Who I think should have won at the Golden Globes 2019

Hello readers,

For my first post of 2019, I’m sharing my personal opinions on who should have won at the Golden Globes this year. There were some unexpected winners and losers for me so I thought I would discuss these and what I thought of some of the films that won. I’m only going to talk about categories in which I have seen at least 3 of the films.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Best Motion Picture – Drama

I was very excited about this film as I am a long time fan of Freddie Mercury and Queen. The film certainly didn’t disappoint and it is one of my favourite films of the year. I found out more about one of my favourite bands and the hardships and joy they experienced in the early days of their success. I’m also really pleased for the cast as they all worked really hard on the film and press tour. I follow them on Instagram and the posts they make featuring each other have really kept the spirit of the film alive.

The category this year had 3 films featuring black actors which is historic in itself as awards ceremonies in Hollywood have been accused of unfair treatment in previous years. The fact that Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk were nominated is a big step towards racial equality. I have seen both Black Panther at the cinema and the Cannes Film Festival in May and BlacKkKlansman at the cinema back in September. Both films were amazing and would have been worthy winners of this award. A Star is Born was one of my best films of the year and it’s one award was disappointing but in this category I think it faced tough competition.

Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody – Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Rami Malek was the perfect Freddie Mercury in this film and got Freddie’s movements and mannerisms down to a T. I loved him as the lead singer of Queen and his performance brought the film to amazing heights. I also admire Malek for his roles in Need for Speed and the Night at the Museum franchise.

Bradley Cooper did an amazing job in A Star is Born as I have mentioned in a previous post and John David Washington as Ron Stallworth was powerful and iconic. Ron Stallworth becomes the first black cop in Colorado Springs and he engineers an infiltration into a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. The film by Spike Lee had a lot of powerful imagery and showed how awful and traumatising racism has been and continues to be. I have not seen At Eternity’s Gate or Boy Erased but Willem Dafoe and Lucas Hedges are both worthy nominees.

Alfonso Cuarón for Roma – Best Director – Motion Picture

I personally did not enjoy this film. It didn’t have enough plot or dialogue to follow to be able to empathise or relate to the characters. It was a pretty film to look at but as a drama it did nothing for me. I was disappointed with this winner and I thought the other nominees were more deserving.

Spike Lee and Bradley Cooper both did great jobs with their films and I would have preferred if one of them had won. I love Bradley Cooper as an actor and to be nominated for his directorial debut is a credit to his talents. Spike Lee knows how to tell a powerful tale and this was evident in BlacKkKlansman. Some of the dialogue and events really stuck with me. I haven’t seen Green Book or Vice so I don’t know how good the directing is.

Justin Hurwitz for First Man – Best Original Score – Motion Picture

The score for First Man really enhanced the breathtaking images of the film. When Neil Armstrong is going into space at the beginning the score helped me feel as though I was in the rocket with him. I think this score and composer are worthy winners in a tough category. Marco Beltrami did an amazing job with A Quiet Place, a film with minimal dialogue but the score creates great tension and suspense. I was on the edge of my seat for most of this film. Alexandre Desplat also did an amazing job with Isle of Dogs; another great film of 2018. Directed by Wes Anderson and told as an animation with Japanese and English dialogue, Isle of Dogs was a lovely story about the love between an owner and their dog. Like the Quiet Place, the score for Isle of Dogs helped enhance the story and build tension.

Black Panther’s score was also award worthy and it’s amazing to see a Marvel film nominated for so many awards at the Globes. Ludwig Göransson did a brilliant job and paired with the soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar, the sound is one of the major factors that has made Black Panther one of the best films in recent years. I have not yet seen Mary Poppins Returns but have heard wonderful things about the film.

Shallow from A Star is Born – Best Original Song – Motion Picture

I think this song really deserved to win. It’s a powerful song and sung by Lady Gaga in the film, it tells the story and feelings of her character, Ally perfectly. Bradley Cooper also sings the song very well but I think it is Lady Gaga that truly owns it. I have listened to on repeat for months and it still moves me and empowers me at the same time. The sheer power of Lady Gaga’s voice singing it in A Star is Born gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it in the film. I’m glad that A Star is Born won in this category.

It did have tough competition though as I think every song in this category was award worthy. All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar and SZA from Black Panther has a great beat that is perfect for the film and Girl in the Movies from Dumplin’ by Dolly Parton is a great theme song for the film. It’s uplifting in the same way as the message in the film. I have just listened to Requiem for A Private War and it was a beautiful song but I haven’t seen the film that it was written for. Revelation from Boy Erased is another powerful song that would have been a worthy winner.

The Americans – Best Television Series – Drama

I haven’t watched the recent seasons of The Americans but I have seen it before and I think it’s a good show but this year there were more worthy winners. I think that Bodyguard or Killing Eve should have won. I enjoyed both these series and think they were great television dramas. Bodyguard about the British Home Secretary having an affair with her personal bodyguard. It seem fairly simple but there is so much more to this drama. Plenty of action and romance and the last episode is one of the most intense pieces of television I have ever seen. Killing Eve had more of a cat and mouse element with Eve who works for MI6 trying to track down a female assassin all over Europe. It was a great female lead drama and the drama was more long played than in Bodyguard. Great plot twists and acting. I haven’t seen Pose or Homecoming but I have heard great things.

Rachel Brosnahan for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel – Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

I think that Rachel Brosnahan is an amazing actress and this is the role that she is born to play. I can’t see anyone else even attempting to play Mrs Maisel. I love this show and have seen both seasons. It is about an upper class Jewish woman in New York City. At the beginning of the show, Mrs Maisel’s husband leaves her for his secretary and to cope she turns to stand up comedy. It is set in the late 1950s when women were not very well received in comedy. The whole cast of the show are amazing and I would highly recommend watching it.

GLOW is an amazing series about female wrestlers in the 1980s and Alison Brie does a great performance as Ruth. I love this show and have seen both series and I cannot wait for the next season. Kristen Bell is also great as Eleanor Shellstrop in the Good Place, a comedy about going to the afterlife. The show while being up to date on pop culture also helps the audience to understand concepts of philosophy and make sense of what happens to us after death. I was really glad that Kristen Bell was nominated. Will & Grace and Murphy Brown are shows that I haven’t seen but have heard good things about.

I would also like to give a special mention to Ben Whishaw who won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television. His role as Norman Scott in A Very English Scandal was great and he was worthy of the award. I have however not seen any other nominations in his category so it wouldn’t be fair to say he is the best, not having anything to compare it to. I watched all of A Very English Scandal last night and it was such a powerful and almost unbelievable true story. It tells the tale of Norman Scott having a gay affair with powerful politician Jeremy Thorpe in the 1960s and then being targeted for murder by Thorpe. Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe was also great and a role we rarely see him play, the bad guy.

I know I only gave my opinions on a few of the categories but I didn’t feel it was right to judge categories in which I hadn’t seen more than 3 of the nominations.

I hope to write on many new and different topics in 2019.

Keep Watching,

Robyn

Award-Nominated Films: A Review

Hello readers,

This post is dedicated to the three award-nominated films I have seen recently. Award season is often a time when the best films come out and this year is no exception. I saw all three of these films at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford. I also volunteer there. If you are ever in Oxford, it is a great little cinema to catch a film. It only has 1 screen but also has a bar (with alcohol!) and plush red seats. There are 2 films on every evening and usually one in the afternoon too. They also show lots of art-house style films, documentaries and ones you may not find in the chain cinemas. Anyway on to the films.

Molly’s Game – Nominated for 1 Oscar, 2 Golden Globes and 1 BAFTA

This film is based on a true story. Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) was an Olympic level skier. She was trying out for the Winter Olympics when she was injured and could never ski again. She moves to Los Angeles and puts off her plan of going to law school for a year. She begins working as a cocktail waitress but soon gets a job with Dean (Jeremy Strong) who then asks her to organise and run his weekly underground poker game. Famous actors, musicians, sports stars and millionaires play the game. After several years, Molly is fired by Dean but retaliates by stealing all his players and setting up Molly’s Game at the Four Seasons in LA. Her buy in is put at $250,000 US dollars a game. Her game gets bigger and bigger, moving to New York and involving members of the Russian mafia.

2 years after playing she is arrested by the FBI and tried for illegal gambling. The film tells her story from her beginnings of being raised by her strict father (Kevin Costner) and being coached to ski and do well academically to running a multi-millionaire dollar company. At the beginning of the film, Molly goes to visit Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who becomes her lawyer and her life is then told in flashbacks. The styling of the film is very good and Jessica Chastain is amazing in her role. I could only think of Molly as her. There is a lot of fast narration by Molly in the film but it is not too hard to keep up with.

The bold colours of the film combined with the amazing life story of Molly makes this film a triumph. The film has some sad moments that did make me shed a few tears, especially when Molly sees her dad after being arrested.

This film is a true female empowerment story and how even if you get one dream taken from you, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something else and create your own business. Even though what Molly did was illegal, there is still a story of true courage and determination to be told.

The Oscar this film was nominated for was Best Adapted Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Steve Jobs, Moneyball) who also directed the film. It is based on Molly’s autobiography of her life. I think Jessica Chastain should have received nominations for her role and so should Idris Elba for his role as Charlie.

Also starring in Molly’s Game are Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), Michael Cera (Superbad), Brian d’Arcy James (13 Reasons Why), Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), Bill Camp (The Night Of), Graham Greene (The Green Mile), Claire Rankin (Taken, 2017), Joe Keery (Stranger Things) and Jeremy Strong(The Big Short).

Overall I rate Molly’s Game 5/5.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Nominated for 7 Oscars, 6 Golden Globes (Won 2), 9 BAFTAs, 4 SAG Awards (Won 1)

The film centres around the after effects of the raping and murder of Angela Hayes. Her mother, Mildred is fed up with the police department. They haven’t had any leads in 7 months. She then uses 3 Billboards on a small road near her home to ask a question: Why haven’t there been any arrests? Her billboards start to make people take notice and complaints come in for the honesty of the signs. The small town consists of many people on Mildred’s side but the billboards change the atmosphere of Ebbing, Missouri. The film is poignant and honest about the police department of small towns in the US and how in the South, many policemen are more concerned with falsely accusing black people for crimes than finding real criminals.

Frances McDormand as Mildred gives an astonishing performance, and she has been nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA and won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her role. Her character is unpredictable, violent, mean, grieving and angry but McDormand gives her a human quality that makes you want her to succeed in finding her daughter’s killer.

Other cast members have also been recognised for their performances, Woody Harrelson who played the Chief of the Ebbing Police Department was nominated for a SAG Award, a BAFTA and an Oscar for his role. Sam Rockwell who plays a violent, racist cop, who later redeems himself, Jason Dixon won a SAG Award and a Golden Globe and was nominated for a BAFTA. He is also up for an Oscar in the same category as Woody Harrelson, Best Supporting Actor. The whole cast also won a SAG Award.

The other Oscars this film has been nominated for are Best Picture, Best Original Score – Carter Burwell, Best Original Screenplay – Martin McDonagh, Best Film Editing – Jon Gregory.

This film was powerful and truthful which I think really resonated in today’s climate of fake news and police brutality being covered up or excused. The painful story of a child being raped and killed has also been told accurately and respectfully.

The cast includes Frances McDormand (Fargo), Woody Harrelson (True Detective), Sam Rockwell (The Way Way Back), Abbie Cornish (Candy), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea), Zeljko Ivanek (Seven Psychopaths), Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class), Clarke Peters (The Wire) and Samara Weaving (The Babysitter).

Overall I give this film 4/5.

Darkest Hour – Nominated for 6 Oscars, 9 BAFTAs, Won 1 Golden Globe and 1 SAG Award.

This film tells the story of Sir Winston Churchill, the man who was reluctantly made prime minister and fought for our country. Churchill has to make a decision between attempting to negotiate peace talks with Hitler, preventing him from invading Britain or to find against the Nazis, despite the odds being against Britain. Churchill is portrayed by Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) in his role of a lifetime. When I was watching Oldman on screen, I forgot that he wasn’t an actor playing Winston Churchill, I thought this is Winston Churchill. Oldman not only looked like Churchill in the realistic prosthetic makeup but he had his voice and mannerisms perfected. Darkest Hour tells an incredible story of British courage in the year 1940 in a time period that only lasted about 2 weeks.

Churchill also shows his human side by bonding with his new secretary, Miss Layton (Lily James) and shows his romantic side with his wife, Clementine (Kristin Scott Thomas). There is also a lovely scene where he rides the Tube and asks ordinary people of London what they want for their country.

This film is very authentic from the scenery in the underground, where it looks just like the 1940s to the hundreds of extras used in the House of Commons dressed like Members of Parliament from the time.

Gary Oldman has been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, one of six the film has been nominated for. The other nominations are Best Picture; Best Cinematography – Bruno Delbonnel; Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick; Best Costume Design – Jacqueline Durran and Best Production Design – Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer. Gary Oldman also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, and a SAG Award.

The film’s nine BAFTA nominations are Best Film; Best Leading Actor – Gary Oldman; Best Supporting Actress – Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient); Outstanding British Film of the Year; Original Music – Dario Marianelli; Best Makeup/Hair – David Malinowski, Ivana Primorac, Lucy Sibbick and Kazuhiro Tsuji; Best Cinematography – Bruno Delbonnel; Best Costume Design – Jacqueline Durran and Best Production Design – Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer.

The excellent cast that transport the audience to this time period include Lily James (Cinderella), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), Ronald Pickup (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Stephen Dillane (The Hours) and Samuel West (Van Helsing).

Clearly this film has done well at the awards and it deserves it. I give the Darkest Hour 5/5.

Other films I have seen recently in the cinema include Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Hostiles.

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂

Review: The Post and Oscar Nominations

Hello readers,

I recently saw The Post starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep so I am going to write my review and talk a bit about the context of the film and what it means in today’s climate in the USA. Also I am going to share my opinions on some of the Oscar nominations.

The Post (2017)

The Post is set in 1971 and tells the story of the Washington Post trying to print the Pentagon Papers – around 7,000 pages of government secrets about the relations between the United States and Vietnam for over 20 years. The information was kept quiet by the government to protect themselves until Dan Ellsberg, who worked for the Department of Defence, leaked the papers to the New York Times. The paper was told not to print any more of the secret documents unless they wanted to be taken to court by the US government. The Washington Post who wanted to be taken seriously as a national newspaper, found the source and decided to also print the Pentagon Papers. They all have to face decisions between obeying federal law and avoiding jail or fighting for the freedom of information and letting the public know what their government had been doing.

The Vietnam War had many casualties including over 50,000 American soldiers. 100,000 men were sent to fight by President Kennedy. Four US Presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon were involved in the Vietnam War and authorised thousands of troops being sent to fight in a war they knew they could not win.

Apart from Government secrets being kept from the people and freedom of the press, another issue addressed in The Post was sexism. Although Katharine Graham was the publisher of the Post, she still had to prove herself worthy enough of being on the board of the paper. She was the only woman on the Post’s board. For example, at an important meeting for the Post, when she was trying to get investors to back selling stocks for The Washington Post, Ms Graham had prepared her speech and another man next to her took over her speech. She did eventually manage to command the room and the decision to print the Pentagon Papers came down to her and not a man.

Overall I think the Post was a great film and very relevant to today’s US Government and the ideas of ‘fake news’ and the rigging of elections. I give the Post 5/5.

Also in other film news this week is the release of the Oscar nominations for this year’s awards. Many great films, actors, directors and other crew members were nominated.

Image result for oscars 2018

The biggest award of the night, Best Picture has many great contenders. I have only seen Call Me By Your Name (which I wrote about in November) and The Post but I hope to see a few more before the awards are handed out on March 4th. Personally, I think Call Me By Your Name was one of the best films of the year in terms of storyline, the actors, the setting, the director and the score. It has been nominated for 4 Oscars in total including Best Actor for Timothée Chalamet, Best Adapted Screenplay, James Ivory and Best Original Song – ‘Mystery of Love’ by Sufjan Stevens.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Other great films in the Best Picture category are Darkest Hour, about Winston Churchill and how he helped to win WWII; Dunkirk, about the famous battle of Dunkirk in WWII and the rescuing of over 300,000 troops from France; The Shape of Water which has a staggering 13 nominations and is about a woman connecting with an alien in the 1950s; and Get Out, a horror film about an interracial couple visiting the woman’s white parents for the weekend.

All of these films have received high praise so far, and have done well in other award shows. Darkest Hour directed by Joe Wright has a total of 6 Oscar nominations including Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Make Up and Hairstyling. Gary Oldman has already won the Golden Globe and SAG Award for his role as Churchill. This year was the first time he has won any awards.

Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Lily James in Darkest Hour (2017)

The war film Dunkirk directed by Christopher Nolan has 8 Oscar nominations including Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Director, Best Sound Mixing and Best Original Score.  Starring in the film is Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, James D’Arcy, Harry Styles and Mark Rylance. Christopher Nolan has also been nominated for the David Lean Award for Direction at the BAFTAs this year.

Fionn Whitehead in Dunkirk (2017)

The Shape of Water has nominations in many categories including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score and Screenplay, Best Sound Editing and Mixing and Best Cinematography. This comeback from Guillermo Del Toro, is set in the Cold War and stars women as the important characters.

Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (2017)

Get Out has 4 Oscar nominations in total including Best Director and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya. Kaluuya has also been nominated for an EE Rising Star BAFTA Award for his breakthrough role.

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out (2017)

The other Best Picture nominations are Lady Bird, Phantom Thread and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

I hope that Timothée Chalamet wins Best Actor, but I predict that Gary Oldman will win as he has already won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his outstanding portrayal of Winston Churchill.

I would like Margot Robbie or Meryl Streep to win Best Actress for their roles in I, Tonya and The Post. I think any of the nominees, also including Sally Hawkins, Saoirse Ronan and Frances McDormand could win.

For Best Director, I would like to see Greta Gerwig win as she is the only female nominee and her work is outstanding or Jordan Peele, for Get Out, his amazing debut. I feel like Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk or Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water may win the Oscar.

The other awards are still important but I have picked a select few to comment on. If you feel inclined, please leave a comment below with who you want to win at this year’s Oscars.

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂

My Top Netflix Picks

Hello readers,

I have recently got a Netflix account so this post will be listing what I have been watching on the popular streaming service. I know I haven’t posted in a while but I was busy as I’m sure you all were over the Christmas/New Year Period. Hope you all had a great festive/ holiday season.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)

I am currently on Season 2 out of 3 of this show and so far I am really enjoying it. Each episode is only 25 – 30 minutes so it is easy to binge watch which I have been doing.

The premise of the show is that Kimmy Schmidt and three other women were trapped in a bunker for 15 years from 2000 to present day. They are set free to live the lives they were robbed of by their cult leader, the evil Reverend. Kimmy is 29 and decides to live in New York City and create her new adult life there away from Dunsville, Indiana where she was held captive. She meets Lillian, a crazy lady who hates what hipsters are doing to the neighbourhood and Titus Andromedon, someone who also moved to New York City to pursue a dream: to be in the Broadway show, The Lion King. They all help Kimmy readjust to the modern world of mobile phones, the Internet and dating. She also gets a job working for Mrs Jacqueline Voorhees, a rich woman who can’t seem to do anything for herself.

This sitcom is definitely funny in its own unique way. The characters always seem to have a crisis but that’s life! Ellie Kemper (The Office, Bridesmaids) stars as Kimmy; Titus Burgess (30 Rock) as Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s fabulous roommate; Carol Kane (Hester Street, Taxi, The Princess Bride) as Lillian, their wacky landlord and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock, Ally McBeal) as Jacqueline Voorhees, Kimmy’s self-centred boss.

This show is great if you are looking for something different and fun to binge watch as there are currently 3 seasons on Netflix. Also nominated for 16 Primetime Emmys and 4 SAG awards. The show is written by Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Robert Carlock (30 Rock, Friends).

Stranger Things (2016)

I know many people have seen this show, but I couldn’t not write about it. It is set in 1983 in the fictional mid-west small American town, Hawkins, Indiana. Four friends in middle school, Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will gather in Mike’s basement to play Dungeons and Dragons. On the way home, Mike disappears. In his place appears a strange girl, Eleven who can move things with her mind. Mike’s sister, Nancy also investigates her friend, Barb who goes missing just like Will. Chief Jim Hopper is on the case, he thinks Hawkins Lab has something to do with the disappearances.

The acting and aesthetic of this show is really outstanding. You really believe it is set in 1983. The creators, the Duffer Brothers took inspiration from many 80s films like the Goonies, ET,Ghostbusters and many more. Each episode is 40 – 55 minutes and there are currently two seasons out but this show is also very binge-worthy. I am re-watching it for the second time because it is that good.

The ensemble cast are: Winona Ryder (Little Women, The Age of Innocence) as Will’s mum, Joyce Byers; David Harbour (Revolutionary Road, Suicide Squad) as Chief Jim Hopper; Finn Wolfhard (IT) as Mike Wheeler, the leader of the party; Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, the goofy, knowledgeable one; Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, the practical one who brings the gadgets; Millie Bobby Brown as the mysterious Eleven; Natalia Dyer as Will’s sister, Nancy Wheeler; Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Will’s older brother; Joe Keery as Nancy’s boyfriend, Steve Harrington; Cara Buono as Mike’s mum, Karen Wheeler and Noah Schnapp as Will Byers.

Above are the main cast for Season 1, there are some added cast members in Season 2 but I don’t want to give anything away.

This show is a drama/mystery/horror and once you start watching you will be hooked. It has also been nominated for 4 Golden Globes (including one win by David Harbour), 18 Primetime Emmys (including 5 wins), 4 Sag awards (1 win by the ensemble cast) and 1 BAFTA nomination.

The Good Place (2016)

This sitcom style show has a different vibe to most TV programmes you see these days. Yes it is funny, with a certain amount of drama with some well developed characters but everyone in it is dead. It takes place in somewhere called The Good Place, somewhere everyone who was really kind and generous on Earth go after death to live out eternity, like paradise. Only those who have dedicated their lives to others go there. Everyone else goes to the Bad Place to be tortured.

Eleanor Shellstrop goes to the Good Place, at first she thinks she earned it but when she finds out the architect of the neighbourhood, Michael thinks she is someone else, she knows she is in the Good Place by mistake. When the neighbour experiences problems and Eleanor realises she is causing them, she decides to try and earn a spot in the Good Place through her ‘soulmate’ teaching her ethics. Chidi is meant to be Eleanor’s soulmate but due to an error, they realise they are only destined to be friends. She also befriends her neighbours, Tahani and Jianyu, who are soulmates or are they?

The show stars Kristen Bell (Frozen, Veronica Mars) as Eleanor; Ted Danson (Cheers, Becker) as Michael; William Jackson Harper (Paterson, High Maintenance) as Chidi; Jameela Jamil (The Republic of Telly and The Great Comic Relief Bake Off – herself) as Tahani, someone who Eleanor finds condescending and is the only one with an accent; D’Arcy Carden (Broad City, Other People) as Janet, a computer program who looks like a person, Janet contains all the knowledge in the universe and Manny Jacinto (The Romeo Section, Once Upon a Time) as Jianyu, a Buddhist monk who took a vow of silence aged 8.

This comedy is something different and I would recommend to ages 12 and up. I have seen season 1 as that is all there is on Netflix but there is also a season 2. Very easy to watch as each episode is about 23 minutes. It also won a Critics Choice award for Most Exciting New Series.

Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father (2017)

This documentary starring Jack Whitehall (Bad Education, Fresh Meat) an actor and comedian and his uptight and middle class father, Michael. In this 6 part series, father and son go on the gap year Jack never had around South East Asia. They visit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and go to many spots that only the locals know about. Jack takes his father along for some well needed bonding time as the two are like chalk and cheese. I find Jack Whitehall entertaining and the funny dynamic with his father makes this travel show different from the rest. Good to watch if you enjoy Jack’s humour from his TV series’ or stand up. The filming of the scenery is very good and you see this part of the world from a bird’s eye view and more.

Easy to watch as each episode is only half an hour. I binged this series in a couple of days. It is funny but also informative particularly of the history of Cambodia and the suffering the people have endured in the past, something which I was unaware of previous to watching the show. I would say it is suitable for 15 years and up due to the complex and often rude language used.

The Crown (2016)

This show tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the monarchy of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. It starts in 1947 when Elizabeth and Philip got married. It then depicts the history of the Crown from King George VI to it being passed down to his daughter. The show also features other members of the royal family from the 1950s, the Queen Mother, Queen Mary, Duke of Windsor, Princess Margaret and Prince Charles and Princess Anne as children. The show depicts the hardship and joys Elizabeth faced as a new queen whilst still trying to be a good wife and mother.

The audience is shown the emotions of the people behind the stories in the newspapers and how they dealt with each crisis. Many people view the Royal Family as having it easy, but there was a lot they weren’t allowed to do and they had virtually no privacy then.

Whilst the show portrays real life people and events that actually happened, we have no way of knowing if what the characters said to each other in private is correct or not. Nevertheless, I think that the show is excellent. The acting and set design make you believe that the actors actually are the people they are pretending to be.

Starring in the Crown created by Peter Morgan is Claire Foy (Breathe, Wolf Hall) as Queen Elizabeth II; Matt Smith (Doctor Who, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Prince Philip; Vanessa Kirby (About Time, Everest) as Princess Margaret; Victoria Hamilton (Doctor Foster, Scoop) as the Queen Mother; Pip Torrens (Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars: Episode VII) as Tommy Lascelles, Private Secretary to King George and Queen Elizabeth and John Lithgow (Cliffhanger, Interstellar) as Sir Winston Churchill.

The show has won 2 Golden Globes (1 for Claire Foy), been nominated for another 3 (1 for Claire Foy and 1 for John Lithgow), won 3 Primetime Emmys (1 for John Lithgow), nominated for another 9 (1 for Claire Foy), won 2 BAFTAs, nominated for another 10 (1 for Claire Foy, Jared Harris (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Lincoln) who played King George VI briefly in Series 1; John Lithgow and Vanessa Kirby).

The Crown has also won 2 SAG awards (1 for Claire Foy and 1 for John Lithgow), been nominated for another 3 (1 for Claire Foy), won a Critics Choice TV award for Best Supporting Actor – John Lithgow and been nominated for 2 more (1 for Jared Harris).

Clearly, the show is a success for Netflix and one of their most popular shows. There are currently 2 series out, I am half way through series 2 and I really love it. I didn’t know half of what happened in the Royal Family at the time and the acting, costumes and set really transport you there. Each episode is about 1 hour long but it is definitely worth watching.

Grace & Frankie (2015)

The premise of the show is quite simple, Grace and Frankie are told by their husbands, Sol and Robert that they both want a divorce because they want to marry each other. Turns out both Grace and Frankie’s 40 year long marriage was only real for half that time. Robert and Sol, who are partners in a law firm have been secretly gay and in a relationship for the last 20 years and want to get married as it is now legal.

Grace and Frankie have known each other for those 40 years but they are far from friends. Grace ran her own beauty business and believes appearance is everything. Grace teaches art to former convicts and is also a hippy who likes to take drugs and live wild and free. After their husbands leave them, they share their co-owned beach house and gradually begin to get along. Both have two children, Grace has feisty Brianna who now runs her business and Mallory who has 2 kids and a husband of her own who is more conventional and generous. Frankie has 2 boys, both adopted, Bud who is practical and a lawyer like his dad and Coyote who is a recovering drug addict searching for his purpose in life.

Together both families navigate their new and unexpected dynamic with hilarity and drama along the way. Starring in the show are Jane Fonda (Barbarella, 9 to 5) as Grace, Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, Grandma) as Frankie, Sam Waterston (Law and Order, The Great Gatsby, 1974) as Sol, Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now) as Robert, Brooklyn Decker (Just Go With It, What to Expect When You’re Expecting) as Mallory, June Diane Raphael (The Disaster Artist, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as Brianna, Ethan Embry (Sweet Home Alabama, That Thing You Do!) as Coyote and Baron Vaughn (Cloverfield, Black Dynamite) as Nwabudike ‘Bud’.

This comedy has been nominated for 1 Golden Globe for Lily Tomlin, 7 Primetime Emmys (2 for Lily Tomlin, 1 for Jane Fonda) and 4 SAG awards (2 for Lily Tomlin, 2 for Jane Fonda).

Each episode is around 25-30 minutes and there are currently 3 series with a fourth coming on Netflix very soon. I have just finished series 1 and I will definitely be continuing to watch it.

Recommendations I have received from friends are Gilmore Girls, Brooklyn 99, 13 Reasons Why, Black Mirror, How to Get Away with Murder and Orphan Black.

Hope any Netflix users find my review useful.

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂

Top 10 Films to Watch on a Girly Sleepover

Hello again,

Now I know if any guys are reading this are thinking wow that title is sexist, then I have to agree but from the little male culture I understand, boys don’t tend to watch these types of films on sleepovers. Instead they watch action or horrors. However if you are a guy and like any films mentioned please tell me in the comments. Anyway seeing as I am a girl and have been on many a girly sleepover here are my top ten film choices.

  1. What Happens in Vegas (2008)

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This rom-com starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher is one of my all time favourites. It is set at first in Las Vegas where two strangers get crazy drunk and married then one of them wins $3 million on a slot machine and they are forced to be married for 6 months. Sounds simple right? It is although the twist is the two characters who got married whilst very drunk hate each other and have to live with each other for six months. I personally love hate-to- love stories which this definitely is. I also like the New York setting where they both live as its adds glamour. Lake Bell (No Escape) plays Diaz’s best friend and Vegas buddy whereas Rob Corddry (also mentioned in my Weekly Recommendations) is Kutcher’s friend (and lawyer). These two provide great comedy to the film as they also hate each other but with a burning passion. Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Queen Latifah (Girls Trip) and Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) also star. Overall I think this movie is a classic for sleepovers and a good all round film if you need to believe in love again. Overall I rate What Happens in Vegas 5/5.

2. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

Related imageA great film based on a series of books by Louise Rennison. Georgia is just like any normal girl, she has friends, lives with her family and her cat and goes to school. Except she is far from it. Her sister Libby, believes herself to be cat, her actual cat Angus is an absolute mongrel, her parents argue all the time and the Sex God that has just moved to town has no awareness of her existence. Georgia charters her crazy life in her diary. This film starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron) as Robbie the Sex God, Kimberley Nixon (Fresh Meat) as Georgia’s enemy ‘Wet Lindsay’, Alan Davies (QI), Karen Taylor (The Sketch Show), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark) as Best Friend Jas and Georgia is played by Georgia Groome (London to Brighton) is one that will make you laugh out loud and close to tears. Most girls who have been or are teenagers can relate to the conversation Georgia has with her mates. She also dresses as a cocktail olive at the beginning so what’s not to love? I have actually seen this film on a girly sleepover so it is definitely perfect for one. I have deducted one point for the fact that the ending would not happen in real life. No spoilers! Overall I give Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging 4/5.

3. Mean Girls (2004)

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This film is seen as a classic by many, for its great cast, quotable lines and relatable story about wanting to fit in at high school. Lindsay Lohan plays Cady, a girl who has lived in Africa her whole life and is suddenly dropped into an American high school. For the first time in her life she has to worry about what she wears, who she associates with and her place in the social hierarchy. She in filtrates the most popular girl group in the school, the Plastics. They are made up of Regina George – The Queen Bee who rules the school and her minions – Gretchen, whose dad invented the Toaster Strudel and Karen, who is possibly “the dumbest girl you will ever meet”.  Cady plans to ruin Regina’s life but she soon becomes one of the Plastics. In between trying not to fall for Regina’s gorgeous ex Aaron Samuels, get out of Mathletes run by Ms Norbury and remembering who her real friends are, Janice and Damian. This film is a must see for any teenager trying to navigate school. Joining Lohan in a great ensemble cast are Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia), Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Lacey Chabert (Party of Five), Tina Fey (SNL), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Jonathan Bennett (Cheaper By The Dozen 2), Lizzy Caplan (Now You See Me 2) and Daniel Franzese (I Spit On Your Grave).

‘That’s so fetch! Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It’s not going to happen!’ A great film to see on a sleepover, you will quoting the script for months! Overall I rate Mean Girls 5/5.

4. She’s the Man (2006)

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Based loosely on the Shakespeare play ‘Twelfth Night’ this football film had great laughs and heart. Viola just wants to play football but her school cuts the girls teams she dresses as her brother and pretends to be him at his new school for two weeks while he cuts school and goes to London. What could go wrong? What Viola didn’t account for was falling for her cute roommate and having to deal’s with her brother’s psycho ex-girlfriend. She also has to work much harder to keep up with the boy’s football team. Will she be able to prove to her ex and her old school that girls can play football too. This film is laugh out loud funny with some unique lines, it will make you sigh and cringe for the heroine Viola, played by Amanda Bynes at the height of her career. Also starring are Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) as her roommate, Vinnie Jones (Snatch), Laura Ramsey (The Ruins), Julie Hagerty (Just Friends) and Robert Hoffman (Step Up 2). Overall I rate this She’s The Man 5/5.

5. It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006)

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A classic enemies to lovers story, this teen movie has a rather unusual twist. Nell and Woody have nothing in common except their loathing for each other. She is a clever, hardworking, poetry loving academic with Yale University in her sights and Woody is lazy and rude and his place at a bog standard college is resting on his football skills. They also happen to be neighbours. On a school trip to a museum, a mysterious statue casts a spell on them and the next morning, they wake up in each others bodies. At first, they both see this as a chance to mess with the others’ life but they soon figure that to achieve their college dreams they have to work together. This film really highlights the (stereotypical) differences between boys and girls and it had a lot of heart. Physical comedy and costumes were also very important in this film. Also starring are Sherry Miller (Sabrina The Teenage Witch), Robert Joy (Sweet November), Sharon Osbourne (X Factor) and Maury Chaykin (Dances with Wolves). Overall I give It’s A Boy Girl Thing 3.5/5.

6. We’re the Millers (2013)

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This comedy always makes me laugh out loud but be warned there are some very dirty jokes and slight nudity so stay away if you are under 15. For those who are old enough, We’re the Millers is a comedy about a man called Dave, who is a drug dealer (Jason Sudeikis) tasked with bringing a huge amount of weed back from Mexico and to do it he enlists the help of his neighbours to pretend to be his family. Rose (Jennifer Aniston) is a stripper who needs the money Dave is offering to go on this crazy road trip, Casey (Emma Roberts) is a runaway who has nowhere to go and Kenny (Will Poulter) is just plain weird. The 4 of them fly to Mexico and drive an RV back to the good ol’ USA. Sounds simple but many mishaps befall them. They are chased by drug dealers, bitten by spiders and have to get through the week without losing their tempers. They start off doing it for the money but do they start to become the family they are pretending to be? With hilarious and very dirty jokes, this comedy will have everyone crying with laughter. Also starring are Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms), Ed Helms (The Hangover), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Molly C. Quinn (Castle).  Overall I give We’re The Millers 5/5.

7. 17 Again (2009)

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Zac Efron (High School Musical) stars as Mike, who had it all at 17, a beautiful girlfriend, a great friend Ned, a promising future playing basketball. Until his career away when his girlfriend became pregnant. At 37, his life has gone down hill, his wife Scarlet wants a divorce, he is living with Ned, who since high school became uber rich (but still a nerd), his son Alex is bullied and his daughter Maggie is dating a jerk. He gets a chance to fix his life though when he falls through a time vortex and emerges looking how he did when he was 17. He goes back to high school to help his kids but is the person he really need to help himself? Also starring are Matthew Perry (The Whole Nine Yards) as Mike aged 37, Leslie Mann (Knocked Up) as his wife, Thomas Lennon (Night at the Museum) as Ned, Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Maggie and Sterling Knight (Starstruck) as Alex. This film has its funny moments and cringey ones but essentially it is about a man trying to get his old life back whilst looking like he did at 17. Overall I give 17 Again 3/5.

8. The Breakfast Club (1985)

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This film is an 80’s teen classic and also one for people aged 15 or over. The film is about 5 teens who get all day detention on a Saturday. They don’t really know each other as they are all from different walks of life. They all slowly start to become closer and rebel against their horrible teacher Mr. Vernon (Paul Gleason). They realise that they have more in common with the others than everyone thinks. Directed by John Hughes, who has a reputation for making great 80’s teen movie like Sixteen Candles (1984) and led by an all star cast, The Breakfast Club has become a must see for anyone who has been to high school and knows what it is like to try and find your gang. Starring Emilio Estevez (The Way) as Andrew ‘The Jock’, Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles) as Claire ‘The Princess’, Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight) as Brian ‘The Brain’, Ally Sheedy (Short Circuit) as Allison ‘The Basket Case’ and Judd Nelson (St. Elmo’s Fire) as John Bender ‘The Criminal’. This film is as funny as it is it poignant and the script really resonates with you. It is also fun and it makes you want to be part of The Breakfast Club. Overall I give The Breakfast Club 5/5.

9. Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)

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This film has a more unusual plot but the same Hollywood script is still there. A separated couple who both have very high profile jobs in New York City. They become witnesses to a murder and to go into witness protection. As they are still legally married they are sent to the same place, Ray, Wyoming. A very small town where people live like they are in a western from the 1950s. Paul and Meryl have to learn to live with each other after he cheated and they are stuck in the same house. They also have to learn how to shoot, ride a horse and avoid bears. Starring Hugh Grant (About a Boy) as Paul and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) as Meryl, this film is great for believing in love again and perfect for a sleepover. Be prepared for laughs and the odd sad moment. Also starring Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), Michael Kelly (Changeling), Sam Elliott (Hulk) and Mary Steenburger (Back to the Future Part III) this is a simple little rom-com designed to warm your heart. It’s downside is that it is a bit unbelievable at times. Overall I give Did You Hear About the Morgans? 3/5.

10. The Switch (2010)

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Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston star in this hilarious comedy. Jennifer plays Kassie a woman who decides she wants to have a baby – even though she hasn’t got a man. She decides to use a sperm donor. Her friend Wally (Bateman) supports her decision even though he is against it – because he is secretly in love with her. At her insemination party, Wally gets very drunk and spills the sperm sample. He then switches it for his. He was so drunk he doesn’t realise what he did. Kassie moves away but comes back 7 years later with her son, Sebastian. The sperm donor is now divorced and looking to get together with Kassie. Wally whilst looking after Sebastian can’t help noticing the similarities between himself and Kassie’s son. This laugh out loud comedy is great for anyone 12 and upwards. You will route for Wally long before he admits he in love with Kassie. A stellar supporting cast of Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers), Thomas Robinson (Tomorrowland: A World Beyond) and Bryce Robinson (Marley & Me). A classic rom-com and the child actor is amazing, overall I give The Switch 5/5.

These are the films I think would be great for a girly sleepover, feel free to leave a comment suggesting any others you like to watch on a sleepover.

Happy Watching,

Robyn

My Weekly Recommendations

Hello readers,

Even though this is only the second post on this blog, I feel like I am getting more into writing this. I had a small break from the blog before it really even got started due to starting university but now I am back.

So let’s get to the point: the films I have watched this week.

Cinema:

I now volunteer at the independent cinema where I now live so I get to watch new films every week and this week was Blade Runner 2049. I actually saw this last month for my birthday and I was not too impressed. This time around I actually consciously chose to have a nap in the middle of the film and I find it extremely hard to fall asleep watching any movie let alone a noisy one like this but somehow I did. The film is not bad but it is not the type of film I would watch again (like I did). I felt the marketing by Sony was too hyped up. I went in expecting an action packed Ryan Gosling/ Harrison Ford duo movie with sci-fi and amazing special effects. I was disappointed.

From a film student, point of view (which is also me) the film was visually stunning, the scenery of the desert and post-apocalyptic world was really amazing and the colours and lighting in every shot was clearly well thought out but I felt the script and lack of action was what let Blade Runner 2049 down. Granted I had not seen the original Blade Runner (1982) so I wasn’t as invested in the characters as some people but I felt this reboot was not the film for me. A lot of others did enjoy it like The Guardian gave it 5 stars, but I do not. It’s okay for me to have my own opinion and I still bought a ticket and contributed to their box office gross. Overall I rate this film 3/5.

DVD:

I bought the film Eat Pray Love (2010) on DVD from a charity shop and this week I decided to watch it. It is based on a book by Elizabeth Gilbert that was a New York Times bestseller that I read last year and absolutely loved. The book is about  woman who divorces her husband and then goes on a year long trip to Italy, India and Indonesia. The book is also about God as she starts praying and in India she goes to an ashram – a place of prayer that was set up by her guru. The book really spoke to me so I went in with high expectations and I was not disappointed. This film may sell itself as a rom-com but to me is about finding out who you want to be in life and what your goals should be. The author Liz is played by Julia Roberts who does an excellent job at portraying all of Liz’s emotions and feelings with using few words and her face. Other cast members include James Franco, looking very young playing her lover David, Billy Crudup, her husband and Viola Davis, Liz’s friend in New York where she lives. The story was adapted in the film but Liz Gilbert worked closely with the producers and oversaw all changes made. Some things were added that actually happened but were not mentioned in the book. The film is long over 2 hours but it is worth it to get the full story. The only negative is I felt the film did not go into enough did about Liz’s time in Indonesia. Overall I rate this film 4/5.

Amazon Prime:

I watched Office Christmas Party on Amazon Prime. I know it’s a bit too early for Christmas but this film features some of my favourite comedy actors and actresses like Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and Rob Corddry. The film is about a technology company run by a relaxed boss who has taken over from his dad. The office branch is about to be closed by his workaholic sister (Aniston) so the office throws an epic Christmas party to close a client. Chaos ensues. I liked the fun nature of this film and the great one lines from some of the funniest comedic actors in Hollywood. The cast gelled well and set for the party was massive and very detailed. It also has drama and romance and an epic car chase at the end. For a funny Christmas movie, it actually had a plot that made sense. I also watched it because I saw the trailer when it was being marketed last Christmas and thought it looked like a good film to watch. Definitely one to watch if you love comedy and Christmas and don’t mind occasional American cheesiness. Overall I rate this film 5/5.

So these are my 3 recommendations for this week. Some weeks I may watch more films than this but this week I had some big assignments due so I watched more TV instead.

Happy watching,

Robyn