Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Review

This is a review that I wrote as an audition for a place at a larger University-wide newspaper.  There was a strict word limit, which is why it is terser than my other posts.  I tried to present an even-handed critique of a bad romantic comedy I’d been brought to by my then-girlfriend.  The response from the committee was that I should have savaged it.  Damn you, Matthew McConaughey!  This is the last time you receive mercy from me.

Director: Mark Waters ; Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Robert Forster ; Running Time: 100 mins ; Certificate: 12A

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a reworking of the classic “A Christmas Carol” formula in which self-centred  womaniser Connor Mead (McConaughey) is visited by three spectres who lead him through his past, present and future relationships in a bid to show him the error of his ways and win the heart of true love Jenny Perotti (Garner). Continue reading

Wanted Review

Director: Timur Bekmambetov ; Starring: James MacAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman ; Running Time: 110mins

Wanted, based on the Mark Millar comic series of the same name, tells the story of Wesley Gibson, a nobody in a dead-end job, and how his life changes forever when a fraternity of assassins makes contact with him and unlocks his hidden talents.  With his new abilities Wesley then sets out to avenge the death of his father, a fellow assassin, who left him as a newborn.

Spoilers Continue reading

Eye of the Beholder: How We View Animation (Essay)

This is one of the first longer-form pieces I did for the newsletter, which was a wholly inappropriate platform, but most of the editors were very kind and printed them anyway.  It was in response to a lot of people dismissing certain movies off-hand because they were cartoons.

I believe that 2008 saw animation finally receive the recognition it has deserved, probably from its inception, but certainly from within my lifetime. Any remotely serious television or cinema fan has appreciated the power and wonder of animation and placed it on level footing with traditional live action filming long ago, but I believe that last year finally saw this opinion break through to the general public.  Continue reading

Slumdog Millionaire Review

Director: Danny Boyle ; Stars: Dev Pattel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal ; RunningTime: 120 minutes ; Certificate: 15

 Slumdog Millionaire begins with Jamal Malik (Pattel) poised to win the maximum possible sum of money on the Indian Who Wants to be a Millionaire?  Due to an underprivileged background he is accused of cheating and interrogated by the authorities.  We are then told how Jamal has reached this point through heart-breaking flashbacks of a story of love, loyalty and hardship and how these events have led him to the answers he has given in the game show.  He must convince the police that he is playing honestly before he can attempt the final question and win the money and everything else he is playing for. Continue reading

Second Opinion Edition 2

After someone else had taken over movie reviews I switched to writing a “staying in” column, there I would make recommendations for DVDs based on what was currently playing in cinemas.  The idea would be to recommend similar, and possibly superior, alternatives to the month’s releases.  And by the way, I was going for Garth Marenghi with that headshot. I think I succeeded.

This Week’s Releases: Ghost Rider, Becoming Jane, Outlaw, Norbit, The Number 23, The Illusionist.

There have been a mixed batch of films released in the past two weeks and as far as I can tell none of them have been spectacular so perhaps one of the recommendations below will offer a viable alternative. Continue reading

Second Opinion Edition 1

After someone else had taken over movie reviews I switched to writing a “staying in” column, there I would make recommendations for DVDs based on what was currently playing in cinemas.  The idea would be to recommend similar, and possibly superior, alternatives to the month’s releases.  And by the way, I was going for Garth Marenghi with that headshot. I think I succeeded.

Welcome to the first week of my new feature.  Instead of reviewing contemporary releases I’ll be giving some recommendations of what to check out with (some rather tenuous) ties to what’s in the spotlight.

In this edition I’ll be giving recommendations based on Hot Fuzz, the action comedy extravaganza from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  Continue reading