a blast. It was good to see that Vivian wasn’t portrayed as some saviour character either, she messed up and had to face the consequences of that. It also showed how boys can be supportive too – Seth (Nico Hiraga) was such a positive character, just a genuinely nice guy who wants to be helpful but also has the courage to stand up and call someone out on bad behaviour.

moxie-movie-2021-vivian-seth

Best Bit: Honestly, I could pick so many moments. The creation of the Moxie magazine, the speeches towards the end of the movie? Great scenes. And maybe it’s silly but when the teacher Mr. Davies commented on the walk out and then opened his hands to show the heart and star symbols? I wanted to do a little cheer!

Worst Bit: Maybe I wasn’t paying proper attention for this scene but why did Vivian and Seth have a date at a funeral parlor?! I swear I put my cup of tea down, looked up at the TV and there they were, cuddling in a coffin. *shudder*

Fun Trivia: The song that the Rockport High School marching band plays at the assembly and at the football games is to the tune of “For Boston”, the traditional fight song of Boston College and Boston College High School. Director and co-star Amy Poehler is a Boston College alumnus, and graduated from the college in 1993.

My Rating: 4 and a half Rockports – they might be the name of the school in this movie but when I was at school they were the brand name of the shoes all the chavs wore!

moxie-movie-2021-rockport-school-shoes