Earthquake Bird

Earthquake Bird (2019)

An enigmatic translator with a dark past is brought in for questioning after an ex-pat friend, who came between her and her photographer boyfriend, ends up missing and presumed dead.

Director: Wash Westmoreland
Stars:  Alicia VikanderKiki SukezaneKenichi Masuda

This is a film that should have been so much better. The premise is actually pretty fantastic and I was well up for an ex-pat in Japan murder mystery – unfortunately it does fall a little flat. I don’t think it’s really anyone’s fault – the central performances are fine – the set pieces are lovely and Japan continues to be utterly beautiful.

The landscapes here seem a little more subdued than they usually appear on film. Sure we get some neon lit karaoke bars but for the most part the backgrounds are low key and functional, the apartments no frills. I think you could probably say the same about the characters.

We centre around translator Lucy Fly (Vikander) who begins a relationship with local photographer Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi). Things are fine enough until Lucy starts to show signs of suspicion, breaking into Teiji’s apartment and going through his things. When she finds a file of photographs of his old girlfriend, she torments herself with questions about their relationship.

These feelings of jealousy are exacerbated further when she meets Lily (Riley Keough), a young American woman. When she is persuaded to help Lily find an apartment, the trio grow closer and Lucy is not amused to note that her new friend and boyfriend appear to be attracted to each other. When she shows her jealous side, Teiji encourages it because she is his “girlfriend, after all”.

Lucy is should be said is rather a buttoned up person and at times, and as we learn, an unreliable narrator. That means that the whole sorry tale as it unravels might not even be the truth and we never really know whether we can trust her version of events. The story is unpacked across two timelines, the ‘present’ (e.g. Lucy being interrogated by police who have found the remains of a woman who may or may not be Lily) – and flashback, in which we are party to the development of this awkward love triangle.

The main question is: is Lily dead and did Lucy do it? 

This does go on quite a big longer than necessary but there are some nice moments. I enjoy the concept of blame and responsibility – and as I mentioned, I really love how late 80’ Japan looks. There’s also a very shocking scene involving a freshly waxed staircase that I can’t get out of my head – so this is probably memorable for the wrong reasons.

3/5

What are you watching?

It Chapter Two

Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is back to terrorize Derry and there’s only one thing for our gang to do – come back and kill the fucking clown. A promise is a promise after all…

It Chapter Two

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

You’ll Float Again

*Spoilers*

My Review

27 years after the events of the first film, we catch up with Bev, Stanley, Richie, Bill, Ben, Mike and Eddie as full grown adults, all doing their own thing outside Derry. Well, all but Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) who stayed to keep an eye on the small town and the unspeakable evil that lurks beneath it. When it becomes apparent that It – despite their victory against it last time – has not disappeared forever as they’d hoped, Mike is forced to call The Losers back together for a new fight.

None of the gang remember much except Mike, something has happened to their memories of the town they grew up in and the childhoods they knew. Most of all their summer of friendship is a blur. As they settle back into their roles within the group, these memories start to come back – and it’s not all roses. Mike must convince them to keep their vow to do what it takes to defeat It once and for all.

Unfortunately Stanley (Andy Bean) can’t join his friends – and in addition to the killer clown, the relentless pest Pennywise – the Losers also have to contend with their old bully Henry Bowers (Teach Grant), who’s just escaped the mental institution that has held him since he brutally murdered his own father. Can our pals evade a stab-happy Bowers, clear their minds and beat the shit out of the third creepiest clown in cinematic history before going back to their respective lives?

My Comments

I can’t go too far into the play by play, there’s just too much ground to cover. It is an epic story and it spans a lot of time. At 2 hours 49 it’s a beast of a movie and I loved it. I’ve seen in twice now and it’s full of all the wonder and magic and terror and nostalgia I needed. The film is imperfect and not all of it works but I’m delighted with the adaptation of a book that means a lot to me and I have no doubt that will grow with every viewing.

The effects are amazing if a little much in some places – looking at you naked hag – and the casting of the adult versions of the Losers is spot on. Particularly Eddie (James Ransone) and Richie (Hader) who steal the show with their chemistry (much as they did as kids). James McAvoy is obviously very easy on the eye and brings a solidity to Bill Denbrough, the unofficial leader of the gang. And Uncle Stephen‘s cameo was brilliant too.

Main man Bill Skarsgård nails PW perfectly. He’s really grown into the role – I particularly enjoyed the scene in which he manipulates a little girl by way of her physical insecurities (and then eats her). The scene in which the gang come together for the first time in a Chinese restaurant is also glorious – and hideous, in equal measure. I love how the film flashes between past and present day, perfectly morphing the adults back into children, pulling at our heartstrings as it goes. I can’t look at baby Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) without wanting to smoosh the shit out of him, he’s so vulnerable and precious.

“Your hair is winter fire
January embers
My heart burns there, too.”

I have beef too – mainly the way they used Bowers and his crew. In the book the human terror was just as prolific as the supernatural and Henry posed a massive threat to the gang. In Chapter Two he’s reduced to a secondary character and framed as the light comedy relief which is just wrong. His story line never really goes anywhere. Likewise, Bill’s wife Audra and Beverly’s husband are underused and the emphasis on Bev’s lifelong cycle of abuse is not very clear. I think it’s a key element of who she is and how she defeats her demons. As a result adult Bev isn’t very well-developed and Chastain is quite overshadowed by her adolescent counterpart.

It needs to mentioned that the movie opens with a horrendous homophobic attack. It is obviously incredibly difficult to watch – but I’m glad they didn’t shy away from including it in the film. It goes some way towards making the point that Derry is bad because of an inherent evil that dwells there (or are people just bad?). The image of Pennywise putting out a hand to help a drowning man is chilling to the core and the scene looks exactly as I imagined it in my mind.

There’s a lot of fat phobia – Eddie’s ma in particular is not treated very respectfully, while Ben was only hot once he got skinny and did some crunches (true the source material) but how good would it be for the fat dude to get the girl, no questions asked?

It is a mammoth book and it would be very hard to cover everything across two films, so I shouldn’t be too sore about the missed bits. I’m still delighted with what I got and I’m sad it’s over. It may be about fear and the birth of evil but it’s also the perfect ode of the kind of friendship you’ll always hold near, even if you lose touch. I cried my eyes out as the credits rolled (both times).

Now, what I wouldn’t give for a Pennywise backstory spin off!

Film details:

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader
Director: Andy Muschietti
Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 7/10
My Rating: 5/5

What are you watching? Have you seen It? What did you think?

Juliet, Naked

Our so-called fuck up this week is incredibly easy to relate to so I probably like this film more than I would normally because of that. Also, Rose Byrne is such a gifted comic actor, I want to be her.

Juliet, Naked is the story of Annie (the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan) and her unlikely transatlantic romance with once revered, now faded, singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the subject of Duncan’s musical obsession.

Chris O’DowdRose ByrneEthan Hawke

What if you met the man of your man’s dreams?

ABWGHOJRGVGVJGVAUVWRVHG7EU

*Minor spoilers*

Annie (Byrne) still lives in her hometown and is the curator at the local museum. She lives with her long-term boyfriend Duncan (O’Dowd), even though the relationship is pretty threadbare. It isn’t helped by Duncan’s all-consuming obsession with the music of singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe (Hawke). Crowe’s last work was released 25 years ago but this doesn’t stop him running a dedicated fan site.

When a surprise package arrives at the couple’s home, Annie opens it first and discovers a collection of acoustic covers of Crowe’s seminal masterpiece, “Juliet”. The new work is called “Juliet, Naked”. Duncan is none-to-pleased to arrive home and find his girlfriend has already listened to it. He’s even less thrilled when she tears it apart. This leads to a huge argument and Annie leaves a negative review of the demo on his website.

When Annie later receives a response to her critique from someone purporting to be Tucker Crowe, things start to get interesting. He thanks her for her honesty and it soon becomes clear that it really is the man himself. The pair quickly begin a regular correspondence, updating each other on the intimate details of their lives. Annie ends up being very candid about her sadness at not being a mother, while Crowe shares his regrets about being a bad father to five kids, by four different mothers.

Meanwhile, Duncan bangs a teacher at his school and his relationship with Annie conveniently comes to an end. Round about the same time, Crowe – who lives in America to be near his youngest son, Jackson – has to travel to London for his daughter Lizzie (Ayoola Smart) who’s about to give birth to her first child. Of course he arranges to meet Annie in London but stands her up.

She forgives him when she learns he’s had a heart attack and the pair finally manage to meet, though the small hospital room in which she finds him is soon full of ex-wives and children. She stays for a beat then excuses herself, never to be seen again. Kidding. Crowe invites himself and Jackson to Annie’s to recuperate and get to know her better.

Which is lovely and all but how will she explain the shrine to Tucker Crowe that still lives in the house? Indeed, how will Duncan take his first – and subsequent – meetings with his idol?

It’s all very idyllic but what will become of the new couple when reality comes a-knocking and Crowe has to return to the US?

Well, this is a slow burning quite lovely little lament on regret and new beginnings. It may please you to note that Annie does what she wants to do finally – and follows her own dreams, regardless of other people’s demands on her. I think in the hands of someone else I would have been bored but the small-town seaside setting feels authentic and both Byrne and Hawke put in good, low-key performances. I cannot abide Chris O’Dowd if we’re being honest but he brings the infuriating character if Duncan to life by default.

While I enjoyed this, I don’t have that much to say about it. Not that much happens. I do however understand the pressure of waking up in your forties and being nowhere near the person you thought you would be. There’s a sadness and some hope in there somewhere, depending on how you look at it.

Film details:

Juliet, Naked
Year: 2018
Director: Jesse Peretz
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
My Rating: 4/5

What does my girl think of Juliet, Naked? Would she set up a very niche fan site for it or send it back to obscurity forever? Find out here.

Crooked House

Who doesn’t love a damn good whodunit? I love all the (mostly incorrect) guessing, the red herrings and the final reveal – it’s all so deliciously satisfying. But does this tale suffer for not having a stong central character à la Miss Marple/Hercule Poirot? We’ll see.

Crooked House (2017)

In Agatha Christie’s most twisted tale, a spy-turned-private-detective is lured by his former lover to catch her grandfather’s murderer before Scotland Yard exposes dark family secrets.

Max IronsStefanie MartiniGlenn CloseChristina HendricksGillian AndersonTerence Stamp

Hot Private Dick Charles Hayward (Irons) is all out of sorts when his former lover, the beautiful Sophia De Haviland (Martini) turns up in his office, all red lips and jewel-coloured tones. Although the pair parted on bad terms – after a romp in Cairo – here she is asking him to solve her grandpapa’s murder. Bit cheeky if you ask me but there’s still feeling there between them so no judgement for now.

Charles flip flops back and forth on whether he should take the assignment given the conflict of interest but he eventually gives in, not least because the publicity from solving such a case, surrounding the death of a very wealthy and famous buisness man will do his one man outfit the world of good. Plus, he wants to know why Sophia left him in the first place.

Chief Inspector Taverner (Terence Stamp) of Scotland Yard gives Charlie his blessing. Which is pretty decent of him.

Lady in Red dunit

When Charles gets to Aristide Leonides’ sprawling estate it soon becomes clear that this is a family with secrets. The walls practically creak with scandal and intrigue. Right away Charlie bonds with the youngest resident, Sophia’s baby sister Josephine (Honor Kneafsey) who is something of an amateur sleuth. Bored out of her box, she looks for clues in every corner – and keeps record in her notebook.

Also living in the house are Aristide’s two bickering sons, their wives and his own sexy wife, former dancer Brenda (Hendricks). There’s also the nanny, his first’s wife’s sister, another grandson and the children’s personal tutor, Laurence. Phew.

Obviously, everyone’s a suspect.

As Charles visits each member of the family/household, one by one, he realises there are motives everywhere. Brenda was banging Laurence (John Heffernan) – therefore has a very good reason for wanting her husband out of the picture. Aristide’s eldest son Philip (Julian Sands) hated his guts. Meanwhile, Sophia looks set to inherit everything given that her grandpapa failed to sign his will – ooooooh!

Glenn Close dunit

So the question is: who?

Was it saucy Brenda with her curves to die for, skanking about with the hired help on her husband’s dime? Could it be Edith De Haviland, Aristide’s ex-sister-in-law who despised him for his coolness towards his grandchildren?

What about beautiful Sophia, who’s about to become a very rich woman indeed? Nanny (Jenny Galloway) might be pissed off about low pay maybe. And Clemency (Amanda Abbington) is a literal botanist (the victim was poisoned) – could she have knocked off her father-in-law? After all, she and her son Roger are barely keeping it together financially.

Was in one of the neglected grandkids – sly Josephine or snarky Eustace (Preston Nyman), sick of mean Gramps, hellbent on revenge or excitement? I guess all bets are off when you enter Christie’s imagination – but it’s fun trying to work it all out. Will Charles get to the answer quick enough, especially since more murders have start to happen around him?

You know what to do.

Gillian Anderson’s wig dunit

This movie looks great, the setting is exactly what you’d expect and enjoy about a film like this – and it is enjoyable, perfect for a Sunday afternoon. I don’t know about it being Christie’s most twisted story but then again the final reveal is an interesting one that doesn’t pull its punches. I like it for that.

Charles himself doesn’t have much going on apart from a pretty face. He’s no Marple, no Poirot and yes, I do think the story suffers for that. I haven’t read enough Agatha Christie to know if he’s a reoccurring character but I do feel he lacks the charisma to bring this all together. His sexual chemistry with Sophia isn’t all that – and I don’t really care about the side story of their love affair.

I do love self-absorbed Magda – and Anderson is always an absolute delight. As a fading stage actress with a drink problem, she’s even more glorious. When an accident occurs and her youngest child ends up in hospital, she doesn’t even go and visit. What a dame.

The kid dunit

Likewise, super snooper Josephine is so much fun. Lurking in shadows and listening at doors, she has her nose up in everybody’s business – and I love it. I also have all the time in the world for Edith, who has her own personal shit going on.

God I love murder mystery. I want more. Way, way more.

What does my prime suspect Jillian think of this tale? Would she work it out in the first first minutes or murder it in its sleep? Find out here.

3.5/5

Hellboy

Demons Have Demons Too.

Hellboy (2019)

Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.

Starring: David Harbour • Milla Jovovich • Ian McShane • Sasha Lane

*Minor spoilers*

Hellboy-Still-6

“Who are you calling ‘Helmet’?”

Who are you calling a monster, pal? Have you looked in the mirror recently? ~ Hellboy

This movie has received a lot of negative reviews. Milla Jovovich herself was asked what she thought of all the bad press and she responded that it will be a cult classic instead – and fuck the box office (to paraphrase). Which is possibly the best answer ever.

Having now seen it for myself, I can safely say… I completely agree with her.

Nobody is more surprised than me to learn that I loved this. I adored del Toro‘s HB movies more than cocoa puffs. BUT – I had a high old time with the new Hellboy (though admittedly it took me a moment). David Harbour might not have been my first choice to fill Ron Perlman‘s boots but I’m glad he’s here now.

The addition of psychic conduit Sasha Lane to the cast – as well as a fine turn (as always) from Ian McShane and a little help from a wild and wonderful new friend – and this does have the makings of a film you’d revisit again and again. Screw the people who didn’t like it.

milla-jovovich-blood-queen-in-hellboy-2019-p3

Yaaaaaas (Blood) Kween

Directed by Dog Soldiers’ Neil Marshall, it is extremely gory – with limbs flying and eyeballs exploding left and right. It is bloody for the sake of being bloody in places – and I am down for that.

Sure, some of the dialogue is utterly laughable but in that 90’s action movie way, particularly the one liners. In fact, most of the things this movie has been criticised for are the things I loved about it. It’s fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously.

There’s a wonderful and grotesque segment inside Baba Yaga’s walking house which I adored – and the story itself, while stupid in place, is firmly grounded in old English folklore so what’s not to like.

Jovovich plays it pretty straight as super villainess Numue the Blood Queen but has a comedic sidekick in the form of pig faced Gruagach (voiced by Stephen Graham). And while we failed to stay for the post-credit scenes (rookies), this does climax with a hint to what could follow in the Hellboy universe and I’m there with bells on.

Yeah, I probably would

Glynn and I were pretty much the only two people in the cinema enjoying ourselves but I’m not mad about being in the minority – come see me when this is the ultimate cult classic in 25 years time and I’ll tell you – I told you so.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Pet Sematary

Sometimes Dead Is Better.

Pet Sematary (2019)

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.

Starring: Jason Clarke • Amy Seimetz • John Lithgow

*Minor spoilers*

Which way to certain doom?

She won’t come back the same ~ Jud

Hmmm. I waited a long time for this updated adaptation and now it’s here, I’m not sure.

I mean, it looks good – let’s start there. There are a couple of really sweet SK nods that I appreciate. The house and the setting of the cemetery itself is spot on. I love the Wicker Man aesthetic of the local children in masks (even though they aren’t used at all, which is a shame).

John Lithgow‘s Jud is magnificent – but there’s a lot of character development missing for me. While they go in quite hard on the Zelda/Rachel story arc (which pays tribute subtly to another SK classic), they don’t pad out the family enough for me to give much of a damn.

Louis: loving life

Jason Clarke (good-looking Piers Morgan) is Louis, the tormented father with the power to bring his dead child back from the dead. He’s alright but I do feel the character could have been played by any slightly hot dude of a similar age. Rachel (Amy Seimetz) is actually quite good at times as she deals with the PTSD of her sister’s illness – but as with a lot of female characters in King’s stories, she isn’t given that much to do beyond look stressed out. A modern adaptation could of had her kicking more arse? (Just me?).

I also have issue with how easily Louis resurrects his daughter, Ellie (played by Jeté Laurence). In the book there’s much more examination of his moral quandary – and how much the decision plays on him. The film is only 101 minutes so we don’t have the luxury of spending too much time with the to and fro but still. I think perhaps having the book so clearly in my mind (I read it in the last year and loved it) hasn’t helped but slightly hindered my enjoyment.

There he is

I have to mention the trailer too! It gives so much of the film away that it really damaged things for me. Yes, I get that this is a story that most people know, either from the book or from the 1989 film but this version offers a different take on the story (sort of) by choosing to kill off a different kid. Had we not known that this was the case then ‘the scene’ would have packed quite the punch. While keeping our eye on Gage, we would have completely dropped the ball on Ellie.

I suppose the ending is different and it deserves a nod for that. It’s pretty dark and maybe I would have liked a bit more time to sit with that rather than just have it end. I can’t help think how good this might have been had they made it into a series instead.

All of the above said, Glynn and Matt enjoyed it much more and for some of the reasons I didn’t – so it really is down to a matter of taste. My verdict is: not terrible but ultimately, what was the point?

⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Shazam!

Shazam! (2019)

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 adult superhero Shazam.

Starring: Zachary Levi • Djimon Hounsou • Mark Strong

*Minor spoilers*

Sure, Shazam! is a little less dark than your average comic book movie but it has its moments. We went with Beau at the weekend and we all left with a smile on our faces – so yes, good clean family fun all round.

Billy (Asher Angel) is a fourteen-year-old tearaway with one objective – to find his birth mother. Running away from every foster home he’s ever had, all he cares about is reuniting with the woman who lost him when he was a little boy.

It’s all about faaaaaaamily

When Billy takes this quest one step too far, he’s placed by his exasperated social worker into a new home with foster parents Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa Vasquez (Marta Milans). This is his last chance saloon but to say he’s thrilled by the arrangement would be a damn lie.

His eye is still on the prize and he’s not there to make friends, despite the efforts of his new foster siblings; Freddy, Mary, Darla, Eugene and Pedro.

When he accidentally meets The Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) – there’s a whole convoluted intro to the wizard which I’m leaving to you, the viewer – he inherits crazy powers and begins his journey toward hero-dom.

For, when Billy says the magic word – it escapes me now – he becomes the very adult Shazam (Zachary Levi).

Capes are out, didn’t anyone tell you?

With the help of new friend/bro Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Billy begins to figure out his new super skills. But with bitter super-villain Dr. Thaddeus Silvana (Mark Strong) on his tail and after the powers for himself – he’s going to need more than just lightning fingers to keep the city safe.

The message here is a sweet enough and it’s actually quite upsetting when Billy (as himself) finally meets his mum. I know I cry at everything but I did get a lump in my throat. Billy just wants what we all want: love and acceptance.

One of these things is not like the others

The Vasquez’s are heavenly with a wholesome but firm parenting style – and the kids aren’t annoying at all, not even once. The more I think of this silly film the more I realise I really enjoyed it. I’m glad I went and I definitely would have avoided it had my step-son not wanted to go.

The effects are great – the seven deadly sins are brilliant – the ‘training’ montages are a scream and Mark Strong makes a fine villain.

I’m looking forward to the sequel which is rumoured to be starring Dwayne Johnson. Bring it.

Just kiss already

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

*Minor spoilers*

Things aren’t going great for Lee Israel. Once a lauded writer, her last book – a biography of Estée Lauder – has been a commercial and critical flop. Her agent is avoiding her calls, she’s behind on her rent and she’s just been let go from her job.

Struggling to stay afloat and keep her sick cat from death’s door, Lee sells a personal letter she received from Katharine Hepburn to a local bookseller. Coincidentally, while researching her pet project, another biography this time on Fanny Brice, she finds a letter from Brice to an unknown recipient. Lee sells this to the same bookseller, a lovely woman called Anna (Dolly Wells).

Something Anna says gets Lee to thinking, if the letter contained better content it would no doubt be worth more. An idea is born and Lee begins to forge letters from some of the most prolific deceased writers of all time – Noël Coward, Dorothy Parker – embellishing little details to make them seem more realistic and interesting.

This soon becomes quite the booming business and Lee’s damn good at it. Unfortunately, after one of her Noël Coward letters is sent to a collector who once knew him, it draws suspicion for its openness about his sexuality. Coward was not one to talk so freely about his gayness. In an attempt to keep a low profile and still bring in the coin, Lee calls in a favour from her new friend, drug dealer Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) who agrees to sell the letters for her.

But how long can the pair keep it up when the world of literary collectibles (and the FBI) are on high alert?

I adored this. McCarthy is wonderful as Lee, a woman with immense talent and a drink problem. I find her situation unbearably sad and as things unravel – and she revisits old wounds AND turns away from new opportunities, it hurts to watch. One particular scene made me cry like a baby and it wasn’t dramatic at all, just supremely relatable.

The friendship between Jack and Lee is also lovely if incredibly tempestuous. Jack’s flamboyance contrasts well with Lee’s reluctance to add any sort of colour or frippery to her life. She’s a no-nonsense broad with a mission and has little time for other people, while he’s determined to rinse every ounce of joy out of life before it’s too late – and damn the consequences.

But there are always consequences, aren’t there? – and our pair are about to learn them. I can’t imagine anyone not having a good time with Jack and Lee but it’s a must for any fan of literature and masses of gumption. Loved it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Christopher Robin

Christopher Robin (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.

*Minor spoilers*

When you put away childish things, life can get really fucking dull. Or so we’re lead to believe, I wouldn’t know, I’ll never tidy away my Funko pops and comic books.

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) knows though and as a middle-aged working-class workaholic, he’s all but forgotten the magic of childhood. Which is shame ‘cos of all the childhoods his is probably up there as one of the most magical, you know?

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Constantly working late and perpetually disappointing his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and their daughter Madeline, Chris has allowed all the joy to be sucked out of his life. When his boss, the sniveling Giles Winslow (the fucking fabulous Mark Gatiss) of Winslow Luggage demands he give up a precious weekend away with the family to stay in the office and make drastic financial cuts, he is torn. He knows what he should do but also wants to do right by his career.

Perhaps what he needs is a little help from an old friend or two to give him perspective?

This is a film that has obviously been lovingly made. The CGI animals are not jarring at all and the performances are as competent as expected (including the voice work of Jim CummingsPeter Capaldi and Toby Jones). However, I think this is another film that is not for me. I personally find Pooh and friends creepy in a way Paddington isn’t and I don’t know why. Especially you, Piglet.

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“I’ve been seeing someone else… his name’s Paddington…”

I also got a lot of anxiety every time Pooh smeared honey all over everything which I thought was just me until I mentioned it to my friend Helen, who wholeheartedly agreed. Honestly, there’s one scene that brought me out in hives. Stop doing that, you bad bear!

So, I can objectively say that this is a well made film but it was ever so slightly boring in places. It only really gets going in the final segment, as Pooh, Tigger and pals travel with Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) to Lon Don to try and save his job.

Pooh was always around when I grew up but he wasn’t a core part of my childhood and maybe that also goes some way to explaining the disconnect I felt to this film. I think die hard fans with cream themselves.

christopher-robin-trailer-2

You can stay, Tigger.

*Shrug*

My Rating

3/5.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (Film) Review

Welcome to Alien August! Jill and I have decided to explore the genre of science fiction, starting with this bat-shit but charming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story of the same name.

Who knows where the month will take us?

*Spoilers*

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

An alien touring the galaxy breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon.

My Review

It’s 1977 and Enn (Alex Sharp) and his pals are into punk and girls. When they find out from Croydon’s punk matriarch, Queen Boadicea (Nicole Kidman) that there’s a secret house party going on at a local address, the boys are determined to crash it and soak up as much life experience as they can.

And boy, do they get more then they bargain for.

Accidentally gatecrashing the wrong house and the wrong party, Enn meets beautiful and mysterious Zan (Elle Fanning) while his friends are soon otherwise engaged (sex tour/dance party), and thus begins a wonderfully weird love affair that will span the universe. Sort of.

Aliens are slightly better looking than Spielberg portrays them

What Enn is quick to realise is that Zan isn’t like other girls. In the literal sense because she is very much not human and part of a cannibal/child eating commune of alien life forms currently touring Earth. Zan is a rebel at heart though which might be why she takes to punk culture like a duck to water.

She seems to be the only member of her group to vocalise her concerns that they all act like tourists but fail to experience real life like the locals do. When she meets Enn she decides to take a chance and let him teach her more about the ways of Punk for the remaining 48 hours she has on Earth.

While the young lovers experience all the planet has to offer, Zan’s alien crew tsk and tut about all the rules she’s breaking. But they follow her anyway in a bid to make sure she doesn’t miss her ticket off Earth. This leads them all into hilarious japes as Zan meets Boudicea, becomes a punk star and picks up her own on-board passenger along the way.

There’s also some dubious sexual assault by alien (it’s meant to be light-hearted but made me feel icky), the convoluted cannibal story-line and a hard decision for Zan to make about her future and the future of… well, you’ll see.

Will Enn end up heartbroken or does this relationship have legs? Also, are Punks harder than aliens in a fight?

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My Thoughts

If truth be told I wasn’t as focused as I could of been on this. It was fun fluffy goodness with a wonderfully bonkers premise and I enjoyed it. I didn’t really follow a lot of the alien philosophy, something about the fathers eating their children but it doesn’t matter – it’s one long getting-to-know-you montage and I’m here for that. I’m also extremely here for Nicole Kidman as a punk Queen and would like to move into her artists’ loft STAT.

Elle Fanning is a dreamy one and her chemistry with Alex Sharp was believable. I enjoyed Enn’s friends, John (Ethan Lawrence) and Vic (Abraham Lewis), the latter of whom is anally probed against his will. This later happens to another character too. This shit didn’t happen down the bus stop in Bexhill town, let me tell you. Although, I would like to go to that weird arse house party.

So yeah, it was fun and nice and looked good with attractive cast members – but I haven’t really thought of it since and the pregnancy story-line is a little cheesy. The very ending is cute though, when we meet a grown up Enn in the nineties.

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My Rating

3/5.

What does ma girl Jill think of this psychedelic love fest? Does she think it’s out of this work or would she eat it for dinner? Find out here.