The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Film Review

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is back as Spider-Man, cleaning up his city but trying to have a relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) with a guilty conscience to her dead father. Then there is Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) a normal guy who gets superpowers and misunderstands those around him, and there’re a whole heap of other stuff happening.

It’s another fun movie, which has a lot of character, a whole heap of running and chasing and big explosions and quite frankly, it doesn’t stand out a lot from other super hero films, except to say it was heaps of fun. Will there be more? I don’t really care. If there is, I’ll probably enjoy it. But I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting.

The Favourite (2018) Film Review

Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) is unwell both physically and, at times, mentally. She is advised by Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who is serving her own interest, advising against the men in parliament. Then Abigail (Emma Stone) turns up, a relative who has fallen on bad times and begins working in the palace.

This is the new film by Yorgos Lanthimos who previously made The Lobster and Killing of a Sacred Deer, and I love his style. This is quite different to his previous films, but with plenty of the wonderful absurdity. Everyone in it is magnificent, but Olivia Colman is incredible.  What an amazing actress, she does funny, she does tragic, she’s got it all, and this role was absolutely made for her.

The Favourite won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Olivia Colman) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Emma Stone), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Rachel Weisz) and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

The Amazing Spiderman (2012) Film Review

Yet another origin film of Spiderman. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is bitten by a magic (or whatever) spider and develops skills. Blah blah blah… no, actually not. Yes, the essential plot is that. But let’s face it, that’s a pretty cool plot anyhow. Then add in Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field and Martin Sheen – awesome cast. Andrew Garfield is a great Spiderman. I loved it, heaps of fun, great humour, cool stuff. And then there’s Denis Leary too! Ace.

La La Land (2016) Film Review

There is a jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) who is a bit grumpy and dissatisfied with life. He makes a living playing wherever he can, with dreams of owning a jazz nightclub. Then there’s an actress, Mia (Emma Stone) who auditions and auditions and never gets through. They meet and fall in love, and then settle into a life that neither are totally happy with, and then have to figure out what to do. All whilst singing.

Yawn. I wanted to enjoy this. this felt like the kind of film that I should love. Songs, style, the fun-time combo of Gosling and Stone. Yet I felt no chemistry between the two, I found many of the musical numbers forced and the end should have been something that I loved. But I didn’t. What it did inspire in me was the interest at watching some good old Hollywood films with great dancing – some Ginger Rogers and the like.

La La Land won Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Stone), Best Achievement in Directing (Damien Chazelle), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score), Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) “City of Stars” and Best Achievement in Production Design and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Ryan Gosling), Best Original Screenplay, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”.

Birdman (2014) Film Review


Riggan (Michael Keaton) is an actor who is best known to the world as Birdman, a superhero from a series of films from the early nineties. He has now, many years later, written a play based on work by Raymond Carver, and is directing and starring in it on Broadway. But things are not going smoothly, his lawyer Jake (Zach Galifianakis) is trying to clean up the mess. When one of the other stars, Lesley (Naomi Watts) suggests famous but volatile Mike (Edward Norton), things get even crazier. Then just add in Riggan’s recovering daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), his ex-wife Sylvia (Amy Ryan) and his current squeeze Laura (Andrew Riseborough). Mad.

I loved this film so much. I loved it like I feel like I haven’t loved a film in ages. It is absurd and strange and clever and surreal and magical. Yet… I’ve spoken to friends who hated this film. Who even walked out of the film. Friends who I have a lot in common with, who are smart and we like a lot of the same things. And I think this is what this film will do – completely polarise the audience. The amazing drum soundtrack will, I’m sure, drive people insane, but I loved it so much – it drove the action and the emotion. Go, see it, love it or hate it, but experience a different type of film.

Birdman was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Michael Keaton), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Edward Norton), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Stone), Best Achievement in Directing (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo), Best Achievement in Cinematography and Best Achieement in Sound Editing. It won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Michael Keaton) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo) and was nominated for Best Director (Aejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Stone), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Edward Norton), Best Original Score – Motion Picture. It was also nominated for BAFTAs for Best Film, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), the David Lean Award for Direction (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Best Screenplay (Original) (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Original Music and Best Sound.

The Croods (2013) Film Review


Meet the Croods – father Grug (Nicholas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), Gran (Cloris Leachman) and the kids, including the eldest, daughter Eep (Emma Stone). After seeing many of the families around them killed through a variety of factors, Grug keeps them safe most of the time in a cave. But Eep is not happy with this, and wants to be free. Then she meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a different kind of person who showed then a different way to life their lives, and after their cave is destroyed, they need to follow him or meet their end.

I loved that the women in this film were not drawn as spindly, crazy-skinny stick figures, but had some shape and spunk. It’s a fun film, yes the morals are pretty stock standard for a kids animation – parents need to let their kids make mistakes and cannot protect them forever no matter how dangerous the world may be. But it was fun, with a good sense of humour and just a lot of good, nice stuff going on.


The Croods was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film and a BAFTA for BAFTA Kids Vote – Feature Film.

Zombieland (2009) Film Review


I always say that I can’t stand horror, but it seems I am developing a soft spot for horror/comedy. Not that I’ve seen too many films in this genre. 100 Bloody Acres, Sean of the Dead, I can’t think of any others. There must be more.

Zombieland takes place after something has happened – it’s unimportant exactly what – but America is overrun by Zombies. There are few survivors, and those that are alive may be more interested in saving themselves than working as a team.

Enter Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a geeky college student who has quickly developed a series of rules to keep himself alive. When he comes across Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) they form an unlikely partnership who end up being challenged, hindered and assisted by sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).

The film is funny and violent. Possibly violently funny, although definitely hilariously violent. I’ve not been a huge fan of Eisenberg, but that’s mostly because I really couldn’t stand the character he played in The Social Network and have not really moved on from here. Columbus was the perfect role for him – geeky, a bit shy but not afraid to use a semi-automatic weapon. And then there’s Bill Murray. Ah, bless you, Bill Murray.

Easy A (2010) – Film Review

Easy A Poster

Olive(Emma Stone) is your average high school student – working toward college, keeping to herself, not noticed by most of the school. Until a rumour gets out that she has slept with a college guy, and suddenly she gets the reputation of being the school slut. Rather than challenging this, she uses this reputation to help others; her gay friend hides his true sexual leanings; an unpopular, ugly guy starts to garner female attention after people think he has hooked up with Olive. It’s not altruistic, though; Olive takes cash or vouchers for her favours. She starts to dress to the character, however eventually it becomes too much for her and she needs to find a way out.

It’s a good high school film. One of those films where the parents are way too cool and ace to be believed and that behaviour that almost certainly would not be tolerated in a school is ignored. (Or at least, at this school, that seems extremely middle class and conservative. Conservative enough that the concept that one student has had sex can stop the whole school in its tracks) I think it would probably be a good film for high school students when looking at bullying and reputation – along with Mean Girls.

Gangster Squad (2013) – Film Review


It’s post World War 2 in Los Angeles. Gangsters are rising across the country. LA is being taken over by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). The police are corrupt, and their hands are tied by legal restraints while Cohen takes over every racket possible. The chief of police Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) decides he needs to go to great lengths to beat Cohen, and commissions Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to pull together a squad of police who will work beneath the radar to destroy Cohen’s business interests, therefore ensuring not only his demise, but reducing chances of another gangster coming in to take Cohen’s place. The Gangster Squad they set about cleaning up the city.

There is some clichéd predictability (most notably the fact that Sgt Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) starts as a corrupt playboy who only joins the squad after an innocent shoeshine is killed in front of him and he wants to right this wrong), but generally, it’s a good concept. I have to admit, though, it just didn’t grab me. There was not a lot of emotional connection to the characters, so I didn’t care who lived or died. The tension wasn’t all that great either, and when there was tension, it was resolved quickly and easily. It’s a fun film and worth a watch, but I felt that it really could have been much more.

Crazy, Stupid Love (2011) Film Review


Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is devastated when his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) asks him for a divorce, seemingly out of the blue. He moves in a nondescript apartment and spends his nights sitting alone at a local bar moaning about David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), the man his wife slept with. Ladies man Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) takes pity on him and helps him to reinvent himself, but all Cal wants is his wife and family back. Meanwhile, Jacob meets a woman that makes him question his life choices, Cal’s son is in love with his babysitter, and the babysitter is in love with Cal. It’s a complex series of plots, and that hasn’t even gone into half of it.

I make no apologies of my love of the performing of so many members of this cast; Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Bacon; even Marisa Tomei has a hilarious role. Plus, the film is so well-structured that I did not pick the twist and I thought it was a doozy. It’s not an easy film to watch; there are elements that are like an emotional car crash, but it’s just wonderful.