Sunday, June 16, 2013

MY TOP FIVE - Romantic Comedies

Like most girls, I am a sucker for a romantic comedy. I would happily dedicate an afternoon to watching Julia Roberts movies whilst consuming a block of milk chocolate and drinking G&T's. So I'm going to share with you my Top 5 favourite RomComs, most of which I saw as a young girl and hold a lot of sentimental attachment to all these years later.

FIVE: Love Actually (2003)

The cast of this film is insane; all-star and huge! And it works! America have tried to re-create this film with such shitty ones like Valentines Day and New Years Eve but you just can't top a film like Love Actually.
There are so many beautiful love stories in this film it's really hard to pick a favourite, but I have to go for the one between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia. The fact that they both don't speak the same language and find a connection between each other is just beautiful. And he learns her language! Colin Firth, you beautiful.

FOUR: When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Rob Reiner directed some memorable films in the 1980s, such as The Princess Bride, Stand By Me and This is Spinal Tap. And then he came out with this film, When Harry Met Sally.
There are so many great moments in this film; Harry informing Sally men and women can't be friends because sex always gets in the way, Sally's fussy way of ordering meals at diners, and of course the orgasm scene with the infamous line, 'I'll have what she's having.'
I love the scenes that break up the film, where we see elderly couples who tell the stories of how they met. Although told by actors, these are true stories of how real life couples met. They are mostly humorous but also really sweet.
You also get the impression that this movie was influenced by Woody Allen's film Annie Hall, with it's witty banter and, that Sally's outfits seem to be heavily influenced by that which Diane Keaton wore as Annie Hall.
It's hilarious, believable, romantic and makes you feel all warm inside - all the things you want from a romantic comedy. 

THREE: Say Anything (1989)

This is my number one 'go to movie' when I'm feeling sad or just need to fall asleep to the sound of Lloyd Dobler's fumbling voice.
This is Cameron Crowe's (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) debut feature film as a Director and he also wrote this one too. John Cusack plays the fumbling Lloyd Dobler who is completely infatuated with the class valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Sky). He is determined to win her affection despite her protective father.
This is the kind of movie that makes you think, 'Guys just don't 'whoo' girls anymore.' And why not? The persistence of Lloyd is so admirable and he's never annoying about it either. I would give anything to have a boy play In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel on a boombox outside my bedroom window. 
This movie makes you cling on to the idea that romance isn't dead even when you're only 18-years-old.

Favourite Line - Lloyd Dobler: "She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

TWO: Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)

I think it's pretty hard to find a lady that doesn't enjoy this movie. It's a modern interpretation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and it has Colin Firth reprising his role as Mr Darcy, I mean come on, swoon! 
This movie is so unbelievably hilarious and there are so many memorable moments i.e. the granny panties, sliding down the fireman pole, the playboy bunny costume, etc.
I'd hate to paint a sad picture of myself, but when I was living on my own I would often find myself watching this movie. The opening titles scene in the film (link below) is so relate-able as a single girl living on her own. 
And Hugh Grant plays an arrogant asshole that your knees can't help but buckle for in this film.  

ONE: Notting Hill (1999)

This is my number one rom-com because, I saw this film at a very young age and fell in love with it's story then and have loved it ever since.
I love the thought of a famous actress falling for an everyday guy like William Thacker. Anna Scott (Roberts) may screw him over quite a bit, but there are so many beautiful moments in this film and hilarious moments too! Who can forget Hugh Grant trying to climb over a fence and constantly saying, 'whoopsa-daisies' every time he slips.
My Favourite Moment from this film is my all time favourite moment from a romantic-comedy ever. Which makes sense being my number one pick in this post. I love quoting it and get a little teary every time I see it (I am such a sucker).

Favourite Line(s) -
Spike: There's something wrong with this yogurt.

William: Ah, that's not yogurt, that's mayonnaise...
Spike: Ah, right-o then.
[continues to eat it]

Favourite Moment 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Look At Four Foreign Films

When you've got the travel bug but no money to escape... my solution; watch a foreign film. It will most likely leave you still yearning to leave home but at least it gives you a couples of hours to feel like you're not in the confides of a boring suburban town. I have a tendency to watch French and German films so I have decided to listen to some different languages for a change.

Trishna (2011)

Trishna is an Indian/British film based on Thomas Hardy's classic novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Having not read Hardy's novel nor knowing anything about it meant I went into this movie not knowing what to expect. There seem to be mainly positive reviews of the adaptation and I have to agree with them.

It starts out as a love story between a poor Indian woman (Trishna) and a wealthy British man (Jay) who is the son of a wealthy hotel owner. But things take a bad turn in the second half for the young lovers when Trishna sees Jay for who he really is.

I love the setting of India, you get to see so many different locations of this beautiful country. The locations of the lavish hotels are beyond beautiful. But the parallels between rich and poor are so devastating but also expected. I was so swept up by all the scenery and colour that I was immediately in a trance from beginning to end.

It's a tragic story that leaves you with an ambiguous ending that is a little frustrating.

Carne trémula/Live Flesh (1997)

This Spanish film, set in Madrid, comes from the ever so talented Pedro Almodóvar, who I have become obsessed with ever since seeing All About My Mother and The Skin I Live In.

This film stars a very young Penelope Cruz who has featured in many of Almodóvar's films as well as Javier Bardem who is now married to Cruz. Live Flesh tells the story of troubled youth Victor who pursues a girl only to be rejected and then ends up in jail due to tragic circumstances. His dreamgirl ironically ends up married to the cop (Bardem) who played a part in Victor ending up in jail. What follows is finding out whether Victor will take revenge on this happy couple or not.

When watching an Almodóvar film you got to be prepared for some raunchy sex scenes, Live Flesh is definitely no exception. His films are very raw and real, never shying away from a story that will most likely confront you as a viewer.

I will always be in awe of Almodóvar's creations, I am eager to see many more of his films. And I always love hearing the Spanish language.

Dayereh/The Circle (2000)

I realise this is a post about watching foreign films as a form of escapism, so maybe Iran might not be your ideal destination, but the films that are coming out of Iran are so important and incredibly moving, I had to include one in my list. Last year I saw A Separation and the film adaptation of the graphic novel Persepolis; both films set in Iran, both stayed with me long after the viewing. I think Jafar Panahi's The Circle will have the same effect.

This film opens with the birth of a baby girl, to the dismay of the grandmother, her daughter was supposed to have a baby boy. In a long opening shot we are then introduced to three women who are hiding from police authorities... but why? The focus is gradually shifted to one of the women and then we are introduced to three other women in the film, each with a different story to tell. All women are poorly treated in their country, as all women seem to be in Iran. Women cannot ride a bus alone without a companion, they cannot get an abortion without the permission of the father, they cannot smoke in public, they must wear a chador in certain circumstances, etc. It's quite appalling to see this in the 21st Century, and as far as I know, things aren't much better today and the film is still banned in Iran.

The Circle is a great title for this film as it is a constant theme in the film. It is definitely worth a re-watch to see how many times this use of the circle comes up, some obvious some, not so obvious. But pay close attention to the opening scene because the ending is very resonant to the opening and the film comes in full circle.

Så som i himmelen/As It Is In Heaven (2004)

I really wanted to like this movie. I really did. Instead I just felt annoyed and aggravated by it.
This movie reads like something your parents/grandparents would want to watch. It's meant to be a real feel-good/uplifting film, but it's actually kind of a downer. Why is everyone in this town so miserable??? Sure they're isolated and it's winter for the most part of the film, but nothing goes right for them. And then Daniel, a famous composer, comes to town to save the day by coordinating the choir! Sure he makes them happy and they 'love him' but he causes even more drama to their little village. Ehhhh.

There are so many stereotypes in this film; the wife who gets beaten by her husband, many insecure characters, the girl who just can't meet the right guy, the crazy priest and his quiet wife, blah blah. And then there's a love story between two characters, which I just wasn't buying and wasn't at all moved by their little cliché lines they spoke to each other. And just when the characters start to look happy, something awful is thrown into the mix. Whoever wrote this script was throwing in too many storylines, too many characters and not enough development for most. In one scene, for example, we see a member of the choir (who hasn't spoken up until this point) all of a sudden stating he loves a fellow choir member (who we haven't noticed until now either). Her reaction is a frown and then she walks out of the room. A few scenes later we see them hugging and kissing being cheerful... whaaaaa??? 

I really don't understand why this film was such a huge success in Sweden, and globally on top of that. It's basically just a bunch of clichés thrown into one terrible script. Seriously, don't bother.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Celeste & Jesse Forever

Every so often a film comes out of Hollywood that doesn't sugar-coat relationships and portrays them so realistically you feel like you just experienced (or possibly have experienced) what you just saw on the screen. This is exactly what Celeste & Jesse Forever does.

Rashida Jones (Celeste) & Will McCormack (Skillz) are the writers of this story and also star in the film. Andy Samberg plays Jones' other half; Jesse. Jones and Samberg stick to their comedic humour we know and love but also take on serious roles for a lot of the film. It's so refreshing to see these two in these roles and they do it so well.

The film opens with snapshots of their happy relationship and then we see them talking and acting like a couple that are inseparable, then we cut to a restaurant scene with friends. Jesse and Celeste comically discuss the menu in a German accent when their friend Beth (Ari Graynor) cuts them off and exclaims, 'What are you two doing? You guys have been separated for 6 months... and you spend everyday together like it's no big deal.' So what we thought was a perfect relationship, is actually a pair separated. It's such a brilliant opening to a film and paths the way for a great story.

This film is mostly totally told from the female point-of-view and I often related to Jones' character having experienced similar things after a breakup. Celeste goes through all the waves of post breakup habits, talking shit on dates; finishing bottles of ranch sauce in one sitting; passing out on a pool lilo; running for miles and miles... you know the usual.
I think a lot of people will be able to relate to these characters. One thing that really echoed with me is how you can go from knowing someone so much and spending everyday with them to not knowing much and barely seeing them at all.

This film tackles a lot of heartbreak and depressing moments but it does it with a sense of humour and never strays from comical moments which is what makes it so refreshing. You also get to see Elijah Wood play a homosexual, so that's pretty awesome! I have nothing but positive things to say about this film, go see it!

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ruby Sparks | Wuthering Heights | Silver Linings Playbook | Liberal Arts


Ruby Sparks tells the story of a young author, Calvin (Paul Dano) who is struggling to write a follow up to his highly successful debut novel. When he has a dream about a beautiful girl (Ruby) he quickly starts writing up a story about her, then one day he wakes to find her in his apartment, in the flesh.
The premise sounds ridiculous but this is actually a beautifully told romance story that is often a very real depiction of a relationship in the real world. For the most part I was swooning over these characters and got lost in the beautiful romance they shared. But it was the ending that left me thinking a lot, and not in a good way. It had too many flaws and ultimately made me frustrated that Zoe Kazan (plays Ruby/wrote the script) would end it that way. But I will leave that with you to make up your mind about rather than give anything away.
One nice thing to add about the movie is Zoe and Paul are in a relationship ouside of the film and so are the directors of the movie as well. I thought that was kinda cute.


This film is one of many interpretations based on Emily Brontes classic novel of the same name. I have never seen a Wuthering Heights film nor have I read the book, so I have nothing to compare it to. So be mindful of that when reading my review.
This film has gone through a number of changes before production actually began, including directorial changes as well as casting changes. Healthcliff was initially white then was changed to being of Gypsy/Roman descent then was officially changed to be of African descent. I think James Howson and Solomon Glave were perfectly casted as Heathcliff. I felt differently about the actresses who played Catherine though. I can't explain why but they irritated me beyond belief.
I thought Andrea Arnold's vision was beautiful. There are some really breathtaking shots in this film. But as a whole, I couldn't get over how bleak and miserable it all looked. I get it, it's England, it rains a lot there and it adds a lot to the overall feel of the film, but man, it's just beyond depressing. To add to that there were some scenes that were cruel to dogs and that just felt so unnecessary. Being a dog lover, that made me feel utterly miserable and made me dislike the film a whole lot more.
It's a sad, yet beautiful story that I think I would like to see again but perhaps a different version. Or maybe even just read the book.


I went into this movie having no clue what the storyline was, just that I had heard nothing but positive reviews about it and that it starred Jennifer Lawrence, Jacki Weaver, Robert De Niro and more. I also found out after, that it's directed by David O. Russell who did Three Kings and one of my personal favourites, I Heart Huckabees. So what did I think of it after leaving the cinema? I was pretty darn pleased.
This is such an original film with really great performances that keep you intrigued for the duration of the film.
And Jennifer Lawrence, so hot right now. I will see anything with her in it.
I'm not, however, the biggest fan of Bradley Cooper, but this movie made me change my mind about him. He plays a screwed up character but manages to provide some laughs and ends up being very entertaining.
Definitely check this one out.


I can't decide how I feel about this film. It's kind of hard to get over the fact that this was an opportunity for Josh Radnor (Director, Writer and Star of the film) to be a tad bit self indulgent. He constantly makes references to his love of books and writers. I get it, it's a key part of the film (books), but I feel like he's trying to be the next Zach Braff (i.e. Garden State) and it's already been done. But I have to remember this movie is no new trend so I shouldn't criticise him for, perhaps, being inspired by films like Garden State.
I like the montage where Jesse (Radnor) and Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) are exchanging letters across states sharing and discussing classical music, it's a really beautiful moment in the film. And there are a few other nice moments like this.
The film managed to keep my attention throughout but I can definitely see audiences becoming distracted during this one. It has some great moments but isn't overall a very strong movie. I am curious, however, to see Radnors other feature film; Happythankyoumoreplease.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


If you hadn't guessed by now, I'm kind of a nut when it comes to Alfred Hitchcock. I have a bombardment of books on him as well as many of his films on DVD and a brooch and necklace of his face; so yeah I'm a little obsessed. So naturally when I heard there was going to be a movie made about him set during the making of Psycho I kinda got a little excited. But then weariness snuck in and I began to think, oh boy the guy who's directing it is kinda of a nobody, this could go down awfully. Then I saw pictures of Anthony Hopkins and thought, that's just Anthony Hopkins in a fat suit. But regardless of these factors, I was going to go into this with an open mind. And you know what, I loved it!

I think this is a film created for film buffs/Alfred Hitchcock worshippers. With a lot of today's movies we get behind the scenes/making of featurettes in the special features of our two disc Special Edition DVDs. That was not an option back in the day when going to the cinema was our only access to seeing a feature film. This is the perfect film to get an idea of what it was like behind the scenes on an Alfred Hitchcock picture. Sure we have read about it in millions of books but to actually see something visually, I gotta tell you it made me smile pretty consistently throughout the film.

'Hithcock' also delves into some personal issues with his wife Alma (played by Helen Mirren). It portrays a very headstrong Alma who is tired of being hid behind the shadow of her husband. We see a jealous (but quiet) wife who was perhaps not shown as much attention as Hitch's leading blondes.
Whether or not these moments in the film are very accurate, I'm not sure. I like to think Hitch was always a loyal husband. I read somewhere once that after Alma died Alfred died shortly after because of a broken heart, because he had lost the love of his life. I always loved that and hold onto that dearly.

Despite Anthony Hopkins' less convincing make-up I think he did a brilliant job. I completely forgot it was him at one point, I was convinced it was Hitch because of the mannerisms and the voice. The most enjoyable part of the film for me has to be near the end when Psycho is being screened at the cinema and he is out in the foyer orchestrating people's screams to the shower scene. It's highly humorous and captures Hitch's sense of humor brilliantly.

I saw this movie with my Mum and after we left the cinema I made the comment that I wished the film focused more on the production of the film and less on his relationship with Alma. My Mum disagreed and said it was nice to see a different point of view and she appreciated that additional insight. I kind of agreed with her after that.

It's such a relief I enjoyed this film.

Rating: 4/5