The First Wives Club (1996) Film Review


When their college friend Cynthia (Stockard Channing) commits suicide after her husband remarries a much younger woman, friends Elise (Goldie Hawn), Brenda (Bette Midler) and Annie (Dianne Keaton) realise they have all been thrown over by their husbands in the same fashion. Instead of risking bottoming out, they support each other in seeking creative revenge.

One of the characters mentions that what they are doing is just what people expect – and it is ugly and makes them seem very ugly. And there is an aspect of that – but what it seems to be more about is three women who had become defined by their marriages, none of which were that healthy, who stand up and take charge of their lives. They are not prepared to just let their ex-husbands treat them like crap but it become about more than simple revenge. Oh, and did I mention that it is a really funny film with some great female characters? Well, it is.

The First Wives Club was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score.

Miller’s Crossing (1990) Film Review


Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) has worked for a long time as a right-hand-man for gangster Leo during Prohibition. But his loyalty is brought into question and he is left twisting in the wind, playing the sides off for each other and trying to stay alive.

It’s great. A complex film that you need to pay attention to, pay really close attention to. Along with all of the beauty and timing of a film by the Coen brothers. I do love a good prohibition film, and this, indeed is a good prohibition film.


Into The Wild vs Into The Wild

Into the Wild

Film – Into The Wild (2007)

A free-spirited guy, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) decides to leave his expected future and travel around America with no money, just finding his way, meeting people and having experiences. His ultimate goal? To live in the wilds of Alaska. And he does, although it ends up taking his life.

I watched this a few years ago and remember being quite annoyed at it. Cynical me thought ‘blah blah blah, idealism and blah blah’. Being played recently on SBS gave me a chance to revisit, and I hated it a lot less. I still didn’t love it; cynical me was still mocking his wide-eyed wonder at every little thing in nature. But I hated it a lot less. I’ve enjoyed the writings of John Krakauer in the past (I’d highly recommend both Into Thin Air and Beyond the Banners of Heaven), and think perhaps if I read the book on which the film was based, I might like the movie more. But perhaps not. The only thing that really surprised me was that the adventures that this based-on-a-true-story film was created around happened in 1992, not 1965.

Into the Wild was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a supporting Role (Hal Holbrook) and Best Achievement in Film Editing.

Book – Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer


As I mentioned previously, I had expectations from the book. I hoped it would give me some insight that would make me enjoy the film more. It didn’t, but having read the book, I realize that is a pretty silly expectation.

The book is definitely worth a read. It seems the film portrayal of Chris McCandless is pretty accurate, and I still think I wouldn’t have liked him. But the interviews Krakauer did makes it very clear that he McCandless made a real impact on people in his life.

What I liked most in the book, however, was the comparisons between McCandless and a variety of other young men who take themselves off to complete extreme challenges, often for no really strong reason. This included Krakauer himself, who as a young man climbed a rock formation in Alaska on his own, making several decisions and mistakes that could have easily have led to his death. I think McCandless and Krakauer and the other people mentioned in the book are foolish and foolhardy to attempt such things in often quite a reckless fashion, but I feel that I must give them some kind of respect also. They are very different to me in personality and that’s just fine.


The Mist (2007) Film Review


**spoiler alerts**

There has been a freak storm in a small town, and David Drayton (Thomas Jane)and his son Billy (Nathan Gamble) head to the local supermarket for supplies. Whilst there, a mist takes over the town, but this is no normal mist. There are creatures in the mist. Creatures with tentacles and teeth and hunger, creatures that attack anyone who ventures outside. The townsfolk holed up in the supermarket react in different ways; some become practical and try to find ways to survive and others follow the local religious nutter, Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gray Harden) in an old testament inspired mob, sacrifices included.

It’s an awful film. By this I mean that it looks at the base nature of people, and for some people, it’s pretty horrible. It’s no surprise that it is based on a Stephen King short story – King writes awesome creatures and nasties, but also has an extremely strong grip on human nature. Yet there were a couple of major flaws in it. For me, the biggest flaw was when David decides to get a group together to run next door to the pharmacy to get supplies. At this point, he has already decided to get a group to his car and get out. But then he suddenly turns into a hero. Why? His goal was to get through with his son, and he’d seen everyone who went outside die in a horrible, violent, bloody manner. So why would he risk his life and risk leaving his son? I just didn’t believe it.

The special effects are pretty good, if quite horrible. And it is worth watching to see an end that you would absolutely not expect from a Hollywood film.