Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Title: Hacksaw Ridgehacksaw_ridge_poster
Year: 2016
Director: Mel Gibson
Genre: Action/War
Category: #38 A movie about war

Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss during WWII, although the movie centers on Desmond Doss throughout his training as well as war experience it is primarily his actions at the Battle of Okinawa that have caused his fame.

Desmond desperately wanted to serve his country but didn’t want to kill people, in fact he refused to carry a rifle and was trained as a combat medic. Despite being the only one on the battlefront without a weapon he showed a great deal of courage saving many people (including some enemies) following their injuries in the war.

I’ve seen a few war movies including Gallipoli possibly a hundred times because Australian schools just love to make students watch it over and over again. I also somehow ended up watching Full Metal Jacket when I was about 10 or 11 (if you’re thinking that’s a good idea… don’t). There have been a few that I’ve loved and a few that I haven’t enjoyed much but this one I really loved. It’s such a great story and I loved that there was a chance to get to know the characters before they went off to war.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

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Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

Title: Welcome to the Dollhouse200px-wdollhousemovieposter
Year: 1995
Director: Todd Solondz
Genre: Indie
Category: #21 A cult film

I chose this one for my cult movie largely because it stars Heather Matarazzo. I first saw Heather Matarazzo in the Princess Diaries where she was amazing as Anne Hathaway’s slightly dorky best friend. Honestly, her character there could easily have been the older version of this one.

This movie is a bit like every other coming of age movie you’ll see in that we get to see her figuring out what’s important to her. The big difference here is that instead of getting drunk, and having harmless fun, Dawn is a much darker character. The kind you might find shooting up a high school for instance.

I absolutely understand how this became a cult classic but honestly, I think the storyline could really have done with some work. It just didn’t feel very cohesive and it’s probably not something I’ll be heading out to recommend to my friends.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Florence Foster Jenkins

Title: Florence Foster Jenkinsmv5bmja0mzc4mjmxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodiwntqxode-_v1_uy1200_cr9506301200_al_
Year: 2016
Director: Stephen Frears
Genre: Historical
Category: #27 A film starring Meryl Streep

Okay, so I’ve watched a lot of Meryl Streep but this is one I hadn’t bothered to check out because I didn’t love the idea of it very much. But it was quite funny in places and very well put together. It’s the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins who was known for her truly terrible singing abilities.

Florence has an unusual relationship with her husband (played by Hugh Grant) and also quite a lot of money. We get to see her succeeding in her singing career despite not being able to sing at all.

Honestly, I would’ve been much happier rewatching Mamma Mia or the Devil Wears Prada but I decided to pick new movies for all of my choices so here we are. Meryl Streep is someone who often stars in hilarious movies like Mamma Mia but just as often appears playing real people such as Julia Childs. Much like Julia this movie is well worth a watch but probably won’t make it to my top five Meryl Streep movies.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Baywatch (2017)

Title: Baywatchbaywatch_poster
Year: 2017
Director: Seth Gordon
Genre: Action
Category: #36 A movie with a rotten tomato score of less than 20%

I didn’t need to watch this movie to know that it would be some combination of awful and ridiculous and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you either. But it was.

This one follows on from the original TV show but now it’s The Rock who runs the beach. Welcome Zac Efron who’s an Olympic swimmer with a bad reputation and a sense of entitlement. Cue drugs showing up on the beach and the Baywatch folks getting caught up in a mystery that really should be left to the cops. Add in a healthy dose of character growth and a lot of gratuitous shots of male and female bodies in swimsuits and you’ve got Baywatch.

Honestly though, it had a pretty coherent plot which is more than I can say for a bunch of things I’ve seen this year so it gets some points for that and the acting was okay. The plot was certainly a bit predictable in places and there was nothing particularly amazing about it. But honestly, if all you want from your movie is a distraction from your real life and some pretty men/women to look at then this is a great choice.

Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Bourne Identity (2002)

Title: Bourne Identitya1qealxws3l-_ri_
Year: 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Genre: Action
Category: #16 The first film in a series

Again, I’ve seen parts of this series (not even sure which movie) but never the whole thing. And I remembered the part that I’d seen being quite interesting so I figured I’d check out the whole thing.

I didn’t mind this movie but I also didn’t think it was anything to rave about. Maybe it’s because it’s fifteen years old now and hasn’t aged well. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be checking out the rest of the movies in the series.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

A Christmas Prince (2017)

Title: A Christmas Princea_christmas_prince
Year: 2017
Director: Alex Zamm
Genre: Christmas/Romance
Category: #23 A Christmas Movie

Okay, it’s no secret that I absolutely love Christmas movies, you guys are lucky I didn’t complete this one way back in July except that no one is releasing Christmas movies in July and I’ve already seen the rest. Every year I make my fiancee sit through at least a few Christmas movies with me whether that be the Grinch, Elf and probably Love Actually, even though she really doesn’t like Will Ferrell and has an irrational dislike for all things British. So of course when I saw my favourite zombie (Rose McIver) starring in a Christmas movie on Netflix I was ready to crack out the popcorn.

If you like Christmas movie you’ll probably enjoy this, if you like trashy romantic comedies, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you don’t like either of those two things… run. Lucky for me. I love both of those things.

This movie is so predictable that it hurts and so sickly sweet but god it pulls at your heartstrings. Yes, of course she’s keeping a secret, of course someone is going to find out. Of course there’s a happy ending. But that’s what Christmas rom-coms are all about.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Shutter Island

Title: Shutter Islandshutterislandposter
Year: 2010
Director: Martin Scorcese
Genre: Thriller
Category: #11 A horror/thriller

I’ve seen bits of this movie before but never the whole thing. I’ve also loved Leonardo Dicaprio since I first watched Titanic when I was 7. Then I realised that it had Michelle Williams (possibly better known from her role as Jen Linley in Dawson’s Creek) and Mark Ruffalo (better known as the Hulk). They had so many great casting choices in this movie that even if you don’t love the storyline the acting more than makes up for it.

I love movies like this because you’re never quite sure what’s real until the very end and even then, there’s still a few questions. This one was filmed beautifully so if it sounds like the type of movie you love then this one is well and truly worth a look. Besides, what could possibly go wrong when there’s a thriller set in an insane asylum where a prisoner has escaped.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

 

Summer Wars (2009)

Title: Summer Wars61oamctok0l-_sy300_
Year: 2009
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Genre: Action/Anime
Category: #10 An animated movie for adults/anime

This is such an odd little movie that I really don’t know where to begin explaining it. Basically it’s the old girl asks guy to be her fake boyfriend for the weekend trope. Except that instead of being a romantic comedy the story instead centers on what happens when the online community he works for is hacked by an AI and he’s the only one that can help fix it. With some help from the girl’s family.

Honestly, I didn’t love this movie. There’s been anime movies that I have loved and while I found this concept to be great I found the execution somewhat confusing. Largely it was just unclear to me how exactly you connected to the online community and did things in it, and why people were even using it since it wasn’t quite VR it was just something you could click around.

If you love anime then it’s probably something you’ll enjoy but if you’ve not watched much anime I think you’re better starting with a different movie, perhaps Spirited Away of my all time favourite Grave of the Fireflies.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

The Circle – Dave Eggers

Title: The Circle21043996
Author: Dave Eggers
Genre: Dystopian/Allegory
Pages: 493
Category: 45. Read a book labelled as a Satire or Allegory
Format: Paper

This is almost certainly my favourite book of this year. Way back at the start of the year I read 1984 and quite enjoyed it, but The Circle is like the modern version of 1984 as far as I’m concerned.

The basic idea of The Circle is a company that is slowly taking over the world with technological advancements that take away privacy in a way that is both believable and subtle to those experiencing it.

Mae is the main character and we meet her on her first day working at the Circle. The job she starts in sounds a lot like my worst nightmare but that’s not really the point. We get to watch Mae as she slowly gains more screens and responsibilities until it seems like she couldn’t possibly have enough hours in the day to get it all done. We also watch as she slowly gives up her privacy to become part of The Circle.

I won’t spoil this much more, but don’t take the reviews of the movie as a reflection of the book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Title: The Wolf of Wall Streetmv5bmjixmjgxntk0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjiyotg2mde-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_
Year: 2013
Director: Martin Scorcese
Genre: Drama
Category: #30 A long film (more than 3 hours)

Alright, this one is right on the edge of 3 hours but I’ve seen too many of the long movies so this is what we’re left with.

At any rate, Margot Robbie with Leonardo Dicaprio turned out to be a great combination for this movie. I’m not sure what I expected from this but it wasn’t the drug filled, sexually depraved film that I got.

Honestly, there were huge chunks of this film where I was incredibly frustrated with how women were treated by the guys in this movie. I have to hope that the people watching it are aware that it’s not an appropriate way to treat people.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars