Thursday, 23 December 2010

Top 10 Films of 2010

I haven't seen most of the films fellow reviews have, nor have I had the time to get round to watching half of them, so here's my own take on the top 10 films of 2010.

1. Mary and Max

Probably a film that outside fellow reviewers no one will have seen, but it's without a doubt my favourite film of 2010. I'm very pleased to have seen it in other people's top 10 as well as I really want to encourage more people to see this exceptional film. It is a beautiful, honest, and unique portrayal of human connection with brilliant animation and design supported by a fantastic and memorable soundtrack.

2. The Social Network

Another film that made it in to most people’s top 10, and for good reason. The script, the acting, the direction...everything about this film is excellent. The recent Golden Globe nominations see this film up for six categories and undoubtedly will receive Oscar nominations when they are announced.

3. Toy Story 3

Most people have How To Train Your Dragon as opposed to Toy Story listed, but ashamedly having not yet seen the former Toy Story 3 takes this spot. I don't think I need must justification for this choice, but it brought together adults and children, made grown men weep (you know who you are) and ensured that Disney has owned the top two highest merchandised films (Cars is the other).

4. Inception

Another film that's been Golden Globe nominated. There was so much hype surrounding this film that many people felt quite let down when it was eventually released, but I wasn't one of them. I didn't see it on the weekend of its initial release like most, but waited until 3 or 4 weeks later and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hadn't really been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio going in to the cinema, but I definitely was when I came out.

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World

The hype, however, did ruin this film for me. Why then is it my number 5 then you ask? While I was slightly disappointed by Scott Pilgrim, I do appreciate that it was stylistically a unique film, with some great dialogue and a fantastic cast, and I'm definitely partial to Michael Cera.

6. Kick Ass

I'm not usually a fan of violent films, or really any film where people get tortured or violently killed, but Kick Ass is my exception. There were parts of this film I enjoyed more than Scott Pilgrim, and others that were worse so I feel like both films are about equal rank in my top 10, but I didn't want to start doing joint places. Although Aaron Johnson had the leading role in the film, Chloe Moretz was definitely the star, and I'm certainly looking forward to Kick Ass 2.

7. The Town

There are a few people out there who felt pretty 'meh' about The Town, but it was definitely one of my favourites of the year so it creeps in at number 7. Although Gone Baby Gone received positive reviews, I really think this film has put Ben Affleck on the map as a great director. It has a fantastic cast - I was very surprised to like Blake Lively's performance - and any film that doesn't make me switch off when the car chase scenes begin is certainly worthy of being in my top 10.

8. The Brothers Bloom

Probably an odd choice and I haven't yet seen it in anyone else's list, but I thought this film was funny, entertaining and brilliant with some fantastic performances from Mark Ruffalo, Adrian Brody and Rachael Weisz. With a sort of 'In Bruges' humour style, The Brothers Bloom is quirky, enjoyable and definitely worth a watch if you haven't already.

9. Whip It

Too be honest I'd almost forgotten about Whip It until I spotted it in View London's list and then I remembered what a brilliant film it is. Drew Barrymore directs and stars in this film alongside Ellen Page, Justin Long and Kristen Wiig about a female roller derby team. It's a shame it never saw wide theatrical release because it's a fantastic and enjoyable film.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

I know, I know. I'm sorry, but you're dealing with a massive Potter fan here. In fact, 'Potter' and 'Harry' were 5th and 7th place in my tweet cloud which says more than enough about me. The Potter series have a reputation of, validly so, not being particularly good. But I honestly think Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows changed that, it was darker, more mature, with some fantastic emotional and dramatic scenes. The only reason it's not higher up is because, as much as I love him, Daniel Radcliffe still can't act.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Matt Damon in talks for 'Elysium'

Shrouded in secrecy, Elysium is Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming project, so secret that no plot synopsis is known and casting is only just beginning. In a previous interview with Bleeding Cool, District 9 star Sharlto Copley said that he considered Blomkamp “to be the best Director working out there right now, so I would love to be able to continue the relationship” and it looks like he is going to get the chance. Copley is the first actor to be confirmed for Elysium and Deadline today have Matt Damon in talks for a role.

Copley, who has recently starred in The A Team is set to appear in the much anticipated Men in Black III is 2012 prior to Elysium which currently has no production or release date. Meanwhile Damon’s upcoming films include Hereafter, True Grit and The Adjustment Bureau.

Despite relatively nothing being known about Elysium, the director and cast (confirmed and rumoured) ensure this film is going to be surrounded by buzz even from this early on in the pre-production process. District 9 gave Blomkamp seven wins and twelve nominations for writing and direction and Copley who received four nominations for his performance, while Damon holds twenty award wins and fifty-four nominations to his name.

Viral Video released for Neil Burger's 'Limitless'

NZT - The Clear Pill

The marketing minds supporting Neil Burger’s Limitless have released a viral video advertising NZT – The Clear Pill. The film will star Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra, a copywriter who discovers a drug that gives him supernatural powers and this ad sells that drug.

This clip shows you in less than 2 minutes the fundamental difference in American TV to anywhere else, and why only in the US could a film like this be made. For those of you have un/fortunately not sat through endless hours of American TV, channel hopping for what feels like an age, hoping to find a channel that doesn’t appear to be continuous adverts about miracle drugs, imagine this trailer on repeat.

You know that spam box in your email account that gets filled up with magic diet pills and penis enhancements drug emails? That’s what an American ad break is like. Because of the regulations, these types of drugs can be advertised regularly on TV but the advertisers also have to say what the side effects are, and although the Clear Pill video may seem funny, it is filled with exactly the kind of things you can expect to hear.

With a brilliant cast line up including Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Anna Friel and Abbie Cornish, Limitless looks to mock these adverts by taking the drugs to the next level and supplying superpowers as side effects, and will hopefully be a brilliant and sharply funny film.

Beastly Trailer

Beastly Trailer

Directed by Phoebe in Wonderland‘s Daniel Barnz and starring Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris, Beastly is a modern day adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Pettyfer plays Kyle, who is popular, extremely handsome, and cursed by a witch to be as ugly outside as he is inside, and must find someone to love him within a year or he will remain ugly forever. Enter Lindy, in the form of Vanessa Hudgens. Despite the slightly hypocritical plot premise about accepting beauty is on the inside, yet with a quest still ending with him turning beautiful on the outside again, this adaptation looks very interesting.

With a relatively new director, young cast, and what looks like quite a dark and modern adaptation of a well known story this will hopefully be a unique and different approach to what is essentially a love story. Set to release on the 15th of April 2011, both Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens will be seen in more mature and darker films in the coming weeks to the release of Beastly. Pettyfer will be starring in I Am Number Four alongside Dianna Agron, which is released on 18th February, while Hudgens stars in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, released only a few weeks before Beastly on 25th March.*

2010 has seen the release of a few decent rom-coms, and hopefully Beastly will continue to break the mould with this modern adaptation of a dark but classic fairytale.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Tourist

I also had the unfortunate occurance of watching The Tourist this week.

While on holiday in Italy, ordinary maths teacher Frank (Depp) meets Elise (Jolie), a dangerous and seductive woman who is determined for their paths to cross. What Frank doesn’t know is that Elise is being hunted by Interpol agent Acheson (Bettany), who is determined to discover where Elise’s partner and lover has hidden £744 million.

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others (2006)) and starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, The Tourist has the potential to be a fantastic espionage film. However in reality the outcome is an absurd plot, a lacking script due to the mixture of three different writers, and two stars that seem to lose their connection with every minute that passes.

Read the rest of my review here:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I attended a screening of the new Narnia film last weekend, which is a significantly cast improvement on the previous two films.

Here's my review:

With Susan and Peter away with their parents in America, Lucy (Henley) and Edward (Keynes) must stay with their Uncle Scrubb and annoying cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) in London. Meanwhile back in Narnia, an evil smoke monster takes over a far away island and starts kidnapping Narnians. With Jack Shepherd not around to save everyone, it’s up to Lucy, Edward and Eustace to travel to Narnia where they climb aboard the Dawn Treader ship with Prince Caspian (Barnes) and battle dragons, giant sea creatures and the green smoke monster.

Check out the rest here:

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets a reboot

At first it seemed like a horrible rumour for fans, and then it was confirmed. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was getting a reboot. Rumours had been going around for the past few months, and while the TV series was incredible successful, it seemed impossible that a reboot without original writer Joss Whedon on board would ever happen.

But yesterday it was announced that Warner Bros are teaming up with Atlas Entertainment for a film reboot, and have newcomer Whit Anderson on board as a screenwriter, and Charles Roven from Atlas as one of the producers. There has been no word yet on casting, but with the film scheduled for release in late 2011/2012 it will likely begin soon.
If anyone remembers the atrocity that was the 1992 film, a gap of twenty years seems fair enough for a new film, but considering the TV series only ended in 2003 it feels far too early for any kind of reboot of the franchise.

To find out Joss Whedon's opinion and the rest of the news feature head over to

San Diego Comic Con closes its registration - again

At 9am (Pacific Time) on 1st November 2010, San Diego Comic Con opened it Attendee registration. By 11am, it had closed. After two hours of error messages Comic Con admitted defeat from the 125,000+ fans trying to buy tickets, and announced that registration would open again at 6am (again, Pacific Time) on 22nd November. This time would allow them to fix the technical problems that occurred.
On the 22nd November, once again after two hours of opening, registration closed down, announcing “Once more, unfortunately, there have been issues with Comic-Con registration. So we have, again decided to close it down. We are well aware that many people have taken time from work, school or other activities and others woke up very early. There really is no way to convey our level regret for this turn of events. We are currently researching our registration options.”
A few people were able to make it to the final page of registration and apply for their ticket (myself included – although it’s already rumoured that these won’t be processed), but the majority of people were still facing error messages for over two hours. Many people gave up after an hour, having to head out to work/school/have a life but even those that remained, determinedly and repeatedly hitting the F5 key couldn’t pass the seven varieties of error messages that appeared. A T-shirt has already been designed displaying the most popular error message –

Full news feature can be found here

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

The full review can be found here at The Film Pilgrim

Here's the beginning to persuade you to go check out the rest!

I’m going to admit right away that I’m a diehard Harry Potter fan, so when I say that Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows is brilliant you might think that I’m being biased. I’m not. The Harry Potter series are well known for not being fantastic films, and while they certainly have improved over the years (and as the acting’s become significantly better), there have always been many flaws, so I was pleasantly surprised that Deathly Hallows met, and then exceeded, my expectations.

Although the decision to split the seventh film into two parts is heavily suspected to be for financial gain, considering part 1 is two and a half hours long, if they’d tried to fit everything into one film it would have been far too long and confusing. It could be argued that parts of the film are slow, but it’s needed and there’s so much back story to be covered that if it wasn’t for the split, the resulting film could have been unwatchable. People complained about how much plot was cut out of the fourth film, and book 7 is even longer. But don’t be put off by the films length, it doesn’t feel that long, and it’s definitely needed.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Due Date review

I've been very remiss with posting my reviews up here so expect an onslaught of reviews and articles which are very overdue. All my work can be found at - Due Date review. It's no Hangover, but you could do worse for choice. Megamind review. A brilliantly funny film enjoyable for adults not just children, My article about the impact merchandise has had on the Harry Potter franchise My feature about what makes a diney film un/sucessful

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Thought I should point out that all my reviews posted so far can be originally found on Flickering Myth It's a fantastastic website (mainly because they let me write for them!), so check it out.

I have also recently started writing for the wonderful website The Film Pilgrim so when future reviews come out I'll direct you to which website they're featured on.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Emmy Winners

2010 Emmy Winners and Nominees

Drama Series
Breaking Bad
The Good Wife
Mad Men — Winner
True Blood.

Comedy Series
30 Rock
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family — Winner
Nurse Jackie
The Office.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad — Winner
Matthew Fox, Lost
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
January Jones, Mad Men
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer — Winner.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Michael Emerson, Lost
Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad — Winner
Martin Short, Damages
John Slattery, Mad Men.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Rose Byrne, Damages
Sharon Gless, Burn Notice
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife — Winner.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory — Winner
Tony Shalhoub, Monk.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Toni Collette, The United States of Tara
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie — Winner
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Lea Michele, Glee
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family — Winner.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Jane Lynch, Glee — Winner
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live.

Made for TV Movie
Endgame (Masterpiece)
Georgia O'Keeffe
The Special Relationship
Temple Grandin — Winner
You Don't Know Jack.

Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef — Winner.

Reality HostTom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Heidi Klum, Project Runway
Jeff Probst, Survivor — Winner
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol.

Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — Winner
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim Review

Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Kieran Culkin

Synopsis: In order to date the girl of his dreams Ramona Flowers he must defeat her seven evil ex’s.

Having so much hype around a film can ensure that unless the film lives up to its expectations, it can leave you with a feeling of disappointment, which I’m afraid, was the case for Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I’m not saying the film was bad; in fact I really enjoyed it, it just wasn’t amazing. The cast were brilliant, and I’m big fan of Edger Wright, but there were some parts of this film that just didn’t work.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an unemployed bass player who spends his time rehearsing with his band and holding hands with his seventeen year old girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). That is, until he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Completely infatuated, Scott pursues Ramona until they eventually begin dating. Unfortunately for Scott this means he must now defeat her seven evil ex’s.

The part of the film I really enjoyed most was probably the beginning. It was funny, witty, the acting was excellent, and I loved the perfectly balanced mixture between reality and the gaming world. Somewhere between the fight scenes I started to lose interest. The problem is that after the first battle the rest of the film is like a staccato of scenes; nothing flowed together and each scene seemed to jump into the next. The fight scenes themselves were great and each ex was very different from the previous, in terms of both appearance and supernatural abilities. The fights were well choreographed, entertaining, and I loved that each ex exploded into coins after being defeated.
What got tedious was Ramona disappearing or breaking up Scott with after every battle and Scott then moping around after her until the next fight sequence. By the fifth or sixth ex I was bored and wanted the film to be over. That being said the final fight sequence was by far the best, it’s just a shame that the time it took to get there felt a bit like being pulled in six different directions at once.

The film did have its good elements, and I think the cast was one of the reasons why I did enjoy the film. Ellen Wong as Scott’s seventeen year old slightly stalker-ish girlfriend was probably one of the best, although Kieran Culkin who played Wallace, Scott’s gay roommate, was another performance that I really enjoyed. Each of Ramona’s ex’s were played by some great actors, one of my favourites being Brandon Routh (although I am a slightly biased fan ever since Superman and Chuck), who had vegan superpowers.

While Scott Pilgrim isn’t amazing, it’s certainly worth viewing and deserves more box office attention than its competitors The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love, just don’t expect the film to be as good as the hype.


As I don't have any reviews to post at the moment I thought I'd put up some film trailers that I'm really looking forward to seeing:

127 Hours
Directed by Danny Boyle
Starring James Franco

Directed by Tony Scott
Starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine

Easy A
Directed by Will Gluck
Starring Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Cam Gigandet

Love and Other Drugs
Directed by Edward Zwick
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway

Monday, 16 August 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachel Harris, Steve Zahn and Chloƫ Grace Moretz

Synopsis: Greg Heffley (Zachary Gorden) is about to start middle school. He doesn’t know what to expect or more importantly, how he’s going to survive it. Thankfully his mum has bought him a diary journal to write it all down in. Based on the incredibly successful book by Jeff Kinney.

Ignoring the usual suspects of Dreamworks and Disney, trying to find a children’s film for anyone of any age to enjoy is near impossible. While Disney and Co can provide us with the brilliance of Toy Story and Finding Nemo, the studios can only churn out so many each year. Children however, have a minimum of 12 weeks off school every year, and that’s not including weekly sleepovers, birthday parties, or a boring Sunday afternoon. Searching through the cinema listings trying to find a film which your 10 year old will enjoy, but equally not make you want to claw your eyes and ears out, is an absolute challenge. A Diary of a Wimpy kid is not one of those films. A Diary of a Wimpy Kid, is brilliant.

The film follows Greg Heffley, a boy about to start the impending doom that is middle school. Just before starting school Greg’s mum buys him a diary journal to write down his thoughts and feelings about starting school. Apart from his older brother’s advice of “Don’t look/touch/talk/stand out/put your hand up/join any school activities/ or go to the bathroom” and his best friend Rowley’s advice “My mum said if I just be myself people will like me”, Greg has no idea how he is going to survive at middle school. But in a scale of coolness he places himself at about number 19, so he figures he’ll be okay. He friend Rowley on the other hand he thinks is about 152, so he’d better keep a close eye on him.

Unfortunately for Greg he ignores all of his brother’s advice and joins the safety patrol, the school play, has a short-lived stint in the wrestling team, gets the cheese disease, plummets to number 202 on the cool scale, falls out with his best friend and has to befriend the kid with hairy stomach freckles so he has someone to sit with on the cafeteria floor at lunch time.

From this description it might be difficult to imagine how such a film could appeal to everyone, but even a quick glance at the director and writers’ credits give you an idea of how much talent has been involved with this film. The director, Thor Freudenthal, has previously worked on the Stuart Little films, Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, and Hotel for Dogs, and although the film’s based on an incredible successful book, some of the screenwriters have credits including That 70’s Show, Mad About You, Freaks and Geeks, and Life As We Know It.

The industry expression “never work with children or animals” couldn’t be less true for this film. Children’s films are often synonymous with bad acting, however the cast were incredible. Zachary Gordon (Greg Heffley) was a comic genius and had me laughing almost non-stop even from the opening sequence. The supporting roles played by Robert Capron (Rowley) as Greg’s best friend and ChloĆ« Grace Moretez (Angie) were superb and complimented each other brilliantly. While this was Capron’s first time with this type of leading role, Moretez who is well known for her parts in Kick-Ass and Let Me In, took a back seat role in this film, appearing mainly when the young boys needed help and advice the most.
What makes this film so appealing to such a wide audience is that all the characters are relatable. I have no idea or experience of what it would be like to be a boy starting middle school in America, yet I found myself rooting for Greg to survive each disastrous experience after another, and feeling their embarrassment of having to sit on the cafeteria floor at lunch time with Fregley, the ginger kid ranked number 201.

If you have kids, they’ll drag you to see it, if you don’t have kids; drag a friend to see it. Either way, Diary of a Wimpy kid is fun, hilarious and a guaranteed enjoyment.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Rebound

The Rebound

Directed by Bart Freundlich

Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha

Synopsis: A single mum of two moves to the city to start a new life where she falls for a guy who is not only much younger than her, but also the babysitter.

Having not heard much about this film but feeling the trailer looked pretty generic I decided to keep an open mind for this film. Although I am not a fan of Catherine Zeta-Jones having only ever seen her act in The Mask of Zorro and The Haunting both of which were a good decade ago, I am quite partial to Justin Bartha, so I hoped I might enjoy the film.

The plot of the film, one which many television shows and future film releases seem to be focusing on, shows an older woman dating a younger man: a cougar. Being an avid fan of Courtney Cox in the TV show Cougar Town I felt that if the writers knew what they were doing this film could be funny, interesting and enjoyable. I was half right. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Sandy, a recently divorced mother of two who moves to the city to start a new life and meets coffee shop worker Aram (Bartha) whilst apartment hunting. She mistakes a joke babysitting offer as a serious one and soon Arum finds himself working as a full time babysitter for Sandy. Inevitably the two spend more and more time together bonding over the kids and flirting with each and they get together. The only problem is he’s 24 and she’s...well, not.

This film works well until the couple get together. This part of the plot generally happens early to mid length into the film allowing enough time for the complication/problem to occur and a then resolution. In The Rebound it happens about three-quarters of the way through. In its delay of the romantic relationship between the two characters it actually saves the film from a worse fate. The lead up and very beginnings of the relationship include some actually witty dialogue and funny scenes, but their break up and five year montage before meeting again for me ruined almost everything previously good about the film. It felt as though the writers had no way of solving the problem of a substantial age gap in a relationship besides a five year montage complete with slow-mo giraffes running through the wilderness and the growth and then loss of Aram’s facial hair.

Catherine Zeta-Jones was actually better than I remember and carried the film well enough and while I struggled to accept Bartha as a 24 year old, it was nice to see him without the dire dialogue of National Treasure, and as director Bart Freundlich’s first major move into this genre he did well on keeping the some of the generic qualities these films have at bay. I wouldn’t recommend rushing to the cinema to see this film but if an evening of popcorn and a half-decent chickflick is what you need, it’s worth watching.

The Brothers Bloom review

The Brothers Bloom

Directed by Rian Johnson

Starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, Robbie Coltrane and Maximilian Schell

Synopsis: Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick), this film is about two brothers, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody), who are some of the best con men in the world. But Bloom wants out; he wants a life free from lies and deception. Stephen convinces him to embark in once last con, the chosen target a rich and beautiful woman named Penelope (Rachel Weisz).

It has been a long time since I have seen such a wonderfully written, directed and acted film. With the start of the summer blockbusters beginning this film was a refreshing and very enjoyable break and reminded me just how good a film can be when everything aligns.

The story follows two brothers, orphaned at a young age and shipped from home to home because of bad behaviour, discover their skills in deception and conning. As adults nothing has changed, they travel around the world performing cons with their assistant ‘Bang Bang’ (Rinko Kikuchi), but Bloom is growing tired of living a scripted and fake life, and wants to find something real. Stephen persuades him into one final big con to end on before retiring, the target of which is a wealthy and eccentric beautiful woman called Penelope (Rachel Weisz) who lives alone in a large estate collecting hobbies.

The con involves Bloom becoming close to Penelope and convincing her to join them on their adventures. They explain to her that they are smugglers, looking to steal a rare and valuable book which they can only accomplish with her help. By acting as though she has all the power and decision making, Penelope happily volunteers to use her money to help smuggle the book out from its location, unaware that she is being conned. However nothing ever goes as planned.

Rachel Weisz is if possible even more perfect than ever playing this charming and eccentric woman and you cannot help but love her, especially as her character begins to fall in love with both the lifestyle of a pretend smuggler and the attraction between Penelope and Bloom grows, unaware that everything she feels has been manipulated that way. The interactions between her character and Adrien Brody’s are brilliant, warming and incredibly funny to watch so that evening mundane car driving scenes are engaging. The brother relationship between Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody is fast-paced, witty and riveting as both brothers obviously care about each other but Bloom feeling constantly cautious about the possibility of being conned by Stephen. Considering she had next to no dialogue, Rinko Kikuchi is superb as explosions expert ‘Bang Bang’, the brothers’ literally silent partner and with just actions and a fetish for blowing things up you’ll love her character too. The smaller roles played by Robbie Coltrane as a Belgium smuggler and Maximilian Schell as a Russian set to exact revenge on the brothers were both fantastic in their absurdly hilarious characters.

It is hard to find many faults with this film, and at a stretch the only problem I can think to comment on is the ending, which feels as though it falls short in comparison with the rest of the film, and perhaps a hint of a conspiracy twist at the end might have been more in tone with the film. Nonetheless The Brothers Bloom is a near perfect film which should not be missed just because of the lack of advertising against it competitors like Prince of Persia and Sex and the City 2. I cannot recommend this film enough, so find out where it’s showing near you, and go and watch it instantly.

The Joneses

The Joneses

Directed by Derrick Borte

Starring David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Head and Ben Hollingsworth

Synopsis: A seemingly ordinary family moves into a new neighbourhood, but it soon becomes apparent nothing is what it seems.

I had seen the posters with confusion and watched the trailer with intrigue, and then finally viewed the film with utter disappointment. The premise of the plot, a family who sells consumer products as a lifestyle, was relatively original, the cast was okay, and the trailer suggested the film would not involve massive explosions or any meet-cutes, so I went into the cinema with optimism. I left with despair.

The idea of a film about a fake family who sold the ‘American dream’ lifestyle to their town in the form of sporting goods, clothes, perfume, cars, games, and electronics seemed as though it might be an original and witty approach to consumerism. That’s not to say that the writers didn’t try, and some bold anti-Hollywood moves were made, but it just seemed to be lacking in something the entire way through.

The Joneses are a fake family unit made up from a stereotypical form of a dad, Steve (David Duchovny), a mum, Kate (Demi Moore), and daughter and son Jenn (Amber Head) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth). Their job is to move into a new neighbourhood and essentially sell their lifestyle. If people want to be like them, they will buy the products they use in an attempt to copy them. If they dress like the beautiful and popular girl at school, they’ll become popular and pretty too. The idea has merit and the concept evidently works by the amount of perfume and clothing lines started by celebrities so fans can dress like them.

The main character the audience is supposed to engage with is Steve, who is still pretty new to this false family life, and is in love with his fake wife while his fake daughter tries to seduce him. His figures are low and if he doesn’t figure out how to start selling soon he could get reassigned. Thankfully only a few minutes and a montage later Steve has figured everything out and even Kate is beginning to have feelings for him. However while things are looking up for Steve and Kate, Jenn and Mick are beginning to circle the drain. Jenn’s busy ditching school to have sex with a married man and Mick’s getting drunk, hitting on boys and getting punched in the face.

The writers employed two twists in an attempt to diverge this film anyway from all the other mainstream blockbusters in the homosexuality of Mick and then towards the end of the film a major character death (I won’t give away who in case you one day have a gun pointed to your head and are forced to sit through this film). While I admire the writers for their attempt, the character death was hyperbolic, unnecessary and felt completely out of tone with the rest of the film. The revelation of Mick’s sexuality was interesting, but I was confused as to why he spent so much time hiding it, considering that when he came out no one seemed remotely affected by it. Even though everyone was okay with it, what I would have been more interested to have seen would be what, if any, different products he was given to sell and how differently he was marketed.

Despite an interesting plot idea, if you ever find yourself channel hopping late at night in the next few years and find this film being shown, you’d be better off just watching adverts.