Monday, December 31, 2012

Life of Pi

SF: I wasn't totally sure what to expect as I haven't read the book, it never really appealed. However before going to see this I had seen the trailer about one hundred times which really put me off long before it was released. This might taint my view but I tried to keep an open mind. After all most Ang Lee films have brilliant cinematography and this film certainly delivered visually. The story is fairly simple, a young boy survives a ship wreck and is left adrift with a few animals. These sort of films are very hard to engage with because they tend to be character driven and not very fast paced. This however was a nice blend of quirky and endearing. The tiger is incredible, as soon as I got home I had to find out how much was real and how much was CGI, as I could not tell the difference at all. Even more impressive is that this is the guy playing Pi's first film; he'll be one to watch in the future. My main critique would be that the film whilst lovely didn't evoke any emotions (it is probably just me). On the whole Life of Pi delivers everything your expecting, it is a charming, beautiful story of hope. 7/10

50 Eggs: Wow I really disagree with SF's point about this not evoking any emotion...for me this is one of the most emotional films I've ever seen. I was exhausted by the end of it. Unlike SF I had read the book and whilst I rate it very highly, I think this film is even better. It's beautiful, funny, scary, upsetting and thought provoking. All the acting was great but for me Irrfan Khan stole the show in his supporting role as adult Pi - in one scene he actually took my breath away. The effects were also brilliant and it's the first film I've seen where I've actually felt that the 3D was improving it. If I have one criticism it's that I didn't like being spoon fed the meanings of the metaphors right at the dumbs it down a little and I don't remember the book doing that. But overall this is a triumph. 9/10

DonkeyB:  Titanic with animals - note that this is a review of the trailer not the actual film.

Overall: 8/10

Friday, December 21, 2012

Project Jen- He's just not that into you

I have problem with the italicisation
shouldn't it be: 'he's just not that into you'?
If I tagged everyone who was in this movie, I'd run out of energy for typing before I get to the review. Two degrees of separation news: Pacey's (from Dawson's Creek) big sister is in another film.

Diane Snyder and Warren Cheswick from Ed (which is one of the most underrated tv shows of all time) feature in the first five minutes.

Prejudices in the film (in order of appearance)

Racism (Africans in mud huts, seriously?)

Gigi and Alex (Diane and Warren) feature all the way through it turns out. They're the stars, it's their story really. Awww isn't that sweet.

This is a really hateful film, it's just horrible in every respect.

Jennifer Connelly (who I love) plays a character who may very well be a psychopath, not very well.

Jennifer Aniston is barely in the film, but she seems to have a job working with two of the other characters at a mail order spice emporium where they keep having to come up with 'copy' for nutmeg. I'm not sure whether this is supposed to be funny or ironic or something but it isn't. She's not very good, but it feels harsh to blame her.

Some traditional Blue Donkey film review rhetorical questions:

Everyone in it has far too much money, where does it all come from? What is the point of the inserted sections? Could Scarlett Johansson's character be more of a porn film cliche?

RATING: 1 Green Dress eeeuuuuchhhhh

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chalet Girl

SF: I had been all set to watch Limitless but ended up seeing this and being fairly surprised. First it has some skateboarding - so I'm going to be in favor of that. Second, the film manages to be rather funny. Third I ended up rather enjoying it. There are a number of cliches and you could write the plot on a stamp but overall it is entertaining and isn't that the point of a film like this? Plus both Bills are always a treat 6/10

50 Eggs: I did a season as a chalet host a few years back, and let me tell you it was nowhere near as cushy as this film suggested! It was however a whole lot of fun, and the same can be said for Chalet Girl. It's is a definite Sunday afternoon film that made me laugh far more often than I expected. Felicity Jones also turns out to be a bit of alright too, which always helps. 7/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 6.5/10

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey

SF: Here we are following Bilbo on his big adventure set many years before the events of Lord of the Rings. I am a huge Tolkien fan. So really it would take a great deal for me not to like this. Somehow with all the hype I wasn't that excited. The idea of three films baffled me and still does. First there was a great deal of padding out which seems unnecessary and probably rather boring for non-die-hard fans. However as expected the production value was pretty impressive and very much in keeping with the previous movies. Sadly, as it was filmed in 48 frames per second everything looked too real thus a bit more fake and CGI then it should have (edit - we saw it in 24fps but still looked more fake than LOTR - oh dear). Sometimes fantasy films need that ethereal air to the camera work, new Zealand does still look beautiful though. That all said, the acting was very good and on the whole I was pretty satisfied and didn't notice the running time as much as expected. I didn't leave the cinema desperate to see it again (as I had done with the previous LOTR films) but I did still enjoy it (yes even all the back story references to wider Middle-earth histories). An unsurprising 7.5/10

50 Eggs: OK so first off, the decision to make this into 3 films was a bad one, undoubtedly driven by dollar signs. On the other hand I think anyone who thought this could be done in just one film was being hugely naive. The book of the Hobbit was written in an entirely different style to LOTR - a single page of the former contains as much story as a chapter of the latter. Furthermore, matching the tone of the earlier films necessitated bringing in exposition from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. This is what Peter Jackson has done really well, adding flesh to the bones of the story, giving it added purpose and emotion that isn’t evident in the standalone book (which was after all aimed at small children). I was pleasantly surprised by this.8.5/10

DonkeyB: I think I should declare from the start that I am a Tolkien sceptic, a denier if you will. Middle Earth is not my thing. In Primary school Matthew Mold was reading The Hobbit and suggested I try it. I don't think I got beyond chapter 2. I have never even started Lord of the Rings- the furthest I have ventured is having to find a reproduction of a map as some sort of test of computer literacy as a fresher at Uni. I didn't watch the first Lord of the Rings film, I fell asleep twenty minutes in to the Return of the King (which I believe is the second film - edit - its the third film) and I have seen part of the ending to the last film once when it was on TV: I say part because it seemed to have at least five endings and I honestly can't remember how many of them I sat through.

It is therefore safe to say that I was never going to like the film very much. But by any standards it is far too long. I think it could quite easily lose 40 minutes. Obviously I don't know what more lies in store, but it seems unlikely that there is six hours more material to make up the next two films. For a start how many more cliffs can there be for some or all of the band of 14 to hang over?

On the plus side apart from the length and [Bilbo?] Bagginess of the film there isn't much to object to. It looks stunning, the acting is fine, the script is adequate, as a fantasy film it is hard to imagine anyone doing one any better. I'm not sure what purpose the film really serves though except to provide the first of three more films for Ring nutters to add to their Lord of the Rings marathons. 6/10

Overall: 7.33/10

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Project Jen- Along Came Polly

This is Part one of the Project Jen marathon.

Yey - also part one of camera watch - the wedding photographer in this film has a Nikon!

I can't make up my mind whether picking up the plot/story problems is being unfair. After all it is pretty obvious the film isn't supposed to be realistic. But, I do find the idea that there is such a thing as an expert risk analyst who's job is to type things into a computer programme, which then (presumably) applies an algorithm and tells him what to do, ridiculous.

The film is right about throw pillows, they are pointless. I personally find them even more annoying in hotel rooms where you end up having to leave them on the floor, ready to trip over them if you get up in the middle of the night.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's character provides the laughs- I think I counted two. Its not objectionable, the blind ferret isn't funny, and neither is the toilet scene.

On the plus side Jennifer Aniston isn't terrible, she's pretty, has a nice bum and the main character would be crazy not to prefer her to the other woman, which is what is required. At one point she makes a facial expression which displays, embarrassment, shock and that she might be enjoying something all at the same time which is entirely appropriate to the moment in the film.

Rating: I think I can say it gets 2 Green Dresses

Thursday, December 13, 2012

End of Watch

SF: After all the hype I had high hopes for this film. In many ways it was very satisfying, the acting is spot on and the setting seems to work, a good mix of serious, gritty, humour and at times disturbing. There are three particular moments that really surprised me (I'll let you guess which moments these are). I liked that the whole story didn't take place in one day or week but over a staged period of time. However there were just a few things that stopped this from being a great movie and left merely a good movie. Which is a shame as it had a lot of potential. Firstly the use of found footage as a medium, this is fine at times but if you are going to do this then you must stick to it relentlessly. Secondly not enough character depth and lastly not enough tension in the finale. 6.5/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: It's an entertaining cop buddy movie. These guys see some truly horrific and depressing things, and do some downright stupid and undeniably brave things, which makes me think that maybe the film was trying to be gritty. My problem with it is it seemed too one dimensional, without ruining it ***SPOILER ALERT***, cops good, bad guys bad.

The other thing that film makers have to stop doing now is the found footage thing. It was getting old for me by the end of The Blair Witch Project but now it is seriously boring as a concept. It also fairly seriously undermines the story telling in this film, right from the start, I was thinking, 'ok so if Brian got that shot, who filmed that?' Why are the street gang filming what they do? What becomes of Brian's film project? Was he just making that up because he liked to film his life? He doesn't seem like that sort of character in the film.

We are surely not far away from the time when some bright spark film maker just out of film school makes a play within a play, with made up 'real found footage'. i.e. they shoot fake real footage to make a found footage film, but then use different actors who look a bit like the first set of fake real people to make the bits in between, so they can fake pretend that it is really a found footage film they have padded out with dramatisations and alternative angles.

I understood that concept I'm not sure anyone else will, which is good because that means they can't steal my up-its-own-arse-pretentious-film-school-project I'll never make.


Overall: 6.5/10

Project Jen- Update 12/12/12

This could be a momentus weekend coming up for Project Jen.

Love Film have delivered two; one, two, Jennifer Aniston movies to my door: Along Came Polly (on Blue-Ray- yet another tedious software update to sit through on my Sony Blue-Ray player before I can watch a film- welcome to progress everyone) and Office Space.

Finally a Jennifer Aniston film I am looking forward to seeing again, and Office Space- ok that was an old joke. That is not why this could be a momentus weekend though people, it could be a momentus weekend because in addition to these two films, I also have Love Happens and Leprechaun to see as well. That's right, it could be a four film weekend for Project Jen.

I happen to remember that Love Happens has Pacey's (from Dawson's Creek) older sister in it as a photographer who shoots Nikons. Get exited. And ready for camera trivia in a film review. Martin Sheen is in it too, and a parrot, I'm already readying the two degrees of separation news for Along Came Polly.

Its going to be massive!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Project Jen- The Switch

Of the three (yes three) Jennier Aniston and Jason Bateman films I've watched as part of Project Jen, this is the best so far. That opening sentence (and link) also counts as your two degrees of separation news.

Or it would have if I had written a review of The Breakup yet, however as I think about it I realise I haven't officially watched The Breakup as part of Project Jen. I watched The Breakup as a civilian.

Anyway, this is going to be a cruel sentence: finally we come to a role that Jennifer Aniston seems born to play, an attractive, older, single, career woman who is desperate to have children. I realise that pointing that out is going to be about the least original thing written in the whole of Project Jen, and that's a high bar to clear, but it cannot go uncommented on.

Bateman gets to play a character with much in common with his career defining alter ego from Arrested Development, so he is fine. Jeff Goldblum is funny as a charmingly sleazy friend/boss of Bateman. The script actually has some funny lines.

Its a rom-com which is passingly entertaining, mildly amusing and at least hints a little at romance.

Rating: 3 Green Dresses

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

SF: After reading the plot summary, I had reservations. I've learned not to expect anything new from cinema and had a feeling this would be no exception. 10 minutes in I had the entire plot summed up and if you see this film, chances are you will too. On the plus side I think the acting was solid. The blend of humour and some very serious issues were well developed. I loved seeing Anupam Kher in this and rather enjoyed the predictable but sweet ending. Would I watch it again, not likely. But because of the great summaries of some well know books it's worth 6.5/10

50Eggs: I'm sure that most of the hype surrounding this film is due to the headline actors both being rising stars, rather than the content of the film. And as I watched it I did find it odd that this physically flawless couple were playing people with mental health issues. I wonder why they didn't go with normal looking people? But then again that's probably me being prejudice. The film itself is a bit talky but funny and interesting. The last scene is great. 7.5/10

DonkeyB: It is not a film about mental illness (which I was worried it might be), it is a film in which characters have mental health issues. It was much funnier than I expected. It is definitely the best film I've seen with Bradley Cooper in it. Jennifer Lawrence is terrific, she's building up quite a resume but quite significantly this is the best Robert DeNiro has been in quite some time. Chris Tucker is perfectly cast. I really enjoyed it. 7.5/10

Overall: 7/10

Monday, December 3, 2012

Project Jen- Wanderlust

More two degree of separation news: There is a Raconteurs song on the soundtrack, Brendan Benson is/was in the Raconteurs, and he has a song in Along Came Polly. Paul Rudd is in this film just like he is in Friends and Object of My Affection. Alan Alda is in the film, he is also also in Object of My Affection. I have seen Object of My Affection, I remember it being not that bad...we'll see when it gets delivered; Wanderlust is awful.

Once again I spent a Saturday afternoon with Jen on the Blue Ray not making me laugh. Why is the film called Wanderlust? Its about two people who want to live in New York, who hate not living in New York but have to after the man gets fired. The commune in Georgia they end up in, is filled with people who live in a self-supporting community and rarely leave. What has Wanderlust got to do with it?

The film is filled with a whole load of impossibly irritating characters, based on chiched ideas and stereotypes and in the end the creepy spiritual leader douche-bag character turns out to be a stupid, venal arsewipe.

There are so many continuity mistakes that it starts to really grate. You do wonder at one stage whether they are putting them in on purpose but I'm pretty sure they are not.

Zero laughs, an occasional smile.

RATING: 1 Green Dress

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Project Jen - Update

SF: I fear that all these Jennifer Aniston movies are doing something to DonkeyB.
He was caught in HMV with this
OK I might have given it to him but I worry.

20 films still to come on Project Jen:
and the eagerly anticipated... Leprechaun 

It needs to be noted that £12 is too much to pay for these movies

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Sapphires

SF: I was a little resistant to seeing this film, the trailer made me think it was Glee meets Dream Girls with a bit of extra adversity. About ten minuets in I found I didn't need to worry at all. This was like a cup of tea after a long hard day; sweet, welcoming, never preaching or over staying its welcome and leaves you happier than you were before. The song choices are superb and delivered by very impressive singers. Yes there are a few predictable moments but by the time they come along you don't really care. The more serious elements are never overplayed. I think I might get the sound track 7.5/10

50 Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: Great, great songs. There is slightly more to the film than ["The Commitments in Australia"] the trailers (which have been running for months) implied. There are several parts of the film which will bring to mind some of the reduxy parts of Apocolypse Now. Any film which gets video of Bobby Kennedy announcing the death of Martin Luther King in Indianapolis deserves extra credit, even if they didn't play the part where he (mis)-quotes Aescylus. The film also gets a bit of MLK having a dream in too, and it earns the right to without being manipulative. 7.5/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Monday, November 26, 2012

Project Jen- The Good Girl

A red letter day in Project Jen; for the first time ever, two reviews in one day.

I felt so awful after seeing The Bounty Hunter I had to eat chicken soup and watch The Good Girl. I feel as your reviewer (I watch these so you don't have to), I deserve special credit because The Good Girl was only rescued from its country retreat (my parents' attic) yesterday and made the long journey from storage to DVD rack along with The Complete West Wing and The Complete Quantum Leap.

For those reader who do not know me already, I must point out I would have rather watched any episodes of either of those fine television shows than any Jennifer Aniston movie.

That being said, I did already own The Good Girl before Project Jen was even conceived.
This is definitely Jennifer Aniston's best performance, she is entirely believable.
While the film isn't laugh-out-loud-funny, it does have a dose of black humour to it. Zooey Deschanel's character who I didn't remember at all is also funny.

This is the first time I have been able to write this since I started Project Jen; if you haven't seen this I think you should see it, rent it.

Rating: 4 Green Dresses

Project Jen- The Bounty Hunter

We have another challenger for worst film starring Jennifer Aniston.

This 'Project' is developing into something of a race to the bottom. This film is the pits, it is just awful, it is worse than Marley and Me.

Ms Aniston is once again a journalist and she once again fails to impress.

I will spare you the plot summary and say that after 45 minutes, I paused watching to see the Formula One pre race show. This was because I wanted to know if it was raining in Sao Paulo, that is how boring it is. I did not laugh once. When I noticed that Jennifer was supposed to be a journalist in this film (like Marley and Me) and that Jason Sugeikis is in this film (as he is in Horrible Bosses) I spent quite a long time thinking about whether it would be possible to do a two degrees of separation diagram linking all Jennifer Aniston films together. I will keep you posted.

Soundtrack news: No Beach Boys songs, and one of those highly irritating "of the moment" pop soundtracks which dates the film almost immediately.

RATING: 1 Green Dress and I didn't think this film deserves photo but I've been overridden

Thursday, November 22, 2012


SF: With Alan Rickman and Colin Firth in one film, plus the Cohen brothers touching up the script - how could I not see this. Sadly the best thing I can say about this is that it's not bad. Then again it's not good either. I laughed a bit when I was supposed to, but the plot was horribly predictable. Yes I know its a remake but that alone does not mean it need be formulaic, also I haven't see the 1966 caper so I can't compare. All I can say is that the previous outing had to be at least good enough to get people to bother paying money to make what is a rather flat film. Nothing stands out in any way, even Cameron Diaz was okay but there was nothing for her to ruin. The audience we were watching this with clearly thought it was a lot funnier than I did. If you want a great art thief comedy caper stay home and watch How to Steal a Million 4/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: If you've seen the trailer you've seen the film, apart from the one funny scene with some quite creative innuendo fun with the hotel concierge staff. Incidentally what is it with films like this having the funniest scenes in them be with the guys behind the desk in a hotel: Pretty Woman, Notting Hill etc etc. Its great to see Alan Rickman getting a (semi) leading role. Its just not funny, or intriguing in any way really. The audience I was in laughed (I am not exaggerating, SF will back me up) at one of the Production studio cards before the film starts; they clearly had a low bar. It took until at least thirty minutes in for the corners of my mouth to even hint upwards. It really isn't funny. 3/10

Overall: 3.5/10

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Project Jen- Horrible Bosses

So here we are: Horrible Bosses (extended cut) is on the Blue Ray. Pervert followers of Project Jen are hoping this means we get to see more of Jennifer in her lingerie, you don't. Instead you get longer scenes of "witty banter", including bonus homophobia from one of the horrible bosses.

I've seen Horrible Bosses before, in the cinema, and the problem with the film is that it just isn't funny enough, the other problem is, nothing on earth about Jennifer's character in the film would make anyone in the audience even consider having sex with her. Jennifer Aniston cannot do predatory sexy; she is abominably miscast, the role is outside her range- Mila Kunis would have killed in this part.

Here's the thing: Jennifer Aniston is not sexy. Her entire career, her oevre if you will, is the ridiculously pretty (for real life) girl next door. That is her schtick. It's attractive, but the reason she is popular is because she seems nice.

The second viewing confirms all my memories, if anything it's even less funny than I remember. I can't really summon the energy to write very much about the film.

Jennifer gets a "with" credit for the film, she isn't in it very much and when she is its not funny or sexy. The joke is that she is very explicitly trying to seduce her assistant, who finds this uncomfortable because he is happily engaged. I think the funny thing is supposed to be that as men we are all supposed to think "oh I wish I was him, it's Jennifer Aniston, she's hot, I wish she was talking dirty to me and groping me.", but the guy in the film is thinking about having her assassinated because he is so uncomfortable. It doesn't work because she can't pull it off (so to speak).

It is still better than Marley and Me though.

Rating: 2 Green Dresses

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rust and Bone

SF: It has been two days and I still do not know what to make of this film. The acting can not be faulted in any way. However this wasn't enjoyable to watch and there was only one scene I liked (Top row, second box from the left). I believe the film makers were going for a raw and gritty feel, with an unstated approach to direction. This can work really well (watch Let the Right One In for the perfect example) but in this case they film was missing the emotions. Personally I didn't find this evoked anything from me and for a character based film it is a major flaw. The deus ex machina ending also ruined everything I think the film was setting out to achieve. 6/10

50 Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: It's an acting film; there are problems with the plotting I think but the central performances are powerful. Cotillard is brilliant: her character is at once vulnerable, powerful, sexy and utterly believable as a disabled woman. The downsides are the ending and the amount of acting with the back of the head- one assumes this is due to the difficulty of making a film about a woman without the lower part of her legs with an actor who has all of her legs. 7/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Monday, November 12, 2012

Project Jen- Just Go With It

So we reach film two in Love Film's randomly dispatched Jennifer Aniston films. I still haven't watched Leprechaun, but this film is on Blue Ray- everybody get exited.

First the bad news, I haven't started watching yet but the label indicates that this film contains Adam Sandler. I posit that this is a precaution movie studios have undertaken in light of the serious allergic reactions which are common in a large portion of the film watching public from exposure to even trace elements of Adam Sandler. To be clear he has made some films which are not just unobjectionable but actually very good; unfortunately Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and the masterpiece which is Punch-Drunk Love are only three acting credits among 46 listed on Imdb. The balance of his output can cause nausea, deep depression and an almost insurmountable urge to knaw at your own fist so bad are the rest of his films and so irritating a screen presence he has become; Sandler's sub Jerry Lewis mugging is just intolerable.

Anyway it does not look promising but here I go......

I've watched the film and here's the facts:

It's no good. It has a Beach Boys song in it. We are asked to believe that Jennifer Aniston is ugly, she does this by wearing glasses, however she never needs these glasses again for the rest of the film.

[Aside: I'm watching Big Bang Theory while I write this review, Leonard when asked what he does for fun by a girl in a bar has just said "hiking, karaoke in Korea town.... any Jennifer Aniston movie", she laughed because she could tell he was being ironic.]

I laughed 0.5 times, and snickered twice. There are several spectacularly misjudged things about the film included some European accents.

As this is Project Jen I think I should reveiw Ms Aniston's role in this film- she is well in her comfort zone here: she is required to act badly, have her hair styled, dress in clothes and be the attractive one it takes the guy a while to notice.

It will come up again and again in these reviews so I will deal with it here, in this film we are told at one point that Jennifer Aniston has horrible hair- this is laughable; the Rachel haircut may not be to everyone's taste but for several years she was literally the poster girl for good hair. At the start of Marley and Me she undoubtedly has bad hair- but for anyone to suggest that her hair is beyond redemption as the stylist does in this film is ridiculous.

The characterisation is poor and inconsistent, the script weak, plot predicatble and incredible.

Rating: 1 Green Dress

 Please let it get better soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


SF: For these new Bond films I use Casino Royal as my benchmark (9/10) and sadly the last outing Quantum of Solace was horrific (2/10). So this didn't have to do much to redeem Bond for me. It starts with all the action you'd expect, ticking boxes all round. A few nods to previous films, Bond sleeps with two women in two days, out comes the Aston Martin. This should have been great...but I got very bored and too many things annoyed me. ***SPOILER*** The tube crash - urgh. Then Q being dumb enough to network the villain's computer. The worst part was seeing Bond's childhood home and the film turns into some sort of stand off. The very point of this character is we don't know anything about his past and we like it that way! I fear next they'll do some sort of teen origin story. Or worse some sort of prequel about his father. On the whole this had plenty of potential and some fun scenes but I don't think I would watch it again. 6/10

50 Eggs: For my money this is absolutely as good as everyone is saying (SF not included!). Right from the off you know you're getting the usual Bond action, but with added gravitas. This is definitely a more character driven entry than we're used to, and the pay-off is that there is a sense of jeopardy that isn't normally present in these films. Whilst watching the film I was formulating the criticism that it's not what I'd call 'sustainable Bond', because there are too many revelations and structure changes. But by the end I was happy to see that Sam Mendes had brought the series full-circle and ready to kick-on to the next installment.  Casino Royale is still my favourite, but this is a close second. 9/10

DonkeyB: It's better than Batman, but it certainly reminded me in lots of ways of the best bits of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Bardem is a superb Bond villain. It speaks to the quality of the film that I don't remember who Bond slept with, it's incidental to the plot...what will stick with me for absolutely ages are some of the images from the film. This is the second three reviews film in a week which looks spectacular. Roger Deakins must be up for awards for the cinematography. Here's how good I thought it was; I have been seriously thinking about going to see it again ever since I saw it the first time and I almost certainly will before it leaves the cinema. 9.5/10
Just go see it.

Overall: 8.17 /10

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


SF: This was cinema at its best. Somehow they managed to inject a bit of humour into what is a fairly serious topic. Everything about it - production value, cast, script, directing was great. Ben Affleck you've surprised me again. If you know the history I don't think you'll be disappointed. From what I've read I think the account is fairly accurate as it can be with "based on a true story" type films. The political balancing act pulled off here is also worth noting - its a hard line to get right.  Well worth watching. 9/10

50 Eggs: A well made, exciting piece of edu-tainement. I was ignorant about much of the history concerning the Iran-USA relationship so I found this an enlightening film, and I suspect a few Americans will too. I really liked how balanced the film was - yes the Americans are the 'heroes', but it doesn't skip their flaws or paint the Iranians as purely evil. After the lively opening sequences I found the film flagged just a little in the middle, but it picks up again after that and the tense final scene will leave you holding your breath. 8.5/10

DonkeyB: Best film of the year so far. The direction is just brilliant. I loved the look of the film. Ben Affleck is difficult to pigeon hole: we now have to measure Good Will Hunting, Chasing Amy, The Town and Argo against Gigli, Jersey Girl and Pearl Harbour. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that Argo is as good as Gigli was bad. It is also pretty clear that Ben is better when he has more control over a film- honestly his acting is nothing to write home about but for this film he has assembled a stellar cast, encouraged excellent performances from them and combined them into a film which shows real vision. 9/10

Overall: 8.83/10

Beasts of the Southern Wild

SF: Firstly, before I say any more I must say Quvenzhane Wallis (the little girl Hush Puppy) is very good indeed and I'll be looking out for her in the future. With the film however I am struggling to think of good things or anything I enjoyed. The target audience was probably meant to cry or feel uplifted but the entire movie felt contrived. As if someone was desperately trying to be art house or charming but missing the mark entirely. Half the film was out of focus! How this won the Caméra d'Or astonishes me. ***Spoiler*** When the giant pigs arrived I almost walked out. If I'd wanted to watch 10,000 BC I know where to find it. Any chance this had of being credible died in that scene. I doubt anyone except movie critics or those bizarre people who enjoyed Tree of Life and Melancolía will like this 2/10

50 Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: The problem is the film doesn't work. It is clearly set in a post Katrina New Orleans (even if it actually isn't that is what you are supposed to be thinking about)- the film appears to be trying to say that there was too much government interventuion and these people would have been better off left alone to deal with their imaginary figurative beasts (which is turns out are real?). Is that really the message? I just found it very alienating, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. It isn't anything like as good or as bad as Tree of Life. 3/10

Overall: 2.5/10

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Project Jen- Marley and Me

Have Dog- will make sentimental film

I thought I would try something. I'm at home so I can blog the film as I watch.

Viewing 1:

The Film opens with a Wedding.
Jen fashion news- bad wedding dress, bad hair.

Then moves on with abysmal snow SFX. Now cut to shiny happy people with helicopter shots of Miami? Ugh.

Things Jennifer Aniston is unconvincing at pretending to do in this film:

1. Writing in a giant Filofax.
2. Being a journalist.
3. Talking to pretend Irish people.

Now they have the Dog. I'm pretty sure they don't let you  transport puppies loose in a car as this seems to be suggesting. You are supposed to have a kennel type thing.

I started the film yesterday morning. I got to about 45 minutes in and then I couldn't take any more.

So here I am again. Watching Marley and Me.

Viewing 2
The good news is that it gets better- more emotionally manipulative, but less bad. The kids are much more believable, than the adults.

There is an obscure Dennis Wilson song on the soundtrack.

Overall the problem is one I'm sure will come up again and again; the utterly unconvincing performances from Owen Wilson and Ms Aniston.According to the special features there are 22 different dogs playing Marley. They could have tried that approach with the human characters.

Honestly the first part is so bad you'd have to be quite determined to get all the way through.

RATING: 1 Green Dress

For you to note: I had a local Liberal Democrat newsletter for when I got really bored and my father interrupted my 2nd viewing with a phone call.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Project Jen- Leprechaun

Here we are it is finally time for the first exiting installment of Project Jen.

For more information on Project Jen head over to our Project Jen page at the top of the page, or click here or there.

Love Film have excelled themselves. Despite the fact that Leprechaun was the only high priority title in my rental list; they have instead sent me The Deep Blue Sea.

As you know from our review readers- I liked The Deep Blue Sea. In fact I liked it much more than the 8/10 I gave it. This is reflected in the fact that it won Best Film in the Prestigious 1st Annual Three Reviews for the Price of One Awards 2011, Terence Davies was my pick for Best Director, Rachel Weisz was robbed for Best Actress etc etc. It is a film which really sticks with you. I found myself thinking about it quite frequently over the following weeks. It was marvelous darling.

Then I see dispatched today is Marley and Me on Blue Ray.

I have already seen Marley and Me. I don't really need to see it again to tell you is is awful. I have already said it is One Green Dress. It really isn't even a green dress; I can't think of anything Ms Aniston has ever worn which would compare to how bad it is.

However, I will watch it.

I want it noted that it is not my fault that I didn't start at the beginning though.

I will leave this here as a place marker for Leprechaun until Love Film get their act together and send me a film about little Irish Men in Green outfits.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Introducing Project Jen

Way way back in the midst of time..... (insert link here) I promised that I would write a review of every Jennifer Aniston movie available in the UK on DVD.

To be honest I don't really remember what my rationale was for making this rash promise; however, as time has gone on and as three reviews recently met up in wildest, remotest nowheresville, there has been some teasing about the amount of time it has taken me to start this epic (and culturally vital) project.

So here it is. A new page for Project Jen. with some links on it.

I believe if you click the link above you get to the all important IMDB page for our subject.

For the record you should know that I own (and quite like) The Good Girl.

Below is a screen shot of my actual Love Film rental list populated by Films de Aniston.

You will note that there is only one Film designated as high priority. Apparently it was decided that I must watch Leprechaun first. I am only prepared to have one Aniston film cluttering my Lovefilm postage at a time, so this is how I will proceed. You will notice that I have selected to rent several of these films in their Blue Ray version; no I don't know why.

For reference there are a few things you will need to know about how I am going to judge these films. It will be arbitrary and yet definitive; this is my project and if you are going to make me follow through with it the least we can get out of it is a concrete ranking list in order of quality from worst to best of the films of Jennifer Aniston.

It is important to note that the SI unit of Jennifer Aniston film quality is "The Green Dress"

Its not a great screen grab- but you get the idea. 1 Green Dress is Marley and Me, 5 Green Dresses is Office Space and everything else lies somewhere in between.

That's all for now.



SF: I knew a little about the plot before I saw this film so I was prepared to be crying my eyes out by the end. However this was a pleasant surprise, I spent most of the film laughing and had that cliche feel good thing when I left the cinema. The characterisation is flawless. I have to applaud both Omar Sy and François Cluze as the acting was superb. The film manages to walk the line and never stray in to sentimentally. The conversations have a very natural flow to them, adding to its charm and the film never goes in for melodrama. The emotions feel more real then most films of its ilk. It was thoroughly refreshing and a treat to watch. 9/10

50 Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: Laugh out loud funny, but I have some pretty serious problems with the based on a true story part. I don't believe Parisian drug dealers leave their low level runners alone because their big brother asks them to. I did find that much as it tried the film did stray into sentimentality. 8.5

Overall: 8.75/10

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ruby Sparks

SF:  For the most part this was amusing, quirky and light hearted and if that was all it purported to be I would have really liked it. The trailer gives away the majority of the initial jokes but there is enough to keep you going. I did roll my eyes at the ridiculously sappy parts - the bit they jump in the pool and you have a voice over memory - and I'm someone who likes a good dose of sweet but this was pure saccharine. However the last 15 minuets ruin the entire film. The whole plot turns very sinister. Which ruins the tone, the audience is left wondering what on earth just happened. *Spoiler* Calvin goes from an emotionally stunted recluse to a psychopath. I wanted to scream run, run away. If the film was going for realism then scene that achieves this best is the argument with the ex-girl friend. Probably inserted to explain in big red caps "these are Calvin's issues in case you didn't guess" - here the dialogue was the most natural. The following scene went too far and didn't work for me, as the for the rest I wonder if they glued on the ending and didn't check if it fit (Also they rip off Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Dark City).  5/10

DonkeyB: 50 eggs gets his wish for a longer review; you get to read my refutation of SF’s review.

The film starts with an obviously slightly mentally ill writer, Calvin. He has written a hugely successful novel as a teenager and been unable to follow it up. Calvin’s ability to relate or emote is clearly non-existent. His therapist has recommended he get a dog; but rather than opening Calvin up, instead Scotty the dog has been imbued with the same paranoia, mental instabilities and fragilities Calvin himself has. This is important to note for what comes later.

To help with the writer’s block, Calvin’s therapist asks him to write him a very short piece. The important thing about the piece is it should be “bad”, as the film continues it becomes clear Calvin is obsessed with the idea of his own genius. Calvin will not let anyone use the word genius around him; “it’s a difficult word” his brother says at one point; what you think at the beginning is an insecure modesty born out of his embarrassment at being unable to follow up the brilliant first novel, the film reveals to be the exercising of a massive ego, he is so sure of his genius that it is preventing him doing anything in case it does not live up to his own idea of how brilliant he is.

It is this “bad” writing which conjures Ruby from Calvin’s imagination, she seems to be his dream girl, but as you would expect from a writer with such deep emotional issues his dreams are not necessarily what he thinks they should be. Ruby is an oblique reflection of what Calvin thinks he wants from his perfect girl, in a slightly less obvious way than Scotty has Calvin’s insecurities imposed on him.

The film has many very funny scenes, the retreat to Big Sur to visit Calvin’s newly bohemian mother and her partner is a good example, but as they develop we can see Ruby becoming less and less happy within the confines of Calvin’s limited creativity. He has been unable to imagine more than a two dimensional character.

The scenes which SF has a problem with are the ones which really make sense of the film. Calvin takes control of his creation, via his type writer. He goes back to work, tweaking his creation, as he “fixes” each default in her original programming (for want of a better word) he creates a new more extreme one; until finally he reveals to Ruby that she is in fact his creation and he can control what she does. It is a powerful scene and one that is undoubtedly disturbing; it reveals just how unwell Calvin is and just how sick and self-serving his imagination is.

I do have a problem with the ending; I don’t like it and I think it creates a paradox around the concept of whether Ruby is real or a figment of Calvin’s imagination but up until the end of the book reading I really liked the film.

Before the bad ending 8.67
After the bad ending 6.27

Overall: 6.636(recurring)/10

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Perks of being a Wallflower

SF: I'm rather fond of the 80s so the soundtrack for this film was right up my street. Having expected to be bored, Imagine my surprise to find this winning me over. The character development though a little cliche at points does well not to be overly sugary. I found that the actors were all able to draw me in and maintain my interest. The elements of intrigue in all the flashback and unseen past worked rather well and gave this film a distinction from the hundreds of other coming of age/outsider type dramas. 7/10

50 Eggs: This film has images of Emma Watson in suspenders, so regardless of the story it's already a winner in my book. But it's a bonus that the story is rather good. Like a more serious (and sad) version of 'The Breakfast Club', Perks of a Wallflower is really just about growing up and finding your place in the world. I rather liked it. 8/10

DonkeyB: I don't think I can discuss my reservations about this film without giving away spoilers, so it might be an overly positive review compared to the mark at the end. Forgive me. The 'stars' of the film are great. Ezra 'Kevin' whatever really does need talking about, it is a film stealing performance. I think it falls just the right side of sentimentality, after all we all remember being 16/17/18 and every date, argument or kiss does feel like it is the most important thing which will ever happen. The film gets that emotion right I think while letting the audience (in their wisdom) laugh at the characters a little as well as sympathize. 7.62

I got away with a slightly odd decimal last time lets see how far I can push.

Overall: 7.55/10

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


SF: Who doesn't love a good time paradox? This delivered everything I'd want from an action sci-fi. Yes I did enjoy the bit when Joe shoots down a building full of mob men without a scratch. However it's the story I really enjoyed, all the small comments and hints of the future which later all fall into place nicely. Thoroughly well executed and not afraid to be dark. Well worth a trip to the cinema.  Note - It did take a few moments for me to get over how bizarre Joseph Gordon-Levitt looked (I don't think it was necessary to go messing with his face as he really didn't look that much more like Willis). 8/10

50 Eggs: Great film. It's not 'this decades The Matrix' as the marketeers have suggested, but it is a highly imaginative and thoughtful take on the time-travel genre. The paradoxes are handled well, effectively tarmacking over potential plot-holes, and some thought-provoking questions are asked: what would you sell your life for, and what would you give it away for? I have to disagree with SF and say that Gordon-Levitts make-over was both excellent and necessary. I'm giving a similar score though. 8.5/10

DonkeyB: uh I was sleepy. There was quite a bit of Basil Exposition (this is important- remember it for later). It's quite smart nevertheless. Can I give it 7.75?

Overall: 8.08/10

Friday, September 21, 2012

Premium Rush

SF: I'm going to call this Tour de New York. It sort of reminded me of Nick of Time in the whole real time deadline aspect which I liked. I wonder how much appeal this is going to have to non bike enthusiast. The plot was thin but the film remained watchable. I think I would have liked a few more BMX tricks as the one scene where they use a few was probably the best part of the whole film. Also the volume of mounting plot hole began to annoy me. Sadly it would appear that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's talents are wasted in what really amounts to nothing but mediocre. 5/10

50 Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: I think your enjoyment of this film might be dependent on knowing what a steel framed fixey is before the film starts. If you don't you will by the end. Bike porn, but very enjoyable. 6.5/10

Overall: 5.75/10

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dredd 3D

SF: What an improvement on the last attempt to bring Dredd to the big screen (which was a 2/10). This was not the most amazing action I've ever seen but it does do what it sets out to. The effects are well executed thought the slow motion was a little over used. Nice touch by the film makers on not removing the helmet - as Dredd never does in the comic. Not sure if they really captured Mega City One and it did make me think of The Raid more than once but that's not a bad thing. If you like lots of guns and explosions its one to see. 6.5/10

50 Eggs: I went  to see this merely to show my support for the refreshing decision to release it as an 18. Glad I did. Dredd 3D is proper cool - a gritty no holds barred action film. There's one liners, lots and lots of guns and a great performance from Karl Urban as the Judge. I almost Whooped. And without giving anything away, the ending is brilliant- it's understated, almost nonchalant, as if to say 'just another day in Mega City One'.This could be the start of something really good. 9/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 7.75/10

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Raid

SF: I've seen a lot of Martial Arts films, after Ong Bak  I didn't think anything could surprise me, then I saw this. It is nothing short of brilliant. Action from the word go that does not hold back. I think I counted about 100 broken limbs. The plot works fine to hold it together but doesn't detract too much. No Oscars here but that isn't want this is going for. The fights are well choreographed and keep you wanting more. I loved this film and if you like action you will too. 9/10

50 Eggs: I do like action and I did like this film! But not as much as SF. The plot provides a good foundation for a relentless sequence of fight scenes, but for me the story it was done better in Dredd. And whilst I cant fault the Kung-fu, I have been been spoiled by Toni Jaa films, (Google 'The Protector' & 'fight scenes') and therefore can't get overly excited by this. Take this negativity with a pinch of salt though - The Raid is a good film and is only suffering by comparison to some of my favorite films in the genre. 7/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 8/10

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Total Recall

SF: Blah, Blah and more Blah. Someone bring back Arnie, please! The irony of having a production company called "Original Film" was the most entertaining part of the entire film. About an hour in I cried knowing how much longer we'd have to endure. Despite being a remake it manages to be different enough from its predecessor but I'm hard pressed to think any redeeming features. The only thing that tickled me was a joke about being king of Mars. This will be added to the list of boring Len Wiseman film...oh wait that's all of them. Cruel but true 2/10

DonkeyB: Is it possible to make a film so bad it made me go the wrong way home? What facial expression is Kate Beckinsale doing? In what year does London Underground get New York subway trains? How do you make a Phillip K Dick story so dull (in all senses of the word)? Isn't the production design a bit racist? All rhetorical questions you will never answer because you won't watch this film, or if you do you will invent a machine to wipe your memory of it. 2/10

50 Eggs: The original Total Recall is a stone-cold 10/10 for me. A thoughtful action blockbuster, I have watched it 15 times and each time change my mind about whether Arnie's adventure is real or not. The new version seems to completely miss the point on that score. I don't think the director cared about that element at all, meaning it just becomes a bog standard sci-fi film. I'm not going to be quite as harsh as SF and Donkey B though, because the visuals at least are a bit of a treat. 5/10

Overall: 2.9/10