Double Feature: A Bigger Splash (2015) & Baywatch (2017)

Time for the next double feature! I’m back on Netflix trying to get through some A-Z sequence, which I’ve failed the last few times due to different interruptions. I have a lot of catching up to do so here’s another go!

Let’s check it out!

A Bigger Splash (2015)

a bigger splash

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson

The vacation of a famous rock star and her boyfriend in Italy is disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter. – IMDB

A Bigger Splash is already set for success with its stellar cast. I’m personally a fan of everyone here, except maybe Dakota Johnson but that is only because I haven’t really watched anything from her or I don’t remember since I’ve a few of the titles listed on IMDB. I know she’s in Fifty Shades of Grey but I haven’t seen that either. I will however say that in terms of acting and the location, A Bigger Splash has set itself up with quite a nice touch. This cast acts their pants off (in some cases, literally) because its quite the psychological drama here as we dive into the relationships. The story takes place mostly in the present however, we still see the past of how Tilda Swinton’s character Marianne was when she was dating Ralph Fiennes character Harry and then how Harry sets her up with this younger director, Paul played by the incredibly handsome and talented Matthias Schoenaerts.

I can’t say that I was particularly charmed by the story itself so much as the characters themselves. The four characters here were distinctive in their own way and they each have their own mysteries and depth to explore. The contrast of the characters was what caused a lot of the friction. It was a test of tolerance and acceptance and just change in life that brought on different perspectives. In fact, that was the most thrilling part to watch the relationship and the tensions build throughout the film. However, it makes sure to have these diverse characters to still have these fun moments as much as the quieter moments.

Overall, A Bigger Splash is quite the movie experience. Its most attractive part is its visual location and its cinematography as well as its complex characters.

Baywatch (2017)


Director: Seth Gordon

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfanesh Hadera, Jon Bass

Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon butts heads with a brash new recruit, as they uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay. – IMDB

For those who actually  had Baywatch, the TV series to compare with, they probably would have a lot of bad stuff to talk about. My husband definitely had his comparisons. However, I only watched maybe like 2 episodes of it in passing glance when I was young so I don’t really have anything to compare the source material. With that said, I am also a big fan of Dwayne The Rock Johnson because his films, no matter how dumb it may be, is always a harmless, entertaining time. Its mindless entertainment which happens to work in the beginning of 2018 as I’ve never been so busy and stressed before. With that said, there are obvious flaws with this film and it won’t be for everyone and its obvious it wasn’t since it got some incredibly low scores (aka 18% on Rotten Tomatoes).

To be honest, there is a lot of dumb jokes and bad humor however, in some really weird way, I spent a lot of time both laughing at the movie for its stupidity but also some time laughing at some of the other jokes. Is this my typical type of comedy film that I’d watch, or even a first choice? The answer is absolutely no. However, it was a surprisingly entertaining viewing experience. However, I do think that it is a movie that is in the completely mindless entertainment. Its for those who want to just shut off your brain completely and can enjoy some silly humor and extremely over the top action sequences. If that isn’t something you enjoy, then Baywatch is definitely not going to work.

Spectre (2015)

An interruption in our normal scheduling of Netflix A-Z for another S selection but the one in the form of a newly released film in theatres called Spectre.  James Bond, 007, Daniel Craig, Action: Are you ready for it? I haven’t seen James Bond in theatres or anything else on opening day in forever, but with an overly enthusiastic friend, I did and also in the VIP cinema where we got to choose our seats and order food, plus, it cost me nothing because I managed to redeem it before the points system changed.  Perfect timing!

There’s been a ton of Spectre reviews and you’ve probably read a ton so I’m going to keep this short and sweet!

Spectre (2015)


Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, , Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Andrew Scott, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci

A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. –IMDB

What did I like:

  • Opening

There’s a lot to like about the opening.  I mean, not just the opening in Dia de los Muertos in Mexico because that was really fun and exciting. Plus, it did set the tone for what to expect for the rest of Spectre. But I mean like the opening with the song.  I’m not going to lie. When I first listened to Sam Smith’s song Writings on the Wall, I wasn’t that impressed. I like Sam Smith but something was off.  I didn’t even watch the video of it, just the music.  However, with the opening sequence, with the familiar faces of the last few Craig Bond films floating up in the background, it was done really well.

  • C played by Andrew Scott *a little spoiler territory*

I’m a huge Sherlock fan. I mean, who isn’t if you’ve seen it.  If you are that rare person who isn’t, just bear with me.  Andrew Scott is a phenomenon actor.  He just has this villainous or awkward vibe that flows from his body.  You know what’s the deal with him.  You watch your fair share of James Bond (and I’ve seen 50% of the 24 Bond movies) and you kind of get a good idea. Regardless, this guy is perfectly cast.

  • Bond Girls: Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux


We all know Bond girls are part of the highlights of a Bond movie.  They are a staple of beauty that stands out in the film. Monica Bellucci is a sexy lady and Lea Seydoux is much younger but also isn’t just pretty but her character helps Bond out a lot.  She’s not the usual damsel in distress. That makes her one of my favorite Bond girls right now. Plus, Bond girls work with the chemistry they have and man, were there some passionate scenes going on there.

  • Cars & Action &  Gadgets



James Bond is a man with gadgets.  He’s got the moves and the skills but he also has the perfect escape plan. Aston Martin versus the Jaguar (I think).  Sexy time watching awesome cars race through the city. That was an awesome sequence that was a ton of fun.

  • Villain


I haven’t watched anything with Christoph Waltz. Only little snippets of Inglorious Basterds and screenshots of Django Unchained. Don’t even know why but this man, just from screenshots looks like a fantastic villain. You know, that whole calm and collected villain which definitely is smart and has something meticulous and crazy swirling around his mind to unhatch the perfect plan. We get the back story of this man and just who he is.  We get to know what is this secret terrorist organization called Spectre. Brutal, intricate and smart all at the same time.  Christoph Waltz brings on a whole new angle of a subtle bad guy. He is toying with his prey in the most deadly ways.



The biggest factor of why I love Spectre is that this one truly made me fall in love with Daniel Craig.  Sad that its his last one, right? Daniel Craig oozes with exactly what James Bond is to me.  Forget about how I said Pierce Brosnan is the appearance of James Bond.  Daniel Craig is the whole package.  He’s got the looks, chemistry, smarts, actions, skills and the story to match all of it.  This guy is an amazing James Bond, at least to me.

What did I not like:

  • The run-time

I always complain about this in Bond movies.  It is a chore sometimes to watch James Bond because it always has some resolution half way and then pan out into a second scenario.  Its obligation to have 2+ hours of run time always makes me feel like its working so hard to drag it out. I was pretty tired when I went to see this and while I enjoyed 90% of the movie and stayed away for 99% of the movie.  There were moments I managed to really feel like sleeping.  It was a matter of seconds in the length of the movie but Bond films do hold a certain formula.  While the Craig ones try to stray away from it and add a lot more substance and deeper back story and dive a little into who Bond is on a more personal (and emotional) level, it still does do step into that territory once in a while.

Is it a huge criticism? Actually no, because Skyfall and Spectre both rank relatively high in the Bond movies. I’ve taken a few days since Friday night to work out which I like more. While Skyfall is like an adrenaline rush of emotions and I love it exactly for that.  Its serious and is through and through an action thriller that has lots to offer but Spectre is deeper.  We get more personal with James Bond and his love, mindset and just that ending… I love it!

 Have you seen Spectre? Are you planning to? Are you a James Bond fan?

Netflix A-Z: The Reader (2008)

We’re at the next letter! The alphabet is almost done and it should be finished right before the end of the year, just in time for some Christmas festivities. Now, its all about getting this thing along nice and smoothly.  I wanted to swap this one out.  Something about a drama didn’t quite amuse me but after looking and wanting to change over and over again.  I ended up just watching this.  It’s Kate Winslet. I’m guaranteed a good performance at the very least. I have no idea what this is about. I can hear you all going, “What, Kim? Have you been living under a rock? Kate Winslet won best actress in this?” My excuse, I’m sorry.  I started blogging about movies in 2012, unfortunately, in 2008, my life was all about international business and accounting.  I was in university… Anyways, I’m working on all of it now. I know I’m missing out on a lot of stuff but I’m trying my best.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

The Reader (2008)

The Reader

Director: Stephen Daldry

Cast: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Jeanette Hain

Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.-IMDB

 The Reader is one of those movies that I tend to veer away from.  My enjoyment of movies involving and touching upon anything to do with wars aren’t a lot.  It usually makes it too dramatic and I can’t take it.  My emotions just go out of whack and it hits me super hard and then I get really depressed and don’t want to do anything for a little while.  Well, its one of the reasons I watch these movies sporadically and very spread out. The Reader has been on my to-see list forever, mostly because I have a huge girl crush on Kate Winslet and I think Ralph Fiennes is a fine actor so this movie was a winner before it even started. Plus, hey, look at that, Kate won best actress. I didn’t know that before I looked at this poster. Great blogger I am, right?

The Reader

The Reader is great.  It was not your traditional sort of romance and it was a good part about a young Michael Berg’s growth into who he is and why he has grown up to be that way.  Kate Winslet plays an older lady that helps him and they fall in love into this awkward affair that they need to keep a secret because its not exactly right for a 16 year old to be having some relationship with an older lady (who I assume is in her 30s?). They say the dates and write the years and yet, my dumb memory can’t register it all fast enough so I can’t remember.  As wrong as the relationship may seen, we see a lot of the signs of who Kate Winslet’s Hannah is before a very naive and innocent Michael Berg (played by David Kross) does and when they part their relationship and meet up again when he is a law student, when it clicks for him, it makes us wonder how it makes him feel. The thing is, what makes The Reader really great and just so attractive to me is that it brings in an influx of emotions.  In the beginning, it all feels wrong for Hannah and Michael but it also feels so right and genuine.

the reader

Talking about the relationship, Kate Winslet does a fantastic job. I don’t know who the other candidates were for that year in the Academy awards but this has got be one of her best roles yet.  She turned Hannah Schmidtz into a woman that we can’t exactly read through her words.  Hannah observed and reacted sometimes to Michael’s actions.  She was troubled and conflicted but also, found ways to make herself work out why she did certain things that felt wrong to everyone around her. The question is whether Hannah is a selfish person? I really don’t think so.  She just had issues that lead her to final outcome.  What makes Hannah come to life is that she didn’t have to say a lot but we could read what she actually meant in her eyes.  Now that, my friends, is some impressive acting. I always think that if you can emote without words and communicate those feelings perfectly, you got some skills.  Kate Winslet does that amazingly here.

the reader

However, we can’t discount any of the other characters.  A strong plot helps The Reader also. It took time to build the relationship between Hannah and Michael and allowed us to really see deeper into what it meant to both of them.  It shaped who they are as well. David Kross is a very talented young actor who carried the young Michael Berg well.  He goes from the shy and innocent boy and slowly becomes a boy that falls in love deeply and is absolutely genuine. He does get older so he starts feeling like things are unfair between them before Hannah lets the relationship go while using the opportunity to pursue something new which leads her to the trial 10 years later.  Even as Michael gets older and hasn’t seen Hannah, David Kross carries the character to make us believe the influence that Hannah has had on him.  Its a story about right and wrong, no matter its their relationship or being a guard at Auschwitz and the decision they made while there.  Its a strong film that evokes a ton of relationships just between the both of them.

the reader

As we fall on Ralph Fiennes who is the older Michael Berg, we can still see the effect Hannah has had on him.  He doesn’t ever talk about and never embraces it but we know its what makes him hold back a little.  The older Michael Berg has a much smaller part in the entirety of the movie but with the little part, we get a glimpse of Michael Berg’s growth as a man.

 This review is already hitting dangerously close to spoiler territory.  Overall, I really liked The Reader.  I gauge movies especially drama at how much it evokes feelings from me and I seriously felt the heartbreak moments to hurt when they happened and when they were all happy and stuff, it also made me feel good.  Its covers a few meaningful themes, a little bit of the alternate love story, a bit of the coming of age thing and hits in the ethics and morals part of things.  Its hard for me to like a historical drama and this one worked for me particularly for the strong performances from both Kate Winslet and the young David Kross. Its definitely worth a watch.

Have you seen The Reader? Do you like to watch historical drama?

S is up next! Can you guess what it is? Hint: 1995 remake

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

You gotta love Netflix when it has at least ONE Best Picture nomination available.  Not being sarcastic if thats what you are reading.  I’m pretty happy that there’s even one.  Seeing as I’ve been talking about seeing American Sniper and never actually made it to the theatres, maybe this week?

The Grand Budapest Hotel looks a little peculiar and that totally has to do with the fact that this is the first Wes Anderson film I’ll be seeing. Shocked? Don’t be…I still have a lot of movies to watch 😉

Let’s check this Oscar contender out!


grand budapest hotel

Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tom Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum

The adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tom Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.-IMDB

Oh, the adventures Monsieur Gustave has! The Grand Budapest Hotel is a little peculiar to say the least, exactly the impression I got.  The deal with a peculiar movie is that it can either be to your taste or not, or should I say mine.  Although, I have to say that it takes a little time to adapt to and there was always this feeling gnawing at me a little that something was off, it was hard to not be charmed by this movie.  For one, look at the colors and the visuals, just wow.  The whole set was such a joy to watch.  I’m not just talking about The Grand Budapest Hotel itself, but also when him and Zero was on the train, the scenery of the mountains and the whole action plus the costumes.  Every component was thought through with so much detail that it was really hard to ignore.  However, I have to stay true that while it may be a favorite for many, I’m a little half-half on this.  While some 30% of the movie felt a little random and dragged out, the other 70% (mostly the second half) was really fun to watch, adding in bit of humor and just drowning in its own unique style. The atmosphere it sets for itself is definitely one thats artistic and quirkly but somehow still really entertaining.

grand budapest hotel

The cast portraying each of the characters happened to be some of my favorites, let me elaborate a little.  For one, we start off with our narrators and how the recount of Monsieur Gustave H. was introduced during a dinner between an older Zero (who looks nothing like the younger version) and an author played by Jude Law.  This is where I first swoon a little.  Jude Law himself made me intrigued when this movie started.  He’s really just the backdrop of this event and the listener to the story that the elder Zero shares.  Right off the bat, the encounter already shows that this movie is going to be in the whole definition of awkward.

Let me clarify before we move forward that awkward doesn’t bother me, I watch a ton of movies like that and I like them.  What I’m saying is that if not for these characters who made the awkwardness convincingly fun, I would have just closed this 30 minutes in.

grand budapest hotel

Another showstopper is our own Monsieur Gustave. Ralph Fiennes is a fine actor and we see it over and over again.  Sure, he’s not much of a comedian, which begs why he was chosen for this role but in his seriousness, we can laugh at exactly that because the movie itself really isn’t all that serious.  Which also makes this one of Ralph Fiennes best comedic roles surprisingly proving that he can do it.  Ralph is awesome (I’m sure most of us agree) and him as Monsieur Gustave is so much fun but that has to do with the interactions he has and the music they match with the scenes as well. Here’s where I need to talk about young Zero played by Tom Revolori.  I don’t know this guy at all but he made this hilarious expressions.  The relationship and interaction between Monsieur Gustave and Zero was another great aspect.

grand budapest hotel

I personally think that Willem Dafoe is so underrated as an actor.  Has he won anything in his career? He is in a lot of really great roles, at least he has to talent to even make a role in a bad movie work out most of the time (at least what I remember).  As the assassin here, he has this dangerous feeling to him and yet, he plays well with the whole black humor portion.  His boss, being Dmitri, a rich boy played by Adrien Brody just charms my pants off.  I love Adrien Brody so much.  This guy needs to be in more movies (or I just need to search out more of his work).  Whatever it is, as horrible as those two characters are, gosh, they are some awesome bad dudes in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

grand budapest hotel

There’s a huge talented cast here and I can’t possibly go through everyone (which I almost have).  Edward Norton is also in this as the military officer Henckels but his role is relatively small and Jeff Goldblum is the executor of the will (also a smaller role), but my focus right now was seeing Saoirse Ronan *double checks the spelling*.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Saoirse Ronan.  I’ve seen a lot of the movie’s she’s been in and she is just so talented.  Her role may not have been big as Agatha but she sheds this light on the movie that the other darker characters don’t have.  At the same time, it introduces the intricate details of Mendl’s desserts that I kind of wanted to pull out of the screen and taste.  Just to show the attention to detail to this quirky movie.

Overall, I’m not as big of a fan of The Grand Budapest Hotel as others may be, but there is no doubt that the visuals and style steals the show here.  The talented cast also lifts this movie into an incredible territory.  While the story and pacing of the story held me only a part of the time, there is no doubt that I understand why this is a contender for Best Picture.  Its extremely unique and there is a whole wow factor going on here.  Just the second half made me forget about even the little bit of problems I felt in the beginning. Is it a movie I’d revisit? Maybe not often but there is something here that deserves recognition.  I haven’t seen enough of the other choices to make my predictions, maybe as I get a few more movies in this week, I’ll have a clearer idea 🙂

Have you seen The Grand Budapest Hotel? What are your thoughts? Were you impressed with the cast in this? Did you love the whole set and atmosphere?

In Bruges (2008)

Earlier this month when I announced the beginning of this recommendations month, Mikey at Screenkicker suggested to see In Bruges.  Shortly after, Juck/Ddog at Gamerscene  second him. With two fellow bloggers dropping the same recommendation, it seemed inevitable that I had to check this out some time.  Luckily for me, Netflix added this movie a few days ago (YAY!). Here we are with my take on In Bruges.

Now, lets give some spotlight to the awesome Mikey at Screenkicker who always makes me laugh when he leaves me a comment and who will be hosting his Olympics blogathon soon (which I participated in). You should definitely head over, follow him and prepare to check that out while checking out his other reviews as well.

Juck/Ddog at Gamerscene is an extremely versatile blogger who reviews music, movies, video games.  Aside from that, he has some pretty fun segments that he does once in a while.  Plus, he has an unique rating system called The Meat Scale.  You will have to head over to learn more about that 🙂

Now that we’re all ready.  Lets check out In Bruges!

in bruges posterDirector: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Jordan Prentice

New hitman Ray (Colin Farrell) and experienced hitman Ken (Brendan Gleeson) have just completed a job and due to certain missteps, they are sent by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to Bruges to hide out.  In Bruges, Ray ponders his life and deals with the guilt while Ken develops an appreciation for the deep artistic touch surrounding him.  However, when Harry asks him to kill Ray because of Ray’s mistake, he is torn between what to do, forcing Harry to also go to Bruges to settle the situation.

I’m not exactly sure where to categorize In Bruges but I’m saying its in the dark comedy area.  I like dark a lot and I like English comedy and I believe this is pretty much in that area.  I like the cast here, especially Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell.  Pretty much what I’m saying is that I liked In Bruges.  Did I love it? Not really, probably not as much as Mikey and Juck does.  I’m not a person that particularly enjoys a lot of vulgar language and this one says “Fuck” a lot.  I mean, A LOT! For the most part, I didn’t mind it so much.  It was really the first 30 minutes felt like I had watched the movie for an hour.  Then it picks up and it feels a lot better.

in bruges brendan gleeson

One of my favorite elements of In Bruges is the music.  It has THE best movie sountrack ever.  The background music really gives it a good mood and atmosphere.  The scenery was fantastic.  I’m not exactly sure what Bruges looks like but hey, if it looks like that, count me in.  Its going on my bucket list. I’m not the expert at this real scene or not thing but fellow blog Tvor Travels does her segment on that once in a while, maybe she can set some light on that 😉 The architecture is amazing in this place, just totally captivating to watch.

in bruges collin farrel

We can’t get past this movie without mentioning the cast because it was done so well and one of the reasons that I enjoyed it.  The dialogue and the characters themselves made In Bruges really fun and entertaining to watch.  They were a bit complex as they learned a bit about themselves.  I haven’t actually enjoyed a role of Colin Farrell except back when I saw him in The Phonebooth.  It probably has to do with not really seeing much from him also.  I fell asleep partially (due to fatigue) during Seven Psychopaths so I can’t comment on that.  And then he did a bunch of other stuff like Pride & Glory (which was only okay), and Alexander (too long and I stopped watching it).  Either way, I really liked him and his character Ray.  I felt like he was a bit awkward in the beginning but he pulled all this really hilarious dialogue, you know, sarcastic and witty (and he wasn’t the only one). His characters gets pretty intriguing, I’d say.

in bruges ralph fiennes gif

The next actor I really like is Ralph Fiennes.  Does it sound weird that I like him? When my dad was still around, Ralph Fiennes was one of his favorite actors so I watched a lot of stuff with him. Honestly, its refreshing to see him NOT as Voldemort, no? Ralph Fiennes is a phenomenal actor and the moment he entered In Bruges, I was totally pulled into it even more than before.  It brought out that intense moments as well since essentially he is the boss and he wants Ray dead, plus he puts on the pressure.  There’s just something about Ralph Fiennes that makes his characters always slightly unpredictable. I just love him! 🙂  Moving on, we can’t go through this movie without talking about Brendan Gleeson.  He is the connection between Ralph Fienne’s Harry and Colin Farrell’s Ray. He is closer to both of them and he transforms in this town more than any of them. He brings some sentiments and desperation to the story also.  There’s something more about him and the change he undergoes while in Bruges.

Its a bit funny.  I think as I analyzed this movie in my mind while I wrote this, I ended up realizing that this was a pretty brilliant movie.  Dark comedy pack with some thrills, vulgar language, even bloodshed.  It had great cast that portrayed intriguing characters. Despite it being a tad slow in the first bit, it picks up rather quickly and as things get a bit out of control as we approach the end, it also makes this movie pretty awesome! 🙂

A huge thanks for my first double recommendation from Juck and Mikey! They are both awesome bloggers! Remember to visit and follow their blogs! 🙂

Have you seen In Bruges? What are your thoughts on Colin Farrell? What about Ralph Fiennes?