Monday, 6 July 2015

June Watch List

Sorry this super late, but after illness, hateful job results in missing everything. Sorry if there are a few spelling errors too...

1. Jurassic World
As a very big fan of Jurassic Park, constantly quoting lines, creating drinking games in it's honour and having a sister who has been dinosaur mad since we were very young (I remember), I really loved Jurassic World. Everyone has seen the trailers and posters so no need to go into story detail because some of the things not in the trailer was brilliant. Now that I have established I loved the film in all its dino, nostalgic, tribute glory, I can say now; as my sister pointed out, why did the children have to be boys? It was a great mix in the original, maybe the makers were worried of repeats but still why boys? Also, in the first film they both had skills. In this film, their scenes were tiresome, except when they were being chased of course. I think the makers of the film did the right thing, a new start, with Hammond's dream coming to life. Anyone spot Henry Wu from the original film? His character has a bigger role in the books so it was great to see somebody from the old days and it was refreshing to see that it was a minor but important character. The dinosaurs were superb, especially the giant beast in the water, made me think about the BBC series, Walking with Dinosaurs, still great show. Anyway, I have a theory that Chris Pratt has audiance charisma where you love him, no matter what. We now know the winning formula; dinosaurs + Chris Pratt x fun = box office office gold! It brought the franchise back to life, I was getting worried. 4/5

2. Pitch Perfect 2
I surprised myself when I actually enjoyed the first film - Acca-cuse me! I know. I love musicals (mostly) and I love comedies with strong interesting female leads. The second installment was directed by Elizabeth Banks - who is brilliant actress comedy and or otherwise, and there was definitely a more 'strong women' and 'female friendship focus' here. The guys barely got a look in. I personally think that Skylar Astin who plays leader of The Treblemakers and Anna Kendrick's boyfriend has an amazing voice. Fun fact he is also in Hamlet 2 where he has an amazing solo. Anyway, its all about female bonding, some of these scenes are really weak and forced. Obviously the best parts are the perfomances and the comments from the two capella competition commentators, some of the lines are just gold. Despite some annoying scenes and that fact that no one in the Belles actaully does any college work, it has some good scenes and songs. 3/5

3. Woman in Gold
Based on a true story that thought ended in defeat but actually ends well and its even more triumphant as it's true. Maria Altmann won the case converning the paintings that belonged to her familt before the Nazis stole them. The paintings were then stolen by the Austrian gallery in Vienna. Among the paintings was the Portait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, which had become famous. It was a painting by Gustav Klimt, commission by Maria's uncle and hung in her house until her and her husband fled for America. Apart from the legal case, there is also an emotional journey for Maria when she remembers her past. The flashback scenes are a definite highlight and heartfelt as well as terrifying. The speech Maria gives at one point in the film saying how she doesn't see a famous painting but a portrait of her beloved aunt. The painting is indeed exquistse and I was so happy to see it restored to it's rightful owner. Great film. 3.5/5

4. Slow West
I think this film is better than a true western. It is indeed slower that your average but just as many deaths involved. Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) from an weathly English family, sets out to the wild west in search of the girl he loves, Rose. Her and her father fled after an accidental death that ended with both with prices on their heads. Unknown to naive Jay, he is leading a group of bounty hunters to her. One even teams with him, Silas (Michael Fassbender), an Irish drifter/ bounty hunter. A bond is formed in the oddest of ways. The use of literal metaphors are just so tragically perfect, such as 'pouring salt in the wound' is genius. There are others that are more subtle though. MF and KMP make an odd pairing and unlikely duo but I really enjoyed that fact that it was a Brit (or American playing a Brit) and an Irishman at the centre of the American wild west. As well cultrual differences galore being thrown around with a whole bunch of other nationalities stopping, there are the usual traits of a western. Obvious villain, tough guy surviving on his own but really loney, shoot out, Indians, camp fires and wanted posters. I have to say though, Rose was completely unworthy of Jay. Go see the film and you'll agree. It's bitter but brilliant film. 3/5

5. 8 Women
I was in need of a murder mystery and I had wanted to see this film for years. Finally got my chance. Based on the play of the same name by Robert Thomas, it is about a murder of a man in a country manson  and the 8 women in his life and home, as one of them is teh murderer. Truths come to light, secrets are revealed and the costumes are divine. Each character, colour coded. Each character even has a song, which at first I wasn't sure about, but most of the songs are good. Brilliant and full of suspense with a great ending, felt like I was at the theatre. 4/5

6. Madame Bovary
The many faces of Madame Bovary haven't really changed over the years. I've not read the book and after seeing this film, I don't think I would ever want to. I really enjoyed Posey Simmonds' reworking of it in Gemma Bovary and would see that film thats out soon but this rather watery story about a woman who lives beyond her means, has affairs to escape her dull quiet life and dies a very unpoetic death, just wasn't what I was hoping for. Firstly, the story is set in France yet the accents were British (which always sounds better in period dramas) and American which, sorry to say, sounded cheap and unprofessional. It was if half the cast decided to half arse it that day. Mia Wasikowska is Australian, so why the American accent? I suppose her original accent would not have suited the material either but she has proven to put on a good British accent in the past, a reason why I thought she'd impress again. Sadly the film was unentertaining, but I have gave 2/5 because the costumes were amazing and it tried it's best. 2/5

Below are the posters for the different adapatations of Madame Bovary, there is something similar in all of them, a tragic woman poised for melodrama.


  1. Great reviews! I'm finally going to see Jurassic World tonight (I must be the only person in the world who hasn't yet). Woman in Gold has been one I've been curious about for a while, I might just have to give it a watch now :)
    - Allie

  2. I loved Jurassic World! That final battle was everything I ever dreamed of.

  3. Especially the end of it - just brilliantly executed.

  4. I was worried it was just going to a run of the mill Helen Mirren vanity film, but I was pleasantly surprised. Would recommend it :)