Elf (2003) Film Review


Santa (Edward Asner) made a bit of a mistake and brought a human baby back to the North Pole. Rather than returning him to the orphanage from whence he came, the baby, Buddy, is adopted by a senior Elf, Pappa Elf (Bob Newhart) and raised to be another Elf. But things are not smooth sailing, and eventually, Buddy must learn the truth. Discovering that his mother has passed away but his father, Walter (James Caan) is still alive, adult Buddy (Will Ferrell) goes to New York to find him, and find a new life.

Around Christmas time there are always a lot of lists about best Christmas movies. I usually ignore them – I’m not really into Christmas films. There seem to be increasing numbers of houses with light displays each year in Melbourne, but regardless of complaints about the commericialisation, we don’t have the insanity that Christmas in these movies seems to have. I don’t mind a film with a bit of schmatlz or corniness, but I do find a lot of Christmas films a bit hard.

Elf is great. It’s really funny and great for kids without getting too racy, but it is not stupid. It is made very easy to totally buy into the innocence and naivety of Buddy, and how difficult he may find fitting in to modern New York. I doubt a total scrooge would enjoy it, but me? Bring it on.



Failure to Launch (2006) Film Review



A romantic comedy with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey – what could go wrong? Well, with my cynicism, I expected this would be awful. I was pleasantly surprised.

McConaughey plays Tripp, a thirty-something guy who, like all his close friends, still lives at home with his parents. Parker plays Paula, a girl who has made a business becoming romantically involved with guys who are stuck in this situation and giving them the confidence to move on out into the real world. However, despite her plans seeming to go well, everything turns bad, and it is up to the parents and friends to save the couple.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m not a massive fan of romantic comedies. But, when they work for me, they really work, and this one worked. Why? I’m not sure. It surprised me. I’ve always liked Sarah Jessica Parker and I think she worked extremely well in this role. Plus Zooey Deschanel played her housemate, and was not bright and perky as usual, but dark and moody, and I liked that too.

Look, if you don’t like Hollywood romantic comedies, don’t try this one, it won’t be worth your time. But if you don’t mind them, give it a go. Just try to ignore the stupid animal attacks scenes. They were crap.

500 Days of Summer (2009) Film Review



Ah, a hipster romance. How delightful. I know there are a lot of people who hate hipsters, with their skinny jeans, vests, pretty frocks and quirky habits. But I want to be hip enough to be a hipster. I just don’t have the commitment, but if I could move to Brooklyn seven years ago, there would have been no stopping me.

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is trained as an architect but working in a greeting card company. He believes in true love, and then along comes Summer (Zooey Deschanel). She doesn’t believe in love. They have a relationship.

The story is fragmented and told through scenes scattered across the 500 days from their meeting. We have scenes after a fight, with his sassy younger sister counseling him through the break-up, to their first romantic visit to Ikea. I really liked the way the story was told, even with the kooky dance sequence. I’ve admitted to being a fan of both of the main actors (The New Girl, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises), so I guess it is hardly a surprise that I enjoyed this film. Plus, it has a fantastic soundtrack that I regularly listen to on longs drives.

It’s not for everyone. If you hate hipsters, you’ll hate this film. Summer is one of the characters considered by many to be a manic pixie dream girl (I think she needs a quirky hobby or habit to truly fall into this category for me), so that may put people off.


The New Girl – TV Review

The New Girl

There are a lot of Zooey Deschanel haters out there. A lot. I know, because I often see mention of hatred of her on Twitter or Facebook or wherever. Me, I’m a liker. But that’s because I wish I was a hipster. I’m too old and nowhere near trendy enough, but I want pretty girly frocks and a fixy with a basket with flowers on the front and a fringe and to be able to knit and sew and find other ironic and cool yet geeky hobbies. I have come to terms with the fact that I am not and never will be a hipster. Or, should I ever figure out how to be one, I’ll be the last and oldest hipster ever.

See, I loved 500 Days of Summer for all its hipster cardigan glory, and I loved Zooey in it. So I got really excited about New Girl, and it got raved about in the Green Guide. I’m watching it. I’m liking it. I’m really not loving it though.

What do I like? Well, it’s not just a three-camera sitcom set up, which works for a lot of sitcoms, but it’s nice to see something different which allows the story to be taken out of the one or two base locations. I also like the basic premise – girl falling apart from a bad break-up moves in with three guys and they form a kind-of alliance. I like the aspects of Jess (Deschanel’s character) that probably drive most people nuts – her quirks and singing to herself.

What don’t I like? The girl is always right. At least, that’s how it seems. She can do some pretty crappy stuff to people, but by the end, the three men are kowtowing to her and she wins. And sometimes, she shouldn’t. It seems to me that this keeps happening. Jess may apologise for doing something wrong, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to leave it at ‘I’m sorry’ ‘Oh, that’s ok’ – it seems to need to be more ‘I’m sorry’ ‘That’s ok, let me change my behaviour to suit your nuts-ness’ And now I’m writing in non-words. I don’t think that’s totally rare for me.

I also hate the cheesy endings to each episode that keep happening. Cheesy, cheesy. But it’s worth it for the frocks. I’m going to keep watching.

I think I may end up being the last and oldest hipster and the only one left watching The New Girl. Perhaps that is my fate.