Behind Again

I’m still reviewing Halloween movies here firmly in December and that’s because I’ve been busy and lazy, a wonderful combination. So I’m going to have to squish some of my To Do list into one post, which I kind of hate but what can you do?

Here’s what I’ve been watching since the end of October:

Halloween

I waited for what feels like forever for this 40th anniversary sequel and… I can’t say I was disappointed. A lot of it doesn’t work, some of it spectacularly (looking at you fake Doctor Loomis/terrible podcasters) but all in all David Gordon Green‘s offering is a lot of fun and that’s what I wanted.

Jamie Lee is dope as the deeply affected, original Final Girl™ Laurie Strode. A lifetime of paranoia has made her into a reclusive survivalist and she is barely holding onto her family as a result. But what happens when all that preparation finally comes to fruition? Well, you’ll find out when Michael Myers busts out of the institution that has held him for the last four decades – and the whole thing is as gory and tense as you’d imagine. Plus, there’s something truly disconcerting about the humanisation of The Shape just before shit kicks off.

My Rating

4.5/5. Probably for nostalgia more than anything. 

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

In my opinion this movie suffers for not featuring enough Jack Black but IT’s Jeremy Ray Taylor does a fine job as a mini version of the man himself. If I’m honest, I don’t remember too much about the plot (I think because I saw The House with a Clock in its Walls right before it and they’ve sort of blended into one) but I did enjoy its childlike Halloween wonder.

The effects are very good – plenty of inventive monsters and sadistic gummy bears – the kids are fantastic and Slappy is a dollop of mischievous fun. I think I’ll always be here for the Goosebumps movies honestly, they’re charming. I’ll definitely be hitting this up with a re-watch as soon as possible.

My Rating

3.5/5. Witches be crazy. 

The Hate U Give

Based on the YA novel by Angie Thomas which I have half read, THUG is a pretty solid adaptation, if a little heavy-handed in its delivery. Starring the ridiculously talented Amandla Stenberg as our main protagonist Starr and the ridiculously cool Regina Hall as Starr’s ferocious mother Lisa, this movie examines subject matter that is all too relevant. I enjoyed the ride and also cried like a baby throughout.

While I could never understand what Starr and her family and community have to deal with, I was pumping the air with triumph as Starr stood up for herself and her lost friends in the most dramatic, tense scenes imaginable. Not only does this movie look at the horror of racism and police brutality, it also hones in on the insidiousness of subconscious prejudice, particularly within Starr’s own friendship group. Russell Hornsby is fantastic too as Starr’s wise old ex-gang member father.

My Rating

4/5. Powerful stuff. 

Slaughterhouse Rulez

Meh. This, sadly, was a steaming pile of nothingness and given the cast, I’m surprised. It’s just not that memorable, funny or endearing – and takes an age to get going. When it does there are a couple of okay moments but there’s not enough to make it worth the effort. Sorry, Nick Frost, I still love you.

My Rating

2.5/5. A real stinker.

Widows

My takeaway from this is that Viola Davis should be cast in every film from now on. Literally every single one. As freshly widowed Veronica, she is mesmerising – the perfect blend of vulnerability and strength – I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She is matched perfectly though by Elizabeth Debicki as Alice, who steal scenes left and right, even from the Queen herself.

I enjoyed this film very much, it follows the lives of a handful of women left devastated by the death of their husbands, a band of bank robbers. But as with most crime capers, there are twists at every turn and danger lurking in every shadow, not least the terrifying Manning Brothers, Jatemme and Jamal (played, respectively, by two of my favourite actors, Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry).

My Rating

4/5. Girl power at its finest.

Bohemian Rhapsody

I avoided this for a few weeks before finally relenting and I enjoyed myself. Rami Malek nails Freddie so convincingly that it is ridiculous. Honestly, I knew he was good but this guy needs to take home Oscar in the Spring or there is no justice in the world.

There are a few things wrong with this biopic and it’s exaggerated in places I’m sure but it’s also moving, triumphant and seriously satisfying. The music is ace (as you’d expect) and did I mention the central performance is pretty decent?

My Rating

4/5. Don’t think I didn’t go home and listen to the entire Queen back catalog. 

~

What have you been watching?

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Five years after the events of Mamma Mia! (2008), Sophie learns about her mother’s past while pregnant herself.

*Minor spoilers*

Donna is no longer with us, though we don’t find out in this sequel what happened to our vivacious heroine. Instead we meet her daughter Sophie again (Amanda Seyfried) on the cusp of reopening Donna’s beloved B&B in Greece.

Sophie it seems now spends her days on the beautiful island that stole her mother’s heart all those years ago and has dedicated much time to renovating and relaunching the picturesque guesthouse. Things are lively there as she leans on her hotel manager friend Fernando (LOL) (Andy Garcia) for help getting everything just so before the big opening party. 

While she juggles all this she also has concerns over her own relationship with Sky (Dominic Cooper) who has just been offered a kick arse job back in the USA. Both seem to be heading in different directions which can’t be a good thing…

Film Title: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

As Donna’s BFFs Tanya and Rosie (Christine Baranski and the mighty Julie Walters) rock up for the party, Sophie learns something new and life-changing about herself – but will she get her happy ending?

Oh, and what’s the real story of how Donna came to have a child with three potential baby daddies anyway?

Mamma Mia! HWGA takes us on a journey through Donna’s past as she leaves university to travel and find herself. We learn how she met each of the men in her life – Harry, Bill and Sam – and settled down with the true love of her life in a little home in Greece: I’m talking about Sophie, of course.

"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

Lily James is gorgeous as young Donna, all golden hair and luminous skin, and she does Meryl absolutely proud, I think. As Donna loves and loses, she also gains everything and it’s really nice to be sitting in a cinema with a bunch of over-excited work mates (of all ages) watching a musical with a nice message like this. God knows we need more joy in our every day.

While it’s bittersweet in that the main character is dead, it’s a feel good movie to the end and examines motherhood in a way that made me cry like a wee baby. Plus, in ‘present day’, Sophie’s grandma rocks up uninvited and I think we all know who she is… rhymes with Bear…

Special shout out to the young men playing the baby daddies, especially Josh Dylan as Young Bill. HELLO! Julie Walters robs every scene as far as I’m concerned – and Cher‘s Fernando (to Fernando) gave me chills. What a dame.

In fact, everyone’s on their A-game here and even if not all the singing or the music hits the mark (looking at you, Dominic Cooper), it’s fun fun fun in the sun and you can’t fight it. 

mamma-mia

Bring on Part 3!

My Rating

3.5/5.

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Directed by: Michael Gracey
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson

IMDB Synopsis

Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

*Minor spoilers*

OMG!

I have to admit that I avoided this film until the very last minute because I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was something in Michelle William’s cheesy grin in the trailer or the fact I wasn’t in a ‘musical mood’ – but I had no intention of seeing it.

Then I changed my mind and booked a ticket to see it straight after work. It had been a head-fucky kind of week full of training and my friend Amy came with me. I cried all the way through it to the very end.

It’s just so – feel good. The songs are amazing, the choreography is stunning – Zac Efron is a total fox and there’s the most gorgeous bearded lady. Its message – that everybody should be proud of who they are, well it’s right up my street. I’ve now seen it twice at the cinema, and one of those was a sing-along version.

Colour me obsessed.

01-the-greatest-showman-hugh-jackman-vogue-september-issue-2017

TGS tells the rags to riches story of P.T Barnum (Jackman), the visionary and Original Circus G. Supported by his insanely chill wife, Charity (Williams) he first purchases an old curiosity museum that doesn’t set the world on fire – then turns it into something altogether more interesting.

While I wouldn’t call what he has a full on freak show, the F word is one that is thrown around a lot by the ever-increasing anti-circus picket line. Really what Barnum has is a collection of talented and unique individuals who have been rejected by society. Unfortunately, Barnum’s head is turned when he meets the regal opera singer Jenny Lind (Ferguson) and, finally accepted by high society, he begins to believe his own hype as a showbiz big wig.

BIG MISTAKE.

Running parallel to the rise and fall of Barnum’s big tent empire, is the challenging love story between well-to-do playwright Phillip Carlyle (Efron) and trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya). Anne is poor and black – and Posh Victorian NYC isn’t down with mixed-race relationships thankyouverymuch. Phillip therefore must make a serious decision about his future if he’s to be with the one he loves – and that’s after he’s made a life-changing decision about his career, too. There are a couple of scenes between the Zendaya and Efron that blew me away, particularly during their song Rewrite the Stars.

In addition, I love every scene containing the so-called freaks, particularly Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle). She’s electrifying. The talent recruitment montage is great and I love the Hugh Jackman/Zac Efron bar scene more than life.

Every single song on the soundtrack is gorgeous, particularly Jenny Lind’s Never Enough (actually sung by Rebecca Allred). Mostly, I just like that a musical with such a positive message can still draw a crowd, it feels old-school and fun.

The Academy may have turned a blind eye except for Best Achievement in Music for the anthem This is Me but that’s okay. As much as I love the Oscars, sometimes it’s word on the street that’s the best reward you can get.

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My Rating

5/5.

It’s only late February and already two 5 Star films on the blog. See the second one here.