Keira Knightley

Love Actually

Year: 2003
Directed By: Richard Curtis
Written By: Richard Curtis

RYAN’S REVIEW

It’s Christmas time and we have the happy coincidence to start the month with a Christmas themed film.  We aren’t going to do a themed month for the holiday like we did in October but this just happened to be our next film and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  This is a movie I have no qualms about admitting to how much I like.  It’s a chick flick if I have ever seen one and it took Amber quite a while to twist my arm into seeing it.  Once she did I was thoroughly surprised with how much I enjoyed the film and it’s provides me with a rare opportunity to recommend a film I normally wouldn’t.  This movie may fit every possible requirement to qualify as a chick flick but the movie is both funny and heartfelt.  It’s a touching film that even the most stone hearted man might find himself both laughing and crying over.

There could be plenty to cover in this film but I’m inclined to keep it simple on this one.  While I did like the film, it is what it is and I am not going to over analyze a chick flick.  I specifically like Bill Nighy in this movie.  He is a really funny actor that I have liked in many movies but in this one he is just over the top funny.  “Kids, don’t buy drugs….become a rock star and they give them to you for free!” I love the guy that randomly buys a plane ticket to America to marvel the women here with his British accent.  The fact that it works so well for him is hilarious because it is probably true.  While exaggerated in this movie there is still plenty of truth to the idea that American women will fall all over any English guy just because of his voice.  I love the stand-in actors played by Martin Freeman and Joanna Page. The way they keep having small talk while simulating sex scenes is hilarious.  It’s really funny that this guy is building up the courage to ask a woman out while he is going through the motions of sex with her.  The casual way he responds to the director’s suggestion that he massage her breasts is so funny.  It’s a bit sappy, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to really liking the Colin Firth story line too.  That part of the story is in full blown chick flick mode but it’s clever and touching all the same. I normally wouldn’t admit to it but the story line got me on a deep down lovey dovey level that doesn’t surface very often.

There is one part of this film that I absolutely hate and it’s the Andrew Lincoln/Keira Knightley/Chiwetel Ejiofor story. The film starts with Knightley and Ejiofor getting married and Andrew Lincoln is Ejiofor’s best man and best friend.  Lincoln is secretly in love with Knightley though and the story culminates at the end with Lincoln secretly professing the love he knows he can never act on for Knightley to her. I think that Ejiofor would be justified in beating his best friend into the dirt after that scene and always regret that it doesn’t happen when I watch the film. What kind of man has feelings like that for his best friend’s wife and then has the nerve to tell her such after she is already married? It’s bad enough that he simply feels that way but it’s the kind of feeling you take to your grave.  His little moment in the end when he lets her read his feelings while his best friend sits unknowingly upstairs is shameful.  It’s cool to look back at this movie now that Andrew Lincoln has reached stardom as Rick Grimes on The Walking Deadbut it’s disappointing to see him play such a douche bag.  Yeah you can look at this movie and say things like “he didn’t actually do anything wrong” or “he never acted on his feelings” but he did.  His actions would only lead to an inevitable affair later down the road one way or another.  They could pick up this story line for a sequel and call it “Divorce Actually.”

There are plenty of other great story lines and performances in this movie as well.  I typically despise Hugh Grant but must admit he delivered a good performance in this movie as the British Prime Minister.  I also specifically like the casting of Billy Bob Thorton as the American President.  He seems to be a bit of a combination President merging qualities from both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  A blasphemous thing to do politically from an American point of view but they can get away with it in a film set in Britain.  I have always been a big fan of Alan Rickman but his role in this movie isn’t the best.  It’s not because of his performance just because of how the role was written.  I feel bad for this guy really because any of us can fall victim to what he went through.  He doesn’t go out looking to start an affair but when a really attractive woman relentlessly pursues him he is powerless to stop it.  He is in the wrong to pursue at all, clearly, but like the previously mentioned American President he was just couldn’t stop himself in the face of a woman throwing herself at him.

Now that I have already mentioned doing this review briefly it didn’t take long for my thoughts to quickly add up.  The last thing I want to mention is the role of Liam Neeson.  A very nice story that he performs well in.  I have joked many times since seeing this movie that my wife is in love with Liam Neeson because of how she reacted to the part.  I’ll set the record straight now. Amber isn’t really in love with Liam Neeson, but this is the movie that started the joke I use to annoy her so.  I like Neeson but don’t understand why he has lowered himself to some of the silly type of film roles he takes now.  I’m specifically talking about Taken and its sequel.  I have heard so many people talk about how good those movies were and I want to look at all of them and ask “why???” Liam Neeson isn’t Jack Bauer or John Rambo and that’s all aside from the point that I think the time for movies like Taken was in the 90s.  Liam Neeson can do better. We see that he is capable of more in this movie specifically, and I literally think he is doing himself a disservice with his action roles.

This is a good movie and a perfect one to see during this holiday season.  There is no shortage of good Christmas films out there and this one belongs in the rotation of such.  When it comes to a chick flick, a guy could sit through a lot worse because not only does this movie not suck but it is quite funny.  So, gentlemen, if you want to please your spouses this holiday season with a film geared more toward her taste than yours then check this film out.  I know it is probably a really appetizing idea to see Christmas Vacation for the 100th time because it never gets old but this one will make her really happy and you will probably find yourself laughing much more than you would have expected.  This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I never wanted to watch this movie, let alone love it as much as I do. This is one of my absolute favorites. I really love how it takes different love stories all going on in the same area and ties the people together. The ultimate message of the story is that “love actually is all around us.”

loveactuallyLet’s montage another poster you guys! They managed to fit 10 different people on this poster. And on top of that they gift wrapped the poster. Ugh I hate it. I think it would have been prettier and more effective if it didn’t look like such a cheesy holiday movie poster. The home screen for the DVD is beautiful. It shows a sliced up heart moving in pieces. It is really a strong graphic. I think it would have suited here too. And these people have all already made such a name for themselves that their faces aren’t even needed. I think they could have listed them and it would have been just as effective as their faces.

I am sorry to have to say I hate this poster when I love the movie so much. It’s unfortunate, but true. The typography of the title is okay, not amazing, so at least it has that.

NEXT MOVIE: Machete (2010)

Advertisements

The Jacket

Year: 2005
Directed By: John Maybury
Written By: Tom Bleeker, Marc Rocco, and Massy Tadjedin

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a weird movie but when I was in college I saw something in it that I liked.  It does have an interesting story that will keep you guessing but frankly that isn’t really enough now.  This movie has a strange tone to it and an awful music score that creates a mood I’m not able to pinpoint. I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to be sad, scared, confused, or interested at different times throughout the film. There is this one musical note that plays over and over continuously at different stretches throughout the film and it’s just unnerving. When we started this movie I was excited because it had been a long time since we had seen it and I couldn’t remember much about it.  All I remembered was that I liked it enough to buy it and I was looking forward to seeing what it was that I liked about it years ago.

We are now over half way through the movie and I have conceded to Amber.  She has been sitting here the whole time telling me this was a stupid movie and I told her to simply be patient.  She is right, when she’s right she’s right, and in this case I have had to relinquish.  This is a stupid movie, it’s really really stupid.  Yet it has woven a story that I feel compelled to see an end to all the same. Check that, the farther we get into the movie the dumber it all seems.

First of all, despite Back to the Future 2I think the idea of time travel into the future is ridiculous.  The future hasn’t happened yet.  In the already ridiculous idea that time travel exists I think that going forward is totally out of the question.  That’s just a pet peeve and I could be totally wrong about it as well, I’m no physicist. I think that the idea in this movie, that Adrien Brody time travels to the future under the circumstances he is in, is completely ridiculous and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking when I bought the movie.  The idea of him falling in love with this girl in the future, having sex with her, and then visiting her as a little girl in the present is weird.  In fact that is borderline creepy and possibly toppling over into the full blown pervish zone. This doesn’t even cover all of it but I feel like going deeper would be a waste of my time.  This movie is ridiculous in so many ways that I feel embarrassed and can only chalk it up to ignorance in adolescence as to why we own it.

I have to seriously re-evaluate my opinion of Adrien Brody.  I had reluctantly become a fan over the years but since Splice I just haven’t been sure what to make of him. What is it I came to like about this strange looking guy and the weirdo movie roles he chooses to play? There is a point in this movie when he is talking to Keira Knightley, who plays the adult version of the young girl we met earlier in the film, and he keeps asking her “don’t you remember me?” What he should have been saying was, “look at my nose, you don’t forget one that looks like this, was there any other time in your life you saw an adult male as skinny as me?” How did this guy get into the business of acting anyway and how did he headline so many movies? I will say for the record too, that had Brody not banged the freaky monster in Splice I wouldn’t be so critical of him, or his role in this movie. He has made many films I have enjoyed but I find myself second guessing him now despite his better roles.

As for the rest of the cast I think they all look good on paper but didn’t really fit right in the movie.  I have always only seen Keira Knightley as a poor man’s Natalie Portman.  I was never a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean  movies and outside of that I haven’t seen anything she has done that one would call distinguishing.  She doesn’t do much in this movie distinguishing either simply playing the part of a miserable bitch who had an unfortunate hand dealt her in life.  Kris Kristofferson may have been great as Whistler but otherwise I haven’t been impressed.  In this movie I think he is out of place and has a weird way of doing things as a doctor.  Daniel Craig sure has come a long way in the last eight years from where we saw him in this movie.  I think he was one of the better actors in this movie and I liked his role but he is better than this.  It was early in his transition to an American star and certainly played an important part as a stepping stone for him in that process.  He is a big time actor now and I am a fan of what he has accomplished.  I’m not a fan of his Bond movies but nevertheless think he was a great choice for the role.  Jennifer Jason Leigh plays an important role in the movie and does it well enough but I don’t think she ever really fully reached her potential as an actress.  She was very talented and showed a lot of promise over the years but never really got to the top.  Blink and you will miss him in this movie; Brad Renfro plays a really small but significant part as well.  The boy that America fell in love with after The Client never could really get it together. Unfortunately he died young only a few years after this movie was made.  If I’m not mistaken I think it was a drug overdose that did him in.

This movie gets a relatively high rating on IMDB but take it from me, this is a stupid movie.  If you are reading this as a big fan then by all means leave me an argument in comments and tell me I am wrong.  I at one time too was a fan of this movie so you will find me sympathetic.  If you haven’t seen this movie then don’t waste your time because it’s not worth it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

What. A. Stupid. Movie.

jacket

I hardly even want to write about this poster. I have had a hard time watching anything with Adrien Brody ever since we watched Splice.

Ok. I don’t like the poster. There is this feathery glow around their faces and then it just cuts to another photograph at the bottom. The transition is rough and doesn’t flow well. And I really hate the typography of the title. I think you can be a little less cliché and still put forth a thriller movie vibe. Bad movie, bad poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Jackie Brown (1997)