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New In Town (2009)
New In Town (2009)
2009 | Comedy, Romance
6.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
When asked my impression of “New in Town” the first thing I could come up with was, “It was cute.” That meant I felt positive about the movie, right? Right. It just wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. However, anything less than “cute” would’ve been unfair, but anything more would’ve been effusive.

Now that I’ve had time to mull over my response, I can’t help but remember the time I overheard a coworker compliment another coworker with, “You look cute.” To which the complimented coworker replied, “Thank you, but cute is for puppies. I was hoping for great.” Her inability to accept compliments graciously aside, I suppose, when you’re in your mid-40s, as this coworker was, cute just doesn’t cut it anymore. There does come a time, with maturity, one would rather hear they made a more indelible impression.

So what made this movie simply cute and not great? Maybe because I can’t answer the following questions with “Great!” But I could certainly answer them with “Cute.”

How was Renee Zellwegger, who plays Lucy Hill, a determined and driven Miami executive presented with the opportunty to restructure a manufacturing plant in New Ulm, Minnesota? Cute. Okay, I can say she’s extremely fit. Dresses impeccably in tailored power suits and works designer stilletos something fierce. But the whole package, complete with a pretty, but oddly stiff, face that winces more than it smiles, is just…cute.

How was Harry Connick, Jr., who plays Ted Mitchell, the union rep Renee’s character must negotiate with to facilitate the reorganization. Cute. Real cute with that beard. But that’s as enthusiastic as I can get and I love love love Harry Connick, Jr. His role is lowkey and what charm it allows him to cast toward Lucy is from afar. Personally, I think he would’ve been great with a piano and some singing. But that’s HCJ the singer. Alas, HCJ the actor only had a truck, birdshot and malfunctioning factory equipment. Thus, he remained just darn cute.

How was the supporting cast, headed by Siobhan Fallon, who plays Lucy’s quirky secretary, Blanche, and J. K. Simmons as the dour factory foreman, Stu? Cute. The only thing not cute about the townfolk were the sweaters and wallpaper. Ghastly would work better there. Their Minnesotan accents were spot-on (well, as far as I know, considering the only other Minnesotans I’ve ever heard were in other movies). Apparently we’re to believe New Ulm is full of either scrapbooking, Christian do-gooders bearing food or joyless, implacable factory workers who would rather drink beer, ice-fish or shoot crow.

How was the storyline? Cute. Predictable. An unoriginal romantic comedy that attempts to have message. An ambitious up-and-comer has her eye on the CEO title and thinks playing the hardnose in a cost-cutting, streamlining reorganization project will impress the boss. Hardnose in high heels comes up against a tight-knit community in flannel that’s not impressed with her wardrobe, her multi-syllabic vocaulary or her city girl naivete at all. Despite the arctic attitudes and scenery, there’s thawing on both sides as Lucy is drawn into the fold by Blanche and her scrapbooking matchmakers. She and Ted take turns rescuing each other and eventually Lucy discovers there’s a time to be all-business and there’s a time to be human, and her success comes when she finds the balance between both.

So, while I was hoping I could tell you this movie was great, I can’t. Maybe with more story development, more tangible chemistry between Ted & Lucy, it would have made a more indelible impression. For this lighthearted rom-com, cute will just have to do.
Leatherheads (2008)
Leatherheads (2008)
2008 | Comedy, Romance
7.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
The movie opens with John Krasinski’s character, “Carter Rutherford”, playing college-level football for Princeton at a bleacher-groaning, over-packed game chock full of screaming patrons and die-hard fans. The kid is a golden-child, a war hero, and the nation’s most promising young athlete in the good old year of 1925. Carter is dynamic, attractive, and exactly what the country needs at a time of World War I. It is little wonder his face plasters billboards across town, that his name is uttered with awe and adoration. In truth, how could you not? The kid had, after all, single-handedly forced a contingent of German soldiers to surrender without even shooting one bullet.

Cut to George Clooney’s character, the aging “Dodge Connelly”, playing pro-football in mire-like conditions; his audience a tangle of bored fans and uninspired locals. It is a far cry from the opulent circumstance of college-level football. Men, bedraggled and sweating under the promise of returning to work at the mines and fields if their football dreams go under, play with reckless abandon and forgotten morals in hopes of winning that next game. Yet, as fate will go, the Bulldogs lose their sponsorship and the team goes under, forcing men to return to their day-jobs and leaving Dodge without a future. The man has no marketable skills, no trade. He is a football player and is determined to see his team back in the game.

Of course, that isn’t the only bit of chaos. There has to be a girl; there is always a girl involved in stories like these. Enter Renée Zellweger’s character, the vivacious and equally tenacious “Lexie Littleton” – a news reporter for the Tribune. Lexie is on a mission to expose Carter Rutherford and get to the bottom of his infamous war story. It comes to no surprise that when Lexie and Dodge meet in a hotel lobby awaiting the arrival of Carter Rutherford and his manager, “CC Frazier” (played by Jonathan Pryce), that sparks immediately fly between them. Dodge has a proposal for CC and Carter: have Carter take a leave of absence from Princeton to play pro-football for the Bulldogs, thus saving pro-football and paying Carter for his efforts. Naturally, CC wants a cut from the profits and finds a way to do so to accommodate his own needs. Dodge, without any other alternative, agrees.

Meanwhile, Lexie is working her magic on Carter to try and weasel the true story out of him as best she can. Try as she might she cannot ignore Dodge, no matter how acid her tongue wags in his direction. In the end, Lexie gets her story yet realizes she must decide between exposing the truth or letting America bask in the glory of its self-proclaimed war-hero.

In review, there is a true chemistry between all of the main characters and both Zellweger and Clooney do a good job of conveying the vehement (and callous) emotion between Lexie and Dodge. However, no matter how funny the banter becomes between these three main characters or how well the scene plugs along, in the end the movie comes off as a passable but by no means memorable. Betimes it seems to stretch on and on and more then once I found myself looking at my clock. In truth, the movie didn’t need to be nearly two hours long. It felt two hours long which is never a good thing, especially when we’re talking about theatre seats.

That said, I thought the movie was a cute and enjoyable comedy. It won’t crack your funny bone but it will certainly tickle it more then once. All in all I give it 3.5 out of 5. It succeeded in making me laugh and did keep me entertained. Above all, I’m sure many will find it enjoyable to some extent.
Grandma's Boy (2006)
Grandma's Boy (2006)
2006 | Comedy
4.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Life for video game tester is often filled with long hours, countless repetition and ever looming deadlines as the rush to get the latest games done and on budget is a key factor in the gaming industry. Often testers, much like the game coders toil away in obscurity with only their fellow gamers and personality quirks as their only companions. One such individual is a man named Alex (Allen Covert), a 36 year old professional game tester who suddenly finds himself out of his home thanks to a roommate who spends months of rent money at a local brothel.

Undaunted, Alex drifts from friend to friend often with disastrous results as he attempts to take stock of his situation and avoid the unpleasant alternative of moving in with his Grandmother (Doris Roberts) and her friends. With a deadline looming for his company’s latest game, a producer named Samantha (Linda Cardellini) is brought in to get the team on task. Faced with the reality of sleeping at his desk thanks to a rather embarrassing incident at a friend’s house, Alex is forced to reluctantly take refuge at his grandmothers.

Since Alex is the old man amongst the early 20’s testers who want nothing better than to break his unbeaten streak in head to head game challenges, Alex is forced to tell his co-workers that he spends his nights with three women and they wear him out. The sad truth is that Alex is worn out from 6:00 AM wakeups followed by three hours of chores before going to work. As if life was not complicated enough for Alex, the head game designer J.P. (Joel Moore), becomes more and more eccentric and this is only fueled by his interest in Samantha and his knowledge that Alex is attracted to her.

With a premise like this “Grandma’s Boys” has all of the ingredients to be a fun comedy that continues in the tradition of Adam Sandler’s comedies since his company produced the film. Sadly the film despite a few laughs becomes utterly predictable and drags in many places. The cast is enjoyable enough, but the jokes are too far between leaving the cast to carry the story which sadly is not strong enough to support the down time between jokes.

This is not to say that there are not some funny moments in the film as I can think of at least a half dozen good laughs. The issue is that when you have to wait 15-20 minutes between then in a film that is just over an hour and a half, it does tend to make the film drag. Also, much of the humor is derived from drug use. While it is funny in spots, the constant use of drugs, being stoned, and so on becomes old fast and makes the film seem like a one trick pony.

Covert who co wrote the film does his best in the film, but seems best suited as a supporting character as his character while likeable does not really connect with the audience the same way that one would with say Sandler, Schneider, or even Stiller. There are some good cameos in the film and Shirley Jones, Ms. Partridge herself is good as the older lady with a healthy libido, but I just could not help think that this film could have, and should have been much better than it was.

In the end, despite some good moments, there simply was not enough of them to save the film as the thin story, repetitive themes, and long gaps between good jokes ultimately sinks the film. It was nice to see a film about game testers as it is a group that is rife with comedic potential to be exploited, but sadly Grandma’s Boys barely scratches the surface.
Shazam! (2019)
Shazam! (2019)
2019 | Action, Sci-Fi
Zachary Levi as Billy Batson/Shazam The young cast The family dynamic The humour (0 more)
Mark Strong's weak baddie (0 more)
"i'd like to purchase some of your finest beer please"
Shout "Shazam!" into the sky and you're struck by a bolt of lightning from the heavens; blessed with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. Instantly elevated from whatever you were into your peak self; reborn with a crack of thunder, a flash of light and a cloud of smoke. It's a wonderfully novel and simple idea for a comic book character. Something that allows for a spectacular hero moment right before each conflict or feat; an epic bit of imagery to light up the night sky and electrify the frame. This transformation also perfectly captures the spirit of both this film and it's hero; a belief in the idea that even the most forgotten, marginalized and seemingly powerless person can change the world.

Shazam! distinguishes itself as DC's first true crack at a comedy; also it's lightest and most modest effort yet. There's a really nice commitment to the lofty, somewhat ridiculously mythological source material here. There's little liberty taken with Shazam's campy world of wizards, demons and magic; the attitude towards these elements can best be described as self-aware without being self-conscious. The jokes almost all land and there's charm oozing out of every frame. Loads of heart, tons of humor and a true fidelity to childhood joy make this such a uniquely enjoyable flick; and an impressively confident approach to a hero that soars due to it's big personality and earnest attitude.

Our hero's journey here boils down to a kid learning to care about a world that has never bothered to care about him. Abandoned as a child and shuttled through the foster system; the explanation and depiction of Billy Batson's unenviable situation is irreverent and laced with sarcasm, true to how teens often confront traumas that imply vulnerability. The film allows these kids to be kids; meaning they're impulsive and ill-equipped for the situation they're in; and often crude and frustratingly ignorant to a seemingly obvious truth. The premise lends itself to a close look at responsibility and purpose; basically a feature length look at a lost kid reclaiming his identity and finding a family. The point at which Billy truly becomes a hero with something to fight for is powerful; a simple but big-hearted affirmation of the importance of connection and love, especially to a kid who's never allowed himself to know either.

Superhero stories can impart lessons in a variety of ways. Both on the page and on the screen; there's a wide array of films that all excel in their own specific way; shaping themselves in the image of their hero, and what he/she means to readers around the world. Shazam! distinguishes itself spectacularly as a film about what constitutes a family, and how that family reflects who we are. There's a powerful yearning in Billy for a connection; someone or something to fight for. A desperate desire for love and support; to feel like a part of something in some way. There's a meaningful, deeply human core to that concept; something universal and immediately affecting. Shazam! understands this from the start; setting aside the punchsplosians and skybeams for a moment, to remind us that sometimes a kid looking for his mom can be as compelling than the threat of planetary destruction. So bring on Joker, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984 and whatever else DC has in it's chaotic, ever-changing slate of planned superhero flicks; they're on a roll right now.
The Goldfinch (2019)
The Goldfinch (2019)
2019 | Drama
Theo Decker's life is changed forever when a terrorist attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art destroys everything he holds dear. In the debris he finds a man who pleads with him to take his ring and go to a shop, the last words before he dies.

After leaving the museum he is brough to the home of the Barbours, the only place he seems to be able to think of and they take him in rather than see him become part of the system.

Things should slowly be getting back on track for Theo but the ring wasn't the only thing he took from the museum, in his possession he has The Goldfinch, a priceless painting that will have a hold on him his whole life.

Much like the book the film is not for the faint hearted, 880 pages has become 2 hours and 29 minutes on screen. You could probably cut another chunk off this but that change would inevitable mess with the pace, which I don't think would suit the story all that well.

I wrote a lot of notes as I sat in this film and I've had to reread them all because I can remember the film/story but I can't remember anything about how I felt about it. I left myself a handy note though... "I am incredibly bored by this."

I know that I will never make it through the book, even before the film it wouldn't have been a possibility, but I would like to know what amendments were made to cram the story into that relatively small time frame.

The thing that threw me was Luke Wilson, I don't think I've ever seen him in a dramatic role before, plenty of comedy that I really enjoy but no drama. I can't say this made me want to watch him in this sort of role again. I didn't find him convincing as Theo's dad Larry, at least not convincingly through the film. Alongside him there's Sarah Paulson, she's a great actress but I felt that (while entertaining) her show of Xandra was too over the top for a film with this tone.

Nicole Kidman always brings a character to life and this was no exception but I found the relationship between Mrs Barbour and the kids, particularly Theo, to be confusing and difficult to navigate.

Where do I start with Ansel Elgort... I saw him in Baby Driver, I wasn't a fan, I watched him in this and I wanted to see something better, I don't feel like I got that. Even with the restrained characters actors can still give the role a little glimpse of something to click with but I don't get that from Elgort. There was the briefest flicker when he's confronted by a customer but soon enough it was back to the base level.

On the plus side I found the younger incarnation of Theo, Oakes Fegley, to be very engaging on screen. He worked well with the others and added something a little lighter to the heavy aspects of the film. He worked particularly well with Finn Wolfhard as Boris, though that's another part of the film that stuck out as strange and seemed to hold little meaning other than to allow for the ending to come together.

I'm sure that this is for someone out there, that person was not me though. While it did have a few touching moments here and there I just couldn't make it past the long run time and the slow story.

What you should do

I would only recommend this to people who have read the book.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

A large antiques store to explore.
Angel Has Fallen (2019)
Angel Has Fallen (2019)
2019 | Action, Drama, Thriller
Full review: OMG explodey goodness! End.

Okay fine... the real full review is below.

Mike Banning is now on President Trumbull's secret service detail, past events have left him battered and bruised but he's not ready to stop doing what he was made to do.

When they take a short break so the President can get away from everything Mike is left in a life-changing situation. His team is all dead, the President is in a coma and all the evidence of the incident points to him. He needs to prove his innocence while evading every law enforcement agency that's hunting him, his only advantage? They aren't Mike Banning.

I loved Olympus Has Fallen, it was only narrowly edged out of the top spot the year it came out by White House Down. London Has Fallen was a completely different beast, it was much more aggressive and dark, and while entertaining it didn't feel like it fit with Olympus. Angel was always on my watchlist despite the dubious second instalment. At the very least it was going to be an action film where I didn't really have to think too much.

Angel Has Fallen is entirely predictable, I had two moments where I went "Oh... so this is what's going to happen..." I wasn't even mad that I guessed though, I was having too much fun.

Gerard Butler gets to flex his comedic muscles a bit more (look out for the wire), he does comedy so well that I've always got my fingers crossed for more of it. He mangles a lot of bad guys, naturally, but he managed to work in the fact that Mike isn't the spring chicken he used to be and it's a very convincing act. He also isn't phased by the fact his wife has had plastic surgery and transformed into a completely different woman.

Morgan Freeman reprises his role as Trumbull this time in the office of President. Freeman is one of my favourite actors and he always brings something to his roles. At one point he makes a very brief speech and that tone... it has a magical calming effect and instils great confidence. What are his political views? Is it worth considering him for office?

Nick Nolte also makes an appearance as Mike's estranger father. This leads to some very amusing scenes throughout. I'm not sure if it's because Nolte has the "grizzled back woodsman" look but it doesn't feel quite right that it's a father and son situation. The two have good chemistry though, especially while they're out in the woods.

There are some good and some bad things about the way the film is done. The worst is the CGI. Generally you'll always know where there's CGI in action but it will blend in well enough to be ignored. Some of the time that's true in Angel Has Fallen, but there's a lot that can't be ignored.

When it comes to the camera work it's quite good, you don't feel like you're missing anything and it helps you keep up with the action. There's just one point very early on that sticks out. We get a couple of first person shooter shots and while I understand why they were included it felt very out of place with the tone of everything around it.

After I saw London Has Fallen it felt like the franchise had already given up on itself a bit. Angel has definitely pulled it back. Olympus was a "serious" movie, London went much more ridiculous, and Angel did the only thing it could... go all out action. It feels very much like a classic 80s action storyline and I can't be mad at that.

Originally posted on:
The Darkest Universe (2016)
The Darkest Universe (2016)
2016 | International, Comedy, Drama
9.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Talk about a movie where you just don’t know where to start with!! Co-Directors (Yes Co) Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe have crafted what I can only describe as my favorite completely surreal yet right down to earth drama I have watched in 2016… Wait no… In years.

As I have said recently I am on a real Indie hidden gem kick right now and the ever amazing Phil Wheat of asked me to check this movie out suspecting that it would be right up my street. The Darkest Universe is an absolute gem of a movie for more reasons than I can explain, but I will try.

Co-Director and Co-Writer Will Sharpe plays highly strung and highly stressed Zac Pratt. We join Zac on the verge of a complete breakdown following the disappearance of his sister and Break-up with his girlfriend. We follow him on somewhat of a journey of self realization and discovery. Zac starts up a fledging blog making video diaries of his search for his sister due to his frustration with the police coming up short. During this time we have a wonderfully interwoven series of flashbacks showing us what happened and giving us breadcrumbs of information.

A movie like this can live or die in the intricate plot woven style and this one flourishes because there is not one unnecessary moment on screen, it all matters. We find that Zac’s relationship with his girlfriend Eva (Sophia Di Martino, Channel 4s Flowers and Casualty) is strained and fragile which leads to a wonderfully awkward marriage proposal failure. While Zac would like us to believe from the get go that his sister Alice (Tiani Ghosh Co-Writer and first time acting, You couldn’t tell) is unhinged we slowly find she is probably the sanest person in his life, as she meets mis-fit wanderer Toby (Joe Thomas Inbetweeners and Fresh Meat). The relationship between Toby and Alice is almost as captivating as Sharpe’s all round performance and is just such a delicious watch.

Okay lets just get to it Will Sharpe in this movie is bloody outstanding. Think about Ezra Miller in We Need to Talk about Kevin, that is how intense this role can get, but he can also switch-up and be this charming at times funny sincere chap. There were moments I just didn’t know where it was gonna go and his performance was layered as such. Of course the script helps aswell because its to the point, at 90 minutes long the movie gets in, messes with your head a bit and gets out. Also no spoilers from me but this movie is never what you think it is and the ending is just a thing of beauty.

I take nothing away from anyone else in this movie because for her first time acting Tiani Ghosh is well above par and her chemistry with Joe Thomas is undeniable. On that note Joe Thomas of Inbetweeners fame was a surprising delight for me in this. A cheeky little cameo from fellow Inbetweener Simon Bird was received well and rounding off our cream of Brit comedy crop Chris Langham (The Thick of It) does not disappoint as Toby’s dad.

I really don’t think you will disappointed if you give this movie a shot, it has all the ingredients of what I would call an indie classic, people will find this movie and talk about it for years to come. Sharpe and Kingsley are a directing duo you have got to keep an eye on. I myself am pissed I never saw there first effort (did I mention this is just there second directorial outing) Black Pond but I will rectify that. They are miles ahead of there Ages and show a level of film-making maturity that most directors will struggle to get to. Effortless and beautiful I am so glad I will be ending 2016 with this movie.
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
2019 | Comedy, Drama, War
During the opening credits of Jojo Rabbit, we're treated to The Beatles singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" while documentary footage plays showing crowds of Germans going absolutely nuts for Hitler, sieg-heiling and cheering for him. It's a fairly good indication of the kind of humour you can expect from Jojo Rabbit and writer/director Taika Waititi, who hit the big time after directing 'Thor Ragnarok', but has previously been responsible for a wide range of brilliantly quirky movies such as 'What We Do in the Shadows' and 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople'.

We begin by meeting 10 year old German boy, Johannes 'Jojo' Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), as he nervously prepares to head off to Nazi youth camp in order to fulfill his dream of serving Adolf Hitler. Heading up the camp is one-eyed Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell), aided by a bunch of inept instructors, including Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson) and Finkel (Alfie Allen). At the camp, boys get to play with knives and hand grenades, girls are taught the importance of having babies (Fraulein Rahm has given birth to 18!), while all of the children are taught about the evil monsters that are the Jews. Accompanying Jojo at the camp are best friend Yorki (a brilliant Archie Yates, soon to be starring in the recently announced remake of Home Alone) and Jojo's imaginary friend Hitler (Taika Waititi). When Jojo refuses to wring the neck of rabbit during a lesson on killing (earning him the nickname Jojo Rabbit), and is hospitalised following an unfortunate incident with a grenade, he is forced to leave the camp behind, returning home to be with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson).

While his mother is out during the day, Jojo discovers a teenage Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding out in the wall-space of his sisters bedroom. Jojo is initially shocked, and repulsed, by this hideous Jew, even more so when he discovers that it was his mother who was responsible for hiding her. As time goes on though, Jojo and Elsa begin to form a friendship, with Elsa feeding Jojo a series of made up ridiculous stories and tales regarding the origins and ways of Jews so that Jojo can write a book about them. All the while, Rosie remains completely unaware that Jojo knows anything of Elsa. The bumbling, goofy Hitler occasionally shows up too when Jojo needs words of encouragement, or when times are tough, and provides us with some welcome light relief. More humour is provided in the form of various smaller characters, including gestapo member Stephen Merchant and his team during what is essentially a pretty serious and dramatic scene as they show up and ransack Jojo's house.

But Jojo Rabbit is a movie about relationships. The Jojo/Hitler dynamic begins to take a backseat as things start to get more serious and we focus more on the bond between Jojo and his mother, and the relationship between Jojo and Elsa, as the final months of the war play out. The child actors in Jojo Rabbit are all outstanding and we also get to see a wonderfully different side to Scarlett Johansson. Sam Rockwell is hilarious and Rebel Wilson is just, well, Rebel Wilson! Occasionally though, we are dealt an unexpected gut punch, and it's fair to say that you'll be crying at Jojo Rabbit just as much as you'll be laughing. If I'm honest, I really wasn't expecting that side to Jojo Rabbit and it did more for me and my enjoyment of the movie than the comedy did, which wasn't really as laugh out loud as I thought it would be. Overall though, Jojo Rabbit is simply wonderful - funny, heartbreaking, sad and poignant - and unlike anything you've ever seen before.
Frozen II (2019)
Frozen II (2019)
2019 | Adventure, Animation, Fantasy
Anna's character development (1 more)
Songs (1 more)
Having arrived at the cinema on Saturday afternoon I was very glad I changed my plans to see this after work on Friday. The foyer was packed with children and it looked like a costume shop had a Disney special running. My 3D screening the day before had been a much more pleasant affair.

Arendelle is thriving and its people have never been happier, but Queen Elsa is feeling an emptiness that no amount of family and friends can seem to solve. When she starts to hear a song on the wind she knows she must follow its calling.

The song leads them to a place that Elsa and Anna have only ever heard about from their parents, a forest shrouded in impenetrable mist, a place that holds more questions as well as answers.

Firstly, 3D... big thumbs down. I certainly wouldn't be paying extra to see it, it's hardly ever worth it but it was the easiest way to have a screening that wasn't rammed with munchkins in cheap shiny costumes singing Let It Go.

There's always a certain amount of enjoyment to be had from a Disney film, I would say that automatically most are looking at 2.5/5 rating regardless... but coming out of Frozen II I was concerned that this one had dropped the ball.

The characters, our favourite things next to the songs... well mine at least, were hollow representations of what we saw in the first film. The peripheral characters were great so that thankfully helped everything move along well. Sadly Olaf thoroughly annoyed me with his existential crisis but while there were some heartfelt moments they didn't make up for that.

Out of the other main characters it was only Anna that had made any improvement from the original. (Sven of course is comedy gold, that's never in question.) She was stronger and more impressive, she seemed to have a lot more "role model" this time around. It also felt like there was a lot more Kristen Bell in her this time like she was allowed to have more input into Anna, she seems a lot funnier.

It is amazing just how much of an impact Disney songs can have, going in and out of the cinema at the moment you'll generally hear someone singing Let It Go or making some kind of pun, and here's where we come to my second major problem... the songs of Frozen II. There's not a single catchy tune. Much like Mary Poppins Returns I came out with original songs in my head and not the new ones. Possibly the worst thing of all is that they seemingly splice a boyband video for Kristoff right into the middle of the film. The only thing to take away from it is that reindeer are very talented.

Next, don't worry, this is the last one... probably. While the animation is the usual Disney quality there are a couple of moments (one of which is in the trailer) that when I saw them on the big screen looked terrible. Elsa fills the sky with ice crystals and they hand there and visually it's really not very good. For spoilery reasons I understand why they did it but it wasn't in keeping with the rest of the style enough to make it fit in.

The story itself was quite a nice one, it gives background context and opens up the Frozen universe for what I imagine will be a third film somewhere along the line. It covers the usual collection of things, betrayal, love, redemption, plenty of the usual Disney fodder.

Ultimately there's still a lot of good stuff in this and of course it's going to be entertaining. I don't think you could find a Disney film that wasn't, but for me the fact that Olaf and the songs were poor tarnished this one for me.

Originally posted on:
Parasite (2019)
Parasite (2019)
2019 | Drama
All I'd been hearing about Parasite was that it was a masterpiece and amazing, so many people were getting to see previews but of course they were all in London. Then Odeon came to the rescue with their Screen Unseen program so I defected from Cineworld for an evening.

The Kim family are desperately trying to make ends meet, their cramped home is uncomfortable and located in one of the shabbiest districts of Seoul. Things take a turn when the son's friend suggests that he takes over his tutoring job for the daughter of a well off family. Ki-woo doesn't have the qualifications but all he needs is to show confidence, he decides to take the job.

Once he gets to the upscale house opportunities start to present themselves and he sees a chance to set his family up with jobs too. Bringing their mother onboard sets in motion something that no one could have seen coming.

I seriously considered not writing a review for this, please excuse me if it seems a little disjointed but I'm still not entirely convinced that I have a proper conclusion.

Coming out of the film I was a little confused, mainly because apart from hearing about it being a masterpiece I had seen people saying it was a horror... IMDb lists it as "comedy, crime, drama", at least I agree with one of those.

The contrast between rich and poor is shown perfectly throughout, from their homes to the human senses expressed, the way it's all represented on screen solidifies the differences between the two families.

In each home environment we also see it, the sleek versus the chaotic, the clean versus the dirty. The Park's designer home is white, open and ordered, the Kim's is claustrophobic, cluttered and busy. The two are illustrated perfectly on each end of the spectrum and the two overlap briefly when the Kim's briefly take over the Park's home.

I thought the acting was good but I wasn't blown away by anything, potentially more of an issue with the script for me as I wasn't keen on some of the character traits that came out. The divide between the two families is obviously something that carries through to their members, but whereas we might expect the rich to be the villains in a story (and yes, they aren't necessarily the best people in the world) it is in fact the poor that are verging on the bad side of things. It does appear that in this instance money is the corrupting influence on the Kims and they get the taste for the high life. All the actors involved are very strong in helping this come across to the audience.

Beyond this set up I wasn't left with the gushing feeling that many, MANY others were. Maybe this just went over my head, I'm the first to admit that when I go to a movie I turn my brain down. Maybe it was more thinking than I'm willing to put into a film. When films touch a lot of different genres I feel like I have some trouble with then so this could also contribute to my underwhelmed feeling. My instinct coming out was that I wanted it to be a little darker and closer to a thriller than just drama.

After one viewing I would say I wouldn't have chosen to see it again but there's an Unlimited Screening coming I feel like it's worth giving it a second viewing in case I see something I didn't see before, but I'm not sure how much it will change things.

Originally posted on:

Lee (2140 KP) Jan 23, 2020

I’m heading to the Cineworld screening tomorrow but you’re right, the hype surrounding this has been crazy. I’m worried that I’m going to end up feeling exactly the same as you though.


Emma @ The Movies (1186 KP) Jan 23, 2020

Several times recently I've been for repeat viewings and come out with a different opinion/feeling so I'm hoping tomorrow might give me some clarity.