In Time (2011) Film Review *Spoiler Alerts*

In a world where there is a limited amount of resources, a built-in computer chip allows people to age up to 25 and then they have a year on their clock. They gain time by working, bartering, stealing, fighting… and pay time for goods and services. A pretty decent system. Of course, it’s not fair. In the ghetto time zones, people like Will (Justin Timberlake) can barely keep enough time on the clock to stay ahead, and in the wealthy time zones they have years, decades, centuries.

So, there’s a guy with over a century on his clock, and he’s had enough, so he heads to the ghetto to let himself be robbed and killed. (There’s pretty much my first issue – there are so many ways to give time away, why let the criminals get it?) Will steps in and saves this guy, so he explains to him how the rich live, gives will his time and drops off a bridge. Will is going to even the score, so he heads to the rich zone where he… goes to a casino? How is that going to give him justice? He plays cards against a very wealthy man, Weis (Vincent Kartheiser) who introduces Will to his beautiful daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and invites his to a party the following night. When Will arrives at the party, Weis introduces Will to Sylvia by saying “I believe you two have met” (either a bad case of script editing or a change in script that wasn’t corrected, or just… bad writing). When the time police, lead by Leon (Cillian Murphy), turn up, Will kidnaps Sylvia and then quickly she falls for him and they start robbing banks and… then play strip poker when they know they are being chased? What? It makes no sense.

I was so disappointed. A pretty decent cast, but a terrible script, and so many major and minor flaws. Plus, the end just made no real sense. Oh, and if you’re a POC, please don’t expect to see any representation – no wait. A time cop who, despite apparently being second in charge, doesn’t know much. Also, if you are rich, you are horrible. If you are poor, you may have a flaw like alcoholism, but you’re going to have a heart of gold. Ugh, I just wanted it to be better.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) Film Review

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It’s the Wild West and things are pretty horrible. Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer (although not very good at it) and a coward. After his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him, he wants to leave. He cannot be convinced to stay by his best mate, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) or Edward’s girlfriend, Ruth (Sarah Silverman), but when a new lady arrives in town he is convinced to stay. Little does he know that Anna (Charlize Theron) is the wife of the evil Clinch (Liam Neeson) and he is in deep trouble. Plus, now Louise is dating the creepy mustachioed Foy (Neil Patrick Harris) can life get much worse?

I thought that I would get a few laughs out of this, but (like with Ted and Family Guy) be left with the bitter taste of casual misogyny and racism. I’m quite torn by Seth MacFarlane’s humour – he pushes things too far, but that often makes me laugh. Was the ‘I saw your boobs’ song at the Oscars misogynistic or just funny? I thought it was just funny. But there are plenty of other examples of humour that I find quite unpleasant.

Luckily, that nastiness seemed to be lacking in this film. Sure, there are not really great roles for women, but that seems to be fairly normal. In fact, my favourite moments on the screen were between Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi. Who could not love a couple that is waiting to have sex when one is an extremely popular prostitute? Oh, and every moment with Neil Patrick Harris – how marvelous to have a real, old school, over-the-top, magnificent, mustache-twirling villain?

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it again with very little encouragement. It’s just plain funny, (mostly low-brow, with the odd very clever remark, but why would you expect much more?) with good writing that balances the line of living in the time but having a total awareness of the future. Apparently, everyone else hated this film. It’s only got one-and-a-half stars on Rotten Tomatoes. Huh.

Les Miserables (2012) Fim Review

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The story of Les Miserables is long and complicated. In short, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is a criminal who absconds during his parole, taking on a new name and starting a new life, running from Javert (Russell Crowe). Along the way, he adopts the daughter of Fantine(Anne Hathaway) one of his ex-factory workers whose firing leads to her descent into prostitution, illness and eventual death. Then, there is a revolution against the rich ruling classes. There’s death, betrayal, love and the whole lot.

It was a very long stage play, and it is a very long film. The one problem I often have with musicals is the amount of singing. Really keep it to one or two verses and a chorus – get back to the story. That goes doubly for this film – everything is sung, like an opera, only it’s not an opera. It’s fine for the songs, but the dialogue and the single lines just seem odd.

But, ignoring my impatience with songs in musicals, it’s a very good film. It is as grand and epic as it needed to be. The casting was fantastic, apart from Russell Crowe. Crowe was perfect for the acting of Javert, but his singing was noticeably weaker that all of the other leads, which made his seem like a weak performance.

Hugh Jackman has been nominated for a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar, won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Leading actor

Anne Hathaway has been nominated for a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar, won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and won the for a BAFTA for Supporting Actress

Paco Delgado has been nominated for an Oscar for Costume Design and a BAFTA for Costume Design

Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell have been nominated for an Oscar for Makeup and Hairstyling

‘Suddenly’ has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Les Miserables has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Film, an Oscar for Best Production Design, won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Film, was nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, won the BAFTA for Production Design and won the BAFTA for Sound

Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes have been nominated for an Oscar for Sound Mixing

Danny Cohen was nominated for a BAFTA for Cinematography

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