Groundhog Day (1993)

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I know this movie is pretty old now but I watched it for the first time last weekend as I was told it was a ‘feel good film’ and you can’t go wrong with a ‘feel good film’ can you?

So the story to this movie is that self-centered weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) is fated to live the same day over and over again.  That day is, Groundhog Day.  Like yourselves and probably the rest of the audience I had no idea what Groundhog Day was but luckily for us it’s explained pretty early on in the movie and is basically the day when a little groundhog (google them, they’re cute) predicts how soon winter is going to arrive and stay for.   It’s just as silly as it sounds I’ll be honest, Phil starts off confused as you would be and thinks the town is playing tricks on him and then he starts to take advantage of his situation.  He uses a lot of his time trying to seduce his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) but things don’t go as well as he hopes…

The acting in this movie is typical 90’s rom-com really, I can’t really say Bill’s performance was amazing but it was watchable… After seeing his later movie’s it’s difficult to picture him as a romantic lead though so watch this with an open mind… It’s a pretty cheesy film but I have seen worse movies and I do understand that the film is trying to get a message across in that you’re one choice or action away from a completely different life. Andie MacDowell was pretty wooden in this for me, I think they could have cast this far better, any other girls from St Elmo’s Fire would have done a better job in my opinion…

This is a film that has an interesting concept and I did enjoy watching it however, if they do remake this film (let’s face it one day, they will….) it needs to be cast better.  I did like how after failed attempts at dating Rita, Phil does see that there’s more to life but I think I’d have found it more interesting personally if this movie had a different outcome in the end.

Overall it’s worth a watch, if you want something with a bit of meaning to it but not have to be completely switched on while watching it.

Perfect Popcorn Score – I’m giving this a 6.5, the story is interesting and it’s funny in some parts but Andie MacDowell isn’t great as a lead love interest… 6.5/10

 

Cruel Intentions (1999)

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So this movie has been remade and the plot has been used in many films, to be honest this film itself is a modern take on the movie Dangerous Liaisons. 

The plot is that two step siblings Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillipe) have a bet, if he can charm his way into bed with virgin Annette (Reese Witherspoon) he gets to sleep with his sister.  If he looses the bet she gets his precious car.

It’s a very well done film, you can see that the actors actually wanted it to be a hit and worked very hard to make it one.  I’ve not seen Dangerous Liaisons  myself so I can’t make a comparison between the two films.  The characters and their lives do make it seem like your average American high-school movie but the way it’s written and how the plot works make it one that stands out.  Kathryn is so two-faced, she’s obsessed with everyone thinking she’s perfect and an angel so that she can get away with being the complete opposite.  Take note of this please, for future reference, it’s not always the kids in the lower classes that may not be as pretty that manipulate and bully others, sometimes it’s the ones up the teachers asses that they’d never suspect (trust me).

You start out hating Sebastian, only to almost like the guy later in the film.  Not because he’s ‘found himself’ but because he has the balls to tell it how it is. Annette is pretty sassy for the girl he preys on and I like that, she’s not a doormat and tells him exactly what she thinks of him from the off.

The acting is spot on, especially Gellar she’s brilliant as the bitchy Kathryn and I’m surprised she doesn’t get more roles like this actually. The whole cast work really well with each other and they’ve all been in other films or hung out since.

There’s no special effects to mention with it just being a teen movie but the soundtrack is great.  That end scene where one of my personal favorites, The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony plays is perfect, that song fits the ending so well.

Overall, this movie deserves a watch and is better than most modern day rom-coms it’s clever and well acted.     I’ve seen interviews and the people behind this movie really wanted it made and you can see that.

Perfect Popcorn Score –I’m giving it a strong seven, good plot, good acting and great soundtrack – 7/10.

 

Me, Before You (2016)

me before you

I’ve not actually read the book but quite a few of my friends have so I knew the basis of the story and the film had got decent reviews so I thought I’d give it a watch when it came to Netflix.

We see a young woman called Lou, played by Emilia Clarke happily working in a little coffee shop when, sadly she’s let go of as they’re not making enough money there. Lou then tries to get herself a new job as her family are struggling since her dad also lost his job.  She goes through a few roles and then finds one she feels she’d be right for.  It’s a job as a carer at a wealthy families estate, caring for their paralyzed son, Will played by Sam Claflin.

Lou is overly happy and cheerful (yes, one of those people) and obviously given what’s happen to him, Will is the complete opposite and the pair clash a lot.  Lou is just about to give up and then Will seems to start to give her a chance and the pair finally seem to be getting on.  It’s a bittersweet film and it does make you think about what it would be like in both of these characters shoes.

The acting in this film is brilliant, both Clarke and Claflin are brilliant in their roles and look out for Matthew Lewis as Lou’s boyfriend Patrick. I think that it’s refreshing too see Emilia Clarke in a role like this one because we’re so used to seeing her in her Game of Thrones attire being bold and serious, this proves she has some range when it comes to acting.

It’s such a sad story and Will’s situation does raise some controversial issues, which feature in the film.  It’s more than just a romantic story because like I mentioned earlier, you see both sides to this and it does make you wonder what you’d do in their situation. I don’t intend to spoil the film for you but some scenes are a little stressful to watch because Will isn’t in the best mind set and doesn’t value his life anymore so it’s just to warn you really.

Overall this film is a really good watch, I cried I’m not going to lie and it’s not a chick-flick, it’s one everyone can relate too but maybe not young children as it might be a little heavy for them… It’s nice too see the pairs relationship change over time as they grow closer and the ending isn’t what everyone’s wants to see but that’s one of the reasons I like this film and it’s story.

Perfect Popcorn Score – I’m giving this an eight, brilliant acting, moving story and something that will stay with you. 8/10 

The Ugly Truth (2009)

theuglytruth This film is one of those easy to watch rom-coms that you put on, chill out and enjoy.  Katherine Heigl seemed to want Jennifer Aniston’s rom-com queen crown around that time but seemed to fail when she was deemed ‘difficult’ to work with. 

Abby, played by Katherine Heigl  is a successful television producer and a very hopeless romantic that believes that she will meet the guy of her dreams one day.  Abby is watching TV alone (well, with her cat..) and comes across a ‘cable’ show called The Ugly Truth and it’s presenter/creator Mike Chadway, played by Gerard ButlerAbby is disgusted by Mike’s attitude and actually calls into his show, making a fool of herself in the process.  The next day her bosses all (coincidentally) saw the show and want to make it a feature of their morning show, Abby reluctantly agrees.

Abby meets Colin, played by Eric Winter and she is desperate for the relationship to work so she goes against her morals and get’s Mike to help her.  I mean it’s kind of a bet but still, why build a relationship being someone you’re not to try and prove a point? It’s obviously not going to end well…

This film has some good laughs and an OK story line highlighting what women think men (should) want and what men actually want.  Personally I think it’s all about opinions and based on individuals at certain times in life.  Everyone is in different situations, this film doesn’t really dig deep into that and misses, The Ugly Truth really. It’s a pretty predictable story line so don’t expect anything big but there’s worse films out there.

Acting is average and let’s face it there’s only so much you can do with a script like this but Gerard Butler does his best and makes this film.  Heigl is the same in every romantic comedy she’s cast in, nothing new here. The rest of the cast didn’t stand out but they did their jobs.

There’s no effects or anything in particular worth mentioning but like I said sadly this film does miss the point.  All men aren’t just after sex and all women aren’t just after marriage and babies (or vice versa).  This film massively stereotypes gender and it’s funny in parts but I’m getting a little tired of this same stereotype used constantly.

Overall, it’s easy watching and like I said, not the worst out there but it’s not one of the best romantic comedies either. It’s very predictable but if you’re at home looking for something to watch for a laugh then, why not?

Perfect Popcorn Score – I’m giving it a six, it’s your average rom-com with some good laughs but nothing to rave over – 6/10.

About Time (2013)

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I don’t normally see ‘rom-com’ type films at the cinema these days because at lot of them are very predictable, but I did catch this one on the big screen when it came out.  I’d seen the trailer when watching another film and I love Richard Curtis movies so this is one I just had to see.

The story is that all of the men in Tim’s family, on his fathers’ side can travel through time.  They’re not able to change history but they can change certain things in their own lives. Tim, played by Domhnall Gleeson, uses this opportunity to get himself a girlfriend (that’s it Tim think big…).

Tim meets Mary, played by Rachel McAdams in a sort of ‘blind date’ situation and uses his time travelling abilities to impress and then hopefully date her.  Tims’ Dad, played by Bill Nighy is always there to guide and advise Tim about life and his gift.  There are some laughs in this film but you just see life slightly differently when watching this, some of Tim’s plans don’t always work out and where or not you can travel through time, that’s just life for you.

The cast in this film are fantastic, I mean Bill Nighy is just a legend and Tom Hollander is brilliant as Tim’s land lord, the cynical writer Harry.  This was actually the first time I’d seen Margot Robbie in a film as Tim’s sister’s friend Charlotte.

There’s no effects to mention and I won’t go into wardrobe but I will, however say that this film is very bittersweet too watch. I can’t say too much as I try and review films without any spoilers but it does get emotional towards the end and the message of the film is explained.  It’s a cleverly written film and like I mentioned not all of Tim’s life goes to plan, there’s a catch or two to his gift that he has to learn and deal with.

It’s a lovely film to watch, the cast are brilliant and as with all of Curtis’ films, no one tries to outdo one another.  He directs and writes perfectly, something America have been trying to achieve for a while now with ‘flops’ such as Valentines Day.

Overall it’s a great, feel good film and defiantly one to watch with the family. I’ve got no complaints and this film is certainly on par with Curtis’s earlier work such as Notting Hill and Love Actually.

Perfect Popcorn Score – About Time gets a nine from me, it’s a great film, brilliant acting and a bittersweet ending that stays with you – 9/10.

The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

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Another one of Disney’s live-action remakes is ‘The Legend of Tarzan’. This film was great to watch on the big screen, lots of action and a different take on the story compared with the cartoon version.

So we see Tarzan, played by Alexander Skarsgard as a ‘normal’ English gentleman going by his birth name of John Clayton living in London with his wife Jane, played by Margot Robbie. He is asked by Belgian King Leopold to go to Africa to see what he has done there to help the country given his ‘celebrity status’.  He refuses at first but then is asked to go by George Washington Williams played by Samuel L Jackson as he’s heard that there’s some possible slave trade going on, appalled by this Tarzan agrees to go back to Africa and Jane insists on accompanying him.

There’s more than one ‘villain’ in this Disney film and both are played by great actors. You’ve got Leon Rom, played by Christoph Waltz and Chief Mbonga, played by Djimon Hounsou.  Leon is building a railway line and using slaves to get the work done. Chief Mbonga just wants to kill Tarzan for personal reasons… 

The casting is good, I think Skarsgard is an interesting choice for the title role but he does it justice. Jane has always been one of my favorite Disney female characters because she’s brave and pretty sassy too, Margot Robbie fits this role perfectly. Christoph Waltz is just brilliant in any role at the moment, he’s normally in darker (Tarantino) films so I was surprised when I heard he was cast in this but no complaints there at all.

I thought the apes were brilliantly done but the lions didn’t seem as realistic unfortunately (which does worry me because next on this list for live-action is The Lion King). The Jungle Book just set the bar very high for these live-action remakes in terms of visual effects but this one didn’t seem quite as detailed as it.

Overall I enjoyed this film, it’s very fast paced, which means if you look away for a minute you will miss something.  There’s plenty of action and the story isn’t too bad but it didn’t seem as ‘child friendly’ as other Disney films but I blame Christoph Waltz for that…

Perfect Popcorn Score – The Legend of Tarzan gets a six from me, the effects weren’t quite up to the level of The Jungle Book and there’s plenty of action but the story isn’t as family friendly.  I think Disney need to decide on their target audience with these remakes…   – 6/10.

 

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

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I just stumbled upon this film one Friday night on gold old channel Five. I’ve not read the book I’ll be honest but I have read other books by the same author and they’re very addictive reads.

So the story is that an aspiring writer, Andy Sachs played by Anne Hathaway is struggling to make her mark in the world.  She has countless interviews and just doesn’t get anywhere, but is advised to intern. So she stumbles across the chance of an interview for a fashion magazine called Runway.  It’s safe to say that Andy is in need of a makeover if she is going to stand a chance of landing this job however, Miranda Priestley played by Meryl Streep decides to hire her regardless of her look.

Miranda is the career woman, she’s obsessed with her job and treats people in roles below hers like they don’t even matter.  Her first assistant Emily, played by Emily Blunt is equally as nasty and they both enjoy making fun of Andy’s appearance.  Don’t worry though, as you might have guessed Andy does receive her makeover from fairy godmother Nigel, played by Stanley Tucci. As Andy starts to excel in her career, her personal life suffers and she’s faced with choices and the consequences of those choices.

The cast in this film is perfect, I think both Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt shine in their roles and Stanley Tucci is brilliant as Nigel.

There’s no effects in this film to mention, it’s all about wardrobe. The various outfits you see the cast in are so stylish and perfect for this film.  It did make me want to work in the fashion industry however, I feel I enjoy food too much…

I’ve heard people talking quite negatively about this film and just want to highlight my opinion in this review because, that’s what reviews are for… People think that it gives a negative image of woman, I can see where these people are coming from because it’s as though Andy needed her makeover to strive in her role.  However, Nigel explains that if she want’s to be taken seriously then she has to take her job just as seriously. She works in fashion, she attends events and meetings in the fashion world so she should interpret that in her appearance because she’s one of the faces of Runway. It’s like a uniform for them clothing wise.  I know that she does end up going down to a size six though and that’s different, weight has always been a controversial topic in the fashion industry and I think that this film was just showing that and making it known.

Overall it’s a good film, it shows how hard it is for people in higher positions in the industry struggle to balance their personal lives with work.  It’s predictable in some parts but still a decent watch.

Perfect Popcorn Score – I personally give this film an eight, it’s well made, stylish and shows the cut throat side of the industry.  – 8/10.