Review: Pet Sematary (2019)

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“It was a myth. Kids used to dare each other to go into the woods at night. They knew the power of that place. They feared it. Those woods belong to something else.”
– Jud Crandall

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. – via IMDB

After having a lot of fun at the cinemas recently, and completely forgetting that Pet Sematary was even still a thing, I saw the posters up for this and obviously decided I needed to see it. So, while I was maybe not expecting it to be It, or even The Mist (if we are looking purely at the more horror based side of King’s adapted works), I thought it would be a watchable movie, maybe not great, but entertaining. Plus, you know, I will watch Jason Clarke in just about anything.

Well, let me state it simply and succinctly: Pet Sematary sucked. I wasted time and money tripping out for it. And I took my husband, he is always keen on a horror. Then there was this, and it was just… rushed, sloppy, messy, and features a different story from the book. I felt that the movie was going downhill slowly pretty much from the minute that family arrives at the new house, and completely lost faith in the story as a whole by the time the wrong kid died. I mean, that is a driving point of the book! I know, I know, what lunacy is this, comparing a book and a movie? But honestly, you would think the basics would be the same. Also, I am capable of appreciating it for what it is and ignoring the book, but I really didn’t like this.

Anyway. Even the music was just meh in this. The movie was heavy handed trying for scares and failing miserably. The story doesn’t resonate at all and the characters are all flat caricatures. If there is one thing that Stephen King excels at, it is writing characters. This movie did not highlight that in the slightest. As much as I love Jason Clarke, this movie sucked. I wish it had been an okay movie, but it is not even that. I had serious regrets. I could have gone to see another movie. Any other movie.

Pet Sematary  isn’t very long at all, but it is absolutely chaotic – and not in the good way. Scenes jump all over the show, the content is heavy handed, there is nothing creepy or scary about it, and that whole child progression they are marketing on the posters? You see it once.  Skip this. Completely.

Review: Shazam (2019)

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“Billy Batson, I choose you as champion.”
– The Wizard

SYNOPSIS: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM. – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam. – via IMDB

I caught this on opening weekend and have just been faffing around about publishing. This wasn’t really on my radar until Zachary Levi was cast in it, and then I was sold. I mean really? Chuck Bartowski? Beyond sold! Then it was forgotten until a few months ago and I saw the trailer, and it looked like plenty of fun. When it was released, it was legitimately the first movie in months I was willing to go to the cinema to see. Glad I did.

Shazam certainly is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it. It is not the greatest movie of all time, but it is an easy watch. Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer have fantastic chemistry, and you can certainly tell that Levi is having a total ball. Asher Angel, too, is quite sweet as the young Billy Batson. I really liked how Victor and Rosa try to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and they seem to be such genuine, sweet people.

The third act of the movie is just a little bit too cheesy for my taste. It got a little bit too much and was a bit cringy, but not so much that it spoils the movie. I also feel that Mark Strong’s villain was very flat and generic and not really developed as much as he could have been. Also, some of the humour was most certainly geared at kids, but that isn’t really a problem because I think this is a great movie for kids.

Anyway, while Shazam has some issues, it is still amusing, and was certainly worth a watch.

Review: Us (2019)

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“Once upon a time, there was a girl and the girl had a shadow. The two were connected, tethered together.”
 – Red

SYNOPSIS: A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. – via IMDB

I tried to read as little on this as possible prior to seeing it because I really love going into movies blind sometimes, just go with the flow. I am glad I did for this one, because I didn’t have any actual concept about what we were about to watch, and it was a weird one to watch unfold. I was interested to see where Jordan Peele would go after Get Out.

I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers and such. Tonally, the movie is a little all over the show. There is a lot of confusion, and there is a section before we get into the third act that just feels like the movie was falling apart – the creepy factor was gone, and nothing was happening, but no explanations were given up, and you don’t really get involved with these people. Because they are just people who turned up in a house and suddenly had doppelgängers chasing them, you don’t root for them more than you would the average horror movie character.

Anyway, just as you think that is going on, the third act brings the movie right back up, and I really liked how it all came together. While watching Us, you cannot shake this unsettling feeling that it brings on you, and it lingers after. The score worked hand in hand with this to leave you disconcerted. The performances were quite good, Lupita Nyong’o nailing her role, and delivering a solid performance for a seriously strange story.

In places, Us is nothing unique, but on the other hand, it is a different beast altogether. I thought the story was refreshing, but there were places where the movie was let down due to pacing and is certainly uneven at tomes, and the humour also didn’t work for me (sparingly used, but comes across as unnatural). Overall, I thought it was well worth a trip to the cinema. I can’t say much about a lot of things, because I hate spoilers, but so far I have enjoyed Peele’s work, and I am interested to see where he goes next.

Beware, the trailer is pretty much the whole movie bar the twist :/

Review: The Dirt (2019)

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“So here’s my theory, okay? If we want to knock people on their asses, then we’ve gotta give them a show. The punks, they’re doing the minimalist thing, so let’s take it in the exact opposite direction. I’m talking, I’m talking a stadium show in the clubs, man.”
– Nikki Sixx

SYNOPSIS: The story of how Mötley Crüe came to be one of the most notorious rock ‘n roll groups in history. – via IMDB

So, I know I might not be a Mötley Crüe fan or anything like that, but I still wanted to see how this would go. I believe options to do this film have been turned down for years, and that some big names have been pushed aside. So to know that it had finally happened, I was interested to see what the final product would be. And, how is that? Flat. Really, truly, honestly, flat.

The movie spends two hours essentially revelling in the debauchery that was Mötley Crüe’s heyday. And I mean that. Instead of taking any time to make these characters into real people, to look at all the nasty that was done in the past, to use it as an inspiration or anything like that, it is instead just an ode to how crazy these guys were (and not a particularly grand one, either). It also doesn’t help that the cast isn’t very engaging. Douglas Booth doesn’t possess the oomph to play the lead for this, or to be a horrific heroin junkie. I think the two that annoyed me the least were Colson Baker, and Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars. Okay let’s not even play – the performances all round were just a little sketchy.

The movie does nothing to sell me on Crüe, still, so nothing has changed. I also thought it cold and callous how some major issues were glossed over (that awful car accident, Skylar’s death, etc). There was pretty much no remorse from these guys, and that would be fine. except that this movie glorifies the band and their antics, but no lessons are learned. I believe this is based on the book (and not The Heroin Diaries, which I have been meaning to get to for years), and I might have to rather check that out if I am hoping for anything remotely resembling substance.

So, when all is said and done, The Dirt doesn’t deliver the goods in any way. There is nothing worth seeing here – essentially it is like watching Tremaine give us a better produced Jackass – all the outrage, wrapped up into the semblance of a movie. There was potential here, and it didn’t deliver. The Dirt is shallow and completely and utterly forgettable.

Review: The Equalizer 2 (2018)

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“There are two kinds of pain in this world. The pain that hurts, the pain that alters.”
– Robert McCall

SYNOPSIS: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves? – via IMDB

So I finally got to watching The Equalizer 2. I missed it in cinema when it came (and that sucked, because it is something I would have liked to have seen in cinema), but never mind that. I prepped myself by rewatching The Equalizer and then we moved on to this one and let me say, I was not disappointed. Definitely different from the first, but not in a bad way. Certainly not as memorable as its predecessor, but an engaging watch nonetheless.

Denzel Washington is, of course, an excellent pick for Robert McCall. He slips into the role and is simply fantastic in it. The storyline is a little more predictable than I would have liked, but it in no way detracted from the enjoyment to be found here. The action is solid and keeps you hooked, and Washington struts around demanding to be seen. I appreciate how the movie has grown from what was originally created, and it changes enough to not be too drastic, but enough to not be stale. That being said, it is not a perfect movie.

McCall is still trying to work with people, make them grow and realise their potential, and is now rather enterprising in his venture to help people out. There are loads of situations where I was pleased to see how he handled them, defending people who needed it. Of course we are supposed to like this aspect, but still. I quite enjoyed the humour, too, with a few good laughs in between. McCall is an interesting character to watch and follow, and so these movies are well worth it. The Equalizer 2 had tons of action, enough heart, pretty solid acting (with Washington dominating as a whole) and is pretty good, though nowhere near as good as the first.

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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“Now we’re four misfits who don’t belong together, we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.”
– Freddie Mercury

SYNOPSIS: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985). – via IMDB

So I went to see this when it came out in cinema, and I was sadly out of the blogosphere when it hit, so I didn’t write about it. I recently purchased it in Blu Ray and I was interested to see whether it would hold up for a second viewing, and if the experience would be diminished any by not seeing it in theatre, on a big screen.

Well, let me tell you, no disappointment to be had over here! I thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was just as good at home as it was in the cinema, I don’t feel like any magic was lost. So, let me see what I can say about this movie… obviously it had one of the best soundtracks of all time xD Seriously, I absolutely loved listening to the music, seeing it come to life on the screen, it was great and there were so many moments where I had goosebumps because wow.

So on to the performances. I am not usually a fan of Rami Malek. I don’t know, I’ve never actually liked him outside of his video game portrayal of Josh in Until Dawn. So when I heard he had been cast to play the iconic Freddie Mercury, I was dubious to say the least. I mean, he isn’t a terrible actor or anything, he has just (until now) not really done anything that has really blown me away. Then I saw pictures of him as Freddie and I was quite surprised. By the time we had hit the trailers, I was really excited, and Malek nailed it. Not only is Malek fantastic, but the rest of the cast playing the members of Queen are brilliant and cannot be overlooked. Gwilym Lee’s Brian May, Ben Hardys’s Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello’s John Deacon are excellent. The actors had wonderful chemistry and it was great to watch them. Such solid performances all round from them, and man, they nailed the look of each of the band members. Excellent casting – not only did everyone look right, they appeared right, too, without stuffy performances.

I really liked that the movie stayed more with the band and the music as opposed to a tell all scandalous interpretation of everything. I get that there was drama and all that, but that is so not why I went to see this. So yes, the narrative is a little skinny and all that, but that takes nothing away from it. What you need is there – some drama, some backstory, some struggle and all that, but the movie focuses on the band and the music, and I appreciated that. Also, there was some highly entertaining humour sprinkled through it.

Naturally, this review would not be complete if I didn’t mention that phenomenal Live Aid performance, so here it is. Wow. I was so impressed with the level of detail that went into this (especially if you take the time to watch the two side by side). I love that such care and attention went into it.

So, overall, I obviously highly recommend checking out Bohemian Rhapsody. It is not a biographical, gossipy tell all or anything like that, but if you like Queen (hell, even if you don’t), and you like the music, then this is well worth the look see. It is just as charming the second time around, and even my husband willingly rewatched it (seriously, no coaxing or begging or anything, he asked!). I had a great time with this, and I can see how I will go back to it a few times. Okay, I am going to stop here. Just go watch it.

Review: Oldboy (2013)

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oldboy 2013 movie poster

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last twenty years.”
– Joe Doucett

SYNOPSIS: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason. – via IMDB

Okay, so, unpopular opinion time! I liked this rendition of Oldboy. I have seen the original, but I was not enamoured. True story. I thought this one was pretty entertaining, so I thought that one had to be better (it’s all you ever hear when this comes up), and I did not think this was the case.

Oldboy was relatively well constructed. I thought that Josh Brolin did a good job playing Joe. His transformation was touching. He was such a damned twat in the beginning, I could not stand him. He had nothing good or positive going for him, and I had no pity for him. I just thought him a world class loser. His imprisonment was also quite intense. Initially I was just like oh whatever, but later it became terribly sad.

Joe’s spiral into some insanity was heartbreaking, how the loneliness got to him, brought him to his knees, and how he had to cope. The rat scene (and if you have seen this you will know what I am talking about) was just rough. Sure, there were holes in this film, too (a big one for me – planning his escape for the very day he was going to be let out, anyhow), but if you don’t focus on the issues too much and just watch the movie, the story it tells is quite good.

Anyway, Oldboy definitely has some issues, but it is not the worst thing you will ever watch. I thought it came together well as was a decent watch. Far better than the original, if you ask me :/

Review: The Equalizer (2014)

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the equalizer poster

“Got to be who you are in this world, no matter what.”
– Robert McCall

SYNOPSIS: A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. – via IMDB

the equalizer gif

I missed this in cinemas when it came out (blame the exams, always the exams)and could not wait to see it. I loved it when I finally did watch it, and decided recently it needed a rewatch before I could go on to the new onw. Gathering my other half the other night, we sat down and got ready to watch the excellent Denzel tear up the town again. Let me just tell you, we were not disappointed, not even for one moment.

The Equalizer is paced fantastically – I liked that it concentrated on some story, and didn’t just get lost in action, but didn’t focus so much on the story that it was purely a drama. Also, let’s not forget Washington’s portrayal as Robert McCall. I was so impressed with him (I usually am) and I thought that he was super badass. He was very cool, well-respected, I liked the way he was so important to so many people and yet when he went home it was solitary, lonely and depressing.

That changes when McCall becomes a scary machine and starts fixing Boston, intense I tell you! There were some kill styles introduced that I have to admit were fresh and original (I know how that sounds), and an antagonist opposite McCall that was worthy of his time, escalating the events (though there could have been a more hardcore showdown). There was nothing left untouched by McCall to craft his weapons with, and that alone was entertaining enough to carry so much. The soundtrack fit with the movie perfectly, and The Equalizer was shot very nicely, too.

There was not one moment of boredom for me, and I was taken in with the entire presentation of the film. Great job all round, and I can definitely highly recommend this one. It has more substance than your average movie of this type, and though it follows a recipe, it doesn’t get boring.

Review: Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016)

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“Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.”
– Chesley “Sully” Sullengerger

SYNOPSIS: The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight’s passengers and crew. – via IMDB

So chilling around the other day, I decided it was time to watch this. Obviously I know the story, but not in too much depth or anything like that, so figured this would be a good yardstick. Plus, Tom Hanks. I think he’s fantastic and would watch him in anything.

I didn’t think Sully was the greatest movie ever, but I did think that what Captain Sullenberger did that day was truly amazing. As the movie points out, you only ever see bad news nowadays, so to see a success story is always nice. Tom Hanks was excellent, as always, and was well worth watching. Aaron Eckhart, too, was solid and played well alongside Hanks. Comparing the actual photos at the end of the movie to what Eastwood delivered, too, is good, because it looked exactly like what had happened.

Sully is a quick watch, and so never overstays its welcome. It tells the story and gets you involved with the investigation into that fateful flight, and it is interesting to see how the investigation was going, and how it ultimately turned around. I don’t necessarily know if I will ever go back to watch Sully, but it was a decent watch with a strong cast and was done well.

Review: The Craft (1996)

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the-craft-poster

“True magic is neither black, nor white – it’s both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time. The only good or bad is in the heart of the witch. Life keeps a balance on its own.”
– Lirio

SYNOPSIS: Four girls at a Los Angeles Catholic school form a coven of witches that cast spells on their classmates and each other. Their new powers overwhelm them, leading to an internal power struggle. – via IMDB

the-craft-spells

I watched this movie so many times as a kid. So many damn times. I liked the fact that these girls were different (not to mention witches) and not afraid to embrace that. That’s always something I enjoy, when women do not conform to the expectations of society. The Craft is a good film. It starts out all innocent and sweet, and then devolves into utter madness.

I thought the actresses picked to play the witches were all great, and all brought something else to the table. These are just young girls with small things that irk them, that come together because they are different, they believe they are powerful. Initially they ask for little things, each having their own small issues. This is where some big lessons come in. They say you can’t always get what you want, and be careful what you wish for. You hear it all the time. This movie shows how seemingly innocent things can be turned on their heads.

the-craft-we-are-the-weirdos

The constantly shifting dynamics between the girls is also something that is fascinating. Innocent, then friends, then obsessed and changing, afraid of Nancy, yet power hungry and feeling superior to the rest. Then there is Sarah, a witch and girl questioning her group, not wanting to conform to the inevitable peer pressure. That does not stop the magic the girls try out from just getting bigger and more crazy, and does not change the fact that these girls can be right bitches.

Seeing how the magic doesn’t quite work as one would hope, and how it can sour terribly was interesting. It takes a different spin on it than a lot of movies handling magic and witches usually do.
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