New Year’s Eve – 31st December

This film is one by Garry Marshall who has also directed Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. As with these films, New Year’s Eve is an ensemble film following many different characters and their individual stories that intertwine with each other. An American version of the British ensemble comedy such as Love Actually.

The film follows a range of groups and relationships on New Year’s Eve in New York City. Stories follow a mother and daughter; an older woman and her much younger acquaintance; rival expecting mothers; a lonely dying man and his nurse; the woman working to make the ball drop in Times Square happen; a chef and her rock-star ex-boyfriend; a man rushing to make a speech in a RV and two strangers trapped in an elevator.

I have seen this film before, a few years ago so wasn’t expecting it to be as emotional as it was. There was a certain intensity in some of the scenes especially as characters reunited or forgave one another. Even though each story probably has 15 – 20 minutes screen time, they were all fully told and I did not find it hard to follow. I loved that some connected in unexpected ways.

This film has an amazing cast featuring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Sarah Paulson, Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Abigail Breslin, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Sofia Vergara, Jon Bon Jovi, Lea Michele, Nat Wolff and Seth Meyers. There are many others, even on the poster above but these are the names I felt are most recognised.

Overall, this is an enjoyable feel-good film with many highs and lows in one of the most exciting New Year’s Eve cities in the world. 4/5.

The Goldfinch Review

I had been looking forward to this film for a while due to the starry cast and the trailer. It did not disappoint. Every aspect of the film was done really well and the film definitely lived up to expectations. I won’t give too much away but the film begins at the end of the events with the main character, Theo as an adult in a hotel room in Amsterdam. Something has clearly happened to him and the film tells the story of how he got there.

Hello readers,

Just a quick review today as I have had lots of deadlines recently and I’m working on a bigger post that will hopefully be out soon.

I saw the Goldfinch last Sunday and it had such an impact on me that I thought I would write a review. I had hoped to finish this review by the end of October but I wanted to do it justice.

The Goldfinch

I had been looking forward to this film for a while due to the starry cast and the trailer. It did not disappoint. Every aspect of the film was done really well and the film definitely lived up to expectations. I won’t give too much away but the film begins at the end of the events with the main character, Theo as an adult in a hotel room in Amsterdam. Something has clearly happened to him and the film tells the story of how he got there.

As a young teen in New York City, Theo suffers a traumatic event that leaves him with no where to go. The synopsis reveals that his mother is killed in a bombing at the Met. He goes to a friend Andy’s house where the Barbour family takes Theo in. Theo is very cultured as he liked to attend art galleries with his mother. Mrs Barbour bonds with him over this. When Theo’s estranged father comes back into the picture, he takes him back to Las Vegas with bartender girlfriend, Xandra. He makes a new friend Boris who leads him to a path of drugs and alcohol.

The storyline switches from Theo as an adult, working in antiques and dating Andy’s sister back to Theo in Las Vegas, struggling with loneliness and his father trying to scam him. Boris is also lonely living with his abusive father and the two bond quickly. We slowly piece together what happened between Theo’s childhood and his life as an adult.

At the centre of the film is the Goldfinch. A piece of art that Theo was looking at before the explosion in the Met. He finds it in the wreckage and decides to keep it. It is a expensive painting but Theo can’t find it in himself to give it back.

There are many things I have left out as I don’t want to reveal too much but I think the chemistry between the actors and the art direction of the film really sold it. The emotions explored were so intricate and deep that I really empathised with Theo’s life and everything he goes through.

The star-studded cast includes:

Oakes Fegley from Pete’s Dragon (2016) plays the protagonist young Theo. He had such a great manner and expression that I really believed in his character. I think he will become a household name in the future.

Ansel Elgort from The Fault in Our Stars (2014) is adult Theo. The likeness to Fegley is outstanding. Whether Elgort observed Fegley’s character and adapted it for his own character or vice versa but I never questioned that he was the older version of Fegley. It was a different role for Elgort from his usual teen films and Theo’s spiral into drugs and crime has continued into his adulthood.

Aneurin Barnard known for Dunkirk (2017) is older Boris who Theo reconnects with in New York years after the events in Vegas. His likeness to younger Boris is also uncanny but not as great as the two Theos. I have seen Barnard in another film this year Dead in a Week or Your Money Back and his character was so completely different to Boris that I was not comparing in this film.

Finn Wolfhard known for playing Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things (2016) takes a different turn as young Boris. He is from Ukraine so has a strong accent that I thought was very good. His bad boy character was so unlike Mike but Wolfhard played it really well. I think he is going to continue to be a successful young actor.

Sarah Paulson from American Horror Story (2011-2018) as Xandra, Theo’s dad’s girlfriend is transformed into a blonde bartender with highlights and false nails. I haven’t seen her in a role like this before and I think she really pulled it off.

Luke Wilson known for The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) is Theo’s dad. A washed up actor who has got into gambling, Larry turns up in New York and takes Theo away from his new life to Las Vegas where the desert is encroaching on the road. Larry doesn’t treat Theo very well and is trying to get his money. I wouldn’t reveal the ending but it was certainly a twist.

Jeffrey Wright known for Shaft (2000) as Hobie. He runs an antiques shop and his business partner, Welty dies in the explosion. Theo works with him as an adult and the two have a strong bond. Hobie also looks after Pippa, Welty’s niece until she goes to live with her aunt. We see Pippa again in the future when she comes back to the shop.

Nicole Kidman known for Moulin Rouge! (2001) is Mrs Barbour, the first mother figure Theo finds after his mother’s death. Her character was a total revelation as I feel that Kidman does loving yet poised very well but she was certainly a central player in the film.

That will be all for my review today and I hope to do a few more posts this month.

Films I have enjoyed recently are Judy; Zombieland: Double Tap; Ad Astra; Oceans’s Eleven & Twelve and In Bruges.

A few shows I can recommend are Daybreak; Living With Yourself; The Good Place and Looking for Alaska.

There’s lots of great things coming out in the cinema: The Aeronauts; Midway; Ford v Ferrari; Last Christmas; 21 Bridges; Knives Out and Charlie’s Angels.

Happy Watching


Female Empowerment at its Finest: How Ocean’s Eight has brought changes to the androcentric industry

Hello readers,

Having finally seen Ocean’s Eight at the cinema a couple of months ago, I thought I would give my opinion on why the film is important in terms of female empowerment. The film, a continuation of the Ocean’s 11 trilogy starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, is not just a heist film about eight women stealing a necklace, it’s a change in the right direction for female filmmakers.

Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Awkwafina in Ocean's Eight (2018)

Even though the film was directed by a man, Gary Ross, writer, producer and director; it is the cast and plot of the film that has shown women on top for once.

The eight talented and diverse leads from the music and acting world were not just picked randomly, as a unit they gelled together to create a believable and enjoyable chemistry.

I loved the setting of the film, at the MET Gala, one of the most prestigious events in the world. It played to the character’s strengths and interests: Mindy Kaling’s character is a jewellery maker, Sarah Paulson takes a job at Vogue, Anne Hathaway is a vain but devious celebrity. Some male critics dismissed the setting as a ‘typical female subject’. I however disagree with this.

The setting of the MET Gala as the most exclusive invitation in America makes the stakes for the heist that much higher. Just robbing the vault where the necklace was kept wouldn’t be as exciting or dangerous as actually carrying out the heist at the gala with cameras and security covering every inch of the place.

In most male-led heist films they would not consider robbing a necklace and certainly not by taking a job at a magazine or catering the event. This is where women find their individuality and what makes the film plot interesting.

There are some very influential and key male characters in the film such as Claude Becker, Debbie Ocean’s ex-boyfriend who becomes an important person in the heist as he is taken to the gala as Daphne Kluger’s date and is manipulated for revenge by Debbie.

A satisfying ending to the film reveals the eight never being caught but letting the insurance agent trying to hunt down the stolen necklace only have 10%. Lou also reveals all the other jewellery she managed to lift so the participants all get $30 million – twice the agreed upon amount.

This film showed me that women can still wear dresses, take typically feminine jobs, steal a necklace but can also be clever, not get caught and make a great entertaining movie.

Some personal highlights of the film for me were Debbie Ocean managing to get herself a free hotel room at the beginning, the recruitment of Daphne to the plan, the ‘job within a job’ at the gala, framing Claude Becker and the four retired actresses at the end auctioning off parts of the necklace as bracelets and brooches.

Directed by Gary Ross

Screenplay by Gary Ross & Olivia Milch


Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean (the leader and the woman who thought up the heist whilst in prison)

Cate Blanchett as Lou (Debbie’s best friend with catering skills and an authoritative persona)

Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil (a timid fashion designer struggling with debt)

Mindy Kaling as Amita (a jewellery designer, looking for a boyfriend and still living with her mother)

Rihanna as Nine Ball (a hacker who can crack any puzzle)

Awkwafina as Constance ( a pickpocket who can take anything from anyone)

Sarah Paulson as Tammy (a housewife with kids, running a secret buy and sell operation and an old friend of Debbie’s)

Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger (one of the most famous actresses in the world, looking for her MET Ball dress designer and who is vain but also deceitful)

Richard Armitage as Claude Becker (an arrogant gallery owner who is an ex-boyfriend of Debbie’s and Daphne’s new beau)

James Corden as John Frazier (the insurance agent trying to hunt down the stolen necklace who managed to catch members of Debbie’s family on several occasions)

There were also many celebrity cameos at the MET Gala such as:

Hailey Baldwin, Olivia Munn, Katie Holmes, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Serena Williams.

Overall I think this film is very entertaining for both men and women and the empowering messages for women only enhance the story.

I give Ocean’s Eight 5/5.

Sorry for not posting in almost two months. I have been on holiday in places with no WiFi and I also haven’t had the time to write a good piece. Hopefully will be doing a few more this month to make up for the lack of pieces in July.

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂