1988, 80s, blogger, blogging, buddy comedy, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking awesome, fucking funny, fucking sweet, rom-com, romance, sports, TBT

Throwback Thirty – Bull Durham (1988)

51u8fxjcqal5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 Another week down and another 30 year-old film to discuss. I’d not seen Bull Durham before because, quite frankly, when something is described as a mixture of romantic-comedy and sports film then I’ll just assume it’s not for me. I don’t have the best history with sports film because I really can’t give a shit about sports. Sure when the Summer Olympics is on I might watch a few of the more exciting events but I can honestly think of better things to do with my time. I’m of the opinion that if you like a sport that much then you’d be better off playing it than sitting in front of a TV watching it. But I’m also the kind of person who finds board games to be edge of your seat excitement. So, I don’t exactly go out of my way to watch a sports film unless there’s another reason to enjoy it. Sure, when I was younger, I was obsessed with the film Little Giants but that was only because it came in a 3 film VHS set along with Richie Rich and Dennis. Still, just like my beloved Mighty Ducks trilogy, it’s an incredibly silly film that happens to be about sport. Not exactly up there. The closest I’ve come is The Damned United; a film that I only watched because I’m completely in love with Michael Sheen and his face. Ask me anything about football and I’d draw a blank. So, I couldn’t exactly say I was looking forward to Bull Durham but I also figured that it was about time that I watched it.

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1988, 30 years, 30th birthday, 80s, comedy, dark comedy, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking awesome, fucking creepy, fucking funny, fucking ridiculous, fucking stupid, fucking weird, horror, review, reviewing, reviews

Throwback Thirty – Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

killer_klowns_from_outer_space_28198829_poster

5_star_rating_system_4_and_a_half_stars When I first came up with my Throwback Thirty idea there were a handful of movies that I was super excited about. This week’s film is one of the most exciting. I have always loved a good B movie and, despite my avoidance of traditional horror stuff, will always have time for a worthy comedy horror film… especially one starring aliens that look like clowns. I know a lot of people who are freaked out by clowns but I’ve never seen it. Maybe it helped that I never accidentally watched IT when I was a kid but I’ve never really been fussed either way about clowns. I did work with a guy who was absolutely terrified by them. I admit, we all kind of abused the situation and I was, at times, guilty of humming circus music whenever he was around. It genuinely used to freak him out because he was that scared. Yes, it was a dick move but, in my defence, it was really funny too. So I’d imagine that he’d never seen the 1988 classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space because that would be mental. Like the girl who was in the year below me at uni who was afraid of balloons and, during out college’s end of year party, freaked out during the balloon drop. I’d grabbed a balloon and she forced me to pop it. I was fucking livid! Mate, if you get so freaked out by balloons then why turn up to a place where you know there’ll be shit loads of them???? Not that I’m still bitter 10 years on or anything… Continue reading

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adaptation, film, film blogger, film blogging, film reviews, films, fucking funny, fucking weird, James Franco, review, Seth Rogen, The Room, Tommy Wiseau

Tuesday’s Reviews – The Disaster Artist (2017)

There’s something about a bad movie that just drags you in, isn’t there? It’s like a car crash; you don’t want to look but you can’t take your eyes off it. I have to admit that Mama Mia is one of my least favourite films. I genuinely believe that it has no redeeming features… well maybe with the slight exception of Julie Walters but she’d be worth watching in anything. I don’t get why people love it so much. None of the cast have chemistry together, the singing is so unpredictable, the dancing is laughable, and Phyllida Lloyd clearly has no idea how to direct anything that isn’t on a stage. Then there’s the basics like the boring and ridiculous story which is super difficult to give a shit about. In my second year of university I went camping with some of my friends and for the entire journey to the Lake District we listened to the soundtrack of this film and I was desperate to beat myself over the head with the tent mallet. Yet, every so often I get the terrible urge to watch Mama Mia even though I know I’ll have a dreadful time. It’s not quite one of those films I would describe as being “so bad it’s good” but it all adds up to the same thing. There’s something comforting and wonderful about a film that is that bad. It is entirely possible to find some sort of perverse pleasure in indulging in something you hate and something that you know is terrible. It can become something of an obsession. Something that I know more than a little bit about.

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1988, 30 years, 30th birthday, 80s, blogging, film, film blogger, film blogging, fucking creepy, fucking funny, ghosts, Michael Keaton, review, TBT, Tim Burton

Throwback Thirty – Beetlejuice (1988)

I have a confession to make before we carry on with out weekly business of reviewing a random film from the year 1988. This wasn’t the film that I originally pulled out of my jar for this week. Yes, I have (kind of) cheated on my Throwback Thirty mission and we’re only 3 weeks in. Last week I pulled Short Circuit 2 out of the jar and was all set to do my usual thing. However, in an act of insanity I decided it was only fair to rewatch Short Circuit before the sequel in order to get the best viewing experience. As such, my week just got away from me and I decided I wouldn’t have time to fit everything in. In an act of utter desperation and reeking with shame, I pulled another name out of the jar. So, I will watch Short Circuit 2 in time for next Thursday. I, bizarrely, feel genuinely quite bad about having to cheat this week. It’s madness because it’s a format that I imposed myself and a series of rules that I, alone, am enforcing. I could do whatever the fuck I wanted and nobody reading this would know. But it means a lot to me for some reason… probably because I have so little going on in my life right now. So, unfortunately, my viewing this week has been a little tainted with my disappointment in myself. An immense shame considering my second pick from my jar of films is one of my favourites in there. It’s also the only time that I can think of that I’ve found myself attracted to Alec Baldwin. There’s something about the combo of those glasses, that hair, and his tan trousers that just gets me… but I digress.

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audiobook, book blogger, book blogging, book review, books, fucking funny, gender, memoir, men, must read, review

Book Review – How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

I always worry about reading people’s biographies. I’m sure that I’d find it riotously funny and agree with many of her points. However, I find the concept of reading about someone’s life to be an extremely complicated thing. At university I was very interested in the idea of a writer’s individual voice and how it changes. How can any piece of writing be an accurate portrayal of that person when it has been written for a specific purpose/audience? When it’s been edited and reworked before being deemed ready to print? You might be sitting there screaming internally “you’re really overthinking this you pretentious knob” and, to be honest, I am. Though it’s always something at the back of my mind. So I never really read celebrity biographies no matter how much I respect or adore the person writing them. However, last year that all changed when I couldn’t stop buying them. In the space of a few weeks I bought Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard and How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb. In an attempt to silence that inner voice telling me ‘it’s not their real voice’, I bought all three books on Audible as well as owning a physical copy. I hoped that hearing the writer speaking his own words would bring the whole experience together for me. Besides, all three of these men have distinctive and delightful voices that I definitely wouldn’t mind streaming into my ear holes.

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30 years, 30th birthday, 80s, films, fucking beautiful, fucking funny, Monty Python, reviews, silly, TBT, Terry Gilliam, Uma Thurman

Throwback Thirty: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Back for the second in my new series Throwback Thirty. Where I randomly pick a film from 1988 and review it in honour of my upcoming 30th birthday. Self-obsessed? Maybe. Fun? Well, that depends on the film really. There’s a mixed bag of serious and silly in my jar so I do have a slight fear every week that it’ll be something I’m not in the right frame of mind for. As much as I wanted to pick all of the shittest and strangest films I could find, I decided, if I was going to do this, I should at least do it properly. This means there are a fair few films that I’ve not seen. Including today’s pick. I’m a fan of Monty Python because, let’s face it, who isn’t a fan of them? Not only am I British, so it’s in my blood, but I’m a huge fan of weird humour. And it doesn’t get much weirder than those guys. Still, my love of Python hasn’t completely pushed me towards the films of Terry Gilliam. I’ve not seen them all and it’s mainly because I don’t know where to start. Gilliam has had a mixed career as a director in the minds of many people but also hailed as a genius. The Gilliam I’ve seen has also been a mixed bag. So I was quite excited about the prospect of watching this film. It is infamous for having a troubled production and bombing at the box office. If I’m going to work my way through Gilliam’s back catalogue I might as well start here.

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ali smith, blogger, blogging, book blogger, book blogging, books, fucking beautiful, fucking funny, Instagram, Man Booker

Book review – Autumn by Ali Smith

As we already know from this blog, I’m a hugely petty person. It’s a source of much mirth for my family that I watched the film Dunkirk simply to prove my sister’s boyfriend wrong about it. What can I say? He was wrong and I wasn’t about to let him get away with it. So, yeah, pretty petty. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that the only reason I finally decided to read Autumn by Ali Smith was due to my need to prove someone wrong. An account I follow on Instagram didn’t exactly react well to the news that Lincoln in the Bardo had won the Man Booker Prize last year. That, in itself, wasn’t enough to incense me despite the fact that I thought George Saunders was absolutely deserving of the prize. I get that Lincoln was a divisive book and understand why some people may not have enjoyed it. It’s not conventional literature and a lot of people prefer the safety of a traditional narrative. It was only when this person made the bold statement that Autumn was the only book that deserved to win that I couldn’t ignore it. I mean, how can anyone make such a bold and obstinate statement? I had to check it out for myself.

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fandom, fans, films, fucking awesome, fucking funny, fucking sad, George Lucas, Oscar Isaac, reviews, sci-fi, Star Wars

Tuesday’s Reviews – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)


Thanks to my impromptu holiday over Christmas I didn’t get to upload my review of Star Wars Episode 8 on time. It’s been about 10 days since I saw the film and I’ve loads of time to acquaint myself with the general reactions to the film. The critical stuff has, mostly, been very positive with people praising Rian Johnson for taking some risks whilst also remaining faithful to the original trilogy. However, as you’d expect from the Star Wars franchise, the fanboys be pissed. Even before I’d seen the film I’d glanced at an article claiming fans were starting a petition to get the film removed from the canon. I mean, for fuck’s sake guys. This is why we can’t have nice things. Fans were up in arms about the film because it was too different from the previous films. First they complain that The Force Awakens is too similar to A New Hope and now The Last Jedi is too different. Well, how the fuck is anyone supposed to make a film within those parameters? Before I went to see the film, a girl I work with complained that it was underwhelming. She’s also the person who described Rogue One as the worst Star Wars film of all time. She typifies the view of the old fanboys who can’t see a Star Wars film that is centred around the Skywalker family. There’s more to the force and this universe than Luke Skywalker and, I for one, am ready to find out more. I can’t promise that my hatred of the reactions out there won’t have an influence on my review but it’s not like it’s going to be a problem. I’m not influencing anyone to change their mind about this film. It’s far too divisive.

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adaptation, British, Channing Tatum, Colin Firth, comic book, comic books, films, fucking funny, fucking weird, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Mark Strong, Matthew Vaughn, reviews, spy

Tuesday’s Reviews – Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the first Kingsman movie. It was an insane but really enjoyable spy film that even managed to make Colin Firth seem edgy and cool. I never would have thought it was possible but I guess Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman did the same thing with Nicolas Cage in Kickass. Kingsman is one of those weird films that everyone seems to love. Even my mother watched it when it was on Netflix. It had the benefit of being batshit crazy, incredibly funny, and well-made. It was perfectly over-the-top and a perfect antidote for the decreasingly self-aware Bond franchise. In recent years, James Bond has gone from being a camp British icon to something of a Hollywood bad boy. He no longer feels the need for insane and unnecessary gadgetry and, instead, uses her sheer muscle mass and martial arts skills to get the job done. Kickass took us back to a time when spies were gentlemen carrying umbrella guns and exploding pens. It was great. So, I was pretty gosh darn excited by the prospect of the second one. Especially when it was announced that Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry were all joining the cast as an American version of the UK’s Kingsman organisation. All 3 of those actors are, in their own way, incredibly talented. As you probably know if you’ve read some of my stuff before, I have developed a love of Channing Tatum since I discovered he has a sense of humour about himself and now I long to see all of his films. I swear it’s all about his comic timing… there’s definitely nothing of interest to me underneath his shirt. No way. Never.
The sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s 2005 spy film, Kingsman: The Secret Service doesn’t so much try to carry on the great things as it tries to overshadow them. There is no sense that the second film in the series is going to take things lying down. It is bigger, brasher, more violent and even sillier. Yes, that’s right, even sillier than a film starring an assassin with blades for legs. This one does star Elton John though. Considering how weird the first film is, it’was incredibly unlikely that I’d ever be able to sit and say the second film makes it look almost normal in comparison. But it does. The Golden Circle could certainly do with some refinement but it still contains the same breathtaking stunts and camera work that made the first film so entertaining. As long as your basic requirements for this film revolve around good guys kicking the arses of bad guys then it’ll be satisfying enough.

The Golden Circle sees the unlikely hero from the first film, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), coming up against a dangerous drug baron, Poppy (Julianne Moore), who is essentially holding the world’s drug users to ransom. When Eggsy has a near-death run in with former Kingsman applicant Charlie he finds himself on the tail of the Golden Circle; a drugs cartel who rules the world’s drug trade. When Poppy poisons her merchandise, drugs users all over the globe start showing signs of an illness which leads to a quick and horrible death. Poppy plans to make a deal with President of the United States but, after the rest of the Kingsman were taken out, Eggsy seeks help from his American counterparts, the Statesmen, to bring her down.

It is the introduction of the Statesmen that gives this film such a different feel. Once the majority of the orignal cast have been dispensed with, Eggsy is left with only Merlin (Mark Strong) for company. So we are introduced to American agents in the shape of Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal. All these characters show great potential but they never quite excite as much as the original cast. There is a certain amount of chemistry missing between the newbies and the olds here. You’ll miss the interactions between Eggsy and his mentor Harry (Colin Firth) or his fellow new Kingsman Roxy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Pedro Pascal’s face but even watching him utilise an electro lasso doesn’t make up for the absences.

There is a lot of bloat in this second film that really slows the film down. Not only have we got to go through the process of finding and introducing the Statesmen, which messes with the pace, but then we find out Harry is alive. It’s not exactly a spoiler because he’s been all over the promotional material but, yes, after his grizzly death in the first film Harry is back… kind of. I like Colin Firth in the first film but his return here takes way too much time away from the main story. It ultimately doesn’t add enough to justify lengthening the film that much. No matter how cool Firth looks in an eye patch.

It is not until late on that the film really gets going. After the opening fight scene, that’s where we see most of the super impressive and visually stunning fight scenes that the first film got so right. I mean, speaking critically, I could have done without the rehash of the original’s “manners maketh man” scene but Pedro Pascal is so phenomenally sexy that I can forgive it. It is these insane and completely cartoon-like fight scenes that make the Kingsman films so fantastic. The visual gags, stunts and CGI all come together to create something so absurd yet so appealing. The filmmakers know what they’re doing by now so they’re all pretty by the book but they will still capture an audiences’ attention.

I can’t say that I liked this film more than the original but I did like this film. Well, most of this film. There is a horrible, creepy and unnecessary plot strand that sees Eggsy have to plant a tracking device in an incredibly intimate area that just feels misjudged…. especially in this current climate in Hollywood. However, the rest of the film is silly and funny enough to keep fans of the first film relatively happy. Even if Channing Tatum is horribly underused and overdressed for the duration.

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films, fucking adorable, fucking funny, fucking sweet, Netflix, quirky, review, Sam Neill, Taika Waititi

TBT – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)


You may have gathered from my review of Thor Ragnarok on Tuesday that I fucking loved the film. It was the funniest Marvel movie that I’ve ever seen and was the most enjoyable cinema experience I’ve had all year. I know that, as a massive fan of the Thunder God, it was inevitable that I was going to adore this film but my love of the most recent film in his series of solo films comes from mostly from the work of director Taika Waititi. Waititi has a habit of making films that are as much fun as saying his name over and over. I remember adoring the delightfully weird Shark vs Eagle way back when and his mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows managed to breathe new life into the genre that Christopher Guest has almost single-handedly wore down to the bones. Waititi, as I suggested on Tuesday, was an incredibly unusual choice to make Marvel’s latest big blockbuster. The New Zealand director has preferred to stay away from big productions and has specialised in smaller, quirky comedies. One of which keeps appearing in my Netflix recommendations and catching my eye. I’ve wanted to watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople for ages but, like everything else I see on Netflix, I kept passing over it in favour of watching Stranger Things or Rick and Morty for the umpteenth time. So, I decided, to fit in with my last review, it was a good opportunity to finally watch it. To me 2016 doesn’t really qualify for a TBT post but I think there are times when I can make exceptions. Certain films deserve a loophole or two.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the kind of film that grabs you from the start and you are never able to escape from. It introduces us to a Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a juvenile delinquent who has ben rejected from all his previous foster families and is now a burden on the Child Welfare system. Welfare services officer Paula (Rachel House) drops him off at his final chance to find a family. Living in a remote farm, Bella (Rima Te Wiata) shows the boy genuine affection and he starts to feel comfortable. Until her untimely death anyway. After than, Ricky is left in the charge of Bella’s cantankerous husband, Hector (Sam Neill). When Pauline warns that she is returning to take the boy away from the farm, Ricky runs into the bush and gets lost. Whilst Hector easily tracks him down, the pair, now being hunted by the law, decide to take their chances in the wilderness so they can remain together. They quickly learn to rely no each other and form an uneasy relationship.

The best way I can think of to describe Hunt for the Wilderpeople is Up meets Wes Anderson and Edgar Wright. It is a film that is incredibly funny, heartwarming and very well made. Everything just works despite it’s quirky and kind of absurd nature. It boasts fantastic performances from its two lead stars and their relationship is what keeps this whole thing together. Sam Neill is phenomenally strong as the man who is quietly grieving whilst also trying to come to terms with this strange teenager he’s been lumbered with. The ups and downs of the pair’s time together is genuinely wonderful to watch and their eventual relationship is so sweet your teeth will hurt for days. It is, however, Julian Dennison) who gets the best lines and offers the most memorable performance. Ricky is a child who dreams of being a gangster rapper so is about unsuited to rural life as it gets. But there is depth to the character as he is, beneath the bravado, just a lost little boy looking for someone to love him.

Although Hunt for the Wilderpeople never strays too far into sentimentality and schmaltz. It contains hard hitting drama and emotional punches when it needs to but, before you have a chance to shed a tear, it will suddenly have you screaming with laughter. Waititi’s characters all inhabit a strange world in which reality is slightly off but so phenomenally funny that it doesn’t matter. Hunt for the Wilderpeople may not have the budget or action as Thor Ragnarok but it certainly matches in terms of entertainment. It deftly works everything together and creates characters that, though flawed, you really care about. It has humanity, humour and heart. It has larger than life characters that feel anything but real. It seems to me that this film alone was the perfect precursor to any Marvel film. Maybe I’ll have to revise my statement’s on Waititi’s hiring?

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