Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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It’s the series that launched a thousand ships: Keira Knightley’s career, Johnny Depp’s Oscar nomination, the imitation of cockney accents across schoolyards everywhere and a gold mine of a franchise for Disney, whose last film grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. The Pirates of the Caribbean films have a long and storied history, famously inspired by the beloved Disneyland boat ride, but can such a franchise keep its sea-legs five entries in?

(I’m really enjoying the sea-puns, you guys.)

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In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, brilliant astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) and the son of Will and Elizabeth Turner, Henry (Brenton Thwaites) must team up with notorious pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as they scour the seas on the hunt for the Trident of Poseidon, whilst on the run from the British authorities (not the East India Trading Company this time) and yet another band of undead pirates, and their Spanish Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).

For an iconic noughties franchise with some pretty memorable scenes, Dead Men Tell No Tales is a highly forgettable entry to the series, a generic-at-best attempt to recapture the magic of the original trilogy that had me rolling my eyes, several times, at just how hard they’re trying. The search for Poseidon’s trident is merely a device to throw a bunch of Pirates tropes at the screen and see how they land: as Henry fights to save his father, reunite his parents and bring to life the only hope of this film (a Bloom-Knightley reunion), he is lost in the confusion of Captain Jack’s now-boring schtick and the film’s disconnected fight scenes, spread out by long bouts of exposition attempting to make interesting the cut-copy story that no-one asked for. Combine this with the terrible CGI of Salazar’s crew and the awful chemistry between Thwaites and Scodelario, all mixed up with yet another terrible family reveal, Dead Men Tell No Tales fights so hard to prove that this franchise still has some surprises left in it, but surprise! It doesn’t.

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One surprise strength of the film, however, is Kaya Scodelario as Carina, whose passion for science and love for the father who left her is infectious. Her ‘bitch, please’ attitude to the ignorant men around her who accuse her of witchcraft and her self-confidence in always being the smartest person in the room was a step above the strong female heroine role that Knightley paved the way for in the previous films, without taking away from Elizabeth’s importance, of course, and was a pleasant inclusion in a film that usually focuses on its male heroes.

Speaking of male heroes, Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow is getting dumber and dumber the longer this franchise drags on. In the first few films, he was a lazy, backstabbing coward, but always the smartest person in the room; nowadays he has been relegated to the comic relief buffoon, a side character, and that’s the problem with this film! It doesn’t even focus on the main reason why people like, and Disney keeps making, these films, cheapening the films as they go on. Returning as Captain Barbossa, Geoffrey Rush genuinely seems to be having fun throughout the entire film, but Brenton Thwaites and Javier Bardem are replaceable in their roles, and everyone’s off in their own corner, doing their thing, with none of it gelling or worthwhile. Thank God for modern woman Carina.

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Pirates of the Caribbean is not Indiana Jones – you can’t just keep inserting mythical objects of history into the same story and expect people to love it. What drew us to the original films were the swashbuckling fights, the double crosses, and the complex relationships between the main characters, none of which are even present in Dead Men Tell No Tales. Yet the worst part of this film is not even the film; it’s the post-credits sequel bait, which dares to assume that we’ll want another one of these things (and even worse, that Bloom and Knightley will sign on for it). If anything, Dead Men Tell No Tales is a reminder that audiences are smarter than this, and deserve better than this, and hopefully will serve as a warning to Disney that lazy sequels won’t cut it anymore. Dead franchises deserve no sequels.

4/10.

With the amount of cameos in this film (even Paul McCartney shows up!), there’s a really great cast here, so here’s my top five favourite films starring the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales:

  1. Begin Again – Keira Knightley
  2. The Maze Runner – Kaya Scodelario
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Johnny Depp
  4. Bran Nue Day – Geoffrey Rush
  5. Shakespeare In Love – Geoffrey Rush

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from IMDb.com:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1790809/mediaviewer/rm1806445056
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Movie Snacks: A Definitive Guide

I am a snacker. I like to snack when I study, read, travel, and, most importantly, when I watch movies. Sometimes I want to go to the movies just because I’m craving good popcorn. Of course, not every movie snack is created equal, and most of the time, theatre-bought snacks are very expensive, but they are still an essential element of movie-going. So, below I have created a guide for every occasion at the movies, once and for all deciding which snacks are the Best of the Best:

Popcorn (AKA The Classic):
Popcorn has been a staple of movie theatres since the 1920s, when silent films became talkies and going to the theatre was much more of a crowd experience than an outing for the wealthy, and has become synonymous with the cinema since. Despite being the best, and most iconic, choice, popcorn is often really expensive to buy from the big chain movie theatres, and they usually bulk it up with so much salt and butter that you need a drink, too. I tend only to buy popcorn at my local or smaller cinemas, where tickets are cheap enough that food is affordable (and those cinemas, like my local, tend to make THE BEST popcorn, too!). But sometimes movies just aren’t right without a fistful of popcorn.
Pair with: Popcorn is great on its own, but reaches next level greatness when paired with almost any chocolate (see below).

Maltesers (AKA The Whiplash Trick):
Though MnMs are superior on a day-to-day scale, Maltesers are the best chocolate to eat at the movies because they pair best with popcorn. Recently made infamous by the film Whiplash, I’ve been pouring my Maltesers into my popcorn bucket since before I was in high school, but apparently this isn’t a common thing? Get it together, people! Consider this a Public Service Announcement: popcorn salt and butter on a Malteser is a heavenly combination, and once you try it, you’ll be wishing you’d known about it sooner. Plus, they’re pretty great on their own.
Pair with: Popcorn, for the ultimate experience.

Sour Patch Kids (AKA The ‘Only At The Movies’ Treat):
For all the lollies you could eat at the movies, these are the best choice because I tend to only buy them when I’m going to the movies. When I was a kid, the cinema would always advertise the candy bar with the slogan ‘no one can see you in the dark’, so when else do you have the opportunity to eat a whole bag of sour patch kids in public? You’d probably never want to do it anywhere else; just go for it.
Pair with: A drink, because God knows you’ll need one.

Choc Top (AKA The Old Favourite):
I don’t know if everyone around the world has these, but choc tops are a quintessential part of Australian cinema-going. It’s just a pre-packed ice cream cone with a hard chocolate coating, but what makes it so special is that you can really only buy them at the movies (the best ones, at least). Plus, one of the best parts is that sometimes you can forget they exist, and your first choc top after a few years without is like returning home.
Pair with: I was at the movies once and saw this unbelievable trick: a guy dipped his choc top IN HIS POPCORN. Ice cream and popcorn. This man deserves a Nobel Prize. I am yet to try it, but that’s some next level snacking.

Drinks at the Movies (AKA Tough Choice):
Though most will insist on giant soft drinks from the candy bar, many other drinks offer a variety of different movie-going experiences. Coffee (hot or otherwise) is always an interesting idea when seeing a slower movie (AKA How I Sat Through The Revenant), and if your local cinema offers cups of tea, I highly recommend ordering one at least once for a cosier viewing. And for fancier sessions, like deluxe sessions or one-off screenings, never say no if they offer you drinks on arrival (unless you’re underage, of course). Champagne at the movies is the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like royalty.

What are your favourite movie snacks? Is there anything I need to try? Let me know in the comments!

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Get Out

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Full disclaimer, before you read my review of a horror movie: this is the first and only horror film I’ve ever seen. Call me crazy, but being scared is not something I enjoy choosing to do, and to me, films that get inside your head are even worse than jump scares. I tend to stew on movies, like to think about them for days after, and I definitely lost some sleep the night after I saw this. So I may not know my genre, but I know a good movie when I see one, and Get Out certainly was a good movie.

Get Out follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American man visiting his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time, but things take a turn for the creepy when their annual family party seems to be a cover up for something much more sinister. To say anything more than that would be doing disservice to Jordan Peele’s masterful storytelling; he so cleverly layers small reveals and clues throughout the entire film, so much so that the end reveal is enormous, the perfect mixture of surprising and satisfying, and definitely horrifying, building slowly from discomfort to gore. Maintaining a palpable level of tension and unease the entire way through, with even the opening scenes making you uncomfortable in anticipation, Peele laces the perfect amount of comedy through his racially charged thriller, serving both as relief in the moments where it’s desperately needed, and to heighten the tension it so effectively foils against.

Not that you would expect anything less than brilliant humour from the latter half of Key and Peele, but Get Out is by no means a comedy. In his directorial debut, Jordan Peele shows incredible skill and control in his subtle storytelling, paying homage to the genre with his classic, Psycho-esque score, but making Get Out stand out through not just its gripping mystery, but also its racial commentary. The film explores the modern African-American experience in what feels like a period setting, mashing tradition and modernity together through horror and filmmaking tropes to suggest that racism hasn’t really changed over the last 50 years, or even longer.

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From Get Out’s relatively indie cast comes Daniel Kaluuya as an absolute breakout as Chris Washington, driving the tension and discomfort as well as being an incredibly memorable horror main character. Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford and Caleb Landry Jones are incredibly intense as the super creepy Armitages, taking Meet the Parents to an entirely new level, and Lil Rel Howery is a scene stealer as Rod, Chris’ TSA-working best friend. But the film’s strongest voice is its director, and with Key and Peele (sadly) no longer doing their comedy show, we can only hope for more films from Jordan Peele.

Thought Get Out doesn’t make me want to go out and watch every single horror movie that’s released in theatres, it does interest me in finding some of cinema’s greater horror films and finally giving them a try. But this was because it was so good, and successful at scaring me, that I wonder if any others will either be a disappointment or make me that uncomfortable again. Its gripping story, brilliant cast and twisted visuals made for an enthralling experience, and if all horror films were as good as this, maybe I’d watch a few more.

9/10.

After seeing Get Out, I have decided to try out the horror genre! So here is five classic/seminal horror films I’m going to try my hand out:

  1. Alien
  2. Psycho
  3. The Blair Witch Project
  4. Scream
  5. Lights Out

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from IMDb.com:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5052448/mediaviewer/rm1994996736
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5052448/mediaviewer/rm3762699264

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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The Marvel sequel machine is always a gamble: some, like Winter Soldier and Civil War, are even better than their predecessor, and widely regarded some of Marvel’s best films. Others, like Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World, are stuck at the very bottom of the rank, merely pieces in the larger Avengers’ puzzle. And now comes their latest sequel, to their most beloved film – Guardians of the Galaxy. It has the jokes, it has the soundtrack, but does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 have what it takes to sit up the top with the best of the best?

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In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, our Guardians, now working as heroes for hire, are trying to figure out how to work as a team and function as a family when they run into trouble with the Sovereign Race – but not before Peter’s (Chris Pratt) real family starts causing trouble as well, with the sudden reappearance of his long-lost father, Ego the Living Planet (a perfectly cast Kurt Russell). Vol. 2 is an unabashed family drama, allowing the film to pack in a huge amount of emotional drama by really fleshing out the relationships of characters both new and old. Peter is reconnecting with his biological father Ego and learning about his family history both on Earth and in space, and here director James Gunn is really exploring very moving ideas about what it means to be a father by bringing back into the fold Yondu (Michael Rooker), the Ravager who took Peter in when he was a kid. As the emotional core of the story, Peter’s arc takes you on a heartbreaking and compelling journey that, whilst being so satisfying and devastating, doesn’t leave much room elsewhere for the rest of the film’s arcs.

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Because Vol. 2 also attempts to introduce a second layer to the strained sisterly relationship between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), daughters of Thanos (and presumably the Guardians’ tie to Infinity War); but surprisingly this story took a backseat, instead rehashing much of what was already explored in Vol. 1. Similarly, the overarching plotline of the Guardians themselves becoming a makeshift family was also underdeveloped: the beginning of the film sees the Guardians starting to take on roles in their little family (Peter as father, Gamora as mother, Baby Groot as a child, Drax and Rocket the drunk uncle and older brother), but once the team splits in two early on in the film, this entire dynamic all but disappears, sidelining what seemed to be the film’s most promising idea and making the smaller Rocket and Groot storyline with the Ravagers pale in comparison to Peter’s relationship with Ego. Combine this with the inclusions of both Ravager politics AND the Sovereign as a secondary antagonist, and Vol. 2 is just trying to do too much, with few sections really making an impact.

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But despite its crowded plot, Vol. 2 succeeds because of its irreverent, fun tone, its gorgeous visuals and its commitment to its characters, having so much fun itself that you can’t help but have fun too. From the gold-clad Sovereign ships to the stunning colours of Planet Ego, James Gunn has made Vol. 2 a must-see on the biggest screen you can find, an epic, colourful spectacular that really must be commended for its beauty. Flying fast and furious, the film’s jokes and banter were hilarious and utterly quotable, though some were a bit repetitive, and allowed the film’s newer characters such as Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Yondu to become standouts.

In every frame of this film you can feel Gunn’s love for the Guardians and their source material, with each character making an emotional impact that really endears them to your heart, both old and new, allowing the actors’ performances to really shine. Chris Pratt and Kurt Russell had such charisma and chemistry together, as did Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan, who have always been able to perfectly translate the ups and downs of sisterhood to the screen. Of course, Rocket and Baby Groot were brilliant and adorable, but the film’s standouts were definitely Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista as Mantis and Drax, whose sweet and funny friendship was wonderful to watch unfold. And, as I said earlier, Michael Rooker’s heartfelt performance was a highlight of the movie, adding a surprising but perfect layer to the film’s family drama.

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So, where does this film sit in terms of sequels? Certainly better than Thor: The Dark World, that’s for sure. Whilst it doesn’t reach the heights of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, which was such a compact, intimate story, Vol. 2 is a completely different film to the first, in terms of scale and in story, and, since it’s a completely different viewing experience, should be treated as such. Its epic nature, deep family drama and total sincerity makes it such a heartfelt and heart-wrenching film that you can’t help but enjoy.

7/10.

I love the Guardians cast so much, and here are my top five favourite films starring the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:

  1. Parks and Recreation – Chris Pratt
  2. Doctor Who – Karen Gillan
  3. Gilmore Girls – Sean Gunn
  4. Man from U.N.C.L.E – Elizabeth Debicki
  5. This Is Us – Chris Sullivan

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from IMDb.com:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3896198/mediaviewer/rm652555520
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Their Finest

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With so many big event movies coming out these days (read: every Marvel, DC or Disney movie that brings the big bucks), sometimes you don’t want every movie going experience to be this big budgeted, epic scale action movie. Middle cinema is in a major decline, leaving us only with great indies, that don’t often get a wide (or international) release, which means most cinemas are packed full of huge sci-fi, bawdy comedy, or cars jumping from building to building. But when a movie slips through the wall of blockbusters that’s not too big, or too small, it’s the perfect opportunity to go to the cinemas and escape into someone else’s life.

Their Finest is a great example of this: when Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), a former secretary, is hired as a scriptwriter at the Ministry of Information – Film Division during WWII, to write the women’s lines for propagandist films, she thinks it will only be a stop-gap until the war is over. But as she falls more and more in love with the business and the people she works with, Catrin begins to discover her true calling.

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As a romantic dramedy, Their Finest comes from the Downton Abbey school of fiction in that it is a period melodrama, full of dramatic twists and shocks that, whilst not completely enriching the story for the better, do pull your heart along for an emotional ride. The characters’ motivations and likability are as unpredictable as the war they live in, a factor which obviously means that not everyone will survive. What does endure throughout, however, is your love of main character Catrin Cole: her growth throughout the film from doting housewife to successful screenwriter, especially given the time period, is endearing and motivational, particularly as the film reflects the screen industry, whose male domination is still notorious today.

For it was this brief glimpse into the film industry of the time that proved to be the most fun aspect of this often melodramatic film; the cheesy propaganda ads before the features, hilariously crudely shot action scenes, specific writers for women’s lines and collapsing set pieces run amok in this film, all off which add together to recreate the magical mess of showbiz. It might be different nowadays, but it hasn’t changed that much.

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This wonderful world also introduces us to an eclectic cast of characters, played by an equally acclaimed cast. Sam Claflin is charmingly smarmy as Mr Buckley; Bill Nighy’s haughty actor Ambrose Hilliard is full of heart, too; Helen McCrory is hilarious as Hilliard’s brutally honest German agent, Sophie; Jake Lacy is a wonderful addition as an American soldier who can’t act – even Jeremy Irons make a brief appearance! – and all of this is held together by Gemma Arterton as the effortlessly likable Catrin.

Sometimes you just need to experience someone else’s emotional rollercoaster; sometimes you just need to step out of your life and into someone else’s for an hour or two. Despite its melodrama, Their Finest will have you invest in its characters no matter how cheesy, and is a great film for when you just need to escape.

7/10.

It’s a great ensemble, so here’s my top five favourite other films starring the cast of Their Finest:

  1. Me Before You – Sam Claflin
  2. About Time – Bill Nighy
  3. The Office – Jake Lacy
  4. The Harry Potter series – Helen McCrory
  5. The Lion King – Jeremy Irons

Talk soon,

Jessica x

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661275/mediaviewer/rm594937088
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Kong: Skull Island

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When it comes to action movies, I’m not your go-to-girl. And that’s okay, since I don’t really want to be. I don’t watch that many of them, I can’t always follow intense action sequences, and I much prefer story-led films that take you on a journey that way instead. So if I’ve enjoyed an action movie, for the action sequences, nonetheless, that’s when you should sit up and listen. And this is one of those times.

In Kong: Skull Island, a team of scientists discover an uncharted island in the Pacific, but when they take a mission group of soldiers and scientists to explore and document their discover, they uncover more than they bargained for: a whole island of monsters, ruled by the biggest one of all – King Kong.

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Kong: Skull Island is not a perfect movie, but what makes it work is that it knows what kind of movie it is. It’s a creature feature, monster movie, and rarely does it try to be anything more than that; the focus is on Kong himself, his history, his motivations, and most importantly, his fights, and that’s what makes the movie as much fun as it is. Very rarely is it the action, not the characters, that captures me more than anything, but I was on the edge of my seat! Jump scares and body horror abound, and every single fight scene was epic and very high stakes, with Kong’s introduction scene a spectacular way to set up the tone of the film, taking helicopters down and splattering blood. Every scene from then on, whether it’s Kong’s big final fight, or the smaller ones with one of the many inventive monsters on the island, had me captivated and thriller.

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Because Kong isn’t afraid to take lives – again, it focuses on the monsters over the people, also the people are pretty much replaceable – and in doing that, director John Vogt-Roberts has managed to build out this crazy island, full of giant spiders and “skull-crawlers”, and have us invest in the monsters over all else. Aside from a small few characters, we don’t want to see the humans come out on top: this is the monsters’ island, and when the humans decide to come in and mess with that, we side with the victims. The monsters are the stars of the show, and Kong is king, as usual.

Of course, that means that the story and human characters fall flat, which is the film’s biggest drawback. With the exception of John C. Reilly (and your subconscious desire to root for lead characters no matter how boring), every character in Kong: Skull Island is either poorly written, stereotypical, or literally just there, serving only as pickings for the monsters. Samuel L. Jackson’s Colonel Packard was simple enough to understand, but no more than that, and Tom Hiddleston’s ex-Captain James Conrad and Brie Larson’s war photographer Mason Weaver were given very little to do, as much fun as they were to watch together. John Goodman, Jason Mitchell, Thomas Mann and Toby Kebbell were also in this movie; that’s really all you can say about them, since their roles are pretty forgettable.

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This made room for John C. Reilly, however, to steal the show as Lieutenant Hank Marlow, a WWII vet who has been marooned on Skull Island for nearly thirty years. Full of humour and heart, delivering almost all of the emotional moments of the film, and basically carrying the story by himself, he was also our entry into much of the mythology and history behind Kong and this mysterious, uncharted island, which, if the after credits scene has anything to say about it, will come in handy later on.

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Whilst I will always rate films out of ten upon an equal scale, not all movies are meant to be enjoyed in the same way. Kong: Skull Island walked a fine line in that it was definitely a big, dumb action movie, but not too dumb, with the character stuff being JUST good enough to justify it being there in the first place. In this way, it allowed itself to become a great creature feature: the fights were spectacular, the thrills made me gasp several times throughout the movie, and it allowed itself to have stakes and kill a few major characters, something which so many action movies, even the good ones, don’t allow themselves to do. These big moments, combined with its skilful direction and the epic scale of the fight scenes, makes Kong: Skull Island a great theatre going, popcorn-crunching, big-screen experience.

6/10.

For such terrible human characters, Kong: Skull Island has a really impressive cast! Here’s my top five favourite films starring the cast of Kong:

  1. Room – Brie Larson
  2. The Avengers – Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson
  3. Kingsman: The Secret Service – Samuel L Jackson
  4. The Emperor’s New Groove – John Goodman
  5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Thomas Mann

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from IMDB.com:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3731562/mediaviewer/rm2730242816
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Top Five: Matthew Vaughn

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There are many directors I admire – Steven Spielberg, Denis Villeneuve, Ridley Scott – but probably my absolute favourite is Matthew Vaughn. Though not quite so prolific as the aforementioned names, Matthew Vaughn has been a strong stylistic voice on the scene since the 90s, forming a strong relationship with Guy Ritchie as a recurring producer before forging his own path as a director. I’ve seen all of his films, which isn’t exactly a mean feat – there’s only five of them – but each of them have a very individual genre and tone, whilst still obviously part of one filmmaker’s specific canon. From fairy-tales to crime films, superheroes and spies, all of Matthew Vaughn’s might be adaptations of graphic novels or books; but all have such a creative take on the source material and genre features that it feels like specifically his vision, which is why I love them so much. You never know what he’s going to take on next.

Except we do: his next film is a sequel to his most recent outing, Kingsman: The Secret Service, but even his interviews on the film suggest an entirely different film, focusing on Americana as a theme rather than class relations. So, as an appreciation post for one of my favourite filmmakers, as well as a channel for my excitement for his next film, here is my top five favourite films directed by Matthew Vaughn (in order of release):

  1. Layer Cake (2004) (AKA His First):

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Layer Cake was Vaughn’s directorial debut, establishing a style which really put him on the map: a hyper-violent, oh-so-cool London lad film about a middle man on the drug-ring scene, played by Daniel Craig, who is just about to retire comfortably when his last job gets very messy. Layer Cake allowed Vaughn to showcase his filmic roots in a film that, while reflecting his collaboration with Guy Ritchie, with its brash British characters and gritty tone, was inventive in that it placed entirely new characters in a crime film, such as the middle class XXXX (Daniel Craig’s character in the film is unnamed, which is so much fun). Whilst not my favourite Matthew Vaughn movie (crime movies are not my forte), the large, brilliant cast, including Sienna Miller, George Harris and Michael Gambon, highlights the faith the film industry had in this first time director.

  1. Stardust (2007) (AKA My Guilty Pleasure)

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Maybe it’s the pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox with pirate hair, or a campy Robert De Niro, a long-haired Mark Strong, or just a love of fairy-tales, but Stardust is one of my absolute favourite films, and very high on the list of Vaughn films for me. Adapted from the Neil Gaiman book of the same name, Stardust is about a poor boy named Tristan (Charlie Cox) from the small town of Wall who, in order to win the affection of his crush Victoria (Sienna Miller), ventures over the fence into a magical neighbouring town to collect a fallen star, who appears in the form of Yvaine (Claire Danes). As they trek back home, they encounter all sorts of obstacles and villains, such as Prince Septimus (Mark Strong) and the witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), and new friends too, and it’s all narrated so wonderfully by Ian McKellen that I can’t help but be enchanted every time. Even though it’s ridiculously cheesy and very camp, I fall in love every time I watch it; it’s full of great little cameos, fun scenes, and an incredibly heart-warming will-they-won’t-they love story, and you can really see the world-building that both Gaiman and Vaughn have contributed to, since the fairy-tale itself stands up quite well. It may be Vaughn’s least-known movie, but it holds a special place in my heart.

  1. Kick-Ass (2010) (AKA Everyone’s Favourite)

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When I was in high school, my friends would not shut up about Kick-Ass! And when I finally watched it, many years too late, I completely realised why: it does what Matthew Vaughn does best by taking genre tropes, in this case superhero tropes, and uses them lovingly, whilst also making them baudy and sending them up. In this case, bored, comic-reading teenager Dave Lizewski (a fresh-faced Aaron Taylor-Johnson) decides to become the superhero Kick-Ass after a car accident leaves him with the inability to feel pain, catching the attention of crime boss Frank D’Amico (a barely recognisable Mark Strong) and two other superheroes, daddy-daughter duo Big Daddy and Hit-Girl (Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz). It’s big, and bold, and incredibly funny, creating careers for Taylor-Johnson and Moretz as well as revitalising Cage’s, and in the beginning of an age of superhero films, it managed to be a precursor to the lower budget superhero movies that are making a comeback (Chronicle, even Deadpool), focusing on story and characters instead of meeting marks. Its sequel might not hold up, but that’s not directed by Vaughn, and Kick-Ass works so well on its own.

  1. X-Men: First Class (2011) (AKA My First)

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Even my favourite X-Men film is a Matthew Vaughn movie! X-Men: First Class not only started my love of Matthew Vaughn movies, but it started my love and interest of the X-Men franchise, and superhero movies as a whole genre. This prequel to the original X-trilogy, which sees a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) discovering their powers and meeting for the first time in the 1960s, is very much a departure from his regular, almost parody-like genre films, but is still so reflective of his own visual tone – strong 60s style, star-studded cast (albeit American this time), and a story that focuses on the characters’ relationships, not their battle scenes. Though he’d firs been tapped to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, no-one could have saved that sinking ship, and First Class was the perfect vehicle that allowed Vaughn to work on even bigger projects, like his next one, which is my absolute favourite.

  1. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) (AKA My Love)

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There is not a single thing I don’t like about this movie. For those of you reading this who have ever suffered a conversation with me about this film, please forgive me, but this is the part where I sing the praises of one of my favourite movies ever. A classic tale of working class man becomes upper class gentleman, Kingsman tells the story of Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (Taron Egerton), a young man who is taken under the wing of gentleman spy Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and joins the secret spy agency Kingsman, just as tech billionaire Richmond Valentine (a lispy Samuel L. Jackson), whose radical environmental beliefs are much, much more sinister than they seem, sets his plan into action. Kingsman pays homage to the over-the-top classic spy movies of the 60s with its larger than life villain, crazy technology and gentlemanly affairs, whilst also forging its own path entirely, using its filthy humour, outrageous violence and great mixture of talented veterans and exciting newcomers to set itself apart and make it one of the most loved and successful films of 2015, especially for a heavily rated film. I love the cast; I love the soundtrack; I love the themes; the story, the humour, and even the gory action. It is peak Matthew Vaughn, and I love it.

If you haven’t seen a Matthew Vaughn film, please do! I would recommend any of these films feverishly, because, if nothing else, you’re going to have a seriously fun two hours. And if you’ve seen these films, tell me what your favourite is in the comments!

Talk soon,

Jessica x

Photos taken from IMDB.com:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0891216/mediaviewer/rm209816832
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375912/mediaviewer/rm414679296
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486655/mediaviewer/rm1031900416
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1250777/mediaviewer/rm2146077952
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270798/mediaviewer/rm3898784000
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2802144/mediaviewer/rm80084992