“Stardust Memories” review

Right of the bat I’d have to recommend that you see Federico Fellini’s “8 ½” before viewing this. Allen’s film parallels Fellini’s, although that being said, both films are quite different.

This is an Allen film through and through. He stars along-side a large number of very good supporting actors that pop up all through the film, most of the time only for a matter of seconds during scenes of delightful chaos.

I didn’t find this a particularly funny film, but its enjoyable none-the-less.  You still get to watch Woody Allen on screen for nearly an hour and a half which is always great, your eyes will be pleasured with tons of beautifully composed black and white shots and Allen’s choice of music is superb. (No surprise there)

A good example of music and images mixing well is a scene where “Moonlight Serenade” plays as hot air balloons float through the sky and land on a grass field. That and Allen’s character narrating a memory of a time he was admiring a woman he loved as Louis Armstrong’s “Stardust” plays on the record player.

I would have liked to laugh out loud a bit more in this, but with some lovely scenes like the ones I’ve just mentioned, it’s still totally worth your time… mainly if you’re an Allen fan.

Jyerating – 4/5

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“The Ghost Writer” review

 

A writer (Played by the competent and easy to watch Ewen McGregor) is hired to help write the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang.  But things aren’t as simple as all that when McGregor starts to think something fishy is going on with the “death” of Lang’s former “Ghost Writer”.

Perhaps it’s the fault of the film’s advertising and my own mind that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I’d hoped. I’d been expecting a suspenseful film, but that’s not exactly what I got. In fact I hardly understood what was going on or why what was going on was of any importance.

Throwing the story aside (which bordered on boring in parts) there’s quite a bit to enjoy. For starters the setting and visuals are really lovely! I’m a sucker for rainy weather in films and its here by the bucket load. (Pun largely intended!)

I was pleasantly surprised by Pierce Brosnan’s performance which was mostly very good. Also I’m hearing some hate for Kim Cattrall in this film… to be honest I never gave her a thought. She didn’t give a bad performance, or a stand-out one. So no need to be hatin’.

Olivia Williams who plays Adam Lang’s wife gives a nice performance but it’s the scene with Tom Wilkinson that got me most excited, I’d say! I’ve admired the man for a while now but he’s usually playing a similar character. This isn’t too much of a branch-off for him, though enough to feel like a fresh performance and one I highly enjoyed watching! Especially in a film which was starting to lose my interest.

Alexandre Desplat scored the film and I read a comment from someone about his score saying it reminded them of “Philip Glass and Bernard Herrmann”. This is a very good comparison I must say. It’s a scrumptious score and one that reminded me a bit of “Cul-de-sac”, Polanski’s film from 1966. Great stuff!

Overall the film is a mixed bag from Polanski, but I’ll be keen to rewatch it in the future, mainly for its great setting and the performances of Wilkinson, Brosnan and Williams.

Jyerating – 3.5/5

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In honour of Valentine’s Day: My favourite couples from the big screen!

I’ve gone with 21 (my age) different couples. I think you’ll find it’s quite a diverse list.

In no order:

Tom Hansen & Summer Finn – (500) Days of Summer

So this may not be the perfect relationship, but this young indie relationship is one I’ve enjoyed watching and will continue to enjoy many more times.

Alvy Singer & Annie Hall – Annie Hall

It’s moments like Alvy trying to recreate one of his moments with Annie and Annie calling Alvy over to kill a spider that make this romance such a bitter-sweet one.

Jesse & Celine – Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

Characters that don’t just talk fluff, but discuss their thoughts and ideas. We’re not bogged down with music and montages, but get to watch two lovely characters discover and fall in love with each other.

Jason Bourne & Marie – The Bourne Identity/The Bourne Supremacy

“You chose a romance from an action trilogy?” I sure did. It’s a lovely relationship, but a dangerous one.

Ennis Del Mar & Jack Twist – Brokeback Mountain

These poor blokes only get to see each other once or twice a year! But boy do they look forward to those times. Such a shame for them that they’re love brings so much pain to so many people and so many situations. Regardless they’re lovely together.

James Bond & Vesper Lynd – Casino Royale

We’ve never seen Bond open up to anyone like he opens himself to Vesper. And I suppose that’s why he doesn’t open up to women later in his life, because he gets so hurt here. But I can’t help but think he’ll never love anyone the way he loved/loves her.

Michael Dundee & Sue Charlton – Crocodile Dundee trilogy

Some might find this an odd choice, but these two are so SO lovely together. They come from very different cultures but their love prevails.

Joel Barish & Clementine Kruczynski – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Joel plans to erase Clementine from his memory after she did the same, only to go through all the great times they’ve had together, realizing that he doesn’t want to forget. Flawed relationship at its best!

Johnny Case & Linda Seton – Holiday

Sure they’re not the two getting married, but boy are they suited for each other. What’s great about them is they’re both full of good ol’ fun!

Julia & Paul Child – Julie & Julia

She’s hardly ever seen without a smile and he loves keeping the smile on her face…

Bob Harris & Charlotte – Lost in Translation

These two have such a deep relationship and thankfully they never take it to a physical level. They’re the deepest of friends, both understanding and respecting each other. One of the finest screen couple for sure!

John & Jane Smith – Mr. & Mrs. Smith

They meet, they fall in love, they try and kill each other, they team up, they go to a counsellor and they’re damn good-looking… what’s not to love?

Norman & Ethel Thayer – On Golden Pond

Okay so he’s a grumpy old man, but he’s got this incredibly loving woman next to him.

George & Charley – A Single Man

These two aren’t “together”, though they did sleep with each other a while back. But I think I prefer this friendship over George and Jim’s relationship. They’re two stylish Brits.

Quinn Harris and Robin Monroe – Six Days Seven Nights

I suppose if you’re stuck on an island with someone you’re likely to either kill each other or become very close… fortunately the latter eventuated. Both with so much screen charisma and good chemistry, they’re a joy to watch.

Erica Barry & Julian Mercer – Something’s Gotta Give

Okay so I’ve sided with the more “fun” relationship of the two, but he’s so good to her and she loves being pursued by this good-looking younger man. But for the record, Erica and Jack Nicholson’s character could easily fill this spot too. I just think these two are more enjoyable to watch.

Noah & Allie – The Notebook

Most will have seen these lovers on screen and if you’re like me, you would have enjoyed your time watching them.

Carl & Ellie – Up

Only seen together for short periods of time, but their love makes its way straight into your heart.

Scottie & Judy – Vertigo

Well this couple kinda has some complex issues, but one way or another, they made each other fall in love with them.

George & Martha – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The least lovable couple on my list. They seem to kinda hate each other and they don’t mind showing it in front of company. But boy oh boy will you have one helluva time watching them!

Joe Fox & Kathleen Kelly – You’ve Got Mail

From mortal enemies to friends. One knows the truth, the other wishes the truth. Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry!

I hope you enjoyed checking out my choices. Leave a comment letting me know your thoughts.

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“Solino” review

I don’t feel like this breaks too much new ground. The tone is very familiar. It feels a bit like “Cinema Paradiso”. Which isn’t a bad thing, but don’t go in expecting things you haven’t already seen. Although it does touch on film-making and other photography which I don’t think there’s enough of in films.

This is basically about a family from a town named Solino. (Queue sibling rivalry) The family moves to Germany on their Father’s request and they end up opening an Italian restaurant there.

The film does everything quite well, performances are good, the music is very nice and overall its entertaining to watch. Visually it’s quite nice sometimes too.

Fatih Akin has done a nice job and I’m keen to see more of his work. If you’re looking for one of those “Follow some characters over multiple decades” kinda films, then this is perfectly adequate.

Jyerating – 4/5

 

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“Brokeback Mountain” review

I wasn’t sure what to watch yesterday. I sat looking at my DVD collection and opted to rewatch this. Good decision on my behalf. Oscars night of 2006 a travesty happened… “Crash” was awarded Best Picture over this and Spielberg’s masterpiece “Munich”. But fortunately it still had a strong presence and took home the VERY deserved Best Director and Best Screenplay awards.

It’s a beautiful film in so many ways. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both give great performances and work so well with each other. They’re backed by a superb script from Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana who based the screenplay on a short story.

This is one of those films that just flows so beautifully. You’re totally engaged in the characters and the story. It’s a heartbreaking watch, not just for what the lead characters go through, but Michelle Williams’ character certainly has it rough and if you’re anything like me, you’ll certainly be affected by her fantastic performance! Anne Hathaway also gives a nice performance. (Mostly)

The colours aren’t as rich as I remember, but the film’s cinematography is still absolutely beautiful! You might have noticed I’m using that “beautiful” word quite a bit, but it’s such an appropriate word for this film.

Gustavo Santaolalla’s is also one of the many highlights of this great film. It’s soft and very powerful! One of my all time favourites in fact.

Director Ang Lee has put together a film that has affected me and I’m sure many other people. It’s one I look forward to viewing many more times in the future.

“Brokeback Mountain” receives a Jyerating of 5/5

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“Akira” review

I’ve noticed a trend with Katsuhiro Otomo’s films. Firstly with “Steamboy” and now with “Akira”… they’re not captivating! Sure he can throw out large scale action sequences, but I don’t even enjoy them! Also I don’t much care for the characters he writes either.

“Akira” started off okay in that it had this sense of cool and I really did feel like I was watching a cult classic, although those early scenes are quite disjointed and I didn’t know what was going on. Then again that didn’t change as the film went on; I still found it hard to know who was who and what was happening. I didn’t care either.

One thing I did like was the state that Japan was in during the film. We’re talking post WWIII and the place is in turmoil. Terrorist attacks etc. It’s a good setting.

Also I appreciated that he didn’t seem to hold back on the violence. There’s plenty of blood flying when people get shot. There are also some good motorbike scenes, and I’ll certainly admit that the character of Kaneda is pretty rad with that red jacket, but these things weren’t enough.

“Akira’s” Jyerating is 1.5/5

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“127 Hours” review

This film only just opened here in Australia on Thursday (10th Feb). I asked my Father if I could use the free ticket he had sitting in his bed-side drawer, he agreed to I headed off to an afternoon screening. I was blessed to see a film that I not only enjoyed, but that blew my socks off and one I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole night afterward!

Aron Ralston (Played by the charismatic James Franco) is an adventurer cycling, hiking and climbing his way through the canyon’s of Utah when he falls and a large boulder falls on his arm trapping him. He’ll end up having to go to great lengths to escape.

The desperate action he takes to remove himself from certain death are not really a secret and it certainly wasn’t a secret to me, but I still couldn’t help but hope that the rock might come free, even though I knew what was going to take place. I think it’s testament to a good film, when you know the events yet you still seem to think things might not happen how you’ve heard.

I left the cinema thinking “Give Danny Boyle the Oscar!” Now obviously you’ll have to wait for my 2010 awards to find out if he actually gets a win from me, but this goes to show how impressed I was by this incredible film he’s put together. The opening critics crack along with multiple images shown at the same time to Free Blood’s “Never Hear Surf Music Again”. Even from the beginning I was admiring the little symbolisms Boyle has put into the film.

While I could go on praising Boyle’s great skill, I’d like to move across to James Franco who has put forward a captivating, funny and real performance. I’ve never been more impressed by the man and I hope to see more great things from him in the future.

Before I wrap up, I need to say that the cinematography by Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle is superb, there’s good sound work and good editing from Jon Harris. Technically it’s fantastic!

It does drag a bit during some of the later scenes. I did wish they just got on with the “event” a little quicker than they did at one stage. Bit of a shame but the rest of the pacing is great, so I wouldn’t worry if you were thinking a man stuck under a rock sounds like a bore… it’s far from it!

Sitting in the back row during my screening were a group of younger people who weren’t as quiet as I would have liked. The cinema attendant had a word with them quite early on which helped, but during the final scenes I turned and told them “Shut up and watch the movie, please”. Sometimes these things need to be done. Although it did cause me to fear I might be attacked with keys or perhaps just with brute force by one of the guys in the group. No such event took place.

So I hope you get a good crowd WHEN you see this film and keep an eye out for fainters. (I had a friend tell me tonight that a man fainted in her cinema) This is one film you really shouldn’t miss. I hope you get an experience like I had, one that will have you thinking about the film, even after you go home and continue with your evening.

Danny Boyle and his cast and crew have made something really special with “127 Hours” which gets a Jyerating of 4.5/5

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