American Hustle (2013)

A film with amazing stars, phenomenal actors and actresses who are magnificent throughout the film. Stars such as Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. They all are brilliant in creating this crime-ridden world with secrecy and plotting along the way. Christian Bale has to be at the forefront of this phenomenal cast, his acting is excellent as always.

Christian Bale Bradley Cooper Amy Adams Jeremy Renner Jennifer Lawrence

Two con-artists; a man who’s secret work is one of America’s best and a seductive, cunning woman on his side, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams); are forced to work with a very ambitious FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). Sadly, the film sounds a lot better than it actually is. It could have explored this FBI takeover in a much more exciting way, but I was left just trying so hard to understand what was going on and it takes a lot of concentrate when it’s quite a long talky-talky film. I have to admit, the narration throughout the whole film, from the characters explaining what is happening, is essential to understanding everything, and I liked the addition. But overall, I just felt more could have happened, particularly with these amazing actors. It felt a bit empty, where I was waiting for something to happen. When the con occurred, I was pleased to finally welcome its arrival into the film, but I think I created way better cons in my mind guessing throughout the movie.

Saying this, I really liked the flawed characters. I think with these sort of actors you can’t not be invested in the characters on screen. I was constantly guessing who was playing a con, who could be trusted, who was going to be fooled. But it turned out, we already knew quite a lot in the film as it was going on. I really liked the addition of Jennifer Lawrence’s character, her cunning and bossy ways were intriguing to learn about in the film. The whole film does feel like if you add a bit of violence, it could have easily had Robert De Niro at the centre. But it didn’t quite hit the mark of one of his crime films.

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In conclusion, American Hustle isn’t a bad film but it isn’t great. It has an incredibly long build up, where you wait and wait for the ending and it’s not as revolutionary as I had hoped, although still good to be fair. American Hustle definitely had stardom over plot, style over substance. I don’t think I’ll be watching this one again, there was a bit of too much hope for something more.

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Ma (2019)

Octavia Spencer stars in this new horror from Blumhouse Productions. I have to admit this one was very different from other horrors that I’ve seen. We all know that horrors love to create a quick background to delve into this setting and new characters (or old ones). ‘Ma’ definitely did this, although this part was the majority of the film, rather than the first ten minutes. What actually happens in the trailer doesn’t happen until the last twenty minutes of the film. What the whole film actually entails is a story of five teenagers and their sudden new friendship with Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) – a kind woman who has brought them alcohol. Or so they thought…

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Octavia Spencer sings as the best actor of the film. To be honest, the others aren’t great, but it doesn’t take much away from the film, you just have to ignore those awkward moments. Regardless, Sue Ann is such an interesting character. ‘Ma’ really explores in detail why she feels the urge to be the way she is, and in some ways you feel sorry for her, really feel pity towards her. It spends a lot of time building this character for the audience.

As a horror it definitely has jump scares, there were a few moments that got me jumping out my seat (although I’m an easier scare). The horror element is more creepy, as you don’t know what is going to happen. You’re just waiting for this character to explode as she stalks, tracks and follows the young teenagers. Additionally, the film does come to an abrupt ending. It’s all very sudden when everything starts to kick off and it is really exciting in a horror sense of a film. But then it’s over, where it could have told so much more afterwards.

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‘Ma’ was an enjoyable (as they can get for a horror) film. It was interesting to understand what had happened to this main protagonist and discover what she is going to do, what she is planning. The camera angles are intense throughout the whole film, with a lot of extreme close-ups. It is an intriguing film, different to other horrors. I might watch it again in the far future, but don’t think I’ll be jumping to this one time and time again.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

A new Netflix film, and straight away, I was intrigued to watch. A film of childhood sweethearts who never could find the right time to actually be together, 16 years later and their paths finally cross once again. I do love a romcom and this one had all it needed for it to be a fun, heart-warming film to just watch and feel good.

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Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) has made a name for herself – she’s become the chef she always wanted to be. Flying all around of America to open restaurants, she has become a powerful career woman who’s worked hard to get where she is. She is a fabulous main character. I love everything that she stands for, and she worked great as the centre of the film. Funny, classy, cool. Would love to own her wardrobe, but that’s not going to happen… She really was a fab protagonist to love. Then there’s Marcus (Randall Park), who’s on a different career path to his long-lost friend’s. Marcus lives at home with his father, grounded in his routes in San Francisco. He has his own band – an element I did love as it was so different and fun! Just another part of the movie to be lost into.

The last encounter of these two childhood friends was at the age of 18 and was at least very awkward… Words were said then 16 years goes by, no word said between them since. Of course, they happen to meet again with Sasha’s new restaurant opening in her hometown. This is where we delve into a lot of awkward moments, some a bit too cringey for me to watch. ‘Always Be My Maybe’ somehow has this feel to it that feels real, it feels honest, truthful somehow. It’s a great little escapism for an hour and three-quarters.

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I really enjoyed this film; the whole movie has a feel of wholesomeness and freshness to it. I love all the inclusive elements and it feels so modern. It’s really enjoyable and got me giggling. I just feel so happy and fuzzy after the whole thing has ended, aren’t they the best kind of films? A stereotypical romance comedy? Maybe. But ‘Always Be My Maybe’ is different with a fresh twist and still entertaining to watch.

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.