Sunday, 28 August 2016

Mini Reviews: 4 Minute Mile (2014), Kelly and Cal (2014) & Equals (2015)

Sat in an airport, flight is delayed and all I have to entertain me is the films I downloaded the night before (thank god for that!).  I managed two films during my wait, one was 4 Minute mile and the other was True Story (there is a full review for that coming soon).

Drew Jacobs (Kelly Blatz) has natural athletic talent that is being wasted until Coleman (Richard Jenkins) decides to train him in the mile race. This is a typical coming of age/sports drama - everything you expect to happen, happens.  It was utterly predictable and not very exciting to boot.  Richard Jenkins is the only thing I actually enjoyed about this film.  Thank god i was stuck in an airport with nothing else to do or I would have just switched it off as I already knew how it was going to end.

This was another one I watched when I was out and about with nothing else to do, the difference with this is that I would have continued watching it if I was at home.  Kelly is a suburban housewife who craves her younger days and wonders if she will ever feel happy in her home life.  Cal is a 17 year old boy who is in a wheelchair and feels like he has no control over his own life.  When the two meet they develop a deep connection, a friendship that most would find strange but gives them a sense of purpose.  I really enjoyed this film, the chemistry between the actors was perfect (if not a little awkward which worked well), I loved Juliette Lewis' and Jonny Weston's performances we amazing.  This is a definitely one to recommend.

I had a feeling I would know how this film would go and how it would end- I was right!  In a world with no emotions, a couple fall in love after catching a 'disease' that allows them to feel emotions again.  I actually quite enjoyed this regardless of the predictability, it had a Romeo and Juliet meets Delirium vibe both of which I love.  Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart had real chemistry (no wonder there were rumours about them afterwards) and although I had guessed, I was intrigued to know how it would end. Worth a watch I would say.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Review: The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

There are some health-related movie themes forming just lately. 2015 was the year of children with cancer (The Fault in Our Stars, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), and I’m hailing 2016 as the year of carers for the disabled (Me Before You, the upcoming movie The Carer and of course The Fundamentals of Caring). After being slightly traumatised by Me Before You earlier this year, I’m not sure why I stuck this one on whilst flicking through Netflix, but perhaps I like to torture myself.  I was bored on a Sunday afternoon and then I saw Paul Rudd's face and had to give this a go!

Ben (Paul Rudd) is a retired writer who has been through a traumatic experience. To fill his time, he qualifies as a carer, and lands himself a job caring for a teenage boy named Trevor (Craig Roberts), who is suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (you totally had to google this!! Lies!). He has a set routine, mainly revolved around eating waffles and watching TV, and he has a fascination for American roadside attractions, his favourite being the world’s deepest pit, for how depressing it sounds.

Thankfully, The Fundamentals of Caring takes a ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ approach rather than something fully depressing, and soon into the movie, Ben takes Trevor on a road trip to see some of the sights Trevor has seen on TV. They also make an impromptu visit to see Trevor’s father who left when he was diagnosed at the age of 3, as he has been writing to Trevor ever since. Along the way they pick up a teenage girl on the run from her father (Selena Gomez) and a woman very close to giving birth (Megan Ferguson).  I don't know about you but I was on edge the whole time, I wasn't sure if this was a drama, a comedy or a dramedy so I was constantly panicking that something was going to happen to Trevor on the trip.  Part of me wants to watch it again so I can actually enjoy it for what it is now that I know what happens.


As Drama/Comedies go, the humour is dark, and mostly comes from Ben and Trevor’s banter with each other. Jokes about wiping arses are common, and on more than one occasion Trevor fakes choking and fitting, leaving Ben (and me! and me!) in an absolute state of panic. Haven’t you ever heard about the boy who cried wolf for goodness sake?! Although, this is exactly what I love the most about these kinds of movies. I can chuckle for the full runtime of a pure comedy, but these drama have those few absolute laugh out loud moments, and they end up being that much more memorable.  This had the same feeling for me as The Road Within, where the comedy moments were made all the more funny because of the dark drama on either side of it.

Still, the movie isn’t without fault. It’s a fairly short movie, and I’d have sat through another 20 minutes just to find out a little more about the supporting characters. It was a good idea to add to the cast rather than stick with Ben and Trevor, but I just didn’t care enough about the others. It’s not often I complain a movie isn’t long enough as well, normally I’m a fidget! I also felt something was lacking. There are certain key moments here dealing with trauma, loss and dejection, but they didn’t go quite deep enough to have me sobbing into my cup of tea. I felt those moments could have been ramped up a little, to pull on our heart strings a little more.  I was kind of glad they weren't ramped up this time, it was kind of nice to watch an emotional film without actually becoming a sobbing mess!!

I loved the chemistry between Roberts and Rudd, I wasn't sure about the addition of Selena Gomez to the group and I'm still not sure she added much value.  Mainly, as Allie suggested that we didn't get to know the supporting characters enough to actually care.


All in all though, I really enjoyed The Fundamentals of caring. I’ve always been a Paul Rudd fan but only noticed now how well he can handle a drama. Craig Roberts is one to watch out for, too. He was a delight to watch! I have to agree, I still want to watch it again though without being fully on the edge of my seat!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Against the Crowd Blogathon 2016


We’ve been following Dell on Movies and taken part in a few of his brilliant blogathons for a couple of years now, and I was so happy to see in our Blogger feed that he was hosting his Against the Crowd blogathon again, this year in partnership with KG’s Movie Rants! We somehow missed last year’s edition so there was no way I was going to let that happen again. Especially so soon after watching a ‘must watch classic’ that I actually kind of hated, and have been too scared to review…

As always, a blogathon comes with a set of rules, and here they are in Dell’s own words:

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 75% on Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 35% on Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

5. Comment on this post, or on KG's Movie Rants with the two movies you intend on writing on.

6. Publish your post on any day from Monday August 22 through Friday August 26, 2016.

Even better, check out Dell’s original post here to find out more and to check out the other banners.

Let’s kick this off!


The Departed (2006)
Everyone loves The Departed, right? It’s ranked #42 on IMDB’s Top 250, and it features some of the biggest names in the movie industry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson to name just a few. There’s a cop who’s undercover as a gang member, and a gang member undercover as a cop, there’s backstabbing, deceit, lies, etc. I lost track of who was actually working for who very quickly, and boy was it a long movie!

Spoiler alert right now for the very few who haven’t seen this...was it really worth anything in the end anyway? I spent the last 20 minutes or so with my jaw on the floor because it was just such a ‘WTF’ moment. In fact, let me tell you a funny story. On the way home from our honeymoon, my husband and I couldn’t get seats next to each other on one of the flights, so we caught up at JFK once we landed. I asked him what movies he’d watched and he said he watched The Departed. ‘Ugh!’ I cried out in the middle of Departure Gate 18. ‘I hated that movie. Everyone just died in the end anyway!’. That’s the moment my husband told me he’d ‘started’ to watch the movie. He still had half an hour left. Sorry, love. He has since seen the ending, and explained (at length) the importance of it all. I smiled and nodded the whole time to make up for spoiling the ending like a jerk.

Taxi Driver (1976)
This is also listed on IMDB's Top 250 and a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so it must be good right?  Every person I have spoken to who has seen this film has loved it and I just don't get it. I don't hate it by any stretch, I just didn't particularly enjoy it.  I think there is a chance that I am missing something that everyone else is getting because I don't understand why everyone loves it.

I have gone into depth in a full review on the blog previously so I won't ramble on too much about the ins and outs of this one but I felt like it took a long time to get into the real heart of the story and honestly in the last few scenes I actually started to enjoy it.  It just took too long to get to that point.  Maybe i'll watch it again at some point and give it another chance, who knows!


Chappie (2015)
So I went digging through the Rotten Tomatoes website for this one. There are plenty of terrible movies that I kind of liked, but not enough to defend publicly. Once I started scrolling through the ‘rotten’ movies, I was heartbroken to spot Chappie on the list! 

The plot is a little crazy, sure, and I know a lot of people hated on Ninja and Yolandi (I still don’t know who they are) but Chappie alone made me love his movie. I always have a soft spot for the underdog, and so Chappie was loveable from the very start as the cursed robot forever coming back damaged from every mission. Then he was given artificial intelligence, he gets excited about rubber chickens, and going for rides in the car. I’d like my own Chappie please, with the orange antennae and reject sticker and everything.

It didn’t have the political agenda that District 9 had, but I thought the lessons about how impressionable Chappie was in his ‘infancy’ were well thought out, and I’ll carry on defending this movie for as long as I’m a blogger!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
I was not on the bandwagon with this one, I wasn't thrilled when they announced Ben Affleck as Batman and so I gave up on being excited.  I put it to the back of my mind, hardly watched any of the trailers and managed to completely miss it in the cinemas.  Therefore, I missed a lot of the negativity surrounding the film, I refuse to read reviews before making my own choices so all the negative reviews just went over my head.  

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to watch it, so armed with a glass of wine and an endless supply of junk food, I prepared myself to be disappointed....and then I wasn't.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the greatest film in the world but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.  I like all the actors that were in it and it provided a fix for my latest Jesse Eisenberg obsession (thanks Now you see me 2!!).  I do have a full review to write up for this so I won't go into too much detail but I thought the story was clever pitching Batman against Superman (even if it was only for a short time) and the introduction of Wonder Woman. Considering I am more Marvel than DC, I really was surprised that I enjoyed it but I think my lack of expectations made it that much better.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Mini Reviews: The Driftless Area (2016), Mojave (2016) & Central Intelligence (2016)


As the middle of the year got closer, I was able to catch up on 2016 releases that I'd missed at the cinema. Some were great, others not so, and a select few were just plain 'meh'. I find an odd sense of pleasure writing a review about a movie I hated, but movies that fall into that middle ground are harder to write about, so today I present a Mini Reviews special for those!


The Driftless Area (2016)
What even is this movie?! It felt like it was trying to be two very different things. On one side, it was a dramatic romance, with what I think is a huge plot twist I won’t mention, but it’s so glaringly obvious I’m not even sure if it’s meant to be a twist. On the other side, it’s a thrilling cat and mouse chase, full of danger. The Driftless Area (2016) could have been either of these, and done it reasonably well, but it failed by being both. I watched this solely for the cast, whom I love, but I was left pretty disappointed. I expected more from Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel and Aubrey Plaza, they are some of my favourite faces! An interesting watch, but forgettable.


Mojave (2016)
I spotted Mojave (2016 here in the UK) on a VOD platform, mainly because of the beautiful Oscar Isaac’s face. It was tempting to watch it there and then, but I checked out the plot summary at least before I made up my mind. IMDB describes this as ‘A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelganger, a homicidal drifter’. Um, what? I spent 50% of the time watching this raging about the fact that Tom (Garrett Hedlund) looks nothing at all like his ‘doppelganger’, until I looked it up and realised the word has two different meanings. The other 50% I was cringing every time Oscar Isaac said the word ‘brother’ in that accent. Ugh.


Central Intelligence (2016)
Comedies are always hit and miss, but I was hoping to enjoy Central Intelligence (2016) more than I did. It was decent, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart have great chemistry together, but the plot fell a little short. In fact, it felt like the exact same plot from another comedy I can’t recall right now. I’d like to see these guys pair up again, though! It was nice to see some of my other favourite faces, although *spoiler alert* because his reappearance was the plot twist, Aaron Paul saying ‘bitch’ made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

My husband (awww!!) and I made right fools of ourselves at the cinema. It’s not very often that we see a movie in 3D, but we thought we’d make an exception for Star Trek Beyond. It looked stunning in the trailers, after all. We scoffed some dinner after work, I grabbed our 3D glasses out of the cupboard, and we raced off to the cinema (to catch a few Pokemon before the trailers of course). Mistake number 1. I’d stuffed our 3D glasses into my handbag. My very lovely Loungefly Stormtrooper handbag. Mistake number 2. My husband was wearing his favourite Darth Vader shirt. Mistake number 3. Those 3D glasses? They’re special edition Star Wars ones. I swear, the staff didn’t know whether we were being trolls or just plain stupid. Haha!! Star Wars junkies turning up to see Star Trek...why don't I know this story! We didn't look very cool taking those glasses to see Suicide Squad either...

Anyway, Star Trek Beyond is the third installment of the rebooted franchise, and in this movie we find the Enterprise’s crew 3 years into their 5 year mission. Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine) is questioning his commitment, and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is also considering leaving for personal reasons. The two agree to talk just before a distress call comes in, which turns out to be a trap.

Oh boy. That alien attack on the Enterprise inside the nebula was absolutely stunning. It honestly felt like the finale to the movie rather than the introduction. That was the moment I was glad to have shelled out for 3D. That scene was my favourite from the whole movie, actually. You know how it goes in these flicks, the heroes are facing certain doom but you just know they’ll make it out okay in the end. I was honestly fearing for everyone’s lives at that point, it was so well written, acted and shot. The sight of the Enterprise hurtling through space to crash was so sad.  I loved this scene and it did feel like the end of the movie, I am glad however that I didn't watch it in god...I thought  I was going to spew countless times.  The spinning, oh god the spinning - I felt actual nausea....urgh!  Had i seen it in 3D I would not have gotten through it without being reintroduced to my earlier Nandos! You went to Nandos without me?! I'm hurt.


Speaking of sad, there I was clutching my pack of tissues ready for Chekov’s (Anton Yelchin) scenes, when I forgot all about Leonard Nemoy! There were a few touching tributes to him, both in the movie itself and the credits. I wasn’t expecting Chekov to have such a big role in this movie, which was bittersweet in a way. As much as I wanted to see him, I couldn’t help but feel a bit gutted. I don’t know if it was done deliberately (I don’t know how if it was) but there’s a bit right at the end when a toast is made to ‘friends no longer with us’ and I swear the camera was focused on Chekov. Sob… It actually did and I think it was done on purpose, that what I read anyway, it was on the internet so it must be true...right?!

I was fully prepared to be all emotional, I shed a few tears at both the tributes to Leonard Nemoy and Anton Yelchin but I waited for the credits and that got me!  I was blubbing like a baby, oh man!  My Dad was seriously embarrassed to be seen with me!

Cool action and touching tributes aside, I didn’t enjoy Star Trek Beyond as much as I hoped I would. It was a solid movie, but I loved the other 2 so much it would take nothing short of perfection for me to gush about this installment. It was just lacking something, and I’m not sure what. I didn’t understand the lead villain Krall (Idris Elba) very well for a start. It’s only in the final action sequence that you learn who he really is, and at that point I’d kind of stopped caring. That sounds harsher than I mean it to, actually. He was no Khan, let’s face it!  You were never going to like any bad guy as much as Khan, you are a biased source!!  I actually liked Krall as a bad guy and loved the story behind his bad-guy-ness!! My biggest issue is that I hadn't done much research into the cast beforehand and spent most of the film trying to work out who the bloody actor was! 

When I found out Justin Lin was taking over the director role and after I saw the trailer, I was genuinely concerned that it would be all action and fire power and no story.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The story was great and there was just the right amount of action, I loved the hints of comedy that we have come to love from this franchise.  


The Spock and Bones (Karl Urban) team up was a great choice, I could listen to the two of them bicker at each other for ages, but they were the only ones providing the laughs this time. That said, I really enjoyed the new character, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and her appreciation for loud music. A solid movie all round, but just not quite as good as I was hoping. The 3D was definitely worth it!

This didn't quite match up to the first two but it was entertaining enough to stop me fidgeting and there was a good mix of comedy, action and sentimentality.