Match Point (2005) Film Review

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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.

Cars 2 (2011) Film Review

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I heard a lot of parents complain about this film, finding it to be one of the weaker of the Pixar films. I don’t recall watching the first Cars, but recently was forced to watch it – and I though it was quite good.

The story is that there is a group of cars who are pushing sustainable fuel, but when using it in several trials, it appears that the fuel is causing cars to explode. The British and American spies are trying to get to the bottom of it , including Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). But Mater (Larry the Cable Guy. That’s how he’s listed on IMDB) gets tied up in the whole event. To save his friend, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), Mater needs to work harder than before.

Look, it’s not a new concept – the mostly cool kid is embarrassed by his old friend with his cool new mates, but ultimately realises his error. I think I couldn’t really care less about the story of the film – I was just enjoying the voices of Caine and Mortimer coming out of the cars. Lovely.

Hugo (2011) Film Review

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Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is an orphan who lives about the Paris train station, hiding from the evil Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), watching and stealing small parts from toy booth owner Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) and rebuilding the automaton his father (Jude Law) was fixing before he died. Before long, Hugo befriends the god-daughter of Georges Melies, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) and they embark on the adventure of finding what the world hold, and what place they have within it.

It’s a sweet little story, tying in with some of the real history of cinema, but it just didn’t win me over. Why, I wonder? The story and characters were strong, and it was certainly beautiful. Perhaps it was the acting.  I felt that the young lead was doing far too much eyebrow and mouth acting, like Daniel Radcliffe throughout the Harry Potter films. I think when you see films with amazing child actors, you know that there is better than this. I really had very little interest in what happened to Hugo, and I guess that is pretty important to the film. I think there was also the element of brushing over the ugly side of life; yes, the orphans were captured by the evil Station Inspector, but I didn’t feel the fear that they were trying to portray here.

Hugo won Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Visual Effects and Best Achievement in Art Direction. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Martin Scorsese) Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (John Logan), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.

The Newsroom – TV Review

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I love Aaron Sorkin television shows. The West Wing, Sportsnight, even the short-lived Studio 60 on Sunset Strip. The characters are real, the storylines plausible and the shows don’t treat the audience as if they are idiots. Which is refreshing.

The Newsroom is based on the set of News Night with Will McAvoy, a late night news show on a cable channel in the US. Will (Jeff Daniels) is a conservative who feels that America has lost its way, being distracted by the posturing of the tea party movement and bad journalism. Luckily for him, along comes MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) a producer who passionately wants to change the face of the news. Unluckily for him, she is also his ex, and he is clearly still hung up on her. Guided by the news president of the station, Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) and supported by a huge and very strong cast, they face the onslaught of pressure from the cable company, tabloid scandal and their own relationship issues.

The show is held together by the personal storylines, and they are important, but who dates who and who wants to date who and, indeed, who used to date who… I’m not too fussed. What I like is the other stuff – how do they work together (and against each other) when the push comes to the shove? The show is based around real events – the first episode has them covering an event that most other shows are writing off as a less-important issue – the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In my (admittedly minimal) research for this review, I learnt that apparently HBO and Aaron Sorkin are still negotiating a third season. I hope whatever the issues are that they figure it out, because I feel this show still has a lot more to offer.

 

Harry Brown (2009) Film Review

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Bleak, bleak, bleak. Harry Brown (Michael Caine) is an elderly man living on a very poor tower estate in England. The estate has been overtaken by young thugs; ‘hoodies’ who live for violence and drugs. Harry’s friend Leonard (David Bradley)has had enough and decides to get revenge, but instead is murdered. D.I. Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer), an idyllist police officer is paired with D.S. Terry Hicock (Charlie Creed Miles) to investigate, and is hopeful that she will bring the murderers to justice. But things just get bleaker and bleaker. It’s all just awful.

This is what ‘broken Britain’ is all about. The end of the film has the slightest glimmer of hope, but only after your film has been removed, beaten with a baseball bat, stabbed a few times and shoved back. It is a very, very good film. Just incredibly depressing.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007) FIlm Review

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I’m not a big one for romantic comedies. Not to say I don’t watch them at all, but I often find that they give me the irrits, and I want to shake the characters and say ‘hey! Stop it. Just stop it!’ I suppose this is a romantic comedy, but it has so much more depth.

Lars(Ryan Gosling) is an odd and quiet man living in a small town. His brother, Gus(Paul Schneider) and pregnant sister-in-law, Karin(Emily Mortimer) live in their deceased parents’ house and Lars is in the garage. He goes to work and then stays in his house, avoiding any socialization. Then, one day, he introduces the world to his new girlfriend, Bianca. Only, she is a very elaborate sex-doll. His brother and sister-in-law are understandably distressed by this, but are convinced by the local doctor that they should play along with it to see how it can work itself out. Before long, the whole town is playing along, and Bianca has become a part of their lives.

Oh, I cried so much in this comedy. It’s just so incredibly heart-warming, to see a community committing to helping one of their own through such and unusual and strange break from reality. This film definitely makes it as one of my favourite films of all times for the warmth, the humour and the compassion.