All posts by Cookie N Screen

Film Journalist, Director, Screenwriter, and Editor in Chief. Marketing Manager of Ritzy Picturehouse She'll excessively talk about Filth, how James McAvoy is the best actor of our generation, and how much she loves drag queen Katya Zamolodchikova.

Booksmart – Review

Occasionally there is a film that not only meets the hype surrounding it but surpasses it gleefully. Booksmart is one of those movies that has been receiving positive criticism all-around and it deserves every single iota of praise it is getting.

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Directed by Olivia Wilde, the film revolves around Amy and Molly, two over-achieving best friends who have been ousted to the outskirts of their school society because they are deemed pretentious. Not really bothered as they chose to focus on their academia than their social life. However, when they find out the students they considered burn-outs have also gotten into prestigious schools, they are aghast, realising that whilst they focused on school, they could have also been focussing on partying. So in a last ditch attempt before graduation, the pair decide to have one night of debauchery…

Booksmart is one of the funniest movies you’ll see all year. In fact, it’ll probably go down as one of the most hilarious teen movies of all-time. Happily rubbing shoulders with movies such as Superbad, Dazed and Confused, and American Graffiti –the “one night is all it takes” comedic outing is an energetic piece that is a riotous ride. Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman, the movie is a snappy and funny film that’ll have you laughing until you cry. With comedy ranging from the raunchy to the weird, Booksmart hits joke after joke.

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Which makes all the emotional moments hit harder. The script is succinct in delivering some teenage antics but also at bringing a soul to it. Amy and Molly fight, they feel sad, and their earnest need to finally let lose is unforgettable – especially for anyone who has felt ostracised by their peers. There are key messages of not losing your childhood and your fun in the pursuit of academia, learning to find balance in all areas. Not only that, but there is a stark message of discovering the person underneath the teenage stereotypes – from both the nerdy side and the burnout side.

Olivia Wilde’s confident directorial debut is rambunctious. Wilde commands the screen and in moments of heightened emotions, she fluidly manoeuvres the camera and scene so the beats truly sink in. Wilde may take the film to some superbly surreal places (a stop-motion scene is perhaps the only disjointed, but she knows how to bring it back down to earth.

Booksmart works best because our leading ladies are so incredible in their performances. Kaitlyn Dever as Amy and Beanie Feldstein as Molly flesh out these young women immensely. As actresses who have already proven their substantial talent in films such as Beautiful Boy and Lady Bird, giving them a whole film to showcase just how phenomenal they are is fantastic. And with a movie this genius? Downright amazing. Alone, they are amazing characters – intelligent, determined, strong-willed, and adoring of one another. Put them together and you’ve got one of cinemas greatest relationships on the big screen.

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The ensemble cast behind them are terrific too, from young actors such as Noah Galvin and Skyler Gisondo to more established folk such as Jason Sudeikis and Lisa Kudrow. But MVP of the whole movie goes to Billie Lourd who is the resident mysterious weirdo, popping up to give the girls advice.

Booksmart is a must-see. It’s a movie for the smart girls who are also the fun girls. It’s a film about accepting every part of you and being true to yourself. It’s also exceptionally funny.

A-pluses all around!


Booksmart is out Monday 27th May! 

Terminator: Dark Fate – Brand New Trailer!

Terminator has gone from an incredible couple of films to a dire selection of them. Ever since T2, we’ve had some disastrous entries into the Machine vs Man lore!

But we’re still getting more. Now we have Terminator Dark Fate!

The movie revolves around a fight for survival against well…machine and man.

Look, sometimes trailers sell you on one particular element. This trailer has two. One of them is the phenomenal MacKenzie Davies who can do no wrong. The second of them is they used a cover of Bjork’s Hunter in the trailer.

Sign me the fuck up!


Terminator: Dark Fate is out in cinemas November. 

Aladdin – Review

Disney live-action remakes are a scourge of the film industry. Not one has been enjoyable on it’s own merits, feeding off nostalgia to make a few quick bucks. The highly unnecessarily practise adopted by the word’s biggest studio has produced mediocre films that fail to capture the magic and imagination of the animation that proceeded it.

So expectations for this new Aladdin were entirely on the floor, not helped by nearly everyone feeling a strong affiliation to the late great Robin Williams’ and his crazed blue genie from the first film as well as the fact they’d hired action-director Guy Ritchie to tackle the adaptation.

Surprisingly, Aladdin may just be one of Disney’s better remakes (Cinderella still being the best one.)

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Aladdin revolves around the titular street urchin who steals and robs on the streets of Agrabah. One day he meets a young woman and instantly falls in love only to find out she is Princess Jasmine and she can only marry a Princess. Despite being a petty thief, Aladdin has a heart of gold and is used by wicked Royal Vizier Jafar to hunt for a magical lamp. There Aladdin discovers the magical genie and soon uses his wishes to get closer to Jasmine… But Jafar’s dastardly plan isn’t far behind.

Ritchie has pulled the rabbit out of his hat and given us a colourful and enjoyable spectacle. The film is a fresh-breath of air – a colourful and musical ride that is filled with adventure and soul. It’s not just the classic (and new) songs that get you tapping along and fully invested in the films – it’s the great direction and the undeniable spirit that flows through the film.

This is largely down to it’s two leads – Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Massoud nails what makes Aladdin such a brilliant character. Dapper, charming, but with a heroic heart at the beginning (and, sorry, with a smile that’ll melt your cold soul,) Massoud is wonderful and charming, giving the audiences a fun and dashing character to root for.

But it is British actress Naomi Scott that wears the crown in this film. Scott’s Jasmine is how you excellently update characters to this modern world (I’m looking at you Emma Watson’s Belle.) Jasmine is headstrong but also kind, and her relationship with Aladdin is second to her determination to help her people and country. She also gets her own song and it is a beautiful belter of a track.

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Admittedly, Aladdin is dull in places. It’ll take audiences a few moments to adjust to the new movie as the lead character parkours through his city set to a new take of Alan Menkin’s songs. Will Smith definitely has a harder job at paying homage to Williams’ famous role whilst making it his own. He can be successful in this but there is a distinct lack of energy in places. Plus, they took away Jafar’s villainous reprise – which is unforgiveable.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the film is framed like a Bollywood movie in places. Aladdin is famously set in Arabia and whilst the city of Agrabah is fictional, it would’ve been nicer to pay true homage to Arabic cultures then borrowing what they can from any Asian background. It’s pretty to look at but does feel a little rotten.

Rest assured that the strength of the leads, especially Naomi Scott’s head-strong and determined Princess Jasmine, carry the film to excellence. Energetic, colourful, and with brand new songs to fall in love with, Aladdin triumphed where it was expected to fail. And whilst it isn’t flawless, it is definitely a diamond in the rough.


Aladdin is out in cinemas now! 

Downton Abbey – Trailer!

We’ve been expecting you…

Popular period drama Downton Abbey has made the leap from television to film in this

And here’s the trailer…

The film sees the King and Queen going to the stately home for a visit. Cue panic!

Starring all the current cast and some new faces, this definitely looks to be an exciting and thrilling film…if you are into that sort of thing. What do you think?


Downton Abbey is out 13th September 

Beautiful Boy – Review

There have been many movies made on addiction. Even A Star is Born focuses on  the debilitating disease. Stories like these need to be told because we need to understand the struggles of those suffering, the heartache of the families, and support ways we help people blighted

Director Felix Van Groeningen, the open and honest story about addiction. Based on the memoirs of Nic and David Sheff, Beautiful Boy revolves around a father struggling to keep his eldest son Nic of drugs. Going over several years, Nic recovers and relapses repeatedly, unaware of the impact his addiction is having on his family.

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Timothée Chalamet came into prominence with Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor (and also made millions and millions fall in love with him.) As brilliant as his performance is in that film, the end roaring fireplace credit sequence a particular highlight, it’ll not prepare you for how astonishing he is in Beautiful Boy. Chalamet has the difficult task at portraying Nic Sheff’s constant battle with addiction,  Chalamet is captivating which makes the film more brutal. From Nic’s candidness about why he chose to take drugs to his relapses, Chalamet gets into the grittiness of addiction. The young actor is open and each experience Nic goes through here is palpable. Scenes of desperation, illness, and disease are harrowing yet you can’t keep your eyes off him. He’s haunting here and no matter what lengths he goes too, you feel compassion, pity, and solace for him.

 

Steve Carell has made impressive strides in dramatic performances such as Foxcatcher, Battle of the Sexes, and The Big Short. Here, however, is certainly his best work. Carell is tremendous as David, hopelessly and urgently trying to help his son, no matter what he puts him through. Each agonizing phone call to every late night search, Carell inhibits this father who is slowly abandoning his son through sure resignation. But also he has to be a father to his other children and a husband to his wife whilst also working at a writer. His balance to control Nic’s recovery with his day to day life.

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Carell and Chalamet make an earnest and heart-breaking pair; with all the chemistry of a father-son pairing whilst honing in the tragic gravitas of drug-addiction for a family. Director and co-writer Van Groeningen does well to keep Nic as a sympathetic character but also shows the impact of his struggle on the rest of his family. Not just his mother Vicki (an brilliant as always Amy Ryan,) and his step-mother Karen (a phenomenal Maura Tierney,) but his little brother and sister who feel the ripples of each of Nic’s deterioration.

Beautiful Boy is an emotive experience. There is some uneven filmmaking which has some very confused editing and leaps through time. Yet with the intimate and stirring performances, you’ll find yourself captivated even if it is an excruciating watch.

Van Groeningen ends the film on statistics. It’s clear that the Sheffs’ impacting stories serve to tell a bigger story. One of the biggest epidemics in the USA, it’s important that these movies make an impact on you and see how you can help those in need.


Beautiful Boy is out on DVD & Blu-Ray.

John Wick 3 – Parabellum – Review

John Wick has been a surprising popular franchise. Well, that’s a silly statement to kick off a review with. Of course, John Wick sparked off immense popularity. It is a film where everyone’s favourite Keanu Reeves kills people in highly imaginative ways over the sad death of his dog. The first outing saw a tremendous amount of fans which carried on to the explosive sequel. And now we are truly in the endgame as John Wick concludes his epic fur-venge journey. But does the finale conclude in an explosive yet satisfactory manner?

Yes, yes, and thrice yes.

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John Wick 3 – Parabellum follows directly from the shocking end of John Wick 2 – the titular assassin has been excommunicated from the underground of top-notch killers, meaning he doesn’t have any help from the organisation or anywhere to hide. To make matters worse, he killed a member of the High Table, meaning there is a high bounty on his head. With all of the world’s professional hit-men keen to get that prize and to get rid of Wick, is all lost for the killer?

Yeah, we’re thinking it’s not.

One of the biggest distinctions that John Wick 3 has comparatively to any other action film is it’s absolute style. The contemporary Gothic  that frames the fights is lavish and gorgeous. The classic architecture of gold and red anointed theatres, the opulence of colours in the deserts of Morocco, and the cool glass modernism all make impeccable set-pieces for blood to be spilt. As for the beating heart of the film, The Continental combines all these different elements into one bombastic and spectacular finale. The set design and dressing is made even more palatable by Dan Lausten’s moody cinematography that drenches each frame in beauty.

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Keanu Reeves has truly made this stoic yet surviving hit-man. As he struggles without his support network, it’s interesting to see how he’ll get out of his predicament – how will he outlast with the whole assassin network after his head? It’s a terrific performance that continues to be as engaging as it is thrilling. There are familiar faces such as Ian McShane and Laurence Fishbourne but Halle Berry makes a superb new addition who can fight just as well as John (and cares about dogs just as much.)

Of course, the fight sequences are still absolutely phenomenal. If you thought you’d seen all the ways in which one man can kill another, then you’d haven’t seen anything yet. Perfectly choreographed and timed, its heart-racing stuff.

John Wick 3 falls short in complete story-telling, leaving threads open (one suspects for another outing) and really dragging out a somewhat simplistic plot (action man is on the run) over two hours means there are moments of lag between the fights and slaying. Yet John Wick never truly disappoints. Part tense Western, part blood-thirsty action, part operatic drama, Parabellum is poetic.


John Wick 3 – Parabellum is out in cinemas now