Coco (2017 Pixar Movie)

Date Watched: – 14th January 2018

Director: – Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina

Genre: – Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: – Voices – Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel), Garl Garcia Bernal (Hector), Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto de la Cruz), Alanna Ubach (Mama Imelda), Renee Victor (Abuelita), Jaime Camil (Papa) and Alfonso Arua (Papa Julio)

Review: –

Not too sure what to make of this one, as a Disney/Pixel film the concept of the film being based on the Day of the Dead which is a Mexican holiday took me by surprised as it’s not the normal young child friendly film I expect from Pixar (Toy Story, Finding Nemo etc.) though I enjoyed it I’m not sure that this should be marketed as a film that’s suitable for young children. It opened in the US on Thanksgiving but the UK had to wait unit this week for it to be released.

Imelda Rivera was the wife of a Musician who left her and her daughter Coco to pursue a career in music and she started making shoes and opened a Shoemaking business and banned music in the family. Many years later Imelda great-great-grandson Miguel who lives with his family including an elderly Coco dreams of becoming a musician like Ernesto de la Cruz a popular actor and singer from Imelda’s era. Miguel accidentally damages a photo from the Ofrenda (an offering made during the Day of the Dead celebrations) and notices that it is of Imelda and her husband and Coco as a baby, the husband is holding the famous guitar that da la Cruz used but the face is ripped out, Miguel concludes that da la Cruz is his Great-great Grandfather and after an argument with his grandmother (Elena) he runs away to enter the local talent show but as he is unable to borrow a guitar (Elena had smashed his) he breaks into the Mausoleum of Ernesto da la Cruz to borrow his guitar but as he picks up the guitar and strummers it he becomes invisible to the living but can be seen by the dead. His dead relatives come over and sees Miguel and they mention that Imelda can’t come over as her photo is not displayed as Miguel has the photo, the family make their way to the office where Imelda is at the officer explains that Miguel is cursed and must receive a blessing from his family whilst holding an Aztec petal, Imelda gives him her blessing but puts a condition on that he must not play music and he returns to the land of the living but as soon as he arrives back he plays the guitar and returns to the land of the dead, and since the family don’t give him the blessing that allows him to play music he runs away to find da la Cruz to get his blessing. He then bumps into Hector, who is down on his luck as he wants to visit his daughter but no-one in the living world puts his photo up that would allow him to travel to the living, who offers to help Miguel in exchange of putting his photo up so he can visit his daughter, Miguel promises and they set off. Hector says the best way is to win the talent contest which the winner will play in the party that da la Cruz is hosting. Miguel does well in the contest but his family arrive and though Hector tries to return Miguel to his family he escapes and gets into da la Cruz mansion where he then plays and announces he is da la Cruz relative but Hector confronts him and Miguel learns that da la Cruz poisoned Hector to get his songs which Hector had written for them but Hector had decided to quit and return to his family. Miguel then realizes that Hector is actually his Great-Great-Grandfather not da la Cruz but they’re thrown in a pit without anyway to escape but Dante (Miguel’s stray dog) finds them and alerts the rest of Miguel’s dead family and they rescue them, but as the sun starts to rise which would cause Miguel to stay in the land of the dead Hector starts to fade as he is being forgotten so the family give Miguel there blessing without any conditions and Miguel returns to the Living, he rushes home to see Coco and tries to get her to remember her father Hector and then plays the song that Hector used to sing to her and Coco remembers. A year later Coco has passed and Miguel has a baby sister but her photo along with Hector’s is placed on the ofrenda and Hector can finally visit the rest of the family again and music is no longer banned in the family.

Whilst I really liked the idea of the using the Day of the Dead festival that is not often used in films (and other countries Holidays besides the American ones) and I liked the film as mentioned I’m not sure this is aimed at young children as Pixar tend to do so this might harm this releases. I know it was very well received in the US when it opened at Thanksgiving and the animation is top draw as you would expect. I had been looking forward to this film for a few months since we saw the first advert (of Dante) last summer and though it didn’t disappoint but didn’t really go beyond this. I rate this a 7/10 as could’ve been better and not sure really suitable for what I would say is the intended audience.

 

Pitch Perfect 3

Date Watched: – 9th January 2018

Director: – Trish Sie

Genre: – Comedy, Music

Starring: –  Anna Jendrick (Beca), Brittany Snow (Chloe), Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy/Patricia), Anna Camp (Aubrey) and Hailee Steinfeld (Emily)

Review: –

Beca, Chloe, Aubrey, Fat Amy and the rest of the Bellas are back for the third instalment of the Pitch Perfect. The Bellas have all now gone their separate way though many still keep in touch with Beca now a Music Producer and Chloe training to be a Vet. After Beca quits her job and returns to the flat she shares with Amy, Chloe arrives and reminds them about the Bella Reunion that is happening later that evening. When all the Bellas reunite they find Emily had invited them to watch the current Bella’s perform rather than the old Bellas to sing, afterwards Chloe says she would give anything to perform with the Bellas again when Audrey mentions about the USO (United Service Organizations) Performance Tour that her Dad (A High Ranking Naval Officer) can get them in which if they’re good enough would get to open for DJ Khaled.

The Bellas then start the tour and first arrive in Spain and after meeting the other bands on the tour they perform on the opening night of the tour where they sing Cheap Thrills but are interrupted by Taps being played by the loud speaker so later they decide to go to the Hotel/Casino that DJ Khaled is staying at the girls split up before reunite to go to DJ Khaled suite (though he’s not in the suite at the time) whilst Fat Amy is escorted into the Casino as a special guest where her estranged father joins her but she’s upset as she left her and is a criminal. Back at the suite Theo (DJ Khaled’s Music Producer) finds Beca and shows her DJ Khaled’s music equipment and gets her to start laying some tracks down whilst the rest of girls manage to cause chaos and start a fire just as DJ Khaled returns to his suite. The next morning the girls decide to stop trying to win and just perform for enjoyment after face-timing Staceie who just had a baby girl that she has named Bella.

The girls then travel to Italy and Greece to perform in the tour and finally go to the South of France where the Tour ends where DJ Khaled gets Theo to bring Beca to him where he offers her the chance to perform as opening act for him and also offers her a record deal, Beca refuses and goes to try and find the girls to tell them. Meanwhile the girls have been kidnapped by Fat Amy’s father as he requires Amy to go to the Cayman Islands to access her Bank Account which contains $180 million and are taken aboard his yacht. When Amy’s father calls Amy to tell her he has the girls she warns him that she’s coming for him. Amy and Beca sneak onto the yacht with Beca joining the rest of the girls whilst Amy goes below deck and disables the rest of the staff/bodyguards of her father. When Beca joins the group she says that if the Bellas are going to suffering then they should sing and start to perform Toxic and at the end Fat Amy comes crashing through the roof and the girls escape with Amy’s father being arrested. Whilst the girls dry off Beca (well Amy) tells the rest that Khaled has chosen her to perform but she has turned it down but the Bellas say they lift family up not hold them down and she must perform and that they’re happy with not having to perform.

Beca opens for DJ Khaled and starts laying down the track using her vocals and then starts to perform Freedom which during the song she gets the rest of the Bellas on Stage with her to help perform it and they receive a standing ovation. During the end scenes we see that Audrey’s father has watched the show and then Chloe hooks up with Chicago (one of the Army escorts) and we see the journey of the Bellas with outtakes from the previous Pitch Perfect films.

Reading this it actual sounds better than the film actual was as if you take out the music then this film is pretty dire and the acting was poor. The songs and music performances were good and raise the rating up but though the storyline seems decent it felt rushed and far-fetched. As per the last film Anna, Brittany and Rebel carried a lot of the film with Anna playing a lesser role than the first film again.

If you’re a Pitch Perfect fan then yes see this as it’s the end of the Bellas but otherwise I would say give this a miss, if you do want to see it give it a year and watch it when it arrives on TV.

6/10 just because the Music Performances are worthy of this.

The Greatest Showman

Date Watched: – 30th December 2017

Director: – Michael Gracey

Genre: – Biography, Drama, Musical

Starring: – Hugh Jackman (P T Barnum), Michelle Williams (Charity Barnum), Zac Efron (Phillip Carlyle), Zendaya (Anne), Rebecca Ferguson (Jenny Lind), Austyn Johnson (Caroline Barnum) and Cameron Seely (Helen Barnum)

Review: – The last film of 2017 saw me take in The Greatest Showman a film based on Phineas Taylor Barnum better known as PT Barnum the “founder” of show business and the circus. PT is the son of a tailor and during a home visit to Mr Hallett PT makes Mr Hallett’s daughter (Charity) laugh causing her to spit out her tea prompting Mr Hallett to smack PT across the face. PT and Charity write to each other during their absences and the death of PT father whilst we see the young PT and Charity sing whilst their relationship develop and whilst still in song see PT (now played by Hugh) propose and marry Charity (Michelle). PT now working at a Trading Company is laid off as the their trading vessels have sunk in the South China Seas, Whilst on the roof with Charity and his 2 daughters PT gives Caroline (his daughter) a wishing lamp as a birthday present and as they wish he has an idea and goes to the bank to borrow $10,000 using the sunken ships as collateral. PT then opens a Museum dedicated to the weird and oddities though the Museum fails to attract any interests and whilst waiting to see the Bank Manager again he notices a dwarf and then has another idea which was caused by something his daughters said about see living/live things. PT then goes round the town looking for unique individuals and finds as well as Charles (the Dwarf) he finds Lettie (a bearded woman), Lord of Leeds (an obese man), Dog Boy (man covered completely in hair) and the Irish Giant (an 8 foot man). He then puts on a show and starts to draw large crowds and then start selling out but a critic cause the show a Circus and PT decides to change the name of the show to PT Barnum’s Circus and starts to make large profits which allows PT to move his family in to a luxury mansion and lets Caroline have ballet classes but she becomes dishearten as mocked for being PT’s daughter. PT looking to enhance the show approaches the playwright Phillip Carlye who agrees for 10% of the Profits. The troupe is then invited to meet Queen Victoria where PT meets Jenny Lind a well-known opera singer and invites her to perform at his show.

Jenny sings at PT Barnum’s Circus and is a huge hit and PT decides to finance a tour across America for her and goes with her leaving Phillip in charge of the Circus. During the tour Jenny develops a crush on PT but he rejects her advances and then Jenny says she’s going to quit the tour but PT tries to get her to complete the tour as it would cause him financial hardship if she quits, but after 1 more performance she kisses PT on stage and quits the tour. PT travels back to New York as the press took photos of the kiss to tell his wife about it before the press publish any stories about it but as he arrives back and hugs his wife and girls a fire engine goes by as the Circus is on fire after an altercation between protestors and the performers. Phillip runs in to save Anne who is missing but she’s bought out by her brother WD so PT runs in after Phillip and saves him and whilst Phillip recovers in hospital Anne kisses him.

PT sitting by the remains of the theatre is joined by the critic who shows him the paper with the headline of the kiss and Jenny quitting the tour and he rushes home to see Charity has packed her bags but not because of the kiss but because the bank is evicting them and she’s unhappy that PT didn’t ask her about the money to finance the tour more then she is about the kiss. PT goes to a bar and is found by the troupe who confront him and explain that he has given them a home and family and needs to stop feeling sorry for himself, PT then goes to Charity’s parents as that’s where she has gone but her dad refuses to say where she is but their daughters tell him and he goes to the beach that they spent some of their childhood.

PT apologises to her and Charity explains she doesn’t care about the fame she just wants the man she fell in love with and there embrace. PT then returns to the theatre with the troupe and Phillip now out of hospital also shows up when PT explains that he can’t loan any more money but Phillip offers to use his share of the profits to restart the circus for 50/50 split of the profits and PT agrees and they restart the show in a Tent as cheaper to run and maintain then a theatre and when they reopen PT hands over the Ringmaster role to Phillip and takes an elephant to meet up with Charity and his girls at Caroline’s Ballet show and PT says he has everything he wanted now.

The film has several musical numbers in as well and these tracks suited the film well with “The Greatest Show”, “Never Enough” and “This is Me” being the pick for me but this is a soundtrack I will be downloading as enjoyed all the songs and would like to listen to them without the movie. The only disappointment came after the film when I found out that it wasn’t Rebecca Ferguson that sang Never Enough but Loren Allred with her vocals being dubbed over Rebecca’s but this was a stunning track.

I compared this to La La Land which won several awards last year and I believe it is better than La La Land as it flows better and the musical performances tie in better to the film then they did in La La Land. This is a movie I wanted to continue as was enjoying it, the cast was perfect though I did have my doubts with Hugh Jackman but the relationship between the cast worked and you got the sense of unity. The film is up for 3 Golden Globes and I expect will have at least 2 Oscar Nominations as well which to me is fully deserved. It would’ve probably appeared in my Top 5 2017 films if I had not already done that post and was far better than I expected. I will certainly be watching this again and fully deserves a 9/10 rating.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The first Cineworld Unlimited Screening of the year and a joint production by Fox Searchlight Pictures and Film 4 which took me by surprise as not a UK based film. Starring Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, Woody Harrelson as Sheriff Bill Willoughby, Sam Rockwell as Officer Jason Dixon, John Hawkes as Charlie Hayes, Peter Dinklage as James, Lucas Hedges as Robbie Hayes, Abbie Cornish as Anne Willoughby, Samara Weaving as Penelope, Caleb Landry Jones as Red Welby, Clarke Peters as Abercrombie, Darrell Britt-Gibson as Jerome, Kathryn Newton as Angela Hayes, Kerry Condon as Pamela, Željko Ivanek as Desk Sergeant Cedric Connolly, Amanda Warren as Denise, Sandy Martin as Mrs. Dixon, Christopher Berry as Tony, Nick Searcy as Father Montgomery and was Written & Directed by Martin McDonagh.

I have seen this film advertised for a while and also saw that it has been nominated for a number of awards including several Golden Globes, so when Cineworld said it would be an unlimited film I booked this straight away but decided not to find out what the film was about before seeing it and reviewing it without know who was in it and what it was about, the title was intriguing as could’ve meant anything.

I was actually disappointed with the film as to me it has no start nor end of a story, you get bits and pieces during the film but many of the questions that are asked aren’t answered and you left wondering what happens and what did happen, the film itself taking away what is missing is actually pretty decent and Frances, Sam and Woody all produce good performances and there is nothing wrong with what is actually there just felt incomplete. The film goes quick which is normally a good sign and besides the story-line I can’t fault it, though I am surprised that this is up for several awards as I’ve seen far better over the previous 12 months which have not be nominated.

Would I watch again? Probably not but not because it’s a bad film but not really the Genre I do watch.

Rating – 6/10 just because it seems a lot of the film is missing.

2017 Top 5 Films

First off Merry Christmas to all as I write this on 25th December. With just 1 week left off the year I thought I do a post of my top 5 films off the year, I still have at least 2 more to see (Pitch Perfect 3 & The Greatest Showman) in the next few days but not sure if either will dislodge any of the films I have in my Top 5. I will have seen 87 films in 2017 after I see the 2 mentioned films.

I started on 2nd January (as this was a bank holiday last year) with Assassins Creed and currently I will end with the Greatest Showman on Saturday 30th December though I may see a film on the 31st as not planned this day yet. So here are my Top 5

5. Miss Sloane – Starring Jessica Chastain as Miss Sloane it follows a lobbyist who defects to a rival firm over the lobbying of a gun law and is brought in front of the senate to answer charges related to her practice at her previous firm but a Senator who was against the proposed Gun changes. Miss Sloane received many film award nominations including the Golden Globes

4. Beauty and the Beast – Disney Live action remake of the animation starring Emma Watson as Bella and Dan Stevens as their Beast (Prince). This is one of a very few that have made me completely lost in a film and I loved the chemistry growing between Bella and The Beast, the humour and the music worked well in the film and I’m sure this will be nominated for some awards too.

3. Lion – Nominated for 6 Oscars including best film it follows the true story of Saroo Brierley after getting lost whilst going with his brother to his job and ending up being fostered by an Australia couple and years later tries to track and finally succeeds in doing so and and finally reunites. The film is a moving story and anyone that watches it will find it both terrifying and moving. Dev Patel starred as Saroo and really made the role come to life.

2. Manchester By The Sea – This actually started as my number 5 before finally deciding it should be number 2, again it’s a moving film and sees a boy being looked after by his Uncle after his father dies and shows the ups and downs of the relationship and how both come to terms with the situation. Again it nominated for the Best Picture at the Oscars but also didn’t win. This is a film I think works better as you watch more as after I first saw it I didn’t take everything in it was only when starting write a review and rewatching the story in my head that it started to improve (i find the best films do this IMO). Casey Affleck I think came out of his brother’s Ben shadows in this film whilst Lucas Hedges showed what a talent he can become.

Now my top film off the year.

1. Hacksaw Ridge – I predicted this would be an Oscar winner but it ended up just a nominee in the Best Picture category. Starring Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss a 7th Day Adventist who refused to hold a weapon during the Second World War and won the Medal of Honor for the courage he showed by rescuing over 75 men during one night on his own. Andrew’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen and this was an absolute fabulous film and is up in my top 10 of all time films now, it had everything a try story, plenty of action, guts and bloody parts and also a romance.

I could’ve chosen several other films that I think were good enough to be in my top 5 such as Moonlight which won Best Picture at the Oscars and even Hidden Figures. Other films I think deserve a mention are Wonder Woman probably the best DC film made along with Justice League, Gifted which I really enjoyed and of course it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention The Last Jedi the latest in the Star Wars Saga.

I look forward to beating this total next year and also to see what films are nominated for the Oscars as in the UK these films tend to come out in January.

Star Wars VIII – The Last Jedi

Date Watched: – Thursday 14th December (Midnight Screening)

Director: – Rian Johnson

Genre: – Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: – Mark Hamill (Luke), Carrie Fisher (Leia), Adam Driver (Kylo/Ben), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe), Andy Serkis (Snoke), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo), Frank Oz (Yoda), Billie Lourd (Connix), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) and Jimmy Vee (R2-D2)

Review: –

Not sure how to write this review as most of my reviews contain spoilers and I know that a lot of people still have not seen the Last Jedi yet.

Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi is probably one of the most anticipated films of the year and one that millions of Star Wars fans have been waiting for 2 years to answer questions that The Force Awaken left to be answered but I came away with more questions than answers but that seems to be the way the new trilogy of films seem to be going so I will try and write this without mentioning spoilers but this will be a shorter review I expect than normal.

This film I think is more action packed and contains more humour than the other films and you can see the difference in the writing and directing of Rian Johnson that JJ Abrams though JJ will return for episode IX of the sequel trilogy which would be interesting though he was executive producer for the Last Jedi so he would’ve had an input in the film.

The film follows the developing relationship between Rey and Luke as well as Rey and Kylo Ren (though Rey, Luke and Leia all refer to him as Ben) as the film does tend to focus more about the Force as well as the Imperial/Alliance battle, however the film does tend to follow the same tendencies as previous films in the Saga but I suppose this is to be expected as we are now at Episode VIII of the saga. The film introduces new characters such as Rose and the Porgs (love them or hate them they’re part of the story now) as well as having Laura Dern come in as Vice Admiral Holdo and Carrie Fisher’s daughter (Billie Lourd) again appears as Connix which I can see becoming more involved in Episode IX after the death of Carrie which is one of the biggest question that Star Wars fans have is how they will deal with her death in Episode IX as at present ruled out using CG to replace her like they did in Rogue One.

I really enjoyed this film and personally I think this is the best Star Wars one to date but it is annoying that it also leaves you with more questions that need to be answered and you have to wait 2 years for the next episode (and last of the current Saga). I am also going to see this again this week (possibly in 3D) and one I will watch over and over again.

Rian is also going to write and produce a new Star Wars trilogy away from the Skywalker Saga which I look forward to watching.

This is a must see film. It would be a 10/10 film if it didn’t recycle some of the old ideas but fully deserves the 9/10 I give it.

Golden Globes

The nominations for the Golden Globes where announced last week and below are the Movie nominations. Normally I would give my recommendations but looking through the list over half of these films haven’t been released in the UK yet so no able to comment on any of these. I’m also not sure if these will have been released before the awards so not sure if I will do another post with my recommendations. I hope this isn’t the case with the Oscars as I did manage to watch all of them last year and the majority where Unlimited Screen with Cineworld too.

It does seem the UK is lagging a lot behind the US in a lot of the releases as for example Coco was released in the US at Thanksgiving (25th November?) but not due to be released in UK until 18th January a good 2 months after the US release. Another example was that Stronger is released on Home Media in the US just 10 days after the Cinema release in the UK.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Dunkirk”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“The Disaster Artist”
“Get Out”
“The Greatest Showman”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Helen Mirren, “The Leisure Seeker”
Best Director
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Ridley Scott, “All The Money in the World”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Ansel Elgort, “Baby Driver”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best Original Score in a Motion Picture
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“The Shape of Water”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“Dunkirk”
Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture
“The Shape of Water”
“Lady Bird”
“The Post”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“Molly’s Game”
Best Animated Film
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Ferdinand”
“Coco”
“Loving Vincent”