Molly’s Game (2017)

Rating 15
Length 2h 20
Release 1.1.2018
Director Aaron Sorkin
About Molly Bloom, who runs a high-stakes poker game for prominent stars and mafia, finds herself in trouble after the FBI seek interest in her profile.


The Good

  • Much like many other Aaron Sorkin products, Molly’s Game is fast talking, clever in its execution and able to surprise you in the final moments.
  • I like that Idris Elba’s character was fictionalised. By having that creative change, it allows the narrative to work slightly better for the screen. At the end of the day, changes had to happen. This choice streamlines them all.
  • Jessica Chastain. Bloody hell, she’s a little bit brilliant isn’t she? I don’t know why I’ve previously avoided her movies, but I most definitely will be taking a look at some of her other roles. In this, she gives us an evolutionary performance and her narration was impeccable.
  • Kevin Costner was another surprise addition to this film. While he doesn’t have much screen time, he certainly makes an impact not only in terms of the narrative, but on the viewer too.

The Bad

  • For me, it’s a little on the long side. While comfortable enough on a first viewing, I’m sure the episodic nature will keep it from being a repeated watch.

The Ugly

  • I’m not a mob girl. I don’t like gangster movies and I never have. Now while this does stick to the biographical and criminal side there are times were I worried in which way it was going to go.

Final Thoughts

An excellent biography that could be watched alongside I’Tonya or American Made. It’s not going to be top of anyone’s ‘favourite films’, but its certainly got the Sorkin seal of quality.

Moxie (2021): Review and a Rant

Rating 12
Length 1h 51
Release 3.3.2021
Director Amy Poehler
About Inspired by her mom’s rebellious past and a confident new friend, a shy teenager publishes an anonymous zine calling out sexism at her school.


First Things First

I’m pissed. Not at the fillm, the film is an excellent adaptation. I watched it and I did what I never do; I checked the reviews. The first one on the list had the headline “Moxie, review: the only joke here is Amy Poehler’s idea of ‘inclusivity’”
I knew before clicking the link, this was going to be some white-assed dude taking issue with a film that wasn’t meant for him. Damn, I hate being right. Mr Robbie Collin, Film Critic, writing for the white middle-to-upper-class ‘The Telegraph’.
I actually took to twitter to admonish him; high on Moxie confidence. This is not a comedy. To boil it, and Amy Poehler, down to comedic elements and then slate it for its lack… it made my blood boil. Even worse, his response was to screenshot and circle the genre listings.
I’m a woman, I’ve read the book and I’ve spent the last ten years teaching the film’s demographic. Oh, and I have a film degree. Seeing it on a list, currated by white men, does not make it true. He watched the god damn film; events are triggered when a jock spits in a black girl’s coke and culminates with another classmate admitting she was raped.
How has this dude not paused, thought ‘it doesn’t really fit into comedy, so I’m not going to review it as if was misold as a comedy and failed to hit the mark.’ The irony, of course, is that Mr Robbie Collin completely missed the point of the story and, as a result, became the exact thing Moxie was fighting against.

As for Seth (Nico Hiraga), Vivian’s hunky male classmate, here is a figure with a valuable lesson for any teenage boys watching at home: if you’re an “ally”, girls will want to sleep with you, even if fealty to the cause comes at zero personal cost.

Robbie Collin. The Independant

Over the course of his 650 word review, 245 of those were simply retelling the plot (and the only place you’ll find any positive words), 325 were given to his lambasting of a film based upon its diversity, apparent stereotyping and expressing one of the most dangerous misinterpretations of a character i’ve ever seen.
Those last hundred and odd? Oh, he bitches about how Poehler and Tina Fey drew hearts and stars on their hands, as if political statements on the Red Carpet haven’t been a thing for years. From Emma Stone and Dakota Fanning wearing planned Parenthood pins to the Times Up movement that was commonplace at any carpet walk in 2018 and beyond.
Yes, to Collin, it seems a little less important and more fickle. However, as someone who watched it become a ‘thing’ in the school I taught at when the book was publish; its not a gimmick or publicity. There is sincerity when you get off your high horse.


The Good

  • The casting was incredible. Hadley Robinson had a hard job of being able to show this complex development of character; the introvert being pushed out of her comfort zone. It’s all there; a young woman frustrated at the sexism around her, the strength that comes from anonymity and the fallout from growing beyond what was there before.
  • Anjelika Washington has most recently been seen in DC show Star Girl. It was most excellent to see her in another role and, hopefully, an insight of things to come with her character in the show.
  • The film does well to cover all the bases from the book. the viewer will get an empowering narrative if they’re the demographic for the film. If you’re not a 14 year old girl, its not that this film isn’t for you. It’s more that its a lesson for you; should you be open minded enough.
  • The music and punk rock asthetic is such a wonderful sight. Yes, the book does have that element, but film is where it was always going to have its biggest impact.

The Bad

  • I want more. The one thing the aforementioned review got right? Outside of Vivian, there isn’t much development of the other characters. That’s not, for me anyway, a slight on the film. It’s the nature of the medium. Some things have to go for storytelling purposes. This probably would have worked much better, in terms of characters, as a tv series; limited or otherwise (but not tell this story in one season and make shit up for another 3 like 13 Reasons Why did). However, in terms of the story and the message, it did well for its 1h 50 runtime.

The Ugly

  • Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions. Frustration at the Principle, sadness at the environment young women are still faced with, heartbreak for so many reasons. I think any woman will identify with a lot of what happens during the course of the movie and if you’re a parent I think it will have an even deeper meaning to you.

Final Thoughts

I want more Punk! Please tell me this will lead to more punkish films!
Its a film I will most defintely watch again. It’ll be something I’d show my children (if I ever have them); male or female as I think there is a lesson for all in here.

Film Review: The Mortal Instruments(2013)

Rating: 12A
Length: 2hr 10
Release: 21.8.2013
Dir: Harald Zwat
About: New York teenager Clary Fray learns a secret about herself, which leads her into an adventurous journey. Clary is one of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of half-angel warriors who fight demons.


The Good

  • The film’s strongest aspect it the visual world building and the distinction between the Mundane and the Shadowhunters. There is an element of emo-Potter to it which makes complete sense when you know that the book franchise this movie is based on started life as Harry Potter fan fiction and Jace, with his blond hair, is actually Draco Malfoy.
  • There are some comic nods to other films, such as Simon’s ‘I’m the Key Master.’ quip when Jace reveals himself.
  • There are quite a number of well executed scenes, rescuing Simon for one. They play out well and on the most part, use physical and computer effects well.

The Bad

  • Clary isn’t fully established as a character in her own right before she’s thrown into the Shadowhunter world. It’s a little damaging to the character and the viewer as there’s no investment.
  • While Aiden Turner does an okay job when I watched this back in 2013, the tv show gave an adapted version of Luke to Isaiah Mustafa and it works so much better.
  • As I mentioned, individual scenes worked well but there’s something missing that ties it all together. The success (arguable) of the tv show does suggest it is more suited to the episodic approach.
  • The werewolves are totally shit. They are even worse than those seen in Twilight and those were neutered, tootless, bitches. These are just pathetic and the film ignores the complexity of their relationship with the Clave.

The Ugly

  • The film is about 30 minutes too long, yet its contents is incredibly shallow for what time they had to play with. Both Luke’s lycan reveal and Hodge’s betrayal have no impact because in one it’s hinted at too much and the latter has too little screen time with anyone to understand how much he means to the teens left in his care or Clary who is mentored by him in the books.
  • What was the choice behind Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ shockingly shit American shout?! Everyone else from the Shadowhunter world has British accents of varying quality, JRM is Irish.Surly is makes sense to allow him to keep his native accent?!
  • What the actual fuck is with Hollywood and incest? Why is it even a trope? I want to blame George Lucas, but I’m sure it dates further back than the galaxy far, far away. So,I guess this also isn’t the film’s fault given that it’s a massive plot in the books that evolves over the entire trilogy, but what the fuck?! So Clary, the bloke you like and have struggled to show any chemistry for is revealed to be your brother! Gross! What’s worse is that its not properly resolved and the film ends with the couple/siblings riding off on a motorcycle together.

Final Thoughts

I’m pissed off that I forgot how shit this movie was. I’m pissed off because I thought I’d yet to watch a film from 2013 this year, to discover after the fact that its actually 2012 that’s lacking a mark on my tracker.
Perhaps it’s much like that buzzing sound you stop hearing as you get older, you also lose your patience for really shit YA film adaptations. However, I’m more inclined to say it was the lacklustre performances that DOA’d this film.

The Dead Zone (1963)

Rating: 15
Length: 1hr 43
Release: 13.1.1984
Director: David Cronenberg
About: A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.


The Good

  • The story is strong, making sure that elements are cleverly dropped into the narrative and actually really pay off towards the end of the movie. For instance, Johnny’s psychic abilities are triggered by Sam, his clinic doctor. It seems its just there to provide a bond between the characters and someone who believes through experience rather than belief. However, it not only does it pay off in the final act, but it gives the viewer one of the most heavily debated ethical conundrums, but Sam gives one of the best answers to the question I’ve ever heard.
  • While episodic in its delivery, it doesn’t feel disjointed. Again, this is to do with clever plotting and delivery. The introduction of senator candidate Stillson reminds me so much of how Prime Minster Saxon was developed in Doctor Who. At one point in the film, you might be forgiven for thinking that the focus of the whole film was going to be on Johnny assisting the detectives in town, but when that’s resolved you don’t feel like the rug has been pulled.
  • Speaking of Stillson, its rather chilling how much like President Orange-face he is. It’s also a little unsettling to know that Martin Sheen goes on to play a president so well received on tv that people still call for him to be real. Yes, I know he’s an actor, but its not lost on me that all politicians are not themselves either.
  • A weird thing to like, but its a really green film on the most part. Yes, I feel like it means something. No, I don’t know what it is. I suspect it’s to do with Johnny’s ability, but it draws me in rather than frustrates me.
  • Christopher Walken as Johnny. Bloody hell, I’m invested and he’s a hero. A blessed or cursed one, I’m not sure I’ve decided on that yet. It’s a testament to Walken as an actor that I went into this thinking he was going to be a bad guy and be completely creeped out for him to win me over.
  • There’s so much else that I loved about this film; the themes, the questions raised and that science versus mysticism that automatically comes with this sort of story.

The Bad

  • The only part I found a little disjointed was the parent’s watching the televised interview and what happens to the mother. It’s slightly unclear (I’m nitpicking) and I’m not sure if that’s because I was already preparing for a flash from Johnny or if it just lacked the physical words.

The Ugly

  • Stephen King can’t write women for shit! Beverly Marsh has a gang bang with all of the Loser’s Club (albeit both the tv movie and the modern remake have the sense to leave it out), Donna bangs her husband’s tennis partner and now we’ve got Sarah who during Johnny’s five-year snooze gets married and has a baby. Okay, maybe that’s okay given Johnny’s dad has already moved on 2 minutes after mama’s death, however to take the baby to johnny’s house and lay it down to sleep before offering your tits to the man you abandoned. Bull shit! No!

Final Thoughts

It’s a film I’d watch again in a heartbeat. You can’t really take you’re eyes of the screen for a minute and the questions it leaves you with will invite you to return for another viewing.