Lady Bird (2017)

I thought it was about time for me to see this film. Since having won multiple awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress at the Golden Globes, ‘Lady Bird’ seems to still be remembered and flittering around as a great film. I actually didn’t realise it was as old as it was. Nevertheless, it was time to watch and review so here goes…

A coming of age drama about a seventeen-year-old girl who insists on being called Lady Bird (played by the fantastic Saoirse Ronan). The film follows Lady Bird in her normal day-to-day life. Her feisty personality takes her on a rollercoaster for her final year in school. She is a definitely a character who is relatable and realistic – she’s not someone to automatically think everything she does is right. Her experiences are relatable to any other teenager. She struggles to find her place, fighting against her path made for her. She struggles with her first love and the truth of what a friend is. Alongside this, she struggles at home, constantly in arguments with her mum, but never understanding the difficulties her parents are also facing. Lady Bird fights to be someone she is not and does everything she can to get out of Sacramento.

The acting is phenomenal in this film, you believe all of the characters. Saoirse Ronan is brilliant as the main protagonist; it is understandable she won a Golden Globe for her acting. The mother of the film, played by Laurie Metcalf, is also fantastic. Her complicated character is fascinating to watch. You can definitely feel all of the emotion on screen. ‘Lady Bird’ portrays a lot of emotion of struggle and reality, there’s drama and there’s some comedy. I wouldn’t say this film is a comedy, but there are elements to make you smile and giggle along with the characters growing up. Just a small note, due to drug use, sex references and swearing, this film is a 15 for reason.

‘Lady Bird’ is a film beautifully made; every element feels so realistic. The ups and downs of life. The flawed characters. The struggles, the desires, the pain. Is ‘Lady Bird’ the best film I’ve ever seen in my life? No. But it’s just a beautiful escapism for an hour and a half – to get to know different characters, to watch the journey of Lady Bird.

Freaky Friday (2003)

I used to watch this film repeatedly. A comedy of Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan swapping bodies, it always made me laugh. And it still does… The main synopsis of the film is that mother and daughter (who don’t get along) end up swapping bodies, living as each other on an extremely important day for both of them. With the mother about to get married and the daughter in for a chance of her band hitting big, the body swap couldn’t come at a worse time for either of them.

Straight away from the beginning of the film, we learn that mother and daughter, Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Anna (Lindsay Lohan) do not see eye-to-eye. Tess lives her life in a lot of organisation and preparation; however, Anna is the complete opposite. Both believe their lives are easier than the other. Tess deals with day-to-day adult life with a career and soon to be husband, along with raising two children. Anna deals with high school life; a mix of bullies, teachers who will always disagree with her and her first real crush. You learn pretty quickly what the personalities of these characters are, which is very important for a film which includes a body swap.

I do believe that ‘Freaky Friday’ is a family classic. The body swap is brilliant. Tess becomes Anna, Anna becomes Tess. Jamie Lee Curtis transformed into the rebellious teen is never-a-miss comedy. Her snidey gimmicks and looks are hilarious as the family are in complete confusion about who their mum has turned into. Lindsay Lohan is also comical as the drastic performance turns from uprising teen to always in control mother. Her struggle to remember she is now the sister rather than the mother to Harry is fantastically funny as she accidentally calls him “honey”. His confusion is excellent to watch as he usually expects chaos and madness in a sibling rivalry.

‘Freaky Friday’ is a brilliant comedy. I will always remember the initial reaction from Anna as “I’m old” when she discovers she’s no longer in her body. And the classic solution of running into each other to fix the problem. The grandpa and Harry also have to get a mention, as their comedy has to make the audience smile – the gimmick of Harry copying his grandfather’s panic in an earthquake is enough really! This family comedy shouldn’t be one to be lost in history, it is funny and full of nostalgia back to 2003.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

I do believe that Cinderella will be a story told over and over again. Back in 1998, Drew Barrymore told the famous tale in another unique way. ‘Ever After’ maintains the Cinderella tale: a young girl is left with her evil stepmother and two stepsisters. She becomes a servant in her own home, although once she’s grown up, she catches the attention of a Prince who will do anything to find his true love again.

‘Ever After’ is set in the 16th Century in France. The film constantly flitters between the two main protagonists. Firstly, Danielle (Drew Barrymore), aka our Cinderella. Danielle lives with her stepmother (played by Anjelica Huston), and her stepsisters, Marguerite (Megan Dodds) and Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey). Once again, the stepmother is unnecessarily cruel to Danielle and favourites her own children, in particular Marguerite. Jacqueline, on the other hand, has to be one of my favourite characters in the film. Her innocence and kindness are constantly shown on screen portraying that Danielle is not fully alone in her family. From the get-go, Danielle is feisty and will do anything to save her own farm, anything to bring back the life and memory of her father. She is a wonderful character to watch.

Secondly, we follow the Prince of France, Henry (Dougray Scott). Once he hits our screens, we discover he is angry by his upbringing. He feels forced to live a life of royalty that he does not want. As one of the guards says, “he suffers from an arranged marriage” and all he wants to do is find his own path and his true love. This character is definitely not one to love from the beginning of the film, I actually find that he is a character that you need to learn to understand throughout the film rather than just seeing him as throwing a fit because he can’t get what he wants.

‘Ever After’ is a drama of romance and comedy. The comedy is not slap-you-in-the-face funny, but rather just the occasional chuckles or smiles. There is obviously romance with the story of Cinderella, you can’t expect any different. Additionally, there are a lot of twists and unexpected occurrences in this film, which differs quite dramatically from the traditional tale of Cinderella. Yes, the essence is there, but there’s a lot more to it than the bare bones. The most important one being that this Cinderella doesn’t need a Prince to save the day. Lastly, I cannot say the acting in this film is phenomenal, it is quite sketchy at times, but it adds to the comedy. It’s a cheesy film, not the best well-made, rather the opposite. Do remember it was filmed in 1998 and that definitely reflects throughout the film. Nevertheless, I do love this film. It’s soppy and funny in its own way. Besides, who doesn’t love a story of Cinderella?

Saw III (2006)

These films are a lot better when they are watched in order, so if you’ve not seen the first two films of this ‘Saw’ franchise, find them here: ‘Saw’, ‘Saw II’. ‘Saw III’ echoes a similar pattern of the films before, adding more pieces to the Jigsaw puzzle. The serial killer this time has taken a doctor and a revengeful man to play in his game. Along with his accomplice (the reason why it’s important to watch in order), Jigsaw manipulates every aspect of the game in his usual trickery to force people to face their fears and appreciate their lives as they fight for survival.

Waking up in a wooden box, a man discovers he is stuck in a twisted game forcing him to choose a path of forgiveness or revenge. Discovering a tape recorder, the man is presented with situations he has dreamt about, although his test is to shy away from the revenge route and turn to forgiveness instead. However, he finds forgiving extremely challenging when faced with memories of his son’s horrendous untimely death. Meanwhile, with Jigsaw and his accomplice, a doctor has been taken. As she’s connected to a collar of death around her neck, she’s forced to operate and save the ill (in so many ways) killer.

Once again, ‘Saw III’ has created a brilliant sequel to add to the franchise. The horror of the gore is present as usual. A lot of times I couldn’t watch the screen, turning away at the goriest scenes. Yes, the graphics aren’t phenomenal, alike to the first two, however the execution of gore and horror is not a miss. Furthermore, the mystery of the film is still dominant. We discover that human emotions are so unpredictable we cannot predict everything that is going to happen, leaving the audience in constant suspense and terror. Even though we suspect a twist to summarise the end of the film, you still don’t see it coming. You almost wait for the revelation and explanation behind Jigsaw’s reasoning of the chosen game. ‘Saw III’ is no different from the first two as the audience are captivated in the horror and surprised by the twist every time.

Saw II (2005)

There are many ‘Saw’ films in this horror gore franchise. After reviewing the first and original ‘Saw’ movie (click to view) with the introduction of the man who captures people to play games for survival, the next obvious choice was to turn to the second. This time we’re not in full cooperation with the people playing the game to begin with, instead our focus is towards the killer himself, being captured by the police yet still in all control.

When the mastermind behind all the dreadful killings is finally captured, the police are eager to put this villain in his place. However, he states rather quickly that he only wants to discuss with one Detective in particular and that he must now play along with the game. Meanwhile, he also reveals that he already has his selection of victims trapped in a house in the middle of a game. Therefore, this time we watch as two games unfold. The game in the house, as sadistic as it is, is played by these rules: the group have been breathing in a deadly poison and to survive they must obtain one of the few antidotes scattered around the house. The audience are forced to watch as the group become crazed and ill driven to do anything to gain an antidote and save themselves.

The ‘Saw’ movies are known for their gore and horror. This one is no different from the rest. This second film actually has many connections and hints to the first film, which adds to the franchise feel of the films. ‘Saw’ movies should also be known for their revelations and twists in the end. ‘Saw II’ once again follows the desperate emotions of humans and their drive to survive, but also follows a mastermind who has thought everything through to play a game so disturbing but clever in its complex solutions.

Birds of Prey: And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Without a doubt the person who sells this film is Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. She is the star of the show who holds the whole film together (she does kind of have to be the star as she is the main character and all but still…). Margot Robbie portraying the infamous Harley Quinn is phenomenal, she was brilliant in ‘Suicide Squad’ and again in ‘Birds of Prey’. Her whole character is mesmerising to watch. She snaps from this unhinged villain to a trained psychiatrist during moments of the film which adds depth to her character and comedic contrast. Margot Robbie executes all the excellent elements of Harley Quinn to perfection on screen. Even the way she looks sells the character.

It’s hard to put into words a define plot to this film. This is where I thought it was a little weak and underwhelming. It revolves around Harley Quinn and others soon become significant main characters; including a police detective, a crossbow killer, Black Canary, a young thief and Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). If you’re a big DC fan or have seen the many other programmes, then the characters would make a lot more sense and reflect your known knowledge of the comics. However, if you’re like me and started watching ‘Arrow’ and got bored, or the first ‘Flash’ episode was too over the top, then you’re just watching for Harley Quinn and the film by itself. The plot then becomes loose which is not really heading anywhere as a lot of character backgrounds suddenly crash into one.

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Basically, Harley Quinn and The Joker have broken up. Harley now realises her protection in Gotham City has been lost and instead she’s wronged a lot of people who now want revenge on her. The way this is shown on screen is so fun and stylistic with bursts of colours and quick flashback explanations. Meanwhile, we follow Roman Sionis (the dominant villain of the movie) in his murderous ways as he searches for a diamond, which becomes lost and hunted for. A crossbow killer is involved in the story too, although her acting wasn’t great. It is kind of random at why Harley is involved in the whole fiasco, but she’s adored on screen, so I didn’t hate it. On the other hand, I don’t like when a supernatural element is randomly chucked in at the end – it does irritate me (you’ll know what I mean when you see the film). Finally, the moment in the trailer of the women banding together is a brilliant fight scene of screen (even if it is right at the end), of course Harley Quinn’s final action-packed scene is perfectly set in an amusement park.

The entire film is narrated by Harley Quinn herself, at times she even looks at the camera to the audience. I did like this stylised choice; however, it is a lot of talking. The narration is throughout the entire film and there isn’t a lot of time without it. It does, again, put Harley Quinn at the centre of the film as she’s telling us the story. Furthermore, towards the beginning of the film, the timeline is not linear, instead it bounces around – the narration is the sole reason for understanding the changes in time.

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Overall, I did enjoy the film. Did I think there would be a stronger plot? Yes. But was it still enjoyable due to Harley Quinn? Yes! I’m not going to say this is a ground-breaking film of cinematic history because it is far from it. Nevertheless, there are a lot of action-packed scenes and empowering women moments; although many of them weren’t Harley’s moments surprisingly. She is funny in her own crazy way and she’s a lot of fun to watch.

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Disney Classic no. 53, another Disney film. In a world of advanced technology, we venture into the scientific brain of young Hiro. When a villain erupts into the city of San Fransokyo, a group of high-tech heroes band together including young Hiro and an unlikely friend, a robot named Baymax.

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I personally think Baymax is the highlight of the entire film. This inflatable robot gets me into fits of giggles. The simplicity of just pointing out the obvious is classic. Or him learning of what a fist bump is and getting it tragically wrong. Or even better the hilarious moment when the poor robot has low battery. I adore this robot, made to help the people around him, he is the centre of the show who brings the comedy and the tears. Without this cuddly robot that just wants to do good, the film wouldn’t have been nearly as amazing as it is.

‘Big Hero 6’, alike to many Disney films, has a much deeper meaning across the film. This Disney Classic does not follow the route of the hero doing everything correctly, instead it proposes the opposite. The underlining theme of this film is grief – the hurt, loss and anger. Within tackling such strong emotions, the film is so clever in creating sadness and laughter.

Big Hero Six
Overall, I believe ‘Big Hero 6’ to be yet another fantastic Disney Classic. The film explodes with technological heroes saving the world, along with sci-fi elements of advanced scientific knowledge. I can’t really explain when this film is set but it does seem futuristic – particularly with the robot. There’s action and adventure, also comedy which does make me laugh out loud. Finally, there are moments of heart-breaking sadness – yes it’s another film I cry in… If I’ve not given enough reasons to add this film to the watchlist, then just watch for Baymax!