Not a fat lot of Room for improvement with this one


After spending the past five years locked away in a kidnapper’s shed, a little boy and his mother finally get out and are able to reacquaint themselves with the world.
When she was seventeen, Joy Newson (Brie Larson) was kidnapped on her way home from school. For seven years she was held hostage by her kidnapper in his garden shed, and gave birth to his child, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), after two years in captivity. Joy and Jack survived together for five years in the shed, until one day Joy decided the time had come where they had an opportunity to get out. She constructs an escape plan which heavily involves her son, and when the mission is completed, the two, especially Jack, find that things on the outside are more different than they expected. 

I’d heard that Room was supposed to be a phenomenal watch, and I had also heard that it had brought a tear to the eyes of many viewers. To be honest, I’m surprised that it has taken me until now to see the film, but I will say that after finally seeing it, that wait has been well worth it. I will also say that the film manage to stir up emotions within myself that I was not even sure existed. If you’re in the mood for a full on ugly cry, this is probably a film you should consider.

There are some incredibly powerful performances in Room, brought to you by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. The two of them got the whole mother/son dynamic perfect, and it felt like a really authentic relationship for the entire time you were watching them. Larson nailed the patience needed by Joy whilst she was locked in the shed, and the innocence shown by Jacob Tremblay as Jack towards the idea of a huge world outside of his own existence was clear to see. I found that it was Tremblay’s performance that provoked the greatest reaction from me at various points throughout the film (one such point was when he set eyes on a real dog for the first time, I’m still not over it). However, the scene where Joy was reunited with her father for the first time since she disappeared was also a significant one for me, and once again, tissues were needed.

I have to whole-heartedly praise Emma Donoghue for her writing of both the novel and the screenplay, and with that I also take my hat off to whoever had the idea of keeping the same writer for both. The emotions that are brought to the surface by the characters she created are like a punch in the face. There is no escaping them, meaning even the most hardened non-criers such as myself find themselves reduced to tear stained ruins by the end of the film.

Director Lenny Abrahamson did a fantastic job with the making of this film. I’ve read about all the struggles that were presented to the cast and crew by the task of filming such a huge proportion of the film in the confines of the shed that Joy and Jack were kept in. It does not sound as though the first month of filming was a breeze. However, I think Abrahamson’s belief in the story was shown by his persistence and determination that they would succeed in filming those scenes within those four walls, which, if you are aware of it, I think gives you even greater faith in the film as you watch it.

So, would I recommend Room? Well, it’s not remotely like anything that I’ve personally watched before, nor has any other film made me such an emotional wreck on numerous occasions before. The performances are on a new level altogether (I forgot to mention it, but Larson won a Best Actress Oscar for her part, although I’m sure you already knew that), and really work to bring to life the feelings that the script is absolutely sodden with. I’ve already been recommending it to people, and I wouldn’t think twice about sitting down to watch it again myself. 

Wonder Woman has given the DCEU a new lease of life


Diana, princess of the Amazons and trained warrior, discovers her full powers and true destiny fighting a war in the outside world.
Diana (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons, was raised on a sheltered island. She spent her time being trained to become an unconquerable warrior, although the hope had been that she would never have to use her skills. When army pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes on the secluded island one day, he brings news of a war to end all wars. Convinced that the war is the work of Aries, the god of war, Diana decides to use all she has learnt in a bid to take down Aries and put an end to the fighting, and in doing so, she discovers more about herself than she ever knew existed.

Besides the blogathon that has been taking place, normal service hasn’t really been occurring here for a while – blame the final round of exams I was having to take. However, it would appear that school has officially ended, and so have the exams, which means one thing; I am back. It seemed only right to mark the occasion with a couple of new releases, and to properly kick things off I bring you my review of Wonder Woman. People have made a big fuss of this film for good reason. It is an incredibly empowering film that had such an effect on my best friend that it brought her to tears at least four times. 

I can’t say that I’ve seen any other versions of Wonder Woman besides this one, so I have nothing to compare Gal Gadot’s outing as the heroine to. However, what I can say is that her portrayal of Diana is up there with Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft as one of my favourite female heroes to have graced the big screen. What I liked so much about the character was she was very human. The events that she witnessed deeply affected her, and Gadot made this so obvious to the audience. It honestly was so good to watch a female lead saving the world without her feeling the need to hide her emotions from her male counterparts so as to be taken seriously. She kicked ass quite spectacularly as well, we cannot forget that.

For me, since watching Chris Pine in Hell Or High Water, I’ve welcomed his presence in films with open arms. His performance was Steve was excellent, and what made it so was that it didn’t in anyway overpower Gadot’s Diana. In fact, it was very complementary of it, and this became apparent in the series of exchanges that took place between Steve and Diana throughout the film. I personally struggle to picture anyone else in the role because Pine has a subtlety about him as an actor that I think means he quite often goes under the radar with audiences and directors. Besides the Star Trek franchise, he’s not been in many huge films, and it is this quality possessed by him that meant he worked so well in the role here.

The next thing I have to talk about is the wonderfully crafted fight scenes, and the very effective use of selective slow motion. It really helped take the fighting to another level, and allowed us all to revel in Wonder Woman’s fierce physical prowess. Rather than the most impressive moves being over and done with in a fraction a second, everything was slowed down right at the pinnacle, letting the audience just bask in all it’s glory. I think this was a terrifically smart move on director Patty Jenkins behalf, as was much of what she did with the film. She knew what she wanted to achieve with this film, and she most certainly succeeded from where I’m standing.

So, you might have guessed it already, but I was very pleased with Wonder Woman. If anyone was to ask me, much of it’s success has been down to the fact that it was very much left to the girls – a female director, a brilliant lead actress, and a series of male stars who seemed to realise that this wasn’t their film, if you understand where I’m coming from. I also think it’s fair to say that Wonder Woman has allowed DC the opportunity to give us a few more films and hopefully turn things around for their comic universe. However, regardless of whatever happens, I reckon Wonder Woman will stand alone as a landmark film for the simple fact that it was quality cinema for everyone to enjoy that happened to be led by women – something that doesn’t seem to happen often enough. However, things might start to change following this (fingers-crossed!).

You won’t want to make a quick getaway from Baby Driver


A coerced getaway driver finds himself caught up in a heist that is doomed to fail.
For a while, Baby (Ansel Elgort) has been the getaway driver of choice for Doc (Kevin Spacey), who considers him a lucky charm. Baby has undertaken a series of jobs which have all been successful, with little interference from the law. However, he didn’t get into that line of work by choice, and with his debts almost paid off, it’s not long before Baby will be a free man. Unfortunately though, the true nature of the contract he entered into with Doc soon becomes clear when Baby is called out of retirement, and the life of his new-found love, Debora (Lily James), is threatened. With this at stake, Baby agrees to take on a heist with Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González) and Bats (Jamie Foxx), and it is set to be the biggest job ever pulled off, meaning the risks are higher than ever before too.

Set to be possibly THE biggest blockbuster of the summer, if not this year, is Edgar Wright’s latest project, Baby Driver. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this film, with the hype reaching it’s peak this week. All I can say is this film is a real crowd pleaser – there is something for everyone dotted throughout the action, the comedy and the teensy-weensy bit of romance, so I cannot recommend it enough. However, I must say that this conclusion was only reached based largely upon the second half of the film purely because that was the part of the film I was fully tuned into due to an incident that occurred at the start of the film (but we won’t go into that because this is a review of the film, not of my experience at the cinema). All I’ll say is if you don’t feel I’m doing the film complete justice with this review, please forgive me.

The mix of characters in the film is brilliant. There’s a number of different personalities that make every scene in the film enjoyable to watch. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t find Baby to be the most exciting character in the film, but I found that in the scenes where he really came alive, Ansel Elgort nailed the performance. Kevin Spacey is Kevin Spacey, so you know his character is going to be wonderful to watch anyway, and he fully delivered as Doc, who I likened to Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs with the way he planned the jobs and kept everyone in check. Jamie Foxx also did as was expected of him as Bats, who waded in with a considerable amount of ego. Surprisingly enough, I also was quite a fan of Lily James’ character, who clearly was prepared to do anything for Baby. My favourite character has to be Buddy though, who was brought to us by the delightful Jon Hamm. People may or may not know by now, but I love a good villain, and he ended up being just that. 

There are some huge chase scenes to be found throughout Baby Driver (as you’d perhaps hope), and I know for a fact that there was definitely one that lasted for the best part of five minutes where I sat forward in my chair, mouth wide open, holding my breath with my eyes glued to the screen. It was fantastic! That, of course, wasn’t the only chase in the film, but for me it was the most memorable, and most certainly the one that got the adrenaline flowing.

Edgar Wright has done a very good job with this film. As I said to start with, this will suit the broadest of audiences because it is such a mixed bag. Personally, I think the highlights were the perfectly choreographed chase scenes (yep, those again) and the more comedic moments that also frequented the film. It was genuinely very funny in a number of places in a way that I think would survive multiple watches. Such a mixture kept the film feeling fresh for the entirety of it’s duration, so watching it didn’t feel like a huge endeavour, and the time flew by.

All in all, I can only side with those people who are tipping this to be one of the films of the year. Baby Driver proved to be a highly entertaining ride, even after the situation that occurred at the beginning which we shall not speak of. I may have to have a second viewing of the film in order to get the full experience and in order to provide you with a review that will give a truer reflection of what I thought. In the meantime, all I can say is you should probably seriously consider seeing Baby Driver at some point before it leaves cinemas, although I think it’ll get a good run given the majorly positive response it has received.

Gill’s Entry For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon

Film and TV 101


Here we have a review from Gill from Real Weegie Midget Reviews. She has recently taken on a new venture called 2 Quirky Cats with Catherine of Thoughts And All Sorts. I wish you the best of luck for that project, and thank you for sending this post my way.

Eddie The Eagle


A feel good biopic of Eddie Edwards, the beloved British Olympic ski jumper who reached the height of famein the 1988 Olympics.
So Darlin’ husband raided the local DVD hire shop and came back with a couple of HugeHughJackman movies. One was a major disappointment, the other was a surprising delight. The former film being a Superhero movie, X-Men Apocalypse (2016) which was yet another of their origin films (yawn) which lasted hours but felt like days.Luckily my perceptive husband realised that I too was flagging after the first two hours and riffed the rest of…

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Tiffany’s Entry For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon

Film and TV 101


This review comes to you from Tiffany at the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Thank you Tiffany for getting involved – it was good to read about your film and to have you take part.

Angels In The Outfield


Many films are centered around sports. Others are centered around religious, supernatural elements such as angels. However, have you ever heard of a movie about sports and angels? There is such a film, and it is Angels in the Outfield from 1951 with Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh, and Donna Corcoran. I will review Angels in the Outfield in terms of the sports involved, the supernatural elements, and Guffy McGovern’s transformation.
As the name implies, this film is centered around baseball; it is a story about the Pittsburgh Pirates and their manager, Guffy McGovern. The Pirates are in a slump, and their losing streak has lasted for months. A cute reporteress named…

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Catherine’s Entry For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon

Film and TV 101


This next review comes from Catherine, the owner of the Thoughts And All Sorts blog. Thanks for your contribution Catherine, it was brilliant as always to hear from you when you signed up for the blogathon.

Bend It Like Beckham


Bend it Like Beckham (2002) is one of those fun, feel-good British comedies. I remember it being released way back then – was the talk of the film town. In fact, that’s how I was introduced to the lovely Keira Knightley. I also didn’t know who Jonathan Rhys Meyers was before that.

Nominated for a Golden Globe (best musical or comedy), it tells the story of Jesminder ‘Jess’ Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) who dreams of playing with David Beckham. Reality, however, being a quick game with her friends in the park. One afternoon, Jules (Keira Knightley), approaches Jess to try out for a girls soccer team which she then joins. While…

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Robb’s Entry For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon

Film and TV 101


This next post comes from Robb from Red Bezzle Reviews. Here is his review of The Wrestler for you all. Thanks for taking part Robb.

The Wrestler


“Wrestling is fake.” Let’s get this out of the way nice and early.
Is wrestling a sport? In the Olympic sense of the word, of course it is. In the professional sense of the word, not so much. But what it is, is a live action movie: an athletic physical altercation with a pre-determined outcome. So, the same as, say…Jason Statham vs Dwayne Johnson in The Fast and the Furious 8? Or Choi Min-sik in a Royal Rumble of sorts against 30 other men in Oldboy?
What makes wrestling fascinating for the millions….and millions of fans around the world, is not just what happens inside the squared circle, but what happens outside it too. And this is what makes Darren Aronofsky’s The…

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