The Lion King

After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

Donald GloverBeyoncéSeth Rogen

The King Has Returned.

I really didn’t give a fuck about this remake. I’ve never been the most die-hard Disney fan anyway and The Lion King wasn’t one of my favourites. When it was announced, I didn’t feel excited and would happily have skipped it. However, my husband is obsessed with the original and well, the things we do for love.

I’m glad we did. For a moment there I was almost relegated to a different row, he was so worried I’d ruin it with my negative reaction. But I enjoyed myself, honestly and was very well-behaved.

The film is beautiful, I’d be lion if I said otherwise. The attention to detail is stunning, with lots of fun little side characters peppered throughout. The first half of the movie, in fact was delightful. Baby Simba is a peach and you’d have to be inhuman not to be moved a) by James Earl Jones‘ treacle toffee voice and b) the father/son relationship. It’s even more bittersweet as we all know what’s coming.

I cried a lot, even before ‘that scene’ which I expected to do, I’m a big baby. But I didn’t expect to be as affected. When I was a kid I had a genuine internal worry that I wasn’t ‘normal’ because my heartstrings never seemed to react in the way Disney wanted them to.

For me it started to unravel as soon as we meet grown up Simba (Glover). I’m not crazy about the voice choices for him or for adult Nala (Bey) – both artists I like, particularly Glove – and I hated their songs. Their rendition of Can You Feel the Love to Night is dreadful. Thank God for the genius of Timon and Pumbaa (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan) then. Rogan was born to play this role and everybody’s favourite characters really shine together. They also get the best songs.

Meanwhile, Rafiki and Scar are also very good. The latter in particular seems even more menacing and his hyena army are terrifying. I felt myself sympathising with Scar toward the end which is odd as there really is no good in him. Perhaps it’s just the concept of a sad, old lion being exiled from the pride that is hard to deal with.

All in all I had fun. I enjoyed it more than Beauty & the Beast and The Jungle Book. Lots of people have been mean about the lack of facial expressions on the animals and I get it, though what do you expect? If you make something realistic, you can’t then expect it to react like the cartoon does. Duh.

Now I’m quite excited for The Little Mermaid which has been stirring up some delicious controversy on the internet over its casting choices. And Mulan also looks pretty good.

Look, we don’t really need any of these movies remade but who am I to begrudge super fans more time with their faves? God knows we need as much joy and happiness as we can get in this confusing world.

Bring on Ursula, bitches. I’m holding out for Lizzo or Missy Elliott for the role.

Film details:

The Lion King
Year: 2019
Director: Jon Favreau
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
My Rating: 3/5

What are you watching?

Toy Story 4

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Tom Hanks • Tim AllenAnnie Potts

On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You.

*Minor spoilers*

It could be argued that Toy Story 3 tied up the franchise perfectly, with a giant, emotional bow. Despite not really needing a fourth installment, how many of us wouldn’t jump at the change to spend just a little more time with Woody and pals again?

Toy Story 4 carries the toys from Andy – who’s all grown and gone off to college – into Bonnie’s world, where she’s just about to start kindergarten. Noting that Bonnie is traumatised by the thought of entering the world alone, Woody (Hanks) sneaks to orientation day with her. When she doesn’t make any friends, our cowboy secretly saves the day – and she literally makes a new friend of her own: Forky.

Forky becomes her ride or die, very much against his will – and Woody makes it his life’s mission to keep Forky and Bonnie together, at all costs. You see, Woody recognises how important toys are to children and how they help to form life long memories. Sadly, Woody senses that he might be on the out himself, having been left in the cupboard three times that week alone.

When Bonnie and family go on a road trip before kindergarten starts for real, the toys come along for the ride. You’re expecting an epic adventure, aren’t you? Well, buckle up, kids – because Forky and Woody get separated from the group, find themselves in hot water, meet up with some old friends (and an old flame) and make some new ones. This is a ride and a half and let me assure you, we might not have needed this movie – but it is utterly magical and heaps of fun.

Woody of course meets up with Bo Beep (Potts) again (we recap on their heartbreaking separation at the beginning of the movie) and she’s a hardcore survivalist now, identifying as a ‘lost toy’. Along with her rag tag crew of misfit friends, she does what she needs to get by and is planning to get the heck out of dodge, just to see the big bad world beyond the RV park she finds herself in. Along with her sheep, Billy, Goat and Gruff, Bo hangs with Giggles McDimples (Ally Maki), an excellent new character molded on Polly Pocket.

When Forky is taken by an evil doll named Gabby Gabby (voiced by the high priestess Christina Hendricks) and her ventriloquist dummy henchmen, Woody must enlist Bo and team to help him get him back, before Bonnie wakes up and loses her shit. Gabby has a sinister endgame in mind and it involves something only Woody can give her. Will the gang get Forky back and rejoin the toys in time?

With the help of new characters, Duke Caboom (King of the World Keanu Reeves), Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (blog favourite Jordan Peele), the friends head off to take on Gabby in the Second Chance Antiques Store where she rules with an iron fist.

Honestly, there’s just something about Pixar and its not just the unbelievable quality of animation. It has something so many animated films just don’t have, a secret ingredient. I think it’s actual magic. How we all came to love these characters so much is obvious but how it gets under your skin every single time, that’s a gift. Woody, Buzz (Allen) and all the favourites could never fail to tug at the heartstrings.

I love the addition of Gabby Gabby, who takes her inspiration from Talky Tina, the antagonist from the The Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll“. Her heavies are amazing and the whole antique store aesthetic is so dreamy. I love her cabinet and her scenes with Forky, her hostage. Ducky and Bunny also add a welcome humour to proceedings and work well with the established crew. Obviously Caboom is a highlight, his tragic backstory is a running joke and it’s wonderful.

The fourth TS film gives a major character the closure he truly deserves and that’s beautiful. It’s a tearjerker to be sure but these are happy tears, I swear. I can’t wait to see it again.

Film details:

Toy Story 4
Year: 2019
Director: Josh Cooley
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10
My Rating: 4.5/5

What are you watching?

Five Tiny Film Reviews

These are the last five movies I watched in 2018 and have been too lazy to post about – with micro reviews:

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)

The film itself is fine but this is one of the weakest stories in the series (the first not written by Steig Larsson but David Lagercrantz). However, it does offer us a brand new Lisbeth Salander and that’s the real reason I rushed to see it. Claire Foy does a good job. I was curious about her ability to rock the look and she aces it, bringing her own grace to the character. Throw in some sweet Lakeith Stanfield action and a sadistic, vengeful little sister – and I enjoyed myself. Probably a little forgettable but I’m interested to see where this franchise might lead.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Creed II (2018)

Creed was amazing and this is good too, with strong performances all round. Tessa Thompson steals the show from everyone as the world’s most understanding girlfriend Bianca. If I were to pick on it I would say it’s a little heavy-handed on the sentimentality and the abrupt turn around at the end by Dolph Lundgren‘s Ivan Drago might be touching but it is a little barf-worthy. I didn’t hate it though and I’m always going to be there for Michael B. Jordan and any training montage he wants to share with me.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Aquaman (2018)

I’ve never been so aroused and pissed off at the same time. Unfortunately, while Jason Momoa may be the hottest human man on Earth, this film is a pile of steaming garbage and there’s no getting away from that. The dialogue is cheap, it’s light on laughs and is also boring in places, perhaps it’s biggest crime. It does have warrior sharks though so most of the rating I give is for them.

Back to the drawing board again, DC – or maybe given Patty Jenkins a call?

⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)

Marvel, meanwhile knocks it out of the park again with this animated treat. Into the Spiderverse is fun, stylish and has a soundtrack to die for. While it’s silly in places, it works well and the blend of darkness and light works perfectly. My highlight is Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir but there’s excellent voice work from Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali and Hailee Steinfeld too.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

While this does border on just a little too saccharine for me (balloon scene particularly), it was magical in many ways. Emily Blunt rocks Poppins while bringing her own sarky tone to proceedings, the kids don’t make me want to punch them and Emily Mortimer is dreamy AF (as always). I don’t think I would have gone out of my way to see this if it hadn’t been just before Christmas but I’m glad I did. Is it as good as the original (as most people have asked)? Hard to say, I was never a Poppins purest (more of a Bedknobs & Broomsticks kinda girl) but it is a strong sequel. Definitely worth a watch if you’re not adverse to musicals and uber tweeness.

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What have you been watching?

The Grinch

The Grinch (2018)

God this film is adorable. It’s super Christmassy (even though it was released in November) and the animation is lovely, particularly all of Whoville which looks magical on the big screen.

Honestly, there’s not that much to say about it really, other than it is gentler than How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) without Jim Carrey‘s signature snark and that’s okay. The story isn’t anything earth-shattering – The Grinch steals Christmas and then learns a very valuable life lesson with the help of single mother Donna (Rashida Jones) and her adorable rug rats.

Cindy-Lou (Cameron Seely) is sweet and non- irritating, Max the Dog steals the show and the movie is funny and earnest in places though for the life of me now I can’t think of any jokes. I know I liked it though.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you got anything more to say about The Grinch?

Bee Movie (Film) Review

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Girl meets… bee. 🐝

The premise of this film is balls-out bonkers, frankly. Part thriller, part romance with a dash of courtroom drama, Bee Movie is the first animated film we’ve reviewed as part of the Collab, which is actually shocking given that I live for this shit. It is the second movie about bees though.

This week’s choice is, for some reason, one of those films that has been adopted by the Internet to become something of a cult classic – and I can’t decide if it’s sheer brilliance or the worst thing I’ve ever seen. (Leaning towards the latter).

*Spoilers*

Bee Movie (2007)

IMDB Synopsis

Barry B. Benson, a bee just graduated from college, is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a special trip outside the hive, Barry’s life is saved by Vanessa, a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, he discovers humans actually eat honey, and subsequently decides to sue them.

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Bee serious for a second

My Review

Where the fuck are you supposed to start with this one? It’s just one bad bee-pun after another with slightly dodgy animation and the weirdest promotion of inter-species romance I’ve ever seen. Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) has graduated school, college and everything else within the space of about a week because bee time is different to human time, obviously.

He has his whole life ahead of him but that thought doesn’t thrill him as much as it should. Destined to be a worker bee until his dying day, Barry has doubts about choosing a vocation that he’ll be doing forever and kicks back against tradition, much to the consternation of his dear parents.

One day he manages to wangle his way in with the Pollen Jocks, the big strong bees that go out into the world and pollinate the shit out of everything. During his first awe-inspiring day trip, he ends up in a fight for his life and is rescued by kind-hearted florist Vanessa (Renée Zellweger).

A friendship (or more?) soon develops between Vanessa and Barry – who share a lot in common – e.g. they like flowers. Barry has inappropriate fantasies about Vanessa that involve her waggling her butt suggestively in a stripey yellow body con and it’s quite uncomfortable. Vanessa’s husband/boyfriend is mad jealous of Barry too which suggests that they must have the shakiest relationship in history. Like, honestly? Bee serious.

You still with me?

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How they bee laughin’

One day Barry finds out that humans eat honey (not vegans, bro) – and it blows his tiny mind so much that he decides to sue humankind. Yep. Cue the courtroom segment of this crazy ride, in which Barry and his friend sit at a tiny, tiny desk and take on Layton T. Montgomery (John Goodman), the hotshot lawyer brought in to defend America’s largest honey corporations.

Are you her little… bedbug? ~ Layton T. Montgomery

(What. The. FUCK).

In a disappointing but all too familiar side note, I want to express my annoyance that as per usual the main antagonist of this child’s movie has to be identified as evil by his ginormous gut and gluttonous ways. Because everyone know that one of the most obvious identifiers of truly evil people is their fat (see the Trump rhetoric). Lazy and so not cool, Dreamworks.

It will surprise nobody to learn that Barry and his bee brethren win the case and stop the honey business in its tracks. Montgomery warns Barry that he’s messing with nature but Barry is high on the win and doesn’t take it on-board. Silly arrogant little bee-astard.

Sadly, Montgomery’s prediction comes to something when all the bees are put out of work (who knew?) and all the flowers begin to die because there’s no one left to pollinate them. Vanessa has to close her florist business. Luckily, there’s a perfectly contrived flower festival just a short plane ride away and Bazza comes up with an amazing idea to save the day, the bees and the world’s flowers – and it’s all so ridic I can’t even be bothered to go into the details.

Look, we’re all really here to figure out if a bee and a human woman can really sustain a happy and fulfilling relationship, aren’t we? And the answer is, who knows? Maybe they can, maybe that’s the recipe for success, to find yourself a talking insect and go with the flow.

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Bay-bee bee mine

My Thoughts

The bee jokes really grate after a few minutes and Barry is irritating af but I really enjoyed Chris Rock‘s Mooseblood the Mosquito. And I also think, if nothing else, that the dedication to the bee universe and every little detail is quite inspiring.

That said, this is no Shrek and it suffers for the tired dialog.

My Rating

1.5/5. Bee gone, Barry!

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Oops wrong movie.

What did Jill make of Bee Movie? Would she pollinate it (?) or tell it to buzz off? Find out here, obvs.