Kristen Wiig

REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

It’s 1984 and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is discreetly helping people in Washington and trying to live the quiet life. That’s until power-hungry businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) takes a powerful object and threatens the world and in the process Diana’s colleague Barbra Minerva (Kristen Wiig) goes down a dark path and Diana’s long-dead love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) mysteriously returns.

Wonder Woman 1984 starts with a flashback sequence to a young Diana (Lilly Aspell) competing against full grown Amazon’s in a race across Themyscira. It’s a great sequence but you have to wonder how much it really adds in the film. There is a lesson Diana learns there, which she then reiterates later in the film, but because the film is so long, it doesn’t really have the impact that was probably intended.

Maxwell Lord is an overemotional and desperate type of villain. He’s manipulative and smarmy while also being a bit ridiculous and pitiful. It’s interesting having Diana have to go up against someone who is so much physically weaker than her and makes the final act not be a huge physical battle between the two. There are likely to be comparisons between Maxwell Lord and Donald Trump – whether they were intentional or not. There’s the floppy orange hair, the need to be more powerful and successful that they are, it’s easy to see some similarities.

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine continue to have great chemistry and Diana and Steve’s relationship is truly the heart of this film. The fish out of water dynamic is flipped around from the first film and it’s fun seeing Steve be enthralled with how much things have changed in the seventy years since his death – especially he’s joy in learning about more advanced planes and the space race. There are some emotional moments between Diana and Steve which really work and did cause me to tear up.

Kristen Wiig is good as Barbara aka Cheetah. She has the comedic timing to handle the self-deprecating jokes when she’s shy and awkward, and as Barbara gains confidence, Wiig can handle that too. It does feel a bit like Barbara was mostly in the film so she could become Cheetah and there could be the physical battle for Diana that she wouldn’t get with Maxwell Lord. Personally, I know next to nothing about the character, but some Cheetah fans may feel cheated.

The action sequences in Wonder Woman 1984 didn’t really have the same impact as those in the previous film. It may be because we now know the character of Wonder Woman and what she can do, though I do think the fights just weren’t as exciting and some of them did look a bit weird, which is probably down to shoddy CGI and green screen.

Wonder Woman 1984 really is a perfectly solid three-star film. It’s fun, perhaps a bit too long and convoluted but it’s a bright action, superhero film. The first Wonder Woman film is a lot better overall and, for me more enjoyable and has more rewatch value, I’m not desperate to see Wonder Woman 1984 again unlike how I was with the first film. Which is probably a good thing as now cinemas are closed near me again and HBO Max doesn’t exist here. 3/5.

REVIEW: Revenge for Jolly! (2012)

When Harry’s (Brian Petsos) beloved dog is killed, he recruits his cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac) to help him track down the guy who did it and he won’t stop till he has his revenge.

Oh boy. This is not a good film, and it’s not even a so-bad-it’s-good kind of film. There’s nothing enjoyable to be found here. Harry and Cecil head off on a violent road trip, shooting anyone who gets in their way. This seems to be played for laughs, and with a better script the dark humour might have worked, but generally any attempt at humour falls flat.

There are some talented actors in here, such as Elijah Wood as bartender Thomas and Kristen Wiig as bride Angela, but they are only around for a scene and they don’t offer much to the film. You can say that with a lot of the named actors in this, and Petsos (who is also the films writer) just isn’t a good lead nor a good actor full stop.

Revenge for Jolly! tries to be outrageous but it mostly ends up being dull. The senseless killing becomes repetitive and it started to bother me as the film went on as those who were dying had nothing to do with the dog’s death in the first place. Oscar Isaac is the one bright spot in an otherwise dreary film, he tries his best with what he’s given, and a couple of his lines are what managed to get chuckle out of me. 1/5.

REVIEW: Downsizing (2017)

The world is suffering from overpopulation but some Norwegian scientists have found a solution – shrinking people to five inches tall. When Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to change their lives and become small, things don’t go the way they expect.

Downsizing has a solid first act. The concept of shrinking people down so they don’t use as much resources or produce as much waste is fascinating and it was really cool to see how the process worked and what it meant for society – both for those who became small (an irreversible process) and those who stayed normal size. Seeing small people (and things), in a normal sized persons world is weird but enjoyable because it’s so unusual.

The premise is an interesting one, with what it tries to say about the environment, poverty, and society as a whole but unfortunately it seems to try and say too many things so it ends up saying nothing of real substance.

This is the unfortunate thing about Downsizing, the premise and the set up is great but it never really lives up to that. After the first act, the film, much like Paul himself, meanders along, and things just happen to Paul without him really being that proactive. The film doesn’t go where you think it might but if anything, that makes it worse as it seems almost aimless, and you feel the just over two hours running time.

Damon is fine in his role but Christoph Waltz as Paul’s neighbour Dusan is the most fun and engaging character. He lives life to the full and has some of the funniest lines. With the character of Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) a Vietnamese revolutionary, it seemed the film wanted you to laugh at her. She often seemed like a racist caricature and again the film didn’t really seem to know what to do with her.

Downsizing is supposed to be a comedy, and at times it is. Other times though it feels like the concept was stretched out to more than it could be, losing humour and any real character development on the way. 2/5.

REVIEW: Ghostbusters (2016)

ghostbusters posterWhen ghosts start appearing in Manhattan, physicist Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), paranormal engineer Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and subway worker and municipal historian Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) unite to try and stop them.

I’m sure there are many comparisons to be made with the original 1984 Ghostbusters but as I have only ever seen that film once about a year ago and I didn’t like it that much and it wasn’t particularly memorable – you won’t find any original vs reboot comparisons here.

Ghostbusters is a lot of fun. It’s full of jokes and zingy one-liners, I laughed out loud multiple times and when I wasn’t laughing I had a big grin on my face because I was enjoying it so much. There’s some jump scares and the first ghost encounter would have probably scared me a lot if I saw it as a kid. Then there’s the action sequences, they are vibrant and a lot of fun, each Ghostbuster gets her own hero-moment and it’s just great to see.

The cast really is wonderful. All four women are smart and capable in different ways and you really feel like they all like each other and become good friends over the course of the film. Wiig and McCarthy continue to have great chemistry and Leslie Jones brings a lot to a character that could be pretty one-dimensional. McKinnon’s Holtzmann is a stand-out as she’s so weird and funny but she owns that and steals just about every scene she’s in. Then there’s Chris Hemsworth as the receptionist Kevin, he’s so dumb and a lot of the laughs are down to him and his interactions with the Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters is so much fun! It’s got a lot of laugh out loud moments but at its core are these four awesome women who are smart and capable and I want to see more films about kickass, awesome women. Yes, Ghostbusters might be a little slow to find its feet and there could be more battles with ghosts sprinkled throughout the film (I love a good montage) but really it’s a great action-comedy movie that is fun for all ages and genders. 4/5.

REVIEW: Whip It (2009)

whip it posterSeventeen year old Bliss (Ellen Page) lives in a small town in Texas and isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. When she discovers a roller derby league she makes new friends and discovers something she could really love, even if her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) who loves entering her in pageants wouldn’t approve.

While Whip It might have many of the sports movie clichés, the underdog team, the misfits and the family not agreeing with the leads choice in sports, but Whip It has so much charm and great performances that it is so much better than the typical clichés.

The roller derby scenes are fun and exciting but the violence is never over the top. The atmosphere in those scenes are often electric and the commentator ‘Hot Tub’ Johnny Rocket (Jimmy Fallon) is equal parts funny and cringe-worthy.

The difficulties Bliss faces as she tries to juggle her new passion for roller derby, her family and her first love in musician Oliver (Landon Pigg) are very believable. She is a wonderful lead character and it’s though her eyes you see the warmth all these characters have for her and each other.

One of the most delightful things about Whip It is all the different relationships between the different women portrayed throughout the film. Bliss had a strained yet believable relationship with her mother, she and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) argue, and then there’s this incredible friendship and camaraderie between all the members of Hurl Scouts. Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) is kind of like the mother of the team while Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore) and Rosa Sparks (Eve) are both a lot of fun.

Whip It is fun and full of awesome relationships between women and for me, it’s a new favourite film. 5/5.

REVIEW: The Martian (2015)

the martian elenasquareeyesDuring a manned mission to Mars a fierce storm hits and the crew must evacuate. In the chaos Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by debris and presumed dead by his crew. Little do they know, Watney survived but now he has to find a way to live on Mars and contact NASA to let them know he’s still alive.

Directed by Ridley Scott and with a screenplay by Drew Goddard The Martian is ridiculously fun. It blends the visuals of Gravity, with the drama of Apollo 13 and the science of Interstellar without it getting bogged down or boring. The way in which the film juggles multiple characters is to be commended. Not only does it have Watney “science-ing the shit” out of his situation all alone on Mars but it has his crew in orbit on a space station and the people of NASA back on Earth struggling to figure out a way to bring him home.

Each character gets their moment to shine and the way characters are introduced often gives a quick insight into what sort of person to shine, my favourite character introduction was Rich Purnell (Donald Glover) and all his scenes were great, especially as you slowly see what he’s up to before he meets everyone else. (more…)