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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Jim Broadbent

Paddington 2 (2018)

Marmalade and bears may just save 2018.

Paddington (Ben Whishaw) has officially settled in with the Brown family and finds himself enjoying all aspects of life. However, he still wants to bring his Aunt Lucy to England, so she can see just what he’s been up to all of these years and why it’s such a blast. Problem is, it’s a lot of money for Aunt Lucy to make it all the way out to England from wherever the hell she is, so Paddington has to save up and do whatever he can to get her there. His plans change, however, when he’s framed for a stolen pop-up book, arrested, and thrown into jail. While the Brown family knows that sweet Paddington would never do such a thing, they do their best to investigate the cover-up and figure out just who would do such a terrible thing. Meanwhile, Paddington’s in the slammer giving it his all and trying to make the world a better place – not just for himself, but for the lonely, rather angry inmates who need a little bit of sunshine in their sometimes gloomy lives.

Isn’t this supposed to be the 21st century? What’s up with that damn landline!?!

Had Paddington 2 been released in any other year, it would have been a perfectly fine, funny, charming and entertaining little movie made for all ages, just like the first one. However, with all of the anger, hatred, racism, bigotry, misogyny, and general wrongness that continues to take over the world that we currently live in, Paddington 2 can’t help but feel like a breath of fresh air that everybody needs. It’s literally a movie about making the world a better place, loving those around you despite their differences, and most of all, having respect for each and everything that surrounds you, no matter what.

It’s literally a testament to love and happiness, which makes it all the more tragic that it was once a product of the Weinstein’s.

That said, it’s not their product anymore and with good reason: Paddington 2, as a movie, is way too good for either of those scum-bags. It’s a joyful, happy, entertaining, and rather hilarious movie that’s perfect for all ages, of course, but also a perfect watch for the older-people in the crowd who appreciate a lot more wit to their goofiness. Whereas a lot of kids movies released nowadays sort of dumb everything down so that it’s just the youngsters laughing in the crowd and absolutely nobody else, Paddington 2 remembers that the older ones in the audience deserve a chance to laugh, too, and that happens quite often here.

I chalk it up to great writing, but I also chalk it up to just typical British humor, where even the silliest of happenings, are somehow wittier and a step above smarter than most of what we see in mainstream American comedies. It’s what makes Paddington 2 a trip worth investing in, but another reason why it’s a movie made so that others can enjoy it, smile from cheek-to-cheek, and just feel a whole lot better about themselves and the people around them. It’s why movies exist in the first place, but it’s hardly brought to our attention.

Seriously. He’s insane. And I love it!

But Paddington 2 reminds us and honestly, we all needed it.

It also reminds us what you can do with an incredibly talented cast on kiddie-material, so long as the material is funny and just generally well-written. The ensemble from the original are all great here, with Bonneville being the general stand-out, but really, it’s Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson, the two newcomers, who show up, bring their A-games and steal the show. Gleeson is doing his usual rough and gruff act that works in spades, but it’s Grant who really tears away, playing the most manic and insane that we’ve ever seen him in a movie. Like ever.

Seriously. Grant’s had fun before in almost all of his movies, but it’s always come at a price. He’s always stammering, starting, stopping, and being a cad-like creature. But as Phoenix Buchanan, the would-be villain of Paddington 2, Grant unleashes a new beast that we’ve never seen from him before, where he goes all-out, has a total blast, and reminds us why it’s so much fun to still have Grant acting in movies, even if he’s not considered the handsome sex-symbol he still was. If anything, he’s just the handsome, older-gentleman who has seen the world, done that, and is just going to enjoy his latter-years, the way he wants to.

Hell, don’t we all?

Consensus: As a tribute to love and respect for one another, Paddington 2 is also a fun, hilarious, well-acted, and incredibly joyful adventure that’s literally worth it for the whole family. And I mean that.

9 / 10

“Put some clothes on, you bear!”, is something I’m told every time I go out to the clubs.

Photos Courtesy of: Warner Bros. Pictures

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The Sense of an Ending (2017)

Life sort of sucks.

Settling into his old age, Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent) is enjoying the riches and spoils of his life. He doesn’t necessarily have many problems in his life, other than the fact that he’s about to become a grandfather and still talks to his ex-wife (Harriet Walter). But now, Tony’s life just got a tad more complicated when a letter and a diary has been addressed to him, but why? Well, Tony doesn’t really know. However, what he does know is that the letter and diary is from the first love of his life, Veronica (Charlotte Rampling), who taught him all that he needed to know at a very early age. And Tony, trying his best, wants to reconnect with her, but she’s just not having it. So now that Tony’s thinking about his early life, he’s reminded of college days, his romantic-life with Veronica, and other fellow people who aren’t in his life anymore, like a good buddy named Adrien (Joe Alwyn) and Veronica’s mother (Emily Mortimer), among many others who have come and gone throughout all of Tony’s sometimes sad, but sometimes happy, life.

Unfortunately, he won’t be the oldest possible-daddy in there.

The Sense of an Ending flirts with the idea of being a lot darker than it actually is. At its heart, it’s a story about death, depression, sadness, lost love, regret, and most of all, suicide. But at points, it still wants to be a rather silly, sometimes charming movie about this old grump of a man named Tony, who gets a flash from the past and is forced to remind himself just what he did. In a way, it’s a rather uneven movie that Ritesh Batra does the best that he can do with.

But it mostly just all comes back to the performances, all of which are great and make the movie better.

Most importantly, Jim Broadbent in the lead role as Tony Webster, an old codger who can sometimes be cranky and a bit annoyed, but mostly, just means well. Broadbent is always great in these kinds of roles, but he gets the chance her to show the darkness and sadness behind the grumpiness, but without ever shying away from going deeper. There’s a real pain in his eyes and it’s hard not to feel for this old man, even when it does seem like he is, above all else, just a grump.

Pictured: The weirdest ex’s ever.

Charlotte Rampling is also great as Veronica, his first love who, after all of these years, still seems to harbor some hurt feelings. There’s a real air of mystery behind her that constantly keeps her compelling, even when it seems like she’s just a writer’s convenience. Harriet Walter also has a nice supporting-role as Tony’s ex-wife who he still gets along with and constantly hangs around. The movie could have made this weirder than it actually was, but it still works because Broadbent and Walter work well together and feel like an aging couple, who are tired of fighting and just want to be civil and remain friends. There’s others who pop-up every so often here, but these are the three that mostly take up the movie and keep it moving, even when it seems to flash back and forth between the present and the past.

And while Batra is a good storyteller, at the end of it all, it’s not hard to imagine: “Well, what the hell was the point?”

Were we being told this story of this man’s coming-of-age to focus on the darker aspects of life, or how, one bad decision, can make permanent scars? Personally, I’m not sure. For me, I was happy to learn more about this man and the sometimes tragic life he had, but when all is said and done, that’s all it is: Memories from an old man. It’s like sitting down with one of your grandparents, finding out about where they come from and learning a little something, but still finding you moving on throughout your life, as if it didn’t really change anything at all.

That’s just me, though. Maybe I’m just an awful person.

Consensus: As dark as it gets, the Sense of an Ending never fully evens out to becoming a fully compelling drama, but mostly remains watchable because of the excellent performances given by everyone here.

6.5 / 10

Pictured: The other weirdest ex’s ever.

Photos Courtesy of: aceshowbiz

Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)

Have a baby by one of them, and you’ll be a millionaire.

At 43, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is still up to her old bag of tricks. She’s now got a very nice job at a news station, but spends most of her time still counting her drinks, sleeping with random guys, and living it up like the good old days, not giving a care in the world about what anyone has to say about her, or what it is that she does. However, that all begins to change one day when she realizes that, surprisingly, she’s pregnant. Although, maybe it’s not all that surprising, considering that she not only slept with a random American she met a music festival named Jack (Patrick Dempsey), but also hooked back up with old flame, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Now, with the baby soon to be on its way, Bridget has to think and figure out just who the father is, or better yet, who actually wants to stick around with her and father the child, regardless of who’s it actually is.

To be honest, I saw the second Bridget Jones movie, Edge of Reason, and never got around to reviewing it for the sole sake that it was just an awful movie. The first had all sorts of fun, heart and charm to it that made it well worth the watch, regardless of if it was date night or not, but the second movie, if anything, just turned all of that on its head and showed us how an already grating character, can continue to be more and more annoyingly unsympathetic. It’s honestly not a surprise why it took so long for another movie to come out, but you know what?

Happy birthday. But really, who cares?

Happy birthday. But really, who cares?

It is is a surprise that this third, and quite possibly last, movie, is actually pretty good.

For the most part, what made the first such an enjoyable and relatively hilarious movie, is back this time around, as well as plenty of other things. There’s heart, there’s gross-out gags, there’s a lot of hard-thinking British humor, and most of all, there’s characters to actually care about again, or more importantly, Bridget herself. The second movie featured her up to all of her old tricks and whatnot and just didn’t work, but this time around, she’s back at it again, but with a different stance. This time, it seems like the movie is trying to say that at her age, it’s time for Bridget to finally grow up and accept her life for what it is.

Which yeah, of course means having a baby, but that’s why the movie actually works; it’s kind of silly and a little sit-com-y, but we know this character and already kind of love her to begin with, so why not throw a baby in the mix? While she’s been fairly M.I.A. these past couple of years, Bridget Jones’s Baby is the perfect reminder of why Renée Zellweger’s such a charming and radiant actress on the screen, when given the right material to play and joke around with. Sure, she’s not British and her accent is a little faulty at times, but you know what?

She got the role over a decade ago and more than made it her own, so whatever!

Oh yeah, next time, just give her the movie.

Oh yeah, next time, just give her the movie.

Playing the two hunks she has to choose from, Patrick Dempsey and the returning Colin Firth are both actually quite great and not necessarily the kinds of stiffs you’d imagine them as being. Dempsey’s Jack character takes a surprising turn about halfway through where you realize that this guy actually does have a heart and soul and may just stick around, whereas with Firth’s Darcy, he’s still the same old kind of straight-man that we expect to get from him, but with a short burst of energy of spunk to be found somewhere throughout. Both get enough development to show us why they may be the right fit for Bridget, which works because it makes the stakes seem much more important; in a way, it almost doesn’t matter who the actual blood-father is, as much as it matters just who wants to stay with Bridget and possibly raise the kid as their own, with her.

May not seem like it matters much, but in the world of rom-coms, where every plot is taken at such a superficial level, it does and helps make Bridget Jones’s Baby, while exactly what you’d expect having seen the first two, seem a tad more emotional. No, it may not make you sob or break down, but it may just have you happy to see this character and her adventures, once again, choosing between what kind of man she wants in her life, once again, counting the drinks that she has, once again, and yes, still sort of embarrassing herself in front of large crowds, once again.

It’s all familiar, but hey, who says familiarity has to be all that bad?

Consensus: While formulaic, Bridget Jones’s Baby is also a solid return-to-form for the franchise, featuring plenty of laughs and emotion to go along with the charming performances.

7.5 / 10

Oh, wacky pregnant hi-jinx!

Oh, wacky pregnant hi-jinx!

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire, Assholes Watching Movies

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Who cares if a person’s British or not? If they can say “puff” correctly, then I’m always satisfied.

Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is a sweet, pudgy, chain-smoking British gal who just can’t seem to meet the right man in her life that’s worth settling down with. She’s 32 and she’s running out of time which is why she somehow gets involved with both her boss (Hugh Grant) and that man’s mortal enemy (Colin Firth). Hilarity, love, and British wit ensues.

Usually British comedies have me laughing my fanny off quite much, but then they start to die down and lose the steam that they once had and thrived so much on. Not Bridget Jones’s Diary; it just continued to go on and on until all of the characters were built-up and the hilarious situations that could and just might happen. It was funny to see a British comedy not take any sidebars in getting a little dirty or risque and that’s what I liked the most. When I want to see my rom-coms, I want them to be a bit bad and naughty, but still a tad sweet on the side. In fact, that’s how most comedies should be, but honestly, so rarely are.

And that’s why Bridget Jones’s Diary is a little treat in and of itself.

So lonely. And that snow is making it so much harder to feel less depressed.

So lonely. And that snow is making it so much harder to feel less depressed.

But honestly, what works best about the movie is Bridget Jones herself. She’s a different type of character that we don’t usually see getting the sort of attention or limelight in rom-coms such as these; normally, she’s the single, but somewhat ugly best-friend to the leading female. But this is her story and it’s worthy of it, too, because she’s a little bit of everything all rolled-up into one woman: She’s mean, dirty, funny, rough, good-looking and most of all, chock full of personality. She’s basically the perfect gal and while the movie does make some jokes at the expense of her weight and rather heavy-set demeanor, they’re only used as a way to highlight the fact that she’s just like us and not your typical romantic-lead, hence why she’s all the more lovable and sympathetic.

And because of that, we actually do care for her journey into finding that one and special someone. Granted, it’s a typical rom-com in which she tries to search for that man of her dreams, comes up a bit short, and then has to figure out just who it is that she wants in her life once she’s given a choice, so yeah, in a way, it’s predictable, but it still works. Because we care for and adore Bridget Jones and whether or not she actually does find the love of her life by the end of the two hours, her ride is enjoyable, if not all that surprising. Most rom-coms seem to think that just pitting a few really good-looking people together and seeing whatever sparks can fly is enough, but it honestly isn’t – sometimes, what we need is characters that we can care about and see if they end up finding the one true loves, or if they just continue on into that harsh, but sometimes relaxing world of singledom.

Which, let’s be honest, is not all that bad. You get more time to spend with Netflix, am I right?

"Uhmmm.....me love? Would...uhm...you like to....uhmm...have sex? Uhm please?

“Uhmmm…..me love? Would…uhm…you like to….uhmm…have sex? Uhm please?

As our titular character, Renée Zellweger is, as usual, quite amazing. At the time, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the fact that Zellweger herself wasn’t British and perhaps too pretty for the role, but the gal took it all one step further by doing her best to make herself “ugly” and gained a whole lot of weight and guess what happened? Well, she knocked the role right out of the park, by mixing a great deal of humor, heart and relatability that’s not too often seen in mainstream rom-coms of this nature. Sure, it helps that Bridget Jones herself is a good character to work with, but it also helps that Zellweger herself has perfect comedic-timing and can act like the Dickens whenever a hard, heavy and dramatic scene calls for her.

Then, as the two men who are seemingly fighting for her heart, are Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, are both pretty solid, adding a lot of fun and spirit to their roles, even when it seems like the script is sort of just letting them down. Still though, both are pretty solid at doing what they do, especially Grant who seems to really be relishing in the moment that he’s playing such a despicable cad, that it makes us wonder what’s the difference between fiction and reality with this guy. Is he like this in real life or not? I’ll leave you to decide, my friends. Firth is pretty solid too, even if I wish there was more to him than just a stone-faced, miserable dude that’s still trying to get over his ex. I know it’s hard and all but man, at least shed a smile here and there for once. It ain’t that hard.

After all, you got Renée Zellweger in front of ya.

Am I right?

Consensus: While it’s definitely a conventional rom-com, Bridget Jones’s Diary is still funny, heartfelt, and featuring an amazing performance from Zellweger that shows just the true talents she has.

8 / 10

Cheer up, Colin! You sour-puss! It's the holidays!

Cheer up, Colin! You sour-puss! It’s the holidays!

Photos Courtesy of: Miramax, Thecia.Com.Au

The Lady in the Van (2015)

More people need to listen to Matt Foley.

During the 70’s and 80’s of London, playwright and occasional actor Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) was in desperate need of some sort of inspiration in his life. And not just for writing either – also, he was looking for a reason to love another person and not just have wild one night stands with all sorts of usual suspects from in and around the area. His inspiration comes, however, it’s in the form of a homeless woman named Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith); a smart, but quick-witted lady who, unsurprisingly, lives in her van. While Miss Shepherd starts off by living in the street of Bennett’s neighborhood, after some time, and plenty of ordinances and tickets from local law enforcement, she moves into Bennett’s driveway where she also starts to use his toilet and poke her nose into his business. This eventually leads Bennett himself to start looking into Miss Shepherd’s life, her past, and the exact reasoning for why she decided to live all by herself in a van for all of these years. Because obviously, no person in their right mind would want to live in a dirty, smelly and disgusting van for the later-part of their life, so what’s the reason? Well, Bennett looks to find out and is surprised to hear the answers when they come around.

She's smart...

She’s smart…

Despite what the title may have you believe, the Lady in the Van isn’t really actually about “the lady in the van”; in fact, it’s more about the person who wrote the book and had to experience the titled-character, author Alan Bennett. And to prove this, the movie doesn’t just who the story being told from Bennett’s perspective, but also uses this awkward, unneeded plot-mechanism where instead of getting one Bennett telling the story, we get another. The reason director Nicholas Hytner uses this is to show us the two combating sides of Bennett; one of the sides, is “the writer” who constantly thinks and toggles with the idea of what to write about what happened or didn’t happen, and then, there’s “the human”, who actually does a lot of the actions he’s thinking about doing to begin with.

The only reason I discuss this and show this off, is because it’s not only annoying every time it shows up, but completely silly. Sure, we get that Bennett is a writer and is in desperate need of some great, big story to carry him through the next few years of his life, but do we really need to hear or be shown his every single, little thought that goes through his head? Can’t we just see it all play-out? Or better yet, make up our own conclusions of what’s going through his mind at said point in the story?

Of course we can, but the Lady in the Van, the movie itself, doesn’t really hold that much subtlety.

Which isn’t to say that Maggie Smith, perhaps the best thing about the Lady in the Van, truly is lovely and adorable playing said lady who lives in the van. As usual, Smith always has some sort of smart-remark to make at the expense of someone else, and allows for her keen observations to run wild, but there’s more to this character that does in fact make her interesting. We get to hear more about her past life and while none of it is as developed as it probably should have been, the movie still gives Smith plenty of chances to pick up most of the slack and do something magical with this character.

Then again, though, the movie isn’t totally about her – it’s about Bennett, his life, and his experience with this lady living in the van.

...sassy...

…sassy…

Which really, isn’t such a bad thing, because Bennett himself, as well as his relationship with the lady living in the van, is actually quite interesting. For one, the movie never makes Bennett out to be some sort of latter-day saint who took this old lady into his home, washed her, fed her, and gave her the kind of sympathy and shelter she oh so desired – instead, the movie shows him as kind of a closed-off dick who, yes, may be a bit sympathetic to her cause, but is in no way opening his arms anytime soon. But for some reason, that doesn’t sympathetic or unsympathetic, just human and it’s frustrating to see the movie constantly confuse itself with the two factors and not know what to do or say about the character.

It should also be noted that Alex Jennings is actually good in the role of Bennett, someone who may deserve a better movie than the one he’s been given here. Because even when it isn’t focusing on Bennett’s, or Miss Shepherd’s life, the movie tries hard to be cute and sweet, but also loses itself in thinking it’s too much of that, and forget to actually develop the story itself. As I said before, there’s some form of mystery surrounding Miss Shepherd and her shady, unknown past, but the movie doesn’t really go too far in detailing that anymore than just a few clues here and there; not that I minded watching Maggie Smith be grumpy to those around her, but after the eighth or ninth scene in a row of seeing that happen, it got to be a bit tiring and all of a sudden, I remembered that there was a story to be told here that, believe it or not, wasn’t actually being told.

Then again, maybe the actual story of the Lady in the Van wasn’t all that eventful to begin with. That this is a true story, it already calls into question the authenticity of what’s being presented, as well as how much actually holds up when in the court of all. After all, the true story of this whole thing could have just been that Miss Shepherd was a grumpy, old homeless woman who was, of course, smelly, but also, was mean to a lot of those around her. Whether any of them deserved it or not, the movie never really gets into, but it makes you think just if there was anything more to this woman, or her story, than where’s it at?

Or is this just it? Probably is, but oh well.

Consensus: The Lady in the Van definitely receives assistance from the fine performances of Jennings and Smith, but really, it’s messy narrative-structure and plot-devices don’t come together well enough to give them a movie worthy of their talent.

5.5 / 10

...and yes, an old woman. So of course she's like some fun. Who doesn't?!?!

…and yes, an old woman. So of course she’s like some fun. Who doesn’t?!?!

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Brooklyn (2015)

If Jay-Z raps about it, you know it’s a pretty cool place.

Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a young girl from Ireland who’s getting a bit tired of the mundane life she’s currently living. She has a nice job, and gets along with her sister and mother just fine, but doesn’t know what’s really keeping her. That’s why, when she hears about a boat leaving for the U.S., Eilis gets hops aboard, and heads for Brooklyn, New York. While she’s initially homesick and scared, Eilis begins to get used to the way New York is and all of the promise it holds for her. Not only does she have a cashier job at a fancy store, she’s also caught the eye of a local Italian boy named Tony (Emory Cohen). Though Eilis isn’t quite experienced with boys, she decides to give Tony a chance anyway and eventually, the two start to hit it off; despite their two very different backgrounds, they still find ways to connect and make each other happy. However, a situation at home forces Eilis to come back to Ireland, which then makes her reconsider what she’s been doing with her life and leave her to wonder whether or not she wants to stay home, or go back to Brooklyn, where anything and everything is possible?

Is this love?

Is this love?

Nick Hornby is one of my favorite writers of all time. Most of his stories are humorous takes on life, but never do they ever feel as if they’re getting too ahead of themselves, or bordering on “parody”. If anything, they feel like honest-to-God, understandable tales told from the perspectives of people who, quite frankly, are a lot like you or I. They’re not these extremely lovable, likable, or attractive people in these larger-than-life predicaments – most of the time, they’re just average people living life as well as they can.

It sounds so damn ordinary, but that’s actually the kind of beauty behind Hornby’s writing.

That’s why Brooklyn, another piece written by Hornby, feels like it couldn’t have been written by anybody else; it’s funny, poignant, relateable, and most of all, sweet. Hornby has, and probably always will, continue to keep on telling coming-of-agers till the day he can’t write anymore, which is fine with me; none of them ever show signs of slowing down, nor do they show a writer who has clearly lost track of time. Which is why it’s quite shocking to realize just how good Brooklyn is, and just how much it feels like a Nick Hornby movie.

For better, as well as, maybe, for worse, no character here is presented as a terrible specimen, nor are they treated as later-day saints. Mostly everybody in this flick are normal, everyday folk that you’d probably meet on the street, have a talk or two with, and leave, not quite remembering anything special about them, but at least remembering that a conversation did in fact take place. Once again, I know that all of this sounds incredibly mundane, but for some reason, in the hands of Hornby, it feels like so much more. And most of that, of course, has to do with the fact that we’ve got, yet again, another very strong protagonist from Hornby who, like all the rest, feels like a real person and not just a made-up type Hollywood execs like to think are real.

What’s perhaps the most interesting element about Eilis, as well as Saoirse Ronan’s performance, is how that, no matter how many twists, turns and absolute surprises her life takes, she always stays believable. Because this is a female character in the lead role, it would be easy to have the film be all about her just trying to choose between what mate she wants in her life, which one she doesn’t, and leaving it all at that. However, Hornby and director John Crowley are smarter people than that and know that Eilis doesn’t just need men in her life to make herself happy or survive; they’re certainly a nice acquirement, but they are, in no way, shape, or fashion, the reasons for living.

All Eilis needs, is her own smarts, independence, and most of all, need to want to make those in her life happy.

But the movie never tries to lionize her, or anybody else surrounding her. There’s quite a few characters, like Emory Cohen’s Tony, who feel like they could have easily been one-dimensional caricatures, but instead, go a bit deeper than that. As Tony, Cohen gets to blend both sides of this character’s persona; there’s the strong, meat-head Brando-type, while on the other side, there’s the sweeter, more romantic type that’s all about getting married and starting a family with whoever catches his heart first. Cohen’s great in this role and the chemistry he and Ronan share, despite the romance itself may coming on a bit too quick, still feels genuine enough that it gives us something to wish and hope for by the end.

Or, is this?

Or, is this?

And not to mention that, yes, Ronan’s great in this role. Ever since she’s grown-up a bit more, Ronan hasn’t quite had the best movies to work with; though she’s had plenty of roles to stretch herself and make us forget that she was that little girl from Atonement, the movies themselves have always, well, underwhelmed. However, as Eilis, Ronan gets the perfect opportunity to not only make us adore the hell out of her, but also view her as a full-on, smart-thinking, and understanding grown-up who has an idea of what she wants in life and is going about figuring that all out for the time being. Ronan’s got this bright beauty to her that makes it hard for the camera to turn away, and even harder for us to not pay attention to her.

Basically, I can’t wait to see what else is coming up for Ronan in the near-future.

But like I said about Brooklyn – it’s everything you expect from a movie penned by Nick Hornby. It’s not just, at times, laugh-out-loud hilarious, but also quite insightful about certain aspects of life like family, love, marriage, and perhaps, most importantly, finding yourself in one location. With recent events, it’s nice to see a flick that not only shows the type of inspirational promise that America, at one point, promised for the whole outside world, but in ways, still does to this very day. People who wanted to start anew, or find themselves, were able to, just by hopping on a boat, train, or plane, and come straight to America. In all honesty, that’s what this country was made from and it’s lovely to get a little reminder that, regardless of what one may read, there’s still plenty of promise within America.

Like love. Like work. And basically, just life itself.

Consensus: Funny, honest, and best of all, heartfelt, Brooklyn is a tremendous coming-of-ager that gives a glimpse into one young woman’s life, without ever trying too hard to get in the way of it and instead, just allow for her to tell her own story, the way it was meant to be told.

8.5 / 10

Brooklyn3

Aw, who cares! You just do your thing, Saoirse!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Paddington (2015)

The bear’s still creepy.

After an earthquake hits his home in darkest Peru, a young, talking bear (Ben Whishaw) is forced to move elsewhere in life. His aunt suggests a fine place called London, where she was once told, many years ago by an explorer, that if they were to come and visit, they’d be accepted with open arms. However, it’s only the young bear who can come and visit, so that’s what he does in hopes of meeting that explorer and adapting to regular, human customs. As soon as the young bear shows up in London, though, he’s left alone and with nowhere else to go, that is, until he gets seen by the Brown family. While the mother, Mary (Sally Hawkins), is accepting of this homeless little bear who is desperately in need of a home, her husband, Henry (Hugh Bonneville), couldn’t be bothered. Eventually, he caves in and decides to keep the bear in their place until it can find its original owner. But also occurring at the same time is a taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) who finds out that this rare bear is alive and walking on London’s surface, which puts her deadly sights on him.

Oh, and he has a name, and it’s Paddington.

Somebody fetch this bloke some tea!

Somebody fetch this bloke some tea!

While I’m not all that familiar with Paddington, its history, and all of that, I have to say, everything leading up to this movie didn’t make me have anymore interest. Not only did Colin Firth leave about half-way through production, but the movie itself had to be pushed back from its holiday time-slot, all the way to the death ring that is January. Also, Paddington himself seemed a bit creepy and it didn’t help that the movie continued to advertise wacky, slapstick-ish hijinx surrounding him accidentally breaking stuff. Basically, nothing was looking good for this movie and it seemed like it would just be another failed attempt bringing the whole family together for movie night – a staple that should always be held.

Well, somehow, it all worked out.

There’s something inherently sweet about Paddington that goes past just being for the whole family. Sure, there’s plenty of jokes aimed towards both the kids, as well as the adults, but they aren’t the same types of jokes that the later would be ashamed in seeing come from something aimed towards kids. More or less, the jokes here that appeal to the adults in the room, are tricky, clever plays on words that seem to realize that, in order to have your audience laughing, you can’t just spoon-feed them everything. A slap, a hit, or a trip is fine and all for the kids, but don’t forget about the grown-ups who have to usually sit through these things; which is what writer/director Paul King doesn’t forget about.

But that said, the movie is still fine for kids to watch, if not more exciting. While Paddington, the bear, still rubs me the wrong way a bit, there’s no denying the fact that the kids who see this will become enthralled with him and why shouldn’t they? He’s live, walking, and talking CGI-bear that spouts words of kindness to those around him and, sometimes without ever trying to do so, ends up saving the day in ways he doesn’t expect. He truly is the kind of character that mostly all kids should see a movie about and it’s nice to see justice be done to him; and this is all coming from a person who didn’t know all that much about Paddington to begin with.

And voicing Paddington, Ben Whishaw does a fine job, portraying a certain style of fun and innocence that I don’t quite think Firth would have been able to portray quite as well. That’s not to say Whishaw’s better than Firth in ways, but here, for this specific role, it seems obvious that the former would take over the job of the later, if only because it seems like Firth would have been a tad too “royal” for a character as goofy as Paddington. Still, it’s a surprise that the people behind this were able to get Firth to do this in the first place, let alone have him already shoot half of his scenes before he eventually realized what he was doing and decided to just do a bunch of promo for Kingsman, as it should be.

The effect Nicole Kidman still has on men.

The effect Nicole Kidman still has on men.

There’s also plenty of human characters here too, and they also do fine jobs to where they don’t get over-shadowed by the bear, which would have been very hard not to have happen. Hugh Boneville’s character may seem like a stern tight-ass, but eventually, there are certain shades to him where we see that it all comes from a reason and believe it or not, there’s still some fun left in him; Sally Hawkins is equally delightful as his wife and gives some sort of personality to Mary that goes past just being kind and peaceful to all those around her; and Nicole Kidman, surprisingly, does a good job here as the villain of the story, playing up a comedic-side to her that we don’t usually see.

Or, if we do, it’s usually in something like Bewitched, where her skills are absolutely wasted, but if anything Paddington proves, it’s that Nicole Kidman should play more baddies, as well as be funny.

If there’s anything that keeps me away from giving Paddington the full-on, full-out praise that mostly everybody else on the face of the planet has been able to do, it’s that I felt as if the political themes and ideas were a tad bit odd, especially given the fact in how they were placed into the story. While the movie makes it a point to not make it a total point that there is in fact a bear walking all around the streets and nobody literally batting an eye, there’s something strange in how it seems like it’s discussing immigration, but not really discussing it at all. Paddington, the character, is all alone and left without much of a home, but it’s up to the government and possible suitors who may be able to take him in and make him their own.

A little odd, right? My feelings exactly, but then again, it’s a kids movie so little things like that probably should be disregarded.

In other words, just don’t listen to me.

Consensus: Fun, light and appropriate enough for just about every member of any given family, Paddington is a joyous and sweet little ride that offers up a likable character to a new generation of possible fans and with good reason.

8 / 10

Cuddly and all, but still wouldn't trust him home alone with my kids. But that's just me.

Cuddly and all, but still wouldn’t trust him home alone with my kids. But that’s just me.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Le Week-End (2014)

Paris: The place old people go to boink when in desperate need of doing so.

Aging, rusty couple, Richard and Meg Burroughs (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) decide that their marriage needs some more spice and excitement thrown into it. So, instead of just spending time at their boring house, with their pot-loving, they decide to spend their 30-year-anniversary in Paris for a little weekend. Both think that this will be a great, opportune time for them to catch up on things, get to chat about some problems they’ve been happening, get drunk, smoke some ciggies, run around town, go to fancy restaurants they clearly cannot pay for, and, if at all possible, get a chance to make some sweet, olde lovin’. However, all those good and fun plans they had originally planned, sort of go right out the window once they begin to fight and unearth some mean, nasty feelings they’ve had for one another for quite some time. Even worse, things get mixed-up when Richard runs into an old friend of his (Jeff Goldblum) and gets invited to his nice, cozy-pad for a little get-together. If they thought things were bad when they were just with each other and nobody else, they don’t know what’s going to happen when they have to be ar0und others in a peaceful, civil manner.

Right from the beginning of this movie, something hit me slap-dab in the face and made me think of this whole film in a different light: Richard and Meg Burroughs, despite being 15 years older and British, reminded me exactly of Jesse and Celine. I think anybody who has seen this blog more than a few times, knows that I love the Before trilogy and love the couple of those two star-crossed lovers that just so happened to meet on that one, fateful day on that train-ride to Paris. So, that’s why when anything, anything at all, comes at me and resembles them in the slightest way, I automatically go crazy and can’t help but compare the two.

It's okay. They're in love, so it cancels it all out, right?

It’s okay. They’re in love, so it cancels it all out, right?

But, being that this is in fact a movie about two different characters, in a different movie, I have to take them for what they are and who they are. Just something I guess I should have pointed out, you know?

Anyway, on with this movie and these two lovers!

Movies about old people either falling in love, or trying to rekindle the spark in their long-lasting marriage, is always a movie that’s easy to win people over. Most of the time, it depends on the talent that’s involved with it, but other times, it all depends on the viewer themselves, and whether or not they can relate to these two older people and all their love and whatnot. It’s not hard for me, despite being quite the youngin’, because I know what love feels like, it’s universal; so any story, no matter who it involves whatsoever, that is about love and its lasting-form, always touches a soft-spot with me. Sometimes, like in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it can be a bit cloying and totally throw me off my guard, but in this case and with this relationship, I couldn’t help but love these two together and be happy that they’ve been together for so damn long.

See, this is the type of movie that wholly depends on the natural chemistry/performances from its leading-stars, and here, Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan are perfectly cast and give this material all that they’ve got. Not only does it help that they seem like the type of married-couple that’s been together through the thick and the thin, but also because they seem like real people that wouldn’t have a problem with getting a little freedom thrown their way, but also know that they can’t quite live on the same without their loved-one in their lives.

Take, for instance, the character of Meg (aka, Celine in 15 years): She’s the type of woman that seems like she’s so fed-up with life and having to answer to certain people or things, so instead of just waiting around for life to pass her by as she continues to get old and closer to dying, she’s decided that she’s going to live it up, like an everlasting party. She runs through the streets, walks-out on a restaurant-check, gets drunk, smokes cigarettes, messes with her husband’s affections and overall, just have a great time with this weekend and make the most of it. Reason being? Well, because she knows that once this weekend is over and she’s back in Britain, that it’s time to go back to regularity, where boredom can never be escaped out of.

Of course all of the decisions she makes aren’t the best – at one point, she tells her hubby about how she’s going to go out with some guy and catch a couple of drinks, when it’s clear that he doesn’t want to hear that (then again, what loving, adoring and dedicated husband would??!?!), but you can tell that her life-loving spirit comes from a genuine place in her heart and what makes her a person. She’s not a perfect woman, nor is she a perfect wife, but Duncan plays her so damn well, that we almost never think of her being a bad, dishonest wife, or even one that you yourself would cheat on; but instead, you see her as a woman that just wants to live life, for all that it is and all that she is.

Look at him! Gotta love that mug!

Look at him! Gotta love that mug!

But it isn’t like Duncan steals the show and gets away with it, because Broadbent himself is damn fine as well. He makes us see the type of hubby that is always there for his wife, loving her, supporting her and wanting to be the best man for her, but still can’t seem to be able to catch-up to her and her forgetful ways. You feel bad for the guy, but you know that he loves her, she loves him and that they are great together, when they’re happy. When they aren’t, things get a bit messy and dark, but in an understood-way that isn’t just thrown in there to create some sort of drama. Instead, it feels honest, raw and real, as if we are watching a real-life couple, right in front of our own eyes.

The only time that the movie really seems to lose its flavor, or emotional-core for that matter, is by the end when the family gets to Jeff Goldblum’s character’s house for the a little shin-dig. Goldblum, as usual, is hilarious and as perfect as you could get, but I couldn’t feel like his character and his story was a little tacked-on; as if the movie just made the character for Goldblum, because the guy had some time set-aside out of his schedule. No problem with that really, because having Jeff Goldblum in your movie, is definitely a heck of a lot better than not, but it did take away from what really seemed to matter: Meg and Richard Burroughs. Nonetheless, they’re a great couple, seem to really, truly love one another and just by watching them, you won’t be able to help how many times your stomach gets all warm inside. It’s just inevitable. They’re old, and they’re in love. Everybody feels for that at least one time in their lives.

Consensus: Though we’ve all seen this story done before, Le Week-End still taps into that everlasting idea that love, no matter how damaged it may get over the years, with whichever person it may be, is always there to stay, in a sweet, sometimes too-honest way.

8 / 10 = Matinee!!

Just saying, but Jesse and Celine, there's your future. Just saying!

Just saying, but Jesse and Celine, there’s your future. Just saying!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBCollider, ComingSoon.net

Arthur Christmas (2011)

I always knew Santa was nothing more than a lazy tart.

It’s another year, which means, it’s another time for Christmas in which Santa (Jim Broadbent) and his illustrious team of trained and skilled elves find a way to deliver over millions of presents to children all over the world who’ve been clamoring for this moment for a whole year. However though, one present gets lost in the shuffle and come 4 a.m., Santa’s son Arthur (James McAvoy) takes notice of this and decides to gang-up together with his grandfather, Grand Santa (Bill Nighy), to deliver this one present, to this one child who would be absolutely heart-broken if they don’t receive it. Along the journey, the two run into quite a few problems, but back at home, their biggest problem may be Arthur’s older brother, Steve (Hugh Laurie), who is next-in-command for the position of being Santa Claus, and will stop at nothing to make sure that they don’t screw this plan up, nor that his dad doesn’t forget that he’s as smart, or as in the Christmas spirit as Arthur, despite not caring too much for cute, soft or cuddly things, like children, toys or the spirit of Christmas itself.

They wouldn't work though. Too patriotic.

They wouldn’t work though. Too patriotic.

There’s a hard case to be made for most of the Christmas movies being currently made. Not only is it hard to stack-up against such holiday classics like Santa Clause is Coming to Town, or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but it’s even harder to try and spin the simple tale of Christmas in a way that makes it fresh, new and cool, but still not forgetting about the happy spirits and thoughts that make the season itself such a joy to be alive in. But leave it up to those clever lads at Aardman Animations to pull something off in which they not only turn the usual, average story of the night of Christmas that we usually get, around, but also find a way to make us feel like we’re watching a Christmas movie made for the whole family, even if that said family may have to be British.

Still, the fact that this movie was made by Brits holds no meaning whatsoever, because it’s still a sweet tale that doesn’t really set out to offend anybody that believes in Santa, or those who don’t. Simply, those who come the closest to not believing in Jolly Old Saint Nick, are usually just a bunch of Scrooge’s who treat Christmas itself as a mission, rather than a time made up for simple fun, joy and all sorts of other happy thoughts. It will probably make the kid who is watching at home plenty of warm stomachs and smiles, while also letting the parents know that they have nothing to worry about as their child will still believe in the guy in the big red suit who comes down your chimney. And then they grow up and at age 11, they’ll get the bomb dropped on them and it won’t be pretty.

Trust me, it won’t and it may even damage their minds forever, and ever. Trust me.

Anyway, what this movie does do, and does well, in case you couldn’t tell, is that it gives off plenty of happy and cheerful vibes, the exact same vibes you expect from a Christmas movie. However, I will say that it does think it’s a bit funnier, than it actually is. Aardman Animations usually has a problem with this because while they make think that they’re being a bunch of cheeky, witty fellows, they don’t realize when they’re more or less throwing themselves out of a window for a laugh, and when they’re just making us laugh effortlessly. Lately, I’ve been having that problem with them more and more, and it’s starting to feel like they may be doing this on purpose more and more to appeal to a the children, in terms of content and quality, rather than the parents, where it’s usually all about the material and how smart it is that usually gets them. I don’t know, maybe I’ve had one too many viewings of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run in the past, but I know when my favorite kind of animated movies are being dumbed-down, and I’m afraid to say it, but I’m seeing that now with Aardman Animations. Still, maybe that’s just a problem I have and nobody else does, and if that’s the case, then so be it. I’m just keeping an eye out though, people. That’s all.

The voice-cast for this movie does feature plenty of famous names that even us Americans know and more than likely, can commit to memory, however, they all still do pretty well playing-up their characters for all that they are. James McAvoy, while he does get plenty to do as Arthur with his high-strung character, does get a tad bit annoying with how screeching high the pitch of his voice is. I get it, he’s something of a neurotic Brit with a good heart, but the act got old after awhile and it made me feel like McAvoy needed to smoke some weed, or something to call him down. Bill N

If he ended up being Santa, he'd probably tear all naughty kids a new one.

If he ended up being Santa, he’d probably tear all naughty kids a new one.

ighy also gets the same type of role as the Grand Santa, but he still has a lot of fun and is less annoying because he’s, well, Bill Nighy, man. Can’t ever go wrong with that lovely Brit.

And I don’t know if it’s just me or whatever, but having Jim Broadbent as Santa Claus would be a perfect move, not just on a movie’s part, but all malls spanning the globe. He’s got this lovable, warm and goofy voice that really does make us believe that he’s an aging, out-of-his-league Santa that’s getting down to his last couple of years of going out into the field, but also make us believe that he still has a good heart and does care for these little tikes still getting what they ask for, and as a result, still having the faith to believe in him. Once again, may just be my thoughts and my thoughts alone, but if I had Jim Broadbent was showing up to my local mall as Santa, I’d be there right away, no questions asked! But lord knows he wouldn’t be able to handle me sitting in his lap. Poor guy. Nevermind, probably wouldn’t work.

Consensus: It definitely may not be as funny as it thinks it is, nor as what we’ve come to expect from Aardman Animation’s past contributions to the animated world, but Arthur Christmas still gets everybody in the Holiday spirit that may work more for the kids, than the parents, but that’s all that matters in the end, you know?

7 / 10 = Rental!!

The truest Santa if I've ever seen one. Except Artie Lang definitely gives him a run for his money.

The truest Santa if I’ve ever seen one. Except Artie Lang definitely gives him a run for his money.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Closed Circuit (2013)

Good thing I don’t live in London. Seems like they’re government is crazy.

Over 120 people were killed after an explosion was set-off in very busy London marketplace, and the main suspect is an Turkish immigrant known as Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto). After his defense attorney is mysteriously killed, Martin Rose (Eric Bana) rises on the scene and is given the opportunity to work with special advocate Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall). Seems fine and professional and all of that, except it isn’t because the two had an affair that destroyed Rose’s marriage some years earlier. However, the court can’t know about that, or else they would both be out of a job and would lose this case; one that surprisingly ends up being very serious and detrimental to the government, because people begin to wind-up dead, just as more and more information comes out about it.

The best way to really, and I do mean REALLY, get a thriller pumping, is just to add the threat of the government. Once they’re involved, then you know there’s nowhere safe to go, nowhere to hide and no way you can come out of this unscathed in one way or another. Mostly all thrillers end the same with the government prevailing and showing us that no matter how hard us determined human-beings may try, the government is always going to be one step ahead of us and ready to lift their magical, power fingers in order to come out on top. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles and although this movie does give us very subtle hints at what type of powerful wrecking force the government can truly be, it never seems to go anywhere with it.

It's the paper-guy. He can't be trusted. KILL HIM!!

It’s the paper-guy. He can’t be trusted. KILL HIM!!

See? Didn’t think all of my jabbering and ranting had a point, now did you?

Anyway, where I was getting at with that paragraph was that the movie definitely wants to be like one of those frenetic, paranoid thrillers from the 70’s, but never fully amounts to that. And I don’t mean that in the way that the movie doesn’t generate any type of suspense or tension in the air, because it sure as hell does; it just never quite gets to that point where I understood that this was a “Two small-time lawyers vs. the big-ass government” type of story. It only kicks in with about 10 minutes left, and that’s where I really understood what was going on, for what reasons, and who exactly was all involved with this cluster-fuck. Only then did I get a chance to pain the full-picture, but everything leading-up to it was just a tad too confusing for me.

Not because I need every single clue, hint or plot-twist painted out on the walls for me, it’s mainly just because the story never sits with one aspect and pays attention to it the most. We get that these two got it on back two years ago, and rather than making that the fore-front of the movie and paying attention to how this whole case causes a strain on they’re relationship, the movie only alludes to it from time-to-time, and suddenly, out of nowhere, becomes ALL about it by the end, just as things with the political-conspiracy is starting to heat up. That bothered me, not just because it seemed unnecessary or stupid, but because it probably would have made the movie more effective and more suspenseful, had we cared for these characters and their relationship, but we sort of don’t. We just sit there, watch them as they fumble around, look behind their shoulders everytime they turn a corner and throw subtle hints that they just want to get on top of the table right now and go at it like never before. Some of that sounds fun, but most of it isn’t.

However, as much of a thrashing as this movie may be getting from yours truly, I do have to say that I got tense very often. It isn’t like the flick totally loses all sense of its mystery and what it’s actually about; it actually pays close enough attention to the case, therefore, allowing us to feel more compelled when we begin to realize what’s happening and what this cover-up means. Once we get painted a clearer-picture, it all makes sense and takes you by the throat and throws you along, I just wish it happened earlier, and with more character-development.

"Screw this case! Let's just screw one another, for old time's sake!

“Screw this case! Let’s just screw one another, for old time’s sake!

That said, I can’t get on the cast’s case all that much because everybody does their best with what they’re given, even if it is only for a short amount of screen-time. Rebecca Hall is still one of those actresses that has yet to really do anything for me, but she shows that she’s getting bigger and better roles now, especially with her performance here as Claudia Simmons-Howe. Hall’s a bit sexy, but she always seems inspired to do the right thing, which makes it a lot easier for us to actually root her on and care for her when the shit hits the fan. Eric Bana, despite having a pretty piss-poor British accent attached to his vocal-chords, does a nice job being smart, confident, and slightly heroic as Martin Rose. Together, they show that they do have chemistry, but since they aren’t on-screen together all that much and aren’t really given much to do with one another other than just look scared and shout out facts of the case, it only feels like a missed-opportunity.

The rest of the cast is pretty rad too, especially because they have some real heavy-hitters here. Jim Broadbent is probably the most sinister he’s ever been here as the Attorney General of the case, and shows that he can not only charm us, but make us wet our shorts at the same time when he wants to; Ciarán Hinds is a lovable presence to watch on screen, but you know that there’s always something up with him that you can’t quite put your finger on just yet; Julia Stiles randomly shows up as a New York Times journalist whose role shows not much purpose, but it still made me smile seeing her working again, so that’s something to commend; and Anne-Marie Duff, for all of the sexiness that she has, really scared the hell out of me as Melissa, somebody you expect to be a goodie-goodie in all of this, but somehow turns out to be the decider in all that happens. Overall, a solid cast that I wish was given more to work with, even though they do make the best of what they have here.

Consensus: Even though it doesn’t really get tense and edgy until the final 10 minutes or so, Closed Circuit is still an okay watch if you don’t have much else to do with your life, just don’t expect much in terms of character-development or shocks.

6.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Something's out of place here, and it isn't that red dress.

Something’s out of place here, and it isn’t that red dress.

Photos Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Gangs of New York (2002)

Even without guns and cars, I’d still be pretty freakin’ scared to go toe-to-toe with a gangster from the 1800’s. Especially, if they were in-character the whole time.

Taking place in New York City around the 19th Century, the son of a gang leader named Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes back to his hometown in order to avenge his father’s death. He plans to do this by killing the leader of the Natives, a simple and kind fellow named Bill Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis). By the way, the “simple and kind” statement, was bullshit. The guys fuckin’ crazy.

Apparently, this was a “dream project” for director Martin Scorsese for about 5 or 6 years that took longer than he expected to actually get made. Like all dream projects we have in our minds, we joggle them around forever, and actually crash-down to reality and realize, “oh shit, this is going to take longer than I ever wanted to”. Yeah, even directors feel that way and yes, even Marty Scorsese apparently too. It was reported to cost over 100 million dollhairs, took months and months to build actual sets of the film, needed to go through tons of editing, and was released in December of 2002, a year later than it originally had planned. Usually when this kind of crap happens, this usually shows trouble with the overall film quality, regardless of who the actual director is. Thankfully, Marty is unlike any other and that’s all that matters.

What I liked most about this flick is how Marty tackles the same exact style of gangsters, crooks, and bastards in the 1880’s, the same way he would with the ones of the 1900’s. There’s a very fast-paced essence and feel to the whole film that keeps you on-edge as to what’s going to happen next, what characters are going to be finito by the end, and when this final-battle between the two opposing sides is actually going to occur. Now, does it look and feel like an actual Scorsese flick? Not really, but that’s what’s so interesting about the guy. He’s able to change-up certain trademarks he has about himself and give a new story, a whole different type of look and feel you wouldn’t quite expect from him. It does get pretty damn violent at times, so there’s the obvious trademark for ya, but regardless of how many trademarks are shown in here, it’s still pretty damn entertaining to watch even if you have seen it over 5 times and can calculate everything now, like yours truly.

"Hurry up, Cameron. Let's get you out of here before Marty changes his mind."

“Hurry up, Cameron. Let’s get you out of here before Marty changes his mind.”

However, as many times as I have sat-down and watched this 2-and-a-half-hour-movie and been entertained by it, I still can’t deny that there lies a whole butt-load of problems brewing beneath the surface. First of all, one of the biggest hints that this film was going to have trouble with itself was the fact that it has three writers working on it (Jay Cocks, Steve Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan). Usually, that spells out trouble and that’s exactly what we get here as this film tackles a bit more than it can get away with. In fact, it actually seems like these writers were all given different subjects to write about, understand, and bring back to Marty so they could make one, big, and long epic about life in NYC in the 1800’s. That idea, in case you were confused by what I was saying, does not work here as it’s too many ideas, with too little of a pay-off.

The whole idea is about gangs that hide out and cause havoc in New York, which makes a compelling and entertaining watch on it’s own, but then, once you add all of those other ingredients in, it get’s a bit over-stuffed to the point of where you have no freakin’ clue what this movie is trying to talk about or even convey. Is is about a young dude getting revenge on the guy who murdered his dad? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about a possible “romance” between this young dude and untrustworthy gal? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about the history of New York in the 1800’s? Yes, well, sort of. Is it about the war and how everybody had to take part in it? Yes, well, sort of. Or, is this flick all about how politics usually came into play with the gangs and how they all acted around one another? Once again, yes, well, sort of. As you can tell, this film touches on too many subjects, adds in too many subplots, and juggles too many ideas, which shouldn’t have been such a huge problem, given the time-limit offered to the script, but somehow it just does not work altogether and seems jumbled around like the best bits of an musician’s career. However, these “best bits”, aren’t really the best. They’re slightly mediocre to say the least.

Probably the most compelling story of all should have been the whole revenge tale with this young dude going after the man that killed his father when he was a child and he vowed at nothing to stop him from succeeding at that. However, that whole story seems a bit half-baked considering we barely get to see the young dude with his father as a kid; barely get to see how all of this has an effect on him as an slightly older dude and constantly being in that man’s presence; and barely get any tension except for the last 20 minutes where everything really comes into play. And heck, even that final stand-off doesn’t really count, for reasons I can’t state.

Speaking of the ending, some people freakin’ despise it and count it as one of the worst of all-time (and once you see it, you’ll know why), but I actually thought it was a pretty clever way to allow it to tie into history and give it more of an importance in terms of how we view New York City now, and how it really was. Yeah, it wasn’t the best way that a genius like Scorsese could come-up with and yeah, it may have dropped the ball on some fun and excitement, but it still was pretty neat to see how everything was going to be tied around in a nice little bow at the end. It comes off as a nice reminder that NYC has history and is a beautiful place to live, which was an idea that some people may have brushed-off to the sides during the lean days of ’02.

Despite all of this bad talk, I still had a lot more fun with this flick because of the performances from an impressive ensemble that Marty always has a knack for casting well. Leonardo DiCaprio proves he is able to take on a stronger, more dramatic role as a young kid going through a bit of a crisis and makes Amsterdam a believable, and compelling character to watch. It’s also better since the guy is easy to get behind and can practically kick anybody’s ass, but doesn’t get too in-over-his-head like most characters of this same-exact convention usually do. The kid may not always have a huge ounce of charm to his look and personality, but it’s Leo, and the guy is always great to watch on-screen and you can’t help but root for Amsterdam as things start to go from better-to-worse, sooner than later. Then, there’s Cameron Diaz, who I am not a very big fan of but is serviceable in a role that could have easily gone to any other actress and still been as good or entertaining. That’s not really a good thing or bad thing, it’s just that her character doesn’t offer much to really intrigue you and Diaz doesn’t help us with that much, either.

I'm afraid to ask him if he needs that lit.

I’m afraid to ask him if he needs that lit.

But despite these two, the one who really steals the show is none other than the man, the myth, the effin’ crazy man who stayed in-character the whole time during the making of this flick: Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting, or as my dad likes him to be referred to as, Bill the Butcher. Cutting is a very fun character to watch and the fact that he’s played by Daniel Day just makes him all the more compelling to keep your eye on as every chance he gets, he proves to you why this guy can never be trusted and why so many damn people in the city fear him for the things he can do. Cutting is a bit caricaturish, but Daniel Day makes sure it doesn’t get too over-the-top and strangely, keeps the guy human and believable in his own, sadistic way. There’s the one memorable scene that really touched me where he’s talking to Amsterdam about the only man that was worth remembering that he killed (Amsterdam’s father) and it gives us a wonderful look-see into a man that does some pretty terrible and evil things, but still feels something for the people he kills, even if they are his biggest enemies. Daniel Day is electrifying in this role and makes it all the more fun to watch, but sadly, he is probably the only interesting character of the bunch, and he’s the freakin’ bad-guy you’re supposed to despise!

Consensus: Gangs of New York struggles with way too many ideas, themes, and a bunch of plot-points that never come fully-realized, but has a very entertaining feel and vibe to it, that places you in this setting of New York City during the 1800’s, and features compelling performances from everybody involved, including the magnetic Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill Cutting/the Butcher.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

The only way they knew how to party in NYC during the 19th Century: LIGHT SHIT ON FIRE!!

The only way they knew how to party in NYC during the 19th Century: LIGHT SHIT ON FIRE!!

Cloud Atlas (2012)

So, since we’re all connected to one another, does that mean Hugh Grant is connected to me??!?! Yes!

The movie explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

Most of you folks out there have probably been seeing loads and loads of advertisements and whatnot for this flick and are probably thinking, “What the hell is this about?” I’m pretty sure my synopsis up there didn’t provide any such help for you either so let me just start off by saying it’s about a bunch of stories that all take place during the past, present, and future, and all connect to each other in slight, little-clever ways. There, now you have it so let’s get on with what makes this film one that the common-folk will hopefully see. I highly doubt my review will do anything to change the opinions of peeps, but there’s always hope, people.

This movie marks the long-awaited return of the famous directing team, the Wachowskis, but it isn’t all about them the whole way. They also share directing-duties with Tom Tykwer, but that doesn’t matter because you can’t really tell who’s directing who as neither of them really have a distinct-style of film-making, other than using loads and loads of CGI in their works. Not saying that’s a bad thing but it’d be a lot more obvious if you had a pairing-up between two directors like, say, Martin Scorcese and David Lynch. One person would be telling a story about a bunch of mobsters going off to whack some guy, while the other person would be telling a story about boogie-men, Roy Orbison songs, and live-walking bunnies. Hell, now that I think about it, that would make a pretty cool-ass flick. Anyway, I am toates off-subject here. Back to the freakin’ movie at-hand.

From what I hear through the grapevine, the original novel that this movie is based off of, has been apparently called unfilmable, which makes the direction between these three seem all the more eventful in the long-run. There about six-different stories that are told here, and all seem very understood and easy to follow, where you don’t really ever get confused as to what story is actually taking place and what the hell is going on in each of them. All stories are pretty simple to follow and even though some of them may have goofy sci-fi shit going on, you still get the gist of what’s going on.

And what’s so great about all of these different stories, is that each and every single one is about as entertaining and interesting as you could get. Granted, not all of the stories hold your attention as much (the one that takes place in the woods where everybody talks like they’re from the South, during the 19th century), but they all seemed to keep me glued to the screen and provided me with the right ingredients to have a good time. They also all seem to have their own personalities where there’s one story concerning romance, one story concerning a bunch of slap-stick humor (and it’s slap-stick done right, mind you), one story concerning sci-fi, futuristic action, and even one story that reminded me a lot of Death Wish, with it’s cool, 70’s-thriller vibe. In a way, there’s something here that’s for everyone and if you don’t find one story all that intriguing  then you can always depend on another one to come right out, and sweep you off your feet to get you right back into what’s on-screen. Great directing skills from all three of these peeps and it shows you that these guys still have it in them to make an entertaining movie, even if it is almost 3-hours long. Yes, you heard me right, people. 3-HOURS LONG. Bring the red bull, you may need it. But yet, it’s 3-hours that didn’t feel like it at all, so maybe you don’t. You know what? Bring it just in case.

However, as entertaining and interesting as this whole film was, I still felt a bit empty at the end of it all. The whole point of this movie was understandable, and it was how we all the same, underneath our skin. It’s a message that does get drawn-out very well in this movie with certain stories relating and connecting to another in a very small-way, but that message didn’t have any impact on me whatsoever when the movie was over. Some of the characters in the stories I did care about, but not to the point of where I felt like I was going to cry my eyes out if they died or anything. Maybe that’s sick-way of thinking when you see a flick like this but that’s how it all went down for me. No emotional impact, no emotional connection, no nothing. It was just a bunch of fun, entertainment that kept my interest.

But somehow, I felt like the Wachowskis and Tykwer were going for me than just that, which is why I felt like I missing something at the end. The score did give me that epic-feeling in the pit of my stomach and had me look to the screen with wonder, but how the hell was I supposed to connect to characters and to a story through just plain and simple score-music? I don’t know what was wrong with me during the viewing of this flick, but if you expect a huge, tear-jearker, than you may have come to the wrong-place. Bad/sad stuff does happen, but never to the point of where I felt like I needed an extra box of Kleenex on the way home. Maybe that answers the question for ‘ya. So, for all of you Nicholas Sparks fans, don’t even think about going to this after a bad break-up and expecting to relate.

Most of the fun of this movie that I already alluded to earlier, is watching the ensemble cast and seeing all of these different roles they pick-up in each story. See, in this movie, instead of just having a star play one character, in one story, and having that be their own pride and joy, they all get to play another character in each and every other story and all have different looks. Some are goofy-looking, and some are pretty neat-o how they all pulled it off (make-up and costume designs are sure to get an Oscar nomination this year), but overall, they all will probably have you staring at that one character and thinking to yourself, “Is that Huge Weaving in drag?”

And yes, in case you wondering, Hugo Weaving does actually show-up in drag here and it’s fun to watch him play it too, because the guy plays a villain in every, single story. But he’s not the only one having fun out of the cast, because everybody else is pretty much too. Tom Hanks shows up the most prominently in this flick and plays all of these different types and roles that we have never really seen from the guy before and it just goes to show you why exactly this guy is the face of-Hollywood, in a lot of ways. Halle Berry is another one who shows up the most prominently in this flick and shows us all why she deserves bigger and better roles like the ones she has here. It’s been awhile since Berry has actually took a nice, juicy-role that spoke to her true talents as an actress, and thankfully, the time has come to where we see it finally and she handles herself oh so perfectly with every story.

Out of this whole cast, it’s really hard to decipher who has the more-difficult tasks at-hand here, but I will say that the one I was most impressed with was Jim Sturgess who held his own pretty damn well throughout this whole flick. Maybe the guy didn’t do an amazingly spectacular job, but after appearing in shit like 21, Across the Universe, and One Day, the guy took me by surprise by showing me the depths he has as an actor and I look forward to seeing what else he can do in the near-future with his career. Hopefully, just hopefully, he steers clear of those soapy, melodramas that always seem to plague young, good-looking guys’ careers like his.

It should also be as to no surprise that Jim Broadbent steals the show in every story he has, and the one where he and a couple of fellow old-timers plan an escape out of an old-folks home is definitely worth the price of admission alone. Basically, everybody you see on that cast-list up there on the poster, is featured plenty of times in this movie that will have you pointing to the screen a crap-load of times. But on a sad-note, the coolest Brit of them all seems to get the short-stick a bit. Yep, that’s right. I’m talking about you Hugh Grant. I want to see more of you buddy, so show-up in more stuff!

Consensus: Cloud Atlas is a very, very long movie that’s filled with plenty of stories, plenty of characters, and plenty of ambitions that it’s set for itself, but is also a very entertaining and beautiful movie to watch as it never really leaves you bored when it’s all over. It may not be the most emotionally-impacting viewing-experience you’ll have this year, but it’s a great watch that will probably take-up half of your day. But, in a good way at least.

8/10=Matinee!!

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Made me really want to watch ‘Bad Boys II’. I never want to feel like that again.

Police Constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is good at his job, so good in fact, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, his superiors at the Met have decided to sweep him under the carpet. So it is that London’s top cop finds himself in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford, where everything is a little too nice…

That synopsis doesn’t sound like anything too special but trust me, when you have the creative minds of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg working together, special is what you get.

The film is an obvious homage to all of the fun-loving buddy cop films of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today, but it also seems like it has a lot of love for the genre too. What’s so funny about this movie is that almost every scene features something goofy going on whether it’s a slight visual gag, recurring joke that seems to pop up everywhere, and in-jokes that will test your movie geekdom to it’s full limits. You’ll hear somebody utter a phrase or line-for-line dialogue from another flick or you’ll even see a scene from another recreated here and if you don’t get it right away, it’s not that funny, but if you do get it (like I did), you’ll be laughing your ass off the whole time. What was also rare about this comedy was that almost every jokes stays here in this flick and somehow finds it way of popping up later on in the flick and tying altogether with the plot.

Everybody knows how a cop movie goes but this film loves to toy around with that idea and just make it even more fun to actually watch them. Of course they mess around with the cliches and conventions that usually come with these types of films but it’s not all about that, these guys really do love these films and show how much fun they can be even if they are referring to such “classics” as ‘Point Break’ or ‘Bad Boys II’. If you don’t get the joke with that last statement then this surely is not the film for you. Then again though, a lot of this humor is very British in its own way, which I usually don’t understand but other times I do and laugh my ass off at so it’s sort of strange with me.

My only problem with this flick is that when the action comes around here, and it does come around big-time, they over-do the whole “shaky cam” element a little too much. I get that this flick was obviously trying to make a little joke about the constant zooming in-and-out and the shakiness of the action movie cameras, but the action would have been so much better if they didn’t feel the need to resort to this and just give me a head-ache. It’s a minor complaint but a complaint none the less.

Simon Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, but not in a Simon Pegg-ish way though, he’s actually very much the straight guy and let’s everybody else do the humor which was a very smart idea. Pegg does have an occasional few moments where he lets loose just a bit but he’s not the usual, cheeky guy we all know and love him for in other flicks. He may not be the easiest to like here but that provides a lot of love for Nick Frost as his likable cop-buddy, Danny. Frost is such a joy to watch here and brings home the laughs just about every opportunity he gets and the chemistry between the both of them are always great no matter what flick they’re in and that’s no different here. These guys are pure comic gold when they are with each other no matter what it is that they do and I hope they never stop at it either.

The rest of the cast is also a lot of fun and features a lot of familiar faces playing against type. Former 007 Timothy Dalton was absolutely hilarious as the dude who owns the local supermarket, and drops down the lamest but funniest puns I’ve ever heard considering they go so well with everything else that’s going on here; Jim Broadbent is very goofy, as he should be with his performance here as the Sandford’s chief of police; and there are so many others here that make this flick work and I honestly don’t want to spoil them but you’ll see what I’m talking about once they pop-up.

Consensus: Hot Fuzz is a lovable, entertaining, and very funny homage to the buddy-cop genre with plenty of in-jokes and hilarious performances and cameos that will just make the film better and more impressive as it goes along.

9/10=Full Price!!

The Iron Lady (2011)

Disappointed over no Tony Starks cameo.

Meryl Streep provides a portrait of Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of Britain, whose political career and determination changed the rules that had limited women’s opportunities for leadership.

It seems like 2011 will probably be best remembered for the year of the big disappointments. With films such as ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘J. Edgar’ just to name a few, a lot of films that have been hyped for the big awards-contenders have all seemed to anger people more than astonish. This one can now be added to that list as well.

Director Phyllida Lloyd (‘Mamma Mia!’) is a director who is obviously trying really hard to be taken seriously as a drama director, and even though she may need some more help in that department she still makes this film enjoyable to say the least. There is a lot of stuff about the obstacles in Thacther’s life that she had to deal with such as the Falklands War, the IRA, people that were always looking for a way to oust her, and giving people taxes that they didn’t like so much. There is a lot of this shown and plenty of the happenings that were occurring in Britain are shown through actual news reel footage which were at times disturbing and very clear as to what mayhem she really was causing. In some cases, re-creating what happened would have been a great idea, but using this archival footage added a lot to the whole history of Britain and what Thatcher was doing.

The script itself is pretty good and provides a very good history lesson but there’s something that’s off about the structure of this film that takes away a lot from making this a normal biopic. We are shown Thatcher’s life through flash-backs from Thatcher herself, when she is terribly old and going through dementia having constant hallucinations of her dead husband, Denis. This was bothersome for a large portion of the flick because it constantly kept going back-and-forth and whenever we would start to get back into Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister, the film would then cut right back to old Thatcher being all crazy and talking to the wall. It almost has the same structure like ‘J. Edgar’ where we see an old version of the icon talking about the past, but in this case, there was too much of the old stuff and a lot less of the actual flashback stuff where we got to see Thatcher work her magic. The other thing I never understood was that she was so cooky and grief-striking but she still has enough sense and energy to rant and rave on about things she did back when she was Prime Minister to people such as her doctor or maid. It’s very strange to see this but I guess Thatcher really is a old woman among old women.

However, the problem with when we are at the flash-back sequences we never really get a sense as to whether or not what Thatcher is doing is right or wrong, and it doesn’t seem like the people who wrote or directed this had any standings either. I liked seeing all of the things that Thatcher did and whatnot but the film never reflects on if they were bad or not considering everybody who lived in Britain at the time, wanted off with her head. I guess that they were trying to take the easy way out and just bringing the British history text-book out to film but a little bit of opinions here and there would have been nice to see. You can also never tell what is fact or faction considering a lot here is about Thatcher’s life and only she would know what happened herself, so there’s a lot of actual guessing there.

A lot of these problems did go away when I realized that I was watching Meryl Streep on the screen. Streep is just about perfect in this flick as Thatcher basically taking over every scene she has while knocking down every mannerism and accent down pat. When Thatcher’s in her glory years as Prime Minister, it’s great to see Streep shine and show a lot of that powerful strength she has an actress that can take a scene and put the attention on her right away without you thinking about anyone or anything else but it’s her scenes as an old lady that are even better. Older Thatcher is a very sad and lonely gal and we feel this through Streep’s performance as she constantly shows how much her character never understands what she has done to her country and the effects that it had on everybody around her. It’s a great performance from Streep and she brings a great mix of charm, likability, and sadness to a character that needed it most of all.

The other good performance given here is by Jim Broadbent as her hubby, Denis. Broadbent is playing that usual quirky, somewhat goofy dude that always seems to lighten up the mood no matter what the scenes tone may be. Him and Streep have great chemistry and it really made me feel like they were in love, but the film doesn’t really focus on him all that much as it is more or less about Thatcher and what she does for her country which was kind of a shame considering the film could have really benefited from some real drama if they actually showed more scenes with each other when he was alive. There isn’t really anybody else worth noting in this cast considering that Streep takes over the spot-light which has its obvious positive but also negative effects.

Consensus: With an amazing performance by Streep and a great history lesson on Britain during Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister, The Iron Lady will definitely entertain most people, but when it also has problems with its structure and the fact that we never ever really know if what Thatcher is doing is good or bad for the country that she so rightfully loves.

6/10=Rental!!

Another Year (2010)

Nothing like those kitchen-sink conversations.

Over the course of a tumultuous year, contented medical counselor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and her geologist husband, Tom (Jim Broadbent), see their friends and relations through a series of happy events and heartbreaks — including a birth and a death.

Writer-director Mike Leigh is known for working with his actors way long before shooting even starts to get that type of realistic feel for his films and to be honest, damn does it work.

The one thing that Leigh does perfectly here is that he makes these conversations feel so real as if we were to just eavesdrop on actual people talking and not just people reading a script. It wasn’t what these people talked about it’s just how they talked and how everything that had to do with the conversation was rapid and constant, kind of like real-life and you almost never get that in any film.

The screenplay also has a lot of warmth with it as you can feel that everyone’s happy to be with one another and all friends but there’s also a deep sense of sadness and misery here too that I think goes unnoticed a lot too.

There are moments here where scenes will become a little awkward but then soon turn into sad as we realize that even though you may be happy, the others around you may not be as jolly as you are at the moment. Actually sometimes, people will go into deeper and deeper states of loneliness just to spite the others around them. For every warm-heartening and funny scenes there is an equally sad and depressing scene that will show great balance this story has.

Although I did have a problem with Leigh’s direction because although I think he handles this script perfectly, there’s no real main focus on this story. I kept wondering the whole time who this story was about because it goes around the family as to who the main point and plot is all about until I found out at the end. I didn’t mind the ending, I actually thought it was very effective, but I didn’t quite know who Leigh was trying to get us to focus on.

Another problem that others may have with this film is that nothing really happens here other than just a bunch of conversations which may annoy some people looking for a better use of plot. There’s no direct point of conflict or suspense just a bunch of peeps talking and if you like that, then this a film for you.

The performances here from this cast are great as well. Jim Broadbent is just totally funny and charming, as the cool daddy Tom and Ruth Sheen has a great deal of likability to her character as well as believability as his wife, Gerri. Tom and Gerri (Gettt itttt?) both seem like an awesome couple that has loved each other all throughout these years, and no matter have somehow remained to stay happy as well which seems hard with all these depressing people coming to their house all the time.

But above all there’s Lesley Manville — a Leigh regular — who plays a co-worker of Gerri’s and slowly becomes the heart of the film. She’s a mess, kindly indulged by Gerri and Tom. She’s painfully eager in conversation, awkwardly attracted to their son and just desperate, really. Almost every scene she has, she controls and just by looking at the expressions on her face, you know something is bothering her right from the get-go and even though she may be bringing this on to herself, you still can’t help but feel remotely sad for her.

Consensus: Not much happens here in Another Year, but Leigh’s well-written script makes the whole film seem like real-life actually happening in front of your eyes, and the performances add so much more to these characters and make them more vivid than we could have imagined.

8/10=Matinee!!

Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

Ehh, sometimes period pieces aren’t the best.

Life hands Nicholas Nickleby (Charlie Hunnam) a difficult hand when his father dies and Nicholas, his sister and his mother, now penniless, are forced to seek help from his twisted Uncle Ralph (Christopher Plummer), who only wants to tear the family apart. Nathan Lane and Jim Broadbent also star.

The film is a drama at heart, but has little comedic undertones, which I for the most part, enjoyed. The comedy comes into work when the film is just looking grim, and at many times I’m glad they did this because the dark tone at points bothered me.

I mean its a light film, and its not offensive in any way, its just not entertaining enough. I mean it did move at a very slow-pace and at times things wouldn’t even happen that had to do with the story, it was just talking. There were a couple of scenes that actually grabbed my attention, but soon lost it after they started talking about God knows what.

I did like how the story developed over time. I thought it was a interesting story, that didn’t have huge twists, but it did have the nice fun feel. Its basically a fall-rise story, about this one person, but then we see that its about others, who in my opinion were more interesting than Nickleby himself.

In all honesty, I thought that Hunnam as Nickleby wasn’t very good to say the least. If anything I just thought he was cheesy, and could have been replaced by a far better actor. He is structured as this one-note character only showing little emotion, and usually that emotion is anger, and I couldn’t help but laugh all the times when he would make grand speeches, and try to be all scary his face would just light up, and it was too hard to take this guy seriosuly one bit. I did, however, like the ensemble supporting cast. Plummer plays a very evil man, and does it very well, without being a cliched villain, and by the end you sense some great tragedy with him, while Lane as usual is funny and nobody can stop him. Jamie Bell is also in this and you find yourself throughout the whole movie, cheering him on and hopefully overcome what is happening to him.

Consensus: Nicholas Nickleby has a nice supporting cast and a splendid story with good touches, but the at-time non interesting story moves at a slow-pace, and I couldn’t find any truth in liking Hunnam as Nickleby.

5/10=Rentall!!!

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

I don’t care what you people say, I FREAKIN’ LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!

Satine (Nicole Kidman), the star of the Moulin Rouge and the city’s most famous courtesan, is caught between the love of a young writer and another man’s obsession. Christian (Ewan McGregor) is a writer who finds himself plunged into this decadent world where anything goes – except falling in love.

When it comes to some of the greatest musicals of all-time, I think this would have a nice spot on my list.

I love this movie just because of how it is, without being anything else. Director Baz Luhrmann is the real star of this movie because he doesn’t follow all these other musicals that are known. He uses licensed songs such as “Like A Virgin”, “Heroes”, and “Your Song”. The film isn’t afraid to be silly when it needs to but its not all the fun that gets this film really at me, its more about the true story of love. The film is so original with everything it does, because it doesn’t play by the same rules all other musicals do, it basically is laying down the ground that this is what film should be: fun. It has a plot from 1400s operas, look from 1950s broadway productions, and it has a visual style from current music videos.

The film obviously takes some notes from Romeo & Juliet (Luhrmann directed that back in 1996), because this is also about forbidden love, but is also about the joys and also the tragic heart-breaks that love can effect you with.

I have to mostly credit the way this film looks cause this world that they live in, is very unrealistic, but it seems all too much fun. I actually wanted to go there and live in this place as this film was going on. The set designs look so lavish, with all the beautiful colors and costumes coming right at you, bringing this whole world of fun, love, and heart break to glorious life.

The songs are what makes this film great, because as I mentioned before, its licensed songs. The songs that they choose for these particular moments in the film, work so well, and actually seem like they could be real songs that these people were actually singing. They combine a lot of different variety of music, like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Roxanne” but most of it all works so well here.

The performances from this whole cast are just stunning, cause not only is it their real acting that’s good, but all of them can basically sing. McGregor plays his lead character with so much charm, but yet so much unknowings about love, and thats why it makes him a great protagonist to cheer for. The real show here is Kidman who is just a total knock-out with her performance. She plays this character with so much beauty, charisma, and also tragedy without once hamming it up for the camera. The way the two interact with each other on-screen seems so real and genuine that its hard not to want these two together in the end. If anything the only problem I had with this film was that its main villain played by Richard Roxburgh seemed too cartoonish at points, and I couldn’t take him seriously as a bad guy.

Consensus: Moulin Rouge! is a musical that is fun, energetic, and so original with an inspired direction from Luhrmann, beautiful performances from McGregor and Kidman, and great look, feel, and sound that its hard not to love this film and hail it as one f the all-time best.

10/10=Full Pricee!!!!

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

I never knew that the mafia was attracted to Broadway so much.

The story follows a hack 1920s playwright (John Cusack) who uses a mobster to finance his newest play. When the gangster’s bodyguard (Chazz Palminteri) starts rewriting the play to make it more believable, he shows more talent than Cusack. The complications of the play come within it’s stars who also include Diane Wiest, Jim Broadbent, and Jennifer Tilly.

This is directed by one of my favorites, Woody Allen, and I thought this film was a whole lot more funnier than any other of his films. The film doesn’t break any new ground or give us a new spin on the way we watch film, but it’s very enjoyable nonetheless.

Allen writes one of his best scripts ever, when in this film he does know that it takes time to create these characters until we find out their funny. I liked how a lot of these antics from these characters were all just so funny. Not the kind of chuckle funny, but really big laugh out loud funny, and found this as a very interesting take on a not so inspired plot.

The film is very funny but it’s also very sly. You can read it as a comedy, but you can also sense that in a subtle way, Woody Allen is making some comments on his own roles as an artist. Is he the Cusack character that is earnest but lacking in emotional strife? Or the gangster who follows art with a sure conclusion of what’s really going on? It’s very fun to actually figure it out for yourself, and keeps you thinking about the statement.

The only problem I had with this film is that it seemed to much of a parody. I felt like it was a Woody Allen parody film on a late-period film. The jokes, stage direction, some of the characters, and even the killings. Though they were funny I still felt the parody sense of the film that lied within.

The performances are one of the most vibrant I have seen in a long time from any film. Cusack does a good job, as usual, but it’s really the witty side characters that are really good. Chazz Paliminteri does one of his best jobs in this film, and is used in the beginning as a side character, then one after another, is used more and more and he creates this wonderful character that you love and hate at the same time. Wiest is amazing in this film and totally steals the show with every scene, also with Jennifer Tilly turning in a surprising Oscar nominee performance.

Consensus: Not very inspired, Bullets Over Broadway features some eccentric performances, a hilarious script and a great message, which ultimately climaxes in one of Woody Allen’s best films.

9/10=Full Priceee!!!