Wonder Woman (Film) Review

Imagine trying to talk about a film you’ve waited almost 40 years for.

It’s so difficult to convey what this movie means. Not just from a feminist standpoint but to me, the person. More specifically, me the four-year old obsessed with a high kicking female role model, the icon I wanted to be when I grew up.

And now here I sit on the other side, having devoured the movie and I can’t believe it. It feels amazing. It feels important. And I can’t stop bursting into sporadic tears. (Being reminded of what it felt like to be a kid, with all those simple dreams ahead always makes me feel very raw and emotional).

No traditional review here, just some thoughts and I’ll stay exceedingly light on the *spoilers* because I’m not a monster.

Please see this movie, even if you’ve been burned with the DCEU offerings so far. Even if you still can’t get the horrible aftertaste of Jared Leto’s cackling Joker out of your mouth. Hey, even if you’ve not seen a single superhero movie in your life.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

My Thoughts

The first fifteen minutes of my viewing experience was sullied by an over zealous cinema goer who wasn’t going to stand for light chatter or non-designated seating arrangements during this showing, even if her mission to get people to zip it was ultimately more distracting. I get it though, I’m a “Shut the fuck up” truther but I had bigger fish to fry on Thursday night and was willing to let it slide.

Once she’d chilled the fuck out, I was able to fully immerse myself in the wonder of Themyscira and the Amazon philosophy, which is represented stunningly. An island with no men? Sign me up.

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Bring your daughter to work day was always fun

Of course this couldn’t remain the state of play forever, as the story has to move on somehow. How better to fuck shit up than to introduce the men? Before we get there though, rest assured that the land of warrior women is not only gorgeous to look at but also hench AF.

Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) worries for her only daughter, spinning Diana a yarn about having moulded her out of clay herself, begging Zeus to bring her to life. This explains why Diana (Gal Gadot) is the embodiment of physical perfection. There’s more to this story though which we’ll unravel as we go.

Aunty Antiope (the mighty Robin Wright) is the henchest of them all, training Diana to be better than anyone and challenging her when she doubts her own strength. But I’m not here to break this all down for you so let’s just say that fate has a plan for the unsullied Princess Diana and her future lays off-island.

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Prince(ss) of Hats

Which takes Diana and her new friend, the freshly rescued American Spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to London where our hero will learn all there is to know about humanity and the ugly face of war, all whilst motivated by her own mission.

Some of the best bits are Diana getting to grips with the role of women in the world outside the one she knows. Her constant questioning shines a light on the ridiculousness of almost every situation, and certainly gets her noticed.

Anyway, the action does not stay in London for long, as Diana and Trevor journey further into the heart of darkness, in search of war. Diana for her own reason, Steve because it’s his job. They team up with a rag-tag bunch, which includes the amazing Etta Candy, WW’s sidekick in the comics (played by the lovely Lucy Davis).

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Candy girl. you are my world

I loved the chemistry between Etta and Diana but I wanted much more for them. I guess I would have liked to have explored the concept of different kinds of strength, not just the physical in more depth. You can argue that Etta displays her own anyway, I think my desire for a more female interaction is betraying itself.

A bit about the baddies. Without giving too much away, our main villain is Doctor Maru AKA “Doctor Poison” (Elena Anaya), the half-masked scientist with a deadly objective, to build the perfect super weapon. She is backed by German bad boy Ludendorff (Danny Huston) who is chemically altered by the Doc’s own concoctions whenever the need arises.

Like Etta, I would have liked to learn more about Doctor Poison’s motivations and her history. But there’s a chance we may meet again so I can let that one go.

So Diana travels to the front line and is shocked by what she witnesses. Her innate desire to help everyone is admirable but it’s not always possible to save everyone. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t try and there’s a sequence set in No Man’s Land that is madness personified but also incredible.

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It’s a Woman’s world

This is Wonder Woman’s first chance to shine and boy does she knock this one out of the park. Interestingly, she is never referred to as WW within this movie. Perhaps it’s like describing yourself as pretty or funny, you’re not really supposed to say it about yourself but it’s okay for others to?

Anyway, there’s a lot of action, loads of arse-kicking, a little old-fashioned smooching and a massive final showdown (obvs). Along the way the people’s princess learns more than one valuable life lesson and it’s those truth nuggets that propel a gal (Gadot) forward.

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Even Chris Pine couldn’t spoil this

I loved every minute, honestly. It’s so good to see this movie and know how many young girls there are out there completely beside themselves with excitement. The film is rated 12A and this was a conscious decision by the film’s director, Patty Jenkins to ensure the newest generation of fans could get to it.

It’s not a perfect movie (though it’s the best DC I’ve seen since the Christopher Nolan days) but that just doesn’t matter. It’s an important one and one that needs to be seen. I think every person should go to see this film; the female driven, female directed blockbuster.

You should give it your money so we get more, do it for your daughters, your sisters, your friends. Do it so the next generation have more female role models to look up to.

I can’t wait to see it again.

My Rating

5/5. Obviously.

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I Used To Love Him: Michael Jackson (AKA Teenage Idol)

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“Hey spider, you’ve got a Michael Jackson stuck to your butt…”

Who did you idolise as a teenager? Did you go crazy for the Beatles? Ga-ga over Duran Duran? In love with Justin Bieber? Did you think Elvis was the livin’ end? Via The Daily Post (January 11th 2016)

Justin Bieber? How young do you think I am?! (*Fluffs hair*).

It’s been quite a pressured week, so I’m taking time out to do a blog prompt because sometimes I like to seek inspiration rather than think for myself, alright? So sue me.

Obviously this week we very suddenly and shockingly lost a true legend in the shape of Bowie, and the world is still reeling. I haven’t seen this much widespread grief since Diana (or the person I’m about to wax lyrical about) and it’s incredibly sad.

It’s made me think on and off about heroes growing up, personal influences and how they mould us as young people and how we carry them into adulthood, like pretty, shiny talismans (men?).

I was obsessed with Micheal Jackson from a very early age. Like OBSESSED. Every video, album, film starring my boy – I was all over it. My Mum made me a ‘Bad’ birthday cake and there were MJ themed parties. I even convinced the girl next door, who was terribly uncool and ate only oranges and peanut butter, that I was named after my hero.

“Michael can be a girl’s name too, you know” is what I’d haughtily respond when she questioned me. I wish my name had been Michael to be honest but alas, my parents were not major fans themselves nor mind readers.

I would lie in bed at night with my Walkman plugged in, lip syncing the Vincent Price bit at the end of Thriller to myself. I knew all the words to Liberian Girl.

Man in the Mirror actually did make me look inside myself and ponder if I really needed to change. I decided the answer was no, I was only ten and perfect as far as I could see. 

Alas, my hero did some heinous things that caused his shine to all but extinguish. I won’t rehash those things here, nor will I deny them because I believe the accusations are true. There’s no defense and no amount of love for a former idol, who carried you through the awkward years into adulthood, that can excuse what he’s done.

My hero was messed up and then he messed up very badly. I think even before he died I’d forced myself to move on because good people don’t hurt the vulnerable, they don’t hurt anybody, even if they themselves seem vulnerable and childlike.

My ultimate hero wasn’t going to be a bad man even if he was Michael Jackson, King of my Heart. The first man I ever loved who wasn’t my father.

I can’t remember how I processed all that but I must of because by the time he died I was very sad but accepting. It had seemed only a matter of time, judging by his frail outward appearance and rumours of drug abuse. And again, how could I forgive him?

I still feel sad for the loss and that I’ve never felt the way I did about him since, about anyone. No more idols for me.

Actors and Musicians I like very much, sure but nobody I’ll ever pretend to be named after.

Day 7: Hero

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7. You might not think you have it in you, but believe me you do

Having someone come and rescue you is a nice idea, I suppose but in the end you have to save your own life.

Make a choice, make the moves, say no, start saying yes. Choose your words, use yours words, then stand by your words. No matter what.

Move out, move on, open your arms and your heart, and it’s all you, not your hero, come to save the day.

It’s all you.

Enjoy it, hero.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Film) Review

hellboundposterThis might be the greatest thing that’s happened to our reviews in a long time, (horror wise), certainly since A Girl Walk Home Alone at Night (which is really amazing, if you haven’t seen it yet).

I was so happy when Jillian suggested this film for Horror Month. I love the first Hellraiser (1987) very much, not least because it reminds me of actually great horror movies and iconic horror characters.

Pinhead is up there with Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers for me, so much so that I feel like these slightly misunderstood band of brothers could be my movie uncles. Sure, I’d probably keep them at arm’s length but at least Christmas would never be boring.

Anyway, despite being a big fan of Hellraiser, I’ve never attempted to watch the sequels. Of which, in this case, there are eight of the slippery little suckers. 9 Hellraiser films in total! I can’t say that I’ll spend much time digging any deeper into the franchise from here, but it’s nice to know that the option is open to me if I want it.

But, to number 2 which was thrilling, ridiculous, nostalgic and wonderful – and so much more. SO MUCH MORE, MAN.

Before we begin, this is your weekly *Spoiler Alert* warning, plus I feel as though I should slap on an additional, *this is kind of gross* disclaimer as some of the screen caps I’m going to use might make you feel sick. There’s a lot of gore in this bad boy.

Off we go, horror heads!

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Director: Tony Randel
Stars: Doug Bradley (Pinhead!), Ashley Laurence, Claire Higgins

IMDB Synopsis: Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again.

My Review:

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#squadgoals

Kirsty, from the first film, has been kept in a mental ward while the cops and doctors work out what the hell went on back at her house. Her dad is dead, her step mother slaughtered and the whole building needs to be condemned as it’s literally crawling with maggots and grime from the corpses of dozens of unwitting strangers.

(Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten what the fudge went down in the first movie, a short amount of the way in there’s a handy recap in the form of Kirsty re-telling her story to a doctor, which is very smoothly done, I think.)

Oh but, before we meet up with Kirsty again, we get a brief origin flashback to the man we’ve come to know as Pinhead, before he was eviiiiil. I mean, you didn’t think he popped out of his momma with a head full of spikes, did ya? (Yeah, I kind of did. How cute would a baby Pinhead be?). It looks as though he was some sort of explorer before he got his hands on the box.

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Postcards from the edge

Back to ‘present day’ and Kirsty is struggling with the fact that her father is dead but still visiting her to tell her he’s in Hell and needs her help. Thanks Dad, but what’s she supposed to do, really?

While she’s being interviewed, she overhears an inept detective saying that they’ve found a bloody mattress in her old house. She goes mental and says that it must be destroyed otherwise Julia, Kirsty’s bitch step mother could come back.

Somewhere around here, brain surgeon Doctor Channard (Kenneth Cranham) pops up and he’s got wind of this mattress situation, weirdly. His colleague, nice Kyle McRae (William Hope) overhears Channard organising delivery of the mattress to his home address and not the hospital, though I can’t remember now why or how he has any authority over its destination, given that he’s a surgeon, not a police officer but never mind.

Channard is seen near the beginning of the film performing a lobotomy on a conscious patient and waffling on about the power of the mind, or whatever, and then he takes us on a depressing tour of the hospital’s basement, which is essentially a Victorian lunatic asylum.

The patients are all straight-jacketed up, mostly incoherent and some are hallucinating, like the poor man who is haunted by crawling insects. Channard swans around like the evil proprietor and you can just tell he’s not a warm and fuzzy type.

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*SURPRISE!* (I’ve censored this picture as best I can, too much?)

Kyle McRae is nice to Kirsty and believes her story when a lot of other people are suspicious of it. For some reason he takes it upon himself to sneak into Channard’s home to have a little snoop about. He lives to regret this decision when Channard brings home an unsuspecting victim (poor old insect dude) and feeds him to the mattress.

You don’t read a sentence like that everyday, do you? What follows is probably one of the most disgusting scenes I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen the Human Centipede franchise) as Julia is bloodily resurrected.

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Worst possible guest to have over to a pure white house

She’s pretty foxy for a skinless woman, I’ll give you that and Cannard is smitten. Turns out he’s been obsessed with the little puzzle boxes for years, and owns several of them. There’s a plan somewhere in the works, involving another of his patients; the mostly mute but clever Tiffany, whose speciality is complicated puzzles. Oo-er!

But before that, Channard brings home a lot of strangers for Julia to suck the life force out of, until she is a complete woman again. Unfortunately, her last meal is Kyle McRae so he’s not much use in the end. Leave it to the girls to rescue themselves, as usual.

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More consequences than the Rubik’s Cube

Once Julia is back, she and Channard get Tiffany to open the box, and subsequently the gateway to Hell because Julia is apparently now the Queen down there and Channard wants to see it with his own eyes. Kirsty wants to find her father and make sure he’s okay.

Once in Hell, which now looks like a thorny castle grounds with a lot of weird mazes, corridors and an abandoned fairground (basically the set designer has gone all out), shit kicks off and the Cenobites appear again. This time they want Kirsty’s flesh, not another plea bargain.

Pinhead tells Kirsty she can’t do anything for her father as he’s in his own personal Hell, while she’s about to face hers. Then he very kindly tells her to have a look around, because they have all eternity to savour her.

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“Last Christmas…”

This review has got massively long already and there’s loads more to cover so I’ll highlight a few points before we wrap up. Pervy Uncle Frank pops up again and tries to get his former lover Julia back but she’s done with his shit finally.

Channard is turned into the most gruesome (and phallic) Cenobite to date and goes on a rampage across the hospital, amputating limbs as he goes. Later he squares up to the other Cenobites but not before Kirsty does a big speech, and gives Pinhead an old photograph she found of him, which reminds him he was once human too.

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The end of The Green Mile gets me like that too, boo 😦

He actually let’s her and Tiffany go before facing off to Channard’s fucking hideous Cenobite. This particular scene is really quite sad and thought-provoking, which isn’t something you’d ever imagine about these heinous creatures but defy you not to go “Aw”.

To the Questions, Holmes and don’t spare the horses! Will evil Queen/step mother Julia get her comeuppance? Also, is she a Queen just because she’s telling everyone she is, or is she actually kind of a big deal down in Hellsville? Will Tiffany and Kirsty survive to make the sequel?

Can everybody please stop french kissing each other please? It’s gross and most of you don’t have skin.

I’ll leave it at that but please know that if you watch this movie, you are in for a bloody, surreal and fucking brilliant ride. You know, if you like that kind of thing.

“You can’t have the secret to my big hair! I’ll never tell!”

My Thoughts: 

I loved this, I did. It was horrible and made my stomach turn more than once but it reminded me why horror was such a great genre back in the eighties.

It very rarely gets this good nowadays but I understand that these things have to evolve. I don’t know how well Pinhead would go down to the modern crowd if he were to be introduced for the first time but that’s okay, he’s a classic and to me, always will be.

A few times I was a bit confused, like, I don’t really get what happened to Tiffany’s mother, though it looks like she was harmed in a flashback scene. Why?

I also don’t get why, when Frank was fully resurrected in the first film (but shown in flashback in this one), he had to have Kirsty’s dad’s face (because Frank used his skin) but that Julia got to look like herself when she used a total stranger’s. I mean, continuity peeps!

But otherwise, what’s not to love? It’s fun, it’s disgusting, at times it’s genuinely scary and I also really enjoy that this is an English horror movie, unlike the Halloweens, etc. It’s nice to know we can/could do Video Nasties with the best of them.

My Rating: 4/5 (because I ❤ Pinhead 4 eva).

So, was Jillian a fan too? Pop on over to see for yourself!