Tag Archives: Adaptation

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*

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“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.

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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.

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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.

Dietland

*The first 3 episodes*

I want to talk about the TV adaptation of one of my favourite books in recent years (and apparently, my Book of 2016) – Dietland. It’s just started airing in the US and thankfully also on Amazon Prime – which is the greatest weekly treat. The first three episodes are up now and so far so good.

IMDB Synopsis

Plum Kettle is a ghostwriter for the editor of one of New York’s hottest fashion magazines. Struggling with self-image and fed up with how she’s treated by her boss and society, Plum sets out on a wildly complicated road to self-awakening. At the same time, everyone is buzzing over news reports about men, accused of sexual abuse and assault, who are disappearing and meeting untimely, violent deaths.

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My Thoughts So Far

Joy Nash is gorgeous and so likable as Plum – and she’s actually fat! But I can’t help thinking she’s too good-looking and not fat enough – wouldn’t this be even better if she didn’t fit into the ‘beautiful’ ideal at all? (Hate saying anyone isn’t ‘enough’ of anything but hopefully you know what I’m trying to say) – that said she’s so bloody lovely, I want to see her in everything coming up, please.

Julianna Margulies as Kitty Montgomery is PERFECTLY cast – I despise her in every way. What a prize A CUNT

♥ I’d give anything to visit the beauty closet for just one hour – ten minutes, even

♥ It is never tiring to watch abusers get their comeuppance, even when it’s brutal and violent (particularly then)

♥ I really like that Malleck Ferguson is such a poorly disguised version of a well-known fashion photographer and abuser – down to the minute details of his over-the-top glasses and personal style – LOL

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♥ Marlowe Buchanan is also cast well (she’s played by Alanna Ubach) and so far comes across as a bit of an arse with a God complex – proof that heroes and villains aren’t always cast in black and white

♥ Not enough Leeta (Erin Darke) – so they better bring her back again soon

♥ The closing speech at the end of Episode 3 made me cry. I won’t spoiler but it starts with “I don’t hate myself, society does” and it’s important and vital and above all TRUE

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I haven’t seen any violence towards sex workers or porn stars yet but I’ve read a discussion about it on Twitter and I’m not into it either. I know that the book tackles the porn industry on the whole and it opened my eyes when I read it – but I don’t think this should be a judgement of the women themselves, in either capacity. I’ll see when it comes along how I feel but I am hoping that it doesn’t let me down.

I can’t wait until the next episode, TV just got GREAT again!

Anyone else watching? What are your thoughts?