Monthly Archives: April 2013

An Education (2009)

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“Studying is hard and boring. Teaching is hard and boring. So, what you’re telling me is to be bored, and then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life? This whole stupid country is bored!”

A beautiful coming of age story about a girl deadset on getting into Oxford University in 1960′s London, who’s world is thrown upside down when met by an older, cultured man. Carey Mulligan’s breakout role is absolutely fantastic, and even playing a mousy plain girl she has a quality that draws you in.  Peter Sarsgaard plays the older man with just enough charm and just enough creep to keep the dynamic interesting – this film is gripping while being almost excruciating to watch as the story plays out. I think it was absolutely brilliant, it captures the teenage angst and desire – for me it was an interesting take on how to deal with feeling unfulfilled. The way it’s shot really draws you in, the beautiful setting of rich 60’s London fascinates you but it’s the characters and story that stays with you. It’s a subtle nuanced film, and honestly explores this budding relationship in a mature and mostly charming manner. One last thing I have to say is simple – you’ll remember it and you’ll definitely remember Carey.

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Bustin’ Down the Door (2008)

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“This whole thing of trying to break in and establish a sport – it took a very, very strong attitude”

This was one of those movies I randomly came across (on a plane), had never heard of it before and was rewarded with my decision to watch it. It’s a documentary on surfing, and really follows the men who established it as a sport and really lays out the foundations of the modern day surf world. It’s follows a new group of surfers that move to hawaii in the 70’s to follow their dreams of surfing. It depicts their arrival in the land of aloha and surf lifestyle, and how serious these men were about their sport. It’s a foundation story, and being able to get an inside looks at the roots of a sport is fascinating and really rare. It’s a really cool story, and is extremely honest in depicting their struggles in establishing themselves as outsiders to the hawaiians. It sets the scenes with in-depth candid interviews from the surfing legends and locals, really becoming an homage to their passion for the sport. The most memorable moments are the interviews where you can sense the depth of their passion and love for the sport, the bond they feel and their absolute dedication. It’s a great film, really interesting subject matter with an awesome soundtrack (personal favourite is Dreamers by Them Terribles) and awesome surfing scenes.

The Graduate (1967)

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“It’s like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don’t make any sense to me. They’re being made up by all the wrong people. I mean no one makes them up. They seem to make themselves up.”

I have to mention one of my favourite films, if not my number one favourite, and it is The Graduate. One thing that is for sure that my single favourite scene from any movie, and for me makes this movie is the final scene. The final scene just grabs me every time, and questions the entire film and is not only the perfect ending but also the perfect character insight just before the credits roll. If you’ve heard of Mrs Robinson, it’s from this film, which follows, a recent graduate who starts a relationship with his parent’s friend Mrs Robinson. Then other characters further complicate this situation and it’s really just a film of interesting dynamics between characters. What makes this film work are the quirky plot, the great cast and the easy pace. I found myself completely caught up in the easy flow of the story, and then in the final scene the movie just hits you with something you didn’t expect. At least, that’s how it happens for me every time I watch it, and the test of a good movie is if you have a strong reaction. Not only is this a quality movie, it’s a classic and again – the final scene is simple perfection.

The Intouchables (2012)

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“That’s what I want… no pity.”

Intouchables is 2011 french film based on a true story and follows the relationship of Philipe, a paralysed millionaire and Driss, his ex-con caretaker. I honestly find it quite challenging to put into words in an effective and truthful manner the strong reaction I had to this film. I found myself laughing and I have never been in a better mood after watching a movie without feeling like it was forced feel-good film. It felt like a trailer featuring only the best parts of a film, that was feature film. I was completely enraptured, relating to the characters genuine nature and laughing to the many unexpected smart remarks. It is one of the easiest films to watch, despite the subtitles (because well, I don’t speak french) due to the cast, script and refreshing take on medical and social issues. The decision to alter Driss’ character history in order to land Omar Sy for the role was the best decision as his energy pulls the movie. It touches on many social issues through a strong story with hilarious jokes, without feeling forced and with a lot of heart. The friendship between the men feels organic and I found myself entirely enraptured by the odd couple. At the end I found myself planning the second viewing and reading up on the real characters, finding not surprisingly they are still close.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)

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“Marriage is hard… Just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It’s a fucking marathon, okay?”

A Sundance 2010 breakout hit, with two golden globes achieved (best comedy or musical, and best actress in comedy or musical for Annette Bening) this film is a win all around. The film centers around an unconventional family, two kids with the same sperm donor and two mother’s who gave birth to one each. The kids then want to discover the identity of this sperm donor, and Paul (Mark Ruffalo) is brought into a family. One thing I respect about this film is it’s portrayal of lesbian couples and mainly an unconventional family, something more involved in our world today and really just shows they can seem perfect and can be very messed up – just like the rest of the world. It doesn’t try to portray as the perfect life, or with any sense of malice: it simply shows that a family is a family, problem and all no matter the sex of the parenting unit. In the end this film is touching and gets you involved in the story rather than leaving you feeling unconnected. Main thanks are to the brilliant cast, but also the writing which leaves it hilarious and dramatic – in the end this film just works. All aspects work together from direction, to writing, to acting it all gels together to make a cinematic success.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

Image“I have no one to say ‘remember when’ to anymore”

A candid look into the real entertainment industry, this is a honest look into the life of an icon. Joan Rivers has become the joke and the face of plastic surgery, which she is very open about but this film shows what is behind the face. It’s tragically hilarious, and gets to the heart of what is important in life. In a business where you are never back at the height of your fame, there is a harsh reality when you’re only goal is unreachable. Some might not connect with the documentary film-making, but this film is hard-hitting, powerful and honestly quite heartbreaking. If anything, you will respect Joan Rivers for the legend she is.

Food Inc. (2009)

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“I think it’s one of the most important battles for consumers to fight: the right to know what’s in their food, and how it was grown.”

This is one of the documentaries that has always stuck with me because it has that shock value, and it’s relevant for anyone and everyone. A must-see, tell everyone about it because this is the truth behind the food we eat film. It’s disgusting, disturbing and just plain wrong. It reveals the secrets of the food industry. The sad truth being that unhealthy fast food is simply cheaper and easier to consume. It makes you never want to eat a certain way again, it will change your mind and it will make you read the labels – it is a film that will make you care. It leaves you with one final statement to take to heart: ”people have got to start demanding good wholesome food. and we will deliver.”