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Yesterday (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

 

Yesterday Review

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Jack Barth (story by), Richard Curtis (screenplay)
Stars: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino

Moviie Couple here! We went to see Yesterday this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system. Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out. We use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Yesterday tells the tale of an event that turns off  power all over the planet for a matter of seconds.  When the power is restored, our hero Jack Malick is struck by a bus.  Upon recovering, Jack discovers that he is the only one in the world that remembers the Beatles! That’s right, no one has a clue who the Fab Four are and have never heard even a note of their famous songs. What will he do with this knowledge?  On the precipice of giving up his fledgling music career, could this be the miracle his manager and childhood friend had told him may happen?  Even if it is a miracle, should he take advantage? Is it right?  Is it wrong? These are the questions presented to us all in this story. Directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame and starring Himesh Patel as Jack and Lily James as his manager and lifelong girl pal Ellie. Joining our stars Across this Universe is Joel Fry as comedy relief roadie Rocky, Kate McKinnon of SNL fame as musical mogul Debra Hammer and Ed Sheeran as well …Ed Sheeran!

Will Jack find the same success as John, Paul, George and Ringo?  Would that type of possible success drive Jack and Ellie closer or further apart?  Will he be found out?  Does anyone somewhere remember the Beatles as well?

So should we just Let This film Be?  Or should we join our couple down the Long and Winding Road of movie bliss?  Well, come join Mr. and Mrs Moviie Couple as we Come Together (Ok that was the last one I promise) and review this Fantasy/Romantic/Comedy!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple: This movie wasn’t half bad, but it was just slightly over half good.  The premise of waking up and being the only one that knows the Beatles is a good one. Not being a singer, it wouldn’t do me much good.  I guess I could become a songwriter, but I digress. It’s an interesting concept that puts the audience in Jack’s shoes asking us all what would we do?  The acting was spot on and the direction of Boyle was flawless. Patel and James are particularly good in this. The entire film rests on us believing them as a pair of lifelong pals with feelings for one another and if we don’t buy that, the entire movie is a non starter. Luckily Patel and James are perfect in these roles. James especially! She truly embodied someone so in love with Jack that she would never give up on him no matter what.  Fry and McKinnon do their best to bring some humour into the proceedings, but fail more often then they succeed.  Ed Sheeran, surprisingly does a pretty good Ed Sheeran and his “Hey Dude” scene (it’s not a spoiler if you’ve seen it in the trailer) was great as were most of his scenes.  Bravo, dude.

The acting is not the issue with this film, the issue to me was the writing.  It felt to me like the writers started with this great idea, this great “What IF” of a concept and it works well for about two thirds of the way.  After that, it felt like they had written themselves in a corner and had no real ending.  We never spoil here at Moviie Couple so I can’t say why, but the ending felt rushed and well…not finished.  As if they needed to polish the ending a bit more before the actual filming.  It even had a bit of the Lord Of The Rings end to it, where I was like, OK, that was funny, that’s a good place to wrap this up, but NO, here comes one more end scene to keep us singing just a bit longer.  No complaints on the soundtrack, we all love the Beatles songs, but the film dragged a bit getting to a climax that we all knew we were heading for anyway.

While not a bad film, it wasn’t a particular great one either.  The music was great, the plot line was intriguing, but it fell flat on its conclusion and left a lot of questions on the table afterward. So I found Yesterday to be somewhere between Meh and Pretty Good, so I’ll go with 3.5 Bills.  Not terrible, but without the really great performances by Patel and James, this would have been one forgettable time at the summer movies.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  She wasn’t enamoured with this film.  She found it to be a sweet, simple, family friendly story of encouragement, friendship, honesty and second chances.  She found it to be a bit slow and far longer than she expected it to be.  She told me to say she was fidgeting in her recliner seat. Never a good sign from Mrs. Moviie Couple. Fidgeting is nearly always a sign of boredom. She felt both lead actors Patel and James were true and believable in their respective parts. Their entire relationship seemed natural and real. Two childhood friends experiencing a blossoming love throughout their life together. She found the ending a bit weak and she herself thought of at least three different ways this story could have ended that were better than the filmed version. She did feel it was a great musical tribute to the songs of the Beatles and just how poetic and amazing they are. She was impressed to learn that Patel himself did actually sing the songs himself.  Overall, the film was too slow and would better be served at home on a streaming service or as a rental rather than as a night out.  She gives Yesterday 3 Bills, Meh!

On the way home, We talked about the poor ending, the great performances by the leads and how we both thought there was a better movie somewhere in the meeting room floor.  It wasn’t the worst, but if the ending wasn’t so Helter Skelter (I had to, sorry) it would have been better.  I give it 3.5 Bills, not bad, but not great.  The Mrs. gives it 3 Bills!  She loved the themes throughout, but not the execution.  So we average it out to 3 Bills! MEH!

So until next time, remember all you need is love…and a great ending!  Our Twitter poll revealed our next review and Yes, the Mrs. will be joining me to review Spiderman: Far From Home!  But only because you demanded it on our poll!  She is not very happy about it.  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

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Sorry To Bother You (2018) Blu-ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Sorry to Bother You

Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Flower, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer and the voices of David Cross, Lily James, Patton Oswalt, Forest Whitaker & Rosario Dawson.

Sorry to Bother You is full of surprises, never once unfolding like we expect it to. That alone make it at-least interesting, whether you end up liking the film or not (I suspect many viewers definitely won’t). That it’s also wickedly funny, completely original and features a charming, relatable protagonist makes it one of the best films of the year.

I know from personal experience that telemarketing is a shitty way to make a living, so I empathised with Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) almost immediately. Living in his uncle’s garage and desperate for cash, he lands a job at RegalView, a telemarketing company that pretty-much hires anybody who walks in the door. And why not? Telemarketers aren’t paid unless they make make sales. Despite rallying staff pep-talks by overly enthusiastic managers – “Stick to the script!” – telemarketing appears to be yet-another job he sucks at.

All that changes when co-worker Langston (Danny Glover) shows him how to use his “white voice.” In almost no time, he’s the star of the office and promoted to be one of the company’s Power Callers, who make huge deals with mega-corporations. I knew guys like this during my brief tenure as a telemarketer. They were usually the most overbearing assholes in the room. Cassius’ sudden success soon alienates those close to him, including co-workers Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) and Squeeze (Steven Yeun), who lead a strike against RegalView over unliveable wages.

Meanwhile, people everywhere are protesting WorryFree, a corporation that provides slave labor – working for basic necessities, but no wages – to other companies. When Cassius crosses the RegalView picket line, he becomes a national punchline when struck by a soda can. Still, he’s aggressively courted by obnoxious WorryFree founder Steve Lift to come work for him. It’s when Cassius learns how Lift wants to use him that Sorry to Bother You takes one of the most unexpected narrative turns I’ve ever seen, resulting in a final act that’s completely bonkers…in the best way possible.

Not that the film wasn’t already a little strange up to that point. Taking place in what can be described as an alternate universe, Sorry to Bother You presents a slightly dystopian society where labourers are commodities who are easily placated by mundane rewards and idiotic entertainment. The film itself is quirky and occasionally surreal, with a sense of humour that sometimes reminded me of  Idiocracy filtered through Wes Anderson. Along the way, writer/director Boots Riley aims satiric daggers at a variety of targets. And most of the time, he hits bullseyes. 

But all the self-assured cleverness in the world would mean nothing without engaging characters. As Cassius, Lakeith Stanfield is note-perfect, displaying a vulnerable likability, perplexed by his circumstances while simultaneously going with the flow…for awhile, anyway. Tessa Thompson is also effective as Detroit, his activist girlfriend who serves as his moral compass. Most of the secondary characters and antagonists are painted in broader strokes, but amusing nevertheless (Armie Hammer is an absolute riot). Certain characters’ “white voices” are hilariously rendered by a variety of well-known actors and comedians.

Despite RegalView’s company mantra, Sorry to Bother You definitely does not “stick to the script.” The result is a unique, offbeat satire that’s destined to polarise audiences for years to come. Those not on-board with its concept and ideas will want to get off this train before the first Equisapien even shows up. Everyone else will want to revisit the film again and again. This is an outstanding great directorial debut and I look forward to Boots Riley’s next.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Blu-ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Review

Director: Ol Parker
Writers: Ol Parker, Richard Curtis (story by) 
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Garcia, Dominic Cooper, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies, Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan, Omid Djalili, Cher, Meryl Streep.

Movies like Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again are sort of difficult to assess. On one hand, it’s a strong contender for one of the most unnecessary sequels of all time. On the other, it is hard to imagine big fans of the original – or ABBA’s music in general – not enjoying this one, as well. However, they might be surprised by the narrative’s somber underpinnings.

Speaking of narratives, while I enjoyed the first film, I couldn’t recall the actual plot shortly after seeing it. All that really stuck with me were the fun musical numbers, the fact Pierce Brosnan couldn’t sing and a reminder that Meryl Streep is invincible. This time, we’re getting a prequel, of sorts. Half the film takes place a few years after the first, with Donna’s daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), getting ready to re-open her mom’s hotel with the assistance of suave manager Fernando (Andy Garcia). Interspersed throughout are lengthy flashbacks of Donna (Lily James) in 1979, when she travels to Europe after graduation and meets Sam, Harry & Bill for the first time. She also falls in love with the island and ramshackle old house that she’d eventually turn into the hotel.

Along the way, there are plenty of musical numbers: a lot of tunes that only die-hard ABBA fans would be familiar with, as well as a few bonafide classics (including some featured in the first film). The numbers are sunny and fun, as is the choreography, which is a good thing since what little plot there is feels superfluous (and sort-of melancholy). Nearly all of the original cast returns, slipping comfortably back into their roles. But despite being prominently featured in the ad campaign, Meryl Streep is largely absent. She was the glue that held the original together and is sorely missed here. As for the ballyhooed addition of Cher…I guess if you’re a fan, her appearance won’t feel shoe-horned into the story, but her role is mostly a glorified cameo.

But we’re here for the music, right? As before, everyone does-right by the songs and those who can’t sing are mercifully regulated to being part of the chorus (sorry, Mr. Brosnan). Writer/director Ol Parker takes the reigns from Phyllida Lloyd and wisely stays the course, maintaining the first film’s aesthetic and pace (though one suspects he was forced to fashion a story that didn’t require heavy commitment from Streep). But bittersweet tone notwithstanding, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is an aptly-titled sequel if there ever was one and unlikely to disappoint anybody who regularly sings along with the original film.

Speaking of which, this disc is loaded with bonus material (listed below), including the prerequisite “sing-along” feature. Most of the featurettes are pretty short, but there’s a lot of them and they’re pretty entertaining.

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES REVIEW

Director: Burr Steers
Writers: Burr Steers (screenplay), Jane Austen (Quirk Books novel)
Stars: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston

Plot:  Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.

Running Time: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 43%   Audience: 44%

Why I Watched It: Did you check out that title?

Random Thoughts: Let’s make this clear when you see that title you think oh my this is a B-Movie camp thing that Roger Corman is producing and guess what, you’d be wrong it’s not that, well it’s mostly not that.  This is a true mash up of period piece romance and a zombie movie.  Yes you read that right.

What I Liked: This film kind of took be aback cause I thought this would be more campy and kind of tongue in cheek but it’s not so about 15 minutes in I realised this was a zombie movie set in a Jane Austen world, I’ll give them credit it’s different and they do try to combine two things that really don’t go together.

The cast is game with the standout being Lily James, she’s a strong character and she’s very likeable and she does try very hard to be a badass.  I didn’t like Sam Riley for the longest time but I’m coming around on him, he’s a bit miscast here but he does play off James very well and he handles the action pretty well.  I also kind of liked that they cast this as if it was a classic period piece, sure there’s genre actor in it but as we now the British have great range, on paper look at that cast and you’d think Pride and Prejudice before you thought Walking Dead.

I did enjoy the stuff with the zombies, the horror part was handled pretty well, there’s a couple of zombie fights that we not only done well but shot well.  I did enjoy seeing the 5 sisters being zombie hunters if you will it was a fun twist. I also want to single out Matt Smith, even though I thought he was in another movie he was the only thing funny about the film and he was enjoyable.

What I Didn’t Like:To put it bluntly the mash up didn’t work, taking two things together is fun and it’s fun to see if it would work, chocolate and peanut butter great idea, Ice Cream and Shrimp not so much and this is the main problem with the film that the two genres are fighting each other.  The period romance slows down the zombie film and the zombie film just doesn’t sit well in the period setting since they are really trying to do Pride and Prejudice. The film does drag because of it, we get these fights and then we have to sit through period piece romance, we have to hear these women need husbands or they’ll be left with nothing yet they can kick ass and kill zombies.  It simply doesn’t work together.  Of the two I liked the zombie part better and if they focused more on it the film might have worked.

They also wasted some good actors honestly Charles Dance has nothing to do, and really does not play a huge part in either genre, Lena Headey is stunt casting and as much as I like her she doesn’t work here, she didn’t have a handle on this character and honestly she’s barely in it.  Jack Houston was an odd fit, not a bad actor but he didn’t work well in this role and he was playing a cliched plot twist more than a character.

The other major problem is tone, of course that would be a problem a Jane Austen movie has to have a different tone than a zombie movie but within both of those the tone is off, like I said the zombie stuff is played straight yet the Headey character is more of a cartoon and Matt Smith brings silly humour to a dour period piece.  Also the ending is very bad and yes silly but again not campy silly, it’s way to earnest for it’s own good and so heavy handed.  The ending almost sinks the film for me.

Final Thoughts: It was an interesting mess/failure, failure is harsh but in the end it didn’t work but they tried so good for them.  It’s an alright watch just for the curiosity of it.

Rating: 5/10

Darkest Hour (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

DARKEST HOUR

Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Stars: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn

Darkest Hour is set during the early days of the second world war. The fate of Great Britain hangs on the newly appointed Prime Minister Winston Churchill who must decide whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler or fight against incredible odds.

Gary Oldman is playing Winston Churchill? Gary Oldman? The Gary Oldman? yes it is That Gary Oldman and what a performance by him.

I love historical movies and in particular the second world war ones that delve more into the characters of the war. Sure some folk have said this film compliments the recently released Christopher Nolan epic second war film “Dunkirk” released last year and vice versa. Yes the events in “Darkest Hour” are based around the events of Dunkirk but this movie is more character driven and gives us an insight into the pressures of one man against not just the Nazis but his own party who had little faith in him. Not comparing by any means but this is similar to the 2006 movie “Downfall” a more ground level character based story in amongst the chaos and as I said don’t think for one minute I am comparing Winston Churchill to Adolf Hitler. I’m comparing the way the story is based more on the man rather than the army.

Going back to Gary Oldman and his physical appearance in this movie is staggering to say the least. His performance and delivery are always going to be the most important elements to any actor but the look of him in this movie is equally as important and I don’t normally say that as performance should overshadow the cosmetic side of acting but it is essential here as Director Joe Wright loves a good close up and to be fair Gary Oldman spent over 200 hours in makeup undergoing a radical transformation that necessitated ‘fattening’ his body with prosthetics weighing half his own weight and this is thanks to the Makeup Department.

What I found fascinating was the different relationships Churchill has with certain characters in this movie and how he changes depending on the person. His interactions with Elizabeth Layton (James) are very tense at first and Oldman portrays a very uptight and angry man easily frustrated with incompetence and nervousness around him. On the other hand, his slightly sheepish nature around Clementine Churchill (Scott Thomas) shows another softer side to him that displays his much needed support from Clementine and in turn her strong willed persona in front of her Husband. Both Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas are enjoyable to watch and every scene they are in is intriguing and actually humorous at times.

The relationship of King George VI (Mendelsohn) and Churchill is also an interesting one. Mendelsohn’s performance is rather subtle and underplayed in comparison to Colin Firth’s portrayal in “The King’s Speech” The personal and political relationship between both men during the conflict is one that has been largely overlooked throughout history, yet the trust and loyalty these men both shared helped Great Britain navigate its perhaps most trying time and thankfully this is there in this movie. Oldman and Mendelsohn portray their characters in this spirit and their scenes are very well done.

As I said, Director Joe Wright seems to revel in close up action and it works in Darkest Hour. The heavy dialogue and intensity of the situation is aided by the facial expressions and reactions of the actors. You can sense their emotions in every scene thanks to Wright’s style. His previous work relied on this in Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina and also worked well in these movies.

Darkest Hour should be viewed with an open mind. Do not go into this with your own political baggage or personal view on Winston Churchill. This is the story of one man and his vision and stance against large odds, not only against a fascist regime but also his own party doubting his morals and decisions in the country’s hour of need. I personally enjoyed this movie because of the plot, the acting and the stakes involved. Oldman has to be nominated for an Oscar on this performance and I will be very surprised if the English actor is overlooked once more. The supporting cast add so much more to the story and James, Scott Thomas and Mendelsohn are as equally important in their roles.

I have been a fan of Gary Oldman for such a long time now and I will be surprised if he doesn’t win an Academy Award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill. He thoroughly deserved the accolade. For me Darkest Hour is Unmissable.