My Fifth Liebster Award

Liebster AwardAnd yet another award. Wow my shelf is piling up with these gongs, I’m going to need a bigger set of shelves. The fabulous Sherise has passed onto me my fifth Liebster Award. I just so feel so honored receiving all of these awards from the community. Sherise runs an outstanding blog that is amazing to read.

Now I must answer the questions she has asked me in order to complete this award. So here goes:

  1. Rocket or Groot? That would have to be Groot.
  2. What is your most unique quality? What can you do or what do you have that no one else does? (Does that make sense?) I can remember almost word for word every official song for a James Bond.
  3. Choose one of these actors to marry, one to fuck, one to kill and one to just ignore: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, and Chris Pine. This is going to be a hard question to answer. If I had to answer I would say Chris Pine to marry, Chris Hemsworth to fuck, Chris Pratt to kill and Chris Evans to ignore.
  4. What was the last television show you binge watched? I actually currently binge watching Charmed.
  5. Where would you like to travel to the most? Rome, such a beautiful and cultural city of history.
  6. Goodfellas or The Godfather? The Godfather as it is my all-time favourite movie.
  7. Robert Deniro or Al Pacino? Tough decision, I really couldn’t decide as they are both amazing actors who I respect.
  8. What is the one movie that makes you feel great every time you watch it? Probably The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as it shows how you can survive despite prejudice just by the kindness of one person seeing past your differences.

Now for my five nominations.

  1. Movie Blort
  2. Away From The Noise
  3. Nuwan Sen
  4. Killing Time
  5. Callum McLaughlin

And now here are the eight questions for my nominees:

  1. What made you decide to start writing a blog?
  2. A night out with friends or a movie night in?
  3. Buffy or Charmed?
  4. What is favourite item of clothing?
  5. Who is your favourite actress if you had to choose just one?
  6. How do you follow news around the world?
  7. What is the most disturbing film you have ever seen?
  8. Are you get up and go person or someone who needs to be motivated?

 

My Fifth Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger AwardAnother blogging award comes my way courtesy of Husband and Husband. I want to extend my deepest thanks to these guys for giving me my fifth Versatile Blogger Award. If you haven’t seen their site, do so immediately as you won’t regret it.

So without further ado, here are seven facts about me. Seriously I’m trying to not repeat myself when it comes to these facts, so bear with me people.

  1. I try to inject most of my reviews with a bit of humour, whether I’m successful at this is up for debate.
  2. I am always interested in discovering things about different cultures.
  3. When I was younger I used to rewind the bits I loved from movies and replay them again and again. It’s safe to say the videos were a little bit worn out.
  4. There’s something about a desert setting in a film that always captures my attention.
  5. I have never considered getting one of my crooked front teeth repaired, I personally think it defines me as a person.
  6. For some reason I’ve always wanted to dye my hair black.
  7. I adore title sequences in movies.

Now I must like my last award, bend the rules when nominating others. I follow so many amazing blogs and I think I should share out the nominations so no one is left out. Here are my five.

  1. Reut
  2. Melissa
  3. Emma
  4. That Moment In
  5. Laura

 

 

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

Film Title

Mad Max: Fury Road

Director

George Miller

Starring

  • Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky
  • Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa
  • Nicholas Hoult as Nux
  • Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad
  • Riley Keough as Capable
  • Zoë Kravitz as Toast
  • Abbey Lee as The Dag
  • Courtney Eaton as Cheedo the Fragile

When I heard there was going to be another Mad Max movie, I was a little ambivalent as to how it would turn out. Thankfully after hearing the praise for it from almost every critic, I finally watched it and boy did it deliver in spades. Fury Road is one exhilarating spectacle of high-octane action and dystopian craziness. To say I enjoyed this movie, would be a huge understatement.

In the distant future of vast and arid wasteland where resources are scarce and humanity has descended into utter madness, we have Max. A shell of a man, his only instinct is to survive the chaos that surrounds him while dealing with haunting visions of people he was unable to save in the past. Mad Max Fury Road PosterWe begin with Max being captured by fanatical War Boys, who worship the tyrannical leader Immortan Joe. The grotesque Joe has a complete hold on remaining survivors and keeps them in check by depriving them of water. Max is imprisoned and is forced to be the blood donor to one of the sick War Boys known as Nux, who has been utterly brainwashed by the leader. While attempting to escape, another incident sets in motion dangerous consequences. The driver of Joe’s war rig Imperator Furiosa has had enough of the conditions and escapes with precious cargo Joe’s harem of wives; Angharad, Capable, Toast, The Dag and Cheedo. These girls have been enslaved by the cult leader and used so he can produce an heir. When Joe sees what Furiosa has done, he sends out his armed men on a high-speed chase through the deserts. Mad Max Fury Road MaxMax is strapped to the front of one of the trucks and manages to survive the carnage that awaits. Teaming with the fierce Furiosa, he helps her in her quest to reach the land where she was born in hopes of safety and redemption. It won’t be easy with two tons of heavily armed disciples tracing them and attacking, but Max and Furiosa muster their strength to fight back and survive in this time of hopelessness.

Right from the start George Miller brings his expertise to the forefront and bring electrifying life to Fury Road. As the original director of the movies, he has lost none of his touch when it comes to delivering pulse-pounding action and explosive set pieces. From a chase through a violent sandstorm that engulfs everything in its path to the vast arsenal of vehicles and weapons used, he just brings such style to it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie with so much action that just leaves your heart pounding and your knuckles white. For a film that runs for two hours, it sure doesn’t feel like it because of the sheer intensity of the movie. Mad Max Fury Road WivesThe whole visuals are outstanding, with the burnt oranges of the desert and the swirling dust showing us the destruction of humanity and the billowing white worn by the Wives as they flee their imprisonment creating a strikingly angelic impact against this unforgiving land. The sonic elements of this flick deserve so much credit. When watching this, you can hear everything amplified for maximum impact. The gears crunching, the bones breaking and the shrieks of madness, they’re all here and just arrest you from start to finish. And not forgetting the score, which resonates with epic drama and furious action. Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t just a film, it’s a reverberating and action packed event.

Stepping into Mel Gibson’s shoes must have been an extremely daunting task for Tom Hardy. Yet he brings the right strength to the role and nails the laconic demeanor of the character. Hardy has always been a physical actor and here it works excellently as with little dialogue, he conveys the primal need to survive in an extraordinary situation. But I must say that as effective as Hardy was in the role, Charlize Theron was the one who captured my attentions in her portrayal of Imperator Furiosa. Theron creates an intense and extremely determined character of stoic anger, responsibility and bravery. Imperator FuriosaMost of this is conveyed through her eyes, which burn through the screen with steely ferocity. With her buzz cut, oil slicked across her face and a bionic arm, she really is an unforgettable creation and an asset to the movie embodied excellently by Charlize Theron. Nicholas Hoult gives insane and unstable energy to the role of Nux, the brainwashed War Boy who defies Joe and begins to help Max and the others in their attempt to survive. With his rumbling voice and physical presence, Hugh Keays-Byrne makes Immortan Joe a despicable and utterly grotesque villain. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays Angharad, Joe’s favourite of his wives who is heavily pregnant and while she isn’t the most competent actress, she brings a definite spark of innocence to the part. Riley Keough and Zoë Kravitz are also good as two of the escaped wives. Abbey Lee stands out the most among the quintet with her large eyes and grim sense of humour undercutting the danger all of them are involved in. Courtney Eaton rounds out the wives as Cheedo, the youngest of the girls.

Brutal, bloody and rip-roaring in the extreme, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best experiences I’ve had in the cinema for a long time and one that is impossible to forget.

 

Song One

Film Title

Song One

Director

Kate Barker-Froyland

Starring

  • Anne Hathaway as Franny Ellis
  • Johnny Flynn as James Forrester
  • Mary Steenburgen as Karen
  • Ben Rosenfield as Henry Ellis

A quiet but stirring little film about the need to reconnect and the healing power of music, Song One delivers emotional viewing with beautiful nuance and natural acting.

Franny Ellis, an anthropology student, has been estranged from her brother Henry for six months following a huge argument surrounding his decision to quit college and try to make his way as a musician. Song One PosterWhen Henry is rendered comatose in a car accident, Franny returns from working on a study in Morocco to Brooklyn in the hopes of patching things up.Feeling a sense of guilt over the way they parted and all the things she said to him, she begins to recount parts of his life through reading his journal. Retracing his steps and his deep musical passion, she meets James Forrester, a folk musician within the Brooklyn music scene that her brother was a big fan of. Through this meeting and later relationship, Franny begins to face reality and the past mistakes she has made. The growing relationship also benefits James, who has lost inspiration but finds it when Franny walks into his life. Tentatively beginning a burgeoning relationship, the two find that their internal and emotional wounds can be healed through music and understanding even when life throws its worst at them.

Kate Barker-Froyland writes and directs this moving film with personal and observational naturalism. She gives Song One a quietly touching quality that adds to the film’s fresh and sincere look at reactions to tragedy and the attempts to reverse what has already been done. None of the emotions really feel forced or put on; they come from deep within the heart and the results show on screen. Song One FrannyWhat is very refreshing is the relationship that begins to grow between Franny and James. There is a definite undertone of romance in there, but Song One isn’t striving to make a swooning overture of grand love. Instead the core of their partnership is understanding one another and seeing that while they have their flaws and regrets, hope is always there no matter how great the suffering they endure. You can argue that not much happens in Song One, because of its measured pace and subtlety. In actual fact, quite a lot happens in it, it’s just told in a quiet and non histrionic way that gives it something special. The power of music and sound is beautifully observed throughout this movie. As an audience, we see Franny taping sounds from the outside world to play for her brother at his bed side as a way of communication. The choppy editing style in the beginning effectively underscores Franny’s emotional demons and her attempts to overcome them. And as it is a film about music, the suitably folk tinged score from the Brooklyn music scene is very moving to listen to.

Anne Hathaway stunningly portrays Franny with emotional subtlety and shaded nuance. Instead of an excessive display of over emotion, we get to see the gradual repair of her regretful soul through a smile her or a tear there from the talented Hathaway, using her remarkably expressive face to excellent use. Much like Hathaway’s delivery, Johnny Flynn gives his role of James a quiet reticence and undeniable charm. Song One JamesFlynn also showcases his moving musical skills during many important scenes and listening to him singing is indeed something very impressive. The two of them really have great chemistry that makes you believe their relationship. Mary Steenburgen brings an excellent dynamic to the role of Franny’s mother, while Ben Rosenfield, often seen in flashback, luminously illustrates passion and love.

I would wholeheartedly advise you to watch Song One as you won’t regret seeing this quiet little indie gem.

 

 

The Boy Next Door

Film Title

The Boy Next Door

Director

Rob Cohen

Starring

  • Jennifer Lopez as Claire Peterson
  • Ryan Guzman as Noah Sandborn
  • John Corbett as Garrett Peterson
  • Ian Nelson as Kevin Peterson
  • Kristin Chenoweth as Vicky Lansing

I must say before I go into this review that I sometimes don’t mind derivative movies full of clichés. As long as they’re entertaining I can accept some of the flaws within them. The same can’t be said about The Boy Next Door, which is clichéd as hell but not at all thrilling or riveting in the slightest.

Claire Peterson is an attractive English teacher with a teenage son Kevin. She is currently in the process of contemplating divorce from her unfaithful husband Garrett. The Boy Next Door PosterHer best friend and fellow member of school staff Vicky attempts to fix her up with various dates, but none of them are to any avail. While she is attempting to make a decision about her precarious marriage, her next door neighbour’s handsome nephew Noah Sandborn moves in. The charming Noah seems to be a nice guy who helps Kevin out with school bullies, is well versed in the literature that Claire teaches and cares for his ailing uncle. He begins to flirt with Claire, who sees it as harmless and somewhat flattering. Yet after she gives into passion and sleeps with him, events begin to take an unexpected turn. While she dismisses their sexual encounter as a mistake, the young Noah takes the situation to obsessive and terrifying heights. What started as a mistake soon grows into violent consequences as Noah descends into full-on psychosis and begins to terrorise Claire and all of the people close to her. As this reign of terror becomes more disturbing and increasingly warped, Claire must find a way to survive before it’s too late.

As mentioned earlier, I can forgive some clichéd movies with a repeating formula if they entertain me. But to say that I was entertained while watching The Boy Next Door would be a major lie. The whole thing for lack of a better word is a failure. It is supposed to be a terrifying thriller, but any thrills that I tried to conjure up where laughably bad. I can say the same thing about the script which is littered with hopelessly awful dialogue that will make you cringe more than once. Claire and NoahRob Cohen’s uninspired direction does the movie no favours and could have been better. This is the kind of film in which characters make ridiculous decisions that are dumb and really stretch credibility. Another thing about The Boy Next Door is that it feels at various times to just be an excuse to see Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman in states of undress. The camera ogles Lopez’s curves and breasts whenever it can, while also taking in the sweaty muscles and peachy bum of Guzman in a scene in which he takes a shower with the curtains open. Not that I have anything against that, but the excessive display of flesh doesn’t make this movie any more watchable. The score attempts to be creepy with choral voices but is way off the mark.

Jennifer Lopez, when given the right material, can be a very capable actress. The opportunity to use her talent is completely wasted in this endeavour, as her character makes some really misguided decisions. The Boy Next Door ClaireShe is still as sexy as ever, but her gorgeous presence can’t save this messy movie. Ryan Guzman may have some charm as Noah, he just can’t quite flex his acting muscles that convincingly when showing Noah’s obsession with Claire. Then again the character is so badly written no one could have brought any credibility to it. None of the other roles of John Corbett, Ian Nelson and Kristin Chenoweth are really memorable and are merely superfluous.

All I have left to say is avoid The Boy Next Door at all costs.

 

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

Dragon's Loyalty AwardWhat a way to get back from a holiday. No sooner had I stepped back onto the blogging world, I received a notification of another award. The fabulous, beautiful and peachy bum loving Emma has nominated me for my first Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I am greatly honored to be receiving this and I feel so happy I could run down the street with no clothes on.

So now that I’ve thanked the wonderful Senorita for her award I will complete the winning process of acceptance. First, here are seven interesting facts about me.

  1. I love the feeling of breaking in a new pair of shoes.
  2. I don’t believe in lying unless it is for a very good reason.
  3. No part of my body is pierced yet, that may change in the future.
  4. My guilty pleasure on TV is Geordie Shore.
  5. I have often been told I’m good at doing impressions of film characters.
  6. The one thing that I hate most is prejudice, I feel there is no need to treat someone unfairly simply because of differences. We are all different in our own way and we all deserve the right to be treat equally.
  7. I will watch most sports on TV, but I find Golf boring.

Now here are my amazing nominees. I may be bending the rules here, but I follow so many blogs and I don’t want to leave anyone out. Instead of 15, I’ll do 5.

  1. Husband and Husband
  2. Zobo
  3. The IPC
  4. Alex Raphael
  5. Anna

Thanks amazing Emma for this award.

 

Into the Woods

Film Title

Into the Woods

Director

Rob Marshall

Starring

  • James Corden as The Baker
  • Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife
  • Meryl Streep as The Witch
  • Anna Kendrick as Cinderella
  • Daniel Huttlestone as Jack
  • Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince
  • Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood
  • Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel’s Prince
  • MacKenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel
  • Johnny Depp as The Big Bad Wolf

Something of a re imagining of classic fairy tales bound together with a newer story and put into a musical/fantasy hybrid from Disney, Into the Woods is also a mixed bag of sorts.

In classic fairy tale fashion, the movie opens with the words ‘Once Upon a Time’. The main story is of a Baker and his Wife who more than anything in the world want a child, yet somehow for them it has proved impossible. Into the Woods PosterThe source of this comes literally spinning into their home like a whirlwind in the form of an evil and very powerful Witch. The evil being explains that due to the Baker’s father stealing beans of magical properties from her precious garden, she placed a curse upon his family so that future generations would be unable to have children. The devious hag also took the Baker’s baby daughter and raised her as her own. The girl eventually became the long-haired Rapunzel, imprisoned in a tower from the outside world, singing lilting lullabies to pass the time. She is later discovered thanks to her lovely voice by a handsome prince, who falls deeply in love with her. Meanwhile, desperate to break the curse upon their family, the Baker and his Wife accept the terms of the Witch’s hard bargain. If they can procure four specific items from classic fantasy stories within the days before the third full moon, the curse will be forever lifted. Into the Woods WitchThis in turns means they must both journey deep into the mist enshrouded woods where magical mayhem and mystical mischief awaits them. We also have the stories running alongside this one, that include the items needed to break the curse. These consist of a young boy named Jack selling his beloved cow for magical beans that grow the famous beanstalk, a greedy girl in a red cape visiting her Grandmother as well as being stalked by a hungry wolf and a downtrodden Cinderella transformed from rags to riches so she can attend the nearby ball held by another dashing royal prince.

As aforementioned, Into the Woods is something of a mixed film of both excellence and parts that could have been improved upon. Rob Marshall does infuse the piece with visual style and theatricality, which is very befitting of the musical genre. And boy does the visual style deliver with the Gothic woods being a particular highlight of production design. The costumes are also very well crafted with technique and effortless skill. Into the Woods Baker and his WifeI must say I enjoyed Corden’s narration, he brought a wry delivery to it as magical events continued to mount. Where Into the Woods falters is in its length and lack of memorable musical numbers. Although the pacing in the beginning of the movie, in the second half it tends to drag and become a little boring. As for the musical numbers, the stream of consciousness approach is actually rather good for a while. Yet it can become very monotonous and though some numbers bristle with energy, there isn’t really a killer song to be remembered once the movie ends. The same can be said about the altering of classic fairy tales. In some cases it provides interesting and often dark viewing, but in others it should really have been left to the classic version. Saying all this, Into the Woods is definitely a more enjoyable movie that Marshall’s last musical Nine, but it still has many flaws.

James Corden and Emily Blunt are really good in the central roles and have humorous yet loving chemistry with one another. Blunt is especially excellent at portraying the good-hearted Wife with warmth and shows off considerable skills in the vocal department. Meryl Streep takes what is essentially a pantomime villain role as the crone and breathes life into it. You can really see that Streep is having a ball here portraying the evil and cunning Witch and she plays it with such delicious glee. As always when Streep is in a movie, she gives it calibre with her engaging and highly talented presence. Cinderella Into the WoodsAnna Kendrick combines a beautiful voice and sympathetic delivery to give a modern interpretation of Cinderella; as we watch her wrestle with indecision over a union with her Prince. Daniel Huttlestone plays Jack with wide-eyed charm and youthful energy as he inadvertently gets himself tangled up in this magical quest. Chris Pine is used too little to be really memorable. Though it must be said that his musical number where he argues that the pain caused by love is greatest of all is particularly funny. Lilla Crawford brings a bratty and not so sweet disposition to a successful revamp of Little Red Riding Hood. And it’s quite good to see another take on a character that is so often portrayed as winsome and lamb like. Billy Magnussen doesn’t have much to work with as Rapunzel’s Prince, just like MacKenzie Mauzy as the imprisoned maiden. Johnny Depp contributes a creepy cameo as the predatory Wolf looking to make Red Riding Hood his next meal.

So all in all, Into the Woods has its share of excellent moments partly because of some stylish direction and fine performances. It’s a shame that it couldn’t be more memorable considering all the attributes it had.