St. Vincent (2014) Film Review


Vincent (Bill Murray) is a drunken misanthrope who has a mysterious relationship with a pregnant prostitute (played by Naomi Watts) and spends most of his time gambling, drinking or yelling at people. Then Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) moves in next door with her small child, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). She’s going through a nasty divorce and has to work crazy hours to keep things together for them. Somehow, Vincent ends up looking after Oliver and Oliver sees a lot more in him than most.

It’s not a new idea – a kid being looked after by someone who is perhaps not the most traditional or appropriate fit but getting a lot of good out of it… but this is such a beautiful telling of it. Bill Murray, as always, is just wonderful, but it is the way they all work together that makes it work. And Melissa McCarthy – this is what you should always do. Yes, you are good at the over-the-top comedy and the crazy characters, but it is this heartfelt yet snippy character that has totally won me over to the McCarthy camp. So, so good.

St. Vincent was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Bill Murray).

Birdman (2014) Film Review


Riggan (Michael Keaton) is an actor who is best known to the world as Birdman, a superhero from a series of films from the early nineties. He has now, many years later, written a play based on work by Raymond Carver, and is directing and starring in it on Broadway. But things are not going smoothly, his lawyer Jake (Zach Galifianakis) is trying to clean up the mess. When one of the other stars, Lesley (Naomi Watts) suggests famous but volatile Mike (Edward Norton), things get even crazier. Then just add in Riggan’s recovering daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), his ex-wife Sylvia (Amy Ryan) and his current squeeze Laura (Andrew Riseborough). Mad.

I loved this film so much. I loved it like I feel like I haven’t loved a film in ages. It is absurd and strange and clever and surreal and magical. Yet… I’ve spoken to friends who hated this film. Who even walked out of the film. Friends who I have a lot in common with, who are smart and we like a lot of the same things. And I think this is what this film will do – completely polarise the audience. The amazing drum soundtrack will, I’m sure, drive people insane, but I loved it so much – it drove the action and the emotion. Go, see it, love it or hate it, but experience a different type of film.

Birdman was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Michael Keaton), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Edward Norton), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Stone), Best Achievement in Directing (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo), Best Achievement in Cinematography and Best Achieement in Sound Editing. It won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Michael Keaton) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo) and was nominated for Best Director (Aejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Stone), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Edward Norton), Best Original Score – Motion Picture. It was also nominated for BAFTAs for Best Film, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), the David Lean Award for Direction (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), Best Screenplay (Original) (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Original Music and Best Sound.

Tank Girl (1995) Film Review


I’ve been scared to re-watch this film. Scared because I remember loving the film back when it was released, and was very nervous that it would not hold up. Finally, I took the plunge. Thank God! It’s brilliant!

It’s based on the comic strip of the same name, and follows the slightly insane Tank Girl (Lori Petty), a rebel in a future-world where water is extremely scarce and controlled by an evil corporation led by Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell). After teaming up with engineering genius Jet Girl (a young and fabulous Naomi Watts) and the mysterious rippers (mutants which are part human part Kangaroo and totally gorgeous, and include Ice-T among their number), Tank Girl sets out to take over the corporation and liberate the water.

So good. Funny, a bit violent, quite dated but in a terrific way, and worth watching just to see what tank girl will be wearing next. Where is Lori Petty these days? I don’t know. Hey, Hollywood? Give us more Lori Petty please.


The Impossible (2012) Film Review


The Impossible is based on the true story of a Spanish family who were holidaying in Thailand when the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 hit. There was no warning, just a sudden wall of water that destroyed everything in its wake. Hundreds and thousands of people were killed and displaced, and those who survived were often on their own, separated from friends and family and unable to contact their families back home.

The film feels so true. It is emotionally traumatic, but also horrific; the images of the devastation and disaster, the physical pain, the desperation. I cried the whole way through, really feeling the emotions as the characters on-screen felt them.  It feels like it has been a long time since I’ve seen Ewan McGregor at his best – and this is him at his best. The pain of the father searching desperately searching for his wife and son, it hurt. Naomi Watts was amazing as a woman in extreme pain still trying to keep herself going for her son. And Tom Holland was marvellous as the oldest son, Lucas.

Naomi Watts has been nominated for a Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar, a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama