The Cider House Rules (1999) Film Review


Dr Larch(Michael Caine) runs an orphanage with a side business of providing the occasional abortion. Homer (Tobey Maguire) is one of the orphans who, after several attempts at being adopted out, becomes a permanent fixture of the orphanage and a favourite of Dr Larch, learning some doctoring skills. Then Candy (Charlize Theron) and her boyfriend Wally (Paul Rudd) visit for a procedure and Homer sees his chance to see the world. Well, a bit more of Maine, at least. Wally goes to war, Candy and Homer hang out a LOT, the other workers at Wally’s parents’ orchard have issues and it’s all a big story.

And yet… despite all the things happening, all of the big and major and life-changing and extremely dramatic things, I felt very little throughout. I just didn’t really care what happened to any of the characters, I shared none of the emotion of any of them. It did have that epic feel of a typical Oscar Best Film, and there is no surprise that it was nominated. Thank goodness American Beauty won that year.

The Cider House Rules won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Caine) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or published and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Lasse Hallstrom) Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.


The Shipping News – The Movie (2001) Film Review


I read The Shipping News last year and found it a dense read that I could not predict translating to film. I was extremely impressed, when I finally got around to hiring it, at how well the story was told. In just under two hours, the film captures the essence of the book; all of the characters, including the character that is the house when Quoyle and his family find themselves living.

There was a couple of immediately noticeable changes that I worried initially could be a problem; in the film, Quoyle only has one daughter and the dog is missing altogether. However, whilst both of those characters serve important roles in the book, they are not missing in the film.

It is a long and slow film, and usually, that’s what I complain about. I still think that the plot of the majority of films can be told in an hour and a half, but it’s almost as if ‘film’ has heard my complaint and is sending me all of the good long films. This film couldn’t have been a moment shorter; if anything, it could have been longer. However, there were single shots in the film that covered many pages of the book and encapsulated everything about this.

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