Taking Stock: May 2014 | Monthly Roundup

woody lifestyle entertainment the finer things club blog uk
- photo of woody

Bdoing lots of writing, watching new tv shows and making holiday plans.
L: going to the cinema, game of thrones and pepperoni pizza


WATCHING  {check out our may film reviews}
B&Lsome movies, bates motel, american horror story, true detective, the mighty boosh and game of thrones. 

B&L: skeleton boy - friendly fires, you can call me al - noah and the whale, gimme shelter - rolling stones.

L wolfenstein the new order, dragon age and FIFA 14

READING  {check out bee's may book reviews}
Blife drawing by robin black and brave new world by aldous huxley
L: a dance with dragons: dreams and dust

B: sunshine, creativity and productivity
Lengland to win the world cup, of course!

B: my own terrible jokes, luke and the lego movie. 
Lcertain politicians, obese pigeons and woody's uncontrollable urge to hoard socks

Bmy creative project and our summer adventures 
L: a possible camping adventure for the end of June and my schedule for watching every world cup game

B: to get lots more writing done and to have an awesome holiday
Lto start learning a new language and persist with it!

  What have you been up to this month? 
• Do you have any plans for June?

LEAVE US YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW or tweet us @tftcblogWe'll see you when we are back from our summer break! 

with regards, THE FINER THINGS CLUB.



May Film Reviews | Monthly Roundup


Hello planet explorers, it's that time of the month again where we review all of the cinematic beauties, and unfortunate uglies, that we have watched during the past month. As ever, let us know what you thought of these films in the comments and feel free to recommend some films that you've been watching lately too!  

the pixar story film reviews may lifestyle blog uk the finer things club

1. the pixar story (we liked it!)
2007 | 87 min | documentary 
A look at the first years of Pixar Animation Studios - from the success of "Toy Story" and Pixar's promotion of talented people, to the building of its East Bay campus, the company's relationship with Disney, and its remarkable string of hits. 

B: We weren't actually intending to watch this documentary but after spending far too long browsing Netflix, we clicked through out of interest. Whilst it's a little outdated, this documentary was hugely inspiring and totally worth a watch for fellow Disney Pixar fans. 

L: This was a really nice surprise! Like Bee said, we just put it on after over-browsing Netflix and I'm so glad we did. It documented the fascinating journey that Pixar has taken from its small shaky beginnings to the massive success it is today. I had no idea what a prominent role Steve Jobs played in the creation and progression of the Pixar universe!

alpha papa alan patridge top comedy films uk lifestyle blog film reviews the finer things club

2013 | 90 MIN | COMEDY
When famous DJ Alan Partridge's radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, it sets in motion 
a chain of events which see Alan having to work with the police to defuse a potentially violent siege. 

B: I re-watched this film with my parents because they wanted to watch a light comedy with me. They both found it very funny. You can see our initial review of Alpha Papa over on our April Film Reviews post, if you're interested.

dumb and dumber film reviews uk lifestyle entertainment blog the finer things club

3. dumb and dumber (we liked it!)
1994 | 107 min | comedy 
The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends. 

B: Dumb and Dumber is a film that's highly regarded and referenced in popular culture so we thought we'd finally get around to watching it about twenty years too late! Whilst there were some funny moments, I'm not entirely sure the comedy has stood the test of time. I'm sure it's a film that I would've really liked as a child but it's definitely no Ace Ventura! I think we'll watch the new film when it comes out though, just out of interest! 

L: I'm not going to lie, while I liked this film, I did come away feeling pretty disappointed. I think I watched Dumb and Dumber when I was very little but most of what I saw seemed new to me. The problem with this film, for me, was that it seemed like Jim Carrey's practice performance for better and funnier things to come. His character in this film pales in comparison to my all time favourite character by him, Ace Ventura, and I just didn't find Jeff Daniels that funny (apart from when he was pooping, of course). 

the wolf of wall street film reviews uk lifestyle entertainment blog the finer things club

4. the wolf of wall street (we loved it!)
2013 | 180 min | biography / comedy / crime
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. 

B: This was seriously good viewing, if a little WTF at times. I can't quite believe that this was based on someone's real life...I mean, seriously?! Jonah Hill puts in a dazzling performance, which is ridiculously refreshing to see from him. This film is an experience in itself and one that will definitely leave you with a lot to think about. It's quite a long film though so make sure you're sitting comfortably!

L: This was the film that may have changed my opinion on Jonah Hill. It's nothing personal but I was just getting a bit sick of seeing him in films playing the same character. In The Wolf of Wall Street, however, I thought he was brilliant and, of course DiCaprio's performance was awesome. The film itself is crazy and it'll leave you wondering how any of it can be based on reality.  

jack ryan shadow recruit film review lifestyle entertainment blog the finer things club

5. jack ryan: shadow recruit (luke thought it was ok!)
2014 | 105 min | action / CRIME / mystery 
Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U. S. economy with a terrorist attack. 

L: This film was okay. I'd say it's worth a watch if you find yourself struggling to find a film and you fancy something with some action and don't want to think too much. I'll warn you though the first 5-10 minutes are pretty rubbish but get through that, and the really weird choice of backing music in the first few scenes, and you might be surprised. There's an awesome fight scene in a room...if that's a spoiler then I apologise profusely. 

sightseers film review netflix entertainment lifestyle blog the finer things club

6. sightseers (luke thought it was ok and bee liked it!)
2012 | 88 min | adventure / comedy / crime 
Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, but events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn. 

B: This film was unlike anything I have ever watched before! Don't be fooled by it's light exterior, because it's actually really dark and brooding. That said, I quite liked it. I thought the dialogue was wonderful and it was nice to watch something that was a little different to anything I've seen before. Not one for the squeamish, though! 

L: The best word to describe this film is probably unique. Don't watch the trailer for it, if you haven't already, as it shows most of the funny bits. I also found the trailer to be quite misleading because it makes it seem lighter than what it actually is. It's actually pretty dark. It's so dark, in fact, that it made me feel guilty about all those times I jokingly said I wanted to enact vengeance on certain people for throwing their McDonald's rubbish out their car window...and surely that's not a good thing. 

elysium film review blog the finer things club entertainment lifestyle

7. elysium (luke loved it!)
2013 | 109 MIN | ACTION / DRAMA / SCI-FI
In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. 

L: I finally got round to watching Elysium this month after being a little skeptical what with everyone telling me it wasn't as good as District 9, one of my favourite sci-fi films also directed by Neil Blomkamp. Saying that though, I really liked Elysium. The robots were awesome and the art direction and sort of darker / gorier sci-fi was refreshing and made a nice change from your average sci-fi flick. It's just such a shame that Jodie Foster's character never really developed into anything interesting and the plot itself was fairly basic. However, I don't really think this is a film focused on plot. It's more about setting, the basic ideas that it's built from and just giving us, the viewing public, something that is clearly inspired by the district 9 universe, a universe that I personally love.  

the lego movie lifestyle entertainment blog film reviews uk

2014 | 100 min | animation / adventure / comedy 
An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied 'Special' is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.

B: This film was superb. The best animation I've watched in a long while! It was ridicuously well concieved, really funny and the cast was bloody brilliant. If you've ever wanted to listen to Liam Neeson's high pitched voice, this is the film for you. Watch it...you won't regret it!

L: Everything is awesome...about this film. Yep, that pretty much sums it up! The things that make it so awesome, you ask? Chris Pratt voicing the main character, Morgan Freeman's performance, Liam Neeson's performance, LEGO Batman, the animation and the potential for future films. It made me think back to Wreck-It Ralph and evaluate just how much potential it had and, subsequently, squandered. 

adaptation film review entertainment lifestyle blog the finer things club uk

9. Adaptation. (BEE liked IT!)
2002 | 114 min | comedy / crime / drama
A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean for the screen. 

B: I saw this on Netflix and thought I'd give it a watch because I'm quite interested in adaptation and I also have a soft spot for Meryl Streep. I'd not read The Orchid Thief, the book that it was focused on, but it didn't really matter at all. I'm guessing that this film was made to make a point about adaptation itself, to satirize Hollywood's formula for dramatic film making to the point of absurdity. It was quite interesting to watch, as a result, but there were points where I did find myself a little wide-eyed like 'SERIOUSLY?!'. I did, however, love the use of voice over, particularly at the beginning. I wouldn't necessarily pick it out to watch any time soon but if you're interested in the art of adaptation or the works of Kaufman then you should give it a watch. 

anita and me film review uk blog lifestyle entertainment the finer things club

10. anita and me (bee liked it!)
2002 | 92 MIN | COMEDY / DRAMA
Meena, a 12 year old living in a mining village in the Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who've come to England...The idyllic existence is upset by the arrival in the village of Anita...Anita is 14, blonde and beautiful. She becomes part of Anita's world but events do not run smoothly. 

B: My Mum was watching this the other evening so I decided to watch along whilst editing. It was quite a funny watch with an interesting cast and spot on cinematography and colouring.  It was a little similar in themes to East Is East, and whilst it was nowhere near as good, it was still a watch that I don't regret in the slightest. You should give it a watch if you're interested in its themes, or have an appreciation for really bloody good soundtracks!

x-men days of future past film lifestyle blog the finer things club most anticipated films of 2014

11. x-men: days of future past (we liked it!)
2014 | 131 min | action / adventure / fantasy 
The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. 

B: I approached this film as someone who had only seen X-Men: First Class so you'll have to take my review with a pinch of n00b salt! This film had a lot going for it but, if I'm honest, I think it was a little lacklustre. There were quite a few characters that I felt could have been developed a lot better and I think there were times when the plot could have been a little clearer. I think my favourite thing about this film was Quicksilver because I'm quite the Evan Peters fan. He was seriously badass and had a pretty good wardrobe to boot. If you're a fan of the franchise, you should definitely go and watch it.  

L: I want to love this film, I really do, but something is stopping me and I can't quite work out what it is. I think it's because of how complex the premise of this film was. It links into some of the previous films, but disregards some of the others completely. I can't help but feel that by trying to make this film fit perfectly into the future past mould, it suffered greatly. You get a bit of the X-Men from the past and some of them from the future but never a complete package. To put it simply, you never get one whole juicy chicken. Instead, you're made to fight over a leg or a wing...I think I'd rather have the whole chicken! In a film which is supposed to be about a team of X-Men, it's a shame that only individuals stand out. But, hey, nods to: James McAvoy, Micheal Fassbender, Peter Dinklage and Jennifer Lawrence. They were the ones that stood out for me.

the virgin suicides film review lifestyle entertainment blog the finer things club

12. the virgin suicides (bee liked it!)
1999 | 97 min | drama / romance
A group of male friends become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents. 

B: I posted my Virgin Suicides book review two years ago and ever since then I've been meaning to watch the film adaptation. Better late than never, eh?! Coppola's vision was well executed, pairing gentile cinematography with the book's beautiful dialogue to create a pretty faithful film. The majority of the book's thematic concerns were explored, particularly the issue of decay and despair in the suburbs. However, at times, Coppola's film deviated from the book a little and I think, as a result, it didn't quite capture the intense fragility that made the book so deliciously dark and endearing. I would recommend the film though because, whilst it's not quite as good as the book, it's still a poignant watch. 

godzilla film review

13. godzilla (it was a bit poo, rly!)
1998 | 139 min | action / sci-fi / thriller
An enormous, radioactively mutated lizard runs rampant in Manhattan. 

BSometimes I get forced into watching films and I spend the entire time thinking WHY?!?!?! This was one of them. The casting was terrible, as was the representation of women. I enjoyed the 90's movie tropes, particularly the heartfelt speech towards the end, but otherwise I could've cried. Having said that, the part where they defeat Godzilla babies by throwing gumballs and basketballs at them was another highlight...Skip this one and go straight for the latest adaptation, if I were you!

L: Well...I remember this being a lot better back in 1998 but, then again, I was 7 so I'll forgive myself. I just really hate the casting in this film and Godzilla has strange skinny chicken legs in it. Admittedly, I can see it being difficult making a film about a giant reptilian monster that is both relateable and believable but its the simple things they get so wrong in this film. I wish I hadn't watched this film again...

godzilla film review blog

14. GODZILLA (we liked it!)
2014 | 123 MIN | ACTION / adventure / SCI-FI 
The world's most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. 

BThis film wasn't bad but I wasn't crazy about it. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see Aaron Taylor Johnson putting in a good performance because I've still got a little bit of a Angus Thongs crush on him still! Bryan Cranston was amazing, as ever. There's nothing that man can't do! The special effects were awesome but I don't think they were enough to make me really like this film. I think I felt a little let down by the plot in parts and, personally, I felt that the pacing was poor throughout.

L: The more I think back to this film the more I like it. If you compare it to the Godzilla of 1998 then it is a full blown masterpiece!!! I watched Edwards' previous offering Monsters when it came out back in 2010 and thought it was good, particularly with the small budget it was made with. With Godzilla, Edwards had loads of money thrown at him and, for the most part, I think he pulled it off. Yeah, Godzilla looks a little big-boned in parts but he undoubtedly looks more or less how the giant creature should. I like how the film was approached too. It seemed to be a lot more realistic and suspenseful in parts and Godzilla really does seem more like a walking natural disaster. I'll warn you now though, I was surprised by the rather short role of one of the characters had and it still annoys me that they made that decision. You'll see what I mean when you watch for yourself. As for the main protagonist, I thought Aaron Taylor Johnson put in a solid performance but he was certainly not the best character we encountered in this month's films. 

B: The Lego Movie
L: The Lego Movie

  What have you been watching?  
• Have you seen any of these films? If so, what did you think?

LEAVE US YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW or tweet us @tftcblog. If you enjoyed this post, feel free to subscribe through Bloglovin and check us out on Twitter. We'll see you on Sunday.

with regards, THE FINER THINGS CLUB.