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Showing posts from March 26, 2017

Review: Grimsby

Sacha Baron Cohen plays well-meaning soccer hooligan Nobby, who has nine children, a girlfriend (Rebel Wilson), and lives in the title working class English town (which also predictably has Ricky Tomlinson among the township). He has, however a piece of himself that has always been missing: His baby brother Sebastian. Adopted into different families and upbringings as children, Nobby has never lost hope that he would one day be reunited with his brother. One day he spots his brother, who is now a top MI6 agent played by Mark Strong, and sets about a happy family reunion. Unfortunately, Nobby being kind of an idiot, fouls up an important mission for Sebastian that forces the two brothers to go into hiding in Grimsby. Much as Sebastian is vehemently opposed to playing happy families, he’s forced by circumstance to stick with his brother as they attempt to foil international terrorism plans. Isla Fisher and Ian McShane work for MI6, Scott Adkins is a Ukranian assassin, Gabourey Sidibe pl…

Review: Garfield

Jon (Breckin Meyer) agrees to care for a cute dog named Odie so that he can get closer to adorable vet Jennifer Love Hewitt. Jon’s other pet, title lasagne-loving fat cat, is of course incredibly jealous and annoyed by his new housemate, but when Odie runs away and is nabbed by the cruel TV personality Happy Chapman (Stephen Tobolowsky), he starts to feel guilty.

The CGI FX, whilst unrealistic (and not meshing with the real life humans or animals), were better than I expected, the human and voice casting seemed excellent on paper, and I like and am familiar with the source material. There was only one thing missing from this 2004 Peter Hewitt (the much better “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey”) film: Humour. This is a harmless, but totally humourless, pretty clich├ęd family film when it could’ve been good, sarcastic fun (This film’s idea of funny? An end credits Murray-as-Garfield rendition of an overused James Brown song. Yawn!).

Bill Murray, with the possible exception of Steven Wright, i…

Review: The Yearling

Claude Jarman Jr. is Jody, an 11 year-old only child to loving Pa (Gregory Peck) and the more distant, hardened Ma (Jane Wyman). Living in the 19th century Florida wilderness, his existence isn’t rich with friends, but he loves nature and all of its critters. He becomes particularly taken with a fawn, whom he wishes to make his pet. Ma is extremely disapproving of the idea, but Pa helps win her over. However, Jody is about to learn just how difficult it is to look after a pet, especially one that is wild and untamed. Forrest Tucker, Henry Travers, and Chill Wills play townsfolk, whilst Donn Gift plays Jody’s only childhood friend, the ailing Fodderwing.

The weepy, wet performance by Claude Jarman Jr. will be a bit much for some and the cynical and hard of heart need not apply, but otherwise you just can’t hate this 1946 family movie from director Clarence Brown (“Intruder in the Dust”, the underrated “Song of Love”). Adapted by Paul Osborn (“East of Eden”, “Sayonara”) from the novel b…

Review: The Intern

Robert De Niro plays a 70 year-old widower who has had enough of retirement and on a whim decides to answer a job ad for a hip online fashion website that just happens to be looking for elderly interns. Yep. He even manages to get paired up with the company’s founder, Anne Hathaway. Unfortunately for De Niro, Hathaway is a little creeped out by the elderly (the intern program wasn’t really her idea), and is such a workaholic that she rarely seems to have anything for De Niro to do. However, he slowly manages to impress her, whether it’s pointing out that her driver is drinking on the job (and subsequently takes over driving duties himself), or helping Hathaway’s stressed out PA (Christina Scherer) with her workload. When Hathaway realises that her marriage to Anders Holm (they have a young daughter as well) is clearly straining, Hathaway is forced to look into looking at hiring a new CEO to take off some of her workload. Meanwhile, De Niro starts a relationship with the company’s in-h…

Review: The Danish Girl

Set primarily in 1920s Europe, Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander play Danish artists Einar and Gerda, a married couple who face tough times as Einar’s experiences posing in women’s clothing for his wife’s paintings and an innocent bit of cross-dressing at a party, lead him to discover his true nature. Einar wishes to transition into a woman, who he will call Lili. Although shocked at this, Gerda manages to sympathise with and support Einar through this journey as best she can, even if it means losing their marriage. Ben Whishaw plays Henrik, who meets ‘Lili’ knowing full well that she is really a ‘he’. They have an affair, but it soon becomes clear that Henrik is gay whilst ‘Lili’ wants to be seen as a woman. Amber Heard drifts in and out of the film as the married couple’s ballerina friend Oola, whilst Matthias Schoenaerts plays a figure from Einar’s past.

I had the impression that this 2015 film from director Tom Hooper (The Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech”, the screen adaptation …

Review: Freeheld

The true story of police detective Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore), a lesbian who keeps her private life away from her colleagues, who respect her as an officer of the law. She meets and falls in love with Stacie (Ellen Page) an ‘out’ mechanic some 19 years Laurel’s junior. The real meat of the story comes in 2005 when some unfortunate and truly devastating news for Laurel sees her sexuality being brought out more into the open as she has to fight for her and Stacie’s legal rights. Michael Shannon plays Laurel’s well-meaning partner on the force, Steve Carell plays a campy and crusading gay rights activist (who is also Jewish), whilst Dennis Boutsikaris, William Sadler, Tom McGowan, and Josh Charles play the Board of Freeholders.

Despite centring on an issue I think is very important, this 2015 film from director Peter Sollett (“Nick and Norah’s Film I Haven’t Yet Seen”) is yet another example of another true story that isn’t necessary to be told in fictional film form. I’m a big belie…

Review: Boulevard

Robin Williams stars as Nolan, a mild-mannered 60 year-old bank clerk living a comfortable existence with long-time wife Joy (Kathy Baker). Or so it seems. For while Nolan and Joy both enjoy the finer things in life (a shared passion for arthouse cinema, for instance), something is clearly missing in their rather comfortable, ‘safe’ marriage. They sleep separately, for instance and seem more like good friends than anything else. We find out what that missing piece of the puzzle is when Nolan makes a sudden detour one night to pick up male prostitute Leo (Roberto Aguire). Although Nolan seems to have little to no interest in sexual intimacy of any kind (he seems to want affection and emotional closeness with another man, more than anything sexual), it’s nonetheless obvious that he is a long-closeted gay man. Like a giddy teenager in love he starts to become obsessed with the younger stud, who in turn tries to make it clear that he’s only in it for the money. Meanwhile, Joy starts to ti…