Movie Reviews

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

willys-wonderland-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Kevin Lewis

Genre: Action, Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Main Cast: Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Beth Grant, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Caylee Cowan, David Sheftell, Terayle Hill

Plot: Nic Cage (his character is only known as ‘The Janitor’) is driving through a quiet town when his car breaks down. The guy running the local garage agrees to fix his car for free if Nic spends the night cleaning an abandoned family restaurant. Willy’s Wonderland is the name of the place, and unbeknownst to Nic, it’s full of murderous animatronic creatures.

My Thoughts: This movie is straight-up bonkers. Imagine if cinemas were open and you could have gone for a double bill of Willy’s Wonderland and Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar? I love that two crazy movies were released on the same day. This is the kind of movie I would have been obsessed over as a teenager. I’d be hunting down a Willy’s Wonderland tee as fast as I could…to be honest, I’d kind of like one now.

I feel like we’re due a bit of a Nicolas Cage resurgence, or maybe that’s just me. I found myself watching Next (2007) on Netflix the other week and as stupid as it was, it was a lot of fun. It’s kind of a running theme with his movies, isn’t it? He doesn’t speak a single word in Willy’s Wonderland, just grunts, drinks punch, cleans and kicks ass. The cleaning powers of Mrs Hinch combined with the deadliness of John Wick, that’s what you get here. Having Beth Grant in this movie would have been the perfect excuse to have a character that looked like Frank, the rabbit from Donnie Darko (2001) – what a missed opportunity!

It’s not a clever movie, some things just don’t make sense. You’ve got these animatronic characters with goofy faces somehow able to murder kids in seconds, but that’s kind of the point. You don’t watch it for a clever plot and truly terrifying monsters. You watch it for the laughs, to see Nicolas Cage have to change his shirt for the 5th time because he’s covered in oil again, or having to stop what he’s doing because his watch is beeping and it’s time for another can of punch.

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Best Bit: Those characters were creepy enough when they weren’t cursed but the sight of them now? Combined with the eerie tune of ‘It’s your biiiiirthday, and we want you to have fun’ I was somehow scared and laughing out loud at the same time.

Worst Bit: You know how in some countries, movies get renamed? In the UK, My Life as a Zucchini is called My Life as a Courgette. Makes sense, that’s literally what the vegetable is known as here. Zootopia is Zootropolis, annoying, but it’s to do with a zoo by the same name somewhere in Europe so makes sense in a legal aspect. THIS movie in the UK is Wally’s Wonderland. WHY? Is it because in the UK a willy is a penis? We don’t call that guy who makes chocolates and sweets Wally Wonka? I’m irrationally irritated about it.

Fun Trivia: When the trailer was released, several fans of the extremely popular horror video game Five Nights at Freddy’s (2014), which has a movie version in production from director Chris Columbus, pointed out how the plot for this film is the exact same as Freddy’s: people are attacked by animatronic characters at a Chuck E. Cheese type restaurant.

My Rating: 3 and a half rolls of duct tape which I doubt any medical professional would recommend you use on open wounds.

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Movie Reviews

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-2018-movieDirector: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Zoƫ Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine

Plot: Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man after Kingpin’s use of a dimension-crossing super-collider causes 5 universes to join. Miles now has to learn to use his powers whilst also working with the other Spider people to stop Kingpin and return everyone to their home universes.

My Thoughts: I’m literally the last person in the world to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I’m sure of it. Never have I ever kicked myself so hard for not making the trip to the cinema! Believe in the hype, this movie really is as amazing as everyone is saying it is. Apologies in advance because this review isn’t going to be coherent in the slightest.

Where do I even start? I love animated movies, especially those with something different in their style, and this movie has style in buckets. It looks so cool. Cooler than its looks? The soundtrack. Every single song is perfect. Never did I ever think I would want to watch an animated Spider-Man stuck to the ceiling, singing Sunflower by Post Malone but it was a brilliant moment!

The casting choices? Spot on! I thought Jake Johnson was an odd choice before I watched the movie, but no one else could voice a lazy Spider-Man like he did. Nicolas Cage is hilarious as Spider-Man Noir. Also, does Mahershala Ali have some kind of superpowers when it comes to picking movies? Dude knows how to pick a winner for sure!

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Honestly, this movie just has everything you could want and more. It’s so funny, it has references aplenty for the comic fans, it has surprises along the way, it’s emotional, it’s just…perfect.

Best Bit: I could pick at least 10 just off the top of my head but the moment I keep replaying in my head is when Peter B. Parker is telling Miles his plan to make and steal a new ‘goober’. “I select a bagel…”

Worst Bit: The credits. I never wanted the movie to be over. Seriously though I can’t find a fault. I thought maybe Peni Parker or Spider-Ham might be annoying but they weren’t!

Fun Trivia: This film was dedicated in memory of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, who died on July 6, 2018, while this film was finishing production. However, this was not the only dedication, as a month before the film was released, Stan Lee died on November 12, 2018. The film was dedicated to both of Spider-Man’s creators.

My Rating: A full 5 out of 5 bagels. This is the best Spider-Man movie out there. Don’t @ me.

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