Thursday, 10 May 2012



I am not dead, although it feels like it sometimes! (I'm exhausted).
I don't have the time to post a review lately due to exams and other priorities that I wish weren't priorities but unfortunately have to be :(
I haven't watched a movie in a week! That is a record, for sure, however it is not a choice and hopefully I will have a review up by Sunday night - but even that seems unlikely!
If I do manage to write one, then the movie of choice will be American Pie Reunion - I have high hopes!
Anyway I thought I'd just write this to whoever actually reads my reviews (I know there are many of you! Thanks!) and make sure y'all know the blog still exists.
Thaaaank you for reading my reviews hopefully they are of some help etc etc. Let me know if you've listened to one and watched/not watched a movie because of it!
Gracias amigos.
Bye :) 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Letters To Juliet (2010)

Rating: PG
Director: Gary Winick 
Screenplay: Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Drama
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael García Bernal, Christopher Egan.

Letters To Juliet speaks for itself. Though occasionally charming and sweet in parts, this chick-flick is yet another clichéd film that lacks relatability and is full of one-liners that will provide you with nothing but cringes, as it follows Seyfried’s Sophie – a wholesome, American woman - who ventures on a pre-wedding holiday to the romantic Verona with her busy, fast-talking, selfish fiancé, Victor (Bernal) – a man who keeps yelling “Incredible! Incredible!” at pasta, bread and cheese.  
It is in Verona, where Sophie discovers “Juliet’s Secretaries” – a group of women selflessly replying to other teary-eyed women’s pleas to Shakespeare’s Juliet, begging for help with love.
Being a fact-checker, eager to begin her journalism career, Sophie jumps at a chance to run a story when she finds an un-answered, yellowed letter tucked away in the wall. Dun-dun-dun. Here, is where we are - supposedly - gripped.
After finally receiving a response to her pleas, Vanessa Redgrave’s Claire and her grandson, Charlie (Egan) embark on a long journey with the annoyingly cheerful Sophie to find Claire’s long lost love, Lorenzo Bartolleni, getting to know each other along the way.
Meanwhile, fiancé Victor is swanning off sniffing parmesan and popping corks, and already neglected Sophie feels drawn to charming Brit Charlie. We didn’t see that one coming. That’s not sarcastic; at first, we really didn’t see that one coming – but maybe that’s because the limited dialogue and vapid storyline had enticed us to sleep. 
Letters To Juliet is enjoyable (or more appropriate; ‘not painful to sit through’) for the forgiving romantics, but some may not relish in the idea of watching Vanessa Redgrave stare into the eyes of hundreds of aged Italian men for an hour and forty minutes. The film is a solid block of cheese. Despite what Victor may claim, this cheese is not incredible; it’s not quite Halloumi - but it is good. Like Cheddar. Or Dunlop – sweet, with an offish taste that not many can bear.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Welcome To The Riley's (2010)

Rating: 15
Director: Jake Scott 
Screenplay: Ken Hixon 
Genre: Drama 
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo, James Gandolfini

It is Stewart’s electrifying performance as the deeply damaged and foul-mouthed prostitute Mallory/Allison that drives this prolonged independent drama to the very end. Though lengthy and quiet in some parts, Welcome To The Riley’s is a terrifically compelling story that ticks all the boxes in becoming a unique and charming independent drama. The film gained much critical acclaim after its Sundance Festival buzz; and there was a special recognition for Kristen Stewart – the ‘Twilight girl’ – and her dynamic portrayal of the teenage sex runaway whose life lacks fundamentality such as being able to make a bed or clean a toilet. After her Mother died in a car crash when she was a child, Mallory has lost all sense of moral and ethics and can’t make it through the day without smoking a joint or – as frequently put – “f*cking” a customer.
Gandolfini is gruff and captivating as middle-aged Doug Riley – a man stuck in an empty marriage with Lois (Melissa Leo) following the death of their teenage daughter. On a work trip to New Orleans, seeing similarities in troubled Mallory to those of his own daughter, he decides to help Mallory in the best way he can. The two form a bond that is unlikely, earnest and fun, with a memorable back-and-forth humour well-played by Stewart and Gandolfini, as the two characters seek refuge in each other’s loneliness.
Leo is dynamite as hermit Lois as she makes a miraculously brave move in going out to get her husband, leaving the house for the first time in several years. When reunited, Gandolfini and Leo present a relationship that is profound and worthy of your tears as they realise what the grief has done to their marriage. The couple stand as the parent type figures for the orphaned teen and Stewart’s Mallory is enchanting;  giving the perfect balance of tough and hopeless as she repels their help, claiming “It’s too late for that sh*t.”
As a trio, the range of styles and personalities these actors present merge to make a film that is all at once hilarious, haunting and touching. The hazy cinematography blends Welcome To The Riley’s in with all the other American independents, and its scarce script offers us a silence that is thoughtful to some; frustrating to others. It is a shame that its minor mistakes are the ones that make it slightly fade into the background, as Welcome To The Riley’s is a truly poignant and sincere film that deserves to shine.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Help (2011)

Rating: 12A
Director: Tate Taylor
Screenplay: Tate Taylor
Genre: Drama
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas-Howard.

Tate Taylor has proved to be ‘one-to-watch’ with his faithful adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s international best-selling novel, The Help, following Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), an aspiring author during 60s America, as she makes the courageous decision to write a book from the point of view of the African-American maids facing the struggles of racism as they work for white families throughout the civil rights movement.
Tate Taylor is barely a toddler in terms of the film industry; The Help being only his third directing credit, and the first to gain much critical acclaim (scoring four Academy Award nominations) for its depth, hilarity and warmth. However, for Taylor, the future is now bright. The film has the correct balance of humour and profoundness, with a script that stays faithful to the novel and a cast that react with one another so well that it is hard to imagine them acting without each other in any future projects.
Well-known for her work in comedies, Stone was the perfect choice for Skeeter – perfectly embodying her ditzy and determined nature with just the right amount of light-hearted wit to relieve The Help of its serious truth. Stone’s performance as Skeeter presents her in an entirely new field, proving she can do more than joke her way through a sketch.
Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) make a wonderful on-screen twosome, providing us with laughs and tears, however it is their individual performances that truly shine. Davis’ Aibileen is endearingly vulnerable beneath her strong armour, taking care of another woman’s white child as she mourns the loss of her own. All the while, Mother, Elizabeth (Ahna O’Reilly) swarms around worrying about dining and dresses, paying as little attention to her ‘baby girl’ as she does the maid.
Aibileen finds a connection in telling Skeeter her stories – no matter how taboo they are. She finds it her responsibility to convince the other maids to tell theirs too – Minny proving to be the hardest to induce.
Spencer is sassy and brash as the no-bullshit Minny, getting her own back at irrational employer, Hilly – played disgustingly callously by Bryce Dallas-Howard - in the most gasp-worthy way, serving up a damn good slice of revenge and establishing by far the funniest moment of the film. Losing her job was the best thing to happen to her as she stumbles upon a job working for the sweet and naive Celia (Jessica Chastain), feeling more freedom and happiness than she has in a long time. Celia, along with Skeeter and the other maids, provide Minny with a release from the violent hard-ships of her home life.
As we embark on the long road with the on-screen team that soon become our friends, we are invited into a sad and engaging world that really opens our eyes to the upsetting truth of a history which effected millions. The film is worthy of your tears, your giggles and your gasps – with a gut-wrenchingly earnest cast, a beautifully composed score (Thomas Newman), together making a film that is lovable, enjoyable and poignant all at once.