Passengers (2016) Film Review

A ship taking 5000 people to a distant human colony across the universe is damaged in a meteor storm and Jim (Chris Pratt) is woken from hibernation 90 years too early. After over a year of entertaining himself, including having conversations with the robot barman, Arthur (Michael Sheen), Jim is joined by Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) and they try to figure out how to live in this world.

I quite enjoyed watching this film, but it is more in contemplating it afterwards that I find myself really appreciating it. It’s a strong concept (though I’m certainly making no comment on the actual science within the world), and I do like the idea of putting people in a bizarre situation and just seeing what happens. It is an absolutely stunning film – I loved watching the way the spaceship made its way through the universe.

Passengers was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) and Best Achievement in Production Design.

The Queen (2006) Film Review


In the nineties, the British royal family were struggling. There were several divorces and the public were less and less engaged with royalty. Then Diana died and the country needed leadership. Very difficult for Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren), who was unwilling to break royal protocol for a woman she despised. Receiving conflicting advice from her husband, Prince Phillip (James Cromwell) and mother, the Queen Mother (Sylvia Syms) to her son Prince Charles (Alex Jennings) and Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen), these are the private struggles of a very private woman.

I enjoyed it. As a child and teenager, I grew up a bit of an Anglophile (though I’d blame The Goodies, Kenny Everett and The Young Ones more than the royal family). I was in the UK at the time that all of this madness happened (and by that, I mean the massive outpouring of grief and the media hounding the queen for a response. I’ve no idea if any of the behind the scenes stuff is vaguely close to being accurate, but it could be.

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for Best Performance in a Leading Role. The Queen was nominated for an Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Stephen Frears), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Peter Morgan), Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.

Midnight in Paris (2011) Film Review


Watching this film makes me finally get Woody Allen. I’ve seen several of his films and have not understood why he is considered such a genius; often, I find them amusing and well made but they don’t grab me. And then, there is Midnight in Paris.

So, Gil (Own Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are holidaying in Paris with her parents. He is a screenwriter who is working on a novel; she really likes spending money and putting him down. When he is wandering, drunk, at midnight one night, he gets picked up by an old car that takes him off to a glamorous twenties-style party – only it turns out that he has actually travelled back in time, and ends up partying with Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso – oh, and getting writing advice from Gertrude Stein. Gradually, he realises that he has little in common with his fiancé and is living a lie – but is the life he lives at night as much of a lie?

I love the absurdity of the twenties scenes, of seeing these wonderful representations of characters from the past. Owen Wilson didn’t quite work for me; I’ve gone from being a huge fan of his to really disliking him onscreen to being somewhere in the middle. But, at least it wasn’t Woody Allen himself- I really cannot stand that man onscreen.

I didn’t like that Inez and her parents were so obviously awful to Gil. I’m sure it is making a point, but I found it annoying and would have liked it if there were more subtlety to them.

Midnight in Paris won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Woody Allen) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Woody Allen) and Best Achievement in Art Direction.