Going Off Topic #14 – 1,000 Movies Later

So this is quite exciting! Since I opened a Letterboxd account around 3 years ago, I’ve not only kept a movie diary to log all the movies I watch (and my ratings) but also put a good few hours into logging every movie I’ve seen previously. Whilst I can’t say for sure I managed to remember them all – I’ve spent enough time on it to be able to say I’m 99% confident that I located them all.

Why is this exciting do you ask? Well, when I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last week and logged it in my movie diary, I realised it was my 1,000th movie! I have officially seen 1,000 movies in my lifetime. I know that number means very little to a lot of movie bloggers out there but it’s a pretty cool milestone!

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It also marks the 81st movie I’ve seen this year…I’m hoping the festive period will give me the final push I need to make my target of 100 for the year!

Speaking of the end of the year on its way…I’m gearing up for the festive season! I’m off to see The Grinch tonight (an odd choice maybe for the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas) and on the weekend we’re going to get stuck into Christmas shopping and decorating the house. Last Christmas was really odd having such a small baby so I’m extra excited for this year! Santa has already started getting presents ready…

Do you know what’s weird though? I don’t feel like this year has a big Christmas release at the cinema. We had the Hobbit movies for 3 years running, then Star Wars Episode VII, Rogue One, Star Wars Episode VIII…and then what? Fantastic Beasts is out next week, that’s too early. I’m looking forward to Aquaman but I don’t feel the hype…Disney really should have let Solo have a Christmas release.

Anyway, however you’re spending it, I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

My 10 Favourite Cinema Experiences

As a movie blogger, I feel a certain sense of responsibility to promote the cinema and the joy of watching the latest releases on the big screen. However, sometimes life just gets in the way, money is running low, and hey presto, you’ve got a 6-month old baby who’s not going to make a great cinema companion, and you’re stuck at home with Netflix instead. It’s not all bad of course, but I do miss my weekly cinema trips a bit. My friends and family are more caught up than I am lately!

So with all that in mind, I thought it might be a nice time to look back at some of my favourite experiences at the cinema. Of course, all lists need to be neat and even, so I chose 10. In no particular order…

#10 The Force Awakens (2015)

After finally realising just how amazing Star Wars is at the ripe age of 26, I was so excited to see The Force Awakens just before Christmas with my family. I steered clear of all social media for about 4 days I think, which is unsettlingly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The cinema we went to put on an amazing show as we took selfies with Stormtroopers as they escorted us to our screen!

#9 Elf (2003)

My poor brother Rich has his birthday in the middle of January, and in the UK it’s such a rubbish month to actually do anything. You can’t have a BBQ, none of the theme parks have opened yet and the weather is guaranteed to ruin any trip out. For his (I think) 8th Birthday, myself, him, our Mum and a handful of his friends went to see Elf. Around 3 weeks after Christmas. Safe to say the screen was empty – but it’s the only time that’s ever happened to me!

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#8 Gone Girl (2014)

I think we saw this on the opening weekend, because the screen was packed, and I think packed with people who hadn’t read the book, just like us. The moment that plot twist hits is an amazing moment on its own, but the audible gasps of over 100 people at the same time was pretty awesome.

#7 Sherlock: The Final Problem (2017)

This feels so much longer than last year! But yes, our cinema put on a screening of the last episode of Season 4. We even got some bonus footage beforehand which was pretty cool. This is memorable though because of my Mum bringing in a tiny bottle of Prosecco along with a plastic champagne flute, which she promptly dropped on the floor with a clang during a very quiet moment. Oh, Mum.

#6 Avatar (2009)

You know, I’ve only ever seen Avatar once. I feel like the world raved about it when it first came out, but 9 years later everyone kind of hates it. I should watch it again really to decide for myself! But anyway, Avatar was my first IMAX experience, and if you know me at all you’ll know how much I love IMAX!

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#5 Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003)

Bet you didn’t expect to see this is any ‘Favourite’ list did you? Spy Kids 3 was the first time I took my brother Rich to the cinema without any parental supervision! We had such a funny time and we still joke about it to this day. In case you’re wondering, Johnny English (2003) was our second visit.

#4 Twilight (All of them!)

Spy Kids and Twilight in a list together? Only here! Yes, I saw every Twilight movie at the cinema. Not only that, but all of them were midnight screenings too. With my Mum! I’m so rock and roll aren’t I? If you’ve ever done a midnight screening though you’ll know what I mean. There’s just something a bit special about not getting into bed till 3am and going to work the next day tired…but without a hangover.

#3 Marley & Me (2008)

Here’s another movie I’ve only seen once. For a different reason this time though. Marley & Me made me cry like no movie has ever before. I didn’t even like dogs at that time either, so goodness knows what it would do to me now. This trip will always be memorable for the moment during the credits when the lights came on, and every person in that room tried to hide the fact they were sobbing their heart out.

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#2 Horrible Bosses (2011)

I can’t talk enough about Horrible Bosses. It’s my favourite modern comedy ever, and I don’t think I could really explain why. It just tickles me. Anyway! When we saw this it was opening night in a full screen. Seeing a comedy in the cinema is always special because no-one feels weird about laughing out loud. We all also collectively pooped ourselves when that cat jumped out of nowhere!

#1 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

This is making me laugh the more I think about it. Sweeney Todd is the first movie my husband and I saw together when we were just boyfriend and girlfriend. In fact, we might even have just been friends at the time. Actually – we might have even seen it on Valentine’s Day! Anyway – what I find so funny about it is that both of us hate horror movies. I don’t mind them as much now of course but at the time – why did we see this? I need to ask him…

That’s enough from me for one day but I’d really like to know…what’s your favourite cinema experience?

Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

star-wars-last-jedi-movie-reviewWeekly cinema trips are a thing of the past for me now, but I still managed to get out to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) thanks to my Mum who babysat while the rest of the family and I braved the weather after steering clear of all social media for the previous 3 days. After finally becoming a Star Wars fan at the ripe age of 26 in the weeks before The Force Awakens came out, I felt almost physically sick with excitement to find out what happened next!

As it’s been out for a few weeks now this review is spoilerific, so steer clear if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want anything spoilt for you!

What is it about that opening music that makes you jump even though you’re expecting it? And has poor General Hux been eating well enough? He looks even pastier than he did before! I loved the scene where Poe Dameron toyed with him, in fact I think it was even better than when he toyed with Kylo Ren (“So who talks first?”). Never change, Poe!

Like so many others, I’ve spent the last 2 years coming up with my own ideas on how I’d like the story to evolve, and I’ve also been rooting for a particular romance to stir! You’ve got to know I’m talking about Kylo Ren and Rey here. “But they hate each other” I heard people say. “Aren’t they totally related anyway?” No, they aren’t! What I wished for I never actually expected to happen, though. Force bond? Shirtless Kylo Ren?! Rian Johnson you are my hero. Matt was right, Kylo is shredded!

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Ahem. Sorry, I’m drifting off into a fangirl ramble now. But that team up fight scene? Awesome! Did you guys see the way Kylo Ren looked at those Praetorian Guards when one dared to hurt his beloved Rey?! *cough* Sorry, I really will stop now.

I’ve been away from the blog world so I’m not in the loop on what you all thought about it, but according to my Facebook feed the world hated it. Was it too long? Maybe, but I would have sat through 3 hours of it to be honest. I read complaints that it was ‘too different’, but are they the same people who claimed The Force Awakens was just a copy of A New Hope? Was the casino scene necessary? Probably not, but I love seeing more of the galaxy. Let’s not talk about Leia Poppins though…

I’m undecided on how I feel about Rose, but that’s definitely due to the lack of Finn/Poe bromance scenes this time around. Shoo, Rose! Is it just me or did Laura Dern feel a bit out of place here? I think she’s great and all but she just seemed…too prim and proper? I can’t put my finger on it. Her heroic actions were jaw dropping though, I can’t deny that.

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How do we all feel about the reveal of Rey’s parents? How mean is Rian Johnson for teasing the subject at least 3 times before we got to find out? There were so many theories floating around, but I honestly wanted her to have nobodies as parents. Not everyone has to be the child of a main character, but it somehow still felt a bit of a downer to hear it confirmed. It’s strange.

Anyway, I’ve actually been to see it twice now thanks to an impromptu date night with my bestie, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Knowing what was going to happen made me appreciate those stand-out scenes even more. I can’t believe we’ve got another 2 year wait now though. I’ve convinced myself that Kylo Ren isn’t going to live to see the credits…

It’s not perfect but I loved it all the same, so The Last Jedi gets 4 and a half un-roasted Porgs from me!

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Book Review: Bloodline, Claudia Gray

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! What are you going to be doing this evening? My husband and I have already reached that “can’t be bothered to go out” stage so we’re cooking a meal together and watching Crazy Stupid Love, which is slowly going to become our Valentine’s Day movie, I can feel it. I’ve been a bit AWOL on the blog for the last few days, it’s been a bit of an odd week, but I think I’m back now!

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Anyway, with the fear of falling behind on book reviews, I wanted to share my thoughts on the very first Star Wars novel I’ve ever read, which is Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. It wasn’t until doing some research that I realised just how many Star Wars novels have been written, which is completely intimidating, but I chose Bloodline as it was written since Disney took over so is classed as ‘canon’, and it’s set just a few years before The Force Awakens takes place. I guess part of me thought I’d learn a little more about Kylo Ren whilst he was still Ben Solo, but this book is focused on Princess Leia.

Claudia Gray is a Young Adult Fiction writer living in New Orleans. She has written nearly 20 published novels so far, and Bloodline isn’t her only Star Wars novel. She Also wrote Lost Stars, which has found a place on my ‘to read’ list.

As I mentioned, this is my first Star Wars novel. You should also know that although I’ve developed a possibly unhealthy love for everything Star Wars, I’m extremely new to it all. I basically sat and watched every movie 2 months before The Force Awakens came out, and converted into a fan from that. I can tell you that Han shot first, I could name you 5 planets without thinking too hard, and I could hold my own in a debate about theories, but I’m still pretty inexperienced.

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Why am I telling you this? Because my first thought when reading Bloodline was ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be so…political’. I know that sounds stupid. This is a WAR. Of course it’s political! But regardless, it took nearly a third of the book before I actually got into the swing of it. Bloodline deals with what Leia went through as a member of the Galactic Senate before The First Order rose, and a fateful mission she undertakes with fellow Senator Ransolm Casterfo.

So, from what I learnt, there are two factions within the New Republic. Leia is part of the Populists, who favour autonomy, and Casterfo is part of the Centrists, who favour a stronger government and military. The fact that Leia and Casterfo joined forces for a particular mission is notable, as the two factions rarely work well together, although Casterfo has several ideals that Leia firmly disagrees with.

As for my reasons for reading Bloodline, I didn’t learn much about Ben Solo, but I guess I never expected to. I’ll just have to wait till The Last Jedi. Ben is mentioned only in Leia’s thoughts, but I learnt that Han Solo never expected to become a Father, nor did he want Ben to train with Luke. Han wanted to teach Ben racing.

Once I got into the swing of it all, and got my head around the politics, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story. It definitely picks up pace in the last third, and was gripping from then on. To tell you much about it would be a disservice to the book, because there are plenty of twists and turns along the way, but if like me, you’re looking to get into the Star Wars novels, Bloodline is a good starting point.

Thursday Movie Picks: The Underdog

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EDIT: It looks like I have an out of date TMP schedule! Thankfully I’m at least not the only one. So…enjoy? 

It’s totally acceptable to start New Year’s Resolutions 3 weeks late, right? Taking part in Wandering Through the Shelves‘ Thursday Movie Picks was one of mine, only I really had nothing to contribute to the first two week’s themes, so here I am, fashionably late! If you’d like to take part too, check out Wanderer’s schedule here.

This week’s theme is The Underdog, a theme I can fully get involved in. I love rooting for the underdog, against all odds, and even though in movies it’s sometimes clear they’ll win in the end, I can’t help but feel all giddy and excited for them anyway. Let’s kick this off, shall we?

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Walter, The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets will remain one of my all time favourites movies forever, so I don’t really need an excuse to talk about it, but I feel like the newcomer Walter was an underdog in more than 1 way. He joined the famous Muppet gang with stars in his eyes, and when it came to putting on a show he hid in fear, because he didn’t think he had a talent as strong as the others. Perhaps more importantly though, he was a new character in a group of Muppets who have been around for years, and there was a strong likelihood that audiences might not like him. I for one, loved him!

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Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

I feel like Star Wars is all about underdogs, but if I had to choose just one it would be Rey. We don’t know how she started in life yet but in the Force Awakens she started out as a lone, scrawny scavenger, trading enough scrap to barely keep herself alive. Who would have thought she would be able to use Jedi mind tricks on Stormtroopers just like Obi-Wan, and hold her own in a fight against Darth Vader’s very own grandson, Kylo Ren? This girl kicks ass.

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Judy Hopps, Zootopia (2016)

In a world full of prejudice, bunny rabbit Judy Hopps was laughed at when she said she wanted to become a police officer. When you’re so small that even going to the toilet is a difficult task, how was Judy ever going to become anything more than a meter maid? With a little help from a wily fox named Nick, Judy became Zootopia’s greatest detective, and put out a message that you can be whatever you want to be!