Spoilers note

**WARNING** some plot-line spoilers!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Reviewed: Jeff Who Lives At Home

WE'VE all been through that phase in our lives. The one where dust is your best friend, Jeremy Kyle re-runs seem enticing and three packets of crisps a day is the norm. However, generally speaking, most of us get over that and start taking responsibility for ourselves by the time we reach adulthood. 

This is not the case for philosophical pothead, Jeff (Jason Segel). A creation from Paramount Picture's off-the-wall sibling, Paramount Vantage, Jeff Who Lives At Home revolves around a 30-something slacker who is completely sold on the idea of fate, so much so that he spends all his time in his mother's (Susan Sarandon) basement, wearing out his bong and pondering destiny while seeking inspiration from the Mel Gibson movie, Signs. 

One morning, Jeff's usual couch potato routine is disturbed when his mother, Sharon, sends him out on a mission to buy wood glue, but on his way to the store he gets distracted by what he thinks are signs from the universe. 

A series of unexpected and mildly amusing events lead him to continually cross paths with older brother Pat (Ed Helms), who is currently going through a midlife crisis and thinks his wife Linda (Judy Greer) is cheating on him. "What you just said sounded like Yoda on acid, stumbling into a business meeting," moans Pat, when Jeff begins spouting babble about the cosmic order, proving that the two brothers are anything but close. Regardless, Pat enlists Jeff's help in trying to catch Linda out, sneakily chasing her, and her mystery companion, across town. 

While the pair are busy bonding, crashing flashy cars and offering bribes to various reception staff, Sharon is having her own adventure at work when she discovers that she has a secret admirer. It is a welcome diverson from the two sons that she "hates at the moment" and the constant reminder that she is a lonely widow. 

Written and directed by the Duplass brothers, who happen to be experts in the indie slacker genre, Jeff Who Lives At Home is a dreary insight into the broken bonds of a disconnected family. The look and feel is nothing extraordinary, reminiscent of many indie films before it which reflect the supposed reality of life rather than the Hollywood version. That said, Sarandon, Helms and Segel, make for an exceptional leading cast. 

Light-hearted comedy and a childlike innocence, particularly from gentle giant Segel, differentiates the film from others like it - making it more refreshing than rigidly reflective. Helms and Segel's reconnection is wonderful, too, as they both realise they are still working through the damaging aftermath of their father's death more than 10 years prior. 

Verdict: Despite adopting a dreamy pace in places, the culimination of the day, when Jeff finally realises what fate has in store for him, makes the whole film worthwhile. Unlike the pessimism you expect from the genre, Jeff Who Lives At Home actually has the 'happy ever after' factor. Relationships are rebuilt and Jeff may actually find the meaning of life - and his wood glue - in the end.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Reviewed: Cabin In The Woods

AS FAR as slasher flicks go, The Cabin In The Woods is a game-changer. The idea of five teenagers heading to a remote part of the American outback for a sordid weekend, only to be tortured by a hillbilly with a grudge, has been done to death - no pun intended - so I wasn't expecting much. 

But this latest gore-slathered Lionsgate release is not your average horror film. With only their naivety and a thirst for adventure, Dana (Kristen Connolly), Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz) and Holden (Jesse Williams) jump into a caravan and drive into the unknown, all set for a holiday at 'The Cabin In The Woods'. 

En route they come across an inbred-looking local at a ramshackle petrol station, who eerily directs them on their right path. True to the genre stereotype, they brush off the encounter and head on their merry way - oblivious that their every move is being surveyed. However, it is not an axe-wielding psychopath lurking in the shadows, but instead a pristine operations team watching them on CCTV. 

Blissfully unaware, the group descend on the cabin and make themselves at home. When darkness falls the basement door flies open of its own accord, enticing them into the room below where they find a whole host of ancient treasures. Dana discovers a macabre diary which catalogues the lives of a murderous family who inhabited in the cabin in the early 1900s. She reads out one of the entries in Latin and unknowingly awakens a group of ravenous zombies right outside their door. 

While the group of youngsters are suddenly fighting for their lives, deep beneath the cabin are puppeteers Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford) who have every finite detail of their demise pre-determined and have been meticulously orchestrating a series of tricks, traps and concealed cameras. The teens are plucked off one-by-one and Sitterson and Hadley watch on eagerly, mysteriously insinuating that the group are "humanity's last hope", that their fate is sealed and that a higher - much more sinister - power is afoot. 

Director, writer and producer Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly), alongside co-writer and Cloverfield genius Drew Goddard, tautly splices together a blood-thirsty horror with the subdued tones of the not-at-all-scary concealed control room, creating an elegant contrast. 

The scenes are drenched in gore but The Cabin In The Woods is more reliant on substance than a high kill count - although it certainly achieves both with bloody gusto. It lures you into a false sense of predictability and then turns the entire teen-horror genre on its head, giving birth to a concept that is simultaneously inventive, unexpected and disturbing. 

Verdict: Clever quips and witty one-liners, particularly from the unknown operatives below and visionary-cum-stoner Marty, make for a fantastic and quintessentially Whedon-esque dialogue, delivered by a shining cast. These dark comedic moments come in abundance and help to disperse the suspense, if only momentarily. Terrifyingly tense and razor sharp, The Cabin in the Woods packs one hell of a punch - and the odd bit of decapitation as well. 9/10.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Reviewed: Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

WITH the tagline 'it's a plunderful life' it is no surprise that The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists metaphorically splashes audiences in the face with a bountiful booty of slapstick comedy and sharp British wit. 

Like Blackadder or Monty Python for kids, the latest Aardman adventure follows the foolhardy voyage of the Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) and his haphazard crew. 

The band of miscreants are perceived as laughable by the entire pirate community and the Pirate Captain is keen to change all that by clinching the prize for Pirate of the Year - which of course means that the plucky buccaneers must head out on a nautical quest for treasure. 

After unsuccessfully storming nine ships which are more plagueful than plunderful, the crew finally strike gold when they stumble across scientist and avid explorer Charles Darwin (voiced by David Tennant). Darwin hastily identifies that the Captain's "fat" parrot, Polly - the "feathery heart and soul of the ship" - is in fact a dodo which would win them unspeakable riches if presented to scientists in London. 

The Pirate Captain sees pound signs and is keen to set a course for the capital in attempt to not only boost his bounty and scoop the coveted Pirate of the Year award, but also to embark on the crew's "most educational adventure yet!". Unfortunately for the pirates and their crumbling ship, going to London means facing the mighty Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton), who has a world-renowned penchant for putting pirates' heads on a block and also secretly enjoys dining on rare animals. 

Directed by animation heavyweights, Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, The Pirates! is five years in the making and the exquisite detail, from the expressive people to the busy backdrops, really demonstrates the hard work that's gone into forming the feature-length creation. 

On its own, Sony Animation has never quite managed to live up to the sheer brilliance of Pixar, but when teamed up with Aardman it has proven again and again that the results are masterful. The story line is brimming with quintessentially British whimsy and quick one-liners are swiftly delivered by some of Britain's best comedy actors. 

Films about leering pirates who sail the seven seas, hunting for treasure and striking down landlubbers, is an all-too-familiar premise, but this jolly jaunt, based on the book by Gideon Defoe, turns the traditional tale topsy turvy. For once, being a pirate is not about getting scurvy or running people through, it is about sporting a great big bushy beard and enjoying the delights of "Ham Nite". 

Verdict: The Pirates! has innuendos galore for the older generation and thanks to cameos from Brian Blessed, Lenny Henry and Salma Hayek - not to mention great comical characters in the form of Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (Ashley Jensen), Albino Pirate (Russell Tovey) and BoBo, the self-subtitled chimp - the gags just keep on sailing. It is yet another Aardman triumph that will keep fond fans of the Wallace & Gromit adventures firmly afloat. 7/10

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious... 8

With directorial sci-fi megastars Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams at the helm, it's no wonder that Super 8 has been subjected to a lot of hype. It finally hit cinemas at the beginning of the month; but did it live up to the great expectations laid out for it? Prepare for some mega spoilers.

Set in the winter of 1979, the film begins with the death of Elizabeth Lamb, wife of Deputy Sheriff Jack and mother to Joe Lamb. Elizabeth's death has had a profound effect on the family she's left behind and it's clear that even 4 months down the line, the pair aren’t coping. 

Whilst Jack throws himself into work, neglecting his fatherly duties, young Joe successfully distracts himself by providing make-up, special effects and sound for his friend Charles’ home zombie movie entitled ‘The Case’. Keen to stake his claim in the ‘Super 8 Filmmaker Competition’, Charles is focused and bossy – everything a young director should be. With the help of his team, Joe, Martin, Alice, Cary and Preston, the film is shot in secret at midnight. Filming on a very low budget, Charles is obsessed with ‘production value’, so when the opportunity arises to film one scene whilst an air force train hurtles past in the background he jumps on it. Unfortunately the crew get more then they bargain for when Joe spots a truck driving in front of the train, causing it to dramatically derail right in front of their eyes.

The effects of the train crash are simply breath-taking. Whilst the six kids are literally running  for their lives, giant shards of metal are rocketing up into the air and coming down just as quick, explosions are whistling in every direction and flames are roaring - licking away at the already destroyed remains of this disaster. To put it simply, the scene is a total warzone. The aftermath is just as overwhelming, serving up a platter of charred metal, thousands of mysterious white metal cubes and a half-dead truck driver, Dr Woodward, who scares the children off and swears them to secrecy, “they will kill you; do not speak of this”. Suffice to say they make a speedy exit, just missing the arrival of dozens of air force troops.

From there on out, strange things start happening in the town of Lillian, Ohio. Power outages, dogs running away, electricals simply disappearing and decimated property seems like just the tip of the iceberg. “This feels like a Russian invasion”. Soon people are going missing and a strong military presence becomes apparent in the town. Whilst the kids pretend they know nothing about the crash and try to continue with filming, they are constantly disrupted and frightened by everything that’s happened. Their fear is multiplied when Joe and Charles discover that on the night of the crash, they inadvertently left the camera rolling, capturing footage of a creature emerging from the wreckage...

The air force is quick to find an excuse to evacuate the town, blaming wild fires when in actual fact they are searching for the monster that was being transported on the train. Jack Lamb, as Deputy Sheriff, keeps pressing the military to keep him in the loop and soon goes too far by listening in on a radio frequency utilised by the air force. Jack is placed under ‘military arrest’ for poking around too much whilst Joe is taken to a secure location with the rest of the town. Upon arrival, the kids soon discover from Alice’s father that she has been ‘taken’ by the monster. The boys don’t hesitate to sneak back into to town to save Alice. After digging around in Dr Woodward’s office, hoping they can find some clue about the location of the alien creature, the boys accidentally discover the true identity of ‘him’, his origins and most importantly that he’s been held prisoner by the military since it’s ship crashed to earth 1958. 

Unfortunately the air force catches wind of their presence in the town and, upon finding the kids, bundle them into an unused school bus. Thirsty for revenge, it’s no surprise that our angered alien attacks the bus with full force, overturning it and inflicting his wrath on the inhabitants. The boys manage to quickly escape through a broken window; the air force operatives aren’t so lucky. This is where we get out first full shot of the alien, as only snippets in reflections are shown up until now. He is extremely tall, gangly, grey and, dare I say, suspiciously like a certain monster in another J.J. Abrams movie...

The boys make their getaway whilst the alien chows down on some prime military rib and Joe and Cary go it alone to the alien’s lair, hoping to rescue Alice. 

Underneath the Lillian water tower the boys find Alice, as wells as dozens of other kidnapped people too, all strung up and ready to be the alien’s next meal. Pyromaniac Cary causes a firecracker-induced distraction and Joe makes a grab for Alice. The alien is too quick for the trio however, and they find themselves back into a corner. The alien swipes Joe from the floor below, bringing them face to face and it’s almost as if on touch they understand each other, forming a psychic bond. Joe tells the creature to go and, strangely enough, it does. After all, from the very beginning he just wanted to reconstitute its ship and return home. Upon reaching an understanding, the kids make a swift exit while they can and emerge outside to be reunited with their parents and in time to see the alien making his spectacular departure into the night sky.

But this isn’t the end. As the credits roll for the film, we finally get to see the finished product of ‘The Case’ and boy, was it worth the wait. Funny and overly-dramatic, it’s the perfect finish to the film.

Overall I found Super 8 to be superb. It encapsulated the seventies styling really well and there was never a dull moment. As for the cinematography, it really was flawless; the special effects were an absolute triumph and the camera angles well thought out. Abrams’ classic blue lens flare that he employs in many of his shows, including Fringe, was also used well and almost reminiscent of the approach used in Close Encounters. As for the story itself, it wasn’t bursting with originality but it was unassuming and placed a lot of emphasis on a beautiful coming of age tale; you couldn’t help but empathise with the kids and their aspirations. I also really enjoyed that they used reasonably fresh talent and not the typical Hollywood starlets - it made the film feel more realistic.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the film is the next Goonies or ET, but it certainly is up there in the ranks. Following in the footsteps of films like Stand By Me, it’s brought something back to cinema that’s been missing since the early 80s and its innocent, authentic and lovingly put-together look and feel truly shows what greatness can occur when two remarkable directors/producers work in tandem. Plus, most importantly, it doesn’t shy away from blood and gore – success!

With its uplifting score and an overall innocent, heart-warming tale, Super 8 is doubtlessly my favourite film of the summer, if not the year: 9/10

EXCLUSIVE: The Return of the Independent Movie

It's been a long time since a British independent film has really made it big - and I'm not talking independent films 'financed' by Film4 or supported by the UK Film Council, I'm talking micro-budget films. Films where some poor bastards have worked their socks off to save their own hard-earned cash; begged and borrowed (hopefully not stolen) to scrape together enough money to bring a story to life. Without further ado, I draw back the curtain and reveal One By One, a film that is desperate to bring back the success of independent films. 

In a Nutshell
A bold and divisive look into society as it exists today.

‘When the men behind the curtain run out of enemies, you’re next...’
‘Question everything’

“Jesus Christ, have we just all turned into the f*cking Waltons?? Man up.”

“The answers are out there. We can show you the door. It’s up to you to open it.”

It’s not very often that an independent, low-budget film manages to make it past being just that. However, Boiling Frog Films hopes to join the realm of indie films that have made it big, trundling along the narrow (and cheap!) path of self promotion and eager to attract the right interest in its socially contentious drama, One By One.

Director and Writer, Diane Jessie Miller, has used the film to convey a vision that is inspired by the ideology of the Zeitgeist Movement and the concept of a society that isn’t solely driven by money and material goods. With influences from the likes of The Matrix, Fight Club, as well as a flurry of dystopian vigilante movies, One By One is a controversial drama that sets out to challenge the socially accepted way of living.
The couple are stuck in the tiresome routine of day-to-day life and desperate for something more. The plot centres on the couple and how a few chance encounters can send their model life flying off the tracks, forcing them to ‘question everything’.

With a stellar and committed cast, including the likes of comedy legend Rik Mayall and a myriad of fresh faces such as Heather Wilson, Sean Meyer, Duncan Wigman and Katrina Nare, the film seems firmly set on making its mark. One By One promises to follow its independent film predecessors with confidence, gumption and a sheer determination to sky rocket and shock the industry. In a country that’s film council has failed it, One By One strives against the odds to not only make it onto the movie radar, but also to simultaneously challenge society.  Watch this space.

You can see the trailer, get more info and support the film here: http://www.onebyonethemovie.co.uk

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Dusting off the DVD shelf = Finding Nemo

I haven't been bumming around watching DVDs all day I swear! And, if I have, it's all for the importance of hardcore journalism. As promised, here is my synopsis of another one of my all-time favourites; Finding Nemo.

* * * *

In a Nutshell  
An overbearing clown fish goes on a quest through the ‘big blue’ to find his missing son.

Fish are just like people, only flakier.

“Gimme some fin!”

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

“...and the sea cucumber turns to the mollusk and says, ‘With fronds like these, who needs anemones?’”

After being left with one solitary egg to nurture, it’s no wonder that fish daddy Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) is protective over his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould). On Nemo’s first day of 'school', and on his first chance to explore the ocean, Marlin is the embodiment of a typical panicky parent. His distress is multiplied many-fold when Nemo defiantly swims into open water and is unexpectedly picked up by some divers off the coast of Australia. Whilst the young Nemo wakes to find himself confined inside a dentist’s fish tank with some rather unusual companions, Marlin begins a tireless journey to rescue his son from whatever perils he may face.

Marlin’s search for his son soon becomes a voyage of discovery and not only does he set about locating Nemo but he also finds out a lot about himself, and what lengths he will go to as a parent, along the way. Travelling from The Great Barrier Reef right across to Sydney Harbour, Marlin encounters many terrifying and exciting wonders from hordes of jelly fish to several rather hungry seagulls. Not only that, but he makes interesting acquaintances too, including the absent-minded regal blue-tang Dory, a very Australian and very vegetarian shark going by the name of Bruce, and a gang of super laidback turtles.

Finding Nemo provides a warm, fun and thoughtful tale for all the family, even the grownups - not that you’d expect anything less from animation giants Pixar. I’m not usually one to shout about the wonders of blu-ray or HD, but this film looks spectacular in high definition also.

Dusting off the DVD shelf = Role Models

As I am having a brief yet much-needed break from the perils of work before I start hitting the journalism training HARD, I've decided to catch up with some of my favourite movies. With that in mind, I've also decided to burden anyone who might be reading with some info about said movies - just in case you've been under a rock and haven't seen them.

Without further ado, herewith my Role Models synopsis - and with quotes to boot!

* * * *

In a Nutshell
Two thirty-something minor cons offer sturdy advice to dysfunctional kids.

Bad behaviour. Bad attitude. Bad example.

“Naysayers tell me: ‘You should be embarrassed’, ‘You shouldn’t be fighting’, ‘You look like a young Marvin Hamlisch’.
Well I say: ‘Nay, I am not embarrassed, I will fight, and who the f*ck is Marvin Hamlisch?’”

“You can’t BS a Bs-er.”

“Augie: Tell her you miss her whispering eye
Danny: ...and I miss your whispering eye
Augie: It means vagina. It means vagina!!”

For past it energy drink rep Danny (Paul Rudd), life couldn’t get much worse. After being dumped by his girlfriend and still stuck in an unfulfilling job in his mid-thirties, it seems like he’s hit rock bottom – until he gets himself into a rather sticky situation with best buddy and colleague Wheeler (Seann William Scott) that is. Following an incident that ultimately involved driving a bull-shaped promo car into a school statue, the pair lose their jobs and barely escape a prison sentence for defiling public property.

In order to avoid a stint in the big house, Danny and Wheeler must perform community service at ‘Sturdy Wings’, a district centre for dysfunctional kids. The pair must harness their nurturing powers and become ‘Bigs’ to a couple of ‘Littles’, whilst fixing their own lives in the process. Cue teenage role-play fanatic Augie and foul-mouthed youngster Ronnie.

With no jobs, no girlfriends and the possibility of being thrown in jail - not to mention having to babysit two kids that have some serious issues of their own - this situation could be make or break for the desperate pair.

If you love several doses of vulgarity, immaturity and some damn good medieval role playing in your films, then Role Models is definitely the one for you. And, as if that isn’t enough, Jane Lynch is in it too, playing the ex-druggie head honcho at Sturdy Wings who says ‘BS’ a lot and eats cocaine for breakfast. How do you like them eggs?!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cinema Etiquette for Dummies

As a regular cinema goer, there are a lot of things that I see all the time that drive me round the twist and, like most, I’ve got my own certain way of liking things when it comes to movies. Unfortunately everyone enjoys their cinema experience in a different way (how very dare they!!) so I’ve compiled a quick guide on what I think should be a staple set of guidelines for going to the cinema, regardless of which roundabout way you like to go about things. These ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ are applicable to all. Take heed.

DO get snacks. Sure they’re pricey these days (what’s that you say!?? £8.50 for a small popcorn?? Why you little...!) but let’s face it: they taste good AND they’re helping keep cinema afloat. It’s a little-known fact that cinemas rarely make any sort of profit on ticket costs anymore and so they rely on us to hit the concession stands. Go on, you know what to do! Get snacking!

DON’T rustle and munch. Ok. So I’ve highlighted that we need to be getting some chow before sitting down to watch our movie, but c’mon – is there really a need to make a racket throughout the film?! Firstly: come up with a system. By that I mean find a way that suits you (whether it be by tearing a packet a certain way or chomping uber fast through the trailers BEFORE the film starts) to cause minimal ‘paper bag disruption’ to those around you. Secondly: chew SLOWLY. No-one wants to hear the mastication of stale popcorn. Ew.

DO get all the chatting out of your system. Do this either a) before you enter the screen or b) if and ONLY if the boring adverts are on – this doesn’t include movie trailers. I’m sure no-one will mind if you talk over that dreadful Jack Black/Gullivers Travels/Orange ad. Bleurgh.

DON’T interrupt the trailers. As above. I pay to see the trailers, they gooood shit. It’s part of the cinema experience! In the same vein, don’t pay attention to people that shush you during the bog-standard TV adverts, they’re the moody gits who don’t get out much or don’t own a TV. Don’t mind them, they live a sheltered life.

DO prep your bladder. It’s sod's law that nature will strike at the most crucial part of the movie. As such, be sure to pop to the loo BEFORE the film and only buy a drink that’s relative to how much your wee tank can hold before needing a wee. It’s sometimes hard to judge I know, but imperative if you want to sit through the whole shebang – especially if it’s a long-un. Sadly, you can’t pause the big screen!

DON’T mention the ‘no recording’ bit. You all know the bit I’m talking about. That ominous black screen appears and it tells you something along the lines of ‘don’t film this’ and if you do you’ll be ‘imprisoned’ and your camera equipment ‘confiscated’. When this first came out it was sorta funny to shout “Oi John, put your camera away!” – Several years down the line, it’s not.

DO see as many films as you can because although it’s EXTORTIONATE nowadays (do you hear that Odeon!??!) There’s also nothing quite like seeing a film on the big screen. Unless you’re rich and can afford your own big screen...in which case, jog on. Anywho, when you go and see a movie at the cinema you can sleep sound in the knowledge that you've supported the film industry and all that gubbins. Win win.

DON’T go to the cinema when jetlagged. Pretty obvious really. Even the strongest of wills can’t always fight jetlag and any efforts to stay awake are often futile. Going to the cinema to keep yourself awake DOESN’T work –believe me, I’ve tried. Besides, no one wants to see you drooling in a public place.

DO be considerate. This applies in two instances:
  1. To your buddies who are cinema-ing with you. Chances are they haven’t seen the film either, so asking them perpetual questions throughout is both pointless and REALLY annoying. I have a couple of friends who do this and it drives me barmy. You know who you are.
  2.  If you have a large head, try and avoid sitting in front of little people (like me). Contrary to popular belief, we would also like to see the screen.

DON’T sit in the back row for a make-out sesh. This is OLD. It’s too expensive now to be wasting £8 just so that you can snog and miss the film. Foo’! Save the lip-locking for the after party.

And most importantly DO enjoy it! Remember, you’re paying to see this film and helping to support the industry at the same time, so sit back and relax! And, if you’re anything like me, why not write about how good/bad the film was afterwards? It’s a great way to waste time.

So that’s it. Respect and abide, I’ll be haunting local cinemas to see if you’ve been swotting up on your cinema etiquette or not :P Also, I’d love to hear if anything else bugs anyone at the cinema. What have I missed?! Comment away and in the meantime...


Monday, 11 April 2011

I Love You Ewan McGregor, I mean, er, Phillip Morris...COUGH...

Following on from the success of indie feel-good movie ‘Yes Man’, Jim Carrey returns to our screens again, bringing with him another larger than life true tale.

Carrey’s latest crusade, I Love You Phillip Morris, details the life of a closet homosexual-cum-conman who, after going through the motions as a straight cop for his entire life, has a sudden moment of clarity and announces a sudden change in his sexual orientation. For his entire life, abandoned middle child Steven Russell has followed the straight (literally!) and narrow; sampling milk and cookies, raising a nice wholesome family and mercilessly playing the role of perfect husband and father. It soon becomes apparent however that Steven might not be so perfect after all. Russell’s wife Debbie (Leslie Mann) quickly discovers that her lovely and dependable partner is actually - yup you guessed it - gay.

After an epiphany-inducing car crash, Steven realises life is too short and exposes the double life he’s been living, thus embracing his gay lifestyle completely. Steven becomes so entangled in his new and expensive existence that he has to start embezzling money and running insurance scams to maintain the standard of living he’s become accustomed to. Suffice to say his antics don’t go unnoticed.

Not before long, Steven finds himself serving a stint in jail for insurance fraud. Cue love interest. Whilst serving his time in lock up, Steven meets the gorgeously blonde and soft-spoken Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). A complete juxtaposition to the flamboyant and happy-go-lucky Steven, Phillip is shy and timid, only being locked up for a minor misunderstanding with an overdue car rental. In this instance, opposites really do attract and a budding romance filled with amorous and secretive love letters unfolds. Eventually, when the pair are released, they vow to continue a peaceful life together.

Sadly for devoted and gentle lover Phillip, again it’s not long before Steven gets restless and takes up a whole host of different jobs in order to make some fast cash for him and his beau, posing as a lawyer one day and a chief financier the next. Winging it completely and blagging his way to the top, Steven soon becomes wrapped up in all sorts of criminal activities again and eventually winds up back where he started – alone and in jail.
After several escape attempts (even one where Steven fakes his own death) Steven and Phillip are briefly reunited and all sins and faux pas’ forgotten. Unfortunately like all true stories, the ending is predetermined, and as usual it’s not necessarily the happy one.

Helloooo receding hairline...

As far as Jim Carrey movies go there are only really a few laughs to be had. Instead, I Love You Phillip Morris frequently highlights the stark and harsh nature of reality and how love can be difficult, especially when you’re battling against the stigma of being gay AND a convict. It definitely gives more of a ‘Man on the Moon’ feel as opposed to laugh-out-loud ‘Ace Ventura’ vibes and although brief, it certainly conveys the serious threat of AIDS/HIV that is still omnipresent in today’s society.

Within the realm of ‘true stories adapted for film’, I Love You Phillip Morris is no Erin Brockovich, but it’s certainly not bad. I’ve also been reserved here and not deducted a mark for Carrey’s receding hairline, which is starting to give Nic Cage’s do a run for its money: 5/10

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

I can do science, me!

So my lovely readers, it is safe to say, after catching up on episode 2 of Brian Cox's incredible 'Wonders of the Universe' yesterday evening and pondering the shortness of our existence, that I am pretty rubbish when it comes to blogging. Four whole months it's been, without so much as a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year or most importantly some sort of celebratory Pancake Day post. That being said, not that I wish to play the blame game, things have become increasingly difficult work-wise since November and unforeseen circumstances have forced me to be more partial to simply watching films/tv, as opposed to writing enthralling (ha!) copy about them.

Anyway, getting back to the point; I have neglected whatever minute readership I have, and for that I am truly sorry! Old Coxy with his 'I'm clever yet cool' demeanour kept me awake last night, thinking about how I can get the little carbon atoms inside me moving again. After all, who wants to waste a life that was given to them by a dying star - I sure as hell don't! Noone wants that kind of guilt ;) So thanks Bri, I will getting back on the horse and bullying myself into blogging again, all thanks to you (well actually I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks now but shhhh!)
By the by, if you haven't yet partaken in the delights of the show, do it - do it NOW. Look, I'll even make it easy for you:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zdhtg You know you want to. Mmm, physics. It all really does make a fascinating watch. Ah looksee, my post wasn't completely off-topic after all!!
Prepare yourselves you crazy kids, I will be reviewing and pondering the delights of the screen again soon. But - just in case I don't get another waffley post in before then - good afternoon, good evening and good night.
P.s. Amidst my future blogs, I will hopefully be doing some guest posts for Vulture Hound...if I can write proper that is. Yes guv! Watch this space...