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