Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 (2017) Film Review

Groot (Vin Diesel) is tiny, Peter (Chris Pratt) has found his dad, Ego (Kurt Russell) and people are chasing and trying to destroy them. Plus there is a killer soundtrack, some absolutely awesome fight scenes, brilliant make-up design and a lot of laughs.

This is my type of superhero film. Funny and pretty and ridiculous. Plus. I believe there is a whole heap of crossing over between universes coming up and I am looking forward to that!

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

A Star is Born (2018) Film Review

Ally (Lady Gaga) works in a hotel and in her spare time, sings in a small bar. One day alcoholic superstar musician Jack (Bradley Cooper) comes in. They fall in love, her career kicks off and a star is born! But his addiction is ruining everything around him and it seems to only be her love for him that keeps him going.

Look, I like the music, and the performances were very enjoyable, and I do have a soft spot for Lady Gaga, but it was quite problematic in many ways. I especially hated the whole ‘woman needs to fix broken man’ story. I was just thinking about the film and trying to remember the other female characters and I realised that I couldn’t recall any, so I had a quick squiz on IMDB and there are no other women in the film. No wait, yes, there were a couple of dancers, there was a wife of someone. What world is this that there are no women? No wonder I didn’t like this film. Yup, in writing this, I’ve decided that I just didn’t like it. Man is broken, needs woman to fix him. Woman is star struck, stays in a destructive abusive relationship why? For the fame? Romanticising the idea that women should tolerate appalling behaviour to save face? Ugh. Now I’ve made myself cross. No, let me correct that. This film has made me cross. Seeing as IMDB was open, I thought I’d quickly look at the writing credits. All men. Not really surprising. I suppose an argument could be made that not every film needs to take into consideration the women’s perspective, or the non-white perspective (it’s an extremely white cast), or the LGBT perspective (the couple’s first encounter does happen in a drag club, but this ‘family’ for Ally is left behind pretty darn quickly). But a woman’s story being told by men and excluding women from every aspect of her life? Surely we’re beyond that now? Aren’t we?

A Star is Born won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture (Shallow ) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture- Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture (Bradley Cooper), Best Performance by an Action in a Motion Picture (Bradley Cooper) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Lady Gaga).

Joy (2015) Film Review


Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) is an adult who is divorced but whose ex-husband lives in the basement of the house she shares with her child (children? I think there was a son, but he was very insignificant in the film), mother and grandmother. Her father, Rudy (Robert De Niro) has moved back in after breaking up with his girlfriend, and then there is her sister who is a bitter a twisted woman. Joy was told as a child that she was super special, and now she feels let down. But she has an idea – could this turn her life around?

I wanted to like this so much. I’m a fan of many of the actors and, while I didn’t love Silver Linings Playbook, I have enjoyed many of David O. Russell’s previous films. But it was just flat and everyone was annoying, and they were annoying all of the time and there was even a scene where *slight spoiler* Joy cuts her own her with a pair of scissors and then it looks amazing the next day, and that’s clearly crap. In fact, I’d go so far to say that the amazing looking haircut done at a moment of emotional desperation/breakdown that looks amazing the next day is as tedious in a film as ‘I woke up and it was all a dream’. Even if this is a totally true story and that is really what happened.

Joy was nominated for an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role (Jennifer Lawrence). It won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Jennifer Lawrence) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.


Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Film Review


Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was abducted from Earth as a small boy and as an adult travels the galaxy stealing stuff for money. Stealing an orb turns out to be a bad idea, as he ends up with some nasties after him, led by Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a genetic creation – essentially a talking racoon and has a mate who is mostly tree, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and they kidnap people for cash, and end up after Peter too. Things go bad, they end up in jail and then escape with one more hanger on – Drax (Dave Bautista). And they have to fight together to find freedom. And friendship.

And it is that corny, but it is also extremely funny and clever and not so cheesy, with loads of fights and cool crazy special effects and really bright coloured creatures, and Glenn Close and John C. Reilly and Benicio Del Toro and Peter Seranfinowicz and I think I may be a little too excited over this one so I am going to go lie down for a while.

Guardians of the Galaxy was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Achievement in Special Effects and for BAFTAs for Best Make Up and Hair and Best Special Visual Effects/


American Sniper (2014) Film Review


Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) was a rodeo rider who became a Navy SEAL sniper, killed a whole bunch of people whilst deployed in the Middle East, and then returned home with PTSD. Along the way, he got married and had some kids.

The film goes for over two hours, and yet it just seemed to fly past – it is dealing with fairly major issues, but brushes them off. I’m not a big fan of Clint Eastwood’s directing, but this film doesn’t seem to know what story it is telling – I suspect it is looking at the differences between him at work and back at home, but I’m not sure. In fact, it really annoyed me the way that it ‘dealt’ with issues. Spoiler alert: he seems to cure his PTSD by sitting in group therapy with some men who have come back quite injured and by helping them in their training. And then he’s fine… and he shows this by sneaking through the house and jokingly threatens his wife with a gun? What? Mind you, she is portrayed as a grumpy cow who didn’t even want to let him buy her a drink, and when they get married she nags and nags and nags. Yet this was nominated for an Oscar – perhaps we don’t need depth to our characters anymore.

American Sniper won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Sound Editing and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Bradley Cooper), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Jason Hall), Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.

American Hustle (2013) Film Review




Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a con artist who falls for Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and they develop a whole set of scams. Then in steps FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) and the plays they are running are no longer their own – and become more and more ambitious.

David O. Russell’s last film was Silver Linings Playbook, and while I enjoyed watching it, I felt an emptiness at the end, as though I’d been sucked in to think that was a good film when it just wasn’t. I was a little concerned going in to this film that I would find the same problem, and thank goodness not. This is a truly excellent film. The writing is very strong, with twists that I didn’t pick (and loved that aspect). The characters were wonderful, with some of the most repulsively wonderful clothes and hair, although I was a bit distracted by Amy Adams’ boobs. I am not a fan of Christian Bale, which I think is because many of the parts he has played are extremely creepy and unlikable. Apart from Batman; I think he was perfect in that. His portrayal of Irving Rosenfeld is brilliant. A lesser actor may have relied on the weight gain, mysterious hair and creepy glasses, but Bale showed the deeper emotions of the character,  both in a subtle manner and, when required, with the force of a sledgehammer. Add in the magnificent Jennifer Lawrence, a brief moment of Robert De Niro, Louis C.K.  and Jeremy Renner and you got a cast.

American Hustle won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (though I think it is a drama, not a comedy or a musical. A drama a laughed in, but certainly a drama), Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Amy Adams), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is a Motion Picture (Jennifer Lawrence) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Christian Bale), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Bradley Cooper), Best Director – Motion Picture (David O. Russell, Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell). It was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Christian Bale), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Bradley Cooper), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Directing (David O. Russell), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Production Design and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell). It was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell), Best Film, Best Leading Actor (Christian Bale), Best Leading Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence, Best Production Design, Best Make Up/Hair and Best Costume Design.

Valentine’s Day (2010) Film Review


What happens when you get a whole bunch of stars together to tell a whole bunch of stories? Valentine’s Day. And much as I expected to dislike it, being very Hollywood and corny… I loved it. I loved the romance, I loved the slightly unexpected twists (and that many of the twists were not that unexpected), it was just great.

I’m not going to try to recount the plots – there were just so many intertwining. All you need to know is that in LA on this particular Valentine’s Day, heaps of people interact. Some get together, some don’t, some break up, some rekindle their love. It’s gentle and fun and has a huge cast. If you get sick of the stories, you can spend some time trying to name everyone in the film. This is a great film to know for playing 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.



The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) Film Review


Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a stunt motorcyclist working in a carnival. He sees Romina (Eva Mendes) a woman who he had a fling with previously and discovers that she has given birth to his son, but moved in to a relationship with Kofi (Mahershala Ali). Deciding to dedicate his life to his newly discovered son, he quits the carnival but discovers how difficult life can be without skills and with face tatts. Luckily, he meets Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) an ex-bank robber who scopes out Luke’s skills on the bike and they work together to start-up the old business. Things don’t go great, and in steps rookie cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). The film’s focus turns to Avery and his life in a corrupt police force. After some stuff happens, the story jumps fifteen years. Avery and his wife, Jennifer (Rose Byrne) have split. Avery is running for political office, and Jennifer sends their son, AJ (Emory Cohen) to live with him as he is running off the rails. In his new school, AJ meets Jason (Dane DeHaan), Luke’s son. Without any knowledge of the connection between their parents, they begin getting in trouble together.

That’s a pretty difficult plot to tell without spoilers, but I think I’ve done it. I think. Apologies if I spoilt anything. The Place Beyond the Pines is like three different films stitched together. It is very much the old Shakespearean tale of the sins of the father being revisited upon the sins of the son; the story of Jason could be the early days of Luke, yet it is partly the life of Luke that caused Jason’s stories to go the way it did. I think I enjoyed the film, although it is the type of film that it seems wrong to describe as ‘enjoying’ – I appreciated it, I appreciated the beauty of the cinematography and the pacing. The characters annoyed me so much, making bad decisions, or living lives that are the results of many bad decisions. But I still wanted them to work it out. Like one of director Derek Cianfrance’s previous works, Blue Valentine, it’s not quite sadtacular for me, but it’s certainly getting there.

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) Film Review


Surely it is hardly surprising that a film based on a self-help book is not that great. That much didn’t surprise me. I didn’t really expect it to be quite as misogynistic as it was. The women are awful to each other. The men are awful to the women. The women are awful to the men. Actually, maybe it’s not misogyny as such. Maybe it is just a bunch of horrible, horrible people.

Gigi (Ginnie Goodwin) is single and desperate, but keeps getting let down by men. She ends up adopting bartender Alex (Justin Long) as her go-to man for revealing the secrets of men – what they really mean when they say and do various things. Meantime, her colleague Beth (Jennifer Aniston) breaks up with her long-term partner Neil (Ben Affleck) because he will not marry her. Then wannabe singer Anna (Scarlett Johansson) is pursuing married man Ben (Bradley Cooper) at the advice of her best friend, Mary (Drew Barrymoore).

Some of the advice is good. But the film is not.

Wedding Crashers (2005) Film Review


Two adult men crash weddings to get laid. Then one falls in love.

That’s about it. It’s pretty terrible. Vince Vaughan is very funny for part of it. There are a lot of overly long and tedious montages, including one with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams being cute of bikes. It’s really dumb. I hated almost all of it.