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Friday, October 28, 2011

What's Your Number? (Gabrielle Allan, Jennifer Crittenden, Karyn Bosnak)

In this film, directed by Mark Mylod, Ally Darling has had many ex-boyfriends who turned out to be losers. Now she believes that a good guy will not come along, but after reading that a woman sleeps with an average of 10.5 men in her life, Ally realises that she may have slept with too many guys and decides to look up all of her exes to see if any of them has changed for the better. With such a task at hand, Ally needs the help of her neighbour Colin, who sleeps with a different woman every night and sneaks out the morning after to avoid talking to them.

Starring: Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr., Joel McHale, Chris Pratt

What I liked about this film: Besides the great cast of comedians from the best TV shows (Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation), I totally saw myself in Ally Darling (except for the number of guys she has slept with, my number is much lower, but enough about me...)
The thing is, you do get to a point when you have had enough of losers and really need to find that right person, the one who will take your breath away, which leads me to the moral of the story: Sometimes the perfect guy may not be perfect for you, so follow your heart and not what everybody else says.
I also loved the following dialogue (I have had the very same conversation with several guys):

Colin: "I don't know why people care so much about the number anyway."
Ally: "You guys all have this ideal girl in your mind and if our number gets too high we can't be that girl."
Colin: "The ideal girl, tell me about her."
Ally: "You know you can take her home to the family, she's smart but not smarter than you and she bakes apple pies with your mum and plays catch with your handicapped sister but then when you're alone she takes off her glasses and puts on a vinyl catsuit and f***s you sideways."
Colin: "That girl doesn't exist, if she did I'd be sleeping with her, and what kind of guy cares about how many people you've slept with anyway?"
Ally: "Decent guys"

What I disliked about this film: The whole wedding theme and the happy ending were too much of a cliché. I also knew who she was going to end up with from the very beginning.
This is a typical Hollywood comedy, not very original.

Did you know? Chris Pratt, who plays Disgusting Donald - the ex who keeps on turning up throughout the movie -, is actually married to Anna Faris (Ally Darling) in real life.

Sideways (Rex Pickett, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor)

Miles is a failed writer living an average life in San Diego as an English teacher. With his career seemingly fading and the fate of a book hanging on a publisher's decision, Miles is depressed with himself and what he has not achieved. Jack is a television actor recognised by some, not many, as a one time success. The two embark on a road trip through California's wine country. Miles wants to give his friend a nice sendoff before married life, while Jack simply wants to have a fling beforehand. As they are both approaching middle age with not much to show for it, the two will explore the vineyards while ultimately searching for their identities.

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, Jessica Hecht, Missy Doty, Patrick Gallagher

My thoughts on this film: I feel like I cannot separate my comments regarding "sideways" in order for it to make sense, so this time I will have to put together my likes and dislikes into one category.
At first it seemed like I was about to watch two friends on a simple roadtrip, although I liked the fact that they are so different: Miles is the eternal pessimist who does not seem to catch a break, while Jack is the outgoing optimist trying to lift his friend's spirit.
After about an hour this film started to move me in ways I never thought possible... I started hating Jack more than anything in the whole world!
I have also been lied to the way Sandra Oh's character was, so I felt really close to her and could remember every detail of what I went through, but enough about me... Jack is about to get married but really wants something different, meaningless, animal sex, so he lies to his first conquest saying how much he loves her and spends the most wonderful days with her, being the greatest boyfriend and promising they will be together forever, until she finds out... I wish I had sent someone to hospital the way she did (a broken nose should be the least of his problems), and then, surprise, surprise... He gets angry by the fact that she found out, but soon forgets her and moves on to the next conquest: A fat woman whom he believes will probably be grateful for having sex with him.
When Jack arrives at the Motel naked after being thrown out by her husband - Yes, she was married -, I found myself laughing as hard as Miles (I would never have helped him like his best friend did afterwards)!
By Saturday, Jack was getting married as if those two women had never existed!
I also saw a bit of myself in Miles and the fact that when everything seemed to go wrong for him he wanted to give up (I am a lot like that, I give up very easily)!
I loved the scenery as well, however, I hated the end, it felt unfinished, I was left wondering "What now? Is this it?"
In general terms, this movie made me think about life and relationships like no other!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

King Kong (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Merian C. Cooper, Edgar Wallace)

This is the 2005 version of King Kong, the original was filmed in 1933, starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot.
Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location: Skull Island. However, he still needs to find a leading lady. This soon-to-be-unfortunate soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out...
A giant gorilla lives therein and this beast now has Ann in its grasps. Carl and Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures, but Carl has another plan in mind.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Kyle Chandler

Why I loved this film: At first it seemed quite boring and more of an attempt at a comedy picture than action, which was the original aim, but soon it became obvious where they were heading. I also liked the fact that, although this was a remake, there were several new scenes (that is why it runs an hour longer than the original movie).
But most of all, I liked how King Kong was portrayed, at first you see him as a beast but soon he becomes more human than most humans, making us fall in love with him.
Through this film, we can see how cruel people can be, especially ignorant ones. At the end, when someone is questioning how come he got himself cornered, another person answered that "he's an animal, he doesn't know what he's doing". I believe this should teach us a lesson that animals have feelings too and we should not let ignorance get in the way of peace, therefore we must "live and let live"!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Johnny English Reborn (William Davies, Hamish McColl, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade)

In his latest adventure, directed by Oliver Parker, the most unlikely intelligence officer in Her Majesty's Secret Service must stop a group of international assassins before they eliminate a world leader and cause global chaos. In the last years, Johnny has been training his unique skills in Tibet, but when his agency superiors learn of an attempt against the Chinese leader's life, they must hunt down the highly unorthodox agent.
Now that the world needs him once again, Johnny English is back in action. With one shot at redemption, he must employ the latest in hi-tech gadgets to unravel a web of conspiracy that runs throughout the KGB, CIA and even MI-7. With only a few days to do it all...

Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Daniel Kaluuya

What I liked about this film: I did not go to see it straight away because I saw the first one and did not find it very funny, but this sequel was totally worth it!
The story was hilarious from beginning to end, with a lot of suspense in between. It keeps you on your toes!

What I disliked about this film: A lot of times you can see Mr. Bean return - it becomes a little tiring to watch Rowan Atkinson in similar roles, since in Britain he is known for so much more -, I still miss his Blackadder humour!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Set Up (Felix Riley)

Mike Byrne wants to know who framed him for murder; The N.Y.P.D. want Byrne locked up; The U.S. Secret Service want him dead; Detective Jenni Martinez just wants her gun and badge back. The thing is, you do not always get what you want!
Mike Byrne has three days to stop a deadly game that will bring America to its knees - and he has just been set up.

Quote: "America was under attack, Diane, and we had one lead in the whole world: the Bin Ladens. And did we detain them? Did we question them? Did we find out who did this to America...?
No, we flew them back to Saudi Arabia. As our guests. First class. The only civilian flight on September 12. The government asked us to solve the goddamn crime and then flew the evidence out of the country. It was like asking the Yankees to win the World Series without baseball bats. We sold the American people down the goddamn river, Diane. It was a joke. A charade. And if what we're doing is a charade then what's the goddamn point in doing it? I mean, really?"

Why this book speaks to me: I thought I was about to read what seemed like just a story with a lot of suspense, however, I soon realised it was more than that. The book deals with a mixture between the 9/11 attacks and the Madoff scheme, which I particularly enjoyed because it also explains how the latter managed to fool people and the effects such a scheme had on American banks. Being in Europe, there were details I did not know about!
Overall, this is an intelligent story which will keep you reading to find out what happens, but it also lets you in on the problems America has been facing lately, in particular regarding the markets; But if you are not an expert on finances, like me, the author explains everything in detail, so you will still understand the plot.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)

Gil and Inez travel to Paris to enjoy a vacation while her parents are there on business. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel, he happens to fall in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they are married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920's were the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing: A get together with all the famous artists from the past.

Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he is about to marry.

Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Carla Bruni, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody

Why I loved this film: I found amazing the contrast between the different times and the appearance of all the writers I read while growing up, namely Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot. The whole movie was very well done, with pretty funny and clever dialogues. The way the scenes moved so rapidly from the 1920's to the year 2010 and so forth just showed once again the sagacity of Woody Allen as he rewrites history "Hollywood Style"!
I also loved the moral of the story: We should all make the most of life in our own time and show a little more indifference to a past that may not have existed as we know it.
In the end, whatever happens, just follow your heart!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
According to Sky News, Obama has described the CEO of Apple as a "visionary": "The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learnt of his passing on a device he invented." (For those who have not been aware, that device is the iphone!)
Now it seems a bit ironic that in times of financial crisis leading to unemployment, even the man named "Jobs" has passed away...
May he rest in peace!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Book With No Name (Anonymous)

An untitled book by an anonymous author brings death to anyone who reads it, at the same time 'The eye of the moon' - a mysterious blue stone - has gone missing, which means that all hell is about to break loose in Santa Mondega.
In this originally self-published Internet sensation, bartender Sanchez, crime boss El Santino, several bounty hunters, a hitman dressed as Elvis, two courageous monks, a detective from the Department of Supernatural Investigations, a retired cop who cannot let go, a scary fighter on a chopped Harley, and a whole bunch of low-lives, are going to meet on the violent streets of Santa Mondega.
A total eclipse will soon cast the town into darkness and it will get bloody... Because I have not yet mentioned the Bourbon Kid...
Remember: Everyone who reads the book with no name is murdered. The only way to find out is to read it yourself...

Quote:
"Dear Reader,
Only the pure of heart may look upon the pages of this book.
Every page you turn, every chapter you read, will bring you closer to the end.
Not everyone will make it. The many different plots and styles may dazzle and confuse.
And all the while as you search for the truth, it will be there right before you.
Darkness will come, and with it great evil.
And those who have read the book may never see the light again."

Why this book speaks to me: I was intrigued when I saw this book with no name written by an anonymous author, but what really made me buy it was the sentence at the back, in capital letters: "WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T READ THE BOOK WITH NO NAME".
Being the stubborn person that I am, I just had to buy it and I did not regret a single second. This really is Tarantino meets The Da Vinci Code, where a quest for a precious stone turns into a bloody scene, with a book as the main focus of interest.
I am not a big fan of vampire stories, but this is very well done, it kept me wanting to read more, with many plot changes, so that when you think you know who the killer is... A surprise comes along...
And I will not reveal the ending, but it was completely unexpected...