Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

6

“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)

6

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)

23

 

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)

2

“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)

13

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.
the-craft-kiss2

Review: Bird Box (2018)

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“Listen to me, we’re going on a trip now, it’s going to be rough. If you hear something in the woods, you tell me. if you hear something in the water, you tell me. But under no circumstances are you allowed to take off your blindfold.”
– Malorie

SYNOPSIS: Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety. – via IMDB

So there was so much hype surrounding this that I figured it was time to give it a shot and see what it was all about. I think this was largely down to people doing silly challenges. Well, I got to it and it was… okay. I know, I know. Opinions seemed varied about it, but I didn’t love it.

I felt the movie was excessively long for what it gave us. Like, it could totally have justified the run time if there was just more going on. As it was, way too much. Also, it never felt like it got intense enough, if that makes sense? It was always on the fringes of delivering, but never did. It didn’t even get you riled and then not pay off, it just… carried on and on. So I wasn’t super invested. And for all the “it’s unique and different”, I didn’t feel that.

I thought the performances were decent, albeit not groundbreaking material that you will remember long after the movie is over. The story itself won’t even linger long after aside from the blindfolds. I suppose that is how it was with Hush. It was not necessarily unique in terms of genre (home invasion), but had a different spin (deaf victim). So it was with Bird Box. End of the world/invasion type deal, and you can’t look at anything because it will drive you crackers (serious Lovecraftian stuff going on there).

So Bird Box was okay, albeit long. It is not something that will stay with you long after all is said and done, and is not as different and unique as it would like to think it is.

Review: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10

 

“I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?”
– Kat Stratford

SYNOPSIS: A pretty, popular teenager can’t go out on a date until her ill-tempered older sister does. – via IMDB

This is such a classic in my opinion. I have seen it plenty of times and I still love it. There is so much about it that just screams the nineties but it pulls it off. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this movie, and it is still a blast from start to finish. It has held up really well after all these years.

Everyone does a great job with their characters. Julia Stiles is a fantastic, bitter girl, Heath Ledger is fantastic as the outcast bad boy, Larisa Oleynik is a suitably spoiled brat, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is that sweet boy-next-door type. There are so many characters to talk about here so I will not really get into them all. It’s a sweet, fun story with plenty of humour in it. No matter how many times I have seen this, there are still things I laugh at. 10 Things I Hate About You is also super quotable, and will stay with you long after you have moved on.

The humour is great and the story keeps you hooked throughout. There are so many little things that come together in this to make it worth the watch, and I loved to see how certain characters interacted with others. The soundtrack also totally works with the movie. I thought the rumour mill surrounding Patrick was absolutely amazing, too. While this is not the most original and unpredictable movie ever, it is done so well and the cast work so well together that it still has a fresh feeling to it. Also, I absolutely love the chemistry between Stiles and Ledger.

So much has been said about this fantastic movie over the years, and there is not really much that I can contribute to the discussion. I will just say that 10 Things I Hate About You is quirky and sweet and has heart and gets me every time. It manages the fine balance between sweet but not sappy, and I appreciate that. It is the kind of movie that guys and girls alike can enjoy. The movie is bags of fun every time and I highly recommend it, and not just because of the nostalgia!

Also, could we just take a moment to admire Heath Ledger in this??

Review: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

2

“Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony.”
– Elizabeth Bennet

SYNOPSIS: Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice? – via IMDB

So I went through a stage where I literally just binged on everything Pride and Prejudice and then just never published my reviews. Shame on me, I know. I was wary of this because while I love the story, there is Keira Knightley. I was seriously hoping she would pull this off the same way she did Atonement, but alas, there was no such luck in my cards. I didn’t dislike her in this as much as I usually do, and she seems better suited to period pieces than other things.

I feel that some of the cast members were just not right for their roles. Donald Sutherland never really grasps Mr Bennet, and never truly embodies that snark on screen, or the relationship between him and Elizabeth. Pity, too. Obviously I have my issues with Knightley, too, to be sure (I just don’t think that she was the perfect choice), and there was something quite off with Rosamund Pike’s portrayal of Jane. Oh well, those are the biggest offenders, I think. There was some amazing casting, too. I think that Macfadyen was a great Darcy. He embodied that pride, that calm and superiority, and he was unflappable, which is great. Brenda Blethyn’s Mrs Bennet correctly made me squirm in my seat and feel immense amounts of embarrassment for those girls, too – so tacky! I thought Kelly Reilly was excellent as Caroline Bingley, as she truly was horrible and snobbish and a total bitch, so well done. Jena Malone, too, nailed that immensely selfish brat Lydia.

There were parts of this movie that I absolutely adored (I am looking at you, hand into the carriage scene!). I also particularly enjoyed all scenes featuring Charles Bingley and Jane, as Bingley is so adorable around her, and they are a sweet couple.

I feel that there were some issues with the pacing – a big part of this was Mr Wickham being introduced and sped off of screen within two minutes, and yet he is such a large part of the main story, so you never really can understand Wickham being such an issue between Darcy and Elizabeth, and he is quite an important character. I also felt that this movie hardly captured the humour of the book, and came across as far too serious. There were moments I smiled, for sure, but for the most part this went for full on drama. Pride and Prejudice does have some truly beautiful sets and some great costume design and a score that suits it perfectly, and that does help you slip into the story and the characters and the time more. The dialogue was also quite loyal to the book, which I appreciated.

Pride and Prejudice is indeed a solid adaptation of its novel. There were some hitches with the cast and the pacing, but it is still well worth a watch, something I can see myself revisiting in future. The story is a classic for a reason, and does have a timeless love story between two characters you cannot help but love and root for. Worth the watch.

Review: The First Purge (2018)

8

“Please don’t tell me you’re sending mercenaries into the island disguised as purgers?”
– Dr Updale

SYNOPSIS: America’s third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given to anyone who does. – via IMDB

Sweet baby Jesus, this franchise is never gonna give up the ghost. There was The Purge, which was wasted potential because it was a home invasion movie with an interesting concept we didn’t really get to see. Then there was the Anarchy sequel, and I unexpectedly loved that one – we actually got to see the Purge, and I got all excited that the franchise was actually going to do something with itself. But no. Then there was that botch job that was Election Year, and I thought it couldn’t get worse. Well, it could. I also see that there is now a series on Amazon. Come on! Will this never end?!

Apparently not. So let’s tackle this one. It sucked. Plain and simple. It was predictable and it was awkward and it just… no. Like wheeling and dealing with politics with absolutely no finesse, giving us characters we don’t give a crap about, generating more idiotic sequences than you can shake a stick at, not to mention that the psychological angle of this was completely and utterly ignored, which in conjunction with the politics had the potential to deliver a much better punch. But no, let’s not do that.

The pacing was off, too, because while the movie doesn’t necessarily boast a long run time, it feels like forever and six days long, and just didn’t feel like it was coming to a close at all, or moving along. It was so frustrating, and that adds to the litany of issues I have with it. I wanted to see so much more than this. I mean let’s face it, this franchise has been milking the concept because it is one that has fascinated viewers, but hasn’t really fleshed anything out. It strives to from time to time but falls short. It’s just coming across as a cash cow.

So no, I was not a big fan of this one and feel that this was an interesting concept, I mean the first  Purge, and how it came about, and instead of spending some time exploring the psychological aspect and truly delving into the politics, we get this half-assed offering from a tired franchise that churned out exactly one good movie. My recommendation? Skip it.

Review: Mandy (2018)

5

“You are a vicious snowflake.”
– Red Miller

SYNOPSIS: The enchanted lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiralling, surreal rampage of vengeance. – via IMDB

Uhm. Okay. Yeah. This. Well. I expected so much more. I heard so many good things (Ryan especially enjoyed this) and I had hopes, so my husband and I decided to give this a shot and… it took a sharp left turn. My husband said it more like took a major u-turn to head back up into oncoming traffic. It just… no.

The movie is bizarre. It really is like a bad trip. Initially everything starts out just fine, what with Red and Mandy living their isolated little life, but it works just fine for them. Then that crazy cult gets involved and everything goes downhill. Like… I am all for revenge movies. I honestly, truly am, and I even like them when there is loads of humour involved, but this movie? It went from serious and heartbreaking to stupid ridiculous. Not the fun kind, just so cringy. I also read someone day it had like a David Lynch type vibe, which might also explain what I didn’t enjoy about it.

Mandy looks fantastic. The use of colours and neons is wonderful, and the score is also good. It is just a pity the content doesn’t keep up. It goes from a strange, dreamlike, trippy vibe movie to a complete… I don’t know what. Not to mention Nicolas Cage delivered a super goofy performance. The two halves just don’t really gel together, and the movie’s tone is all over the show. The villains and the story are not fleshed out at all, so it’s just this strange journey you are undertaking with Red, and you know he wants payback, but that is all really. There are some half-assed reasons for this cult and these bikers dudes but… no. Also, that dialogue :/

Mandy didn’t work for me. I didn’t have a good time, and this movie could have been serious and dramatic and hardcore revenge, or it could have been an entertaining revenge flick, and instead it starts off atmospheric and then gets embarrassing. Not a cool wtf like Evil Dead or great revenge like John Wick. No. I know a lot of people enjoyed this, but I did not. And it was excessively long. So while Mandy was stunning to look at, it just totally wasn’t my cup of tea.