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Friends with Benefits [MA 15+]

 

Director: Will Gluck
Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson
Running Time: 109 minutes
DVD Release Date: December 16 2011

Jamie (Kunis) is a corporate head hunter (she prefers Executive Recruiter) trying to recruit Dylan (Timberlake) from his small yet successful, Los Angeles based internet blog to Art Director of GQ magazine in New York City.

The two become fast friends. As the title suggests, they quickly embark on a sex only, physical relationship, all the while vowing, via a funny ipad bible app scene no less, to remain friends no matter what.

friends with benefits

‘No relationship….no emotions….just sex. Whatever happens….. we stay friends’

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that….

The movie starts at a cracking pace and does not let up for the first 45 minutes or so. The dialogue is quick, witty and intelligent. The chemistry between Kunis and Timberlake is believable. There are many references to Hollywood romantic movies and actors are named and shamed for their part in perpetuating the notion of an idealised true love. Oh yes…..an anti-rom com movie. Loving it!

There are some genuinely hilarious moments and when the pair has their first sexual encounter, the results are unexpectedly funny. Much of the humour comes from the fact that, as this is just ‘a sex thing’, they feel no need for the subtle niceties usually employed during intimate moments with a new lover.

The do and don’t lists Jamie and Dylan both sprout off are laugh out loud funny because they are so very true. He leaves his socks on, she doesn’t bother to shave her legs. They banter back and forth poking fun at romantic sex. As their affair continues, the dialogue and scenes become more intimate but no less entertaining.

You can read the rest of my review at Beauty and Lace http://entertainment.beautyandlace.net/dvd-review-friends-with-benefits-ma-15

The Adjustment Bureau [PG]

 

Rated: PG
Director: George Nolfi
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Terence Stamp, John Slattery
Running Time: 106 minutes
Release Date: In cinemas now

‘Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us?’

This is one of the tag lines for this movie and it is because of this line alone that I decided it was a must see at the cinema.

AJB

David Norris (Damon) is running for a seat in the US Senate and all is going very, very well. Clearly, he is on track to become a President of the United States at some point in the future but then a sordid tabloid story derails his career. At just this moment in time, he meets the beautiful dancer, Elise Sellas (Blunt). Norris is spellbound and the pair quickly fall in love.

Enter the mysterious men-in-black types, The Adjustment Bureau, who will do anything in their power to keep the pair apart. It is now that Norris must decide if he controls his own destiny or if it is simply pre-destined. With New York City as a backdrop, the movie then follows Norris over the next few years as he faces and deals with choices and consequences….fate and chance.

the-adjustment-bureau

The beginning of the movie with it’s slew of famous political and social commentators and news people, many of whom Australian viewers would be familiar with, gave a John F Kennedy kind of hype to the character of Norris. I can imagine scenes like this 50 years ago when the young JFK stepped into the public arena, his sights firmly set on the White House.

You can read the rest of my review at Beauty and Lace http://entertainment.beautyandlace.net/movie-reviewthe-adjustment-bureau

I Am Number 4 [M]

 

Director : DJ Caruso
Starring : Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron
Running Time : 110 minutes
Release Date :February 24, 2011

This movie has it all. A movie adaptation of a novel by the same name (authored by Pittacus Lore) it has a handsome, mysterious yet gentle hearted hero, the beautiful yet misunderstood girl who falls for hero, the downtrodden geek who befriends hero, the warrior/father/guardian figure who protects hero, the school yard bullies who taunt everyone and the bad guys who want to kill hero. There is even an adorable yet strange beagle who hero adopts.

But let me tell you more about the hero…

John Smith (Pettyfer) is one of 9 very special and uniquely gifted children hidden on earth after their home planet is destroyed. Each child is accompanied by a guardian whose sole purpose is to protect the child. 3 children have been killed and John is number 4.

At the age of 15, John and his guardian/father Henri (Olyphant) are adept at moving on quickly, silently and leaving no trace of themselves. After 3 is killed, the ‘family’ move to sleepy, anonymous Paradise, Ohio, where Henri has business to attend to, in the hope of escaping John’s fate at the hands of the evil Mogadorians (more on them later).

John’s attempts to blend in go awry as he is set upon almost immediately by the school bullies for his interest in the softly spoken and ethereal looking Sarah (Glee’s Agron). He antagonises the bullies further by befriending the school geek, who will become a pivotal character before long.

It is about this time that John’s gifts begin to emerge….and they are pretty cool. Whether this is due to his emotions, the natural order of things or the fact that the bad guys are after him is never clear. I think it’s a combination of all the above. Now about those bad guy Mogadorians.

You won’t be able to miss them as they are 8 foot tall, bald, tattooed black trench coat wearing heavies who drive around in a cavalcade of shiny, black cars. They also have creepy yet completely mesmerizing gills near their noses. Oh and sharp, pointy teeth. Contrasted against the average, if very good-looking, humans, truly scary. I LOVED them!

About two-thirds of the way through the movie, the character played by Aussie actress Teresa Palmer starts to have a major impact. I won’t say who she is (you should go see the movie to find out) but I will say that she makes Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft look like a frumpy wanna-be.

I love seeing Australians in the movies, especially the up and coming actors and in this one, she gets to keep her Aussie accent. It so rarely happens that it is noteworthy. It really did make me smile.

This movie is like a roller-coaster. It races along, slows down only to pick up speed then ease back a little again. But when the race for the last giant loop begins, it moves along sharply as all the puzzle pieces fall into place. I would have liked some of the characters to have been fleshed out some more and some are a little cliché (watch for the big bully’s police officer father) but overall, it was not a movie that you could say was lacking in this area.

The special effects were well done and the monsters and bad guys were scary enough without being gross. The ending is left open to a sequel but satisfying enough in itself. In fact, the novel is only the first in a six book series (according Wikipedia) so there is my answer.

Now how do I recommend this movie? I had my teenage sons (14 and almost 17) with me and they both thought the film was ‘hectic’. The younger one raced home and googled the book once we saw it was a novel.

This film is clearly targeted to the under 30 market and I think it will do very well, especially as there were half a dozen or so girls swooning over the lead actor’s poster as we waited in the movie theatre’s lobby for the movie begin.

I am obviously not this movie’s target audience but should you give it a miss? Absolutely not! It was an entirely pleasant way to spend a rainy, humid Sunday afternoon and that is exactly what we did.

Black Swan [MA15]

 

Director : Darren Aronofsky
Starring : Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Running Time : 108 minutes
Release Date : On DVD – 2011

Nina (Portman) is a ballerina who eats, sleeps and breathes dance. She shares an apartment with her overbearing mother (Hershey) who is obsessed with Nina’s career. When the ballet company’s Artistic Director, Leroy (Cassel) decides to stage a production of Swan Lake, he chooses Nina over his former lead dancer Beth (Ryder) for the role of the Queen Swan.

Whilst Nina can dance the role of the innocent White Swan to perfection, she must also be able to portray the sensuality of the Black Swan with the same authenticity…something Leroy has doubts she can do. Enter Lily (Kunis) a new dancer who personifies the essence of the Black Swan. Thus begins a twisted tale of friendship, desire, obsession and, of course, dance.

I first got wind of this movie way back in November 2010. I started hearing ‘the buzz’ about Black Swan, and more precisely Portman, on a few online message boards and websites that I frequent. Since then, Portman has won a Golden Globe, SAG Award and BAFTA for this performance. She is also nominated for an Academy Award.

To set this tense psychological thriller against the backdrop of the world of ballet is surely a stroke of genius. In this world, perfection and effortless grace are everything. I think it prudent of me to mention at this time that even if you know little of ballet or Swan Lake, fear not.

This is not just a dance movie. Aronofsky’s camerawork gives an almost documentary like feel. It can be a little dizzying at times but it adds to the intimacy of the movie

Portman, who trained for a year to prepare for this role, including learning to dance en pointe, plays Nina as a woman so repressed, both physically and emotionally, that it is almost painful to watch. From her tight ballerina’s hair bun and forced, exaggerated smile, to her self mutilation, everything about Nina screams tension and restraint.

The mother, Erica’s, overbearing presence and subtle manipulation of her daughter is sad to witness. Erica seems determined to keep Nina in a perpetual state of co-dependency. Nina takes to devising ways to lock out her mother, both physically and emotionally, from her life.

In one early scene, although technically perfect, Leroy is trying to explain to her what he expects from his Black Swan. Nina looks at him with big wide eyes and that taut, almost grimace-like smile and nods her understanding. But her eyes reveal the truth…..she genuinely has no idea what he wants from her. He admonishes her to loosen up, to be sensual and seductive but she is so tightly wound that she simply cannot do as he wishes.

One morning Nina is late and arrives at the theatre to find Lily dancing the role of the Black Swan. Leroy, rather offhandedly, points out that this is what he wants from Nina. Nina stares at the beautiful and laughing Lily in abject horror and the die has been cast. Lily’s sensual self assuredness and languid movements are the absolute opposite of Nina’a taut, tight self loathing and doubt. The two women develop an uneasy friendship……or do they?

From here on in, the movie tracks Nina’s demise into seeming madness. We are never quite sure what is real and what is only in Nina’s tortured mind. Subtle CGI effects as Nina becomes the swans, leave you blinking and asking if you really did just see that. The opening night performance of Swan Lake will leave you breathless in it’s magnificence as the perfect culmination of the movie.

I will be going to see this movie again before it’s cinema run is over because I need to make sure that the movie I think I saw was the one I did see. Yes, it really is just that good.

Nominated for Best Film, Best Directing and Best Actress at this years Academy Awards, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, the Best Actress Oscar is Natalie’s (sorry Nicole).

Quote of the Moment…

 

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.

Tennessee Williams

Movie & DVD Reviews

 

 

As I add all of my previous Movie & DVD reviews, some of those I reviewed as cinema releases will obviously be out on DVD by now. I guess that will be obvious but just in case it confuses anyone….that’s the deal for the time being.

But please feel free to comment anyway.

Flick x

Movie & DVD Reviews

 

 

As I add all of my previous Movie & DVD reviews, some of those I reviewed as cinema releases will obviously be out on DVD by now. I guess that will be obvious but just in case it confuses anyone….that’s the deal for the time being.

But please feel free to comment anyway.

Flick x

Welcome….

authentic-drama-queen

Welcome to my shiny new blog which, I am sure, will become a worldwide sensation within moments.

But first I need one million unique daily views….then there will be the book about the blog….then the movie.

Oh shit! Who will play me in the movie *sighs dramatically*

It’s all too much drama!! LOL

So onward and upwards…..

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