Review films or videos you have seen…
We needed something to lift us out of the numb mood we were in so on a dull Monday, late afternoon we decided to go and see About Time. It’s an excellent feel-good film with the romantic skills of Richard Curtis at the helm.
There’s no better film for us than one that combines pathos, humour and romance. About Time has all three in carefully managed proportions. We laughed, cried and came out feeling all warm and cuddly.
The basic plot is about a young man who learns from his father that he can travel back in his own time-line and rerun elements of his life. We’ve all had those moments in life when we wish we could repeat a personal interaction so that we made the most of it. This power enables him to win the heart of the girl/woman he falls in love with. Thereafter he struggles to maintain his life situation so that all of his family remain happy. There are limitations on what he can do and how far he can go back but these don’t become apparent until later in the film.
If you are in a relationship and want to remind yourself why life is so much better than the alternative then this is a “must see” film.
Thanks for the review Steve, I was wondering about going to see this, now I will.
Our Pleasure and we highly recommend it. If you liked Love Actually then you’ll love this!
The World’s End
The trailers and interviews with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost enticed us into going to the cinema on a sunny summer’s evening to see their latest and possibly last joint effort – The World’s End which is a reference to a pub.
Simon Pegg takes the lead as Gary King who contrives to get four old school mates together after 20 years to undertake a rerun of their last attempt to pub crawl around 12 pubs in one evening. Whereas everyone else has moved on with their lives, Gary has been stuck in a time warp and possibly a mental institution (but never explicitly stated). Needless to say things don’t go as planned and the pub crawl becomes very much allied to Shaun of the Dead with a sci-fi twist.
There were parts where the action was “laugh out loud” funny and we did, some was cringe worthy and yet other parts were just too silly and fell flat. Better than Shaun of the Dead but not as good as Hot Fuzz. Overall it wasn’t a great film but would make a good film to watch on TV – it would have to be shown after 9pm because there is wall to wall swearing throughout.
We went to see Oblivion the other evening despite it receiving some damning criticisms from the Sunday Times film critic. Thankfully we ignored them because what do critics know.
We love sci-fi so even a poor story line will have us hooked as long as the gadgets are smart and Oblivion had plenty of expensive technology even if the connection between earth and the Control Centre went off at night – we cannot figure out why that would be but let’s not dig too deep into the practicalities because this is a film and not reality.
So earth has been invaded but humanity has survived sufficiently to realise that the planet is no longer sustainable so techies remain on the planet to harvest its resources before migrating to another habitable planet. Or at least that’s how it starts. Without wishing to give too much away there is a twist that comes out of nowhere and is very good. There are doubts and the doubts are what make this film very entertaining. Plenty of edge of the seat stuff and similarities to Moon with questions about one’s own existence for good measure.
We enjoyed it very much and after the initial enjoyment we spent some time discussing the flaws in the story line but as mentioned before “let’s not dig too deep into the practicalities because this is a film and not reality”. We gave it 4 stars out of 5.
Robot & Frank
We liked the look of Robot & Frank but soon realised it was on limited release and wasn’t going to come to our local cinema. Luckily we were on holiday near Poole and through the use of our Smartphone App we found a small studio theatre that had it on so we decided to go and see it on a late chilly afternoon.
The theatre had just 40 seats and there was only one other person in the audience – a private showing.
It’s about a man who has retired from being a jewel thief and has lost any motivation. His memory is on the slippery slope towards dementia. His son persuades him to accept a robot as a care worker. The relationship that slowly builds is extremely touching and the enthusiasm for life when Frank realises that he can train Robot to assist him in returning to his previous criminal life is heartwarming.
This is an unusal film because it touches on so many areas: the issues of dementia in old age; the use of robots as care workers; the difficult relationships old people have with their children; and the general question of machines in our lives. (Did I say I found the showing on our Smartphones, I think I did.)
It’s unlikely you will now see this at a cinema but if you get a chance borrow the DVD or wait for it to come out on TV. We really enjoyed it – 5 stars.
The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey
We thought we weren’t going to get to the cinema this month but we just managed to fit in a showing of the Hobbit in 2D. We knew the reviews had said it was too long and so we decided to buy some cold drinks in the foyer. At £3 a time we decided we wouldn’t be doing that again. Thankfully the tickets were purchased though our Tesco points so it felt like it was free.
So on to the film… The Hobbit story is beautifully shot and the fantasy is brought to life with excellent acting, great CGI effects and wonderful scenery in New Zealand. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins was made for the part and his dynamic with the dwarves was brilliant. The issues of trust between Bilbo and the rest of the company was a constant thread until the very end. The meaning behind someone willing to give their own life to enable someone else to restore their own home transcends the ages, it even transcends fact and fiction.
We enjoyed every moment, even the fights that ran fast and rumbustiously across the screen with a myriad of creatures all carefully sculpted on screen. We look forward to the next episode.
Have just been to Sixfields to see “Les Mis”. It is truly a do not miss film, it stays almost true to the stage show, but with the extras the wide screen can bring, it would be hard to single out one of the actors in this epic film, but the acting skills portrayed by the young ‘cockney’ does in my mind outweigh everyone else, although they were all magnificent, I have never before seen everyone clapping at the end of the film, and you will need your hankies.
Have you ever seen the stage show? If so how does it compare? We’re thinking that having seen Les Miserable at the theatre the film might not live up to the great memories of the stage performance.
After having enjoyed the stage show so much, and after seeing some of the reviews, I was quite expecting to be disappointed, far from it, it stayed true to the original storyline and I think it even enhanced it.
Seen at sixfields on 1st Jan 2013
This film is based in an OAPs home for musicians. The main thread is that the musicians are putting on a gala performance to save the home from being closed. It was good to see Maggie Smith acting in a role which was different to her norm. Her character was quite vulnerable and in places I felt sorry for her. Pauline Collins and Tom Coutenay were equally brilliant in their roles. But a special mention has to be given to Billy Connelly who injected humour into the film. I’d probably give it 4 out of 5 if I had to mark it so worth a look if you’ve got a spare afternoon to fill.
Thanks Jo for your review. It sounds similar in concept to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which I reviewed in March 2012. I look forward to reading more of your reviews in the future.
Many thanks – Steve (editor)
We are avid readers of the James Patterson novels as they are well thought out detective novels. The books have the added element of criminal profiling and there’s nothing more fascinating than psychology and what makes people tick.
The last Alex Cross film we saw had Morgan Freeman in the lead role so Tyler Perry had some very large shoes to fill. The story line was one we had read but there were some changes which is to be expected in a Hollywood film script but nothing too disturbing. So this Alex Cross was good however he was little more active and less cerebral than the Dr Alex Cross in the books. The real star of the movie is Matthew Fox who plays “The Butcher of Sligo”, a psychopath who is an assassin with a penchant for inflicting pain before dispatching his assignments. He also doesn’t enjoy being challenged so the interference by Alex Cross and his team mean they become part of the game and are also hunted.
We enjoyed the film for its fast action and to see an excellent psychopath at work however the detective work that went on behind the scenes was played down too much. This is not Sherlock Holmes more Die Hard.
The film had received excellent reviews so we decided to go to the cinema on a wet Monday evening.
The introduction takes us back to 1979 when the USA embassy in Tehran is overrun by the Iranian “revolutionary guard” and all the staff are imprisoned within the embassy. Six staff evade imprisonment and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. The dilemma for the USA administration is to come up with a way of rescuing the six without putting their lives in greater danger. The “best worst” option is to invent a film and send in a “Canadian” who pretends to be in search of a film location.
The twists and turns within the security agencies is amusing, in fact laughable, but within the amusement there is the serious tension as to whether the CIA agent can get them all out and survive himself. This isn’t an all action film but it still has you on the edge of your seat right up to the very end. (Jane didn’t think it needed to be on the big screen). Highly recommended.
Go here for more details…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1024648/
SkyFall, James Bond
Wow, what an experience. Firstly you have to get past the 30 minutes of 007 product placement adverts before the film begins and there are some sequences in the adverts which are lifted from the film so it does remove some surprises.
Once the film starts it’s action packed from the first moment and the stunts come thick and fast, sometimes very fast. Like all Bond movies the story line is a little thin but at least in this movie there is a single theme to follow which twists and turns as Bond pursues his goals for Queen and country.
With all the hype around the film and many critics giving it 5 stars it was always going to be difficult for the film to live up to expectations but it came pretty damn close. Highly Recommended *****
For what other critics think click here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1074638/
This is a comedy for over 15 yr olds! It has two of my favourite actors in Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, so I wanted to watch ….WATCH
This focus of the film is about a neighbourhood watch group who basically are 4 men doing their bit for their community. It was a bit of a slow start but once it got going it had us laughing out loud….not to mention hiding behind my scarf as there were some scary alien scenes, which were also funny.
I rate it at 3* out of 5. It’s an ok film with a few laughs.
Must also mention the lovely meal we had afterwards at the Turnpike, Harpole. Good food, excellent value, good service. What more do you need.
Thanks Jo, for the review and the comments on the Turnpike. We’ve recently been to the Turnpike and agree the menu, service and value for money is very good.
We hope to see TED in the next few weeks and I’ll make sure I write a review.
Batman the Dark Knight Rises
We had some Tesco cinema vouchers that were going to run out at the end of the month so we decided to spend a very hot evening in the air-conditioned surrounds of the local multiplex.
It was too long in some places with quite a bit of sentimentality in the middle when this could have been cut out. The producer seemed to temporarily forget that Batman is an action hero and without the action there is no story. There was one section where Batman had been beaten and is dragged off with bare feet. There is a similarity with Jesus being dragged off to the cross. Later Batman manages to escape from a prison by climbing out of a hole and the symbolism to “rolling away the stone” is fairly obvious – so the super action hero is not a new story by any means.
I know the film is a complete invention and I tried hard to lose touch with reality, I honestly did, but when Batman gets out of his wonderful flying vehicle that could destroy anything in its path so that he can go hand to hand with someone who had already beaten him – no, sorry, it was an act of insanity and jarred with me.
Eventually, after two and half hours, all’s well that ends well. The baddies are dead and the good guys live to fight another day. So what’s new?
I cannot recommend the film but I’d watch it again when it reaches TV.
Prometheus – Prequel to Alien
The film wasn’t a let down however there were many, many references to other sci-fi films and it was a bit of an homage to some of the more classical films. It had the robot David, who was following a secret agenda similar to that of HAL in 2001 a Space Odyssey and also the aliens used musical notes to control their spacecraft which has similarities to Close Encounters when the aliens communicate via musical notes.
Overall this was a good sci-fi film with plenty of epic scenes both inside the space craft and also on the alien planet. It had all the horrors of the original alien film with naive crew members getting killed by alien creatures in the most close up and personal way. In this instance the alien didn’t burst out of anyones stomach but was removed by an operating robot in a Cesarian operation. Both Jane and I were on the edge of our seats for much of the latter part of the film however we did leave a little confused because to us it seemed to us as though the alien creators were bent on destroying earth using the Alien creatures as weapons of mass destruction but the last crew member had somehow decided that the creators had decided not to carry out our genocide.
If you’re a sci-fi fan then go see it, if not stay well clear.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The audience were our age or older and it was a reflection of the story. These were not regular cinema goers as the couple in front of us confirmed by the following comment: “should we wait here for the usherette to show us to our seats?” It may have been a joke but it illustrated the age range perfectly – all over 60.
The film was excellent. A film of its time and its age with an aging society we are all looking for excitement in our third age. We may not have the confidence to take ourselves off to exotic India or, as other friends have done, to Bulgaria but we are seeking a change to our lives – something different but not too far outside our comfort zone.
But back to the film… It had everything – a marriage that had run out of steam; a man who lost his love 40 years previously and was looking to correct old mistakes; a man who wanted to meet a companion to give him a new life (sex included); a widow who was looking at life with fresh eyes; a woman whose work was everything and had nothing once she went beyond her sell by date; and a woman who couldn’t commit to anything.
Put these people into a truly alien environment, the “best exotic” hotel, which is in fact run down and close to ruin and you have the whole of life in microcosmic format.
We laughed, we cried and we loved it… If you’re over 60 and like cinema then get to see this film now!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I read the Stieg Larsson trilogy about a year ago and after a bit of a struggle to get past the sheer number of family members that are part of the main plot, I really enjoyed the books.
It’s always a challenge for film scriptwriters to interpret a well read and popular book into an equally good film and I think this has been achieved here.
It was good to see the film with Jane because she hasn’t read the book and easily followed the complex plot to the very end. It’s a film with an excellent combination of character development, plot exposition and dramatic action. Jane asked me at the beginning why it was rated 18 and it wasn’t too long before the degrading rape scene was tastefully, if brutally acted out. Without this scene the character of Lisbeth Salander would not have been fully understood and was fundamental to not only this story but the subsequent stories yet to be translated, hopefully, into film.
So, it isn’t a film for the feint hearted or the easily offended. Jane and I enjoyed the film very much and are looking forward to the next one which won’t be until next year but it will give Jane time to read the trilogy. Highly recommended *****
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
We saw the first of the Robert Downey JR and Jude Law partnership films in 2009 and it was a really good swashbuckling adventure movie so it was an obvious film for us to go and see. We had a spare Monday evening (Jane wasn’t working) and surprisingly for the week before Christmas we weren’t under huge pressure so along we went.
After sitting through the usual 25 minutes of adverts and trailers Jane was nodding off but not for long. The film kicked off in a loud, all action sequence and she was awake. Of course with any drama from the Sherlock Holmes genre it isn’t going to be straightforward, if it was you wouldn’t need Sherlock Holmes to solve it. This had plenty of smoke and mirrors. There were some parts of the film that left us wondering why Sherlock had done this or how did he come to that conclusion but maybe that was just a lack of concentration on our part. There was an overall theme to the film with Moriarty attempting to start a European war whereby he would financially benefit from the munition factories that he had acquired and there are many links to the truth behind the start of the first world war.
The scenes where Holmes mentally runs through what will happen next in slow motion and then considers all the possible outcomes are fascinating and the slow motion action sequences with heavy gunfire are superb.
So despite a weak moment by moment story line the whole film is action packed and really enjoyable. Recommended ****
What a really good film this is. We had no expectations other than we’d heard this wasn’t a standard cartoon or animation because not only had they used famous actors for the voices they also did the acting and their movements were then cleverly translated into an animated format. I think the star of the film isn’t Tin Tin but Snowy. his dog. Apart from Snowy rescuing Tin Tin time and time again his expressions were brilliant. So the film kept us both captivated for it’s whole length. The story line was solid and the script and action had a lot of humour in it. The real test is did Jane stay awake – well she slept through all the trailers and suddenly woke up asking if she’d missed the film but it was just beginning and she stayed wide awake and on the edge of her seat until the very end. Highly Recommended ****
Hanna – this is a film that is a combination of The Bourne Conspiracies and the Wizard of Oz. Hanna has been trained to survive in a world of CIA conspiracies and she has the aim of killing the CIA operative who murdered her mother. Her taining takes place in a remote forest within the arctic circle however her training doesn’t prepare her for the real world of the 21st century and she battles as much with all the new experiences as she does with the rogue element of the CIA.
It’s an action film with lot of running, there aren’t many car chases simply because Hanna’s not old enough to drive.
So, although enjoyable, it wasn’t that good – 3 stars out of 5.
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