Jo Macklin:

World of Writing

Click here to edit subtitle

This is where I talk about and review movies. The movies will not all be new ones, but they sparked my attention! I will review the movie itself, but will also talk about the context to which I decided to give up my time to watch it and what food and drinks I would pair the film up with, so that you can get the best possible viewing experience. Enjoy!

Jurassic World (2015)

 

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard

 

I think everyone has a soft spot for the Jurassic Park movies, they bring back memories of guzzling sweets and popcorn on a Saturday night family cinema trip – then being terrified for a week afterwards. I specifically remember having to jump from my bed to the door because I thought a Velociraptor was underneath my bed, ready to bite my foot off. But I am one of those bizarre people who enjoys having the wits shook out of them, so here we are – a review of the latest Jurassic Park movie. Now, with 3D, the Jurassic experience is even more intense! As a movie, with things like plot and actors, Jurassic World is pretty poor. But for sheer entertainment and sentimental value, this really is a must see. Honestly though, it’s really silly in some areas and very predictable but you don’t go to see this kind of movie with high hopes for artistic genius.  It seems to relish in it all too – throwing in little jokes here and there that make you realise that all of the trivialness is intentional, which makes it all so much better. Having said that, the dinosaurs themselves are much better and very realistic. Just go in with an open mind and you will love it. I would suggest that you go back to your childhood with this one – fancy coke from the bottle (somehow, it just tastes better!) and lots of old fashioned sugary sweets. And 3D is a must!



The Theory of Everything (2014)

 

Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, and David Thewlis


 

We feel that we know so much about Stephen Hawking, but when you actually think about it, how much do you really know? Everyone knows his name and that he is an incredibly smart science guy. They also know that he has a disability which means he is confined to a wheelchair and speaks like a robot. Some people may even know his professional field and enjoyed reading his book. But for most people, the knowledge of Stephen Hawking stops there. Why is he considered so smart? What disease does he have that has confined him to his chair? Does he have a family? What kind of man is he? This film looks at him as a man, not just a figure head for the present day genius mind. It was enlightening. I also have to say that it presents one of the trickiest and most challenging acting parts I have ever seen, and it was done beautifully by Eddie Redmayne. He really captured the personality of both Stephen Hawking and the complexity of his muscle disorder. It isn’t the most beautiful film I have ever seen visually, in fact, it was a little underwhelming in that area, but it was interesting to find out more about a mind-blowingly intelligent man that has overcome so much, and given so much to the world. My suggestion for this one is to watch it on a weeknight with a hearty, warming meal and a glass of red wine. Oh, and make sure you watch it with someone so that you can talk about how dumb you both feel, having not dedicated your own life to finding out the Theory of Everything!



Chef (2014)



Starring Jon Favreau (yes, that millionaire guy from Friends that Monica dumped), Scarlett Johansson (who in my worthless non-lesbian opinion is the sexiest woman in the world), Sofia Vergara (yes, the wonderfully eclectic mum from Modern Family)


 

This has been on my Netflix ‘to watch’ list since it graced the new releases area – so on a relax day with a friend, we decided to give it a go. It didn’t look like the kind of movie that would be life changing – I always stay clear of independent-looking films because they take too much brain processing power and always end up feeling like a bit of a ball ache. But believe me, with this one, appearances are deceiving. It has some really great Hollywood actors wedged in there (which I was surprised about because it doesn’t seem to be advertised that way!) and they all have great chemistry together. But the icing on the cake is the story. If you are like me and enjoy anything to do with cooking, then that will be enough of a reason for you to fall in love with this movie. The passion for food is so strong throughout the film so for a foodie, it is so much fun to watch. But if you are like my husband who likes to eat food but is not too fond of talking about it – the unique and brilliant relationships that are portrayed in the film are enough to get you equally excited about it. I don’t want to tell you too much, but this movie will warm your heart and excite your appetite. I have seen it twice now, and both times I smiled for days afterwards. Watch this with ample time to spend in the kitchen afterwards. I recommend this to be watched with some really sexy grilled sandwiches and a summer beer with friends.




American Sniper (2015)



Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller


 

I have to confess something - I didn’t really know anything about this movie before I was pushed to go and see it. Even though the trial has been such big news. When my sister came to visit and wanted to see it, I was clueless as to what it was about. But she was so excited about it, so I did a little research. I found out that it’s about a guy called Chris Kyle and he was a sniper in the US military who made a name for himself whilst fighting in Iraq. He put his family on hold for many years for his service and when he came back he struggled, as so many do, to get back into the swing of normal life. Then whilst he was helping struggling veterans like himself, one of them shot and killed him. The trial has been an interesting one to follow, so I would suggest that before you watch this movie you check it out.

The film itself was overwhelmingly epic from start to finish. My muscles were so tense throughout the whole thing - I walked out of the cinema with deep nail indents in my hands! The acting was phenomenal and the suspense created was one of the best that I have ever seen in a war film. I can’t stress how good it was! The camera action puts you right in there with him and you feel what he feels – you can almost smell it. Ideally it needs to be seen in the cinema or on a huge TV with surround sound. It also deserves the cinema classics – which for me are popcorn and a big glass of coke over ice (or, if you are anything like my sister, you might want to opt for some sort of sour candy that stings your tongue!). Enjoy!



Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)


Starring Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

 

Whenever I think about watching a new Marvel movie, I always feel the same way – I know that I’m going to like it when I get around to watching it, but I never really feel in the mood for them! Guardians of the Galaxy was no different. I felt that I would probably like it, and eventually I sucked up the negative attitude and we got around to watching it. The difference with this one was that it wasn’t just enjoyable like the others…it was completely incredible! It was hilarious and the characters were brilliant. I think it is one of my favourite Marvel movies. For the women out there that want to find a movie that makes them look awesome in front of the guy she likes, as well as actually enjoying it herself – this is a perfect choice (but ladies, don’t take the fact that Vin Diesel is in it to mean anything – he plays an animated tree that only knows how to say three words. Bloody adorable tree though…in a cute puppy-dog kind of way). So, to that end, I match this movie up with beer and chicken wings with your favourite guy (or the guys, if you are not a woman)!


Almost Famous (2000)


Starring Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup and Patrick Fugit

 

I said when I started this review page that I wouldn’t just review new movies, so here is something a little bit different. This has been on my ‘to watch’ list for a very long time, but I never really got round to it. Then, the other day I found it on Netflix and popped it on. I never really know what to expect with movies like this – for some reason I have a strange habit of not liking the movies that so many other people deem a classic and rave about so much. Maybe it’s because they are built up so much that nothing can ever live up to that, or maybe it’s because I don’t like to follow everyone else like a sheep. Or maybe it’s because I just don’t understand the art of movie making like they do! Either way, I did love this movie. It was easy to watch, and the acting was completely phenomenal. I really believed the characters – the storyline was quite simple really, and nothing spectacular happens, but the characters make it wonderful. I think it means more to a viewer if you like and appreciate music, but even if you don’t, it was a fun! I think it is the kind of movie that you can watch with men or women (which is a rarity!), so pick this up, get a fun group of people around you, make some fajitas and make some margaritas. Can’t go wrong!


The Book of Life (2014)


Starring the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum

 

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I immediately thought of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas. It looks like his classic dark adult-themed animation that I love, but it also deals with the whole ‘Death’ subject and imagery in a different way than we usually do. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with Mr Burton, as far as I know, but that was enough for me to want to go and see it on the big screen. I have to say, (although I never thought this could be possible) I actually think that I enjoyed The Book of Life even more than Tim Burton’s movies. It was such a beautiful animation masterpiece – something that would be such a shame to watch in standard definition – and the storyline and loveable characters just kept me smiling from beginning to end. What a wonderful way to think about death! I knew that in some places in the world they had an annual celebration of dead loved ones, but what a magical thing it is in reality. I would much prefer to think that after I die, my loved ones will have a party every year to remember me, rather than just being sad! You have to go and see this movie, it was so brilliant and vibrant and wonderful and makes you feel so good about life – and it makes you feel a strange contentment about the idea of death. But, please don’t insult it by watching it on your tablet or phone, or even a rental on your TV. See it big, Blue Ray or HD, and make a night of it. It needs candles, a bottle of red wine and maybe even a cheese plate if you’re feeling so inclined! But make sure that you watch it with a loved one so that you can discuss it afterwards!



About Time (2013)


Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams

 

The other week I was staying in a hotel in Washington DC with my mum. We came back from a lovely meal feeling wide awake, but not wide awake enough to go out anywhere else. So we decided to crack open a bottle of wine and watch an overpriced hotel room movie.

I remember seeing something on TV about 'About Time' a while ago and it looked good, but then I heard nothing else so I just forgot about it. I didn’t want to blame the movie for its bad marketing, and I remembered that it was shown as the next The Notebook (on the one advert that I did see about it), which is a VERY big statement. I really love Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy is so good in everything I have seen him in, so I was feeling good about it.

The movie is about a 21 year old who learns from his dad that the men in his family can travel through time. It sounds a little dull and the themes have been overused, but actually there is much more to the story than you would think. The biggest aspect to the movie, for me, is love – the connection and bond between family and the development of love with the right person.

In all honesty, before I started writing this, it took me twenty minutes to remember not only the name of the movie, but I also struggled to even remember what it was about. That’s usually a bad thing, and in some ways it is – the movie wasn’t overwhelmingly brilliant. But, I can say that I can watch it again without much trouble, which I can’t say about many movies that I have seen. I feel that you would get more out of it the more you see it. It is a lovely romantic comedy that I can honestly say I will watch again and again – you don’t have to think too much about it (apart from the time travel aspect, which always confuses me!) and the characters are wonderfully British, which I love. The acting is great, I don’t recall ever seeing Domhnall Gleeson (which sounds like a made up name to me!) in anything but he was perfect for this role. The connection between father and son in the movie is spectacular – it will make every man want to have a son and every son want to have a better relationship with his dad!

So in many ways, it is very much like The Notebook. I have stopped counting how many times I have watched The Notebook because my love for that movie will never cease! I don’t love this movie at all as much, but it is girly, fun, exciting, real, honest, heartfelt, happy and an easy watch.

So I would recommend this movie for a nice night in with me, myself and I.


Transcendence (2014)


Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman

 


I think that a lot of thought went into this story, so I feel awful for saying this, but this is my least favourite movie that Johnny Depp has ever been in. EVER.  I was really quite bored and thought it was just all too much of a stretch. I get the original idea, and it’s good - but then, as the movie goes on, it gets a bit ridiculous to be honest. I felt a bit frustrated and confused by the end. The relationship between the two main characters could have been so much more intense to start off with and it would have made the story so much better going forward, but they were just not very believable. I don’t think that is completely the fault of the actors either, I think the way the characters are portrayed and written are supposed to be the ‘realistic’ type of couple – but in terms of the story it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t want to give too much away, and I never tell people not to try a movie – so please, by all means, have a watch. I would watch it with someone in case you get confused and need to talk about it - but I have to say that I was just disappointed. Sorry Mr Depp – I still love you!

They Came Together (2014)


Starring: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler

 

This is such a strange movie. We like Paul Rudd and we were looking for a second Saturday night movie, to add to one that we had already chosen – so we saw this and thought it was a good bet. Don’t get me wrong, it is a little funny, but it is just so oddly put together. The whole thing is basically set out as a story that the characters are telling – the story of how they got together. But because it is a story, and stories that we tell are always exaggerated (for emphasis, humour or even sympathy) the whole movie is exaggerated.

It reminded me a little of things like ‘Scream’ and ‘Not Another Teen Movie’, where they make fun of the genre inside the movie. They definitely make fun of romantic comedies in this one, by using everything that you can think of that is overused in your traditional rom-com.  The movie is Okay and I still love Paul Rudd, but please don’t expect too much from it or make a big thing of watching it because you will be disappointed. I would watch it as a secondary movie, like the kind that you put on when your first movie ends and its still too early for bed, or when your choice of film is sold out. It’s just alright, and after a while the set up gets a bit annoying.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

 

Starring Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson

 

I love Marvel movies – they are the kind of movies that I am never in the mood for, but as soon as they get started I am mesmerized by them.  I think Stan Lee is one of the great minds of the century – the fact that he created so many of our household names, not just for kids but also for adults. The stories breathe life into people and Captain America is no acceptation. Only an American could have created him, embodying everything that Americans believe in and the villains that try to take it away from them. I also love with Marvel movies like this that you can just watch a sequel like this, even if you haven’t seen the first one, and it stands alone as a great film. Chris Evans is completely lovable in this – he is so hard core and tough but you just want to pinch his cheek and cuddle him at the same time – which is a really hard thing to accomplish! And Scarlett – as biased as I am because I think she is the absolute embodiment of female perfection and in my dreams I look exactly like her – is perfect for this role. Her red hair is very different and compliments her fiery character – it is all so typically ‘comic book’ - it’s crazy. Splash in some unlikely friendships, a slight hint at romance and a whole lot of brilliant action, this movie is a clear choice for a Saturday night, to be enjoyed with a bottle of wine and maybe even some spicy Mexican food.


The Other Woman (2014)


Starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton

 

I remember where I was when I saw the advert for this for the first time. I remember because I was eating M&M’s. When Cameron Diaz comes to her boyfriend’s door in a dirty mechanics outfit and his wife answers – I nearly choked on a blue M&M. Then when that same wife knocks on Cameron’s door with a horse-sized dog to try and “become friends” – I actually choked on a red M&M. So, putting the M&M’s away (I thought it best), I watched the rest of it through watery eyes because I was laughing so much.

So with the great effect that this advert had on me, I knew that this was going to be a cinema movie. As you will know if you have read any of my other movie talk posts, it takes something pretty special for me to want to go and see it in the cinema. I would much rather see a movie from the comfort of my own home when it comes out. The only exception to this rule is if the movie looks so great that I just can’t wait that long. This was one of those movies.

My fiancé and I love to watch comedy’s together (if I am honest, it is the only type of movie that he really enjoys) so when a good one comes out, it makes me really happy. So off we went to the cinema and I wasn’t disappointed. It was laugh out loud funny!

So this is what it is about – this married man has an affair, and the wife and the girlfriend meet and eventually bond over their mutual hatred of the situation and the guy. If that isn’t weird enough, he then starts cheating on the wife and the girlfriend with a third girl – who joins in the hatred club to make a trio. If that isn’t fun enough – the cast is amazing!! Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann are so great together and you can tell that so much of it is improvised, which always makes a comedy great.

But, my favourite aspect of this movie is the fact that the two women who start this whole thing are skinny (something I will never be) – and the third girl that they are jealous and in awe of has big boobs and big hips and a bit of meat on her – it’s nice to see a girl like that being the one that the skinny girls want to be!

Anyway, it was brilliant. Watch it with some friends or on a date night with beer and a pizza.


American Hustle (2013)


Starring  Christian Bale and Amy Adams


I have heard a lot about this movie because it was so big when it came out. To be honest it never really seemed to appeal to me enough to go to the movies and see it. However, now that it is on demand on our trusty TV at home, we had a free night and decided to watch it.

The main characters (played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are a female and male con team that get caught, then are recruited by the FBI to help bring down other con people – who, by the way, get increasingly more dangerous the further into the investigation they get.

I wouldn’t say that I hated it, but it didn’t blow me away. The story just seemed to go on and on and get a little stupid in parts which was quite frustrating. I had no problem wandering about the house when the movie was on, which is strange for me, and I found myself daydreaming about my future cooking inventions at several points that I should have really been paying attention in. The one thing that I would say is that the acting in the movie, from all of the cast, is really great. I have been a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence after I first saw her in the Hunger Games movie, and she didn’t let me down. Her performance of a very difficult and emotional character was perfect.

So, I can safely say that I will not be watching it again, but it was good enough for a nice night in with my man, a nice risotto and a bottle of wine.


Saving Mr Banks (2013)


Starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks

 

This is one of those movies that I was dying to see in the cinema but never got round to watching it – so when I came out on TV on demand, we got the crackers and dips out and pressed play as soon as humanly possible. As you will probably already know, I love Disney. There is not one Disney movie that Walt made that I dislike and for that, I call him a genius. I have always wanted to find out what he was like and what sort of things he went through to create his movies and this film promised to show me just that.

Firstly I would like to point out that the acting in the movie was brilliant, and the cast was very well thought out. I liked the switch between the past and the present – I thought that it added depth to the story and to Emma Thompson’s character. I also loved the witty jokes that were dotted around the place. I was so excited about watching it that when it was actually playing, I was on the edge of my seat and jumping around like a school girl! It left me feeling nicely satisfied and happy – knowing that it wasn’t a masterpiece that I would be compelled to watch a few more times, but it was a nice movie and I enjoyed it. The songs from Mary Poppins are ones that I grew up singing, so it was nice to be humming along with them once more and seeing how they came to be by the genius song writers that created them.

Having said all of that, I was intrigued later on to investigate into the truth behind the movie. I was sad to find that most of the nice things in the movie were made up and only really the fundamentals of the story are based on fact. Now, normally with Disney movies I do not even consider fact into the equation when deciding if I like the movie or not, but here the whole appeal for me was the understanding of Walt Disney – and the understanding of the writer of Mary Poppins. Both of these things were significantly altered, which brings my excitement for the movie down like a lead Mickey Mouse balloon.

It was a nice movie and quite cheery and funny, the music was great, the relationships between the young girl and her father in the scenes set in the past are wonderful, and I do understand why they changed some parts of it to suit the audience, but if I am completely honest I don’t think I would watch it again. I would watch this with someone who is either a young person, or someone who is young at heart - so that you remember the magic of Mary Poppins.


Frozen (2013)

 

Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

 

Anyone that knows me will know that I am a massive fan of all things Disney. Our future children will have no choice as to whether they like Disney or not – because it’s one of the big reasons that I want to have kids in the first place! The only bad thing that I could say about Disney is that I’ve never been very impressed with their overuse of one idea or story. How many Tinkerbell movies are they going to bring out before they realise that they are not as good as Peter Pan? So, with that said, when they release a movie that has a whole new theme, I get so excited! Tangled and Brave were outstanding – both about the ‘unlikely princess’ style character who every girl can relate to. Frozen promised to be just as amazing and it did not disappoint – the songs are a little cringy in places but very catchy, and the characters were wonderful. The animation is beautiful, the ice glistening and you can’t help but feel the cold when the characters do, even when you are cuddled up in a blanket (which I whole heartedly suggest that you do, by the way!). I would say that it is much more like a musical than any other Disney movie that I have seen – so if you don’t enjoy musicals and would hate to go to the theatre and sit through one (like my fiancé would!), I would say avoid Frozen. Maybe the musical atmosphere is due to the casting of Irina Mendel - who by the way, is incredible in this. I thought that it was a strange choice to put Kristen Bell in there but (assuming she actually did the singing?) she was great too! I absolutely loved it and I will happily add Frozen to my collection of treasured Disney movies! Watch this either by yourself with some hot chocolate (because you can actually feel the coldness coming off the screen!) - or with a friend snuggled up in a blanket. But what ever you do, as with all great Disney movies, DONT watch them with what I like to call a 'Disney Grownup' - someone who doesn't see the magic in them. They just won't understand and they will dampen your Disney spirit - sometimes, things are better watched alone than with the wrong person!!!



Monuments Men (2014)


Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett


This was one of those movies that I wanted to see, but not in an epic life changing I-have-to-see-this-or-I-might-die, kind of way. It looked like it could be interesting, I am always up for a historical movie of any sort, and the collection of talented cast seemed really quite great.

Then I watched The Talk over a lovely turkey and cheese sandwich (for those of you who are in the UK, The Talk is like a female chat show with around 5 presenters, including our very own Mrs Ozzy). One of the presenters, Sara Gilbert, who has recently appeared in the Big Bang theory among other things, used to be the young daughter in the classic family comedy show, Roxanne. Of course, the amazing John Goodman starred as the husband in Roxanne so when Monuments Men was due to be released, they took advantage and asked him on to The Talk for a touching reunion with his on screen daughter. I don’t know about you but I love John Goodman, you can’t help but love him and his cuddly belly in everything that he stars in, so I watched the interview and listened to the pitch of Monuments Men. They played a clip which I think most people will have seen, the part where John is rolling around in an obstacle course and having gun shots fired at him in training. We also see His Lordship from Downton abby here and many other amazing actors. It was sold on the chat show as a serious subject but light-hearted take on it, with a great cast and a unique portrayal of a group of fantastic unsung people in the Second World War.


So, I began to get a little more excited about the movie, which is  good job because when a movie doesn’t get me that excited, nine times out of ten we don’t end up going to watch it. That would have been a great tragedy in this case because it was everything that John Goodman sold it to me as – and a little bit more to boot. It was actually laugh out loud funny which I wasn’t expecting from a war movie, even one with Bill Murray and John Goodman. It was directed by George Clooney, and I feel that he did an amazing job on making it real and making the characters believable – which is really hard for a movie based on war. Usually with world war movies you see the crazy machine gun killers, the men who always shoot in the right direction, the polished uniforms, strength in numbers – and lots of explosions and gripping atmosphere. For these guys, the war wasn’t really like that. They had no idea how to be a soldier, they are art experts and averaging on 20 years older than the typical soldier. They formed the group by recruiting their colleagues and friends so they would have taken things much more loosely and just got through it together. There are ups and downs that the characters face, and the storyline stays strong throughout to get the audience through them.  The characters reactions to things are just so real to life. I have always found myself so distant to the characters in war movies because they don’t seem like real people and have the kind of thoughts about situations that we might do. This movie is different.


There is an amazing part where two members of the team run into a single young German soldier with a gun. It is obvious that no one wants to shoot and so they just sit and have a cigarette instead – even though they can’t speak the same language, the international common ground is found in their knowledge that the war isn’t really about them, and of course their mutual need for a cigarette. There are so many moments like that in this movie where it is shown how real people that we can relate to, dealt with the war. I also found it so interesting to learn about Hitler’s plans for stealing the art of the countries that he took over. I had no idea about this part of Germany’s vision and how Europe lost so much because of Hitler’s spitefulness and selfishness when he lost the war.


Overall, it was an easy going watch, which is quite a feat considering some of the storylines - and you don’t have to think about it too much to get the most out of it. You are not hanging at the edge of your seat, but it was never intended to be that kind of movie. This is a really great movie that I would recommend that you see if you enjoy war movies, history, comedies – or even if you enjoy a good cast. Watch it on a date, or with a group of friends with a nice cup of tea.



Winter’s Tale (2014)


Starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe.

 

When I saw the advert for this movie, it got my attention. It promised history, romance, fantasy and it was described as an adult fairy tale – which, as a Disney fanatic and all around romantic, I simply couldn’t pass up. It came out on Valentine’s Day but to be honest I don’t think anything could get me and my Fiancé out of the comfort of our home and into the mercy of the crowds on that day of romantic obsession – even the promise of a beautiful movie. So we decided to go and see it on Saturday evening, the day after Valentine’s Day. We could barely find a space in the car park and had to walk in the snow to get to the entrance of the mall, which we have never had to do before. I know it sounds strange, complaining about walking a little bit, but I am living in deep dark America now – I shouldn’t have to walk to anything in a place where they have drive-through banks and pharmacy’s! Anyway, we got in eventually and we found that it was the infamous matinee time of day – where all tickets are five dollars and everyone rushes to see the movies that they never wanted to see in the first place, because the ticket price is too cheap to pass up. Well it seemed like the whole of Dover was waiting in line at the cinema to see the movies that were playing. By looking at the young crowd, I expected that they were not here to see Winters Tale, but instead wanted to come for the tenth time to see Frozen – never the less, we decided not to wait and we went to get some crabs legs in Red Lobster instead.


We tried again on the Sunday evening, avoiding the matinee this time, and we walked in with no problem at all. I felt kind of bad for the movie because there was only a few people in the theatre, and considering it had only been released two days earlier, that wasn’t a good sign. As I sat there waiting for the movie to begin, I fully expected tears and smiles – almost to the point where they happen at the same time, because that is the mark of a good emotional movie that never leaves you. The magical advert kept playing in my mind – the glistening snow, the mysterious New York as we have never seen her before, the leaping through time, the fairy tale romance that is limitless and transcends through time and space. I think that I expected too much of the movie and nothing could have really lived up to what I had in my head.


The storyline, although completely crazy sounding (believe me, I tried to explain the storyline to my mum and she thought that I was drunk and making it all up…), really is wonderful. It is the kind of thing that I hope to be good enough to write one day. A beautiful love story between two unlikely people, the idea that we all have a miracle just waiting to be performed, the crossing of destiny’s, the battle on earth between good and evil that the two unlikely lovers get caught up in, the weaving of time and the idea that everyone is important and we can change our lives for the better if we want to, regardless of what the past may reveal. The issue for me was that it all felt a little rushed. I felt that the graphics and beauty of the set and atmosphere was far superior to how the story was told. I just feel that it could have been so much more epic with such a story to tell…it had the potential to leave me thinking about it for days afterwards. It just didn’t grab me in the way that I thought that it was going to. Don’t get me wrong, it was still really great. I love that sweet initial connection between Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay – and she was beautiful in it, the perfect choice. And it was interesting having the surprise casting for Lucifer (which I won’t tell you so that I don’t ruin it for you!) and Russell Crowe did an amazing job of being the bad guy, which I wasn’t expecting.


I think that my main problem with it was that the romance was very rushed. I know that in the early 1900’s they did say the big “I love you” very quickly, but the audience isn’t living in the 1900’s. Going so quickly from meeting her to saving her, then meeting her father and telling him that he is whole heartedly in love with his daughter – maybe it was Mr Farrell’s acting, but I just didn’t believe him. There were also a few bits that I just didn’t understand – I feel like maybe they would make sense in the book (I haven’t read it so I was clueless!) but in the movie they just seemed to be added in at the last minute for no reason. Like the evil Russell Crowe calling the white angel spirit horse a dog. It’s not a dog... it’s a horse. You expect to get these little things explained eventually, but they aren’t. It’s just strange. And on that note, Jennifer Connelly – what on earth was she doing? She is a great actress but she just looked…bored! The whole thing with her and her daughter came around so fast it was a bit odd. Maybe the movie should have been made in two parts? If the makers of the last Harry Potter movies can do it with less storyline to get through, then I am sure that they could have done it. Then they could have developed everything a bit more, the storyline wouldn’t have been as rushed, and they could have made double the money. It’s a no brainer!


So, overall, I have mixed feelings about this movie. I love the themes and the idea of it – and the casting was generally very good. I just feel that the storytelling and rhythm of the movie could use a bit of work. To be fair to it, I can’t blame the movie for not living up to my expectations because the delay in watching it blew it up to almost unachievable heights.  I am very tempted to read the book by Mark Helprin to see if it is the movie adaptation or if the storytelling issue is within the original writing. The movie is still definitely worth a watch, even if it is just to watch Sybil from Downton Abby! Let me know what you think of it! Oh, and ice-cream. It has to be watched with some ice- cream.


12 years a slave (2014)

 

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Giamatti

 

I never could resist a historical film and I don’t plan to change that any time soon, but there are some points in history that go to another level of interesting, for me. The issue of black slavery in America is one of them. It is such a dark spot on this countries past and it shocks me that such civilized people that I can relate to and that I can see in the family history of the people around me would see other human beings as their property – much as we do any other belonging. It is so hard to understand that they were brought up to believe these things, they didn’t know any different. I would like to think that I wouldn’t go along with it, especially the bad treatment and sometimes torture of these people, but I have seen the power of having something drilled into you from birth and I can’t say for all certainty that I would know there was another way. That said, I still can’t understand how such an immoral assault on basic human rights was going on, legally, such a short time ago.


I think my fascination with this subject stems from my need to understand something that I don’t think I will ever really understand. I find it frustrating that it could havehappened, more so than all of the wars put together. I guess with war, no matter what goes on, you know what you are getting yourself in to by fighting in it, you actually choose to fight in


We see in this film, 12 years a Slave, the story of Solomon who is a free man in the northern states, with a wife and family. Unfortunately, he is in a world where black slavery still exists and he ends up being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the south, without a way to prove his freedom. As if slavery wasn’t bad enough, these things happened. White people would kidnap free black people and sell them to the south for money.


The part was brilliantly played by Ejiofor and the lengthened camera shots gave the viewer time to consider the horrific facts of what was going on in the scene. Without saying too much, you feel as though the film was real. There was no glorifying or sugar coating, it shows clearly the things that happened and highlighted some terrible things that you wouldn’t even think of.


If you are thinking about going to see this movie, I would encourage you to do it. It’s the best movie that I have seen on the subject and the acting is brilliant, and the filmmaking beautifully elegant. However, be ready to cry, be ready to be ashamed of people, be ready to be angry, be ready to be devastated and when you finish – be ready to feel disordered about life. It definitely should be enjoyed with something spicy to calm the frustrated tears and to celebrate the culture that these brave people had been forced out of - an exotic curry would do nicely.