Tag Archives: Movies

What to Watch? Incredibles 2

Excuses for posting this a day late. I’ve been working my ass off to get my second newsletter out (in online magazine form). It takes a lot of time to do the editing, but I love it. You can sign up for it on my home page, if you like :).

Last weekend we watched Incredibles 2. For those adults who say ‘I don’t watch animated movies,’ let me tell you that Incredibles 2 is the  ninth highest-grossing film of all-time domestically and the highest grossing animated film domestically. That’s got to say something, doesn’t it?

Incredibles 2

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Cast

Obviously, this movie only has voice-overs. The most known ones are done by Holly Hunter (Elastigirl), Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone)(surprisingly, he actually never says ‘motherfucker’ in this movie 😀 ), and Usher (as Lucius’ best valet). You can check out the full list of the cast on Wikipedia.

Plot

The new movie starts where the first movie stopped; chasing The Underminer. He escapes, but as the superhero family tries to stop his mining machine, there is a lot of damage done to the city. As a result, the relocation program is shut down and all superheroes find themselves not only illegal (they can’t use their superpowers) but also homeless.

Not to worry, a superhero fan called Winston Deavor, owner of DevTech, and his sister Evelyn, creator of the communications technology of DevTech, come to the rescue. They propose a publicity stunt to show the world that superheroes do good things. They choose Elastigirl to head the stunt to defeat Screenslaver, a supervillain who hypnotizes people through TV screens.

Bob is slightly disappointed that they have chosen his wife Helen as the superhero to battle Screenslaver, but he agrees to look after the kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. While Helen is away, Jack-Jack finally starts to show his superpowers.

What I liked about Incredibles 2

This movie is as entertaining as the first movie. Obviously, there is a bigger theme underlining the concept of good vs. evil. The interactions between the family members are so funny as they portray common teenager issues as well as seeing Bob’s resentment against having his wife doing all the hero stuff while he has to deal with the kids at home. It’s probably slightly over the top, but shows oh-so-well the problems most mothers have to deal with on a daily basis. Except for the superpower part, of course!

What I didn’t like about Incredibles 2

Honestly, I don’t think I can mention anything here. It was clear who was the supervillain early on, but it didn’t take away from the entertainment at all.

Summary

This movie is a great one to watch, by young and old. It contains lots of humor, surprises, and most of all recognizable situations. Go and see it with the whole family!

 

 

What To Watch? Solo

This weekend my son wanted to watch Deadpool with his mates. We were chartered to cart him and his buddies to and fro. As we live a forty-five-minute drive away from the cinema, it was no use going back home again. So, we decided to watch a movie ourselves. We wanted to see Deadpool as well but didn’t want to spoil the boys’ fun. There wasn’t a lot of movies that my husband and I both wanted to watch, so we settled on Solo.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Cast

It is very hard to find an actor who can pull of being the younger version of a famous actor, especially one that has to portray Han Solo, i.e. Harrison Ford. Alden Ehrenreich was a very good choice. Although he kept reminding me of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, he does look like the ‘old’ Han Solo when you take a better look. He sure seems to have his charm (or is it DiCaprio’s charm?).

I hadn’t seen any previews of the movie and was surprised to see Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, the criminal/friend of Han, and Emilia Clarke (aka Daenerys Targaryen from GoT) as Han’s girlfriend Qi’ra. It took me a few minutes to actually recognize Harrelson, but it was his typical acting that gave it away.  I didn’t recognize Clarke with the bob hairdo either. Only when she changed her hairstyle did I see her smile (with the amazingly pretty teeth). Donald Glover did a good job portraying the young Lando, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was very funny as Lando’s droid companion, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.

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Plot

Qi’ra and Han live on a shipbuliding planet called Corellia and are made to steal to survive. When they get their hands on some coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, they use it as their ticket to get off the planet and start a new life. Unfortunately, only Han makes it out and Qi’ra is captured.

Han enlists and becomes a pilot but is expelled for subordination and now fights in the infantry. For three years he tries to get back to Corellia to save his sweetheart Qi’ra, but things don’t go as planned.  He teams up with outlaw Beckett to steal a big score of coaxium. With the profit, he hopes to finally go back to Corellia.

What I liked about Solo

I liked seeing a new face as the main character, even though he did resemble other actors. I liked seeing Emilia Clarke making a career outside GoT. I’ve seen her in the fifth Terminator movie, Terminator Genisys, but thought that was just a one-off. Good for her to continue her career outside GoT! I liked seeing Woody Harrelson as I think he’s funny. Whatever role he has, he’s always Woody. And I like that.

What I didn’t like about Solo

I won’t lie. The movie was extremely predictable. Obviously, we already know Han ends up with Chewie as his best mate, that he hasn’t got a girlfriend, and that he flies the Millenium Falcon. I guess I expected more twists, more one-liners, more… something. I recently read that screenwriters did a bad job if you can speak the lines before the actors did. That’s what happened while I was watching this movie.

Summary

Even though the movie was incredibly predictable, it was still good entertainment, and as I grew up a Star Wars fan, I couldn’t pass this one up.

Solo

What To Watch? Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Yesterday we watched Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011), a golden oldie, again. It wasn’t as ‘golden’ as I remembered, but it was good fun anyway. It’s a quirky look on the paranormal, and I’m all for quirky 🙂

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

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Cast

Taye Diggs as vampire Vargas
Taye Diggs as vampire Vargas

Dylan Dog is played by Brandon Routh, and it’s not surprising he played Superman in Superman Returns (2006). He has the chin, the body, and the overall looks for it. Dylan’s sidekick, Marcus, is played by Sam Huntington who, to my surprise, also features in Superman Returns (I’ve got to watch that one again, now). The love interest, Elizabeth Ryan, is played by Anita Briem who has featured in Journey to the Center of the EarthDr. Who, and The Tudors.

The main villain, Vargas, is played by Taye Diggs, an actor who has been nominated for and won many awards. Another character with an important role is Peter Stormare, who plays Gabriel the werewolf. I like him. He has an extensive list of filmography but usually doesn’t play the main character.

Plot

Dylan Dog used to be a detective for the paranormal creatures of this world (‘no pulse, no problem’ was on his business card), but since the death of his girlfriend, is now retired. This changes when his buddy Marcus is attacked by a super zombie and is turned into a zombie. Dylan now wants to know why Elizabeth Ryan’s father has been murdered, where this super zombie came from, and why they’re trying to keep him from taking the case. Together, the three go out to seek the truth, dealing with werewolves, vampires, and zombies on their quest.

Marcus is being told he's a zombie
Marcus is being told he’s a zombie

What I liked about Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Obviously, it’s great to see another movie about paranormal creatures that is not doom and gloom. This is a funny movie with the role of Marcus the funniest. He gets killed and turned into a zombie sort of in the first chapter. From that moment on and continuing for the whole movie, Marcus has to come to terms with the whole ‘being undead’ thing. His dialogue and acting are hilarious and worth the watch.

The creature Belial, who features at the end of the movie, is well done and not too fake (although he does look like he’s wearing huge boots).

What I didn’t like about Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Dylan_Dog_Beliar.jpgI won’t lie. The acting is bad. I tried to figure out why as all these actors have an extensive list of experience. The only thing I could come up with is that the dialogue is often cliche and/or unnatural.

Summary

Dylan Dog is a fun watch if you haven’t got anything else lined up.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is available on Amazon.

 

 

 

What To Watch? Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

It’s the school holidays, so we’ve been going to the cinema a few times and watched a couple of movies on TV. With my daughter, I went to see Coco on Friday morning, a very entertaining and musical movie. I didn’t keep a dry eye watching that one, no matter how hard I tried. On Saturday evening, the whole family went to see Ready Player One. My daughter had read the book and told us the movie didn’t follow what happened in the book. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining movie. But, what was in the front of my memory queue was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a movie on Netflix. Here’s my review.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Cast

This epic sci-fi movie is written, directed, and co-produced by Luc Besson and is based on the French comics series of Valérian et Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. Although there are some great names in the supporting roles list, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, and Rutger Hauer making an appearance, the main characters were played by Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, actors I have never heard of or seen before.

Plot

The setting is a huge, ex-earth space station, called Alpha, floating in deep space where millions of creatures of a thousand planets reside.

The story is about two Alpha ‘space agents,’ Valerian and Laureline, who need to rescue a creature, the last of its species. It’s a special creature as it is able to replicate anything and is very valuable on the black market.  Of course, nothing goes as planned, and all sort of excitement and mishaps happen. A thread throughout the story is the relationship between Valerian and Laureline.

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What I liked about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

This is an incredibly colorful movie, full of strange creatures, adventure, and action. Even though the movie lasts well over two hours, I only got bored one moment. Mostly there was so much to see and so much happening. I don’t know if it was my writer’s brain or not, but I want to watch it again just to see all the creatures in the background. The ideas are all wonderfully unconventional, a nice change from the usual.

The special effects are phenomenal and the choreography of the action was good to follow. The scene with Rhianna performing was perhaps a bit over the top, but very entertaining.

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What I didn’t like about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

As you can see on the image with the comics illustration above, the actors don’t really look like the comics characters. I didn’t know the movie was based on the comics series before I watched it, so it didn’t bother me. What I did find annoying was that Cara Delevingne doesn’t have a lot of facial expressions and has extremely thick eyebrows and that Dane DeHaan comes over as a spoiled teenager rather than a handsome, dashing space agent. For such an expensive movie (apparently the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made), you’d think they could have gotten better actors for those roles.

As I mentioned before, toward the end there was one moment my thoughts drifted away as the story was getting a bit bland. According to my husband, I didn’t miss much.

Summary

If you like sci-fi, adventure, and strange creatures, this is the movie to watch! It’s a movie for all ages that will keep you in your seat for over two hours.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is available on Amazon.

 

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What To Watch? Resident Evil

This weekend we binge watched the first four Resident Evil movies:

  • Resident Evil
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse
  • Resident Evil: Extinction
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife

Next weekend, we’re going to watch:

  • Resident Evil: Retribution
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil

Resident_Evil

Of the four movies we watched, I liked the first one best as it is the most believable (ahum, well, sort of). It had the typical zombie setting: a group of people in limited surroundings, trying to escape zombies who decimate the group one by one. Apparently, the movie was made after a computer game and is the highest-grossing film series based on a video game (according to Wikipedia). Funnily enough, I can remember the Lara Croft, Tombraider game, but not Resident Evil.

Characters and plot

The film starts when the AI Red Queen seals off the Hive, the underground HQ of the Umbrella Corporation, when the deadly T-virus is released, and kills every living being inside with a nerve gas. The virus, unfortunately, awakens the victims again as undead, flesh-eating zombies. A group of unaffected humans (Alice, a few corporate commandos, and an activist, try to shut down the Red Queen (at the moment I must suffer a temporary memory loss as I can’t, for the life of me, remember why) and escape the facility before it is completely in lockdown. They have to race against time and fight the Red Queen and the zombies on their journey.

The most notable characters are Alice (played by Milla Jovovich, also known as Leeloo from The Fifth Element) who is the main character and who suffers from memory loss. Only bit by bit does she remember that she was a security officer for the Umbrella Corporation who passed on secret information, so a group of activists could steal the T-virus and stop the Corporation’s global influence. She appears to be a mean fighting machine, surprising herself with her abilities as her memory returns.

Another known actress is Michelle Rodriguez (know for her roles in Avatar and The Fast & Furious), who plays Rain Ocampo, one of the commandos. I find her a pleasing actress to watch as she always portrays a strong woman, but that’s also my complaint; she always plays the good-hearted warrior. I hope to see her in another type of role one day.

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Another known face is that of James Purefoy, who plays Spence Parks. He is the person who was hired to steal the virus and antidote and to start the outbreak to shut down the Hive. He was recently seen as Laurens Bancroft in Altered Carbon (albeit looking a bit older).

What I liked about Resident Evil

Compared to the next three movies in the franchise, I liked this one best as I think it has the best character development and surprises. People appear linked to each other in ways that were not known in the beginning, alliances change, deaths are realistic (as much as they can get), and surprises believable. I really got into this movie.

The cg is, for that time, is okay. I liked how they wrapped the dogs in meat to give them the zombie look (this is something I found out afterward). They must have been very well trained dogs since they didn’t eat their own costumes 🙂 .

I loved that scene in the ‘corridor of light.’ Don’t tell me you didn’t 🙂 .

That scene in the corridor of light
That scene in the corridor of light

What I didn’t like about Resident Evil

Shock effects of something suddenly jumping onto the screen freak me out, but that goes with most horror movies, and I’m just a wimp. To be honest, there isn’t much that I didn’t like. Maybe that one shower scene, where Milla tries with all her might to keep her breasts covered and then puts on something while revealing herself. I can remember thinking, ‘why did she bother?’ Then again, those days were different from today and nudity wasn’t expected.

I also never got that dress-thingy. Didn’t they have enough material to finish it? 🙂

The ending was unsatisfying for me, but I have to admit it was a good set-up for the next movie.

Summary

If you’re going to watch the Resident Evil movies, make the most of the first one as it’s the best. The rest are all spin-offs with little story or character building. I’ll let you know what I think about the last two movies.

Resident Evil is available on Amazon.

What To Watch? The Shape of Water

This weekend we had a double whammy and went to see The Shape of Water first and The Greatest Showman straight after. Both were great movies. I actually don’t like singing in movies, so I’m not going to discuss the latter here. I do love a good romance story, so The Shape of Water it is.

The Shape of Water

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Cast and Plot

This story plays in 1962 Baltimore when racism is the norm and homosexuality is still a taboo. Elisa Esposito (played by Sally Hawkins) is a woman who lives above a movie theatre and works as a cleaning lady in a secret government laboratory. Her neighbor, Giles (played by Richard Jenkins), is a homosexual artist, trying to make a living with his drawings. Elisa is mute. She appears to have been found as a child with strange scars in her neck like someone scratched her.

When an aquatic creature (played by Doug Jones) is brought into the facility, Elisa forms a bond with it. She is delighted to have found someone like her, someone who can’t talk, and she spends her lunchtimes with the creature. The agent in charge of the creature, Colonel Richard Strickland (played by Michael Shannon), is a very cruel man and delights in torturing it. The Russian scientist studying the creature (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) notices the bond between the creature and Elisa and realizes it is an intelligent being. He tries everything in his power to make his superiors see this without spilling the beans on Elisa.

What I liked

This is a wonderfully romantic story about an outcast who becomes a hero and finds true love. Who doesn’t like a story where this happens? The fact that is was nominated so many times probably has something to do with the fact that the movie puts a spotlight on all sort of social taboos; masturbation, homosexuality, racial discrimination, and physical disabilities. The fact that it plays in 1962 only highlights that a lot still needs to change.

I like the casting of the actors. They weren’t perfect, yet beautiful. In other words, not a typical Holywood cast. Michael Shannon was a particular well-cast actor, and I think we’re going to see more of him on the big screen.

I liked that Doug Jones, who played the creature, also played Abe Sapien in Hellboy, one of my favorite movies. The creatures aren’t the same, yet their likeness was the first thing that sprung to mind when I saw the creature for the first time (before I knew Doug Jones played both roles). Loved, loved, loved the outfit!

Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water
Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water

What I didn’t like

Even though it is a very romantic story, I missed something. Maybe it was the short time dedicated to the build-up of the romance, I don’t know. Questioning logistics issues, explained too late, took me out of the story sometimes. And of course the WTF-moments that always seems to happen. I can accept fantasy logic, but I won’t accept things that they pretend can happen in this physical world. It just isn’t possible from a earthly-scientific point of view. You can take the girl out of science, but you can’t take the science out of the girl 🙂

Summary

All in all a bloody good movie for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and Thriller lovers. Go and see it!

What To Watch? The Family

I’m sorry, I know I should’ve posted this yesterday, but I’m extremely busy at the moment with my WIP which needs to be handed in on Amazon this Friday. Apart from that, I haven’t watched any movies this weekend… again! Why? Because we went to Holland to celebrate my father-in-law’s eightiest birthday. It was a big family reunion. So, what do I recommend to watch? The Family, of course!

The Family

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The Plot

The Family, a 2013 movie, is about a mob family who, after they almost get blown up during a bbq after which the father decides to talk to the police about his rival, get put into a witness protection program. They move to France, but staying undercover is easier said than done for this ‘typical’ American family. Not only do the locals have a problem with the new arrivals, their trail of destruction also notifies their enemies of their location.

The Cast

It has a great cast with Robert de Niro as the father, Michelle Pfeiffer as the mother, and Tommy Lee Jones as the FBI agent. Dianna Agron plays the freaky daughter and John D’Leo plays the son who has learned a thing or two from his dad.

Here’s a trailer that gives you a good idea of what to expect:

Likes

I love this movie and not only because the father tries to be a writer (he wants to write his memoirs as a mob figure). There are so many crazy things happening. It’s all over the top, of course, and no family issue remains untouched. So don’t watch this if you’re sensitive about certain issues. It’s all tongue-in-cheek but can hit a nerve here and there.

Dislikes

I honestly can’t remember if there was something I didn’t like about this movie.

If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. If you have, go watch it again 🙂

 

What To Watch? Fracture

This weekend, I watched four movies; Enemy Mine, Fracture, Patriot’s Day, and The Circle. Thinking back just now, only Enemy Mine sprung to mind without thinking too hard. This was probably because I had actually bought the DVD and had been looking forward to watching this classic (with Dennis Quaid) for a few days. As I want to share with you what you could watch right now, I’ve picked ‘Fracture’ to review this week.

Fracture

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This movie is from 2007, yet I had never heard of it before it was released on Netflix. The story is about a young and promising lawyer, Willy Beacham (Ryan Gosling) who, just before starting his new job in an uptown firm, takes on the ‘easy’ case of a man, Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) who shot his wife and confessed to it. The case suddenly becomes a lot more complicated when Crawford, representing himself, accuses the investigating Lt. Rob Nunally (Billy Burke) of having had an affair with Crawford’s wife.

The Pros

No need to mention Hopkins portrays the complicated, manipulating Crawford very well. Ryan Gosling convincingly plays the cocky lawyer who thinks he can outsmart anybody. The cat and mouse game unfolds as the plot moves on. It’s very cleverly put together and keeps you on your toes. I love movies like this. This is not a typical Hollywood movie in which all the good guys survive, which is nice for a change. The music was appropriate, not taking you out of the movie at all. Makeup wasn’t anything special, but again, didn’t take you out of the story either. Special effects weren’t the gimmick of this movie as it is very much a court case flick, but the scene where the wife is shot is filmed convincingly.

The Cons

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the movie. The twist at the end was expected  (it still is a Hollywood movie) although my knowledge of the law didn’t let me know it beforehand. Next to this, it always puts me off to see actors that have had major roles in other movies or series, like Billy Burke here, who played Bella’s father in the Twilight Saga. In his first contact with the police, Crawford says ‘Lots of vampires out there.’ It was a strange, out-of-context comment, and I wonder if it had anything to do with Burke’s previous role.

It’s a good movie to watch and I’d recommend it to anybody who loves court case movies or mind games.

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Movie Review: The Death of Stalin

Score: 7/10

*** Warning: Spoiler Alert ***

The Death of Stalin is described as a comedy-drama and that is exactly where the problem lies. It’s too funny to be a drama, but to serious to be a comedy. I didn’t know what to make of it. The fact that it is based on true events makes it a sad movie.

The cast is a great one and there are some brilliant performances. I liked Steve Buscemi in the role of Nikita Krushchev, Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria, and Jason Isaacs portraying Georgy Zhukov. There are many more great performances by Jeffrey Tambor, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, and Paddy Considine to name a few.

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The weird thing was that some of the actors talked with a severe Cockney dialect (correct me if I’m wrong. I’m a layman in this respect). I assume there are dialects in Russian too, but to hear the thick English accent in the very Russian surroundings made it a very weird experience.

There are a lot of funny scenes. For example, when Beria gives out orders, there are people being shot, shoved off stairs, or otherwise maimed in the background. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it makes it all rather slapstick-like. The whole experience of not speaking out against the regime is also funny and sad at the same time.

It is an entertaining movie that is mainly funny, but not Hollywood-style. You can follow the story-line without a problem even when you’re a person who knows nothing of post-world-war Russia, like me.

 

Let the Horror Begin!

It’s Friday the 13th and what better time to get you into the Halloween mood? I’ve gathered some websites for you with horror movies for you to watch until the end of the month. Enjoy!

Movie Insider lists movies for you to watch, at least one for every day

Paste has a list with 70 best horror movies this month on Netflix

Horrorfreak News has trailers of new horror movie releases this month

Movieweb actually put a My Little Pony movie on the list. How wicked! 🙂