Saturday, April 23, 2011

All About Steve


This is a funny, funny movie with a great cast of characters. Sandra Bullock plays Mary, an eccentric crossword puzzle creator, who falls madly in lust with Steve (played by Bradley Cooper) on a blind date. After publishing a crossword all about him in the newspaper, she loses her job, and decides to follow Steve on the road with his news team. What ensues is hilarious stuff. While the socially inept Mary is mostly unbearable, you can't help but watch where her antics will take her.



The acting from everyone is brilliant in this film, as much of it is tongue in cheek, but still believable. Thomas Haden Church has some ridiculous lines as the news reporter, but they are roll around on the floor funny. Sandra Bullock plays Mary perfectly, and Bradley Cooper is drop dead gorgeous. It's suitable for kids too.We laughed and laughed!

My rating
****

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dinner for Schmucks


Ah, Friday night movies, gotta love 'em! This is one of those Jim Carrey type movies, in which the main character is so desperately odd and yet endearing at the same time. Steve Carrell plays this role magically (will Jim Carrey ever work again?), as the socially challenged geeky taxidermist who is invited to dinner by business man (Paul Rudd) who must find an '√≠diot' to entertain  his superiors, and a prospective client. There are many funny, silly, outrageous scenes and characters, and we  laughed all the way through.

Paul Rudd, understated actor that he is, is perfectly cast for this role. I just love watching his facial expressions. As for Steve Carrell, his character is embarrassing, clingy, annoying, sweet, and fascinatingly talented at creating detailed mouse dioramas. Crafter alert: you MUST watch this movie just to see all the magnificent, heart-warming dioramas featured particularly during the opening credits, and during the actual dinner for schmucks, in the last third of the movie.

This isn't a bawl your eyes out movie, but there were many touching moments. Romantic, funny and warm, this is a comedy for adults, as there is a lot of sexual innuendo. However, the message is simple and strong: everyone is unique, so love people for who they are.

My rating:
****

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vampires Suck


If you have seen the Scary Movie series of films, and can handle that sense of crass and silly humour, then you might get a good laugh out of this film!  Vampires Suck is a spoof of the Twilight movie; it is practically the same movie, but with a heap of sarcastic jokes thrown in. Being Twilight fans in our house, we found it hysterical, and laughed and laughed!

I was impressed by the actress who played Becka (this movie's version of Bella), as she mimicked Bella's mannerisms to a T.

This is straight out sick humour, but when you know the Twilight movie and the icons of popular culture, it is actually clever too. Don't take it too seriously, and you'll have a fun time!

My rating:
****

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Episode 1


I was only wondering the other day when this series would be on tele, and it started today on Foxtel! Jill Scott is perfect in the role of Precious Rabotswe - she embodies her looks, attitude, drive, sensuality,  and compassion completely!  Her gentle smile is heart-warming.

This film reminded me of Australian outback movies, with the dry desert setting of Botswana and its primitive ways. If you have seen Bran Nue Dae, which is set in Broome, you'll know what I mean. The show is very culturally specific, with shots of the landscape and animals (gorgeous!), traditional dances, music, a funeral, witch doctors and bush tea.  Rabotswe's outfits are wonderful too, using traditonal African colours and designs. 

Some of the characters are way dodgy, (ie. Kremlin!) which makes for some amusing interactions. I'm not sure I can stand the way the secretary is played though. She's just too out there!

This episode is a visual feast for people who read the book and got swept up in the romantic idea of Botswana.  The film only brings the book to life, but outshines it. Highly enjoyable!

My rating:
****

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Salt


In stark contrast to The Pianist, which I also just watched, this film is very fast-paced, and keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. It is the story of a CIA agent, Evelyn Salt, who is suspected of being a Russian spy. Once this happens, the chase is on, and there are some great chase scenes! Salt has incredible timing, and almost superhuman powers in some scenes.

As with all conspiracy thrillers, confusion reigns as the viewer wonders whose side she is actually on, and there are some astonishing twists and turns throughout, especially at the end.

Angelina Jolie plays Salt, and she is superb in this role. Her confident, often smug demeanour (as in the picture above) is held throughout the film, as it disguises her true leanings.

There are some quite vicious and bloody scenes, one being the opening scene, but mostly, it is about the chase, and is quite a thrilling ride!

My rating:
****

The Pianist


I know this movie has been around since forever, but I've never had an opportunity to watch it before. Thank goodness for Foxtel movie channels!

This is a fairly slow moving story that centres on a Polish radio pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, during the second World War. There are some shocking scenes, of the Jews being randomly shot, burned in the streets, dragged through mud, and beaten by German soldiers, which some viewers will find difficult to stomach. To me it is the dehumanisation of the Jews that was deplorable. They were not allowed to flinch, cry, or reach out to a friend that was killed, or they would be killed too. They had to stifle their emotions and just shuffle on to their next location.

There were so many chilling scenes in this film, whole streets in ruins, a town square filled with abandoned luggage, and the many scenes with Adrien Briody (who plays Szpilman) looking for food, or trying to find warmth.

This is a true story, and it is knowing that Szpilman actually survives these atrocities that keeps the viewer going. Wherever he is hiding, he has to be quiet, and he is cold and starving, sometimes having to survive on grain he finds in abandoned tubs.

This film is confronting. It makes no secret of the fact that the Nazis were a cruel and vicious people and that the Jews were deemed vermin. It is such a sad part of our world's history, and not something we can ignore.

My rating:
*****

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas


This is a very powerful movie that left me stunned and shaking my head. The story is of two boys, one the son of the commandant of a Nazi concentration camp, and the other, a Jewish boy in the camp, who become friends at the fenceline between their two lives. Both boys are adorable, and are brilliant actors, and while their friendship is uplifting to watch, there is an ominous sense of  knowing for the viewer.

I was too infuriated to cry at the end. Too ashamed of the Nazi leaders, and their so-called 'vision' of a better world. And too disgusted, knowing that Nazi Germany was a shocking part of the history of the human race that can never be erased.

This is a heart-felt, and must-see movie about the strength of friendship, virtue and loyalty.

My rating :
*****