A Simple Favour (2018)

This trailer executed a film full of suspicion and thrilling moments, one full of secrets and mystery. It definitely peaked my interest and want to watch it. Additionally, throw in Anna Kendrick – who I love from ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘Trolls’ – and Blake Lively – who is fabulous but also remembered as the scandalous Serena van der Woodson in ‘Gossip Girl’ – and I immediately thought the film couldn’t get much better to get me to watch it. The advertisement for this film seemed everywhere, and eventually I found the time to go to see it in cinema. To so much despair, I was left feeling deflated, underwhelmed and exhausted from sitting so long and enjoying little.

Two mums meet as their sons’ bond, on an unwilling playdate, the women become unlikely friends. Two complete opposite characters. Then one goes missing…

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I spent the whole film waiting for something to happen, for the thing to happen, and I never felt it came. Everything seemed too predictable, or if there was something shocking it wasn’t executed to the shock factor, instead I just found the truth when the main protagonist did; this was so slow, it wasn’t a big reveal, it was a slow recognition. Most of the secrets were actually visually played out with explanation, so again that didn’t help with any secrecy or mystery. I have to admit, there were a few ‘wow, it’s going to get good now!’ moments, but then I was slowly dropped back down again. It seemed like it had a long beginning, but at the same time, one not long enough to be fully explained, and then a long middle and end, an unsatisfactory end.

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It wasn’t all bad! I didn’t mind the characters, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are both great actresses and they played their parts well. Although I think we found out a bit too much of Blake Lively’s character, but the right amount of Anna Kendrick’s, even if I didn’t want to know… They were characters that felt quite real even if messed up in their own lives. Additionally, I loved the costumes, all clothing seemed perfect to all of the scenes, to add to their characters, to add to their personalities. And to add to the genre and potential suspicion. Along with this, was also the brilliance of the music, it again added to the scenes extremely well.

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As a whole, I think I just expected a lot more than what was actually there. With such a brilliantly open trailer there was so much for the mind to ponder over, but the imagination from the trailer almost ruined the film as it was lacking. The film also has a lot of swearing and some sexual scenes, so it’s definitely a film for older ages. Overall, I was let-down.

The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants (2005)

I love this film. You could say it’s a chickflick, but I think there is so much more to it than the simple ‘chickflick’ phrase that tends to be stereotypically stemmed with films ‘girly’ or cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love chickflicks, but this film is on a different level with some great moving moments and some hard-hitting realities. It’s not just a film of best friend teenagers being separated, although this element definitely does make it chick-flicky, but that’s not a bad thing!

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The plot is a story of four best friends experiencing their first summer away from each other since birth. While shopping, they find a pair of jeans that happens to fit all of them perfectly. They then make a pact to send the jeans to each other wherever they are in the summer and write what they did while wearing them, this was their way to stay in contact and share something over summer, even if they weren’t together. It might sound cheesy, and it is a little, but stick with it because there is so much more than a pair of jeans, or pants if you’re American. We follow their stories, that become so real and the audience does become invested. These four characters couldn’t be further opposites if they tried, and that’s what makes this film great. They are all different and they all tell their own summer story, throwing in a variety of things to watch for. Firstly, the one who mostly narrates at the start and the end, even though the others do chip in, is Carmen (America Ferrera). Carmen’s story is travelling to South Carolina to visit her absentee father. Her summer with her father doesn’t go to plan when his life isn’t what she assumed. Next is my favourite character, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), she’s the rebel of the group. Her summer is staying at home working in a store and trying to create her own documentary as her passion is film. On the way, she ends up, not of her own decision, gaining an assistant, who participates in a major role of her summer. Then there’s ‘Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively as Bridget. Bridget’s summer is heading off to Football Camp in Mexico. Bridget is competitive and at front with who she is, but deep down there is so much more to her. I do have to admit, some of her scenes are extremely cringey. Finally, ‘Gilmore Girl’s Alexis Bledel as Lena, she’s the innocent, secretive one of the group. Lena travels to Greece to visit her grandparents, but instead ends up in a forbidden summer romance.

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‘The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants’ is a great film, it has comedy, meaningful moments, and reality struggles. Ok, ok it is quite chick-flicky, but it’s great either way! All the stories have some meaningful moral to them in which the characters learn from. Stories such as life being precious; stories where you should accept your emotions; stories where you can’t run away from problems; and stories of being able to be more confident in yourself. I do laugh in parts of this film, but I’m not going to lie to you all, there are also parts I cry in this film. It has drama, comedy and romance all wrapped up in one. Plus all the actresses are superb, but I do love Blake Lively and Rory from ‘Gilmore Girls’. It is quite a long film, but there is so much in it, that you don’t really notice time passing. I do think this is a fab film and would recommend if you would like this sort of film, but I completely understand that it probably is a film of particular genre.

The Shallows (2016)

Well to start off, this is a film definitely worth watching. If you like shark films then you will definitely appreciate this one. Even though, I’m not a shark fan, like seriously, they scare the living daylights out of me… I still appreciated this movie. It was cleverly created to keep the audience in constant tension. And because of this it was full of suspense and delivered a watchable, yet not want to watch, shark horror film.

Everyone must have seen the trailer. I don’t know if it was just my friends circling it around on FaceBook, or whether it be that I follow Blake Lively on Instagram; but nevertheless I saw the trailer highly advertised. There is no hiding the fact that this film is one based around one girl and her attempted plan and escape from a shark. However, because everyone knows this is what is going to happen there isn’t an element of surprise when we finally notice the shark in the waters. Although what the film does really well is that we don’t actually know when it’s going to appear. The start of the film throws the audience into suspense of a shark we know is coming. But when? Now? Not yet. What about now? Nope. Tension builds up before we even see the shark. Then it comes. And it comes hungry. Hungry for fresh meat, most significantly, fresh meat of a human. The best thing, the tension doesn’t leave here either. The shark goes. Swimming in depths we can’t see. But he comes back. Making the audience feel uncomfortable to when the shark is next appearing and whether the poor trapped girl will make it out alive.

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There are a few clever ways this tension is built up in this film. Firstly, there are many under water shots. This is similar to ‘Jaws’, where it seems that the camera is coming from the shark’s perspective and is hunting its prey. Alike to ‘Jaws’ again, they trick the audience purposely to think this, that the shark is coming, when it isn’t, or is it? Secondly, there are many moments that are slowed down, the audience watch them in slow motion. This focusses the audience on certain aspects of the film, but also making us think something is about to happen. This is blended in with tense fast music, another aspect to create this tension for the audience. It also helped that the shark looked quite realistic. Compared to ‘Jaws’ again, the shark was good for 1975; but ‘The Shallows’ came out in 2016, this year, so thankfully the shark looks realistic and scarier for the audience. These aspects all truly add to the atmosphere of the film and make it that much more worth watching. I’ve never been so tense for a whole hour and a half before… The film created so much tension that the audience couldn’t feel much other than stress or surprise. Obviously, this was done on purpose so it makes it a brilliant horror.

Another thing I really liked about this movie is that it was so brilliantly played by Blake Lively as Nancy. We learn a lot about the main protagonist herself, this makes the film so much more realistic for the audience, we can connect to this loveable character. Nancy is a girl who recently dropped out of med school and is travelling in order to get some alone time, after a recent tragedy in her life. This really creates depth into her character and makes her a character the audience wants to route for.

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This film was made this year, like I’ve already stated; and what I liked is that this was also when the film was set. The way this is shown is through the technology of the film, which I really liked, to make it look so modern. It is cleverly done, with the FaceTime on the screen for the audience to see, going into the details of jumping, because no one ever has good quality. Also the texts popping up or her scrolling through pictures which are telling the audience things about her past. So not only are these things modern for today’s audience, but are telling the audience even more about the protagonist without actually saying it, but hinting at things.

This film does seem very realistic, and I liked this, it made it scarier. There are some parts of look away gruesome, or screaming at the screen for Nancy to get out of the water, or to ask her what the hell she thinks she’s doing! There’s gasps and turned away heads. It really is a film to grip an audience to see how she’s going to get out of this one.

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So overall, it is a film I would recommend. If you’re in for a thrilling tense film, then this one should be at the top of the list. Plus, Blake Lively is great in it, if anyone says she can only play the American Upper Class girl from ‘Gossip Girl’ they are mistaken in the character she plays in ‘The Shallows’.

Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

As I finally finished ‘Gossip Girl’ today, I thought I’d write a review on it. A couple of years behind, I know, but I prefer to watch programmes after they’ve finished so I don’t have to wait for the next episode. I’m not so good with suspense and waiting, I tend to get impatient. But six series later and it’s finally finished and I have to say it is such a good show. Even though, I had two massive breaks in between watching them all, I was hooked in each three times. I believe there has to be some breaks, otherwise it just takes over your life. It’s a very addictive show.

So what is ‘Gossip Girl’ even about? Set in New York City, and filmed there too, the show follows the lives of the Upper East Side; the rich, popular, have everything want everything kind. Gossip Girl in the show is an internet website posting about the main characters lives, all their truths and secrets, everything is exposed; and to say the least, the programme always has something going on. There is a focus on fashion and art because the world that is based upon is full of money; fashion is definitely key to the characters and to express their personalities. So the main characters? Firstly, there’s the blonde star of the show, Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively). Then her best friend, well sometimes best friend, they go through a lot in the show, is the mean “Queen B” Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester).Serena and BlairThere’s of course the bad boy, who throughout the film strangely becomes the dark horse for the audience to start to love, no matter how unbelievable at the beginning, this is Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). Then there’s the guy that all the girls want to be with, the rich boy trying to find his own way in life, Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford). Lastly, there’s the character that doesn’t quite fit in, the one who tries all he can, but doesn’t ever seem to get there as he’s not from the Upper East Side, he has his ups and downs, but realistically he is always known as the “Brooklyn Lonely Boy”, this is Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley).

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All of the characters interlink with each other, and are confronted in one way or another.

There are also some reoccurring characters that also become key to the plot in different series. One of these is Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg), someone that can’t be trusted, the master of scheming is probably best for her character personality. Additionally, there are the parents, most significantly Dan’s father, Rufus (Matthew Settle), and Serena’s mother, Lily (Kelly Rutherford). Both having their own significant stories. In Blair’s life there is Dorota (Zuzanna Szadkowski), her maid, who I believe is a great character, even if she isn’t one of the main protagonists. Also, Dan’s sister, Jenny (Taylor Momsen), Serena’s brother Eric (Connor Paolo) and Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr) are all key characters in certain series. There are obviously many more characters, but somehow it doesn’t become confusing to who is who, especially that most characters are stuck to their plot line in their series; so as a new character comes in, one leaves. All of them have their own plot lines and something big happens to all, so you can understand how many things are going on at once. I love most of the characters, I think they’re all great in their own way, they’re scheming and funny, and they make the show so great. Moreover, they’re all so different, so there is a character for everyone to love.

To say the shows contains scandals and lots of drama would be an understatement. Seriously, I’ve never watched a show with so much drama in it, and that’s saying something because I’ve watched a lot of TV series. A great thing about the show as well is that it also has the shock factor, things you wouldn’t expect to happen. The characters all have their secrets and the audience is not always known to what they are; especially to who Gossip Girl is, which isn’t released until the final episode. But because of all these secrets and how the show is created, you become attached to the characters, more so than you would in a film, and sometimes you love them, next minute you hate them, then you love them again. You just never know who can be trusted and what the character’s real agendas are. This is what makes the TV programme so addictive, you just want to know everything that has happened or how things are going to spin out. Even though some plots are best kept in their series, some are continuous throughout the show. This is clever in making not just one series addictive but all of them. For example, the relationship between Blair and Chuck, this is definitely something that audiences have been hooked on and wandering if anything would happen, and I’m not spoiling anything, so I’ll leave it there.

I would probably say that this is not a show for young children, and is probably aimed at teenagers and young adults. A lot of the scandals are revolved around sex, and there is the occasional swearing.

If you’re wanting a show full of drama and scandals, yet characters to love, then ‘Gossip Girl’ would be at the top of your list. I highly recommend it. But then again, it probably is for certain people. But nevertheless I would still recommend. It’s a teen drama with numerous shocking scandals and stressful moments. Things happen that are good, many that are bad. ‘Gossip Girl’ is definitely an emotional TV programme, besides it is following the lives of the same five characters for six series.