Film Reviews: Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil. Umberto D. Mommy. High Life. Ambush at Cimarron Pass. Big Sky. Dark Angel. Fallen Hearts. Gates of Paradise

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil

Much better and more honest than the previous two documentaries. Daddy Issues, Games, Concentrate, Lonely, Sorry and Tell Me You Love Me are all amazing songs that kept me company on many night shifts of 2017 and 2018. I still remember when Demi left rehab for the first time back in 2011, and that her team conveniently only revealed her struggles with eating disorders, self harm and bipolar disorder, and failed to mention drug or alcohol addiction. Fast forward a decade and Demi’s finally revealed everything. Her family and friends seem worried, but also have accepted her decision to drink and smoke weed in moderation. Elton John is the only person in the doc who expresses his disapproval of using in moderation. I think for many viewers the most shocking moment of this documentary is not Demi revealing she has been raped twice, but her admission that she has had sex with her rapists since, in order to take the power back from her abusers. In the first three episodes, Demi lists a few serious mistakes she’s made, ones that could easily be classed as bipolar episodes, only to reveal in the last ten minutes of the documentary, that she has been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, and never suffered from it, and that the mistakes she’s made were just a part of growing up.

8/10

Umberto D.

How predictable of me to watch another example of my favourite, Italian neorealism. A beautiful film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The train scene at the very end is nerve wrecking.

9/10

Mommy

They seriously failed by not calling this film MILF. My favourite part is when Oasis’ song plays and the screen streches from the obnoxious 1:1 aspect ratio to the cinema screen ratio for a few seconds. The montage is also pretty, but too much of it is blurry, and gives me a headache. I love the last ten seconds and that the film ends with a Lana Del Rey song. I rewatched this on Mubi, while watching today’s football matches with my dad. Also, I cannot figure out whether I like this or We Need to Talk About Kevin more.

9/10

High Life

How many utterly weird films has Juliette Binoche been in? I can name quite a few. The person who wrote this was definitely high, alright. I actually loved how messed up this was, but I have a few questions, starting with, why were some of the women tied to their beds, but others and all men weren’t? Even though this film was in my Mubi watchlist, I watched it by accidentally mistaking it for Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life.

7/10

Ambush at Cimarron Pass

What can I say, my dad and I are big Clint Eastwood fans, so here we are. We have watched this among five other Clint Eastwood films over one weekend.

5/10

Big Sky

My dad and I watched this because we loved the first season of Big Sky, so we wanted to see if this is also based on the Highway book series, and it is not. This is abysmal and we laughed a lot. Middle-of-nowhere horror is my favourite kind, so I can’t say this is unwatchable. It is laughable, but watchable.

3/10

Dark Angel

Whoever at Lifetime decided to adapt all of V. C. Andrews’ novels into films, deserves a raise. I remember when Sweet Audrina came out and transfered me back to my childhood. I loved those gothic novels growing up. Lifetime also adapted the Flowers in the Attic series, then Heaven and as I’ve learned yesterday, they’ve now adapted the Ruby Landry series, which was written after Virginia’s death by her ghostwriter, Andrew Neiderman. I haven’t read the Landry series, so I’m looking forward to it. I watched Heaven, the first part of the Casteel series when it came out, but gave it up and never watched the other four films, until now. While I thought Sweet Audrina was a good adaptation, especially for a TV movie, the Casteel films aren’t.

5/10

Fallen Hearts

I didn’t remember there being a lion attack in the book, but then again I read it 15 years ago. Just as all V. C. Andrews’ books, this film is full of incest, rape and family drama. Heaven’s sister is so annoying she makes this film almost unwatchable.

3/10

Gates of Paradise

So Hallmark and Lifetime share Johannah Newmarch any time they need to cast a 40 year old redhead? How many productions has she been in? There is also a Melrose Place reunion in this one.

3/10

Film Reviews: Gosford Park. Deadly Illusions. Postcards From the Edge. The Exorcist III. American Woman. Blades of Glory. Rules Don’t Apply. The Great Wall. The Town

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gosford Park

I love Downton Abbey, so obviously I loved this! There were too many characters we never got to know and I was confused about who was who and who was married to whom. Julian Fellows, the creator of Downton Abbey, also wrote Gosford Park and won an Oscar for it. Fun fact, the TV show was supposed to be a remake of Gosford Park, but Fellowes decided to change it a bit more, and I’m glad he did.

9/10

Deadly Illusions

Netflix is officially turning into Lifetime. You don’t go shopping for bras with your employee, that is just inappropriate. And so is talking about fucking in front of your children. Charlotte was the hottest out of the four Sex and the City ladies and her having gay relations with a girl half her age should have been one of her storylines on the show. Out of the four, only Samantha went out with a woman before deciding it’s not for her. Deadly Illusions is exactly what you’d expect from Lifetime, and the storylines are misleading and disappointing, but we’ve all seen worse.

4/10

Postcards from the Edge

I know this is only inspired by Carrie and Debbie’s story, but you’ve got to give it to them, the roles have been perfectly casted. Shirley looks just as glamourous as Debbie, and Meryl can really pass off as a drug addict. My parents refused to watch this with me even though I thought they would like it, so I ended up watching this by myself. I will try to convince my dad to give it another try now that I’ve seen it. I just have to tell him the drugs storyline is very tiny.

7/10

The Exorcist III

The previous sequel was awful, but this, filmed 13 years later is amazing! And no surpise, as the original film and The Exorcist III were written by the novelist William Peter Blatty, who wrote the original book and also directed this sequel.

8/10

American Woman

Sienna Miller plays a 32 year old grandmother in this. I didn’t like this enough to rewatch it with my parents the next day, which is what I usually do with films I think they’d like.

7/10

Blades of Glory

Will Ferrell sings ‘My Humps’ by The Black Eyed Peas. That’s all you need to know about this film. I couldn’t stand Will Ferrell for many years, but he’s slowly growing on me.

6/10

Rules Don’t Apply

Another Howard Hughes biopic, sort of. The Aviator is so much better. A young actress is desperate to meat Howard Hughes and make it big in Hollywood. A chauffeur falls for her. I hated how cliche this got halfway through, with her abandoning her values and choosing to achieve her success through the casting couch.

5/10

The Great Wall

I love Zhang Yimou’s work and this looked pretty, like all his films, but I just don’t care for fantasy.

5/10

The Town

The creepy masks they wear are my favourite part of the film. The Blake Lively arc was completely unnecesary. I lost interest after an hour and ended up listening to Evanescence’s new album while finishing this film.

6/10

Film Reviews: Our Souls at Night. Disappearance at Clifton Hill. Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal. Goon. Stripes. Tartuffe. Red Joan. Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Prescription for Murder. Death to 2020

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Souls at Night

Redford and Fonda’s 4th film together. Does The Chase count though, they barely had any scenes together. I’m a huge fan of both, so this was a real treat I’ve been saving for a stressful day for almost four years.

7/10

Disappearance at Clifton Hill

I appreciate them trying to make this horror creepy, the sound mixing certainly was spooky at times and I was invested in solving this mystery, but it just wasn’t exciting enough.

5/10

Operation Varsity Blues The College Admissions Scandal

I have been following this case closely for 2 years, and this documentary didn’t teach me anything new. Also, I’ve been a fan of Lori Loughlin since Full House and Felicity Huffman since Desperate Housewives, so 2019 was a weird year for me.

5/10

Goon

I have been following this case closely for 2 years, and this documentary didn’t teach me anything new. Also, I’ve been a fan of Lori Loughlin since Full House and Felicity Huffman since Desperate Housewives, so 2019 was a weird year for me.

4/10

Stripes

You know I’ll watch any comedy as long as John Candy stars in it.

6/10

Tartuffe

I was not expecting for both of Murnau’s films I watched today to be this bland. I love Sunrise and Nosferatu, but this and The Haunted Castle were dissapointing.

4.5/10

Red Joan

I was considering seeing this at the cinema two years ago, and I’m glad I didn’t. This is only good enough to watch in the background while doing something else. She spends the last 15 min of the film trying to find a way to run to Australia. Can I get on a boat an move back to Australia too, please?

5/10

Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Prescription for Murder

My family loves Hallmark mysteries, so here I am. I’ve only seen one other Hailey Dean Mystery before, Death on Duty and I liked this one much more. I actually got the killer wrong, and that’s always nice.

5/10

Death to 2020

A lot of the material is not funny and some is plain stupid, but the jokes about Boris Johnson were on point, including calling him a scarecrow. Most delivered by Hugh Grant.

‘In the UK, everyday citizens celebrate the countdown to Brexit-cide and the recent installation of newly-elected Prime Ministerial scarecrow, Boris Johnson.’

‘Prime Minister and haystack Boris Johnson decides that since Britain is no longer part of Europe, it can safely ignore the warnings. He encourages those who haven’t already died to go about their business as usual, but with a greater emphasis on hygiene.’

‘The Prime Minister might have to be replaced by someone less qualified than him. Which is impossible.’

5/10

Film Reviews: Penguin Bloom. Allen v. Farrow. All the Bright Places. Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cycil Hotel. To All the Boys: Forever and Always. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Where’d You Go Bernadette. Catfight. How to Deal

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Penguin Bloom

I miss living in Australia and I’m a huge fan of Naomi Watts, so any Aussie film she stars in is a special treat for me. Unfortunately, she’s been in a series of pretty bad films recently, apart from Luce, so this was a nice change. This film is directed by Glendyn Ivin, who also made the wonderful Last Ride twelve years ago. The real question is, was this story worth making into a film? No. But I’m glad they showed us how she got injured, I was worried they were going to skip it.

7/10

Allen v. Farrow

We have all been waiting for this documentary for about 30 years. In episode two we finally get to see the tapes Mia recorded of a 7 year old Dylan disclosing her sexual assault. The tapes’ existence Allen’s fans have disputed for all these years. Just imagine adopting 12 children out of your good heart and compassion and occidentally exposing them to a predator. One of the guests of episode three is Gloria Steinem, who recalls interviewing Paul Williams, a renowned child sex crimes investigator who worked on 800 cases of child sexual abuse before being handed Dylan Farrow’s case. Williams was fired and silenced after saying he believed Dylan. Case workers who interviewed Dylan at another facility (there were two trials, one in NY and one in Connecticut), destroyed all of their notes from their numerous interviews with 7 year old Farrow before the trial. That’s all you need to know about the show, I seriously recommend you check it out.

8/10

All the Bright Places

The teenage version of me would have loved this, I skipped so much more school than Finch because of depression. I wish there were group therapy meetings for teens where I grew up. My school was not equipped to handle my problems. Why did it take me this long to watch the one decent Netflix teen original?

6/10

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cycil Hotel

The most shocking thing is the manager telling the filmmakers she was once showing a guest to their room and came across a police sniper haunting a serial killer. Why would you tell people you and your staff are so incompetent they didn’t even tell you a sniper walked into your hotel. I remember watching the CCTV footage back in 2013, but I didn’t think much of it and I never heard anything about how this case was resolved. This was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

6/10

To All the Boys Forever and Always

The final part of the To All The Boys trilogy features college acceptance stress and trips to Seoul and New York. The second film is mostly yellow colour graded, whereas the third one is almost entirely green. My family decided to rewatch the other parts too, and my dad, who hasn’t seen any of them before, said this series is refreshing, because the teens in it don’t have sex, do drugs, swear or get chased by serial killers. And I can’t argue that. Is it realistic? Probably not, but the series is sweet and innocent and I can see why it’s so appealing to young teens. I also may have liked this part the most.

6/10

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

I watched this with my parents and the fact that Polish Netflix got all of these actors to dub the dialogue instead of hiring a narrator, shows how big Eurovision is in Europe. I haven’t watched Eurovision since 2007 or so, simply because a teenage version of me thought it was lame. I still remember how happy I was when heavy metal band Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah won in 2006. Some of Eurovision songs I still remember apart from the obvious, ABBA’s Waterloo, are Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses For Me, France Gall’s Poupee de Cire, Poipee de Son, Vanilla Ninja’s Cool Vibes and Wig Wam’s In My Dreams. Did I have to google some of these names, yes I did. This film is shockingly watchable, and the two failed performances are surprisingly funny. Also, how catchy is the Double Trouble song? It’s so typical of the early 2000s pop, it makes me nostalgic even though I’ve only heard this song today. I don’t usually like pop, but I’m adding it to my Spotify list for the month.

6/10

Where’d You Go Bernadette

Earlier this week I learned that I’m a victim of identity theft, so It’s been a tough couple of days. What a coincidence a film with a stolen identity plot is expiring from HBO Go this week. I picked up an A1 poster of this film from my local cinema in September 2019.

7/10

Catfight

This script is on crack and needs a real punch in the face. I also think if they haven’t invented a war, this had a potential to be rewatchable.

5/10

How To Deal

I have now seen all films Mandy Moore starred in as a teenager and young adult and this is the weakest one.

4/10

Film Reviews: Palm Springs. Zodiac. Conviction. The Love Letter. Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words. Golden Exits. Spaceballs. Brave Miss World. Dangerous Lies

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Palm Springs

I watched another Groundhog Day inspired film today, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things and I’m happy to report this one is so much better! This was entertaining and I did laugh when Veronica Lodge slipped by the pool and lost all of her front teeth on her wedding day. I also didn’t know J.K. Simmons was in this, so that was a nice surprise!

‘This was always a good day (…) little Joey tending his dog shit.’

7/10

Zodiac

I remember watching this back in 2008 I think, and turning it off halfway through after I’ve googled the Zodiac killer and learned he was never found. The film was long and the teen version of me didn’t see the point in watching a 2.5h long movie on an unresolved case, but I’m glad to say, I enjoyed it so much more now.

8/10

Conviction

I first watched Conviction in September 2011 and have been looking for it since to show it to my dad. Today they randomly played it on one of the channels and I finally got the chance to re-watch it. The way the lecturer treated Hilary’s character at the beginning of the film is unimaginable. Lecturers really should have more compassion for mature students. We’ve given up our 25-30K a year jobs/careers to go back to education, teachers really shouldn’t make it harder.

8/10

The Love Letter

This reminded me of The Secret Admirer, but it wasn’t half as good. This film sucked, but then it unexpectedly turned gay in the last 15 minutes, so I can’t really complain. And no, not in the way you think.

4/10

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

I’m a huge fan of both Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman, so this was a treat! I’ve learned new details about their lives, for example that Rossellini forbade Bergman from working with other directors and threatened to drive his Ferrari into a tree when she announced she wants to star in Hollywood movies again. The documentary features interviews with Bergman’s children, as well as actresses Liv Ulmman and Sigourney Weaver, and is narrated by Alicia Vikander.

7/10

Golden Exits

You’re telling me that Lily Rabe’s character wasn’t in love with Mary-Louise Parker’s character? I strongly disagree.

4/10

Spaceballs

I would have never given Spaceballs a chance if it didn’t star John Candy. I will watch anything starring him, even if he plays a giant dog.

6/10

Brave Miss World

1998 Miss World Linor Abargil interviews fellow rape survivors including actresses Joan Collins and Fran Drescher. While I’ve heard Drescher’s story before, I never knew Joan Collins married her rapist, actor Maxwell Reed, which apparently was only revealed in this documentary. There are three short behind the scenes episodes on Netflix and in one of them Linor confronts the woman who got her in touch with her rapist. She also talks to an agency director who admits she continues sending some women to work with predators. According to her, 20 year old models can handle themselves, whereas teenagers can’t.

7/10

Dangerous Lies

Critics’ reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are so much better than the ones on here. I expected this to be awful, but honestly this was better than ninety percent of Lifetime thrillers.

5/10

Film Reviews: Promising Young Woman. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. The Croods: New Age. Music. The Out of Towners. Red Sorghum. To Live. Suffragette. Sweet Nothing In My Ear

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Promising Young Woman

Rape and revenge has always been one of my favourite genres. I could relate to the scene where Jennifer Coolidge’s character has a meltdown because her thirty year old daughter still lives at home and hasn’t accomplished enough for her to brag about to her friends. Also, I loved the ending.

9/10

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

Kathryn Newton has been in so many projects since being cast as Reese Witherspoon’s older daughter in Big Little Lies. My favourite one is Freaky. This is Groundhog Day for teens and the pink cotton candy colour grading gets annoying real quick.

3/10

The Croods: A New Age

I knew nothing about this film before going in, but recognised Cage, Stone and Mann’s voices straight away. I’ve never seen the first film, even though my family bought it on DVD for 1£ a few years ago, so I will watch it eventually. I enjoyed the first half of The Croods 2 until they introduced the big monkey and everyone started fighting.

5/10

Music

I’ve fast-forwarded through most of it, especially all of the singing parts. This film clearly didn’t have anything to say about the autism community, so it should have been just about Kate Hudson’s character’s struggle to stay sober. Hudson shaved her head for this role thinking this would be a good film. In a couple of scenes she wears a T-shirt that says ‘I’m not old, I’m a recycled teenager’ which is the only thing I found intriguing in this film. This was filmed in 2017 and only got a release now? Geez, I wonder why.

2/10

The Out of Towners

Did I laugh when the airport employee dragged this poor old lady from the shitter mistaking her for Goldie Hawn, shouting the lady is refusing to go? You bet your ass I did. Did I laugh when Steve Martin climbed the baggage claim carousel, then proceeded to have a conversation with the baggage claim chute, got hit with a bag and fell on his head, while Goldie shouted that’s the wrong bag? I did indeed. I laughed at most of the slapstick scenes, and yes, some parts of the film are outdated, not tolerant or funny, but I enjoyed it just as much as the original film from 1970 starring Jack Lemmon.

6/10

Red Sorghum

A nearly perfect film that also happens to be Zhang Yimou’s first feature. It’s almost as visually stunning (if not blinding) as Raise the Red Lantern. Red Sorghum would get five stars from me, if not for the child nudity and if it had less scenes of characters urinating. The scalping scene on the other hand, may be one of my favourite of Yimou’s.

9/10

To Live

A more realistic masterpiece from Zhang Yimou that follows a family extremely short on luck and their lives starting from before the Chinese Communist Revolution up to the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 60s and 70s. I think I’ve finally found my goal for 2021, and that is to watch Yimou’s entire filmography. Also I may have watched this film twice in one weekend.

10/10

Suffragette

Emily Wilding Davison went to my uni, but dropped out before graduating due to her mother no longer being able to afford to send her there after Emily’s father’s death. Despite what many believed, Emily did not try to kill herself by throwing herself under the King’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby. She was trying to hang a Women’s Right to Vote flag on the King’s horse. She had been seen practising hanging the flag on other horses earlier that day. Emily thought she would have enough time to move aside, underestimating the speed of the horse. One thing I must give to the filmmakers is how exquisitely they recreated that incident. I’ve seen archival footage and all of the eeriest angles were recreated here. I think Suffragette would have been better if it focused on Emmeline Pankhurst. I also don’t think casting Meryl Streep for a 4 min monologue was necessary. The Suffragette is about the British women’s fight for the right to vote. American females’ fight is best portrayed in Iron Jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank. I recommend you watch that one first.

6/10

Sweet Nothing In My Ear

Why was Marlee Matlin’s voice dubbed? Couldn’t they just use subtitles? I watched this after rewatching Children of a Lesser God.

6/10

Film Reviews: Amore. Inside the Twin Towers. Candyman. Father of the Bride. What Women Want. Splash. Dead Husbands. The Straight Story. Noel

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Amore

I didn’t know this consisted of two short stories, the first one written by Jean Cocteau and the other by Federico Fellini, both directed by Roberto Rossellini! Could this get any better?

7/10

Inside the Twin Towers

I watched it on youtube today. Some of the stories and re-enactments are heartbreaking. I watched the part with a man encouraging a stranger to keep on walking down the stairs when he couldn’t walk anymore a couple of times. They both didn’t make it.

9/10

Candyman

That very long aerial shot of the highway from the opening credits is stunning. More filmmakers should use it. I haven’t seen this film since early 2000s, but since the remake is coming out this year, I thought I would rewatch it.

7/10

Father of the Bride 2

I’ve felt really shitty all day, but this helped tremendously by transferring me back to the 90s when I watched and rewatched this every couple of weeks.

7/10

What Women Want

I’m rewatching this right now and I completely forgot about the suicide arc, which is what makes this very average romcom, special.

6/10

Splash

Quality Controller of fruit and veg was my very first job and this seems to be Tom’s job in the film. John Candy plays Tom’s brother. The film had the potential to be good, if not for the mermaid nonsense.

4/10

Dead Husbands

This took Strangers on a Train to a whole new level. The funniest bit was when the police officer reads the rich ladies their rights and one of them can’t stop laughing when he says ‘if you can’t afford an attorney’. This was an entertaining tv movie, and it’s true that I only watched it, because I really miss Desperate Housewives.

6/10

The Straight Story

I’m just shocked to see Lynch direct a realistic story. He refrained from all his craziness and directed a truly heart-warming film.

8/10

Noel

This tastes even more bitter after Robin’s tragic death. In Noel Robin Williams’s character saves Susan Sarandon’s character from suicide. Everything else is a real mess and this poster is possibly the best thing about this film.

3/10

Film Reviews: The Glorias. Copycat. Pedestrian Subway. My Depression: The Up and Down and Up of It. Nightwalk. One Angry Juror. The Mirror. Strike. Vegas Vacation

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Glorias

I’m a huge fan of both Julianne Moore and Gloria Steinem, so I’m the ideal audience for The Glorias. Sadly, the film ended up being a very average biopic, and 2.5h long at that. Gloria Steinem fully supported this project, unlike Mrs. America. She hated that the TV show put two successful women against each other.

‘I am one of those crazy women.’

6.5/10

Copycat

Copycat has been on my watchlist for 20 years and I finally got to see it today when they showed it on Filmbox! I really needed it today and it definitely made my day! This could only be better if they got together at the end.

8/10

Pedestrian Subway

Kieslowski has been my favourite director since I watched the Decalogue series as a kid, and I’m so happy I finally got to see this short! This has too many choker shots for my liking, but it’s still a wonderful short.

7/10

My Depression: The Up and Down and Up of It

So Sigourney Weaver narrates my life? They got everything right, down to red hair and 24h Law and Order marathons. This was cute and I will have the ‘Suicide Mobile’ song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

6/10

Nightwalk

Malgorzata Szumowska liked working with Raffey Cassidy on The Other Lamb so much she invited her to Warsaw to shoot this beautiful short? Michal Englert’s cinematography never disappoints.

9/10

One Angry Juror

This is based on a true story? I’ve been selected for jury duty and that’s my excuse for watching this random Lifetime jury duty movie starring Jessica Capshaw. Actually, that’s a lie. I miss Arizona, she should have never been written off Greys.

4/10

The Mirror

I just read that the second half of the film was all fiction just as much as the first. Apparently the first little actress they picked, quit in the middle of shooting, and Panahi, who was already considering this idea all along, decided to mimic it. Mind-blowing.

8/10

Strike

One of the most important films of Eisenstein, a director and film theorist known as Father of Montage. My favourite example of montage has to be when they introduce the undercover agents and show why they resemble their animal nicknames. Strongly against the drastic scenes of child and animal abuse. Everything else is perfect.

8/10

Vegas Vacation

They had me at Good Vibrations, but then the film turned out to be much worse than the other films from the series so this one is a no from me.

3/10