Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)

peter-rabbit-2-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Will Gluck

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Main Cast: Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, James Corden, David Oyelowo, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Moody, Hayley Atwell, Sam Neill

Plot:  Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) are happily married, and together have published Bea’s Peter Rabbit book. The book’s success has drawn the attention of a big-deal publisher who wants to make drastic changes to the characters we all know and love. Meanwhile, Peter (James Corden) is struggling to prove he isn’t the tyrant that he’s seen to be.

My Thoughts: Well who would have thought yesterday would be the day. I remember so clearly February 2020, watching Peter Rabbit (2018) for the first time on Netflix, after seeing the trailer for the sequel, talking about Easter plans and what the Easter bunny might bring for my 2-year-old daughter. Then, of course, the world turned upside down and so it felt bittersweet being at the cinema at last! So much has changed in that time, but I’m not here to get all sentimental. I’m here to talk about the only movie that makes James Corden tolerable, Peter Rabbit 2!

It was everything I expected it to be. It’s obviously not on the level of Paddington but hand on heart, Peter Rabbit is in that higher level of animated family films that have lots of appeal for adults, too. There are jokes aplenty for the little ones to enjoy like the screaming rooster and Cottontail’s new love of sugar, but I’d argue that most of the jokes are geared for the adults. How our arguments can last for weeks, what parents pack in their kid’s lunchboxes, and how we act around people we feel inferior to. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all, it’s very self-aware and proves that in a few jokes that break the fourth wall.

The movie’s biggest downfall is the plot. It’s all over the place! If you thought Rise of Skywalker ran at breakneck speed then just see how much story Peter Rabbit 2 crams into it’s 93 minute runtime. Starting a family, writing a new book, kidnap, stuck in a pet shop, meeting new friends, back on the farm, back to Gloucester, back to the farm again. That’s only half of the movie right there. I guess it’s better than being really slow but there are so many things that could have been cut down to slow the pace. But at the end of the day, it was a movie I’ve been waiting a long time for, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Best Bit: So many funny moments but what made me laugh the most was the repeated joke about how annoying Peter’s voice is. I feel like it was obviously a nod to how a lot of people find James Corden a bit…irritating? I couldn’t even explain why I dislike him so much, I think he just has an air of self-importance and sees himself better than everyone else?

Worst Bit: Why do I never see a twist coming? It wasn’t even a bold, crazy twist. I just got caught up in the story and didn’t judge anyone! And that was after I found myself almost crying over Thomas’ tomatoes…what have I become?!

Fun Trivia: In one scene, Peter steps in wet cement and emerges clunking slowly through the streets with his feet trapped inside the now-dried cement. A similar scene happened in the animated film Zootropolis (2016) with Judy Hopps, who is also a rabbit.

My Rating: 3 and a half uneaten celery sticks which I also put into my daughter’s lunchbox in a bid to not be judged!

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Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit (2018)

peter-rabbit-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Will Gluck

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sia, Fayssal Bazzi, Colin Moody

Plot: Based on the beloved character Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit and his friends are suddenly granted the freedom of Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch when he passes away, but their fun and games soon come to an end when McGregor’s nephew takes over the ownership of the estate.

My Thoughts: Oh how sweet, Allie is starting to watch movies with her kid! Nope, sorry. I’m deep in Star Wars withdrawal and so last night once the kiddo was in bed, I curled up on the sofa for a double dose of Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley. What can I say? I’m desperate – and it’s been a while since I went on a Domhnall Gleeson binge. Plus I have to admit, I saw the trailer for the sequel and it actually looked quite funny.

Bias be damned, Domhnall Gleeson was an absolute star in this. He really went and threw his all into this movie. He has such a flair for comedy and his rages are hilarious. If General Hux could have had an alternative ending, let it be this movie. Gleeson was literally channelling his inner Hux the entire time and I was 100% there for it. I love the idea of him trying his best to chill out, trying some bird watching as a hobby that he’s absolutely terrible at.

As for the movie itself, I totally get it if you don’t like it. I watch too much Peter Rabbit on a daily basis because of the animated show that’s on Cbeebies every day, and it’s a strange set-up. Like, I’m sorry, but these rabbits are absolute jerks. They’re thieves, and in the movie, they’re even worse. In some scenes, the movie plays out like some sort of reverse Home Alone where Kevin is actually the bad guy?!

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If you fell for the charms of Paddington (2014) then do me a favour and give this a go. It might not pack as much charm, but it’s essentially the best romcom of 2018.

Best Bit: How about Domhnall Gleeson beating the crap out of a Harrods bear? Or saying “I’m chill, man” whilst strangling Peter? Or basically any time Daisy Ridley’s CGI bunny was on screen? There were so many great moments. Lots of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ jokes too like the Bananagrams game.

Worst Bit: As much as I strangely loved this movie, I just can’t see (hear?) past James Corden’s voice as Peter Rabbit. He doesn’t even try. It’s just…his voice. James Corden went from being a beloved, little-known star in the UK to making it big worldwide, getting big-headed about it, and now he’s just kinda irritating.
Also – how dare you dye General Hux’s hair black. How very, very dare you.

Fun Trivia: In February 2018 – 24 hours after its release – Sony apologised to advocates from food allergy groups who said the scene with a farmer going into allergic shock isn’t funny and also encourages food bullying.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ice cream trucks with flashing lights. I don’t know why but that joke really tickled me!

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Movie Reviews

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

hunt-for-the-wilderpeople-2016-poster-review(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)

I’ll give any movie a try, within reason. I don’t listen to critic reviews, but I place a lot of faith in bloggers’ opinions. Bloggers review movies for fun in their spare time, you know you’re going to get nothing but their own opinions from their reviews. Hunt for the Wilderpeople only came into my radar a few weeks ago, and every blog review I read had nothing but praise for it. That was enough to convince me to add it to my watch list, but once I realised that it’s directed by Taika Waititi, the genius behind What We Do in the Shadows, I made it my mission to watch it as soon as possible.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is based off a book by Barry Crump called Wild Pork and Watercress. It has that book-adaptation feel to it (don’t ask me to explain that feeling – I can’t) anyway, and it’s broken up into Chapters which sum up the ongoings well. In fact, I’d really love to give the book a go, I hope it’s as funny as the movie.

Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a troubled young boy, moving around different foster homes. He’s dropped out at the farm belonging to Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (Sam Neill) as the last chance. If he screws this up, he’s going to end up in Juvy. Ricky struggles to settle in his new home, despite the love and attention given to him by Bella, and so he runs away into the bush. Hec goes out to find him, and the result is a national manhunt for the pair as it appears that Hec has kidnapped Ricky.

It’s a funny coincidence that I watched this in the same week as Swiss Army Man, because they both have a lot of similarities!

Waititi’s style is clear in this movie. It’s got that same sense of humour as What We Do in the Shadows, and it’s quirky from start to finish. Julian Dennison absolutely shines as the child star of the movie, and his delivery of the witty lines is perfect. He’s just like a lot of other 13-year-olds, thinking he’s a gangster because he’s shoplifted a chocolate bar, played GTA and listens to rap music. Yet he’s such a likable character!

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Every time I watch a movie set in New Zealand, I’m taken back by the beauty of the country. I’m sure a lot of work went into the cinematography, but honestly, the setting does half the work itself, it’s gorgeous to look at.

The movie walks that line of Comedy and Drama perfectly without throwing the tone all over the place. It has some horrendously sad moments that had me sobbing quite openly, although I won’t discuss why because of spoilers, but it’s also one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. The dialogue is brilliant, thanks in part to the chemistry Julian Dennison and Sam Neill share.

I’ve been trying to balance this review out with a few negatives to warrant the 9/10 score I wanted to give it, but I’m really struggling. Originally I thought the roles of the Child Protection Officer and her Policeman companion were too campy, but actually, they fit the overall feel of the movie perfectly, especially when I try to compare it to What We Do in the Shadows. I very rarely give perfect marks to any movie, I think there’s always room for improvement, but I can’t find it here!

Movie Reviews

Review: The Commuter (2018)

the-commuter-move-review-2018Don’t pretend you didn’t know this post was coming. Some girls have a love of Nicholas Sparks novels, or fashion, or fine wine. Me? I have a die-hard passion for Liam Neeson movies. Rainy weekend? Liam Neeson movie. Sick day? Liam Neeson movie. Down in the dumps? Liam Neeson movie. Yeah, they’re all kind of the same but hey, you know exactly what to expect!

The Commuter is the love child of Taken and The Polar Express. Okay not really, more like Source Code but it conjures a funny image doesn’t it? Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a down on his luck insurance broker (and an ex-cop, of course) who finds himself caught up in a criminal conspiracy whilst on his commuter train home. There’s someone on his train that doesn’t belong, and he has to find them…and kill them. Sorry, he doesn’t…but you saw what I did there.

I guess The Commuter has a lot of comparisons to Non-Stop (also directed by Jaume Collet-Serra funnily enough) in the sense that the manhunt is taking place in a confined space. It just doesn’t have the same suspense that I felt during Non-Stop, nor does it lead us on wild goose chases. Instead, we get more kick-ass action, such as Liam Neeson beating a guy with an electric guitar. His athletic skills might not be so believable anymore but it’s always fun to see him put up a fight.

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Sadly I didn’t love this movie that much. It was plenty fun to watch, and maybe I’m actually getting tired of watching the same old thing now, but hopefully, it’s just a one-off. Some of the plot didn’t really make sense to me (although that might be my Mum-brain) and the reveal was just a bit…lacklustre.

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So yeah…a slightly shorter post from me than normal but I don’t have much more to say than that. It’s a decent movie but just nothing special. Probably the kind of movie I wouldn’t normally even post about but I miss writing and I haven’t seen anything else for a while! The Commuter gets 2 and a half electric guitars from me, just don’t let Liam Neeson have them.

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