Jillian & Christa's Great Blog Collab 2018, The Movies

Sierra Burgess is a Loser (Film) Review

Netflix is currently in the throes of a rom-com renaissance. Finally giving us smart new romantic movies, directed mostly by women, we’ve been spoilt lately with the mighty To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and to a lesser extent Claire Scanlon’s Set It Up (2018). Both movies are better than most films of this nature and I am loving it. So when I heard about Sierra Burgess starring my one true love Shannon Purser I got super excited.

SBIAL is not directed by a female director though and it’s also sadly not nearly as good. Are the two connected?

Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.

*Minor spoilers*

My Review

Sierra Burgess sets itself up in the usual way, establishing roles early on and leaving us in no doubt of who’s who in the social hierachy. Sierra (Purser) is the daughter of a famous literary father and a self-help guru mother (Alan Ruck and Lea Thompson) and ‘isn’t like other girls’ – or at least she prides herself on being one of the only girls who doesn’t care about her appearance. She’s smart basically and not distracted by such trivial things. (Yes there’s a slightly superior air to her but why not when she’s treated like literal dog shit by some of her peers?).

Veronica (Kristine Froseth) by contrast is a stone cold fox but a shitty person. She’s super mean to anyone ‘less’ and pretty horrid to her friends too. She absolutely has her sights set on humiliating Sierra just for the pure fun of it – which is how this whole tale begins.

Barb wire

Let me tell you that I will always root for the underdog. Sierra isn’t always likable but she is motherfucking Barb from Stranger Things and therefore, I’m her homegirl for life. She isn’t ugly by any stretch but I get that we’re supposed to consider her the lowest of the low on the looks and body beautiful scale (e.g. she’s completely normal). When Veronica pinches some of Sierra’s tutoring flyers and gives out her number to a hottie Jamey (Noah Centineo) who believes it’s Veronica’s – well, you’ve got yourself a modern-day retelling of Cyrano.

You didn’t think Sierra could pull this off on her own with her hideous ginger face and oafish stature did ya?

Sierra starts romancing Jamey by text very quickly but soon hits a wall when he asks her to face time. Being the resourceful brainiac that she is, she quickly sees a window of opportunity and goes for it. Veronica, you see is trying to impress a college boy who thinks she’s a dummy. If only someone were on hand to school her in the ways of the ancient philosphers in exchange for a borrow of her face and body for a couple of hours?

So our unlikely duo team up to pull the wool over the eyes of their boy crushes – and fall in love with each other instead. Well, sort of, unfortunately not in the way I was cheering for – but in the friendship sense. For me this is the most important relationship to come out of the film, who needs boys?

Bitch Force Three

Sierra quickly learns that Veronica’s picture perfect life is very far from it (her mother, played by Chrissy Metz, is bitter, miserable and extremely hard on Veronica) which doesn’t excuse her behaviour but does explain some of it. Meanwhile, Sierra suffers for the pressure placed upon her by a brilliant and famous dad. She’s also just found out that she can’t just walk into her chosen college with straight As – she needs to stand out.

As the girls scheme and Jamey falls deeper and deeper for the Veronica/Sierra hybrid, things get increasingly elaborate (and stupid) – and Sierra’s friend Dan (RJ Cyler) implores her to come clean. Look, I don’t buy most of this and although I want to believe that the geek can get the hot guy (because I know it happens), this set up just doesn’t ring realistic at all. The cat fishing is creepy and nobody is as good and pure as Jamey is. We’re supposed to examine teen stereotypes here and realise that that’s all they are but surely the dishonesty would render forgiveness impossible – or at least never as quickly as it pans out onscreen? I know that’s a boring take but sue me.

Anyway, there’s a bit where Sierra pretends to be deaf and it’s really stupid. Then she does something horrible to Veronica proving that she’s no better than the school mean girls. The film is not terrible but it just isn’t in the same league as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I resent it for that.

The final prom scene is very much a homage to John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, down to the music and Sierra’s frock but it’s still not a good enough vehicle for my babe Shannon.

Justice for Barb (still)!

My Rating

3.5/5.

What does my girl think of this one? Would she catfish the fudge out of it or remain honest and true throughout? Find out here.

Standard
Netflix & Chill, Stuff I Dig, TV Addict

Weekly Digest – TV Special

While avoiding the World Cup and not watching Love Island, I’ve been doing far more intellectually significant things, obviously, such as watching these naked, lying under a fan and eating Wispas.

GLOW – Season 2

Liberty Bell and friends are back in the ring though things are far from plain sailing for any of them. Ruth (Alison Brie) becomes a problem for Sam (Marc Maron) when she gets ideas above her station and directs a really quite good promo video for the GLOWs. She also flirts with a cameraman and tries to rebuild her friendship with Debbie/Liberty (Betty Gilpin), which is easier said than done.

Deb, meanwhile fights for her Producer role (and to be heard as a woman) and is forced to examine the message the GLOWs are sending out to America when it is accused of being too sexy. Meanwhile, Sam struggles with newfound fatherhood and the girls are required to compete with one another to get in the show week on week, which causes friction, who knew.

GLOW is wonderful Technicolor goodness all round – bright, female popcorn viewing and it’s an easy watch, which means a lot on a Sunday afternoon.

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Good Girls

I’m already fully addicted to Good Girls, the Mae Whitman/Retta/Christina Hendricks starring comedy/drama about three mothers struggling to make ends meet. When they knock off a grocery store they could never dream they’d end up on such a roller-coaster ride, inadvertently involved with gangsters and trying to get straight despite every single obstacle that keeps popping up.

Or are they about to go a different way? If Beth’s head for lady boss business has anything to do with I think we have our answer.

The women are amazing, not only dealing with the drama but also their own lives. Beth is working through the aftermath of her husband of 20 years’ affair plus four children; Ruby has a sick daughter and needs to find a way to pay for experimental treatment, while Annie and her daughter Sadie have to face bullying as Sadie works out who she is.

It’s fantasy stuff I suppose but it’s fun and I like fun.

Preacher – Season 3/Luke Cage – Season 2

I’m only one episode in on each other these but so far so good.

Luke (Mike Colter) is a celebrity right now in his neighbourhood and Harlem is abuzz with his heroics. How long will this last and what are Mariah (Alfre Woodard) and her reluctant man toy Shades (Theo Rossi) up to? Meanwhile, Misty Knight (Simone Missick) comes to terms with the loss of her arm (pretty well if the above image is anything to go by) – and something terrible is surely about to happen for Claire (Rosario Dawson) and Luke because they’re so blissfully happy together. I can’t handle it!

While I am quite done with the Marvel Netflix shows, I really enjoyed the last Luke Cage and some of the episodes are directed by some great female directors, including Lucy Liu and Kasi Lemmons. Can’t say cooler than that.

As for Preacher, Jesse (Dominic Cooper) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) rush to save the life of Tulip (Ruth Negga) as is hangs in the balance. Sadly this requires the assistance of Jesse’s heinous family and some supernatural ju-ju. What could possibly go wrong? I’m delighted we’ve finally got to this point in Preacher, in the graphic novel my favourite parts revolve around the swamp lands and Jesse’s evil grandmother (played by Split‘s Betty Buckley). So consider me sitting here with high hopes.

What are you watching?

Standard
Stuff I Dig, TV Addict

Weekly Digest – TV Special

Easter holidays means time off work for me this year (yey) and that obviously means it rains everyday and I get to nest indoors watching my shows.

This is what I’m currently digging…

p4PSG

Ru Paul’s Drag Race – Season 10

I’m not blown away by anyone in the line up yet but then I’m only two episodes in and Netflix is releasing episodes week by week, so I can’t just rinse it in one sitting.

I think there’s potential for drams between Miz Cracker and Aquaria, and I’m kind of into The Vixen – but other than that we’ll just have to see.

Alongside Season 10, I’m also playing catch up on Season 5 and All Stars Season 2, which is a different kettle of fish altogether. Season 5 had so many stand-out queens – Alyssa Edwards, Alaska, Jinkx Monsoon, DETOX – that it’s almost unfair to all the other seasons. Anyway, I’m having the most fun.

Who’re your fave queens? Mine are Kim Chi, Detox and Adore Delano!

dims

Mr. Robot

I’ve only seen one episode but man, it was a banger. I’m now obsessed and can’t wait to dig in further. It has a sort of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe with Rami Malek‘s socially anxious Elliot Alderson working for ‘Evil Corp’ by day and hacking shit by night.

He’s just met Christian Slater and done something dramatic that will set in the motion a series of events that will change his life – and society – forever. Presumably.

Eek!

end_of_fucking_world4.5706475

The End of the F***ing World

Everyone’s been gushing about this since it appeared on Netflix but I just wasn’t that into it. The two main characters – played by Black Mirror’s Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden – are kind of hard to love.
But I got there and then I really enjoyed myself. It’s quite bleak but also sweet with a great supporting cast, including Steve Oram and gorgeous Gemma Whelan.

What have you been watching?

Standard
Jillian & Christa's Great Blog Collab 2018, The Movies

Roxanne Roxanne (Film) Review

Funny how our March Madness Month has been more or less focused on films by and about fucking fierce women, isn’t it? Guess we weren’t quite ready to hang Feminist February back in the wardrobe, which is f-i-n-e fine with me.

To this week’s film which is no different, a neat little Netflix Original charting the rise of teen rapper Roxanne Shante.

*Minor spoilers*

Roxanne Roxanne (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

My Review

Shante (Chanté Adams) and her family live in an overcrowded apartment in Queens. Things seems to be looking up as the women, Shante’s mother Ms. Peggy (Nia Long) and her daughters get set to move out and into a bigger home.

Ms. Peggy and her man have been planning a new life for the family while Peggy has been saving every last penny, finally stacking up 20 gees after years and years of hard work. Shit takes a turn when her boyfriends ups and leaves one night with the money in tow. Who fucking knew?

Throughout this movie it seems the girls’ are destined to learn than men are rubbish and never worth the effort. They hang around waiting for a father than never shows and suffer the wrath of their hard-working single mother who loves her girls dearly but has no time to suffer fools, because men. It’s actually the relationship between Shante and her mother that I liked the most about this film – Ms. Peggy is a force to be reckoned with but she ain’t taking no prisoners.

Following a rough patch at home, Shante moves out and in with a male friend (couldn’t work out if this was a friend or cousin actually). She shoplifts to order for a small gang and this is how she makes the benjamins to live. This set up can’t last forever and Shante learns the hard way that adulting is not easy and has no choice but to return home.

roxanne-roxanne1

Shante, the hero of this story, has shown a unique talent for rap battling from an early age and earned herself something of a local infamy. Because of this she finds herself regularly challenged to battle by snot nosed neighbourhood boys.

One day – in between laundry shifts – Shante throws down a couple of verses on a neighbour’s track and before she knows it, has blown up on the radio. Popularity though comes at a price and she finds herself growing apart from her school friends and family. She also meets Cross (Mahershala Ali), a charismatic older man keen to hitch his wagon to her rising star.

I found the older man/16-year-old thing really icky to watch even if it a true representation of what happened to the real Roxanne Shante. When Ms. Peggy confronts him for sleeping with her daughter I cheered. Although Mahershala Ali is one of the most exciting actors around at the moment, he plays sleazy Cross just a little too well. I hated him and I hated the violence he rains down upon the person he supposedly loves.

When Shante and Cross take their relationship to the next level, all sorts of Hell breaks loose. Will Shante survive to become the Queen of Rap, or what? You know what to do.

Roxanne-Roxanne-Trailer-Roxanne-Shante-Netflix-Original-Movie

My Thoughts

God this was boring. I mean, I love a rags to riches tale and I loved Shante but why did it feel so long when it was only 90 mins? It didn’t show me anything new, didn’t really inspire me to feel anything at all – and Shante has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it birthing scene that I thought I’d imagined. As a bridge across time I got its purpose but it didn’t work. There’s not that much character development either.

Nia Long and Adams are the stand outs in this, they’re brilliant with what they have to work with – and I would have been delighted with more one on one between them. All in all this movie just isn’t all that, sadly.

My Rating

2/5.

What does my Queen think of this one? Would she challenge it to a rap battle or take it on tour? Find out here.

roxanne_roxanne_-_still_1_-_h_2017

Standard
A Voluptuous Mind, TV Addict, Weekly Digest

Weekly Digest

Welcome to the first WD of 2018!

This week’s entry revolves around three TV shows because that’s basically all I’m doing at the moment. Working, coming home, reading or watching TV. It’s not the most exciting life in the world but it is January so it’s kind of expected, right?

This week, I’m digging, in no particular order:

8ad72e50-8e6f-0134-ce59-0aec1efe63a9

Lovesick

IMDB Synopsis

After finding out he has an STD, Dylan must get back in touch with every girl he has ever had sex with to let them know the bad news.

I’m behind the times a tad but Netflix has kindly just added Season 3 of this sweet little show and I’m delighted to be able to sit down and enjoy it. It’s fluffy viewing and very angsty about unrequited love and shagging but there’s something relateable about it. I think it captures your early twenties really well and the main characters are pleasant to look at.

I’m personally here for the friendship between Evie (Misfits’ Antonia Thomas) and Abigail (Hannah Britland) which is somewhat doomed given that Evie is in love with her best friend Dylan, who’s in a relationship with Abi. Awks.

(I’m only a few episodes in, so all this is of course subject to change).

Dark_Cave-112f32d

Dark

IMDB Synopsis

A family saga with a supernatural twist, set in a German town, where the disappearance of two young children exposes the relationships among four families.

This show is super weird and atmospheric – and I suspect, quite brilliant, though sometimes I feel as though I’m not following along as tightly as I should.

Something I do know, however, is that this feels like something exciting and new – and I’ll definitely be sticking around until the story has fully unraveled.

black-mirror-season-4

Black Mirror

IMDB Synopsis

An anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech world where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.

The big don of viewing pleasures, BM is back and I’m so glad.

Season 4 has been more consistent and stronger than the last, and although at times it feels like we’re doubling back on themes we’ve already explored with Charlie Brooker, it still feels (to me) like fresh television.

I’ve enjoyed all of them this time round but my standout is Black Museum, which was GREAT. Special shout-out to Arkangel, directed by my girl Jodie Foster and Hang the DJ, which was a happy little tale (much like my all-time favourite BM episode, San Junipero).

Almost gutted I watched them all in such quick succession. *Shrug emoji*

What are you digging/watching this week?

Standard
Jillian & Christa's Great Blog Collab 2017, The Movies

Bright (Film) Review

will-smith-joel-edgerton-bright

Jill and I thought we’d take a break from Christmas viewing for one week to spend a little time in Fantasy Land with the fairies. Or Elves and Orcs, mainly.

This week’s pick had the added bonus of my mother’s input as we watched, since she’s been with us for Christmas. I have to say, her love of shit films echoes mine perfectly, thus making them at least 65% more enjoyable than they actually are.

So without ceremony and *spoilers*

Bright (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans. A human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.
Screen_Shot_2017_12_22_at_9.22.17_AM

Neither ta but heaps of sour cream

My Review

Daryl Ward (Will Smith) is injured badly on the job one day while his partner, Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) is buying burritos (which I think it pretty legit if we’re honest). Unfortunately, Jakoby isn’t just a cop, he’s also the first Orc police officer. Since Ward’s attacker was also an Orc this is going to lead to some political shit in a bit, just you wait and see.

Following Ward’s shooting (which he survives, just about), Jakoby is more or less blacklisted by his colleagues and seriously distrusted by his partner who feels let down by his lapse in judgement that day. He’s also been rejected by the Orc community for choosing the cop life over gang-banging. (If you’re looking for subtlety here, this isn’t the film for you).

I suppose a bit more background would be helpful. Humans live in rickety harmony with Elves and Orcs following thousands of years of fighting. While they all manage to live together, suspicion still bubbles beneath the surface.

Our Odd Couple may no longer get along but there’s still work to do and Ward is back on the job following a long recuperation. First he makes Jakoby watch another Orc get beaten up by cops to test his loyalty to the po po. Since Jakoby has only ever wanted to be a police officer the side he’s chosen is clear.

Then they pick up a mysterious dude with a sword that whispers something to Jakoby in Orcish about a prophecy and I didn’t really get it. Just that there’s a hint that maybe our two anti-heroes are more important that we’ve been lead to believe.

While all this madness is going on, Ward is being leant on by Internal Affairs to get a confession out of Jakoby for his actions on the day Ward was shot. He let the perp get away conveniently and the bureau want to sack him with probable cause. Ward isn’t comfortable with this but is promised an end to his crushing financial woes if he plays along.

dims

Bringing in the big guns

Shit gets real when Ward and Jakoby are called to a safe house (something about a militant group called Shield of Light) where loads of elves have been killed. They rescue the lone survivor, an incredibly annoying elf called Tikka who has a magic wand in her possession. The wand must not be touched by human hands unless that human is a ‘bright’.

And you know what? So much happens that I just can’t go into it all. I can however tell you that the partners are double crossed by back up officers and Jakoby tells Ward the much-needed truth about what happened when he chased his shooter that day – prompting Ward to take a massive leap of faith.

They go on the run with Tikka who is being chased by Leilah (Noomi Rapace), the true owner of the wand and there’s a super beautiful Elf called Kandomere (played by the most beautiful man in the world Edgar Ramirez) knocking about in the FBI too. He’s on the tail of Ward and Jakoby which is lucky for them tbh. He can chase me any day.

Jakoby along the way is forced to face his heritage and the consequences of his past actions, while Leilah draws closer. What’s the fucking prophecy all about though and what’s so special about Ward?

Why can’t Tikka get that goddamn hair out of her eyes and stop being such a sap? What is a bright and could someone close to us actually be one? And finally, is all this shit really worth it for Jakoby who has been isolated for so long from both Orc and Human communities?

You could watch this I suppose to find out the answers for yourselves. You know, if you can be arsed.

My Thoughts

Uh. Whatever. This has an awful lot going on and although it’s fun in places, I feel as though it takes itself way more seriously than it should. It’s also very heavy-handed on the messaging about race and police brutality. Which is fine, I guess. Subtlety is not something one expects from the director of Suicide Squad.

There’s not really much more I need to say. Why is it two hours long? Why was Tikka such a disappointing character? Why can’t real elf men like Kandomere really exist?

“Yeah, Christa? Fancy going out for a bite? Something elf-y?”

My Rating

2.5/5. SHRUG. Take or leave really.

What was Jill’s take on this one? Would she ram a wand in its eye or save it from savage Elves? Find out here.

Standard
#onewomanbookclub, TV Addict, Weekly Digest

Weekly Digest

This is what I’m digging this week.

101317-celebs-spike-lee-shes-gotta-have-it-netflix

She’s Gotta Have It (TV Series)

I’m trying not to binge this one too quickly because I’m finding it really enjoyable. DeWanda Wise‘s Nola Darling is mesmerising to watch, so it’s no wonder she’s juggling three very different men at once. Not only that but the show addresses topics that include sexual assault, female sexuality and victim blaming (so far).

SGHI is of course based on the Spike Lee movie of the same name – and so far, I’m a fan. I love the soundtrack too, which handily is framed not just as an afterthought but as a character of its own – and all the tracks are clearly signposted.

landscape-1504000269-13890664-low-res-doctor-foster-series-2

Doctor Foster

Everyone said it was good and maybe it’s been over-hyped just a smidge – but I still gobbled up the both series like the greedy guts that I am. It was satisfying but also infuriating and I think the take home I got from this is that people can be the worst. Men, women – everybody.

Doctor Foster herself isn’t even all that nice, hurting people in her own pain. Her female friends are all shits with no sense of fucking loyalty. The husband’s lying and cheating is the main event sure, but nobody comes out of this well.

Still, bloody compelling to watch though! I’ve actually just finished it and I hope they leave it there. I mean, of course I’d watch more – I just don’t think I can take it. I have thoughts on the ending, which I won’t share but I’m not surprised it split the nation so much, it could and should have been better.

01-embed-bjork

Utopia – Björk

Weird, wonderful and no, I probably don’t get the subtle nuances yet but I love Björk more than I love myself.

Also, this is a great walking soundtrack.

The Cold

Crisp mornings are the best. Cold evenings are even better. I love Winter.

Untitled design (4)

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman

I’ve just been gifted this book for my birthday, which I’m overjoyed by. The film was so wonderful, truly one of the best of this year (and DBo, who gave me the book was also my movie going partner for that one).

I have high hopes – and it is now firmly on my Winter Reading List.

What are you digging?

Standard