The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot

We’re back on our bullshit with a Free-for-all month, which if I’m honest is kind of my favourite theme outside of Halloween. This week we spend 90 minutes (and a bit) with one of the most elegant men in cinematic history.

A legendary American war veteran is recruited to hunt a mythical creature.

Sam ElliottAidan TurnerCaitlin FitzGeraldLarry Miller

*Spoilers*

Calvin Barr (Elliott) is living out his twilight years in modest surroundings. With his faithful hound in tow, he’s getting by but also feeling his age.

Via the medium of flashback we learn that the young Calvin (Turner) was once the handsome beau of Maxine (FitzGerald), until he was called away to war. Undercover as a Nazi, Calvin was the man who put a bullet in Adolf Hitler’s head. Since it was a secret mission, the government covered it up – and history played out as we know it now.

Unfortunately, as Calvin recounts later, the assassination didn’t stop the Nazi agenda and he became a murderer for nothing. The FBI know who he is though and this is an important point for later on.

In present time, our boy still has the moves – as he fends off a group of muggers when they try to take his car. He’s also being tailed by a couple of mysterious men. So life’s not all dull.

As Calvin laments his lost love and we find out more about their love story via his memory bank, it seems the world isn’t done with him yet. The American and Canadian FBI to be exact want him for one last job – to kill a disease-ridden Bigfoot before he infects more people and causes the destruction of all humankind.

Right.

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There’s a lot about this film that just seems incredibly pointless. When Jill suggested it, I assumed from the title that I was in for a B-movie/exploitation adventure. While this is quite the bizarre premise, it’s also very slow and ponderous. I don’t mind that but this film has a fucking Yeti in it and somehow just doesn’t come through.

If anyone but my love Elliott was playing Calvin, I don’t think it would have worked as well. He manages to portray a vulnerability that breaks your heart at the same time as being a total badass. That wry smile of his gets me everytime.

Obviously Aidan Turner is a total piece as the young protagonist who just wants to propose to Maxine. Alas, duty calls and it keeps the young lovers apart, as it turns out, forever. I also enjoy the scenes between Calvin and his younger brother Ed (Miller), who never really had a traditional relationship but are working on it now.

I have to admit that the Yeti bit is fun but it’s a little random. It doesn’t really have any bearing on the story – and at the end, Calvin is presumed dead and there’s a funeral. I can’t work out why they thought he was dead unless he wanted them to – and then he comes back…

Anyway, I didn’t hate this, it just wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

Film details:

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot
Year: 2018
Director: Robert D. Krzykowski
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10
My Rating: 3/5

What does my queen think of this one? Would change history by murdering it or let it live in the wilds of North America instead? Find out here.

Rocketman

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John‘s breakthrough years.

Taron EgertonJamie BellRichard Madden

I would happily of swerved this biopic had my friend Helen not been so excited about it. Her anticipation rubbed off on me, what can I say? I’m delighted that she changed my mind.

Kingsman hottie Egerton plays Elton in this tribute to one of our greatest treasures, king of the banger, Mr John. Which is no mean feat when your subject matter is still alive and will be watching your portrayal for themselves. Luckily, his performance is spot on (but more on that in a bit) – and his voice, well it’s really something. Who knew?

We begin where most good stories do, at the start. Elton, born Reginald ‘Reggie’ Dwight to a cold mother (Bryce Dallas Howard) and disengaged father (Steven Mackintosh), is an ordinary boy. Until he sits down one day at the family piano and duplicates a piece of music note for note. Grandma Ivy (Gemma Jones) encourages his parents to get him piano lessons and the rest is history. Except of course there’s way more to it than that.

Our boy attends the Royal Academy of music and discovers Elvis, which whets his appetites for all things rock n’s roll. Worst Dad of all time Stanley meanwhile finally leaves Reg and his mum – and starts a new more palatable family.

Reggie’s life changes forever when he supports a band on tour and gets the inspiration he needs to pursue a solo career. He approaches Dick James (Stephen Graham) and gains representation with James’ assistant, Ray (Charlie Rowe). Despite James’ initial negativity towards Reggie (now Elton John), Ray takes a chance on the young upstart and inadvertently sets him on the path towards his greatest ally, amateur songwriter Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell).

When Bernie and Elton meet magic happens – and they’re soon on their way to superstardom. Bernie supports Elton in every aspect of his life – and Elton boasts that they have never had a cross word.

Elton eventually meets and falls in love with music producer John Reid (Madden), who makes an even bigger star of him and encourages him to live a little larger. Which he does very well indeed, leading him to massive issues with drug, booze and shopping addiction.

Throw into the mix a crumbling personal life – John turns out to be a total scumbag – a still disinterested father (despite all the success) – and cruel words from his mother when he finally comes out to her – and Elton is on the road to self-destruction.

Will he ever be loved properly? Will he forgive the emotional crimes of his parents and save himself before its too late?

Rocketman is stunning with top notch costuming, as you’d expect. Every aspect of the movie looks good and I loved the performances. I cried a lot – particularly when Egerton sang Your Song and Tiny Dancer – his voice is powerful as hell.

While I loved his performance I have to be honest and say, I never once saw him as Elton. He’s just too damn attractive. That’s not to say I wasn’t engaged – I really enjoyed it. It just feels like a tribute performance to the man himself, rather than an uncanny reimagining (as with Rami Malek and Bohemian Rhapsody).

As for the surreal elements of the storytelling, I don’t think it could suit the main character more. It’s magical. And no, I haven’t been able to stop humming Rocketman since I left the theater last week.

Film details:

Rocketman
Year: 2019
Director: Dexter Fletcher
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
My Rating: 4/5

What are you watching?

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.

Keanu ReevesHalle BerryIan McShane

Johnny is back and he’s on a strict deadline, to get underground before he’s officially considered ‘excommunicado’ and therefore fair game to any assassin lucky enough to get to him first. With a $14 mill bounty on his pretty head, he’s a hot commodity – with one catch – he’s motherfucking John Wick. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?

Set less than 30 minutes after the end of John Wick 2, our hero needs to get to The Director in order to secure safe passage out of NYC, to Casablanca, Morocco. The Director (Anjelica Huston) is a mysterious woman from John’s past who really shouldn’t be helping him according to the High Table but whatcha gonna do? She allows him to cash in one last favour and it’s the one he wanted.

Meanwhile, The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) – a High Table employee – is kicking arse and taking names around the Big Apple, admonishing those who have helped JW.

Both Winston (McShane) and Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) are in the dog house for (respectively) giving John a head start to escape and helping him kill Santino D’Antonio (the crime lord he murdered on Continental ground, against strict High Table rule). They’re given seven days to give up their positions or face serious consequences.

John finds his way to Morocco and calls in on old friend Sofia (Berry), who reluctantly helps him get to The Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui) for help. When The Elder makes it clear the price JW will have to pay for forgiveness it’s almost too much – isn’t it?

What will our boy do?

Ung. This film is pant-wettingly exciting and closes off the first trilogy beautifully, while leaving it wide open for the next instalment. I couldn’t be more chuffed with the stunningly choreographed action sequences and the exploration of JW’s mythology. And despite the intricate world-building, there’s still so much we don’t know – like who doesn’t need way more from The Director and her tattooed ballerinas? Etc.?

There’s double-crossing and new allegiances, uber-violence and dogs. So many wonderful dogs. Not only Good Boy Dog but also Sofia’s incredible fighting dogs, who Halle Berry trained herself in addition to being a butt-kicking queen.

My only criticism, and it’s tiny, is that some of the fights going on just a fraction too long. But the set pieces, the performances and Keanu Reeves make up for everything. I think this might be my favourite in the series to date.

Bring on part 4.

Film details:

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Year: 2019
Director: Chad Stahelski
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
My Rating: 4.5/5

What are you watching?

Booksmart

On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.

Kaitlyn DeverBeanie FeldsteinJessica WilliamsBillie Lourd

Olivia Wilde‘s first feature is near perfect and I can’t stop thinking about how funny, charming and lovely it is. Centred around two booksmart best friends, Amy (Dever) and Molly (Feldstein) who are just about to graduate high school and fly into their respective bright futures, it’s a wild, coming-of-age romp – and I love it.

When Molly, during a smug argument with class mate Triple A (Molly Gordon) learns that not only has her ‘slutty’ nemesis got into a good university – and so have the seemingly less academic students from her year – she freaks out. All the sacrifice of a social life and all the hard work, what was it for? Sure, she’s done well but at what cost – all this time could she and Amy have been doing both?

With just one more day of school in front of them, Molly is determined that the girls will spend their last night of freedom at the biggest pre-graduation party in town. If they can just get the address. And so commences four years of missed opportunities crammed into one night.

While our BFFs rocket around town in search of the ultimate action, Amy has something to tell Molly but hasn’t gotten around to it yet. Molly has a secret crush on popular jock Nick (Mason Gooding), who’s throwing the party of the year. Meanwhile, ‘out’ Amy has the hots for skater chick Ryan (Victoria Ruesga) but is too shy to do anything about it.

We also meet a whole host of side characters including Principal Brown (Jason Sudeikis), hot AF Miss Fine (Jessica Williams) – misunderstood douchebag Jared (Skyler Gisondo) and his kooky girlfriend Gigi (Billie Lourd). Props also to the hilarious theatre kids George (Noah Galvin) and Alan (Austin Crute) who are proper little scene-stealers.

Billie Lourd is my lover

Will the girls make it to their goal and make their last night count? Well, there’s only one way to find out. There are way worse ways to spend a couple of hours and this is a smart comedy with well-rounded characters who buck against their high-school stereotypes. Molly is forced to examine her actions when she gets to know Triple A better, ‘Triple A’ being an unkind slut-shaming nickname she’s helped to perpetuate. And Amy realises there may be more to her classmate, beautiful but mean Hope (Diana Silvers) than meets the eye.

It teaches sweet lessons without shoving them down your throats. There are always lazy comparisons when it comes to film but in this case I kind of agree that Booksmart has a decidedly Superbad vibe to it – which can only be a great thing.

BFFs FOREVER

As for the central performances, Feldstein is the queen of everything as far as I’m concerned and her BFF chemistry with Dever is completely authentic. The girls are wonderful and I’m excited to see more from them. As for Olivia Wilde, Director – I can’t wait to watch what she brings us next – she’s knocked her first feature out of the ball park.

Film details:

Booksmart
Year: 2019
Director: Olivia Wilde
IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
My Rating: 5/5

What are you watching?