JellyBaby's Blog

Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

It seems that the amount of films I watch peaks during winter; when it’s cold outside and dark by six o’clock there’s nothing better than putting on a DVD and curling up in bed in my pyjamas! From adventure to romance, there’s no better way to distract myself from the freezing weather. Here are my reviews of some movies I’ve rented recently…

Dreamworks have been known for the funny and brilliantly made animations ever since Shrek was first released, and one of their latest movies is the fabulous Monsters vs. Aliens. Susan Murphy is hit by a meteor on her wedding day and is transformed into a giant, nicknamed Ginormica by the US government, and locked up in a facility where she’s kept secret from the world along with fish-man Link; half cockroach, half mad scientist Dr. Cockroach; brainless blue goo B.O.B; and massive grub Insectosaurus. She is offered her freedom in return for ridding the world of aliens sent by the evil Galaxhar – but of course it’s not that easy.

Monsters vs. Aliens is the kind of film that’s perfect for all the family. Exciting enough for kids, it also has enough jokes to entertain the adults. B.O.B in particular steals the show, with every line that comes out of his mouth hilarious, but the president (obviously influenced by a certain dim-witted U.S leader) is just as funny. Meanwhile Susan is almost as good a heroine as Shrek’s princess Fiona. Definitely worth a watch if you’re after light-hearted laughs – it’s guaranteed to raise a smile.

Not so funny was the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons. Although I loved the book, the Da Vinci Code didn’t excite me at all; it was far too wordy with not enough action. I wasn’t sure about Angels and Demons but after reading some good reviews I decided to give it a go. To give credit where it’s due it was a lot better than the Da Vinci Code; there was far more action as Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) was led on a chase around Rome, trying to save four bishops favourite to become pope from being murdered in truly stomach-churning ways. However – and this is more a fault with the book than the film – it was ruined by too much church bashing and sometimes felt more like a history of the bad side of the catholic church than a movie. Also, I was disappointed by Ewan McGregor’s role as the Camerlengo – I wanted to fall asleep as soon as his dull tones came through my speakers. If you like the book the film is worth a watch but if you’re after non-stop thrills, look elsewhere.

I absolutely loved the stage version of Fame when I saw it on the West End and when I heard the movie version was being remade, I couldn’t wait to see it. Unfortunately I never had the chance to see it in cinemas, but after watching it on DVD I’m glad I didn’t waste my money watching it on the big screen. Set over four years at the New York School for Performing Arts, it tells the stories of the pupils who attend it, from the shy and retiring Jenny to over-achieving ballet dancer Alice and pianist Denise who wants to sing but her strict father is intent on her becoming a classical musician.

I could go on – there were so many characters and different storylines – but to be honest even after an hour and a half of watching I can’t remember half of their names. So many of the characters could have been cut in favour of looking at certain ones in more depth. Some characters only appeared in a couple of scenes and I was left feeling that I’d experienced no connection with any of them because there was such a feeling that the story was rushed. Put simply, it’s like fitting all three High School Musicals into one film – it just didn’t work. Save your money buying the DVD and go and see the stage show instead.

Fancy a bit of romance? I’ve finally got round to seeing He’s Just Not That Into You. It boasts an impressive cast including Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, current Hollywood it-boy Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore (who also produced it) and Scarlett Johannsen. Along the same lines as Love Actually it features a number of separate storylines that intertwine – Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) can’t seem to hold down a man; Beth (Jennifer Aniston) wants her boyfriend of seven years to propose; Ben (Bradley Cooper) is cheating on his wife…and so on and so forth. The title of the film refers to the little lies us women tell each other when it comes to guys when in fact we need to get real and realise he’s actually not just into us!

It’s not as good as Love Actually (not much can beat it in my opinion) but it’s actually not that bad. Most women will recognise themselves in the various characters – which makes for some cringeworthy viewing at times! – and the ending is heart-warmingly romantic. By no means a date movie but it’s perfect for a girls night in!

Finally, out in cinemas now is The Lovely Bones. Anyone who’s read the book will probably think the idea of turning it into a movie is ridiculous and you’d be right – it just doesn’t really work. The story is based around Susie Salmon, who is murdered by a paedophile, and watches over her family, friends, and killer from heaven. Narrated by the dreamy tones of Saoirse Ronan and filled with dream-like sequences of her heaven, I left the cinema feeling like I’d just been on a two hour drug trip! There was no real depth to the characters or any emotion, it was lacking in tension and considering the themes of the film I expected to feel much more emotional at the end.

Fans of the book should wait to rent it, anyone else, don’t bother!

It’s official. Twilight fever has hit the globe, with teenagers the world over obsessed with vampires and werewolves. If you’re not acquainted with the world of Edward, Bella and Jacob, you must be living in a cave, as the saga has become one of the must-read series amongst adolescents, and the latest movie to be adapted from the books, New Moon, has become the blockbuster hit of the year.

I’m not a total “twi-hard” and I definitely didn’t have any plans to queue up for the very first showing in a “Team Jacob” tee but I have to admit I was really excited about seeing the film. I recently read the entire series for the first time and even though I’m a little older than the target audience I soon found myself hooked on the story of Bella Swann, a normal teen from Forks, Washington, who falls in love with vampire Edward Cullen.

When it came to watching the first Twilight movie, I was a little apprehensive. Unfortunately, not a lot of book adaptations are as good as the source. The Golden Compass was drained of any character and don’t even get me started on Harry Potter. Luckily I was to be pleasantly suprised by Twilight; it stayed close to the original material and even though I don’t fancy R-Pattz I could totally see that he made a brilliant Edward. If anything, the movie was better than the book, with the action spread over a larger part of the story than in the novel.

I was looking forward to New Moon but having heard differing opinions on it I wasn’t sure what to expect. Most critics felt it dragged on, but all my friends told me it was brilliant, so I really went with an open mind, and I have to say I absolutely loved it!

Fans of the books will not be dissappointed with the adaptation. It remains close to the book with many chunks of dialogue being picked straight out of the pages themselves. Luckily the film hadn’t suffered the problems of Harry Potter, where so many extra pieces were pulled out of the final cut to fit it into a few hours.

Edward fans will be pleased to hear that he appears on a number of occasi0ns in the film despite barely appearing in the novel. Jacob fans will also be very excited to see the amount of times he appears topless! Unfortunately, Bella spends most of the film moping around, but changing this would mean changing the original storyline so I can’t really complain. As far as heroines go she isn’t the most exciting or inspiring.

One thing that surprised me about the film was the humour. There were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments and witty one liners that had the audience chortling. This really saved the film from becoming too miserable.

Any Twilight fan will love New Moon. Although very similar to the first film it is in my opinion better thanks to more laughs and more action. It’s faithfulness to the book is great, sticking to the story without cutting any important parts out. Not a fan? You may find it too long, and it’s worth remembering that it is a film about teenagers; so if you don’t want to see adolescents getting depressed over lost loves or in turmoil over friendships, steer well clear!

Personally I loved it and left the cinema thinking that the DVD release couldn’t come quick enough!

Priceless Hors De Prix

I’ll admit it – I’m not really a fan of foreign films. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but I usually find them a little pretentious and too arty for my more mainstream tastes.

Having said that, I won’t turn down a film that looks good just because it has subtitles, which is how I found myself watching the French film Priceless. It is essentially a “rom-com”, although that label itself annoys me, as it’s not your typical Hollywood rubbish that is usually neither romantic or funny. Instead, Priceless is a charming, understated movie with some laugh out loud scenes and a heart-warming plotline.

Irene (Audrey Tautou) is a professional gold-digger, who pulls rich old men at parties and uses them for their money. However, at a luxury hotel she sleeps with Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a waiter who she believes is loaded, and is later dumped by her partner. Upon discovering that Jean isn’t as wealthy as she first thought she escapes to the Cote d’Azur, but Jean pursues her, spending all the money he has on trying to win her affections.

The film isn’t the most original story on the planet, being based on the Truman Capote novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but definitely keeps your attention throughout. It is set in the glamorous location of the south of France, and is filled with scenes of the impossibly gorgeous Audrey Tautou attending parties and going shopping wearing equally gorgeous outfits. It is true escapism for those who daydream of luxury lifestyles.

The film has a number of laugh out loud moments. The character of Jean has a kind of bumbling charm, as he pretends to be a rich guest of the hotel where he works. It could have easily turned into some sort of farce as Jean relentlessly prusues Irene, but manages to reign itself in. As the film neared it’s end I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if Jean and Irene would get together. It’s certainly not a foregone conclusion and there are plenty of moments where I wondered how they story would end.

I’m sure a number of people will be put off by the fact that the film is in another language with subtitles – I certainly was – but I would definitely recommend it. It’s one of those rare things, a romantic comedy that is romantic, funny and charming. If you like girly films, especially those set in luxurious surroundings, you will definitely like Priceless.