The Five-Year Engagement

20 07 2012

I went to see the Five-Year Engagement on the day that my brother called me to announce his own engagement. As such, I entered the cinema on quite a high, feeling pretty elated about the prospect of engagements and weddings. Sadly, this film brought me crashing down pretty quickly.

Funnily enough, given it was written by Jason Segel and stars him alongside Emily Blunt, I actually expected this to be a comedy….sadly it came across as more of a slap in the face.

The Five-Year Engagement tells the story of Tom and Violet who seem like a perfect couple (though surrounded by comedy and often ridiculous moments – not unlike my own life) and who become engaged at the start of the film. Apologies to anyone who didn’t get that from the title J What follows is the tale of the following five years in which life gets in the way of their wedding, eventually resulting in a complete break up and a number of horrible sex scenes whilst Jason Segal pulls some girl in her early 20s. I think this film just caught me off guard which may explain why I didn’t like it so much. On a rainy Sunday afternoon in high spirits from my family news, I was hoping for something that would put a smile on my face. Instead, this film felt far too close to real life and genuinely pretty sad. Even the supposedly ‘happy ending’ seemed like a pretty poor excuse for happy.

To be honest, I’m starting to feel like Jason Segel in Hollywood is becoming pretty overrated and this was one of the worst films I’ve seen this year. Perhaps I’m just being too much of a girl on this one though and this type of rom-com is better than the fairytale like tales I’ve become accustomed to? Who knows. 4/10 Kx


Snow White and the Huntsman

16 07 2012

I was quite tempted not to write up a review of Snow White and the Huntsman. So truly terrible as it was. What’s the saying? If you don’t having anything nice to say……

However, in the interests of warning people, I feel that I should scribble my thoughts down.

Apologies if you’re a big Kristen Stewart fan, but I really don’t know what you see in her. Beyond the Twilight saga, it seems that her and R-Patz may struggle in the outside world. She genuinely brought nothing to the film beyond vacant looks and occasionally looking a little bit frightened. Her acting range seems significantly flawed and I just didn’t really give two hoots about what happened to her. Especially when compared with Charlize Theron who was fantastic as the queen (Ravenna)- the difference in ability was really quite startling. Usually a firm favourite of mine, sadly Chris Hemsworth didn’t even hit the right note on this occasion.

In terms of the wider story, it just felt like it was dragging its heels throughout and like it was taking an eternity to get anywhere. As much as I enjoyed Ray Winston and Nick Frost as dwarfs, by the time you got to their point in the story I was ready to walk out. Although the actually portrayal of fairytale like creatures looked great on film, it also didn’t feel like it had stretched beyond anything we’ve seen before, in tales such as Lord of the Rings.

All in all, there’s not much more to say about this. I wouldn’t recommend it, even on DVD. Probably made some money at the cinema, but it certainly wasn’t worth the ticket price as far as I’m concerned. Very disappointing 3/10 Kx

Friends with Kids

11 07 2012

Friends with Kids was released at the cinema recently, and I honestly can’t recommend it enough (well to girls anyway). This is the tale of two friends who decide to have a baby together so they get the benefits of having a child with someone they love, without actually having the complication of being in love. Set amongst the backdrop of New York and alongside their friends’ relationships, this film takes quite a serious look at marriage and babies, coated in a lot of laughs.

Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a comedy first and foremost, but it certainly has more serious undertones. The main characters are familiar faces but probably best known for their supporting roles previously (Adam ScottJennifer Westfeldt). To an extent, this really shows through…..but it’s also quite refreshing to have lead roles played by people who you don’t see splashed across the Daily Mail every day – almost makes it a little easier to buy into the characters and the actual story. The actual story is pretty well told and covers quite a number of years. It doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility either, particularly when surrounded by the other more ‘normal’ couples.

Granted, there are a few irritations around the film. Namely the main character referring to the female lead as ‘doll’ throughout – yuck! However, all in all, I really loved this and exited the cinema with a huge smile on my face. Given I’ve seen some truly terrible films recently, this was the rose amongst the thorns. Perhaps a little under the radar, but definitely worth making the effort for and I genuinely laughed out loud at both the straight humour and inappropriate moments throughout. 8/10 Kx

POSH the Play

19 06 2012

I didn’t really know what to expect when I entered the theatre to see POSH but  I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see. I have to admit, this is one of the best performances I’ve seen in the London West End for a long time, and I was so pleased to be blown away by the content. The format felt like you were almost treated to three types of performance all in one, with the comedy and random beat-boxing of the first half, contrasted with the somber and significantly more serious tone following the interval. The acting was far beyond my expectations, particularly from Leo Bill as Alistair Ryle, whose performance grew in strength as the performance went on.

To take it back to the beginning, in it’s simplest form, this play outlines the proceedings of the quarterly dinner of the Oxford University Riot Club, an institution with a vast amount of history and money, and certainly not short of opinions. With the play conducted between two locations, the Oxford University office of a former Riot Club President and the dining room of a country pub in which the dinner is held, the pace of the performance and the startling change of tone which took place really keeps you on your feet. The comedy also really struck me – it was incredibly accurate in terms of the pretentious “yah” instead of “yes” and use of the word “savage.” Granted, it could perhaps be seen as an exaggeration of how Oxford boys may been viewed, but I actually think writer Laura Wade was pretty spot on with her approach. From the offensive and crude remarks between themselves, versus the incredibly polite and conscientious way in which they present themselves to outsiders, the comedy, timing and seemingly natural style to the production was incredibly engaging and I honestly laughed out loud throughout.

The cast were really fantastic, with character development for each throughout the duration of the piece. Some familiar faces from previous appearances in film and TV were almost unrecognisable within the Oxford schoolboy elite. It took a Google of Henry Lloyd-Hughes to realise he was recognisable having played Donovan in The Inbetweeners TV show and film – such a stark contrast to that role and played brilliantly. The role of James Leighton-Masters, club President and played by Tom Mison, also proved to be a balancing factor in the production, having seemingly less extreme views on the state of the country and their position within it, versus other members of the group. The naivety of the newcomers to the club also assisted in providing a reflection of the audiences discomfort at some of the more extreme moments in the production.

References to the current economic state in the UK also proved timely, touching on current class divides and issues which have struck the news recently in terms of benefits system, class expectations and the taxing of the rich. Comedy moments around the rich now opening their houses to the National Trust and a certain student having had his sisters ‘ wedding moved because it clashed with the teddy bear’s picnic were hilarious within the context of the play. References to other universities not being up to scratch and the demeaning tone in which certain parts of the country were viewed, alongside the ‘them and us’ mantra were also explored in an honest and sometimes quite shocking way.

If you have any interest in class divisions or just want to see something both thought provoking but incredibly funny and entertaining, I honestly can’t recommend this production enough. Incredibly well put together and I’m already planning a return visit with friends before the run ends on the 4th August. 9/10.

The Lucky One

8 06 2012

The Lucky One stars Zac Efron as a US Marine who finds a picture of a girl whilst serving his country and then proceeds to survive unlikely situations as he colleagues fall around him. On returning to US soil, he decides to track down the girl and thank her for being his lucky charm. Cheesy, I know.

Now I have to say, this film is incredibly predictable and at moments even I actually cringed a little at the cheesiness. However, there were also moments which were incredibly sweet and a welcome relief from the exhausting action and drama which you are normally presented with at the cinema. As my housemate and I swooned at the sight of Zac Efron bulked up for the role, all in all, I was pretty happy.

Essentially what I’m saying here is that this is a classic chick flick. Elements of drama here and then, but generally a pretty smooth ride watching people fall in love and then encounter something which threatens to pull them apart. The contradiction of hardened marine versus gentle Logan (Efron) back on US soil actually made for a pretty strong lead male role too. The setting for the film was also truly beautiful, and just added to the heartwarming sensation which this film generated.

Yes, this film won’t change your life, but it certainly evokes a certain feeling of happiness and contentment. I’d recommend it to every girl I know and suggest boys leave us to it. Swoon 7/10 Kx

American Reunion

28 05 2012

American Reunion was a film I was pretty dubious about seeing. Given the other sequels in the franchise, my optimism about any kind of quality in this film was pretty low, but I felt compelled to make the effort given it’s the first time that the full cast has been reunited. Given the time lag between this and American Pie take one, I also hoped that they had spent the necessary time in making sure this one was just right. And they certainly did!

In all honestly, my friend Georgie and I were in stiches throughout this film. After a long week at work, American Reunion was the perfect antidote, with laugh out loud moments throughout. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the smartest of films or constructed with any level of intrigue or suspense, but that’s not what you’re looking for in this brand of film. Instead, it relates straight back to the initial outing, with near constant sexual references, embarrassing moments, quite shocking moments for the prudes amongst us, and also the ongoing heartfelt friendships – a pretty good combination all in all.

I don’t want to venture too much into the detail here for fear of ruining the many surprises, but there was a fantastic mix of marriage issues, single lifestyles and couple reunions which were thrown together into one big comedy bonanza. I left the cinema with a massive smile on my face and continued to giggle in the car home at the various stand out moments. Perhaps slightly strangely though, I think my favourite element to this film was the soundtrack. Harking back to the original film in the franchise, the soundtrack evoked the best memories from the earlier films, probably given it ties with my own teenage years.

Interestingly, my least favourite character from the original (Oz) actually became my favourite in the latest instalment – some seriously comedy moments and a ridiculously buff body to boot!

Bearing in mind that I was about 13 when the original American Pie was released in cinemas, perhaps the novelty this time around was that I actually got a lot more of the humour and didn’t cringe quite so much as the first time around. However, the way the latest in the franchise links back to the original, from the character development (or lack of), old faces (namely the Sherminator – amazing!) and the soundtrack, all made for a cracking movie in my opinion. You definitely need to be ready to laugh for this one, but once you let yourself go, it’s a laugh a minute. Very highly rated in my book, 8.5/10 Kx

Avengers Assemble

11 05 2012

Wow. The Avengers. What can I say. I bloody loved it.

Yes I may sound geeky, but I honestly couldn’t have enjoyed this film more. Came out grinning like a Cheshire Cat J

Let’s get back to the start though. For anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past few years and may not know, Avengers Assemble tells of how the world’s super heroes are brought together to combat the biggest threat the world has ever faced – Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Cue Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr.), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawk Eye (Jeremy Renner), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) brought together by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Essentially this is your standard super hero movie. Drama, action, adventure, fantasy etc – same old, same old. But this film had much more of a spark than other films in this genre – even the individual hero films such as Thor and Captain America.

For me, this film was pretty much perfect. Such an incredible cast and far more humour than I’d anticipated. The dynamics between the characters were really well played out – the only problem perhaps being that because there were so many of them, some of the back stories weren’t examined in great details. It’s one of the first films I’ve genuinely enjoyed in 3D too. I felt gripped throughout the film and was pretty disappointed when it came to an end.

All in all, I can honestly say that I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a trip to the cinema for some light entertainment. Granted it’s not hard-hitting or thought-provoking or even heart wrenching….but what it does deliver is a full package of action and adventure, which makes you laugh along the way. And did I mention the ridiculous number of lovely leading men?! What’s not to like?

Bring on the sequel! 10/10 Kxx

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