Bratz (2007)

Ok, ok, don’t judge me! I feel like it’s already started, but hey, you’d be surprised to know this film isn’t that much of a bummer. Yes yes, it’s one of those cheesy, shitty, over the top, like seriously over the top, overdramatic, kind of films. I fully accept that. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some enjoyment out of it! And at risk of sounding sexist, I would definitely say that this film is chickflicky, 100% girly, not that only girls should watch it, but you know the genre.

So for starters, this film may be for those a little younger than myself, but hey! Some say Disney is for children! When I was younger, I used to play with Bratz dolls all the time, all of them Cloe, Jade, Yasmin and Sasha, I was always Jade, just like young children do. So I’m not going to lie to you, when a film was going to come out of dolls I used to spend so much time playing with, of course I was going to watch it! Oh and especially when I used to play the playstation game, I still stand by the fact that, ‘Bratz: Rock Angelz’ was one of the best playstation games going… And you know what from the Bratz dolls, they have chosen the actresses extremely well!

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Anyway… there are so many films like this one, and they shouldn’t be forgotten! Similarities such as ‘Camp Rock, or ‘Lizzie McGuire Movie’, you know the type. Ok, so those two might be better, but you get what I’m trying to say. IMDb even suggest similarities in ‘A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song’ or ‘Princess Protection Programme’, which I understand. Films such as these ones have a very particular audience, but hey, I know a few people have guilty consciences over them, so add this film to the list.

So what is this film even all about? Four best friends start high school, however there is one problem. At this new school, there is a Daddy’s Princess President of the school, who to say the least is a bit of a control freak and has to have the order in the school, to the point that everyone must be in a clique and sit at their designated table, this is Meredith (Chelsea Kane), the self-absorbed villain of the film. Although, these four best friends, Cloe (Skyler Shaye – which off point but I’ve noticed has considerably less screen time than the other three…), Jade (Janel Parrish – some may recognise as Mona from the one and only ‘Pretty Little Liars’), Sasha (Logan Browning) and Yasmin (Nathalia Ramos); they all like different things, and therefore all qualify for different cliques. So BFFs (as they say) at the beginning, soon turns into little recognition, as they jump two years ahead and they look exactly the same, but that’s really not the point… Cloe has become a football star. Sasha joined the cheerleading squad. Jade delves herself into science, while also loves fashion design. And Yasmin, well I think journalism? But they really don’t delve into her clique much… well like at all. She’s more there for the memory of the four girls once together, oh and that she loves singing but won’t do it due to her major fear of stage fright. They also bring back some other memorable names of the Bratz franchise life, such as Cameron (Stephen Ford) and Dylan (Ian Nelson).

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Behind all the cheesy, overdramatic front of the film, there is actually a worthwhile message as they delve into different people’s lives, yet the message that they all can still be friends no matter the differences, of course there is a moral! But Jade struggles as she hides her true self of a “passion for fashion” as her parents want her to amaze in science and maths. Cloe lives under the care of a single mother struggling with jobs and money. Sasha’s parents have gone through a divorce as a child gets in between the mess of it all. And finally Yasmin’s own brother turns on her, and she’s under the care of a guardian herself. So don’t be hating the film full on, because there is some essence of the film that is important for children to learn.

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You know what, I enjoyed watching ‘Bratz’. It’s one of those feel-good, upbeat films. Just to sit and watch. I understand where hate could come from, but hey! Don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s enjoyable and fun, hilarious in how crazy and dramatic it is. I think those who loved the Bratz franchise would probably appreciate it more, but it’s a film children might enjoy. There’s even an elephant in it! Just get warped into the hilarity and randomness, it’s not that bad!

Bad Neighbours 2 (2016)

The 2016 sequel to the first ‘Bad Neighbours’ and I can’t say there is actually much difference to the plot lines, except it’s not a fraternity next door, it’s a sorority. A bunch of girls angry they don’t get to have parties when fraternities are able to, so what other than starting their own sorority in the house next to Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), once again.

I’d say you have to watch the first ‘Bad Neighbours’, but then again it really doesn’t make a difference to the plot or not being able to understand any of it. But I would say watch the first one for an added comedy element, and the first one is better. There are repeated characters from the first film; back again, like I’ve already said, is Mac and Kelly, but also there is the return of Zac Efron (of course, one of the main reasons for watching) as Teddy, and also an appearance of some others including Dave Franco. The new characters are mostly revolved around three new sorority girls; the main character, Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein). Their bonding on the hate of Frat parties, they decide to create their own sorority, independent from all others, Kappa Nu.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I get the film, but the creation of Kappu Nu was not where I thought it was going to go, actually the whole film wasn’t where I thought it was going to go. The trailer is quite misleading, for example if you are watching this film because you believe Selena Gomez is in it, umm no. She’s hardly in it at all. Luckily, this isn’t why I was watching it, Zac Efron was still in it. But also the trailer makes the audience assume something which is not actually true, or just show things that don’t actually happen. I’ll let you decide whether this is a good thing or not…

So the film on a whole, well it escalated extremely quickly… Things escalated unnaturally quickly, get the plot kicking right away. The audience get the point of view from both houses so the ending is a round off happy one. The film doesn’t try to paint one side as the bad guys or one as the good guys, it’s just a war between two houses. One house wants to be able to do what they want and live in a fair world – there is a lot more of feminism in this film than I expected, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it, 100%, just didn’t realise that was where the film was heading from the trailer, but I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing! Anyway, the second house just want to be able to sell their house, a bit difficult with a sorority and parties happening next door, and we know how annoying that can be from the first film. The film was funny, I did enjoy watching it, however there were parts of the film which were just a bit too much. You don’t expect to see it until it’s too late and it can’t be taken back. But then again that is part of the humour. You have to be a fan of Seth Rogen to understand this humour, well actually, it’s a bit more subtle than other films, but still the consistent use of drugs. Of course, it’s a film with Seth Rogen in it, so expect sex, drugs and swearing.

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If you liked the first film, I don’t think you’d find this one a disappointment, but it’s not as good, but then again it’s not so different. If that makes any sense? It’s an enjoyable watch where the audience is once again warped into a war between young college students and “old people” as they call them. There are moments of hilarity and moments of shock, but then again like I’ve said before that’s expected in a film with Seth Rogen in it. It’s not the most hilarious film I’ve ever watched and I wasn’t laughing in every scene. There is a lot of character building around Zac Efron’s character, Teddy, which brings it away from the house war. And I’m not going to complain if they want to screen Zac Efron more! It’s an enjoyable comedy, not one I would suggest watching over and over again, but I wouldn’t say it’s a regrettable watch or a waste of time.

La La Land (2016)

Sad to say this review on ‘La La Land’ might be one quite different from others. But stay with me, I’ve got reasoning behind my thoughts against Rotten Tomatoes 93%. Now I understand what Damien Chazelle, the director, was trying to do; create an old classic musical feel but in modern times. Good idea. I just feel it wasn’t quite there, instead it felt like it was trying too hard, too much was forced into a film which didn’t feel quite right being there.

Now firstly, of course I love Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, both actors are fantastic and I love many of their films. And we all know they got chemistry and they make great films together. I have no fault in these actors. Ryan Gosling’s piano playing was beautiful and gave me the chills occasionally in the film. And I do love a bit of dancing being a fan of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (of course not up to the standards of professional dancers on that however). The tap dancing was enjoyable too. But sadly, there’s not much else I can say I loved about the film…

La La Land (2016) Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone)

Now a big part of a musical is to have great, enjoyable songs, or powerful, emotional ones. But I feel ‘La La Land’ didn’t quite reach to that level. It’s hard to explain what I was missing, but there didn’t seem to have much strength in voices or the songs. However, saying this, I do have to admit that Mia’s (Emma Stone) singing audition was one to appreciate, she finally manage to reach that level that was missing in all the other songs. And she definitely has a great voice, but it felt hidden in other songs or weaker than its potential. And of course when John Legend came on the scene and starting singing it reached that strength as well, kicking in the power of a musical into the film. But other than these two songs, I wasn’t invested into the songs. For instance, the power from Meryl Streep in ‘The Winner Takes It All’ is so emotional for the audience, we feel what she is feeling, we feel the passion and enjoy the song. Of course, there are so many other enjoyable songs in ‘Mamma Mia!’, I personally love them all (maybe the advantage of this is that they use songs people already know – maybe?). But as another example, the personality that Nikki Blonsky throws in her songs in ‘Hairspray’ is great. ‘La La Land’ just didn’t reach the stages of musicals such as these ones.

Another thing, a film that is set over a series of seasons means it’s got to be fast pace to be able to fit a whole year in two hours. This created a few problems for me. At the beginning, they were trying to quickly throw in backgrounds for characters and it felt quite random. Also, I wasn’t that invested in the relationship between Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia, and as a romance musical, this needs to be important. Maybe it was just me, but it was all a bit too quick and I didn’t feel the strength of in depth characters that I worship in so many other films. But this could always be a problem when they skip so much in a year and try to say too much.

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Now for the effects of the film, again I understand why they tried to do this, to create that essence of dreamy life. But there was an obsession with dimming the lights in every scene. It was either the corners of the film dimmed or the whole screen going black to focus on one thing. I understand occasional times to add effect and add a romance to the music, but every single time was just too much. Additionally, the spinning of the camera, just a bit disorientating for the audience, personally. Plus, circling into one section of the film for a fade out of the scene is something which is so unnatural in film. It reminds me of old ‘Tom and Jerry’ episodes, and yes I loved ‘Tom and Jerry’, but that’s an animation about a cat who wants to eat a mouse, yet the mouse always escapes… Not a real life musical. And I also know it’s used to exaggerate and almost make a mimicky feel to the film, but I don’t think ‘La La Land’ was trying to do that… So why was it there? Maybe all these effects were trying to create an unrealistic film and that was the point but I wasn’t catching on. To me, it just felt a bit forced.

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Overall, ‘La La Land’ is nothing compared to other musicals I’ve seen. The romance was nowhere near the scale of Danny or Sandy. Nor where the songs as enjoyable as classic ABBA. Nor was the plot as strong as in ‘Hairspray’. Instead, it was a film of an aspiring actress and a struggling pianist, jumping through life. At the beginning of the film, the film was packed with dancing and singing, but as the film progressed there was less and less songs. However saying all this, I do think that this film would make a great theatre show, it just didn’t get there with the film in my opinion. But watch the film yourself, because I know many have disagreed with me already.

What’s Your Number? (2011)

When Ally realises her number of how many guys she’s slept with is pretty high, she starts to have a minor breakdown. An article in a magazine says those above 20 will never get married. Only problem Ally is already at 20… So what does Ally do? Only goes and tracks down all her ex’s, hoping one of them might have changed and has become her perfect husband.

‘What’s Your Number?’ really does have some great people in it, and it’s a proper chickflick (for older ages due to the swearing and sex references), and a great feel-good romcom movie. Ally is played by Anna Faris, she’s perfect in playing the ditzy or clumsy ‘blondes’, such as in ‘House Bunny’ or the Scary Movie films. But of course, she can’t search for all her ex’s on her own. In comes Colin! Played by Captain America himself, Chris Evans, again perfect in this role would be an understatement. Colin helps Ally in finding her past relationships. The best thing, is that these two characters complement each other so well, it is loved by the audience as they joke and push each other to do better in life.

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Meanwhile, during all this Ally’s sister, Daisy (Ari Graynor), is getting married. So we witness hilarious moments from a judgemental mother (Blythe Danner) and tensions between mother and father (Ed Begley Jr.). Of course, if there’s a wedding there has to be bridesmaids, and these close friends are also wrapped up in Ally’s mission to hunt her ex’s down. There’s Eileen, played by Heather Burns from ‘Miss Congeniality’ and ‘You’ve Got Mail’; Sheila (Jane from ‘Happy Endings’ or Denise from ‘Scrubs’ – Eliza Coupe), Katie (Kate Simses) and Jamie (Tika Sumpter). They all add to the humour in their own way, but personally no one beats Anna Faris in the comedy, or perhaps just the reoccurrence of Disgusting Donald is funny enough – played by ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Peter Quill, Chris Pratt.

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Surprisingly, they find many more ex’s than you would suspect. We witness clever little flashbacks of who they are and when they were with Ally in hilarious circumstances. Jumping back to now we recognise a difference, or perhaps not one at all. All of the guys are so different, they all bring their humour to the film. They’re so different, it’s definite to say that Ally does not have a type… Ally is brilliant in all these meet ups and she definitely brings the humour to the film.

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‘What’s Your Number?’ has many characters to appreciate and find hilarious, obviously the brunt of it going to the main protagonist. It’s definitely one of those easy watching, feel-good movies, and I would definitely recommend if you think this would be a film for you. I love it, it’s enjoyable and adorable. But I guess you either think Anna Faris is hilarious or not so much. But still Chris Evans, not as a saving-the-world hero this time however. And hey, there’s even some pretty recognisable ex’s, such as Jake Peralta from ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, and Martin Freeman!

The Dust Storm (2016)

‘The Dust Storm’ is a romantic drama based around two people, Brennan (played by the one and only Killian Jones, ie. Captain Hook from ‘Once Upon a Time’ – Colin O’Donoghue) and Nora (Kristen Gutoskie). Seven years since they’ve seen each other and a lot has changed, however, their lives take a turn for the past when they bump into each other in Nashville. For the next couple of days they are living in a world they thought they’d left behind, but the present seems to be getting in the way making things considerably complicated and the future is even looming.

The film starts seven years in the past, even before the title, the life of Brennan, a desperate man clinging onto the music business. From this flashback we get the feeling Brennan is expressing a lot of pain and some sort of attachment to his last song of his set, one no other, called ‘Nora’. Then the title comes and we’re in the present. Nothing of Nora yet, but we follow the life of Brennan to start with. To say he looks different would be an understatement, but then again it has been seven years and of course the audience need to see this dramatic change. As seven years has jumped on, the audience need to be able to understand why it was so important to see the flashback to begin with and as the film proceeds we learn about Brennan in a very clever way. His past coming into his present. As he lingers around people singing and playing instruments we know straight away he is no longer in the music business, yet he misses it. Then in comes Nora, a woman from his past, and one who seems to have a big hold on his heart. Therefore, bringing in the romantic element of the drama.

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Once Nora is introduced, the audience know considerably more than the characters on screen. We see things from both people’s perspectives, which creates a complication for the audience. Nora’s life is so much more complicated than Brennan knows, which I found created more of a tense drama, which I found quite clever. The drama proceeds and the audience feel like things aren’t going to stay in the clouds, we know something is going to hit a rock, the future is lingering and Nora’s present cannot be hidden for too much longer. I found myself hooked onto when things were going to be found out and the truth comes about, but what surprised me the most, is the audience is tricked into knowing everything, however more is revealed than initially thought.

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I loved the use of the camera and I loved the use of other musicians. Firstly, the editing and the camera use was very clever. There were many times where the audience were left with what was being said in the present, which blended into the background, to being shown something to happen in the near future. It was brilliant in creating a warped interlink of the past and the present as the whole film resembles this story arc anyway. There were also some other edits that froze the screen for a couple of seconds, a great sequence in the middle of the film, it added to the drama genre of the film really well. Secondly, throughout the film we witness many different musicians around Nashville playing their songs, either in bars or on the street. It was a fun element, which again all tied into both of the main characters pasts.

‘The Dust Storm’ is a clever and brilliantly put together film. A romantic drama of two past lovers, however so much more is said underneath. And I tell you something, Colin O’Donoghue plays a great pirate but he also played this character brilliantly as well. Anyway, aren’t you a little curious in how the past, present and future can get warped into one weekend in Nashville?

The Rescuers (1977)

I remember when I was young I’d watched this Disney film repeatedly on video, other than ‘Song of the South’ of course, which was my all time favourite! I guess I used to love the fun animals that appear in these movies. I used to find them enjoyable and a great watch, especially if you throw in some cheery songs and some comical moments. And ‘The Rescuers’ definitely does this, a movie all about how two mice so small can do things so big and help others if they are determined to do so. Once again, moral to the story!

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At the Rescue Aid Society, with a fun repetitive song to get in your head right at the beginning of the film, a message in a bottle is found. A message crying for help from a little girl named Penny (voiced by Michelle Stacy) from Morningside Orphanage. The Rescue Aid Society being a group of mice, a mouse representing each country gathered when a crisis has risen and they need to take action. In this case, save Penny. Hungarian representative, Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) is quick to show determination, but she must choose a co-agent on this dangerous trip. So she chooses the superstitious janitor, Bernard (voiced by Bob Newhart – Papa Elf from ‘Elf’). And off they head on the adventure of a lifetime to save the young girl from whatever she is crying out for help for.

The adventure is fun and enjoyable. More animals are met on the way, other mice, the airplane bird (definitely a comical character), a dragonfly (again, is brilliantly funny to be appreciated), a cat and many others. All the animals should be loved by children, they all bring a different personality to the film which is enjoyable for both children and adults. It’s not a film that is just for children in my opinion. Even though I watched and loved it as a child, watching it recently, I still loved it!

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There’s parts in ‘The Rescuers’ that is almost slapstick comedy in a way. There’s parts with overdramatic music and fighting to reach the diamond, it is clever and should be appreciate as is comical. But what I think is clever about this film, is that they have something to contrast this. There are parts of the film, where the audience’s heart strings are really pulled on. The audience just wants happiness for this young orphaned girl. She’s a character for children to recognise the different experiences in life from different people, which obviously is a big moral to the story. One executed and done cleverly and beautifully.

Now of course we have to have a villain! And this one is sure to get the audience hating her. Her name is Medusa (voiced by Geraldine Page). The evil villain has an obedient sidekick, trying his best but failing to meet her needs, again comical for the audience, Mr Snoops (Joe Flynn). She also has two pets. Which of course the audience can recognise as bad animals compared to the poor innocent small mice, two alligators… But cleverly they add to the humour in the end as well. As it is a Disney film don’t expect twists and turns to shock you, that’s not why you would watch it. The whole plan of Medusa’s is told to the audience, and we know when something bad is about to happen or were supposed to feel uneasy about this certain place, as the lighting of the animated film is considerably darker than the bright happy Rescue Aid Society singing, for example.

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This Disney Classic number 23 is one that shouldn’t be ignored and thrown aside. It is an adventure to enjoy and love the characters. Routing and wishing for the two small mice to succeed. Even if this Disney Classic is one less known, it shouldn’t be disregarded. And yes you can tell it’s an older film, but I think that just adds to the essence that it is a Disney Classic after all and should always be one. It’s an enjoyable family film of two mice with opposite personalities, one anxious and clumsy, another fearless and adventurous. So if you haven’t seen this Disney Classic film, I would recommend it! Besides, what can two little mice do anyway? Aren’t you a little curious what happened to the young girl Penny?

The Deja Vuers (2016)

Everybody must have experienced déjà vu at some point in their lives. I know I have and it’s a weird sensation. This short film delves into a déjà vu experience of a man named Chuck (Kris Salvi) and throws the audience into this weird sensation we know so well. However, the odd essence in this film is that perhaps Chuck’s déjà vu is one connected to others, strangely grabbing in the audience wanting to know what is going to happen as things are so unpredictable.

This unpredictable short film only lasts around eight minutes, however so much is packed into that short time. The film starts as very inviting for the audience. I really love the beginning of the vast landscape of colourful trees, then focussing on a park bench in which the plot begins. The beginning tells the audience that this film is going to be light-hearted comical, just a short film to enjoy.

Chuck approaches a woman on a bench having recognised her from a dream. But there’s one thing that differs from all, when she says her name is Morgan (Christie Devine), Chuck is thrown as she was called Lulu in his dream. This is where their paths change in ways they wouldn’t have before if Chuck had just walked by. New windows open, or perhaps portals, that transfer the two lives on different courses following their déjà vu feelings. Ever wondered where déjà vu might take you? Watch this film to find out the possibilities. As random as they are.

‘Deja Vuers’ is a brilliantly random film that incorporates déjà vu in a comical and bizarre way to enjoy. It even ends in a small sneaky sketch after the credits, which is a form in movies so many love. Just an added section to add to the humour once again. The music is clever in certain sections, but no music during when Chuck is speaking expressing his déjà vu experience. Again repeating this weird sensation for the audience to feel as well.

This short film is brilliant in creating an oddly satisfying déjà vu moment which links into so many other moments the audience would never guess are coming.