I Watched That 013


I read Divergent so long ago, and I loved it. I knew it wasn’t that different to The Hunger Games, but it was enjoyable, and I really liked the characters, and I was eager to see where the story went next. Fast forward at least a year, and when I came to read the next book in the series, I’d lost all enthusiasm for it. This antipathy extended to the film adaptation, which I didn’t bother seeing at the cinema, and wouldn’t have watched at all, had it not been for my friend Lucy, who loved it. I didn’t hate it, and I think Shailene Woodley is a fine actress, but I can’t say I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately it does feel a little Hunger Games-lite, and I’d honestly rather just watch those films again than bother with this one!


Again, this was Lucy’s influence; she had already seen it at the cinema but wanted to see it again, so I tagged along. Insurgent is a lot more enjoyable than Divergent, with the characters proving a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, when I got home, I was scrolling through a related Instagram hashtag for reasons unknown, and I treated myself to a massive spoiler for the final films (because of course, Allegiant will be split in two). Like, a huge massive no-going-back spoiler. I understand now why everyone is so angry at Veronica Roth for the way the story went.


I am in love with the fact that Disney are making live-action versions of their classic films. I don’t care that it’s another example of Hollywood being unable to come up with original stories, I just think it’s a great idea. Cinderella isn’t one of my personal favourites, but I just loved this film. Ella was a great heroine; it must be difficult to take a Disney princess into 2015 and make her relevant and modern without completely changing the story. I’ve heard Ella described as having ‘agency’ on more than one occasion, and I couldn’t agree more. Ultimately she’s the victim of abuse, and she comes out the other side. She’s great, and while her waist is on the small side, that dress is incredible. Richard Madden’s better when he’s a bit more rough and ready (Robb Stark > Prince Charming), but he made a fine hero. It wasn’t about him anyway.

Fast & Furious

Here now begins the start of my Fast and Furious franchise marathon. I watched the first six films in one day with my friends Hannah and Richard, and then went to the cinema to see the seventh two days later. It’s hard for me to separate the fourth film from the bunch; I can’t remember the story. Having read about it, I’m still not exactly sure, but I think this is the one about the drug dealers in the Dominican Republic, right? It wasn’t one of my favourites, but it’s better than the second and third, for sure.

Fast Five

Well of course, Fast Five is the best of the bunch. I’ve even watched it again since, voluntarily. Not only does Dwayne Johnson arrive (I’ve discovered a brand new love for him), the story is a lot of fun; I find it hard to resist a heist movie when they are well done. There are obviously still issues to overcome; Jordana Brewster still can’t really act, and it’s too long, but there’s not too much for me to complain about.


Fast & Furious 6

This one never quite reaches the heights hit by the fifth film; although Dwayne Johnson is back, and hopefully, here to stay in this franchise, it’s not as much fun. There’s no heist, and things get even more ludicrous. But ultimately, the franchise is about ridiculous fun, and you always know that’s what you are going to get.

Fast & Furious 7

I’ve actually just watched this for a second time, as it came out on DVD last week! I enjoyed it less the second time around, not because there’s anything that wrong with it, as such; I just don’t think these films particularly stand up to repeat viewing for me. Introducing Jason Statham as a baddie was a genius move, because he’s just so great (though I don’t think he’s ever better than in Spy). Everything just sort of hangs on the fact that you can’t watch this film without being constantly reminded that it was Paul Walker’s last. And I can’t watch the final scene without shedding a little tear.

These are films 31-37 in my yearly count, and I’m now on 106! I’ve got a long way to go before I’ve rounded them all up, but I’m committed to getting it done now!

A Very Disney Halloween

Sometimes an email pops into my inbox, and I think “I love being a blogger!” This happened a few weeks ago when I had a lovely email from someone on behalf of Florida4less, offering to send me a box of Halloween goodies for a party!

Now I already had plans for Halloween, even though I hardly ever ‘celebrate’ it as such. I went to a lovely cafe and watched an Alfred Hitchcock double bill of Psycho and The Birds with my friends, and it was great fun. But then we went back to my friend Jen’s house and cracked open some of the goodies that I was sent!

We didn’t end up putting either of the films on, because I haven’t seen either of them, and I wanted to watch them properly. We never watch films properly when we are together, because we chat too much! We did enjoy the sweeties though, and I was pleased to distribute the Scream Eggs that I received, because I don’t like them! The spider rings were fun, particularly when, the next morning, Jen picked up a cup and jumped a foot in the air because one of the rings was hiding inside and she mistook it for a real spider!

My Thoughts On… Wreck-It Ralph

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to the section titled Why Should You See This Film? where you will find no spoilers!


A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives. (via IMDb)

What I liked

  • This was yet another film that I wasn’t sure about before I watched it. Although it’s Disney, I wasn’t sure that it was really my thing, but I think that’s just because I hadn’t bothered actually finding out what the film is about! As it turned out, I really liked it; it was a decent story, with only a small amount of schmaltz to contend with.
  • I found it really funny in places. My favourite bit was the Oreos guarding the candy palace, singing “Oreo, O-reo”, referencing The Wizard of Oz. It made me laugh out loud, and I keep singing it weeks later! The Bad Anon meeting also made me laugh, as did Vanellope laughing over Hero’s Duty/Doodie.
  • Talking of Vanellope, I liked her a lot. She reminded me of Boo from Monsters Inc., without being anywhere near as cute. I liked her sass, but also the fact that she was vulnerable and reliant on Ralph, and that’s she loved him and just wanted him to help her. I am not a huge fan of Sarah Silverman, if I’m honest; when she was doing the promotion for Wreck-it Ralph, she got on my bloody nerves. But I liked Vanellope.
  • I really liked Ralph too. John C. Reilly was cast absolutely perfectly in the role, because he plays that slightly downtrodden and tragic character so well. He’s funny, but he elicits just the right amount of sympathy, and you genuinely are willing him on throughout the whole film.
  • I’m not a gamer, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve played games in the past, though, so I was able to pick up on some of the cameos and little jokes that are peppered throughout. I should imagine if you are a hard-core gamer (of a certain age), you’ll appreciate the film even more.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It shouldn’t be unexpected, being a Disney film, but all the sass and wit of the film gave way to a certain amount of saccharine sweetness at the end. It’s not terrible, but the voiceover nature of the ending certainly added to the schmaltz.

Why Should I See This Film?

There’s something for everyone in Wreck It Ralph, I think it genuinely works for both adults and children. It’s funny, sweet, full of action, and it made me laugh out loud a couple of times. It feels a bit modern, and not timeless enough to become a true Disney classic, but that’s not to say it’s not very enjoyable. 

My Favourite Things #1

Over Christmas I decided that I wanted to start a new series for 2014. It occurs to me that while I throw out the odd reference to the things I love, I never spend too much time talking about them. And there are a lot of things I love. I’m talking television programmes, films, books, that kind of thing. As I want my blog to really reflect me, I thought I’d start My Favourite Things, a new series in which I talk about, well, my favourite things.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

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My love for Mary Poppins is one for the ages. I don’t remember when I first watched it, but I’d guess that I was probably around three or four. My mum always used to say that she got totally fed up with it, because I would want to watch it over and over again before I started at school. I think that one of my earliest memories is searching for the videotape in the cupboard. One of my favourite things about this story is that my mum wasn’t a fan of the film, she didn’t really like Julie Andrews, yet she must have taped it off the television, showed it to me, and allowed me to watch it over and over again!

Mary Poppins DVD

It’s hard to put into words what I love so much about this film. Firstly, there’s the music, all of which I love, from Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to Feed The Birds. I have a particular fondness for Step in Time and Let’s Go Fly a Kite, the latter song makes me cry as I love the idea that the family are all back together again.

Then there’s the story itself. When I was younger, I used to get quite upset at the idea that Mary leaves at the end of the film (as I did with Elliott leaving in Pete’s Dragon), but as an adult I really adore the message that she is there to help the family, and will only “stay until the wind changes.”

As you probably know, if you are a fan of the film, I share my name with a character. Jane is the daughter of George Banks, and one of the central characters in the film. What you may not know is that, like Jane Banks, I have a younger brother called Michael. Although my mum always claimed that she didn’t like the film, and didn’t name us after the characters, I am not sure I believe her! Anyway, I love having that link to one of my favourite films.

But for me, my absolute favourite part of the film is the matte paintings on display. Whenever you see London in the film, it is a painting of the city created by Jim Ellenshaw or one of his team. The images are so beautiful, and I think that’s what I love so much about the Step in Time sequence, just how beautiful London looks in the background.

Mary Poppins Nail Stickers Mary Poppins Nail Stickers

My friend Hannah bought me these excellent nail stickers, and actually prefaced giving them to me with “They aren’t that exciting.” I had to beg to differ, this is one of the best presents I have ever received!

Somehow, and frankly it’s a mystery to me as to why, I have yet to see Saving Mr Banks. I know that it has some detractors because of the way the story has been told, but I can’t wait to see it. Mark Kermode believes that it is a great companion piece to Mary Poppins itself, so I am hoping to see it when it comes out on DVD.

Mary Poppins

As you can see from the photo above, I own two copies of Mary Poppins on DVD. There’s no good reason for this, but I keep them both around anyway. I caught it on the television over Christmas, but already I find myself wanting to watch it again. I guess things haven’t changed too much from when I was a toddler!

My Thoughts On… Brave

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, it may be best to move on!

It’s been such a long time since I watched Brave, and for some reason I didn’t take any notes, so this post is going to be a bit vague. I can’t not write it, because I want to have a full list of posts corresponding to each and every new film I watch this year! I’m trying to get up to date, and I haven’t watched any new films so far this month, in the hopes that I can start October with a clean (or at least cleaner) slate. We’ll see how that goes.


Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • It’s a Pixar film, so for me, that means that there is instantly more charm, humour and warmth than you will find in most other animated films. It feels a little less like Pixar to me, and more like Disney, but I love Disney too, so this isn’t a bad thing.
  • Merida is an animated heroine for the 21st century. She doesn’t want to get married, much less does she want to be won by one of the firstborn sons of the clans. She is all types of awesome, plus she’s ginger, and has massive hair. Pretty much everything I aspire to. (Let’s ignore the fact that she got a Disney Princess makeover, and celebrate the original Merida.)
  • Talking of Merida, I’ve long been a fan of Kelly MacDonald. I can’t remember when I first realised how much I loved her, but I think it was right around State of Play (the BBC series).
  • The entire cast of the film is pretty grand. Billy Connolly (not a huge fan myself, but you can’t make a film set in Scotland and not cast him), Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Julie Walters, and Robbie Coltrane. Oh, and John Ratzenburger. Of course.
  • Pixar’s animated children are very cute. Boo takes the crown for cutest animated child ever, of course, but the triplets are sweet too, despite being little buggers.

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What I Didn’t Like

  • I can’t even quite put my finger on what I didn’t like about Brave. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. It isn’t troubling Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3 and Up for the title of favourite Pixar film. I wanted to watch it because I wanted to complete the Pixar set, having seen Monsters University the day before. I’m sad that there will be no new Pixar films for two whole years. Sob.