Movie Reviews

No Time to Die (2021)

no-time-to-die-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Runtime: 163 Minutes

Main Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Billy Magnussen, Christoph Waltz

Plot: James Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is trying to enjoy a peaceful life, a dream short-lived when his old friend Felix (Jeffrey Wright) shows up asking for his help. Bond’s mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist becomes more and more complicated by the minute.

My Thoughts: It actually feels quite surreal to be writing about No Time to Die. It’s been a full two years of watching the trailer and after the movie’s release got pushed back time and time again, it’s finally here and the cinemas are full. It’s wonderful! I’m not going to pretend to be a Bond fan, I’ve seen all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies but only once. I think they’re alright! I enjoy them plenty but it’s not a franchise I get excited about. Still, this last weekend has seen cinemas fuller than ever, I didn’t even get close to my usual parking spot right opposite the front door!

I wish I’d at least made an effort to rewatch Spectre (2015) before the last installment because there are a lot of ties to that movie that I completely forgot about. Still, I enjoyed No Time to Die, despite its almost 3 hours runtime that was unnecessary. The action scenes were as great as you would expect them to be, and despite Daniel Craig’s age he’s still completely believable as the agile Bond, and rocks a suit just as well as he always has. Best dressed has to be awarded to Ana de Armas though, hands down!

The ending was bittersweet, I have to say. It was an ending that I expected, and it was well executed for sure (I didn’t think I would be shedding tears over a Bond flick) but it felt a bit deflating at the same time, if that makes sense. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Who is going to play the next Bond? I’m going to make an effort to rewatch the latest movies, and who knows, maybe I’ll find myself loving the franchise after all.

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Best Bit: I think we all fell in love with the amazing duo of Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in Knives Out (2019) so it was so great to see them together again on the big screen! Ana didn’t get nearly as much screen time as she deserved. (If my bestie and cinema buddy Steph were here though she would have made me mention Bond’s final outfit choice and how much I appreciated it!)

Worst Bit: I was here for the action, I was NOT here for 3 jump scares within the first half an hour! At least I fared better than the woman to my right who almost knocked my drink out of my hand with how much she jumped at one part…

Fun Trivia: Reportedly, James Bond actor Daniel Craig personally hand-picked Cuban actress Ana de Armas to play Paloma in this Bond movie, after working with her on Knives Out (2019), which first released about only four months before No Time to Die was originally meant to release.

My Rating: 3 and a half sphynx cats which come with fur these days!

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Movie Reviews

The Little Things (2021)

the-little-things-movie-review-poster-2021Director: John Lee Hancock

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Runtime: 128 Minutes

Main Cast: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Chris Bauer, Michael Hyatt, Terry Kinney, Natalie Morales, Isabel Arraiza, Joris Jarsky

Plot: Deke (Denzel Washington), a deputy sheriff finds himself back in LA where he used to be a detective. There he teams up with the uptight Baxter (Rami Malek) in order to solve a case that Deke feels is connected to the case that led to his downfall years ago.

My Thoughts: Well, well, well. I didn’t expect this movie to be blowing up all over Twitter a week after watching it. Never in a million years would I have labelled The Little Things as an awards movie. Don’t get me wrong -I really enjoyed it, but award worthy? Nope. The movie is essentially a gripping serial killer case and that’s it’s strongest element. The cast is great, the trio of Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto works really well but I didn’t care for their characters. They felt two-dimensional and so I just wasn’t that invested in them. I love a good mystery though so I was hooked for the case.

It takes a while to pick up the pace and to see how the cases are linked, and even longer until we’re introduced to Jared Leto’s character, Sparma, but that’s when the shit really hits the fan. We’re convinced Sparma is guilty, of what we aren’t sure, but he’s slimy and so easy to dislike. It’s been a while since I hated a fictional character so strongly. Which, I guess is why Leto’s been nominated for both a Golden Globe and a SAG. I don’t get it. I’m prejudiced I know because I think Leto is a creep in general so that role didn’t take much acting.

I realise I’m sounding like a Debbie Downer so let me reiterate, I really liked this movie! I think in a previous life I was a detective, I got so absorbed into the case and the little clues and what they might all mean. The ending to The Little Things will probably put a lot of people off but I loved it. Plus, Jared Leto’s nominations will mean that this movie gets a bigger audience which is always a bonus!

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Best Bit: There were two stand out moments for me. The first was when Deke was questioning Sparma at the station and he lost his cool – I felt a little bit scared myself! The ending though, ugh I’m a sucker. I won’t spoil it but my reaction was kind of like this “Oh man…okay then…what’s he…OH. WHAT!”

Worst Bit: Sparma’s smug reactions whilst flicking through those photos…I have never wanted to punch my TV so badly!

Fun Trivia: Writer/Director John Lee Hancock originally wrote the screenplay for the film almost 30 years ago (1993) after completing his work on the Clint Eastwood picture A Perfect World.

My Rating: 3 and a half red barrettes which I’m still screaming about.

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Movie Reviews

Dolittle (2020)

dolittle-movie-review-2020-posterDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Genre: Comedy, Family, Adventure

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Mantzoukas

Plot: John Dolittle, famed doctor and veterinarian with a talent of speaking to animals, turned to a life of seclusion after losing his wife. His peace is disturbed one day when a young boy turns up at his door with an injured squirrel, as well as a young girl summoning him to save the Queen who is on her deathbed.

My Thoughts: Doctor Dolittle (1998) is one of my childhood favourites, so I was always going to be interested to see this remake/reimagining. By the sounds of it, this newer version stays much truer to the original source book. And look at that cast list! I usually chop down the list to just the main, big names, but that’s impossible in this case. How on earth all these names signed up for this movie is beyond me. Some of them are instantly recognisable, like Jason Mantzoukas, very much playing himself…if he were a dragonfly.

Let me get to the point – you’ve probably read a lot of negativity surrounding this movie, and I’m not going to try and change anyone’s mind. I still can’t work out where in the UK Robert Downey Jr.’s accent was meant to be from, but he seemed to struggle with it so much he never expressed a single emotion throughout the whole movie. It feels very much like he’s turning up just to collect his paycheck. It’s all very silly and predictable.

BUT. This movie wasn’t made with most of us in mind. It’s a movie for children. And I’m sure children will love watching a dog in glasses dragging its butt across the floor, a gorilla kick a tiger in his private parts, a grown man pulling objects out of a dragon’s ass, and a polar bear complaining about being cold all the time. There are a few adult jokes scattered throughout to keep the parents chuckling, and I’m sure it’ll be a hit this half-term in the UK.

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Best Bit: In the credits, they show a shot of each of the animals along with the name of who voiced them, and my friend Steph and I turned to each other at the same time when Chee-Chee the gorilla came up and went “THAT WAS RAMI MALEK?” It’s almost enough to need to see it again.

Worst Bit: I’ve already mentioned it but seriously, what accent was that? I’d decided it must have been Scottish, and then I read someone else’s’ review where they said it was Welsh! I should know, shouldn’t I? And yet I’m clueless.

Fun Trivia: Nicolas Cage turned down the role of King Rassouli.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 bagpipes which were retrieved from…well, I think you can guess where.

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Movie Reviews

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

bohemian-rhapsody-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Bryan Singer

Genre: Biography, Music, Drama

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Main Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillan, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker, Meneka Das, Ace Bhatti

Plot: The real-life story of how the legendary rock band Queen came to be, starting with how they got together and ending with their epic performance at Live Aid in 1985.

My Thoughts: Sometimes I’m the worst English lass in history. I don’t drink tea (only herbal), I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Doctor Who, and I’m not a Queen fan. I do eat biscuits and complain about the weather though, that’s the only thing keeping me on this odd little island I guess.

Anyway I digress, but I wanted to make the point that I’m coming at this movie knowing nothing about Queen apart from the lyrics to no less than 5 of their songs. I can’t speak for how well Rami played Freddie Mercury, because I’ve never watched a performance of his – but in a way, I think that’s why I was so set on watching Bohemian Rhapsody, I wanted to know Queen’s story.

Due to me mixing up screen times, my old blogging bestie Jenna and I ended up having to watch the movie in IMAX – and oh boy am I glad we did. (My husband will be laughing to himself reading this because I rarely shut up about how much I love IMAX. It’s amazing, ok?!) If the room was emptier we would have been up on our feet stomping and clapping for We Will Rock You, it was a brilliant experience.

I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody anyway, and I drove home playing the album on the loudest volume my car could take before it started vibrating. I dig what Queen stand (stood?) for, and it’s amazing what the band achieved. I can’t help but feel some of the story along the way has been dramatised (maybe it hasn’t – who am I to judge?) and I felt the focus of the story lost its way around the half-way mark, but those are my only real complaints.

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Best Bit: The Live Aid concert for sure. By that point, I’d been converted into a fan and with the IMAX surround sound, it really gave me quite a thrill!

Worst Bit: Paul. Everything about him. Was his part in the Queen story exaggerated for the movie? I don’t know – but he was a venomous snake. May his phone be forever on low battery.

Fun Trivia: Sacha Baron Cohen was the original choice to play Freddie Mercury. He left the project due to creative differences with the band’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. The deal with Baron Cohen fell apart after May voiced upset after finding that the project would only be a biopic of Freddie Mercury and not the rest of Queen. May felt that it should focus on the other members and the aftermath of Mercury’s death. He also voiced his negative opinion of the casting choice of Baron Cohen, whom he felt was too much of a comedic actor who wouldn’t do Mercury justice in drama.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 of Freddie Mercury’s cats. Did he have 4, or 5? I can only remember that tabby one that gave the best dirty looks.

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Movie Reviews

Short Term 12 (2013)

short-term-12-movie-review-2013

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Main Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr, Stephanie Beatriz, Rami Malek, Kevin Balmore, Lakeith Stanfield, Frantz Turner, Kaitlyn Dever

Genre: Drama

Plot: Grace works at a residential treatment facility with her boyfriend Mason. A lot of the children there are troubled, and as Grace helps each of them, a new arrival ends up bringing up painful memories for her, and her usually tough exterior begins to crumble, causing a rift between her and Mason.

My Thoughts: This is the first movie knocked off my watch list! And oh boy did I start with a good one. It’s a shame I know the rest of the list won’t be this good. I didn’t think I would find a movie that would tug on my heartstrings as much as The Florida Project (2017) did, but my heart really ached watching Short Term 12.

There are a few comedic moments, like when poor Rami Malek shows up for his first day at work to be confronted with a kid running and screaming to escape. Talk about first impressions! Other than that though, I think I cried no less than 3 times. It’s horrible to think that although this is a movie, what these kids go through actually happens out there in the real world.

It’s not like I didn’t know it before, but Brie Larson is an absolute superstar. She didn’t pick up enough awards for her performance here – she should have taken home an Oscar!

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Best Bit: The rap that Lakeith Standfield performs. It was so moving and powerful – if it was released as an actual record I’d buy it. And by buy it, I mean I would stream it on Spotify. Does anyone still buy records?

Worst Bit: Kaitlyn Dever reading her story about the octopus aloud. Not because it was a bad moment in the movie, but because my heart broke into a million pieces during it, and my sniffing almost woke up my napping baby.

Fun Trivia: To try and convince director Destin Daniel Cretton to cast her, Brie Larson told him that she had applied to volunteer with disadvantaged children after reading the script in order to research the role. Cretton was impressed and Larson did not reveal until later that she had been rejected by every organisation she had applied to.

My Rating: 4 and a half octopuses (octopi?) out of 5. Please don’t ask them to cut their arms off – I can’t take any more sorrow.

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