Review: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

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“Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony.”
– Elizabeth Bennet

SYNOPSIS: Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice? – via IMDB

So I went through a stage where I literally just binged on everything Pride and Prejudice and then just never published my reviews. Shame on me, I know. I was wary of this because while I love the story, there is Keira Knightley. I was seriously hoping she would pull this off the same way she did Atonement, but alas, there was no such luck in my cards. I didn’t dislike her in this as much as I usually do, and she seems better suited to period pieces than other things.

I feel that some of the cast members were just not right for their roles. Donald Sutherland never really grasps Mr Bennet, and never truly embodies that snark on screen, or the relationship between him and Elizabeth. Pity, too. Obviously I have my issues with Knightley, too, to be sure (I just don’t think that she was the perfect choice), and there was something quite off with Rosamund Pike’s portrayal of Jane. Oh well, those are the biggest offenders, I think. There was some amazing casting, too. I think that Macfadyen was a great Darcy. He embodied that pride, that calm and superiority, and he was unflappable, which is great. Brenda Blethyn’s Mrs Bennet correctly made me squirm in my seat and feel immense amounts of embarrassment for those girls, too – so tacky! I thought Kelly Reilly was excellent as Caroline Bingley, as she truly was horrible and snobbish and a total bitch, so well done. Jena Malone, too, nailed that immensely selfish brat Lydia.

There were parts of this movie that I absolutely adored (I am looking at you, hand into the carriage scene!). I also particularly enjoyed all scenes featuring Charles Bingley and Jane, as Bingley is so adorable around her, and they are a sweet couple.

I feel that there were some issues with the pacing – a big part of this was Mr Wickham being introduced and sped off of screen within two minutes, and yet he is such a large part of the main story, so you never really can understand Wickham being such an issue between Darcy and Elizabeth, and he is quite an important character. I also felt that this movie hardly captured the humour of the book, and came across as far too serious. There were moments I smiled, for sure, but for the most part this went for full on drama. Pride and Prejudice does have some truly beautiful sets and some great costume design and a score that suits it perfectly, and that does help you slip into the story and the characters and the time more. The dialogue was also quite loyal to the book, which I appreciated.

Pride and Prejudice is indeed a solid adaptation of its novel. There were some hitches with the cast and the pacing, but it is still well worth a watch, something I can see myself revisiting in future. The story is a classic for a reason, and does have a timeless love story between two characters you cannot help but love and root for. Worth the watch.

Rapid Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

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GREAT GATSBY 2013 MOVIE POSTER

“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can.”
– Jay Gatsby

SYNOPSIS: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. – via IMDB

This is an old review that I have updated since watching the movie again.

the great gatsby jay and daisy

GRADE 7.5I know that a lot of people had a lot of different things to say about this film, but I must say that it exceeded my expectations. I went in there not expecting anything, but with tons of hope. The dialogue was pretty much taken out of the book just like that, and Tobey Maguire truly impressed me as Nick Carraway and the narrator. I am not a big Tobey Maguire fan (yep, let me just come right out and put it on the table), but this was the first time that I was actually really impressed with what he did. He brought that naivete to the screen so well. Joel Edgerton was spot on for Tom. There were a few things that were changed toward the end, but that do not detract from the story overall. I loved how the adaptation stayed very true to the book, and I was very pleased to have read it beforehand. I must say it makes the world of difference. Now to address the style that everyone has either been raving about or knocking, let me say this: it truly (in my opinion) captured the essence of the parties, the abundance and the decadence, as well as the total emptiness of it all. It was so beautiful to watch! Leonardo DiCaprio was perfectly cast as Jay Gatsby, and was again just spectacular to watch. I liked him and Daisy together, the way it was captured on film was beautiful, though I do wish that Mulligan had been used a bit more. The Great Gatsby is a tale of hope and betrayal, and watching Jay build up his hopes about Daisy was crushing, especially knowing how the whole thing was going to turn out. Gatsby was a character I both admired and pitied – he worked his way up from nothing, had a certain naivete about him, and yet knew nothing of people just doing nice things for him, favours that did not have to be paid for in turn. There was also enough humour in it, but not enough to overshadow the actual story that was being told. The shirt scene was absolutely wonderfully done, that is just one scene I would like to highlight. The soundtrack threw me when I heard it start up, it really just did not strike me as correct for the film. That is probably my biggest criticism – I really hated it. Immensely. The outfits and costumes were just stunning, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in 3D, and again now on Blu-Ray (I am totally moving up in the world). Baz Luhrmann really did a good job, I enjoyed the movie, I am a fan. As I said, there were things that changed a bit from the book to screen, but not enough to derail the entire production. I would recommend this movie, really, despite what all the reviews say – both positive and negative. This is the type of film you need to see for yourself, something that people will either love or hate, but I suggest going in there and deciding for yourself!

Top Ten Actresses I Would Watch In Almost Anything

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So when Abbi over at Where The Wild Things Are did her top ten list of actresses she would see in pretty much anything, that sparked a whole new thing on the blogosphere. Now, I am embarrassed to admit that I started this list soon after she did hers, and I just never got around to going back to it and finishing it up. I realised recently that now is the time to do that! Without further ado, I present to you my top ten actresses I would see in pretty much anything.

Emma Stone

emma stone

Where is the love: She is cute, she is smart, fun, and sexy and so normal, you cannot help but love the girl. She is down to earth, and not afraid of making a fool out of herself, and that is always cool.
Best role: Wichita in Zombieland (2009)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The House Bunny (2008)

Angelina Jolie

angelina jolie

Where is the love: So many people complain about Angelina Jolie and I’ve never been able to understand it. She is exceptionally talented and wicked sexy, and works hard. She’s a (big) family woman, which is cool, yet she’s still grounded and out there. Plus she and Brad Pitt are just like the most gorgeous couple ever.
Best role: Uhm… this isn’t easy. I am going to go with Jane Smith in Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Marion Cotillard

marion cotillard

Where is the love: That voice, the way she carries herself, the distinct regal air, Marion Cotillard was destined to impress me. Not only that, she can handle herself in just about any role, but I must say that she excels at playing the slightly psychologically unstable.
Best role: Mallorie “Mal” Cobb in Inception (2010)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Taxi 2 (2000)

Eva Green

eva green2

Where is the love: Talented and beautiful, Eva Green brings it all to the table. Oozing style and sophistication, she is captivating on screen, always bringing that extra little something to a character, and she isn’t afraid to go wherever the character may take her, even when that is Ugliesville.
Best role: Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The Dreamers (2003)

Jessica Lange

jessica lange1

Where is the love: Jessica Lange is just awesome. I really like her stuff, and I think she is mesmerising and she’s still got it going, even for her age. She dominates the screen whenever she is on, and can play anything from timid and quiet to in-your-face vixen.
Best role: Fiona Goode in American Horror Story: Coven
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Far North (1988)

Judi Dench

judi dench

Where is the love: Let’s be serious… Judi Dench is just so British, and she embraces it wholeheartedly. Tea and biscuits British, and above all else, she is a solid and entertaining actress. She can play a variety of roles across the board, ranging from comedy to hard-hitting, take-no-nonsense powerhouse performances such as M, she never fails to impress me.
Best role: M in any Bond film, but also Evelyn Greenslade in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

Carey Mulligan

carey mulligan

Where is the love: She is so cute and quiet, but can always deliver an understated but powerful portrayal of a character, and I like that talent.
Best role: Irene in Drive (2011)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: And When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007)

Helena Bonham Carter

helena bonham carter

Where is the love: Ditzy, crazy, talented, striking? What’s not to love about Helena Bonham Carter? She embraces all her roles and lends them some of her quirkiness, and she is always just absolutely astounding to watch, no matter what role she is in. Something about her is just so inherently different.
Best role: Marla Singer in Fight Club (1997)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Dancing Queen (1993)

Mia Wasikowska

mia wasikowska

Where is the love: Mia Wasikowska won me over with her portrayal of Bertha Minnix in Lawless (2012). After that, I kept my eyes open for her films because she is gifted and different, and brought something fresh and new to the screen (in my opinion). She has continued to churn out some consistently impressive work, and she has this air of innocence about her she can use to either define a character, or manipulate the audience with.
Best role: India Stoker in Stoker (2013)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Lens Love Story (2007)


Honourable Mentions:

Julianne Moore

julianne moore

Where is the love: I love Moore for her consistency, and how much effort she puts into her roles. I like the way she has played such a variety of characters, and she has given each and every role her best.
Best role: Clarice Starling in Hannibal (2001)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Nine Months (1995)

Cate Blanchett

cate blanchett

Where is the love: Blanchett is so refreshing in her sense of uniqueness, and brings that to life on the screen with every role that she takes. She draws you in no matter what her role, and can play anything from elvish queens to folk rock stars.
Best role: Jade Quinn (Bob Dylan) in I’m Not There (2007)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Ponyo (2009)

Katharine Isabelle

katharine isabelle

Where is the love: Katharine Isabelle is undoubtedly the horror queen (for me) and she dominates that role. Husky voice and those big green eyes, she was destined to rock any role thrown her way. She is a solid actress, never over the top, delivering just the right amount required for her performances, able to play weak or bitchy or in your face, Isabelle is very talented.
Best role: Mary Mason in American Mary (2012)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Cousins (1989) 

Mélanie Laurent

melanie laurent

Where is the love: French and proud about it, Laurent always manages to play a brooding yet strong woman, slightly different, always impressive.
Best role: Shosanna Dreyfus in Inglourious Basterds (2009)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Rice Rhapsody (2004)

Vera Farmiga

vera farmiga

Where is the love: I think that Vera Farmiga is pretty underrated, and I like her. Very subtle, but she can totally rock her roles. I must say, she can get pretty creepy sometimes cause she can play cooked a little too well.
Best role: Norma Louise Bates in Bates Motel. Because really – she nails that performance each and every time. Slightly too realistic sometimes.
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: Breaking and Entering (2006)

Amanda Seyfried

amanda seyfried1

Where is the love: What I enjoy about Amanda Seyfried is that she’s a little different. I don’t know why she would appeal to me as an actress, but she does. I have enjoyed watching her play the super special and slow Karen in Mean Girls, and her general progression on to other roles, bigger, better, meatier, is something I have liked. She always does the best with what she has, and even when she is in a crappy movie, she always stands out.
Best role: Karen Smith in Mean Girls (2004)
The one even she couldn’t convince me to see: The Big Wedding (2013)

Review: Never Let Me Go (2010)

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never let me go movie stills

“You will become adults, but only briefly. Before you are old, before you are even middle-aged, you will start to donate your vital organs. That’s what you were created to do. And sometime around your third or fourth donation, your short life will be complete.”
– Miss Lucy

A medical breakthrough in 1952 has changed the world, changed the way people live, lengthening life spans, fostering longevity and health. But at what cost? In the 1970’s, Kathy H (Isobel Meikle-Small) attends Hailsham, a boarding school, with her best friend Ruth (Ella Purnell). Kathy becomes infatuated with a young boy that seems to be the social outcast. His name is Tommy (Charlie Rowe), and the two become very close. The three become rather close, though the school is strange and bizarre. The students are not taught math and science, but instead spend copious amounts of time on artwork which they will submit the best work to the Gallery, run by Madame (Nathalie Richard). Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins) joins the teaching staff, and she informs the students of their purpose in life: they are there to be harvested for organs. They will “complete” in early adulthood, which is just a nice way of saying they will die.

never let me go hearing the truth

“You have to know who you are, and what you are. It’s the only way to lead decent lives.” – Miss Lucy

Ruth manages to snatch Tommy away from Kathy, which hurts her, but life must go on. The three graduate from Hailsham and go live at the cottages, where they will live among other donors. Kathy (Carey Mulligan) feels very left out at the cottages, where the other students seem to have partners and lives, despite their fate. Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) are still in a relationship, with Kathy being the ever-present third wheel. From other former students, the rumours of “deferral” reach their ears, meaning that if a couple is in love and they can prove it, they can possibly get a short reprieve from starting to donate. Kathy, meanwhile, battles to deal with Tommy and Ruth and their sexual relationship, ultimately leaving to become a carer, someone who takes care of other donors and comforts them, meaning she will wait a while longer.

Shortly after leaving the cottages and starting her job, Tommy and Ruth break up. Kathy does not see Tommy or Ruth again, but a decade later comes across Ruth, who has gone through two donations and is not looking very good. The two spend some time together, and later meet up with Tommy, who is looking pretty good despite also having been through a couple of donations. Ruth apologizes to Kathy and Tommy for having kept them apart, and encourages them to seek the rumoured deferral so that they may actually have some time together, going as far as to provide them with an address for Madame. Tommy and Kathy spend more and more time together, though Tommy is getting weaker. He is immensely excited, working on his artwork, sure that it will prove that he and Kathy deserve the deferral, that they are destined to be together.

never let me go the beach

“It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed.” – Kathy

Will they be granted the deferral? Will they get to finally spend some time together, after always having loved one another? Has Ruth made up for her past regressions in time? What will Tommy and Kathy be judged on to earn the deferral? When will Kathy have to end her job as a carer and complete the purpose for which she was made?

never let me go deferral

GRADE 7This was a suggestion from Table 9 Mutant of Cinema Parrot Disco, who gave it to me an age ago (yes, yes), but I have a watch list that is ridiculously long and sometimes I really just need a kick to get to something. Well, she finally kicked enough and I got to it. Now, the story for this is something I expected rather soon in, I could see how the plot was going to move with that and what the point of the school and the children were. I thought that Kathy and Tommy were so cute together, and it was highly predictable that Kathy’s best friend, Ruth, would swoop in to usurp Tommy (women’s logic: I want that man, not a man like that). I did not think it fair, though, that only Ruth bore the blame of having kept Tommy and Kathy apart, as Tommy could have nut up at any time and left her. But whatever. I enjoyed Carey Mulligan in here, and Andrew Garfield was absolutely adorable as always (yes, Eric and Brian, the little girl he is and all). Keira Knightly annoyed me in here, she had a character I could in no which way connect with, even by the end, I had not one shred of pity for her. Probably doesn’t help that I am not a fan of her acting, either. The movie left me feeling as though it was a missed opportunity by the end of it as it simply didn’t resonate. It had all the opportunity to, the opportunity for rebellion, for total unhappiness, for a fight, and instead everyone seemed content just to accept their roles and moved on, which peeved me. I cannot stand spinelessness, to be very honest. Weakness annoys the hell out of me. It was shot nicely, and everything had a dreary feel to it. As Natasha says, this was a very British type of film. I would recommend you watch it – while nothing revolutionary or new, it was decent for what it was. My mission now? To read the book, to see if it fleshes some things out a little bit more, making the story a little bit more fulfilling.

Rapid Review: Drive (2011)

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drive poster

“You tell me where we start, where we’re going, where we’re going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive.”
– Driver

SYNOPSIS: A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself trouble when he helps out his neighbor. – via IMDB

driver driving

I cannot believe that it took me so long to get to it! I have always read around the internet how it is said to be good and all that, but I just never got to it, and it has been waiting for me to check it out for months. Finally, it was going to happen. It was time. Just wow. My mind was completely and utterly blown. I am pretty indifferent about Ryan Gosling, not a huge fan, don’t hate him, doesn’t bother me to see him in a film or anything. But this was the first time that I was actually swept away by him. He was just perfect in his role as Driver. He put so much into the character. The film had a brilliant cast, and Carey Mulligan was also just great to watch. The chemistry between her and Gosling was also extremely impressive and very believable. Their little shy romance was so beautiful to watch, and not overbearing and soppy. The kiss that they shared was simply one of the most breathtaking kisses I have ever seen on the screen. It was stunning. Bryan Cranston was entertaining, as always. The concept for this film was fresh and new in a few ways, and it was executed incredibly well, so Nicolas Winding Refn seriously needs some props for that. The camera work was awesome, and the lighting and emphasis on certain things was beautiful to behold. I am more impressed than I can put into words. The violence was not excessive (as so many people complained about), though it definitely was present. There was not one moment where the film started lagging and losing its momentum – it maintained its greatness from the off and continued in the same streak. The film progresses smoothly and is wonderful to watch. The cast was absolutely awesome, they worked so well together. The soundtrack caught me by surprise, but worked perfectly for the film. Overall, this movie is totally worth the watch, I cannot recommend it highly enough!