Posted in Movies, Musings on Musicals 🎵, Theatre

Upcoming Movie Musicals | Musings on Musicals 🎵 #5

Well, 2021 hasn’t been a great one for theatre in… well, theatres so far but from the line up of film adaptations of stage musicals expected to come out this year, 2021 certainly is shaping up to brighter for theatre fans after all. So, let’s dive into the musical movies that we should be seeing on our screens very soon.

In The Heights – Expected UK release date: 25th June 2021 

After being pushed back, the In The Heights movie is finally expected to hit the big screens this summer and I can’t wait. I adore the music from In The Heights and I can’t wait for all the new Lin Manuel Miranda fans who only know his work on Hamilton and Moana to see the big screen version of his other huge Broadway hit. The trailer is absolutely stunning for this movie and it looks like it’s going to be the perfect pop of colour and musical movie magic we need this summer.

Dear Evan Hansen – Expected UK release date: 24th September 2021 

No trailers for this one yet but we should be seeing Dear Evan Hansen in cinemas this autumn. I have to say I’m not quite as excited for this one as In The Heights but I’m still curious to see how the show will be translated to the film medium. I’ve read that there are a few new characters and some switching around of the relationships of characters (Larry is now Connor and Zoe’s stepdad for some reason) so I’m definitely intrigued as to how this will play out. 

West Side Story – Expected UK release date: 10th December 2021

Another one with a release moved back to 2021 to give it a splash in cinemas is Steven Spielberg’s take on this Broadway classic. With this one, I’m excited to see Rachel Zegler’s take on Maria and Ariana DeBose as Anita as well as seeing how Speilberg is going to make it his own. It’s an iconic show and there haven’t been many recent movie adaptations of classic musicals in recent years so it’s an interesting choice. 

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Expected UK release date: TBC

The only original British musical on this list and I’m so excited to see Max Harwood strutting about in those red heels as Jamie New. This one has also had it’s release date pushed back but as of right now, there hasn’t been a new date announced just yet. We all could do with a new proper feel-good movie musical so let’s hope it comes out soon!

Tick, Tick… Boom! – Expected UK release date: TBC

This is from Netflix’s now foray into musical theatre and features the directorial debut of Lin Manual Miranda. I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually listened to Tick, Tick… Boom! all the way through yet for two reasons. One, because it’s hard to get hold of the music (why is the cast recording not on Spotify?!) and two, because, after Rent, this is only other complete show from Jonathan Larson and as a huge Rent fan, it makes me sad to think once I’ve heard Tick, Tick… Boom! songs, that’s it. Saying that, I genuinely can’t wait to see the movie and I have high expectations for it. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing Andrew Garfield in a musical, who knew he could sing?! 

Which movie musical are you most excited to see this year? For me, In The Heights has the edge but I’m looking forward to all of them. Thanks for reading and bye for now! 

Posted in Blogtober, Movies

Blogtober Day 22: Horror Films on My To-Watch List

I’ve spoken about my non-scary Halloween movie picks this Blogtober already so I thought today I’ll share the much more frightening picks on my to-watch list. The reason I haven’t watched any of these yet is because I’ve only recently re-discovered that I actually quite like horror movies, I thought I didn’t for years and now I’m playing catch-up.

1. Get Out (2017)

I’ve only heard glowing reviews for this recent horror/thriller so I can’t wait to give this a watch. I’m expecting this to be more of a thought-provoking watch as well as gripping edge-of-your-seat kind of movie and given the hype, I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

2. Us (2019)

Jordan Peele’s next big horror hit after Get Out, Us, looks truly freaky. All I know is that it’s about dopplegangers, which sounds spooky enough for me.

3. Hereditary (2018)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Midsommar when I saw it (more on that here) but I really want to give Hereditary a go. I honestly think Toni Collette is one of the best actors of recent years so I’m keen to see her in a horror movie.

4. The Conjuring (2013)

I know there are quite a few movies in The Conjuring series so I’m planning to watch all of them at some point. Of course, that means I need to start at the very beginning. I know The Conjuring is a modern horror classic so it’s one I need to see soon. Also, I’m really curious to see a fictionalised version of Ed and Lorriane Warren!

5. It: Chapter Two (2019)

I liked It. I didn’t love It. I think there were some really strong things about the movie but overall it was a bit long for me and Beverley’s dad ended up scaring me more than Pennywise (though, maybe that was the point). I am interested to see what happens in this sequel though so I’ll give this a watch soon.

6. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

I know right, where have I been? It’s on the list, ok.

7. Halloween (1978)

I’m not sure if I’m much of a slasher fan but I feel like I need to see the film that made them popular to really decide. Plus, the title literally screams spooky season.

8. Scream (1996)

Once I’m done with Halloween the film, I think I need to watch Scream. The main thing I know about this movie is that it subverts slasher movie tropes using black comedy which sounds so good and interesting I just think I need to see more slashers first to really appreciate it.

9. Black Swan (2010)

I’ve been meaning to watch this film since it first came out. I even bought the DVD because I thought it looked so good and everyone was talking about it. The reason I haven’t watched it yet is that I was a bit too scared so now that I’m older and getting more into horror, I think I’m ready to dust off the DVD.

10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

I love musicals and I have no idea why I haven’t watched Rocky Horror yet. I’m going to watch it this year, it’s definitely time (warp lol)!

Do you have a favourite horror movie? Mine might be A Quiet Place right now, though, as I said, I haven’t seen many! Let me know what horror movies you’ll be watching this Halloween in the comments. Bye for now!

Posted in Blogtober, Movies

Blogtober Day 5: Top 10 Non-Scary Halloween Movies

Although I do enjoy a good horror movie every now and then, I mostly stick to the less bone-chilling Halloween flicks. So, if you’re anything like me, you love watching a mix of Halloween films that will get you in the mood for the season without keeping you up at night. Here are my top 10 Halloween movies for the faint of heart…

1. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus

You cannot go wrong with this movie. Parts of it are a bit cringy but ultimately I can’t watch this movie without grinning. My highlight is definitely the Sanderson Sisters’ take on I Put A Spell On You, it’s an iconic moment in cinema history.


2. Coco (2017)

This isn’t a Halloween movie exactly but it’s still a great film for this time of year and Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival shares some similarities with the history, traditions and beliefs of Halloween and Samhain. What I love most about this film is how utterly stunning it is. The whole thing is filled with colour and gorgeous animation. Don’t forget a box of tissues though!

Corpse Bride

3. Corpse Bride (2005)

I mean, it has to be here, doesn’t it? It’s the first Tim Burton film on this list but it’s definitely not the last. This is a wonderfully spooky film features a rather uncomfortable haunting, well, uncomfortable for Victor anyway. See, the one thing you don’t do before your wedding day is accidentally propose to a zombie…

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

4. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

There’s nothing like a bit of classic British comedy to while away the darker evenings and Wallace and Gromit are national treasures. Fun fact: Corpse Bride lost out on the Oscar for best animation because this little treat took the gold… a bit ironic really, if you’ve seen the film.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

What I love about this movie is you can watch it all the way from 1st October to the 25th December, it’s the ultimate seasonal hybrid. The animation here really is an artform and who doesn’t love to see Jack Skelleton’s joy at discovering Christmas Town… what a sweet and spooky man he is.

The Addams Family

6. The Addams Family (1991)

I haven’t seen the most recent Addams Family movie so I’m just going to keep it to the beloved nineties live action. It’s a fun film following the most Halloween-y family in fiction so it’s definitely earned it’s place on this list.


7. Casper (1995)

From one cartoon-based classic starring a young Christina Ricci to another, the Casper movie is the perfect blend of Halloween feels, a bit of spookiness and some laughs. To be honest, there are a few shaky moments in this one but it’s one of the movies on this list I’ve watched the most in my life so it deserves recognition.

Edward Scissorhands

8. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Back to Tim Burton yet again because, although this movie has a creepyish style, it’s far from the scariest film ever so it’s on the list. Trying to explain this movie is an odd task but the title kind of says it all. It’s about a guy called Edward who has scissors for hands and it’s weirdly good. You’ve got to see it to get it with this one.


9. Ghost (1990)

I’ve got to be honest, I typically don’t like romantic movies and this one makes me cringe like I do with most of them but, well, it’s still a classic. This film isn’t scary in the slightest but the storyline makes it the perfect Halloween watch. Plus, Whoopi Goldberg is in it so what’s not to like?


10. Gremlins (1984)

This is probably the scariest of the non-scary films on this list so if you don’t like any frights at all in your Halloween movie list you might want to skip this one. Saying that, I really don’t think this film is particularly scary, it’s certainly not gruesome though maybe a bit violent. It’s another one of those rare films that acts as that beautiful Halloween/Christmas seasonal hybrid that aren’t made often enough. It’s also a great advert both for and for not keeping pets… again, bit of a weird one to explain, just watch.

So, there’s my list of non-scary Halloween movies. Have I missed out any great ones? What will you be watching this Halloween?

Posted in Movies

Midsommar Review ***Spoilers*** and Some Blog CPR

Wow. Ok, this poor little blog has been neglected for some time. So, what could draw me back? Is it merely in the quest for something to do in the endless hours of prolonged lockdown or having something new and topical to say about the recent Coronavirus pandemic? No. I’m making a comeback and breathing some new life into this blog because I watched Midsommar last night and I need to talk through the weird choices in this weird movie that left me totally confused. So… let’s discuss.

I decided to watch Midsommar because I’m on a bit of a catch-up kick at the moment. I’ve typical avoided horror movies all of my life, letting the occasional few slip the net but mostly I steer myself away from them. I don’t really know why, perhaps because for me horror films seem very hit and miss and I hate the feeling of complete hopelessness some horror directors are determined to leave you with as the credits roll. But, I’ve been desperately trying to broaden my viewing habits lately so I’ve been watching a couple of the recent horror hits including It and A Quiet Place, both films I quite enjoyed. My only real issue with It was its runtime, it does feel like a movie that could be told in much less time which is also one of my key criticisms of Midsommar. Does this film need two and a half hours to tell this story? Several very slow scenes where you know exactly what’s about to happen anyway (example, the cliff scene) suggest no.

To kick this off let me just say I know Midsommar is a ‘companion’ film to Hereditary, which I haven’t seen. Maybe I would have got Midsommar a bit more if I had, I will get around to watching Hereditary at some point but probably not some time soon.

Now, just because I don’t love this movie doesn’t mean I hate it. I don’t. There’s plenty to like. A big aspect of the praise for this film comes from the acting and cinematography, both of which I totally agree are the film’s highlights. Florence Pugh is a star who’s only due to rise higher and higher and she proves it in this movie. There’s not a bad actor in the cast. They all carry off their parts (ambiguous as some of them are but I’ll get to that) really effectively and the relationships between the core group of characters really do carry through the drama and conflict through the first and second acts.

The cinematography and choice to have the film take place nearly exclusively in the daylight is also really creative. There’s no denying this film is a slow burn but turning the horrors we do see on screen away from the darkness we usually see in horror and making them clearly visible in the light of day is a bold move and one I really liked. The set of the commune is also beautiful and the nature imagery and special effects tied in with Dani’s development in a really interesting way.

However, for all these strengths, I also had some major issues with this film. Most of which are plot-based. I’ve already mentioned the run-time so we’ll start there – although this does mean we’re going to be starting with the end (though we’ll be getting there much quicker than the movie).

The Slow Burn with Little Pay-Off

One of the key issues I have with this film was the climax and ending. The character development throughout had felt like it was really building up to a powerful moment for Dani, especially since she had literally been granted power over others for the first time in the film by being declared The May Queen.

Now, to properly explore the core problem I have with the ending I have to talk about the scene I want to think about the least so bear (no pun intended) with me here. Both Dani and Christian, the two of the original gang left standing, take some hallucinogenic liquid towards the end of the film. We see elements of its effects on Dani with the CGI of nature around her but we don’t totally see how it affects Christian. His pupils become really diluted so we know it’s taken hold of him but we don’t know quite how much it’s affecting his inhibitions. This means that when he has sex with Maja in that deeply uncomfortable mating ritual scene we have no idea whether it was a conscious decision to cheat on Dani or not.

All the way through the film we know he and Dani have an unstable relationship so it’s not beyond the realms of reason to think maybe he does choose to have sex with Maja purely due to his frustration over his relationship with Dani or even to ‘acclimatise’ himself more with the culture for the sake of his thesis. If this is a choice he’s made then it takes his lack of care for Dani to a whole new low and does somewhat justify his end to the viewers. I’m obviously not saying cheaters should be paralysed and burnt to death but it gives a sense of closure in a revenge narrative. However, if the drugs they’ve taken have rendered their decision-making ability non-existent then this changes the whole ending, both for the fates of Christian and Dani.

If Christian never intended to cheat on Dani and only did so because he was high this makes the cult itself even creepier and more disturbing and makes his death at the end even crueler. However, it also doesn’t give him any autonomy in his ending which, sure, maybe that’s what Ari was going for but let’s remember Dani took the same drink so what does this mean for her?

Well, if she was high through the whole of the third act and beyond the point of rationalising her decisions based on everything that’s come before, this kind of suggests her making the choice to have Christian killed isn’t really her choice and therefore has nothing to do with her own character development. Considering there is so much set-up at the start of the movie over establishing her trauma, it would be really disappointing to assume that Christian and Dani had no control over the key choices they both made to bring the film to its ending. Unfortunately, we’re never really clearly led to either one conclusion, which brings me to my next point.

The Ambiguity Problem

There is definitely a case to be made for ambiguity in stories. Sometimes having aspects of a story left to your viewer’s imagination at the end can be really interesting but too much ambiguity and you just leave people confused. Here’s an example of a big overhanging question that Midsommar left me with at the end of the film:

Did the cult plan the whole thing?

There are quite a few plot points that suggest the cult wanted to make Dani one of them e.g. the way Pele treats her and his being so keen for her to come to the cult and feel ‘held’ and the fact that she even becomes the May Queen in the first place – she didn’t even know the dance they were all doing at the start so could the other girls have let her win?

Equally, there are also a few plot points that suggests it was all a fluke and the community only changed their mind about sacrificing Dani after she became the May Queen e.g. she wasn’t even supposed to come on the trip at first. Pele didn’t actually invite her, we don’t see him try to convince Christian to bring her at all and, Pele aside, none of the other people in the cult treat her any differently from the others before they kill them. There’s nothing to suggest she’s any kind of chosen one beyond winning a competition that she seemed really unlikely to win.

But, why does this matter? It certainly changes the whole plot’s axis depending on which side you sit on but honestly maybe I’m being too hard on the film for this one. It’s the swinging pendulum I can’t get on with. They either planned it all or not, why is there evidence suggesting both options?

The Blink and You Miss It Subplots

The foreshadowing in this film is, at times, really bizarre. There are some points of really clear foreshadowing which helps the plot move forward e.g. the tapesty depicting the love potion and the random bear in the cage. However, there are also some odd moments that don’t go anywhere. Take, for instance, Pele’s backstory.

The only thing we really know about Pele is that his parents ‘died in a fire’ which gives him the chance to empathise somewhat with Dani’s situation. The fire thing is obviously an element of foreshadowing for the ending but his parents couldn’t have died in the last sacrifice if that was 90 years ago, the figures just don’t add up. What was the point of this foreshadowing then? If it had nothing to do with the actual sacrificial burnings, why even suggest they died that way? There are other ways of giving Pele a connection to Dani other than confusing foreshadowing that doesn’t go anywhere.

I also want to quickly touch on the oracle a second because what was the point of that? It’s a plot point that feels like it’s building up to something but it doesn’t. The idea of having a religion and mythology that is constantly expanding is a really interesting concept but it’s just never actually tied back into the story. Even the book going missing seems like a pointless detail. Was that just supposed to make Dani and Christian not worry about the missing Josh and Mark because somehow that worked on them, which, you know, is weird in itself. It would have been great to get to know more about the actual religion and belief system that led them to these sacrifices every 90 years other than leaving it as ‘well, they’re Pagans so…’, as if your average Pagan on the street goes around with sacrificial knives in their back pocket and has their local cult’s one outside line on speed-dial. Give some more explanation, please.

I really didn’t mean for this to get so essay-length. Maybe Ari Aster and I have something in common when it comes to making things that are maybe too long for their own good. Ultimately, for me, this film had everything going for it except a working plot with a good pay-off, too much ambiguity and random details thrown in that didn’t matter.

…I kinda miss The Wicker Man (1973 obvs!)