Movie Reviews

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

the-trial-chicago-7-netflix-movie-review-posterDirector: Aaron Sorkin

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Main Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharpe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton

Plot: At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, what was intended to be a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War turned violent. The organisers of the protest were all charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, and this movie is the story of that trial that went on for months.

My Thoughts: Let’s file this under ‘movies that taught Allie about actual history’ because this is another historical event I was oblivious to until now. I guess that’s why movies like this are so important! Courtroom dramas can be difficult to get right I think, when they don’t work they can be slow, dull even, but when they’re done right? They are fascinating, frustrating, and compelling. I’m happy to say that The Trail of the Chicago 7 falls into the latter category for me. I haven’t been this engrossed in a movie since, well…possibly all year, to be honest.

I wouldn’t even pretend to understand American politics so I was a little lost at first but once the trial actually started I was in for the long haul, and it didn’t take long until I was shouting at the TV. It’s the Chicago 7, right, so why are there 8 men on trial? The 8th man was Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He was in Chicago during the riot for all of 4 hours, but was brought in essentially so that there was a black man to scare the jury. Think that’s bad? The man didn’t even have a lawyer present! That’s only the start of the shocking, dirty tactics at hand here, I’ll let you see the rest for yourselves.

The movies doesn’t stop outside of the courtroom though, we get to see what happens in between each day of the trial too, as well as flashbacks to what happened in the run up to and during the protest itself. This is where we get to see the relationship between the defense grow stronger but also strain at the seams. It’s a tough movie to sell to the average Netflix user, it certainly doesn’t scream ‘fun’, but I haven’t felt this way about a movie like this since Spotlight (2015). Each performance is on point, and if I’m praising Eddie Redmayne then you know I really mean it, because he normally just winds me up.

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Best Bit:  The cast is stacked, there’s no other way to say it, and everyone puts in 110% making it almost impossible to pick a stand out performance, I could write a whole post in itself just to talk about everyone. Eddie Redmayne reminds me that he’s actually pretty darn talented, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is just a delight to see in new movies again but the actor who blew me away was Sacha Baron Cohen. I’ve only seen his silly, comedic roles which he’s great at, and I’ve never seen him like this. He still brings most of the laughs but when he takes the stand as a witness it genuinely shocked me.

Worst Bit: There’s nothing about this movie that makes me want to say “I didn’t like this bit” or “this scene kinda sucked”. Yes, the start confused me a little but that’s on me. But there was a moment that made me so uncomfortable that I felt quite nautious, and that was when *SPOILERS* Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was dragged out of court and brought back gagged and tied to his chair. Like, that ACTUALLY happened. 

Fun Trivia: As a method actor, Jeremy Strong (Jerry Rubin) begged writer-director Aaron Sorkin to get him teargassed as well as being thrown on the ground by an ex-cop portraying a riot police officer. Sorkin refused to have this happen on set.

My Rating:  A full 5 gavels, and it wouldn’t matter how loud Judge Hoffman smacked them, that room was never going to quiet down in the end.

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Movie Reviews

Us (2019)

us-movie-review-2019-jordan-peeleDirector: Jordan Peele

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Main Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop

Plot: Adelaide is anxious whilst on holiday with her family whilst remembering a traumatic childhood incident that happened on the same beach. Later that night, her family are terrorised by a family who look exactly like they do.

My Thoughts: I almost wussed out and didn’t watch Us, but the comedic genius Jordan Peele is behind the wheel and I enjoyed his last movie Get Out (2017) so I really didn’t want to miss out. I won’t openly talk about spoilers here but if you’re planning on watching the movie I strongly encourage you to go in knowing as little as you can. One thing is certain – Jordan Peele makes great horror movies!

The movie dives right into the creepiness straight away rather than building it up, as we watch a young Adelaide become separated from her Father and wanders into a house of mirrors. That’s a big nope from me! The scares don’t come at you all at once, instead, there’s a constant level of tension that runs throughout the entire movie, so you can never really let your guard down. I much prefer that to a sequence of jump scares followed by nothing exciting.

I’ll be honest – I don’t think I actually understand all of this movie. There’s so much to unpack. I was a little disappointed with the ending and the ‘twist’, mainly because the idea had already sprung into my mind in the opening scene. Once you start to think of the implications of it all though, that’s where it gets interesting. Lupita Nyong’o was absolutely incredible in the 2 roles that she played, I don’t think I’ll ever get her ‘creepy’ voice out of my head!

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Us is one of those movies that demands a rewatch if you’re brave enough. It’s also a lot funnier than I expected it to be!

Best Bit: The friend’s smart speaker, ‘Ophelia’ being an ass like all smart speakers are. “Ophelia, call the police!”
“Ok. Playing ‘F**k tha Police’ by N.W.A.”

Worst Bit: When ‘Red’ explained who the ‘tethered’ are. I think I might have actually groaned out loud from the pain in my head of trying to make sense of it all. The more I think about it, the more confused I feel!

Fun Trivia: While the Wilsons are in the Tylers’ house, Jason eats a bowl of dry Froot Loops. This references a scene in Jordan Peele’s previous movie, Get Out (2017), in which Rose Armitage eats dry Froot Loops and drinks milk from “segregated” glasses.

My Rating: 4 bunny rabbits out of 5…why, do you ask? Honestly, I wish I could tell you, but I feel like they were important to the storyline somehow!

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Movie Reviews

Aquaman (2018)

aquaman-movie-poster-review-2018Director: James Wan

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Runtime: 143 Minutes

Main Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Ludi Lin

Plot: Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman, discovers that his half-brother King Orm is assembling an army to wage war against the people of the land.

My Thoughts: So without a winter Star Wars release, our family Christmas movie gettogether had to improvise and find a different movie to watch. I highly doubted my chances of convincing the boys to see Mary Poppins so Aquaman seemed like a logical choice. I’d set my expectations at a reasonable height, but I was dead excited to see Jason Momoa play Arthur Curry – weren’t we all?!

I have to admit, I know very little about Aquaman from the DC comic books. It’s a running joke (especially in The Big Bang Theory) that he’s not the coolest superhero around so I’ve never really bothered. With that in mind, I think the movie did an excellent job of making Aquaman an absolute badass, but without changing who he really is. Bravo!

I find myself a bit short of words for my review though, mainly because what I really want to say is – it was a good movie. That kind of sums it up for me. It was a superhero origin story. We got introduced to our hero, he did some cool stuff, and he saved the world. That’s all there really is to it. I don’t mean it as a criticism because I enjoyed the whole movie, it’s just one of those things!

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Best Bit: **SPOILERS** Call me a helpless sap – but once we found out that Atlanna was still alive after all I knew the moment I was waiting for, and when I saw Tom waiting down at the end of that pier I couldn’t help but sob. Curse my weak, leaky eyes!

Worst Bit: It doesn’t matter how cool you make the costumes, how stern the actors look or how fantastic the CGI is – no one can storm off whilst swimming underwater and not look like a bit of a goof whilst doing it.

Also – my husband won’t shut up about how funny he found the moment that Aquaman lifted a fallen church wall off a guy who just stood right back up and walked away like nothing happened. He’s still laughing about it now and I’m not sure if he wants it mentioned as Best Bit or Worst Bit, to be honest.

Fun Trivia: Wan was initially unsure about putting Topo in the film, but was inspired to do so after watching Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), saying, “If that film could have a guy playing a flaming guitar, I’m going to have an octopus drummer in mine.”

My Rating: 3 and a half bottles of red wine, just a fraction of the amount that were wastefully destroyed in the making of this movie.

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Movie Reviews

Review: Baywatch (2017)

baywatch-movie-review-2017Okay, so I still haven’t seen Wonder Woman (the world has decided I’m not meant to see it I swear) so I’m really sorry I’m presenting you with Baywatch rather than that. Hear me out though! I got an offer for a date night with my bestie, and it was going to involve Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream. I am a pregnant lady dammit, and I’m weak! Plus, I find Dwayne Johnson so irresistibly likeable, I felt like I owed him one.

In this remake of the original TV Show, Dwayne Johnson is the Lieutenant of Baywatch, or head of the Life Guards for a simpler term. Summer is here, and him and his team are holding tryouts for 3 new positions on the squad. Zac Efron is a twice Gold-winning Olympic swimmer who has been disgraced after throwing up in the pool, and so he’s been sent to the bay…I’m actually not sure why. It was some kind of plea deal?

See, the plot is kind of all over the place. It’s not enough to be a simple, summer comedy. It’s also a crime-solving movie, and Priyanka Chopra is our bad guy. She’s murdering people left right and centre, covering them up as accidents, so that she can…control some real estate? Again – I’m honestly not sure what exactly she was doing.

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All this would be forgivable in my eyes if the movie was funny, but it just isn’t. I chuckled a few times, I gagged at all 3 mentions of dead people smelling like dairy products (I’m feeling ill thinking about it) and I got bored very quickly of the penis jokes. Even this might be almost forgivable if I had some eye candy to admire, but as much as I love Zac Efron, he looks plain weird with his new, 5% body-fat self. Please refer to Ryan Reynolds in Blade Trinity for that one!

…Hold up, I lost about 10 minutes on Google image search there. What was I saying? I’m sorry Dwayne Johnson, I’m actually on your side in this Rotten Tomatoes battle you have going on, but this wasn’t the movie to use. A bit of stupidity is fun, look at San Andreas, but this was too much. There’s a moment when Zac walks past a sea urchin and Dwayne lectures him all about what they are and what they do – and then they simply walk off. “Oh” I think, “that’ll be important to the plot later then, us as the audience must be too dumb to know what a sea urchin is.” Low and behold! It turns up in the finale.

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I forgot about this scene. This was quite funny!

I have to mention the CGI too. On the whole it wasn’t too bad, but in an early scene with a boat on fire, with fire surrounding it in the water, I thought I might have been watching Sharknado. It was seriously THAT BAD. How much of the budget did they blow just to have David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson turn up?

I realise I’ve spent this whole post slagging the movie off, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience on the whole, it just was nowhere near as good as I hoped. I never expected a masterpiece, but I usually enjoy these summer comedies a lot more! Apologies to my friend Steph if she’s reading this and actually kind of loved the movie – I still had a really fun night!

Ideally I would give Baywatch 2 out of 5 concealed boners, or dead guy penises (penis’s? peni?) but that would be gross, so 2 important-to-the-plot sea urchins it is!

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