Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon

Originally posted at Drew’s Movie Reviews to kick off his blogathon. Go check out Drew’s blog now if you don’t follow him already!

You try saying that title after a few cups of eggnog! Does anyone actually drink eggnog? I’ve heard it in Christmas songs I’ve seen it in Christmas movies…but I’ve never actually had any! I guess there’s a first time for everything. Speaking of which, this is certainly not the first time I’ve taken part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon, but it IS the first time I’ve sent my post to him on time! For…any actual Blogathon he’s hosted, actually. I’m so sorry Drew!

It’s getting tougher each year to pick a topic for my post, but after last year when I defended Die Hard’s status as a Christmas movie my theme for this year has picked itself out. I’m going to list my Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas movies! You know, those movies you find yourself watching in October or November when the festive vibes are kicking in, but it’s not socially acceptable to be in the festive spirit yet!

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#5 Die Hard (1988)

Defending Die Hard’s Christmassy status is difficult enough, but last year Bruce Wilis himself declared that it wasn’t a Christmas movie. C’mon, man! When the winter months are filled with sickly sweet family movies, sometimes you need to see Bruce Willis kick some ass whilst still feeling festive.

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#4 Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

I love a good rom com, and Bridget Jones’ Diary is up there with the best of the very best. Bridget is just so relatable, and the scene with her and Mark Darcy with his ugly Christmas jumper is brilliant!

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#3 The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)

Christmas features very sporadically in all of the Harry Potter movies but for years now, the main UK TV channels feature them heavily in December, and so for that reason, it’s sort of become a tradition to watch them annually at that time of year.

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#2 Shazam! (2019)

This year has actually brought a new movie to my annual Christmas watch list! (I’m going to have to START in July at this rate). Shazam! has it all, it’s a cool and funny superhero movie, it has some touching family moments…and it takes place at Christmas! Winner winner, turkey dinner.

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#1 Just Friends (2005)

I’m a huuuge Ryan Reynolds fan, and Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds at what I consider one of the best moments in his career. Embarrassingly, I could probably recite the entire movie to you, I’ve watched it that often!

Now, as part of Drew’s blogathon, he hosts a huge celebrity party (ever the hostess with the most-ess) and we’re allowed to bring any guest we choose. I seem to have worked my way through the entire male Star Wars cast…but I don’t think you need more than one guess as to who I’m bringing this year…

Keanu, we are going to have a most excellent time!

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Best & Worst Movies of 2019…So Far!

We’re halfway through the year (can you believe it?!) and summer has well and truly arrived in the UK…in the sense that it’s kind of warm, but won’t stop raining. At least it’s an excuse to hide indoors and see all the blockbusters! I feel like 2019 has been a great year for movies so far. It’s had its fair share of stinkers and disappointments for sure, but on the whole I’ve really enjoyed the 2019 releases I’ve seen. In fact, if I check out my Letterboxd ratings, I’ve got 3 five-star movies for the year, compared with none at this point in 2018!

In true blogger fashion, I thought this would mark the perfect time to pick my Top 5 Best and Worst movies of the year so far. Shall we start with the duds? It’s always nice to end on a high note!

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#5 Someone Great

I really wanted to love this movie. I knew not to expect something award-worthy, or a completely original plot that would blow me away, but the cast is impressive and if nothing else I thought I was guaranteed a lot of laughs. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment. It had its moments but it mostly felt like the movie was just trying to take the piss out of Millennials.

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#4 What Men Want

Taraji P. Henson being an absolute badass in a comedy where she can hear men’s thoughts? What could possibly go wrong? It took far too long for the movie to get going, and although it started to pick up steam eventually I’d lost interest at that point. Tracy Morgan was pretending he was actually starring in an episode of 30 Rock.

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#3 Wine Country

It’s still too soon, I’m not sure I can even talk about Wine Country. Some of my favourite comedic actresses getting together and getting drunk should have been a match made in heaven, so why was it so damn boring? I’m starting to get very suspicious of Netflix Original comedies…

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#2 Wonder Park

This stupid movie made me cry for no purpose whatsoever. If you’re a fan of theme parks and really want to watch a budget, crap version of Inside Out then here’s your perfect movie. I still don’t know why it’s even called Wonder Park when the park in the actual movie is called Wonderland. Arggghhh!

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#1 Serenity

I’ve just realised I never even wrote a mini-review of this movie, let alone anything structured. In fact, I almost gave Serenity a pass because it’s at that level of terrible where I actually had a lot of fun watching it. There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but wow, what a plot twist. Just don’t do what I do and start to read deeper into it, because that’s when it really derails. I’m not sure anything will be able to top this by the end of the year!

I could have quite easily done a list of 10 Best movies of the year so far, which means doing it at the end of the year is going to be horribly difficult. I’ve just enjoyed a lot of movies so far this year! My honourable mentions go to Aladdin, Booksmart, Instant Family, Isn’t It Romantic, Long Shot, Missing Link, Us, Captain Marvel, and Fighting with My Family for narrowly missing out on a spot.

So, without further ado, here are what I’ve deemed the best movies of 2019 so far:

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#5 Shazam!

So many of my reviews this year have started with me saying how pleasantly surprised I’ve been with a movie. With the rubbish released in previous years, I never thought I’d have a DC movie in my top list! I was so hesitant about Shazam!, it looked funny but it also looked a bit dumb in the trailer, but I was overwhelmed. I laughed so much in the cinema and I didn’t expect it to have so much heart too – I’ve seen it twice already.

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#4 Pokemon Detective Pikachu

When Detective Pikachu was announced what feels like 10 years ago, I groaned. As someone who grew up with the trading cards, TV show and videogames, I was dying for a live-action Pokemon movie but not one revolved around a Pikachu with a detective hat. But oh my god. I was sold once the first trailer came in. I know the non-Pokemon fans didn’t enjoy it much, but for me, there’s so much fan service involved that I was grinning the whole time.

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#3 Toy Story 4

I’ve only reviewed this very recently so I’ll keep this one short, major kudos to Pixar for not only making an incredible original and 3 amazing sequels. I thought Toy Story 3 gave the movie a perfect ending but number 4 went one better.

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#2 Avengers: Endgame

My Top 2 keep changing minute by minute. In fact, I’ve changed the order at least 5 times just whilst writing this post. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll have changed my mind again. There was no doubt in my mind though that Endgame would be amazing. Marvel just have this movie making down to fine art now, and what a perfect ending this was for the current Avengers line up. It’s a good job it’s being re-released next week because I didn’t make the full movie without a toilet break and I still don’t know what I missed!

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#1 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

I know. I know I put John Wick above Endgame. “It’s only because of Keanu Reeves!” I can hear you all saying. You’re probably right. But if you asked me which of 2019’s movies I’ve enjoyed the most so far, it’s going to be Parabellum every time. I saw it twice at the cinema and I’m looking forward to a DVD release so I can watch it again. Those choreographed fight scenes are just perfect, and it’s ruined every other action movie for me. I’m dying to see Chapter 4!

Enough about me, over to you guys…what’s been your Best & Worst of the year so far? Is it feeling like a good year for movies?

Shazam! (2019)

shazam-movie-poster-review-2019Director: David F. Sandberg

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

Plot: Whilst searching for his long-lost Mother, 14-year-old Billy Batson is summoned before ‘The Wizard’ to receive the powers of Shazam. His attempts to learn his superpowers (and profit from them) draws the attention of Thaddius Sivana, enraged with envy and out for revenge against Billy for taking what was his.

My Thoughts: I know next to nothing about Shazam, apart from the fact he used to be called Captain Marvel (what a confusing coincidence!) and to tell you the truth I wasn’t sold by the trailer. It didn’t give much away, but it looked goofy as hell and I couldn’t work out if it was intentional or just…terrible. I got the chance to see it a week early though and that was a chance I couldn’t pass up. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I loved the hell out of this movie!

Shazam strips everything back from modern superhero movies. There’s obviously still CGI involved but it isn’t flaunted in your face every 2 seconds. It can’t get away with simply looking great, it relies on a good storyline, which it has. Billy’s story is really quite heartbreaking, and he has flaws just like any other person. The bad guy actually has a decent backstory and genuine motives for being evil. To top it all off, it’s actually really funny, which for a DC movie is a rare sight!

And yes, it’s goofy. But it’s supposed to be, that’s all part of the charm. Adult Shazam acts like a 14-year-old with superpowers…because he’s a 14-year-old with superpowers. He’s irresponsible with them. Think of him as a family friendly Deadpool, which sounds like an insult but I mean it with the highest praise. DC even manages to make fun of itself a little, whilst still having some serious plot lines. Okay, I’m a little gutted they missed out on a legit chance to call Billy’s mother Martha, but maybe that would have been one step too far.

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Time will tell whether I’m on my own in the Shazam! fan club, but for now I’ll quite happily hold my hands up and say it’s the best DC movie made in recent years.

Oh – and is it just me or is Asher Angel (Billy Batson) secretly Arya Stark’s twin brother?!

Best Bit: When Billy and Freddy are trying to skip school by fooling the security guard. It’s such a small moment in the movie but I laughed so hard, and so did everyone around me. I won’t ruin it for you but keep an eye out for it!

Worst Bit: As well-developed as the bad guy was, I can’t help but feel like involving the 7 deadly sins was a bit of a waste. Apart from envy, the others don’t really serve any kind of purpose and they may as well have just been ordinary monsters.

Fun Trivia: Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have a hero called Captain Marvel, whose films star Djimon Hounsou and release in 2019. However, both are different: Shazam! (2019) is a male teenager who received godly powers and a superhuman form. Captain Marvel (2019) is a female superhero who received alien powers.

My Rating: 4 and a half cases of your finest beer, thank you!

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