Lucy (2014) - Film directed and written by Luc Besson
★★★☆☆
5 word summary:
Female limitless with more violence.
5 sentence review:

I can’t say this was a good film, and certainly not to the standard I would hope from Besson, but it did make you think and you could see that there was an attempt to make a more intelligent film than the normal action, unfortunately Christopher Nolan already accomplished this with Inception.

Some people have called this film feminist because of the ‘strong female character’ but it isn’t really because he cast one of the most beautiful and famous actresses (hardly a risk there) and she was only ‘strong’ because of circumstances beyond her control, so it’s just a normal film.

The plot was interesting, as said in the summary very similar to Limitless, but I felt as though it became absurd because Lucy developed psychic powers which she could use perfectly immediately, as this film is based within a 24-48(ish) hour time period, and I felt as though we should see more development than just, ‘Boom! I know what to do.’

The ending of the film was odd, and Lucy says, ‘Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what you can do with it,’ and I’ve got to be honest, I really don’t; the ending was far too ambiguous and, although my Dad and I discussed the film all the way home, we still didn’t reach anywhere near a conclusion to what the film was trying to tell us. 

This film is worth a watch because it’s difficult to fully explain, and it’s great to discuss, but you do leave the cinema thinking ‘eh?’ rather than ‘oohhh!’ (Articulate as always).
5 good things:
1. Not set in America (although filled with Americans)
2. A lot of other languages other than English spoken and nationalities other than American cast.
3. It was short.
4. Unadulterated violence!
5. Dinosaur!

5 bad thing:
1. What was the message?
2. The kiss.
3. Some clichéd decisions in acting/directing (such as the glasses lowered to glare at the dog moment).
4. Less sci-fi, more magic.
5. I would have preferred the whole film to be like the time travel scene.

Lucy (2014) - Film directed and written by Luc Besson

★★★

5 word summary:

Female limitless with more violence.

5 sentence review:

I can’t say this was a good film, and certainly not to the standard I would hope from Besson, but it did make you think and you could see that there was an attempt to make a more intelligent film than the normal action, unfortunately Christopher Nolan already accomplished this with Inception.
Some people have called this film feminist because of the ‘strong female character’ but it isn’t really because he cast one of the most beautiful and famous actresses (hardly a risk there) and she was only ‘strong’ because of circumstances beyond her control, so it’s just a normal film.
The plot was interesting, as said in the summary very similar to Limitless, but I felt as though it became absurd because Lucy developed psychic powers which she could use perfectly immediately, as this film is based within a 24-48(ish) hour time period, and I felt as though we should see more development than just, ‘Boom! I know what to do.’
The ending of the film was odd, and Lucy says, ‘Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what you can do with it,’ and I’ve got to be honest, I really don’t; the ending was far too ambiguous and, although my Dad and I discussed the film all the way home, we still didn’t reach anywhere near a conclusion to what the film was trying to tell us. 
This film is worth a watch because it’s difficult to fully explain, and it’s great to discuss, but you do leave the cinema thinking ‘eh?’ rather than ‘oohhh!’ (Articulate as always).

5 good things:

1. Not set in America (although filled with Americans)

2. A lot of other languages other than English spoken and nationalities other than American cast.

3. It was short.

4. Unadulterated violence!

5. Dinosaur!

5 bad thing:

1. What was the message?

2. The kiss.

3. Some clichéd decisions in acting/directing (such as the glasses lowered to glare at the dog moment).

4. Less sci-fi, more magic.

5. I would have preferred the whole film to be like the time travel scene.


Doctor Who - Series 8, Episode 1: ‘Deep Breath’ (2014)
★★★☆☆
5 word summary:
Good start but not great.
5 sentence review:
I wasn’t too excited for this episode, not because of the change of Doctor, but because I felt as though this was going to be too try-hard for the first episode to impress, and it was over-done but still enjoyable.

This episode contained a lot of familiar faces, phrases, even plots and for me that isn’t clever and referential but instead, lazy.

The new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, is great but that was quite expected because he’s a talented actor and a fan of Doctor Who so his acting comes from a place of immense experience and passion.

The plot was a little bit flimsy, robots occasionally killing people to rebuild themselves doesn’t seem like the biggest problem the Doctor has ever faced and certainly not one that requires 5 people to team up to solve.

It certainly wasn’t a spectacular opening to the series but there were some major positive points and hopefully the momentum will build into a wonderful series. 5 good things:
1. Love a dinosaur.
2.  Capaldi seems like a good choice.
3.  Capaldi’s outfit is wonderful.
4.  This Doctor and Clara work well together (I especially liked their conversation in the restaurant)
5. Matt!
5 bad thing:
1.  Not so much continuity as just repeating fan favourites because he wants to make the fans happy.
2.  I’m a bit bored of the slapstick sontaran and interspecies lesbians, give them a spin-off so I don’t need to see them in the show so often.
3.  The newer version of the theme song.
4. The ending was enigmatic, s that necessary right at the beginning? Give us a little time to adjust and not have to wonder.
5. Did they have to kill the dinosaur?

Doctor Who - Series 8, Episode 1: ‘Deep Breath’ (2014)

★★★

5 word summary:

Good start but not great.

5 sentence review:

I wasn’t too excited for this episode, not because of the change of Doctor, but because I felt as though this was going to be too try-hard for the first episode to impress, and it was over-done but still enjoyable.
This episode contained a lot of familiar faces, phrases, even plots and for me that isn’t clever and referential but instead, lazy.
The new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, is great but that was quite expected because he’s a talented actor and a fan of Doctor Who so his acting comes from a place of immense experience and passion.
The plot was a little bit flimsy, robots occasionally killing people to rebuild themselves doesn’t seem like the biggest problem the Doctor has ever faced and certainly not one that requires 5 people to team up to solve.
It certainly wasn’t a spectacular opening to the series but there were some major positive points and hopefully the momentum will build into a wonderful series.

5 good things:

1. Love a dinosaur.

2.  Capaldi seems like a good choice.

3.  Capaldi’s outfit is wonderful.

4.  This Doctor and Clara work well together (I especially liked their conversation in the restaurant)

5. Matt!

5 bad thing:

1.  Not so much continuity as just repeating fan favourites because he wants to make the fans happy.

2.  I’m a bit bored of the slapstick sontaran and interspecies lesbians, give them a spin-off so I don’t need to see them in the show so often.

3.  The newer version of the theme song.

4. The ending was enigmatic, s that necessary right at the beginning? Give us a little time to adjust and not have to wonder.

5. Did they have to kill the dinosaur?

Top 5 Movies of 1990-1994

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1. Schindler’s List (1993)

Heartbreaking films aren’t normally my favourites but this is magnificent. The director, actors, writers are all amazing so it would be difficult for this film to not be amazing. The Holocaust/Nazi topic is quite overdone and can often be clichéd/forced but this film offers a slightly different perspective (because it is not a Jewish or Nazi story but about a man who lies between the two) and is genuinely emotional. It’s also a beautiful film, almost entirely black and white, that is immensely affective and the cinematography aids the story. A film to beat all films.

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2. The Lion King (1994)

Hamlet with lions, I don’t know how this was pitched but I’m glad Disney decided they could work with this crazy idea. Indisputably one of Disney’s best films and I would consider it to have the best sequel as well (which if you haven’t seen please watch). It’s got music, happiness, sadness, betrayal, a monkey; it’s got everything you need for a great animation and film. Everyone knows this film and  have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love it. It’s a classic and deservedly so.

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3. Leon: The Professional (1994)

I only recently watched this film and was shocked by how amazing it was. It’s another film with fantastic acting (Natalie Portman…wow!) and direction so it has a solid base before the film has even begun. It’s a dark film with a lot of dark humour (the best  kind of humour) which relates an enjoyably balanced film. This is probably the one film I would have adored a sequel, but I’m pleased there wasn’t one because I’m sure it would have fallen to the curse of the disappointing sequels. It’s a great introduction into French films because it’s written, directing and staring French men, however it’s all in English, lovely.

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4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A bit of an odd one but a very very good one. It’s creepy and strange but thoroughly enjoyable. Amazingly stylised, (throughout the whole film I am fixated with the way Jack walks) made with figurines on tiny sets, that idea pleases me. One of the best things about this film is you are all but legally obliged to watch it at both Halloween and Christmas, so you’re guaranteed at least 2 yearly viewings. Weird and wonderful.

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5. The Shawshank Redemption

I recently read the book and I am shocked at how similar the two are, this is one of the most truthful adaptations I’ve seen. It enforces the simple moral of perseverance within more complex and delightful sub-plots and stories. Throughout there are morals about various facets of live, such as the importance of simple pleasures, and this is done in such a way that the film never feels preachy. This film is ridiculously highly regarded n the internet (number 1 on IMDb) but rarely considered many people’s actual favourite (as today) but it certainly is worthy of its praise, if not quite such high praise. Hopefully everyone has seen Shawshank and I would recommend the book if you haven’t taken a look at that yet.

Top 5 Movies of 1995-1999

1. Toy Story (1995)

For a girl who still loves her teddy bear, this film is eternally magical to me. Such as simple premise based on a thought that every child has, about their toys coming to life when they’re not around, it is difficult to believe this film would be the phenomenon it is. Toy Story is quintessentially Pixar due to its heart, comedy, creativity and celebration of childhood. I hope every parent is, at some point, sitting their child down and watching Toy Story with them because every child needs this film in their life. It’s happy and heart-felt and perfect.

2. Anastasia (1997)

The greatest Princess who sadly wasn’t immortalised by Disney, and I wish she had been because I would love some Anastasia merchandise and rides in Disneyland. I always forget that she was actually complicit in a con before accidentally discovering her own authenticity, so you can’t say any of these characters are role models, but they are loveable. This film can also boast about having, what I consider, one of the greatest song with Once Upon a December, it’s so hauntingly beautiful and a bit of a change for a children’s film. I like a film with a non-talking animal side-kick (Pooka the dog) but also a talking animal which is explained by magic (Bartok) because it adds a little of realism but also emphasises the magic of the film. It’s another film that all children need to see because it teaches you how to be plucky, confident and that maybe (just maybe) you could be royalty.  

3. Truman Show (1998)

The only live action film that made this list! It’s a cautionary tale for the TV obsessed masses and for those who just keep going through the day-to-day motions rather than ‘living’. Although I’m not entirely behind these messages (and I’m not normally a Jim Carrey fan) I do love this film. Carrey’s much subtler than normal performance as Truman shows what a good actor he really is. You’ll look at the moon a little differently after seeing this film.

4. Mulan (1998)

Possibly the most marvellously feminist Disney film with a warrior woman who is better than the men, lovely. One truely spectacular thing about Mulan is that she isn’t a typical ‘strong female character’, she isn’t overly cocky and self-assured (which seems to be the more common form floating around) but instead is unsure of everything expect her desire to help her family and therefore she has to work for her success, (again) lovely! Mulan is a role model because she shows that you can defy expectation (from your parents’ to strangers’) and if you work hard you can achieve anything, which a lot of ‘strong female characters’ don’t necessarily show, because they often show a woman who is naturally dominant rather than one who must improve and try. Other than being feminist, this film is beautiful, from the animation to the soundtrack, and balances funny and heart-felt with the skill of the best Pixar films (helped by great actors like Eddie Murphy). I’ve said it before but, I hope every child is shown this film because it’s important and amazing.

5. Hercules (1997)

An underrated Disney film, or at least one I rarely see referenced, but it is one of the stories that is most easy to relate to for a lot of this generation (similar to Mulan about a misfit to finds his place) but also has some of the best and most unique songs because of the singing Muses as narrators. It was one of the Disney films that I just watched on repeat, again falling in love with the idea that if you try hard and persevere you can achieve great things. We have another feminist character in Meg who is a damsel in distress but she can handle it, lovely!! This film is also fun to introduce you into (inaccurate) Greek mythology, and that’s never a bad thing to know about. An animation heavy period of time but these are some of the greats.

Sorry for the silence!

Wow, ok, a hideously long and unexpected hiatus.

No real excuses other than letting things get in my way (like holidays and a summer job) but hopefully I’m back (maybe not with a vengeance but hopefully without months between posts).

I will try to complete my current 3/5 part series, and my rule of 5 will continue in my reviews (as will my cheating brackets).

It’s terribly easy to fall out of the habit of doing these reviews, but I love doing them and hopefully I’ll be able to pick myself back up again.

Please bear with my fickle and sporadic nature but hopefully reviews will be coming steadily throughout the rest of my summer holidays (which end at the end of September) and then once uni starts again I’ll be able to go full throttle because I’ll be procrastinating marvellously!

Skruff :)

Top 5 Movies of 2000-2004

1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001/2002/2003)

Possibly the greatest fantasy films ever, I’m counting all three together because they are all from the same original story and are all released in this time period. It’s so rare to have a cannon of films which all receive similar praise, even The Godfather trilogy has a fall with their third film, but all three of these films are deservedly considered incredibly. Along with all the best fantasy films Lord of the Rings has great acting, high tech CGI (although it’s beginning to look a little dated), a good script and a wonderful soundtrack which combine to make great films but also realistic fantasy. It’s rare for a fantasy film to get popular appeal and be recognised by the awards, this trilogy won 17 Oscars in total and get 8.8/8.9 on IMDb which shows that these films are successful in all possibly ways within this industry. Unfortunately The Hobbit films barely compare to Lord of the Rings, but I guess getting a good thing three times around is difficult, let alone trying to make it happen 6 times.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

These films keep rolling out but the first is still the best so they really need to stop making more. It’s got a fantastic cast of characters from the memorable Jack Sparrow, to the kick-ass Elizabeth Swan but then also the bland Will Turner. Pirates are always fun, as long as they’re the fictional swash-buckling kind, and this film creates a wonderfully fun and charming take on the pirate stereotype. It’s one of those films where people of any age leave the cinema wanting to hop onto a ship and sail for treasure, and those are the bet kinds of films. You can’t go wrong with this film, but you can go wrong with making too many pointless sequels (please stop).

3. Love Actually (2003)

The best rom-com ever, this is the rom-com to end all rom-coms, if you want to watch a rom-com this is the rom-com for you. It’s got a great cast, is funny, has multiple plots for which ever type of love story you like, and it’s set at Christmas time so there is always an excuse to watch it when the weather get a little cooler. I can’t deny that I’m a fan of Richard Curtis, from his films to TV work he’s excellent, and this is a good example of the kind of stuff he does, charming, funny and very British. This film also isn’t overly sentimental, obviously there are a lot of cheesy moments, but there is also more alternative versions of love. If you want to watch a rom-com, this is the one to watch, whether for your first time or your 100th re-watch, watch Love Actually.

4. Belleville Rendezvous (2003)

A French animation with little/no dialogue but a very catchy song, what could be better? Everyone knows Pixar, Disney and Studio Ghibli but Sylvain Chomet should be another name that people who like animations are aware of. It is odd, be aware of that, there are Mafioso types who melt into each other, a tiny grandmother with uneven legs, and ageing singers who fish for frogs with bombs for their dinner. It’s a typical French film where you just have to accept what you’re seeing rather than questioning, because then you can enjoy it for what it is. If you’re looking for a slight alternative to the more common animations, then this is amazing. 

5. Moulin Rouge (2001)

Not everyone’s favourite musical, but as someone who really likes cover song and Baz Luhrmann  this is an amazing musical for me. It’s a very pretty film with distracting costumes and colours if you don’t like the rest of the film. It’s a slightly flimsy plot, about misidentity and passionate love, but there is enough plot to keep you interested in between songs. Seeing Jim Broadbent singing Queen is one of the best thing you will see in the history of film. It’s another film that you shouldn’t take too seriously and just enjoy it for what it is, Jim Broadbent singing and a lot of bright colours. If you don’t like musicals, maybe try this one, if you like musicals I assume you’ve already seen it.

Top 5 Movies of 2005-2009

So, I accidentally chose all 5 films from 2009 but I’m not going to change that because these were my favourite films. Obviously 2009 was a vintage year!

1. District 9 (2009)

The most under-rated sci-fi film, although the director, Neill Blomkamp, and the star, Sharlto Copley, are now getting more recognition with Blomkamp’s larger budget Elysium and Copley being in Maleficent. For a relatively small budget the CG created aliens are amazing, especially because they’re so intricate, and it’s interesting to see aliens shown as neither the enemy or the friend but as complex characters. The film is in a mocumentary style and then falls away from that, I love mocumentaries and the fact Blomkamp doesn’t stick too rigidly to it. The most disappointing thing about this film is that it feels incomplete and I am still hoping for sequel eventually. Worth watching even if you’re not a fan of traditional sci-fi because it doesn’t take place in space and deals with very human issues.

2. Up (2009)

With the greatest opening of a film ever, Up never gets boring even after re-watching it thousands of times. Up taps into a lot of basic human fears about living life to the fullest and achieving your goals, which is what makes this film so amazing for a wide range of people. It has an annoying but oddly loveable cast of characters, with the grumpy Carl, endlessly chatty Russel and desperately friendly Dug, and you want all of these characters to just be happy because they all suffer from loneliness, another very common feeling. Up is also a very beautiful because it is animated with such colour and vibrancy, one moment in particular was when the balloons filled a little girls room with multi colour lights is very memorable. It’s a typical Pixar film, family friendly and with a lot of heart. 

3. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

This is such a lovely, charming film and it does make you fall in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tom but unfortunately a lot of people hate Summer because she is the one who breaks Tom’s heart. This is quite a misinterpreted film, I’m not sure how it’s meant to be interpreted but it’s not meant to be a pure love story and yet everyone thinks of it as such, it’s almost more of a cautionary tale about falling in love too quickly. Aside from the story, the film is created beautifully, with Marc Webb incorporating interesting techniques like an Expectation vs. Reality split screen or a shot which is transformed into a sketch. It’s one of the better rom-coms because it doesn’t deal with The One, but rather shows a realistic portrays of a transitional relationship, which is rare to see. Along with being a cute but realistic film, it’s also funny, so it’s a good film for a date night (maybe) because hopefully everyone can enjoy it.

4. Inglorious Bastards (2009)

Everyone loves a bit of Quentin Tarantino and this is one of his most approachable films because it isn’t quite so abstract and stylised as Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction, and deals with a very common filmic topic of WWII. It’s wonderful to see a big Hollywood film filled with European or bilingual actors who can actually speak the languages, Tarantino even makes fun of the American actors trying to speak Italian, and it is nice for a Hollywood film to actually cast people correctly rather than just getting big stars and trying to train them to speak in certain languages or accents. Everything about this film is masterful, from cinematography to script to acting, and this makes for an enjoyable watch for the casual viewer and film buffs. It’s also funny, bloody and fast paced (for a 153 minute film) so you don’t get bored, despite the length. It’s just a very good, well made and fun film, so I find very little reason that it shouldn’t be on this list.

5. Star Trek (2009)

I haven’t seen anything else in the Star Trek cannon but this film creates an exciting alternate universe from the originals to introduce a new generation to the franchise. It’s a good sci-fi action film that introduces the characters and world really well, which allows the old fans to understand the differences between this version and the previous ones, as well as new fans to get a grasp on everything. The story was really interesting, because it’s about parallel universes and time jumps, etc. which I think is a popular subject for most sci-fi fans because it’s so interesting, and this also allows these films to head off into a different direction than the earlier version. It’s brave to remake a very popular franchise, because although you will definitely make money you will also suffer from fan-boy hate, however this film’s popularity is testament to the skill and care of its creators. For a fan of sci-fi, you can’t go far wrong with Star Trek.

Top 5 Movies of 2010-2014

This will be a 5 part series where I pick my 5 favourite films within 5 year time periods, enjoy :)

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1. Life of Pi (2012)

This is one of the greatest films ever, not just of this time period, because it is visually flawless but also manages to make the story of a boy in a boat fascinating (something that I felt that the book didn’t do). Also, any film that shows animals in such a positive, respectful and realistic light makes me happy. The veteran director Ang Lee creates another stellar film but doesn’t rest on famous actors, instead casting the unknown Suraj Sharma in the lead, which shows the strength of his conviction in his film not needing big names to draw in the audiences. You could watch this film with the sound off and just enjoy how beautiful it is and the superior CGI, however I do feel that it will begin to look dated as a lot of films do because technology is constantly advancing and we become more aware. Life of Pi is a film that I not only enjoyed but I believe is a master-class of film-making and I hope that it is one of those enduring films in the future.

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2. Inception (2010)

Confusing to some but enjoyable for all, with an amazing cast, director and writer this film couldn’t really fail and certainly didn’t disappoint. The film was advertised in such an odd way that I remember going to the cinema without a clue of what will happen and, to be honest, throughout the film I was a little confused, but after millions of re-watches it actually makes sense. It’s a typical Nolan film with a lot of complexities and subtleties, so if you like Nolan’s style then this will be for you, and if you don’t watch it anyway! This film is dripping with stars, worthy of their fame, and carries Nolan’s name which is possibly a reason for its initially success, however the film itself that has made it endure. The best thing about this film was that everyone walked out excited, thinking and discussing which is what a film should make its audience do.

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3. Toy Story 3 (2010)

I am a major Pixar fan girl, so obviously Pixar will appear on some of these lists, and the Toy Story trilogy are three equally amazing films and an incredible trilogy. Toy Story 3 does what the other two did, introduces amazing new characters, makes you fall in love with the old ones again, and spends 100 minutes focusing on a charming story. The first film came out 15 years before this, and this means that many of the little ones who watched the first were grown and therefore the emotional kick behind this narrative hit home for a lot of people. It has the Pixar heart of humour mixed with emotion and works so well for children and adults. This film is one of the most emotive Pixar films, making most people cry at some point, and would be a fitting end to the trilogy, although I think (and hope) it will become a tetralogy.

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4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Although this is a recent discovery, it is a great one, because this film is so charming, witty and beautiful that it jut makes me smile. Similar to Inception because it has a big cast and very famous director, so it was going to successful but, again, the actual film lived up to expectations and quickly became my favourite of this year so far. It’s another beautiful film and focuses on every little detail to ensure that each shot is perfected. The plot was good, although when writing this review I forgot what it was so clearly the film focuses less on the major plot but rather focuses on the more minor details, which is fine because you never lose the point of the film, you just don’t focus on it. Sometimes Wes Anderson films go over my head but this one was perfect, so even if you’re not a Wes Anderson fan you could try this film to ease yourself in; I think the main tip is to just go along with everything that happens without quetioning it.

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5. The Intouchables (2011)

I do like a good French film but rarely find films in foreign languages funny because there is a barrier because of the reading and linguistic nuances, but this film was laugh-out-loud funny. I’m surprised it didn’t get more Oscar attention, but I suppose the ‘foreign language’ film award is generally given to more emotive films. Despite being overlooked by the American awards this film is an impressive balance of humour and emotion so that you care about the characters and like them. It’s one of the few French films that I’ve seen but if more are like this I hope French films become more commonly shown in England. Both actors are going on to do more English/American films and I would love to see the writers/directors to also do a film in English, just so that I can fully appreciate one of their films (especially with my lazy nature).

Orange is the New Black - TV programme for Netflix
★★★★★

5 word summary:

Shawshank with women (and better)

5 sentence review:

I started watching this because Netflix wouldn’t stop promoting it and I had seen a lot of positive things about it online so I caved, and I’m so glad I did because now I’m re-watching it because it was so good.
It has a lot of obvious positive traits, such as a large female cast  (of different shapes, sizes and races), gay characters, social commentary, transgender character, etc. and this is actually  what made me hesitant to watch it in the first place because I though that was what everyone loved, rather than the programme itself.
I was pleasantly surprised that not only were there diverse female characters, but well written ones; storylines were interesting and heartfelt; the humour is on point; and everything about the programme draws you into their world and the characters’ lives so that you care and are interested. 
The plots are slightly extreme to add to the humour and drama, such as the chicken story, however they never go too far into the realms of the unbelievable that you disengage (I now really want to read the book to see how close to the original authors version it is).
I couldn’t really recommend this programme enough, because there is a little something for everyone and it’s only 26 hour in total (2 seasons with 13 episodes) so if you’re really committed you can watch it in just over a day (although it took me 5 I think).

5 good things:

1. The characters (my favourites are Nichols, Morello and Poussey)

2.  It’s funny

3. Hair and costuming is amazing (looking at how the prisoners look outside of the show)

4. Most of the back stories are so good and well integrated within the main storyline (I normally don’t like dual narratives but they make this work very well)

5. ‘Scatter the nuns!’ - my favourite quote

5 bad thing:

1.  Not enough of Nichol’s back story (I forgot it had even happened until I re-watched the programme)

2.  Some of the lines are incredibly cheesy and overly metaphorical

3.  Vee was quite cliché, pantomime villain, compared to all the other nuanced character she stood out a bit.

4.  I don’t think many people care what is happening outside of the prison, and yet they keep showing us and making big stories happen outside.

5.  This kind of makes me want to go to prison….

Orange is the New Black - TV programme for Netflix

★★★★

5 word summary:

Shawshank with women (and better)

5 sentence review:

I started watching this because Netflix wouldn’t stop promoting it and I had seen a lot of positive things about it online so I caved, and I’m so glad I did because now I’m re-watching it because it was so good.

It has a lot of obvious positive traits, such as a large female cast  (of different shapes, sizes and races), gay characters, social commentary, transgender character, etc. and this is actually  what made me hesitant to watch it in the first place because I though that was what everyone loved, rather than the programme itself.

I was pleasantly surprised that not only were there diverse female characters, but well written ones; storylines were interesting and heartfelt; the humour is on point; and everything about the programme draws you into their world and the characters’ lives so that you care and are interested. 

The plots are slightly extreme to add to the humour and drama, such as the chicken story, however they never go too far into the realms of the unbelievable that you disengage (I now really want to read the book to see how close to the original authors version it is).

I couldn’t really recommend this programme enough, because there is a little something for everyone and it’s only 26 hour in total (2 seasons with 13 episodes) so if you’re really committed you can watch it in just over a day (although it took me 5 I think).

5 good things:

1. The characters (my favourites are Nichols, Morello and Poussey)

2.  It’s funny

3. Hair and costuming is amazing (looking at how the prisoners look outside of the show)

4. Most of the back stories are so good and well integrated within the main storyline (I normally don’t like dual narratives but they make this work very well)

5. ‘Scatter the nuns!’ - my favourite quote

5 bad thing:

1.  Not enough of Nichol’s back story (I forgot it had even happened until I re-watched the programme)

2.  Some of the lines are incredibly cheesy and overly metaphorical

3.  Vee was quite cliché, pantomime villain, compared to all the other nuanced character she stood out a bit.

4.  I don’t think many people care what is happening outside of the prison, and yet they keep showing us and making big stories happen outside.

5.  This kind of makes me want to go to prison….



22 Jump Street (2014) - Sequel to 21 Jump Street
★★★★☆

5 word summary:
Better than the first one.
5 sentence review:
I wasn’t expecting much from the first film but was presently surprised, and the same happened with this one; they really stepped up their game and managed to improve on an already good thing.

The new characters we all really good, especially of Zook and Maya, and they added to the humour of the film without trying to overshadow Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters, and replaced Dave Franco without making me miss him.

The plot was definitely put aside in favour of the comedy, but that is ok because they delivered on the laughs and part of the joke was that the film was a little repetitive, clichéd and excessive, so everything worked really well.

It’s difficult to analyse this film because the basics are: if you want to laugh this is a good film for you, it’s especially good for people (like me) who want to de-stress after their uni exams.

I hope that there is a third because the films definitely don’t disappoint, however I am wondering where they would go next.
5 good things:
1.  It’s actually funny.
2.  So self aware and so amazing, ‘it’s looks just like an ice cube!’
3. Good use of new/old characters.
4. Despite being quite long for a comedy, it didn’t feel long.
5. The credits were very clever.
5 bad things:
1. College is just not how it’s portrayed in films
2. There seems to be a suggestion that they don’t want to do another one (although with all the good reviews about this, I’m sure there will be a third)
3.  Why does Jonah Hill always get the girl? And the incredibly pretty girls at that.
4. The villains/twist wasn’t great, although it was quite redundant anyway because the jokes are more important than the plot.
5. Struggling to think of any more…

22 Jump Street (2014) - Sequel to 21 Jump Street

★★★

5 word summary:

Better than the first one.

5 sentence review:

I wasn’t expecting much from the first film but was presently surprised, and the same happened with this one; they really stepped up their game and managed to improve on an already good thing.
The new characters we all really good, especially of Zook and Maya, and they added to the humour of the film without trying to overshadow Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters, and replaced Dave Franco without making me miss him.
The plot was definitely put aside in favour of the comedy, but that is ok because they delivered on the laughs and part of the joke was that the film was a little repetitive, clichéd and excessive, so everything worked really well.
It’s difficult to analyse this film because the basics are: if you want to laugh this is a good film for you, it’s especially good for people (like me) who want to de-stress after their uni exams.
I hope that there is a third because the films definitely don’t disappoint, however I am wondering where they would go next.

5 good things:

1.  It’s actually funny.

2.  So self aware and so amazing, ‘it’s looks just like an ice cube!’

3. Good use of new/old characters.

4. Despite being quite long for a comedy, it didn’t feel long.

5. The credits were very clever.

5 bad things:

1. College is just not how it’s portrayed in films

2. There seems to be a suggestion that they don’t want to do another one (although with all the good reviews about this, I’m sure there will be a third)

3.  Why does Jonah Hill always get the girl? And the incredibly pretty girls at that.

4. The villains/twist wasn’t great, although it was quite redundant anyway because the jokes are more important than the plot.

5. Struggling to think of any more…


Maleficent (2014) - Newest Live action Disney retelling
★★★☆☆

5 word summary:
Good, goes bad, goes good. 
5 sentence review:
I was really excited for this film, especially because I love villains, but I was sadly disappointed when it turned out that they decided to give Maleficent a (rubbish) back-story and reasons behind what she does, and go even further to then try to reverse her bad way.

I was hoping that the bad plot decisions would be compensated for a beautiful film, but really it just looked obviously CGI, you could even clearly see how much make up was on some of the actor’s faces (young Maleficent in particular) and that ruined things a little bit for me.

Aside from the bad points this was actually quite well cast, Jolie was perfect and I was really pleased to see Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley, who I’ve seen in other things and think they’re very good; however Aurora and the fairies were not as strong, although I don’t think it was the fairies fault,  I think that problem was down to bad scripting and bad CGI (again).

The magical creatures in this were very creative, with tree guards and crow-animals, and that was enjoyable to see someone’s creativity coming out while still maintaining the original creatures (like Maleficent’s crow and the dragon).

Overall, this film is worth seeing, but not necessarily paying for, maybe if it’s on TV; just before there was a trailer for the original Sleeping Beauty and frankly it just made me wish I was watching the original rather than this remake. 5 good things:
1. Angelina Jolie looks amazing!
2. Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley were really good and I’m glad they’re in such a big film.
3.  The crow wolf/horse/dragon looked awesome and were a good idea.
4. ‘Once Upon A Dream’ is amazingly redone (although not used in the film other than the end credits).
5.  Adorable cameos from Angelina Jolie’s children.
5 bad things:
1. Why can’t villains just be villainous? Why do they need reasons for everything?
2.  It seemed as though 90% of the cast were putting on accents, just hire people with the actual accents.
3.  Also, try to hire child actors who can act. 
4. There were a lot of awkward close-ups of people staring or smiling.
5. The fairies were annoying and a little pointless, definitely not as good as the original three.

Maleficent (2014) - Newest Live action Disney retelling

★★★

5 word summary:

Good, goes bad, goes good.

5 sentence review:

I was really excited for this film, especially because I love villains, but I was sadly disappointed when it turned out that they decided to give Maleficent a (rubbish) back-story and reasons behind what she does, and go even further to then try to reverse her bad way.
I was hoping that the bad plot decisions would be compensated for a beautiful film, but really it just looked obviously CGI, you could even clearly see how much make up was on some of the actor’s faces (young Maleficent in particular) and that ruined things a little bit for me.
Aside from the bad points this was actually quite well cast, Jolie was perfect and I was really pleased to see Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley, who I’ve seen in other things and think they’re very good; however Aurora and the fairies were not as strong, although I don’t think it was the fairies fault,  I think that problem was down to bad scripting and bad CGI (again).
The magical creatures in this were very creative, with tree guards and crow-animals, and that was enjoyable to see someone’s creativity coming out while still maintaining the original creatures (like Maleficent’s crow and the dragon).
Overall, this film is worth seeing, but not necessarily paying for, maybe if it’s on TV; just before there was a trailer for the original Sleeping Beauty and frankly it just made me wish I was watching the original rather than this remake.

5 good things:

1. Angelina Jolie looks amazing!

2. Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley were really good and I’m glad they’re in such a big film.

3.  The crow wolf/horse/dragon looked awesome and were a good idea.

4. ‘Once Upon A Dream’ is amazingly redone (although not used in the film other than the end credits).

5.  Adorable cameos from Angelina Jolie’s children.

5 bad things:

1. Why can’t villains just be villainous? Why do they need reasons for everything?

2.  It seemed as though 90% of the cast were putting on accents, just hire people with the actual accents.

3.  Also, try to hire child actors who can act.

4. There were a lot of awkward close-ups of people staring or smiling.

5. The fairies were annoying and a little pointless, definitely not as good as the original three.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - Latest film in the X-Men franchise
★★★★☆

5 word summary:
Let’s just change everything, ok?
5 sentence review:
This film in currently very highly rated on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, so I was expecting a lot, and wasn’t disappointed.

It literally can’t go wrong with characters because they have new faces, old faces, old old faces; a little something for everyone to keep you interested and happy but hopefully not overly confused (although I had no idea what most of the new characters’ names where when I left the cinema).

The story is mildly confusing, especially because they jump between times occasionally, but a lot of the points where I was thinking, ‘what?!’ were then explained later in the film, so I think as long as you’re paying attention and willing to occasionally look over any minor plot holes, then you’ll be ok.

I must say the plot became slightly annoying, because it was repetitive, firstly the humans were against the mutants and then Magneto and Mystique were against the humans, and all this caused a whole lot of problems that everyone has seen before (in most of the X-Men films).

Despite some more minor gripes this was a very good film, superhero or otherwise, and it stretched itself beyond blockbuster into more complex social/psychological explorations, which all the best films do. 5 good things:
1. Amazing sentinels 
2. Excellent new characters (particularly Quicksilver and Blink)
3.  Old characters/cast members returning.
4. There are moments that are genuinely funny.
5.  Peter Dinklage’s hair/make up/costume/moustache/glasses
5 bad things:
1. I think (I’m not 100% sure) that the future part was only meant to be 50 years from the past part, but it looked much more futuristicly different than is possible (in my opinion). 
2. Mystique’s skin looked painted.
3.  Not enough focus on the amazing future time
4. Mystique and Magneto just being their same old, annoying, ‘kill everyone, that’ll sort everything out’ ways.
5. Was Hugh Jackman too veiny when he first woke up in the past? It was worrying.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - Latest film in the X-Men franchise

★★★

5 word summary:

Let’s just change everything, ok?

5 sentence review:

This film in currently very highly rated on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, so I was expecting a lot, and wasn’t disappointed.
It literally can’t go wrong with characters because they have new faces, old faces, old old faces; a little something for everyone to keep you interested and happy but hopefully not overly confused (although I had no idea what most of the new characters’ names where when I left the cinema).
The story is mildly confusing, especially because they jump between times occasionally, but a lot of the points where I was thinking, ‘what?!’ were then explained later in the film, so I think as long as you’re paying attention and willing to occasionally look over any minor plot holes, then you’ll be ok.
I must say the plot became slightly annoying, because it was repetitive, firstly the humans were against the mutants and then Magneto and Mystique were against the humans, and all this caused a whole lot of problems that everyone has seen before (in most of the X-Men films).
Despite some more minor gripes this was a very good film, superhero or otherwise, and it stretched itself beyond blockbuster into more complex social/psychological explorations, which all the best films do.

5 good things:

1. Amazing sentinels

2. Excellent new characters (particularly Quicksilver and Blink)

3.  Old characters/cast members returning.

4. There are moments that are genuinely funny.

5.  Peter Dinklage’s hair/make up/costume/moustache/glasses

5 bad things:

1. I think (I’m not 100% sure) that the future part was only meant to be 50 years from the past part, but it looked much more futuristicly different than is possible (in my opinion).

2. Mystique’s skin looked painted.

3.  Not enough focus on the amazing future time

4. Mystique and Magneto just being their same old, annoying, ‘kill everyone, that’ll sort everything out’ ways.

5. Was Hugh Jackman too veiny when he first woke up in the past? It was worrying.

Godzilla (2014) - Film remake of various other films

★★★★☆


5 word summary:
Godzilla is the good guy! 

5 sentence review:
I am judging this film based on the decision that it is very, very self-aware and pointing out that it is a remake/typical blockbuster because there were so many points that were so obvious that I feel they had to be poking fun at themselves.
You have, mad/obsessed scientist because he’s lost his love; children in a bus trapped on a bridge; the main woman is a nurse and the main man is a soldier; the government has been hiding secrets for ‘the greater good’ and it gets messed up; it rained during the final sequences. 
These things can’t just be there accidentally, one or two clichés, yes, but almost every aspect must be tongue in cheek.
Mostly, the way Ken Watanabe said ‘Godzilla’ just screams that they knew what they were doing, and I so hope that they were aware of what they were doing.
This hasn’t been a review, but rather me trying to rationalise that this film is good but you need to be aware that it is aware (I’m now sounding as obsessed/odd as Bryan Cranston’s character) but I feel as though you could enjoy this film so much, if you think that every cliché is put there purposefully.  
5 good things:
1.  Despite clichéd points, there were some surprises 
2.  Self awareness
3.  Parachuting/skydiving bit looked really amazing
4. The cast was good
5.  Some of the main people actually died

5 bad things:
1. The other monsters were kind of boring
2. The fight sequences seems to yield no wounds at all. One of the things had wings and they weren’t even punctured.
3.  Literally stole the ending from The Dark Knight Rises 
4. It doesn’t really pass the Bechdel Test, which shouldn’t be allowed in a film that will undoubtedly be watched by millions. 
5. Not enough of the main people died for it to be believable.

Godzilla (2014) - Film remake of various other films

★★★

5 word summary:

Godzilla is the good guy!

5 sentence review:

I am judging this film based on the decision that it is very, very self-aware and pointing out that it is a remake/typical blockbuster because there were so many points that were so obvious that I feel they had to be poking fun at themselves.

You have, mad/obsessed scientist because he’s lost his love; children in a bus trapped on a bridge; the main woman is a nurse and the main man is a soldier; the government has been hiding secrets for ‘the greater good’ and it gets messed up; it rained during the final sequences.

These things can’t just be there accidentally, one or two clichés, yes, but almost every aspect must be tongue in cheek.

Mostly, the way Ken Watanabe said ‘Godzilla’ just screams that they knew what they were doing, and I so hope that they were aware of what they were doing.

This hasn’t been a review, but rather me trying to rationalise that this film is good but you need to be aware that it is aware (I’m now sounding as obsessed/odd as Bryan Cranston’s character) but I feel as though you could enjoy this film so much, if you think that every cliché is put there purposefully. 


5 good things:

1.  Despite clichéd points, there were some surprises

2.  Self awareness

3.  Parachuting/skydiving bit looked really amazing

4. The cast was good

5.  Some of the main people actually died

5 bad things:

1. The other monsters were kind of boring

2. The fight sequences seems to yield no wounds at all. One of the things had wings and they weren’t even punctured.

3.  Literally stole the ending from The Dark Knight Rises

4. It doesn’t really pass the Bechdel Test, which shouldn’t be allowed in a film that will undoubtedly be watched by millions.

5. Not enough of the main people died for it to be believable.


Bad Neighbours (2014) – Film starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron

★★★☆☆

5 word summary:
 
American universities are very confusing.

5 sentence review:

I’m calling this Bad Neighbours because that is what it is called in my country, hopefully no one will get confused (there is a picture).

This film is funny, which is important for a comedy, it isn’t laugh after laugh but there are moments when you do just chuckle for a while (I particularly liked the air bags).
The whole cast are pretty strong, and I can understand why Efron is the main frat guy(?) but they have a lot of talented actors in the fraternity and I think they could have utilised them more than for small comical sequences (although I suppose they wouldn’t be a comedy).

The story was quite odd because they were worried about the fraternity but it seemed like a simple solution could be resolved by complaining to the head teacher and a compromise being made that the fraternity won’t return next year…but again, then there wouldn’t be much of a film.

It’s enjoyable for a stupid comedy but I was expecting it to be as surprisingly good as 21 Jump Street, and I feel as though it didn’t get to that level (although it actually currently is 0.1 higher on IMDb so what do I know?).

5 good things:

1. The couples relationship made me happy.

2. The parties looked interesting…colourful.

3. The other fraternity members (other than Efron) were good).

4. Dave Franco’s De Niro impression. 

5. Toplessness


5 bad things:

1. Excessive nakedness.

2. The annoying/crazy friends cliché.

3. Only 1 real female character (and she looks perfect while Seth…does not).

4. The fact it is called ‘Neighbours’ except for the countries where ‘Neighbour (the soap) is aired.
5. I feel as though the babies will be traumatised when they see this film.
Bad Neighbours (2014) – Film starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron
★★★
5 word summary:
 
American universities are very confusing.
5 sentence review:
I’m calling this Bad Neighbours because that is what it is called in my country, hopefully no one will get confused (there is a picture).
This film is funny, which is important for a comedy, it isn’t laugh after laugh but there are moments when you do just chuckle for a while (I particularly liked the air bags).
The whole cast are pretty strong, and I can understand why Efron is the main frat guy(?) but they have a lot of talented actors in the fraternity and I think they could have utilised them more than for small comical sequences (although I suppose they wouldn’t be a comedy).
The story was quite odd because they were worried about the fraternity but it seemed like a simple solution could be resolved by complaining to the head teacher and a compromise being made that the fraternity won’t return next year…but again, then there wouldn’t be much of a film.
It’s enjoyable for a stupid comedy but I was expecting it to be as surprisingly good as 21 Jump Street, and I feel as though it didn’t get to that level (although it actually currently is 0.1 higher on IMDb so what do I know?).

5 good things:
1. The couples relationship made me happy.
2. The parties looked interesting…colourful.
3. The other fraternity members (other than Efron) were good).
4. Dave Franco’s De Niro impression.
5. Toplessness
5 bad things:
1. Excessive nakedness.
2. The annoying/crazy friends cliché.
3. Only 1 real female character (and she looks perfect while Seth…does not).
4. The fact it is called ‘Neighbours’ except for the countries where ‘Neighbour (the soap) is aired.

5. I feel as though the babies will be traumatised when they see this film.

Animation Week (Day 5): 5 Best Claymation Animated Films

1. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

This pair are possibly my favourite duo in films, and it’s shocking to think that there are only 4 shorts and one feature film and yet these are such recognisable and well loved characters. Going from 20-something shorts to a nearly 90 minute picture must have been difficult but this film maintains the charm and nuances that make the Wallace and Gromit films so enjoyable. The film is hilarious, with a vegetable eating bunny on the loose, and the secondary characters, voiced by fantastic actors, add to the film and support W & G well. Also, how they make hairless, clay bunnies cute is beyond me but they manage it. Watch this film and then go and check out A Grand Day Out because the difference between the quality is phenomenal.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This is one of the greatest animations ever but my love of Wallace and Gromit triumphed, although I’m sure this film would have topped a, lot of other people’s lists. This is such a wonderfully dark animation and the oddity of everything makes it extra beautiful to watch. It’s so interesting to think that it follows most of the basic Disney principles, a love story, songs, discovery of magic, and yet it is much a step away from the familiar formula as well. A lot of people have mentioned that they can’t decide when toy watch this film, Christmas or Halloween? Personally, I would recommend watching it any time, any day, but if you want to watch it as a holiday film, pick both Christmas and Halloween.

3. Mary and Max (2009)

Similar style to Nightmare Before Christmas because of the use of monochrome colour a and a dark diversion from traditional animation methods, but this film is a lot darker. Mary and Max follows two troubled characters who find each other, however they can’t help each other to their fullest extent because Mary is in Australia and Max is in America. It’s an odd mixture of cute, endearing but then also sad, heart-breaking. If you’re less of a fan of children films but still want to watch an animation (for whatever reason) this is the one for you. The director/writer hasn’t done much else, which is a bit sad, but hopefully more will be coming from him.

4. Chicken Run (2004)

Such a weird film, but so good because it is very aware and accepting of its own oddness. It’s also similar to Lion King where they take a familiar classic idea (Hamlet/The Great Escape) and apply it to animals….the natural progression where I hope all films will get to in the end. It’s another weird one where there are featherless chickens (like the hairless bunnies) but they are still believable and kind of cute. It’s genuinely funny but unfortunately there are some moments that are meant to be dramatic and they fall a little flat due to the general tone of the film (I’m thinking especially of a bit where there is dramatic rain but it looks so odd on the smooth chickens). I never thought that I would be rooting so intensely for a chicken, but you do when watching Chicken Run.

5. James and the Giant Peach (1996)

A hybrid of live action and animation which blew my mind when I first saw this. It’s my least favourite style of animation, because it’s reminiscent of Nightmare but has a more creepy/spikey feel to it. The plot also wanders around, the scene in the sea with pirate skeletons is particularly useless although enjoyable. Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes as the aunts are wonderful and satisfyingly horrible and terrifying. There are a lot of flaws in this film, but it is still incredibly good and worth watching (but if you don’t want to then just read the book).