My Week with Marilyn (2011) Film Review

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Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) starts working for Sir Lawrence Oliver (Kenneth Branagh) on his new film, which, as it happens, stars Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). But Marilyn is a troubled soul, always late, being managed by everyone around her, fed drugs and alcohol. She likes Colin and calls for him whenever she can, but is it help or romance?

It’s one of those films is based on real events, but is so romanticised. I often wonder about Marilyn and all of those troubled celebrities, usually women, who have tragic lives, but are attractive and get terrible advice from people. Those who are treated poorly by the press, who are made out to be flakey, and who end up in positions of some power that allows them to act out. The divas(and whatever is the male equivalent of diva?) who seem to have little respect for those working around them.

It’s a really lovely film. Whether or not it is a real depiction of events doesn’t matter. It’s romantic and quite beautiful and just kind of nice.

My Week with Marilyn was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Michele Williams) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Kenneth Branagh).

 

 

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The Paperboy (2012) Film Review

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This is a tough film… it starts as a film about a couple of hopefuls who are trying to get a possibly innocent criminal out of jail and turns into… well, I don’t really know what. It’s all really tricky.

Zac Efron plays Jack, a young guy in Florida in the 1960s who is dragged into a strange world after his brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) returns to town to try to expose injustices in relation to a murder conviction. The convicted is Hilary Van Wetter (John Cusack), a repulsive man from the swamps. Ward brings along his writing partner Yardley (David Oyelowo), who creates waves as he is a black man in this racist society, and Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), a racy woman who believes after corresponding with Van Wetter, that not only is he innocent, but that they are in love. Jack is in love with Charlotte in no time. And then things get really horrible. The whole story is told by the family maid, Anita (Macy Gray).

It’s interesting, and then it is creepy, and then it is a bit shocking, and then thing get a bit twisted, and then things get horrible and then more horrible and I am possibly never going to recover. And Nicole Kidman, well, generally I find her very difficult to watch these days, but she it fabulous in this. No wonder she was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance.

 

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Orange County (2002) Film Review

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Shaun (Colin Hanks) is a kid who has grown up in surf heaven Orange County. His parents are divorced and his ultra rich father, Bud (John Lithgow) lives with a young gold digger and their nightmare child. The mother has remarried and her husband is in a wheelchair and out of his mind. Then there is the brother, Lance (Jack Black), who is constantly high or recovering from partying. Shaun decides he wants to go to college and become a writer, and feels like everything in his life, his surfer buddies, his family, his incompetent school (with the wonderful Chevy Chase and Lily Tomlin), everything. Oh, no, his girlfriend Ashley (Schuyler Fisk) is on his side.

This is one of those films that I remember coming out and thinking it was a bit of a Porky’s or one of those other ridiculous stupid teen films. So, the other day I felt like watching a ridiculous stupid teen film and got this. And guess what? It’s not. But it’s not really good either. It’s really boring, quite predictable, and things just don’t quite gel. It’s like they have Shaun and Ashley as believable, normal characters and everyone else in the film is a parody, and it just doesn’t work. At all.

 

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Megamind (2010) Film Review

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After his world was destroyed, an alien was sent to Earth. Just like Superman. Only, not unlike Superman, there were two babies. Megamind (Will Ferrell) a blue creature who just cannot quite get it right, and Metro Man (Brad Pitt), a real Superman type. As children, Metro Man always won over Megamind, and Megamind decides, along with Minion (David Cross), he decides to be a real villain. He falls into a routine with Metro Man – he kidnaps Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey), Metro Man saves her and they go on. But one day, he kills Metro Man, and their world is turned upside down. Depressed, Megamind realises he needs a foe to continue, and he makes Titan (Jonah Hill), the hero. But nothing goes quite as expected.

It is a fun film, but it was only when I got about three-quarters of the way through when I realised that I had seen it before, so it clearly did stick in my mind. Good points? David Cross is fabulous as Minion, the strange fish companion. The character of Roxanne is being saved a lot, but there is a lot more to her. She still is the only significant female character, which is a shame. And I love that Megamind mispronounces everything.

 

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Boyhood (2014) Film Review

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Mason (Ellar Coltrane) is just your average kid, fights with his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), his single mother (Patricia Arquette)is struggling with life and studying to make a better life for themselves and his absent father (Ethan Hawke) suddenly appears. And then over the next couple of hours, we see him grow from a small child to a teenager, heading to college.

This film was taped over twelve years, using the same actors. Some people have criticised it as being just an experiment, but I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. What I found was that it was a long view into the ordinary lives of people. At times, it seemed far too long, but that didn’t bother me all that much. Mostly, I just really enjoyed the trip. I enjoyed the way time was represented, that before you knew it, one whole period of time was gone, that relationships developed and disappeared with little explanation. Essentially, the whole film really captured that feeling that life disappears before you know it. And I liked it.

Boyhood won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Patricia Arquette) and was nominated for Best Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Ethan Hawke), Best Achievement in Directing (Richard Linklater), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater) and Best Achievement in Film Editing. It won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture –Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture (Richard Linklater) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Patricia Arquette) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supprting Role (Ethan Hawke) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Richard Linklater). It won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), the David Lean Award for Direction (Richard Linklater), BAFTA Film Award and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke) and Best Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater).

 

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Insomnia (2002) Film Review

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Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is a LA Cop who, with his partner Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) have been sent to Alaska to assist on a horrible crime – a young girl, beaten to death. However, he is in trouble, under investigation back home. Arriving in Alaska to the midnight sun and with so much on his mind, he can barely sleep. Then, whilst chasing a suspect, things so wrong, and he is in a world of pain and confusion, and the whole time, feeling like he may lose his mind from fatigue.

It’s a stunning film. Beautiful, clear Alaskan scenery. Clever storyline, well acted. Fabulous. I come and go with Al Pacino sometimes – but this here he gives such a strong performance. I know that sense of fatigue, the frustration that everything is getting on top of you, that you can barely hold your eyes open. He does everything but drool – and I guess toward the end it seems over the top, but I don’t mind. All I know is that I really, really wanted to get some sleep.

Then there is Robin Williams, so good at that gentle, disturbed kind of character.

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A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) Film Review

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Ex-cop, ex-alcoholic, private detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) is drawn into looking for couple of men who kidnapped and killed the girlfriend of a drug dealer. It doesn’t go smoothly, and there is a lot of violence and horribleness that happens.

It’s a terrible film, really horrible, but very, very good. Certainly not for the faint hearted; and if you have any issues with watching violence against women, this is not the film for you. Or if you dislike blood. Or fighting in general. Oh, so gross.

But if you don’t mind all of that, watch it. Though I don’t recommend it right before bed. I couldn’t sleep at all.

 

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