Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Romantic comedies are everywhere these days and many aren’t worth the time of day. Mike and Dave intrigued me by the cast and the fact I sometimes enjoy films like this.

Let’s get the obvious out the way. The film isn’t going to win any awards. It’s not particularly Original, the jokes have been done thousands of times before and the script is both obvious and by the numbers. All of this though is not a reason to rule the film out.

The titular characters are party goers and cause mayhem wherever they go. Their family has all but ruled them out. They are due to attend their sister’s wedding in Hawaii and they are told they need to bring ‘classy’ dates with them. One thing leads to another and they end up getting 2 girls to come with them (unsuspecting that the girls are just as chaotic as them). Of course this all leads to mayhem and silliness.

Zac Efron and Adam Devine are fantastic and play off each other incredibly well. They are likeable and fun to watch. Without them i dont think the film would’ve worked as well. Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick are equally as good as their dates. They too feel like they’ve been friends for a long time and bounce off each other like skittles off a chalk board.

The jokes are sometimes/often crude but it’s that kind of film and it’s what I was expecting. They don’t always hit the high notes, but more hit then miss. Part of this is down to how well they are delivered by the cast. The supporting cast are strong but never overshadow the main group of 4.

Direction-wise it works. The pacing is great and the film flows at a good rate. It never outstays it’s welcome and just when a joke might begin to become stale we move on.

Sure it’s obvious and has been done in a similar way before, but you know What? I had a really fun time with the film. There really isn’t much more to say as it’s one of those films where you get what you expect. It’s worth checking out.

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What happens when you mix the director of ‘Clueless’ with 2 of the stars of ‘American Pie’? The answer is a film that is not quite as good as either but is far better then a lot of the teen rom-coms that were released around the late 90’s / early 00’s.

It all revolves around Paul (played by Jason Biggs) and Dora (played by Mena Suvari). Paul has just moved to college and is the odd one out. He’s shy and awkward. Dora is more outgoing but is struggling financially, so is doing everything she has to to keep going. Their paths meet when Paul sits next to Dora in a lecture. She is the first person who is nice to him since moving o college. This moment sets off a series of events which ultimately lead to the usual deatination.

Although formulaic, the film does enough to make itself stand out. The acting on the whole is great even if Biggs is playing a similar character to his one in American Pie. Mena Suvari is on top form in a role that is surprisingly multilayered. The onscreen chemistry between the 2 leads is fantastic with some truly heart-tugging moments. It s hard not to feel that both were hired on the back of American Pie, but that doesnt detract from their performances here. The only characters whom I really didn’t get on with were the 3 roommates. They both felt unnecessary and 2d.

It’s a shame that the film has slipped into the jumble of similar films as it is one of the best. Most may only know about the film through the ideoto the Weezer song ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ which features footage from the film and I believe was written for the film. When it came out th film was pretty big and was well received but I’m guessing the fact it had no sequels meant it just vanished.

I really like this film and have since it was released. It stands in the upper tier of teen rom-coms only falling narrowly behind the very best of the pack. I urge anyone who likes this sort or film to check it out.

I will begin by saying this will be my most controversial review so far. (I considered not even reviewing it but thought what the hell. Please don’t think less of me.) The review will also feature major spoilers……..

Right…..

Well let’s start at the beginning;

  • Twilight – I hated it. I thought it was poorly directed, awfully scripted and really badly acted. It instantly put me off Pattinson and Stewart and their hideously soppy relationship that was basically a more girl friendly take on Romeo and Juliet or even Underworld. I guess the visuals were ok but they couldn’t save it. 5/10
  • New Moon – I liked the fact the film had more scope then the first but I thought it was equally as bad. The script was just as bad and the acting although slightly better was hindered by the introduction of Lautner as a main character and love interest. The three way relationship annoyed me and just came down to lots of overlong glances between each of the characters. 4/10
  •  Eclipse – I don’t even know why I watched this but I’m kind of happy I did because it did contain a pretty awesome fight sequence that used the fact that vampires shatter when killed to create some brutal beheadings and violence. I also thought that the CGI on the wolves was really good. That being said, the script was still awful and the acting pretty bad (but much better than the first two). The directing was a noticeable step up as well with David Slade bringing some of the style from his previous vampire film ’30 days of night’ across for good measure. 6/10
  • Breaking Dawn part 1 – kind of enjoying the third film I held out a bit of hope for the fourth. Visually the film was brilliant and I thought the score was great. The acting was better than all of the previous films (probably because of the mature nature of the film) but that still isn’t saying much. What we have is essentially a build up for the 2nd part which is just boring. It’s padded out as a way of splitting the film and making more money from all of the twilight fans out there. There is the odd scene like the wedding that does carry some kind of emotion but the rest was just rubbish. There is also a ridiculous amount of sex (not particularly graphic but still kind of out of place in a film like this.) The film just made me annoyed at the fact that I’d have to sit through another 2 hours of another film to see how it all ends. 5/10

This brings us to the final part in the Twilight Saga. The film many regard as one of the worst films ever made. I only wanted to see it because I felt cheated at the fact the previous film didn’t really end and left on a cliff-hanger (the best way to make someone see another film). I sat down in front of the TV and prepared for the worst.

The first thing that shocked me was the great music that accompanied the amazingly well filmed title sequence. I don’t usually take that much notice of title sequences as they usually serve as simply a list of names and add nothing to the film itself (except for some, most notably ‘Se7en’.) This was a bad sign as the film was bringing me out of defensive mode straight away. The Time-lapse photography is really great and is stunningly beautiful at times. The sequence does feel like it’s building to a finale and has a certain ‘epic’ feel none of the other films had.

I will say that as soon as you see Pattinson and Stewart you can see that they have developed as actors (Pattinson especially). That is not to say that they are great in the film, but they are highly watchable. I think it is also the fact that Bella is now a vampire. For some reason this instantly makes her a cooler character and the red eyes are awesome. They feel comfortable in these roles after the previous 4 films and it’s nice to see them not really looking like they’re acting, more just being themselves.

One thing that I really dislike about this film and the previous films is how they make the vampires move quickly. It reminds me of the old ‘Flash’ television series where they just sped up the footage. I find it just looks really bad compared to some of the great effect that the filmmakers use in the film. I will say that the seemed to give up on the whole ‘make the vampires glisten in the light’, which made me happy as I always found that kind of stupid and pointless. While I’m on the effect I will mention that the wolves are stunning to behold and the animation on the fur especially is true art. They move like real wolves and the look like they have proper weight to them. On the other end of the scale is the baby. The CGI baby is almost as creepy as the Baby in the film ‘junior’ featuring Arnie’s face. The baby just looks awful and is laughable.  (This leads me onto the side note of how they could have had a baby in the first place as no blood is running around Edwards’s body. How would he essentially get it up? It’s a question that worryingly stayed on my mind for quite a while.)

From here we’re pretty much straight into the point that they are preparing for battle (they say they’re not, but they are). This film has already got a better pace than any of the previous films. It still has the awful script and some truly laughable scenes and lines but for some reason it didn’t bother me as much. It felt like the cast knew this and they were just having fun. Every line is delivered like a statement with dramatic pauses added to make the characters think. They knew they wouldn’t be making any more so they just thought they’d play it more tongue in cheek. The film is so much better because of this. In the preparing for battle the Cullens gather a group of vampires who all seem to have powers much like the X-men. you have the electric one, the one that controls the elements, the one that can make a shield, the one that can trick the mind, the over strong one and the big furry one (although technically he’s been in the saga from the first film). I kind of liked this gathering of people as it felt like it was building to something, unlike the previous films flat line pace.

I quite like this new group of vampires we are introduced to. They’re all pretty likeable and actually seem to have had a little thought put into them. (It really does feel like the build-up to a massive X-Men fight though.) Also, when Alice disappears with jasper it just reminded me of Gandalf going off in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and saying that he will come with the coming dawn. (This film just takes bits from everywhere.)

We get a cool back history of the Volturi which features a cool beheading of a lady and Dakota Fanning throwing a baby into a fire. I thought it quite extreme a thing for a character to do on screen for a film aimed at young teenage girls. But to be fair this film has the same style sex scenes we had in the last film which I again think may be a little too much. (It also does not promote safe sex. Vampires may not worry but I really think that we should not be promoting young teenage girls to be having children at an early age in the current climate we are living in.)

I really like the idea of Resesmee (Bella’s daughter) aging ridiculously quickly as I thought it may have been going for the darker angle of Bella having to accept that she may outlast her own daughter who she barely knows. Alas the film didn’t go down this route. It went for a much happier tone with Jacob possibly becoming her future mate. (Which I thought really weird. ‘Can’t have the mother so he’ll have the daughter’. They have a weird relationship.)

The Volturi arrive and the two ‘armies’ square off against one another on an icy field surrounded by trees. (They just step into a massive arena for battle). It is here we get the most brilliantly bad piece of acting in the whole film. Michael Sheen, who is usually a great actor, here portrays an over the top leader of the ‘bad’ vampires. He plays it brilliantly over the top but during this sequence he does this thing after touching Renesmee. He laughs. It may not sound like much but trust me when I say it is so out of place. I could understand an evil laugh but what comes out of Sheens mouth is a crazy high pitched laugh like I’ve never heard before. (Just check it out on YouTube. It’s both brilliant and awful at the same time.)

Alice then turns up and grabs Sheen’s hand. This is when all hell breaks loose and the epic battle music begins. The vampires rush one another and start battling. The music and the combat paly off one another like a classic heavy metal music video. Characters are torn apart and burned while others flip in slow motion and behead the enemy. I loved every minute of the battle and was so happy seeing some of the characters die. I thought it was a brave move until….

IT ALL TURNS OUT TO BE A DREAM (well a vision).

It was like ‘Dallas’ all over again. No one was dead (well they are vampires so they are kind of). I was so annoyed. I was literally shouting ‘NO!’ at the screen. Why did they have to screw up this awesome battle by making it not happen? It is such a cop out and is the films biggest let down. After this we just have a bit more bad dialogue and a romantic bit in that field of flowers from the first film (or second. I can’t entirely remember.)

We then get a really beautiful credits sequence that sums up all of the characters that have come and gone throughout the 5 films. This sequence is possibly the most moving, romantic feeling scene in the whole franchise. It is a really great finale after the annoying ending of the actual film.

So it’s pretty obvious that I did enjoy this film. It was just pure guilty fun. I would argue that none of the other films are needed and that this film would work even better if it were entirely stand alone. You don’t need to know how she became a vampire or any of the padding that came before. You could just have this. A nice well-paced piece of guilty fun. You even get a little recap near the end which would work better if there were no films before it. I wanted to hate this film but I just couldn’t. It delivered what it’s been trying and failing to give for the last 4 films. FUN!

I advise people to watch this film without seeing any of the others as it is really what all of them seem to aspire to be. It’s the most adult, most well-acted and the best directed (it feels so different form part one which was also filmed by Condon). It’s really worth a shot and is nowhere near as bad as people say it is (I was expecting the worst but I don’t know if I’d even call it bad) It’s not going to be for everyone and there are those that have already made their minds up but for those who are open minded just go into it expecting fun. Its guilty entertainment and great fun.

7/10 (It may have gotten an 8 if they had the balls to not make the battle a vision.)

If you could have a clock that counts down to exact moment when you’ll meet your soul mate, would you want to?

This is the premise of the stunning directorial debut from Jay Schaeffer and what an interesting premise it is. The film is set in a very near future where scientists have developed a timer (the timer of the title) that once installed into a person’s wrist, will say exactly how long it will be before they meets their true love. Our main character Oona (played by the amazing Emma Caulfield) is having difficulty finding her soul mate and it doesn’t help that her timer is blank (possibly meaning her love hasn’t had a timer installed yet or does it mean she doesn’t have a soul mate?). She falls for a supermarket assistant Mickey (played by John Patrick Amedori) who’s timer says he is due to meet his true love in 4 months’ time. Can the two of them beat the system and fall in love despite their timers?

When I saw the dvd of this in a shop I was for some reason drawn to read the synopsis. It sounded really interesting and it sounded like it had that unique twist that many films  are lacking (especially romance pictures). I bought it and found myself not to be disappointed. It is a truly phenomenal romance picture that really does strike up some interesting questions on love and fate. It’s the way that it handles these questions that makes it truly stand out from everything else (not that there is any other film quite like this one).

WARNING! – this is where I may get all mushy and sentimental.

The biggest question that the film raises is probably ‘can we help who we fall in love with?’:

It’s a very interesting question and one that really can’t be fully answered due to the nature of what it is. Love is the one emotion that can’t be broken down, can’t be fully analysed as everyone experiences it in different ways. For me, love is the most intimate emotional connection one can have with another human being. There doesn’t necessarily have to be anything physical about the relationship (although there generally is), it is far more than that. It even surpasses that need, that human craving for companionship. It can’t be explained faithfully in words, it is something one must truly experience to fully understand (even then it is something that I believe defies understanding.) I am a true believer in Love and believe that it is the greatest emotion one can feel (even if it does go wrong).

It is also true when people say that you never know what you’ve got until you lose it. The feeling one gets is best described as heartbreak. It’s something that I never believed but it’s true. A piece of your heart gets torn out and you never know if it’ll ever heal. Even when it does there will always be a scar (Not that it is necessarily a bad thing, even if at the time, it feels bad.) It is these scars and our life experiences that craft us into who we are. They can make us stronger (or even weaker) but it’s who we are. But for me, Love it is the one thing that is truly worth the risk (although some may disagree with me)

Where would we be without risk? Nowhere is the answer.

This is what the film handles really well. These two characters, Oona and Mikey who are not ‘destined’ to be together, develop true feelings for one another and they have the tough question of ‘is it worth the heartache?’ For Mickey it is but Oona isn’t sure (which is a natural response) none of us want to get hurt but without the risk will we ever find true happiness?

The film’s ‘timer’ aims to solve this problem (well at least in the film world). But it brings up a question of can you fall in love with someone because you’re told to? I don’t think you can (as much as it’d help). You can get that spark which leads you to approach and talk to another individual but I’d class that initial spark to possibly fall closer to lust than love. You could even say that you love the ‘idea’ of a certain individual without even knowing them. It can’t be explained this easily though. I honestly believe you can know when you are in love with a person, You can know it from your first meeting, but even then it increases and soon can become an overwhelming rollercoaster ride of beauty (and sometimes pain). In the film Oona and Mikey’s relationship starts as one of lust (well at least for Oona) but as the film progresses and they spend more time together lust develops to love. This can be how love works, but as I’ve said love cannot be summed up so easily (oh! I wish it could be).

The film really does hit home on some of these questions and for this reason it hooked me far more than most films.  It goes from being funny, to beautiful, to utterly heart-breaking (just like real life). Love isn’t a smooth ride and relationships can be hard work for both parties. This is what the film acknowledges and gets right. This is what makes it a remarkable piece of film making in my eyes.

The acting was amazing especially from the two leads who hold the film together with their realistic portrayal of what a relationship can be.  The fact the film doesn’t glorify everything and doesn’t paint everything in black and white, makes it that much better than most romantic comedies out there (although I wouldn’t really call this a comedy). I loved it I really did.

So It brings us back to the opening question of whether you’d want to know if you’ve found true love. I personally don’t think I would (although at times it would make things a heck of a lot easier). As I’ve said it makes us who we are and as much as it can hurt, you never know what will happen. I also don’t believe in a clock that tries to break down the true emotion into a series of numbers. For me, this film made me question my own life and feelings more than any other and that surprised me. For that I can barely fault it. A must see. 9/10.

 

*sorry if I went off topic a bit. Just got a bit carried away.

A modern retelling of Beauty and the beast starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer may not sound like a particularly good idea but to be fair it’s better than it probably should be.

Basic gist of the story is Alex Pettyfer’s character ‘Kyle’ is the pretty boy in school who cares for no one but himself. Along comes Mary-Kate Olsen (yes the one from that show about the twins) who curses him with ‘hideous’ looks unless he can find true love before the all the petals fall off his tattoo of a tree. He falls for Vanessa Hudgens’ character and trys to win her over by any means necessary, including kidnapping (well kinda).

What confused me is the fact that the tattoos and facial scars possible make Pettyfer look far cooler then he previously looked. It made him more of an individual which ultimately he was saying from the start by saying he was more beautiful than everyone else. (I know it’s kind of the point, about looking through the ‘ugly’ outer layers but still.) In fact I think this is a flaw of the original story of Beauty and the Beast. The ‘Beast’ falls for the beautiful girl and ultimately doesn’t change that much. It is the girl who has to fall for and look past the outer layers of the beast, meaning that  although the beast says he has learned about true love, he hasn’t really.

The film is what you’d expect from a teenage romance flick. It’s fun, soppy and mildly cringworthy at times. But to be fair, it’s what I was expecting. There is a great performance from Neil Patrick Harris (the bloke from ‘Starship Troopers’ and ‘How I met your Mother’) as Kyle’s blind tutor. Other than him, no one really stands out as either good or bad. (Mary-Kate’s performance is bordering on bad).

If you want a fairly fun and ‘safe’ romance flick you could do much worse than this. (you could do much better as well. But still…..) Overall 6/10