The Full Monty (1997) Film Review

It’s Sheffield in the late nineties. The steel mill which employed most of the town has closed and unemployment and depression is high. Gaz (Robert Carlyle) is struggling to make ends meet and to keep his relationship with his son alive. After seeing a male review selling out the local club, he and mate Dave (Mark Addy) decide to put on their own review, but as they are normal blokes, not the societal image of perfection, they need a drawcard… their crew will go fully nude.

This was such a classic, it’s one of those films I feared revisiting. There are certainly aspects that clang, in particular the casual homophobic comments and the like. But overall, it holds up. It’s funny, it’s depressing, it’s heartwarming. It might try to cover maybe a few too many issues, but it works.

The Full Monty won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Peter Cattaneo) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Simon Beaufoy)

Tenet (2020) Film Review

Christopher Nolan goes to a whole new level of “what the hell is going on” in Tenet, a world where there is a kind of parallel word, and the bad guys get weapons from the parallel world that work backwards in our world, which no matter how much I try to get my brain around it, just doesn’t make sense. And then the main character, Protagonist (John David Washington), called protagonist because… probably a really deep reason… meets Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) and again, for no real reason, needs to save her more than he needs to save the world. Because. Why? I guess I felt that there was no clear set-up for Protagonist to be a caring character who wants to save a woman in an abusive relationship and I felt there was no chemistry of any kind between the two, so I couldn’t believe his choices.

You may have guessed that I didn’t really like the film. It is stunning, the casting is pretty impressive, but I just didn’t buy the science, I didn’t buy the plots and I didn’t buy it overall. But what I did love were the scenes with all of the crazy action, forwards and backwards, and who is who? I wouldn’t not recommend this, but I think I would recommend it for someone who is prepared to be very accepting of a world and plot that doesn’t necessarily make sense, and is prepared to simply enjoy the journey.

Strike! (1998) Film Review

There’s an elite private girls boarding school that, due to financial and other woes is going to be merged with a local boys school. So the students strike to keep their school as is. At least, that’s what it says on IMDB. But, this is one confusing film, with sub-plots that don’t connect all over the shop and… well, really, it’s quite terrible. It actually even has several other titles, including All I Wanna Do and The Hairy Bird. For me, it was really all over the shop and, while there were individual scenes that I quite liked, I couldn’t really see the point.

Super Troopers (2001) Film Review

So silly. The main plot is there’s a rivalry between two branches of the police – the state troopers and the local police department. One is going to be shut. So between getting drunk, stoned, having sex and drinking syrup, they need to prove who is the best.

So, so dumb. But I just love it. It’s a great go-to film for me when I need something silly right meow.

Spy (2015) Film Review

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) works for a secret agency, paired as the intelligence officer behind the earpiece of hunky spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law). But when the organisation they are battling know all of the players on the street, Cooper is forced to get out and do some spywork.

I loved this film so much. McCarthy is so fantastic, physical comedy, delivering gags, being generally awesome. Not all of her films are as wonderful as this, but with Paul Fieg directing and a cast including Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart (magnificent) Allison Janney, and Babby Cannavale… well, it’s not impossible for that to fail, but it’s pretty hard. This is an awesome, fun film.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) Film Review

If you know Pride and Prejudice, you can kind of see where this film is going. Imagine the world of Pemberley, only there is a zombie apocalypse happening. It follows the general storyline of Pride and Prejudice, but… with… zombies. It’s confusing, but it’s loads of fun especially seeing the Bennett sisters kicking zombie ass.

For me, it went too long and ended up dragging, and could have easily been maybe twenty minutes shorter. But for a stupid zombie period drama… it was great!

Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! (2009) Film Review

When Shirley (Lainie Kazan) and Martin (Saul Rubinek) discover that their son, Nelson (John Lloyd Young) is gay, they refuse to belief it, attempting to find any clumsy way to convince him otherwise.

I blame Covid-19 and our long time in lockdown for watching this film. It is a terrible film in so many different ways, least of all that this was made so recently. If this had been made in the nineties, I think it still would have been panned as having out-of-date views, offensively stereotypical depictions of members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as a variety of races, and very lacking humour. I’m not sure that I can say this is the worst film I’ve ever seen, but I’m not sure that I can’t.

Practical Magic (1998) Film Review

Sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) have grown up with  their awesome witch aunts Frances (Stockard Channing) and Jet (Dianne Wiest) after their parents died when they were children. Both rebel from their family legacy – that true love killed their parents. Gillian runs wild, running away and getting involved with perhaps not the most savoury types, and Sally avoids love… until her meddling aunts get in the way. However after several tragic events, Sally and Gillian must join forces against evil.

I really can’t believe I hadn’t seen this film before, given how much of a fan of Sandra Bullock I am. It’s a terrible wonderful film. There’s some unpleasant victim blaming, and a lot of ‘as if’ moments (though in a romantic comedy about witches in a small town, are they really as if moments? The whole film is an as if moment!), but overall, it’s great. There’s so much to enjoy, so much silliness. I loved it, I will definitely watch it again… probably over and over, really.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Film Review

There are a lot of films and television shows made of this Agatha Christie novel, this is probably the most well-known, perhaps on par with the recent 2017 remake. The cast for this – wow. Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York. Wow. What a line-up!

It’s slow. Very slow. Perhaps it is that films were made differently back in the day, perhaps people had more time, perhaps with that cast it was difficult to cut it down. It’s sooooo long (feels a lot longer than it actually is) but there are truly some moments of absolute gold.

Ingrid Berman won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Albert Finney), Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material (Paul Dehn), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.

Late Night (2019) Film Review

Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) has been a top-rating late night talk show host for decades, but her ratings are slipping, her all-white, all-male writers room are too scared to push for change or to try anything different and, unbeknownst to her, the network plans to oust her. In comes Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) who is female, not white and not part of the industry, so regularly puts her foot in it and doesn’t know the games to play the games. Can Molly be enough to save Katherine?

I loved this. I’m a massive fan of Emma Thompson and love Mindy Kahling, add in John Lithgow, Amy Ryan and Reid Scott, and I’m pretty impressed with the cast. I thought it was extremely clever the way the writing dealt with Katherine’s resistance to change in a believable fashion. I also really liked that Molly showed her emotion, she accepted help when needed and she really seemed to know her own worth. So often female characters in this fish-out-of-water situation just roll over and complain, and often are saved, whereas Molly had her own agency. And she didn’t have to be aloof and alone to have some power within her situation.