Tag Archives: Octavia Spencer

THE WITCHES (2020), The Things I Liked…

The Witches (2020), Anne Hathaway, Warner Bros. Pictures
The Witches (2020), Anne Hathaway, Warner Bros. Pictures

Director Robert Zemeckis’s remake of Roald Dahl’s adventure/comedy classic The Witches promised a scary, funny and imaginative tale. One about a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches.

Instead, ‘OK’ is the best I can say about the film. Anne Hathaway’s performance as the main witch wasn’t bad and I liked some of the special effects. Nevertheless, there’s a certain simplicity in the story execution that left me uninspired and dissatisfied.

In fairness, The Witches is based on a famous children’s book. So, naturally, I wasn’t expecting a sophisticated adult tale. Yet, I still hoped to feel more pleased to have watched it than I did.

Luckily, I managed to find parts of the movie that stood out to me in a good way. For example, the above perfectly infectious smile on Anne Hathaway’s face, Chris Rock’s fun voice/narration, the ‘comforted’ feeling I experienced once Octavia Spencer’s loving grandma character showed up. I also enjoyed the musical score and the wonderfully suspenseful scene that involves the task of getting the potion into the pea soup. A moment that took me right back to my favourite Disney Pixar movie, Ratatouille (2007). Lastly, there’s the very pleasantly dramatic dining scene that follows the pea soup ‘flavouring’ incident.

Overall, it’s ultimately the relationship between grandma and grandson that I loved most about The Witches. It’s just a shame that I didn’t find the film as a whole to be as satisfying as my favourite scenes in it.

Give The Witches a chance if you’re especially curious. Undoubtedly, it’s young children who will enjoy it most.

Happy Film Loving 

G

THE WITCHES (2020): New Trailer From Robert Zemeckis, Starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock…

The Witches (2020), Anne Hathaway, Warner Bros. Pictures
The Witches (2020), Anne Hathaway, Warner Bros. Pictures

Read my spoiler-free movie review of  The Witches (2020).


Forrest Gump (1994) director Robert Zemeckis has a new film starring Anne Hathaway, Chris Rock, Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci.

Based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 classic book of the same name, The Witches, this one promises to be a scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven year old boy who has a run in with some real life witches.

‘Festive fun’ is the vibe I get from this one. I love the cast and I’m excited about the special effects. Naturally, I’m not a fan of mice in real life, but when they’re not real, even I can find a way to appreciate them.

Codie-Lei Eastick, Charles Edwards, Morgana Robinson, Jahzir Bruno, Eugenia Caruso, Simon Manyonda, Jonathan Livingstone, Philippe Spall, Zeke Taylor, Eurydice El-Etr and Anna Devlin also star.

The Witches Release Dates: October 22nd, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

ONWARD (2020): The Things I Liked…

Onward (2019), Disney Pixar
Onward (2019), Disney Pixar

Onward is a movie with a beautiful big brother / little brother relationship at its heart. And this relationship is my favourite thing about the latest Disney Pixar animated adventure starring Chris pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer.

Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers set off on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there. A quest that neither could do without the other. 

In terms of how much I enjoyed the story, I think Onward is OK. I wanted to have been more engrossed with it all but there wasn’t enough newness to it, theme wise. There wasn’t necessarily much animated cuteness either butI l doubt I’d have noticed that if I’d loved the way the story played from beginning to end. It’s really the last third of director Dan Scanlon’s film that I enjoyed most. Before then, I was more than a little impatient for the results of the film’s central magic spell to manifest.

Other things I enjoyed about Onward include the fullness of Holland’s character Ian’s blue hair and what Scanlon’s film has to say about belief in general – but especially self belief and confidence.

As far as animated movies about sibling relationships go, particularly the big brother / little brother dynamic, my favourite will probably always be Big Hero 6 (2014).

Watch Onward because it’s not bad and perhaps you’ll find even more to love than I did. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

SELF MADE – INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF MADAM C.J. WALKER (2020): New Trailer Starring Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood…

Self Made - Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (2020), Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Netflix
Self Made – Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (2020), Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Netflix

Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo and Blair Underwood are the stars of Self Made – Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. The extraordinary story of trailblazing African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.

Walker built a haircare empire that made her America’s first female self-made millionaire…

I love stories about inspirational humans and I can’t wait to hear Spencer assert herself, speak as Walker and deliver lines that make me want to cheer.

Seeing this trailer also reminded me of another story about a real-life female entrepreneur  Joy Mangano, the subject of David O’Russell’s Joy (2015).

Kevin Carroll, Keeya King, Dalila Ali Rajah, Garrett Morris, Mouna Traoré, Sydney Morton, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Bill Bellamy, Sheila Isaro, Cornelius Smith Jr. and Devante Goulbourne also star.

Self Made – Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker Release Dates: March 20th, 2020 (US)

Happy Film Loving

G

MA (2019): The Things I Liked…

Ma (2019), Octavia Spencer, Universal Pictures
Ma (2019), Octavia Spencer, Universal Pictures

Starring Octavia Spencer as the lonely and definitely unhinged Sue Ann, Ma is the story of a group of teenagers who end up wishing that they never accepted a middle aged woman’s invitation to party in her basement.

Having had no idea about the true extent of Sue Ann’s lunacy, I enjoyed being surprised by it. And when Ma wasn’t busy thrilling me, I was appreciating the believable portrayal of teenage life, the close mother / daughter relationship and another notable performance by Spencer. 

Director Tate Taylor’s film could certainly have taken a more realistic direction in terms of how particular aspects of the story played out – but I’m not mad about the end result. It was mostly realistic enough for me, and fun. 

The only part that I wish had gone differently was approximately twenty minutes in, during the exchange between Ma and Gianni Paolo’s character. The dialogue and what happens in that scene just didn’t seem to quit fit, somehow. 

Watch Ma if you’re curious. You may just have a good time. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

LUCE (2019): New Trailer From Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth, Kelvin Harrison Jr…

Luce (2019), Octavia Spencer, Neon
Luce (2019), Octavia Spencer, Neon

Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth and Kelvin Harrison Jr. are the stars of Luce.

Directed by  Julius Onah, Luce is the story of parents to an adopted son from war-torn Eritrea. Said parents are forced to reckon with their idealised image of their son, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher…

This rather good trailer edit has me scared. Scared for myself, scared for Spencer’s character because no one is listening to her and scared for Luce’s parents. I’m also very curious about what the alarming secret actually is.

We all know Watts and Spencer are great actors, so I can’t wait to see what Harrison does with this role. They do say that dark characters are more fun to play, after all.

Andrea Bang, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Norbert Leo Butz, Omar Brunson and Astro also star.

Luce Release Dates: August 2nd, 2019 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

ONWARD (2020): New Trailer From Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus…

Onward (2019), Disney Pixar
Onward (2019), Disney Pixar

Read my spoiler-free movie review of Onward (2020).


From writer / director Dan Scanlon, Onward is a new Disney Pixar animated adventure starring Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Set in a suburban fantasy world, Onward is about two teenage elf brothers who embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there…

The two moons at 01:33 into this trailer have me intrigued; the same with the idea of usually majestic unicorns as ‘vermin.’

I can’t wait to see how this story about a world of imaginary creatures such as pixies, mermaids, gnomes, unicorns and pet dragons actually unfolds.

Onward Release Dates: March 6th, 2020 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

INSTANT FAMILY (2018): The Things I Liked…

Instant Family (2018), Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Paramount Pictures
Instant Family (2018), Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Paramount Pictures

After seeing the trailer for Instant Family several months ago in 2018, I really wanted to get excited about it because the story looked like a great one and because I like both of its main stars, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne. Having previously seen Wahlberg in the Daddy’s Home movies and finding myself not fully loving them, I’m really glad to confirm that Instant Family is definitely not that.

Directed and co-written by Sean Anders, Instant Family is a comedy / drama based on the true story of the ups and downs faced by a couple who foster / adopt three children all at once. 

Things were looking good for this movie within the first few minutes. Firstly, the editing. I really appreciate the fact that I didn’t find myself wishing I could fast forward any of the scenes. Second, the relationship between the central couple played by Wahlberg and Byrne. Last but not least, the dynamic and banter between Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro’s characters is another definite key highlight.

I found myself laughing during Instant Family more than I expected to. An especially memorable moment being the scene at the dinner table with the pair of closed eyes. I was of course also moved by the beautiful moments of familial love and the truth of some of the experiences of children and teenagers in the foster care system.

Watch Instant Family because it’s good, very likely better than you expect and it’s definitely – as a fellow film lover predicted, more grounded than the Daddie’s Home films.

Happy Film loving 

G