What a Girl Wants (2003)

In search for a cheesy teen movie, I stumbled upon this one: ‘What a Girl Wants’. And it ticks all the boxes for a cheesy chickflick teen movie from the 2000s. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen this one before, since I was all about the crappy chickflicks in my childhood! We know there’s a wealth of cringe-worthy teen movies from the early 2000s out there: there’s been the hits, ‘John Tucker Must Die’, ‘The Princess Diaries’, ‘Wild Child’, and I could go on forever; and there’s been the misses, which in reality a lot of them become great in their cringe-worthy cheesiness anyway. The point is, I guess you either love them or you hate them, depending on the sole question: are you a chickflick fan? If not, stay away from yet another Amanda Bynes movie.

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Daphne (Amanda Bynes) has always been in search for herself, feeling like she doesn’t understand who she is when she doesn’t know her father – ring any bells? ‘Mamma Mia!’. In a search for who she is, she jumps on a plane and embarks on a journey she could never imagine. From New York to London, Daphne finds her father in a mansion with a gated entry as he is Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth – yes!). Finding herself in a parallel world, Daphne is convinced she must stay true to herself, but when it starts to have an impact on her new father’s political career, she realises a change might be what is best.

An American vs British teen movie, once again. However, happily I can announce that the overt stereotypes that come with this sort of film, wasn’t as dominant in ‘What a Girl Wants’ to usual teen movies of the same country clashes. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely showing a parallel universe between the two countries – America symbolising freedom to be who you want to be and Britain’s aristocratic lifestyle as a need to remain respectful in the public eye – but the stereotypes of tea and biscuits weren’t as present. I guess digging deeper there are some polar opposites that don’t reflect the reality of all British, but nonetheless, I don’t think the film was trying to say that regardless.

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‘What a Girl Wants’ is such a cheesy movie, with cringey moments that I just couldn’t watch the screen during. But there has to be a mention of Colin Firth’s dancing scene in the mirror, because it got me howling, it was definitely the funniest scene in the whole movie. If I could I would just watch that scene on repeat. It is such another soppy teen movie. Far from the best out there, for example the ones I’ve already named would come top of the list rather than this one. It’s a bad movie that becomes good with it’s cheesiness. Although, again, some of the cringey lines were just too much for me to handle. Obviously, it’s a comedy romance, Daphne doesn’t just find her dad in London…

Salt (2010)

An Angelina Jolie action spy film – I don’t think I can think of a film that isn’t good with that particular phrase. Angelina Jolie has to be one of the best action actresses, she is phenomenal in executing all parts of the film. What action movies aren’t great with her? ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’, ‘The Tourist’, ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ – all brilliant, including ‘Salt’. 

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‘Salt’ follows a CIA agent accused of being a Russian sleeper agent. Once this is declared, everything goes awry for Agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), she ends up on the run from the CIA and we have no idea what is actually going on. You become so intrigued into the mystery of the whole film, constantly wondering what is going on and what the hell Salt thinks she’s doing!

This action is non-stop explosive action throughout the whole film. The audience are warped into this action lifestyle of spies. It’s an extremely interesting plot from start to finish. I was hooked from beginning to end, glued to the screen. It’s explosive and action-packed, with some excellent fighting scenes and a brilliant plot to be absorbed into. What more do you need in an action film?

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I would definitely recommend this film. Watch and try to discover who Evelyn Salt is. Watch as the mystery unravels itself, but you’re not entirely sure until the very end. With action such as car chases, jumping down elevators and scaling buildings, it really is non-stop and exciting all the way through. Besides it’s Angelina Jolie!

Stitch! The Movie (2003)

Lilo and Stitch in another film adaptation. Ohana is the soul of the film, as Stitch feels he has no ‘cousins’ and can’t belong in Hawaii. But all is about to change when Jumba is exposed with having stolen all of the other 625 experiments that were made before Stitch. Evil experiments I might add, as Stitch once was.

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I love this film. I used to watch it as a child all the time and remembering loving it! Happily, after watching it recently at the age of 22, I still found it funny, having a good giggle. It’s such a fun, easy-watching film. Stitch is adorable as ever and Lilo is even more determined in her persistent ways. She’ll do anything for Stitch and all Stitch wants are his cousins, the 625 other experiments. I used to be obsessed with learning about different experiments, I used to ask my cousin to draw me different versions of Stitch. So as you can tell, seeing the different experiments in this Disney Stitch movie, is a film of pure nostalgia and enjoyment.

‘Stitch! The Movie’ is classic Lilo and Stitch and classic Disney. There’s a new evil enemy in space, whose set his sights on Jumba. Hiring Gantu for his evil work, Nani and Lilo’s family are once again attacked by outer-space aliens. But as Lilo always is, she will never let Jumba be abducted by the evil Dr Hämsterviel, or Hamster Wheel as they comical call him. So an adventure begins where Lilo and Stitch team up together to travel to space to try and pull off another miracle as Cobra Bubbles calls it.

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You can tell more money was put into the original ‘Lilo and Stitch’, but you wouldn’t really expect any different, would you? ‘Stitch! The Movie’ is a fun sequel, to enjoy a little more of this adventure of a human and alien friendship. We meet the original characters, including the brilliance of Pleakley. Is it a masterpiece? No. Is it a classic to be remembered? Probably not. It’s an easy-watching film, that’s a guarantee for a good giggle and an enjoyable watch. If you love ‘Lilo and Stitch’, then this one is still fun to add to the collection of Stitch occurrences! I love it anyway.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

This drama is inspired by the true story of Ted Bundy – one of America’s most infamous serial killers during the 1970s. The film does seem to follow very closely to real-life events with embedded flashbacks of the televised trial from the 1970s at the end. However, with drama thrown in, not every aspect was shown in this film and there were some false identities too, so don’t take this as a truthful documentary of what actually happened to this “extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile” murderer.

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When first exposed with this film, my initial reaction was a confusion to the extremely long name. Although after watching it, it seemed a fitting name from the Judge’s own words from the 1970s when he sentenced this pathological killer. The sentencing of the film is one unusual yet mesmerising to watch in the cinematic elements with the speech performed by the brilliant John Malkovich. Something that cannot be denied is the excellence of the acting in this film. Whereas everyone is proclaiming that Zac Efron is the star of the film as Ted Bundy; I believe that the fiancé whose side the story is told from, is the most powerful performance on screen. This being Lily Collins playing the betrayed, broken Liz Kendall who fell deeply for Ted Bundy.

I do have a few reservations for ‘Extremely Wicked’. Where the trailer may make the film seem riddled with the killings of this guilty man, watching the film I felt a completely different presence that dominated. I couldn’t shake the feeling that every moment of the film, until the very end, just tried to plea the innocence of this man. It seemed to glorify a serial killer as innocent where doubt only shook at the very end. This was because those that believed innocence dominated the screen, where those proving his guilt shared much less time. I feel this is where the film did fall, they should have persisted more with the facts of guilt, rather than dramatizing a pathological liar with more innocence. I do understand this was an element of history, where people did believe his innocence due to his ‘looks’, although he was found guilty and if I was presented with the film only, I wouldn’t completely understand why until the end. Which is hauntingly creepy at the thought.

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Overall, this is not a terribly film, far from it. It’s a highly dramatized rendition of a prolific killer in America’s past. Acting is brilliant and you do become drawn into the opposing sides of Ted Bundy. Additionally, time does race past and you do need to pay attention to everything happening to grasp the full understanding of this version of Ted Bundy’s life from the point of view of his fiancé. Safe to say, Zac Efron is a completely different actor from his Troy Bolton days. 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

I remember when I was in secondary school, maybe year seven or eight, and was told to read ‘The Hobbit’. Until this very day, I declare it to be the hardest book I’ve ever had to read. I just found it so hard to get through, and after a year of putting it down, picking it back up, rereading and finally finishing it; I think I only remember maybe two things that actually happens in the entirety of the book. In which, none of what has been remembered happens in the film I’ve just watched… One thing the film did have in common with the book is that it does need a lot of attention paying to – it’s not the easiest film to sit and watch, especially if you plan to understand everything that is going on.

Nevertheless, I didn’t mind the film. It is definitely the scene setter of the trilogy, the beginning of the three to announce all the back stories and character introductions. It has a lot of history stories to explain the mission of the dwarves. This is the tale of 13 dwarves, 1 wizard and 1 hobbit on a journey to return the rightful land back to the dwarves, who lost it so many years before and now is guarded by Smaug, the dragon. It’s an adventure of meeting a lot of different creatures, and risking lives across the fantasy worlds. A long walk is ahead of this group.

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There are some fun scenes in this film. Well there has to be right? The action scenes are great to get lost into. They really are brilliant with effects as you become warped into this action adventure. I also really loved the scene with Gollum (Andy Serkis). Although, it does take a bit of concentration to understand all the words he is saying. But the whole scene was nothing I was expecting, I was absorbed into the character of Gollum, intrigued and left on edge throughout the whole thing. It was brilliantly executed and very intense to watch.

I do feel Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) didn’t have enough of an introduction to his type of character. I loved that is started from 60 years ahead, to return to the adventure story. But I didn’t really grasp the concept of why he was approached and I don’t think it was really explained. I couldn’t really tell you much of his character, but rather than that he just seems to collect artefacts along the way which become part of him (such as a sword and a ring). It did seem very random and out of the blue at the beginning of the film. Additionally, it has a lot of unnecessary talking where it just seemed to drag a bit too much. A film that was nearly three hours long, it is a long watch.

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Overall, this is a good introduction. I think the action scenes stand for themselves in the best parts of the film. Yes, there were parts that I didn’t enjoy, and three hours is so long. But I think when it comes down to it, this introductory film will add a lot of understanding to the other two films. Well I’m assuming anyway, as that must be its soul reason for release. I’m not put off by The Hobbit trilogy from this film and I will watch the second two to try and conclude whether my remembering of the novel was as difficult as originally believed.

Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

A reunited 2019 film of Fat Amy and Bumper from ‘Pitch Perfect’. Then with Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine, throw in Liam Hemsworth and Priyanka Chopra. ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ tells the story of a romance comedy hater, but soon she finds herself unconscious, waking up in her own romantic comedy movie. With all the clichés and the whole plot line exposed by the main character at the start of the film, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) sings in her own musical number, has her own personal inner-narration, and lives in a beautiful city which only smells of lavender. These are all the styles of a classic romcom, although at the centre is a woman trapped in desperate need to find her way out of this parallel universe, however the only way to do that is to play out the movie the way it must entail.

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All the actors and actresses of this ironic film are brilliant, they are fun and creative, in the same way as predictable and common as all romcoms. Nevertheless, its own twist is enjoyable and can’t not put a smile on your face. It’s a mix of cheesiness and cringyness, but adorable scenes with hilarity as well. Everything classic romcoms have.

Natalie has a pessimistic view on the world, she’s bossed around in her job and walked all over by the people around her. But when her friend, Whitney (Betty Gilpin), states she must be more open, the next guy that smiles at Natalie, instead wants to rob her. In a mugging, Natalie ends up running into a wall and wakes up in a bright pink hospital room. This is where she ends up in a parallel universe that is only a nightmare for our main protagonist. She finds that her neighbour hilariously shows up anywhere in need; her best friend Josh (Adam Devine) finds a love interest of his own; and men in the street are telling her how beautiful she is, no matter her screaming and detest to it all, this including one man in particular, Blake (Liam Hemsworth), the extremely handsome billionaire. Natalie is now in her own romcom, which she believed to never have come true – even though she doesn’t want it.

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This is just a feel-good movie! There is a lot of cheesy scenes, but isn’t that what makes this classic romcom? It’s simple, easy-going film which is fun to watch for the hour and a half that it is. Rebel Wilson is brilliant as the main protagonist, hilarious as usual! The dance numbers, even if surprising to begin with, are cleverly enjoyable in a mix of ‘what am I watching’ and ‘why is this song now stuck in my head’. Natalie’s version of ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ is an excellent example in this film, epically musical and fun, but cringey from start to finish, but why not just smile and enjoy? If you hate a romcom, you’ll hate this, because it’s romcom turned up to volume 100 with overexaggerated uses in irony and comedy. If you are a fan, then watch for the sheer joy of a romcom using all clichés they possibly can! Will Natalie ever return to her old life, or will the romcom ending just be too good to leave?

Dead to Me (2019 – )

Well this new TV show didn’t take long to finish at all… One season, 10 episodes, one sitting, one day: easy. From the first episode, I was hooked, I had to keep watching till the end, desperate to know what was going to happen, desperate to uncover all the secrets. It’s such an interesting, shocking programme. Brilliant from beginning to end. Truly with a phenomenal cast, the entire season was just excellent in every element.

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So, if you haven’t seen the wide advertising Netflix does so well, then here’s a quick plot. Jen’s life has become a downward spiral ever since her husband was violently murdered in a hit and run. Since then, she’s become a widow and single mother to her two sons. Her response for grief is anger and wine. However, she does start to try and make way for life again when she going to a grief counselling. In this meeting she meets another grieving woman, Judy. Amongst all the loss and hatred the women hold, they soon become unlikely friends as they try to piece together what happened three months before and finally come to grips with their losses.

Apparently described as a comedy – I don’t really get it. There were parts of the programme that made me smile, but I feel like I was invested into the drama significantly more. My face wasn’t really a constant grin but rather jaw-dropped from the twists and turns this show takes you on. You can’t help but watch the next episode when you’re left stunned and speechless at the end.

The two protagonists of the show have to be mentioned as they are both incredible. Firstly, as the heartbroken widow, Jen, is Christina Applegate. She is absolutely outstanding in her role of damage and anger. Then there’s Linda Cardellini (who I always remember as Velma from ‘Scooby-Doo The Movie’) as Judy, the supporting friend with way to many secrets locked away. The roles these stars become is remarkable and really brings the whole show to life.

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I would definitely recommend this new binge-watch. It doesn’t take long and becomes an interest for a day. So much happens as you become warped into these two women’s lives, invested to learn all the secrets and uncover what is going to happen. Just a quick note: the programme is a 15 as it does involve drugs, sex and swearing. Nevertheless, ‘Dead to Me’ was such a change of pace from the programmes I usually watch and was so refreshingly different, I couldn’t stop watching – that was until Netflix announced that there were no more episodes left for me to watch. Give it a go, I promise you’ll be hooked straight away!