Movie Reviews

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-review-2019Director: J.J. Abrams

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Runtime: 141 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid

Plot: The final episode in the Skywalker trilogy, following on from the events of The Last Jedi. Rey continues her Jedi training to defeat the First Order whilst Supreme Leader Kylo Ren threatens to wipe out any threat to his power.

My Thoughts: So…hey guys? It’s a loud and angry place to be, social media right now, but you can always count on me for having an unpopular opinion and loving the latest Star Wars movie. I don’t hold a grudge at all against anyone who hated Rise of Skywalker, there was never going to be an ending we all loved, but I do think it’s hilarious that there’s an uprising of Last Jedi fans now. Where were you guys 2 years ago? Anyway – this post is going to be SPOILER HEAVY, I’ll warn you now.

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I loved it. It was a wild ride from start to finish. The pacing was nuts, there’s barely any time to breathe. I’ve seen it twice now and the second time felt even faster. I guess everyone had their image of what the ending would look like, and I got mine, and some, and even though I’m completely heartbroken, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I always knew deep down Kylo Ren wouldn’t live to see the credits of the final movie, but I didn’t expect to get to see Ben Solo in action. That’s credit to Adam Driver, show-stealer-extraordinaire, who never ceases to amaze me with his performances. Do I wish Ben Solo survived? God yes, but it would never have made sense. He couldn’t exactly go back with Rey and hang out with the Resistance, could he? He’d have had to live in exile.

Speaking of the Resistance, YAAAAS to my boys Finn and Poe being back together again. Them being apart was my biggest gripe of The Last Jedi. And Rey? I don’t feel like her being a Palpatine was a retcon, to be honest. If it was revealed in the second movie, we’d know for sure Palpatine never died, because otherwise what would be the point? You need surprises in each movie, I guess. I don’t know – I don’t make movies, but I wasn’t mad at that choice. It was wild to watch Rey accidentally use force lighting though!

Leia was so, so well done. It was absolutely the right choice to make do with archive footage, and it didn’t seem out of place at all. Her death hit me hard, and then Chewie’s reaction destroyed me. The moment we thought Chewie was dead was well done, too. The first screening I was in everyone gasped out loud, and the second time there was just this uncomfortable silence. I can’t tell you the reaction to the Ben Solo moment because I was crying ugly tears into my IMAX glasses.

I could go on forever, but I’ve already babbled for longer than I usually do. The bottom line is, it worked for me, I laughed and I cried and I got an ending that felt right to me. That can’t be said for most I know, but I hope you can appreciate my reasons for loving it.

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Best Bit: It’s impossible to pick one. I mean, Ben Solo, just being Ben Solo! Running through those ruins just like his Dad, taking out bad guys with a blaster. His smirk once he was given a saber by Rey and taking down his own knights. I WISH we could have seen more of that cheeky character.

But also? HUX WAS THE SPY. Hux is like, my second favourite character in this series. Him being the spy was silly but goddamn hilarious. I’m sorry to anyone in that first screening because I actually screamed.

Worst Bit: There were scenes in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi that I could happily do without, but nothing felt unnecessary here. My only real gripe is how useless Rose was in this movie. It didn’t make sense for her to have a huge role in the previous movie but have nothing to do here.

If you’ll allow me a silly complaint – who turns down Poe Dameron? TWICE?!

Fun Trivia: During the massive crowd celebration scene, C-3PO says that this event happens once every 42 years. This was the time between the first Star Wars movie to be released in 1977, and this film, the last of the sequel trilogy, released 42 years later.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 porgs who also needed more screentime this time around.

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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

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!

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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!

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Movie Reviews

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Movie Reviews

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.

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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?

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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.

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