Fight Club (1999) Film Review


There is a man, played by Edward Norton, who is not given a name throughout the film, who is suffering from insomnia. He gets some sleep after attending various illness support meetings where he manages to get some relief through the grief of others, such as Bob (Meat Loaf). Then Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) starts attending, and he needs to find an alternative way to get some sleep. Then he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and they start Fight Club, a group where men get to be men again and beat each other up a lot. But this is just where it starts.

This is one of those films that I’ve watched several times and love. I love the performances; I love the concept of eschewing societal norms and breaking free; I love the fighting. (In reality, and in most films, I find punching hard. I think it is that they get so much joy from being beaten up). And watching it this time, I still loved all of that. But then I started to wonder about the misogyny of the film. A brief scan of the internet found quite a few articles, both academic and less-so about this concept and all look at Marla. She is just about the only woman in the film (well, the only other I recall is the woman who is dying of cancer and begs for sex) who is treated poorly and blamed by the main character for everything. But. She is also not a very nice person, she hates herself and she doesn’t treat other people well, and perhaps because of this, none of that bothered me. No, it was this whole bunch of men who gang together and exclude women altogether. There is a line, let me find it online: “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Is that misogynistic? I reckon you could find a ton of people who could argue each side. What do I think? I don’t know. It makes me uncomfortable, but then, Fight Club is not a film to make you feel comfortable. What I do like about this is that it has made me think. Even if the minutiae of the situation is a bit confusing and difficult, at least I am thinking about it. And I still think it is a truly excellent film.

Fight Club was nominated for an Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing.


Dark Shadows (2012) Film Review


Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) was part of a powerful family back two hundred years ago, only then a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) killed his parents, caused his true love to walk of a cliff and turned him into a vampire, burying him deep in the forest. Present day, Barnabas has been dug up accidentally and discovers his relatives living in the house his father built, but they are on the down and down. It is up to Barnabus to bring their fortunes back.

This is yet another film that I’ve avoided for a long time because I’d heard so many poor things about it. About Tim Burton having lost his touch, making stranger and stranger films with his wife, Helena Bonham Carter and actor favourite Johnny Depp. I really enjoyed it. It was fun, it was stylish and it had an excellent cast of top actors doing good stuff.

The King’s Speech (2010) Film Review


Prior to this film, I knew little to nothing about King George VI of England. I knew he was the current queen’s father and that he took the throne after his younger brother abdicated to marry his love, a twice-divorced American woman. Also, he was very well-loved. That was it. I didn’t know that he grew up with a terrible stutter, and struggled to make it through public speeches. This film tells the story of the time leading up to the abdication, when ‘Bertie’ (Albert, later to become King George, played by Colin Firth) received treatment from an Australian practitioner based in Harley St, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

I have my usual issue with film representations of historical events, that being that I am left wondering how much of it is real, but I really should get over this. I am not intending to write a dissertation on the events of the monarchy in the lead-up to the Second World War. If I did, I’d use more reliable resources than a fictional film, regardless of how much it is based on fact. While this film is not a peer-reviewed document, it’s a darned good film.

The story is compelling and the characters totally engaging; that a grumpy man who sees himself as far above everyone else (after a lifetime of being told so) could possibly make for a compelling protagonist says a lot about the quality of the film. I have no doubt that I will watch this film again, and probably more than once. Not for a while, though.

The King’s Speech won Oscars for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Firth) and Best Writing, Original screenplay. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Geoffrey Rush) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Helena Bonham Carter).

Les Miserables (2012) Fim Review


The story of Les Miserables is long and complicated. In short, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is a criminal who absconds during his parole, taking on a new name and starting a new life, running from Javert (Russell Crowe). Along the way, he adopts the daughter of Fantine(Anne Hathaway) one of his ex-factory workers whose firing leads to her descent into prostitution, illness and eventual death. Then, there is a revolution against the rich ruling classes. There’s death, betrayal, love and the whole lot.

It was a very long stage play, and it is a very long film. The one problem I often have with musicals is the amount of singing. Really keep it to one or two verses and a chorus – get back to the story. That goes doubly for this film – everything is sung, like an opera, only it’s not an opera. It’s fine for the songs, but the dialogue and the single lines just seem odd.

But, ignoring my impatience with songs in musicals, it’s a very good film. It is as grand and epic as it needed to be. The casting was fantastic, apart from Russell Crowe. Crowe was perfect for the acting of Javert, but his singing was noticeably weaker that all of the other leads, which made his seem like a weak performance.

Hugh Jackman has been nominated for a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar, won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Leading actor

Anne Hathaway has been nominated for a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar, won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and won the for a BAFTA for Supporting Actress

Paco Delgado has been nominated for an Oscar for Costume Design and a BAFTA for Costume Design

Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell have been nominated for an Oscar for Makeup and Hairstyling

‘Suddenly’ has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Les Miserables has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Film, an Oscar for Best Production Design, won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Film, was nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, won the BAFTA for Production Design and won the BAFTA for Sound

Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes have been nominated for an Oscar for Sound Mixing

Danny Cohen was nominated for a BAFTA for Cinematography