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Lie with Me (2005)
A beautiful, sensitive piece (but not for the faint hearted!)
Pleasantly surprised by this film, having expected a superficial piece centering around two over-indulgent, sex obsessed 20 somethings. At times, the experience can be perceived as such, but you can't help but get drawn into the lives of the two lead characters.
David is greatly portrayed by Eric Balfour, who depicts his gradual descent into lust (and love) with huge intensity. Although you become a little confused two thirds of the way through (in terms of what it is that David actually wants from his lover), the need to see how the issue is resolved keeps the viewer transfixed.
Leila (played with beautiful subtlety by Lauren Lee Smith) is completing absorbing, making her sexual dalliances appear the natural behaviours of modern day society.
At times, the sub plots can appear contrived, in an attempt to provide a platform for the lead characters' emotional turmoils but, in reality, it does allow an interlude to the rather explicit (if very erotic) sex scenes.
I'd advise people to give this a peek, if only to observe simplistic cinema making at it's best.
Half Nelson (2006)
One to see.....obvious but true
I have been meaning to obtain and watch this film for a while, so once I had it in my possession, I did have high hopes for it's contents. I was not disappointed.
The initial factor that blows the viewer away is the interaction between the two lead characters Ryan Gosling (Dunne) and Shareeka Epps (Drey). Their friendship is both convincing and not perceived inappropriate on any level. Miss Epps is more than a match for Gosling, displaying just the right amount of emotional intent without becoming one of those annoying child actresses whose eyes must be the size of saucers to convey sadness.
The supporting cast is also excellent, giving the whole story a credibility that makes Gosling's character so utterly believable as the flawed, drug addicted but brilliant teacher trying to survive from one day to the next.
I found myself completely absorbed and crying unashamedly at the continued complexities of two individuals trying to navigate a friendship that they know is deemed wrong by most, but right for their own needs.
I cannot believe that this gem basically flew under the radar (although acknowledged by some awarding bodies) and highly recommend people to watch this too see what film making is truly about.
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
Don't expect much and you'll get so much more!
OK, so the film won't win any awards for cinematography or dialogue but, man it does blow your mind for an hour and a half! It is full of ridiculous set pieces, really implausible stunts and a baby in a bullet proof vest!
The basic premise is quite interesting (can't give too much away as there won't be a lot left!) but, in essence, the plot involves a lot of shooting, bad guys hitting the dirt and an anti-hero that's easy on the eye!
The female lead will give the guys something too look at and the bond that is formed between the baby and Mr. Smith (Clive Owen)is quite touching. At times it seems almost incredible that a baby would sleep (let alone live) through half the set pieces, but by putting your 'reality check-o-meter' to the side, it makes it all enjoyable again.
Paul Giamatti as the lead baddie is probably the most credible thing in the movie and provides a lot of the laugh out loud moments when dealing with his minions. He is obviously enjoying the part and is overzealous in line delivery and portrayal but who cares, it's not reality...
All joking aside, you should have a good time while watching this film. You've been warned not too expect too much and if you go in with your eyes open, then you'll be pleasantly surprised...
The Notebook (2004)
A beautiful piece of cinematic poetry
I purchased this film with the notion that it would be your usual 'chick flick slush fest'. I could not have been more wrong.
The film is both moving and uplifting, with some fantastic performances from Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. The supporting cast is equally as good, with the whole ensemble taking you on a journey of true romance.
Be prepared to cry at some genuinely heartbreaking moments and have your breath taken away by some very intense love scenes.
It's hard not to say more without detracting from the film's core storyline, so I will leave it too other viewers to watch the film and surmise their own feelings...
Blast from the past...
Have just finished watching what, to me, epitomised black British comedy in the '90s. This comedy is laugh out loud hilarious, without being patronising and has managed to stand the test of time, even by today's standards.
Norman Beaton (may he rest in peace) was a comedic genius and it made me cry just recalling the fact that he is no longer with us. The remaining supporting cast were equally funny, making a series basically focusing on the day to day events in a barbers in Peckham, very realistic.
A lot of the humour resonates with my own childhood, with the loud banter, constant ribbing and no one safe from the butt of a joke. I hope other people get hooked on this programme as you will not regret spending half an hour with the Ambroses...
Transformers...Robots are alive!!!!
Only one word to use that will sum up this film....BREATHTAKING!!!!!
OK, I am a 39 year old female who remembers her children and nephews' fixation with this animated genre but, really, for something that is based upon what is essentially a very masculine cartoon fantasy, this film has too be seen to be believed.
One would expect the special effects to dominate the film but, if anything, they become secondary to the actual core of the storyline.
The robots have believable humanistic qualities whilst still retaining their fantastic ability to change into any mechanical object they come into contact with. The audience will find themselves rooting for the good guys, whilst marvelling at the determination of the bad.
If you do get to see one remake of an iconic animated series, make it this one...you will be wide eyed and in awe all the way through!
Rent or buy but keep forever...
I will keep my review short as having just seen the movie version of Rent, I am actually too moved to do a literary masterpiece!
Even if you are not a lover of musicals, make time to see this one and be prepared to have your life changed forever.
From the uplifting soundtrack and the very credible characters to the tragic content and dark (yet strangely endearing) set pieces, you will be taken to a place in your heart that you never thought you could reach..
The ensemble cast do the piece justice, keeping the pace subtle but enthralling.
You will not be able to help yourself singing along to the songs, which I will guarantee will stay with ytou long after the film has ended.
Eddie Murphy: Delirious (1983)
Literally the king of comedy
OK, probably been said a thousand times, but this IS Eddie Murphy at his best. I originally watched this back in the day ('88) and fell in love with his comedic stylings (although Richard Pryor'ish at times), you forgive Mr. Murphy because he does it so well.
From animating the most peculiar (what if they were...) gay personalities to reflecting on a childhood which I have a real empathy with (!), Murphy manages to have you on the verge of hysterical collapse every time.
I have seen this film umpteen times, know it verbatim but still manage to laugh out loud when the punchlines come. If you do anything in this lifetime, see this film as it is a true masterpiece!!!
Casino Royale (2006)
Well worth the wait...
I must admit, from the outset, I have always believed that Daniel Craig was the most obvious choice as the new Bond, but I had to wait for the rest of the world to catch up with me!!! Having recently seen the latest outing for the world's number one agent, I have now had my beliefs confirmed. Daniel Craig manages to add that extra emotional resonance to a character that had, up until recently, become a two dimensional caricature.
His physicality manages to fill the screen, adding a genuine belief that, if unleashed to his full potential, he could cause some serious damage to his foes! The action and fight scenes are breathtaking, with a depth of reality that leaves you speechless. The story is credible and even the parts where the action is limited, the characters provide enough motivation to keep the viewer hooked.
I could go on about how fantastic this film is but, in order to truly believe that the James Bond for the 21st century has definitely arrived, you need to go see Casino Royale for yourself...NOW!
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
A true depiction of forbidden love...
It's been a while since I saw Brokeback Mountain, but it's emotive content still resonates to this day.
To over-analyse this film would do it a disservice, as it is in it's simplicity that the story revels.
Although focusing upon the forbidden love of two men (set in the ultra masculine world of cowboys and rodeos), it manages to convey the warmth, devotion and unrequited emotions of essentially a couple who happen to fall in love.
Here's lies it's magic; the two leads (played with exceptional restraint by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall) quietly invite the viewer into their relationship, gradually making one feel they are watching an intimate piece of reality.
The essence of the story could be transposed to any supposedly socially forbidden coupling (bi-racial, lesbianism, etc) but it's core message is one of sustaining a love that has to be hidden and never explored to it's full potential.
Ang Lee (as always) provides a beautiful cinematic back drop to the evolving epic and clearly allowed the actors to freely explore the range of their characters.
I could go on but I feel the best way for any potential viewers to embrace the magic of this film is to pick a quiet afternoon, rent the DVD and settle back to enjoy what is truly an exceptional piece of movie making.