Films seen recently

Silver Linings Playbook

It’s 3am and I’ve just finished watching. I’m wide awake and happy I stayed up to watch this (though she might not be!). Bradley Cooper plays against type, moving away from the smarmy smile to play a mentally-ill man trying to get his life together. He meets Jennifer Lawrence’s and a slow dysfunctional friendship develops. The movie is edgey and intense. Two broken people trying to get it together. The happy ending seems to forget the illness for a bit but a bi-polar friend told me there are no happy endings, just got to be prepared for bumps on the road.  The pace for a serious subject is right. The ideas and ending can be justified. And Jennifer Lawrence is really very good in this. 9/10

Warm Bodies

With a few twists on the zombie genre, this reverse post-zombie apocalypse tells us that love can save zombies. After eating their victim’s brains, the zombies gain their deceased’s memories, regain their heartbeat and slowly return to life. Its cute, sometimes funny and closes with The National. I’m gonna like that. 7/10

The Taste of Others

A French class comedy on cultural indicators, full of humiliations, snobbery and regrets as a businessman seeks to broaden his understanding of the ‘high’ culture of literature, plays and art. Its a modest piece, full of spot-on moments. 7/10

Cloud Atlas

I took my friend’s recommendation on this film, turned it on at 2am and finished it at 5am. At that moment, wide awake, I thought about watching it again. Its a grand opera where its strengths of imagination and technique out-weigh the slower moments, mostly because the film is adapted from a broad book. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant take on numerous roles across time and dimensions, all having that nagging feeling they’ve met each other before. Its not perfect but it make you sit back in wonder. 9/10

The Namesake

A tale of marriage and migration from India to the US as a newly-married wife struggles to ‘fit in’ and raises her children in big city America. Its intelligently written and acted with some quiet moments of reflection on migration and how much we can adapt to a different culture. 6/10

The Last Stand

Arnie’s comeback film confirms many assumptions. Arnie could never really act and yes he is looking very old these days. But I’d say this is a brave film for him to take on. He actually tries to act and does better than he did years ago. The story line of a small-town sheriff trying to stop a drug lord fleeing to Mexico is simple but its done fairly well, there are plenty of jokes thrown in there which are real jokes rather than puns. Its not a classic but those days are over now for Arnie. His old strengths have left him but this slightly bizarre, whimsical action thriller has more depth than your average Jason Statham crap and Arnie plays a truly sympathetic small town hero. 6/10

Hannah and Gretel Get Baked

Ludicrous, dead-pan and sometimes funny, I don’t know if you need to be stoned to watch but it would help. Apart the gore, the cartoon slaughter and the stereotypes are munched on by the wicked witch with a tongue firmly lodged. 5/10


The biography of Abraham Lincoln looks great with its authentic reproduction of the US Civil War era and its well-acted. However its so earnest to be near unwatchable in one sitting. It doesn’t drag; its simply so dense and historical focused on the man himself to be overwhelming and underwhleming at the same time. 5/10

Les Miserables

I’ve never seen the musical or read the book but this film rendition is grandiose and moving. The numbers sung with varying ability by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway hold the attention. Hathaway is especially good. The detail of the direction really makes what is likely to be an impossible task (to please all) work. 7/10

Zero Dark Thirty

This is great film-making. The opening 30 minutes focusing on the use of torture is intense and feels unnecessary. The slow and meticulous hunt for Osama Bin Laden is incredibly well-done, highlighting the difficulties of espionage in tribal areas when you have no access to modern methods and require a return to methods often left behind; having men on the ground. The slow, methodical closing scenes are brilliant realised. 8/10

Django Unchained

Tarantino is back killing horses and dozens of people, with his usual conversational techniques, the macarbe jokes, outlandishly bad and detailed villians and some first-class set-pieces. Its all here and all very well-executed (pun intended). I actually found myself impressed by all the characters and hence actors. Even Jaime Foxx. 9/10


This short film is odd. It’s the story of Hitchcock and his wife during the making of Psycho. I’ve heard the blurb why Hitchcock’s wife was deemed vital by the screenwriter but as half the plot, it really takes away from the more interesting elements of Hitchcock’s life. The making of the Psycho is now in the background when Hitchcock and his obsessions should have been ‘the film’ rather than simply part of it.  The rest of the film seems a distraction. Possibly this may lead to a critical portrait of the man but focusing on this would be far more enthralling. Hopkins is good in a slight caricature role as is Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. 5/10


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