Being John Malkovich (1999) Film Review


Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a puppeteer who lives with a menagerie and his wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz), but he is depressed, he is unemployed, and he ends up taking a job for filing in a strange office on the 7½th floor. Here, he discovers a small door that leads him into a portal that goes directly into the brain of John Malkovic (played by himself). Then there is Maxine (Catherine Keener)who is out to make a buck and maybe fall in love.

Such a strange film – I loved it so much when I first saw it, and seeing it again now probably fifteen years later, I’m surprised at how much I had forgotten. I think I enjoyed it even more on the re-watch – it is just so very, very strange. The group of elderly folk who need the portal, or the woman in the office who constantly mishears people but blames it on them – magnificent. If you haven’t seen this, and you’re up for a strange movie adventure, here you go!

Being John Malkovich was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Catherine Keener), Best Director (Spike Jonze) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

My Sister’s Keeper (2009) Film Review


For so long, I’ve avoided this for one single reason: I am prepared to cry at a movie. Hey, I cry at all almost every film. I am a film crier. So, give me a film about a family with one daughter who has cancer, who have a second daughter to provide bits and pieces to kept the first daughter alive and the second daughter decides she’s had enough? Ah, the tears!

Actually, I always thought that it might be somewhat cheesy. I suspected it would be, I don’t know. And it probably is, but I totally loved it. It is absolutely a cheesy series of flashbacks and what have you, but it was great. What’s more, it is not just what happens to a sick teenager dealing with life, but what happens to the whole family. The young, donor, sister. The mother, having her entire existence be about keeping her older daughter alive. The father, pained through the constant fight. The brother, all but forgotten.


Shrek (2001) Film Review


Shrek (Mike Meyers) is an ogre who lives in a swamp and is blissfully happy on his own. Then a whole heap of fairy tale characters turn up in his swamp, dumped there by the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). To get his swamp back, he must rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and take her to marry Lord Farquaad. Shrek takes his new companion, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and it turns into a marvelous adventure.

It’s such a great film. Funny, silly, loads of cultural references that have not grown old. And really, how many kids’ movies can get away with a lead character with an extremely rude sounding name, popular kids fairy tale characters being tortured and a bird exploding? What ace times.

Shrek won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.

Bad Teacher (2011) Film Review


Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is a teacher, but god knows why. She comes to work stoned and hung-over, and her main aim is to get enough cash together for a boob job, then marry a wealthy man. She is under the watch of fellow teachers Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) who plays by the rules with an insanely happy demeanour and Russell Gettis (Jason Segal) who is clearly bemused by Elizabeth’s antics. But when Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) starts teaching at the school, there becomes a race for his romantic affection between the two ladies.

There is something about this film that really works for me. Perhaps it is the magnificent slapstick or the crass humour or just seeing JT in such a geeky and hilarious role. Or perhaps it is that when Elizabeth is tested, after showing no sense of caring about anyone or anything but herself, she doesn’t end up with an absolute heart of gold; yes, she comes through for the poetry-loving kid who embarrasses himself in front of the class, but not in a way that is in any sense appropriate for a teacher. And I loved that.