Big Eyes (2014) Film Review


Margaret(Amy Adams) has escaped a bad marriage with her daughter and suddenly falls for charming and charismatic fellow artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). Before she knows it, they are married, and Walter has started taking credit for Margaret’s popular Big Eyes paintings He markets her art like no-one has before, with prints, posters, postcards – anything the masses can provide. And as they become wealthier, she becomes more unsatisfied and he becomes more abusive until finally she breaks, chosing to stand up for herself, her daughter and her art.

It’s a mysterious one – I wanted to like it, as it is a great story, and based on truth as well. But I felt little chemistry between the two initially as they fell in love and I just couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t find any emotion, I couldn’t car what happened, and it mostly even lacked the beauty of artistry that is typical of Tim Burton.

Big Eyes won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Amy Adams) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Christoph Waltz) and Best Original Song – Motion Picture (Big Eyes)

The Collector (1965) Film Review


Freddie Clegg (Terence Stamp) is a creepy guy who has won a lot of money on the pools (kind of lottery thing) and has bought a house in a rural area. He then kidnaps the object of his affection, Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar) and holds her in the hope she will fall in love with him.

It’s definitely a film of its day. It is extremely dated, with swelling music almost overpowering the dialogue and stiff, over-the-top acting. But there is enough of the creepiness and fear to drive the story, and it did creep me out a fair bit.

The Collector was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Samantha Eggar), Best Director (William Wyler) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Stanley Mann and John Kohn).

Young Guns (1988) Film Review


John Tunstall, (Terence Stamp) takes in young men who are at risk of running astray and becoming trouble makers, and gives them a sense of self-worth. He teaches them to read and do good work, and instills in them a sense of right and wrong. It’s the Wild West, so morals are, at the best of times, dubious. Tunstall gets killed by the evil Lawrence G. Murphy (Jack Palance. Believe it, or not), and his young men go out avenge his death. They’ve been deputized, but this does not mean they can do anything. Amongst their number is Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) who is a loose cannon.

This was one of my favourite films as a teenager. Several of my friends and I must have watched this a hundred times. We knew all the lines, knew everything about the film. Then, a few years ago, a friend and I re-watched it, and I hated it so much. It was totally and utterly awful. I felt that my memory had let me down, and I felt sad. Then this same friend stumbled across it on television, watched it and all the old love was back. I gave it another go, and it was wonderful. I have no idea why we hated it for that brief moment.

I should be clear – I don’t think it is a great film. But for me, it was a film for that time of my life. I was a teenager and the film was full of handsome young men (Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen). There was a bit of humour and a lot of action, both of which I still love in a film. I think had I been an adult watching it then, I’d have hated it; or perhaps I wouldn’t have been that harsh on it, but I wouldn’t have had the reckless love for it that only a teenage girl can have.

Get Smart (2008)Film Review


Like Fun With Dick and Jane, this was a film that I re-watched after disliking the first time, and was generally, pleasantly surprised. Having loved the television series Get Smart, I wondered how on earth it could be remade with any credibility at all. The answer? Steve Carell.

The premise is that Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is an analyst at CONTROL, a secret spy agency. He is desperate to get out into the field and be an agent, despite being quite physically incompetent. A break-in results in Maxwell being one of the only agents able to be deployed, sent out with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway).

It’s quite good, but certainly any weaknesses in the script are saved by the cast. Not only is there Carell and Hathaway, but Alan Arkin as the chief, Bill Murray in a delightful cameo as Agent 13, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (who I totally love playing comedy or action, but ideally both) as Agent 23 and Terence Stamp as Siegfried from KAOS. For me, I still didn’t like the last half hour or so. Perhaps it should have been a ninety minute film rather than a hundred-and-ten minute film. Or perhaps the last section just needed to be better.

If you are a massive Get Smart (the television show) fan, you may like the nods to the original that are in this, but overall, there was no way it was ever going capture the kitsch glamour of the original.