Disturbing diss at Polish immigrants in Paul Feig’s “Last Christmas”

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You may want to go to see Paul Feig’s “Last Christmas” this winter season. This is why you shouldn’t.

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I knew there was a reason why I didn’t like Emma Thompson that much. She’s a great actress and a good writer, and I’ve written many positive reviews of her films on here, but I was never really a fan of hers. In “Last Christmas” a rom-com drama Thompson co-wrote with her husband, actor and writer Greg Wise, there is an anti-Brexit subplot. Early in the film we meet the main character’s immigrant parents, her mother especially appears to be scared of Brexit. Throughout the film Thompson and Wise comment on xenophobia and Brexit. There’s a scene where Emma Thompson’s character is afraid she’ll be asked to leave and a scene on the bus were a couple is yelled at for speaking their native language. Over an hour in, when comforted by her daughter, played by Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson’s character says ‘I blame the Poles’. You can’t make this whole anti xenophobic/brexit plot and then do the opposite by putting the blame on one of the European communities. You cannot make these sort of generalisations about a community. Polish people are only one of the many immigrant communities that work hard, physical jobs in factories and warehouses 12 hours a day for minimum wage. Among Polish immigrants, you’ll find many well educated people who speak and write English on an advanced level and earn well over 25k pounds a year. With this remark Emma Thompson and Greg Wise offended European immigrants of all backgrounds, not just Polish. If not for the disturbing diss, my review would have had something about being a dual citizen and how angry Brexit has made me feel and then something about how unsafe my 60 year old parents have felt since the referendum and how relatable this film was. The writers also made a diss at the LGBTQ community. Emma Thompson’s character calls a dessert a gay character made ‘a lesbian pudding’. Sadly the disses at the Polish and lesbian communities changed all the good the film did in the first hour and I’m forced to give it a 4 star rating.

4/10

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Film Reviews: Downton Abbey. Apollo 11. The Shape of Things. Finding Normal

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Downton Abbey

Our favourite family and their staff are back after 4 years! This feature film was just as delightful as the series! I really hope they come back in a few years to show us what happened to Downton and the characters during WWII and then, even later, because I really want to see Mary as the grumpy old aunt. And yes, I got an A1 poster with all characters from my local cinema! I can’t wait to buy it on DVD and show it to my family! Someone asked me the other day what it is about Downton that is so good and no matter how many nice things I had to say it just doesn’t explain it well enough. A friend or two of mine watched Downton for a season or two and then abandoned it. I started watching Downton back in season 4, right after I read online about Anna’s rape storyline. I started from the pilot and after two or three episodes I was hooked on the lives of the Crawleys and Downton’s staff. Cora played by Elizabeth McGovern and Anna played by Joanne Froggatt are my favourite characters on the show, but honestly, everyone is highly likeable, even Mary. I still haven’t been to the Highclere castle, but it’s definitely on my to do list. The king and queen’s visit seemed a little far fetched to me though, and that’s honestly the only problem one may have with this film.

‘Will you have enough clichés to get you through the visit?’
‘If not, I’ll come to you.’

‘Oh Violet. After all these years you still astonish me.’
‘Oh good, I’m glad I’m a revelation and not a disappointment.’

‘You are the future of Downton’

10/10

Apollo 11

A riveting documentary made out of 11 000 hours of unused footage and never-heard-before audio recordings of Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon. I especially liked shots of the public waiting for the launch. Just think about it, these people, some of them long gone, will never learn about this film, and those still with us, won’t probably know about this documentary. I’m glad I got to see it on the big screen, this is why I love Odeon’s Silver Screen.

‘One small step for man… one giant leap for mankind.’

8/10

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The Shape of Things

This was a great way to kick off my birthday celebration! I went in, thinking it was a rom-com, instead I was handed a refreshing twist! Rachel Weisz plays this artsy character who’s really into sex, art projects and stirring shit and Paul Rudd plays her clueless boyfriend. Rachel’s character decides to change the main character, she changes the way he dresses and even convinces him to have a nose job. The ruthlessness of Rachel Weisz’s character and Paul Rudd’s naivity balance themselves out perfectly.

8/10

Finding Normal

A big fan of Full House over here. Yes, this means I am quickly running out of the cute romcoms and murder mysteries starring Candace Cameron Bure. According to letterboxd, I’ve seen 27 of her films (out of 40), and there were maybe 3 that were genuenly good? I’m looking at you Punchline (also starring Sally Field and Tom Hanks), Freshman Fall, it’s this campus rape made for tv film were Candace plays a survivor and No One Would Tell, another 90s tv movie where Candace plays a teen who’s abused and eventually killed by her boyfirend, played by Wonder Years’ Fred Savage. Some true genius thought to put Full House agains Wonder Years. Finding Normal is an awesomely cute romcom, which seems a lot like a fresh take on Doc Hollywood. I really hope I’ll get to show it to my mum one day, as I know for a fact she would love it.

6/10

Film Reviews: Crawl. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Dogtooth. Heaven

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Some of the films I’ve seen this week include:

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Crawl

Everglades my ass!

I know crocs are supposed to be more agressive than gators, but you wouldn’t want to encounter a hungry aligator. Crawl is a surprisingly entertaining water creature flick, a must have every summer. I haven’t seen Uncaged, aka 47 Meters Down 2 yet, but it can’t be better than this.

8/10

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

They asked Lana Del Rey to record a new version of ‘Season of the Witch’. I liked the film enough to read the book.

6/10

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Dogtooth

Finally got to see this masterpiece. For different reasons, it made me think of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Village’ and Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘The Dreamers’. I need to take one half star off because of the unnecessary unsimulated sex scene.

9/10

Heaven

I loved reading V.C. Andrews’s books growing up, so I’ll always be biased when it comes to Lifetime’s adaptations, because I’m just happy anyone’s making them. I’ve always wondered though, did Virginia know about her breast cancer before writing ‘Heaven’?

5/10

Film Reviews: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Nymphomaniac Volume 2. A Short Film About Love

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This certainly is an odd take on the Sharon Tate tragedy. Tarantino spends too much time on the made up action films DiCaprio’s character stars in, but overall, I liked the film a lot until the last 15 minutes. I know I should be glad about Tarantino’s ‘humane’ ending, but the change to real events is almost…disappointing?

If you’re in the UK, go see it at Odeon to get 3 character postcards.

7/10

Nymphomaniac Volume 2

Most of the first 4 hours of the Nymphomaniac project are intriguing, sadly in the very last minute of Volume II, just for a shock effect, von Tier chooses to piss on asexuals, leaving viewers disappointed, angry and confused.

7/10

A Short Film About Love

What makes this film brilliant is that everyone has longed for someone they couldn’t have at least once in their life. Nowadays kids obsessively stock their obsession’s online activity, back in the 80s, there were binoculars. What I’ve always wondered was, is this a coincidence that Kieslowski named the Peeping Tom, Tom?

10/10

Film Reviews: Midsommar. American Fable. Annabelle Comes Home. Toy Story 4. The Lion King. Child’s Play. The Last Movie Star. Spoor. War Games. I love you, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter. Love Story. Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story. Easy Rider. Wake Wood. The Last Word

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These past few days I’ve been rewatching Veronica Mars, and catching up on many Charlie Chaplin films. I’m trying to watch full filmographies of 10 directors. I am also captivated by Leah Remini’s Scientology and Aftermath A&E series. The best film I watched at the pictures in the recent weeks is Midsommar, a quick review of it can be found below. Three of my summer shows ended, Orange is the New Black, Big Little Lies and Divorce. The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 ends next week.

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Midsommar

A group of young adults, including two antropology students goes on trip to Sweden to take part in a summer festival. The film is so brilliant, it’s even better than Ari Aster’s previous horror attempt, the amazingly creepy, Hereditary! The cliff scene was shot so amazingly, you knew exactly what would happen, yet you were glued to the screen with eyes wide open and just like the characters, became witness to the goriest deaths of the film. The audience laughed when the elderly lady pushed the boyfriend’s buttocks to ‘help him’, but the cliff scene is what will stick with you for years.

9/10

American Fable

A young girl living in a fantasy world is faced with a wake up call when she finds a man inprisoned in her family’s silo. The little girl is played by Grey’s and Everything Sucks’s Peyton Kennedy. It’s a beautiful horror/thriller and I loved every minute of it.

8/10

Annabelle Comes Home

Lorraine and Ed’s daughter Judy is left in the house with a babysitter and her nosy friend. The friends decides to go into what is now known as Warren’s ‘Occult Museum’ and touch everything. This awakens Annabelle. Mckeena Grace known from The Gifted and Fuller House plays Jane, while Vera and Patrick return. I really hope Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson never quit The Conjuring world, because these films are simply amazing.

RIP, Lorraine Warren.

‘Welcome To The Home Of The Conjuring Universe’

‘There is a lot of evil in this room. But you know what I actually like about it? All the evil in here reminds me of all the good that’s out there.’

‘What else did you touch?’
‘Everything.’

‘Are you a doctor or something?’
‘Or something.’

‘Did it work?’
‘The evil is contained.’

‘It’s the doll, Ed. It’s a beacon for other spirits.’
7/10

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Toy Story 4

Woody looks after Bonnie’s new toy, Forky. Within a week of watching Toy Story 4, I’ve decided to rewatch the 1st and 2nd Toy Story. Woody and Buzz’s inability to escape from their neighboor’s cellar makes me question their outdoors escapades in the next 3 films. Also the animation back in the 90s was very limited, whereas here, it really is lifelike. Toy Story 4’s ending made me cry just as much as the previous one. The evil doll Gabby Gabby voiced by Christina Hendricks was the most precious one of all.

‘She’ll be okay. Bonnie will be okay.’

‘Does this mean… Woody’s a lost toy?’
‘He’s not lost. Not anymore. To infinity…’
‘…and beyond.’

7/10

The Lion King

Remake of the original The Lion King. You cannot deny that the live action here is breathtaking, but this is not a good remake. Other than the cute, life-like animals, this version doesn’t bring anything new to the story. If anything, it helped me realise the story was very simplistic all along. I admitt, I dozed off 20 minutes in, but I’m glad I woke up just in time for the stampede scene, which was amazing. If you see this at Odeon, don’t forget to pick up your A3 poster, with the furry trio, Simba, Pumbaa and Timon.

5/10

Child’s  Play

A boy is given an Alexa type AI doll, that turns deadly. I went in expecting to hate it and was nicely surprised by how gory the last act was. Sadly, the doll was ugly and not creepy at all. The doll being possessed by a serial killer is what made the franchise creepy, the 21st century Aritficial Intelligence upgrade isn’t that intriguing.

6/10

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The Last Movie Star

An elderly movie star is invited to a film festival. He doesn’t know it’s not a real festival. Burt Reynolds gives his last performance, accompanied by Moder Family’s Ariel Winter. I cried through the entire thing. RIP, Burt.

7/10

Spoor

Hunters start dropping dead, it looks like the animals may be finally getting their revenge. I’ve been vegan for 9 years, and vegeterian for more than I can count, so this film is perfect for me. If you’re against hunting, this Polish film from Agnieszka Holland is for you.

9/10

War Games

A teenager accidentaly accesses military system and thinks he’s embarked on a series of tests for military to train on. Tic Tac Toe really is the dumbest game of all. WarGames was quite entertaining and made me wish I was still a teenager. It’s also 300th new film I’ve seen this year.

7/10

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I love you, Now Die. The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter

A brilliant HBO documentary about Michelle Carter who encouraged her clinically depressed boyfriend Conrad Roy III to take his own life. I’ve been following this case closely since 2014 and yet I didn’t know anything about Michelle’s obsession with Glee, The Fault in Our Stars and her lesbian tendencies.

8/10

Love Story

Two young adults fall in love, soon one of the falls ill. I’m a little biased, because my dad listened to and hummed the Love Story theme for a big part of my childhood. But as much as my dad and I both liked Ryan O’Neal in Paper Moon, the Love Story theme, is the best thing about this classic romance.

6/10

Easy Rider

Two men ride Peter Fonda motorbikes, get high, hookup with girls and talk to locals they meet during their road trip across America. Then they have long night chats, that are equally boring. I don’t like stoners and hippies, so the ending was oddly understandable.

5/10

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Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story

A reporter volunteers to be locked in a mental hospital to write an article. I couldn’t figure out if it’s more American Horror Story Asylum or The Handmaid’s Tale. This film, starring Christina Ricci, Judith Light and Revenge’s Joshua Bowman, wasn’t very good, but I was still surprised to find this story on Lifetime.

5/10

Wake Wood

What would you do to get 3 days with your dead loved one? Would you sacrifice your own life? Parents of a girls killed in a dog attack decide to bring her back for 3 days. The last 5 seconds were definitely the most intriguing and I wish they showed us what he cut out.

5/10

The Last Word

An elderly woman asks an orbituary writer to write and orbituary for her, and send for approval, before her death. I knew I would like it the minute the kid started swearing. And then Shirley McClaine told her not to, and the film slowly began to fall apart. I was highly disappointed with  Amanda Seyfried’s acting in this.

‘Just because that’s the way it’s always been, don’t mean I give a shit.’

‘What the fuck do I need with the decimal?’

‘The Fuck?’

5/10

To follow what films I watch, add me on letterboxd: JoanneHolly

 

Film Reviews: Gloria Bell. Booksmart. The Secret Life of Pets 2. Aladdin. Ma. Kong: Skull Island. Begin Again

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Gloria Bell

I saw it when visiting my home city and I had that ‘Brooklyn’-movie moment while watching this brilliant film, realising I no longer belong here. The large audience I saw it with tried to ruin the film for me. They were bursting with laughter, alledging the bloke was bulimic and saying ‘this script is so poor’ every few minutes. It didn’t stop me from enjoying Julianne’s performance and the film itself. I liked how his kids were obese and that it was linked to them being loners and not having their lives figured out. And nothing is more fitting than the film ending with Laura Branigan’s version of ‘Gloria’. Sadly, I haven’t seen the original, but I loved A Fantastic Woman and Disobedience, so this was very much for me. I’ve been a fan of Julie Moore since I saw Magnolia as a kid, so naturally, I picked up 2 A1 cinema posters of Gloria earlier this week.

8/10

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Booksmart

I liked it more than last year’s Lady Bird.

9/10

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Nothing more fitting than the first film opening with Taylor Swift’s ‘Welcome To New York’, and this one with Jay Z and Alicia Keys’s ‘Empire State of Mind’. Even if a big part of this one takes place outside of New York. Stay behind after the initial credits for an interesting rendition of Desiigner’s ‘Panda’.

6/10

Aladdin

Scott Weinger’s voice was my favorite part of the animated Aladdin films. I missed it a lot while watching this film, but listening to Naomi Scott sing recompensated some of that loss.

6/10

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Ma

The twenty teenagers at the screening I went to were eating it up. They were laughing and clapping every few minutes.

5/10

Kong: Skull Island

Black Sabbath’s Paranoid playing at the beginning of the intriguing helicopter scene made my day. I had to rewatch that scene after the credits rolled. But why is Skull Island trying to be Jurassic Park so much? This really didn’t need any creatures other than King Kong.

4/10

Begin Again

Listen, I used to be a huge fan of Keira’s around the Domino/Pride and Prejudice/The Atonement time, but all I got from this movie is that Keira Knightley can’t sing.

3/10

Film Reviews: The Favourite. The Killing of A Sacred Deer. Rocketman. Wild Rose. Captain Marvel. The Curse of La Llorona. Greta. Freddy and Jason. The Silence. Wonder Park. Unicorn Store. I Think We’re Alone Now. The Hustle. Polaroid

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The Favourite

Hatfield House, where The Favourite was filmed has 9 of Sandy Powell’s costumes on display at the moment. You can walk into 9 rooms, including 3 rooms that were used in the film. You can take pictures in Anne’s bedroom, Sarah’s room also known as The Library, and the room where Rachel Weisz and Nicholas Hoult have that staredown in the beginning of the film. You can also walk through The Gallery, better known as the corridor with the gold ceiling where Rachel Weisz pushed Olivia Coleman’s wheelchair after the party. It’s 18 quid and I couldn’t recommend it more! I drove there on Sunday and loved every minute of it. If you’re in the UK, go check it out. Costumes are on display till the 16th of June.

10/10

The Killing of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos’s modern take on Sophie’s Choice. The truly shocking thing about this film is that the mother didn’t offer to sacrifice her life to save either of her two children. What’s worse, she tried to convince the husband they can replace one and just have another.

9/10

Rocketman

I’ve never been Elton’s fan, but after watching this biopic, I can certainly relate to his anger. If you’re in the UK, go see it at Odeon to get an A3 poster with your ticket.

‘Now for my newest trick, I’m gonna fucking kill myself.’

8/10

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Wild Rose

A beautiful story and a shuttering wake up call for everyone, includng myself, who thinks the grass is greener in the US. I’m off to download this wonderful soundtrack.

8/10

Captain Marvel

I’m not a Marvel fan, but this film is more ‘human’ than other superhero films in the Marvel universe, and it has Brie Larson as the lead, so I had to enjoy it. The film also has an interesting soundtrack, including Nirvana’s ‘Come as You Are’.

7/10

The Curse of La Llorona

2019 is the revival of Linda Cardellini’s career. She’s been in Green Book, La Llorona, Avengers and her new Netflix show came out yesterday. I didn’t realise Llorona was part of The Conjuring universe before going in. The script isn’t strong, but the film has a lot of cheap thrills that surprisingly work. The girls in my row where jumping and screaming every time. This is the 200th film I watched this year.

6/10

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Greta

Carrie 2 anyone? Isabelle locking Chloe in that room gave me major Carrie vibes. And what’s with this description? You’re calling Isabelle elderly, Letterboxd? Unnecessarily loud and jumpy music during non-scary scenes sort of ruined the film for me and maybe the fact that the film itself wasn’t scary at all.

‘That little French woman you came with?’

6/10

Freddy and Jason

So we’ve established once and for all that Nightmare on Elm Street is better than Friday the 13th? Good.

6/10

The Silence

It’s a watered down combination of last year’s A Quiet Place and Birdbox, and basically every post apocalyptic horror ever made.

5/10

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Wonder Park

There definitely should be a ‘Don’t do this at home’ warning for kids, as that backyard rollercoaster ride got out of hand real quick. Heck, kids shouldn’t handle nails and I know this is a family film, but no kid can build a rollercoaster without an engineer’s help. Despite all that, there was a sad storyline, the characters and animation were cute and I have always loved amusement parks, so I cannot give Wonder Park less than 2.5 stars, which it probably deserves.

5/10

Unicorn Store

I didn’t like the film and it’s wacko unicorn business, but I do love this poster, the opening scene where the main character paints and Joan Cusack.

5/10

I Think We’re Alone Now

Disappointed that ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ by Tiffany didn’t play once.

4/10

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The Hustle

Is this supposed to be a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake or a sequel to Ocean’s 8? Either way, it was a disastrous attempt. Also, Anne Hathaway’s British sounding, rich bitch role was clearly written for Rose Byrne. This is another poor career choice on Anne’s part.

3/10

Polaroid

Nicked straight from RL Stine’s brilliant ‘Say Cheese and Die!’ series of Goosebumps books. It’s the exact same, but extremely boring. RL Stine should sue them too.

2/10

 

 

 

Shows I will be following this fall

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Returning shows I’ll be following:

Grey’s Anatomy
Law And Order Special Victims Unit
Shameless
American Horror Story
How to Get Away with Murder
The Goldbergs
When Calls The Heart
Schooled
911
The Resident
Good Girls
Station 19
This is Us
Riverdale
Modern Family
The Simpsons
The Good Fight
The Good Place

So far there’s only one new TV show I know I’ll be following, The Second Act starring The Middle and Everybody Loves Raymond’s Patricia Heaton. I’m still not over The Middle spin off not happening, but I am looking forward to Patricia’s new show.

I’ve only lost For The People this year, so I can already tell it’s going to be a good year.