Mary Poppins Returns

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How do you make a remake/sequel of a highly beloved movie? Mary Poppins Returns is the answer. 

Let’s start with that – it is set as a sequel, yet it is definitely a remake of the original for the new generation of children. This is probably one of the few remakes I am glad they made because it has been 54 years since the original. Quite a few generations haven’t seen the 1964 Mary Poppins. And she is a character worth introducing to children (even though there are drawbacks I can spot as well, but hey, it’s an entertainment industry, not educational).

So, yes – it is very entertaining! Slightly shorter than the original yet I would say still quite long if you’re going to the cinema with children. They barely sit through an hour and a half, let along 2 hours. But I also agree that there is no other way to do it proper justice, considering that it is also a musical. 

Either way though is it very pleasant to watch. It is bright, it is colourful, it is fun. Sequences and musical numbers are well-thought through, I mean they had Rob Marshall as a director. This guy has won and been nominated for many awards for his musicals (Chicago, Into the Woods). Good choice.

441fff7e-4a2e-4a10-9d07-14f5392b2aee-mary_poppins_thumb_2I liked the fact that practically all of the original songs and numbers have been both recreated and reinvented. That’s Disney for you. I think they cracked the code for making successful sequels (don’t make sequels; make sequels=remakes). It was probably also very nice for parents in the audience to notice all the references to the original movie. They brought Dick Van Dyke back to sing and dance again. That was something.

Overall, a nice movie, what can I say. There is a lot, and I mean a lot of music and dancing. That is pretty much the key thing about it. the good thing is that they managed to make them all different, entertaining and unique in their own way and style.

Costumes I want to mention are amazing. They received an Oscar nomination too 😊.

screenshot_20181206_152523Personally, and this might as well be just me, but Emily Blunt was very entertaining to watch as Mary Poppins. I definitely felt a difference from Julie Andrews’ Mary, but that wasn’t bad in any way I think. Considering children nowadays are probably never going to meet the old Mary. I loved her Britishness, in fact, I loved the Britishness of the entire movie. I literally kept thinking to myself: ‘what’s the next cute British phrase that she’s going to say?’. That was probably a great part of the comedy on its own.

_104847906_familydisneyAnd overall, there’s only one thing that made me so very sad – NO ONE said ‘Goodbye’ to her! I was quite shocked really. I mean yes, the Banks’ family didn’t say ‘Goodbye’ to Mary in the original as well, but Bert did and he even said ‘Don’t stay away too long’. That made for such a bright and hopeful ending against the grey gloomy background of 1910 London. And here, she just left… that was painful. Wonder what children thought of that.

When all is said and done, consider that its simply put – another well-told story for the family. Great scenes, vivid colours, a very talented cast and one unforgettable nanny!

Mad Max: Fury Road

I love spontaneous movie nights! This is the best experience ever mainly because when you choose something on a whim you don’t really have time to create any expectations. And that, my friends, is the GREATEST lesson life can offer 😊   … expectations can be radioactive!

Meanwhile, back to our beloved movies. Today’s topic: Mad Max: Fury Road!

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I had heard a little bit about this film and it was part of the First Oscars I ever saw – 2015. Yet I never really got around to watching it. At first, I thought that it’s not my kind of movie, but then my perspective on movies changes so I should have seen it… anyway, the point is, it as a spontaneous decision. Boy, was that a win!!!

Let me tell you something, there’s going to be an initial ‘Whaa? What is this?’, and then your world view is going to get upside down and you will want to watch every second! Absolutely amazing movie!

I didn’t remember this when I started watching but it has won quite a few Oscars. 6 to be exact (about 2 more than the most won Oscar by a film this year – Bohemian Rhapsody got away with 4). I heard someone say that the marketing for this movie was done well because the trailer only kind of fully talks about the first 15 minutes of the movie plot and then from there on its kind of blank. And once again, lets stress out the point that sometimes it’s not about the story you tell but about HOW you tell it! think about every bad joke you ever heard; the problem was probably not the joke itself, but the person who told it.

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So, yeah. I am in full agreement that the best of trailers out there are the ones who DO NOT tell you the story in short flashy images. I mean what would be the point of actually seeing the movie! Well done to those who can entice the audience with so little that they would be begging to go into the theatre.

It’s an art on its own to share the movie vibe in 2.5 minutes. Well done!

Back to the movie. No joke, those 6 Oscars are well deserved!

Best Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. That sentence can literally summarise the movie… no, I’m kidding! So much more to be said 😊

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Where to start though? Okay, well, I was stunned by the Production design, Costume design and Makeup and Hairstyling. That’s probably what I will remember most of this movie, brilliant! All the winners have established names and I would say there’s a reason for that. The world this movie takes you into is indescribable. The size, scope, colours and the depth of it are all amazing. I was in love after the first 10 minutes. The costumes make you wish you had one, as funny as that may sound once you have seen the movie. They are well made and perfectly matched. And the makeup and hairstyling – creates visions you will not soon forget! I was hypnotised and couldn’t stop watching! 2 hours was not enough.

I can’t review an action movie and not say anything about the action scenes – someone’s mind exploded into this movie. Kudos to the director George Miller (who was nominated for best director btw). He was the obvious choice, considering he has directed all the previous ‘Mad Max’ movies from the franchise. The interesting fact is that he’s also directed ‘Babe 2’ and ‘Happy Feet’, wow! 😊

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People say this movie is amongst the best action movies of all time. Make your own mind whether you agree or not after you watch it. the scenes are amazing. They are well thought through and the cinematography is great. It all makes sense, it’s all captivating and makes you say ‘Wow!’ every 30 seconds. When all is said and done, that is its core! And what a fascinating core it is.

You won’t regret it. If you want some entertainment and stunning visuals (ones that you can’t take your eyes of of) this is the movie! The world and characters, and the interactions of these characters that this movie had has left me so jealous and I am not exactly sure of what! Have an enjoyable screening!

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Okay, so… apparently this movie is just coming out today (22/02/19) in the US, but it’s been around since January in other parts of the world. I myself just saw it today, in fact, I am fresh from the cinema and it felt like the perfect time to express my opinion 🙂 … I will keep it SPOILER FREE!

One thing you should keep in mind is that this – third instalment of the franchise is in fact considered to be the last one … I did not really know that when I walked into the cinema … but I am me and I don’t regret it, just thought others should be prepared mentally.

 

 

Right then, in regards to the movie itself:

I read a few reviews, both critics’ and audiences’ and here’s where that got me…

Compared to the first two movies of the franchise, the third one has both its merits and downfalls. Starting with a lack of humour comparatively and little relationship development/story. But all that really means is that creating a finale to a franchise is by far THE HARDEST MOVIE TO MAKE!

Yes, there was less humour (but I did laugh out loud on a couple occasions), yes, there was less relationship development between the human characters of the movie but there was a very strong focus on the relationship between the humans and the dragons! I would say it is almost impossible to hit all the departments when creating a movie and score 10/10… very few movies ever have (if they have). Therefore, I would say a movie always has an orientation, a focus in one direction more than another. For How to Train Your Dragon: the Hidden world this department is the special effects and animation!

I can say it is worth seeing just for that! I watched in awe at the colours, shapes, shadows, texture and depth of the picture. A friend of mine described it as ‘Gorgeous!’ and I agree.. fully!

The animators haven’t spared any resources be it time, money or sleep 😉

I want to see the movie again just to please my eyes and escape into the Hidden world! God, I wish it existed… I would move in tomorrow, no questions asked.

Anyway, one can tell the team struggled to figure out how to tell this story in a better way than many others have been told. I would never say they failed. It is indeed a heartfelt story and a heartfelt ending. I tried so hard not to cry considering the number of children around me, but I failed, and at that point, I wished I could let all the emotions out just because the scene deserved it. The bittersweet ending is a hit or miss when it comes to animations, but here it is right where it should be!

Sure, the villain sucks, but he is more a catalyst for the story development than a centre-figure like Drago was in the second movie. 

I must also say just how strong, important and positive the message of the movie is! 

As hard as it is to say this, I am glad that the creators decided to conclude the franchise. It is good to see they are learning from their mistakes (the likes of Shrek should have taught a lesson or two). I am going to miss these characters and their compelling stories, but our part in those stories should have a boundary … it is how we keep our love for them alive and burning!

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And just because we are so close to the Oscars I must say … DONT FORGET THIS MOVIE until February 2020! It deserves to be nominated for Animated Feature Film !!!

 

Bohemian Rhapsody – Oscar Nominee

Another nominee, almost guaranteed to win an Oscar is the 2018 biographical film about the British rock band QUEEN. Just considering the number of fans the band has even now, the movie was bound to be a success without question. But then again, sometimes it’s not just about the story you tell, but about how you tell it.

There will always be those who say that a movie based on a true story does not do justice to what really happened. And that is probably true for many if not all of them. But I say, movies based on true stories try to stay close to the truth as much as possible, which sometimes is good and sometimes is bad. A thing that needs to be established though is that this does not make the movie in itself bad. Whatever happened … happened. We can’t go back and film it and even if we could, it would still not be the same. The art of cinema is indeed an art to tell stories, even true ones, but stories are a phenomenon, they’re never told the same way twice. We have to accept that if we are ever to watch a movie again … movies show points of view and as in real life, we cannot see all points of view at the same time … and neither can a movie!

 A majority of people around the world would have known the key points of this story before entering the cinema and even before the movie was ever made … some have lived through it. The goal of this movie therefore probably was never about the shocking ending or the suspension of keeping production a secret as we know to be a big thing these days. No, I believe it was the idea to show a well-known story in a new way. After all, a movie is more or less a demonstration of its director’s point of view. Surprisingly for us, the director of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is Brian Singer, a man also well-known for directing movies from the X-men franchise – X-Men, X2, X-Men: First class etc. I for one was very surprised, that is a very different direction. Some would say a risky move, but not Singer, who’s probably glad to have rebooted his reputation after the not so well-received last X-Men movie – X-Men: Apocalypse. The man obviously had something to offer to the world and he finally did it… and more so, he is being rewarded for it! A dream come true! Not unlike the movie itself.

I barely realised 2 hours had gone by. The movie basically throws you the line within the first minutes and if you grab it on, there’s no letting go until last one … and even after that. QUEEN have indeed left an astounding legacy after all. As you may have known, the movie follows the story of Freddie Mercury from when he joins the band in 1970, to their Live Aid performance in 1985 in front of 70,000 people. The focus is of course on Rami Malek, playing Freddie and how he came to be the Freddie Mercury we all know and love.

The movie focuses a lot on human emotion and actions. It speaks out about contemporary issues like sexual orientation, drug and alcohol misuse. Yes, we are shown yet another story of fame success and how it affects the people under the mask of fortune and how it eventually leads to desperation and how that desperation is overcome. But audiences do enjoy these types of movies because there’s something new to learn from every story. Just as there’s something new here as well.

The movie was nominated for 5 Oscars starting with Best Picture and Best Actor, but also Best movie editing, Best Sound Editing and Best sound mixing. It is almost obvious why 🙂

I’ll just quickly share some opinions on these nominations. The editing is indeed done amazingly. If we consider that the story being told is not new, the way it was told is! 2 hours were not enough 🙂 It was captivating, pleasant and memorable!

When it comes to sound, considering the nature of the movie, you know this is the department they spent the most money on. With good reason and all, but also with something phenomenal to show for it! I gotta say it … these songs are iconic and even if you are not a big fan of QUEEN, watching this movie, you feel the love for music they had/have and have bestowed upon the world. If you’re wondering, the difference between sound editing and sound mixing is that mixing involves the recording and ‘processing’ of sounds in terms of volume, frequency, dynamics etc. and editing involves the selection and arrangement of these sounds to create the final score used in the film. Being nominated for both, we can safely say the crew has done their best!

I love the sounds in this movie! It captures the magic QUEEN created, shows it in the most effective and emotional way. Oh yes, emotions are a big thing here. Get ready to feel everything the characters feel: be ashamed, scared, proud, brave and be a QUEEN!

If you have 2 hours and you’re not afraid to devote them to the screen… you will be taken from reality into something majestic. Get ready to sing:
“Is this real life? … Is this just fantasy?”

Gone Girl review

Next up on the list: Gone Girl! No spoilers 

This one is going to be a hard one, but we’ll tackle it … and I don’t just mean the post 🙂

Gone Girl is an American psychological thriller. It was released in 2014 and received numerous awards and nominations for the lead actress’ performance and adapted screenplay. It was directed by David Fincher, who is by far a veteran of the thriller genre having directed movies such as ‘The curious case of Benjamin Button’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’ and many others and received numerous awards and nominations as well. Therefore, you can already get a sense that the movie is well thought through and well developed.

Main concept: The film starts as a mystery that follows the events surrounding Nick Dunne, who becomes the primary suspect in the sudden disappearance of his wife – Amy. Sounds like a cliche if you ask me, however, this is just about the first hour of the movie … and there are 2 and a half of them 🙂
Let me tell you, almost nothing in this movie is what it seems and there’s no telling what comes in the next scene. If you are an avid movie watcher you may think/feel you can predict what’s going to happen, but that will only be true as far as the first hour.

The lead actors Ben Affleck ( known for”Argo”, ‘Good Will Hunting’, Ärmageddon”) and Rosamund Pike (‘Pride and Prejudice’) as established actors, do a fantastic job. I got lost thinking everything is a true story. It felt real. I bet it has happened somewhere in the world even if what happens is quite astonishing.

The movie follows a very dynamic story, however, the pace changes several times throughout it. It almost felt like two separate stories merged into one (done very well by the way; you won’t feel lost or confused at any point) … until of course that theory goes to hell. Every quiet moment eventually starts to feel like that calm moment before a massive storm. My sympathies changed several times during the 2-hour period. By the end, I felt utterly shocked and in total disbelief of the events that occurred. So yeah, get ready to feel every scene in this movie as if you are part of it.

This movie also sends a very important message about the difference between right and wrong. Whether there is a line between them and whether the concepts exist at all or not.


The cinematography is in my opinion quite good. Shots and scenes are very well managed and have a specific tone consistent throughout the movie. Settings include a few American homes and a few other spots (which I am not naming to avoid spoilers).

Overall the film is very realistic in terms of characters, story, actions and reactions. The ending will throw you in a bit of a debate and raise controversial feelings… be ready for that (I wasn’t and was left quite shaken afterwards). You cannot watch this one half-eyed, so I’d suggest picking a free timeslot in your diary when you can spare the 2,5 hours. It is worth it if you like being shocked and like to tickle your mind with a good mystery.

Happy watching!

Green Book review – Oscar nominee

I figured I should do some reviews on the newest pictures, especially the ones that have attracted some attention recently. I see this a chance to spread a little word about them as I understand some people can be indecisive when it comes to seeing 2-hour long films. Maybe this will help you decide whether it’s worth watching (in terms of, have a little idea to see if it fits your taste). NO SPOILERS

So, Green book. I’ll be honest, I started watching it without any expectations and without knowing what it’s about. I actually prefer it so, as this way the movie has a clear chance to impress me (I tend to get stuck on prejudice sometimes). Well, let us see what happened.

Main concept: we are looking at the 1960s, when segregation was still at its peak. Yes, this movie looks at the division of white people from people of color in America. All 2 hours of it. But don’t in the slightest let that put you off. It is done brilliantly! I don’t know exactly how, but 2 hours wasn’t long at all. The film challenges assumptions of whether class, dignity and honour is in any way relevant to the color of our skin. Watch the movie to find out 🙂

The movie as of now has 5 Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor; Best supporting actor; Best original screenplay and Best Editing. All major categories which emphasises the quality of this film. It deals with heartfelt emotions which the audience can feel vividly thanks to the amazing cast performances. The actors do indeed deserve their nominations especially considering that the lead and supporting actors are the main focus of the movie and carry it on together for most of the scenes.

The story is indeed a true one! The screenplay was developed by the director – Peter Farrelly,  Brian Currie and the Nick Vallelonga – the son of the main character – Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga. It is safe to say they wanted to be as close as possible to the original story. And with good reason. A very powerful story conveying and very important and equally strong message. Surprising to see a film of such depth from the director – Peter Farrelly, as he is famous for his collaboration with his brother – ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and ‘Me, myself and Irene’, both quirky comedies. However, you can tell that he put a lot of hard work and thought into creating this movie and it has definitely paid off.

The pace of the film is overall very well balanced. There was never a moment when I thought it was too slow or too fast. It was just right. And by all means, the ending is brilliant! Keep in mind though, that the best way of watching this movie is by giving it your full attention. You won’t regret the 2 hours, but you will regret them if you don’t give it the just 2 hours fully. A lot in this movie is being said without words, much more than verbally actually. That’s one of it’s key and most important features. If you want a good quality movie, with good actor performances, beautiful shots and scenes and some very pleasant dialogue, this is the right one. It fits a nice homey weekend evening.

Lord of the Rings review

I’ll start with one of my all-time favourites and quite honestly the love of my life – The Lord of the Rings trilogy (LOTRT). No SPOILERS in this review!

I won’t let my personal feelings cloud my judgement, however, I am sure that the fact that I love these movies has made me watch them literally over a hundred times, which means I am well informed when it comes to an in-depth analysis of this picture. 
Where to start… the films were released right at the beginning of the 21st century:
The Fellowship of the Ring in December 2001
The Two Towers in December 2002
The Return of the King in December 2003
The director – Peter Jackson, as well as the majority of the crew that worked on these movies, are from New Zealand. The movies were filmed back to back and edited in New Zealand as well.
All three movies were critically acclaimed and received numerous Oscar nominations of which ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ won 4 and the ‘The Return of the King’ won 11 (for which it was nominated, therefore, not losing one nomination throughout). Oscars before the LOTRT were not given to ‘fantasy’ movies, considering them to not be of considerable substance and added value. The LOTRT broke this barrier and opened the possibility for fantasy movies to prove their worth.
Left to right: Barrie M. Osborne (producer); Peter Jackson (Director, producer, screenwriter); Fran Walsh (Producer and screenwriter).
I want to praise the cast and crew for their astounding work. There are a few things that make these movies stand out from others at the time (which is probably one of the reasons they were so successful). The first one on my list is definitely cinematography by Andrew Lesnie. The camera work for the trilogy is very well done. Movement is both natural and at moments extraordinary but consistent throughout nonetheless. The camera delivers many feelings to the audience such as the feelings of size and scale, fear and wonder, epicness and fighting spirit and overall – grandeur!
Another fantastic feature is the score by Howard Shore. Each movie has original scores and songs which not only enrich the story and the power of the movies but actually take audiences through and within the world of Middle Earth created by J.R.R.Tolkien. The music has everything from the slow and calming melodies of the Shire to the majestic score of the fellowship, the battles and triumphs. Not too surprising an Oscar for Best Original Score was won for both the first and the third movie. 
Moving on to the amazing settings, locations, costumes and special effects. Considering the timing of the movies, I only want to say one thing and I believe all LOTR fans will agree with me – Middle Earth is REAL! The crew created this world from scratch and to this day it still feels more real than many other fantasy worlds. I will just make a quick comparison with The Hobbit trilogy which by far had much more opportunities in terms of technology development. However surprising it may sound, the LOTRT movies are less fantastic and more raw than the Hobbit trilogy, but that is exactly what makes them feel so realistic and relatable. When watching these movies you can be transformed into another realm and fully believe in the story, invest in it. I highly praise the artwork of Alan Lee and John Howe who first envisioned this world and then to Weta digital and the Weta workshop who made it real for the audience. 
The story is consistent and moving. The film’s editors have done well. The crew definitely struggled with keeping the story together with each next film as the storylines branched out, developed and twisted, but they managed as far as I can see. I remember when I was little, watching ‘The Two Towers’ and being a bit bored whenever the scene shifted towards Frodo and Sam, who are supposed to be the main characters and the main focus of the journey, but as a kid I suppose I preferred watching more of the action and battles the other heroes faced. There is a contrast between scenes in the manner of speed and action, yes. Keep that in mind. 
I could definitely talk for hours about these movies, however, I believe I have highlighted the key points of the massive work that is this trilogy. Overall, if you enjoy fantasy, are looking for something thorough yet entertaining, then you will never make a mistake choosing to watch these movies. Keep in mind that they are relatively long though, so if you decide to do a marathon, I’d suggest going for the weekend :). 

Set the record

Before I start though I really need to set some background.

I am a very controlling person, meaning I like schedules, analysis and basically thought through things :). However, for this little project, I am absolutely willing to give up all control, templates and statistics, mainly because I have literally never needed to do any specific research or gather information about movies. I just randomly look through the information and it stays with me, it interests me and it’s literally like my brain is wired to understand, keep and reform it.
This regards movies, actors, directors, writers, movie composers, awards, behind the scenes and so much more.
Another reason why I am starting this blog is that recently I had an urge, which I couldn’t suppress: I wanted to count the movies I have seen in my entire life…

The people who know me called me crazy and I can assure you they have good reasons for that. But I did it anyway. I realised the result will never be completely accurate. I definitely have forgotten movies that I have seen years ago, or that I didn’t like or that don’t have a famous cast and so on, and I have rewatched some movies an obscene amount of times starting from when I was 5 years old. But I needed a number of some sort… I needed to understand whether I am really a person who is knowledgable when it comes to movies, or better yet – a movie geek.
I am not sure whether the number that I came up with answered that question but it definitely helped me gain some perspective on my life.
I am currently adding numbers to my list of over one thousand movies! (hence the name of the blog)
As a starting thought… that rounds up to about 2000 hours. But then again, I have rewatched some movies over a thousand times themselves, so I’d say all bets are off and I have passed the 5000-hour milestone. That equals to 208 days.

I am not adding any more numbers because I don’t feel like dealing with them just yet. And in a way they don’t matter. All that matters to me right now is my devotion to the art of cinema … and that my fellow movie-lovers is immeasurable!

I apologise for the long post. I will aim not to make the reviews too long 🙂
Hopefully, this will all lead to something one day.
I thank everyone who decided to read all of this and welcome any thought you might want to share.
I will be starting my reviews soon!…

The Journey Begins

So… this is new!

I am literally starting a new life … or going to try to anyway.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m going to do it anyway. And by not knowing I mean just that I am a student studying something she does not know whether she wants and she’s just trying to see if her passion can actually be her flashlight in the great dark unknown.

I love movies, I have loved them all my life. Movies are my life!

I have tossed and turned for the past month trying to figure out what am I going to do with my life and I’ll be honest once again and say I still don’t know.

There are no certainties in my life… but one – I love movies. So, I have been lightly pushed to do something about this (meaning my flatmates got too annoyed with me moping about being unhappy with my course).

And here I am. I will start writing about movies – reviews, reactions, ratings etc… you name it. Only time will tell how far I’ll get… Hoping for the best!

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