Dolemite is My Name

Alas this wasn’t our first choice but it turns out the UK is trailing behind the US when it comes to some new releases and so here we are. It’s plain rude, frankly but I’m not dwelling on it – The Nightingale will have its time.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this bio of real-life visionary Rudy Ray Moore which boasts a wicked cast and had me to the very end of it’s hefty run time.

Dolemite is My Name (2019)

Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Director: Craig Brewer
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps

*Spoilers*

Los Angeles, 1970s and Rudy Ray Moore (Murphy) is a record store employee and struggling recording artist/stand-up comedian. He begs the store’s in-house DJ (Snoop Dogg) to play his records which he refuses to do, favouring instead the dulcet tones of Marvin Gaye. One day a homeless man comes to the store and starts ranting in rhyme, one of his proclamations features someone called ‘Dolemite’.

Rudy gets the idea to create an onstage persona, inspired by this exchange – he dresses as a pimp with a cane and takes to the stage with a crude set he’s written called The Signifying Monkey. The club crowd loves it and people finally start to take notice of Rudy and his unique brand of talent. This leads him to approach his aunt for the $250 he needs to record a comedy record – called Eat Out More Often – which he’s forced to sell out of the back of his car when he refuses to clean up his act for the one producer who shows an interest.

The album, of course, proves very popular within the black community and a record company picks it up, promising to market it in stores. On his ensuing national tour, Rudy meets the amazing Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) who joins his act. While visiting another city on tour, Rudy and his friends decide to go to the cinema to let off some steam. Eager for something to laugh at, they settle on Billy Wilder’s The Front Page. Unfortunately, none of them find it remotely amusing or relateable, while the mostly white audience think it’s a scream – and it is here that Rudy decides they’re going to make their own movie.

Despite zero movie making experience and multiple funding knock backs, Rudy manages to convince his label to finance the movie using an advance on the royalties from his latest album. He plans to star as central character Dolemite himself. The movie, also called Dolemite, is a kung-fu Blaxploitation movie. With the help of reluctant playwright Jerry Jones (Key) and even less enthusiastic Rosemary’s Baby actor D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), Rudy rounds out his creative team. He also brings in a crew of college students to shoot the movie and takes over an abandoned hotel with no running water or electricity.

To say they’ve got their work cut out is an understatement and Dolemite is My Name centers around their efforts to get the film made and then distributed. It’s a pet project of such determination that you just can’t help being caught up in it. I rooted for the whole crew from the get go. The film is reminiscent in subject matter (kind of) to The Disaster Artist and the sheer single-mindedness of Rudy is not unlike that of real-life Tommy Wiseau.

I’m not always Eddie Murphy’s biggest fan to be honest but I did very much enjoy him in this role. He seems more at home in more adult roles and it’s refreshing to have him playing just the one character, rather than every character. I have massive love for Keegan-Michael Key and Craig Robinson (who I find crazy attractive). It was also nice to see Tituss Burgess again, Titus Andromedon is everything to me. The film has real heart and the real-life Rudy must have been an incredible man.

I enjoy movies about underdogs that come out on top in the end – and this is a shining example of that sub-genre. It’s also fascinating to learn more about a man and a film I never would have ordinarily. Being a middle-aged white woman and all. Perhaps one day Jill and I will find and review Dolemite on these very blogs. It has an all-female kung-fu army after all, what’s not to love?

4/5

What does my own superstar think of Dolemite? Would she shoot a chaotic love scene with it or refuse to fund it any longer? Find out here.

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.

The Dead Don’t Die

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.

Bill Murray • Adam Driver • Tom Waits

Ugh. I’m so annoyed by the meta elements of this stupid movie that I can’t bring myself to do a very long review. There are elements to like for sure but there’s not enough good to stop this being a huge disappointment. I hate how up it’s own arse it is and how knowing.

The cast is wonderful and in small segments, they do fair work. Tilda is dreamy as the town’s weird new undertaker with a penchant for samurai swords, which is nothing if not convenient. I was also excited to see Chloë Sevigny but her character is given little to do but cry, puke and become hysterical. Yawn.

The movie’s slow deadpan comedy style is all well and good in general but for the most part it doesn’t work here. It just has no oomph and falls flat for me. I do enjoy how well the film conjures up a George A. Romero flavour though and the small town setting is reminiscent of classic Stephen King.

My favourite character besides Swinton’s Zelda Winston (see what they’ve done there?) is Caleb Landry Jones‘ Bobby Wiggins, who runs the local gas/comic book store. His film referencing gives me life but alas, he doesn’t stick around for long. Neither do the three out of town hipsters who pass through Centerville and find themselves in the middle of all the drama.

Their story arc – and that of the three juvenile detention kids who are forced to escape their prison – lead absolutely nowhere. Tom Waits’ Hermit Bob seems to be central to the whole tale but that doesn’t pan out either. The whole film is a mess really, and even the anticipated (by me) chemistry between Murray and Adam Driver didn’t quite get there.

One things for sure, Officer Ronnie Peterson’s (Driver) ominous mantra of: “This is going to end badly” was bang on the money.

Film details:

The Dead Don’t Die
Year: 2019
Director: Jim Jarmusch
IMDB Rating: 6/10
My Rating: 2.5/5

What are you watching?

I’ll Be There For Jen

I’m currently working my way through Friends for the 77th time in my life and, while it has not aged well in its attitudes to certain things (toxic masculinity + slut-shaming + fat-shaming + Ross being a decent person) – I still love it. The most prolific thing I take from this current re-watch is that Rachel was so well-suited to Joey – and I wish they’d ended up together. In Paris, living their dreams with Emma in tow.

Anyway, it has also stoked the Jennifer Aniston fires and I am fully entrenched in a massive crush on her right now. Which is both good and bad. Great because what a handsome babe she is, a deeply likeable actress with superb comic timing. Also terrible because she’s in a lot of movies that aren’t always worthy of her. Which doesn’t stop me watching the fuck out of them, obviously but I’m mostly watching for my girl.

These are the JA vehicles I’ve (mostly) enjoyed recently:

Meet the Millers (2013)

Jen plays stripper Rose who teams up with her dodgy neighbour David (Jason Sudeikis) to pull off a drug-smuggling mission across the Mexican border. They rope in a couple of local kids to help them pose as an ordinary family on vacation – with hilarious consequences. Sort of.

This film has a really good cast, including Emma Roberts, Kathryn Hahn and Will Poulter so it’s not all bad. If you’re watching mainly for Jennifer then there’s nothing to be disappointed about. While there are moments of slut-shaming Rose’s chosen career path which are not cool – and there’s a scene set up just so Jen has to strip for a bunch of sleazebags – her character proves she’s more than just a tight bod and good hair. There have been better showcases for her comedic skills, which we’ll look at below but I will give it:

3 swishy Rachel cuts out of 5

Office Christmas Party (2016)

Did you know America’s Sweetheart is very good at playing super bitches? In this Christmas movie, she is hard-faced Carol, sister of company boss (and fuck up) Clay (T.J. Miller). Hellbent on shutting down the Chicago branch of family business Zenotek, she gives Clay one night to seal his final deal – if they can get financial wizard Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) to sign with them, the branch is safe.

Little does she know they’re doing it by throwing the year’s biggest and best party, something she’s expressly forbidden. Luckily, Carol’s safely on her way to London so will never know… right?

Jen looks amazing and really gets her chops around the film’s snarkiest character with some amazing lines. Sorry but one of my highlights is her saying “Fuck you” to a kid in the airport lounge. As Carol loosens up somewhat and slowly comes round to Clay’s way of thinking, she’s even better. Don’t even get me started on her single-handedly taking down an army of Russian henchmen with her bare hands.

This film also boasts a who’s who of American comedy gold AND the ethereal goddess Olivia Munn but it’s all about Carol for me.

3.5 swishy Rachel cuts out of 5

Murder Mystery (2019)

Audrey Spitz is a hairdresser married to NYC police officer Nick (Adam Sandler). She enjoys salon gossip and murder mystery novels – and dreams of the European break her husband has been promising her since they tied to knot. On their 15th wedding anniversary, Nick presents her (in a panic) with her fantasy honeymoon – and things take an intriguing turn when Audrey makes the acquaintance of Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans) on their flight.

When Charles invites the couple to join him and his fucked-up family on their yacht for the weekend – and there’s a brutal murder – the Spitz’s find themselves embroiled in a real life mystery that they must solve or have it pinned on themselves.

I bloody loved this film and I’m not sorry. As with so many Adam Sandler flicks, it’s not the purest form of comedy but it has heart. Sandler and Ms Aniston have decent chemistry and I’ll go into that more below but this is a fun romp which features one of my fave movie tropes – amateur sleuthing.

4 swishy Rachel cuts out of 5

Just Go With It (2011)

If I believed in guilty pleasures, which I don’t, this would be one. Since I believe in owning everything that you love, I stand by my absolute adoration for this stupid movie, which is my favourite of the bunch. Jen is Katherine, assistant to man-child plastic surgeon Danny (Adam Sandler, again).

Danny, meanwhile hooks the ladies by pretending to be unhappily married to a made-up wife who abuses him (I know, it stinks). When he meets much younger (I know), much hotter Palmer (Brooklyn Decker), he decides he wants to make it a more permanent thing. He tells his new beau that he’s divorced which would be fine, except Palmer is a good girl who wants to meet the ex-wife to make sure everything’s cool.

In steps Katherine as fake ex-wife, Devlin. Her two children, Maggie and Michael also negotiate themselves into the melee and Danny finds himself with an instant former family. Fake Devlin of course has the best wardrobe ever and is also faux-bitchy – and I love it, especially when they accidentally bump into the real Devlin (Nicole Kidman), Katherine’s frenemy from college.

No prizes for guessing what happens in this rather obvious romantic comedy but I’m game. And, while so much of it is problematic – and Sandler films in general are often the same – it reminds me why films like The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates worked so well. He is capable of being a sympathetic character when he wants to be and I wish he’d bear that in mind.

Again, I think the chemistry between the two of them is convincing and realistic, even if the plot isn’t. And I root for them to get together every time.

4.5 swishy Rachel cuts out of 5

So that’s my mini Aniston-retrospective. I just think she’s very cool and she’s getting better every day. Her recent turn in Dumplin’ was really touching and frankly, I can’t wait to see what she does next. So much has been written about Jen in the media and I think it’s so unfair that it still follows her around – I think she’d be fascinating to get a drink with and I wouldn’t even bring up Angelina.

What are your favourite Aniston moments?

Emo the Musical

Welcome to our Oddballs and Weirdos month, in which we root for the underdog and fight for the freaks. Last time we did this, we called it Films About Fuck Ups and included the gem Welcome to Me, so who knows where we’ll end up this year? Hopefully uncovering some new heroes. As Jillian says though, most of our films could fall into this category anyway. We’re big fans of the weird and the wonderful round these parts.

Onward!

Ethan, a sullen high-school student whose life is defined by what he hates, finds love with a blindly optimistic Christian girl Trinity, much to the annoyance of his angst-filled band mates and her evangelistic brethren.

Benson Jack AnthonyJordan HareRahart Adams

High school sucks.

*Minor spoilers/TW: suicide attempts*

Ethan (Anthony) has been kicked out of school for trying to kill himself in the very public courtyard. Forced to downgrade from his posh private school to a new rundown one, Ethan makes it his business to get in with the Emo kids and into school band, Worst Day Ever. The only trouble is, he looks like a square so when he makes his intention to try out clear, the band mates scoff.

Led by dangerous (and sexy) Bradley (Adams), the band also consists of Roz (Lucy Barrett) and a blond kid who’s name I didn’t bother to learn (Jay. It’s Jay). After a successful audition, in which Ethan confides that he’s been expelled for trying to hang himself, he’s accepted into the fold – if only for his backstory. So begins his journey into full-on Emo-ness, all black eyeliner and over-sexed girlfriend (the predatory Roz).

On his first day, Ethan also meets Trinity (Hare), a Christian babe keen to convert him to Jesus’ way of thinking. Ethan’s not into it obviously but the pair form a bond anyway. Kicking it with Trinity – and forming rival band the Christian Hope Group are; Isaac (Jon Prasida), secretly pregnant Jamali (Geraldine Viswanathan) and closeted Peter (Craig Hyde-Smith), who’s (also secretly) madly in love with hot jock, Josh (Kevin Clayette).

Obviously, we need a bit of action round about now and it’s clear that there’s more between Trinity and Ethan than is socially acceptable. When they’re paired together by the school’s only teacher, Mrs Doyle (Bridie Carter) on a project to write a love song, things start to hot up. Ethan is able to open up to his new friend, despite all their differences. Could they be Romeo et Juliette for the modern day?

As they get more involved, it becomes harder for Ethan to keep up the Emo lifestyle. He’s maybe not the apathetic misery guts he’s made himself out to be. In turn, Trinity starts to question her attitude towards her sexuality and where it fits in with her faith. But how will Worst Day Ever take the news of the two of them together? Well, since Bradley’s most hated thing is other people pushing their agendas and optimism, I’m guessing not well.

Roz meanwhile has a filthy secret of her own, while the father of Jamali’s unborn baby is rumoured to be a very preachy member of the Christan Hope Group. Interesting. When a fire starts in the school, the rivalry between factions heats up quite literally and the bands battle to the death. Will our lovers learn valuable lessons along the way? Well, what the hump do you think?

And, incidentally, will Bradley’s Emo idol, Doug Skeleton (Dylan Lewis) live up to his lofty expectations? Well, they do say never meet your heroes…

This isn’t the worst film in the whole world but I really wish it was better. It is a musical and a couple of the lyrics raised a smile but can you imagine this done by the brains behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? The songs would have been 7000 times cleverer. As it is the best song is Trinity’s ‘Would Jesus’:

Do you think Jesus smiled all the time?
I don’t think so, I don’t think so
You think he locked himself in his room and cried
I think so, yes, I think so
Do you think there might have been a chance
he liked my Chemical Romance?
Yes, I think so
Could Jesus have been an emo?

His blood it fell in crimson shades
His crucifix a razor blade
Was Jesus an emo?
He felt the pain of all mankind
but emos do that all the time
Was Jesus an emo?

Which totally would have been better had it been a duet between the two lovebirds. But what do I know? It means well, it’s sweet enough but it’s not as smart as it could be, which is a shame.

Film details:

Emo the Musical
Year: 2016
Director: Neil Triffett
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
My Rating: 3/5

What does my Emo princess think of this one? Would she lend it her favourite black kohl or cover it in honey and throw it to the Christians? Find out here.

Double Bill: Godzilla: King of the Monsters & Late Night

A couple of movies I’ve seen recently, in bite-sized chunks. One gargantuan monster, one late night talk show host. I think the question we’re all now asking ourselves is: who would win in a fight between these two leads? My money’s on Emma Thompson.

*Minor spoilers*


The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

Kyle ChandlerVera FarmigaMillie Bobby Brown

Long live the King.

Mark (Chandler) and Dr. Emma Russell (Farmiga) are still mourning the loss of their son, who was killed by the big guy in the first film. Daughter Madison (Bobby Brown) is with Mum, while Dad is estranged from the pair of them.

Biologist Emma is on a top secret project surrounding the Titans – giant creatures that once ruled the Earth – and works for crypto-zoological organisation Monarch. While on location, Emma and Madison witness the birth of Mothra, a mahoosive larva.

Mothra isn’t best pleased with whatever Monarch has got going on and goes ape (LOL). Emma is able to calm her down with the help of “Orca”, a sound device that can attract or alter Titan’s moods. It’s a bit science-y but it’s something to do with sound frequency. Believe me it doesn’t really matter.

All we really need to know is that Emma has a warped sense of what’s right and takes it upon herself to unleash “Monster Zero”, for the greater good of humanity. Zero is an ancient three-headed dragon who starts as he means to go on, by having a ruck with Godzilla, who’s been kicking around somewhere since 2014. Mothra, meanwhile, hatches and reveals herself to be a heavenly giant moth who forms a quick connection with GZ. There are other monsters and a lot of action and that’s really about it.

The question is: Is Godzilla the bad guy the world has made him out to be or is he actually keeping the world safer from even worse foes?

I don’t really know what else to say about this one. We’re only really here for the monster action – and we get plenty of that. King of the Monsters seems to have learned from the slightly off pacing of Godzilla (2014), which takes a while to warm up. I’m glad but it does also do a lot of talking and the story line is flimsy at best (and yes, I know we’re suspending a lot of disbelief already).

The performances are fine, particularly Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins – and it’s nice to see more of Eleven but we know why we paid for the ticket – and I wasn’t disappointed in that. I can’t wait to watch GZ square up to my main man, Kong now.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Year: 2019
Director: Michael Dougherty
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
My Rating: 3.5/5

A late-night talk-show host suspects that she may soon lose her long-running show.

Emma ThompsonMindy KalingJohn Lithgow

They’re giving comedy a rewrite.

Legendary talk show host Katherine Newbury (Thompson) is about to lose her late night show to a young, male and upcoming stand-up comedian (Ike Barinholtz). Ratings have slipped, the act has gone stale and Katherine is accused of hating women – her all-male, all-white writing team don’t help this argument. This prompts her to examine equality (and diversity) in the workplace.

Step in Molly Patel (Kaling).

Molly is an amateur stand up herself and uses her platform at the chemical plant she works to try out new material. When she gets the writing job on Katherine’s show, she joins a team who aren’t thrilled to have her. Slowly but surely though she shakes things up – in and out of the writer’s room – but will the group, and their formidable front woman, do enough to save the show?

You’re a writer, so write. ~ Burditt

There might not be many surprises here but I really liked it. The writing is solid and I laughed a lot. Both leads are gorgeous and I enjoyed their chemistry together. Molly teaches Katherine to be more honest with her viewers (and herself), while Katherine is forced to face the consequences of her actions when an old secret is revealed. Support from John Lithgow as Katherine’s long-suffering husband Walter is really touching – he might be a rich, white man but he adds some real heart to proceedings.

I like films that tackle sexism and white privilege, and this takes a swipe at it in a light, fun way. Maybe it could have gone deeper but its made me interested in what Kaling writes next. I also have to say how good it is to see her on the big screen – she is so lovely and I’m into plus-size WOC leading all my movies from now on. (See Ma).

Late Night
Year: 2019
Director: Nisha Ganatra
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10
My Rating: 4/5

What are you watching?

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.

vvfm1mtvk9ep2aalcmfa

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.

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?

Little

She woke up like This.

Little (2019)

A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.

Starring: Regina Hall • Issa Rae • Marsai Martin

*Minor spoilers*

2509_D009_00195_00197RV3_COMP

Blessed image

A modern day, female-centric Big? You got me. This is a fun concept and it stars Insecure’s creator Issa Rae – what else do I need?

Sure it doesn’t have any real surprises but it does also have Regina Hill as ‘big’ Jordan Sanders running around being a complete bitch. It’s horrible obviously but also comedy gold.

When she pisses off the wrong person, Jordan finds herself cut down to size. Literally. Waking up the morning after as her pre-teen self, she is forced to bring reluctant assistant April Williams (Rae) in on the tee – that she’s half the woman she was the day before (in stature anyway).

tmp_40YxHn_c8a44e23bfa6ef36_MCDLITT_EC018

“One Venti cup of steaming bitch juice. STAT.”

Through a comedy of errors, Jordan finds herself back in school and April running Jordan’s high-flying company, which is at risk of going under if they can’t impress their biggest client with a new product. What japes!

Well, you can already guess how this will pan out but sometimes there is comfort in that and I did find it funny. Little is written and directed by Tina Gordon, a WOC and you can tell. While she hasn’t done masses yet, I am looking forward to seeing more from her.

Meanwhile, Issa Rae is a dream to watch on the screen, and both her and Hall are actresses I want to see way more in film and TV. Hall’s mega bitch Jordan is deliciously bad, having formed this persona after high school to ensure she never gets bullied again.

Bag ladies but in like, the best way

Special shout out to the true star of the film, little Jordan Sanders (Marsai Martin) who knocks her part out of the ballpark. She’s all sass and rocks her scenes, particularly in the classroom (her flirt-fest with her highly reluctant teacher – played by Justin Hartley – is a scream). And she’s never better than when she’s sticking up for her underdog new friends – who are also totally adorable.

This is a film about black girl magic, female friendship – and opening yourself up to the best things in life, like well, magic and female friendship.

And I appreciate it for that.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

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?