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La La Land

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Poster for the movie "La La Land"

La La Land

Here's to the fools who dream.

20162 h 08 min
Overview

Mia, an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian, a jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

Metadata
Director Damien Chazelle
Runtime 2 h 08 min
Release Date 1 December 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Masterpiece
Images

Here’s to the dreamers…

I’ve been looking forward to this film with a ridiculous amount of anticipation which as we know often goes badly wrong, but NOT this time!

Everything about this film is wonderful, except maybe for the cheesy first five minutes.  Get through that, leave your cynicism at the door and prepare for some cinema joy.  This is the musical made fresh with passion and delightful exuberance.  Emma Stone is both feisty and vulnerable as Mia.  Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian with just right amount of buttoned up-ness.  The dancing is gorgeous, the colours are sunny and warm.  I hate jazz (or maybe I don’t now!) but the music was fabulous.  Oh it even has a touch of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

Seriously this is the best antidote to the gloomy January blues, and if you even have a tiny sliver of romance in your icy, cynical heart go and see it!

Why Him?

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Poster for the movie "Why Him?"

Why Him?

20161 h 51 min
Overview

A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter's young rich boyfriend.

Metadata
Director John Hamburg
Runtime 1 h 51 min
Release Date 22 December 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Not bad
Images

 

Bryan Cranston stars in this Meet the Parents meets the Pink Panther combo (helpfully explained for younger viewers).  Although this movie has several flaws, unoriginal storyline, overlong, no real heart it still has plenty of humour and great comedy acting from a stellar cast.  Bryan Cranston can do very little wrong in my eyes and he didn’t disappoint as the buttoned up father (with a penchant for Kiss) protecting his daughter from the mega rich games developer.  We know it’s going to go all wrong before it goes all right and that’s okay.  I enjoyed the setting of the game designer’s mansion, the crazy art, the weird bespoke food and most of all ‘Justine’.  Justine is the grown up, foul mouthed, all seeing (although she denies she can actually see) all hearing version of the Amazon Dot built into every ceiling in the house.  I loved her and I want one!

A Street Cat Named Bob

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A Street Cat Named Bob

20161 h 40 min
Overview

Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.

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Runtime 1 h 40 min
Release Date 4 November 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Not bad
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

This film falls down the crack between hard hitting social drama and family friendly lighthearted romp.  It’s based on a book, the true story of James Bowen, a homeless recovering drug addict and the cat who became his salvation.  I haven’t read the book but I understand it changed many people’s perception of the homeless and apparently improved James’ life to the extent that he was able to buy his own home.  All wonderfully positive, but for me, the film missed out by not exploring the issues in greater depth.  It was a strange mixture.  There were many, many cat close ups and when we started seeing shots from the cat’s POV I was dreading some anthropomorphic voiceover (my pet hate..sorry!) but thankfully the director spared us from hearing Bob’s inner thoughts.

The actors were great, Bob played himself which is amazing in itself.  Luke Treadaway was both endearing and convincing as the abandoned son of a wealthy father who had turned to drugs.  Special mention to the lovely Joanne Froggatt (Downton, Dark Angel) as the social worker who exuded both warmth and stability.

All in all it was a ‘pleasant’, feel-good film, but not enough depth for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sausage Party

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Sausage Party

Adventure is on the menu

20161 h 23 min
Overview

Sausage Party, the first R-rated CG animated movie, is about one sausage leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store.

Metadata
Director Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
Runtime 1 h 23 min
Release Date 11 July 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Average
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

Where do I start with Sausage Party?  Racial stereotypes and just about every religion insulted in the first 30 minutes – at least this film is an equal opportunities offender.

If you don’t like sweary films and the depiction of sex acts by animated food then this probably isn’t for you (okay, I take your point WHO does like that last one?)  The film is  weird and clever in unequal parts, one minute I was laughing at a cutting one liner and the next I was cringing at “holes” and “meat” gags.  Maybe because we’re so used to mainstream animation being cute and cuddly that an adult rated film seems cruder and ruder than if  the same lines were uttered by a live action character.  The saving grace for me was the overall concept of the movie, the analogy between the Great Beyond promised when food became the ‘chosen ones’ and were taken from the supermarket and the futility of religion.

I might have blushed watching the last ten minutes when it went into food-sex frenzy overdrive and I was grateful that I was alone at this daytime showing, I wouldn’t have wanted to catch anyone’s eye over the popcorn!

 

Bridget Jones’ Baby

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Bridget Jones's Baby

20161 h 37 min
Overview

Breaking up with Mark Darcy leaves Bridget Jones over 40 and single again. Feeling that she has everything under control, Jones decides to focus on her career as a top news producer. Suddenly, her love life comes back from the dead when she meets a dashing and handsome American named Jack. Things couldn't be better, until Bridget discovers that she is pregnant. Now, the befuddled mom-to-be must figure out if the proud papa is Mark or Jack.

Metadata
Director Sharon Maguire
Runtime 1 h 37 min
Release Date 15 September 2016
Details
Movie Status
Movie Rating Very good
Images
No images were imported for this movie.

Leaving the cinema, weeping, at lunchtime…it’s many years since I’ve done that and it’s all Bridget’s fault!  This was the kind of film that manipulates emotions more deftly than an X-factor audition, lays on the corn with a trowel and requires a suspension of disbelief way above and beyond… but all that said, I loved it.  There’s something about the vulnerable, awkward nature of Bridget, mixed with a little kookiness that is just so appealing, you can’t help rooting for her.  There were some genuinely funny lines, a little visual humour, good support from the repressed Darcy, what’s not to love?   And who turned out to be the father of Bridget’s baby? I couldn’t possibly say.

Edit – almost forgot, the soundtrack is great too (awkward little cameo from Ed Sheeran) and includes one of my all time favourites, F*ck You by the lovely Lily Allen.