Jolt: Film Review

Jolt

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

I’m a big fan of Kate Beckinsale’s sense of humour and her hilarious Instagram account so I was excited to see her lead this high-concept action-comedy but sadly it’s just not very good.

Beckinsale stars as Lindy, who has unnaturally high levels of cortisol in her body so she feels her emotions more keenly than normal – she snaps over the smallest things, has serious anger management and impulse control issues, and often visualises how she’ll beat up/kill the latest person to piss her off. Her psychiatrist Dr. Munchin (Stanley Tucci) has designed a device that sends electric shocks throughout her body at the touch of a button to stop her acting on her rage. Munchin advises her to try dating so she meets Justin (Jai Courtney) and he seems perfect. However, much to Lindy’s despair, Justin is murdered before their third date night – so she becomes hell-bent on getting revenge.

The concept is silly and fun and the film doesn’t take itself seriously at all. The beginning seemed promising and I loved the comical montage moments of Lindy’s violent impulses and her visualisations of how she’ll act on her anger. I also enjoyed the witty, cheeky and risque script, with my particular favourite lines being Lindy saying “penis is not going to fix me” and that Justin’s “unfurled itself like a travel umbrella”. I snorted quite loudly at those two.

I don’t know if it was a case of the novelty wearing off (very quickly) or if the film just rapidly declined in quality, but from Justin’s murder onwards, it just becomes really bad. I couldn’t tell if they were going for a “so bad it’s good” angle or if director Tanya Wexler wanted over-the-top hammy acting and action scenes that felt proper budget. It also really bugged me that the New York street scenes looked so fake; you could tell it was a backlot, and there were a couple of scenes so obviously filmed on London’s Southbank. The sets didn’t come to life at all.

As you’d expect, we follow Lindy as she formulaically goes through a run of bad guys, hurting them or worse to get to the big bad, the one who killed Justin, although she has the added headache of Detectives Nevin and Vicars (Laverne Cox and Bobby Cannavale) getting in the way. There aren’t any stakes because you know Lindy will always come out on top, but it was still enjoyable watching Beckinsale kick ass once again.

I hardly ever call for films to be longer but an extra 5-10 minutes was very much needed. This film zips by at only 90 minutes but it really bodges the twist. It is hammy as hell and also happens too quickly so nothing was explained properly. The pay-off didn’t feel earned or make a ton of sense and just felt rushed.

I love that Beckinsale got to use her kickass physical skills with her cheeky rude sense of humour and the role suited her perfectly. I enjoyed the fact she got to use her British accent but it weirdly sounded fake even though I know it’s not. But the acting in general isn’t great and at times I couldn’t tell if the cast were taking it seriously or not? Or if it was supposed to be deliberately bad? Cox doesn’t come off well, and Cannavale isn’t too bad but I’m surprised he’s in it full stop.

There is plenty to enjoy about this lightweight action-comedy, particularly in the first half hour, but otherwise I was just shocked and bewildered by how cheap it all felt. And whether you like it or not, it certainly seems like there’s gonna be more!

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 23rd July

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Promising Young Woman: Film Review

Promising Young Woman

Back in early 2020, before the cinemas closed, I saw the trailer for Emerald Fennell‘s Promising Young Woman before I watched a movie and I was like, “This looks amazing, I can’t wait to see it!” and that feeling hasn’t left me in the many months that’s passed since that moment. And now, after many delays, I have FINALLY seen Promising Young Woman.

The film stars Carey Mulligan as Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Thomas, who pretends to be drunk in bars to trick men into taking her home for sex so she can teach them a lesson about consent. She has also has a five-part plan to get revenge on the men who sexually assaulted her best friend Nina in college as well as those who knew about it and did nothing.

This is an unapologetic, daring, blistering film which has a lot to say about sexual assault, consent, and how female victims are usually blamed for what happens to them while the men get the benefit of the doubt. It also addresses the old movie trope of men having their way with women when they’re too drunk to consent – that seemed acceptable and normal back then and Promising Young Woman drives home the message that this is very much not OK.

It’s impressive that this is Fennell’s directorial debut because she pitched it perfectly. I wasn’t sold on a couple of scenes – the Stars are Blind moment in the pharmacy and the very end – but otherwise I thought Fennell had complete control of the tone, how dark she wanted it to go and where she wanted Cassie to sit on the sane/crazy scale. Her screenplay is smart and very well-written; she makes her points loud and clear without making it preachy and occasionally softens the revenge thriller aspect with some romantic comedy moments. I also loved the pastel colour palette, Cassie’s feminine clothes and her cute manicure, and how they worked in contrast to the darkness of the subject matter.

Promising Young Woman

Fennell’s casting was also spot-on. Mulligan wouldn’t usually be first choice for Cassie because she is best known for her work in period dramas and as “nice” characters and this unexpected casting makes her performance so much more exciting. I love it when actors get to do something completely different. I enjoyed watching her playing such a bold ballsy role, dressing up in sexy outfits, always looking in control in difficult situations, and confronting people about tough subjects with a smile on her face like it’s a normal casual conversation. Mulligan nails the part and I’m so thrilled she’s been Oscar nominated for it.

But it’s not just the lead role that Fennell aced the casting with – I’m not too familiar with Bo Burnham‘s onscreen acting work but I thought he was the right fit as Cassie’s love interest Ryan; he was cute, awkward, and funny and I liked his personality. And then there are so many actors I love in small roles, like Alison Brie as Cassie’s neurotic former friend Madison, Molly Shannon as Nina’s sympathetic mum, Alfred Molina as a remorseful lawyer, and Connie Britton as the dean of Cassie’s old college. And it was smart casting actors you would normally associate with good guy roles as Cassie’s targets, such as Adam Brody, Max Greenfield, Chris Lowell, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

I have to talk about that ending. You’ll be getting no spoilers from me as you should go into this film knowing as little as possible – but holy cow! The conclusion left me reeling and struggling to process my thoughts so I’m glad they managed to come together so I could write this review. It will leave you thinking for hours after the credits roll.

I’d been hyped for this release for a long time so I was expecting perfection, which is a huge amount of expectation to put on a film! It wasn’t perfect but I loved basically everything about it – the concept, the points Fennell makes, the casting, the wardrobe, the soundtrack (that string version of Toxic is so chilling!) and it deserves every success it’s had this awards season. I don’t think it’ll win the Best Picture Oscar but I would love it to win Best Original Screenplay.

Do yourselves a favour and go watch this film.

Available on Sky Cinema and NOW from Friday 16th April

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Emmys 2016: Best & Worst Dressed

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I feel like I haven’t done a red carpet round-up in aaaages! But the awards season is creeping up on us slowly but surely and it all kicked off last night with the biggest TV show ceremony – the Emmys. Game of Thrones and People V OJ Simpson cleaned up (see all the winners here) but my main focus is on the red carpet, of course.

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Golden Globes 2016: Best & Worst Dressed

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Now I love me some fashion, and after a sad day like today I need to distract myself by looking through the red carpet outfits from the 2016 Golden Globes Sunday night.

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Grandma: Film Review

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Lily Tomlin has not been a lead in a movie since the 1980s and is best known for her comedy in the 60s and 70s, so I am not aware of her work at all, which I’m a little bit ashamed about because she is hilarious. I now want to go back and watch her old stuff.

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Billboard Music Awards 2015: Best & Worst Dressed

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17:  Model Lily Aldridge arrives at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 17: Model Lily Aldridge arrives at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Last night the stars of the music industry hit the red carpet for the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. There were some AMAZING clothes – my favourite dress of the night is Lily Alridge’s (above). It is stunning! There also seemed to be a theme of boob revealing and cut-outs, which are not my thing so most of those headed straight for the no pile.

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