Frozen 2 (2019)

Originally released November 22nd, 2019

Overview

The world of Frozen expanded in this film, introducing the people of Northuldra. People who lived in the forest, working in harmony with the spirits of the elements in order to live a simple life. In a flashback, we watch as King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) is telling a story to his young daughters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) about an event that took place when he was a boy. His father, King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto) and the leader of the Northuldra people, have made a treaty through the construction of the dam. As the story goes, Northuldra betrayed Arendelle which results in a fight that costs King Runeard his life. Enraged, the spirits create an impenetrable mist that traps those within the forest. King Agnarr manages to escape through the help of a stranger.

The second film takes place three years after the events of the first movie. Elsa begins hearing a strange noise, one that only she can hear and it is calling to her. Unable to resist the temptation, she awakens the spirits and the people of Arendelle are forced to seek refuge on higher grounds. In order to save their people, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven all go into the forest hoping to find the answers and fix everything. Without revealing any spoilers since the movie is still fairly new (when are spoilers allowed? Three months?) the movie takes us on a journey that diverges from the simple story of the first film.

My thoughts

Having little sisters mean that I’ve seen the first Frozen movie more times than I can count. The songs were good enough to be loved by the children but they didn’t grab my attention more than any other catchy song would. I never listened to any of them on my own volition, unless they were in a playlist with other Disney songs. The plot itself was different from the classic formula for a Disney princess movie, focusing on the relationship between two sisters and having romantic relationships take the backseat. However, the second movie takes that same foundation and built on it, making the final product remarkable.

All of the characters have depth to them, depth that isn’t expected from a children’s movie. Elsa is the Queen but she doesn’t feel like she belongs. Anna will follow her sister anywhere, there is a fierce loyalty to her that knows no bounds. Kristoff is unabashedly sensitive, a characteristic not often found in male characters because it is no secret that boys are taught that having feelings is a ‘girl trait.’ By seeing Kristoff, a guy who loves Anna wholeheartedly, who has his own power ballad about his feelings, it can teach boys that they can talk about how they are feeling without the fear of judgement. They can learn that having feelings is okay rather than growing up to be emotionally constipated.

The songs in this film are a lot better in this film. My favorite being a toss up between ‘Into the Unknown’ and ‘Show Yourself’. But in truth, all of the songs are really well done. Each one having a role to play in telling the story, even Olaf’s song titled ‘When I am Older.’ While to the adults, it can seem as though he really has no idea what is going on and that doesn’t seem like something that will change. But for the kids, they can relate to it because as a child, we always believe that things will get better when we get older. That we will be independent and the world will be open to us. The message behind the song resonates with the kids.

I really enjoyed this movie, I actually watched it twice. I do wonder if a sequel is in the cards, but if not, I feel as though the story reached a good conclusion.

Have you guys watched this film? What did you guys think of it? Feel free to leave comments to let me know what you thought of Frozen 2.

I’ve noticed an influx of visitors and followers recently, thank you so much!

The Grudge (2020)

Originally released January 3rd, 2020

Plot Synopsis

There’s a few story lines happening in this film at the same time. These story lines involve the Landers Family, the Spencers, the Mathesons, and a rookie detective named Muldoon. They all end up ensnared in the ‘grudge’ of a house on Reyburn Drive, specifically house 44. Beginning in 2004 when a live-in nurse named Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood) returns home from Japan, seemingly overjoyed to see her family only to later drown her daughter in the bathtub, kill her husband and then herself. What was written off as a women who committed a senseless crime is thought to be more by Detective Goodman (Demián Bichir). He becomes invested in the case, believing there to be a supernatural curse on the house and when his suicide attempt is unsuccessful, he ends up at a psychiatric hospital. Later, in 2006 when Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) shows up at the hospital to ask questions about the Landers case, he gouges his own eyes out so he cannot see what he knows is haunting him.

Shortly after the Landers, real estate agents Peter and Nina Spencer (John Cho & Betty Gilpin) become the victims to the grudge when Peter stumbles upon Melinda Landers’ ghost (Zoe Fish) and he subsequently returns home and kills his pregnant wife and then himself. In 2005, the Mathesons move into the house. Faith (Lin Shaye) and William Matheson (Frankie Faison) move in after Faith gets sick, in order to be closer to her doctors but she ended up getting worse due to being infected by the curse and seeing Melinda everywhere, which causes her sanity to decline. Mr. Matheson calls Lorna Moody (Jacki Weaver) in order to discuss the possibility of proceeding with assisted suicide, but when Faith’s sanity comes into question, Moody states that they cannot go through with it. S0metime during her stay with the Mathesons, Faith kills her husband William, and chops off her own fingers. Moody flees, only to be killed in a car accident due to being attacked by a ghost.

As these stories are unfolding around us, we keep returning to Detective Muldoon, because she is unraveling the facts just as we are. Unfortunately, she goes into the house and the curse latches onto her and when she believes that the only solution is to burn the house to the ground. She and her son Burke (John J. Hansen) move into a new house, but before the movie ends we see that Melinda has survived, and Muldoon falls victim to the curse and when the camera pans out we learn that she and Burke had moved into the house where the Spencers had lived, and thus, a new extension of the curse has taken root.

My Thoughts

A movie that catches you through the usage of creepy atmosphere, but gets to you through the usage of jump scares. Once you strip all of that away, what do you have? You have a movie that relied too heavily on the atmosphere and the history of the franchise and while it was successful in being scary, it wasn’t successful in the most important part of a movie. It wasn’t remarkable in any way, nor was it memorable. Lin Shaye, an actress I have come to admire through her work in the Insidious franchise, was definitely the reason for the most chilling part of the movie. She cut off her own fingers and didn’t seem to mind one bit. I think this movie had a lot of potential, but potential doesn’t make a good movie.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2020 is a great year for all of us. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be making some changes to the layout and format of my reviews, because I want to always be working to better myself and not remain stagnant. Thank you to everyone who has joined me in the past year, and I hope you stick around.

Have you guys seen The Grudge? What did you think of it?

The Shining (1980)

Originally May 23rd 1980

Plot Synopsis

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is offered a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, a massive building that just so happens to be built on top of a Native American burial site. He and his wife Wendy (Shelley Duval) and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are the only people on the grounds and things start to go awry. Danny throughout the film is having visions that are hinting at dark events that are on the horizon for the family. We as the audience watch as Jack’s mind deteriorates.

My thoughts

I purposely left the plot synopsis vague because I think to truly enjoy The Shining, you have to go into it with as little information as possible. Even to date, it’s one of my favorite movies. Duval, who plays Wendy, did such a great job portraying her as this awkward, meek character that worked really well opposite such a loud, aggressive character such as Jack Torrance.

Recently, I’ve been really into movies that are not exactly as they seem. This is exactly that. Even when it ends, you are left thinking about it. I have theories, and maybe in another post I will talk about them more. They involve reincarnation, hauntings, demons, etc. I’ve seen this movie about five times now, two of which in the last year so. I have lots of thoughts.

I’ve been meaning to watch the sequel, Doctor Sleep, but I haven’t yet. There’s so many movies out currently that I’m almost overwhelmed. I’m sure many can relate.

Have you guys seen The Shining? What did you think of it? Some extra questions from the normal round up. When did you first watch it, and have you watched it more than once?

In the Tall Grass (2019)

Originally released October 4th 2019

Plot synopsis

Essentially, if you go into the grass, you may never come out.

Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) and her brother Cal Demuth (Avery Whitted) are traveling to San Diego so that Becky can give up her baby for adoption. During the drive, Becky gets nauseous and they pull over so she can throw up. While stopped, they hear the sound of a young boy calling for help, claiming to have been in the grass for days and unable to find the road. They go into the grass to help him and that is when everything gets confusing.

Along the way they meet Tobin (Will Buie Jr.), his father Ross (Patrick Wilson), his mother Natalie (Rachel Wilson) and even end up running into Travis (Harrison Gilbertson), the father of Becky’s unborn child. These are all the players on the board. Ross ends up being the henchman of this malevolent force within the grass and the world around all of them begins to loop, time repeating itself and people who are killed being able to come back—as though even in death, they are trapped in the grass.

Travis ends up being the hero, sacrificing himself by touching this mysterious rock that apparently gives the people who touch it the ability to see the way out of the grass. He leads Tobin to the road, and then tells him that he can’t go with him, but makes Tobin swear to not “let them in.” Tobin ends up in the church, as it was a gateway of some sort, and we watch as Becky and Cal’s car is parked on the side of the road, replaying the scene from the beginning of the movie. He manages to get them from venturing into the grass by showing them Becky’s necklace that Travis had given him, and the movie ends with them driving away and we watch as Travis seemingly dies in the grass, after learning that the woman he loves was able to get away safely. The loop finally closes.

My thoughts

I began the movie expecting it to be cults. It was not cults, but it could have been cults? It’s the kind of movie that even when it ended, I wasn’t sure what I knew. It seemed like aliens for a moment, with the rock and the way that it seemed to control Ross. However, it then brought up the question–was Ross really controlled by the rock or was he a willing participant? He killed for the rock. Travis, even after touching the rock, he wanted to help Tobin. He made sure that Becky and Cal didn’t get into the grass. He still had control over his actions, so Ross must have as well. Though, he was in the grass for much longer so maybe he wasn’t right in his mind by the time he touched the rock, so it did have a hold on him?

Also, at one point Travis confronts Cal for having feelings for his own sister, and that was why Cal hated Travis so much. It is never truly addressed, so I don’t know exactly if it was true or not. It was hinted at though out the film, but there’s a lot of questions I still have after it ended. The movie was based on a short story by Stephen King and Joe Hill, that I may end up reading just to see if anything was different in the movie.

Overall, this movie left it’s mark. I was left confused and more than just a bit creeped out.

Have you guys seen the movie? What did you think of it?

It Chapter 2

Originally released September 6th 2019

Plot synopsis

The evil clown Pennywise comes back 27 years later to the city of Derry, Maine. The children of the first movie come back as adults, and it is interesting to see that they lost all their memories before returning to the town. In order to defeat Pennywise, the Losers are forced to relive the memories they had forgotten and confront their past demons. A ritual needs to be performed to ensure that Pennywise is defeated, and they will do whatever it takes to win.

my thoughts

For a horror movie, I wasn’t very scared. Sure, there were moments where I jumped or something surprised me but to say that it held the same lasting creepy effect as the first, would be a lie. I liked being able to see who the kids grew up to be, and how their lives changed after they got out of Derry. One of the first points that I noticed was that Beverly (Jessica Chastain) seemed to have ended up with a man that was a lot like her father. I was happy to see that she left him.

For me, the stars of the movie were Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransome). Richie’s sarcasm and foul mouth were able to break through the moments of tension, and Eddie’s knack for reminding people of the dangers of infection were able to make me laugh even when I should have been scared. While I enjoyed that, it made the movie fall farther and farther away from being scary. Though, Pennywise’s daughter was imagery I would very much like to never see again. Overall, the movie was enjoyable and it had a closing sequence that I found incredibly wholesome.

Have you guys seen the movie? What did you guys think of it?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Originally released on August 9th 2019

plot synopsis

The stories in the book come to life.

The book in question, is Sarah Bellows book of scary stories and even in death, she is writing her stories but this time, they are coming to life and terrorizing the children of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania in 1968. Stella (Zoe Colleti) wants to be a writer, her two best friends Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur) and their new friend Ramón (Michael Garza) decide to go to the Bellows house since it has notoriety for being haunted. As one expects, Stella takes the book of scary stories home and she is the first to notice when a new story appears that seems to match the mysterious disappearance of the town bully Tommy. One by one, the children are put in a scary story and it is up to Stella and Ramón to stop Sarah, and the only way to stop her is by promising that her story would be told since she had been framed by her corrupt family while she was alive. In the process, Auggie and Chuck disappear and even in the end, they don’t come back.

My thoughts

As a child I read all of the stories in the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, so when the movie was announced and trailers began being released, I was very excited. While the monsters in the movie were rightfully terrifying, the movie fell short from being as terrifying as the book was. The scariest creature was probably The Jangly Man, because of his contortionist movements and the overall grotesque character design. Despite the movie not being as scary as I thought it would be, the stories surrounding Stella and her life with her dad, as well as the scary reality that Ramón faced, being drafted into the Vietnam war. I enjoyed the interpersonal connections between the characters throughout the movie. I remember watching the trailers and finding it really scary, to the point that I was not going to the theater to watch it because I wanted to watch it from the safety of my house. But the movie wasn’t as chilling as it seemed, so that’s my big take away from the film. Not as scary as it appeared to be. Still a good film though.

Have you guys seen it? What did you think of it?

A Simple Favor (2018)

Originally released September 14th 2018

Plot synopsis

Essentially, the two main characters are Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) and Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and they are seemingly polar opposites. Despite this, the two become increasingly close and they begin to confide in each other but things get messy when one day Emily calls Stephanie and asks for ‘a simple favor’–picking her son up from school and watching him until she can come home from work. Days pass and Stephanie grows worried, and an investigation is opened about the missing person that is Emily Nelson. More and more is revealed throughout the movie and every time you think you understand what happened to Emily, you are sorely mistaken. There are so many intricacies in this plot, layers and sublayers to the characters and their relationships. Despite spoiler warnings being implied, I don’t want to reveal what is revealed in the film since I think it impacts the audience more if they are left in the dark.

My thoughts

Since the movie came out I have wanted to watch it but I completely forgot it existed as more and more time passed between the release and present day. It’s a fun watch, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are a dynamic duo that really works well together but truth be told, it didn’t live up to the expectations I had when starting the film. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it became a bit predictable and fell short from the true mystery thriller that I thought it would be. In fact, this movie actually made me want to watch The Age of Adaline (2015) because it has that same feeling to it, and I think this has become Lively’s niche in film. She thrives in settings of mystery, where not everything is as they seem. I’ve added The Age of Adaline to my list of movies to watch.

Has anyone seen A Simple Favor? What did you guys think of it? I also wanted to take a moment and thank all of my new subscribers, I really appreciate it!