Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Film Review

There seems to be a strange new creature in the world of Ant-Man – this kind of vibrating ghost person. Meanwhile, Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) thinks that he may has left his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) in a mysterious realm, and he’s working with his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to try to get back there to find it. Then there are some bad guys, and the FBI and stuff happening. And Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

Ah, not much of a description but really what this film was all about for me was the humour, the action fun times and that’s about it. And if you stay for the secret Marvel bit, make sure you’ve seen Avenger’s Infinity War first and prepare to have your heart broken a little.

White Oleander (2002) Film Review

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Astrid (Alison Lohman) is left to a series of foster homes after her mother, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), a passionate and crazy artist, is incarcerated for murder. Her young mind is moulded by a series of women who enter her life, non of whom have her best interests in mind.

It’s a very good film, depicting the way a teenager can be influenced and torn apart by a personality, and it is a tough and unfair journey. In many ways, it felt that it had a heightened sense of reality that jarred, but overall I liked it. Although it is one of those films that I think saying that I ‘liked’ it is not the best word. Appreciated is perhaps better.

Dangerous Minds (1995) Film Review

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LouAnne (Michelle Pfeiffer)is an ex-marine who becomes a teacher and her first job in is a rough inner-city high school in California. The kids are rough, their lives dominated by gang violence, and she struggles to find a way to connect to them.

It’s a weak film; what a shame. The best part of the film is the soundtrack, although perhaps that is because I really love Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio. The concept is fine. Even a classic – tough kids, middle-class teacher struggles then finds unusual ways to connect, even when these methods mean that she puts the bosses off side. There are much better versions of this; Freedom Writers and To Sir With Love are two examples that immediately spring to mind. But it is not totally awful; just under-explored. Perhaps if it was half an hour longer, it would have been more effective.

 

Hairspray (2007) Film Review

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Who’d have thought that a musical based on a film by controversial filmmaker John Waters could become both a Broadway and Hollywood hit? What’s more, it’s a musical about issues; body image and racism in particular. Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) is a chubby teenager in Baltimore in the 1960s. She loves rock’n’roll, loves to dance and is desperate to get on local television dance show the Corny Collins show. Her attempts are initially thwarted by star of the show Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow) and her evil mother, Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) but eventually she wins through and wins the affection of her crush, Link (Zac Effron). Once on, though, she discovers that she cannot handle the whiter-than-white station, and after meeting local African American dancer Seaweed (Elijah Kelley) and Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah), she must stand up for what’s right.

The music is great. Just writing about the film brings back so many of the songs (Welcome to the 60s, You Can’t Stop the Beat, I Can Hear the Bells, Good Morning Baltimore  to name but a few). There is still a hint of John Waters dark humour in there, but it is an upbeat, fun film. Bright colours, superb cast, (not least John Travolta playing the extremely large Edna Turnblad and Christopher Walken playing the naïve and loving Wilbur). Sure, it’s a musical, but its one of those musicals that I just love.

Dark Shadows (2012) Film Review

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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.

Witches of Eastwick (1987) Film Review

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I have such a soft spot for eighties films with effects that, at the time, were totally cutting edge. This and Beetlejuice and two of my all-time favs.

Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer) are three women whose husbands have gone (dead, divorced and deserted) living in the small town of Eastwick. After drunkenly describe the perfect man for them, a mysterious character appears in town; Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson). Rich, talented and totally repulsive. He manages to seduce the three and before they know it, the whole town in talking about them.

It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s gross and it’s magnificent. The absolute height of eighties comedy. (Actually, that’s a big call. There are a lot that fit into that category. But it’s definitely up there!)

The Witches of Eastwick was nominated for Oscars for Best Sound and Best Music, Original Score.

I Am Sam (2001) Film Review

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Sam (Sean Penn) is a mentally retarded man living in New York who has fathered a small girl (Lucy). The mother has disappeared and he is left to raise the baby. Seems implausible, but the scripting is so strong that it is totally believable. It is also believable that when Lucy is seven, she is taken into custody and Sam must fight for her. And somehow, the overworking lawyer-who-ignores-her-own-son character of Rita (Michelle Pfeiffer) ends up taking his case.

This is another film that totally challenged my prior expectations. To be fair, I had this film recommended to me by someone who also recommended The Butterfly Effect, which I truly believe to be one of the worst films ever made. I am Sam is an excellent film that was nominated and won a whole heap of awards, and rightly so.