Movie Reviews

A Star Is Born (2018)

a-star-is-born-movie-review-2018Director: Bradley Cooper

Genre: Romance, Music, Drama

Runtime: 135 Minutes

Main Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Bonnie Somerville, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Harney, Rebecca Field, Rafi Gavron, William Belli, Anthony Ramos

Plot: After one of his shows, Jackson Maine meets and falls for struggling musician Ally, who already gave up on her dreams of being in the spotlight. Jackson coaxes her back into it but as her career finally takes off, Jackson’s personal issues put a strain on their whirlwind romance.

My Thoughts: Apologies in advance for any typos in this post, it’ll be because I’m still SOBBING over this movie. I’ve been so excited to see this and I was gutted to miss out on the advanced screening I got an invite for, so I pretty much raced to the cinema on opening night to see it. Sometimes you just know a movie is going to be great, and I wasn’t wrong here.

I don’t even know where to start. This is Bradley Cooper at his very best (and he’s already amazing) but Lady Gaga? Lady goshdarn Gaga absolutely steals the show. I don’t know enough about them to know if she’s in the running for an Oscar but if it were up to me she would have one! I haven’t had my heart shattered by a movie since La La Land, and now I don’t know if it will ever recover.

For such a long movie the time just flies by, definitely helped by the amazing soundtrack. Annoyingly it wasn’t released onto Spotify until yesterday so I’ve had to put up with playing Shallow on repeat on YouTube until then. It’s got to at least get a nomination for Best Original Song, right? Is it an original song, or was it in the original movie this is a remake of? I’ll have to look it up.

I thought I knew where the story was going. I really did think I had it all worked out, and I wasn’t mad because the movie is so well made it would have been forgivable, but then I had the rug pulled out from under me. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure. The only thing that kept me from curling up in a ball in the cinema was the lady behind me loudly bawling her eyes out. I hope she’s doing ok!

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Best Bit: Jackson Maine and Ally performing Shallow together on stage for the first time. It’s not even my favourite song (that award goes to Always Remember Us This Way) but it’s such a beautiful moment and gave me goosebumps.

Worst Bit: The final song. Not because it was a bad song, or even a bad moment, but that was the hardest part to watch. I was so sad I felt a little sick.

Fun Trivia: For his role as Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper was taught to play guitar by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson. The pair hung out in Cooper’s basement almost every night for a year so that Cooper could learn how to perform and present himself like a musician. Cooper is backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real for his stage performances. Veteran dialect coach Tim Monich worked for several months with Cooper to help him better flesh out his vocal singing range.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 fake boobs that Jackson Maine will sign for you if you ask him nicely!

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Movie Reviews

Adrift (2018)

adrift-movie-review-poster-2018Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Genre: Romance, Drama, Adventure

Main Cast: Sam Claflin, Shailene Woodley, Grace Palmer, Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Hawthorne

Plot: The true story of how Richard Sharp and Tami Oldham met by chance, fell in love and sailed thousands of miles to San Diego, where on the way they faced one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

My Thoughts: It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie like this, and as with most movies based on true stories, I had no idea what actually happened to Richard and Tami, so I was really looking forward to seeing Adrift. My excitement dwindled slightly when my cinema buddy Steph was told the air-con in our screen was broken and the temperature in the room was currently 26 degrees. Ugh. For my overseas readers – the UK is going through one it’s longest heatwaves ever, and we don’t cope well in the heat!

On to the movie itself though! I think it’s hard for stories like this to have a good pace going, when you’ve got a couple stranded at sea there’s a risk of it lagging but it’s edited in a really nice way. The movie opens with the aftermath of the storm, and flicks back and forth between past and present so just when it’s at risk of getting dull, it switches again.

I am really starting to warm to Shailene Woodley. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen her in but she just has a certain down-to-earthness about her that I really like. Plus, I’m never going to complain about getting to see Sam Claflin on the big screen, although he spent a lot of time just laying about. The only thing that kept bugging me was it was made clear that Claflin’s character was much older than Woodley’s, but they looked the same age as each other to me! IMDB research has told me there’s a 5-year difference at least…

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Best Bit: The worst proposal in the world scene. It caught me off guard and I did one of those embarrassingly loud ‘HAH’ laughs that was completely involuntary.

Worst Bit: I can’t say for spoiler reasons, but if you’ve seen it (or know the actual true story) you’ll know exactly what I mean. I genuinely felt glum for the rest of the night!

Fun Trivia: According to Shailene Woodley, there were times on the open sea when, except for the director and cinematographer, everybody was throwing up overboard due to severe seasickness.

My Rating: 3 and a half jars of peanut butter out of 5. Use a spoon though, for crying out loud!

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Movie Reviews

Review: Love, Simon (2018)

love-simon-movie-review-2018-posterWho has two thumbs and went to the cinema twice in two weeks? This gal! No, I can’t believe it either. Thanks to my amazing husband for pushing me to actually leave the house and my bestie for being my date! This week was a movie we’d both been really looking forward to and the rave reviews just made us even more excited. Love, Simon might just be the best Rom-Com of 2018 and we’re not even halfway there yet.

Simon (Nick Robinson) is your average teenager. He has two loving parents, a sister who he actually gets on with but wouldn’t dream of telling her and, well actually Simon does a pretty good job of explaining his life in the opening narrative so I won’t take that away from him. Thing is, Simon has a huge secret that no one knows – he’s gay.

Simon’s school has a gossip blog and one day a confession post is published by an author titled as Blue. Blue reveals that he is, in fact, gay, and so Simon creates an anonymous email profile to contact Blue and strike up a friendship which eventually leads to love. That’s the basic plot here, with plenty of other High School drama and antics thrown in here and there. It was so much fun trying to work out who Blue actually was and it was an amazing reveal at the end! I don’t know if it was obvious to anyone else but I never see these things coming.

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It’s the characters that drive movies like these forward and separate the mediocre from the ones you’ll never forget, and the characters in Love, Simon are great. Even the ‘bad guy’ has lovable qualities and you can’t help but find him funny. I absolutely loved Tony Hale as the hilarious Vice Principal, in my favourite role of his since Arrested Development.

In fact, I think my only gripe with the entire movie was that it wasn’t quite angsty enough – but that’s just my own personal preference. There are sad moments for sure but everything still feels a bit sugar coated. Having said that though I think Love, Simon is a really important movie. I was reading through a few reviews on Letterboxd after seeing the movie and some movie fans were using their reviews as their own chance to come out, and I think if a movie can have that kind of positive effect on people then that’s an amazing thing.

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What else I think is great is that it’s a movie for all to enjoy. It doesn’t feel like a movie made for the LGBT community, is accessible for all. If two married women approaching their 30’s (sorry Steph if you’re reading this) can enjoy it, then so can you! Love, Simon gets 4 and a half Halloween Oreos from me and gosh darn it I wish they were available in the UK, they sound delicious.

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Movie Reviews

Review: A Ghost Story (2017)

a-ghost-story-movie-review-2017It’s October! It’s that time of year when I put on my big girl pants, man up a little and watch a few scary movies. Last year was a huge success (for a wimp like me!) as I watched It Follows, Krampus, The Babadook, and even the classic, Psycho. This year I’d quite like to outdo myself, but instead I’ve started on one big fail. Look at that poster! It looks terrifying, right? Only here’s the thing – A Ghost Story isn’t even a horror movie. Doh.

That’s my fault for walking in blind really, but I’ve always stood by my opinion that it’s the best way to go into a movie. So no, A Ghost Story isn’t a horror, instead it’s a cracking little indie movie about a ghost trapped in his home, forced to simply stand by and watch as time flies by.

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play a young couple with troubles in their relationship, which are only made worse when Casey Affleck’s character is killed in a car accident. He wakes up in the hospital as a ghost in the most recognisable way, under a sheet with holes cut out as eyes. After he walks back home, he watches Rooney Mara’s character deal with the aftermath and eventually moves out of the house, leaving behind a note hidden in the wall – something she’s enjoyed doing all her life.

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It took a good half an hour for this movie to really kick in and get interesting for me, I’ll admit. I started to wonder what the point was, and some of the shots were almost painfully long in that arty kind of way. It also took me a while to work out why the director would choose to film in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1, but during some scenes I felt genuinely claustrophobic, and then the reason became clear.

I don’t want to talk too much about the rest of the story, because I think you should go in knowing as little as you can but the last 20 minutes or so completely baffled me. Just when you think you’ve got your head wrapped around what’s happening, you get the rug pulled out from under you, but in a simple sense, rather than a shocking, plot twist sense. It was one of those endings I had to read up on, and just like the choice of aspect ratio, it became immediately clear to me.

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Oh! I have to say, despite it not being a horror movie, I still have to say “screw you!” for the TWO jump scares that sneakily made their appearance…it’s a good job my due date is still nearly two weeks away because they gave me such a freight I swear they might have brought on contractions.

So really, other than the slow start, I really enjoyed A Ghost Story. It perhaps wasn’t the scary start to the month I was expecting, but I’m glad I gave it a go nonetheless. It gets 4 out of 5 sympathy pies from me, which is making me feel nauseous just thinking about it, because no one needs to watch Rooney Mara sobbing and demolishing an entire pie in a five minute shot.

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Movie Reviews

Review: Song to Song (2017)

Remember how literally just a few days ago I said I was struggling to name 5 movies that I really didn’t enjoy this year so far? Remember how my list was half-hearted because I didn’t truly hate any of them, I was just disappointed by them? That I actually missed hate-writing about a movie? Turns out the movie gods were listening that day, because they delivered Song to Song.

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I’ve heard that Terrence Malick movies are often controversial, and a quick check on IMDB confirmed what I thought – until now I haven’t seen a single one of his movies. I gotta say, there were none that really shouted out to me either, but there was no way I could ignore Song to Song. Here’s what I knew:
– Music was a strong feature (I’ve been spoiled by John Carney movies)
– It was set in Austin, Texas (I got to go there for work once and had an amazing time)
– The cast was excellent (Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling & Michael Fassbender)
– It was described as a modern day love story

What could possibly go wrong?

It all started out okay to be honest. It felt a bit qwirky, a bit weird. It was a little raunchy too, so ticks in all the boxes from me. My eyes struggled to adjust to the fact that no single shot seemed to last any longer than 5 seconds, but I thought I’d get used to it. I had over 2 hours of movie to get used to it!

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About 20 minutes in, it all just went to hell. I couldn’t work out what was going on anymore. I thought it was established that Rooney Mara’s character was together with Michael Fassbender’s, but then she fell for Ryan Gosling. It seemed like some weird love triangle, because Ryan Gosling seemed way more interested in bro’ing it up with Michael Fassbender, but then he got married to Natalie Portman and…are you still reading?

This entire movie hurt my head. None of the characters ever seemed to talk much, or even smile. I’m sorry but, how can you fall in love with someone if all you do is float around silently, looking at them with the face and flair of a catwalk model? It’s infuriating!

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I actually gave up at the mid way point and turned the movie off. I thought I could be satisfied with not knowing how the story ended, or wasting another hour of my life whilst risking permanent frown lines from the face I pulled the entire time watching. Alas, the next day the completionist in me couldn’t take it anymore and I watched the rest. Did it get any better? No. Was it worth it? I got to see Ryan Gosling make a turkey out of a napkin (actually one of my favourite party tricks) so there was that.

I’m really sorry to actual, legit movie critics who understood this movie and what it was about, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea at all. 1 and a half napkins from me…you can turn them into turkeys yourself, or ask Ryan Gosling to show you how!

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