Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Ides of March

Mr Clooney is a wonder. He was made for the role as the ambitious democratic Governor Mike Morris, with his almost communistic style posters and his charisma oozing over the offices. His right hand men are Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and superstar Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling). There is an intern too, Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood, shaping up to be a real acting contender). Molly is bold and vivacious and her and Meyers embark on a little affair, lucky Molly. Meyers is wooed by Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) who works for the other democratic candidate and it's then that things start to get ugly. Meyers is party to a tragedy, and his loyalty to Morris and the team are tested. I don't pretend to understand American politics that much, but I sure do enjoy trying to work it all out. It's an age old tale of love, honour and loyalty. Back stabbing and clawing your way to the top.
The actors are truly terrific. Gosling's character has been accused of being naive for one so smart, but I disagree. Wisdom comes with age, or it's supposed to and Ryan portrays Stephen with a ruthless charisma that could charm the knickers off just about anyone. What to say about the incomparable Seymour Hoffman? Does he ever put a foot wrong? Loyal, vulnerable, shambolic, and yes, I'm going to say it, sexy as hell. Keep Mr Clooney, I'll have Philip please. I've always loved him. Don't ask me why for I do not know. Paul Giamatti (no, I don't fancy him) is as always excellent and George Clooney is immaculate. If I have a critisicm it is that whilst enjoyable, once you leave the cinema, the movie is forgotten. There seems to be little substance to the story. Some of the boxes are a little too neatly ticked and the characters of Meyers and Stearns do very seem to have sharp changes in personality. It's a little too dramatic and a little too unbelievable. George Clooney directs as well, wonderfully. I read that Leonardo DiCaprio was initially going to play Gosling's character, but pulled out. It would have been a disappointing film for him to have been in, but he stayed on as producer, got to love that loyalty. The Ides of March: Et tu Gosling? 6.5/10

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Inbetweeners Movie

Ahh, the boys. Will (the smart one), Neil (the daft one), Jay (the filthy one) and Simon (the good looking one) are Inbetweeners. That is, they are in between being nerds and being cool. Floundering in the hades of life, if you will. The Inbetweeners is a tv series, and one of the crassest, wittiest and filthiest series I have ever had the good fortune to watch. Side splittingly funny. It was with much excitment that I went to see this movie, and it didn't disappoint. Simon is trying to forget his doomed relationship with his long time love Carli and after Jay's grandad's death leaves him loaded, the four boys decide to go on a relatively normal holiday to Malia in the Greek islands. My idea of hell from start to finish, not hades, hell. Things go badly from the start, the hotel is unbelievably bad, the nightclub they're lured into is dead. They meet up with four girls, more by luck than judgement, and strike up a friendship with them. The scene where they try and impress them through the medium of dance is nothing short of genius. There are plenty of crass scenes, old lady sex, Jay full frontal, fully clothed dry humping to name but a few. . Along the way, the boys do learn some valuable lessons, but will darling precocious Will lose his virginity finally? Some of this movie falls a little flat, you can't expect constant target hitting gags over an hour and a half, but generally this is a gem of a film. Will it offend some people? I surely hope so! It's not for the faint hearted, that's for sure. It manages a feat that most of the crass films don't, (apart from a tight and funny script), and that is that you truly care about the characters, not just our beloved boys, but also the ones you have just met. Just one snipe, would have loved to have seen a bit more of Mr Gilbert. Adam Sandler and The Hangover crew could learn a thing or two from their British cousins. Rule Brittania! The Inbetweeners Movie: Come and feed kitty, Will. 8/10.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crazy, stupid, love.

Went to see this movie with my darling sister, and went again when I got back home. And again. It's the story of Cal (Steve Carell) and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), who were high school sweethearts. Emily reveals at the beginning of the movie that she slept with a man at work, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Cal is devastated and moves out. So begins his journey of reinvention with the help of 'the hot guy from the bar' Jacob (Ryan Gosling, oh my) with the hope of a reconciliation with Emily. Interwoven into the main plot is the story of Jacob a serial womaniser who is confronted and confused by love, Cal's son who is in love with the babysitter and the babysitter who is in love with Cal. It's about love in all its different forms. A bit like 'Love Actually' but far less contrived, far funnier, and far far sexier. Where to begin? Well, it's a rom-com in the best sense of the word. It's very romantic, and it's very funny. There are some truly stand out scenes. When Jacob takes Hannah home to his house, it's a heartwarming and funny conversation, one of the most romantic, sweet scenes I've seen in a long time, and oh Mr Gosling, those abs are obscene! He's flavour of the month for a very good reason. Intelligent and charming, not conventionally good looking, Jacob could have been an arrogant and dislikable character. Not in Mr Goslings very capable (I imagine) hands. Emma Stone plays Hannah, again, no wonder she's the darling of Hollywood, a real gem, likeable and funny, you love Hannah from the start. There is also the part where Emily phones Cal for help with the boiler. It's so charmingly acted, so true and simple yet the message is clear. Julianne Moore is stellar as always, beautiful and slightly haunted, we should hate her, but we don't. The kids are brilliant, as are all the supporting cast. Steve Carrell is just heartbreaking. He has the magical qualities of pathos and humour. You can't help but like him, even when he's really quite pathetic. This is a really beautiful, fun film. It will become a classic. There are some daft scenes but they work, and the ending even surprised and charmed this jaded veteran movie goer. I hate to admit it, but I am a romantic at heart, and this movie is just so damn romantic, and sad and funny. Just like life, except there's no Ryan Gosling.... Crazy, Stupid, Love: A bit crazy, not stupid, I love...9/10

Monday, August 15, 2011

We can be heroes....

Just one more for the boys, for a while at least. On to our heroes. Not the ones you necessarily want to marry, or the ones you necessarily want to ahem, spend time with (although obviously not ruling that out). I have not repeated any that have appeared in my other blogs, although most of them are heroes too. Here's to the men who portrayed some of our all time heroes on screen. The criteria? Making a stand, putting your life on the line, self sacrifice. Some real, some fiction, but all brave and good, even if that isn't so evident initially. Handsome helps, but is not mandatory for this category. Who doesn't like their men brushed with a little superhero?

Oskar Schindler Liam Neeson Schindler's List
Tall and handsome, a womaniser and social climber. Oh so slowly, he realises what his 'business associates' are and reluctantly at the beginning becomes involved in saving the lives of thousands of people through putting them no his work list, the list is life. A heart-breaking performance, culminating in the scene where he scrabbles on the floor, looking for something to sell to save one more life. Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.

Indiana Jones Harrison Ford Raiders Of the Lost Ark
Ahh Indi. What a character. Sexy nerd Professor by day, intrepid archeologist by the hour. The dry wit, the hat, the whip, the ladies. When you hear that rousing music and see his eyebrow rise in disbelief, you know you're in for a wild ride. Brave and almost fearless, don't put him near a snake, but other than that, anything goes baby. He's enough to make you wish you were an ancient relic, to be dug up and admired.

Rick Blaine Humphrey Bogart Casablanca
Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Isla walks into Rick's cafe. Bringing with her her husband resistance fighter Victor Lazlo. Rick is bitter and jealous. Refusing to give them the papers they so dearly need to help them escape, Rick is hell bent on making her pay for leaving him. Finally, Ilsa admits that she loves him and wants to stay. He makes her leave, sacrificing himself for her safety. What a guy. Here's looking at you, kid.

Harry PotterDaniel Radcliffe Harry Potter series
The boy with the scar crept into our hearts. Saved by the love of his Mum, he is the only person who dare utter the name of the arch villain Voldemort. We follow his journey from young school boy to noble young man, watching his mistakes and bravery with affection and admiration. Finally good overcomes evil and we sadly wave goodbye to our hero, safe in the hands of Ginny. Thanks Harry, it's been magic.

Atticus Finch Gregory Peck To Kill a Mockingbird
Scout and Jem were lucky kids. They had a dad we would all envy. Calm, wise, moral and handsome. Never shouted, never screamed, just imparted his wisdom in a timely manner. Aching with loneliness from the loss of his wife, Atticus made a moral stand when he defended a black man accused of rape. Teaching us all a lesson in not to judge, Atticus is the everyday hero we all aspire to. Stand up, your father's passing....

Billy Costigan Leonardo DiCaprio The Departed
Billy is from the wrong side of Boston. He also has a temper. Sent deep undercover to infiltrate Frank Costello's world of Irish mafia, Billy puts himself on the line every day. There is a mole in the police force, and Billy has to find him. In every scene, Billy becomes more and more paranoid, unsure who to trust, convinced he will be found out and killed. But he keeps on going. Alone and frightened, he works it out eventually, but what a price is paid. Sorry for your troubles, Billy.

George Bailey James Stewart It's a Wonderful Life
Feeling increasingly claustraphobic, George wants out. Duty bound to stay in his town and work in the family business, George has itchy feet and wants to fly. An angel comes to him when he's at his lowest ebb, and shows him what life would have been like if George had not existed. Filled with luck and the good fortune of being born, George realises that it truly is a wonderful life, and the angel gets his wings.

Andy Dufresne Tim Robbins The Shawshank Redemption
The only innocent man in Shawshank. Andy was imprisoned for killing his wife. For years, this smart and gentle man took what life had to throw at him, slowly carving his rocks, and a plan. As he lives through unspeakable acts and tolerates the evil warden's demands, Andy is never alone as he has Mr. Mozart with him. Quietly anarchic, always calculating his moves. Forming one of the sweetest friendships ever with Red, he keeps his hope alive. Finally, he reaches his dream destination, and waits for Red.....

Red Morgan Freeman The Shawshank Redemption
The only guilty man in Shawshank. He is resigned to prison life. After meeting Andy, and resisting the thought of ever leaving his incarceration, Red is given one more chance. A lifetime of being told what to do makes him doubt his abilities to follow a dream and Andy to sunnier Mexican shores. Steeling himself, Red chooses to get busy living and we see one of the most heartwarming reunions of all time. He hopes the pacific is as blue as it has been is his dreams. He hopes.

Robin Hood Russell Crowe Robin Hood
Which Robin to choose? I plumped for Russell, because he's the most down to earth and he falls for a Marion who is his own age, not twenty years younger. Earthy and brave, plundering the rich and giving to the poor. Honourable and true, not a pair of tights in sight. His arrow hits the target every time.

Lt Aldo Raine Brad Pitt Inglourious Basterds
What a hero! This Righteous man from the Deep South is in the Nazi killin' business. He is ruthless and has only one rule for his troop, that they give him one hundred Nazi scalps or die trying. Lt Raine is comical, honourable and brave. It's ok if he's a little loopy he has the heart of a lion. Dressed in his tuxedo disguised as an 'Eyetalian', the accent is totally convincing. In this movie dream of how World War II should have ended, Lt Raine wins the medal. Arreeeevaderci Adolph.

The entire crew Memphis Belle
In May 1943 the crew of the Memphis Belle embarked on their 25th mission. If successful they would be the first US air squad to complete their tour of duty. On their safe return, they will be heralded as heroes and bring good news when it is desperately needed. Their mission is to bomb a Nazi bomb factory. The diverse characters on board leads to disagreements and the horror and claustraphobia of the flight is brought home to us. This is no glamourisation of war. They all show true valour and insane courage in the face of adversity. This is a tribute to all the brave people in the forces, we salute you.

Benjamin Button Brad Pitt The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

His name is Benjamin Button and he was born under unusual circumstances. Born old, and aging beautifully, Benjamin is a worldly wise and gentle man. Accepting with grace the fact that he is different, he takes chances and finds beauty in most everything he encounters. Falling in love with Daisy when they are both very young, but he looks so old, he bides his time. Travelling far and wide, inspiring people along the way, Benjamin and Daisy finally have their time together, but it's all too brief as Benjamin continues to get younger, but only on the outside. Daisy cares for Benjamin until he gets young and dies cradled in her arms. Oh the tears I shed. A sublime love story, a sublime story of time and acceptance. Benjamin Button is what Forrest Gump was aspiring to, Benjamin just did it so much better. A calm and sweet soul, he delivered wonderful thoughts in his Southern drawl with such beautiful Buttonisms as "Your life is defined by opportunities...even the ones you miss", indeed it is Benjamin, indeed it is.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh go on then, just this once....

I am in need of cheering up. You may have read my previous blog 'Swoon, I'll catch you', it was a tribute to the leading men in my and my beloved sister's movie lives. Now I would like to do a different tribute. A smuttier tribute. This one is for the men in films that you really know you shouldn't like. The rogues, the heartbreakers, the good time boys. You don't want to make a life with them, or even go out with them, just the weekend will do. You almost feel embarrassed that you have succumbed to their charms. But succumb you have. Here's to the boys that make you feel great whilst you're watching them, and a little bit grubby after the credits roll, don't deny it, you know what I mean ladies..... Ray, enjoy in no particular order!

James Bond Daniel Craig

We've all got our own special Bond with James. Some like Roger, some Timothy, Pierce or in most cases Sean. They can all stay in the Astin Martin. For me, Daniel is James. The edge of menace, the eyes of ice blue, the perfect compact body, the brooding looks, the whisper of humour on his perfect pout. For the beach scene where he barely conceals his weapon of mass destruction. You just know how Strawberry Fields feels when, in Quantum of Solace, after sharing a much coveted night with James, she feel ashamed that she gave in to the cliche of sleeping with the spy. Ashamed and fabulous. James, you shake me and stir me......

Thomas Crown Pierce Brosnan The Thomas Crown Affair

Suave, sophisticated, handsome and a consummate thief. Thomas Crown knows how to live. When Catherine Banning is brought in to catch a thief, she is seduced by this enigma of a man. When he oh so cleverly puts the painting back at the end, she is left heartbroken that he has gone. But Thomas has one more trick in store for her. One of the sexiest and most stylish films of all time, leaves you with a heady feeling for days, do you want to dance, or do you want to dance?

J.D. Brad Pitt Thelma and Louise

My Mum told me to never pick up hitchhikers. I think it's the best idea Thelma and Louise ever had. With his cocky cowboy attitude and ridiculous good looks, J.D. bursts into Thelma's life and bed, like a bull in a rodeo. No time for remorse, who cares he took your money, just be very grateful he didn't have a car. Your Mother's not always right.

Butch Cassidy Paul Newman Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

In one sweet, unbelievably intimate scene, Butch Cassidy's feelings for Sundance's girl Etta are revealed. No words are needed, he whispers sweet nothings in her ear as he she is transported on the front of his bicycle built for two as the romantic tones of 'raindrops keep falling on my head' play in the background. Neither would ever cheat on Sundance, but oh, what a sacrifice, still, crying's not for me.

Alfie Jude Law Alfie

This film is a really watered down version of the great 1966 movie. The thing is, the 2004 Alfie is sweeter, sexier and so much more handsome. I too, would have succumbed to his roguish charms...I know what it's all about, Alfie....

Roux Johnny Depp Chocolat

An Irish gypsy wandering around France with his travelling family and little to his name. Doesn't sound a great bet does he? Unless his name is Roux. Soft and gentle, mysterious and fun, as unpredictable as the wind. He doesn't let on his favourite chocolate until the end.. Now he could get the squeak out of my door.

Count Dracula Gary Oldman Dracula

I'm no Twilight fan, but Count Dracula is another animal altogether. Intense and smouldering, he stalks Mina as a lion would stalk a deer. With a love that flows through the ages, Vlad finds Elizabeta. Dump that dolt Jonathan, Mina, and wear a nice off the shoulder number. Erotic, heartpounding, visceral. What sweet music he makes...

Dr Nicholas Garrigan James McAvoy The Last King of Scotland

Fresh out of Medical School, Dr Garrigan is travelling Africa looking for adventure, and boy does he find it. In search of hedonistic pleasure, he seduces Idi Amin's wife, he is blind to the consequences, she is not, but then isn't it worth the risk? What the hell, you gotta die of something...

Maverick Tom Cruise Top Gun

When a confident, devastatingly handsome young Naval Officer sings to you in a crowded bar, what do you do? Your head says "run!" but when he flashes you that smile, your heart says "stay". You don't want him to know you've got that loving feeling, but when he turns up on his motorbike, he takes your breath away.

Danny Archer Leonardo DiCaprio Blood Diamond

With a badly streaked haircut and a filthy cigarette habit,he's a brash Zimbabwean in a loud shirt. Danny's full of the harsh facts of life and scathing of the Western World. Worse than that, he's a blood diamond smuggler who deals in people's lives. He's as angry as a cut snake with a tortured past. Danny Archer brings more baggage with him than a goat herding National Geographic Photographer. Maddy's instinct was to run a mile, any self respecting girl would have. But in the steamy heat under the African sky, with the beer and the dancing and the red dust and the hint of the person Danny might become, it's not bling bling, it's bling bang.

Danny Martin Rob Lowe About Last Night...

The cheesy pick up line. The smug look on his face, he know's Debbie will say 'yes'. The double lead earphones and the worn out black bean bag. A few signs that this is not the right choice. But then he seduces you with those blue eyes, through those long black lashes, you know that you're going to be a notch on the bedpost, but what the hell, it's worth it to wake up next to that face.

Roy McAvoy Kevin Costner Tin Cup

When Roy McAvoy sets his sights on Molly, you just know she's in for a whole world of trouble. Roy, a washed up golfer reeks of loser, but he also reeks of another L word, lust. Dr Molly could do so much better, but on the other hand, she could do a heck of a lot worse. He's a hole in one..

Ben Barry Matthew MCconnaughey How to lose a guy in 10 days

When Andy makes a bet she can lose a guy in 10 days, she makes a bee line for Ben. Handsome, unable to commit with Texan charm just oozing out of him. The man got charisma. He would have been my first bet too. She manages to snag him for life, but I would be very happy with the 10 days, very happy indeed......

Daniel Cleaver Hugh Grant Bridget Jones's Diary
Daniel Cleaver is a very naughty boy. He loves women, hates commitment and is a cad in every sense of the word. When Bridget shows him her big knickers, he loves it, and we love him. Keep Mark Darcy. I'd rather have a weekend with Daniel, followed by a few days heartbreak than a life time with the bad humoured hand knitted jumper wearer.

Tony Stark Robert Downey Jr Ironman

Here comes trouble with a capital T. Rich, incredibly sexy, arrogant and with a love of things that go fast and blow up. What's not to love? With his hidden love of Pepper Potts, this superhero is not to be sneezed at.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Hangover II

I saw The Hangover and whilst thought that some of it was well done, and quite clever, that it was extremely overrated. There were a couple of scenes that were downright terrible. Glorifying Mike Tyson after he raped a woman, what is that about? I understand that he did his time and should not be villified for ever, but to actively give this man air time and treat him like an icon is wrong. There was also a scene where Alan (Zach Galifianikis) simulated a baby performing a sexual act. Not funny. This guy Alan was supposed to be a character that we all warmed to, but he was not allowed within a certain range of a high school because he was a sexual predator. I think most things can have fun poked at them. I like dark jokes, and being a nurse have a pretty black sense of humour. Some things are out of bounds. Babies and children being seen in a sexual light is one of them. Animal cruelty is another.I have read some interviews regarding The Hangover II. It concerns me greatly that a monkey was used in the movie. Whilst I have read that the monkey didn't actually smoke a lit cigarette and CGI was used for the smoke, it's still really really inappropriate. Animals just aren't here for our amusement or entertainment. More shocking was that the American Humane Society was allegedly not allowed on set. The poster says it all really. It's like moving back to the dark ages. I think it's a shame for the actors involved, where are their ethics? Does anyone need the money that badly? I am all for pushing the envelope, but not at the cost of an animal. For this reason I will not be watching, or reviewing The Hangover Part II. THE HANGOVER PART II: Leaves me with a headache and a sour taste in my mouth, and I haven't even seen it. 0/10.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rabbit Hole

Starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as Becca and Howie, this is a story of a couple struggling to cope with the aftermath eight months after their four year old son's death. Becca is closed off and unable to express her feelings, Howie is more open and feels the pain of loss differently which causes conflict along the way. Becca also has to deal with her mixed feelings at the news that her irresponsible sister is pregnant, and her Mother Nat's (Dianne Wiest) constant comparisons to her situation and the loss of her son, Becca's brother to a drug overdose. Howie chooses to find solace in group therapy meetings, friendship with another woman, and surrounding himself with his son Danny's memories. Becca's pain is eased by bonding with the teenage driver of the car that killed her son. This heartbroken couple slowly try and find their way back to each other, and in doing so make some surprising choices along the way. If this sounds a bleak movie, well, it is really. Anyone who has ever loved a child will find some of the scenes unbearable. There is some humour, and it's extremely touching and well crafted, probably due in no small part to the fact that the film is based on a play. Regular readers of my blog will know by now that Nicole Kidman is highly overrated in my view. I have to give credit where it's due though, she's not bad in this. She is playing to type, the unexpressive ice queen, but it's certainly one of her better performances. Aaron Eckhart is great as usual. He brings great warmth and pathos to his role of the devastated and frustrated Howie. Dianne Weist is superb, as the slightly irritating, scatty Mum, who really does understand what's going on. Sandra Oh makes an appearance too as a professional grieving Mother who befriends Howie. Some of the scenes and acting are a little stilted, it's a bit like watching a play at times, which is inevitable usually when plays have been re-scripted to movies. This is a film worth watching, if you can bear it. RABBIT HOLE: Makes you want to scurry off and bury yourself in a burrow, except with the comfort of chocolate rather than carrots. 7/10.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Water for Elephants

An elderly man (Hal Holbrook)is found wandering the grounds of a circus and is taken in to the office by the manager (Paul Schneider) to contact his home. The man begins to talk about his life in the circus and so begins Water for Elephants. It's the story of Jacob (Robert Pattinson) a promising young veterinary student who is pulled out of his finals to hear the tragic news that his parents have been killed. Jacob leaves and finds the circus. He is taken in by the workers and is quickly elevated to the status of vet by the circus ringmaster Auguste (Christophe Waltz), and falls in love with his enchanting wife, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). The path of true love never did run smooth however, and when Auguste acquires an elephant as his star attraction, it becomes apparent just how cruel the ringmaster can be. There is a lot to like about this film, and there's a certain amount not to like about this film. Let's start with the positives. It looks beautiful. Robert Pattinson can act and it's so refreshing to see him smiling and animated rather than all moodiness and fangs. Christoph Waltz again shows his acting prowess with a powerhouse performance as the cruel, conflicted Auguste. The supporting actors are good and although the story is gentle, it's well crafted and keeps you entertained. The film also give a fascinating insight into the circus life that people rarely see. Now the cons. I like Reese Witherspoon but she doesn't really come across so well as someone to instantly capture a young man's heart. I feel there is a coldness, almost prudishness to her acting. She is a good actor, but not quite right for this role. Not enough heart. Although her clothes are fabulous. There are also some terrible scenes of animal cruelty which are disturbing. Obviously they are CGI but nevertheless, animals were used in this film, and I have a problem with that. Whilst I am sure they were not mistreated, it does make you think of all those poor creatures in times gone by, and still used today for the amusement of humans. A good advertisement for non-animal circuses. This film could have been one of the greatest love stories of the decade. Unfortunately it isn't because the romance just never manages to convince, Marlena just doesn't come across as being as head over heels as Jacob is. Maybe that's the recipe for true love. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS: Roll up, Roll up. Throw your hat into the ring and go and see it. 7/10.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Source Code

Colter Stevens is a helicopter pilot who wakes up on a train in the body of another man. He is sitting across from Christina (Michelle Monaghan), eight minutes pass and the train is blown up. Colter comes to in a capsule, and is confronted with instructions from Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and Dr. Rutledge, (Jeffrey Wright). He is informed that he is on a mission to continue to go back on to the train for the same eight minutes until he finds the bomber. So begins an extraordinary and intricate film. Colter finds he is more and more drawn to Christina and what starts out as a military mission, soon unfolds into something far deeper and much more emotional. As Colter struggles to find out the identity of the bomber, so unfolds more unanswered questions, where is he and why can't he contact his father? Michelle Monaghan such a likeable actress is brilliant as the warm and funny Christina, who is just getting to know this man on the train. Vera Farmiga is official, but brings real heart and compassion to her character. Jeffery Wright really needs a curly moustache to stroke as he limps along as the bad scientist, a great role. But of course, this film belongs to Colter Stevens, or should I say Jake Gyllenhaal?

Wow this boy can act. From intelligent and focused to romantic to vulnerable and confused, this guy has it all going on. He doesn't seem to put a foot wrong when choosing his roles. Just exceptional and heartbreaking. The director is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with as well. Duncan Jones also directed the excellent 'Moon' and just happens to be the son of David Bowie. Sometimes talented parents really do have offspring that deserve to be recognised in their own right. It's a tribute to all the brave men and women who are in the services. This is an absolutely unexpected delight. I knew it would be a great thriller, what I didn't realise how much soul it would have as well. SOURCE CODE:The right combination for a supreme formula, at ease Soldier. 9/10.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Something Borrowed

Rachel and Darcy (Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson) are BFF's. Rachel is a quiet, single lawyer and Darcy is a good time girl, who is all about Darcy. Darcy is just weeks away from marrying the lovely Dex (Colin Egglesfield, lush), whom she met through Rachel when they were law students together. The problem is that Rachel has always loved Dex, and after her 'surprise' 30th birthday party, she ends up in bed with him. What the heck are they going to do now? Their dilemma is helped by Rachel's brilliant friendship with Ethan (the fabulously charming John Krasinski) and things become even more difficult when they all go up to the Hamptons to let loose before the wedding. I have to say, this is well above the average romantic comedy. The story line is actually believable. Nothing really ridiculous happens. Although some of the characters are larger than life, they are believable too, and actually rather nice. Kate Hudson is great as stage hogging self centred Darcy, who has a heart beating somewhere underneath the shallow facade. Relative newcomer and Tom Cruise look alike Colin Egglesfield is sweet and genuine as the honourable but torn Dex. Ginnifer Goodwin is far less needy than usual, but it's John Krasinski that effortlessly steals every scene he's in. He's just hilarious. It's well worth a watch, and the ending, whilst a little predictable isn't wrapped up with a neat bow on top, and you're left with a real feeling of satisfaction. Personally I would have hopped on a London bus with Ethan, but then I always was a sucker for a funny guy. SOMETHING BORROWED: Something old is nicely mixed up with something new, and it won't leave you feeling blue. 7/10

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Ahhh, the movie remake. Why do people do them? Well, occasionally, just occasionally, they're better than the original. Ocean's 11, The Fly, The Thomas Crown Affair, True Grit and well, that's all I can think of. I will not be adding Arthur to this quartet. Not that it's bad, just that it's not good. It's the story of Arthur Bach, a rich irresponsible playboy who is blackmailed by his Mother to marry Susan a very capable business woman who will keep the family millions on track. Arthur doesn't want to marry Susan and falls in love with Naomi. She gives him the incentive to become a better man. Arthur attempts to change his ways through AA and finding employment for the first time in his life. All the while in the moral dilemma of should he marry Susan and live in luxury or be disinherited and be happy with unlicensed tour guide Naomi? The original Arthur starred Dudley Moore and was decidedly politically incorrect and delightful. It is a very difficult task to make a rich, hedonistic drunken playboy the beloved hero of a story, but Dudley pulled it off brilliantly. Russell Brand is Arthur of the 21st Century. Unlike some members of my family, I do rather like him, in his place. Whilst his looks are quite spooky, reminiscent of the great, long, red-legged scissor man; he is not without his charm. The problem is that to pull off the role of Arthur, you need a real boyish innocence, an innate sweetness, a je ne sais quoi. Mr Perry is just far too streetwise to be that man. He also can't act particularly well and can't act drunk at all. In acting inebriated, Dudley Moore was peerless. Susan is played by the very talented Jennifer Garner. Unfortunately it is excruciating to watch her lower her standards to such a level in the scene where she is forced to play the sexy drunk kitten. Arthur's love interest is played by Greta Gerwig, a favourite on the Indy circuit. In the original she was played by Liza Minelli. Love her or hate her, she was quirky and individual, different from the other dames. Greta Gerwig's Naomi is insipid and simpering, nothing special at all. The John Gielgud role of Hobson is in the very capable hands of Helen Mirren. She does an admirable job, but the relationship between her and Arthur is a bit blurred. Whilst she's supposed to be the surrogate Mother, it's more like they're sparring spouses. They have by far the best chemistry, but even that is disjointed and you don't quite believe that he's heartbroken when she leaves him on his own. It's a weird film really. Whilst it's obviously trying to be a different updated version of the original, there are great chunks of lines taken from the first film. Also, it loses a huge amount of heart and humour by trying to be so politically correct. Susan's dad is played by Nick Nolte. Ironically he doesn't like Arthur because of his drinking but himself looks like he's staggered in from the nearest liquor store. It's a miracle that he remembered his lines at all, not that you'd know because he's incoherent most of the time. If you think there's too much comparison to the far superior original, even down to the wonderful soundtrack, that's because if you make a remake, expect people to compare it because you cannot separate the two. It's not a terrible film, there just really was no point in making it in the first place. ARTHUR: This is what happens If you get caught between a goon that's just not witty, I know it's crazy, but it's true. 4/10

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Ever since 'Big Train' I have had a soft spot for Simon Pegg. His movies, along with his best friend Nick Frost have been a little hit and miss, te best by far being 'Shaun of the Dead'. It was with some trepidation that I went to this film, as we all know, the Sci Fi genre is a cruel mistress. Get it right and it's Bladerunner, get it wrong and it's Battlefield Earth. Thankfully, the boys got it right. It's an unashamed homage to the great Alien movies, not a silly rip off, more a big thank you. It's the tale of Graeme and Clive, two absolute English men on their dream holiday. Visiting comic-con, the convention for Sci Fi nuts and then taking a driving tour of all the places across the US of famous sightings or near sightings of alien forms. It's on this road trip that they meet Paul,(voiced by Seth Rogen) a stereotypical looking alien with some very bad habits. The three compadres end up on the run from the Men in Black (most notably Jason Bateman, noone deadpans like Jason Bateman) and take along an Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) as an initially unwilling accomplice. Ruth is an evangelical Christian who is actively against Darwinism, but with help from Paul and Graeme, sees the light. Graeme and Clive have to help Paul get to his destination before the Men in Black especially The Big Guy and Ruth's gun toting Dad get to them all first. Sounds familiar? Well of course it is, but Paul explains the comparisons to ET in a neat little cameo scene. I really like this film. It's great fun. Seth Rogen is absolutely perfect as the voice of Paul. I have said before that I'm not very keen on him, but when you don't see his face, the smugness melts away. Irritatingly as with most Rogen films, marijuana is king, but apart from that his Paul is very endearing, as are his habits. It's also refreshing that Paul doesn't actually get along with both of his saviours initially, which adds a greater depth to the story. The relationship between Graeme and Clive is great too. They are obviously very close in real life, and this chemistry comes through in the movie. I won't spoil it for you, but there are some truly funny cameos. It's quite adult humour, but pertinant and funny stuff. The ending is surprisingly emotional, I really teared up and it pulled my heartstrings far more than ET. Yes, I'm sorry, but I can't stand that movie. It's so sugarcoated and schmaltzy, every damned scene desperately tries to eke out an emotional reaction. Sorry Sir Spielberg. I did love the character, just not the film. PAUL: Gross encounters of the fun kind. 7/10.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Just Go With It

You know that there is very little I haven't seen at my local cinema when I go to see an Adam Sandler movie. I find him neither a good comedian nor likeable. With a talented comedian it really doesn't matter how offensive the humour (as long as it's humour) but it's all in the delivery. Some people can say what they want, and it's devilish (the genius of Sir Ricky Gervais, lesser known outside of the UK Lord Harry Hill and the very talented Steve Carrell). Whereas with others the lines they say are vitriolic and almost sinister. Jim Carrey, Seth Rogan and Adam Sandler spring to mind. It's the story of plastic surgeon (Sandler, stretching believability to breaking point) who has pretended for years that he's married to get girls, as he never wants to be hurt again. Then he meets a (very) young girl of his dreams a teacher (stretching believability to breaking point) named Palmer (Brooklyn Decker). Things are going well until she finds out he's 'married'. Enter ridiculous plot where he enlists the help of his dowdy (stretching believability to breaking point)medical assistant single mum of two Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his wife to persuade Palmer that they are in the process of divorcing. Katherine accidently slips that she has kids, so they all go to Hawaii to 'bond', along with Katherine's pretend new boyfriend 'Dolph Lundgren', Danny's moronic cousin, Eddie played by Nick Swardson who was in the hilarious Reno 911!. Whilst in Hawaii, Katherine bumps into her high school nemesis Devlin (Nicole Kidman, yes you read correctly, Nicole Kidman). The family then spend a few nights getting into some tricky social situations, culiminating in Danny and Palmer deciding to get married. When I say tricky social situations, I do of course mean ridiculous, unbelievable and irrelevant. The problem is that Danny and Katherine now have realised that they care for each other. Oh the dilemma, dear reader, what happens next? Where do I begin with a review of this debacle? First and foremost, I would like to put my hand up for the job of Aniston's new agent. Fire the old one immediately Jen, my Gran could do better, and she's dead. Jennifer is a good actress. She's likable, warm and funny. Why does she insist on continuing to humiliate herself in these ridiculous films? She just has to stop it. Now. Adam Sandler seems to resort to the most puerile childish humour. Jews have big noses. Ha ha. I'm not against stereotyping and I do think that people should be able to poke fun at other people, but for goodness sake, can't he think of anything else? If he wasn't Jewish himself, everyone would be up in arms over this. It's offensive to comedy and to Jewish people and to funny Jews it's a hangable offence. Can you imagine the divine Larry David resorting to that? There are a few laughs with regard to L.A. and plastic surgery. Does the director not see the irony in employing Aniston, who is still lovely now, but has obviously resorted to botox and more, and then to have Nicole Kidman, the most plastic fantastic of actresses in Hollywood sharing screen time? Nicole Kidman doing the hula and showing us her fun side? Oh peeeerlease! Let's just face it, the woman can't act. Can't do drama, thrillers or now, comedy. Weather Girl was a freaky accident. Truly disasterous. Danny's cousin, the neanderthal Eddie why is he even in it? His attempts to get near to women are bordering on sexual abuse, strike that, it is sexual abuse. Light relief comes in the form of one of Katherine's children, Maggie (Bailee Madison) I think she's the love child of Dick Van Dyke and Rosie O'Donnell. She's a hoot. The other one, well, you can see why his father doesn't want to spend time with him. The girlfriend Palmer is lovely to look at, but she's supposed to be a teacher. Aren't teachers supposed to have a brain? How does she get sucked in to any of this? A girl who is smart enough to be a teacher wouldn't really be mindlessly adoring of an overweight unattractive married man saddled with two kids, especially one that comes out with lines like "I want to climb Palmer's mountains", yes, he really said that. It is a relief to see that forty two year old Jennifer looks better in a bikini than a woman half her age. Granted she does have the benefit of money, no kids, money, time and the motivation that she can pull Brad Pitt, but still.... As for Katherine, she's known this guy for years. She knows how he treats women. She understands that he's lied to girls for years. What has he got that she could possibly fall for? Money and access to surgery I guess, and possibly that he eats really badly and is in bad shape so she won't have to tolerate him for long. The weird thing is that the chemistry between Sandler and Aniston is really good. Go figure. I am not assassinating Adam Sandler's real life persona here. Just his movie persona, in case you're reading this Adam. Over all as you may deduce, I thought it was a pile of Devlin. If you want an explanation of that last sentence you will have to go and see the film. I recommend that you don't.JUST GO WITH IT: to the nearest incinerator and throw the damn movie in. 3/10 For Jennifer and the spectacular views of Hawaii.

Sidney Lumet 1924 - 2011

Another Movie Icon has gone. Sidney Lumet was a visionary director. He has directed some of the most powerful and controversial films I have had the pleasure to see. His range of movies are diverse, from 'The Wiz', to 'Night Falls on Manhattan'. I will remember him most for 'Serpico', the groundbreaking 'Dog Day Afternoon', both starring Al Pacino, 'The Verdict' with Paul Newman, '12 Angry Men', 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'Network' and the divinely dark, and brilliantly named 'Before the Devil knows you're Dead'. Once married to Gloria Vanderbuilt, and the one time son-in-law of Lena Horne, this man was true Hollywood. Garnering many Oscar nominations and awards his direction brought out the best in his actors. Sidney Lumet has inspired a generation of directors, and given countless hours of pleasure to millions of viewers. Thank you Mr Lumet, it's been a privelege and an honour.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Welcome back Matthew McConaughey! How nice to see this fine actor in something other than a romcom. With his good looks and swagger, he's just so lazy at picking his roles. By my calculations it's been around fifteen years since he's been in something that showcases his talents (other than his sex appeal and pecs). Unless you count 'Two for the Money' with Al Pacino, which was a good film, but it bombed. In my 'Limitless' blog, I mentioned that some actors don't really have that certain something to carry a film, well this one does, in bucket loads. Like him or loathe him, the man got charisma. Anyway, on to the movie. Mick Haller (McConaughey) is a borderline alcoholic lawyer, who after losing his licence hires a driver and works from his car, a lincoln, so he's the lincoln lawyer, get it?. He is hired to defend a rich young man Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe) who has been accused of brutally assaulting a young woman. Roulet categorically denies his guilt and Haller has to piece together the events of the night in question. He is ably assisted by his old friend Frank (William H Macy) and regularly 'bumps into' his ex-wife Maggie (Marisa Tomei) who herself works for the Justice Dept and is the mother of his daughter. During the investigation Mick has to uncover whether the victim is trying extort money from his client, or could the case be linked to an old client of his? It's a great cast. All of the actors do a stellar job. Ryan Phillipe is excellent as the petulant spoilt man child who is evidently used to getting his own way. William H Macy is as solid and likeable as ever and it's really good to see Marisa Tomei again, especially in an intelligent role rather than the usual kooky dames she plays. In the mix as well are Josh Lucas (a McConaughey lookey likey), John Leguizamo, Frances Fisher, Bryan Cranston, Michael Pina and Bob Gunton. The story is twisty turny enough to keep you interested, and it's an enjoyable, imaginative if forgettable film. THE LINCOLN LAWYER: I couldn't possibly testify until I ascertained how comfy the back seat is, your Honour.7/10.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Never Let Me Go

This film is set in a world which appears to be the same as England in the '70s, '80s and '90s. We know it's not because at the beginning there is a prologue which explains that there has been huge leaps in modern science meaning that people can live for a lot longer than before. We meet our three main characters when they are young and in an eery boarding school. More reminiscent of the 1930s than more modern times. Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) form a friendship with the volatile Tommy (Andrew Garfield), for Ruth, this turns into more than a friendship, but it's Kathy that really loves Tommy and over the years she finds it increasingly hard to cope with those feelings of love. All the children in the school are counted in and counted out by electronic wristbands, and there is something sinister the teachers are hiding. The truth comes to light and it's then that the young people's lives change, when they are too old for school they go on to 'the cottages' to live until their vital organs are needed and they go on to donate. Kathy decides to become a carer, which will prolong her life by a few short years. The friends lose touch, but connect later on when time has ravaged their young bodies. Tommy and Kathy reconnect and try to find a way to spend the precious little time they have together. I'm not giving anything away as this is all revealed very early on in the film. There films scenes and settings are very ordinary, which makes it all the more creepy. Keira Knightley is the standout as Ruth. Ruth is passionate and impetuous. You initially feel that she is incredibly selfish, but of course, she's just trying to survive, and you forgive her because she is so lost and so brave. Carey Mulligan, whilst a good actress, doesn't really suit this role. She reminds me of someone's Nan in this, a little bit frumpy and I never really believe that she loves Tommy that much, it's all a bit half hearted and unemotional. Andrew Garfield is again, a good actor, but whilst Tommy is supposed to be an innocent, he just comes across as a bit of a half wit really. The premise is excellent, it's a really great idea and the story in itself is unusual and touching. I don't think it matters at all that noone tried to escape from the situation, not everyone does try and where would they go anyway? It's more the casting choice I think, it just was a bit soul less and you didn't really care, because you felt the main characters didn't care that much. Which is a real pity, because I love a good cry. NEVER LET ME GO: More a case of, don't let me go, well, ok if you want to then you can, I'm not really that worried. 6.5/10

Friday, April 1, 2011

Swoon, I'll catch you

One of the things I love most about the movies is that it enables you to escape into another world. This blog is inspired by my darling sister, who, for my birthday did a post about our shared love of certain actors. Here, I am posting some of my alltime most romantic leading man roles. The criteria? Call me shallow, but looks of course, personality and the lengths they will go to for the woman they love. They are good, but not too good. Sex appeal is an obvious must. Invariably they are handsome, dependable, smart and fun. They may not be to everyone's tastes, but here are the men that have made my movie life all the more meaningful. In no particular order, apart from the last two, for they will forever be my number one. I hope that you enjoy it, there are lots to get through, so let's get on. Here's looking at you, Ray...

ROMEO Leonardo DiCaprio Romeo and Juliet

Youthful, beautiful and willing to die for his girl. Heartbreaking words, wonderful adaptation, Oh Romeo, did my heart love till now? Foreswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night

COUNT LASZLO DE ALMASY Ralph Fiennes The English Patient

Dying from his injuries the mysterious Count is haunted by his love for Katherine. As he recounts his tale, we are drawn into their world, for the bath scene and the back of his neck, he will be forever remembered.

GEORGES FAURE Gerard Depardieu Green Card
Willing to do anything to live in America, composer George marries citizen Bronte. At first he appears oafish, but his gallic charm wins us all over. He cooks, he plays piano, he's earthy and has a French accent, I DO!

SAM BALDWIN Tom Hanks Sleepless in Seattle

Overrated as a romantic film, the character of Sam is faultless. He's fun,dependable, you just know he smells good, a great Dad, a Widower who misses his wife but is willing to move on, this all American boy's appeal is universal. Shall We?

CHRISTIAN Ewan McGregor Moulin Rouge

A romantic poet falls for the concubine Satine. In Baz Lurhmann's divine assault on the senses, anything goes. He sings, he dances, he loves, you can tell every body this is his song. His smile could light up Paris, he surely can can can.

JOHN BOOK Harrison Ford Witness

The cop who goes deep undercover in the Amish community to investigate a murder. He's moody, he's dependable and there's a dry humour lurking just below the surface. Good with his hands he can build a mean barn, he gets in for the Sam Cooke scene and the mind blowingly tense early morning union. What a wonderful world it would be....

ROBERT KINCAID Clint Eastwood The Bridges of Madison County

Robert Kincaid breezes in to photograph some bridges, and turns his life, and Franscesca's upside down. Who knew Clint could be so damn romantic? Awakening parts of Franscesca that she never knew existed, they share an unbearably romantic few days together. The final scenes never fail to break my heart, he is deep, he's a talented photographer, he's a free spirit, and he loves her until the day he dies.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE Joseph Fiennes Shakespeare in Love
One of the greatest romances ever. The relationship between Will and Viola is fun, earthy, sexy and real. He loves her enough to let her go, but not before immortalising her in one of the saddest endings ever. For he shall be a hero for all time...

CAPT ETIENNE NAVARRE Rutger Hauer Ladyhawke
Well before Twilight, Isabeau and Navarre were star crossed lovers, having been put under an evil spell by a jealous rival. He's a wolf by night, she's a hawk by day, bound to each other, they roam the land trying to find a way to break the spell. He's handsome and fearless, driven by the love of a woman he can only remember in his dreams. Magical.

MR DARCY Matthew MacFadyen Pride and Prejudice

Sorry Col, but Matthew's my Mr. Darcy. Proud, rich and moody, we see glimmers of the humour and sensitivity behind the facade. Even though she is not in the same social class, he is devoted to Elizabeth, but is bound by etiquette and stubborness. When he finally does succumb, the image of him storming across the misty English field to claim his love will set your heart aflutter. I love, I love, I love you.

TOM LEFROY James McAvoy Becoming Jane
Oozing testosterone and cockiness, Tom sweeps into Jane's life and claims her heart. Beneath this sexy exterior, there lies the heart of a true romantic, devoted to Jane but confined to the expectations of the age. The raw energy and fun of the cricket match captures us, but it's the ball scene that makes us gasp, those who've seen it will know. Heartbreaking, beautiful, Tom Lefroy, inspiring Jane's Mr Darcy.

CK DEXTER HAVEN Cary Grant The Philadephia Story

Handsome, rich, sexy, suave and full of fun. Tracey's first husband is determined to stop her second marriage. Not by force, but just by being there to show her what she's missing. He just wants her to be a woman, naturally. Who could want more from her leading man than that?

ELIOT NESS Kevin Costner The Untouchables

The pure face of an angel. The ethics and morals of a saint. Defiant against the mob, he stands for justice. The only thing that scares him is that his beloved wife and children may be in danger. Looks great in Armani and has put the butterfly kiss in our bedtime routine with my children. Makes you feel safe and leaves you wishing he would offer to brush your hair.

MACON LEARY William Hurt The Accidental Tourist

Achingly sad from the loss of his son, Macon is desperately trying to stay in the Leary groove he has carved himself. When his overbearing wife leaves him, he meets the eccentric Muriel and his world is changed, reluctantly at first, forever. Oh how I wish I was on the receiving end of the look he gives Muriel from the taxi at the end.

RHETT BUTLER Clark Gable Gone with the Wind

Charming and roguish Rhett, irrestistable to all woman, except the one he loves. Full of fun and wit, what on earth was she thinking of? Ashley doesn't even come close. Coming to her senses way too late, frankly my dear, she should have given a damn.

MICHAEL DORSEY Dustin Hoffman Tootsie

Played with an irresistable combination of humour and intensity, Michael will do anything for his art, even switch genders. When he becomes a hit as a woman, he struggles with how to reveal his true identity without crushing the woman he loves. Sexy with a great sense of style, the ending is ridiculously romantic. When he tells Julie he was a better man with her as a woman and he has to learn to do it without the dress, what woman in their right mind wouldn't forgive him?

ALADDIN Scott Wiengar (voice) Aladdin

A diamond in the rough with a monkey as his best friend. This boy falls for a Princess and enlists the help of a genie to make it happen. He takes her on a carpet ride, shows her a whole new world and true love prevails. Do you trust him? Certainly, just don't you dare close your eyes.

WILL HUNTING Matt Damon Good Will Hunting

Fiercely intelligent and loyal, Will struggles with his feelings for Skylar and to overcome the horrors of the past. His journey is flawed, but he gets there with humour and wit. When he smiles, oh how I love them apples. Wouldn't mind an afternoon delight, or any time of day for that matter.

JACK BAKER Jeff Bridges The Fabulous Baker Boys

Moody, talented and troubled. Jack Baker is a piano playing womaniser. He denies his love for Susie, the sexual chemistry is tense from the start. Famous for it's piano writhing scene, Jack brings out the smoulder in Susie. Beneath this gruffness is a sexually charged sensitive soul who loves his dog, irresistable.

And so to the last two......

JACK DAWSON Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic
Free spirit Jack wins a pass on Titanic. There he saves Rose from herself and so begins a love story so sweet, it broke box office records. Many people have slated this film since, a case of sour grapes methinks. For me, Jack is the ultimate romantic lead. Handsome, comfortable in his own skin, charms people below and above the decks of all ages. He is talented, fun and defies class. Above all, he's brave and good, and sacrifises himself for his true love. Even with death on his shoulder, he thinks of Rose and makes her promise to have a full and happy life. Jack, my heart will go on. Just knowing that you would be there at the top of the stairs waiting patiently would have got me through just about anything. Here's to making it count.

ROBBIE TURNER James McAvoy Atonement

He's clever, funny and pure. He has the bluest, saddest eyes you can imagine. Dependable, honourable, but never boring. At the beginning, Robbie has the world at his feet. He is in love with Cecilia, and that love knows no bounds. He can make a library seem the most exciting place in the world. The tragedy of Robbie is that he is unwaveringly decent and moral. Brave and courageous, he is loved by every person whom he comes into contact with, and it is the twisted adoration of a certain she-devil that shall not be named that is his downfall. Robbie is the ultimate romantic lead, full of the joy and energy of youth, but with the wisdom and patience of knowing that life doesn't always turn out how it should. And bearing this knowledge with a heartbreaking dignity. So many scenes that are standout, but if I have to pick just one, it's when the star crossed duo are getting ready for dinner. Puccini and perfection. Thanks so much.