You’re my boy, Blue

Last night I watched Jurassic World with my dad (who, it turns out, is full of random dinosaur facts!) I had avoided seeing this film at the cinema because I was scared of being bitterly disappointed as I love the original so much. (see post here). Was it as good as the original? No, not even close. Was it an enjoyable film? Yes, if entirely predictable.

image

The basic premise is that a dinosaur zoo called Jurassic World has opened on the old Jurassic Park island. Business is booming but every few years they have to install a new attraction so that people will get excited. They’ve created a hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex out of a T-rex and ‘something top secret and classified’ (although as soon as you see its claws and learn that it’s intelligent it’s pretty obvious what the other is!)

The Indominus Rex escapes so they call in ex-military man Chris Pratt (who has been patiently training Velociraptors) to help.

image

I wonder if this works on dogs…

Then the chaos commences. Lots of people and dinosaurs get viciously killed. There’s the token woman running in heels, two kids in danger and plenty of shots of Chris Pratt looking manly.

As a lot of people have said, look out for the cameo of the man saving his drinks from the Pterodactyls. Only seconds long, but hilarious.

The only thing I will say is that the dinosaurs felt like a step back in terms of graphics from the 90s original. Seriously. The 90’s dinosaurs looked more realistic, as far as any dinosaur can.

Better than Jurassic Park III and an easy film to watch but I’m not sure it will stand the test of time.

He likes his shaken, she likes hers dirty

A day later than the rest of the world, I have now seen Spectre. I went with my mother, who I had also seen Skyfall with.

image

I will try and keep this as spoiler-free as possible!

My main reaction after the film was that whilst this is a ‘good’ Bond film, it was no Skyfall. Skyfall was such an incredible film that it would have been hard for anything to follow it. After Quantum I had such low expectations and was totally surprised. However, Spectre was always going to be tough.

All the actors were good. I loved Madeleine the feisty, self-sufficient Bond girl and ‘C’ the head of the newly merged MI5 and MI6. M, Q and Moneypenny were all super, especially Q. Christoph Waltz was good, but no Javier Bardem. Such a hard act to follow.

image

The obligatory silky dress.

The only disappointment was that nothing was a shock or a surprise. The plot played out exactly how you expected it to, maybe that’s what makes a Bond film safe and why Skyfall worked so well.

It was a good film, lots of action, lots of humour and a fabulous opening sequence. Definitely give it a watch if you’re a Bond fan!

Just a spoonful of sugar…

This afternoon I watched Saving Mr Banks with my mother (Netflix). The film follows the semi-fictionalised story of PL Travers granting the rights to her Mary Poppins stories to Walt Disney.

image

The film stars Emma Thompson as the author PL Travers, Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Colin Farrell in a brilliant performance as Travers’ father. BJ Novak, Jason Schwartzman and Bradley Whitford add some lighter, comic relief as the Sherman brothers and Disney employee Don DaGradi respectively.

The story is told through Travers’ trip to the Disney studios to fine tune the terms of their contract interspersed with flashbacks showing the complex and troubled relationship Travers had with her parents, giving the inspiration behind her characters.

I read the Wikipedia pages on all the characters and the real life story after and whilst the basic story seems pretty true to life the film is obviously fleshed out with fiction to make it more cinematically pleasing. In particular I liked the scene where the Sherman brothers present the song ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ to Travers.

image

They’re as convincing as children as Dick Van Dyke is a cockney.

I think that although the film had some drama and darker moments it was probably much lighter than the true events. After all it was the culmination of 20 years of negotiations, she wasn’t going to give in that easily!

All in all I enjoyed the film. It was nice, Sunday afternoon viewing. It made me want to re-watch Mary Poppins too, which is such a lovely film. I’m just glad I didn’t go see it at the cinema as my mum cried throughout the second half of the film!! To be fair, it is very emotional.

What’s your favourite scary movie?

Tonight my friend and I had a crazy Saturday night – we stayed in, knitted and watched movies. Wild, I know.

First off we watched Scream. Now, Scream is an absolute favourite of mine. See here for all my top films. It’s like a standard 90s teen movie but lots of people die instead of falling in love.

image

Scream was a game changer in the world of horror. It kick-started a new wave of slasher films. It’s a classic Wes Craven film and has sneaky hints to his other movies (like the janitor’s clothes!)

The script is brilliant. Just as Randy reels off all the horror movie tropes, each member of the ‘gang’ is a stereotype. A theme that would be played on in Joss Whedon’s uber meta Cabin in the Woods.

image

The whole gang, look at those 90s fashions!

The rest of the Scream franchise is ok. The sequel is pretty good (if you’re reading this I’m probably dead), the third film isn’t very good but has some good moments and the fourth was enjoyable but not memorable. I’m currently watching the Netflix tv series which I’m liking when I’m watching but I’m not motivated to keep watching.

Scream is a rarity in the world of horror movies, it can be watched over and over. What I did reflect on after was that Scream is a bit of a pastiche. It’s funny and it finds itself funny. Scary Movie, whilst a good comedy, tried too hard to make fun of a film that was already making fun of itself.

Next we watched 22 Jump Street, which I had also seen before.

image

I loved 21 Jump Street. It’s one of those films that goes by really quickly when you’re watching it because it’s so slick, there isn’t a scene that isn’t funny.

22 Jump Street, whilst funny, seems like a loosely connected series of comedy sketches rather than a film with a compelling plot.

My favourite scene is the tripping scene…

image

You’re literally dragging me down.

Like with Scream, 22 Jump Street constantly makes fun of itself and doesn’t even try to hide it but it says something when one of the funniest scenes in the entire film is the end credits.

There isn’t really much of a plot, it just seems to be Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum improvising through the same plot as the first film but I guess that’s the entire point.

I guess all I can say is – my name is Jeff.

Lazy Sunday

Today I had a lazy Sunday watching films. I have the cold germs that are going round so I’ve pretty much just spent the entire weekend resting and I’ve also started watching Orange is the New Black, now that the hype’s died down a bit (I’m mostly enjoying it. Mostly.)

The first film I watched today was the 1980s-tastic Mannequin (it was on Channel 5)  starring Kim Cattrall as an Egyptian princess reincarnated in a shop mannequin who comes to life for Andrew McCarthy who makes window displays. Ok, so typing that out makes the film sound totally ridiculous, which it is, but it’s also super good fun. I should add that I love camp 80s films and that I’ve seen this film many times.

image

If you think the 80s should be the decade that time forgot then this movie isn’t for you. But if you love 80’s music, 80’s clothes, slapstick comedy and can get over the creepiness of the plot, you should give it a go.

The film also features James Spader doing his creepy James Spader act.

image

It’s just like Pretty in Pink but one of the characters is a mannequin. Again, just typing that makes it sound ridiculous but it’s all good fun.

The next film I watched was straight after on Channel 5. It was Did You Hear About the Morgans? starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant.

image

This film was so terrible that I physically couldn’t watch it to the end. It was so utterly stupid and the characters were so dull that I could feel my braincells crying in pain.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant are a recently separated couple who witness a murder and have to go into witness protection. It’s all very boring, Sarah Jessica Parker is super broody, Hugh Grant is still in love with her. I honestly do not care what happened in the end. How do films like this even get made?

Hilariously, Channel 5 followed Sarah Jessica Parker with Seabiscuit, but I didn’t watch it.

Instead, my brother tried to convince me that Adam Sandler is funny (he’s not) and we watched Happy Gilmore on Netflix.

image

I really dislike Adam Sandler. I don’t know how he continues to make movies and why people pay to go and see them?! I think the only film of his I like is The Wedding Singer (maybe because I like the 80s!)

Apart from Adam Sandler, who was awful, this film was pretty funny. I understand why it’s a cult classic. It follows Sandler’s character go from ice hockey player to golf pro. The rest of the cast was hilarious and the script was brilliant – Grizzly Adams DOES have a beard.

Carl Weathers plays golf coach Chubbs with a fake hand after an alligator bit his off. Christopher McDonald plays nemesis Shooter McGavin. Ben Stiller plays a sadistic nursing home worker and Richard Kiel (Jaws from Bond) plays Sandler’s former boss.

It felt a lot like Kingpin, but with golf and to be honest I probably prefer Kingpin. I didn’t hate it as much as I expected to. Pretty high praise from me for Mr Sandler.

I leave you with a picture of Carl Weathers and his wooden hand…

image

The build up to Halloween

As a fan of horror films I’m a big fan of Halloween. I’m actually just a fan of Autumn in general – I like the darker nights and colder weather. I get it. I’m the anomaly.

As a build up to the night itself I decided to watch The Purge (Netflix). This is a film I saw the trailer for before its release and thought ‘that looks good’ and never got round to watching it. The people of Netflix gave it 2 stars, I think this is a bit harsh. It wasn’t the best horror film I’ve ever watched but I’ve seen many (and I mean MANY) that have been much worse.

image

The basic plot is that for 12 hours every year between the hours of 7pm and 7am the US government stops the emergency services and allows all crime (as the opening spiel says – even murder, well, duh, murder is a crime).

Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play husband and wife with two children. Hawke’s character sells security systems which, for some reason, makes his neighbours hate him.

As with any horror film, it takes a while to get going. There’s a boring storyline with the daughter’s boyfriend and then the son lets in someone off the street. Then these guys show up:

image

Spooky.

I won’t say anymore because the fun of any horror film is being shocked and not knowing what will happen next.

If you like slasher/suspense horror films then give it a go. I can guarantee that you will have sat through much worse films on the quest to find the perfect horror film!

Shaken or stirred?

Tonight I re-watched Casino Royale (the Daniel Craig version, not the terrifying David Niven version that I once watched by accident in the middle of the night). This is the first of Daniel Craig’s outings as 007 and boy is it a good film!

image

Casino Royale sort of plays out as a bit of a James Bond origin story, trying to explain where some of his angst comes from – particularly his mistrust of women which is made to come across as being hurt rather than just being sexist. Actually, there are some attempts to address the sexism in Bond in Casino Royale, for example, at one point a woman rides a horse along a beach wearing a bikini and, just for equality, Bond then emerges from the sea in those blue shorts!

The supporting cast is excellent. Mads Mikkelson plays baddie Le Chiffre, Eva Green plays the mysterious Vesper and Judi Dench returns as M.

The look and feel of Casino Royale is so slick and stylish. There are flash cars, parkour and a spectacular action scene in a sinking house in Venice. In particular I like this dress…

image

I would literally look ridiculous in it being hobbit-sized, but it’s just so classy!

Daniel Craig has a very wry sense of humour and smirking style. He pouts a lot, even when trying to use a defibrillator on himself (impossible) or the scene with the chair (ouch).

My only criticism is that there is a lot of poker-playing in this film and, as someone who has no idea how to play poker, I find this very dull. I also find these bits hard to follow as I don’t understand who is winning or losing. Does someone want to teach me to play? I’m not sure I have a great poker face though.

image

A great chunk of the film looks like this.

There’s a lot to love about this film, even the theme song is great although it seems to have been largely lost because of the popularity of Skyfall. Another great intro to Bond if you’re not sure that you’re a Bond fan.

Bond’s best quip in this film comes in response to the question ‘shaken or stirred?’ listen out for it, classic James. All he wants is a cheeky Martini. 

Stop getting Bond wrong!!

Ok, so I didn’t watch The Spy Who Loved Me, and I didn’t act out the opening credits in the style of Norfolk’s favourite radio DJ but yesterday I did watch GoldenEye and I have the word ‘GoldenEye’ sung in the style of Tina Turner in my head today.

image

I am ridiculously excited for Spectre and I love the Sam Smith theme – I’ve had it on repeat for the last week. I love a good Bond film (even though they’re ridiculous and filled with misogyny). I decided that in anticipation for Spectre I would re-watch a few of my favourites from the series.

I decided to start with GoldenEye. It’s the only one of the Pierce Brosnan era films that I really like and most of that is down to the supporting characters rather than Brosnan’s portrayal of 007. I find Brosnan to be a bit creepy if I’m being honest. He’s a bit slimy and not as lighthearted and cheesy as others (Roger, I’m looking at you!)

Sean Bean plays 006 agent Alec Trevelyan, Alan Cumming plays ‘Russian’ computer programmer Boris and Famke Janssen plays an absolute fruitcake. On top of this we’ve got Judi Dench absolutely nailing it in her first outing as M.

image

Place your bets – does he make it to the end of the film without dying?

GoldenEye is classic James Bond fun with true 90s action sequences. Mr Bond flirts outrageously with every woman in sight and they all fall for his upper class charm. It may lack the nostalgia of earlier films and the sophistication of the Daniel Craig films but if you’re not really sure if you like Bond I’d recommend GoldenEye – it’s a good film if nothing else.

On a final note – who remembers this gem?

image

I’m serious, look, this is my serious face

Last night I rewatched Team America: World Police with two friends who had never seen it before. I warned them beforehand that they would never think of the musical Cats in the same way again and that there were some adult acts performed by puppets.

image

I remember being desperate to see this film when it first came out because my brother and I were big South Park fans but they didn’t show it at our local cinema, which was a massive disappointment.

I’m not sure how Trey Parker and Matt Stone are still alive, to tell the truth. The more politically correct our society gets, the worse this movie seems. It’s still hilarious and ridiculous but I’m not sure whether I would want to be involved in the making of anything similar!

I love Parker and Stone’s analysis of society though, especially how they show Americans just going in places and smashing things up in the name of freedom. There’s also loads of random Star Wars references in there for the geek in all of us – you don’t need to see my credentials.

I could go all deep and philosophical about this movie but I won’t, because at the end of the day it’s four action heroes, an actor (that’s the best acting I’ve ever seen) and their boss with a hilarious chair. All played by puppets. There’s also some awesome panthers. Although the speech in the bar scene is pretty deep…

I like the songs in Team America (he’s way better than Ben Affleck now) but they can’t stand up to how perfect the songs are in the South Park Movie, which is more like a full-on musical.

I love the use of stupid one-liners to give the feel of a real action film and how the puppets only have a handful of facial expressions so they look deadpan when they’re telling each other they love them or treasure their friendship.

I guess all I really have to say about this film is…

image

Matt Damon.

My Top 21 Films OF ALL TIME

Hello everyone! I was challenged by my friends to come up with my Top 20 films. I realised I couldn’t narrow it down to just 20, so I have gone with 21. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. These are films I have watched over and over again. They are films I could finish watching and literally sit and watch them again. Which actually might be a bit sad and I have actually done before.

They are in some sort of order. Roughly.

21. The Mummy (1999)
image
I can remember watching The Mummy a lot in the lower half of secondary school. I was obsessed with this film partly because I was a big nerd at school and had a fascination with Ancient Egypt (does everyone go through this phase?) and partly because I had a massive crush on Brendan Fraser. Maybe also because I wanted to grow up to be Rachel Weisz.

A lovely combination of action/adventure, comedy and romance. Perfect family viewing! Though the scarab beetles were a bit creepy…

20. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
image
I felt I had to include a musical on this list because of my love of musical theatre. Singin’ in the Rain was the obvious choice. It’s a culturally interesting film – documenting the advent of talking pictures (with hilarious consequences).

Gene Kelly is a true gentleman, they just don’t make them like that anymore (is Brendan Cole the nearest equivalent? Maybe?) There are some moments of truly brilliant cinema – especially the iconic title number (which, rumour has it, was filmed with milk instead of water so it would show up more clearly on camera!)

19. Donnie Darko (2001)
image
I did a blog post on this recently which can be found here. I rediscovered this film in the last few weeks (to the extent that my Halloween costume this year is Donnie’s). Another film I loved when I was at school, but in my later teens.

It is delightfully weird, quirky and philosophical. It’s a bit pretentious and I guess it wouldn’t appeal to everyone but I love it!

18. True Romance (1993)
image
This is a film I only watched for the first time in the last few years. It’s a crime/thriller/dark comedy starring Christian Slater with a fantastic soundtrack. There are some beautiful cinematic moments – especially the final shoot out.

Watch out for Gary Oldman’s amazing cameo!

17. Predator (1987)
image
I watch Predator (yes, the Arnold Schwarzenegger alien jungle romp) every New Year’s Eve. It is a brilliantly ridiculous movie. There’s no dialogue for a massive chunk of the film as Arnie stalks the Predator through the jungle, only to come out with a truly classic one-Iiner.

Keep an eye out for the credits – they are amazing.

16. Scream (1997)
image
As a horror fan I felt I should include one on this list. Scream is my favourite horror of all time, perhaps because it includes comedy so it makes it able to be watched time and again even though the ending is no longer a surprise. Courtney Cox and David Arquette perfectly compliment the high school antics and Neve Campbell is so 90s it hurts (whatever happened to her?). So iconic.

Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances say ‘I’ll be right back’. Because you won’t be back…

15. Gladiator (2000)
image
Yet another film I binge-watched in secondary school before binge-watching was a thing. After my obsession with Ancient Egypt came my obsession with Ancient Rome. It was also one of the first films I saw Russell Crowe in, back when I only knew him from South Park (fightin’ round the world).

Perfectly acted and with a haunting soundtrack. A must see, but you already knew that!

14. Clueless (1995)
image
There were SO many mid-90s to mid-00s teen films I could have included on this list. I have narrowed it down to two. The first is Clueless. Full of memorable dialogue, fabulous outfits and a young Paul Rudd. I remember wishing I could be Cher. Although thinking about it now the whole step-brother thing is a bit weird.

(Very loosely) based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is a true cult classic. If anyone disagrees then whatever!!

13. Superbad (2007)
image
Superbad is a film I tend to watch after a night out at 2am. I have watched it so many times it is unreal. Particularly at University.

The dialogue is so perfect and the whole McLovin thing is one of my favourite comedy moments of all time. Take off the vest, you look like Aladdin.

Superbad introduced me to some of my favourite comedy actors – Bill Hader, Michael Cera and Seth Rogen. It’s vulgar and hilarious but has such a sweet ending.

12. Jurassic Park (1993)
image
A classic. No one can disagree this shouldn’t be on here, can they? The dinosaurs have stood the test of time so well. As a child this film terrified me, I was genuinely scared that dinosaurs would take over the earth (bear in mind that I was 4 when this came out!!)

The cast is great, John Williams’ score is incredible and the velociraptors are the stuff of nightmares. If you ever meet me in person, ask me to do an impression of my favourite dinosaur – it’s impressive!

11. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
image
This appears on the list partly because it’s a great British comedy and partly because I’m pretty sure that I actually am Bridget Jones. She speaks to me on a level I get (with the exception of the cigarettes and alcohol – there’s a song in there somewhere). I think it’s how tragically awkward she is.

Very loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (very loosely) the film stars an array of British stars and Renee Zellweger doing a passable British accent. It’s a true Romantic Comedy with just the right amount of both genres. The fight scene is just brilliant – should I bring my duelling pistols or my sword?

10. Mean Girls (2004)
image
Sticking with RomComs, and the second of my teen film choices, my favourite films in this genre definitely focus on the quality of the comedy and script. Tina Fey is an exceptional comedy writer and Mean Girls is my favourite of her work. This is such a quotable film.

There isn’t a loose link in Mean Girls, the casting is perfect and you know when I said I could watch some films straight after I’ve finished watching them? Well at University we once watched Mean Girls three times in one night. Who knows why?!

9. Pulp Fiction (1994)
image
I had to pick a Tarantino film for my list. I love his style and the whole universe he has created. If you haven’t read the theories of how his films link together then Google it now! Or after you’ve finished my list, whatever.

Pulp Fiction is so iconic – another true cult classic. A fabulous cast, soundtrack and a really original way of storytelling. The attention to detail in this film is stunning – next time you watch it check out the board games in the background in the Mia Wallace adrenaline scene.

8. Die Hard (1989)
image
The ultimate Christmas film (other than maybe Elf). Bruce Willis just wants to get home for Christmas but gets a bit held up by some German terrorists. Alan Rickman plays the bad guy with a ridiculous German accent.

Some classic one-liners and a lot of awesome action. Makes me want to always wear shoes.

7. Anchorman (2004)
image
An absolute favourite. So, so well cast and such a great script. It’s completely ridiculous and some of it makes very little sense.

I went to the cinema to see this with my brother and we had no idea what to expect. It instantly became a favourite. The sequel was a massive disappointment, but I don’t know how it possibly couldn’t have been.

I love lamp.

6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
image
Harrison Ford. Do I need to say any more?

Indiana Jones is a brilliant character, he’s a teacher/hero and is utterly charismatic. It was hard to pick just one of the trilogy (yes, trilogy, alright?) for this list. Last Crusade is funnier, Temple of Doom is scarier but Raiders of the Lost Ark is the original. Fantastic John Williams score, obviously.

5. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
image
I’m a huge Disney fan, like every other person who grew up in the 90s. Easily my favourite is Beauty and the Beast and that’s primarily because I love Belle. She’s clever, funny and doesn’t take any nonsense.

The songs are lovely, Gaston is hilarious and the only disappointment is how the Beast looks as a Prince!

It will be interesting to see whether I enjoy the live-action film as much. Watch this space.

4. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
image
A rare occasion where the sequel is far superior to the original (but where the second sequel is dreadful). BTTF II is so clever with the moving backwards and forwards in time. The sequence at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in particular.

It’s nearly BTTF day guys – October 21 2015. Now, where’s my hoverboard?

3. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
image
It pains me to choose just one, especially one which Faramir isn’t in, but I think Fellowship is my favourite Lord of the Rings film. It follows the forming and the breaking of the Fellowship and the start of Frodo’s long journey across Middle Earth.

It starts on such a positive note and ends on such a sad one, leaving you needing to carry on the adventure. It also introduces you to some amazing characters and to Middle Earth itself.

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. My housemate and I used to revise to these films so I know them pretty well!!

2. Con Air (1997)
image
It was challenging deciding whether to put this film first or second. I love it so much. Again, a brilliant cast and such a simple storyline, nothing too mentally taxing. Pure entertainment. Nic Cage is awesome, obviously, John Malkovich is a perfect villain and John Cusack is just lovely.

A word of warning – watch this film and you will get Leanne Rimes stuck in your head for days. How do IIIIII…

1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
image
Here we go, number 1!! It won’t be much of a surprise to anyone who knows me.

Again, really hard to pick just one of the trilogy (yes, trilogy) but I chose it for the same reason I chose Fellowship, it starts positively and ends sad, leaving you wanting more.

All the characters are great, with the obvious exception of C3PO, a brilliant John Williams score and lots of awesome space fun!

If anyone is reading this and wants to confess their undying love for me, be warned, I will respond with ‘I know’.

So, that’s it!! I’d love to hear your top 20 (or 21) films. Comment below!