Marriage Story (2019)

marriage-story-movie-review-2019-netflixDirector: Noah Baumbach

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Runtime: 136 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Wever, Azhy Robertson, Wallace Shawn, Martha Kelly

Plot: Charlie and Nicole had a seemingly happy marriage, working together for Charlie’s theatre company. But things changed, their feelings changed, and now they’re navigating a difficult divorce and battling over custody of their son.

My Thoughts: It’s Saturday night, the kiddo is fast asleep, the bestie is coming over, takeout has been ordered, what shall we watch? A devastatingly upsetting movie about divorce. Hurrah! Wasn’t that a great idea? I need to watch this again, alone, because I held back my tears when really this movie demands you sob aloud. Lots. We’re reaching the peak of Adam Driver season and if he doesn’t take home an Oscar for this one I will RIOT. How an actor can express that much emotion is beyond me, some scenes were honestly difficult to watch because of it. It felt like I was intruding on something private.

It’s raw emotion throughout. We don’t get to see how Charlie and Nicole got together, see how in love they once were, only hear about it whilst they talk to therapists and lawyers. But you can tell. You can tell the feelings are still there. And whilst it’s powerful throughout, there are 2 key scenes for me that actually made me stop breathing. If ever I need a good cry to let things out, this is where I’ll turn.

But then, Marriage Story is so funny at the same time, in those little moments. I know if ever the worst happened with my own marriage my mum would be just like Nicole’s. She already takes his side in any argument ever. Could you imagine a scene where a husband is handed divorce papers that he isn’t expecting to be hilarious? Because it is in this movie! Not forgetting the knife scene of course, we’ll come to that in a short moment. Honestly, I’m still a little lost for words about it all. I think that’s how you’re meant to feel!

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Best Bit: *SPOILER-Y WARNING* When Charlie started playing with the flick knife early in the movie I knew the shot was too long to be a one-off moment. The scene where he was being monitored and assessed with his son and ended up accidentally slicing his arm open without realising was probably the funniest and most shocking thing I’ve seen all year! And the kitchen roll! Oh boy, I need to see it again…is there a gif yet of Adam Driver being terrible at getting kitchen roll?!

Worst Bit: I mean the worst bits to watch in Marriage Story are actually the best bits performance wise so it’s unfair to mention how the sight of Adam Driver, broken and on his knees completely destroyed me. So DAMN. The way the legal system works in divorce cases is just so unfair, isn’t it?!

Fun Trivia: Adam Driver’s performance of Sondheim’s Being Alive from the musical Company, was recorded live and done in 1 take.
(Hollywood please let Adam Driver star in happier movies. And sing more.)

My Rating: 4 and a half pies used to conceal divorce papers, which apparently makes the whole thing worse.

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Eli (2019)

eli-2019-netflix-movie-poster-review (1)Director: CiarĂ¡n Foy

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Main Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Lili Taylor, Kelly Reilly, Max Martini, Sadie Sink, Deneen Tyler, Katia Gomez

Plot: Eli is a young boy so sick that even the air could kill him, forcing him to live inside a bubble. His parents have tracked down a doctor who claims to be able to cure him so they travel across the country to get Eli the treatment he needs.

My Thoughts: I wasn’t fussed about seeing Eli, but quite a few bloggers have mentioned it recently and although they didn’t love it, they had very mixed thoughts about the ending and that was enough for me to give it a go. Maybe my expectations were really low, but I thought it was pretty good! Far better than another of Netflix’s 2019 horror movies I watched, Wounds (2019).

The best way I can describe Eli is it’s like the lovechild of Bubble Boy and A Cure for Wellness. It’s obvious as soon as the family arrive at Dr. Horn’s huge mansion that something isn’t right. The horror element kicks in at night when Eli is woken up. He sees the ghosts of other children who were supposedly cured at the same place, and it’s basically an opportunity for jump scares. I watched most of those scenes through a blanket because I hate them!

And then we come to the ending. I already knew it was a bit of a love it or hate it ending, and I’m leaning more into the love it camp. It was unexpected, and yet there were more than a few clues along the way so it’s not like it fell off the rails or anything. All in all, I was surprised for the better, and whilst it isn’t an amazing, 5-star movie, you can find many worse ways to spend 98 minutes with Netflix at the moment.

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Best Bit: Sadie Sink! You know her best as Max from Stranger Things, and he’s one of the best parts of this movie. I can’t tell you too much about her, of course…

Worst Bit: I don’t know what’s worse, the awful excuses for human beings making fun of Eli at the start of the movie in his makeshift hazmat outfit, or Eli’s parents for doing next to nothing about defending him.

Fun Trivia: *BIG SPOILERS* After leaving the Motel, they drive pass a rural crossroads in the middle of four fields. Legend has it that Robert Johnson made a deal with the Devil at a crossroads. This alludes to the fact that they are, in some way, dealing with the Devil.

My Rating: 3 and a half mirrors, in which you can see…well I’m not sure, because I stopped watching after 3 jump scares!

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Let It Snow (2019)

let-it-snow-netflix-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Luke Snellin

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Main Cast: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Odeya Rush, Liv Hewson, Mitchell Hope, Kiernan Shipka, Matthew Noszka, Jacob Batalon, Isabela Moner, Joan Cusack, Miles Robbins

Plot: On Christmas Eve, a series of circumstances and events, as well as a snowstorm, brings together a group of teenagers in a diner.

My Thoughts: Every Friday, Netflix is releasing a new Christmas movie for us to enjoy. They’re all going to be that ‘Hallmark Channel’ kind of quality but hey – isn’t that what Christmas is all about? I for one can’t wait, and have promptly cleared all of my Friday nights from now till the big day! Let It Snow is Netflix’s contribution to the Love Actually category, in where all these characters find their stories intertwined by the time the credits roll. It’s also one of the best (worst?) movies I’ve seen for finding yourself having to pause and say ‘I know him/her from something!’. I swear I stopped the movie at least 6 times in the first 10 minutes.

By far the most interesting story here for me was Stuart and Julie (played by Shameik Moore and Isabela Merced). Stuart’s a famous musician and meets Julie on a stranded train where he mistakes her for a fan. She, in fact, couldn’t care less who he is and is struggling with deciding whether to accept a scholarship and leave her sick mother behind. It’s a cheesy story but they both have such great chemistry, and the other stories fell to the wayside a little.

So no, it’s no Love Actually, but it’s far better than the other copycats out there, and even if it’s a little too silly for you, the soundtrack makes it worth your time, too. Who doesn’t love Whole of the Moon by The Waterboys? And if I still haven’t sold it to you, let me tell you this. Bad Janet is in it! Like, almost literally Bad Janet. I watched Let It Snow straight after catching the latest episode of The Good Place and thought I was tripping when she showed up.

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Best Bit: Tobin turns up fairly early in the movie, and I KNEW I knew him from somewhere, so much that I refused to look it up for ages. I was practically shouting at my husband, I can picture him now, he’s singing, he’s really well dressed, why can’t I work out what he was in?! Oh, he’s Ben in Disney’s Descendants. That character I have an embarrassing crush on. Wait, I put this in ‘Best Bit’? Whoops.

Worst Bit: Joan Cusack plays ‘Tin Foil Woman’, a woman driving a truck whilst covered in tin foil, dishing out stellar advice whether it was asked for or not. Husband claimed early on that she wouldn’t be real and we were both a little disappointed that his theory didn’t turn out to be true.

Fun Trivia: The movie “Let It Snow” is an adaptation of the book by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.

My Rating: 3 and a half waffles – and on that note, is there a waffle house in existence that sells those Waffle Quaffles? Because damn, they looked tasty.

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Wounds (2019)

wounds-movie-review-2019-netflixDirector: Babak Anvari

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Karl Glusman, Brad William Henke, Kerry Cahill

Plot: Will is an alcoholic bartender dealing with a failing relationship. One night in the bar a fight breaks out which turns ugly, and in the scuffle some College kids leave a mobile phone behind. Will takes the phone home but is horrified by what he finds on there.

My Thoughts: It took me longer to write that plot description than it did to write the rest of this post because quite frankly, I have no idea what Wounds is even about. This is what happens when I take a break from blogging – I fall out of the loop on what movies I should be avoiding like the plague, and I end up watching crap. It sounded promising though, and I kind of enjoyed the start of the movie. Armie Hammer is always fun to watch, and I liked the banter between his character and Zazie Beetz’s.

This is just one of those movies where so many details and plot points just seem to be meaningless. As fun as she was, Zazie’s character served no purpose. Dakota Johnson was seriously underused, too. When I got towards the end of the movie, I paused to see how long was left and saw it was less than 10 minutes. You know what these mystery movies are like, sometimes nothing makes sense until those last few minutes and then bam! Clarity. Nope, just weird grossness.

Netflix movies are always a bit hit and miss, and normally even with movies I didn’t enjoy I would still recommend that you give them a go and form your own opinion, but I couldn’t do that to you this time. Steer clear from Wounds, folks!

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Best Bit: I actually can’t think of a single great moment, but the only time I really jumped and felt creeped out was when Will was driving, and picked up that phone just to look down and see his arm covered in bugs. It’s making me a little bit itchy just thinking about it.

Worst Bit: That ending was…ugh. I mean, it’s an ending I won’t forget in a long time, and is it better to be remembered as bad than it is to just be forgotten? I’m not sure…

Fun Trivia: Based upon the horror novella, The Visible Filth, by Nathan Ballingrud.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 cockroaches, and if you’re seeing them regularly at work and at home, maybe you should tell someone, yeah?

wounds-2019-netflix-movie-cockroaches

The Babysitter (2017)

the-babysitter-movie-review-poster-2017Director: McG (no, I didn’t pass out at the keyboard mid-typing…that’s this guy’s name, apparently)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino

Plot: Cole is, without a doubt, a bit of a wimp. His classmates at school would use a much worse term for it, but poor Cole is afraid of everything and is the only kid in school who still has a babysitter. Thankfully, his babysitter just so happens to be super cool and super hot, and one night Cole decides to spy on her after bedtime.

My Thoughts: Last week I watched Ready or Not, the first Samara Weaving movie I’d seen, and I kind of fell in love with her. I mean she’s beautiful, funny, and kicks ass, so who wouldn’t? When I spotted her face on the poster for The Babysitter whilst scrolling through Netflix I knew I needed to watch it, so I went in literally blind, not knowing what the movie was about at all. Whilst it’s not up on that same level as Ready or Not, The Babysitter is definitely a fun watch for the spooky season!

I really felt for Cole. He tries his hardest to stick up for himself, but his home life is hardly desirable. His parents are too focused on saving their failing marriage to give him the attention he deserves. Thankfully, his babysitter, Bee, is everything he needs in a friend. She drives away the bullies, teaches him how to properly defend against himself, and gets involved in his nerdy games. I guess it’s a real shame she’s the leader of some cult, huh?

From the moment the movie went from ‘this is a nice story’ to ‘what the $*%&’ it was a wild ride to the credits. It’s a short movie anyway but it feels even shorter with how mental it goes. Honestly, the biggest takeaway I took from it was that if Home Alone was remade sometime soon (like every other movie is) then it would by no means be a family movie!

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Worst Bit: I loved Bee’s character so much that it felt like a complete betrayal to see her kind of mocking the nerdy guy she’d invited to the house to play spin the bottle. Come on Bee, I thought you were on the nerds’ side…

Best Bit: …BAM. Two knives to the head. Didn’t see it coming at all. Might have actually peed myself a little. 10/10 would recommend.

Fun Trivia: In the original script, Sonya was the cheerleader, Allison was a journalist for the school paper, John was called “John the Baptist” and Max had dreadlocks. The characters were later reimagined to more closely reflect stereotypes of slasher movie victims, only in this film, they’re the antagonists.

My Rating: 3 and a half bottles to play spin the bottle with. If the hot girl gets dared to kiss everyone in the room? RUN.

the-babysitter-2017-spin-the-bottle

The Perfection (2018)

the-perfection-2018-netflix-movie-reviewDirector: Richard Shepard

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 90 Minutes

Main Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman, Molly Grace, Milah Thompson

Plot: Charlotte was once a musical prodigy until her mother fell ill and she was forced to become her full-time carer. When her mother passes, Charlotte contacts her old cello tutor and asks to catch up, where she meets her replacement, Lizzie. The two strike up an unusual friendship and travel together, but Lizzie is unwell.

My Thoughts: I only watched this movie 2 nights ago but I keep forgetting what it’s called. Then when I finally remember, all I can think of is that Michael Fassbender ‘perfection’ meme. So, yeah. Anyway, whilst stuck trying to pick a movie to watch that wasn’t too long and didn’t require my full attention, I stumbled across The Perfection in my Netflix recommendations. The premise didn’t sound the most thrilling, but clocking in at just 90 minutes long, it wouldn’t be a huge loss if it was a bit rubbish.

This post will be spoiler-free but I definitely urge you to go into the movie as blind as possible if it’s something you’re interested in because it’s one of those movies that’s best enjoyed that way. My husband kept asking me from across the room, ‘what’s that movie even about?’ and I ended up with 3 different answers as the movie went on.
1. This troubled cello girl is angry that some new girl has taken her fame, she’s probably going to murder her.
2. No, wait, I think it’s actually some kind of disease outbreak kind of movie. That new girl is screwed.
3. My bad, that guy is a terrible, terrible person and he’s going dowwwwwwn.

It’s not the most groundbreaking thriller around, the middle part is hundreds times better than the ending and it’s about as exciting as a movie about cello players can be, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a go. I wouldn’t rush to watch it or anything but it’s a fun watch!

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Best Bit: That middle reveal was actually a brilliant movie moment. I was laughing my ass off about how ridiculous it was that Charlotte pulled out a butchers knife from nowhere, and then the movie rewound and I was like oh. Oh! OH MY GOD. It’s just a shame that the finale (whilst pretty cool) just couldn’t live up to the awesomeness of that moment.

Worst Bit: It’s got a really slow start. I’m not ashamed to say I strayed my attention to my phone until that guy got really sick and I wondered what direction the movie was heading in. If you can make it that far then you’re set!

Fun Trivia: When Anton is showing the Chapel to new student Zhang Li, he asks her to sing a musical note, specifically an A-sharp. The note Zhang Li then sings is indeed a perfect A-sharp, which would indicate Zhang Li has perfect pitch, a rare talent only exceptional musicians possess in which they are able to sing or identify any note by ear.

My Rating: 3 bottles of ibuprofen which can cure hangovers with no problems, but don’t help much when there are bugs crawling under your skin…

the-perfection-netflix-ibuprofen-bottle

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

always-be-my-maybe-2019-netflixDirector: Nahnatchka Khan

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi

Plot: Sasha and Marcus have been the best of friends since they were kids, and their friendship soon blossomed into a relationship that ended badly. Years later, Sasha and Marcus meet again.

My Thoughts: Our little Keanu Reeves fan club on Twitter still haven’t recovered from John Wick: Chapter 3 and then BAM, Netflix goes and drops Always Be My Maybe and throws us completely off balance. We’ll come back to Keanu though, it wouldn’t be fair to make this post all about him. I have mixed feelings when I type this but, it’s so great that we’re getting more movies like this with a diverse cast. It really is wonderful, but at the same time, I wish it wasn’t so obvious that movies with a cast like this are so rare. It’s hard for me to put into words, really.

Anyway, I’ve always had a soft spot for romcoms and this one is no exception. There’s nothing new brought to the genre here and you can guess the entire story easily from the brief plot description, but when it’s done well it’s easy to forgive. Marcus is absolutely adorable, I loved his band – especially their song during the credits! Sasha is an incredibly powerful character, but probably a little too powerful for my liking, she was quite unlikeable in some scenes.

What is it about movies with chefs that make me so darn hungry? File this movie under ‘Don’t watch before dinner’ along with Chef (2014) and Burnt (2015). Always Be My Maybe isn’t going to be in many movie fan’s Top 10 at the end of the year but it’s on Netflix, easily available to most, and you can watch must worse on a Saturday night with a takeaway!

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Best Bit: KEANU REEVES. No honestly, hear me out. I know I’m biased right now. But his scene in the restaurant was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I had no idea he was actually playing himself, and I laughed till I cried. Can we have more Keanu roles where he wears thick glasses and acts like a complete douche bag? PLEASE, movie gods?!

But also – that song!
“Best believe I punched Keanu Reeves
And it was better than any scene
You could see in Speed
I hit John Wick
And now I’m feeling so appealing
Basically, I’m a god
You could call me Hercules”

Worst Bit: I liked the movie enough for the comedy but at times Sasha and Marcus’ relationship was hard to buy into. They’re both great in their own roles but the chemistry just isn’t there – I found myself not bothered whether they actually ended up together in the end or not.

Fun Trivia: Keanu Reeves filmed all his scenes in 4 days between shooting John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019). All of his scenes were filmed in San Francisco instead of Vancouver to accommodate his schedule.

My Rating: 3 pairs of thick-rimmed glasses, because Keanu Reeves, that’s why.

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