Category Archives: Films and Reviews

Movie Review – Man On a Ledge (2012)

Film: Man On a Ledge
Released: 2012
Director: Asger Leth
Stars: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris

An ex-cop turned con threatens to jump to his death from a Manhattan hotel rooftop. The nearest New York Police officer immediately responds to a screaming woman and calls dispatch. More Officers arrive with SWAT and tactical command along with fire-fighters. The police then dispatches a female police psychologist personally requested to talk him down from the ledge. However, things aren’t as straightforward and clearcut as they appear to be.

What I thought of it:
I’d been seeing billboard posters everywhere for this film and the premise seemed alright – a man on a ledge provides distraction to the cops and the watching city whilst a heist is pulled off in the next building – so I thought I’d give it a try.

I needn’t have bothered.

As heist movies go, it’s pretty standard fare and it sticks firmly to the formula of back-and-forth between ledge and heist with a few “are they going to get caught?” moments thrown in every now and then. The back story of the characters was a bit thin, but it was enough to cover a reason for the heist (revenge – what else?).

Jamie Bell is acquitting himself well in his modest adult roles and he’s slowly making the transition between child star and adult actor, distancing himself from his beginnings as Billy Elliot. To be honest, he was pretty much the best thing in this film of the mindless, let-it-wash-over-you sort.

Ed Harris, who is a wonderful actor, just looks bored. He’s completely wasted here as the villain of the piece and shold have taken a pass on the project.

It’s enough to keep you ticking over, but you can clearly see every move coming from quite a while before it happens. If you have an hour 40 to kill and nothing better to watch, by all means give it a shot, but otherwise, don’t bother. It’s nothing new or special.


Movie Review – Alvin and the Chipmonks: Chipwrecked (2011)

Film: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Released: 2011
Director: Mike Mitchell
Stars: Justin Long (voice), Matthew Gray Gubler (voice), Jesse McCartney (voice), Alan Tudyk (voice), Christina Applegate (voice), Jason Lee

Playing around while aboard a cruise ship en route to a music awards ceremony, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. They discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems.

What I thought of it:

Let me start off by saying, I HATE the Chipmunks. I always have and always will.

OK, now that we have that out of the way, here goes…

This was my three-year-old son’s first ever cinema trip, so it didn’t matter if I thought the movie as awful (which I did!), all that mattered was that he enjoyed himself (which he did!).

This is the third in the animated/live action chipmunks movie franchise, but it was easy to pick up what had happened before – Jason lee adopted three singing chipmunks, then managed to pick up three female singing chipmunks (the Chipettes) and now they’re on board a cruise ship and will be performing at a music awards ceremony. Are you following? Yes, it’s that easy to work out. And the villain from the previous movie(s) shows up too, but you very quickly realise his connection.

The plot is simple and focuses almost entirely on how the Chipmunks and Chipettes survive on the island after accidentally going overboard, and how they all learn something about themselves and each other. It’s entirely unfunny and they all have those incredibly annoying high-pitched warbly voices that will get the hackles up on any adult (unless they’re very strange and into that kind of thin), but which the kiddies all love. However, there is something very, very wrong about animated chipmunks singing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and nothing will ever convince me otherwise.

So, in short, a hideous experience for parents forced to watch this with their children, but great for the little’uns who will sit goggle-eyed, laughing like loons to the very end. Mine even wanted to stay to the end of the credits.


(Rating for adults is 1, but for kids it’s 5, so I had to take the average for my overall rating)

Movie Review – Kill Keith (2011)

Film: Kill Keith
Released: 2011
Director: Andy Thompson
Stars: Susannah Fielding, Simon Phillips, Marc Pickering, Keith Chegwin, Tony Blackburn

A new host will be announced for popular breakfast show, Crack of Dawn, but someone is hunting down the people on the short list – Joe Pasquale, Tony Blackburn, Russell Grant, and last but not least, Keith Chegwin – to turture and murder them all. Will the Breakfast Serial Killer manage to murder all the prospective presenters? Who is this madman? And why is he embarking on his murderous spree? Can intrepid tea boy and wannabe presenter Danny save the day and get the girl of his dreams, none other than Dawn, the co-star?

What I thought of it:
From start to finish, this film is utter silliness. But you know what? It’s absolutely hilarious! The household names we love (and those we love to hate) are all present and correct as parodies of themselves (kudos especially to Cheggers and Blackburn!). Marc Pickering (Danny) looks like the secret love child of Alan Cumming and is brilliant as the loser who dreams of being more than just the tea boy on Britain’s favourite breakfast television show. The movie-based fantasy sequences are all brilliant.

And when it comes to seeing those aforementioned household names getting tortured, maimed and murdered, the over-the-top ick-factor is extremely high and extremely funny.

It’s nothing high-brow, it’s not particularly clever, but it will make you giggle like crazy. If you ever watched Swap Shop on a Saturday morning as a kid, you’ll love seeing Cheggers in this crazy comedy-murder-fantasy.


Movie Review – The Muppets (2011)

Film: The Muppets
Released: 2011
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Amy Adams, Jason Segel,  Chris Cooper, The Muppets

When three Muppet fans learn that Tex Richman wants to drill under the Muppet Theater for oil, Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the Muppets who have been split up for years so that they can put on one last show and save the Muppet Theater. Kermit the Frog now lives in his own mansion depressed in Hollywood, The Great Gonzo is a high-class plumber at Gonzo’s Royal Flush, Fozzie Bear performs with a tribute band called The Moopets, Miss Piggy is the plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, and Animal is at a celebrity anger management rehab center in Santa Barbara.

What I thought of it:
I love the Muppets. As a kid, I tuned in every week when The Muppet Show was on and laughed my little head off. I’ve loved loads of Muppet movies, and I thought I’d love this one too. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The main plot point was basically lifted directly from It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) with the Muppet theatre (and, in this case, the whole studio) being threatened by an evil business mogul, but it all fell apart pretty easily because the $10 million The Muppets need to raise to save the theatre could easily have been handed over by several of The Muppets themselves – after all, Kermit is living in a mansion in Bel Air, Gonzo owns and runs a massively successful plumbing company, and Miss Piggy is the plus size editor for Vogue.

Then there are the human stars – don’t get me wrong, I like Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper, but I hated them all in this. Especially Chris Cooper as the aforementioned business man who cannot actually give a maniacal laugh, so instead repeats over and over the words “Maniacal laugh.” It’s tedious and annoying after hearing it just once.

The song, “Man Or a Muppet” won an Oscar for best original song, but it was the best number in the film and, to be honest, wasn’t all that great either. And jack Black has become such an obnoxious parody of himself I’d be glad if I never saw him onscreen again.

If you ever liked The Muppets, please DO NOT see this film, unless you particularly want all your wonderful childhood memories of them trampled and smashed to smithereens.


Movie Review – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

Film: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Released: 2011
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg

Ethan Hunt and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks, who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt by the team to stop him at the Kremlin ends in a disaster, with an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF being implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to invoke Ghost Protocol, under which the IMF is disavowed, and will be offered no help or backup in any form. Undaunted, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks to Dubai, and from there to Mumbai, but several spectacular action sequences later, they might still be too late to stop a disaster

What I thought of it:
The eagerly awaited fourth installment of the highly popular Mission Impossible franchise is certainly filled with eye-popping stunts and special effects, but that’s pretty much all it has to offer, which is a shame, because it has some serious talent involved. First we have Tom Cruise who just is Ethan Hunt; then you have Jeremy Renner, who has picked up the baton as lead of the Bourne reboot; and finally Simon Pegg, who is just fantastic in everything, even when the material isn’t so great.

So what went wrong?

The plot is a bit naff to be honest. The Kremlin and a possible nuclear war? Really? That is so old hat it’s practically fossilised. And we have pretty much the same stunts again (yes, that old drop and dangle is involved yet again, but this time Cruise has stepped back to let one of his co-stars hover just above danger). It was all fairly predictable and a little disappointing, making me hope that Hollywood will just leave this series alone now.

There were one or two really great stunts though – scaling the skyscraper is one that springs immediately to mind – and it’s still a fair bit of fun to watch, just don’t expect it to tax the brain too much or you’ll be twiddling your thumbs long after you work out what’s going on (which will happen fairly early in the film).

If you’re looking for a bit of mindless entertainment, watch this. But if you fancy something a bit more challenging, don’t bother. It’s popcorn fodder and nothing more.


Movie Review – Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in (2008)

Film: Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in
Released: 2008
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live he’s faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.

What I thought of it:
I recently watched the American remake of this film (Let Me In) which was released two years after this, the Swedish original. Other film fans had told me the original was far superior to the remake, so as I had enjoyed the later film, I thought I’d go back and watch this version too.

To be honest, I needn’t have bothered.

It’s not bad. Really, it’s not bad, and if I had seen this first, I might have enjoyed it more, but I think I still would have preferred the remake, which is remarkably unusual for me (the only other recent occurence being The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

I honestly cannot see why people rave about this film. Like I said, it’s not bad, but there’s nothing really spectacular about it either. The young leads were alright, but that’s as far as it went for me – the performances of the kids in the remake were a lot better; perhaps not surprising as both have filmographies as long as your arm and have done some sterling work in the past.

There were a few changes in scenes and storyline, but these were minimal and, once more, I thought the remake was tighter than the original and had better flow. Surprisingly, the almost sensual relationship between Eli and her “father” was downplayed even more than in the remake – I really thought it would be a little more overt.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with this film, partly because of the hype but not entirely so – even if I hadn’t seen the newer film, this one would have been just as much of a let-down. It’s decidedly average fare – only watch it if you’re a total vampire nut and like to see every vampire film going, just to say you have.

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The Oscars 2012

Ah, the Oscars! The most eagerly anticipated movie awards ceremony of the year. We’ve already had the BAFTAs and various others, but when it comes to coveting an ornament saying “You’re brilliant at what you do in the film industry,” it’s that golden statuette that stands head and shoulders about the rest. (I’m so sorry, I couldn’t resist the terrible pun!)

So, here are the categories with who I would like to win each award along with who I think will win them. Where the titles are highlighted, you can click on the links to be taken either to my review or my husband’s where I haven’t written one (of course, some we haven’t reviewed at all!). I’ve not included the documentary and animated short categories, as I have not seen any of the nominations and have no opinions on them:

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