Queenpins: Film Review

STX Films

I was aware that extreme couponing was a thing and even a reality TV show but had never really given the practice much attention so I was fascinated to learn all about it in the throwaway comedy Queenpins.

Inspired by a true story, the film stars Kristen Bell as Connie Kaminski, a former Olympic speed walker and bored, frustrated and miserable housewife who has become obsessed with couponing and stocking up her spare room to distract her from her expensive fertility struggles and her nonexistent marriage to Rick (Joel McHale). One day, she fires off a complaint about her cereal and receives a coupon for a free box and she gets an idea to set up a scheme in which she sells fake free coupons to customers. She and her neighbour JoJo (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) – a vlogger with entrepreneurial dreams – eventually end up running a multi-million dollar counterfeit coupon ring and it soon gets noticed by a supermarket chain’s Loss Prevention Officer, Ken (Paul Walter Hauser), who teams up with U.S. Postal Inspector Simon (Vince Vaughn) to shut the scam down.

This tells a crazy, unbelievable story and I couldn’t wait to see how it unravelled. While I’m sure it takes some liberties with the truth, I still couldn’t believe Connie and JoJo got away with their scheme for so long, especially considering they don’t know how to conduct dirty business and make some ill-advised purchases. Their learning curve was the most entertaining element of the film.

While I enjoyed the coupon caper, I do wish it had been much funnier, especially given the cast involved. It should have been a laugh a minute with this ridiculous scam and Bell, McHale and Vaughn in the mix but it’s very light on the effective jokes. It tries to be funny constantly but the attempts rarely land and that’s due to a combination of weak writing and the actors not being on their comedy A-game.

I thought Bell was a good choice as the sympathetic but quietly cunning Connie. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and I really wanted her to find some other way to fulfil her life. She is balanced out well by Howell-Baptiste as the upbeat and chatty JoJo. Walter Hauser and Vaughn make a good buddy cop pairing – they should have been so funny together so it sucks their scenes didn’t deliver many laughs. McHale has a one-note small role as the douchey husband, and there is a small appearance from singer Bebe Rexha, who was ace as the mysterious tech hacker Tempe Tina. She was my favourite and I wanted to see her more.

Queenpins is lightweight and forgettable stuff but I must admit that I found it really entertaining.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 26th November

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Freaky: Film Review


Courtesy of Universal

Freaky was one of the films I was so excited to see in the summer last year and then it got postponed once again so I’m excited to that it’s finally coming out! It’s so much fun!

This gender-bending body-swap horror-comedy tells the story of The Butcher (Vince Vaughn) a serial killer who pops up in Blissfield around Homecoming and kills a bunch of high school kids. But he makes a mistake when he attempts to kill Millie (Kathryn Newton) using a sacrificial knife – instead of murdering her, they swap bodies. Millie – now looking like The Butcher – must convince her friends of the swap and make a plan to stop the killer (now looking like Millie) before he strikes again.

I’ve always been a big fan of body-swap movies, I think the concept is hilarious and has so much potential for comedy. And that is certainly the case here. It was a genius move casting a man as tall and masculine as Vaughn to play an awkward high school girl and he is so damn funny; he made me laugh out loud so many times. He just threw himself into the role and nailed Millie’s persona. He really paid attention to detail – the pitch of his voice, the line delivery, the way he holds his arms/hands, runs, claps and squeals are all perfect. There is also a scene in the bathroom where Millie (as Butcher) pees standing up for the first time and it is hilarious.

Vaughn definitely landed the showier part of the two and gets more to play with than Newton. When she becomes The Butcher, she just dresses more confidently, barely speaks, has an evil glint in her eye and and walks in a slow, lumbering manner with hunched shoulders. It just wasn’t quite as obvious.

There are plenty of supporting stars who deserve a shout out too – there’s Millie’s gay best friend Josh (Misha Osherovich), who delivers a lot of laughs too, Celeste O’Connor as the smart best friend Nyla, Katie Finneran as Millie’s grieving widow mum Coral, Dana Drori as Millie’s older sister Charlene and Uriah Shelton as her love interest Booker (he has a fantastic scene with Vaughn).

Freaky isn’t particularly scary but it’s incredibly gory and violent. Soooo much blood! Some of the kills surprised me with how hardcore they were. It’s a shame quite a few of them were spoiled in the trailer as they would have had more impact if they were a complete surprise.

I also enjoyed the script a lot. Not all the jokes work but the success ratio is high enough. There is also more heart to this than I expected as it addresses Millie’s father’s death and the impact on the family in a bigger way than I would’ve predicted. And make sure you keep your eyes peeled for some nods to classic slasher flicks too!

Freaky is such a blast! Go see it if you want to be entertained!

In cinemas from Friday 2nd July

Rating: 4 out of 5.

July in film: My recommendations

Black Widow

©Marvel Studios 2021

It’s the start of July so that means it’s time to take a look at what’s coming out this month!

I have been excited to see this film for more than a year and I’m thrilled it’s finally coming out in the UK. It’s a gender-bending body-swap comedy starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn as a high school girl and serial killer who swap bodies. It’s very funny and really gory and seeing Vaughn playing a teenage girl brought me so much joy. In cinemas from Friday 2nd July.

Another Round
This Danish movie rightly won the Best International Feature Film Oscar earlier this year. Mads Mikkelsen is fantastic in this comedy-drama, about a group of friends and teachers who experiment with varying blood alcohol levels throughout their workday. This film has one of the best endings in recent memory. Read my review here. In cinemas from 2nd July.

Black Widow
It’s been a while since we’ve had a Marvel movie to watch on the big screen! I’m very excited by the fact cinema has recovered enough for it to happen! This standalone movie is led by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and explores what she got up to between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. In cinemas from 7th July and on Disney+ from 9th July.

Gunpowder Milkshake
To be honest, I don’t know exactly what Gunpowder Milkshake is about because I avoided the trailer but all I need to know is that it’s an action-thriller starring Lena Headey and Karen Gillan as hitwomen. Sign me up! They are supported by more kickass assassins played by Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino and Michelle Yeoh. Hell yeah! In cinemas from 14th July.

M. Night Shymalan‘s latest thriller looks wild. A family go for a day out at a secluded beach which somehow causes them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. I can’t wait to find out the explanation for this. The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie and more. Shymalan’s recent work hasn’t blown me away but this looks so intriguing. In cinemas from 23rd July.

Jungle Cruise
Another movie based on a Disney theme park ride, this action-adventure stars Dwayne Johnson as a steamboat captain who agrees to guide a British scientist and her reluctant brother – Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall – on their mission into the jungle to find the Tree of Life. This looks like great fun. In cinemas and Disney+ from 30th July.

The Suicide Squad

I’m excited to see Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn again tbh! This sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad follows a group of imprisoned convicts – some familiar, some new – who are sent to destroy a Nazi-era prison and lab. The trailer for this movie, directed by James Gunn, is awesome so I have high hopes. Robbie is joined by the likes of Idris Elba, Joel Kinnaman and John Cena. In cinemas 30th July.

Seberg: Film Review

I was really impressed by Kristen Stewart‘s performance in Seberg when I saw its premiere at the Venice Film Festival so it’s such a shame this film seems to have been forgotten about already.

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Seberg: Venice Film Review

Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Kristen Stewart is having a really great run at the moment, isn’t she? Well, I can assure this continues with Seberg, in which she is on fine form once again.

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Fighting with My Family: Film Review

I love Florence Pugh so I was keen to see her transforming into a WWE star for this comedy, written and directed by Stephen Merchant. I always had a positive feeling about it but it completely surpassed my expectations.

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Brawl in Cell Block 99: Film Review

Vince Vaughn has been in a lot of duds in recent years, but I thought the tide was turning for him in last year’s Hacksaw Ridge, when he played an Army sergeant, and my prediction was right. He has seriously reinvented himself with Brawl in Cell Block 99, in which he plays a take-no-prisoners hardman with a large cross tattoo at the back of his shaved head.

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My top ten films from the BFI London Film Festival (LFF)

The London Film Festival is over for another year! I posted a lot of reviews from LFF over the past two weeks and it’s understandable if you missed some, so I’ve created a handy index with links to all my reviews, starting with my top 10!

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Brawl in Cell Block 99: LFF Film Review

Vince Vaughn has been in a lot of duds in recent years, but I thought the tide was turning for him in last year’s Hacksaw Ridge, when he played an Army sergeant, and my prediction was right. He has seriously reinvented himself with Brawl in Cell Block 99, in which he plays a take-no-prisoners hardman with a large cross tattoo at the back of his shaved head.

[Read more…]

Hacksaw Ridge: Film Review


I’m not the biggest fan of war movies but I was encouraged to see Hacksaw Ridge after it received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival in September. It’s now obvious to see why. This is probably the best war movie made in recent years and features some extraordinary performances.

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