Tag Archives: Family

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.

Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.

*Minor spoilers*

After the Incredibles battle and defeat The Underminer, but also tear up most of Metroville and especially City Hall, the Government shuts down the Superhero Relocation Program. Supers are no longer the heroes they once were and now our family are faced with financial crisis.

In the nick of time, superhero fan Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) pops up with a plan to regain the public’s trust in supers once again. As owner of telecommunications corporation DevTech and brother of DevTech genius inventor Evelyn (Catherine Keener), he has the power to make things happen. First part of the plan, get Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) back in the field. Semi-secretly.

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Left at home holding the baby, Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) struggles with his feelings of emasculation but really I don’t care about that. He’s kind of a dick about it all. He does finally realise that there’s something special about Jack Jack though and that is one of the films strongest strands. I’m not usually a sucker for babies but JJ is cooler than your average.

Of course, nothing ever runs smoothly and there’s some back stabbing to be had, while Elastigirl must get to grips with Screenslaver, a villain who projects hypnotic images using television screens (looks better than it sounds). But when Screenslaver is revealed, he isn’t quite what Elastigirl had expected and a thicker plot is revealed.

Will our heroine be able to handle the true villain at the heart of this plot – or will she require a little help from her family? Well, what the hell do you think?

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Support is at hand in the form of family BFF Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), while Edna Mode (Brad Bird) returns to steal the show with a couple of choice scenes.

We’ve waited 14 years for this sequel from the Pixar studio and it’s good, don’t worry. It’s just not the best and that’s down to personal preference, I’m much more of a Monsters, Inc kinda gal. If you’re an Incredibles Stan then I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

My Rating

3.5/5.

 

Marrowbone

The Secret of Marrowbone (2018) or Marrowbone (original and much better title)

IMDB Synopsis

A young man and his three younger siblings, who have kept secret the death of their beloved mother in order to remain together, are plagued by a sinister presence in the sprawling manor in which they live.

*Spoilers*

Sometimes I’m in the mood for something gentle and spooky, much like the Gothic novels I like to read in the Autumn.

Marrowbone is perfect for these occasions and ticks all the creepy boxes nicely. It also offers up a genuinely moving tale of loss, secrecy and familial loyalty which plays out in the hands of a good-looking young cast, which includes The Witch‘s Anya Taylor-Joy, Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton and A Cure for WellnessMia Goth.

When the family matriarch (Nicola Harrison) passes away after an illness, eldest son Jack (George MacKay) is left to keep the family afloat. Having promised his mother on her death-bed to keep her passing a secret from society, lest the children be split up, Jack keeps his siblings mainly indoors. This arrangement is far from satisfactory to Jane (Goth), Billy (Heaton) and little Sam (Matthew Stagg) but needs must and all that.

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Especially when the family harbor more than just this secret. Comfort and normality does come to the children however, in the form of the lovely Allie (Taylor-Joy) who befriends them instantly and becomes a joyful part of their every day life. But, as the romance between Jack and Allie deepens, love rival Porter (Kyle Soller) becomes dangerously jealous – and this in turn threatens to bring the true story of the Marrowbones out in the open.

And what’s with all the weirdness going on at the house while we’re at it?

What I like about Marrowbone is that for a long time we can only feel the tension and the fear as it manifests itself around the family home and for a contemporary ghost/horror not to play its hand so soon makes it stand out more to me. You can’t accuse this of being scary really but it has some effective moments and I enjoyed it as a thriller that sometimes has the vibe of a Sunday night BBC drama. (Not necessarily a bad thing).

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As the story unfolds it leaves you feeling more and more sympathy for the family and the climax is a bit of a corker, in a heart wrenching way. It also looks at mental illness from an interesting perspective and in a way I haven’t seen that much before on film.

Not bad at all.

My Rating

3.5/5.

Hereditary

Hereditary (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.

*Spoilers*

Eep. This movie is terrifying in a way that is hard to explain. It’s one of those rare horror movies that attaches itself to your back and follows you out of the cinema. I haven’t been able to shake it and that’s one of its main strengths.

Toni Collette completely nails the role of Annie, wife of Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and the mother of Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro). When her own mother dies after a drawn out illness, Annie mourns her naturally.  Trying to come to terms with their difficult relationship is hard for her but she make the effort to open up to a bereavement group nonetheless.

As a relatively successful contemporary artist, Annie specialises in minature dioramas and after the death of her mother, she uses these to work through her pain. Creating scenes from her life starring her mother, its fascinating to see these reenactments rendered in such intricate detail. 

Unfortunately, her healing is put on hold (forever) by an unexpected and devastating tragedy that will fracture the already injured family for good. And boy is it a demented ride.

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It’s safe to say that Hereditary pulls no punches when it comes to the impact of its imagery. There are shots you want to turn away from yet can’t because they’re also perfect and beautiful. Definite horror influences can be detected throughout which has led to comparisons to films like The Exorcist, which I’m not sure is strictly accurate. All I know is that it’s one of the best modern horrors I’ve seen in the last few years and is exactly why I adore the genre so much.  

I’m trying quite hard here not to give too much away since I went in with only one viewing of the trailer under my belt – and was pleasantly surprised. While the trailer is a good one it also doesn’t give anything away so when some of the reveals occur you’re left genuinely shell-shocked.

‘The’ scene (in my mind), in which Peter is involved in an unfortunate incident is pure perfection. As the realisation of what he’s done – of what he can never take back – plays across his face, you can’t help take on board the enormity of the situation. Wolff is incredibly soulful as haunted Peter, reduced by the weight of responsibility to a sniffling little boy. An actor to watch, I think.

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Shapiro is also mesmerising as Charlie, the troubled daughter – her scenes are some of the best and I would like to see much more of her too. Hereditary examines themes of loss, guilt, accountability and pure horror and I’m already planning to catch it again so I can soak in the details and catch the nuances.

It’s a kind of scary that taps into your own personal experience and burrows under the skin, and is not reliant on cheap jump scares, which is so refreshing. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any horror fan or steely willed movie fan.

It is fantastic.

My Rating

4/5.

Ps. This film gave me genuine nightmares and on the same night my husband went sleepwalking. Make of that what you will!

 

The Leisure Seeker

The Leisure Seeker (2018)

Directed by: Paolo Virzì
Starring: Helen MirrenDonald SutherlandChristian McKayJanel MoloneyDana Ivey

IMDB Synopsis

A runaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker.

Where: Odeon Brighton
When: Thursday 26th April
Snacks: White chocolate and macadamia nut cookies from Subway

*Minor spoilers*

My Review

I don’t know if I can immediately think of anything more tragic than losing a loved one to dementia. All those memories and all that life built around a person who at times can’t even remember your name or the names of your children. It must be heart-breaking.

For Ella Spencer (Mirren), who is losing her husband John (Sutherland) to the disease, it certainly is. And while she cares for her beloved, she is also battling her own illness – a cancer that is slowly killing her.

One day, her children Will and Jane rock up to visit their folks only to find them gone, AWOL in their trusty rust-bucket Winnebago, the titular Leisure Seeker. Panic stricken, the kids find it very hard to understand the motivation of our geriatric heroes but all Ella wants is to take her husband down to Hemingway’s house and spend one last vacation just the two of them.

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What follows is a heart-warming road trip that brings our couple closer than ever while simultaneously testing their bond and flipping what Ella knows of their relationship on its head. It’s funny, sad and empowering at the same time and I really enjoyed the ride, though I must admit it took me a little while to get into it.

While the cinematography is stunning – all those burnt sunsets and late night outdoor dates – the dialogue sometimes gets a bit dull. The acting could never be faulted in the hands of two such seasoned acting veterans but the actors playing the kids aren’t great (not that they get much material). The ending is shocking and very bleak but also kind of perfect, when you really think about it.

Not a first date movie, maybe but there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours contemplating your own mortality.

My Rating

3/5.

Lady Bird

Lady Bird (2017)

Directed by: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse RonanLaurie MetcalfTracy LettsTimothée ChalametBeanie Feldstein

IMDB Synopsis

In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

*Minor spoilers*

I like being in Greta Gerwig’s world. It looks like a (good) Instagram feed but feels real at the same time, you know? She can take a slice of life and make you care about the characters within it – and that’s a gift.

Lady Bird feels like a very personal film and one I’m sure most people can see a glimpse of themselves (or their relationship with a parent) in. Particularly, within the relationship between Lady Bird and her mother.

I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be Marion McPherson
What if this is the best version? Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Ronan) is an artistic girl with plans to leave Sacramento and attend a college in NYC, whatever it takes. Unfortunately, and as everyone around her keeps reminding her, she isn’t likely to get the grades to get into any of those colleges. Secretly, she concocts a way to get funding for school anyway with the help of her father, who’s recently lost his job.

While she puts in the work to get out of her hometown, Lady Bird is also coming of age. Falling in love, stamping her V card and having her heart broken are all high on the agenda. She’s also juggling friendships and family life – and as a dramatic teenager all of this is set to the beat of her own drum. And the lashing of her razor sharp tongue.

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Lady Bird centres around the relationship between Christine and her mother, Marion (Metcalfe) and boy, is it relateable. While I’m lucky to have a good relationship with my mother, I can definitely highlight certain scenes that could have been lifted from our relationship growing up. It’s hard to watch at times because as far as my own experience is concerned, there is nobody who can get under your skin like your mother can. (Sorry ma, but you know it’s true!).

While Marion wants the best for Lady Bird, sometimes her delivery seems cold or mean (certainly to her daughter) and there are constant barriers building up between them. But it’s so, so beautiful with some of the best dialogue and one-liners I’ve heard in a long time. (There’s one uttered by Timothée Chalamet’s Kyle Scheible that made me scream, it’s so damn accurate).

All the performances are great but nominees Ronan and Metcalf are so deserving of all the praise they’ve been getting. I believe them as mother and daughter so much. There’s also brilliant support from Lady Bird’s best friend Julie (Feldstein), Chalamet and Odeya Rush who plays Frenemy Jenna Walton.

My Rating

4.5/5.

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Princess Cyd (Film) Review

The last film of Feminist February and as far as I’m concerned we’ve signed off with a bang. A slow and subtle Indie bang but a bang nonetheless.

And, last week’s bland sniffle-fest aside, I think this month has been a success.

*Spoilers*

Princess Cyd (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin visits her novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer.

My Review

We begin Princess Cyd with a 911 recording played over the opening credits, depicting the death of a woman while her child is in the house. This is a blunt introduction to the character of Cyd Loughlin, who we meet 16 years later as a young adult.

Cyd has been sent by her depressed father to stay with her aunt Miranda, the novelist sister of Cyd’s late mother. Miranda has not seen or heard much from Cyd since she was a small child and since she lost her mother so is a little nervous about how things will go. She’s also very comfortable in her own routine.

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When Cyd first arrives, both the women are very polite and although there’s some nervousness, Cyd is curious and asks a lot of questions. While Miranda is an open book, some of the topics broached take her outside her comfort zone. She embraces this though and starts to relax in her niece’s company. Cyd challenges Miranda’s religious beliefs, her sex life and the way she leads her solitary (but not lonely) life. This shakes Miranda up, forcing her to look inward.

Cyd is quite taken with the idea of Miranda and her friend Anthony (James Vincent Meredith) getting it on but Miranda insists this isn’t on the cards. Anyway, Anthony is sort of married.

And while Cyd is settling into her new (temporary) life in Chicago, she meets Katie in a coffee shop and there’s an immediate spark. During a literary gathering at Miranda’s home, Cyd also bonds with Ridley (Matthew Quattrocki). She disappears into a bedroom with him and this causes some mild consternation between our new housemates, even though she doesn’t bang him.

Miranda swears she’s not going to be the person who nags Cyd about her life choices but when Cyd makes a snarky comment about her aunt substituting sex with food, Miranda lets her have it.

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It is not a handicap to have one thing, but not another. To be one way, and not another. We are different shapes and ways, and our happiness is unique. There are no rules of balance. ~ Miranda Ruth

Katie meanwhile finds herself in an awful situation at home and is rescued by Cyd and Miranda. Miranda is kind and understanding, something both young women need and she welcomes Katie into the fold without question. Cyd and Katie get closer and closer; as do niece and aunt. Basically, this is what life looks like without the interference of arsehole men. Even nice ones are not needed here – and as Cyd prepares to go back to her own life, Miranda has her own decisions to make.

What will she decide?

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My Thoughts

Ultimately, this is the sweet tale of a young woman reconnecting with her mother through someone who knew and loved her too, while fulfilling her own need. It’s about the craving for maternal love and it is a love story in many ways, just one of your unconventional, familial ones.

The performances are realistic, warm and convincing – and all three women are likable. At no time is Cyd the destructive mess you might expect her to be, though she has a fucking right. She might be direct at times but she means well. She seems wiser than her sixteen years.

Don’t come into this expecting a rip-roaring ride, because you definitely won’t get that. What you will get is a beautiful rumination on adolescence and learning to do you.

My Rating

4.5 – Gentle and sweet.

What does my very own princess think of this one? Would she let it stay the summer or send it back to daddy? Find out here.

Until next year my pretties #feministfebruary.