Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Review: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)

UPDATED with Jenna's review: Tina Fey is my spirit animal. I absolutely love her. Currently, I’m binge watching 30 Rock like there’s no tomorrow, knowing the end is in sight and not wanting it all to be over whilst saying to myself ‘just one more episode’. So I knew as soon as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) came out, I was going to have to see it asap. I’d just come back off honeymoon and knew I needed something funny to pick me up, so this was perfect.  I am not such a Tina Fey fan, I don't dislike her at all (loved her in Sisters) but I don't actively watch things because she is in it, I can find her irritating so I have to limit my intake.

The movie is based on memoir of real-life reporter Kim Barker, titled ‘The Taliban Shuffle’, recounting her experiences with reporting on the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kim, played by Tina Fey, had no experience in this field what-so-ever, but being unmarried without children was enough.

Maybe I should have worked this out on my own, but from the trailer I was expecting a bit of a parody, something to keep me laughing throughout. Don’t get me wrong, some moments are absolutely hilarious, for example, when Kim first arrived in Afghanistan a lady shouts abuse at her for not having her hair covered, and Kim’s local guide and translator Fahim (Christopher Abbott) tells her she is simply welcoming her to the country. Then there’s a moment where Kim describes the local women as ‘walking Ikea bags’ or something like that, which had me in tears!  Yeah I completely suprised by this, I was expected and full on 'Tina Fey' comedy and got nothing of the sort.  It had funny moments as Allie said but nothing that would make it a comedy, it is much more of a drama.  Luckily, as a drama it was very good so I didn't feel entirely cheated by the trailer.


Mostly though, the movie is a drama that hit me harder than I thought it would. I don’t watch a lot of war movies anyway, but the ones I have seen have focussed on the action, and the soldiers fighting these wars. They’re exciting, and fuelled with adrenaline. This is much different from that. Maybe it’s because I was seeing the war through the eyes of someone inexperienced to it all, someone who reacts the way I imagine I might have done.  It terrified me, I kept imagining what I would have done if I was in Kim's shoes and I just got all sweaty and anxious.  It really does show a whole new side to the war in Afghanistan!

There’s a great cast here. I’ve already mentioned Fahim, whose politeness when translating gets a lot of laughs, but I liked Tanya (Margot Robbie) more than I thought I would too. She’s a reporter too, and has been out there longer than Kim, but shows her the ropes and explains concepts such as ‘being an American 4 makes you a 10 out here’, making Tanya herself a 15. Obviously. General Hollanek’s (Billy Bob Thornton) bluntness caught me off guard several times. And then we have Martin Freeman as Iain, doing a brilliant Scottish accent, although the last time I saw him he was trying an American one in Civil War which was awful, so maybe my radar is off-balance. Honestly, it’s worth watching just to hear Martin Freeman drop the ‘c-bomb’ so frequently!  Not sure I was as impressed with Freeman's Scottish accent but maybe I'm still reeling from Captain America: Civil War. but yes the C-bomb ultimately made his character for me - you know I love a good swear!!


I’m realising now that I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I did. It was definitely mis-marketed, and the tone shifts quite sharply every now and again which throws you off balance, but it’s a war movie that I’m recommending left, right and centre, and I don’t think that’s happened before. Give it a try!

I can't even explain how I felt about this film, one minute I was laughing, the next I was hugging a cushion, thankful that I was in the safety of my little house.  That being said, I was completely hooked!!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Review: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

You might remember this from my looking forward post, I was really looking forward to it. Ab Fab was heavily present in my childhood, if we weren't watching it my Mom was quoting it trying to make me laugh.  So I was super excited about a new story and seeing where the likes of Edina, Patsy, Saffy and Bubble ended up.

The new installment in the Ab Fab saga, sees Edina (Jennifer Saunders) trying to get Kate Moss on her PR company but inadvertently knocks her into the Thames starting a enormous man hunt! Hated by all of London, Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina decide to go on the run to the South of France until the chaos dies down.  Then it gets even more ridiculous.....

First and foremost, this is 90 minutes of my life that I can never get back but admittedly the 20 minute nap I had around the middle was decent enough.  There were a few moments that made me laugh a little but the story was so bloody boring that I couldn't keep my eyes open. It actually started off pretty well with the dynamic duo waking up after a heavy night and a particularly comical recovery session in the bathroom mirror!!  Once it gets to the trip to South of France it becomes utterly ridiculous and not funny in the slightest...I was so disappointed!

A bonus however was the cameos, it was like watching A million ways to die in the west again but if i'd have hit Lou everytime I spotted one like I did with Allie in that one she would have had no arm left!  It was one after the other, I couldn't keep up and I guarantee I missed a lot!  I need to find a list online to find out exactly how many cameos there were.

I have to admit his isn't really a review as much as a moan about my disappointment at the film in general.  Don't take my word for it though because lots of people in the cinema seemed to love it!!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Announcement: October is 'Halloweenie' Month!


Welcome to the Salty Spitoon, how tough are ya?
How tough am I? I watched The Woman in Black a few years ago, and I slept a whole 3 hours afterwards. What do you mean I’m not tough enough? You think I belong at Weenie Hut Jrs?

If you have no idea what any of that means, you really need to watch the No Weenies Allowed episode of Spongebob Squarepants, it’s the best. It also sums up mine and Jenna’s feelings about Horror movies. As film fanatics we like to say that we’ll give any movie a chance, but that doesn’t ever seem to extend to Horrors. We’re just too scared. Every October we say this year will be different, and in my own defence I got through a few Horror-Comedies last year, but still, we want to be brave.

That’s why, throughout October, we’ll be manning up and watching a few scary movies that have been niggling our curiosity just a little too much. Knowing us, we won’t be able to form actual coherent reviews of these, so we’ll be labelling those posts with ‘Halloweenie’.


Here’s the fun part - we’d love for you to join us! Whether you belong in Weenie Hut Jrs like we do or if you have a lifelong membership to the Salty Spitoon, there’s got to be a Horror out there that you’re nervous about. If you’d like to join us, either send us your Halloweenie review by email and we'll publish it here (flickchicks2014@googlemail.com) or post it on your own blog and tell us about it! At the end of the month we'll publish a list of all Halloweenie posts.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Review: Zootropolis/Zootopia (2016)

Before I kick off this post, I have to address the elephant in the room. No, not you Francine, but Happy Birthday. What I mean is the fact that in the UK, this movie is called Zootropolis. Despite being a menace to type without thinking about it, it’s just a ridiculous name. It’s not that uncommon for movies to have different titles in the UK, but there’s normally a sensible reason behind it. For example, Neighbors is called Bad Neighbours here, I’m guessing because of a popular soap opera by the same name. A bit of internet research shows that Denmark are opening a zoo called Zootopia in 2019, but I’m not convinced that’s the reason.

Anyway! Zootropolis/Zootopia is the latest animated movie from Disney, and it’s one of the great ones. Following from The Good Dinosaur (which I still haven’t seen) meant that something half decent would have been applauded, but this time round Disney have done what they do best - pack in a current, serious issue in a way that children and adults alike understand and relate to. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has dreamt of becoming a police officer, and against all odds, makes it as the first bunny in ZPD history.

Put straight onto Meter Maid duty, Judy is desperate to prove that she has what it takes to become a real cop, which leads her to follow a sly fox by the name of Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) as he runs an ice lolly scam. Fate brings the two together as Judy blackmails Nick into helping her look for a missing animal, and so Nick helps in the most unhelpful way he can, leading her to the DMV, a government office ran by sloths. A stroke of genius, there!


Obviously the movie is filled with laughs, but it’s Flash the sloth that wins the real comedy prize. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch that scene, it’s equal parts hilarious and painful every time. He speaks and types excruciatingly slow, and the act of him tearing off a receipt from it’s printer is making my hairs stand on edge just thinking about it. If you’ve ever had to visit an office like this, you’ll relate. It’s brilliant.

Essentially, the movie is a crime case that leaves you guessing as it goes along. For a children’s movie, it’s surprisingly in-depth and surprised me along the whole trail. There are some great references to look out for as well, for all ages. Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) pokes fun at Frozen, and there’s a glaringly obvious Breaking Bad (or should it be Breaking Baa’d?) reference in there, too. As always, the detail demands several rewatches, especially if you’re on the hunt for all those easter eggs.


The final third of the movie really drills home the message, that I swear, just like last year’s Inside Out is more for the adults rather than the children. Kids these days don’t notice things like race, nor do they judge each other on their family’s religion, it’s the adults. All too often we’re told that our gender or our age means that we can’t do certain things, which is wrong. I felt so pumped at the end of this movie, like I really could do whatever I wanted to. Okay, that feeling ended as soon as I got to work the next day, but still.

Bonus/Bragging Rights: We got to meet the adorable Nick and Judy in Disneyland for our Honeymoon! Nick was ever the sly ol' fox, after this photo he linked his arm with mine and marched me off down the road! The cast members had to chase us down!


Monday, 19 September 2016

Review: Wiener-Dog (2016)

Let me tell you about 2 of my favourite things. Number 1: Dogs. All dogs, to be perfectly honest. I’m the type of person who, whilst walking in the woods will say hello to every dog I meet, and completely ignore the human being on the other side of the lead. Dachshund’s in particular are extremely cute. Number 2: Those movies about multiple stories where they all end up linking together in some way. Okay, what I actually mean is that I love Love Actually, but you get the picture. So when I find out about a movie called Wiener-Dog, a movie about a little dachshund who changes the lives of a whole bunch of people, I’m hyped.

How then, can a movie let me down so badly?! Here, let me find you this movie’s description, straight from IMDB: A dachshund passes from oddball owner to oddball owner, whose radically dysfunctional lives are all impacted by the pooch.

Hmm, not quite. Let me give it a go: The unluckiest dachshund in the world gets passed on from one bad owner to the next, people who don’t deserve the bundle of happiness that is Wiener-Dog.

Perhaps I’m being harsh. Let me recap on the ‘oddball owners’ that Wiener-Dog gets passed on to.


Oddball Owners #1: A father picks up Wiener-Dog from the local shelter as a gift for his cancer-suffering child. Proceeds to keep her locked in a cage until ‘her will has been broken’. Parents leave said child alone in the house whilst they attend a yoga class, and the kid feeds the hungry little dog far too many granola bars, causing mass diarrhea. Father takes Wiener-Dog to the vets to be put down.

At this point the viewers are treated to a beautiful tracking shot of diarrhea in the street. It goes on for ages, and it’s accompanied by some lovely music, too. 

Oddball Owners #2: The vet’s assistant (Greta Gerwig) takes pity on Wiener-Dog, and steals her away. She names her doodie. As in, well, poo. Great. She then decides to take a road trip with an old school friend who is possibly the world’s biggest douchebag, and leaves Wiener-Dog with her friend’s disabled family.

I’m not sure what happens at this point, because we head straight on to…


Oddball Owners #4: A struggling scriptwriter (Danny DeVito) now owns Wiener-Dog, but instead of giving her a loving home, he has a crazy turn and straps a bomb to her. I’m not even kidding. The bomb squad have to disarm her before she goes boom.

Oddball Owners #?: Wiener-Dog now lives with an old, blind lady, who has named her Cancer. Wonderful. Old lady’s horrible granddaughter comes to visit with her new boyfriend Fantasy (arghhh!) and asks for $10,000 to help him with his artistic dream. She relents, and terrible granddaughter leaves. What happens next is some bizarre epiphany involving multiple versions of old lady’s younger self.

I won’t spoil the ending for you. Even though this post should ensure that you’ll never want to see this movie, I won’t do that to you. It will go down in history as one of the biggest ‘WTF’ endings. 

From what I can gather, Wiener-Dog got a lot of good reviews. Perhaps the story is just too spiritual or artsy for me, but all it did was turn me into a giant ball of rage. At least I wasn’t bored at any point.