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Welcome to my blog!

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My ratings:
❤️ = Loved it
😐 = It's okay
😝 = Hated it

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack)

This film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée is set in Dallas 1985. Electrician and sometimes rodeo bull rider Ron Woodroof lives hard, which includes heavy smoking, drinking, drug use and casual sex. He is a stereotypical redneck: racist and homophobic. While in the hospital on a work-related injury, the doctors discover and inform him that he is HIV positive and that he will most-likely die within thirty days. Ron is initially angry and in denial that he would have a disease which only 'faggots' have, but upon reflection comes to the realisation that the diagnosis is probably true due to unprotected sex. He begins to read whatever research is available about the disease, which at this time seems to be most effectively treated by the drug AZT. AZT, however, is only in the clinical trial stage in the US. Incredulous that he, as a dying man, cannot pay for any drug which may save or at least extend his life, Woodroof goes searching for it by whatever means possible.

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts, Donna Duplantier, Deneen Tyler

My thoughts on this film: I must agree with other reviews that this is probably Matthew McConaughey's best performance. He definitely carries the movie.
The film deals with several themes - AIDS, terminal illness, government regulations, response to crisis, change of life issues, homosexuality, promiscuity, personal responsibility, and capitalism. After watching it, one should come away with a better understanding and appreciation of the issues raised.
However, I cannot say that the 'Dallas Buyers Club' was original or the best thing ever made. The actors made it what it is!
I do not believe this will win Best Picture but Matthew McConaughey deserves Best Actor and Jared Leto should win Best Actor in a Supporting Role!

Doctor Sleep (Stephen King)

In this sequel to 'The Shining', the now middle-aged Dan Torrance meets the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, with lots of polyester, and mostly married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town attending AA meetings that sustain him, and finds a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. With the aid of a cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep'.
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival in an epic war between good and evil.

Quote: "There was no horror in this thought when it reached Dan. Nor even an ounce of compassion. Only satisfaction. Abra Stone might look like an ordinary American girl, prettier than some and brighter than most, but when you got below the surface - and not that far below, either - there was a young Viking woman with a fierce and bloodthirsty soul. Dan thought it was a shame that she'd never had brothers and sisters. She would have protected them with her life."

Why this book speaks to me: I must say that I have never read 'The Shining' and I was actually beginning to go off Stephen King books because the ones I consider worth reading have already been turned into movies.
Having said this, 'Doctor Sleep' has brought all the ingredients I look for when reading a book: surprise, excitement, suspense, and a spoon full of breath-taking moments.
It started a little slow, catching up with Dan after all these years, but it did not take long to have me 'by the throat' wanting to know what happened next!
I will not say a lot more, since I do not wish to spoil it for anyone who has not read the book yet, but it was overall pretty good! Not five-star good, but quite close!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead in his Manhattan apartment after an apparent drug overdose. A friend of the actor found him with a needle in his arm, according to law enforcement sources.
The Hollywood star, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the 2005 film Capote, was 46 years old.
My condolences to his family and friends.

Saving Mr. Banks (Kelly Marcel & Sue Smith)

When Walt Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favourite book, P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins (1964), he made them a promise - one that he did not realise would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a grumpy, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get trampled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney's plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the complicated author does not budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as the rights move further away from his grasp.

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths

Why I loved this film: It tells the tale behind the making of Disney's beloved classic 'Mary Poppins', but it is so much more than just a typical making of a movie. It allows us to appreciate the trials and tribulations Disney had to go through to make his piece of art. However, it is also about P.L. Travers and why Mary Poppins holds such a special place in her heart.
Director John Lee Hancock does a great job of making this film something truly special. He balances witty humour with emotional depth, but does so without being too sappy or melodramatic.
The performances are top-notch. Tom Hanks makes a pretty good Disney, but the real standouts are Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell. They give strong dimensional performances that make us truly care for the characters. Colin Farrell really surprised me.
Overall, 'Saving Mr. Banks' is a truly great and beautifully told film. It is an example of why we go to the movies and what Disney stands for as an entertainment corporation. Definitely worth seeing!