Summary: Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.
Review/Comments A six-part series that has been cut into a film, The Trip follows Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing highly fictionalized versions of themselves as they eat, drink and bicker their way across Northern England’s countrysides. Their improvised impression battles are an absolute joy to watch(the slew of Michael Caine impressions are especially hilarious), though they do get a little repetitive. The film does drag at times, but it never bores. Perhaps The Trip would be more enjoyable in it’s original uncut format. As it is, this is a sweet and insightful film that fans of British humor will enjoy.
Summary: Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.
Review/Comments I wouldn’t go so far as to call this comedy of the year, but it’s definitely a hilarious and enjoyable movie. What makes Bridesmaids so good is not the over the top bits, but the more subtle, personal interactions between the characters. I wasn’t a big fan of the overlong gross-out scene at the bridal store; that I mostly skipped. I liked the real-life humor more than the typical gags of big-budget comedies. Wiig did such a great job with her character Annie that even when she was fucking everything up and being slightly annoying, you rooted for her all the way. All the actors gave wonderful performances and had such great chemistry, you can tell they were really having fun while making this movie. That translates throughout the film — even in the less funny parts — and is what makes Bridesmaids such a joy to watch.
Summary: When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.
Review/Comments One of the most enjoyable, classiest and wittiest romantic comedies I’ve seen, The Philadelphia Story centers on Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), a slightly arrogant but charming socialite and the three men that love her. Two years after Tracy kicks husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) to the curb, we find her engaged to stuffy George Kittridge (John Howard). Enter Dexter once again, who shows up with two Spy Magazine reporters, Macauley Connor (James Stewart) and Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey), to shake things up days before the wedding. Connor ends up falling head-over-heels for Tracy, and that’s where things really start to get interesting. Hepburn, Grant and Stewart have the most amazing chemistry together, I couldn’t get enough! Sharp, clever dialogue, great understated performances, beautiful costumes…this film has it all.
Summary: Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
Review/Comments A muted and understated psychological drama, Martha Marcy May Marlene stars Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley) as a woman who has recently escaped a cult to stay with her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). The film mixes past and present seamlessly, oftentimes you can’t tell which is which until other characters are shown. I really appreciated that, it was very well done and helped the audience get into Martha’s head; you get the real sense of paranoia and confusion she’s feeling throughout the film. It’s a quiet paranoia and the suspense really creeps under your skin, enough that I jumped during a particularly tense scene. Although an intriguing story, the movie as a whole fell slightly flat. The film cut off so abruptly that it really threw me off, which I guess is what the filmmakers were going for, but it just didn’t work for me. It was maybe just a bit too minimalist for my tastes. The great performances, fantastic editing and cinematography only just make up for the mind-numbingly slow pace(one particular scene of Martha swimming in a lake was minutes longer than it should have been) and frustratingly ambiguous ending.
Summary: Young Albert enlists to service in WWI after his beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and across Europe as the war rages on.
Review/Comments Set during World War I, War Horse tells the story of a horse named Joey and Albert (Jeremy Irvine), the teen boy who raised him. The best friends become separated when Joey gets sold to the British Army by Albert’s father. It’s then that Albert promises to find Joey again and throughout the film Joey is determined to get back to Albert. We follow Joey through the war as he works for both British and German troops and when he is briefly taken in by an elderly French man and his granddaughter. As Joey’s fate unfolds, we are introduced to a slew of different characters who take many different roles in the war. Some are bad, but most are good and no matter what side they’re on, they all want Joey to survive. The horse seems to remind the humans of their humanity. For me, the most memorable scene in the film involves a British and German soldier working together and being generally chummy in the middle of no man’s land to unite in the task of freeing Joey from barbed wire. It was so wonderfully executed, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face even if I tried. There was definite manipulation on Spielberg’s part to get tears from the audience, but it wasn’t so overly sentimental as to become cheesy. War Horse feels like a throwback to films such as Black Beauty, but with a more modern touch. I absolutely adore it.
Summary: A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbour.
Review/Comments Intense, quiet, brutal, and captivating, Drive wasn’t what I was expecting, but it gripped me tight and still hasn’t let go. Ryan Gosling stars as the Driver, a mysterious loner type who works as a mechanic and stunt driver while also moonlighting as a criminal getaway driver. He lives a solitary life and likes it that way. Enter Irene (Carey Mulligan), his beautiful neighbor with whom he has an instant connection with. What starts off as a simple, beautiful relationship gets complicated fast when Irene and her son get sucked into the criminal world after her husband is released from prison. Driver goes to any means necessary to protect her while risking his life and his humanity. The film is extremely stylish and the cinematography, which is bright and colorful, works with such a darkly themed film. The soundtrack is absolutely divine, every song enhances the story and isn’t just music for music’s sake. All the performances are flawless, Gosling’s in particular. This film definitely deserves the praise it’s been getting.
Summary:A discovery made by a kung fu obsessed American teen sends him on an adventure to ancient China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.
Summary: Eight years of being raised by humans and now left behind in an abusive sanctuary, a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee will lead a revolution of apes towards freedom from man's torturous exploitation.
Summary: The story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.
Review/Comments Rather than focus on the game itself, this movie delves into the business side of baseball and the struggles of the people who run the teams. Brad Pitt gives a wonderful performance as Billy Beane, probably the best of his career, and Jonah Hill shows that he can do serious films and do them well. With great acting from all it's cast, a solid screenplay, wonderful cinematography and a nice score(though the song Beane's daughter sings was released 7 years after year the movie is set in lol), I can see why this has been one of the best reviewed films of the year. It deserves the nominations it's been receiving.
Summary: Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...
Review/Comments Fantastic French film noir, Rififi is widely thought of as the father of all heist films. When Tony gets released from prison, he assembles a crew of some of the greatest criminals together for one last big heist. Everything goes well until greed rears it's ugly head and local gangsters try to in on the action. The main characters are not entirely likeable, Tony is downright detestable, but it works. You don't have to like the characters to enjoy a movie, after all. The 20-30 minute robbery in the middle of the movie is completely silent; it features no music or dialogue, yet is completely engrossing. This is film noir at it's best.
Summary: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.
Review/Comments A bare bones action thriller, Haywire is well-paced with great cinematography and killer action sequences. Gina Carano, the heroine of this movie, is an MMA fighter turned actor and it shows, yes, but she's not a bad actress at all, you can just tell she's not trained in the slightly flat way she delivers her lines. The supporting cast is quite accomplished, though. Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderes and Channing Tatum(who was actually quite enjoyable) definitely bring the movie up to the next level. The movie's plot is simple and straight to the point; it doesn't try to be something it's not and that's what I like about it. The action scenes make this movie, they're brilliantly cut and don't feature any background music, so you hear every grunt and really feel the struggle between Mallory and her adversaries. The girl can kick ass, no doubt about it, and she wasn't made to do it in slinky outfits either. The filmmakers chose not to objectify her like so many other female action stars, her genger was only addressed once I think by Fassbender, but he was quickly told off by McGregor to "Don't think of her as a woman, that would be a mistake." I know this film has been getting mixed reviews leaning toward the negative side, but I quite enjoyed it.
Summary: A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century."
Summary: Tim Lippe has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
Summary: Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.
Summary: After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels attempt to destroy the Second Death Star, while Luke Skywalker tries to bring his father back to the Light Side of the Force.
Summary: Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over.
Review/Comments This movie is a breath of heavy contaminated alien air. The story of the three main characters is told mainly through the lense of a camera belonging to Andrew, a troubled teen whose powers take over his life for better and for worse. The story is a realistic portrayal of what would happen is teenage boys gained superpowers. They have fun with it and bond over their secret abilities, but they're also reckless and sometimes too powerful for their own good. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out by the actors, the acting what really draws you in. The boys are relatable and real and have your sympathy even when things start taking a turn for the worst. The graphics are great for it's small-ish budget. What I liked most about this film is that it doesn't try to be something it's not. It does get pretty epic towards the end, but it never gets too overblown or melodramatic. It could have easily crossed that line, but thankfully it never did. Andrew's story is kind of predictable, but you never quite know what will happen with Matt or Steve. I think this is a fantastic film that focuses more on the creation of super-villain, which is something we don't often see.
Summary: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Summary: A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.
Review/Comments This is such a fun, exciting, strange and at times thought-provoking film. The found footage/mockumentary works really well with the story that’s being told. The filmmakers take trolls from different tales that you’ve heard through your life and make you believe that they could actually exist. The trolls look great and blend into their environments so you could miss them if you were just passing by. Troll Hunter is a really great piece of Norwegian filmmaking. Just don’t take it too seriously and have fun with it.
Summary: The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world.
Review/Comments I have read so much fanfiction that is based on this movie that I decided it was high time to watch it and see what all the fuss is about. What a lovely film this was. Absolutely charming. Even though I knew it pretty much scene by scene already, I enjoyed it so much. The end was nothing but cheese but it wasn’t bad cheese in any way. Now I feel the need to rediscover the Notting Hill inspired fanfiction. haha
Summary: A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.
Review/Comments I can’t believe I’ve never seen this movie seeing as the poster was hanging in the choir room where I spent most of my high school years. I’m so glad I finally did though because this movie is so lovely. Everyone is full of joy and energy and there isn’t a single slow part it’s all just go go go and it works. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor have such glorious chemistry that it’s not hard imagining them as long-time friends. I don’t know if they were in real life but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were so. Debbie Reynolds is amazing as always, nothing else needs to be said in regards to her. This is such an iconic film that I knew the songs even though this was the first time I have ever seen it. Love love love!
Summary: Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.
Review/Comments I tried to watch this movie like a year ago but I never finished it, so I finally decided to sit down and do just that and I loved it. Robert Downey Jr. made this movie for me. He is so fucking brilliant. When he changed character and accents back to back to back I was in awe. Some of the jokes are on the raunchy/immature side but there’s nothing wrong with that in moderation. It’s a funny movie that could have been bit better I think, but I enjoy it for what it is.
Summary: Ten Inch Hero follows the love lives of several young adults who work together at a sandwich shop, The Beach City Grill, owned by a child of the sixties who adheres to the surfing lifestyle. The characters include Piper, who searches for the child she gave up for adoption; Tish, a sexually voracious woman who needs to learn about love; Priestly, the guy who dishes out relationship advice to everybody; and Jen, the wallflower who receives counsel from her outgoing workmates.
Review/Comments The only reason I watched this is because of Tumblr and I enjoyed it. It’s not the best movie around, but it’s sweet and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Jensen and his co-stars look like they had lots of fun making this movie and it shows in the chemistry between the characters. I don’t know if this is when Jensen and Daneel got together or if they were together before this, but every time they had a scene together(which was always lol) I felt the connection. So, good movie, not great, but the love the characters have for each other make this movie what it is.
Summary: The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet - the heart and soul of Elmo - Kevin Clash.
Review/Comments Such a wonderful, feel good documentary. I think I cried 9 times during this movie, negl. I’m a sucker for success stories and this one was definitely that and more. You can feel the absolute joy Kevin feels when he’s Elmo. He is doing something he loves and he has lived his dream. It may sometimes come with a price, but dreams are worth a little heartache, don’t you think?
Summary: After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.
Review/Comments Strange that such a simple movie can have such a big impact. Once this movie ended I felt like getting out and changing my life for the better. Weekend starts off slow but you quickly fall into Russell’s world and want to see him happy. This film ends on a bittersweet note but it doesn’t leave you feeling unfulfilled. If you’re looking for a sweet and slightly angsty romantic movie to watch, I definitely recommend Weekend.
Summary: Based on the award winning play by Julian Mitchell, the film explores the effect of Public School life in the 1930's on Guy Bennett as his homosexuality and unwillingness to "play the game" turns him eastwards towards communist Russia.
Review/Comments Good movie with an ending so abrupt and unfulfilling you’ll feel cheated. This gay tale is tame by today’s standard, but it still holds up. And ickle Colin Firth and Cary Elwes are so adorable I can’t even! TBH I don’t have much to say about this movie. It was good but pretty forgettable.
Summary: Long before he even met Shrek, the notorious fighter, lover and outlaw Puss in Boots becomes a hero when he sets off on an adventure with the tough and street smart Kitty Softpaws and the mastermind Humpty Dumpty to save his town. This is the true story of The Cat, The Myth, The Legend... The Boots.
Review/Comments This was a fun and very enjoyable movie. I always liked Puss and him having his own film just feels right. It sticks with the fairytale feel of Shrek but with Spanish flair. The Humpty Dumpty character bugged me so much though, as much as I love Zach Galifianakis I think Humpty should have had an English accent, but that’s just me I guess. All in all it’s a welcome addition to the Shrek film family, it almost makes up for the tragedy that is Shrek 3.
Summary: Curtis LaForche lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Hannah, a six-year-old deaf girl. When Curtis begins to have terrifying dreams, he keeps the visions to himself, channeling his anxiety into obsessively building a storm shelter in his backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds those closest to him, but the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within his community can't compare with Curtis's privately held fear of what his dreams may truly signify.
Review/Comments A truly spectacular film. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain give two amazing performances that carry the movie so well. You feel real sympathy for their characters. The writers could have taken us in a terrifying and sinister direction, but thankfully they never did. Despite the heavy themes and the drama surrounding the family, the love never dwindled between Curtis and Samantha like it very much could have. The very last scene left me with my mouth hanging wide open. What a fantastic way to end the film. This movie is full of suspense and tension but it is also joyous and wonderful. Oh yes, I liked this movie very much.
Summary: A concert documentary shot during the Glee Live! In Concert! summer 2011 tour, featuring song performances and Glee fans' life stories and how the show influenced them.
Review/Comments This concert movie experience could have been better if they showed more of the concert and less of the 3 fan stories. They cut off performances for them and that annoyed the hell out of me. Still, I enjoyed it for what it was.
Summary: Before the internet and before the likes of fashion bloggers, there was Bill Cunningham, the street-fashion and society chronicler for The New York Times. After 50 years of cycling the streets of the Big Apple with his camera, snapping the great, the good and the stylish, Bill Cunningham is now in front of the lens in this loving and intimate portrait of a remarkable man and a chronicler of a city.