Rating U Length 1h14 Release 19.9.1941 Director/s Alfred L Werker / Hamilton Luske (cartoon) / Jack Cutting (Cartoon) / Ub Iwerks (Cartoon) / Jack Kinney (Cartoon) About Excited at the idea of producing a film about a children’s book, humorist Robert Benchley visits the Walt Disney Studio to offer the idea. At the studio, Benchley evades an enthusiastic young tour guide and, wandering about the lot, goes into a drawing class. He then visits a soundstage, where he watches a couple recording a song, unaware they provide voices for famous cartoon characters. Benchley later visits the camera stage and then the animation department, where he discovers a surprise. Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
Such a charming, educational, film. While it perhaps might be of no use as a teaching tool for film makers today, it is valuable for those looking into the history of film.
It’s much more enjoyable to watch that a straight out documentary. I absolutely adored the framing of Mr Benchley stumbling upon these aspects of filmmaking.
Donald Duck sasses Mr Benchley. What a highlight. That interaction was delightful and part of the film’s charm.
I also love how the film utilises all of the evolutions of film made to the point of making the film; the audience is treated to live action black and white, technicolour and numerous animations.
The Bad & Ugly
Being a record of history, this film would undoubtedly contain things deemed inappropriate by a modern day audience. Perhaps today, we would like to think that Disney would send their artists to a zoo instead of bringing an elephant to stand and pose.
The story of the Reluctant Dragon has some connotations that today would not be allowed. However subtle the metaphor might be, there’s certainly offence to be caused by the views.
Outside of the problematic story of the Reluctant Dragon itself, this is a charming look behind the scenes at the House of Mouse.
Rating 12 Length 1h55 Release 27.4.2011 Director Kenneth Branagh About Thor is exiled by his father, Odin, the King of Asgard, to the Earth to live among mortals. When he lands on Earth, his trusted weapon Mjolnir is discovered and captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. Moon: Full moon behind clouds as Jane and Thor talk outside. Where to Watch: Disney+ Trailer:
The wonderful thing about this outing, or origin, of Thor is the Shakespearian richness of it all. There’s just something about Kings and heirs, betrayal and madness that lends itself to the tone of The Bard. If there was ever going to be a director that could accomplish this, it’s Kenneth Branagh. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and perhaps it hasn’t aged as well for how it stands out from the others, but I still have a soft spot for what Branagh brought to the MCU.
As with most of the Marvel projects, this is well cast. Doubly so when you consider your protagonist and antagonist. Both up and coming actors and relative risks. Both hold their own and make this film the joy that it is to watch. We know both are now capable of the humour too, from their long standing returns to the universe, however I’m glad we didn’t get their full range here. The story would not have fit the journey both Thor and Loki needed to go on.
This film’s strength is the emotional scenes. In particular those that contain whatever combination of Thor, Odin and Loki Branagh chooses to give us. Without the gravitas and the weight behind those words, this film could have been ridiculous.
Two of my favourite Marvel characters appear in this film: Agent Coulson and Erik Selvig. Both very much human, thrown into all of this and handling it all very well. The thanks obviously need to go to the men behind those characters, Clark Gregg and Stellan Skarsgard respectively. Their interaction together when Selvig goes to collect Thor is genius.
Some of the camera angles made me a little motion sick this time. The asymmetry works on a big screen, but my eyes didn’t like it so much when at home.
I’m not sure I liked how the film opened. The sort of cold open is usually saved for episodes of tv shows once characters are established, so meeting Jane, Selvig and Darcy briefly to almost flash back. It didn’t work for me the first time I saw it and it never gets any better the more times I watch.
I am not so happy with how Clint Barton aka Hawkeye is introduced. Yes, I’m sure comic book loyalists would have got it straight away. However, you have to play to your whole audience. I’m not talking about adding much, but I don’t even recall his name even being mentioned.
Why are Lady Sif and Darcy so unworthy?! Darcy needs her show with ya man from Ant-Man and give Sif everything! It was amazing seeing her in Loki, but we need MORE. I don’t know what it was about Phase 1, but our female characters get built up so we want more. But then nothing happens.
A comic book origin story of Shakespearean magnitude. Must admit this was the film in my marathon two years ago that stopped me watching any more. I really didn’t enjoy it and found it a slog. This time though, I found it charming and rich with Easter eggs.
Rating 12 Length 2h23 Release 24.6.2021 Director Justin Lin About Dom Toretto is living the quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, but they know that danger always lurks just over the peaceful horizon. This time, that threat forces Dom to confront the sins of his past to save those he loves most. His crew soon comes together to stop a world-shattering plot by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered — Dom’s forsaken brother. Where to Watch: Cinemas Trailer:
It’s a ‘leave your brain at home’ sort of action movie that requires little effort on your behalf. With 8 previous films, the viewers will know what to expect.
Tyresse Gibson provides his solid humour as always, but it is Nathalie Emmanuel who really shows her comedy chops in this film. She’s not quite up there with Jason Statham, yet, but she really brought an element of that British humour.
The cars are still as beautiful as ever.
John Cena is a welcome addition to the franchise, although I wasn’t too happy with the resolution. It felt devoid of emotion and that clashes with Dom’s belief about family.
They really missed out on an opportunity with the flash back storyline. I enjoyed that much more than the rest of it and I do feel like there was a whole film there waiting to be made prior to the ‘present day’ story line. Yes, it would have perhaps lacked the star power the franchise perhaps relies on, but the flash backs really did seem at odds with everything else. Split it and make two films and you have the chance to create a film that’s much more in keeping with the earlier films and a palate cleanse for the bat shit crazy hijinks of the universe post-Fast Five.
Charlize Theron was absolutely wasted in this. As was Helen Mirren and Michael Rooker. All seemed really shoe-horned in to serve the plot at a disservice to the fans.
It’s about as believable as the UK government. They go to space! Not kidding, they go to fucking space! When you consider the first ever film, you do wonder how we got here. It’s one of those that you just have to accept. Apply logic to it and it will send even the sanest person mad.
How are these people still alive? While I’m telling you to suspend belief to enjoy the movie, I do not understand how any of these characters have a pulse.
Eh, I don’t think there’s anything I can say to sum it up. Bit too long, but lets face it you’re either going to watch it, or you’re not.
Rating 15 Length 1h50 Release 19.10.1990 Director John Badham About Rick is given a new identity by the FBI for helping convict a drug dealing FBI agent. His FBI ‘minder’ is replaced by a corrupt agent who helps the drug dealers and his accomplice locate him. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix (until 14th August) Trailer:
That final act is worth putting up with any issues with the film. Yes, I’m an animal girl and I love my zoos. However, even if you’re not, you will appreciate the nostalgia, the use and the realness of the animals (although I do believe IMBD is incorrect about its baboon trivia; The Fly (1986) used not one, but two trained baboons) over some of the shoddy CGI used today. Seriously, at one point I gasped because I thought it was a species of tiger that is now extinct.
Mel and Goldie have chemistry! I momentarily wished for Kurt Russell, but after about 5 minutes of seeing these two together I was all good.
Good ol’ Ned from Groundhog Day. Stephen Tobolowsky is part of the bad guy group and it was actually really cool to see him in something with a supporting role, rather than the bit parts he seems to have here and there.
The start of the movie feels really sluggish. It is *almost* worth the pay off, but this film certainly didn’t have me drawn in right from the get go. As it’s described as akin to It Happened One Night (1934), it really needs to be shit hot from the very start and it really isn’t.
There’s two Goldie Hawn’s in this movie. It’s Prince of Thieves all over again for me. He character is set up as this badass who goes toe to toe with all these blokes. Then she meets her old beau and its all screams and tears. Don’t set women up, to make them weak and docile when the protagonist shows up. Big mistake. Massive pet hate.
What the fuck is with the kissing in Hollywood in the 90s?! Was that window-washing head tilting side to side really how people kissed?!
Rating 18 Length 1h53 Release 4.6.1993 Director Joel Schumacher About Bill Foster is an engineer whose increasing frustration levels lead him to act out violently and commit several crimes. Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
I don’t even know where to start with this film, so I guess I’ll start with that opening. I’ve never felt so triggered from a scene before, but with the heat at the moment, the sound of the traffic outside and the lack of air. I felt that opening.
Michael Douglas should have at least been nominated for this performance. I’m still processing the complexity of the character, but there’s not many people who can make me fear them while also empathising with their frustrations. In a similar way to his role in Disclosure, his character goes through a transformation and, you know what?, Michael Douglas is damn good at it.
There’s so much to learn. You could watching it for the composition of the visual artistry (the camera being inside the fridge near the beginning and the numerous aesthetic homages to other films), or you could watch it with a view to looking at the psychology, character parallels and individual actions.
I absolutely loved Robert Duvall’s character, Pendergast. While I struggled witch how he was treated by his co-workers, I understood it’s place in the plot. The bit I loved the most was that the character really surprised me.
This film is scary. It’s scary because of how real this all seems. It also doesn’t seem to blame mental health, but it certainly comments upon the issues people deal with that contribute to trauma, depression and mental ill health.
While I personally love how the story is told. However, I can imagine some may struggle with how much film withholds about D-Fens. Considering he is our protagonist, we don’t really get any details about him until we’re past the point of no return. Some will struggle with the lack of instant information and may turn off long before they see results.
The racism, xenophobia and social deprivation makes this a hard watch. It will stick in the throat and stick with you long after the film has finished. Not because it seems like the views of the creatives, but that it reflects a genuine views and hatred within a community. The part that scares me most, is that the hatred spewed out by D-Fens and others are things I’ve read across social media recently from both Americans and Pro-Brexit Brits.
Quite possibly the scariest film I’ve ever watched. It’s not something I’ll watch with any regularity, however it is a film I will recommend.
Rating 15 Length 2h16 Release 11.6.1999 Director Lana and Lilly Wachowski About Thomas Anderson, a computer programmer, is led to fight an underground war against powerful computers who have constructed his entire reality with a system called the Matrix. Where to Watch: Netflix/ Amazon Prime Trailer:
I bought into this franchise. I had the leather coat that hit the floor. I vaguely remember someone lending me the video and by the time the sequels came out, there was a group of us who made seeing it an event. This was probably the first film since Jurassic Park that had GCI that truly amazed me and I certainly watched it a fair few times. Until the sequels came out that is.
I know this film is from 1999, but if you haven’t watched recently, or never seen it; beware, spoilers ahead.
“Mister Anderson”. Hugo Weaving really gave us a bad guy to loath, didn’t he? It was because of being in this, that I was excited to see him in Lord of the Rings. Even now, he steals every scene he’s in and scares the absolute crap out of me.
Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss to me come as a package. I love both of them in this and I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing their parts. Lets face it, it is as much their film as it is Reeves and his saviour Neo.
It is high concept. This film walked, so that movies like Inception could run. However, it is a film that can be enjoyed without exploring the deep, philosophical, meaning behind the concept.
The effects, while showing their age, are still incredible. The colour saturation as a marker of which world you’re watching still works and gives an added touch.
Reading around the casting, I discovered the Wachowski Sisters intended for Switch to be played by two different actors; an androgynous female for the real world and a male counterpart for the Matrix. Given the Sister’s journey in their personal lives, I can’t help but think this was an important aspect and I’m saddened they didn’t get to see that play out.
Joe Pantoliano. I think this is a case of casting so good, it undermines the plot. There’s never any doubt that Pantoliano’s Cypher is the leak of the unit. However, it’s played like a rug pull and I wish it wasn’t because I hate being treated like I’m stupid.
Come on, you knew it was coming. Keanu Reeves should not be Neo. Sorry, but while he ‘looks’ the part, he does not win me over as a) A tech geek or b) A prophetic saviour. (Also, was hacking that new that you could get away with a handle like Neo? WTF? make it today and he’s be NEO_be@st_1985) I get that he’s the reluctant hero, one that we’d latter see butchered on screen in the first few Harry Potter movies, and an everyman. But this performance is not only lacklustre, its lifeless. This is an actor who has been around a fair bit and can do way better than the ‘dead behind the eyes’ look we get from him here. Hell, you could have put Kristen Stewart in the role and she would have done a better job. Now, I’m not certain who could have replaced him at the time. The often quoted wanted man was Will Smith, but that would not have worked, and I’m not certain Brad Pitt or Leo DiCaprio could have handled it either. The only name I’ve seen mentioned that has piqued my interest is Nic Cage. However, I’m sure two actors known for bat shit crazy roles (Fishburne being the other) working together would be some sort of Hollywood no no. I know it’s the unusual opinion, and I hate that I’m criticising someone as lovely as Keanu Reeves, but it feels like he’s not really there.
The score really hasn’t aged well and feels very “generic action score number 3”. I love the use of songs, both at the beginning and during the credits. I almost wish they’d pulled a Cursed Child and repurposed a Rage Against the Machine album, removed the lyrics and sampled it to fit the film. Would have been much more in keeping and less derivative.
It’s aged well and long enough has passed for it to feel nostalgic. Not sure I can bring myself to watch the other two movies. I remember not liking them at the time, but I have only ever seen each one once.
Publishers Hodder Children’s Books Pages 302 Book Birthday 26.1.2021 How I Got It NetGalley About: Meet Nora. Also known as Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie and Ashley – the girls she’s been. Nora didn’t choose a life of deception – she was born into it. As the daughter of a con artist who targeted criminal men, Nora always had to play a part. But when her mother fell for one of the men instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con herself: escape. For five years Nora’s been playing at normal – but things are far from it when she finds herself held at gunpoint in the middle of a bank heist, along with Wes (her ex-boyfriend) and Iris (her secret new girlfriend and mutual friend of Wes … awkward). Now it will take all of Nora’s con artistry skills to get them out alive. Because the gunmen have no idea who she really is – that girl has been in hiding for far too long …
This book is everything I wanted in a contemporary thriller read. It’s written in a way that makes it destined to be a hit when adapted for the screen later this year.
What I loved most of all was the almost dejavu feeling of familiarity I got from falling into the narrative. Not in a rip-off way, but that comfortable, I’m in safe hands, sort of way. It took me a day or to afterwards to pin point what it was. I’d recently watched the episode Monday of X-Files. The only connection really being that they’re were both set in a bank during a robbery. However, I would argue that it’s testament to Sharpe’s writing that I connect the book to one of the best episodes of a much loved show.
The characters are amazing and I must emphasise that I adore the introduction of a character with endometritis and the commentary of periods. It’s subtle and yet incredibly powerful. It also doesn’t feel forced or plot driven, it’s simply something the reader is left to consider, empathise or, in some cases, relate. It’s strange to say ‘representation’, however while so many women are being ignored when it comes to diagnosing this condition, having it presented as a condition that should be taken seriously is validity that a lot of women will appreciate. I do also occasionally wonder how many women will seek a diagnosis because of this book.
What I truly loved was that it works as a stand alone novel. I feel satisfied. However, if a sequel were to emerge I’d be happy. One things for certain; between this and Evolution of Clare, Sharpe is a writer I will automatically read from now on.
Rating 15 Length 1h54 Release 17.9.2021 Director About To protect an 8-year-old girl, a dangerous assassin reunites with her mother and her lethal associates to take down a ruthless crime syndicate and its army of henchmen. Where to Watch: Cinema and Sky Cinema/NOW Trailer:
The cast is incredible. Karen Gillan can hold her own as the female equivalent of John Wick. Yep, you’re going to see that a lot in reviews of this film because it has all the feels of John Wick. Only here we get it with retro tunes, neon brights and a lead who is much more talkative.
Carla Gugina, Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett steal every scene they grace with their queer, fantastical and bad ass librarians. Its a library everyone would love to visit, even if you have be careful with which books you open. How they fit into the world of the Firm is unclear, but they offer such a sceptical, that you’ll forgive the film for that oversight.
Chloe Coleman, last seen in My Spy alongside Dave Bautista, makes Macauley Culkin’s old soul seem like hard work. Coleman really looks at home in this world were any children have to grow up fast. I cannot wait to see her in whatever she has lined up.
The action is amazing. They are complimented with the set pieces; from a bowling alley to the aforementioned library.
The plot is a little flawed. Not while your watching, and not on a superficial level. However, I suspect if you spend any time thinking about the lulls between the bangs or if you chose to watch it again; the cracks will begin to show.
The violence won’t be for everyone and some bits of the action did leave me with a bit of a queasy stomach.
The hate that this film is getting. I don’t understand what movie people saw instead. Please ignore the reviews. Even mine if you need to.
John Wick meets Kill Bill, with the stylings of a Guardians of the Galaxy film. Switch of your brain and enjoy.
Rating PG Length 1h40 Release 2.12.2011 Director David Frankel About Three avid bird-watchers pursue the winner’s title to achieve the world record of spotting the highest number of birds during the Big Year event as the title holds a special meaning for each one. Moon: full moon spotting just before the closing of the film Where to Watch: Disney+ (Star) Trailer:
It is a charming film, from start to finish. For me, it’s on par with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014) and the wonderful Simon Birch (1998).
It’s so hard to describe, but there’s a sincerity in this film that I wasn’t expecting. This film surprised me, and that does not happen very often. I think part of that is having three men well known for their comedy and stripping that away while also putting the viewer in a position of uncertainty.
The biggest win this film has for me, is how you have the plot revolve around a competition, yet the plot does not go down the route of having them sabotage each other. I must admit, I put it on expecting Bride Wars (2009) of the birding world. Instead, what we get is a healthy competition, exploration of dreams, deconstruction and reconstruction of relationships and an uplifting feeling.
The music, while cheesy, is perfect. So many songs about birds; who knew? It wasn’t overwhelming; it fit the storytelling.
The cast in this film is incredible. You have the main three; Wilson, Martin and Black. I cannot tell you how much I loved these three together. Each had their moment to shine and they are the perfect example of an ensemble. However, it doesn’t stop there, the supporting cast is full to bursting with people that will have you reaching for IMDB.
This is a very personal thing, but I could have done with less Rosamund Pike. it’s not that I don’t like her, I just don’t like her playing an American. Her accent is okay, but because I know she’s English, my ears register it as a cringe-worthy fake.
On a similar note, I find it a travesty that Anjelica Huston and Jim Parsons were not used more.
There was a visual cue to any flash-backs that occurred early in the film, however it was discarded near the hour mark. This was a shame , as it was used so little that it felt less like an artistic choice and more of an error in filming.
There will be tears for those who leak at pulled heartstrings. Quite a few points in each of the three men’s lives will most certainly have a lump in the throat, if not a hand reaching for the tissues.
This is a lazy Sunday afternoon film that will leave your heart warm, your eyes wet and a smile on your face.