Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (Book Review)
Sometimes, to get through life, you need to put your head down and ignore everything that is against you. Teenager Vivian just wants to go to class, pass, and get to college. She’s spent years ignoring the misogynistic hierarchy of the school, the footy boys ruling the school with their deeply offensive t-shirts, the constant comments, the ‘casual’ physical contacts. But when she can’t take it any more, she channels the punk rebel of her mother’s youth and starts an anonymous campaign.
There was so much to love about this book; the recognition that we are not alone in our hurt and outrage, the awakening and fight for intersectionality in the feminist movement, and the fact that actual change happened. I loved that it referred to some great music, so I could put that on and have a soundtrack to my read.
Moxie (2021) Film Review
The reason I’d read the book was I’d been told that this film was totally down my alley. And yes, kind of. However, the issue sometimes with reading the book and then watching the interpretation is that I don’t always agree with the choices made when turning a book into a film.
The film absolutely keeps the spirit of the book, the spirit of Moxie. But the pacing didn’t work as well for me. I felt that the footy spirit of the school wasn’t as pervasive in the film, and not having the footy star’s dad as principal lost a whole storyline of nepotism and generational misogyny. Though I could also see why. Oh, and no grandparents… again, I can see why. It’s impossible to get all of the nuance of a book into a film. I just miss some of them.
I kind of wish I’d watched the film first, because I think I would have enjoyed it more. But for this one, I’d say if you’re planning to read the book, maybe skip the film altogether.
Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) are emailing each other anonymously (in the early days on email and the internet being widely accessible) and are enjoying flirting, despite each being in a relationship. Meanwhile, Kathleen’s bookshop that she loves running, she inherited it from her mother, is about to be put out of business by a super big bookshop opening around the corner. And, of course, the big one is a development by Joe’s company. So, he puts her out of business and then she gets a cold and he brings her soup and then they… fall in love.
In case you can’t already tell, I’m not a fan of this one. I cannot see a world in which one person can wilfully destroy the joyful livelihood of another and that they can ever be forgiven, much less fall in love. And also… it’s Manhattan. I don’t for one second believe that both shops could exist happily. I’m not the hugest fan of romantic comedies because I think that they are often just pretty shit and generally treat women pretty poorly. But sometimes, they are truly awful, and this is one of them.
A remake of a 2003 film, Wrong Turn follows a group of teenagers who get lost in the Appalachians after being told, very firmly, by many creepy people, to stay on the track. There are booby traps and some of the teens end up dead, and then there is The Foundation, a cult group that have lived in the woods for generations.
I watched this straight before going camping. That was a terrible idea. It was scary, I’m not sure if it would be as scary for a horror movie lover, but for me… I was scared enough.
Valley Girl (1983) Film Review
A privileged, rich white girl seemingly living the perfect life meets a punk rocker and her world is turned upside down. Add in some sexual assault, some very heavy and creepy stalking, a deeply disturbing homophobic song played at the prom and you’ve got Valley Girl. I watched this because I felt like some Nicolas Cage and the film name had been in my head – probably because of the below take on the same film – and it was a terrible experience. There is really little to like in this film. I wonder how differently it would have be received in 1983 compared to 2020?
Valley Girl (2020) Film Review
This is kind of a remake of the above film, or a reimagining, or maybe a kind of sequel… I’m writing this a few months after watching due to life getting in the way, and I have very little memory of this film. I vaguely recall it follows a similar storyline, and I seem to recall some good dance numbers – oh, yes. It’s a musical. A ‘jukebox’ musical. I’m not going to race back to watch it, but I think it was ok. Unfortunately, I think any chance of enjoying this film was hugely thwarted by how much I disliked the original.
After getting lost at a fun fair as a child, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) has never wanted to return to that place. But when on holidays nearby with her family, suddenly a family of doppelgängers appear with nefarious intent, and she needs to face what she has repressed.
I loved this. As is well established, I’m not great with horror films and tend to watch them during the day to reduce my fear factor. I’m not going to look too closely at the overall plot, because there seem to be a few key flaws which I don’t want to notice. I love the style, the cinematography and set dressing and costumes. So stunning. It’s just so creepy, I love the way Nyong’o and the rest of the cast are so creepy as the doppelgängers, and the fear is so real. This really worked for me.
There are super-villains in the world and no superheroes to keep them in mind. Emily (Octavia Spender) and Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) had a dream as children to fight them and, brought together years after a massive falling out, Emily’s genius allows them to do this.
Man, I wanted to love this so much. I love Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer, but I hated this film. It felt underwritten, the characters were underdeveloped, it felt like it needed more time. I want to see women being funny in quality films, and this felt indulgent and disappointing.
It’s a small town in the US in the 1950s.A DJ and a switchboard operator discover some strange audio that no-one can explain and they go searching for answers. Can it be… aliens?
I was so bored during this. It’s slow and nothing happens for a long time, and then when stuff starts to happen, I didn’t really know what was going on. And then at the end… I still didn’t know what had happened. And I was still bored. Though I did like the aesthetic and the cinematography. It felt more like an extended visual art work rather than a movie.
Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are best mates living a pretty normal life until Audrey’s boyfriend dumps her and they discover that, not only was he a spy, but he left something with her that could potentially change the course of the free world.
I expected a fairly lightweight, silly film which would be fun but certainly not taxing. It was that, but it was much, much better than I expected. For me, Kunis and McKinnon are sure-fire winners in a cast, but I found this to be clever and exciting as well as funny.
The classic Kubrick interpretation of the Stephen King novel when Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and Danny (Danny Lloyd) spend the winter taking care of the Overlook Hotel, not realising that the hotel is possessed by an evil power.
Having recently listened to the audiobook of The Shining, I was keen to watch this again. Famously, King did not like this film, and I can see why. It is unable to present a lot of the background material from the book, and some of the elements which are key to the story are left out. It means that some parts are somewhat disconnected, and the story told isn’t necessarily the story from King’s novel. But as a film, it’s hard to dispute that it is stunning, and scary, and quite wonderful.
A group within the FBI are tasking in investigating the US government policies and action after 9/11, particularly looking at policies on detention and torture. It takes months, perhaps even years, but uncovers truths that many in government don’t want revealed.
Based on the truth, it’s a mostly quite dry movie, but it’s always fascinating to look at cover ups and the like – even being very aware that it’s hard to know just how much is fact and how much is guesswork or artistic licence.