Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Film Review

A group of men (well, three men and one boy) go back in time in a faulty hot tub and… this is really as awful as it sounds. I used to really love John Cusack and I feel like I’d see anything he did, but this was one I avoided for so long and for good reason. It’s offensive, it’s homophobic, it’s misogynistic, it’s just plain awful and I cannot think of any reason for anyone to watch it. Actually, the soundtrack is ok.

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) Film Review

What do you do when the world is going to end? Like, for sure end. There is no chance of survival, there’s no hope. Would you assess your life and see it lacking? Would you have regrets? Would you try to make things right, or would you party? Get trashed? Have an orgy?  Commit a whole bunch of crimes?

Dodge (Steve Carell) is in a world going crazy, with an asteroid heading to destroy the planet. His wife has gone, and he decides to track down his first, true love. Meanwhile, he meets the nutty English neighbour, Penny (Keira Knightley) and they end up figuring things out together.

I enjoyed this film so much more than I thought I would. I love Steve Carell most of the time – and he’s so good at the sad sack type of character. I thought that Penny was going to be a bit of a manic-pixie-dream-girl character, and I’m rarely a hug fan of Keira Knightley, but I liked her in this, and I really liked the film, even with the cheesy quirks.

 

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Hail Caesar (2016) Film Review

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a studio ‘fixer’ in the studio system in 1950s Hollywood, dealing with communists, divas, scandals, gossip columnists and the untalented.

Fun, funny and gorgeous – this is one of the Coen brothers’ lighter films, with a top cast and great lines. I guess my only criticism is that it all just seemed a bit too easy; often the Coen brothers films really challenge my viewing, but this was like a bubble bath. Nice and relaxing and familiar.

 

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Get Out (2017) Film Review

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is being taken by his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) back home to her folks place, a sprawling estate next to a forest in a very wealthy part of the world.  He’s black and is quite concerned about how the family will react to their daughter’s new black boyfriend. It’s ok though – Dad (Bradley Whitford) would have voted for Obama for a third term. Mum’s a psychologist (Catherine Keener) and bro Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) is a bit of a freak, but surely it’s ok? Oh, no. That’s when you need to remember that this is a horror film and things just are not going to be that straightforward.

It’s been talked about as a film where the horror is being a young black man surrounded by well-meaning white folks, and that’s pretty reductive. Yes, there is a lot of fish-out-of-water humour, but there’s a lot more to it than that. I only really discovered Key and Peele over the last year or two (I’d suggest if you have not seen the show, get onto it. It’s hilarious, often also very clever, and all on Netflix. Get Out is by Jordan Peele, and thus it’s funny and clever. Get onto it – and don’t stress out too much by the horror side. You’ll only scream a few times.

 

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Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) Film Review

Roberta (Rosanna Arquette) is a dissatisfied housewife who lives through the message she reads in the personals – in particular, those between Jim (Robert Joy) and Susan (Madonna) as they chase each other across the country. Following Susan at one meeting, Roberta finds herself in trouble and being searched for not only by her husband, Gary (Mark Blum) but also a mysterious man (Will Patton). Thank goodness for the dreamy Dez (Aidan Quinn).

This is such a good film. Daggy, yes. Dated, absolutely, but in the best possible fashion. It’s got it all, and it is wonderful. I think I may even watch this again this weekend, just for fun. I guess I must just be crazy for it.

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Casting JonBenet (2017) Film Review

How do you find a new and interesting way to look at the JonBenet Ramsey case? Last year, it was twenty years since the six-year-old beauty pageant queen was reported kidnapped by her parents, only to be found dead in their basement. The case was notoriously badly handled by police and there is plenty of speculation about what happened. While I remember this all happening and I often have a morbid fascination with these mysterious crimes, I’m not that keen on seeing a documentary about it. However, Casting JonBenet is not your typical documentary.   Kitty Green has filmed a group of people auditioning for the roles of the various Ramseys for re-enactments of what happened as well as what might have happened. Many of the auditionees are locals and as part of the audition process, they are interviewed about themselves, their relationships with the Ramseys, and it is utterly fascinating what people say.

This is a fabulous concept and so well executed. An absolute must-see.

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Film Review

K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner – tracking down the old robot-types who need to be destroyed as they went a bit feral and did some killing of people once. When he comes across a situation that no-one believed was possible, he needs to delve deep to find the truth. Helped by his holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas), his boss Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) and various others, he needs to track down Deckard (Harrison Ford) and find out what is what.

I saw this at Imax, and it was so totally worth it. The soundtrack is amazing (although there were a few times where I was confused about what was diegetic and what was non-diegetic) and it is stunning beautiful. It is also three hours long, which is a really, really long time. I also found that the various twists and turns of the film where extremely obvious and nothing surprised me, yet that didn’t bother me. I enjoyed it for exactly what it was.

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