Monthly Archives: November 2012

2012 Film Rankings

Added: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

  1. The Dark Knight Rises
  2. Avengers Assemble
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man
  4. The Descendants
  5. Looper
  6. Argo
  7. Silver Linings Playbook
  8. 21 Jump Street
  9. The Hunger Games
  10. The Cabin In The Woods
  11. The Watch
  12. Skyfall
  13. American Reunion
  14. Premium Rush
  15. Lawless
  16. Rock of Ages
  17. Contraband
  18. The Woman In Black
  19. The Five Year Engagement
  20. Magic Mike
  21. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
  22. Shame
  23. The Muppets
  24. Red Lights
  25. Safe House
  26. Dark Shadows
  27. Prometheus
  28. Chernobyl Diaries
  29. The Grey
  30. Chronicle
  31. Killer Joe
  32. Ted
  33. Project X

Review: Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick. The film stars Bradley Cooper as Pat, Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany and a supporting cast of Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker. Directed by David O. Russell the film opened the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012 and has opened worldwide to critical acclaim.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) who has bipolar disorder is released from a mental institution and goes back home to be cared for by his parents after eight months away. He realises that his life has changed with his wife moving away and his father being out of work. Pat is determined to get his life back on track and reconcile with his wife. 
Whilst battling with his bipolar disorder, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a suffering widow who needs his friendship as much as he needs hers. The pair embark on a strange friendship and Tiffany persuades Pat to take part in a dance competition to help him win back his wife and help his dad (Robert De Niro) win a bet.

The overview of the plot I have given seems very brief but I’ve tried not to give too much away without spoiling anything. Silver Linings Playbook is a film full of emotion, sarcasm and love. Jennifer Lawrence is exceptional in her role. Her character is the complete opposite to Bradley Coopers but you fall for her charm and attitude and really root for her. Bradley Cooper also does a great job and the two actors really bounce off of each other well.

The only downside to the story is that the ending is very predictable and you can probably all work out where the film is going after about ten minutes of the two main characters meeting. This doesn’t dampen the film but in some ways it does make you wish something out of the blue would happen, just to give it that extra kick.

Silver Linings Playbook has received critical acclaim from critics and has some Oscar buzz surrounding it. I would be very surprised if Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t nominated for Best Actress and would be even more surprised if the screenplay wasn’t nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. It seems likely that the film will be nominated for Best Picture because it really is one of those films the Academy will just love.

Overall Silver Linings Playbook is a heartfelt love story about people coping with psychiatric disorders and for a two hour film is genuinely lovely, emotional and a good watch. The story tugs on your heartstrings and you fall in love with each character. The cast is great and the supporting cast is just as good. I can’t really fault this film so I suggest you head off and see if for yourself!

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Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

As I did with my Skyfall review, I would like to point out that I am a fan of Twilight. I have seen all of the other films and I have read the books. As someone who has enjoyed the previous offerings, I can understand why people are obsessed and love it and I can understand why people hate it and despise it.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the second offering in the final installment of the Twilight Saga and follows on from where part one ended back in 2011. 
This half of the romantic fantasy series follows directly on from Bella’s transformation into a vampire after giving birth to her daughter Renesmee. Whilst Bella is adjusting to life as a vampire, the Cullen’s are faced with the challenge of proving that Renesmee isn’t an immortal child when the Volturi are informed of her existence.

As a film reviewer, I feel that I have to be 100% h0nest without letting any feelings as a fan get in the way and if I’m honest, my review isn’t going to be great. I went into this film expecting to like it and expecting it to be the epic finale that it has been branded as but it really wasn’t. 
The first hour was very long where nothing really happened and when things did it, there was lack of explanation and quick movement. In this half a lot of important factors from the book where left out which I believe where needed. If these small factors had been included, it could have given the story more depth.
The second hour had twenty minutes of good cinema and then it went back to being slightly boring again. Some of the acting from new characters felt very wooden and it sometimes came across like they couldn’t be bothered.

Like I said, there are about twenty minutes of good cinema which is the fight scene between the Cullen’s and the Volturi. This action sequence does bring the film to life and does make the audience sit up and pay attention but as quickly as it is played out, it is taken away again.

Overall, I really did not like this part of the franchise. It felt sloppy, rushed and in all honestly pointless. I could probably sit here and point out many more things that where wrong but Ill be here forever. I really did want to leave the cinema and say that was a good ending but I didn’t. I left annoyed and angry at how the film had been completed. I do understand why Twilight fans are saying that this is amazing and brilliant but I didn’t see it and really expected something different.

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Review: American Idiot, The Musical

In 2009, American Idiot, a one act through-sung stage musical moved to Broadway with previews of the show beginning in 2010. After a successful Broadway run, the musical began its first national tour in 2011 and in 2012 began its first UK and Ireland tour. 
As the title tells you, the musical is an adaptation of the very successful Green Day album of the same name. The story of the musical tells the tale of three dysfunctional young men who all go off in separate directions whilst trying to find the meaning of life. Johnny and Tunny leave their small town whilst Will stays behind to work on a relationship with his pregnant girlfriend. Johnny gets mixed up in a lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll and Tunny joins the army and is shipped off to war.

First of all, the cast of this musical where great, where really energetic and put 100% into their roles. The music was done excellently and was in no way a bad redo of Green Day. Integrating the band on stage and putting them into the musical was also a great idea and made it feel different from your everyday stage show. The staging is something that I also really enjoyed. The use of the space and the props that where used was done really well and was done in a way that I hadn’t seen before.

I have to say that as a fan of the album I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. For me, there is a lack of story and I think when this idea was brought up it started out strongly but doesn’t entirely transfer on stage. The musical story is loosely based on the story behind the album but I think if you are unaware of that then you get lost as to what is exactly going on. There is a lack of dialogue between songs so for most of the time it did just feel like a Green Day concert. I think the music tells a story as it is and it doesn’t necessarily need words inbetween it to make a story. 
The diary style of story telling also made the whole thing feel disjointed. It made things move a lot quicker and as soon as you start to connect with something, you are moved on too quickly.

I went into this open minded and really wanted to enjoy it but I left feeling a little disappointed. I give credit to the cast, the music, the band and the musical director who you could clearly tell where enjoying what they where doing but for me, something lacked and it felt like it had been done to get young people into the theatre. If anything, it really made me remember how much I loved the American Idiot album. Green Day fans will and clearly do love this production and if you want to go and watch something a little different to stereotypical theatre then go and see this but I feel most people will be left disappointed.

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World Diabetes Day and My 13 Year Journey

For people who don’t know today (14th November) is world Diabetes Day. The day is dedicated to spreading the word about Diabetes in aid to try and rai

se awareness and knowledge about the disease. Today is a meaningful day for me in particular as I am a type one diabetic.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on 15th November 1999 (13 years tomorrow, a date that I have tattooed on my arm) and I fully support the work that Diabetes UK does to help people on a daily basis. The organisation’s latest campaign is ‘Do you know the 4 T’s of Type 1 Diabetes?’ to raise awareness of the most common symptoms of the disease. Diabetes UK believes that everyone who knows a child of any age should be aware of these symptoms. The 4 T’s that people should be aware of are:

Toilet: Going to the toilet a lot or bed wetting.

Thirsty: Being really thirsty and not being able to quench thirst.

Tired: More tired that usual.

Thinner: Losing weight or looking thinner than usual.

These symptoms where things that I had before my diagnosis and if my mum hadn’t been aware of them then things could have been a little wore for me. My mum was told that if we had waited any longer to go to the doctors then I could have been in a diabetic coma.
After my diagnosis I spent a week in hospital learning everything that I needed to know and was then discharged to lead my new life.

I have had a very mixed life with diabetes. I have had my challenges and I have had my good and bad days. I don’t get any help from government money (Disability Living Allowance is stopped at age 18) and without the support of my family and friends; this road could have been a lonely one.
Diabetes is something that not many people understand or even know about and some recent comments on a Facebook post about Diabetes offended me. The comment statid that I should “do my diabetes stuff in private”. I would like to state for a fact that I wont hide away and I wont do my “stuff” in private when I am out in public. I am not ashamed and I am not going to hide. If you see me in public injecting myself, then please ask me instead of looking at me funny or in disgust. I am happy to answer questions and explain what I need to do. 

I was diagnosed when I was nine years old and during that time and a few years afterwards, I would have easily asked for my diabetes to be taken away if that was possible. Now, I don’t think I would. I look at things differently and wouldn’t have it taken away. I will fight for diabetes UK. I will fight for people to understand. I will fight for people to be aware. I will fight for people to know the difference between type 1 and type 2 and I will fight for myself when I need to. Diabetes makes me different and I am now able to embrace that difference. I live a relatively normal life and now control my diabetes instead of letting it control me.

Please be aware of the symptoms and if you think you or someone you know needs to be checked then don’t hesitate. Diabetes affects approximately 2.9 million people and there are around 850,000 who have the disease but don’t know it. Please be type 1 aware and understand the disease and its dangers.

Review: Argo

Ben Affleck’s latest directorial offering can be described in three words. IT IS INCREDIBLE.

Argo tells the real life tale of former CIA agent Tony Mendez who daringly entered Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis to rescue six American hostages. The film is loosely based on the events of what happened and stars Affleck as Tony Mendez.The screenplay was based on Mendez’s own testimony and spies tales to add a bit more flavor to the story.

For those who aren’t aware of what happened, in 1979 six American officials working in the US Embassy in Tehran Iran escaped when a mob overran the embassy. Other Americans where captured by the mob as the six escapees hid in the Canadian ambassadors residence. It was then when the CIA turned to Tony Mendez.
The plan he came up with was that he and the six hostages would leave Iran posing as a film crew looking for film locations. He gets help from Hollywood and brings in film make up artist John Chambers (played by John Goodman) and film director Lester Siegel (played by Alan Arkin). All they have to do is convince the Iranian government and soldiers that they are a Canadian film crew working in the country.

The story of what this man went through to save these people is incredible in itself and is one that you can’t imagine without seeing it. Ben Affleck is a great fit to play Mendez. He is believable as the character and his struggle for approval from the CIA and his co workers is well portrayed. The tone of the film is intense from the get go. The first half of the film draws you into the struggle of the American people who are hostage and the second half has you on the edge of your seat just wishing them to get home.
The ensemble cast is great as well. Alan Arkin brings a slight comedy value to a film that you would expect to be 100% serious. He brings a lighter tone to the moments where you want to breath a sigh of relief.

I can’t really find fault with the film and that shows that I really enjoyed it. As a political thriller I think it stands out from others films of the same genre. Critics everywhere are praising Argo and there has been Oscar buzz surrounding the film. I can see why and would love the film to win something at the next Oscar ceremony.

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2012 Film Rankings

Addes: SKYFALL and ARGO

Some of the top 10 have changed since I first published the list

  1. The Dark Knight Rises
  2. Avengers Assemble
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man
  4. The Descendants
  5. Looper
  6. Argo
  7. 21 Jump Street
  8. The Hunger Games
  9. Shame
  10. The Cabin In The Woods
  11. The Watch
  12. Skyfall
  13. American Reunion
  14. Premium Rush
  15. Lawless
  16. Rock of Ages
  17. Contraband
  18. The Woman In Black
  19. The Five Year Engagement
  20. Magic Mike
  21. The Muppets
  22. Red Lights
  23. Safe House
  24. Dark Shadows
  25. Prometheus
  26. Chernobyl Diaries
  27. The Grey
  28. Chronicle
  29. Killer Joe
  30. Ted
  31. Project X