We interrupt your viewing….
I’ll preface this by saying I simply adore my cinema visits. I like seeing films on the big screen, the way the Hollywood Gods intended. I like the whole occasion; the trailers; the snacks, sitting in my regular seat and taking my boots off for extra comfort. Most weeks, I have a lovely time.
Then there are those times when someone just has to spoil it.
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Forgot to put this on my Birthday list this year. Not that I desperately need it, I don’t cook and I don’t watch films on DVD, but it’s one of my favourite movies of recent years.
During international tournaments, I especially enjoy the opportunity to watch the African football teams. Yes I’m keen to know how their skills are improving but I especially relish seeing their determination, the team work and their patriotism. They seem to want the win and to do their counties proud more than any other nation. They have the hunger, literally no doubt at some point in their life, unlike a large proportion of their European prima donna counter parts.
So I like the idea of Africa United just from the title. The fact that I learn that it’s about a group of kids who journey thousands of miles to get to the 2010 world cup just adds to the appeal.
It starts with a safe sex message, delivered by one of the young stars of the film but done with such humour, we can but smile.
We follow this young ‘football manager’ across Africa, guiding his gifted and well to do best mate who has been invited to audition for the footballing opening ceremony. Along the way, they make new friends and lose others.
The film tackles child soldiers and sex workers as well as the aforementioned HIV clinics. Despite all that is put across their path, the children’s journey is peppered with humour, camaraderie and above all warmth. It is a message-filled movie, as one would expect and as such has sad moments and those that had me on the edge of my seat with frustration but overall, I came out with a smile.
Smile factor 9/10
I forgot I saw this movie as soon as I came out of the theatre. That doesn’t mean it was bad, after all the bad ones linger a lot longer than the good ones. It’s what you expect from Disney, watchable escapism and because it’s Disney, it’s for all ages.
The basic story is the Sorcerer (Nicholas Cage) has spent thousands of years trapping all that is bad in the world in a Russian doll, layer upon layer (if only we could do that). There’s one problem in that the evilest of all, Morgana, can still be awakened and there’s only one person that can actually eradicate her.
Therefore he also spends thousands of years searching for this one person, his apprentice. Cut to 2000 and he finds him, only to lose the kid again to 10 ten years of therapy.
Fast forward to 2010 and the action begins as now the twenty year old geek who thought he was seeing things as a ten year old starts believing in the magic, thanks to the Sorcerer, who himself has been locked in an urn all this time.
Include the girl of his dreams as is the rule in these movies otherwise the hero has no one to save and we have some good clean – totally clean, family fun. The evil who wants to rekindle his partnership with Morgana is also trapped in the urn and so the race begins as to who can get there first, the evil man to release her or the sorcerer’s apprentice to exterminate her.
Set in modern day New York, Cage is made for the role, although I say that every time.
8/10 Smile factor 8½/10
What is a RomCom anyway? Why can’t it just be called a comedy after all don’t many films have a bit of romance in them?
The RomCom tag means I have probably missed a few good films (and many more bad ones) but I am glad I saw Heartbreaker.
It’s in French and it’s a comedy. What do they know about romance anyway?
The story is of a man who makes a living by separating ‘unsuitable’ couples. He is hired by friends, relatives and colleagues and his trick is to seduce the women, therefore awakening her to the fact that she is probably in the wrong relationship before telling them he’s not the right fit either and moves on to the next assignment.
The Heartbreaker works with a team his sister and her husband who add to the comedic essence of this film. Each time, there is careful research on the break up couple, he finds out as much as he can so he can pretend to have all the same things in common; be that Wham or Dirty Dancing.
The comeuppance is expected when he is hired to break up a French bride to be from her wealthy British fiancé. To add pressure, he also owes a sizable amount of money to some crooks, who no doubt helped fund his expensive lifestyle, afforded by him sleeping in the office or whatever is available.
The French cookie turns out to be a tough one to crack with only three days to go before the wedding. Will this be the one girl that doesn’t fall for his charms?
A good comedy that’s well worth a watch.
7½/10 Smile factor 9/10
We all know there a dozens of these types of epic adventure films so let’s cut straight to the story.
Orphan boy get’s noticed by the King, in the days where the king just roamed the streets with little more than a couple of staff and didn’t feel the need for millions of pounds worth of security to follow. Boy gets adopted and therefore becomes a prince, in all but royal blood.
As an adult, he goes into battle to secure another land only to realise something is amiss and there is no reason to invade. Alas there are no weapons of mass destruction, so to speak.
Instead, the Prince of Persia, Daston (Jake Gyllenhaal), discovers a mystical dagger which contains magical sand and therefore can turn back time. Obviously.
But all in all it’s a good old fashioned epic, although actually only 116 minutes long. The twist is the King is murdered and Daston is the prime suspect, having been set-up, but by who? In the meantime he and the beautiful princess, as is de rigueur in these flicks, set up about keeping the dagger from the wrong evil hands whilst proving his innocence.
Ben Kingsley, of the category ‘Doesn’t Put His Name To A Bad Film’ category also stars, alas as a baddie.
An inoffensive movie to escape to and under 2 hours.
7/10 Smile Factor 8/10
I had not heard of this Richard Gere film, no trailer, poster, interview or any publicity came past my eyes but its movie day and there’s nothing else on. Surely a light-hearted tale about a man and his dog will be inoffensive.
What a peculiar reason for a film.
Yes it is a simple film about a man finds stray dog, owner nowhere to be found, eventually owner persuades perfect wife and perfect daughter to keep the dog in their perfect home.
The both go out to do perfect jobs, musician composer and something else artistic (seemingly part time, who commutes by train and still gets home before 5pm?) whilst their daughter dates the perfect potential son-in-law.
All the while they are growing fond of this little dog that came into their lives although the dog – not so perfect. He’s apparently a royal oriental dog and so doesn’t fetch or play ball. Hachi is however loyal and playful and extremely clever, which of course if the point of the film.
It’s not all fluffy though as the film has some seriously sad parts but all contained within the family-friendly ‘U’ rating.
The film does what it says on the tin, innocuous and innocent.
If you don’t love animals, like me you may find it a little too twee but actually the movie has some quite powerful moments.
This is about a washed-up country musician (Jeff Bridges) so I would have seen it anyway, if just for the soundtrack. I don’t often read reviews before seeing a film but due to the Oscar hype, I unfortunately know the story features the 50 something singer’s relationship with a young-enough-to-be-his-daughter journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) which is more than slightly off-putting. (In the same way it put me off the otherwise quite witty ‘Music & Lyrics’ with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, also watched for the soundtrack potential).
I just don’t understand the appeal of an aging, alcoholic, penniless, chain-smoking, travelling musician with 100’s of one-night stands behind him to a young woman in her prime and I literally had to close my eyes during one intimate scene. It’s like knowing your parents do it but you don’t want to see it.
So whilst I could not believe in that story, especially as we find out said journalist, Jean, has the responsibility of single motherhood, I most certainly understood the rest.
Bridges’ ‘Bad’ Blake is still talented and revered, stooping to playing bowling alleys with the hired house band, looking for a break back into the big time to be able to continue to earn a living and no doubt a little more credibility, although respect he still has. The new kid on the block, Tommy Sweet, played surprisingly well by Colin Farrell, was mentored by Bad and is now a big arena star. The twist is he turns out to be not at all obnoxious and arrogant as I expected.
Possibly the first time I have enjoyed a Farrell performance.
The highlight for me was the live music throughout and whilst the film is well made with brilliant performances from all, I’d have liked the relationship torment to have come from the singer’s estranged and long forgotten 28 year old son who never made an appearance.
7½/10 Smile Factor 8/10