The Switch (2010)

I wanted to watch The Switch about a month ago but somehow —I blame Patrick Wilson and the short title—I ended up watching The Ledge instead, which was quite the opposite of the light romantic comedy I was expecting to see. I double-checked this time and I was finally able to watch it. 

The film revolves around Wally (Jason Bateman), a neurotic man who has a hard time finding his soulmate, and his best friend Kassie (Jennifer Aniston), who decides to get artificially inseminated. Wally doesn't like the idea, mainly because he's in love with her though he hasn't realised it yet. At Kassie's insemination party, he gets drunk, he accidentally dumps the donor's (Patrick Wilson) sperm in the sink and decides to replace it with his own. He forgets completely about it, and Kassie leaves New York as she doesn't feel like it's the right place to raise a child. Seven years later, she comes back with her son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) and Wally starts to notice striking resemblances between the boy and himself. In the meantime, Kassie becomes intimate with Roland, the sperm donor. 

Olaf's Frozen Adventure (2017)

I'm going to say this right away, I'm not a fan of Frozen. I don't know, maybe it's because I was not expecting a musical and I'm not crazy about them, but I did not like the film. Olaf, the snowman, was pretty much all I liked about it, which is why, despite the hate it got when it was screened in front of Coco last year, I decided to check out Olaf's Frozen Adventure

This short follows Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) as he goes on an adventure to find new holiday traditions upon learning that Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) don't have one of their own. With the help of Sven, he goes through the town of Arendelle and interviews people, collecting pieces of their different traditions to save his friends Christmas.

First Man (2018)

As far as I can remember, I've never been a fan of biopics, specifically of those about American heroes portrayed like perfect human beings. Also, movies involving space travel didn't always appeal to me. In other words, Damien Chazelle, director of two masterpieces, Whiplash and La La Land —fight me—, is the only reason I watched First Man

Just in case you have never heard of this movie before, it is a biographical drama on the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). It is set between 1961 and 1969 and follows the journey that made Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon.

The House That Jack Built (2018)

I have been looking forward to seeing The House That Jack Built for quite some time, and I was even more interested in seeing it when many people walked out of it at Cannes. Lars von Trier is a provocateur after all, so if one of his movies gets that kind of reaction, it means that he succeeded.  

The House That Jack Built follows the story of Jack (Matt Dillon), a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years and depicts the gruesome murders he committed that developed his inner madman.

Nappily Ever After (2018)

I know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover —a movie in this case— but that's the reason I watched Nappily Ever After, the pretty poster. When I saw it was directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, who directed the wonderful Wadjda back in 2012, my expectations for this went through the roof. 

Based on Trisha R. Thomas’s novel of the same name, the film follows Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan), a young African American woman who has everything she thought she’d want and need —a successful career, friends and a handsome boyfriend, Clint (Ricky Whittle), who is going to propose on her birthday. However, Clint does not propose —he buys her a dog instead—, they have an argument, Clint tells her that he can’t commit to a girl he barely knows because she never lets herself go and they break up. She gets drunk and shaves her head off and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and self-love.

Thursday Movie Picks: Television Edition: Comedies

Another "season" of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks has come to an end —don't worry though, it'll be back next year— and, like every last Thursday of the month for the past two years, it's television themed. This time we are asked to pick comedies. Without further ado, here are my favourites.

PS. Since this is the last Thursday Movie Picks of the year, I decided to pick for each the character I identify the most with :)

A Simple Favor (2018)

On my last trip to the movies, two trailers stuck with me, that of the Italian remake of The Invisible Guest and A Simple Favor’s. The latter really intrigued me as it was hard from the trailer to tell what the film was about. Also, I like Anna Kendrick and the movie was received pretty well worldwide, so I checked it out.

The story follows Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick), a widowed single mother with a parenting vlog. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), a super-busy working mother whose son Nicky (Ian Ho) attends the same school as her son, Miles (Joshua Satine). The two become fast friends, arranging play dates for the boys when Emily is too busy to pick her son up, but then one day she goes missing and Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

I tried to watch this version of Miracle on 34th Street when I was a kid but it was so boring I stopped watching after 10 minutes. I did enjoy the 1947 version though so this year I decided to give this one another chance.

The film takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and follows the story of the original film in which a department store executive, Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) and her young daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson), do not believe in Christmas and Santa Claus. When the Santa (Jack McGee) she hired turns out to be a drunk, Dorey hires Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough), an old man who claims to be the real Santa. Kriss quickly becomes popular and a new source of incomings for the department store, so a rival store tries to put them out of business by having Kriss arrested and declared insane. It's up to Dorey's neighbour, lawyer Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott), to save Santa.

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

The first time I watched While You Were Sleeping, I did for Sandra Bullock. The second time and all the others that followed, I did because I fell in love with the movie. It's been a while since I last saw it so I figured it was about time to rewatch it. 

The film follows Lucy (Sandra Bullock), a lonely Chicago Transit Authority token collector who has fallen in love with a commuter named Peter (Peter Gallagher) who passes her by every day. On Christmas day, the man is mugged and falls onto the rails, Lucy saves him but he goes into a coma. At the hospital, Lucy is mistaken for Peter's fiancée. Embraced by Peter's warm and welcoming family, Lucy goes along with the lie. But Peter's brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), is very suspicious as Lucy is not Peter's type at all.

The Star (2017)

As I've said a couple of times in the past, there isn't a lot to choose from when it comes to animated Christmas/holiday movies. The limited choice isn't the only reason I watched The Star though as the film has a stellar cast and I was intrigued in seeing how they would present the nativity story to kids. 

As I just said, the film is yet another retelling of the first Christmas, but it's different than your typical story as it follows Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun), a small but brave donkey who finds the courage to break free and go on the adventure of his dreams. When Mary (voiced by Gina Rodriguez) gets pregnant with God's baby, word spreads out, and the king's henchman hunts them down, Bo, with the help of a sheep (voiced by Aidy Bryant) and a dove (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key), tries to save them.

Four Christmases (2008)

When I picked the Christmas movies I'd watch this year, I left the 22nd out as I was supposed to watch Aquaman on the 21st. Turns out they moved the release date to January 1 because of the new Mary Poppins movie —I hope it flops with all of my heart— and I found myself short of a movie. Four Christmases is the first I stumbled upon, I saw it had Reese Witherspoon —believe it or not, I like her— and I went with it. 

The film follows Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon), a couple who met in a bar around Christmas who has managed to avoid spending Christmas with their families for the past three years by going on heavenly vacations. This year, their plan fails as all the flights have been cancelled and a television news crew interviews them revealing to their families where they are. Having no way out, they are forced to spend time with their families, which means four Christmases the same day since both Brad and Kate parents are divorced.

Office Christmas Party (2016)

I have a soft spot for Jason Bateman so I don't care about how bad a movie sounds or how low it's rated, I'm gonna watch it anyway. I did pass Office Christmas Party though and kept putting it off for the past two years because I'm not much of a Christmas person and I had read some negative reviews and I was not in the mood for another crappy Christmas comedy. 

In this one, Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller), the Chicago branch manager of IT sales company Zenotek, his Chief Technical of Technical Advancement, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), and Tracey Hughes (Olivia Munn), his Chief of R&D, throw a big office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client (Courtney B. Vance) so that they can save the branch and all of their employers and co-workers' jobs. 

Thursday Movie Picks: 2019 Movies You're Looking Forward To

2018 has almost come to an end —I can't believe it either— and Wandering Through the Shelves is asking us to pick movies we are looking forward to seeing in 2019 for this week's Thursday Movie Picks. Without further ado, here are the three movies I'm the most excited about.

A Christmas Tale (2008)

I wanted to see A Christmas Tale (French: Un conte de Noël) last year around Christmas time but I searched the movie for weeks and I couldn't find it anywhere so I gave up on the idea of watching it. This year, I basically stumbled upon it and I watched it. 

Set around Christmas time, the film follows the Vuillard family —Junon (Catherine Deneuve) and Abel (Jean-Paul Roussillon), their daughter Elizabeth (Anne Consigny) and their sons Henri (Mathieu Amalric) and Ivan (Melvil Poupaud)— as they gather for the holidays when Junon discovers that she suffers from leukaemia, just like her first son who died at the age of 6, and needs a bone marrow transplant. The only compatible donors are Elizabeth's son, Paul (Emile Berling), and Henri, the black sheep of the family who returns after a 6-year-long banishment from the family.

A Merry Friggin' Christmas (2014)

It's been so long since I added A Merry Friggin' Christmas on my watchlist that I forgot why it was there. So it's knowing nothing about it that I finally decided to watch it (it turned out it was because of Robin Williams). 

The film follows Boyd Mitchler (Joel McHale), a father who does all he can to give his kids a perfect Christmas because his childhood was ruined by his drunken father, Mitch (Robin Williams), who ruined Santa Claus and Christmas, and pretty much everything for him. When his younger brother, Nelson (Clark Duke), asks him to come his son's baptism which will be held on Christmas Eve in their hometown, Boyd is forced to spend Christmas with his family and estranged father. It gets even worse when he realises that he forgot his son's Christmas presents, decides to make an eight-hour round trip to get them and his father tags along to help.

Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)

Mr. Bean's Holiday is one of those movies my family and I used to watch every year during the holidays. I don't know when, but at some point we stopped watching it and I completely forgot about it. Then, earlier this December, I had oysters, I recalled of that scene and thought it was about time to give it a rewatch. 

The film follows Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) as he travels to Cannes, Frances, a vacation he won at the church raffle. At the Gare de Lyon, he accidentally separates a young Russian boy (Max Baldry) from his father (Karel Roden), and he must put aside his selfishness to help the kid meet back up with his father.

Eighth Grade (2018)

I was checking my Twitter feed when I saw many tweets about Elsie Fisher, specifically praising her performance in Eighth Grade. I had never heard of her nor about the movie but everyone seemed to love both her and the film so I checked it out.

The film tells the story of Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher), a shy, insecure and socially awkward teenage girl who suffers from anxiety and yet makes YouTube videos where she dispenses life advice. It follows Kayla as she navigates through the final days of eighth grade and goes through a series of emotions while trying to put herself out there. Whatever that means —if you've seen it, you know what I mean. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

It was around this time last year when I complained about the fact that there are not enough animated Christmas movies out there and Dell from Dell on Movies suggested How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Being a bit of a Grinch myself, and annoyed by Jim Carrey's version, I decided to give it a shot. 

As you know, unless you've been living under a rock for your entire life, this short animated film tells the story of the Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff), a grumpy and hateful creature who hates Christmas and all the people having a happy time celebrating it. For this reason, he disguises himself as Santa and his dog as one of Santa's reindeers and raids the village to steal all the Christmas things so that everyone will have a very sad Christmas this year.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

I was looking for must-watch Christmas movies and Meet Me in St. Louis popped out. It was already on my watchlist —I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Birgit over BB Creations talked about it in one of her Thursday Movie Picks post— so I checked it out, and it was a very pleasant surprise —I'm not a fan of musicals, after all. 

Set in early 1900s St. Louis, the film follows Smith family in the months leading up to the city's 1904 World's Fair. The second eldest of the four Smith girls, Esther (Judy Garland), has an endless crush on the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake), who hasn't noticed her yet; the oldest sister, Rose (Lucille Bremer), has a romance with Warren Sheffield (Robert Sully) who is now in New York City; the other two Smith girls, the younger ones, Agnes (Joan Carroll) and Tootie (Margaret O'Brien), engage in shenanigans. The family's dynamics are disrupted when the father, Alonzo (Leon Ames), decides to take a new position in New York City.

Gone (2012)

I have a crush on Amanda Seyfried since the original Mamma Mia! came out eight years ago, but it was only years later than I became obsessed with watching all of her movies. At some point though, I got tired of watching crap so I stopped, and Gone got stuck in my endless watchlist only to pop out now as I decided to give priority to movies that have been on that list forever. 

The film follows Jill (Amanda Seyfried), a young woman who was kidnapped and abandoned in a hole in the middle of a forest a couple of years prior. When her sister (Emily Wickersham) disappears, Jill is convinced that her kidnapper has returned and took her. She goes to the police for help but they dismiss her as crazy so she sets out to find her sister and face once again her kidnapper.

Christmas Present (1986)

I stumbled upon Pupi Avati's Christmas Present (Italian: Regalo di Natale) last year while I was looking for non-idiotic Italian Christmas movies —we have plenty of those as we get new ones every single year— but at that point I already had picked some other non-English language movies so I postponed the watch to this December. 

Set on Christmas night, the film follows a group of old friends, Franco (Diego Abatantuono), Ugo (Gianni Cavina), Gabriele (Alessandro Haber), and Stefano (George Eastman), as they reunite after a very long time to play a poker game, which used to be their tradition. It's not nostalgia that brings them back together, but the opportunity to rip off a rich and mysterious industrialist (Carlo Delle Piane). 

Thursday Movie Picks: It's a Party

I am not a party girl. I'm the kind of girl who loves spending her nights in her pyjamas, watching a movie or a TV series, reading a book, or like the old people, doing crosswords. That being said, I love watching movies involving parties because often the weirdest and/or most interesting things happen. Without further ado, here are my picks for this week's Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves.

Swiped (2018)

I wake up very early in the morning —5:30— and because of that I collapse on the bed pretty early —around 10pm, with some exceptions here and there— so I rarely watch movies at night. The other night I wasn't tired and I wanted to watch something light, so when I stumbled upon Swiped, a (romantic) comedy involving dating apps and starring Noah Centineo, I decided to give it a shot. If I knew what I was getting myself into, I wouldn't even have woken up that day. 

The film follows James Singer (Kendall Ryan Sanders), a coding genius and tech nerd who is off to a bad start in his first college semester as his roommate Lance (Noah Centineo) and his two idiotic friends Dylan (Christian Hutcherson) and Daniel (Nathan Gamble) begins to bully him. College life gets better for James when Lance convinces him to create a hook-up app where men and women are not allowed to learn names, go on proper dates or commit in any sort of relationship. When the app spreads outside college too, James must face unexpected consequences. 

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

I had just started blogging when I heard about Guess Who's Coming to Dinner for the first time. A friend of my mothers suggested it to me and, although the plot sounded interesting and I was interested in seeing something, anything from Sidney Poitier, it's only now that I finally decided to watch it.

The film follows 23-year-old Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) as she returns home earlier from her Hawaiian vacation with her new African-American fiance, 37-year-old Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), so that he can meet her parents (Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn). Since they are liberals, Joanna expects them to approve of their relationship, but her father does have reservations about it. And so does John's father (Roy E. Glenn Sr.). 

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

I saw the trailer for The House with a Clock on Its Walls in theatres months ago but it didn't impress me that much so I decided to pass it. Then I read some nice things about it, the cast intrigued me anyways, so I checked it out as soon as it got home-released. 

The film follows Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro), a 10-year-old boy who is sent to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in a creaky old house after the death of his parents. Lewis soon discovers that his uncle is a warlock and his neighbour, Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), is a witch, and gets swept into a magical world that holds wonders as well as very dark secrets. 

Gotti (2018)

No matter how bad a movie is, there will always be someone who enjoys it. The same sure cannot be said about Gotti, as I've read (too) many reviews about it and not a single one was positive. To be more specific, it was described by every single one of them as the worst film of 2018. Of course, this made me curious to see how bad it is and, against everybody's suggestion, I watched it. 

The film is a biopic-pic about New York City mobster John Gotti (John Travolta), who got started in the Gambino crime family in his early teens and quickly worked his way up to become one of the most powerful and dangerous crime bosses in America.

Venom (2018)

I already had lukewarm feelings about Venom so when critics flooded us with negative reviews, I decided to pass the movie and save some money. Then, many people I follow —either on Twitter or blogs— started posting their review and it didn't sound that terrible. At that point though, I didn't want to go to the cinemas and watch the dubbed version so I waited for home release. 

The film follows Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a news reporter who has just lost his job and girlfriend (Michelle Williams) because he went off-script while interviewing Carlon Drake (Riz Ahmed), the CEO of a bio-engineering corporation, the Life Foundation. When he tries to dig some dirt up on Drake, he becomes the host of a powerful, symbiotic alien, Venom, that gives him superhuman abilities. Venom and his species, however, do not come in peace.

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

I've seen Sorry to Bother You on my Letterboxd homepage many times but, despite it having Tessa Thompson, whom I love, I never bothered watching it, mainly because some of those Letterboxd ratings/reviews were pretty bad. Then Allie over Often Off Topic reviewed it, she talked about how she liked the film, and she really made me want to see it. 

The film is set in an alternate present-day version of Oakland and follows Cassius "Cash" Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a young African-American telemarketer who starts using his white voice and quickly rises through the ranks of his profession. He soon finds himself with plenty of money and no morals as it turns out that the company he works for is completely unethical.

Thursday Movie Picks: Meet the Parents

Whether you are afraid of making a terrible first impression or that they will hate you and do everything in their power to destroy your relationship, meeting the parents can be a very stressful and nerve-wracking experience. In life, it usually doesn't go as bad as you thought it would. In movies, it's a whole different story —just think of Robert DeNiro's character in Meet the Parents. This is this week's theme for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. Without further ado, here are my picks —one is about meeting the parents, the others have a memorable "meet the parents" scene.

Searching (2018)

I've seen Searching pop out in several "Top Movies of 2018" lists and, knowing absolutely nothing about it, I decided to check it out.

The film follows David Kim (John Cho), a widower who is trying his best to raise his 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La). When Margo mysteriously goes missing, he finds out just how little he knows about his daughter. Left with only a trail of breadcrumbs that exists entirely on the internet, David joins forces with detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing) in a desperate attempt to find his daughter before it's too late.

A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)

I hated Bad Moms, truly hated it, as it tried too hard to be some sort of The Hangover with moms. The real problem was the humour though, it was flatter than a board. I am a sucker for sequels though, so I ended up watching A Bad Moms Christmas anyway. Also, I have a crush on Mila Kunis so I had to see this.

The film again follows Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), three under-appreciated and over-worked moms, only this time around they have to create a perfect Christmas for their families while dealing with their own mothers, Amy's overly critical mom, Ruth (Christine Baranski), Kiki's overwhelming mom, Sandy (Cheryl Hines), and Carla's absentee party mom, Isis (Susan Sarandon).

Eagle vs Shark (2007)

I loved Hunt for the Wilderpeople and I am now a huge fan of Thor because of Thor: Ragnarok (and Chris Hemsworth, but don't tell Chris Evans I'm cheating on him) so I thought I'd give a chance to Taika Waititi's directorial debut, Eagle vs Shark

The film follows Lily (Loren Horsley), a sweet but shy and socially awkward fast food worker who is having a major crush on Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), an arrogant geek who works as a store clerk. She finally gets the opportunity to spend time with him when he kind of invites her to a "dress as your favourite animal" party. They eventually hook up and Jarrod convinces Lily to bring him back to his hometown so that he can get revenge on the bully that picked on him in high school.

Papillon (2017)

Something I've come across often when reading about Michael Noer's Papillon is that it is a bad remake of the 1973 film of the same name. Having read the book upon which both are based, I refuse to call this a remake. Instead, I consider it to be a different approach to the material whose outcome is barely decent, but still a notch above the "original". 

The film follows Henri Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), nicknamed Papillon because of the butterfly tattoo he had on his chest, a French safecracker who is convicted of murder and is sentenced to life in the notorious penal colony in French Guyana. On his way there, he meets Louis Dega (Rami Malek), a rich, convicted forger who asks Papillon for protection. In exchange, he will finance Papillon's escape attempts.

Bao (2018)

I went seeing Incredibles 2 about a month ago and you know what stuck with me the most? Bao, the short animated film that preceded the movie. Not only because it's the first short film at Pixar directed by a woman, Domee Shi, but because it's a small masterpiece. 

The film follows a Chinese-Canadian woman. She just made dumplings for her husband and she, but he eats in a hurry and leaves for work, leaving her sad and alone. When she is about to eat her Boazi, one of them comes to life, it grows into a little dough boy and she begins to raise it as a son.

Very Bad Things (1998)

I don't know how Very Bad Things ended up on my watchlist —I think it was on a Top 10 Black Comedies list or something—, I just know that it did somehow and I've been putting it off ever since, that being about four years. I finally decided to give it a chance and damn, it is messed up. 

The film follows a group of friends, Kyle Fisher (Jon Favreau), Charles Moore (Leland Orser), Robert Boyd (Christian Slater), Michael Berkow (Jeremy Piven) and his brother Adam (Daniel Stern), who heads to Las Vegas for Kyle's bachelor party. With booze and cocaine in their bloodstream, they get pretty wild, things get out of control and a prostitute (Kobe Tai) gets killed. They decide to get rid of the body and soon the bodies are piling up.