Film’s Best and Worst for September 2018

September 2018 has been a strange one for film – we’ve had crazy big successes such as Crazy Rich Asians and films with miles to go before they break any box office records like Mile 22. 

Check out my round up of blockbusters for the month!

Round up of film reviews for September 2018, including Searching, American Animals, Upgrade, A Simple Favour, Crazy Rich Asians and Mile 22. There is a symbolic key to rate them - Searching and A Simple Favour are marked as "loved it!", whilst American Animals and Mile 22 got "meh, it was okay". Upgrade got "really liked it" and Crazy Rich Asians got "star of the month".

The thriller film: Searching 

Stars: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee

Director: Aneesh Chagantry

Movie poster for Searching featuring John Cho looking a phone screen with screen behind him in the background

Synopsis: 16 year old Margot Kim is a normal teenager – she goes to school, studies, and takes piano classes when she’s not hanging out with her friends. Like every other normal teenager, she spends a lot of time online, until one day when she suddenly goes missing. With no leads in sight, her desperate father turns to her virtual life for clues.

Review: Searching was a breath of fresh air. At first glance it might seem like the been-there-done-that, Takenstyle thriller focussing on a hero dad trying to rescue his daughter, but it’s far from that.

From the very first shots of the film, it’s already a clear that there’s something different about it – a sharper, modern take on suspense. Instead of the camera work you’d expect in a Hollywood blockbuster, this clever little movie pans out through screens only – I’m talking laptop screens, webcams, phone screens, CCTV, and more. The whole film is “online”, and it sucks you into the plot line – you’re investigating with David, you’re Facetiming the police, you’re watching a viral video, you’re researching a location and plotting it on Google Maps…it’s almost like a choose-your-own-adventure game where you’re utterly entwined with the plot yet completely taken by surprise at every twist.

I’d definitely recommend if you’re looking for a new thriller that’s a little different to the usual!

The edgy film: American Animals

Stars: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson

Director: Bart Layton

The cover of the movie American Animals, featuring four men in black with the heads of animals

Synopsis: Four young men, bored of mundane every day life, plan a robbery when they discover that the local university is home to some of the most expensive books in the world.

Review: Evan Peters in a movie usually pretty much guarantees a thumbs up from me. He doesn’t always appear in the household name movies (though he has on occasion), but the films and shows he does appear in tend to be dark, witty and have a little bit of edge compared to others.

It’s not that American Animals didn’t have this edge, it’s just that it doesn’t really utilise it as well as it could. Based on a true story, it’s a mash-up of documentary interviews with the real robbers and those involved, and dramatised re-enactments where Peters and co. come into play. It’s a good way to learn about the men behind the characters, and the editing cleverly exploits the variations every story takes on when told by a new person to give a somewhat distorted sense of the story line and the film’s reality, which is entirely fitting considering its leads are stoners who thought it was a great idea to plan a robbery!

The film did leave me with a bit of a sour taste and sense of conflict though. It’s a reasonably good story that kept me interested, so I get why Hollywood wanted it to be told. However, the men behind the robbery wanted their lives to be like the movies; filled with adrenaline, cash and notoriety – and despite going to prison, they’ve literally had their lives turned into a movie, got that sense of notoriety and probably got a fair amount of cash from it!

The indie film: Upgrade

Stars: Logan Marshall-Green, Melanie Vallejo, Steve Danielsen

Director: Leigh Whannell

Cover of Upgrade featuring Logan Marshall-Green's face looking distorted in front of red glowing barsSynopsis: A traditional mechanic and self-professed technophobe, Grey Trace has his world turned upside down when his only chance to live life the way he wants to lies with a computer chip implant called Stem.

Review: I went into Upgrade not knowing much about it, and expecting it the kind of movie you see on Movies 4 Men in the middle of the day when you’re flicking through the channels on your day off work. I know, high expectations, right?!

However, I was pleasantly surprised! I actually enjoyed it. It follows Grey Trace, who’s your cookie-cutter male – likes cars, drinks beer, likes to fix things, has a bit of an attitude but is tamed by a loving wife etc. Grey leads a pretty normal existence in a somewhat futuristic world, until one day, a series of unfortunate events change his life forever. Left paralysed, he ends up agreeing to have a mysterious implant embedded in his spine by a software magnate who promises it will revolutionise his life.

Once the implant kicks in, Grey is basically a super soldier, and uses his newfound power to hunt down the men who ruined his life. In the meantime, the police woman assigned to his case is becoming increasingly suspicious of the supposedly paralysed man whose case she’s working, and begins to tail him as he goes about securing justice.

It’s a reasonably clever take on technology and its implications, and the human mind and emotions when stretched to breaking point. It’s not the best film I’ve ever seen, but it’s worth a watch if this kind of thing’s your cup of tea.

The slick film: A Simple Favour

Stars: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Director: Paul Feig

The movie poster for A Simple Favour featuring Blake Lively standing up in a blue rockabilly dress holding a gin and tonic, with Anna Kendrick sitting down in a black cocktail dress in front of herSynopsis: When Emily goes missing, her best friend Stephanie makes it her mission to find her, and unearths some chilling secrets about the woman she thought she knew better than anyone else.

Review: I knew I’d like A Simple Favour before I entered the theatre, and thankfully, it lived up to the hype for me!

Emily and Stephanie are unlikely best friends. With Stephanie known as the sweet yet over-eager stay-at-home mommy blogger, she’s worlds away from the mysterious, refined, razor-tongued Emily in her giant mansion filled with G&Ts and erotic art.

With Emily forever disappearing on work trips for the high-end fashion company she works for, Stephanie isn’t surprised when Emily asks for yet another “simple favour” – to pick her son up from school. However, when it becomes clear Emily is missing, Stephanie launches an investigation to find her and get her home.

Along the way, she encounters sinister camps, angry artists, pretentious designers and more, with all leading her to a sinister twist that she couldn’t have imagined. It’s one of those films where you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know who to root for, and you don’t know what’s real. There’s morally grey areas that make you question what you’d do in that situation, and plenty of moments where you wonder who the “bad guy” of the piece is.

If you like a good mystery with a twist, September’s double-whammy of A Simple Favour and Searching is a winner for you!

The overnight success film: Crazy Rich Asians

Stars: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan

Director: Jon M. Chu

Crazy Rich Asians movie poster with Henry Golding and Constance Wu embracing in front of a traditional chinese fanSynopsis: Rachel Chu is a normal Chinese-American woman, dating a normal (or so she thinks) Chinese-American man. However, when she flies to meet his family in Singapore for a wedding, she’s immersed in a world of wealth beyond anything you could imagine, and a culture she would never dream could be so different to what she thought she knew.

Review: Now, let’s preface this by saying I am not one for rom-coms. Yet despite this, Crazy Rich Asians is my film of the month and I’m now reading the book!

It’s one of those films that kind of hard to explain and accurately portray how good it is without giving spoilers, but I’ll try and hype you up to watch it without revealing anything! It’s a kind of modern-day Beauty and the Beast – not that you can call Henry Golding a beast, but you get what I’m trying to say!

Anyway, our “Belle”, otherwise known as Rachel, is thrown into Chinese high society and despite being Chinese-American, realises she is worlds apart from the traditional Chinese woman Nick’s family expect him to bring home. She’s forced to question her worth, before coming back like a phoenix from the ashes and proving that there’s one “common” “poor” “not really Chinese” girl who is worth more than the multi-billion dollar company her boyfriend could inherit.

Full of vibrant characters who will evoke love/hate reactions, Crazy Rich Asians is a brilliant modern-day take on the traditional rom-com.

The run-of-the-mill action film: Mile 22

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais

Director: Peter Berg

Synopsis: A team of elite undercover officers in a top-secret unit of the American government must smuggle a police officer with information that could kill thousands out of his home country to refuge in America.

Review: Eh. Where’s the shrugging emoji? That’s pretty much this film. You know I mentioned earlier that I expected Upgrade to be like one of those low-budget, straight-to-TV movies you see on Movies 4 Men? Well, it turns out I should have thought that about Mile 22 instead.

Wahlberg’s been in some great movies over his career, but he’s pretty much always plays the same character – Mr Tough Guy with the emotional range of a tea spoon, whose traumatic past is revealed in drips and drabs so we realise why he’s a bit of an ass and sympathise with him even though he ain’t got no time for you and probably wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire.

Well, depending on the film, that can be okay, but in this film, I pretty much just rolled my eyes. He was too much of an asshole and did far too much dick-swinging for me to remotely care who he was or what he was doing next. By the time he did something vaguely noble, I was at the stage where I just thought he’d probably got ulterior motives anyway.

The movie wasn’t bad, per se, it was just your stereotypical action movie – explosions, bullets, copious fighting, swearing, a few bloody injuries, and of course, a protagonist who dodges EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE 500 BULLETS AIMED AT HIM BY PROFESSIONAL SNIPERS! Sigh.

I’m kind of making this film sound worse than it is, which isn’t fair. To put it in a nutshell, it’s not a bad watch – I just wouldn’t pay to see it at the cinema.

How was your month in movies? What was your favourite, and do any of these take your fancy? Leave me a comment and let me know! 🙂

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42 Comments

  1. October 4, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    For he first time in months I actually went to the cinema last week and it was indeed to watch A Simple Favor! It really did live up to the hype and was a brilliant film.

    Crazy Rich Asians is another’s on my list and it sounds pretty interesting from your description, will definitely try and go see it!

    Alys / withlovealys.com

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:13 pm

      It was so good, wasn’t it?! It’s adapted from a book, so I might read that too! I loved all of Blake Lively’s outfits too 😍

      Oh, I’d definitely recommend it! It’s good fun but has some important messages too! 💕

  2. October 4, 2018 / 7:25 pm

    I have never watched any of these films! “a simple favour” sounds good, I’d like to watch it. Last month I loved “to all the boys I’ve loved before” and “life happens”. Another film I want to watch is in October is “Wonder”.

    Molly | http://www.mollyeez.co.uk

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      I really enjoyed it! I hope you do too.
      Oh I liked To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and the books of it! So cute.
      What’s Life Happens about? I haven’t heard of that one. I want to watch Wonder too! 💕

  3. October 4, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    Loved this! I really want to see crazy rich asians! Heard this was amazing and it’s on my to do list for next movie to see!

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      Oh you definitely need to see it! I reckon you’ll love it! It’s so good, honestly! 💕

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      Haha, you should go, it’s good fun! I basically moved in last month 😂
      My pleasure! I’m happy you liked it 😘

  4. October 4, 2018 / 7:35 pm

    How have I not discovered your blog sooner, I love it! Layout is gorgeous and the way you edited this post x

    Morgan

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      Omg, thank you so much! You’ve made my day! I love your photography on yours in case I didn’t already say! 😘X

  5. October 4, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    I’m so glad you loved a simple favour! I’ve been dying to watch it as Anna and Blake are two actresses I absolutely love, I’m hoping to see it in the next week or so! Crazy Rich Asians looks like a good one too!
    Alice Xx

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      Exactly, they’re both on fire! It’s so good, you’re gonna love it! And Blake is just flawless outfits the whole way through!

      I’d recommend Crazy Rich Asians! Hope you enjoy it! 😘Xx

  6. October 4, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    Can’t wait to see Crazy Rich Asians – just need to talk the Mr into a cinema trip x

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 8:21 pm

      Haha just remind him you carried your son for nine months, it’s the least he can do 😉😂

      • October 4, 2018 / 9:02 pm

        You have no idea how often I use that card lol! x

        • rhiannacampbell
          Author
          October 4, 2018 / 9:28 pm

          😂😂 it’s a very valid card to pull though!! 😂😂

  7. October 4, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    I need to get myself to a cinema (haven’t been in forever) but I’m desperate to see A Simple Favor. I’ve loved Blake since I was about 12 and Gossip Girl started and this one sounds like something I’d love. Great roundup x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 4, 2018 / 9:28 pm

      Omg, yes, go even if it’s just for Blake! She’s fabulous in it and looks AMAZING in everything she wears!

      Thanks Sophie! 😘 X

  8. October 7, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    I love your flatlays so much! So bright and colourful. I really need to see A Simple Favour so I’m glad it’s getting lots of good reviews – gotta love me some Blake Lively x

    Shannon
    http://www.shanylou.co.uk

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Shannon! You’ve made my day 😘

      Ooh, I hope you love it! She looks amazing in the film 😍 x

  9. Dilip Chauhan
    October 8, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    I want to watch American animals!! And rich crazy Asian .

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      It was done very cleverly! It wasn’t what I expected!

  10. October 8, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    I haven’t seen CRA and A Simple Favor!

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 8, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      I think you’d love both! I did 😍

  11. October 9, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Ooh I really want to see crazy rich asians and a simple favor! Especially after your review.

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 9, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      I think you’d love them both! Especially how kickass Blake and Anna are in A Simple Favour!

  12. October 9, 2018 / 1:59 pm

    *favour. Typical

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 9, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      I knew what you meant 😉😘

  13. October 11, 2018 / 8:19 am

    I haven’t even heard of most of these movies, haha. But someone tweeted about A Simple Favor a couple days ago, and now I really want to see it! Sebastian wasn’t too thrilled when I mentioned it. 😂 It’s not out yet here, though. I also really want to see Crazy Rich Asians, but I definitely won’t have time before it leaves theaters. If it hasn’t already.
    How do you have time to go to the movie theater so often?!

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 11, 2018 / 8:11 pm

      Haha, I actually think he’d be surprised! It’s not a chick flick!
      Crazy Rich Asians was great – total unexpected fave!
      Haha, I have an unlimited and go after work once or twice a week!

      • October 13, 2018 / 4:16 pm

        I agree that it sounds like something he’d like, haha.

        Oh, that’s so cool! How does that work?

        • rhiannacampbell
          Author
          October 13, 2018 / 5:15 pm

          Let me know if you watch it! Oh, apparently I missed a word in my last reply 😂 meant to say unlimited card! So you pay the equivalent of 1.5 cinema tickets per month and get unlimited and exclusive preview screenings! So I could in theory go all day every day 😂

          • October 17, 2018 / 11:40 am

            That’s so cool! I wish I had time for something like that, lol.

          • rhiannacampbell
            Author
            October 17, 2018 / 9:01 pm

            I try to make time for it! Do you not get a couple of hours after work? 🙁

          • rhiannacampbell
            Author
            October 17, 2018 / 9:02 pm

            Oh, and hey, when (not if, when 😂) you come visit me, I can get you in for free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! 🤓

    • October 11, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      Oh I meant to say, Maraia – I reckon you’d like Searching!

  14. October 11, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    In september I watched 3 movies at the cinema with my friend; The Meg by Jason Statham which was such an amazing film, Mission Impossible Fallout, totally in love with it and lastly I watched A Simple Favour which I wasn’t exactly a big fan of it, I thaught it was more of a confusing movie. Anyway, thanks to your post I am willing to watch the new movie from Mark Wahlberg I did not know about!

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 11, 2018 / 9:53 pm

      It was a bit confusing​, especially near the end!! I hope you enjoy Mile 22, I’ll check out the others you mentioned! 💕

  15. October 21, 2018 / 9:18 am

    Awesome reviews! Definitely checking out Searching, A Simple Favor, and Crazy Rich Asians! 😊

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      October 29, 2018 / 1:05 am

      Thanks so much! Ooh, I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think! 💖

  16. October 31, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    I really want to see Upgrade and a Simple Favor. They look so good! I went to go see Searching but I didn’t care for it because of how they did the camera work. I never really like movies that deal with either shaky camera or it’s like you are looking from a computer camera the entire time.

    • rhiannacampbell
      Author
      November 1, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      I enjoyed them! I hope you do too 🙂 yeah, I thought that might be a hit and miss thing with audiences! I think you either think “hey, this is cool and different​, I feel like I’m investigating with him” or “omg can they not get a decent camera man?!” 😂

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