Category Archives: DVD – Video – Movie Rental

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotess Ming

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is quite cool. I often think there would be parts of my memory that it would be very convenient to erase. There are always things that we wish we had never done or said. If it’s impossible to undo those things in life it might be quite good to forget we ever did it. And Jim Carey is quite good in it.

On this day…

2004: links for 2004-11-13
2003: Thoughts on Helsinki
2002: Things That Make You Go “Huum”

Shaun Of The Dead

OK, so I spent this period watching movies I was not expecting to like and I liked most of them. I found at least one subtitled film that I thought was superb and managed to find a Jim Carrey role that I thought he was pretty good in. So, I thought my luck must be up and I wouldn’t like Shaun of the Dead because, frankly, I dislike the whole zombie movie concept.

The problem is that this isn’t a typical zombie movie and it’s truly excellent. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen (either for or at the ) for ages. Simon Pegg plays Shaun who is a lit of a loser who comes into his own as London gets over taken by the recently deceased who come back to life. Cricket bats to the head seem to be the way to fight off these zombies and where better to put up the fight but from your local pub? It’s amusing, well-written and there are some great performances (not only from Pegg but also Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis and Penelope Wilton). The attention to detail makes for some wonderful moments: as TV channels are scanned for news on the zombie invasion appearances by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Carol Barnes, Rob Butler, Vernon Kay and a brilliant Jeremy Thompson make the film very rooted in Britain.

I am not sure how well is translates to other countries but if you live in the UK – and most importantly if you live near London – check the streets and the faces of those walking towards you for they may just be the living dead.

On this day…

2006: Resolution
2005: The Incredibles
2004: Honoured for HTML
2004: Unexpected Movie Gems
2004: 2003 In Summary
2003: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2003: Mirror Picture

Bruce Almighty

I seem to be spending most of my Christmas vacation watching films. We just watched Bruce Almighty and I quite enjoyed it. I have never been a big fan of the Jim Carrey slapstick roles but in this the comedy is more subtle.

Carrey plays TV reporter Bruce Nolan who hates the lifestyle oddities he is asked to report on a wants the TV anchor role. When his colleague Evan gets the gig Bruce, down on his luck, complains bitterly to everybody who listen. When God (Morgan Freeman) has had enough of the complaints he lets Bruce play God for a while (and God goes on vacation).

Predictably, Bruce uses the power to his own advantage at first before we get to the moment where he realises this isn’t the way (which is not too long after he let everybody win the lottery and watched riots unfold before him). And, despite that predictability, it’s an enjoyable way to pass an hour or two (and you hear God explain the concept of ‘Free Will’ which is a nice get-out clause for everybody).

On this day…

2006: Here We Go
2005: 2004 In Review
2004: Love Actually
2004: Review of 2003: December
2004: Review of 2003: November
2002: Why Do You Do It?

Amélie And The Italian Job

We’re in a hotel in West London for the New Year celebrations and we watched two movies before heading down for dinner across midnight.

We started with the original Italian Job which was shown on the television. It’s one of those classic films that you are supposed to have seen but neither of us had and so we watched it. I don’t think it mattered to either of us how much we knew (or didn’t know) about the film (‘you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off’) as I think we both came away with a disappointed feeling. It’s considered a classic British film but it didn’t come across that way. Michael Caine is excellent, Noel Coward was interesting and I don’t think I’ve seen Benny Hill act away from his TV show before.Don’t get me wrong, it is a good film, and I enjoyed it but this was certainly a case where the preceding reputation heightened expectations too much.

On the other hand, I knew nothing about Amélie except it would be the second subtitled film in as many days and I am not a big fan of them. Yet again, however, I was surprised by the film and the interesting side of Paris you see through Amélie’s eyes. And again, it’s a well shot, colourful and stylised film and I only wish I had been a little more awake to appreciate it fully: it’s full of wonderful moments as Amélie decides to help her friends in her own quiet, special way.

You have to see The Italian Job but you should see Amélie.

On this day…

2005: Dress Code
2003: Review of 2003: September and October
2003: Review of 2003: July and August
2003: Review of 2003: May and June
2002: The Lord of The Rings
2002: Would Pepys Blog?
2002: Year in Review

Shrek and Johnny English

When I was in Florida earlier in the year I went on the Shrek-themed ride at Universal but really didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t been remotely interested in seeing the film. The Shrek experience was OK but I didn’t tush out to rent the DVD. Earlier today, however, Shrek was one of the Christmas Eve movies on the TV and I thought I would give it ago.

I have to say that I am very pleased that I did. It’s a thoroughly engaging movie of the classic fairy-tale variety that’s well animated, well-voiced and – most importantly – it’s a well-told story: a Prince called Farquaad (who’s not very nice) despatched a green ogre (are Ogre’s all green?) and a donkey to rescue a princess from a tower. See, it’s a classic fairy tale already!

If I must add Shrek 2 to the DVD rental list then you must certainly make sure you see this – it’s sure to become a classic piece of animation.

So while we were in the mood for a film we flicked to one of the movie channels to enjoy the delights of Rowan Atkinson in the James Bond spoof, Johnny English. It’s full of predictable – but well executed – jokes where English’s able assistant saves the day. Of course there are mistaken identity jokes, falling-down jokes and poo jokes. It may have been a great idea before the Austin Powers franchise but this is all a bit too weak, too late. But you might find something funny in it if you are an Atkinson fan but it didn’t really work for me.

On this day…

2003: Central London at Christmas

Paycheck

Essentially the plot runs like this: Ben Affleck reverse engineers technology and then has his brain wiped so that he can’t remember doing it. Of course, something happens and he has to remember. Luckily, he sent himself clues and we all get to play along and workout what the twenty items all mean and how he will (more-or-less) save the world.

Surprisngly enjoyable.

On this day…

2002: Pop Up (Up and Away)

Kill Bill (Volume 2)

Continuing her quest for revenge, Uma Thurman is back as the unnamed bride in Kill Bill (Volume II). If you’d read my take on the first one then you would realise that I was destined to see this as quickly as Love Film would send it to me. The bride has several members of Bill’s gang of assassins (Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) to remove and she hits the ground running. This time, however, we learn a little more of the background to the trail of blood and we get to meet Bill himself. There is, perhaps, more emotion to this film (particularly in Uma Thurman’s part) than the first and the violence is, perhaps, less stylised and more realistic. I am truly amazed how much I have enjoyed both the Kill Bill movies and I will have to reassess my opinions of Tarantino’s work.

Rent Volumes 1 and 2 and unplug the ‘phone. You won’t regret it.

On this day…

2005: Font Size

Down With Love

Supposedly, the Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger romantic comedy Down With Love is an attempt to recreate the new York City of 1963 (some say to recreate Doris Day/Rock Hudson’s ‘Pillow Talk‘). As I haven’t actually seen Pillow Talk it’s hard to compare the two but most reviewers suggest the Doris Day comedy is considerably more sophisticated.

Still, for a Saturday night on the sofa this wasn’t so bad. It had amusing moments. Zellweger is Barbara Novak, in town promoting her smash-hit book that carries the same title as the film and they’ve tried to make her look the part of a 1960s New York girl – I am not sure if they were that successful. McGregor is Catcher Block, the cad-about-town investigative magazine journalist who has a string of lovely ladies after him. Inevitably he is to interview her for a magazine article and the chase is on. Both performances are confident but certainly not great. David Hyde Pierce, as Block’s publisher, seems to repeat his role as Frasier’s Niles but that’s no bad thing as he puts in a solid, amusing supporting performance.

There’s a great pay-off (which I shan’t spoil) but suffice to say Zellweger’s long monologue is impressive and, apparently, took six takes to get right. It’s one of those films where you need to watch the credits as there’s a musical scene (apparently shot at the request of the actors) over the end titles which is well done.

Down With Love is amusing for the most part but it’s kind of predicable in many places but it was a good Saturday night sofa film. See it and smile.

On this day…

2004: Links for 2004-10-23
2004: Lucky Man: A Memoir
2003: Celebrities And The Media
2002: New Look
2002: Inspirational Eden

A Mighty Wind

So the set-up of the DVD we watched last night was a television reunion of a few old folk singers who had hits in the sixties. Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind isn’t as good as Best In Show or This Is Spinal Tap but it’s a passable and amusing way to spend an evening. It seemed less realistic than other spoof-documentaries and I found some of the deleted scenes on the DVD to be funnier than the movie itself. However, there are some good performances and interesting soundtrack and it does make you smile.

Worth taking a chance on.

On this day…

2004: Going Outside The Canteen For Lunch Is Gooooood
2002: A Walk on the Wild Side

Camp

daniel letterle in campTo be honest, the reason I put Camp on the DVD list from LoveFilm is because Jase’s review last year sent me to the official site which made me think it looked cool. It was, I guess, a typical teenage rites of passage movie with an interesting twist as it is based at a summer camp based on mescal theatre. It’s fun and interesting – some great performances and some fantastic singing. It’ll not blow you away but it will make you laugh (and it may make you cry). Daniel Letterle as Vlad is, of course the heartthrob that we’d all love.

Oh, just go watch it. Laugh and sign then order the soundtrack (I just did!)

On this day…

2002: Old Friends
2002: Not About Me