As the dark nights begin to draw in, it looks like David and I are aiming for a film watched per night, or so October’s count is suggesting! We don’t watch TV, so for entertainment we rely heavily on playing PlayStation games, watching films and endless streams on YouTube. Our go to channels are Harald Baldr and Simon Wilson, who both document their trips abroad. I think we are dreaming of holidays taken away from us by Covid restrictions!
Rocky 4 ✩✩✩✩
Rocky trains his friend Apollo Creed in a match against Drago, an indestructible Russian boxer. But when Apollo is killed in the ring during the match, Rocky vows to avenge his friend’s death.
I surprisingly enjoyed this offering from Sylvester Stallone. It had everything, comedy, friendship, love and loss and with a banging 80’s soundtrack, there’s not much to not like about this film.
The Social Network ✩✩✩
As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea, and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
I wouldn’t say this was a particularly exciting movie, but it’s worth a watch.
David, a businessman, passes by an old tanker truck in a dessert while travelling for a meeting. The driver of the truck is a psychopath who finds David’s overtaking offensive and decides to kill him.
This was Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut and surprisingly it wasn’t too bad, brings road rage to another new level!
The Thing ✩✩✩
A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.
Kurt Russell is the no-nonsense talking hero in this John Carpenter film. It’s not aged well but the tension is all there and the puppetry for the mutating alien is good for it’s time.
They Live ✩✩
A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.
Staying with the theme of John Carpenter films is They Live starring wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Pipper. A bit of a slow burn but not a bad watch.
Monsters Inc ✩✩✩✩
In Monstropolis, best friends Sulley and Mike are the top scarers working at the Monsters, Inc. However, their lives are hugely disrupted when a human girl enters their world.
I love this movie! It has the right amount of comedy, threat and emotion and Sully’s relationship with Boo is heart-warming. I definitely had a tear in my eye at the end.
Sam and Molly love each other, but their romance is short-lived when Sam is killed by a thug. Unable to tell Molly that her life is in danger, Sam’s spirit takes a psychic’s help in order to save her.
Another film that is bound to get the tears flowing. A brilliant thriller with an even better soundtrack.
An alien is left behind on Earth and is saved by young Elliot who decides to keep him hidden. While the task force hunts for it, Elliot and his siblings form an emotional bond with their new friend.
E.T. was the first movie I saw at the cinema. I remember going to see it with my dad. I was five and came home with a crush on Elliott (Henry Thomas) and a sticker book!
Toy Soldiers ✩✩✩
Terrorists, seeking the release of a South American drug baron, take schoolchildren as hostages. However, the captives fight back.
Before watching this film, I thought it was Small Soldiers of 1998 but this stars Sean Austin and is centered around a boys school overrun with terrorists. It was worth a watch.
Dog Soldiers ✩✩✩✩
During a routine training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with a special ops unit, instead find a bloody massacre with a sole survivor. The men are rescued by a zoologist who identifies what hunts them as werewolves. Without transport or communications, the group is forced to retreat to a farmhouse to wait for the full moon to disappear at dawn.
In my opinion, Dog Soldiers is one of the best werewolf films ever made. The cast are brilliant, and there’s enough mystery, threat and violence to keep you entertained. The make-up and werewolf design is on point.
The Birds ✩✩
Melanie, a rich socialite, follows Mitch, a lawyer, to his home in Bodega Bay to play a practical joke on him. Things take a bizarre turn when the birds in the area begin to attack the people there.
I think Hitchcock films are a product of its time, as I found The Birds, rather disappointing and boring. Yes, there is a lot of tension and build up in the first hour, but was I terrified? Not likely!
Josh and Renai move to a new house, seeking a fresh start. However, when their son, Dalton, mysteriously falls into a coma, paranormal events start occurring in the house.
I think Insidious is only scary on the first watch. by the second I wasn’t terrified at all and expected half of the thrills before they appeared. Still a decent scary movie though.
Dead End ✩✩✩
Christmas Eve. On his way to his in-laws with his family, Frank Harrington decides to try a shortcut, for the first time in 20 years. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life.
I thought this wasn’t a bad film. I sort of guessed the end but it didn’t detract from the shocks and laughs the drama on screen produced. I’d give it a watch just for the gore!
The Others ✩✩
Grace moves into a new house with her two photosensitive children in Jersey. When a series of inexplicable events occur, Grace starts believing that her house is haunted.
I found this movie rather pedestrian in its execution and the thrills and scary moments were few and far between. More psychological than a horror.
On New Year’s Eve, a giant wave crashes into Poseidon, a luxurious cruise liner, and flips it upside down. As the ship begins to sink, the passengers struggle to find a way to survive.
A film I’d seen before but enjoyed watching it a second time round. There were lots of action sequences and tension to keep me enthralled until the credits.
The Fog ✩✩✩✩
Folks get ready to celebrate the centenary of Antonio Bay. But, many had suffered due to crimes that founded this town. Now, they rise from the sea, under the cover of the fog, to claim retribution.
I never get tired of watching this spooky movie. One of John Carpenters’ better films. The story telling is at it’s finest. Though 40 years old, and looking a little dated, The Fog is one of the best ghost stories of all time!
Carry on Cleo ✩✩
After being trounced in Europe, Caesar dispatches Antony to forge an alliance with Ptolemy, who is squabbling with Cleopatra for the Egyptian throne, but the plan goes awry as Antony is captivated by Cleopatra’s asp, and together they plot Caesar’s downfall.
A watchable film but the jokes were very dated and I don’t think the youth of today would get it!
The Conjuring ✩✩✩
The Perron family moves into a farmhouse where they experience paranormal phenomena. They consult demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, to help them get rid of the evil entity haunting them.
I hadn’t watched this movie before. I enjoyed the storytelling and the thrills and liked the cast. Would recommend a watch.
The Witches of Eastwick ✩✩
Three single women in a village have their wishes granted at a cost, when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives, to satisfy all their desires. Will good triumph over evil?
Oh dear, this film was awful! I think giving it two stars was generous. I’m not a big fan of Jack Nicholson, his portrayal of Satan just made my skin crawl!
Hocus Pocus ✩✩✩
Three witches resurrect after 300 years to exact revenge and begin a reign of terror after Max, a young boy who moves to Salem with his family, lights a cursed Candle of Black Flame.
An all round fun, family movie. Almost 30 years old but it’s still as good now as it was back then.
Practical Magic ✩✩✩
After the death of their parents, Sally and Gillian Owens move in with their aunts, Jet and Frances. The two sisters have nothing in common except their hereditary gift for practical magic.
This film started off well, a family of witches with a curse on its men but by the end it had gone all soppy and romantic. Watchable.
The Witch ✩
In the New England of the 17th century, a banished Puritan family sets up a farm by the edge of a huge, remote forest, where no other family lives. But sinister forces then start haunting them.
I watched this when I wasn’t feeling well one day and David was busy working. I’m glad I didn’t subject David to this drivel. It is an account of how religious paranoia and hysteria can result in terrible events happening to a family in the 1600’s. I could see where the director was trying to go with this film it just fell short for me.
The Witches (2020) ✩✩
In late 1967, a young orphaned boy goes to live with his grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe — under cover — to carry out her nefarious plans.
Oh dear. Why did they have to do a remake of an already good film? I like Anne Hathaway but in this retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic The Witches, she was no Anjelica Huston. The film relied too much on CGI at the cost of the story. I wanted to like it but sadly couldn’t.
Escape From Alcatraz ✩✩✩
Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.
Clint Eastwood is his enigmatic self in this tense prison escape, based on a true story.
RL Stine, the author of ‘Goosebumps’, is shocked when demons from his books come to life and spread havoc in Delaware. He, along with his daughter and her friend, tries to get them back in the books.
A good family film with lots of comedy, thrills and action. I would recommend a watch if not seen before.
The Blob ✩✩
The Blob, a slimy substance made as a part of a chemical experiment during the Cold War, spreads havoc in the city of Arborville, California, and disfigures the people who come in contact with it.
Not the Steve McQueen version but a comical 1980’s remake. Best to watch for the cheesiness.
The Conjuring 2 ✩✩✩
Peggy, a single mother of four children, seeks the help of occult investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren when she and her children witness strange, paranormal events in their house.
A strong sequel and a good retelling of the Enfield poltergeist. One of my favourite scary movies. I am liking the direction these films are taking.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
September was another full-on month for movies, with a total of 22 films watched. We tried to have a mix of films we had seen before and ones we had not. Have you seen any of the below? If so, what were your thoughts?
A sequel to Train to Busan. A soldier and his team battle hordes of post-apocalyptic zombies in the wastelands of the Korean Peninsula.
Train to Busan is my favourite zombie movie. Though this sequel isn’t as good as the first film in the franchise, there’s enough zombie action to keep the viewer entertained.
The Philadelphia Experiment
The Philadelphia Experiment ✩✩
In 1943, a top-secret experiment aboard a Navy destroyer backfires and two sailors are propelled to 1984.
The fashion and special effects are very 1980’s in this not so exciting sci-fi adventure.
To save her ailing father from serving in the Imperial Army, a fearless young woman disguises herself as a man to battle northern invaders in China.
I’ve not seen the original Disney version of Mulan so can’t comment on the differences, but I really enjoyed this epic, live action production.
Silver Streak ✩
While on a cross-country train ride, overworked book editor George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) begins an unexpected romance with an enigmatic woman. His vacation is interrupted, however, when he witnesses a murder for which he is then accused.
I found this film tedious to say the least. David said it was good back in the day but it had not aged well.
Gangs of New York ✩✩✩
Amsterdam sets out to avenge the death of his father who was killed in a gang fight at the hands of a crime lord, Bill ‘The Butcher’. Whilst doing so, he gets caught up in the Civil War.
This film would have gained more stars but for the fact that I thought it could have been much shorter. There were no holds barred when it came to the brutality of some scenes.
Gangs of New York
Die Hard – With a Vengence
Die Hard: with a Vengeance ✩✩✩
John McClane must enlist the help of Zeus Carver, a local shop owner, to stop Simon, a former colonel from East Germany, from detonating bombs across New York.
A typical Bruce Willis action movie, full of explosions and unbelievable action sequences. An enjoyable watch.
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.
My favourite Matthew Broderick film! The story of the first all-black regiment in the American Civil War has themes that are as relevant today as they were back in 1863. James Horner’s score is simply beautiful.
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion ✩✩
Romy and Michele are best friends who weren’t very popular in school. This fact suddenly occurs to them when they are invited for their high school reunion which they attend with fake identities.
Not the best comedy but its message of just being yourself is something everyone should embrace.
La La Land ✩✩
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.
La La Land burst onto the scene in 2016 boasting awards and accolades galore, however on watching it for the first time I have to say I didn’t like it. If you like musicals then it’s a film for you.
La La Land
Conspiracy Theory ✩✩✩
Jerry Fletcher, a New York taxi driver who publishes conspiracy theories in a newsletter, suddenly falls in danger when one of his claims turn out to be true.
Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts star in this fast paced thriller, it was entertaining enough.
Frozen 2 – ✩✩
No matter how happy Elsa the Snow Queen is to be surrounded by the people of Arendelle, Elsa finds herself strangely unsettled. After hearing a mysterious voice call out to her, Elsa travels to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond her kingdom — an adventure that soon turns into a journey of self-discovery.
After the astronomical success of Frozen in 2013, there was undoubtedly going to be a sequel. In truth the second film is much weaker and I’d say not as entertaining.
The Terminal ✩✩✩✩
Viktor Navorski gets stranded at an airport when a war rages in his country. He is forced by the officials to stay at the airport until his original identity is confirmed.
When I first saw The Terminal in 2004 I didn’t warm to it very much, however on second viewing I appreciated the subtle nuances of Tom Hanks’ performance.
The Haunting ✩✩
Dr Marrow enlists Theo, Luke and Nell for a study of sleep disorders at the Hill House. As soon as the terrifying truth about the mansion is revealed, everyone is found fighting for their lives.
A disappointing scary movie, it started off well but went down hill half way through.
Catch Me if You Can
Catch Me If You Can ✩✩✩✩✩
Notorious con artist Frank Abagnale has duped people worth millions of dollars with his masterful art of deception. With his scams getting bolder, he is soon pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty.
Is this one of Spielberg’s finest films? I think so, and Tom Hanks and Leonardo diCaprio both churn out believable performances.
The Longest Yard ✩✩✩
Paul, a famous football player, lands up in jail and meets the warden, Rudolph, a football fan, who asks him to put a team together consisting of prison inmates to challenge the prison guards.
I’m not a fan of Adam Sandler films but this film is funny enough, a modern retelling of the 1974 original.
The Longest Yard
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo ✩✩✩✩
Dantes, a sailor is falsely accused of treason by his best friend Fernand, who wants Dantes’ girlfriend Mercedes for himself. Dantes is imprisoned on the island prison of Chateau d’If for 13 years.
Swash buckling adventure of love and revenge from France in the 1800’s. A great movie!
An entry-level employee at a powerful corporation finds himself occupying a corner office, but at a dangerous price: he must spy on his boss’s old mentor to secure for him a multi-billion dollar advantage.
There wasn’t much paranoia happening in this rather sedate thriller. I’d give it a miss if I was you!
The Interview with the Vampire
The Interview with a Vampire ✩✩✩✩
After the death of his wife and daughter, Spanish lord Louis is turned into a vampire by Lestat de Lioncourt. To keep Louis by his side, Lestat converts a plague-ridden girl.
I enjoyed this film much more than David did. An epic sweep through the centuries with vampires, what’s not to like?
With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100% of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.
David and I both liked this thriller, full of action with sci-fi elements. Would you take a pill that made you super-human?
Seventeen-year-old Rose hails from an aristocratic family and is set to be married. When she boards the Titanic, she meets Jack Dawson, an artist, and falls in love with him.
I’ve warmed to this film over the years. I love the message that one person can save another person’s life. Awesome cinematography, with a fantastic soundtrack to boot.
A mysterious man arrives at the offices of an FBI agent and recounts his childhood: how his religious fanatic father received visions telling him to destroy people who were in fact “demons.”
This was a rather uncomfortable film to watch. Bill Paxton is menacing as the dad who has visions from angels and sets on a path to kill demons. A good thriller.
Enola Holmes ✩✩
When Enola Holmes-Sherlock’s teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord.
I really, really wanted to enjoy this but sadly it was a little disappointing. Millie Bobby Brown was good as Enola but the rest of the cast fell flat for me. Watchable none the less.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
It’s been such a long time since I wrote a First Line Fridays, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words, on judging a book by its opening lines rather than its cover or author.
Joel, I’m so sorry. To see you again like that… Why did I get on the train? I should have waited for the next one. It wouldn’t have mattered. I missed my stop anyway, and we were late for the wedding.
Would you read on?
The lines are from the debut novel The Sight of You by Holly Miller. Joel is haunted by premonitions about the ones he loves.When Joel meets Callie it feels like a new start for them both, until Joel has a dream about Callie. The novel isn’t a laugh a minute, but I’m enjoying the narrative and wondering how it will end. It makes you question that if you knew when your life would end, would you live it differently?
Have you read this book? What were your impressions?
I have a confession to make, the first movie on this list of films watched in August, was actually watched on the last day of July! Oops! However the number of films seem to be increasing as the year progresses. Some 20 films were watched in August, a new record! If you have seen any of the below films, let me know what you thought of them.
The Old Guard ✩✩✩
A group of mercenaries, all centuries-old immortals with the ability to heal themselves, discover someone is onto their secret, and they must fight to protect their freedom.
I surprisingly enjoyed this graphic novel adaptation of immortal warriors fighting for good. I thought Charlize Theron was fantastic in her portrayal as Andy/Andromache. I look forward to the sequel.
The Old Guard
Happy Death Day 2U
Happy Death day 2U ✩✩✩
Tree Gelbman wakes up in horror to learn that she’s stuck in a parallel universe. Her boyfriend Carter is now with someone else, and her friends and fellow students seem to be completely different versions of themselves. When Tree discovers that Carter’s roommate has been altering time, she finds herself once again the target of a masked killer. When the psychopath starts to go after her inner circle, Tree soon realizes that she must die over and over again to save everyone.
I preferred this sequel to the original. I liked the fact that the groundhog day-esque film had a reason for why the loop was happening. Good fun!
Please Stand By ✩✩
Wendy sees things differently: she’s fiercely independent, with a brilliant mind and a mischievous sense of hilarity. Wendy also has autism. To her, people are an indecipherable code and the world is a confusing place. Inspired by her no-nonsense caregiver, Wendy comes of age and escapes from her care home on the road trip of a lifetime to deliver her 500-page script to a screenwriting competition.
One of those pull at the heartstrings kind of films. Dakota Fanning plays an autistic woman who travels by public transport to hand deliver her script for a competition. Quite enjoyable.
Please Stand By
Rob Anderson is all set to marry the girl of his dreams, but can’t quite get to the altar. He finds himself caught in a time loop, waking up naked in a hotel elevator over and over again.
Continuing with the groundhog day theme, an easy to watch comedy with some laugh out loud moments.
When David Ghanatt is convinced by his work crush, Kelly Campbell and her accomplices to join in a far-fetched plan to rob a bank vault, David soon throws everything on the line for love, money, and a life of excitement.
Another comedy supposedly based on true events. The moral to the story is beware of who you become friends with!
Tobias Ellis starts his shift as a co-pilot and everything seems normal, but things quickly take a turn when terrorists storm the cockpit of his Airbus A319, and hijack the plane.
I enjoyed this film more than David did. I felt empathy for the pilot and enjoyed the tension throughout.
The Majestic ✩✩✩
Peter Appleton, a scriptwriter suspected of being a communist, meets with an accident that makes him lose his memory and live with a different identity.
A case of mistaken identity ultimately helps a town heal from its losses after the Second World War, with Jim Carrey in a a more mature role.
Life of Crime
Life of Crime ✩✩
A corrupt real estate developer refuses to pay ransom to two amateur criminals for the release of his kidnapped wife. Confounded, they try to find different ways to deal with the unusual situation.
It pays to learn about your target before kidnapping them in this crime/comedy drama. It was a miss from me however.
Thanks for Sharing ✩
A recovering sex addict (Mark Ruffalo) tries not to fall off the wagon as he woos a new girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow) who feels the need to express her rampant sexuality.
Thought this was an awful film, I really couldn’t warm to any of the characters. I was glad when the end credits rolled.
Thanks for Sharing
A teacher chances upon an encrypted code in a time capsule that makes him believe he can alter the chain of events that are about to unfold.
I love this film! There is just enough mystery, threat and menace to keep you on the edge of your seat with a powerful ending. It could happen!
The Mist ✩✩✩✩
David and his son are trapped in a supermarket along with some other townsfolk, when suddenly a mist engulfs the entire city, bringing along bloodthirsty creatures that devour anyone in their path.
Felt like watching end of the world films hence Knowing and War of the Worlds! The Mist has a heartbreaking ending and the monsters are really good graphically for the age of the film. A good watch.
War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds ✩✩✩✩
Ray Ferrier, a dockworker, is ready to spend a weekend together with his children. However, an alien tripod descends on Earth threatening to wipe out humanity.
When I first watched this 2005 Tom Cruise film I didn’t really like it, but on second watching I’ve developed an appreciation of it. I still love the tripods though.
The Day the Earth Stood Still ✩✩✩✩
An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
This is the original 1951 version and was an enjoyable watch. It was a film of it’s time, during the Cold War, and had a peace not war message. A surprisingly good film.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Interstate 60 ✩✩✩
Neal Oliver, a young artist travelling on the mysterious highway 60, meets a half-leprechaun who grants him one wish, but has a wickedly funny way of fulfilling them literally.
A film David enjoyed more so than I did. Be careful what you wish for is the morale to this story and with a star studded cast I wanted to enjoy it more than I did.
The Invasion ✩✩
A psychiatrist finds out about an epidemic that changes human behaviour. She also discovers that her son might be the key to preventing this deadly epidemic.
We were looking at body snatcher films and saw this modern version from 2007 with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. It wasn’t a bad thriller.
A young magazine writer is made to believe that relationships and marriages hold no value. However, a chance meeting with a sports doctor forces her to rethink her principles.
I quite enjoyed these two comedy films by Amy Schumer. Trainwreck was a heartwarming romance whereas I Feel Pretty was a film empowering women of all shapes and sizes.
I Feel Pretty ✩✩✩
An ordinary woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis wakes from a fall believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence, she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?
I Feel Pretty
Deuce Bigalow ✩✩
Deuce Bigalow, an aquarium cleaner, is forced to become a male prostitute in order to repay the man whose house he wrecks while he is babysitting his pet fish.
I think I laughed more at the trailer than the actual film! Silly fun with Rob Schneider.
The War With Grandpa ✩✩✩
Peter and his grandpa used to be very close, but when Grandpa Jack moves in with the family, Peter is forced to give up his most prized possession: his bedroom. Peter will stop at nothing to get his room back, scheming with friends to devise a series of pranks to drive him out. However, grandpa doesn’t give up easily, and it turns into an all-out war between the two.
Another comedy from Robert De Niro and one I enjoyed. The rivalry between grandpa and grandson had hilarious consequences. A good watch for all the family.
The War With Grandpa
Three snowboarders are stranded on a chairlift while riding up Mount Holliston. When the night lights suddenly go off, they either need to find their way down or freeze to death.
Not the Disney Frozen but a 2010 release where three skiers get stranded on a chairlift and a life or death fight ensues. Watchable.
Visionary inventor Nikola Tesla fights an uphill battle to bring his revolutionary electrical system to fruition, then faces thornier challenges with his new system for worldwide wireless energy.
A hero of mine really deserves a better film than this, however Ethan Hawke didn’t do too bad a job portraying the Croatian visionary. David was disappointed at the lack of pigeons!
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
The list of films watched in July has equaled June’s tally of 16 films! Though its certainly been a mixed bag of movies! Let me know if you have watched any good films recently?
A black-market mercenary who has nothing to lose is hired to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible.
This wasn’t a bad film. Lots of action and suspense. I partcularily liked the on screen relationship between Chris Hemsworth and young actor Rudhraksh Jaiswal who plays the boy Hemsworth is fighting to save.
Advent Children ✩✩
An ex-mercenary is forced out of isolation when three mysterious men kidnap and brainwash the city’s children afflicted with the Geostigma disease.
I only really wanted to watch this again due to recently playing the PlayStation game, Final Fantasy VII Remake. It was nice to see the beloved characters fighting the bad guys (again), but there wasn’t much of a story.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ernest Krause is assigned to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during World War II. His convoy, however, is pursued by German U-boats. Although this is Krause’s first wartime mission, he finds himself embroiled in what would come to be known as the longest, largest and most complex naval battle in history: The Battle of the Atlantic.
If you like your World War Two films, then you will like Greyhound, with its moments of tension and threat. It is quite amazing how anything got through the North Atlantic with German U-boats on the prowl.
The Wrong Missy
The Wrong Missy ✩✩✩
Disaster strikes when a man invites his dream girl to an island resort — but a previous blind date shows up instead.
I laughed at this film more than I expected. A comedy with no pretensions. Lauren Lapkus was hilarious as the bat-crazy Missy!
A quick-tempered cop who’s recovering from eye surgery recruits a mild-mannered Uber driver to help him catch the heroin dealer who murdered his partner. The mismatched pair soon find themselves in for a wild day of stakeouts and shootouts as they pursue violent criminals through the seedy streets of Los Angeles.
Another comedy I enjoyed, more silly fun to switch off too.
Roald Amundsen was the first researcher to reach both the North and South Poles. The British explorer Robert Scott was hot on his heels on the trip to the South Pole 1910-1911. The discoverers were in a bitter competition with each other. Amundsen’s expeditions were largely organised and financed by his brother Leon. However, there was constant conflict and conflict between the two.
I wished this film had been better than it was. Amundsen sure was a man who continued to explore until his death. Inspiring story but a rather lackluster way of telling it.
National Treasure ✩✩✩
Benjamin Franklin Gates seeks a war chest hidden by the Founding Fathers during the Revolutionary War. He must find it before his competitor does and also avoid getting arrested by the FBI.
One of Nicolas Cage’s better films, full of action and adventure. Another movie to switch off to at the end of the day.
National Treasure 2
National Treasure 2 ✩✩✩
Ben finds that his ancestor was implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, a president of the USA. Through the help of a clue in a diary, he ventures out to clear the name of his ancestor.
Perhaps not as good as the first movie in the franchise, but an enjoyable romp as Cage follows a trail to the legendary City of Gold.
A Street Cat Named Bob ✩✩✩
A stray ginger cat changes the life of James Bowen (Luke Treadaway), a homeless London street musician and recovering drug addict.
Knowing that poor Bob had recently passed away, I thought that we’d give the film based on his origin a watch. I really enjoyed the portrayal of struggling man meets cat whose presence actually helps save his life. A heart-warming tale of redemption and how animals can offer solace in the darkest of times.
A Street Cat Named Bob
Fight Club ✩✩✩
Discontented with his capitalistic lifestyle, a white-collared insomniac forms an underground fight club with Tyler, a careless soap salesman. The project soon spirals down into something sinister.
I’d seen many references to Fight Club in popular culture but never actually watched it. Rather bizarre in parts, I think it was a well made foray into the instability of mental health.
A hotel staff risks everything to keep its patrons safe during a terror attack, especially a British heiress, her husband and her infant.
I really enjoyed this film! It was full of edge of the seat tension and being based on true events made it all that more poignant.
Old Dogs ✩✩
Two best friends and business partners on the brink of finalising a huge deal are forced to take care of seven-year-old twins and get into a series of misadventures.
Not the best film of either Robin Williams or John Travolta. It tries too hard to be funny when its not!
After serving a ten-year sentence, Driver sets out to avenge his brother’s murder while being pursued by a police officer and an assassin.
A rather forgettable film by Dwayne Johnson. That memorable neither David nor I could remember the plot.
Night at the Museum
Night at the museum ✩✩✩
Larry, a night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, gets some help from the exhibits who come alive at night to foil a robbery attempt of a magic tablet and proves that he is not a loser.
A staple family feel-good movie, always good no matter how many times you watch it.
Rusty Griswold plans a cross-country road trip with his wife and two sons in a bid to revive the lost ties between them. However, their trip turns into a series of mishaps for the family.
A sequel to the National Lampoon films, and if you like the humour of the first films then you’ll enjoy Vacation. David really enjoyed this film, more so than I did.
Corporate Animals ✩
An egotistical megalomaniac CEO leads her staff on a corporate team-building trip that involves a weekend of caving in New Mexico. When they become trapped underground after a cave-in, the group must pull together to survive.
Another comedy that tries too hard to be funny and ends up being the antithesis. Sadly a waste of an hour and a half.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
I can’t believe that David and I have watched 16 films in June! That’s a record in this A Year in Film series! Perhaps not having Final Fantasy VII Remake to play has impacted on the number of films watched? I have completed the game platinum style and now eagerly awaiting when the next installment will be, (I won’t hold my breath). I have to say when I finished the game I was a little sad as it was only a fraction of the original story. Though David has been playing his GTA5, we’ve still had many evenings free, hence the high film count, however some films were better than others.
What films have you seen this month?
The crew of a spacecraft, Nostromo, intercept a distress signal from a planet and set out to investigate it. However, to their horror, they are attacked by an alien which later invades their ship.
As a creature of horror, the alien is my all time favourite design, facehuggers included. Though made in 1979 the claustrophobic tension on the Nostromo, of its crew awaiting the appearance of a certain alien, makes this film just as watchable today as it was when it was released. Somehow I had only seen clips of this movie. There are many parallels with this film and the more recent offering of Prometheus which is a prequel to the Alien films.
Ellen Ripley is sent back to the planet LV-426 to establish contact with a terraforming colony. Once there, she encounters the Alien Queen and her offspring and has to fight them to survive.
A much more shoot ’em up, action film in relation to its predecessor, Alien. However at two and a half hours long, it felt never ending. A decent venture into the realm of the alien though.
Dawn of the Dead ✩✩✩
Survivors of an epidemic which causes the infected to turn into flesh-eating zombies take refuge in a shopping mall. In addition to battling the undead, they also have to tackle problems from within.
One of the better zombie films made, and one that can be watched time and time again. I’d recommend a watch if you like gore.
Dawn of the Dead
Riggan Thomson, a fading cinema superhero, plans to resurrect his career with a passionate Broadway production. However, during rehearsals, his co-star is injured forcing him to hire a new actor.
I’d heard this film being talked about during awards season but hadn’t got round to watching it until now. The film is presented in a continuous shot and is done relatively well. The cast, starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton are the best things about the movie!
Troy, an African-American man who once longed to be a baseball player, misses the opportunity due to racism. A dejected man, he takes out his frustration on his loved ones and ruins his son’s future.
I had an adverse reaction to Denzel Washington’s character in this film. Yes, the man was disillusioned with life but I found it heinous that he scuppered the future of his son and then expected his wife to clean up after his misdemeanors. Wasn’t my favourite film of Washington.
Train to Busan
Train to Busan ✩✩✩✩
Seok-woo and his daughter are on a train to Busan on the latter’s birthday to see his wife. However, the journey turns into a nightmare when they are trapped amidst a zombie outbreak in South Korea.
I love this film! It’s one of the best zombie, apocalypse films I’ve seen. Even seeing it a few times, it never gets tired. What is your favourite zombie film?
When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.
I’d had this film recommended to me by a few people. So one afternoon when David was working from home and I was at a loss at what to do I decided to settle down and watch it. I was slightly disappointed with the film. Though there was tension laced throughout the two hours, I wasn’t freaked out or surprised by the ending.
Have you been disappointed in a film you hoped had been better?
White Noise ✩✩
An architect’s desire to speak with his wife from beyond the grave becomes an obsession with supernatural repercussions.
This 2005 supernatural film tries to be scary but has very few scares. Not one of the better scary movies made.
What’s your favouite scary movie?
In Time ✩✩✩
In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage – a connection that becomes an important part of the war against the system.
I remember watching this film when it came out in 2011. It shows a rather bleak world of the haves and have nots, with peoples’ time being currency and Timberlake’s character trying to upturn the establishment.
The men Who Stare at Goats
The Men Who Stare at Goats ✩✩✩
After his wife leaves him, Bob, a newspaper reporter, sets off to Kuwait to cover the ongoing war. He gets more than he bargains for when he meets Lyn Cassady, an ex-U.S. Army Special Forces operator.
A rather strange satire with Ewan McGreggor and George Clooney about the US military’s branching out into psychic abilities and the paranormal. I rather hoped it was a better film than it was.
Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family set out on a road trip to the Colorado Rockies. He decides to rent an RV for the vacation but things do not go as planned.
Stuck for something to watch, David clicked on this Robin Williams film from 2006. It was watchable but not of the usual calibre from Williams.
The Interview ✩✩
Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapaport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight”. When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.
David follows an airline pilot on YouTube and this was a recommendation from him, thanks Kelsey!! The film stars Seth Rogan and James Franco and follows their OTT satire on US and North Korean politics.
The Contract ✩✩
A father and his son attempt to bring in an assassin to the authorities, but his dangerous associates have other plans.
Something different from Morgan Freeman who is a baddie in this film, however his onscreen presence doesn’t help with it’s rather pedestrian pace.
Creepshow 2 ✩
Based on the EC comics of the 1950s, George A.Romero and Stephen King bring 3 tales of terror to the screen.
Oh dear! David just can’t get past the 1980’s when it comes to films. It may have been good for the day but in 2020 it was piss poor!
A story of the scientific and romantic passions of Marie Sklodowska-Curie (Polish scientist) and Pierre Curie, and the reverberation of their discoveries throughout the 20th century.
I really enjoyed this film on Marie and Pierre Curie’s discovery of radioactive elements Radium and Polonium and of their impact for good or bad on human history.
Hot Air ✩✩✩
The life of the conservative radio host Lionel Macomb is completely turned upside down when his 16-year-old niece Tess suddenly shows up. The teenager questions everything he stands for and what he believes in.
Steve Coogan is an American radio chat show host with strong beliefs but when his niece shows up unexpectedly, it makes him question his life. It wasn’t a bad watch.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
How can we be at the end of May! Where has the time gone? I know for many that this pandemic has been a stressful period but I feel in some ways it has brought people together, maybe not physically but electronically definitely. In the past few weeks I have shared in family Facebook quiz nights when in ‘normal’ times we would hardly see each other from one week to the next. One positive that has come from this lock-down is that my road now has a Whats-App group where neighbours, I never knew I had, can join in social distance events such as street bingo and leaving favourite recipes in house windows. I for one feel more connected than ever before. How are you coping? Let me know in the comments box below.
In May David and I watched a grand total of eight films together, some rather more miss than hit. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my reviews.
A young Philadelphia lawyer who is infected with AIDS keeps his homosexuality hidden from his employers. When he is suddenly dismissed, he hires a homophobic lawyer for a wrongful dismissal suit.
This 1993 film really shows its age, starring a very youthful Tom Hanks in his first Academy Award performance. Watching in 2020 I wouldn’t say the film was riveting and David wasn’t too impressed but it is definitely a film from its decade. Worth a watch.
The Best of Enemies
The Best of Enemies ✩✩✩
Civil rights activist Ann Atwater and local Ku Klux Klan leader, CP Ellis, who regard each other as enemies, co-chair a meeting to discuss racial desegregation of schools.
I quite enjoyed this film starring Taraji P Henson (who was great in Hidden Figures) and Sam Rockwell. Based on a true event, a Ku Klux Klan leader and civil rights activist find there is more similarities between themselves than differences.
Sonic the Hedgehog ✩✩
The world needed a hero — it got a hedgehog. Powered with incredible speed, Sonic embraces his new home on Earth — until he accidentally knocks out the power grid, sparking the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik. Now, it’s super villain vs. supersonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using Sonic’s unique power to achieve world domination.
We finally succumbed and watched Sonic. I remember playing the game in the 90’s. This film, though not as good as the original game was watchable. I think one for the children! Looks like a sequel with Tails is on the cards!
Sonic the Hedgehog
A patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy their lives.
I like most things with Simon Pegg in, though he should keep away from writing Star Trek films! This recently released thriller wasn’t bad. I enjoyed the twists and turns of this dark mystery. I’ve read reviews and not many people enjoyed it, but I thought it was worth a watch.
The Goldfinch ✩✩
Theodore Decker was 13 years old when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, and even love. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day — a painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch.
You all know I couldn’t even finish reading Donna Tartt’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, The Goldfinch, but imagine my surprise when I managed to sit through two plus hours of the film! Knowing a bit of the story helped, however the film is just as plodding as the novel. The only highlight was Finn Wolfhard’s performance as young Boris.
The Island ✩✩✩
Lincoln Six Echo is just like everyone else who waits to go to the island. But he soon discovers that his existence is a lie and everybody including the other inhabitants are human clones.
This 2005 release was a film I remember seeing though somehow I had mixed up the character names and only remembered certain scenes. The music by Steve Jablonsky is one of the highlights of this film for me.
Hoping to find the perfect place to live, a couple travel to a suburban neighbourhood in which all the houses look identical. But when they try to leave the labyrinth-like development, each road mysteriously takes them back to where they started.
I don’t know whether I enjoyed this unsettling thriller or not. Both Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots portray convincingly a young couple trapped in a strange housing estate taking care of a ‘cuckoo’ child given to them by their captors. Who these captors were was never realised. However there were more questions than answers. On reading further it seems the film was a commentary of suburbia and post natal depression. Who knew!
Escape from Pretoria
Escape from Pretoria ✩✩
Based on the real-life prison break. Two white South Africans, imprisoned for working on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC), determine to escape from the notorious white man’s `Robben Island’, Pretoria Prison.
Daniel Radcliffe plays a convincing South African in this real life prison escape. Set during the apartheid in South Africa, Radcliffe plays Tim Jenkin a political activist supporting the ANC who is imprisoned for distributing leaflets. The film is full of tense moments and you do care about the fate of the cast, it just fell a little flat for me.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
Well, it’s been a whole month of David working from home and myself not knowing whether I will be Furloughed or not. In a strange way I have enjoyed my time off work. I take Riley out every day on my Boris walk and check up on my mum and brother, who live next door and also some of my more vulnerable neighbours. In a stroke of luck, a new game for the PlayStation® was released which has occupied my afternoons. It’s been a long time since I was a gamer but the release of Final Fantasy VII: Remake has made being at home that much more bearable. Whilst playing the game and heavily reminiscing on the 1997 original release there has been little time to watch films, so below is a mixed bag of films watched in April.
The Two Towers ✩✩✩✩✩
While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron’s new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.
Before the arrival of my copy of Final Fantasy VII: Remake, I spent my Covid-19 afternoons either reading whilst sunbathing (April was a very sunny and dry month), or watching my extended versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Mo’ Money ✩✩
A con artist manages to find a job in a credit card company and falls in love with one of the employees. However, he soon finds himself drawn into a world of crime.
David chose this film as he remembered it being good in the day. Being from 1992 it really has aged and wasn’t that funny to be honest.
The Return of the King ✩✩✩✩✩
Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.
The finale of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, where good overthrows evil and friends are reunited. It is a film that always gets me crying at the end.
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Brahms: The Boy 2
Brahms: The Boy 2 ✩✩✩
When a young family moves to the Heelshire’s residence, terror strikes when a boy from the family discovers a doll called Brahms that appears to be eerily human.
I really enjoyed this sequel to the 2016 film, there was a lot of suspense and the manikin of Brahms is unsettling!
My Spy ✩✩✩
Nine-year-old Sophie catches JJ, a hardened CIA operative, spying on her family during a routine surveillance operation. In exchange for not blowing his cover, JJ begrudgingly agrees to show Sophie how to become a spy. What at first seems like an easy task soon turns into a battle of wits as Sophie proves you don’t need much experience to outsmart a seasoned agent.
I didn’t think I would enjoy this film as much as I did. A good family film with lots of jokes and action.
Like a Boss
Like a Boss ✩
Best friends Mia and Mel run their own cosmetics company — But they’re also in over their heads financially, and the prospect of a buyout offer from an industry titan proves too tempting to pass up. The beauty business is now about to get ugly as the proposal puts Mia and Mel’s lifelong friendship to the ultimate test.
Oh dear. I was looking forward to seeing this film but from the beginning it was appalling. It wasn’t very funny!
The Help ✩✩✩✩
Skeeter, an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Looking for a feel good film to cheer us up from all the depressing news around, I picked this title from 2011. With an all woman cast and great story, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
Detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of a demonic serial killer, Edgar Reese. However, the killings resume and are very similar to the style of Reese.
David chose this supernatural thriller from 1998 unfortunately I fell asleep for the majority of the film and woke up at the end. Oops!
The Current War ✩✩
Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse — engage in a battle of technology and ideas that will determine whose electrical system will power the new century. Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, sees fatal flaws in Edison’s direct current design. Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current.
Another film I was looking forward to watching but was left feeling disappointed. Nikola Tesla is a hero for both David and myself and we were hoping for more of him in this film but it was mainly from the view point of an arrogant Edison and an impotent Westinghouse.
The Current War
A group of women hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London.
Surprisingly a film I wanted to watch and actually enjoyed, with an all star cast and set during the second wave of feminism. It was a few hours well spent.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
The year 2020 is going very well, is it? After stormy February we now have pandemic March. I’ve been grounded since the 24th and my mental health is in a state of flux. It’s been a mixed bag of films watched this month also!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters ✩
The members of Monarch, an crypto-zoological organisation, must rely on Godzilla and Mothra to defeat King Ghidorah and Rodan, after the former awakens other dormant Titans to destroy the world.
Oh dear, I don’t even know why we watched this film as I’m not a fan of computer monsters fighting. I quickly got bored watching fight after fight. Have you ever watched a film that bored you?
I am Legend
I am Legend ✩✩✩✩
Robert Neville, a scientist, is the last human survivor of a plague in the whole of New York. He attempts to find a way to reverse the effects of the man-made virus by using his own immune blood.
With all this talk of pandemics interfering with life as we know it, the first title that popped into my head to be re-watched during this stressful time was, I am Legend. Its a scary movie about a cure for cancer which has lasting after effects on those cured. The scenes of empty New York streets foreshadow our now quiet roads.
The Night Listener ✩✩
Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams), a writer and host of a late-night radio show, begins a phone correspondence with Pete (Rory Culkin) a teen who claims to have survived a nightmarish childhood. Though he becomes close to the youth and his mother (Toni Collette), Gabriel must begin a harrowing search for the truth when questions about Pete’s real identity begin to surface.
Searching for something to watch one night we stumbled upon this 2006 film by Robin Williams. A more straight role for Williams but it wasn’t his best.
The Night Listener
The death of Beth Emhoff and her son leads to the discovery of a deadly virus. While the US Centers for Disease Control struggles to curb its spread, a worldwide panic ensues.
With all the rising tension surrounding Covid-19 we just had to watch Contagion a film from 2011. Pretty scary times we are living in!
12 Monkeys ✩✩
James Cole, a convict, decides to volunteer for a mission, wherein he has to travel back in time to learn about the main reason behind the outbreak of a virulent holocaust.
I see a theme developing with the type of films watched this month! I really wanted to like this film, but in the end I just couldn’t. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like Terry Gilliam films!
The Grudge (2020) ✩✩
A detective investigates a murder that has a connection to a case that her new partner handled in the past. The killings occurred in a haunted house that passes on a ghostly curse to those who dare enter it. Soon, the curse spreads to a terminally ill woman and her husband, and another unsuspecting couple who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
David doesn’t like scary movies so I watched this one on my own. I like The Grudge 2 so was hoping this would be good. It had a good premise but the end was a bit disappointing. I wonder if anyone can ever defeat The Grudge?
The Invisible Man ✩✩✩✩
After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fight back.
I really enjoyed this edge of the seat film. Elizabeth Moss was good as the ex-girlfriend being stalked by the Invisible Man! There were some genuine stomach churning moments and a truly satisfying ending!
Two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, go on an journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him.
Onward was such a lovely film. I knew I would have a tear in the eye come the end but I thoroughly enjoyed this animated film. The voice actors were fantastic and there were some laugh at loud moments. I’d definitely recommend a watch!
The Fellowship of the Ring ✩✩✩✩✩
A hobbit, Frodo, who has found the One Ring that belongs to the Dark Lord Sauron, begins his journey with eight companions to Mount Doom, the only place where it can be destroyed.
Since David is working from home and I am grounded, there’s been nothing for it but to dig out my old extended DVD’s of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This extra long fantasy is perfect for sick and pandemic days.
Fellowship of the Ring
Disaster strikes more than six miles below the ocean surface when water crashes through the walls of a drilling station. Led by their captain, the survivors realize that their only hope is to walk across the sea floor to reach the main part of the facility. But they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when they come under attack from mysterious and deadly creatures that no one has ever seen.
Oh dear, this film was appalling, we probably should have read reviews before hand. The premise sounded good, similar to alien (1979) but under water, however the final cut was lackluster and forgettable.
Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.
I was in the mood for a comedy and thought this was going to bring some chuckles, in the end it was lifeless and had no touch of comedy at all. Best to avoid this film!
Bad Boys for Life
Bad Boys for Life ✩✩✩
The wife and son of a Mexican drug lord embark on a vengeful quest to kill all those involved in his trial and imprisonment — including Miami Detective Mike Lowrey. When Mike gets wounded, he teams up with partner Marcus Burnett and AMMO — a special tactical squad — to bring the culprits to justice.
We weren’t having much luck with our film choices, and I was worried Bad Boys would be the same but it was an ok watch. There were some jokes, lots of action and an abundance of car chases. If you like action films, you’d enjoy this too.
How are you coping with this quarantine? Are you a key worker? Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?