Sicario (2015) Film Review

Kate (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent who is dealing with horrific situations happening around the US/Mexico border relating to the drug gangs and the police. She is enlisted into a task force to go into Mexico and try to follow several leads to resolve the situation, but her idealism and belief that she is able to make a difference is challenged at every step.

This is a horrible film- extremely good in many ways, but just awful and violent, and maddening and I just wanted it to end. I wouldn’t recommend this film to a lot of folks because I found it very hard to watch, but I think if you don’t mind feeling outraged at the world and angry that things can be so unjust, you might like it. I am in two minds about the end – I feel as though it suddenly became quite a Hollywood film when it had the chance to be more… I’m not sure if real is quite the right word, but different. Though maybe a more real story would be too long for a film.

Sicario was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Film Review


David Norris (Matt Damon) is a young and successful politician who has the potential to rise all the way to the top – if he can avoid the fallout from a few scandals of his youth. After one, which has cost him an election, he meets Elise Seilas (Emma Blunt) in the toilets and they have an instant connection – and even a quick toilet snog. But then he is gone, and she is gone, but he can’t stop thinking about her. Turns out, there are a group of white men wearing hats who control the world. Oh, no, one single man from the Bureau is black – that’s Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie), and he is not so good at his job, because he likes the David Norris and wants him to get his girl, so breaks a few rules.

I do like this film, but I can’t get past the race or gender thing in it. I know what you’re thinking – blah blah blah, gender yet again, why can you not get over the fact that, even though we make up pretty much half of the world, we women should not get equal screen representation because who cares what women think, and hey, let’s not even consider women who are not white – but I’m sorry, reader, I can’t get over it. Sometimes, I am prepared to let a film be a story about men – sometimes, stories are set in a world which is filled with men and women aren’t there. But in this film, it’s a fictional world. There is absolutely no reason that at least some of the hat wearers could have been women. Some of the political folk around David Norris could have been women. His key advisor could have been a woman, any of the main people chasing him could have been women, there were so many chances to create a world that actually reflects our world. So, why is the only woman in the film the love interest? (Though, she was a character that I liked, sort of a non-Manic Pixie Dream Girl, even if she was a dancer with a sense of humour). And then, the race thing -ah, don’t get me started. Everything I just said about women could be said about non-white faces… although I suppose it is true, white men in suits rule the world.


Into the Woods (2014) Film Review


If you’ve learnt nothing else from me, you should know that I love things based on fairy tales. I love a different take on the basics. And so, when you give me a bunch of different fairy tales and tie them together into one story, well, I was just going to enjoy it. However, the music, well it was altogether a bit heavy-handed and overly repetitive. Well, that’s what musicals are all about, aren’t they?

It’s a fabulous cast of people who I really enjoy watching, and I think that if you enjoy musicals, you’ll especially like this.

Into the Woods was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Meryl Streep), Best Achievement in Costume Design, and Best Achievement in Production Design, and Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy and Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Emily Blunt) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Meryl Streep). It was also nominated for BAFTAs for Best Make Up and Hair and Best Costume Design.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Film Review


The world has been attacked by smart aliens that can anticipate the every move of people who try to attack it. US Army media spokesman Cage (Tom Cruise) who is fearful of combat, is pushed into battle by the General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) and quickly dies. Only doesn’t actually die – he wakes again the day before and re-lives the same day – again and again, each time ending in death. He ends up finding legendary soldier Rita (Emily Blunt) and discovers that he has a special skill that can help them destroy the aliens. But he will need to die over and over, and watch those around him die, until the problem is solved.

Ace. Funny at times, and so amusing to watch Tom Cruise getting killed over and over again. The character of Cage at the start was just so unlikable and entitled, so it was wonderful to see him go through a whole variety of stages including bewilderment and depression. Watch this. It’s seriously fabulous.


Sunshine Cleaning (2008) Film Review

Film Title: Sunshine Cleaning

Two sisters, neither particularly good at being employed and keeping financially safe, start a business cleaning up crime scenes.

I really wanted to like this; Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, wow, what a cast. But it just annoyed me, watching people who are hopeless at doing what they are doing. Of course it was going to end in disaster. And because it was so obvious that things would have to go wrong, I could not get myself attached to the characters.


Looper (2012) Film Review


The concept is way cool. In the future (2074) time travel has been invented. Murder is no problem, and so when the bad guys want someone dead, they send them back in time to where a ‘looper’ is waiting. A looper is an assassin. They set up a sheet in a field, then the victim shows up bound and wearing a hood, and the assassin blows them away. With a really big gun. The looper then collects the payment, silver bars, from the victim’s back, and burns the body. Job done, everyone’s happy. Only the looper is not happy if the bars on the body’s back are gold, because that means he has just closed the loop – he has shot himself.

That’s all really cool. Then, one of the loopers, played by Paul Dano, does not close his loop, and things go horribly and horrifically wrong for him. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) understands this, and is thrown into a panic when his older self (Bruce Willis) is sent back and escapes. The remainder of the film has the two men in a battle of survival.

It’s definitely a good film. There is no doubt about that. But I didn’t really enjoy it. That’s not strictly true. I didn’t mind it. But, I really didn’t like the task that the older Joe had to undertake (I don’t want to spoil it, I’ll just say that I found it quite distasteful, although it was certainly totally logical to the story). I possibly wouldn’t have minded it that much if I wasn’t totally distracted by the awful make-up on Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I get that he needed to be the younger Bruce Willis for the storyline. However, I think that I am smart enough to make that connection through the plot and acting without requiring a distracting amount of make-up – especially given what a fabulous job Gordon-Levitt did matching the mannerisms of Willis. If only the producers/director/whoever could have just trusted in the acting, perhaps I would have enjoyed it.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Film Review


Perhaps I need to come up with a name for the films that I have never watched because I’ve expected them to be awful, but am pleasantly surprised when I finally do take the time to enjoy them. The Devil Wears Prada definitely fits into this category.

Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a journalism graduate who somehow scores a job as the assistant for Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep), the incredibly demanding and rude head of Runway magazine. She doesn’t fit in as she doesn’t wear the right clothes, she’s not super-model thin enough, her hair is wrong, the whole lot. Then she has a word to one of the stylists, Nigel (Stanley Tucci) who dresses her right and she works crazy hard to make sure she has completed every ridiculous request that Miranda throws at her. Of course, she loses all her friends and boyfriend in the process, and Runway and Miranda become Andy’s new family – an unappreciative, unwilling family. Andy needs to make a decision about where her morals stand.

I didn’t really love Anne Hathaway – well, I didn’t really know much about her – until Les Miserables. Whilst I didn’t totally love Les Miserables, I thought her performance was pretty darned impressive. She doesn’t have the same opportunity to really show off her acting chops in this film, but she does exactly what the role requires and does it well. Of course, Streep is marvellous in this. I wonder if it is hard being Meryl Streep, being so very, very good at what you do.

This is not a film to watch to challenge your views on the world, but it’s worth a watch.

The Devil Wears Prada was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep)

The Five-Year Engagement (2012) Film Review


I was completely convinced that this was an awful film. When will I allow myself to recognise that I quite like romantic comedies and that I like pretty much everything that Jason Segel does. It should not have been a surprise to me that I enjoyed this film. Yet it was.

Tom (Jason Segel) proposes to his girlfriend Violet (Emily Blunt) a year after they meet. But her academic career and opportunities take him away from his work as a chef. Life is passing them by and gradually, their resentment for each other grows.

Romantic comedies are changing; or at least, there is now this other branch of romantic comedy. A branch where the characters are extremely flawed. Where affairs or break ups are bigger. And where you really question why characters are doing any of the stuff they are doing. But, for me, I like the messiness of these films. Especially when they have lots of ridiculous slapstick. I really like slapstick when it’s done well.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) Film Review


I can’t remember what this was nominated for. I’ll have to check. Surely, it couldn’t be the acting. The acting was so appalling at the start of the film, it even seemed like Ewan McGregor was struggling with a Scottish accent, which given that he is a Scot, is shocking. It wasn’t the accent. It was the stiltedness of it all, which gets explained later, but just seemed bad at the start. Somehow (given that I’m aware that films are shot non-sequencially), the acting overall seemed to improve as the film went on.

Ewan McGregor is Dr Alfred Jones, a socially inept bureaucrat in the department of fisheries and wildlife in the UK who is approached by a wealthy businessman to set up Salmon flyfishing in one of the rivers in the Yemen. It seems ridiculous to him given the different climates and various other factors, but when the British government (represented by the wonderfully fouth-mouthed Kristen Scott Thomas) needs a good news story from the Middle East, all stops are pulled out to get the project happening.

It’s actually not a bad little story. Cute, a bit quirky, with a bit of drama and some decent sub-plots. It just didn’t quite work for me.

Emily Blunt nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture –  Comedy or Musical

Ewan McGregor nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture –  Comedy or Musical

Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical