Movie – The Muppets

Confession time; I have never seen anything of the Muppets. I think I felt I was too old for it first time round but now seems the perfect age to enjoy it and in any case, I still recognise many of the characters, not just Kermit and Miss Piggy.

I joined many other first time viewers at the cinema last Friday evening, admittedly the rest of them were under 3 ft high but we all loved it. What I admire about modern day children’s films are the copious adult in-jokes that only we can appreciate and yet they take none of the joy away from the kids.

The story line is of a lone Muppet, Walter, who visits the  old Muppets LA studio only to find it’s about to be destroyed in the name of the almighty dollar by a wealthy businessman. He sets about trying to prevent this, with the help of his (human) best friend along with his unwitting girlfriend, who have travelled to LA for their 10th anniversary. She hopes this means a proposal but the ‘men’ set out looking for the mansion inhabiting Kermit to persuade him to put on a fundraising television show and save the studio from evil tycoon.

Kermit has to reunite the gang including Miss Piggy, now an editor at French Vogue, Fozzie who performs in a tribute group, the Moopets, Gonzo who now runs a successful company and best of all Animal from an anger management re-hab unit that includes Jack Black which means he is restrained from playing his beloved drums. (Who does that remind me off…..?)

The cast break into song fairly often; when Mary feels let down by her potential fiancé Gary who is busy looking out for his little Muppet brother, Walter, when Miss Piggy and Kermit reminisce about their old romance and .. well pretty much at every opportunity.

The movie leaves me wishing I could travel by map (as in when they show a line moving across a map in movies to denote travel) and the ditty ‘Man or Muppet’ is already stuck in my head, partly due to Chris Evans playing it on Radio Two.

I’m going to have to score it highly since it kept me awake at the end of an extremely tiring and sleep deprived day.

8/10
Smile factor 10/10

Movie – The Descendants

I’ve come a long way since avoiding George Clooney films. It all started with seeing ‘Michael Clayton’ on my birthday in San Francisco as there was nothing else I wanted to watch and I’ve enjoyed ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’ since. I don’t care for ‘Up in the Air’ though. And I still draw the line at Mr Pitts’ films.

The story is of man coping with his wife in a coma after a boating accident. Matt King (Clooney) lives a relatively charmed life in Hawaii as a lawyer with a considerable heritance in the way of land owned through generations of his family for which he is the trustee. The accident happens whilst going through negotiations to sell the land and as King finds himself ’getting to know his daughters again.’

So far it’s a Hollywood cliché but for once, annoying rich brats become likeable quite quickly. After dragging the older daughter home from her expensive school, she reveals her mother’s affair to King and of course the tone of the film changes. The marriage clearly wasn’t a strong one but I’m glad he hated (a strong word, I know) his wife for her betrayal, despite the fact that she is being kept alive by machines.

The film moves along well with the flurry of stories; finding out more about the wife’s lover (what’s the male word for ‘mistress’? Is there one?), negotiating for the sale of land, mending the family and of course dealing with a potential bereavement. There are plenty of family characters to keep us interested and despite the sadness, the film has humour throughout.

The Oscar fuss over this one hasn’t hyped it up unduly although I don’t think its Oscar material myself, but then as has been proven time and time again on these pages, what do I know about film?

I’m not sure whether to give it a 7.5 or 8.

7½/10 (TBC)

Smile factor 8½/10

Highest grossing films of 2011

This is interesting; clearly I’m not your average film goer as I’ve only seen one of these! And I only saw that because nothing else was on. Review here

1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon
3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
4 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
5 Kung Fu Panda 2
6 Fast Five
7 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
8 The Hangover Part II
9 The Smurfs
10 Cars 2

Read the full article here

Films of 2011

I’ve leant after years of being a Cineworld ‘Unlimited’ card holder that I’m generally in the minority with my taste in films. I mark the film purely on my cinematic experience rather than story, direction, photography, actors, script, soundtrack – actually no, soundtrack I do take into consideration. Therefore, a story can be mediocre but made up for in action or comedy.

I’ve seen 40 films (that I’ve remembered to write about) and marked all of them out of 10 throughout the year so this is just the top five looking back on those scores.

1. Movie – The Help

2. Movie – Larry Crowne

3. Movie – The Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Plus in no particular order

Movie – Fair Game

Movie: The Kings Speech

Movie – Lincoln Lawyer

Movie – Captain America:The First Avenger

2012 has started well so I hope it continues to do so and it’s not just the Oscar rush!

Movie – War Horse


I’m not as fond of animals as most but I love this film. It starts with the story of young Albert, the son of a hard on his luck Devon farmer who buys a young thoroughbred horse at an auction instead of plough horse that he desperately needed, mostly to spite his wealthy landlord that is also bidding.

The film traces where the horse, Joey, goes so it’s a long film. Firstly, Albert is determined to train the horse to plough the fields to prevent the family losing their farm/livelihood. In the next instance to war as a Captain’s ride, mainly as a rainstorm ruins the field and the horse has to be sold to pay off debts to the landlord.

Joey goes through many escapades that have me gripping my seat and occasionally reaching for a tissue especially the hard ship endured when he gets taken over by German command after a brutal battle but there are also touching scenes of a young French girl befriending him and his new pal, another horse he trained with for military manoeuvres.

Finally the story moves forward to an age when Albert can enlist and so I’m at the edge of my seat again to see when (surely it’s only a matter of time) the two are re-united.

It may have standard film clichés to tug at every heart string you possess but it’s a great watch, indeed, for all the family.

8/10

Smile factor 8/10

Movie – The Iron Lady

The hype is guaranteed to be huge when you take into account the subject matter, the star and the many gags about it being the follow up to The Iron Man.

It’s time to get up! It’s time go to work! It’s time to put the great, back into Great Britain!

I’m not sure why people haven’t enjoyed this film – I loved it. It’s everything I would hope and more. The subject matter is Margaret Thatcher but this isn’t a political film as such, although of course if you’re featuring one of Britain’s most successful Prime Minister’s, politics is going to feature.

I for one was not a fan of Mrs T in her day but having watched this, I realise this was probably peer pressure as I was too immature to form my own opinion during her early years. Now, politics aside, I see what a phenomenal woman she is.

Meryl Streep turned on the Oscar-worthy performance as the film depicts the story through Lady T’s matured eyes looking back on memories. As such, her thoughts dart about and I believe this has been the films’ biggest criticism. As always, I have no need to read reviews so this is just what I have heard via Twitter and indeed the people I saw the film with.

The pearls are absolutely non-negotiable

The most impact is felt when scenes of how Lady T broke the mould in what was – as much as I detest this phrase – a man’s world; her first time walking into parliament, the above quote when her advisors ask her to lose the hats and basically tone down her femininity, the young Margaret being mesmerised by her grocer father giving a speech, first fighting to be elected and then there are some gorgeous scenes of her talking to her dead husband, Dennis, played exactly as you would expect by Jim Broadbent, although the film probably draws on that a little too much.

I dislike too much ‘positive discrimination’ in the job market but it really does help if the country is being run by an equal amount of men and women and although we are far away from that, I’m pretty sure Maggie opened the doors.

The supporting cast are, in equal parts, excellent and amusing (Richard E Grant as Michael Heseltine). The film isn’t in chronological order and nor does it cover all of the many news worthy moments in her reign, but it sure depicts the woman behind the politician. I cringed at Phyllida Lloyd’s directorial attempt of Mama Mia, where she manages to make one of my all time favourite bands/theatrical moments, Mama Mia, dismal but here I have my money’s worth.

8½/10

Smile factor 9/10 In the minority

Movie – The Artist

The most amusing quote I’ve heard about this film, ‘they don’t make them like that anymore. Well no, we’ve had sound on films for some years now. This is, as many have commentated, a delightful film, full of humour whilst dealing with the more serious issue of redundant actors making way for the new breed once talkies came along.

It portrays the silent movie era exactly as I imagine; a bustling film industry full of wannabees, the small minority of which will move over from and ‘extra’ to ‘star.’ It’s on glamour overload but then I wasn’t expecting anyone to be wearing jeans & trainers (heavens!) and although I fell asleep for a few minutes in the opening sequences, it’s just because there is no talking and the music is so relaxing! After that, I’m gripped right up to the fairly obvious but still great ending.

It has lashings of charm, a helping of romance, a touch of drama and even a song a dance routine for our pleasure; what’s not to like?

I would have liked to see a new silent film set in more modern times rather than in the 1930s and I’m not sure if the makers can sustain another one but I’d give it watch if they do.

7½/10

Smile factor 9/10