Film Review; Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Posted on 30 November, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments

silver-linings-poster

Directed By: David O’Russell
Written By: David O’Russell (Screenplay) & Matthew Quick (Novel)
Production Co: Weinsten Co.
Main Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro, Jack Weaver and Christ Tucker
Format: Cinema
Add It: IMDB

Summary: (From IMBD)

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Intriguing Premise
As soon as I heard that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were going to be in a film together, I was instantly intrigued. Jennifer Lawrence has been on my radar ever since The Hunger Games, and I really liked her performance in House At the End of the Street. I have liked Bradley Cooper for a very long time, with my favourite performance of his being in The Hangover. As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I was even more interested in seeing this but I was also worried. What if the film doesn’t live up to my expectations? Fortunately, however, this film reached those expectations and was one that I found myself truly enjoying. A film that I would be very happy to purchase on DVD and watch over and over again. What was it that was so great about this film? Read on to find out!

Interesting, Interesting
The premise of this film is your typical boy meets girl, and yet, it is also so much more than that. Underneath it all is the serious topic of mental illnesses and the unstable lives that a lot of people have to deal with day in and day out. We start the film with Pat, an ex-teacher who has just been released from the mental hospital where he was admitted when he pleaded insanity in the court, after brutally attacking a fellow teacher – who happened to be sleeping with his wife. Pat has been living with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder. When he returns home, it is easy to see the unstable life that he has been living as his own father has a bad case of OCD and his brother isn’t exactly brilliant with the social niceties either. In a delusional way, Pat is certain that, even with a restraining order against him, his wife will see that he is a more stable and reliable man and will want to get back with him. And thus starts his journey; to get his wife back. I loved the plot of this story, the way it all came together and just the entire journey that Pat took. There were so many great moments in this film that touch your heart and a many more that have you laughing hysterically.

They Are Everything
What really makes this film memorable and so brilliant are the characters. Pat is a strong character who will make you laugh and who it is impossible not to admire. It is clear from the very beginning that he has a problem fully adjusting to social situations when he simply says whatever is on his mind. For example, when he is told, “Don’t ask how he died.”, a minute later, he does exactly that. Throughout the film his character grows and by the end of the film, I was so happy for him and glad with the way things turned out. But really it is the performance of Bradley Cooper that really makes Pat’s character shine through. I have known Bradley to be a grand actor before but with the serious topics that this film deals with, it was really great to see him act in a more serious and damaging role. He played the role with perfection.

On the other side of the spectrum we have Tiffany. She has just lost her husband and because of his death became emotionally unstable herself. Like Pat, she says whatever is on her mind without worrying about the consequences. She is eccentric, passionate, but also manipulative and an attention seeker. But I adored her. She grew so much through the film and you could really see her strengths shine through. She is a girl who has been through so much and just wants to know that she can continue her life without always thinking about her late husband. Personally, this may be Jennifer Lawrence’s best performance so far. With amazing, and crucial scenes that could have gone entirely wrong if acted too much or too little, Jennifer shows that she can take a role on board and play it just as it should be. You could really feel the emotions of the character making it that much easier to connect with her.

Beautiful, Beautiful
Touching on such a deep issue and managing to create a dramatic comedy is not an easy thing to do and yet David O’Russell (Screenplay) and Matthew Quick (Novel) have mastered it beautifully. There is the perfect mix of drama and comedy in this film to make it a film to remember. I found myself laughing a lot throughout this film, and yet I also felt the realness of this film. It is easy to see that David O’Russell did a brilliant job of directing this film as well. With a brilliant cast of actors all performing to an excellent standard, cinematography that was simplistic yet worked well, and editing that was creative and interesting, O’Russell certainly knew what he wanted and how to achieve it.

It Is Said
Overall, this film was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was touching, emotional and at the same time completely hilarious. It had some really memorable moments within it and some remarkable scenes that were really full of emotion that made you squirm slightly in your seats. This film held nothing back, it was in your face and it had something to say and I really loved it. It was entertaining and deep, a film that I would urge many people to go and watch because it deserves all the spotlight it can get. I am so glad that I chose to go and see this film and hope that I am not the only one that truly appreciates this film.

** I paid for a full admission to see this film. I was not required to write a review, positive or negative. All views expressed are my own. **

Four Stars
four out of five hearts

Faye

puzzlepiece2

Silver Linings Playbook is OUT NOW.

Trailer

Posted on 30 November, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments


Happythankyoumoreplease (2010)

Posted on 19 June, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Director: Josh Radnor
Written By: Josh Radnor
Production Co: Paper Street Films
Release Date: March 3rd 2011 (US)
Format: DVD
Source: Lovefilm
Add It: IMDB, Amazon, Play


Summary: 
Captures a generational moment – young people on the cusp of truly growing up, tiring of their reflexive cynicism, each in their own ways struggling to connect and define what it means to love and be loved.

four out of five hearts

I have been wanting to watch this film since I first saw a trailer for it the year it was entered into the Sundance Film Festival (last year). I was hooked, I thought it seemed captivating and thrilling and interesting and it had Josh Radnor in and so I was completely sold. Unfortunately, as it was only a festival release, it was never released in cinemas here in the UK so my wait was made even longer. Then, finally, I find that it has been released on DVD! I was so happy and instantly added it to my rental list and was even happier when it arrived on my carpet. And the best part about all of this, it did not disappoint.


To get an understanding of why I liked this film so much, I feel it necessary to explain that I adore art house films. I love films with depth, that leave a message, that force us to ask questions or films that simply manage to leave a mark on our souls. I love blockbusters as much as the next person but honestly, most of the time, I would happily go to see an art house film over a blockbuster movie. I just feel that they have so much more to say. Happythankyoumoreplease definitely had a lot to say and I really enjoyed the message that it left; the point that it was trying to get across.

The performance by Josh Radnor was really good, very different from his character Ted in How I Met Your Mother, but for me it was the secondary cast that really blew this film away. Michael Algieri acted brilliantly as a young lost chid who was clearly having issues at home. My heart went out for him and I loved the way he just took on the role so well. I would definitely think that this boy is someone to keep an eye out on. Malin Akerman was also amazing in this film and I really felt for her and everything that she went through. I loved how strong her character was in spite of everything and I love how feel the film dealt with everything that she was going through. Kate Mara played her part well and you could really feel how she felt about Sam but didn’t really know how to deal with it. A stunning performance by all the cast overall.

The storyline was amazing. It didn’t have a generic blockbuster ending and it wasn’t even a film that had a specific arch but it was a film that had a theme, a message to get across to the audience and it really managed to do it. I loved the idea that love comes in many forms, sizes and places and sometimes without us even realising it’s right in front of us. I loved the way the stories came together and yet were completely separate all at the same time. It was truly captivating and lovely and filled my insides with goodness and happiness and some kind of hope that had been missing. I enjoyed the narrative of this film and I would quite easily recommend others to watch this film.

Written and Directed by Josh Radnor, this is his first film, and I am glad to sit here and tell you all that it was a brilliant debut into the film writing and directing world. It may have had its flaws here and there but it fit well together, had an amazing script and really was just a great watch that I would happily view over and over again. He has got a new film coming out this year called Liberal Arts and this also looks like it’ll be worth watching and I, for one, will once again be waiting on tender hooks for this to come around. 

And because the trailer is what got me hooked in the first place, I am now adding the trailer so you can all view and hope to watch this film soon.

Faye

Posted on 19 June, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Treeless Mountain (2008) – Aidy’s Review

Posted on 29 April, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment

Hey Guys!
So today we have Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews! This was supposed to be posted on Tuesday but because I took too long with my cross review, it’s being posted today instead. Aidy has reviewed Treeless Mountain for you all.
I reviewed Hacker by Malorie Blackman for Aidy, and this can be found here.

Treeless Mountain

Director: So Yong Kim
Writer: So Yong Kim
Stars: Chae Gil Byung, Jung Gil Ja and Shin Hyun Je
Year: 2008 (UK Release: 2010)
Country: South Korea
Production Company: Parts and Labor, Soandbrad and Strangeloop Entertainment

 

 

     FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆

Treeless Mountain is a touching 2008 film made in South Korea, directed by So Yong Kim, born in Seoul, but raised in the United States since she was 12. It is about the struggle for two sisters, Jin (Hee-yeon Kim) and Bin (Song-hee Kim), to survive with their nonchalant relatives after being abandoned by their mother (Soo Ah Lee).

Jin is a lovely, intelligent child who adores going to school and math is her favorite subject. Every day after school, Jin enjoyed playing games with her friends. But this would make her late to pick up Bin from their neighbor’s apartment. One evening, the neighbor informs their mother she no longer will be able to watch after Bin. Realizing she can no longer afford her apartment or take care of her children, the next day, the mother heads off to meet up with her sister-in-law in order for her to take them back to her home. The girls have nicknamed her “Big Aunt”.

Before taking her leave, their mother gives Jin and Bin a piggy bank. She informs them when they fill up the piggy bank, she will return. It is evident their aunt doesn’t want them around; she uses what little expenses she has on Soju (an alcoholic beverage), instead of purchasing enough food for the children to eat. The title of the film originates from the children standing atop a rock covered hill they identify as a mountain, and using it as an observatory to wait for their mother to return to the bus stop. The girls earn money by cleaning around the house (recycling the many bottles the aunt has acquired from her binge drinking) and selling roasted grasshoppers to the neighborhood boys–three for ten cents.

While in their new surroundings, Jin and Bin befriend Hyun, a boy with Down syndrome. As a symbol of her gratitude, his mother welcomes the girls to visit her home when they desire and treats them to a copious amount of sweets. Summer begins to wane, and the grasshoppers go into hiding as cold weather approaches. Jin gets a brilliant idea after Bin uses one of the high value coins in their piggy bank to purchase a sweet bun–exchange the large coins for one cent coins. That way, they could fill the bank! The two sisters hurry to the shop keep to exchange their coins and then happily run back home to count their bounty.

Filling the bank finally, they sit at the bus stop, awaiting their mother’s return. Jin promises Bin they will come back the next day to wait. But then Big Aunt interrupts their plans with a letter from mom. She informs the girls she cannot come back, and they will have to relocate to their grandparents’ farm. Upon arriving, the grandfather immediately is upset and sees the children as a huge burden. However, their grandmother welcomes them with open arms and warms them with a fire.

Life on the farm isn’t bad to the girls; they have a grandmother that loves them and teaches them about family bonds. She helps them with daily chores and in return, they give her the piggy bank in gratitude in order to buy new shoes. Even still, they promise each other to wait for their mother.

Treeless Mountain is an enjoyable film, though it would have been better with more dialogue. The sisters were precious, and over time their sprits grew strong due to the sudden interruption in their normal way of life. It was admirable how they quickly adapted to survive in their new neighborhood and taking care of each other. Jin going out of her way to educate her little sister on what remainders she had of school life was a tender moment, and I feel this was partly due to their grandmother’s influence. She taught them the importance of being together as a family, and Jin used their grandmother’s advice to watch over Bin.

Aidy

Posted on 29 April, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment


Treeless Mountain (2008) – Aidy’s Review

Posted on 29 April, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment

Hey Guys!
So today we have Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews! This was supposed to be posted on Tuesday but because I took too long with my cross review, it’s being posted today instead. Aidy has reviewed Treeless Mountain for you all.
I reviewed Hacker by Malorie Blackman for Aidy, and this can be found here.

Treeless Mountain

Director: So Yong Kim
Writer: So Yong Kim
Stars: Chae Gil Byung, Jung Gil Ja and Shin Hyun Je
Year: 2008 (UK Release: 2010)
Country: South Korea
Production Company: Parts and Labor, Soandbrad and Strangeloop Entertainment

 

 

     FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆

Treeless Mountain is a touching 2008 film made in South Korea, directed by So Yong Kim, born in Seoul, but raised in the United States since she was 12. It is about the struggle for two sisters, Jin (Hee-yeon Kim) and Bin (Song-hee Kim), to survive with their nonchalant relatives after being abandoned by their mother (Soo Ah Lee).

Jin is a lovely, intelligent child who adores going to school and math is her favorite subject. Every day after school, Jin enjoyed playing games with her friends. But this would make her late to pick up Bin from their neighbor’s apartment. One evening, the neighbor informs their mother she no longer will be able to watch after Bin. Realizing she can no longer afford her apartment or take care of her children, the next day, the mother heads off to meet up with her sister-in-law in order for her to take them back to her home. The girls have nicknamed her “Big Aunt”.

Before taking her leave, their mother gives Jin and Bin a piggy bank. She informs them when they fill up the piggy bank, she will return. It is evident their aunt doesn’t want them around; she uses what little expenses she has on Soju (an alcoholic beverage), instead of purchasing enough food for the children to eat. The title of the film originates from the children standing atop a rock covered hill they identify as a mountain, and using it as an observatory to wait for their mother to return to the bus stop. The girls earn money by cleaning around the house (recycling the many bottles the aunt has acquired from her binge drinking) and selling roasted grasshoppers to the neighborhood boys–three for ten cents.

While in their new surroundings, Jin and Bin befriend Hyun, a boy with Down syndrome. As a symbol of her gratitude, his mother welcomes the girls to visit her home when they desire and treats them to a copious amount of sweets. Summer begins to wane, and the grasshoppers go into hiding as cold weather approaches. Jin gets a brilliant idea after Bin uses one of the high value coins in their piggy bank to purchase a sweet bun–exchange the large coins for one cent coins. That way, they could fill the bank! The two sisters hurry to the shop keep to exchange their coins and then happily run back home to count their bounty.

Filling the bank finally, they sit at the bus stop, awaiting their mother’s return. Jin promises Bin they will come back the next day to wait. But then Big Aunt interrupts their plans with a letter from mom. She informs the girls she cannot come back, and they will have to relocate to their grandparents’ farm. Upon arriving, the grandfather immediately is upset and sees the children as a huge burden. However, their grandmother welcomes them with open arms and warms them with a fire.

Life on the farm isn’t bad to the girls; they have a grandmother that loves them and teaches them about family bonds. She helps them with daily chores and in return, they give her the piggy bank in gratitude in order to buy new shoes. Even still, they promise each other to wait for their mother.

Treeless Mountain is an enjoyable film, though it would have been better with more dialogue. The sisters were precious, and over time their sprits grew strong due to the sudden interruption in their normal way of life. It was admirable how they quickly adapted to survive in their new neighborhood and taking care of each other. Jin going out of her way to educate her little sister on what remainders she had of school life was a tender moment, and I feel this was partly due to their grandmother’s influence. She taught them the importance of being together as a family, and Jin used their grandmother’s advice to watch over Bin.

Aidy

Posted on 29 April, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment


Take My Eyes (2003) – Aidy’s Review

Posted on 10 April, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Hey Guys!
Every fortnight, Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews and I exchange reviews to cross post on our blogs. He writes a film review for my blog, and I write a book review for his blog. Today, Aidy, has written a review of Take My Eyes (2003) for you and I wrote a review of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, which you can find on his blog. Here is his review!

Te Doy Mis Ojos - Take My Eyes 

 

Director: Icíar Bollaín
Writer: Icíar Bollaín and Alicia Luna
Stars: Laia Marull, Luis Tosar and Candela Peña
Year: 2003
Country: Spain
 Production Company: Alta Producción

 

 

THREE.FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆

Take My Eyes, is a foreign romantic drama directed by Iciar Bollain and jointly written by Iciar Bollain and Alicia Luna. Laia Marull and Luis Tosar are the stars of the film, portraying Pilar and Antonio; a couple where the wife is the victim of spousal abuse but cannot shake the feelings of love she harbors towards him.

The film opens with Pilar rushing around her apartment to wake her son and fetch essential items. Pilar (Laia Marull) and her young son escape to her sister Ana’s (Candela Pena) home. Not too long after she arrives, she suddenly bursts into tears, still in her slippers. While in such a hurry to leave home before her husband returned, Pilar had no time to dress herself. Ana decides to head back to their home in order to salvage the remainder of their clothes. In the apartment, she discovers documents from the local hospital detailing her sister’s injuries. Antonio arrives and sees Ana packing and realizes Pilar had taken off with their son.

Antonio (Luis Tosar) decides to visit his wife at her sister Ana’s home. She only cracks the door just a little in order to speak to him. Antonio showers her in compliments, apologizing for his actions and promises he will change; all the while she shakes in fear. When he does not receive welcoming responses from Pilar, he begins to again, threaten her, revealing his true nature. The couple desires to save their marriage, as their love is still strong for each other.

They are soon back together, and it seems their relationship is flourishing; Antonio started attending therapy for spousal abuse, and Pilar took up a part-time job as a cashier and a museum tour guide to take care of her living expenses. Pilar’s journey of self-discovery had led her to an epiphany–she didn’t need her husband ruling over every single aspect of her life. She is now living an enjoyable life full of friends and a job she relishes. She then comes to see she has become fed up of Antonio’s overbearing presence.

One of the more poignant scenes in the film is when Antonio comes home from work and sees Pilar getting ready for her shift. He strips her down to her bra and pushes her out onto the balcony for passerby’s to see. She pleads with him to be let back indoors. He then snatches her by the throat to bring her inside–she is petrified with fear and urinates on herself and on the floor of the apartment.

The movie spotlights the events surrounding Pilar but comes up short showcasing the more prominent aspects of her personality. Instead, the film reveals more about Antonio; he is mocked by his family and his father has a bias towards his brother. At work, he is just a low-end salesperson with a poor salary. The audience discovers the root of his issues and why he takes his anger out on his wife. However, no personal information about Pilar’s characters other than she has a son, sister, and what she is subjected to in the abusive relationship.

Take My Eyes offers a painful glimpse into aspects of an abusive relationship. The highlight of the film is the believability; we personally may or may not know of someone in a similar situation. Bollain’s brilliant script brought us into the viewpoint of the victim and leaves a lasting impression upon the viewer.

Aidy

Posted on 10 April, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Daytime Drinking (2008)

Posted on 27 March, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Hey Guys!
So today I have a lovely review for you all from Aidy over at Aidy’s Reviews! I posted a book review for him this week of My Soul to Save by Racel Vincent. Go check it out! =D
Hope you like this review!

Daytime Drinking, 2008
Director/writer: Young-Seok Noh
 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS

Daytime Drinking (Najsul) is a film teeming with Korean social courtesies that it isn’t any wonder why Hyuk-jin (Sam-dong Dong) finds himself in the strangest predicaments. Hyuk is in poor spirits after the love of his life broke up with him. A few of his friends decided to take him out to help him relieve his memories of her by a night of drinking—a lot of drinking, mainly Soju, a popular Korean alcoholic beverage (ranges from 25-30% up to 45% proof) and a hot meal. Thereafter, they all agreed to take a trip to the neighboring Provence of Gangweon, where a friend of a friend has a guest house for them to stay and they can spend more time there well, drinking and eating.

Hyuk-jin was reluctant to go in the beginning, but he decided to make the trip went anyway, however, his friends were nowhere to be found. They were hung-over from the previous night and conveniently forgot about their planned excursion. One of his friends insisted that he wait for him at a guest house until he was able to meet him there.

He set out to enjoy the trip on his own.

What follows Hyuk-jin are a series of misadventures and misunderstandings. When he arrived at what he believed to be the residence of the inhospitable host his friend suggested, he meets a beautiful acquaintance–who eventually drugs and robs him; a creepy truck driver who has a problem with “personal boundaries; ” an enthusiastic poet who chokes him while he slept and; one too many bottles of soju.

Daytime Drinking is director, writer Young-Seok Noh’s first film and clever at depicting minimalist drama with freckles of comedic anecdotes that are quite understandably “realistic” and seemingly personable. Who hasn’t at one time or another been “stood-up” by the best friend or for that matter, a group of friends? Or who hasn’t been lured into buying a drink or two for a pretty lady? The movie doesn’t insinuate that Hyuk’s is headed towards any danger at all–just a guy who finds himself in one way or the other in awkward situations.

Being torn apart by his recent breakup, Hyuk-jin, and perhaps like many others who may have found themselves in similar situations, has turned to alcohol and the comfort of a close circle of friends to overcome his grief. Little did he know that the same people who he felt should have his back to rebound from his loss, ended up abandoning him all the same–in a manner of speaking that is? In this film, it seems that Korean drinking etiquette–never refusing the offer of first drink—may have been the culprit.

Never matter the drinking bit of it, being neglected still hurts. Add in some incredibly impressive, cinematic extraordinary, also the original musical score all by Young-Seok Noh. What presents are soliloquies of reflective events for viewers to ponder and perhaps take Hyuk-jin’s hard won lessons to heart.

In the end, just as he was coming to the realization that his drinking was the source of his problems, he found himself yet again in a situation where another pretty face just might be the end of him. Overall, Daytime Drinking is another brilliant Korean comedy that is surprisingly enjoyable to watch.

Posted on 27 March, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Young Adult (2012) – Aidy’s Review

Posted on 13 March, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Hey Guys!
Today I am introducing you to Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews! He has kindly written a film review for this site and this will  happen every week (on tuesdays!). 
I have also written a book review of Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon for his site; here!
Without further ado;


Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Stars: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, and Patrick Wilson









 THREE POINT FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS ****



Screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman team up to create the “anti-romantic” comedy, Young Adult. It’s tremendously satisfying when I can find a really good film with a phenomenal actress, and truly enjoy it. Theron’s character, Mavis, is likable enough to make audiences sympathize and relate to her plight of social acceptance. Oswalt, the ultimate geek who runs his own distillery, with an additional passion for re-modeling classic action figures. The two forge the most unlikeliest of friendships. 


Mavis Gary (Theron) is a semi-alcoholic fiction writer of a “popular” book series for young adults. She lives with the most adorable puppy, in a high-rise apartment in Minneapolis. Mavis is beautiful, and she seems to be perfectly content with living on her own—that is, until she hears about her, now married, ex-lover from high school recently became a father.

At that moment, Mavis seemed to realize that drunken one night stands were not enough for her anymore, and that she needed something more in her life, and also to find the missing piece that would make it complete. After crawling out from underneath the arm of her latest drunken misadventure, she silently packed her bags, her dog, and an old cassette from Buddy Slade (Wilson)–the new father, and her ex-lover—and drove to her rural hometown.


You get a sense that deep down inside, she knows that the relationship between her and Buddy is no longer there, yet the desire to return to him—where she was happiest—remained. When she finally arrives to the town under the false premise that she’s there to complete a real estate transaction, her first order of business is to go to a bar for a few drinks. She runs into Matt (Oswalt) who shared the locker next to hers in high school, and although she couldn’t remember who he was, she still shared a few drinks with him.


As the night progresses, she reveals to him her true intentions for coming into town—to win back her high school sweetheart. Despite Matt’s insistence in leaving a happily married man and a new father as he is, she remains intent on ruining his life—saving it, in her mind.

You can’t say she didn’t try. Mavis did everything she could to win him back, and the things she does aren’t exactly admirable in character. Her visit to the town was unwelcoming—even her parents weren’t too excited to see her back home—as everyone remembered how much they hated her in high school. Her problem was that she could never quite grow up. She still wanted to get drunk, wear Hello Kitty shirts, sweatpants, and her ex-boyfriend’s old team jacket.


The ending of the film itself threw me off a bit. After the embarrassing scene at the baby naming ceremony, I believed that Mavis learned her lesson. Instead, she went on to “enjoy” a night of heavy drinking, ‘sleeping’ over at Matt’s house. Evidently, she learned nothing from the whole “Buddy rejection” experience. The film seemed as if it did not come to a complete end. It left the impression that she returned to her tried and true routine of immaturity, self-indulgence, and inevitable one night stands.

 THREE POINT FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS ****

For a comparitive review, go check out my review of Young Adult; here

Posted on 13 March, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Everything Must Go (2010) – Aidy’s Review!

Posted on 7 March, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments

Hey Guys!
Today I am introducing you to Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews! He has kindly written a film review for this site and this will (hopefully) happen every week (on tuesdays!). 
I have also written a book review for his site which I will let you know about when it is up!
Without further ado;
 
Director: Dan Rush
Writers: Dan Rush, Raymond Carver “Why Don’t You Dance.”
Stars: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, and Christopher Jordan Wallace
Everything Must Go is an indie film that is based on the 1981 short-story by Raymond Carver called Why Don’t You Dance. The story is about a man named Nicholas Halsey (Will Ferrell), a semi recovering alcoholic who has just lost his job as a salesman and at the same time, his wife and his home.
There isn’t much to be said about a person who has hit rock bottom and is forced to live among all worldly possessions strewn about on the front lawn of what used to be his home. While he sifts through all the things that he thought of as influential in his life, he is forced to return to the realization that life as he knew it was over after repeated attempts to phone his wife failed, his credit cards cancelled–his car repo’d. He has to start his life over somehow. But not before buying him another case of beer, and sleeping in his Lazy Boy recliner on the front lawn as an effort to maintain a sense of normalcy. 
He abruptly awake to the sprinklers on his front lawn, and bumbles about trying to prevent the water the prized furniture and equipment that he owned. A young kid, Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), who is left alone to fend for himself while his mother cares for a sick person, rides up on his bike and becomes an unintentional source for wisdom, and eventually a savvy business partner. He becomes friends with Samantha (Rebecca Hall), who never quite asks him why he is living out on his front lawn. It seems she has more things to deal with on a personal level, being pregnant, waiting for her husband to join her at their new home, and giving up her job as a photography teacher in New York so that her husband can focus more on his career.
The film comes down to that inevitable fact for each them–that life is a eternal process of learning. Ferrell’s character had to learn again what it is like to be normal–away from the booze. It is as if for the first time, he is beginning to hear what people perhaps have been saying to him all along–get your life in order. The film places an emphasis on his character’s self-pity, anger, and insecurities, forcing him to confront life’s inner demons while sober. “Everything” is one more film that forces us emotionally, to respond to a down on his luck, broken alcoholic who is evidently, a good person. Nicholas Cage was successful at portraying an over indulgent and repressive alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. Ferrell doesn’t drink himself to death nor does he come close to doing so. He just haphazardly navigates his neighborhood and confront a few self-actualization’s along the way.
What does prevail in the film is what these three individuals have in common–isolation. The story and its characters are of a stoic capacity and the overall, the ineffective social narrative of the film just empties there, on Nick’s front lawn. You know that these three people are hurting somehow and yet there isn’t enough of proper motivation in the story to resolve matters. It isn’t until Nick realizes that he can no longer live on his front lawn and finally agrees to let go and sell all of the tangible parts of his life that the movie finally ends where it begins–on his lawn. Sadly, we are left wondering just how everyone will fair thereafter. Real life isn’t so easily resolvable, and it is disappointing that the film eluded a more conclusive concept for believability.
2.75 OUT OF 5 STARS ***

Posted on 7 March, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments


Young Adult (2012)

Posted on 6 February, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments

Directed By: Jason Reitman

Written By: Diablo Cody
Main Cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt
Storyline: 
A Young-Adult Fiction writer who is about to start writing the last instalment of a series finds out that her ex-boyfriend has had a child. With this information on the brain, she ends up visiting her home-town where she decides that she will try and win him back, even though he is happily married with a newborn daughter.

TWO OUT OF FIVE STARS **
Unfortunately, while this film held potential and could have been an extremely decent film, for this blogger, it simply flopped. While there were good moments within this film and it had good, rich and raw cinematography, it simply wasn’t a good movie overall. It was hard to empathize with the main protagonist and it was this major flaw in the narration that really forces the film to lose its desire. It is extremely difficult to sit through a film when all you really want to do is shake the protagonist and tell her to get a grip and move on.
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary who had been one of the most popular girls in highschool, who went out with one of the jocks. After high school ended, however, she left for the city and eventually started writing a series of Young Adult books. It is shown from the very beginning of the film that she is living in a slump. She wakes up in a crashed out position on her bed and the rest of her apartment is messy and untidy, just the same as her appearance. This persona continues throughout the film as Mavis travels to her home town and tries to act the same as she did when she was in high-school. She is one of the most annoying protagonists that I have watched in a long time and I really found it difficult to keep focused on the film. I was curious, hoping that her journey would end up somewhere, that she might learn a lesson from it all but by the end of the film, it just seemed that nothing had changed.
Theron, however, manages to truly perfect this personality. It is difficult to imagine anyone else portraying this character any better. It is therefore extremely unfortunate that Charlize may never be seen for her full potential as many people may be put off of this film, especially as her character is supposed to be hated. While this can be successful within films, usually because by the end of the film they have transformed their lives, and the audience can fully understand the journey that has taken place, in this film, it simply does not work. Mavis Gary leaves her home town in the same way that she left – in a state. There are hints that she might be changing her act and will get better but this is never explicitly spoken or shown and therefore I found it increasingly difficult to appreciate the film as a whole.
Another frustrating thing about this film was the novel that Mavis was writing. It is obvious that the story she is writing interlinks with her own life and so the acknowledgment that this is the last instalment can be a sign that this is her chance to change, but once again, this is never actually stated. The story itself, which had parts told in voiceover, was possibly the worst story that I have ever heard. From the very first sentence, only five minutes into the film, I knew that if it had been a real book, I would never bother to read it. It, like the film, had the most annoying protagonist and, just as I struggled to watch, I would have struggled to read. As an avid reader, blogger and film-goer, this upset me as the idea of having a book linked to the life of an author is such a lovely concept, but it just did not work within this film.
However, despite all of these moments, the film did have some good moments. There were times when a scene would fully capture my attention and cause me to laugh out loud. And there were some moments when I was left craving more, wanting to hear more of the conversation. Unfortunately though, this moments were few and far between. I did like the final climax scene and I found that this was quite rich and raw with emotions and I almost felt a little empathy towards Mavis as I managed to place myself in her shoes, but then this was ripped from me again when she reverted back to the way she was before, as though the realisation of everything that had just happened didn’t affect her in the slightest. This, in fact, possibly made the film worse for me as I almost thought that I could see where this film was going, could almost imagine it getting better, and then that was taken away from me at the last moment.
All in all, this film just didn’t seem to have a purpose. I could not get an overall theme from it and just found it too difficult to get into. I was infuriated by the main protagonist throughout the film and simply couldn’t get my head around the ambiguous ending. So, while I held high expectations of this film, it unfortunately didn’t uphold to them and therefore I found that I just could not enjoy this film. Which is a shame, because it would have been the perfect film for me to love as I love films and young adult books. Maybe next time?
Faye

Posted on 6 February, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments


New Years Eve (2011)

Posted on 2 January, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Directed By: Garry Marshall
Written By: Katherine Fugate
Main Cast: Michelle Pfeifer, Zac Efron, Robert de Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Bon Jovi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Duhamel and Abigail Breslin
Storyline: It’s New Years Eve 2011 and this film tells the tale of a group of people and how they celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. Full of memorable faces, there are plenty of different stories intertwining together to bring this film a main-running plot.

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THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS ***

This film is one that certainly holds true to a good-hearted entertainment film. It feels the soul with a feeling of warmth and love, every single kind, and lets you leave the cinema feeling a little bit lighter and happier with the world around you. But that is about all that one can take from this film. There is no deeper meaning, nothing that sticks out with awe, it is just a light-hearted, easy going film that fills the cavities of the soul and the cockles of your heart. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, it just wasn’t exactly spectacular.

The main problem with this film is the sudden gush of celebrities. Instead of getting attached to characters and getting involved in their stories, it was a flood of emotion for that celebrity, and oh, look at that celebrity, and who knew that celebrity looked like that. There was a true distancing from the storyline because of this which found it hard to fully get along with the film on a truly emotional level. Yes, it was possible to take from it the message it was trying to send out but it wasn’t always easy to fully connect with the people on the screen. Some, naturally, were easier to connect to then others.

One pairing that stood out was Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeifer (and yet, I still couldn’t tell you their character names without looking it up). The film tends to focus on these two characters more than the rest and so this could be the reason they stood out more. The nice thing about this film was how, at the end of the film, everything sort of settled together and you understood how everyone and everything connected together and fit with each other. This was the reason behind the film. The world may be large, a big place like New York City but we all, still, run in small neat circles around each other.

The direction of this film was good, nothing particularly stood out but it was solid filmmaking, and there is no denying it probably was a massive hit at the box office. Not to mention it was nice touch that the location was not just ‘familiar’ but it was also up-to-date with the flashing Neon lights of NYC showing adverts such as ‘Sherlock 2’. Of course, this could just be something that a film student picks up on and not people who watch films just to, you know, enjoy them.

All in all, this film was decent. The many actors and actresses within it performed well and kept everything flowing together nicely and if anything, the brilliant portrayal of characters helped to keep the flow of the story. If one actor couldn’t act well, then the rest of the film and ensemble would have sunk along with them. This film was clearly trying to get fame off of the British Love Actually which was the first of this kind of genre but, unfortunately, it just didn’t work as well. At least, not in my opinion. I have yet to see Valentine’s Day which is directed by the same guy and I have heard follows the same set-up but I can imagine that I would have the same feelings towards it.

New Years Eve is a piece of light-hearted entertainment that will bring a smile to your face and a warm-feeling in your chest. A simple film where one does not need to think too hard.

Faye

Posted on 2 January, 2012 by Faye - No Comments