Movie Reviews

Life Itself (2018)

life-itself-movie-review-2018-posterDirector: Dan Fogelman

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Antonio Banderas, Laia Costa, Alex Monner, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot: Will and Abby fall in love at college, get married and have a child. But after a cruel twist of nature, tragedy befalls them and the aftershocks affect more people around them throughout the years.

My Thoughts: I don’t know why, but this week I’ve been making an attempt to catch up on the movies I missed which have been hailed as being terrible – it’s an odd hobby but there’s a certain guilty pleasure about awful movies. I’ve seen Serenity (2019) but I can’t put my thoughts into words on that yet. Today I’m talking about Life Itself, but let me share an odd fact about myself first. When I was a kid I’d let my thoughts run away with me. I’d wake up in the night needing the toilet but I was afraid I would wake my parents, and my thoughts continued until I’d caused World War 3 just by having a wee at 2am.

It feels like that’s the kind of message this movie is going for. One small event can lead to much bigger consequences. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows, because this movie is all over the place. I didn’t hate it though, I actually almost loved it. During the opening scenes, I was baffled as to why the movie was so hated. I’d like Samuel L. Jackson to narrate my life, please. I also would have quite happily watched a drunken Oscar Isaac singing in a cafe for the entire movie because the biggest problem for me was the start of the movie was the best part.

If you’re looking for a sappy rom-com this certainly isn’t it, it’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever watched, but there is at least a beautiful message at the end of it all that brings some hope to the melancholy. From what I’ve read, the haters have called it ‘2018’s Collateral Beauty’ and I can’t argue with that. I guess the problem is I really enjoyed that movie!

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Best Bit: Any of the scenes with Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde together. They’re so sickeningly cute, and their dog has the best name ever. Can we please have the rom-com we deserve?

Worst Bit: Once the story switched over to the Gonzales family, that’s where it started to lose me. They were introduced too late into the movie for me to invest in them and so to be brutally honest I just didn’t care that much for their drama.

Fun Trivia: During the writing of the film, Dan Fogelman listened to Bob Dylan’s album Time Out of Mind and in particular the song Love Sick, which opens the film. Written after the divorce of the singer of his second wife, this double album, dating from 1997, speaks of love and mourning with melancholy.

My Rating: 3 double espressos in large cups, that a drunken Oscar Isaac will want to pour 2 healthy measures of whiskey into before staggering about, trying to serenading you.

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Movie Reviews

Review: Ready Player One (2018)

ready-player-one-review-2018-movieI can’t believe I finally got to see Ready Player One, a movie I’ve been waiting for for 2 years last week, and I’m only just writing about it now. In my defence, I’ve been kept busy in the evenings playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and y’no, I have a baby. A baby who is currently napping waving her blanket in the air and babbling, so this may take a while. Mornings like these make me really want to slip on a VR headset and enter the OASIS!

The movie is set in the not-too-far-away future where we’re all addicted to virtual reality. The creator of this VR called the OASIS has passed away and left behind a competition for everyone in the form of an easter egg hunt. Whoever can find all 3 keys which lead to the egg will win full ownership of the OASIS. It’s a lot to take in, but a good chunk of the opening of the movie explains it all in a fair amount of detail. I’ve read the book so I knew the story anyway, but I do question how much a fresh viewer would take in.

Our focus is on Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), better known by his avatar’s name, Parzival. Wade lives in ‘the Stacks’, a run-down area formed of caravans stacked on top of each other. Wade and his best friend Aech (Lena Waithe) along with fellow ‘Gunters’ (egg hunters) Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao) form an alliance to find the egg before corporate douchebag Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) and his army beat them to it.

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My favourite thing about this movie adaptation is the casting – it couldn’t be more perfect. It’s so hard when a beloved book comes on to the big screen and your visions of the characters are shattered by odd casting choices. I couldn’t have chosen a better cast myself in this case. Mark Rylance as the awkward creator of the OASIS is spot on, and I had the goofiest grin on my face every time Ben Mendelsohn showed up. I’m just so gutted that Simon Pegg’s character Ogden wasn’t around very much because he was a much bigger character in the book.

Of course, a lot of the movie is set within the OASIS, so rather than seeing these actors we actually see their avatars, so as you can imagine, it’s CGI-heavy. Rather than it being an attack on the senses though it’s absolutely stunning. I was SO glad I got to see it in the cinema for that reason!

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As you’ve no doubt heard, Ready Player One is packed to the brim of 80’s and gaming references. It’s done so tastefully though that even if you recognise none of them, the movie won’t be spoiled for you. Rather than being thrown at your face all the time, it’s just constantly there in the background, making rewatches a lot of fun I imagine as you’ll spot things you may have missed the first time around.

I loved it if you can’t tell, and my only gripes are from changes from the book, which I know can never be helped. 4 and a half easter eggs from me, which reminds me that I think I still have some left-over chocolate in the cupboard…

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Nevermind – my baby just woke up from her nap.