Archive for January, 2012


Blue Valentine (2010)

Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams

Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) are married but their relationship is feeling the strain. Trying to reignite their spark with their daughter away for the night, Blue Valentine charts the decline of their relationship against the earlier tale of how they met and fell for each other.

How can you save a relationship that, when you are introduced to it, you know is doomed?  That is the question posed to the viewer here. Blue Valentine is a love story but not the Disney version. Even though it is downbeat in tone, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Blue Valentine was excellent, with a pair of central performances that had me fixated, desperate to know if they could work through their issues and equally how they came together in the first place. For me it works so well as it showcases the two elements we have all experienced – the dreamlike beginnings of a relationship and the strains of the collapse – in a very human and identifiable way.

If you like this then maybe try:

21 Grams (similar pacing and character drama) or Eagle vs Shark (alternative and off beat view on relationships)

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The Ghost (2010)

The Ghost (2010)

Directed by Roman Polanski

Starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan

 

 

Ewan McGregor is hired as a ghost-writer to help complete the memoirs of a former Prime Minister however he uncovers a secret that puts his life in danger. I’m not going to say too much about this film as i do not want to give anything away but the story that is being played out has similarities to that of real life ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Although the film is a bit slow in places it helps deliver on the thriller/mystery aspect as you are sucked into the film not knowing which way it is going to turn. The whole film is shown from McGregor’s Ghost character as he tries to work out what is going on. There are parts to the film when you think back and have some “ahhh” and “I wonder if” moments.

Having not read the book by Robert Harris i cannot comment on the translation from page to screen however it keeps you going until the end and i would recommend this to anyone.

 

Film Fact

 

Ewan McGregor has said that the script never named his character, so in his head, his character name was Gordon McFarquor. The credits simply list him as The Ghost. (The character is never named in the original novel.)

 

Megamind (2010)

Megamind (2010)

Directed by Tom McGrath

Starring Will Farrell, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt

 

 

Another animated film where the main character is the bad guy. Megamind and Metroman both travelled to earth at the same time, both ended up at the same school and both wanted to be popular with the special powers they possess. However Metroman was just too good and nice so Megamind decided he had to be the villain of the piece. They became legendary rivals, battling each other over the years with Metroman always just winning, as the superhero always does. Until one day the fight doesn’t go to plan and Megamind is left all by himself. Bored of having no one to battle with it is up to Megamind to fix this.

 

The film has some very funny moments and quite iconic adaptations of other superhero films such as the home planets destruction and the parents sending their baby off to earth. With a massive A-list cast this film delivers in the alternate way, much like Despicable Me, because it has you viewing things from the villain’s side and rooting for them throughout the film. This is another film that people of all ages will enjoy watching and the animation looks fantastic.

 

Film Fact

 

Megamind lands in a prison, where he is raised to be a criminal. This alludes to ‘Superman: Red Son’, a graphic novel which demonstrates what could happen if the infant Superman had crash-landed and was raised in a location other than a Kansas farm (in the story it was the Soviet Union). Both also have similar denouements: the hero retires, goes into hiding and leaves his work in the hands of his former nemesis.

 

 

 

Despicable Me (2010)

Despicable Me (2010)

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Starring Steve Carell, Jason Segal and Russell Brand

 

 

What’s the best way to be the most notorious villain of all time? Steal something big! When a new villain comes to town and steals a Pyramid, Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, must come up with something bigger to steal. The ultimate plan is to steal the moon and then people will recognise him as a Super villain. As you would expect things do not exactly go to plan.

In this film there is no good guy to battle the bad guy. It is villain against villain. Who can be best at their job. Gru’s plan to be the best villain around stumbles with the introduction of 3 little girls he adopts to assist him in his evil plans. He goes from not caring about anything but being the best bad guy to realising that there is more to life.

The film has a big voice cast of Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig and Julie Andrews amongst others. All the characters have some funny lines but what really makes the film are the minions. Gru has hundreds of minions who do all his building, planning, testing and babysitting. They do not talk properly they are very small and funny looking and with this give some of the funniest moments of the film.

Young or Old people will enjoy this film of the bad guy getting one over on the other bad guy and everyone will love the minions so much you will want your own one.

 

Film Fact

 

The directors actually wrote a language for the gibberish the minions speak throughout the film. They called it “minion-ese”. Each word the minions speak in the film translates into an actual word.

 

 

London Boulevard (2010)

London Boulevard (2010)

Directed by William Monahan

Starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightly and Ray Winstone

 

Just out of prison Mitchel, played by Colin Farrell, is trying to get his life sorted and finds himself a new job protecting a film star, played by Keira Knightley. However past friends try to sort him out some other jobs which puts him in direct contact with a notorious London gangster, played by Ray Winstone. Can Mitchel keep away from the wrong side of the law?

This definitely has a feel of a Guy Ritchie film like Lock Stock and Layer Cake. The London settings, the stylish London streets and the cast is full of English film and TV actors. Even the music throughout the film is supplied by British bands like Kasabian. The film, being a British drama about gangsters, is full of some extreme swearing with the C word being used in every other sentence.

There is a story to follow through the film with Mitchel struggling to live the two lives that he is currently living.  As a whole there wasn’t much to the film apart from a couple of funny lines. The three leads seem to play the same characters in every film they are in none more so than Ray Winstone.

Would I recommend this film? Probably not. If you never get to see it you won’t be missing out on much.

 

Film Fact

The colourful pictures of Keira Knightley’s character that haunt Colin Farrell’s Mitchel throughout the film were designed and made by David Bailey.