The New Mutants (2020) Film Review

A bunch of young mutants in a protected building with a creepy woman, all hoping to eventually be moved to the X-men mansion. What could go wrong?

I feel like I should enjoy the X-men franchise more, but I just don’t seem to get into it. I actually didn’t realise this was part of the franchise when I started, and I just found myself quite bored a lot of the time. I think it’s probably good for what it is, but it just didn’t really work for me.

The Prom (2020) Film Review

Dee Dee (Merryl Streep) and Barry (James Cordon) are Broadway stars whose show collapses on opening night, a failure blamed partially on their narcissism. To try to reinvent themselves, they decide they need to take on a cause – and they hatch the plan with fellow performers Angie (Nicole Kidman) and Trent (Andrew Rannells) that the cause is that a lesbian high schooler has been banned from attending prom with her girlfriend. So they head to Indiana to use what skills they have to save the day.

There was a lot of discussion about the casting of James Cordon as a gay man in the main role, partly because there are plenty of gay men in musical theatre, and partly because often gay male characters are played with excessive camp, coming across as offensive stereotypes. I grit my teeth when I hit play, expecting the worst. I thought he was fine. I didn’t think it was a great performance from Cordon (and this may have been in part because his accent felt so forced), but at least it wasn’t completely cartoonish. It certainly raises that discussion about casting (should gay characters be played by straight actors?) but also is the name of the star cast more important that getting someone who truly suits the character being depicted?

For me, I mostly enjoyed it. There were some really strong performances (Streep was great, as was Kerry Washington) and I really enjoyed a lot of the songs and the dance sequences. A few were quite awful, but tolerable. I’m not going to be racing out to see it again, but it was a kind of fun way to spend an evening.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (2018) Film Review

World War 2 has ended, and writer Elizabeth McKenna (Jessica Brown Findlay), who was writing a column trying to raise the spirits of the English during the war, is looking for a new project.  She receives a letter from a resident of Guernsey, a channel island that was occupied by the Germans for much of the war, and she becomes intrigued and visits to see if she can tell their story.

I loved this book, and this film captures the mixture of stoicism, humour, charm and sadness of the book. It’s a really lovely watch.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) Film Review

After the debacle that was the theme park  Jurassic Park (in the first film), you’d think they’d know better, but no. Capitalism must prevail. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is sent back to the island against his better judgement to join another scientist, Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) – coincidentally, his girlfriend. Not that he knew she’d gone there. And his daughter sneaks along because of course. But it’s not just an exploration expedition – of course, there are people trying to make money. So a group of baddies, (including one of my fave actors, Peter Stromare, plus the late great Pete Postlethwaite) are messing with things they don’t know about.

Oh, this is a terrible film. So bad. The plot makes little-to-no-sense, the characters are constantly acting against their best interests for no logical reason, it’s just dumb dumb dumb. And I kind of loved it Kind of a lot.

The Gentlemen (2019) Film Review

Similar to Guy Ritchie’s early films (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) The Gentlemen is a convoluted story of gangsters in the UK in the drug trade.

I hated this. I found it repetitive and boring, I thought Hugh Grant was terrible as a Cockney, and perhaps I didn’t notice or care so much twenty years ago, but the relentless racism drove me nuts. Maybe I’ve just moved on from this type of film. But… nope. This wasn’t for me at all.

The Dry (2021) Film Review

Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to the town he left under a shadow of scandal as a teenager. His childhood friend has seemingly killed himself after murdering his wife and child. Falk is now in the police, and his friend’s parents convince him to stay and look closer, as they can’t believe their child could do this.

In a country where one woman per week is killed by their current or past lover, something about this storyline didn’t sit with me well. The men are often described in the media as being pushed too far, and the abuse and coercion leading to the deaths are often overlooked or dismissed. And I suppose this story does acknowledge that in ways. Still.

I didn’t love the book when I read it, and I hadn’t heard good things about the film. Yet, I found I really enjoyed it – the beautiful scenery, the sense of oppressive heat and small town life, and the fish-out-of-water aspect.

The Breaker Upperers (2018) Film Review

Mel (Madeleine Sami) and Jen (Jackie van Beek) met when they realised they were both dating the same man, and now they help people get out of romances through role play and general ridiculousness. But this paradise can’t last forever, and when they fall, they fall hard.

This is such a silly film. Some parts are totally wonderful (and I will forever be happy to discover Celia Pacquola is just about anything), but much is totally… just silly. I laughed so much. I loved it.

Superintelligence (2020) Film Review

Carol (Melissa McCarthy) is a quirky woman who gave up a high-powered career in tech to find more meaning and now has a series of strange jobs. Suddenly, she finds James Cordon talking to her through her appliances and her phone. This is Superintelligence, a form of artificial intelligence that has come to life through human-created technology and is trying to decide if the world is worth saving. Following Carol, and creating every opportunity for her to do whatever she wants in the knowledge that, depending on her choices, the world may end in 3 days. Her focus is George (Bobby Cannavale), her ex, and seeing if there is the opportunity for a second chance.

I went in not knowing anything about this film, and kind of expected a sci fi drama type thing, not a romantic comedy. It was certainly exciting seeing Melissa McCarthy as a romantic lead – more of that please! But the story left questions unanswered. I mean, it was a pretty outlandish concept, the idea of the future of the whole world coming down to one person. And watching this during a global pandemic, the concept that worked worst was the idea that the entire planet, all governments, could work together against a common threat. If we’ve learnt nothing from the pandemic, we’ve learnt that this planet can’t come together as one, even when the threat is real and killing millions.

Sleeping Beauty (2011) Film Review

Lucy (Emily Browning) is a student who is struggling to make ends meet, and starts working for a catering company which runs events with scantily clad women who may or may not provide additional services, eventually moving to become a Sleeping Beauty – a woman who is placed in sedation and left in a room with a man, to not know what happens.

The concept is super-questionable. The story is extremely confusing, with additional characters and stories that don’t seem to add to the overall story. It ends at a point which leaves the audience in the dark about everything. I just don’t get it. It felt as though it could have been something, a real kicking off point for the director and others, but it just needed something more. I’d like to see the writer/director on another project, but unfortunately it she hasn’t directed anything since. At least it is always wonderful to watch Emily Browning on screen. Oh, and there’s a tiny spotting of Sarah Snook, another actor I love. And Ewen Leslie. And Nathan Page is in there. So many familiar faces!

Promising Young Woman (2020) Film Review

I’d highly recommend going in to this without knowing much, so I’m not going to say much. I just want to say that I loved it, I’ve seen it a second time and it was even better as a second viewing, and I want to see it again. It’s excellently crafted, and a film which the cleverness is only improved by discussing it afterwards. I think this is brilliant cinema.

Promising Young Woman won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (Emerald Fennell) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Carey Mulligan), Best Achievement in Directing (Emerald Fennell) and Best Achievement in Film Editing.