High School Musical (2006)

The introduction of the High School Musicals. The beginning of the plot, the cast, the embarrassing teenage life and struggles. The beginning of Gabriella leaving and coming back. The tales of East High School. From the beginning. All the way back to 2006 where they look so young, so many baby faces. The beginning of the High School Musical craze. It was a craze much alike to the one of ‘Frozen’, yet a craze I was young for. I can’t say I never knew all the words to every song in this movie, because that would be a lie… To be honest, it’s an enjoyable film, and I definitely loved it as a child, and I watched it recently, still knowing most of the words, and embarrassingly remembering parts of the final dance… However, a new development to this film for me was the discovery that it’s not actually Zac Efron singing in this film! Well he sings like an occasional line, but apparently due to this voice being too low or something, it’s actually Drew Seeley singing, and I apologise for saying so because it is so obvious once you know the truth… Although, it’s back to full Zac Efron in the other movies, don’t worry.

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As the first High School Musical, there is the introduction of the cast. The cast we get to know so well from all the other films. Beginning with Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) of course. At a “young adults” party, they are forced to sing together during a New Year’s Eve karaoke. Meeting each other in the weirdest circumstance, and what happens next when school returns? Well only Gabriella is transferred to the same school as Troy, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at East High School. We are then introduced to the other characters, all in their particular group and when Gabriella joins the school, she upsets the status quo. As apparently everyone must only be able to do one thing; Troy’s singing is frowned upon by his friends, Zeke’s (Chris Warren) dreams of baking the perfect crème brûlée are denied, even Martha’s (KayCee Stroh) hip hop dancing is discouraged. Anyway, we meet the basketball team; most significantly, Troy’s best friend, Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), and Coach Bolton, Troy’s father (Bart Johnson). This film is the beginning of the discovery of Zac Efron’s basketball playing. Then in a different group heading towards the Scholastic Decathlon, we meet Taylor (Monique Coleman). Finally, the drama club, meeting the Evans twins, Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan (Lucas Grabeel). Of course, the drama club is a major part of the film, with the Spring Musical, one we actually never know what it’s about, but with a mix of extremely different songs and random props… The composer Kelsi (Olesya Rulin) and the teacher Ms Darbus (Alyson Reed), two great additions as well. As you can see a full cast and a wide range. The best thing is the cast have a great chemistry and do work well together, even if you hate High School Musical.

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Personally, I enjoy the songs, they’re upbeat and fun. But I guess it is one of those films you either love or hate and that goes with the songs as well. But I guarantee those who have seen this film would secretly have a song stuck in their head, whether it’s ‘We’re All In This Together’, ‘Bop To The Top’, ‘Stick To The Status Quo’, ‘Breaking Free’, or ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’. There’s a combination in this film of when the songs appear. Because of the Spring Musical, there are songs within the plot, but additionally, there are songs outside the plot, when they all break out into song like a musical does, at the most random places. But who doesn’t love that? Random singing and dancing during lunch time, why not?

I have to admit, this is a cringe-worthy film. The embarrassments and struggles of teenage life, I guess. There are moments of awkwardness, but regardless there are moments of comedy, stupidity giggles. Or even bafflement that Sharpay couldn’t see Gabriella in the girls’ toilets at school when she was hiding behind a wall Sharpay looked behind… Anyway… Ms Darbus is a great character, her blunt harshness is funny; her character should be appreciated. There are some interesting outfits in this film. I was about 10 when this film came out, and there were some interesting fashion choices… Glad that’s evolved now. The film resembles an adorable (yet cringey) school romance between Troy and Gabriella. And the first film is the origins of Sharpay’s crazy jealousy and the introduction of her self-absorbed character.

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Yes, this film is cheesy. So cheesy! Like overboard. But you know what? It’s enjoyable. It’s a small escapism with some great poppy songs and original couple goals from Troy and Gabriella. Yeah I get it splits the audience, but it’s one of those films and I appreciate that. But hey what’s wrong with a little bit of a cheesy film now and again? It’s the original one! You can’t watch the others without this one! Besides what team?! Come on, I know you know…

Moana (2016)

I love a Disney film, and this one is definitely to love and watch over and over again. I loved it! It was beautiful and heart-warming. The animation was of course outstanding. The film was comical and emotional, but also adventurous and thrilling (in a Disney way obviously). It’s a different Disney film from all the rest, standing out, and should be appreciated.

The story tells a tale of Moana, the young daughter of the Chief of the island. Voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, who is brilliant, and her voice is amazing. Oh yeah, it’s a Disney Musical if you didn’t know! Moana’s life is set out by her father (Temuera Morrison); that she will become chief and rule the island, however her heart lies elsewhere, she loves her island, she loves her people, but she loves the ocean and the ocean chose her. Chose her to be the one to save the world from the darkness, to save her island. Although, her father does not want this life for her, he fears the ocean is too dangerous, he fears for her life. The only one to push her towards the water is her Grandma (Rachel House), an inspirational character for children to believe they can chase their dreams, that they have the power to do what they want (even if she is regarded as the “village crazy lady”). This rebellious daughter runs out, following her destiny, sailing out into the ocean, all in hope to find Maui, the demi-god of the wind and sea (oh and hero of all). Now Maui is a brilliant character, complicated, comical and defensive, a demi-god who just wants to be loved by others. And I cannot forget to mention, voiced by the one and only Dwayne Johnson, and he does an amazing job, he even sings and it is enjoyable. He sure does bring the comedy to the film, especially through his talking to his tattoos, sounds weirder than it actually is, ok actually maybe it is weird, but it’s cleverly funny regardless. It’s a plot to get lost into, one to invite the audience into a new Disney plot so different to many others we have seen before. We are introduced to a different part of the sea, not exactly under the sea in ‘The Little Mermaid’, the powers of the sea and its extent and broadness of unknown discoveries. ‘Moana’ invites you to delve into this mysterious world and its beauties.

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So first thing I need to mention, the comedy of the film. It is brilliant. Like Maui mentions all princesses have an animal sidekick, but also she isn’t technically a princess, but she still has an animal sidekick. And this animal sidekick is one to never forget, it is a chicken. Don’t judge, because this chicken held the comedy of the film (obviously there were others), but I would have happily just watched this chicken for the film and been completely satisfied. The chicken was ridiculously stupid, and I mean hilariously so. The fact it doesn’t know what food is, just pecks and eats a rock… That it knows the ocean isn’t good and could drown it, yet it still walks straight in with a squawk… I’m not giving it justice, because it’s better to be watched, but it was a pretty hilarious sidekick. There was lots of other comedic elements in the film, the film felt realistic to laugh at, like accidental comical mistakes, similar seen in ‘Tangled’. Overall, there were many parts of the film that I was laughing at.

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But among this, there were moments of real adventure tension, of adventure on the sea, the limits of it and the dangers of it. There were also emotional moments of back stories from Maui, or even significant other parts (I really don’t want to spoil it – but if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand what I mean here) on the island, that were emotional, but heart-warming when they returned during moments of difficulty (it’s really difficult to not say anything here – I am trying!).

A Disney Musical means there needs to be great songs, and this film definitely had them. But Disney knows how they can create great songs, come on, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know at least one part of ‘Let it Go’! However, I did notice ‘Moana’ is very much focussed around one song, but this is the song that would be loved by all once watched, it’s beautifully sung and defines the whole plot of the film and the character herself.

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As you can tell I really loved the film and Disney have outdone themselves once again! There was only one part of the film I was a bit unsure about and that was the creepy crab, I get it was supposed to be a villain, but it was beyond creepy… Anyway, regardless of that, the songs are enjoyable, the adventure is a fun one, the film is comical and heart-warming. The animation is amazing, from the adorable pig (this film has made me want a piglet as a pet), or the jealously I felt that an animated girl had better hair than I do! A film all about one girl to set her own way and help her people the way she knows, even if she has to learn on her own and escape from the dangers that surround her. Although, the ocean is her friend and she was the chosen one – very different from Harry Potter though. I would recommend this film, especially if you are a fan of Disney, but I’m hoping you’ve already seen it by now!

Passengers (2016)

Well Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, recognisable actors, which is a high advertising sell point, and one of the reasons I wanted to see this film. Another? Just looks different. It’s not the same-ish things coming out at the minute, it’s completely different. Throw in a bit of romance, bit sci-fi, some tense moments, some emotional moments, occasional bit of wit; ultimately a very different drama from many I’ve seen before. And that personally is great for me. Something different, something new, how would you know if you would like it or not?

So if you’ve watched the trailer you would know that it’s about two people that wake up on Starship Avalon 90 years too soon. They were supposed to stay in their hibernation pod asleep for 120 years, while the Avalon travelled from earth to a completely different planet named Homestead II. These two that wake up too early are, mechanic Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and writer/journalist, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). Both recognisable actors, like I’ve already said. Chris Pratt from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, and others; Jennifer Lawrence from ‘Hunger Games’ films, also in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘American Hustle’, ‘House at the End of the Street’, literally so many, understandable because she’s great! They both are great actors and play these characters brilliantly well, which adds to the effect of the film and make it that much better. There is also Michael Sheen in the film, who plays the bartender Android robot, again played amazingly, needed as he is a robot! As you can probably guess, there isn’t many other characters to take notice of; besides, they’re on a ship and everyone else is still asleep…

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Anyway, as regards for the trailer. You think the film is going to go one way, clearly and purposely done to think this way, however, this is not the truth of the film itself. And as I say time and time again, I am not a reviewer to spoil films, so if you want to uncover the truth of the film, then you’ll have to watch it, even in a midst of frustration that you were so far misled. I have to admit, I hate a trailer that shows all the best parts of a movie, or tells you everything that’s going to happen. Even though this trailer is quite open in what will happen, there is so much else not said. So many underlining questions for the audience to ask, even in the end, not all questions are answered, yet it is a satisfying closed end; without sounding like a complete contradiction there. A trailer you think you know everything, but that changes in the film.

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I have to admit, there are parts of the film that feel a bit blocky; felt like editing was quite sharp and skipped a chunk. Although the film was mostly consisting over two years, so it’s kind of needed. Also, the trailer assumes that the tense chaotic part of the film is throughout it, whereas that’s mostly at the end. The beginning is more devised around the romance element of the film, then that passes and in comes the chaotic tense drama. Gravity disappears. There’s a power cut. The ship starts to increase in heat. Etc, etc, etc. Although, saying this there were hints throughout the film that things weren’t going right, well the audience knew more than the characters, so we know there’s something going wrong.

Overall, I actually really enjoyed the film. Ok, so there were some sections that were a bit slow, but by the time I knew it, I was intrigued, absorbed, I had to watch it all. I needed to know the ending. Because you couldn’t guess, well I couldn’t anyway, and I guessed the ending of ‘Now You See Me 2’, just saying… It is a beautiful film, with amazing visual effects to get yourself lost in space, a place we are so unfamiliar of. Yet we are warped into a romance of unlikely souls, a film with a lot of emotion, I won’t lie to you, I did nearly cry at one point… It was amazingly played, amazingly made, I would watch it again. It wasn’t perfect, but it was different to what we are so used to.

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I hope I’ve made you a little intrigued to what was so different to the trailer anyway…

Trainwreck (2015)

So personally this was a film not for me. I was quite deflated by the end, didn’t feel the essence of comedy and was quite confusing at times. Ok so maybe it’s meant to be a bit structurally confusing where everything is thrown everywhere at once, the film is called ‘Trainwreck’, maybe? For me, it didn’t work. The structure was so bizarre it felt like a film that didn’t have any flow, just a mish-mash of everything, but then again, that’s life right?

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Starred and written by Amy Schumer, she plays the main protagonist Amy (why not?). To be honest, I managed to guess the whole pattern of the start of the movie just from the trailer. A father telling his two daughters that love and marriage isn’t real, then jumps how many years ahead to the present, we follow Amy’s life for a while, strongly getting the message she sleeps with a lot of men, and one night stands at that, we also get her job and her family life – however, I didn’t realise the route of the family life from the trailer, that was a nice change of the significance of it, I do have to admit. Then the man is introduced, the man who changes everything, obviously. This is Aaron (Bill Hader). Sounds like a normal plot to any romance comedy right? Well I have to say the trailer looked better than the actual film. From then on the flow was completely confusing, jumping around I have no idea how much time. The idea of a narrator of Amy talking to the audience was supposed to clear things up, but she wasn’t there that much, she was needed more in the film to understand where we were.

The relationship, umm, well I wasn’t invested at all. I didn’t really understand Amy as a character, I couldn’t read what she was feeling, therefore I couldn’t connect with the film. This is obviously a major problem in any film. I couldn’t find many characters that I actually liked that much to be honest. The film was also a bit contradictory as well, it went back on itself, again back to the point that it was occasionally confusing. I didn’t understand the relationship between the two and I didn’t ever really know where they stood, it jumps around and I felt things weren’t built up properly. It was a relationship in which I didn’t care where they stood at the end of the film.

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This is definitely a film of older ages, there are many over the top sexual references, swearing, bums and sex scenes. A 15 for a good reason to say the least. These sexual references though are supposed to be the comedy of the film, for me it felt a bit forced and didn’t work right. But then again, I guess many would disagree when looking at the 85% from Rotten Tomatoes…

So if you hadn’t gathered, I wasn’t a fan. I guess there were parts of the film that I did enjoy, an occasional giggle, nothing I would say I would watch again. So no I wouldn’t recommend this film. But then I guess you have to have the right humour for this film and by the looks of it I clearly don’t. But if you think this would be a film for you, sure why not give it a go. Not that I’ve really sold it or anything however…

“From the guy who brought you Bridesmaids”. ‘Bridesmaids’ is so much better, that’s a film I love!

Bitten (2014-)

So when I finished ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ I needed a new programme. Then I saw that this one, a fan of supernatural programmes, I thought I’d give this a go. New to Netflix, and only series one available, and honestly, I finished it in one day. I was hooked. To begin with, I wasn’t impressed, yet half an hour in, and I was more intrigued, I needed to know what was happening at Stonehaven, who was Elena, why were people dying? You get warped in pretty quickly.

Elena’s (Laura Vandervoort) life was simple and happy in Toronto with her new boyfriend Philip (Paul Greene) and her new life. However, she can’t keep her past life away for too long, especially when Jeremy (Greg Bryk) calls everyone home, including Elena, when a tragedy strikes. This is when we discover they’re all werewolves, and the family, well the family is Jeremy’s pack. All of them, Antonio (Paulino Nunes), his son Nick (Steve Lund), Pete (Joel Keller), Logan (Michael Xavier), and not forgetting Clay (Greyston Holt). All men, Elena only woman, coincidence? I’m not saying anything. Anyway, Elena’s reluctance to coming back home is soon figured out through the tension between her and Clay.

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I guess you either hate or love this programme. But personally, I was absorbed into wanting to know what was going on. Everything was so fast pace and nothing seemed to ever fully answer the questions, so I had to watch and find out. I was hooked. Just want to mention, this is a show for older ages, the amount of sex there is in this programme means it’s definitely a show unsuitable for young audiences. Disregarding that, the tension and supernatural mystery with the werewolves is what it’s watched for. The audience is absorbed into wanting to know what will happen as Elena tries to solve issues at Stonehaven quickly, trying to get back to her human boyfriend who knows nothing. As lies grow and more issues arrive, Elena finds herself stuck in her past while present deaths create more tensions. No one is safe in this programme.

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So even though Elena seems to be the main protagonist, we learn a lot about other characters as well. She does not carry the show, significantly, we learn a lot about Clay, a cleverly complicated, yet favourite character of mine. We get to know the whole pack of North America, who I’ve already stated. Also we get to know some villains of the programme, or otherwise known as the mutts, which basically, are disregarded werewolves that are not in the pack, alone in the world and unable to stay in the same place for a long time. We soon learn all about Pack Law and all the background knowledge we just want to invest in more. Just like any great show, it leaves the audience wanting to know more. But in this show, there is always more than one thing going on, we want to know everything. Can’t find that out unless you watch it. It’s a new world to get to know.

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You have to be a fan of the supernatural if you want to watch this, obviously. But honestly, I was absorbed into it and wanted to know everything soon enough. Ok so maybe, it wasn’t right away I was hooked, because I turned it off half way through the first episode, but strangely something was pulling me back to it and after watching the first episode and when Elena was finally back at Stonehaven, things started to kick in and that was it. Maybe, I’m just a person who gets too involved into programmes way too quickly, I don’t know. But I am a fan of this show and I can’t wait to watch the next few series. Plus, it helps all the actors are great.

Love, Rosie (2014)

One of my favourite films, emotional, beautiful, brilliantly done. One, I have to admit, that is quite similar to ‘One Day’, a film between two best friends, and their rollercoaster lives through life. There constant missing of each other, chasing each other at the wrong times, the audience just left waiting and waiting, hoping and hoping. But life’s many obstacles just keep getting in the way. Obviously there are differences with ‘One Day’ and ‘Love, Rosie’, the main one being the film isn’t just set on one day, and of course the many character and plot differences, but if you liked ‘One Day’ I would hazard a guess you would enjoy this one as well.

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‘Love, Rosie’ is based around the lives of Rosie (shock there) and Alex, played by Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. Both characters played brilliantly and truly create so much emotion in the film. I’m going to be completely honest, the first time I watched this, I cried, it’s an emotional film ok? It really does pull on your heart-strings. The film feels very realistic, a real representation, alike to ‘One Day’ in that way too. There are moments of happiness, get the audience hearts warmed, moments of shock, moments of heart-wrenching feelings, also comedy, some surprising and hilarious things do happen. One thing I should probably mention, it is a 15, for understandable reasons. But throughout the film, it is constantly pushing the audience in hope they might be able to eventually get to each other; that throughout everything that has happened, things will work about between the two. From Alex moving to America, from Rosie’s unexpected pregnancy, things do take some dramatic turns, but we are warped in their lives, through the ups and downs.

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The film cleverly begins in the middle of the story, making the audience think a certain thing, but you have to watch it all to find out. We are thrown back years, to the beginning, Rosie’s 18th birthday, then we bounce slowly back up to the present, making sure we understand everything in both lives, then continue to watch from there. At times there is also a narrator, this is Rosie, giving the audience an insight into her thoughts, as significantly she seems to be driving the narration more than Alex. Additionally, I love the music in this film, it is brilliant, it reflects the moods of the film so well, it really does add to the whole essence of the movie.

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Overall, I just love this film. It’s a great film to escape into for a few hours. It is brilliantly created and acted so well, which just means it’s a beautiful film. I would definitely recommend falling into the complicated lives of these two best friends, as life’s twists and turns occurs as they have to grow up, when careers change lives, when dreams have to be put on hold for unexpected happenings… The film throws the audience in comedy, romance and drama. It is done well that even though you’re skipping years you don’t find yourself trying to uncover what has happened, nor getting lost. The film is just one of those feel-good, yet occasional tear-jerkers. If you think this is a film for you, I would recommend 100%, besides Rosie and Alex are played brilliantly as they carry the film, and we grow to love multiple characters in their lives. Aren’t you a little curious what happens in their lives anyway?

Me Before You (2016)

This beautiful film really should be one to remember. It truly is a stunning, yet heart-wrenching film, getting the audience in a state of thought, then thrown into utter balling your eyes out moments. An emotional, heart-breaking, life realising film.

Now I know there’s many films that have you balling your eyes out, or questioning everything at the end. A film that springs to mind when I think of balling your eyes out, is definitely ‘One Day’, and of course ‘Titanic’! I could literally name so many. However, I felt this film brought something different to these ones. Yes, they all are beautiful dramas, but this one had so much meaning behind it. I was warped into the drama, feeling all the emotions of the film, until that one breaking point. But even throughout this, I would definitely watch it again.

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When bubbly, bright Lou Clark (played brilliantly by Emilia Clarke – probably most recognisable from ‘Game of Thrones’) tries to find a new job, she finds herself in a situation she would never imagine. Looking after a young man, who in the past two years was paralyzed, unable to walk, unable to do a lot of things. This young man is Will Traynor, played amazingly well by Sam Claflin – recognisable from many films such as, (always the first to jump into my mind) ‘Love, Rosie’, the fourth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, or even Finnick from ‘The Hunger Games’, to say the least he’s an up-coming actor, becoming much more well-known and understandably, just shown in how brilliantly he played this character in ‘Me Before You’. There’s also some other recognisable characters, such as the iconic Charles Dance, the one and only Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), and even a glimpse of Joanna Lumley. A brilliant cast for a brilliant film.

The stars of the show are definitely Lou and Will. One of the best things I liked is the contrasts this films creates. Lou with her crazy outfits, the “chatty” and “insane” personality, alongside Will’s life, one a bit bleaker, yet his witty comments and sarcasm brings a little light, and Lou brings the brightness and “exotic tastes” to change Will. Among the seriousness of this drama, there are moments of adorable happiness, or even moments of hilarity, giggling at the quick wittiness of both of them. ‘Me Before You’ really is a film where you feel all the emotions, all wrapped up into just under two hours.

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I don’t want to ruin anything in the film, but I would definitely recommend if this sounds like a film you would appreciate. The audience are asked to reflect upon themselves, and the film delivers this so powerfully. The film is heart-breaking, a proper tear-jerker, but beautiful and comical in the right places. The audience are taken on a journey of paralyzed man’s life which most would probably have never known. Obviously from the book of the same name, written by Jojo Moyes, I would hazard a guess that the jump to screen is a one that shouldn’t be underappreciated, and I will definitely be reading the book after watching the film, because I am a believer that the books are better than the films, and the brilliance of this film must make the book exceptional.