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!

life-itself-oscar-isaac-olivia-wilde-2018

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.

life-itself-oscar-isaac-coffee-espresso

Triple Frontier (2019)

triple-frontier-movie-review-netflix-2019Director: J.C. Chandor

Genre: Crime, Action, Adventure

Runtime: 125 Minutes

Main Cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Ben Affleck, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona, Louis Jeovanny, Juan Camilo Castillo, Reynaldo Gallegos

Plot: Pope, a former special ops soldier reassembles his team for a high-stakes heist mission to steal $75 million from a South American drug lord. They each have their own personal reasons for wanting to take part and they work fantastically well as a team – until things start to go wrong.

My Thoughts: I’m not going to pretend I watched Triple Frontier because I’m a fan of heist movies or because I watch a lot of Netflix. No, I watched Triple Frontier because of the serious eye candy on offer…#sorrynotsorry. Unfortunately, Thankfully, my husband loves movies like this so I had some company on the sofa, although I had to cut down on my comments about how tight Oscar Isaac’s jeans were.

It was only after watching the movie that I learned it’s been stuck in development hell for almost 10 years! There has been a whole slew of A-list actors who signed on and then dropped out over the years, such as Tom Hardy, Channing Tatum, Mahershala Ali and Tom Hanks. Apparently, for some of them, it was to do with a script rewrite. I wonder what part was actually rewritten, because as much as I enjoyed the movie I found the second half really quite dull, whereas the start of the movie was excellent and exciting!

I suppose it comes down to expectations. I think I was hoping for a high-adrenaline action movie leading up to and ending with a huge heist mission, and Triple Frontier isn’t that kind of movie. It delves more into the emotional aspect of it and into the characters’ heads. Still, I thought the cast had great chemistry together and I genuinely cared for them and worried about what would happen to them. It’s not the most amazing action movie out there but there are definitely worse ways to spend 2 hours!

triple-frontier-netflix-development-hell-oscar-isaac

Best Bit: The actual heist was by far my favourite part of the movie. It was so tense I found myself holding my breath and trying to tear my eyes away when someone was creeping around a doorway. Honestly, if I was in that situation I would have accidentally shot all of my team about 5 minutes in.

Worst Bit: Weirdly my least favourite part of the movie was also the heist, or rather the ending of the heist. I wanted it to go on much longer and it felt a bit anti-climatic when they found the guy they were looking for.

Fun Trivia: The title refers to either the geographic location where the Colombian border meets Venezuela and Brazil or Peru and Brazil. The movie never specifies which.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 pairs of tight jeans that Oscar Isaac squeezed his…I won’t finish that sentence in case my husband reads this!

triple-frontier-oscar-isaac-jeans

Mini Reviews: Red Sparrow (2018), Black Panther (2018) & Annihilation (2018)

Aww, I just realised I should have watched another movie with a colour in the title to make this a perfect Mini Reviews post! Anyway, I’ve been able to watch a few movies over the past few evenings but haven’t had much time to properly blog about them, so I thought it was about time I did another one of these posts to keep the flow going.

mini-reviews-red-sparrow-2018-jennifer-lawrence

Red Sparrow (2018)

I’ve found Jennifer Lawrence’s movies to be a bit hit and miss lately, and I’m not sure where I would place Red Sparrow. Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika, a prima-ballerina forced to work for the Russian Government as a Sparrow after suffering an injury. It’s a dark and grim movie in more ways than one – including a knife fight scene which was fascinating to me from a technical point of view.

It didn’t help that I watched this in 3 chunks because the plot moves at a crazy pace. Does anyone remember that episode of Friends where they find out Monica and Chandler are together? The moment with Joey, Rachel and Phoebe, “They don’t know we know they know we know!” This is the spy movie equivalent of that to me.

mini-reviews-black-panther-2018

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther I think is the first Marvel movie I didn’t catch at the cinema – a crime, I know! Especially as it seems I’m the only person in the world who didn’t see it. It follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he fights his claim to the throne as King of Wakanda. It’s an amazing introduction to how the people of Wakanda live, with their impressive technology.

At first I think the hype oversold the movie to me and I was a little disappointed, and it also wasn’t as funny as most of the other Marvel movies, but when you take it as a standalone movie it’s brilliant, and it has claim to one of the best bad guys I’ve seen.

mini-reviews-annihilation-2018-the-shimmer

Annihilation (2018)

I remember seeing the trailer for Annihilation last year and being really impressed. There seemed to be a real buzz around it but then when I took a bit of a blogging break I arrived back to see it had been and gone and it wasn’t really being talked about. Then I realised it was actually a Netflix movie which explained a lot! In this movie, a team of biologists enter ‘The Shimmer’ to investigate a phenomenon that only 1 other people has ever survived.

It’s a good movie and well worth a watch but I didn’t love it. The scene with the bear (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it) was terrifying in all sorts of ways and will stick with me for a long time, but the ending left me scratching my head a bit.

Review: Suburbicon (2017)

suburbicon-movie-review-2017I’ve actually managed to watch a couple of new movies this week, hurray! Ideally, I’d like to blog about all of them, but let’s take baby steps for now and talk about the one I watched most recently, which was Suburbicon. I’m an absolute sucker for a script by the Coen Brothers, but this latest one is actually directed by none other than George Clooney, so I wasn’t as sure. I’ve kept away from reviews where I could, but I did know Suburbicon wasn’t widely loved.

So what’s it about? Suburbicon is a once-peaceful community in the 1950’s where everything seems rosy and everyone gets along until a black family move in and a terrible crime is committed in the house behind them. In that house at the time was Gardner (Matt Damon), his Son Nicky (Noah Jupe), his Wife Rose (Julianne Moore) and his Sister in Law Margaret (also Julianne Moore). Tragically, Rose is killed as a result of the crime, and from there, things just keep getting worse for Gardner.

That’s all I really want to say about the plot because this is one of those movies that takes several twists and turns along the way, and that’s where most of the fun in watching it comes from. It’s not the best Coen movie out there, but I enjoyed it more than I think most did. You could probably argue that the tone was a bit all over the place, but that added to the quirkiness of it all for me.

suburbicon-julianne-moore-matt-damon

The best moment without a doubt is when Oscar Isaac turns up in a role I won’t say for spoiler purposes, but it’s the best 10 minutes of the entire movie. I promise I’m not just saying that because it’s him! Someone in Hollywood please give Oscar some bigger roles – he SO deserves them!

Whilst all this is going on, the upset caused by the black family moving in just keeps escalating until it reaches riot proportions, and this is the only thing I didn’t like as much about Suburbicon. What was the point in it all? I’m sure it connects somehow but it just felt a bit disjointed to me – the movie wouldn’t be lost without those scenes as far as I’m concerned. Perhaps someone can fill me in on what I’m clearly missing?

suburbicon-oscar-isaac

Ultimately though, I was quite pleasantly surprised after not setting my hopes up too high. It’s certainly not up there with the likes of Fargo and The Big Lebowski, but I enjoyed it more than Hail Caesar! for sure. 4 out of 5 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from me – you probably shouldn’t eat them though.

suburbicon-review-score-peanut-butter-jelly

Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

star-wars-last-jedi-movie-reviewWeekly cinema trips are a thing of the past for me now, but I still managed to get out to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) thanks to my Mum who babysat while the rest of the family and I braved the weather after steering clear of all social media for the previous 3 days. After finally becoming a Star Wars fan at the ripe age of 26 in the weeks before The Force Awakens came out, I felt almost physically sick with excitement to find out what happened next!

As it’s been out for a few weeks now this review is spoilerific, so steer clear if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want anything spoilt for you!

What is it about that opening music that makes you jump even though you’re expecting it? And has poor General Hux been eating well enough? He looks even pastier than he did before! I loved the scene where Poe Dameron toyed with him, in fact I think it was even better than when he toyed with Kylo Ren (“So who talks first?”). Never change, Poe!

Like so many others, I’ve spent the last 2 years coming up with my own ideas on how I’d like the story to evolve, and I’ve also been rooting for a particular romance to stir! You’ve got to know I’m talking about Kylo Ren and Rey here. “But they hate each other” I heard people say. “Aren’t they totally related anyway?” No, they aren’t! What I wished for I never actually expected to happen, though. Force bond? Shirtless Kylo Ren?! Rian Johnson you are my hero. Matt was right, Kylo is shredded!

star-wars-last-jedi-kylo-ren

Ahem. Sorry, I’m drifting off into a fangirl ramble now. But that team up fight scene? Awesome! Did you guys see the way Kylo Ren looked at those Praetorian Guards when one dared to hurt his beloved Rey?! *cough* Sorry, I really will stop now.

I’ve been away from the blog world so I’m not in the loop on what you all thought about it, but according to my Facebook feed the world hated it. Was it too long? Maybe, but I would have sat through 3 hours of it to be honest. I read complaints that it was ‘too different’, but are they the same people who claimed The Force Awakens was just a copy of A New Hope? Was the casino scene necessary? Probably not, but I love seeing more of the galaxy. Let’s not talk about Leia Poppins though…

I’m undecided on how I feel about Rose, but that’s definitely due to the lack of Finn/Poe bromance scenes this time around. Shoo, Rose! Is it just me or did Laura Dern feel a bit out of place here? I think she’s great and all but she just seemed…too prim and proper? I can’t put my finger on it. Her heroic actions were jaw dropping though, I can’t deny that.

star-wars-last-jedi-rey-luke-skywalker

How do we all feel about the reveal of Rey’s parents? How mean is Rian Johnson for teasing the subject at least 3 times before we got to find out? There were so many theories floating around, but I honestly wanted her to have nobodies as parents. Not everyone has to be the child of a main character, but it somehow still felt a bit of a downer to hear it confirmed. It’s strange.

Anyway, I’ve actually been to see it twice now thanks to an impromptu date night with my bestie, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Knowing what was going to happen made me appreciate those stand-out scenes even more. I can’t believe we’ve got another 2 year wait now though. I’ve convinced myself that Kylo Ren isn’t going to live to see the credits…

It’s not perfect but I loved it all the same, so The Last Jedi gets 4 and a half un-roasted Porgs from me!

star-wars-last-jedi-porg-score