Thursday, November 15, 2012

TV - Top 3 Series I'm Currently Watching

I have done it before and I am going to do it again! Yes, the name of this blog is Elly's Film Review, so naturally I should be reviewing films but goshdarnit! I got away with talking about Mad Men way back so I'm going to tackle television series again.
Lets face it, television series are fast becoming more respected and recognised as an impressive medium. Most people these days are discussing the latest episode of their favourite HBO series rather than the latest blockbuster Hollywood has turned out.
One thing that's hard to tackle with TV Series is the amount of time it consumes in your everyday life, and keeping up with all the latest greatest shows! I have so many on my list that I am dying to see but just don't have the time to fit them in (out of fear I'll replace socialising and sleeping with sitting in front of the screen for hours on end).
But I have managed to fit some in to my life that I am going to mention today and encourage you to watch (if you can fit in the time).


I came across this show last year when I was producing and hosting a radio show called Coffee and TV. Each week I talked about a particular genre of television and when Science Fiction came along I was told I should talk about Fringe on the radio show. To be honest, I was really reluctant about watching this series as I had heard it had done badly on Australian television and had been moved to a really late time slot. But then I was like, well most Australian audiences suck! That's why we have shows like Two and a Half Men and Being Lara Bingle on at prime-time time slots. So I checked it out.

It's a captivating story about Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent, who loses her partner/lover in weird circumstances and decides to stop at nothing to find out what caused his bizarre undoing. She collects a team consisting of an insane scientist and his estranged son, along with FBI agent; Astrid and they begin to work together to solve strange crimes in the Fringe Division.

But it isn't your typical police/crime/sci-fi series. There is some serious back story to this show and incredible character development. There are also some really hilarious moments! Mainly consisting of Walter and his obsession with food. This show will immediately grab you and keep you hanging for more. Not only that, it is insanely creative and there is an amazing animated episode to look forward to in Season Three.

At the moment I am just over halfway through Season Four and I can honestly tell you it just keeps getting better. In America they are currently screening Season Five and it will be the last season of the series which is extremely saddening for me to hear as I have become so attached to this story and its characters. I highly recommend this series to those of you who like to use their brain when it comes to television as it will absolutely do your head in, but in a good way. I can't wait to see what the rest of this show has left to offer! Also invest a lot of time in it as there are 24 episodes per season and the first season's episodes run for about 50-55 minutes. The remaining seasons are about 40-45 minutes.


It was my 13-year-old cousin, Harry who got me onto this hilarious animated series. Sure it's on Cartoon Network and from that you'd suppose it's directed only at a children's market but think again! This is full of so much adult humor I can't get through an episode without crying from laughter and occasionally thinking, hmmm peeps under the age of 12 probably shouldn't watch this/they won't get it.

The show follows best friends Finn the human and Jake the dog who seek adventure in some amazing lands where we meet some very interesting characters. One character who is highly worth mentioning is LSP (Lumpy Space Princess) who hales from Lumpy Space! She is a hilarious character with a hilarious voice to match who is constantly talking about her love for Brad, whilst embracing her lumps and hating on others who don't get her.

I have only seen about 20 episodes from this series but it's enough to fall in love with it and boy do I want to see more. My 13-year-old cousin has promised me a day long marathon soon, whoop! It has also encouraged a huge fan base! I have met so many people in their 20s who love and quote this show. When I was in America, on a recent holiday I went into stores and there was so much Adventure Time merchandise around, including Finn's famous white hat with ears! I contemplated getting it but decided I was too broke to make the purchase as it was the last day of my travels (have regretted that decision ever since, but thank goodness for Internet shopping!) I also found myself exclaiming, "MY BEANSSSS!" every now and again, which of course was said by LSP in an episode when her can of beans are knocked over onto a camp fire. Trust me, it's hilarious.

I can't stop spreading the word about this series. Seriously, get on it! You will not be disappointed.


I really don't think I have to describe how awesome this show is. I think everyone who loves television has seen or is currently viewing this excellent series. It's one of those shows that just keeps getting better and better. It is truly phenomenal how intense each season gets, just when you think they can't pull any more crazy shit on you, they leave you with another 'mouth-wide-open' ending. 

Currently, I am up to Season Five. I only just finished Season Four a couple of weeks ago and I watched the second half of that season in one day. I was so impatient to see what happened next I couldn't wait any longer. The ending of that season literally left me saying, 'Whaaaa?! No Fucking Way!!!' (and that's a good thing). I am really anxious/sad to begin watching Season Five as I know it will be the beginning of the end. Yes, sadly, Season Five will be the last of this phenomenal television series. But they are doing something really brilliant by splitting it into two halves. The first half has already finished airing in America and I believe we will see the second half some time next year.

I really shouldn't have to tell you what makes this show so great. Just start watching it immediately and you'll see why. It is without a doubt the best television show on TV right now. But in saying that I haven't seen Homeland yet, which I hear comes pretty darn close. So perhaps I should get started on that series pretty soon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Golly Gosh! It has been quite a while since my last post but I do have a fairly good excuse... I have been traveling across the United States of America these past two months! Whilst I was over there I happened to visit Boston, Massachusetts where it rained 2 out of the 3 days I was there. This allowed me to use the excuse to go to the cinema and not feel bad about it. Fortunately I was traveling with my dear friend Alice, who is my cinema buddy back home, so she was also keen to catch a flick (or two). I had actually been super eager to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower, having read the book a couple of months before departing to the States. And fortunately for us it was showing! Whoop, Yeahhhh! (so much excitement)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age story set in the 1990s (because it was written in the 1990s, duh!), so think mix-tapes and awesome fashion (I am a sucker for 90s clothing and I love how the character Mary Elizabeth dresses). The book is told through letter form, it is Charlie (our main character) writing to an anonymous friend. He tells this friend of how he is going to stand out this school year and not be the introvert he has been in the past.

Stephen Chbosky has adapted his book into film so wonderfully, it makes you glad no one else touched it. The cast are perfect, Ezra Miller as Patrick is beyond brilliant and Logan Lerman makes the perfect Charlie. I also love that Emma Watson and Paul Rudd are in this, among many other great actors. (On a side note, Reece Thompson is in this! I have mentioned him previously in other posts and let me just say, although his character is minor/an asshole, he is exceptionally babe'n in this film).

When I read the book there were moments where I had to put it down, and as lame as it sounds, just take a break and look outside the window for a moment. Things got intense! But, I didn't think it was super intense until I saw the film. There are a fair few moments that make you get hella teary. At the end of the film Alice and I turned to each other and we were both a blubbering mess and agreed to wait until the credits rolled before we left the cinema. So remember to bring the Kleenex!

This is the perfect American teen film. It has everything, drugs; alcohol; homosexuality; first kisses; music by The Smiths; diner scenes; American football; punch ups in the cafeteria; awkward relationships and a scene involving Emma Watson standing in the back of a truck with her arms stretched out whilst Heroes by Bowie is played on the radio (spoiler).

I really, really, really enjoyed this movie. I couldn't be happier with Chbosky's film adaptation of his very own novel. It made me super happy but also left me feeling rather sad, but that didn't make me think any less of the film. I can't wait for it's release in Australia so I can see it again!

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seven Days, Seven Movies

DAY ONE: Thelma and Louise

Some times I think that Ridley Scott has only ever made Sci-Fi films like Alien, Blade Runner & more recently, Prometheus. But he has actually made more action films (a lot with Russell Crowe starring in the main role), including the 1991 classic, Thelma and Louise.
Oh lord, I have wanted to watch this female-centred action flick for so long, I am so ashamed it has taken me this long. This film is a beauty, and I can see why it is so popular. I loved the empowerment it gave me as a female but it kinda made me wanna go break the law & wear high-waisted denim jeans. I think I'll just stick with the jeans though, regardless of how huge it makes your butt look.
Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis are such badass redheads. I wish there were more female characters like them. Quentin Tarantino's leading ladies probably come the closest.

DAY TWO: 30 Minutes or Less

Ehhhh. This is so disappointing! I don't know how they got this wrong because it stars the oh so hilarious Danny McBride (who was so goddamn funny in Pineapple Express as Red) and Aziz Ansari (who is Tom, the Indian wannabe African-American in Parks and Recreation). I should have expected as much though because it comes from Director Ruben Fleischer, who directed the the also very disappointing, Zombieland, which only had one funny scene featuring Bill Murray.
Just don't bother. There are no laughs here and you just end up scrolling through Instagram on your phone for the second half of the movie.

DAY THREE: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Elizabeth Olsen is my new favourite actress and is definitely the most normal looking of the Olsen sisters (and I mean that in a good way). This film, which is about a cult, is the most interesting film I have seen depicting a cult. It shows what it's like once you escape a cult and the effects it can have on your state of mind. There are also flashbacks of Olsen's time in the cult which are very eery and become more disturbing as the film progresses. 
The ending kind of leaves a lot of questions unanswered. This will definitely confuse certain people but if you can look past that you realise how haunting and moving this film is. The performances in it are unbelievably convincing. I highly recommend seeing this.
And if you watch it on DVD, be sure to check out the director's short film, Mary Last Seen, which depicts a girl's journey to the cult. It goes for about 15 minutes and is shot so beautifully. The ending is utterly creepy also.

DAY FOUR: My Week with Marilyn

Whoever thought this film could actually work? A true story depicting the time Marilyn Monroe spent in England to make Laurence Olivier's film, The Prince and the Showgirl, but to my surprise it has a strong story and Michelle Williams as Monroe is so utterly convincing you start to think she is the blonde bombshell.
I think the thing that makes this film so moving is Michelle Williams strong acting and the behind the scenes stuff we never got to see in the pictures. Marilyn Monroe was clearly a very sad person having grown up without her mother and father and a family to lean on.
It's such a great film and I frown upon the critics who say it is a film about nothing.

DAY FIVE: The Skin I Live In

I honestly think it's best to go in to this film not knowing anything about it. What happens in it is so unbelievable, I just don't want to give anything away. All I can say is persist with it, because for me I was confused for the first half and honestly didn't know where it was going, but after the halfway point the second half will just blow you away, it's such an eery and captivating film.
It is definitely my pick of the week and the best film I have seen since Drive.

DAY SIX: Friends With Kids

Yay! I love a film starring Saturday Night Live actors (Bridesmaids getting a worthy mention). This stars a bunch of Bridesmaids actors as well as some newbies. This film really opened my eyes to what it's like being in your 30s and being married with kids and all that crap (so glad it's another 10 years away for me).
I honestly thought this wasn't going to be all that amazing but it was surprisingly good. It's one of those 'dramedy' movies (funny yet serious), that make you go, 'hey, that was actually really entertaining,' at the end. My friend Larissa and I were very pleased we spent our afternoon cinema session viewing this one.
The only sad part is my all time favourite, Kristen Wiig, plays a really disappointing character and doesn't provide any laughs and is miserable for most of the movie. Boo!

DAY SEVEN: Kramer vs Kramer

1970s Meryl Streep = total babe! Aside from that, Kramer vs Kramer is a very real story about divorce and parenting. In a time when divorce probably wasn't that common, this film would have been groundbreaking for it's time, which is probably why it received many Oscar wins, including Best Picture. This film will have you sobbing at the end. A great film that is still moving and believable to this day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Feeling Nostalgic - A Look at Five Hollywood Classics


This is as bitchy as Old Hollywood gets. Just throw in a diva like Bette Davis and 'the girl next door', Anne Baxter and watch everything unravel. 
This film tells the story of Theatre legend, Margo (Davis) and the not so innocent Eve (Baxter) who aspires to be an actress just like Margo. There's a sweet appearance made by Marilyn Monroe in one of her first roles and George Sanders plays a main part as the conspiring Addison DeWitt who you will recognise from Hitchcock's Rebecca
This film is really fabulous and you'll find yourself rubbing your hands together and laughing a devilish laugh when it all gets really bitchy in the second half. I enjoyed this so much I decided to watch it again the next day. Watch it now!


This film will really shock and disturb you. I was surprised at the reaction it gave me as a person living in the 21st Century that it made me wonder how people in 1950 reacted to it. 
It's story portrays an out of work actress (Gloria Swanson) confined to her decaying Hollywood mansion reflecting on her life as a silent actress and dreaming of making her return to the big screen. When a struggling script writer (William Holden) finds himself at her doorstep he is soon talking with her about script ideas and before he knows it, has moved in with her and becomes her toyboy (so to speak).
This is a really sad story. Gloria Swanson is absolutely terrifying as the crazy old actress rotting away and holding on to something that will never be revived. 
Her final words in the film are an absolute classic and I knew them as soon as she was saying them because they have been referenced at least a dozen times in popular culture. 
This dark and very real story will stay with you for days. 


Another old time Hollywood actress; Joan Crawford. I have always been dying to see a film starring Crawford after seeing the film Mommy Dearest, based on the book by her adopted daughter that portrays her as a cruel mother. In this film she definitely isn't a cruel mother but she is somewhat pathetic and sad. 
Crawford plays Mildred Pierce, a woman whose husband has just left her, leaving her with two daughters and mountains of debt. Her ungrateful daughter Veda (Miriam Ellis) longs to be wealthy and surrounded by other wealthy people living the life of a socialite. Mildred stops at nothing to achieve this wealthy lifestyle for her by working as a waitress and then going on to open her own restaurant chain, but Veda is never satisfied.
Ok, Veda is an ungrateful, spoilt, bitch! You just feel like slapping her and telling her to piss off! But you also feel like shaking Mildred & telling her to stop trying to please her daughter so much. 
Joan Crawford is an unbelievably great actress and went on to receive an Oscar for her performance, which is well deserved. This is such a great film and it also contains a little bit of a murder mystery, which I love! 
I'm also now interested in seeing the recent mini-series done of this but starring Kate Winslet in Crawford's role and Evan Rachel Wood (errrrgh) as Veda. 


This is the film that created a beautiful friendship between the very stunning, Elizabeth Taylor and oh so handsome, Montgomery Clift. 
The story follows the very mixed up George Eastman (Clift) who arrives to town hoping to work at his rich uncle's business. There he meets Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters) who he becomes romantically involved with despite being informed by his cousin not to get involved with co-workers. After he knocks up Alice he soon loses interest and begins to fall for the beautiful and wealthy, Angela Vickers (Taylor) who he quickly becomes romantic with. But what will he do with Alice now that he loves Angela?!?!
Montgomery Clift is well known for being a great method actor during his time, often compared to Marlon Brando. He is so brilliant as this troubled young man who doesn't want to do the wrong thing but often finds himself in the wrong situation. Elizabeth Taylor is absolutely beautiful in this! And I was not surprised to find out that Edith Head did all the costumes for the film, because Elizabeth wears some truly stunning gowns. 
This is a great Hollywood story told through some truly great Hollywood actors/actresses. 


Three names, Gregory Peck; Ingrid Bergman; Alfred Hitchcock. I mean you already know this is going to be a great film just from that! I had to save this Alfred Hitchcock classic for last because, well, isn't it obvious? I am Hitchcock obsessed! 
This is an interesting film in that it is mainly about psychology and tells the story of a psychologist who falls in love with a crazy man. Of course she falls in love with him before she knows he's crazy but is so in love with him that she is determined to cure him. 
This film has some really great moments including a scene where Gregory Peck's character is recalling a dream he had (A totally trippy scene that makes you think it came out of a David Lynch film).
Gregory Peck is so damn handsome in this even if he does have the crazy eyes every now and again. And Ingrid Bergman is just beautiful! I absolutely adored her in this. She was such a great Hitchock leading lady in his films from the 1940s period (Notorious being a noteworthy mention). 
Highly recommended viewing!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why I Think You Should See Coppola's Dracula

I have never been into films/stories that are based on fictional monsters like the werewolf, frankenstein and vampires. But when you find out that the 1992 film Dracula was directed by the one & only Francis Ford Coppola, you begin to wonder if you have been living under a rock for the past 20 years. Not only that it also stars Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder among many others.
So if that hasn't convinced you to watch Coppola's adaptation of Bram Stoker's famous story, then let me share with you why I think you should see it.

Okay firstly, it's so bad it's good!
There are so many cringe-worthy moments in this film that I'm sure a fair share of people would turn it off before it even reaches the halfway point or just laugh the whole way through. But I should inform you this was all intentional on Coppola's behalf! For this film he wanted it to be all done old school, this means no crazy new special effects done through computers just the old fashioned way using mirrors and other techniques to create wacky effects. There is also no on location filming, it was all done in a Hollywood studio. This gives it a feeling of old style films which I think is really awesome. You also have Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder attempting British accents but only failing in the end, which is highly amusing.

Anthony Hopkins as Professor Van Helsing is hilarious!
So many one liners and awkward moments from Hopkins. He is perfect as the Professor informing a bunch of idiots what Dracula is and what Dracula has turned the character Lucy in to. Lucy is another hilarious character who is nowhere near subtle when it comes to seducing a number of men in the room. And on that note, this film is incredibly raunchy. Dracula has a way with women that makes them breathe heavily, reveal their breasts and touch themselves. It's very sexy but also extremely over the top (but in this case, that's what makes this film so spectacular).

The costumes, make-up and sets are visually amazing!
Lucy's wedding dress was by far my most favourite costume in the entire film (pictured above). The settings are very old english and gothic (very true to the period in which the story is set). My friend Meredith loved the look of the film so much that she is determined to throw a Dracula themed party. It's the perfect excuse to light heaps of candles, drink red wine and wear over-the-top outfits.

Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula really has so much to offer. I hope that what I have listed above is inspiration enough to go see this spectacular piece of cinema whether you're a hater of vampire stories or not. If you don't have access to the film you could always watch the hilarious Halloween episode from season five of The Simpsons where they do a spoof of the film featuring Mr Burns as Dracula.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What I Have Been Watching...


Well you know this is going to be good before you have even seen it because it's starring (oh so hot right now) Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life, The Help) & Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire).Take Shelter tells the story of happily married, Curits & Samantha bringing up their deaf daughter. Things start to become a little dysfunctional when Curtis starts having these nightmares that feel so vivid, he believes they'll come true.
Take Shelter takes natural disaster movies to a new level looking at how mental illness can so suddenly impact someone's life and the lives around them. The performances are gripping & moving and the ending will leave you thinking for hours.
Trust me, this one is not to be missed.

Rating: 4.5/5


I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this one which made me a little weary about seeing it, but my overall reaction was that it was superrrr. Seriously, Ryan Gosling (I know I have already bragged about him before) is a ridiculously good looking guy/actor. Not only that, this film also stars acting genius Philip Seymour Hoffman as well as George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood (ehhh never been a fan of hers though) and Paul Giamatti. If you're into political thrillers or just enjoy staring at Ryan Gosling's babe'n face, then check this one out!

Rating: 3.5/5


You gotta love Woody Allen doing his classic comedic style/praising a city from the point of view of the lead character. Woody has had his occasional flops in recent years but it seems he occasionally pulls out some really spectacular films i.e. Vicky Cristina Barcelona. He's stepping out of his beloved New York and appreciating some of Europe; Barcelona and now Paris. We also have the upcoming To Rome With Love to look forward to.
What I love about Midnight in Paris is the stepping back in time to the 1920s to meet such literary greats as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scot Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot and even artist; Pablo Picasso!
Owen Wilson is perfect as the aspiring author lost and in love with the great city of Paris. This film is quirky and truly Woody Allen. It's good to see him getting in touch with his original style but giving it a new breath of life.

Rating: 4/5


This is one of those feel-good films that makes you want to go tell everyone about it.
Set in 1960s Southern-America, The Help tells the story of an Skeeter (Stone) a young graduate/aspiring author who decides to write a book in secret from the point-of-view of the Help. This film shows many different characters points-of-view of the Help during this time. It can be quite shocking in parts to see how African-American's were treated during 1960s America; the fact that it is unacceptable that they use the same bathroom facilities as the white people is ridiculous and appalling.
Aside from this, The Help has it's occasional humorous moments and is all over a well done film. I watched this with my mum & dad who are occasionally pessimistic and critical about modern cinema, but they were both very impressed.

Rating: 4.5/5


I saw this film ages ago and have watched it at least three times since. Why you ask? For so many reasons! It's adorable, has an amazing soundtrack done by Alex Turner (from Arctic Monkeys), so many quirky moments, awesome actors, it's directed by Richard Ayoade (from The I.T. Crowd) and so on.
This is one of those perfectly done indie-teen flicks but just a million times better.
I could go on and on but 'the proof's in the pudding.' Definitely check it out!

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Muppets

Hilarious moment from the film.

I love Jason Segel! Ever since I saw him as the adorable/hopeless Nick Andopolis in the television series, Freaks and Geeks I have adored just about every character he has played since; as Eric the over-protective boyfriend in Undeclared, as the guy who always flirts with the married woman in Knocked Up, as Peter who creates an amazing Dracula musical in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as Sydney the best man with an adorable pet puggle in I Love You, Man and of course the sweetest husband and friend ever in How I Met Your Mother.
Now Segel has brought his favourite childhood series back to life in a hilarious new movie, The Muppets.

I'm going to be honest with you, I was not a huge Muppets fan before this film. I had only seen a few of the movies as a child but barely remember them now. So I'm not sure how fans of the series and films feel about this new film but I think it was great regardless.

This film has so much to offer; great characters (new & old), hilarious musical numbers (special note goes to the song where Gary & Walter question whether they are a muppet or a man), celebrity appearances and so many comedic moments which is incredible coming from a G rated film.

I loved this film so much I saw it twice in less than a week and went home singing the songs and quoting my favourite parts over and over. I really loved the story about this muppet Walter and his human brother Gary who travel to L.A. with Gary's girlfriend and end up bringing the Muppets together for a show hoping to save the Muppet theatre. I got so carried away with the story that it brought a tear to my eye at the end both times I saw it!

This film has inspired me to check out The Muppet Show and become a Muppet fan. Sure, I'm like 30 or so years behind but if this is what this new film has intended, to bring in new fans and bring back older fans, then it has done a good job!

Rating: 4/5

Monday, January 2, 2012

so long 2011, hello 2012

2011 was a slack year for me, reviewing films wise, so for 2012 I'm going to play around with this blog. Rather than just reviewing film after film, I'm going to post anything film related. Sure, I'll do the occasional review from time to time, but I just feel it's time to spice things up a bit.

Today! I am going to list all the films I am looking forward to being released in the next few months!




(I am really in love with the original trilogy of this film adaptation so was slightly annoyed to hear it was remade. But, hearing that David Fincher did it makes me more intrigued)




(Michael Fassbender... so in love with you ever since I saw you as Magneto in X-Men: First Class!)

| 50/50 |

(Michael Fassbender again... god almighty!)