Sunday, January 25, 2009

Screening Log (19/01/09 – 25/01/09)

Wild Child (Nick Moore, 2008)
Pretty standard but highly enjoyable comedy about a spoilt brat (played by Emma Roberts) who is sent to a boarding school in England in an attempt to make her grow up a bit. Full review here.

Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd, 2008)
I absolutely adored this film when I first saw it, but on a re-watch, I’ve realised that it’s actually rather grating. The acting is truly terrible from some of the cast (Brosnan, Walters, ugh, though Amanda Seyfried is adorable), and, whilst the film itself is still a fun, breezy treat, especially as I love Abba, but Mammia Mia! sadly doesn’t hold up on repeat viewings.

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn, 2004)
This film is turd. Full review here.

The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)
Full review here.

Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard, 2008)
For someone with no interest or expertise in Richard Nixon and Watergate, I found Frost/Nixon surprisingly compelling. Based on Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Last King of Scotland)’s play and adapted into a script by him, it focuses on the interviews given by Nixon to up-and-coming British TV presenter David Frost. The verbal sparring between Frost and Nixson (Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, respectively) are a exciting watch, one that I couldn’t prise my eyes away. With Frank Langella as Frost, I was wondering what he was thinking, planning to say, every step of the way, and the conversations between the two were like a massive face-off. And Michael Sheen, who made such a good Tony Blair, makes an equally good David Frost, capturing the personality of the man along with some interesting characterisations of his own. Matthew McFayden bungs up with owl glasses and a bad wig, Rebecca Hall looks appropriately pretty and Kevin Bacon bacons around for a bit to contribute to this impressive ensemble.

Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008)
I’m rather confused as to why this film received a 15-rating over here, for, despite the plot centring around the did he/didn’t he of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s priest abusing one of the students, all that there is of it in the film is speculation, and even then, they don’t even talk about it in any detail; indeed, the details are skirted over. Perhaps we’ve become more paranoid about the paedophilia issue in cinema since the whole Maddie McCann thing (that was certainly why the release of Gone Baby Gone was delayed), I dunno, but I reckon Doubt could have been rated 12A.

Anyway, the film itself was very well made, but the sum of its parts was certainly greater than the finished object. Amy Adams was great as usual, her portrayal of an innocent schoolteacher being quite endearing and believable, and Viola Davis bringing an interesting edge of moral ambiguity to her character (the mother seems to know/suspect something’s going on with her son, yet she’s willing to let him endure it for a while longer, just as long as he gets into college.) Philip Seymour Hoffman is his usual compelling self, though not as good as he was in Charlie Wilson’s War, and Meryl Streep, I found rather disappointing. She was good, as she usually is, but on the whole, she just had this cold bitch thing going on and we didn’t get much character development from her. The script was convincing and appropriately stagey and it was a fairly interesting watch throughout, but on the whole, I felt rather blah about Doubt.

Rush Hour 3 (Brett Ratner, 2007)
The Rush Hour movies for me, go from very good (Rush Hour = B+) to acceptable (C), to a bit naff (C-). Nothing will beat the original, least of all Chris Rock, who was annoying-but-funny in Rush Hour but now is just annoying, fat, whiny and deserving of a slap. The acting from just about everyone is poor and the twist at the end had happened in Rush Hour, so I wasn’t in the least surprised. The backdrop of Paris is gorgeous though, and the fight scenes are titillating as ever – knives are dangerous, but Jackie Chan doesn’t seem to think so. And allow me to take the time to wish a Happy Chinese New Year to Jackie Chan, who, at 54, still wants to make a fourth Rush Hour movie. He is the main attraction of these movies – his fighting is always kickass and his character’s poor grasp of English still brings a few chuckles (though it was funnier the first 9034234 times they did it).

Thirteen (Catherine Hardwicke, 2003)
It’s hard to choose which film is funnier, Hardwicke’s 2008 outing, Twilight, or this. Twilight had Robert Pattinson looking like he was inhaling glue in just about every scene, as well as lines such as “I’m only afraid of losing you.” Thirteen, however, has Evan Rachel Wood going from a straight-A, Barbie doll playing good girl to a shoplifting, tongue-piercing, belly-button piercing, foul-mouthed slut. It’s just totally inconceivable; I’m 18 and I’ve lived in the slums of London for most of my teenage years, and people just don’t do that. Nikki Reed, grow a pair, you bitch! It wasn’t all bad – however ugly the acts were, I couldn’t not watch, and Holly Hunter was worthy of her Oscar nomination as the mum that’s trying to do her best, but finding it a struggle. But on the whole, this film grated. There was more than one occasion when I was tempted to drop the c-bomb on Nikki Reed, but my mates were there, and, as Emily Howard from the embarrassing Little Britain would say, “I’m a lady.”

Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)
So, my name is Emmabung, and I am a Slumdogaholic. It was sosososososo bunging good!! As I was saying to Luke before I watched the film, I was so scared that the amount of whoring I’d done of Slumdog Millionaire I’d done on my blog prior to watching the film would hinder my enjoyment of it, but I needn’t have worried, because the film lived up to my expectations, and more. The more I think about it, the more I adore it. Dev Patel, you are tall and cute and I want you to father my children. Full review here.


Step Up (Anne Fletcher, 2006)
Channing Tatum can’t act to save his life, but he can dance better than anyone I’ve seen in my life. The lines, romance, characters and plot bored me to tears, but whenever a dance began, I knew I was in for something special. And the dances are so cinematic, I can just about understand why this film was made. Very enjoyable.

Donkey Punch (Oliver Blackburn, 2008)
Three promiscuous Leeds girls decide to go on the yacht of four lads they’ve met for the best part of, oh, 12 minutes? Like the good, docile girls they are, they take some drugs and swim in the sea together, and then it’s not long before they start exchanging stories of outrageous sexual practices, one of these being a “donkey punch” – when you punch a woman on the neck whilst bunging her so that, in her becoming unconscious and tighter, the man can make a better love explosion. Nice.

Anyway, on a level of sick that even surpasses Julianne Moore giving her on-screen son Eddie Redmayne a Hand-J, these pathetic individuals decide to do it, and a woman dies, thus Donkey Punch becomes a story of people turning against each other and fighting for their lives as the yacht floats back to shore. I watched Donkey Punch with the same three girls I watched Thirteen with, and, if the previous film didn’t make me want to chunder, this definitely did. The shagging is grim and filthy, enough to put anyone off sex (in any shape, size or form), for life. The acting is Razzie worthy, with most of the cast being plucked from piss-poor English TV shows that usually get cancelled. The story is ludicrous and there’s more plot holes than toilets in a Roman bath, and the characters have to say lines such as “I’m starving Marvin” with a straight face. The best (and only good bit) of the film was, when one of the male characters dies, he falls into the sea, and, having had explosives forced into him, his arms jerk up and down mechanically like a toy soldier, to comic effect. I larfed so much, I nearly gave myself a migraine.

The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008)
I watched The Reader with Luke off a download. It was in two parts and we sneaked a cheeky break for drinks in between the two, which was appropriate, because whilst the second half was interesting and quite compulsive viewing, the first half was far too slow and clinical for me. The scenes between Fiennes and Winslet were great, and the “twist” (well, I consider it a twist, it may have just been me being too slow to pick up on it), when it came, truly surprised me and made the story suddenly a lot more interesting. Sadly, David Kross, poor lad, could have given Kyle McLachlan a decent run for his money in terms of bland impassiveness, and, whilst Kate Winslet was moving and I could not help but leave The Reader thinking, “Is that it?” And it was.


anahita said...

yeah, have to agree on the reader thing. It was very good, but ultimately it wasn't the best - and it was really winslet that made it good. I felt ralph fiennes was very underused and, I dunno, not particularly "Michael" for me. And the whole nudity thing was...umm, well. Yes. I loved the scene in the courtroom though with the handwriting sample. it moved me to tears.

Catherine said...

One of my best friend's ex-girlfriend (I did not mean for that to sound as convoluted as it possibly does) gave me Thirteen on dvd a few years ago. I thought it was all right, but overly histrionic and unbelievable - basically the same response as you. I was on MSN talking to her after I watched the dvd and I said this to her. She went crazy! Saying it was exactly what had happened to loads of her friends, etc.

I loved Frost/Nixon, but then again I'm a huge Nixon/Watergate nerd. And I'm just back from Rachel Getting Married, which I loved hard.

B-Movie/Made for TV Movies Fanatic said...

I was watching this with you at the time and I 100% agree with your review. It was very amusing to see you laugh so hard that i couldnt see the whites of your eyes...
But I do however adore the script (how could you not??!), my favourite quote being "You need to go cold turkey, mate"..."I'd rather have hot pussy." :-D Genius.

B-Movie/Made for TV Movies Fanatic said...

That was the masterpiece "Donkey Punch" by the way ^

Emma said...

That line was cringe-inducing!

Entertainment Blog said...

Slumdog Millionaire Review Again? I am curious to this movie.

Harry W said...

"Three promiscuous Leeds girls decide to go on the yacht of four lads they’ve met for the best part of, oh, 12 minutes? Like the good, docile girls they are, they take some drugs and swim in the sea together, and then it’s not long before they start exchanging stories of outrageous sexual practices, one of these being a “donkey punch” – when you punch a woman on the neck whilst bunging her so that, in her becoming unconscious and tighter, the man can make a better love explosion. Nice."

Best. Plot. Summary. Ever.

Emma said...

I do try. :D

monkey said...

aww, i liked the reader. this line in it actually made me feel:

i’m not frightened. i’m not frightened of anything. the more i suffer, the more i love. danger will only increase my love. it will sharpen it, forgive its vice. i will be the only angel you need. you will leave life even more beautiful than you ended it. heaven will take you back and look at you and say: only one thing can make a soul complete and that thing is love