Max (Jason Schwartzman) is an odd kid – overachieving in many ways at the Rushmore Academy, he becomes friends with Herman Blume (Bill Murray) the father of a classmate, falls in love with Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a teacher, and is put out of the school by Dr Nelson Guggenheim (Brian Cox). Really, he’s just trying to find his place in the world – be it at Rushmore Academy or beyond.
This is Wes Anderson’s first feature film and it’s where we see many of the stylistic and story elements which define his work. I recently became quite cross about Anderson’s most recent film, Isle of Dogs, and was fearful about revisiting his previous films, but took the plunge. I think I’m still a fan. Mostly. It’s very strange seeing Jason Schwartzman so young, but I do really like the way Anderson creates weird characters who are so over confident. Many people struggle leaving high school success and moving to the real world, but it usually takes a while for them to realise it. In Rushmore, it almost happens before he finishes school.
What do you do when you know your time is about to run out? When your life is about to end and you have a day to sort out your affairs, deal with your life regrets and say your goodbyes? This is where Monty (Edward Norton) is. In high school, he started selling a bit of dope and by his early thirties when the police catch up with him, he is a high flyer. Facing seven years in jail, he must say goodbye to his father (Brian Cox), his girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) and his oldest friends (Barry Pepper and Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Why would you have any sympathy for a drug dealer? In all honesty, I didn’t. What I think Spike Lee has done in a really interesting fashion is to show how people deal with the choices of their near and dear; how others deal with losing someone in this way. And prison is an odd way to lose someone – they are not gone, but they are away. Prison for doing something bad over and over, for profiting from the pain of others. Yet people still hurt.
I don’t think it is the best film, but I think it is the ideas that it plants about people, relationships and life that make it fascinating.
Magneto (Ian McKellen) is in prison, a plastic prison that he can’t control the metal bits and pieces. Stryker (Brian Cox) has turned up, a military guy who, as it happens, wants to destroy all of the mutants. He goes after Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his school and it is all on.
Heaps of explosions, fighting, supernatural stuff, and yet I was a bit bored. There were certainly part that were most impressive, but whatever. But everything was made better by the presence of Alan Cumming. Let’s face it, he can make anything better.
Will (James Franco) has been trialling a new drug to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s, testing it on gorillas. His boss, Steven (David Oyelowo) is concerned with making money, but when one of the treated animals appears to go crazy and get quite violent, Steven pulls the plug. There is a little baby, Caesar (who later is played by Andy Serkis with a whole bunch of special effects), who Will takes home to his father, Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and Caesar is very smart, having had the effects of the drug pass down from his mother. When his renegade use of the drug on his father stops working, Will develops another without realising the danger of it. Meanwhile, Caesar has gone all protective on the evil neighbour who was hassling Charles and ended up in an unpleasant facility run by John (Brian Cox) and Dodge (Tom Felton). Caesar has come to understand that he is not human, and he gathers an army to find his home.
Phew. It’s a big plot, really, and I haven’t even covered it all. There are some truly shocking lines in the story (I think my favourite was “You know everything about the brain except how it works”) and parts are pretty cheesy. But overall, I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed the way the characters interacted and it has set itself up for the sequel, the recently released Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Special Effects.
Rob Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson) is the head of a clan in 1712, Scotland, living in idyllic happiness with his wife, Mary (Jessica Lange) and their sons. But he is at the whim of the powerful classes, most notably English Lord Montrose (John Hurt), his manservant Killearn (Brian Cox) and the evil Cunningham (Tim Roth). MacGregor needs to find a way to retain his honour in the face of adversity.
It came out in 1995, the same year as Braveheart, and there are clearly a lot of similarities. I love it, even though I question the lack of Scottish actors (especially with a few of the very dodgy accents), though certainly the main cast is extremely strong and drive the story. Revisiting this was extremely interesting, and what I noted the most was the extremely strong script – often, entire conversations, entire moods and conflicts were summed with one perfect line. Wonderful. I am unsure on the historical accuracy, but it is a fantastic film.
Rob Roy was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Tim Roth).
Watching The Bourne Identity recently reminded me of The Long Kiss Goodnight. I’ve watched this film so many times, and I will watch it often in the future because I think it is awesome. Not in some ironic way – honestly, I just love it to bits.
Geena Davis plays Samantha Caine, a housewife living in the suburbs. She has a husband and a child and a seemingly idyllic life, but she has no memories from before she arrived in this town as she was found wandering around. She’s happily married with a lovely small daughter. Then, she starts to remember. She was Charly, a hitman. Along with Mitch Henessey (Samuel L Jackson), a private detective she hired to find her past, she takes a journey to find who she is and free herself from the past.
And it is totally and utterly awesome. There needs to be more action films with women in the roles. I think I have a bit of a girl crush on Geena Davis, she is just so tough and awesome, but gorgeous and funny. I reckon I’ve watched this film twenty times and I could watch it another twenty. Or more.
Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) was a professional tennis player, travelling the circuit but not getting through to the finals. He decides to retire to London, taking on a coaching role at an exclusive health club. There, he meets Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), striking up a friendship and quickly becoming a part of his family. Chris dates Chloe (Emily Mortimer), Tom’s sister, with the blessing of her parents Alec (Brian Cox) and Eleanor (Penelope Wilton). However when he meets Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), Tom’s American actress fiancé, an obsession develops. A very dangerous obsession.
I really don’t like Woody Allen onscreen. Luckily, he is not in Match Point, and there is no character like the typical Woody Allen character either. I didn’t mind the film, although it seemed a bit long and rambling. The really interesting stuff happens in the last forty minutes or so, and had there been more of this part, I think I’d have enjoyed it more. As it was, I didn’t mind it. Didn’t love it, but didn’t mind it.
Guns, explosions, running, jumping. Just like The Bourne Identity, this film is a good, strong action classic. Unfortunately, some parts are terribly predictable (we couldn’t keep the love interest alive – who would he be avenging?)but others are delightfully not.
Jason Bourne(Matt Damon) still doesn’t know who he is. There are bits of memory that are coming back to him, but not enough to let him rest easily. Then Marie(Franka Potente) is killed and he needs to step it up. However, upon returning to the places where he may learn about his past (Paris, Berlin, Milan), he is discovered and pursued by the FBI. Who is covering up what? There is layer and layer to the film, which makes it a fair bit more satisfying that your general shoot-‘em’up action flick.
Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has held a position as congressman in North Carolina for years, and is again running unopposed. But he continues to make major political gaffes, and uses spin to get around it. The Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd), who are the faceless men behind politics, need to get someone more respectable in office to ensure their illegal Chinese labor plans get through congress. They find the most unlikely candidate, Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), an eccentric director of a small town tourist centre.
There’s a lot to love in this film. Seeing Will Ferrell punch a baby was definitely a highlight – horrifically detailed slow-motion CGI that is oh-so-wrong, but just worked. Plus, whilst Galifianakis plays an eccentric, the portrayal doesn’t seem to have that cruel edge that a lot of comedy has had over the last few years.
Whilst I enjoyed the film, I felt it didn’t stay strong for the full 85 minutes. The story just seemed to drop off by the end. Good for a laugh, sure, and a lot funnier than I had expected, but not totally grouse.