War Horse (2011) Film Review


As a youth, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) loved and trained a horse on a nearby farm. Then his drunken dad (Peter Mullen) bought it for far too much, to the chagrin of his mother (Emily Watson). But Albert gets the horse to work and everyone cheers him in the rain. Then war happens, and the horse is taken from them. Albert ends up fighting. Things are nasty and people are badly hurt. So is the horse.

I think this was a terrible film. Apparently, it was an amazing stage play, and that came down to fabulous puppetry to create the horse. But I found the start of this film absolute trite, and then the war parts were pathetic. Although the animals were treated badly, and that was unpleasant to watch, but probably the closest thing to realism you would find. I thought this was really a terrible, terrible film.

War Horse was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (John Williams), Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Art Direction.


Anonymous (2011) Film Review


There has ever been speculation about William Shakespeare. Did he exist? Was he a single playwright or several over a period of time? Or was he someone else altogether? Anonymous tells one version of this story; in this case, that it was the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Irfans), a member of nobility who could not participate in the low arts due to his high status. And there are all other kinds of suggestions about children born out-of-wedlock to Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave and, when younger, her daughter, Joely Richardson) and other scandals.

I have no idea about whether any of the information presented was at all factual and, quite honestly, I don’t care. It’s a great yarn, true or not. It’s got all of the sleazy backstabbing and nastiness that a good tale should have – and it’s funny through all the drama. Oh, and the costumes. Oh my.

Anonymous was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design.


The Theory of Everything (2014) Film Review


Surely everyone knows Stephen Hawking. He’s the worlds most well-known physicist, known as much for his brain as for the body he inhabits; diagnosed with ALS (also known as motor neurone disease), he is mostly paralysed and only able to communicate through technology operated by a single cheek muscle. And the Theory of Everything is his story. His early days at university; the romance with his first wife, Jane; his diagnosis and gradual deterioration, and his ideas – developing theories and challenging his own theories.

I’m sure it’s a good film. It’s an interesting story, the relationship between Hawking and his wife goes through all kinds of ups and downs, and all of that. Yet, I was a bit bored. Perhaps it is just because I pretty much know the story, although that can’t be it. I’ve seen loads of stories made into films and don’t get bored in all of them. There was also the scene where Hawking dreams of being able to get up and pick a pen for a pretty student. Listening to a great discussion about the use of disabled actors in films on the magnificent Ouch Radio Show through BBC, this type of scene is apparently very common in films with able-bodied actors playing disabled characters as it gives the audience a sense of relief that the actor is okay. This may be a somewhat cynical view of the reasoning for such a scene, but that scene brought nothing to the film and made me groan out loud.

The Theory of Everything was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Eddie Redmayne), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Felicty Jones), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Anthony McCarten) and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score. It won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Eddie Redmayne) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture and was nominated for Best Motion Picture, Drama and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picure – Drama. It was nominated for BAFTAs for Best British Film, Best Film, Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Best Screenplay (Adapted) Anthony McCarten, Original Music, Best Editing, Best Make Up/Hair, Best Costume Design and the David Lean Award for Direction.


London Boulevard (2010) Film Review


With a plot vaguely reminiscent of The Bodyguard (1992), London Boulevard has Colin Farrell playing Mitchel, an ex-con hired to protect celebrity actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley). They fall in love to the backdrop of foul-mouthed paparazzi, foul-mouthed criminals and foul-mouthed police.

There is a lot of swearing in this film. It all felt natural for the world that they are occupying, but gee, there is an awful lot of it. What didn’t feel natural was the relationship between Mitchel and Charlotte. No chemistry at all. I don’t know if it was simply the acting or if it was poorly scripted, or bad direction. All I know is that I didn’t see any spark between them, which is fairly crucial to the plot. It kind of felt as though it was a romance/drama that should have been aimed at a female audience, but then there was so much bad language and drama that it was actually aimed at a male audience. Hmm, I’m not overly happy with saying that in general, women prefer the romance and men prefer the violence, but I’m not sure that I’m being sexist so much as gender stereotyping. What do you think?

Incidentally, this trailer makes it look quirky and funny. It’s not.