films, movie night, netflix, reviews

Random film review: Sisters

I thought that I’d share my thoughts on random films I watch late at night on Netflix. First up Sisters starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

I have no recollection of this being released in cinemas but that’s pretty common as I don’t go very often.

In the film Fey and Poehler play sisters who return to their childhood home to clean out their (frankly enormous – it has 2 double beds) bedroom as their parents have sold the house.

It is very silly, they decide to throw a legendary party inviting all their old friends, who conveniently still all live locally even though Fey and Poehler don’t.

There are some very funny moments that made me laugh very loudly and some unnecessarily cringey ones (poor Ike Barinholtz) that could easily have been cut.

The film also plays like a who’s who of funny American women with Samantha Bee, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon and a host of others popping up. An almost unrecognizable Dianne Wiest plays the mum.

Good points: funny, would definitely pass The Bechdel Test.

Bad points: #filmsowhite the only people of colour are some heavily stereotyped Korean nail salon workers. Fey does seem to struggle with POC in roles (she’s the film’s producer too). That really unnecessary gross out scene with Poehler and Barinholtz.

Worth watching? Yes for celeb spotting and the funny bits as well as the sisterly relationship which real life pals Fey and Poehler portray well.

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟

films, movie night, politics, reviews

Why Trump won’t like the new Magnificent Seven – a sort of review

Last week we went to the cinema intending to use our free ticket voucher from Sainsbury’s to see Miss Peregrine.  According to both the website and the interactive noticeboard at the cinema there were seats but the dead eyed staffer said it was sold out. Normally we would have just said sod it and gone to Nandos. But the voucher was due to expire so we went to see The Magnificent Seven instead. 

I grew up with a father who loved sci fi and cowboy films. I remember watching the original version with Yul Brynner  (who will forever be the King of Siam to me, however inaccurate that film was) and indeed watching the Seven Samurai aka the original of the original. 

So I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this, but Chris Pratt was in it and I find him amusing and for six seconds the very pretty Matt Bomer was as well. 

I have a whole theory about Chris Pratt and his mission to recreate Toy Story by himself – he’s played Andy (Parks & Rec), a spaceman (Guardians of the Galaxy), run with dinosaurs, because unless you’re Andy Serkis you can’t be a dinosaur  (Jurassic World) and now a cowboy. Next up Bo Peep, a slinky dog or a pig (remake of Babe maybe).


Anyway. Onto the title of this post. There may be spoilers ahead so read on only if you don’t care.  

The plot centres around a small frontier town in California during the Gold Rush, where a wealthy and ruthless man plans to drive the locals out to dig more mines. Matt Bomer dies in a shootout and the church is burned down. 

Matt’s widow (Haley Bennett) decides to find someone to help her town and sets off with human puppy dog in tow.  

She finds Denzel Washington, a bound sheriff doing his duty, interestingly dressed all in black, counter to most cowboy films where the heroes wear white hats (something much referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer). 

He recruits gambling sharpshooter Faraday (Pratt) and sets out gathering a posse. 

There are seven men, one woman and the aforementioned human puppy. No one assaults her, no one even intimates rape. Not even the Mexican or Native American. (Trump would dislike that). 

After a rather explosive shootout with the bad guys – most of the seven and many of the townsfolk are dead. The villain gets his comeuppance and is shot by the heroine. 

The three heroes who ride out of town are a black man, a Mexican and a Native American – hardly Trump’s fan base. The four buried in town include the son of Irish immigrants (Faraday), a Chinese man (himself an immigrant), a crazy mountain man who spouts the Bible – in a good way, and a Cajun from New Orleans who again would be descended from immigrants. 

They stood up and defended strangers against a wicked man only concerned with his own wealth and power.   

I think Hollywood just allied itself even more firmly with Hilary Clinton. The true hero is a woman who united people, who found the best people for the job, regardless of their background or ethnicity. 

While Clinton is far from perfect (she is human) I think she’d probably enjoy the film a damn sight more than Trump. I just really hope the Americans can see that Trump is not President material. 

blogging, films, life, movie night

Best ever Christmas films, according to me!

During the festive season one of my favourite things to do is camp out on the sofa and watch Christmas films. I tend to stick to a few old favourites.

Rent – yes this film is about people dying of AIDS in poverty in early 90s New York, based on an opera (La Boheme) and it’s a musical but it begins and ends at Christmas and I love it. I know all the words to the songs and cry at the sad parts. It’s ultimately a story of redemption and love overcoming all odds.

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Muppets’ Christmas Carol – by far the best version of Dickens’ famous festive tale. Michael Caine as the crochety Mr Scrooge being shown the error of his ways by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, while his employee Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) struggles to provide for his rather large, mixed species family. With songs. And Muppets.

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Home Alone – the first one is brilliant, Macauley Culkin may be a much derided child star but this film with its genius level child building a lifesize version of the game Mousetrap to catch two bungling burglars, is every child’s secret dream.

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Elf – I’m not the biggest Will Ferrell fan but this is hilarious and silly, Zooey Deschanel is all big eyes and Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is just perfect.

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The Grinch – not the rubber faced Jim Carrey one but the original cartoon adaptation of Dr Seuss’ rhyming book about the grumpy Grinch and the good hearted Hoos of Hoosville who change his mind.

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Scrooged – Bill Murray was riding high when he made this, a high powered exec who follows in the footsteps of Ebenezer Scrooge by being miserly and mean at Christmas before ghostly visits have him rethinking his life. Murray’s Christmas special is currently on Netflix and is on my festive ‘To Watch’ list as is this very 80s film.

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What are your favourite Christmas films? Do you have any traditions you’d like to share? Leave a note below.
                  
                    🎅🎀🎄⛄🎁

ramblingmads

films, life, movie night

The Princess Bride aka the best film ever

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I love films, the whole popcorn, blanket, curling up on the sofa routine of movie night. But by far, The Princess Bride, adapted by William Goldman from his own novel, directed by Rob Reiner, starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Peter Falk, and so many other big names (including Billy Crystal – only identifiable by his voice).

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It was made in the ’80s (all the best things were – like me!) but retains its unique charm and humour.

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Hadley Freeman wrote about how brilliant this film is in her book celebrating 80s movies, Life Moves Pretty Fast (well worth a read), and Cary Elwes (who played the hero Westley) wrote a wonderful memoir, As You Wish, about making it (I got it last Christmas).

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It is eminently quotable – my favourites include “inconceivable”, “don’t bother me with trifles”, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife” and the wonderful speech Inigo Montoya  rehearses for the moment he meets his nemesis, the six-fingered man.

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.

It has every thing, love, death, revenge, heroes, villains, sword fights, a princess, pirates, and a real-life giant, former wrestler, Andre the Giant.

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So, put the popcorn on, add marshmallows to your hot chocolate, pile the blankets on the sofa and watch this film – it has something for the whole family, even if you don’t like stories with kissing.

ramblingmads

movie night, reviews

Movie night – The Book of Life

Sunday night is movie night and last night we watched animated film The Book of Life (rated U).

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Technically it’s a kids’ film but there was plenty for us big kids to enjoy. The film didn’t perform well in US cinemas and I don’t remember much publicity for it here, which is a real shame as it’s a funny, sweet and clever film.

It centres on Manolo and Maria – love struck heroes in a tiny Mexican town under threat from bandits.

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They are the unwitting pawns in a bet between two supernatural beings who rule The Land of the Remembered and The Land of the Forgotten.

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Mexico’s Day of the Dead is a time when families gather to remember their loved ones and celebrate life, and it is on this day that our story is set.

With echoes of Romeo & Juliet as well as the Orpheus & Eurydice myth, this is a sweet story about love triumphing over all.

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It’s also incredibly funny, the Mariachi band and the ancestors are particularly giggle-worthy.

The animation is beautiful, colours burst off the screen and it’s voiced by some big names (Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum and many more).

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I highly recommend getting hold of a copy (amazon has it for about £5) for watching with the family or just when you need some levity. The soundtrack is pretty cracking too.

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ramblingmads