Monday, 31 August 2015

Trivia Round-up: August 2015

Allie is currently taking a short break from the blog (one of the many perks of running a joint blog!), so I have been trying to keep on top of the our posts in the meantime.  If she manages to get online before this is posted, she will have updated the trivia to what she wants it to be, but just in case (and as I am camping this weekend with a distinct lack of internet access) I thought I better hazard a guess as which trivia she would find interesting!! Here goes:

The Longest Ride (2015)
This movie features three actors who are descendants of notable film directors: Scott Eastwood (son of Clint Eastwood), Jack Huston (grandson of John Huston), and Oona Chaplin (granddaughter of Charles Chaplin).

Philomena (2013)
There are flashbacks which are done with "home movies". Some of these were created for the film but some of them are from actual footage of her real son.

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
Stanley's onstage persona of Wei Ling Soo is a reference to the magician Chung Ling Soo. Chung Ling Soo was the stage name of William Ellsworth Robinson (1861-1918) and was a popular magician in the U.S. and Europe for many years. Like Stanley, Chung Ling Soo was also known for trying to debunk spiritualists, even writing a book about it in 1898. A major difference this movie makes from its inspiration, however, is how careful the men were to protect their Chinese personas. In the movie, it seems as though people are rather aware of Stanley's role as Wei Ling Soo; in reality, Robinson was very careful to protect against the public's knowledge of who Chung Ling Soo really was. (This protection of Soo's character was a major point in the movie The Prestige (2006).)

Terminator Genisys (2015)
Jason Clarke is the sixth actor to play John Connor in the many portrayals of the character. This has lead to people referring to him as the "Rusty Griswold" of the Terminator series as five different actors have portrayed that role in the many films. On behalf of Allie, I thought she would like the connection to Vacation!!

Moon (2009)
Kevin Spacey read the script and agreed to voice Gerty but when the film was finished and only if he liked it. Having loved it, he recorded his lines in half a day. This is another one for Allie, there was probably better trivia for this but i didn't want to read any spoilers as I haven't seen it!!

Insurgent (2015)
The plot of the novel, Insurgent, is vastly different than that of the movie. This probably explains why I had no idea what was going on!

Focus (2015)
It was originally scheduled to star Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone but both dropped out. Now that would have been interesting to watch!

Predestination (2014)
If you look closely at the newspaper article text in the beginning of the movie the paragraphs are the same for each article, only the headlines changes. Sorry Allie, again I was scared of spoilers so I didn't scroll any further down to find more trivia!!

American Sniper (2015)
In the beginning of the movie, Clint Eastwood makes his "Hitchcock" appearance as an extra, entering in the church where Chris will steal his Bible.  This made me want to watch the movie to spot him, the kind of trivia me and Allie love are the ones that make you ant to watch the movie again!

The Spectacular Now (2013)
The ending in the movie differs from the ending in the novel. In the movie, there is a more hopeful ending for Sutter, and his relationship with Aimee is left slightly open ended. In the book, Sutter lies to Aimee, telling her that he cannot go to Philadelphia right after graduation like they had planned because he must attend summer school. He convinces her to go without him and promises her that he will go once he finishes school. However, Sutter tells the reader that he will never contact her again and will block her email and phone number. The book ends with Sutter drunkenly walking down the street by himself with a bleeding finger that he cut while opening a beer bottle. I hadn't watched this film when Allie wrote her review but I have since watched it so wasn't afraid of spoilers.

The Road Within (2014)
According to the podcast "An Irishman Abroad" Robert Sheehan continued the ticks and tourettes outbursts throughout the whole shoot.

Fantastic Four (2015)
The decoration hanging on the mirror in Johnny Storm's car during the race is a Fire Flower from Nintendo's Mario Brothers series. When Mario uses the flower he gains the ability to throw fireballs, much like Johnny Storm when he becomes the Human Torch. There was a lot of trivia about the Director and his dislike for the final film, rather than get into all that I went with something more lighthearted.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Yet another case of blogging memory loss, I could have sworn I had written and published this review but I hadn't even started it - What the heck!?  As you all well know I was really looking forward to this and hoping it would not be a disaster after being perfectly happy with the 'rubbish' original...

Reed Richards (Miles Teller) spends his young life working on a teleporter with the help of his best friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), which when working with scientist, Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his daughter Sue (Kate Mara) realises it transports to an alternate reality.  Reed, Ben, Sue's brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) get drunk and decide to test the transporter before the Government can take it away from them.  Unfortunately, the alternate universe is not what they expect and they end up with strange super powers.....

I had such high hopes and said hopes were dashed...epically.  This was nothing like I expected, the CGI and the graphics were amazing which IS what I expected but the story was terrible and really not much about super heroes as much as a really boring story about four boring people (one of which is barely in the film!).  Ben's character barely had any presence at all but randomly got called by Reed near the end to be included in the trip (and therefore become The Thing), Victor von Doom, the supposed bad guy, is ridiculously likeable (and to me more like how I would expect Johnny Storm to be) and Johnny Storm was just plain boring (much like his sister). 

I was so excited to see Miles Teller again, after falling in love with him in Whiplash and he was so unbelievably bland, I couldn't believe it was the same actor.  These were all great actors, so it must have been down to the story or the screen play because it just had nothing about it.  It spent so long on the run up to the 'transporter disaster' and hardly any time on the 'becoming super heroes' part - I fact where it ended, I thought that would be in the first 40 minutes or so.  I get that it is setting up for a series (as per usual) but it is blatantly obvious that Fox have rushed out a remake to avoid losing the rights to the characters and threw in as many up and coming actors/actresses as they could get their hands on to hype it up.

Not good, not good at all.  I am VERY concerned about Deadpool now!!!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Review: The Road Within (2014)

Random weeknight in with my friend Shola nothing on TV to watch, so we put this film on and was pleasantly surprised.

The Road Within starts with Vincent (Robert Sheehan) struggling to contain his tics due to his Tourette's Syndrome at his Mother's funeral.  His father (Robert Patrick) embarrassed by his sons illness, sends him to an experimental medical facility where he meets Alex (Dev Patel), an OCD sufferer and germ-o-phobe and Marie (Zoe Kravitz) an anorexic who has already been on deaths door once before.  Within a day of being in the facility, Marie steals the facility director's (Kyra Sedgwick) car and they end up on a road trip.

This was not what I expected, I thought it would either be a full comedy, making light of mental illness or a drama where it was all emotional and heart-breaking but in fact it was some where in the middle.  It had the perfect mix of comedy and drama and both me and Shola found ourselves cheering at the screen one minute and crying the next. 

The three main actors are by far the main reason for loving this film, I absolutely loved Robert Sheehan as Nathan in the British series Misfits (note his Irish accent sneaking through every now and then) and I have been waiting to see him in another role he could get his teeth into and for me this was it.  His portrayal of a Tourette's sufferer was really amazing but his comedic edge stopped it from being uncomfortable to watch.  Dev Patel is amazing in every role I see him in and this was no exception, he brought a real charm to his character.

I really could watch this again and again and probably will and I cant wait to see Robert Sheehan in more films as soon as possible and checking out his IMDB profile, I won't have long to wait!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Review: The Spectacular Now (2013)

Recently it feels like I’ve watched nothing but blockbusters, and so over the weekend I was after a change. After being woken up far too early on Saturday morning by my delightful, hungry cats, I curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and hunted down something light to watch. I suddenly remembered a romcom-type film I’d actually mentioned to Jenna a while ago, which I hadn’t gotten round to watching yet, so I put on The Spectacular Now.


The Spectacular Now is a coming of age type film that leans more towards being a drama than a comedy (in my opinion at least). Our main character, Sutter (Miles Teller) is a popular, fun loving guy who lives in the moment and doesn’t plan for the future. His whirlwind romance with Cassidy (Brie Larson) sadly comes to an end but when Sutter meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley) his outlook on life starts to change.

Hopefully I’ve summed that plot up okay without butchering it! This is what I thought was a twist on the classic ‘Jock goes out with Nerd as a dare and ends up falling in love’ plot but ended up having much more depth than that. Sutter is one of the popular kids, sure, but he’s also a huge alcoholic with problems at home with his Mum. Aimee reads anime books and draws her favourite characters for fun, but she’s far from a loser.


I wouldn’t say there were twists in this film, but there were certain events I was expecting to happen, which didn’t. For example, I expected Sutter to change his mind about prom. There was one moment towards the end of the film which took me by total surprise, and my cats were glad my cup of tea was almost empty by that point as they’d have been soaked!

The Spectacular Now was a beautiful and painful story, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of ‘coming of age’ films. 


Now Jenna, I think it’s time to bring up the scoring system again. This was far better than a 7 for me, but I don’t think it’s 8 material. It’s a 7.5 for goodness sakes! For the sake of peace, I’ll stick with my Letterboxd score (which also doesn’t allow halves - are you one of the founders Jenna?) Yes, yes I am, didn't I tell you ;-) They kicked me out though for being adamant half scores are useless on a 1-10 scale!!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Lessons learnt from...... Horror movies

I'm not a huge fan of horror movies as you probably all know but I am fully aware of them and I watched a fair few when I was younger (for fear of being ridiculed by my peers for being scared) so I know the general gist of how they work and how they start.  I've spent the last few weeks travelling around the UK for work trips and I have had various situations where I feel like I am in the beginning of a horror movie.  Luckily I have learnt from these movies what to do (or more importantly, what not to do!) and so wasn't brutally murdered....
Do not EVER get out of the car
I found myself driving down the darkest country lane which become darker when driving through dark wood where the trees had grown over the path.  I had to stop briefly to readjust my satnav...what I didn't do was get out of the car! What I also didn't do was leave the car unlocked! Had some shady character come out of the woods wielding a machete I would have calmly driven away (maybe not calmly and I may have stalled a few dozen times) but I would not be outside of my car running through the woods.
Courtesy of Dead End (2003)

Don't turn off the lights
You are asking for trouble,  if you turn out the lights and turn them back there is always a killer/vampire/demon etc standing behind you waiting to slaughter you! I checked into my latest hotel to be greeted with the setting of all great horror movies...high ceilings, chandeliers, long dark curtains, creaky was literally a scene from The Haunting. I kept the lamp on at all time (and the TV for safety) - serial killers never strike when someone is watching their favourite soap with the lights on!
Don't check out strange noises
I hear strange noises (shouting/screaming/creaking/growling) I stay exactly where I am and maybe lock the door.  I don't look out the window, I don't check the corridor,  I certainly don't check outside...I hide safely in my room and turns the volume up on the tele - I reiterate no movie serial killers strike during Eastenders!
If you accidently hurt someone (I.e hit them with a car) don't try to hide it, call the police.
I don't understand why anyone would do this but if it happens in movies it must happen in real life...right?  If you leave someone to die they will more than likely not be dead and come back to haunt/kill/torture you
Courtesy of I know what you did last summer  (1997)
Dolls are NOT toys!
I was always a big fan of dolls and had a lot as a child, then I watched Childs Play for the first time - suddenly the collection of China dolls that my Nan brought me became a sight of terror...I shut them in cupboards but I knew they were there and any noises was obviously my evil China doll come to life and trying to kill me!
Courtesy of Childs Play (1988) and Annabelle  (2014)
Just Leave
This seems like an obvious one, if you are on a group holiday with friends or a big family trip and people start dying....leave! Would you not just up and leg it to the nearest city and book a Premier Inn?! A nice safe premier Inn?! #justsayin
Courtesy of Cabin Fever (2002)
Sleep...a lot!
Terrifying situations often happen when it's dark, generally at night time! My advice, sleep! When you wake up in the morning, everything seems much less scary, sleep through the fear and and check everything out in the morning! If it keeps happening...move house!
Courtesy of Paranormal Activity (2007)
I 100% feel that in learning lessons from various horror movies I have in fact avoided a traumatic's obviously got nothing to do with that fact that I don't live in a horror movie!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Review: American Sniper (2015)

One of my favourite things about going to the cinema is watching the trailers. Does that sound silly? I know I can easily watch as many as I like on IMDB, but it’s kind of a game trying to guess which trailers will have been picked for a particular audience. There’s one trailer from the end of last year that I’ll never forget, mainly because I genuinely forgot to breathe whilst watching it!


American Sniper is the real-life story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who was a legendary sniper in the war in Iraq. Chris was nothing more than a ‘wannabe’ cowboy until he reached his thirties, when he decided he should do something to express his talent, and help his country which he loved so much. That’s when he joined the SEALs as a sniper and began his first tour in Iraq. Once home, he struggled with normal life and the weight of his conscious.

I hope I can do this film justice with this post, but I have to admit I’m completely out of my depth here. I recall Chris Kyle’s name being in the news and the reason why, but that’s as much as I know. War films have never interested me either, but as I said, the trailer took my breath away, and I’ve been dying to see more of Bradley Cooper since seeing him in Silver Linings Playbook.


American Sniper had me gripped from start to finish. I quickly realised the trailer I remembered so well was simply 2 minutes of footage from the start of the film, and so I was going in blind for the rest of the duration. Good lord, I could barely recognise Bradley Cooper at first, he really beefed up for that role! I just read he had to eat 8,000 calories a day (and work out of course) to prepare, and that made me feel a little ill. He really is on top form in this film, in every single way!

There were plenty more heart stopping moments, the sniping scenes especially, and I thought there was a perfect balance between the scenes at war and the scenes at home. Can I be ‘that guy’ for a minute though? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a faker baby in a film before, seriously! Although, I read that they used a real baby to begin with which was sick on someone, so I might just forgive it for that right there.


All in all, I’m so glad I watched American Sniper. It was a breathtaking and heartwarming film, and it’s opened my eyes to what really goes on behind the news reports I read.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Currently Watching: Modern Family

Having finished up Supernatural, Rookie Blue, Entourage, Chicago Fire, Nashville and 200 other series I was watching, I was desperate for something to fill the gap.  My friend recommended Modern Family to me, I had seen bits of it on the TV but it never really appealed but as I had nothing else I thought I would give it a go.

The term 'never judge a book by it's cover' couldn't be more relevant here, I didn't like the look of this but after starting to watch it I managed to watch 5 full seasons in 4 weeks!!  It is hilarious.

Modern Family is basically a fake 'docu-drama' based on three related families.  Mitchell and Cam a gay couple making arrangements to adopt a child from Vietnam.  Mitchell's sister Claire, her husband Phil and their three crazy children Haley, Alex and Luke and finally Mitchell and Claire's father Jay, his second (younger) wife Gloria and her son Manny.  They are not your average families and there everyday lives end in hilarious consequences.

Phil is by far the funniest character (any Friends fans out there, I get a bit of a Ross vibe from him) but his Dad jokes have me in stitches and when he talks to the camera, I laugh until I cry.  Phil may be my favourite but I love all the characters and they just get better and better as the seasons go on.  Generally, its all comedy and laughs but every now and then it has a sentimental moment that makes me feel all fuzzy, usually to do with Claire and/or Mitchell expecting to be disappointed by their Dad and him stepping up.  Gloria's language barrier is a great source of comedy and she is not at all irritating (which is what I got from the odd episodes I caught on TV).

I'm not going to say anymore because you have to see this for yourself to love it but to give you a teaser - some of Phil Dunphy's best Dad jokes:

Just before answering the phone:
“Quick, what’s my favourite hospital food? Jellooo”
“Quick, what does love start with? L-O.”

"If you love something set it free....... unless its a tiger"
"You only get one chance at a first impression.  I suggest Julia Child, because it's easy to do 'Save the giblets!'"


Monday, 17 August 2015

Review: Predestination (2014)

Every now and again, I come across a film that is just too smart or artsy for me. The last time that happened to me was Taxi Driver, but it’s happened again now with Predestination. This was a recommendation by my Grampy who loves all things Sci-Fi, who convinced me to watch District 9 and Moon.


This is as much as I can tell you about the plot. Ethan Hawke plays a time-travelling Temporal Agent who is on the hunt for a criminal known as the Fizzle Bomber. Ethan has spent his life travelling through time stopping terrorist disasters before they’ve even happened. On his final assignment, Ethan goes back in time, disguised as a Barkeep, and strikes up a conversation with a man known as The Unmarried Mother (weird, I know), a writer of trashy magazine stories.

Honestly, that’s all I can tell you. Predestination is an incredibly difficult film to review, not only because of my own confusion but also the nature of the film itself. It’s so full of twists and turns, that you just have to witness it for yourself. If you enjoy time travel and the consequences of it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. 


I understood Predestination, or at least the main plot line, and predicted the end before it happened, but it was just such a weird film I don’t know if I can truly say whether I enjoyed it or not. It was an experience, for sure.

If you’ve seen Predestination, you’ll understand this short post, and I’d love to know your thoughts on the film. If you haven’t seen it yet, I hope I haven’t put you off, and if you have a spare 90 minutes and an open mind, please, give it a go. It’s had great reviews, but it just wasn’t the film for me.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Review: Focus (2015)

I really wanted to see this at the cinema but didn't get around to it.  Finally got around to watching it on Sky Box Office over the weekend.

Nicky (Will Smith) is a veteran con artist who takes Jess (Margot Robbie) under his wing and his heart - until things get extremely complicated.  Years pass and they cross paths again on a con in the Formula 1 world in causing chaos and disaster.

I love a good con movie, I am a huge fan of Oceans Eleven and Catch me if you can.  I really love the great twist at the end that no one was expecting but this just didn't have it for me.  I didn't find Nicky at all likeable and although these types of movies are supposed to have twists and turns in the storyline, i'm not keen when the likability of the character goes up and down with it!  In fact, I got quite bored near the middle, got distracted by Facebook and missed a few important tricks in the football game and had to rewind the whole scene and try again.  The fact is, I should have been interested enough to not have to do that but alas I wasn't.

Will Smith was a disappointment, I am a fan and I think I always will be but the cocksure version of Nicky just didn't quite come across as well as it should and then I couldn't decide if the genuine version of him was real or not - it was oh so complicated.  Margot Robbie however was, amazing, stealing every scene she was in even over superstar Smith.  I knew after seeing her in Wolf of Wall Street that she was one to watch and she is continuing to impress and now I can't wait to see her in Suicide Squad next year.

Disappointing to be honest but I managed to watch until the end.  The twists and turns confused me more than excited me but fortunately Robbie saved the day.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Review: Insurgent (2015)

I knew at some point I was going to have to watch this after reading all three books and watching the first film but I have been putting it off for as long as possible (mostly after seeing Shailene Woodley's atrocious wig in the posters!) but finally had to succumb last weekend....

Insurgent follows on from Divergent with Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) on the run and being hunted while trying to find allies in their fight against Jeanine (Kate Winslet).  Desperate to save the people she loves Tris must find out what her parents Faction sacrificed themselves to protect and why Erudite want to stop them.

I'm not going to lie, I had to good a synopsis to remind myself what happened in this film and it was only a few days ago that I watched it.  I would understand this confusion if I hadn't read the book but I have and I still couldn't work out what was going on and why.  The whole film is so choppy and rushed that you have no idea who, what or why at any point.

The supporting cast (Winslet excluded) are boring and dry and of little interest throughout and I'm sure (but can't remember details) that we were introduced to more members of the Amity clan and the Factionless in the book but the meetings with both of these felt rushed and pushed along to get to the 'dramatic' scenes.  I love seeing Kate Winslet in a bad guy role and she took it on really well with her creepy calmness (until the end that is) and sharp suits - she upped her game this time and it paid off!

I don't like Shailene Woodley, I did love her in The Fault in our Stars and I thought that may be a turning point for me, but it wasn't.  Maybe its my weird obsession with Jennifer Lawrence hindering my opinion but I just can't get on board with Woodley.  I think her acting skills in this are shocking compared to her previous work (or maybe its the script she has been fed to work with), honestly, I just found her irritating and awkward throughout.

I didn't have high expectations for this and luckily I didn't, it was disappointing as it was the better of the books for me.  Unfortunately, I read the final book a long time after the second one and didn't enjoy it because I had lost the flow of the story - meaning I don't have much hope for the next one either!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Review: Moon (2009)

This is another film that’s been sat in a ‘recommended’ list for so long I forgot why it was there in the first place. After watching it the other night, I suspect it was recommended to me after reviewing Interstellar, or maybe even Gravity, but that’s just a guess! As I write this now the UK is going through an insufferable heat wave, and with hindsight, maybe watching a mind-boggling sci-fi whilst melting in my living room was the wrong thing to do.

Moon is a clever little sci-fi film set in the future, where mankind has discovered an alternative fuel source found on the moon, helium-3. Sam (Sam Rockwell) is the sole employee at a lunar station on the moon, where we manges the machines responsible for harvesting the helium-3 from the moon’s surface. As his 3 year contract comes to an end and he looks forward to coming back home to earth, he is injured in an accident.

I think that’s all I can really tell you without spoiling anything. If you’re thinking about watching Moon, I promise to keep this spoiler free for you! Also, you must forgive the sloppy review.Sci-fi is not my forte, and ‘space stuff’ tends to go right over my head. For example, there’s a robot in Moon called GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), that I’m told is a nod to a robot in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I haven’t seen that...maybe that’ll be one for the Blind Spot list next year.


Speaking of GERTY though, he was delightful. He has a little monitor with an emotion-style face which ranges from a grin to crying, which tells us how he’s feeling at any time. Does he feel? Does he have AI? I’m not sure! He does have a ‘kick me’ sign on his back though, which made me chuckle.

It was nice to see Sam Rockwell in such a serious role. I’ve only seen him in comedies so far and I really do think he’s a good actor. There’s a particular scene which really stuck with me where he has a complete breakdown, and it was so moving. He nailed it! The music as well was brilliant, and straight from the start it gave me a feeling that things weren’t going to be happy fun times.


So, as much as I’ve praised Moon, something still doesn’t sit right with me. Sam didn’t freak out as much as I thought he should have done at a certain revelation, and the twist kind of wasn’t a twist, either. I don’t know? It’s hard to explain, but nothing really shocked me in this. It was enjoyable for sure, but I didn’t love it as much as I perhaps should have done. Absolutely worth a watch though!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Review: Magic in the moonlight (2014)

Found this random little gem on my Sky Go app, I was bored doing my housework and wanted something to watch on my iPad so I could move it around with me while I was cleaning.  This was a great choice...

Colin Firth plays Stanley, a magician who appears to be able to solve any spiritual trickery he casts his eye over.  To that end he is brought to the South of France to meet Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), an American clairvoyant with powers to seemingly see into the past and the future without breaking sweat.  Stanley, initially adamant she must be a fraudster, quickly becomes infatuated with her and believes she is in fact telling the truth.

I have not watched a Woody Allen film before, not sure whether it is by choice or just chance but I'm glad this is the first one I watched.  I love Colin Firth and Emma Stone anyway so it already had good standing but the story was great, I loved the over dramatics (not unlike a magicians act on stage).  It had the opening, the confusion and the reveal at the end. 

I feel like there is some history in the casting that I should no about, the way some of the smaller parts that were cast almost had a cameo feel (Stanley's Aunt for example) so I think I'm going to have to do some reading up to see if they have prominence in Woody Allen's previous movies.

I think this may have given me food for thought on watching Woody Allen movies, any recommendations?