Film Reviews February & March 2017

Beauty and the Beast

film reviews February - beauty and the beast
I was expecting a lot from this live action adaption of one of my favourite Disney films and boy did they deliver. I really enjoyed it from beginning to end and I like the balance they created between the original animation and new additions. The new songs especially were great and I definitely have the soundtrack on my wishlist.

Though Emma Watson did sound slightly auto-tuned for the opening Belle song, I’m assuming it’s because she was nervous because the rest of the tracks sounded a lot more natural.

Otherwise, I loved it all. The casting, the music and especially how they “fixed” a lot of plot holes that the original left.

5 out of 5 stars

Free Fire

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“Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival” – IMDB

This was an unlimited screening that I went to just for the hell of it. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as it did. I think it was the comedy that really lifted it – I don’t think I would have been as entertained if it were just a simple shoot out in a warehouse.

4 out of 5 stars

Ghost in the Shell

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“In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.” – IMDB

I saw this yesterday as a complete outsider to the original anime. After hearing about how different it was from the original and how that seemed to disappoint a lot of the original fanbase, I’m glad I wasn’t a fan. Topher and I got to enjoy it as a stand alone film.

Topher liked it a lot. On the other hand, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It was good but I left the theatre feeling a bit meh. It was quite a short film too but it didn’t feel that way to me. Maybe it’s just not my kind of film.

2 and a half out of 5 stars

Hidden Figures

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“The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.” – IMDB

I loved this film. There’s something about taking something amazing that happened in real life and telling the story to the next generation. It’s crazy to look back and think this happened within the last century.

And I love how they put up photos of the real women this film was based on in the end. Topher and I were on wikipedia when we got home and looked all of them up. One is still alive today!

5 out of 5 stars

Split

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“Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.” – IMDB

This was a very clever film that Topher persuaded me to see and I’m glad I did. James McAvoy did an amazing job and I found the whole thing thrilling to watch. Definitely recommended for something a bit different.

4 out of 5 stars

Trainspotting 2

film reviews February - trainspotting 2
It’s been a fair few years since I watched Trainspotting so we had to sit down and watch it before going to see the long awaited sequel set 20 years later.

I found myself talking to a lot of people who thought there was too much nostalgia in this sequel but I think that’s what it was supposed to be. Overall, I really enjoyed it. And just a side note, Robert Carlyle is an awesome actor!

3 and a half out of 5 stars

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Film Reviews – December 2016 & January 2017

I can’t believe I haven’t written one of these since November! To tell you the truth, we haven’t been going to the cinema as much as we’d like so it felt a bit silly to just do a post with only two film reviews for the month. So i’ve saved up and here are 5 new reviews for you!

Passengers

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“A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.” – IMDB Chaos ensues…

This is one of those weird ones where I enjoy watching the film but as soon as it’s over I start poking holes in the plot. So many in this one! There was a whole controversial aspect to this film which wasn’t revealed at all in the trailer so that was a bit shocking. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read about it just go and decide for yourself. Personally I do agree that the situation is messed up but you have to ask yourself what would you have done if it was you?

 3 and a half stars

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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A stand alone story in the Star Wars universe set just before A New Hope, Rogue One focuses on the story of the heroes who plotted to steal the plans for the Death Star.

I wouldn’t consider myself a huge Star Wars fan but I would happily sit and watch the films. So with that in mind I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Rogue One’s release. I’m really glad I didn’t read anything about this film or even see a trailer before going to see it as I think I enjoyed it more that way. I loved all the different characters and the story was paced nicely.

 4 out of 5 stars

Why Him?

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Ned Fleming’s Christmas is about to be turned upside down when he finds out his daughter is dating a free spirited obnoxious billionaire.

As soon as I saw the trailer for Why Him? I knew I wanted to see it. I love a good comedy every now and again so it looked like a good option. I wasn’t expecting too much from it but I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with how much Topher and I both enjoyed it.

4 out of 5 stars

Lion

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Based on a true story, Lion depicts the tale of a young boy called Saroo who gets stranded thousands of miles from home. Eventually he is adopted by an Australian couple and 25 years later sets out to find his lost family.

Bring the tissues for this one. I was gripped at every moment of this film and was so emotionally invested in the character. The whole cast were amazing and I really hope this film gets all the Oscars it’s nominated for. I definitely recommend this film.

 5 out of 5 stars

La La Land

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“A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.” – IMDB

Now watch me get controversial. I didn’t enjoy this film. Sorry to what seems like everyone on the internet but I really didn’t. I love musicals. I love romance. La La Land makes me want to go watch a real romantic musical.

It’s weird because from the trailer I can see why I should like it and there were a couple of aspects that I enjoyed. Ryan Gosling was great and Another Day of Sun is still stuck in my head. But overall the whole film just felt forced.

I wasn’t invested in the couple which I was surprised at because I’ve seen this pair in Crazy Stupid Love and their chemistry was great. Maybe it was Emma Stone I had a problem with? I usually like her as well but I’m not entirely sold on her casting in this.

All the way through this film both Topher and I kept looking at each other as if to say “why isn’t this over yet?”. And there was one point where I literally sunk down in my chair with silent laughter because it was so cringe. Plus how many times did they repeat that one song? So much so that it lost it’s whole meaning when it was used at the end.

Such a shame – I really don’t get it but I’m glad I went to see it and made up my own mind. Now please excuse me while I go watch a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film.

2 out of 5 stars

What films have you been enjoying recently?

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Film Reviews November 2016

I’ve seen a few films in the last month or so but once again, not as much as I should have done. These are the four that stood out the most to me.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Based in the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is about a young wizard called Newt Scamander who visits New York on his way to Arizona accompanied by a mysterious suitcase full of magical creatures.

I love, love, loved this film. So much. As I said in a previous post, it’s been awhile since I’ve been sitting in the cinema watching a film and all the while thinking over and over, “this is amazing”.

You definitely don’t need to be a fan of Harry Potter to go and see this film. It’s a whole different story that just happens to be set in the same world as the famous franchise. It was interesting to see a wizarding world set in America but I’m really glad it was set in the past for some reason. I think just because so many films these days are set in places like New York etc. and I wanted to see something different. Being based in the 1920s, it was definitely different!

I’ll be interested to see where they take the story next as apparently there’s going to be about 4 other films after this one.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Moana

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This film isn’t out until Friday but I actually saw it last Saturday for a preview offered to Cineworld unlimited members. Topher was working but I went along with Claire and Steve. It’s about the daughter of a Hawaiian chief who saves the world with the help of a demigod (voiced by The Rock) and the dumbest chicken I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but lets just say that it’s almost a week later and I’m still singing the songs from it. Darn catchy.

As you know I’m a big Disney fan so I loved the film but I’m not sure how well someone who isn’t a fan would enjoy it. It’s not normally Steve’s kind of film but he said he was surprised to find that he really enjoyed it. So it’s definitely worth a try. There’s plenty of action and comedy in there and it’s nice to see a another film that empowers young girls. I’ll be dragging Topher along in the next week or so to see it.

4 and a half out of 5 stars

 

A Street Cat Named Bob

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Based on a true story and is also a book, A Street Cat Named Bob is about a busker, recovering drug addict called James who is befriended by a cat who ends up changing his life for the better. It’s definitely a feel good story.

I remember the book came out a few years ago and my mum read it. She tried to lend it to me but I didn’t like the sound of the title. It sounded like a cat going through a rough time and I didn’t like the idea of that. I kind of wished she actually explained what it was really about but oh well. I’m glad I didn’t read it back then as I would have seriously wanted a cat and it was 3 years later we got our babies!

I just wanted to go home and cuddle my cats all through watching this. Bob is such a sweetheart! Fun fact, the real Bob is actually in a few of the scenes playing himself!

4 and a half stars out of 5

 

Dr Strange

film reviews november 4

I’m not usually a fan of Marvel movies but this one was an exception. I didn’t know the story at all before going and that was something I liked. It’s about a former neurosurgeon who is actually called Dr Strange. He goes on a journey to heal his hands that were injured in an accident and stumbles across a whole new world of mystic arts.

The film was certainly funnier than I expected it to be and there was plenty of action and story to back it up with. It’s one of those films that you could sit down with a variety of people and everyone would enjoy it. From the looks of things, it appears that there’s going to be a sequel to this or at least a collaboration with some of the Avengers so I’m not so sure if I’ll be watching those. But as a stand alone film I really enjoyed it.

4 out of 5 stars

 

What films have you seen recently?

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Film Reviews: September 2016

It was a surprisingly busy summer for Topher and I so we didn’t get to see as many films as we wanted – even with our Cineworld unlimited passes. But September was the month where we saw 4 films. Here are my reviews:

Kubo and The Two Strings

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This isn’t probably something I would have chosen to see but Topher was really excited to see it so I said we would fit it in. Funnily enough, the night before we were going to the cinema to see two films, we were given a huge recommendation for it from our friend Claire so we decided to see it the next day.

Stars like Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes & Charlize Theron, voice it and I’m really glad that I didn’t read much about it before going to see it. Everything was a surprise. I liked the story and it was nice to see something in the cinema that was original and not a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel.

So the only thing I’ll tell you is that the synopsis is “A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.” And leave it at that. Go see it.

I’d give it a 4 out of 5.

 

Bridget Jones’s Baby

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After the terribleness that was Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, I will admit that I wasn’t expecting much from Bridget Jones’s Baby. Emma came with us to see Kubo and The Two Strings and was planning on leaving after but then found out she had a few hours to kill so decided to come along. It was definitely worth it because the three of us were howling with laughter the whole way through. Even Topher enjoyed it.

Of course it isn’t a Bridget Jones film if you’re not cringing but this was the right amount of cringe. Why do people spend whole films lying to each other btw? They would make things soooo much easier if they told the truth. But of course, you wouldn’t have the premise for a film would you?

This is also a 4 out of 5 for me.

 

The Magnificent Seven

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Another one that Topher wanted to see. I wasn’t too sure but I don’t actually mind action as long as it isn’t one of the many Marvel ones they insist on pumping out. So I happily went to watch it with Topher and our friends Claire and Steve. This was a remake but it was a good one. Topher owns the original so maybe I’ll give it a watch one of these days.

The synopsis reads, “Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.” I liked the idea and I really enjoyed the story and the characters. It had the right amount of action, heart and humour. A definite must see if you and your partner can’t agree on a film!

Another 4 out of 5

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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This is one that both Topher and I, and our friends Claire and Steve had been looking forward to for awhile so we booked tickets as soon as it came out.

“When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.”

It definitely didn’t disappoint. We’re big fantasy fans so there was plenty of intrigue along with action, humour and a little bit of love. It’s based on a book series so I’ll be interested to see if they release any more films.

This was a 5 out of 5 for me.

 

And on a side note, we saw a trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So excited!

What have you seen in the cinema recently?

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My Favourite Board Games

Say hello to my nerdy board games side. For those who know me well will undoubtedly agree that I’m not much of a clubber these days. I’m much more at home, well, at home. My friends and I are more partial to nights in with good food, good conversation and a board game or 4. Over the course of our relationship, Topher and I have built up quite an extensive board game collection that I seriously need to find a new storage solution for!

Anyway, I thought since our board game collection is a bit more out of the ordinary (not that I don’t love a good game of Scrabble or Monopoly), I would share my favourites with you.

Ankh-Morpork*

Ankh-Morpork

Terry Pratchett fans will immediately know what the name of this game means. For those who aren’t, Ankh-Morpork is a city in Terry Pratchett’s fantasy book series called Discworld. Whether you’re a fan or not, this game is really fun – especially if you like logical games.

“This is a game where each player has a secret victory condition, usually relating to owning buildings in, or controlling, various areas of the city of Ankh-Morpork. During the game, players play cards from their hand to place control elements in the city, remove other players’ pieces, or otherwise manipulate the ownership of areas.”

My favourite part is finding out what your victory condition is. You spend the entire game trying to achieve it, while keeping a close eye on your other players to make sure they don’t achieve theirs first. The best one in my opinion is simply that you win when the cards run out – then you just have to bide your time!

Discworld fan or not, this game is always fun once you know the rules!

Snake Oil*

Snake Oil

Smooth talkers and anyone who works in the advertising industry will love this. Snake oil is a game where you basically have to sell something. You get a hand of cards with random words on them and each round someone acts as the customer. They draw a card with an occupation on it, e.g. Gangster, caveman, pirate etc. and you have to pick two words from your hand to name a product that you have to sell to them. They then pick which they like best.

Favourites have included:

Power Pizza to a gangster, “You send it to your enemies, they open the pizza box and POW! Machine guns inside shoot them!”

Grenade Cloak to a ninja, “I know ninja’s don’t usually wear cloaks but what better way to hide a load of grenades!”

Plus a bunch that I can’t even remember right now.

Marrying Mr. Darcy*

Marrying Mr. Darcy

This game always makes me laugh. Pride and Prejudice fans will love this. It’s a strategy card game where you are a female character from the novel and are working to improve yourself so you can attract one of the available suitors. Failure to do so and you will end up an old maid, ha ha. There’s usually a lot of giggling involved as you read the cards.

Whenever there’s a party, you roll a dice to see how you did. I once ended up eating all the cake and making a complete fool of myself. You can also be cunning and steal beauty and wit points from your rivals. There are lots of little nods to the book in the game and for those who haven’t read it, it does seem a bit ridiculous at times, but in a funny way. It’s especially funny playing it with boys.

Elevenses*

Elevenses

I’ve only played this game once so far but it was really fun. It’s so random. Elevenses is a card game in which respectable 1920s socialites strive to serve the finest morning teas! Oh yes, we’re so rock and roll. Like the game above, it’s really funny when played with boys. You all have the same cards (which have different elements of a morning tea spread) that have different actions on them, but the goal is to get your cards all out first through luck and strategy.

Links with * are affiliate links. 

Highly Recommended

  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Flux – any deck
  • Uno
  • Rummikub
  • Pictionary
  • Articulate

Do you play board games? What are your favourites?

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