Film · Reviews

Days 71 – 80 |365 Day Film Challenge (Year Two)

SURPRISE!! It’s another ten film review round-up. There’s horror, tearjerkers, and true life accounts in this article, so enjoy! Oh, and if you want a sneak preview of what I watch and the ratings I give, follow me on Letterboxd.

 

DAY 71 – I, TONYA (2018)

This account of the infamous Tonya Harding’s (played by a wonderful Margot Robbie) life is heart-breaking, hilarious, and eye-opening. Craig Gillespie expertly directs this biopic, and the mockumentary style of the movie adds to the charm. The cast (comprised of Allison Janney and Sebastian Stan) is incredible, and it was really interesting to learn more about Tonya Harding besides the fact that she was an Olympic skater who injured Nancy Kerrigan. Seeing her side of the story was informative, and gave the incident new meaning. A must-watch.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

 

DAY 72 – PLEASE STAND BY (2018)

This is an entertaining, if flawed, movie. Please Stand By follows Wendy (Dakota Fanning), an autistic woman who lives in an an assisted living facility and is obsessed with Star Trek. One day, she decides to run away to Los Angeles to submit a script she has written for a contest, and the film follows her as she takes this leap of faith. My main issue with the film was the fact that they didn’t focus enough on her autism. As someone who has Asperger’s, I was hoping for more light to be shone on the topic. Please Stand By mostly just shows Wendy embarking on her trip and the mishaps that happen.

The cast is great, and I was interested the whole run time, but I was left disappointed by the representation. If you’re looking for a fun film that is different from your usual “finding yourself” movie, Please Stand By should satisfy you. Just don’t be like me and expect something more.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

 

DAY 73 – POD (2015)

An interesting psychological thriller/horror film, Pod follows two siblings as they go to check on their brother, who lives in an isolated cabin in the woods. What they discover when they arrive is extremely concerning, though. Is this movie perfect? Definitely not, but it’s fun and entertaining. Pod is a movie that demands you pay attention the whole time, or you’ll risk missing out on important details. I do feel like this movie would have benefited from a slightly longer run time, but I had a good time with it, flaws and all.

VERDICT: 3/5

 

DAY 74 – THE MAN IN THE MOON (1991)

 

The Man in the Moon is one of those kinda cheesy, but still heartwarming, movies that populated the 90’s. Reese Witherspoon plays a precocious teenager who longs for adventure and to step out of her older sister’s shadow. When Court (Jason London) moves in next door, their entire family’s lives change. There are definitely predictable moments, but this movie has heart, and will definitely leave a lump in your throat.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

 

DAY 75 – THE BOOK OF HENRY (2017)

The Book of Henry isn’t as bad as a lot of critics made it out to be; it’s just tonally messy and the important messages it tries to impart get somewhat bogged down by the story. The cast (including Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Jaeden Lieberher, and Dean Norris) are great, and there are moments of genuine emotion. It’s just a shame that the film feels so bloated and aimless.

VERDICT: 3/5

 

DAY 76 – STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

The biopic of the formation and success (and troubles) of the group N.W.A., this is an interesting film with a powerful cast. O’Shea Jackson Jr. (playing his father, Ice Cube), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), and Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E) give their all, and the supporting actors are fantastic. I do think this is more appealing to fans of the band/genre, though. I’m not a huge fan of rap, so this didn’t hit as hard for me. Still, Straight Outta Compton is an important film with timely messages that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

 

DAY 77 – TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983)

An endearing (sorry…) movie about the bond between a mother (Shirley MacLaine) and a daughter (Debra Winger), this film charts their journeys through this messy thing called life. They both struggle with men (in this case, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow) and being mothers, and their bond is charming. This is another kind of cheesy tearjerker, but it’s effective and entertaining.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

 

DAY 78 – STEEL MAGNOLIAS (1989)

Practically a Southern classic, Steel Magnolias is one of those movies that people thought I was crazy for having not seen sooner. I’VE WATCHED IT NOW, OK?!?! Sorry, had to get that off my chest. Another feel-good, tear-producing film with a fantastic cast (including Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, and Dolly Parton), Steel Magnolias is a movie you watch when you need to simultaneously need to laugh and cry. It’s not a masterpiece in any way, but it has charm by the buckets.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

 

DAY 79 – THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)

A surprise release after this year’s Super Bowl, this is the third film in the Cloverfield “franchise”. Overall, I had fun with it. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s entertaining for what it is. There are definitely issues with the plot, but this will scratch your “creepy thing terrorizing people on a spaceship” itch (you know you have one). It’s easy to compare it to films such as Life, Event Horizon, Alien, and the previous Cloverfield movies, but just go into this with zero expectations and you’ll have a fun time. Plus, the cast (Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’Dowd, Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is ace.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

 

DAY 80 – IT STAINS THE SANDS RED (2017)

A refreshing take on the tired zombie genre, It Stains the Sands Red focuses on Molly (Brittany Allen), a woman who is being trailed by zombie she calls “Smalls” (Juan Riedinger). She encounters increasingly difficult situations on her journey and reveals more about her life as the film progresses, and this is where the film excels. She’s a character that you actually care about, and her relationship with Smalls is endearing. This does cover difficult subject matter, and the acting is hit-or-miss, but if you’re growing disenchanted with zombie cinema, check out It Stains the Sands Red.

VERDICT: 3.5/5

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