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