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Sparkle (2007)
3/10
It's not very good, I'm afraid
6 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's a romantic comedy, but it's bland as hell as it just lacks story direction. There's many narrative problems -- for a start, Kate is presented as a strong, spiky lady at first (she's campaigning for the release of a wrongly imprisoned person as a sub plot), but then she's accepting of the main character sleeping with his mum and lying about it. Why? Because he gets her a toy dolphin. Not only is that pretty insulting to this films female audience, it's insulting to anybody who's ever had a meaningful relationship. For a romantic comedy to have those flaws is absolutely fatal, and it won't find a commercial audience because of that.

Sam's character deserves a punch throughout the entire film - the audience won't like him due to his character journey (he tells his girlfriend he loves her, whilst lying about shagging her _mum_, in the space of 30 seconds). He goes from idiot, to idiot, in 90 minutes. We're defining lack of character journey in a motion picture, here.

So, the male and female lead characters are idiots.

Amusing, Bob Hoskins turns up near the end to smack Sam about - but the audience I saw it with laughed at the scene. I would have found it far more entertaining if Hoskins had beat him to a bloody pulp.

Basically, if older men wrote and directed a romantic comedy, this would be what happens. And it is. Kate goes from being interesting to being a complete idiot of a character within the space of an hour, and it's a real shame. Kate's the worst representation of a protester I've seen in a movie pretty much ever, also, and it's something I found fairly insulting.

Performance wise, Amanda Ryan is mostly great, Tony Head absolutely nails his part and Bob Hoskins is Bob Hoskins.

The overall opinion I had from this is that they didn't want to another Love Actually, but at the same time they didn't have the balls to make anything meaningful in any other sense. Relationships are complicated and messy, people can be strong, individual and interesting; this is not that representation of life, love or people.
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Garden State (2004)
10/10
I really got it
10 December 2004
Movies with guns, explosions, Barbie/ken romance... You know the drill. They can be good films, but it's rare I ever relate to those movies.

I *really* related to this movie - both the main character played by Zach, and the pure concept and analogy on display here. This film earns itself a place in my DVD collection upon release for the sheer fact it matches my 20-something experience to a huge degree, and all the feelings along the way.

Normally films such as this tend to end up becoming "coming of age" stories - this isn't. It's simply about living life, but not knowing why you are living it.

An excellent film on many levels - 10/10.
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