Animal House (1978) Film Review


It’s 1962 and it’s a US College. There are good frats and bad frats, and then there is the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, who are absolute disasters. Filthy, drinking, crazy. But ultimately, with heart. Or whatever – it’s really just like a series of ridiculous skits, and it is fun, but stupid. Oh so stupid. What I liked the most? All the familiar faces – I mean, John Belushi, ah, what a shame. Then there is Karen Allen from Indiana Jones, the magnificent Tom Hulce, Kevin Bacon, Donald Sutherland.

Is it worth watching? Perhaps for the nostalgia. Perhaps.


Jumper (2008) Film Review


At fifteen, David Rice (played by Max Thieriot as a young boy, Hayden Christensen for the rest of the film) discovered that he could teleport. As a young adult, he has found a way to live this life, going where he wants, doing what he wants. Until he is tracked down by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), a man who follows “jumpers” like him and kill them. Why? Religion.

David is a really annoying character – arrogant, smarmy and generally quite crap and annoying. I found I couldn’t care less about him – in fact, I was quite keen for Roland to knock him off sooner rather than later. Made it difficult to care about the film at all. Overall, this feeling didn’t change. But there is an extra in one scene who keeps looking at the camera – it’s quite weird, really – quite funny, and totally made the film for me.

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Film Review

Stranger than fiction

Harold Crick(Will Ferrell) is an ordinary guy. He works for Internal Revenue and has an ordered and repetitive existence until two things happen; he meets the beautiful baker Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and he starts to hear a female voice narrating his every move. He doesn’t believe he is crazy, but cannot imagine that he is the creation of author Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) or what this could possibly mean for his future.

This is such a beautiful film. The concept is so clever and it is executed to make a wonderful and fabulous film that everyone should see over and over again.

Parenthood (1989) Film Review


There are the original parents of the family; Frank Buckman (Jason Robards) and his wife Marilyn (Eileen Ryan) (oh, and one of their mothers is still around, played by the delightful Helen Shaw). They have four kids; Gil (Steve Martin), Helen (Diane Wiest), Susan (Harley Jane Kozak) and Larry (Tom Hulce). Gil, married to Karen (Mary Steenburgen) is dealing with an anxious son, a quite normal daughter and a crazy toddler and is trying to figure out how he feels about the fourth which is on the way. Helen has a son, Garry (Joaquin Phoenix) who is reclusive since his father left and a rebellious daughter, Julie (Martha Plimpton) who is dating drag- racing drop-kick Tod (Keanu Reeves). Susan is married to Nathan (Rick Moranis) who is desperate to ensure their daughter is a genius. And Larry turns up out of the blue being chased by gangsters who owe him money and with a surprise son, Cool, in tow.

A lot going on? Yup. Funny? Very. Heartbreaking? Yes, at times. Does it stand up to time? I think so. Some of the fashions are dated, but not in a bad way. I’d be interested to see how much would change if such a film were made now. Possible not a lot. It’s clever, entertaining and I totally enjoy it every time I see it.

Parenthood was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Dianne Wiest) and Best Music, Original Song (Randy Newman, I Love to See You Smile).

Amadeus (1984) Film Review


An elderly Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) sits in an asylum after attempting to take his own life. He has lived for years with the knowledge that he was behind the demise of one of the world’s greatest talents. Offloading to a priest, Salieri reveals that he,  thanks to divine intervention, became a composer, offering his music to God. When Mozart (Tom Hulce) arrives in Vienna, Salieri is excited to meet the great man who has been performing and composing across the continent since he was a small child. To his disgust, Mozart is a  repulsive man who adores drink, partying and will not kowtow to his superiors (perhaps because he does not believe he has any superiors).  Salieri attempts to ignore Mozart’s behavious, but finally takes action to rid the world and his own life of this repulsive genius.

I can never get sick of this film. Truly, it is a marvellous work of art. I hope to see it performed as a play one day, but in the meantime, I could watch this again and again. The story itself is spectacular –  ambition, betrayal, religion, sex, alcohol. As  a work of art created in the eighties, this holds up beautifully. The only thing which dates it slightly are the Billy Idol style wigs that the young composer wears, but that is total and utterly nit-picking.

Amadeus won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Lead Role (F. Murray Abraham), Best Director (Milos Forman) Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Peter Shaffer), Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Make-up. It was nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in  a Lead Role (Tom Hulce), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.