Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Richard E. Grant

Their Finest (2017)

Now I definitely don’t need to see Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

It’s Britain, 1940, and needless to say, the war is hitting them pretty hard. Men are being shipped-out randomly, bombs are dropping everywhere, resources are drying up, families are being torn apart, and it just doesn’t seem like the good old days any longer. It seems like everyone is sad, depressed and absolutely unsure of what to do with their lives, which is why the British Ministry of Information decides to step on in and change all that up the only reliable way they know how: Making movies. And one such movie they commission is a supposed true story of heroism and bravery that occurred in Dunkirk, France. Of course, the movie-version of these said events get all wrapped-up and twisted around, to the point of where the original story isn’t even found anywhere, but the message of the tale is simple: Greater and better times are ahead and can still be found now. And crafting that film is writer Catrin (Gemma Arterton) who finds herself constantly battling it out with fellow writers, like Tom (Sam Claflin), actors, like Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy), and fellow women in the office, like Phyl (Rachael Stirling) who give her crap for her gender and how she handles herself. But all she’s trying to do is make the best, most inspirational movie she can make, no matter what.

How could you not fall for the chum?

Their Finest is one of the most charming movies I have seen in quite some time and it doesn’t even seem like it’s trying. Okay, that’s a bit of a lie; it’s so smug, likable and sweet, that it’s almost begging for our adoration before the opening-credits roll onto the screen. But for the most part, it’s the time, the place, and the nostalgic message that makes it feel like Their Finest doesn’t have to even try – it’s homework of charming and pleasing the pants off of the audience is already done for itself.

That said, it’s still a wildly lovely movie that even without the time, the place, the nostalgic message, it would still work. Sure, those things certainly help, but mostly, Their Finest works because it’s a movie that has a heart as big the bombs that are constantly being dropped out throughout. Director Lone Scherfig and writer Gaby Chiappe come together in an interesting way that doesn’t shy away from the dark, brutal, and grueling reality that the war presented for everyone involved, but it also doesn’t shy away from the fact that there was some happiness and light to be found through it all.

It’s like an overlong episode of Boardwalk Empire, except the polar opposite – everyone around the main characters are sad, but the main characters themselves, somehow, through some way, are happy.

It all works, though, and never appears too cloying, or overly cutesy; it all feels earned and just earnest enough that it knows it’s harsh reality, without ever trying too revel in it, either. The movie is, plain and simple, just sweet and lovely – like a Pastri that you know you shouldn’t have, but also can’t keep yourself away from, either. That may not be the best way to describe Their Finest, but trust me, just know this: It’ll be hard not to smile the whole way through. Even when the movie’s sad (which it can be on countless occasions), it’s still kind of cheerful.

And it mostly all comes down to the characters and what they represent. In what has to be her best role to-date, Gemma Arterton finally gets a chance to prove that she can be awfully sweet and charming, when given the right material to work with. As Catrin Cole, we see a character that’s still figuring herself out, trying to make some sort of a mark in the world and above all else, trying to remain happy, hopeful and optimistic towards a brighter, better future. It’s a role that could have been easily grating and annoying in anyone’s hands, but it’s one that Arterton works so well with, that you immediately fall in love with her and her infectious spirit.

Gemma, have you ever seen Atonement? Get out of the subway!

And it’s also easy to see why everyone in the film does, too.

Sam Claflin, once again, proves that he’s quite possibly the most charming and handsome British guy working today, aside from Henry Cavill, as Tom, and shows quite a nice little chemistry between he and Arterton. The relationship may go into obvious places, but because they’re so good and cute together, it doesn’t matter – we want them together, no matter what. Bill Nighy is also the stand-out as the one actor in this whole production who can’t seem to know or realize that he’s a little too old to be quite the superstar he once was. The character could have easily been a cartoonish buffoon, but there’s a lot of heart and warmth in Nighy’s portrayal, that it works. Same goes for everyone else who shows up here, adding a little bit more personality and light to the whole proceedings.

But if anything about Their Finest really works for me, it’s the message that, no matter what happens to you, the outside world around you, or anybody, anywhere else in the world, the movies will always be there for you. Sure, it’s a sentiment that’s not as relevant as it may have been in the early-1940’s, when practically everyone and their grandmother needed a little cheering up, but it’s still the same kind of sentiment that resonates for any film-lover. Movies have always been made, and will always continue to be made, to take people away from their real lives, and place them somewhere lovely and magical, and provide the perfect distraction. Sure, there are movies that are made not to do such a thing (aka, documentaries), but the ones that really take you out of the real world and give you hope and ambition, well, then those are the ones that deserve to be seen, no matter what’s going on around you.

It’s what movies were put on this Earth to do in the first place and it’s why they will always hold a special place in each and every living person’s life.

Consensus: Sweet, endearing and ridiculously nostalgic, Their Finest wears its heart and humor on its sleeve, with even better performances to show for it.

8.5 / 10

Making movies have never been so, ehrm, British.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire


Logan (2017)

Not all superheroes have to be nice.

It’s sometime in the near-future and needless to say, the world is not the best place for mutants. Most of them have either been killed, or are so hidden away from society, you wouldn’t even know where to look for them. However, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is one of them and needless to say, time has not been too kind to him. All those years of violence and havoc, have now taken a toll on his mind and most importantly, his body. Now, it seems like Logan, who was considered to be immortal, may eventually reach his demise. But before that happens, he’s tasked with saving the life of another mutant, a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen). She doesn’t speak much of English, but has something about her that makes those involved with killing mutants, now want her. Logan sees this as something that he has to protect, so along with another aging mutant, Professor X (Patrick Stewart), they set out to take Laura out of harm’s way. But to where? None of them really know, but they’re going to search far and wide, anyway.

Oh. Time has not been kind.

Oh. Time has not been kind.

After seeing Deadpool last year, I came to the conclusion that in order for most of the superhero movies to stay fresh, they have to up the ante a notch or two. Meaning, it’s time to get rid of all the bloodless violence, the soft and sometimes petty smack-talk, and most importantly, enough with the predictability. Say what you will about some of Deadpool‘s flaws (which there aren’t many of), it’s one of the rare superhero movies that feels like it’s doing something new with the genre, while also staying pretty loyal to certain tropes and conventions, too.

The only difference with that movie was that it knew what it was doing and wasn’t afraid to tell you, either.

And with Logan, the same case can be made that, in order for most of these superhero movies to stay fresh and somewhat original, they need to change the way we see them. Rather than getting another run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter superhero flick in which there’s a good guy, a bad guy, a threat, a love-interest, and eventually, a final showdown, we get a superhero movie where there’s a few okay guys, a few evil guys, a terrible and disturbing threat, no love-interest, and eventually, a bloody, gruesome and sometimes mean, final showdown. So okay, yeah, not everything here is changed up and different, but Logan shows small, slight ways that the superhero genre can be helped out a bit.

Which is what also brings me to talk about the R-rating Logan was able to obtain and it’s actually what saves the movie. See, Mangold approaches the material in such a dark, heinous and sometimes gritty way, it seems like R was the only way to go to do the actual story justice. But it’s not the kind of R-rating that’s hammered in because everyone wanted to give it a shot; the action and violence is a lot more brutal and gory than ever before, the cursing comes at the best moments and isn’t shoe-horned in, and just the overall feeling of it feels more adult and mature than any of the other superhero movies floating around out there.

It’s as if the kids were left at home and the parents got a night out at the movies and for a superhero movie, that’s pretty damn surprising.

"You think you're more mutant than me?"

“You think you’re more mutant than me?”

And this is to say that it all works so incredibly well. Mangold ups the emotion, just as much as he does the blood, violence and gore, and for that reason alone, there’s more at-stake with this story – we feel closer to Logan than ever before, feel for him, want him to live on, beat the baddies and most importantly, continue to be the way he is. The movie never takes any shortcuts to giving us a fully-realized and complete story to this character, as well as Xavier, and at times, there’s something sweet about watching about watching these two characters, who we first got to see on the big-screens almost two decades ago, finally show their age and embrace the fact that their time on Earth is, of course, limited.

It’s sad for sure, but the movie never forgets that at its center, is really Logan, the rough heart and soul of this movie, as well as this whole franchise. And in his supposedly-final outing, Hugh Jackman probably gives his best performance as Logan, showing that there’s true heartbreak behind all of the killing and destruction he does. Rather than just being a guy who kills for the greater good of society, he’s really just killing cause he has to and has all of this rage hell-bent inside of him – it’s as if he finally stopped trying to please everyone and just let loose. Jackman’s always been perfect for this role and if this really is his last showing, needless to say, it’s the perfect swan song for him to go out on and shows us that we’ll truly, without a doubt, miss him in this role.

Now good luck finding a replacement!

And not just for Jackman, either, but for Stewart as well who, like the former, gives his best performance as this character, showing deep sadness and frustration within a character that seemed like he always had it all together. Stewart gets a chance to explore Xavier’s nastier, ruder side and it’s a joy to watch; not because we know he can do it (as was the case with Blunt Talk), but because he’s stealing every scene he’s in. The chemistry between he and Jackman also finally comes into play here, where we realize that they’re not just best friends who have literally been through it all together, but that they’re also one of their kind left and they both have a legacy to behold.

It’s sad, but kind of heartwarming and the note Logan ends on, well, needless to say, is perfect. It’s melancholy, depressing, and altogether, perfect. Where they’re going to go with the franchise, is totally beyond me, but I definitely look forward to it.

Consensus: With a harder, darker and rougher edge to it than the others, Logan works perfectly as a more adult-like superhero movie, with plenty of action, blood and cursing for the grown-ups, but a heartfelt, sad, and rather sweet story at the center, proving even more why Jackman is perfect for this title role and why it’s going to be weird without seeing him in it.

9 / 10

Save the girl. Save the world. Live on.

Save the girl. Save the world. Live on.

Photos Courtesy of: Kenwood Theatre

Jackie (2016)

Thanks for the fashion tips. Now, get out!

After the tragic and sudden assassination of her husband, First Lady Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) has to deal with a lot over a certain period of time. For one, she has to ensure that the rest of her family is alright. Secondly, she has to make sure that her husband’s funeral isn’t just one of the most memorable of any other assassinated President before him, but the best ever. And then, yes, she’s also got to do her absolute hardest to hold onto her sanity, even when it seems like this certain situation in particular wouldn’t call for it. However, no matter how bad life gets, all that Jackie wants is for her husband’s legacy to live on, regardless of what sort of mistakes he made in the past.

Jackie may seem, on paper, like your traditional, ordinary biopic of someone that we think we know so much about, but in all honesty, actually don’t, however, it’s anything but. What director Pablo Larrain does here with Jackie’s story is that he frames it in a way where we get to see small, fleeting glimpses into her life, through certain parts of it, as opposed to getting the rags-to-riches story that we so often get hit with. And sure, there’s nothing wrong with the kinds of biopics that take on those structures to tell their story and to tell a little more about their subject, but with Jackie, an odd structure actually works, as it not only has us feel closer to her than ever before, but also see what really lied beneath the legend.

We still see you.

We still see you.

Sure, most people think of Jackie as this reversed, sometimes not-all-that-bright women who was just lucky to marry the man who would eventually be President of the United States, and a fashion icon, but the movie shows us that there’s much more to her than that. We see that she not just cared about preserving the legacy of the past Presidents who came before her own husband, but also wanted to carve out a legacy for herself as well; rather than just being seen as this harpy wife who stood by her husband, even while he was off, strutting his stuff with many other women, she wanted to be seen, be remembered, or at the very least, be thought of as someone who was intelligent and cared all about the appearances of her and those around her. It’s actually very interesting to see this side to her, as we get a clearer understanding of what her real, actual beliefs and aspirations were, and end up sympathizing with her a whole lot more.

Okay sure, it’s not that hard to sympathize with a woman who has literally just lost her husband right slap dab in front of her, but still, Larrain crafts this story awfully well.

It’s odd though, because while even just focusing on her so much may already seem sympathetic, Larrain still asks a whole lot more questions about her, than he does answer. Like, for instance, why did she stay by her husband for all those philandering years? Was it all for show? And speaking of the show she put on, did she actually care so much about past Presidents, or did she just use that all as a way to show that she was so much more than the First Lady? The movie brings the questions up, never answers them, but at the very least, it does show that Larrain isn’t afraid to question his subject more than actually glamorize her and for all that she was able to do while in the White House.

Damn journalists. Always ruining the sorrow and grief of famous widows.

Damn journalists. Always ruining the sorrow and grief of famous widows.

And as Jackie, Natalie Portman is quite great, however, it does take awhile for it to get like this. Because Jackie herself had such a mannered, controlled and signature way of speaking and presenting herself with those around her, Portman has to do a lot of weird and awkward-sounding pronunciations throughout the whole flick. Her first few scenes with Billy Crudup’s character are incredibly distracting and make it seem like it’s going to overtake the whole movie, but it does get better after awhile, especially when we see her actually show emotion and use her persona to make the situations around her better. Sure, Portman gets to do a lot of crying, smoking, drinking and yelling, but it all feels right and not just another Oscar-bait, showy performances that we so often get around this time.

And while it is definitely Jackie’s story, a lot of others still get attention to paid them as well, like with Peter Sarsgaard’s incredibly sympathetic take on Bobby Kennedy. While he doesn’t always use the accent, regardless, Sarsgaard does sink deep into this character and become someone who is almost more interesting than Jackie, only because we don’t get to spend every single waking moment of the run-time with him. In a way, there’s a certain air of mystery to him where we aren’t really sure what his motives are, how he actually does feel about his brother’s death, and just what the hell he wants to do now with his life.

Somewhere, there’s a Bobby Kennedy biopic to be made and if so, Sarsgaard ought to be there.

Although, yeah, that damn Bobby title’s already been taken.

Consensus: Smart, insightful and compelling, Jackie presents us with an interesting look into the life of its famous subject, while never forgetting to show the possible negative sides to who this person may have really been.

8 / 10

You look great, Natalie. You don't need three mirrors to prove it.

You look great, Natalie. You don’t need three mirrors to prove it.

Photos Courtesy of: Silver Screen Riot

Dom Hemingway (2014)

Don’t drunk and drive, kids. Or go to jail for 12 years. Or do drugs. Or, simply, just don’t do anything bad.

It’s been quite a long time since Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) has been out in the outside world (12 years to be exact), but he finally gets released one day, where he goes back to doing everything he once did before. He collects debts; has sex with women; does blow like nobody’s business; drink; illegally smoke tobacco inside of a pub; hang out with his close-buddy Leftie (Richard E. Grant); kick the shit out of the man who married his wife when he was thrown in jail; and try his damn near hardest to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke). The only problem is that Dom has a bit of a temper-issue, which more often than not, has gotten him into trouble in the past, and seems to be getting him in even more trouble now when he realizes that he’s out of money and needs a new gig. Being the swift heist-man that he is, with the niftiest of fingers, he decides to go back to his old ways of breaking into concealed-vaults; something that’s a lot harder now with every vault being electronic, thus throwing Dom off of his game. Thus, as a result, making Dom even more pissed-off with everything and everyone around him.

It’s been a long while since I’ve seen something in which Jude Law really wow’d me. Not saying that he’s a bad actor by any means – in fact, he’s a terribly consistent one. He always shows up in movies, acts, does what he has to do, look charming, get his paycheck and continue on to the next project in which he’ll do the same exact thing. There’s nothing wrong with that really, especially if you’re somebody whose been surviving in Hollywood since the mid-to-late-90’s, but there is something to be said for an actor who has always been around, but really hasn’t had that one, amazing performance in which he’s knocked down all of the doors and showed us his true talents as an actor.

Hey, uhm, whose driving?

Hey, uhm, whose driving?

I think Dom Hemingway may in fact be that performance we’ve all, myself included, have been waiting for.

What Law does so well here as Dom Hemingway, unlike from anything else we’ve ever seen him do, is be brass, crass and all sorts of detestable. Dom Hemingway, by creation, is a dirty, mean son-of-a-bitch that looks as if he’s stumbled out of the pubs from the 70’s, and into the modern-era in which none of the kids want anything to do with his old, grungy ass, and just want to hang out and drink their Pabst Blue Ribbons alone and in peace. He’s always wanting to get pissed, get some blow, bang some fine ladies, and start trouble with anybody who dares to ever step up to him. Because of that, we’re supposed to dislike him and think he’s just a total jack-ass that doesn’t our sympathy, or even time of day – but somehow, Law makes us do just that.

Law is every bit as loud as he’s ever been in a movie before. With Hemingway, Law’s asked to be a total sleaze-ball, but a sleaze-ball that is always making those around him feel uncomfortable. Not just because he always seems to do and say the wrong things, at the wrong time, and to the wrong people especially, but because he’s just so damn unpredictable with his actions. One second, he’ll be so drunk that he’ll be offending and screaming at the most powerful mob-boss in all of Europe; but then, the next second, be totally cool, calm and suave at the dinner-table, with the same guy he was just insulting clear to his face. So yeah, Dom Hemingway is not an easy character to pin-point down, but that’s why it’s so amazing to see Law tackle a hard task like that and seemingly get through it all without making us ever seem like he’s trying too hard to be something that he clearly isn’t.

Sure, the receding hair-line, chin-strap facial-hair, and over-worked jaw-line may also have something to do with that, but for the most part, it’s Jude Law that makes us believe in somebody like Dom Hemingway.

The same actor whom, ten years ago, was most known for tappin’ his nannies and filling in Michael Caine’s shoes, in a movie most of us would like to just forget about by now.

But there’s a reason why I’m talking so much about Jude Law’s performance in the first place because, as much as I hate to say it, the rest of the movie doesn’t really live up to everything he does. The supporting cast is good here – with Richard E. Grant being a particular stand-out as Hemingway’s close buddy/voice of reason – and there were a few moments in which I had no clue what Dom was going to do next and how it was going to affect him and those around him. But, like I said, there just wasn’t much else here to really keep me going and all that interested.

Practically me, every night of the past week.

Practically me, every night of the past week.

There’s a twist that occurs somewhere around the half-way mark in which the tone of the movie sort of changes and we see how Dom’s life goes from shit, to even shittier in about a matter of a couple of minutes. The surprising switch itself is one that I think writer/director Richard Shepard pulled-off well, but he does with that feels sort of like an after-thought; almost as if the only idea for this movie was to focus on how much fun it is to watch Jude Law yell, rather than actually give us a plot, or even much character-development really. Then again, we do get some character-development here for Dom, it’s just that a lot of it seems so cheap and over-used.

Like, for instance, the whole idea that Dom’s daughter absolutely hates his guts because he left her and her mother all alone, with nobody to care for them at all, isn’t anything new, but you could do so much with that to make it feel genuine and heartfelt. Here, it felt like Shepard knew he wanted it to be the sweet aspect about the movie that the more emotional moviegoers would enjoy more than just seeing Jude Law eat cocaine like breakfast cereal, so he didn’t put much thought into it. All we get are a couple of arguments that go nowhere except show us that Dom’s daughter doesn’t like him and doesn’t want to give him a chance to get to know her better and make up for lost times, which then makes Dom want to go out and go back to his old ways of pulling-off heists.

For some reason, I didn’t see the connection and I sort of wish I did. It not only would have made the movie more interesting as it went along, but would have made a lot more sense to me once Dom started going nuts and humping vaults. Yeah, it gets a little nuts, but that’s all this movie seems to want to be: Nuts, with Jude Law providing most of that craziness for us.

Consensus: Though Jude Law clearly carries Dom Hemingway on his bulky shoulders and booze-breath, the rest of it doesn’t feel as well thought-out or interesting, it’s almost too in awe of its own main character.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

The only way Dom Hemingway knows how to make an entrance: Through the damn wall.

The only way Dom Hemingway knows how to make an entrance: Through the damn wall.

Photo’s Credit to:

About Time (2013)

I feel like plenty guys wish they could time travel, but only so they could bang the same hot girl, again and again.

Right as soon as Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) turns the ripe age of 21, his father (Bill Nighy) lets him in on a little family secret: They can now both time travel. Of course, there are some rules; ones like not being able to travel to the future, only to places in time you’ve been to, and only that the males can perform this act. But regardless, it’s time travel, so take advantage of it while you can, right? Well, that is exactly what Tim does, but mostly so that he can pick up chicks and hopefully meet the love of his life, which he does do, and many of times too, with Mary (Rachel McAdams). Together, they build a relationship that Tim makes sure actually happens and stays put, but what he’s about to be awoken with is the fact that life shouldn’t always be re-played, over and over again. Sometimes you just have to live it the way it was meant to be lived, or else sometimes, bad things happen to the ones you love.

Since it seems like most rom-coms have been getting pretty stale as of late, it makes sense to throw the idea of time travel in there to spice things up, right? Well, yeah, because honestly, who doesn’t like a to manipulate time whenever they see fit? Especially when whomever it is that you’re manipulating time for just so happens to be Rachel McAdams, you know? So yeah, it’s definitely an inspired idea on the part of Richard Curtis, and one that he surprisingly sticks with for a good portion of the movie.

Shoes on the sandy beach? Must be a British thing.

Shoes on the sandy beach? Must be a British thing.

What this flick does so well with its idea for the first 30-45 minutes or so, is that it actually sticks to the ground-rules it lays down and also has a bit of fun with them as well. Any guy that sees this movie (seeing as that the only way that they would go is if they got roped into seeing this with their spouse or significant-other), will probably be able to relate to Tim right off the bat because he does everything with the time travel ability, that every dude would do. He goes out to meet women, and if he fails at making an impression on them, he takes notice of what he failed at, goes back in time, tries it again, and sees what can happen with this new approach. This goes on for quite some time and it was fun to watch, while also being quite humorous since it seemed like it had this honest-take on what lies within female, and male attraction, and what dudes will do to win their “dream girl”.

Eventually though, the whole romantic aspect of this movie does pillow in, and even then, the movie was still working and having fun with itself, if instead, this time, in a more “cute” way. Tim and Mary do make an appealing couple, especially since they both seem to ACTUALLY like one another, which makes it easy for us to want to see them happy, together, and always remaining in love. It’s very hard for most rom-coms out there to make us actually believe in the couple without having to make us see why they are perfect for one another, but this film somehow achieves that goal. They aren’t each other’s soul-mates, however, they work well for the other and keep one another happy. That in and of itself, made me, the cynic, happy, so yes, it’s safe to say that this movie’s magic was working on me.

And then, somewhere right slap-dab in the middle, the movie changes from being a rom-com, to a very dramatic, very sentimental movie about the sake of family and why it’s so important. And in case you couldn’t tell just by how dramatic I’m making this seem already, this is exactly where the movie began to lose me.

Not only did the movie begin to lose me because the edge of what made the first-half of the movie so honest and hilarious in its own sly, British way, but because Curtis begins to betray his own idea that seemed so key in making the film appealing in the first place. People who aren’t supposed to be involved with the time travel, all of a sudden have the ability to and are able to do it as easy as 1, 2, 3.; and terrible stuff that is supposed to happen due to time itself being tampered with, somehow doesn’t happen or seemed to be affected in the least bit. Everything just sort of stays the same, without any real effect or punishment.

But this is where I began to realize that not only did Curtis seem to be slipping up on the idea of time travel, and how to use it in a smart, well-done way that worked for the heavy-thinkers and regular-viewers abound, but he didn’t even seem too interested with it anymore either. In a way, dare I say it, Curtis was just using the time travel as a crutch for when he really wanted us to cry or soak in a puddle of our own tears, or simply, when he ran out of well-written ways to make us feel emotional. This is also where the character of Mary sort of gets thrown to the background, and Tim’s dad comes more into play, which was all fine because Bill Nighy’s an awesome presence to have in any movie, but it felt like a sudden-switch that wasn’t deserved for many reasons; the main which being that it just didn’t make sense.

Yes, maybe that’s just me picking it apart a tad too much, but I still feel like they would have had some really good material if they just stuck to their guns and cut-down the running-time. I mean, seriously: a 2-hour rom-com is enough as it is, but a 2-hour romance-movie where one-half is a rom-com, and the other is a family-drama? Yeah, you just about lost me about 50-minutes in, which sadly, is true.

Men, word of the wise, just stick around and seem interested if your lady promises you “something special” by the end of the night. Only reason why you should stay and hold your hand under your chin.

Usually, the creepy ginger kid on the subway doesn't get the girl, but that's why it's called the "fantasy genre", eh?

Usually, the creepy ginger kid on the subway doesn’t get the girl, but that’s why it’s called the “fantasy genre”, eh?

Keeping this ship afloat, even when it seems to be cruising without him, is Domhnall Gleeson who really feels like the perfect male-lead in a rom-com like this. Not only is he a ginger, but he’s a self-deprecating one that’s easy to feel sorry for, and even hate when he makes a bone-headed move. However, you always like him because he’s a lovable guy with his heart in the right place and you know that, no matter where his life takes him, he will always strive to make those around him happy, pleasant, and want to keep on living life just as much as he wants to. Gleeson definitely isn’t a big name for anybody outside of London, but I feel like if this movie gets a big enough audience, then he may be somewhat of a name to look out for here in the States. Only time will tell on that. That was sort of a pun, by the way.

Somebody who is a big name in the States, and probably in London, is Rachel McAdams who feels like she’s in her comfort-zone playing the meek, quiet, and sincere Mary, which is okay and all, but it also does feel like a bit of a waste of a very good talent who can do so much more with a character when she’s given the opportunity to. But I guess, for now, McAdams will stick with these sappy, melodramatic romance movies so that she can get a big enough paycheck and do something daring with her career. I don’t know, something like, say, Passion? Okay, bad choice. Never mind. Just stick with what you’re good with gal.

And of course Bill Nighy’s in this, stealing the show like usual. Not much more needs to be said about that guy other than the fact that I am just happy to see him doing more and more stuff to make us audiences happy. Keep it going, Bill!

Consensus: As soon as About Time begins, it is inspired, determined, smart, funny and faithful to its idea, but then soon begins to escalate into melodramatic, over-familiar trappings of what can easily make any audience member cry their eyes out, even if it doesn’t make much sense as to how they got there in the first place. In other words, it doesn’t make sense.

5.5 / 10 = Rental!! 

Must be saying something witty to her. Damn British bastards.

Must be saying something witty to her. Damn British bastards.

Photo’s Credit to:

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.


Hudson Hawk (1991)

I really wish I didn’t have to take time out of my life and watch this, honestly.

This Bruce Willis vehicle puts its star in the shoes of Hudson Hawk, a skilled cat burglar who times his robberies by singing show tunes. After being released from jail, Hawk wants to do nothing more than hang out in cafés, but criminal financiers Darwin and Minerva Mayflower (Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard) blackmail Hawk into one last job — stealing a Leonardo Da Vinci device that turns lead into gold.

This film tries so so hard to be different. With its little gags, unrealistic happenings, and over-zealous characters, the film tries to act so zany and goofy that you have got to like it. too bad that is not the idea here.

I mean I understand the reason for being over-the-top, but come on, you can’t be this crazy. I mean they have the crooks singing while taking away the painting from Da Vinci. I mean stop singing and get the freakin’ picture, and get on with your lives.

The writing starts off from zero, and barely ever makes that attempt to get themselves out of that slump. There wasn’t one line in this film that I actually found humorous. The people actually watching this film will just feel so distant cause we never really know who these characters are, and why they say the things that they do.

Willis is the man! But cannot do anything to get rid of the bad taste in this film. Everybody in this film seems like their just trying one-up each other and make the other one seem less funny by their own little speech. None of this works and it just ends up turning into complete and utter junk.

Consensus: Willis tries, but Hudson Hawk is horribly and confusingly written, characters that aren’t interesting, and a plot that tries so hard to be different but fails and ends up just being plain stupid.

0/10=Stay Away!!!!!!