June at the Cinema

I’ve definitely upped my game this month in terms of the amount of caning my Cineworld card has sustained. I even ventured out to Chichester for a day at their Cineworld when two films I wanted to see finished their run at Brighton.

So here’s your run down of what’s worth seeing and what’s not.

Booksmart

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What a film to kick off June with. I LOVED Booksmart. I haven’t really felt like a film has truly captured what it must be like for kids today until this corker from actor turned first time director Olivia Wilde hit screens.

I feel like it’s a movie that came completely out of left field too. I knew nothing about it until one of my friends asked if I wanted to see it, and then it was quickly one of my favourite films of the year so far.

The story centres on best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever). They’re smart girls, they have been acing all of their classes in order to get into the best colleges, but on the eve of graduation they realise they never did the stuff that you’re supposed to do in high school. They never got drunk, never fooled around with their respective crushes, never partied, could they even be sure they had fun?

The thing is that the girls are fun. They are hilarious. But nobody they go to school with knows that because they never got to know anyone but each other. How to remedy this with less than 24 hours to go until they leave school, and by association their school “friends”, behind forever?

Luckily for the girls there’s a party to end all parties planned. If only they knew where Nick, their classmate who they never got to know, lives. And so ensues a mission to find Nick’s house before the sun rises.

Along the way the girls encounter Jared, a lovely guy who just tries a bit too hard, Gigi (a scene stealing Billie Lourd), who I can’t really reveal anything about because spoilers (but just know that she was one of the reasons I bloody loved this movie), a delivery guy with a secret, an Uber journey you’ll never forget and then the most epic of ends to the night.

In case it’s not clear, I LOVED BOOKSMART SO MUCH. It made me laugh a lot which speaks volumes about how funny it actually is because I don’t laugh at comedies 90% of the time. It made me cry, and I totally fell in love with these girls and their beautiful friendship.

More like this please Ms Wilde.

9 out of 10

Alternative Poster by the uber talented SG Posters

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

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I just managed to get in a full viewing of Gojira (1954) the night before going to see this and I’m so glad I did! And if you want to know what I thought of that you can read it here as part of my 100 Years of Horror series.

King of the Monsters picks up from the events of 2014’s Godzilla, and opens on the Russell’s (Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga) as they search for their son Andrew in Godzilla’s aftermath.

Spoiler alert, Andrew didn’t make it, and neither does the couple’s marriage. Fast forward a few years and Paleobiologist Dr Emma Russell (Farmiga), is working for Crypto-Zoological organisation Monarch (who we saw in the first movie in the form of Dr Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr Graham (Sally Hawkins)) who have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with giant creatures known as Titans, of which Godzilla is one.

Emma and teenage daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) no longer see much of ex hubby/daddy Mark (Chandler), and Emma’s moved on. She’s now leading a project to resurrect one of the long dormant Titan’s using a sonar device of her making called the Orca. It can omit frequencies to attract or alter Titan behaviour.

But before you go thinking ‘here comes the big guy’, this Titan isn’t Godzilla. This creature is Mothra. You might be familiar with that name, as Mothra has long been pitched against Godzilla in previous movies. One of which I have borrowed from my friends who hosted the horror fest a few weeks ago.

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Mothra isn’t the only creature to be awoken though, a group of eco terrorists lead by Alan Jonah (a fantastically hammy Charles Dance) attack the base where this operation is being undertaken to awaken Mothra, and Emma and Madison are taken hostage to help with their dastardly plan.

Meanwhile the Monarch team approach Mark to help track down Emma and Madison before the Orca is used to awaken a whole host of even more deadly Titans. However, what the eco terrorists were not banking on was that the Monarch team have the help of more than just Mark Russell. They have Godzilla on their side too! Yay! Here he comes! *stomp stomp stomp*

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Godzilla’s not so much in cahoots with Monarch, mores the pity if you ask me, but he knows that awakening the Titans isn’t going to be good for anyone, and so he’s on our side this time. And that’s when battle commences.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, but what does any of this have to do with Gojira. Well. Let me tell you. Not only is Dr Serizawa an original character from the 1954 film, his arc is almost the exact opposite to what it is in that movie. And it’s quite an emotional rollercoaster if you’ve seen Gojira. In the ’54 film, Serizawa inadvertently creates the Oxygen Destroyer, which in turns kills both himself and Godzilla.

In this film *SPOILER ALERT* he gives his life to SAVE Godzilla. I’m not crying you are. It’s a really emotional moment, especially as some of the original music from Gojira is featured in this scene, and a subsequent scene where Mark and the monarch team pay tribute to Serizawa. It’s just a beautiful nod to the original film, and I’m quite sad that it will be lost on most of the viewers of this movie who won’t have seen Gojira.

Yes Godzilla King of the Monsters is a rip roaring joyride of giant monster fights, but it’s this little bit of heart that made the movie stay with me after I left the cinema. If you can find a copy of Gojira I highly recommend seeing that and then watching the King of the Monsters and seeing if you felt the same. It certainly added a depth of feeling that I wasn’t expecting to have from a monster movie.

7 out of 10

Late Night

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I noticed when I was looking for the poster for Late Night that it has a review on it stating the film is “nothing short of fabulous”, but it doesn’t matter how high definition I go, I can’t seem to make out the teeny tiny writing of which reviewer or which publication made this claim. I find that most intriguing.

The first thing I will say is that the film is many things but sadly fabulous is not one of them. I should have known something was up when I saw the trailer for this comedy and not only did I not laugh – which as I mentioned in my Booksmart review, is not always the sign of a bad comedy as I don’t find a lot of standard comedies funny – but my housemate, who has a penchant for pooh stories, also didn’t laugh.

But I figured, as I am sure most people who saw this film did, that it had Emma Thompson in it, and that’s surely a good sign that the film would be solid, even if the trailer hadn’t quite hit the spot.

I also liked the premise for the movie too, ageing female TV star who is about to lose her show brings in new female blood to revitalise it. Yep, I am on board with that. I liked Mindy Kaling just fine in the US version of The Office so I was on board with her too, I just thought the trailer had been badly edited and that the film would surely be lots better.

Sometimes I am wrong. And when I am wrong, as much as I am stubborn and hate to admit it, admit it I will. This film is so bad that I was hoping that the very elderly couple sitting next to us, who had loudly argued all through the trailers, would pipe up and provide us with some much needed comic relief.

Not only did I not laugh, not only did my friend not laugh, absolutely nobody in the ENTIRE AUDIENCE LAUGHED. That’s not a good sign in a comedy.

I’m so sad that this was the case because it’s written and produced by Kaling as well as being her vehicle for leading role movie status, and it’s just not funny. It’s badly edited to boot, with lots of weird cuts that make the movie feel disjointed and clunky. And there is a very obvious (hit you over the head with placards it’s so unsubtle) subplot about smoking being the root of all evil which weirdly didn’t go anywhere or amount to anything.

Nothing really worked for me in this movie. Emma Thompson does the absolute best with what she is given but it’s just not a good film. To the point where I wonder if it just read better on paper or if she owed Kaling some sort of favour?

Definitely not fabulous.

4 out of 10 (that’s being generous)

Dark Phoenix

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After the major disappointment of both the previous telling of this storyline in X-Men: The Last Stand, and the lacklustre previous X-Men film Apocalypse, I didn’t go into Dark Phoenix with high expectations. Even though my movie reviewer friend Chris said it was good, I still wasn’t so sure it would be. Trepidatious is definitely the word.

The film opens with a mission to rescue some astronauts from the shuttle Endeavour, who have been caught in what appears to be a solar flare. It’s only when the X-Men get out into space that the solar flare reveals it’s true nature, it’s a form of cosmic power and it’s out to destroy. It attacks a defenceless Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who is stranded in the Endeavour after all of the astronauts are safely on board the X-Men’s shuttle. She inadvertently absorbs the energy and in an unconscious state is brought back to Earth by the rest of the team.

*Spoiler Alert* The energy then awakens her memories of the car accident that killed her parents, one which she seemingly caused, and which Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) had erased from her mind. Much soul searching begins for Jean. She wonders who she can trust. And when she learns that her father survived the crash and willingly gave her up to Charles and his school for gifted youngsters, her literal searching for him begins too.

Along the way Jean meets alien race the D’Bari lead by Jessica Chastain’s somewhat dodgily named Vuk. Their home planet was destroyed by the cosmic power now coursing through Jean’s veins, and it’s a power Vuk wants for herself. But will she only use it for evil? Is there any good left in Jean anyway now that she’s become the Dark Phoenix of the title? That would be telling wouldn’t it?

In reminding myself of some of the finer details of the story I did notice that it’s had some less than savoury reviews, and was considered a disappointment at the box office. I actually liked it. Maybe because I had quite low expectations, I hadn’t been especially grabbed by any of the trailers for it, but as I’ve seen all of the other X-Men films and their spin offs I figured I would see this one anyway, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Is it a great movie? No, definitely not, but it’s certainly not a bad one. You could do a lot worse believe me. I just wish there had been room for more Quicksilver (Evan Peters) as I always think he’s the best thing in these reboots.

6 out of 10

Toy Story 4

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I feel like I am going to say much the same thing as my favourite review blog Strange Weather did on the subject of this film, so I am going to keep it brief.

Did I absolutely think that the Toy Story franchise had finished with Toy Story 3? Yes. Was I an absolute wreck after seeing Toy Story 3? Yes, it was my birthday and I remember very vividly how I ruined my make up by sobbing through most of that movie. Do I think there is a need for Toy Story 4? Initially no, but after seeing the movie I wholeheartedly say yes (we can-ada).

It’s got everything you expect from a Toy Story, it’s got adventure, it’s got toys in peril, it’s got new toys, old toys, funny toys, scary toys, and above all it’s got heart. I choked up a couple of times but nowhere near the scale of Toy Story 3, which for me was a good thing as I didn’t bring spare mascara to the cinema.

I enjoyed the ride thoroughly, and you know what? Although I think they should probably leave the toy box where it is, if they make another film with as much love as they clearly made this one, I will be happy to watch it.

8 out of 10

Avengers: Endgame (Additional Footage)

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That’s right, I watched Avengers: Endgame for the third time because of a supposed 6 minute clip that was tacked on to the end of the credits (you’ll know if you already saw the film that there is no end credits scene), just to squeeze that little bit more cash from us Marvel fans.

I’m not going to review the movie again because an end of credits scene neither changes how I felt about the movie or changes anything that happens in the movie, so if you want to know what I thought of that you’ll have to read my VERY in-depth review here.

But what I will say is that the 6 minute clip was in actual fact about a minute long. There is no context as to where this scene would have appeared in the film, and it’s also not important in any way. And in my opinion, unless you wanted to see Endgame again, it’s not especially worth it.

However, there is a lovely behind the scenes tribute to Stan Lee that IS 3000% worth watching. It brought a tear to my eye and was a fitting send off for dear Mr Lee. So if you’re going to see Endgame again do it for that.

You’re still not getting more than a 9 out of 10 from me Russo Brothers, but nice try. Next time make it a Clintasha scene and I’ll see what I can do about going up to 9.5 maybe.

Brightburn

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Firstly let me just say, check out another fantastic alternative Poster by my ridiculously talented friend SG Posters. How gorgeous is that?

So this film, and Child’s Play which I am going to review separately, had both finished at Brighton Cineworld by the time I finally had the time to see them. You might think “oh social butterfly Kath, out every night”, but the truth is that they were both only on for a week, and Child’s Play only had one late show every day of that week. I get up at 6 am. I can’t be doing late shows anymore.

So boo to you Cineworld Brighton for being lame because both of these movies were 100% worth seeing. I’m just so glad I happened to notice that Cineworld in Chichester kept them on through the weekend, allowing me a cinema day Saturday to enjoy these movies. I picked the hottest day of the year so far too which I am so pleased about. I spent it in an air conditioned cinema not getting heat stroke, yay me!

So on to Brightburn. We all know the origin story of Superman right? He was put into a pod as a baby when his home planet of Krypton was on the brink of destruction, and he was sent to Earth, where Jonathan and Martha Kent took him in and raised him as their own son.

I’m just checking you know that story, as the writers here, Mark and Brian Gunn (cousin and brother respectively of Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn who produced this movie too) have basically taken that story and thrown in the spin of… and what if supes grew up to be evil?

It’s an interesting take on a very old trope and one I found quite welcome. The Kent’s here are actually Kyle and Tori Breyer (David Denman and Elizabeth Banks), a childless couple who find a baby one night after an apparent meteor shower, and raise him as their own son. Brandon (Jackson A Dunn – who funnily enough also features in Avengers Endgame as a young Scott Lang), much like Bruce Willis’ character in Unbreakable, doesn’t seem to suspect anything about the fact that he’s never been sick or injured throughout his childhood, and has no idea just how different he is. That is until the craft that brought him to earth starts glowing and putting messages in his head while he sleeps.

From this moment on, Brandon finds himself repeatedly drawn to the family barn, where the Breyer’s have been keeping his baby pod safe for years (as you do). He knows he shouldn’t go in there because it’s dangerous, farm equipment yada yada yada, but he’s so drawn to this thing that he’s even going in there in his sleep.

I probably don’t need to tell you that this is when things start to take a turn for the worst, and poor Brandon goes from mild mannered pre-teen to indestructible murderous little shit faster than you can say faster than a speeding bullet.

It gets gory and downright horrific from here on out, so if you don’t have a strong stomach make sure you look away when the lightbulb shatters. If gore isn’t your thing then this probably isn’t the movie for you as it gets pretty gross at times, but me being the nasty little horror fiend that I am I loved it.

Banks and Denman were great as the unsuspecting parents of the child from hell, and even Dunn, while not the best child actor in the world, I’d say was sufficiently creepy as Brandon.

It’s a well known story with a brand spanking new twist and I genuinely hope they make more of them.

8 out of 10

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