May 162010
 

In the 1960s a group of 8 rogue DJs on a boat in the middle of the Northern Atlantic, played rock records and broke the law all for the love of music. The songs they played united and defined an entire generation and drove the British government crazy. By playing rock ‘n roll they were standing up against the British government who did everything in their power to shut them down.

Genres: Art/Foreign and Comedy; Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min.; Release Date: November 13th 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for language, and some sexual content including brief nudity.

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh
Directed by: Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis’ first ‘non romantic comedy film’ is really another romantic comedy film- it’s just that the romantic bit gets swamped within 20 other sub-plots so you try and not notice.

The Boat That Rocked sees Carl (Tom Surridge) go aboard Radio Rock- a pirate radio station owned by Quentin (Bill Nighy) whose DJ’s (Phillip Semour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Chris O’ Dowd, Rhys Darby, etc.) broadcast 24-hour rock and roll music to the UK. They are adored by the populace but hated by the government, including the Minister of Communications and his chief subordinate who aim to shut them down.

If that was the extent of the plot then it would probably be a 90 minute film. However the Boat That Rocked has so many little sub-plots- many seeming like excuses to put in another montage or cameo cast appearance that the time has ballooned out to 154mins and it does tell at times. Furthermore.

But these faults are more than made up for in the performances; all of which are good- and some are outstanding. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Count is a lovable character who approaches everything with great gusto, while Chris O’ Dowd’s Simple Simon has a wonderful part in the middle section of the movie which brings a little bit of emotion to what is a pretty emotionally vacant movie. Nick Frost is cheeky as Dr Dave and finally Rhys Darby- fresh from Flight of the Conchords- simply shines in his role as the unpopular and daggy Angus who nonetheless gets arguably the best line in the whole movie.

I have been wanting to see this movie since I saw the trailer for the very first time. We finally watched it as a download a couple of weeks ago. The plot sounded interesting and I was hoping to see a comedy that wasn’t as predictable and forced romantic as a lot of comedies are. I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, this isn’t the most profound story ever told, but I wanted to have fun, and this movie definitely gave it to me. Another bonus is the great soundtrack, which carries the whole movie. After leaving the cinema you will want to listen to the songs featured in this film, just so you can enjoy the feeling of it a little longer. This film is funny from the beginning to the end, and there were moments when I couldn’t stop laughing. If you want to see a feel-good movie with a plot that was, at least as far as I know, not used before, than this is the right film for you.

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Jun 062009
 

Underworld-Rise of the Lycans Movie PosterExplores the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.

Genres: Romance, Suspense/Horror, Thriller and Sequel; Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.; Release Date: January 23rd, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence and some sexuality.

Starring: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Shane Brolly, Kevin Grevioux

Directed by: Patrick Tatopoulos

We had read some good reviews of this film, and although Lay and I have not been into this series, we decided to rent the DVD and watch this movie.  It was something of a disappointment. I thought the storyline was fine, and I didn’t feel like I’d missed much having not seen the other two movies in the series.

Michael Sheen was not the right choice for the film for his part. Bill Nighy was perfect for his part, and even without the cataract contact lenses, he came across as cold and menacing. I liked him in Valkyrie and both the Pirates movies.

The movie did manage to drum up some the classic 1980s horror style, the special effects for the wolves frankly sucked, and the battle scenes came across as much less than epic.

The tone is everything! I really love the moody tone of the movie. Very effective in this type of movies. So, I guess it’s worth a watch, but unless you’re a fan of the series, it may leave you a little flat.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 10)
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Dec 292008
 

In a country in the grips of evil, in a police state where every move is being watched, in a world where justice and honor have been subverted, a group of men hidden inside the highest reaches of power decide to take action. Based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and the daring and ingenious plot to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known.

A proud military man, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is a loyal officer who serves his country all the while hoping that someone will find a way to stop Hitler before Europe and Germany are destroyed. Realizing that time is running out, he decides that he must take action himself and joins the German resistance. Armed with a cunning strategy to use Hitler’s own emergency plan – known as Operation Valkyrie – these men plot to assassinate the dictator and overthrow his Nazi government from the inside.

With everything in place, with the future of the world, the fate of millions and the lives of his wife and children hanging in the balance, von Stauffenberg is thrust from being one of many who oppose Hitler to the one who must kill Hitler himself.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Biopic and War; Running Time: 2 hrs.; Release Date: December 25th, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.

Cast: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Eddie Izzard, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp, Christian Berkel, Kenneth Branagh, Halina Reijn, David Bamber, Kevin McNally, Jamie Parker, Tom Hollander, David Schofield, Werner Daehn, Harvey Friedman, Matthias Schweighoefer, Waldemar Kobus

Director: Bryan Singer

Lay and I went to see this movie on Christmas Day at its first showing in Gastonia, NC, so the theater wasn’t packed.

A story such as this can be a very difficult story to tell. Because it is based on a true story, it only has credibility if the movie is true to the story, but that can be difficult when the topic is complex, and so much of the story known only to a few. Because the outcome is known, it can be hard to maintain the suspense and tension needed to make a good movie, and a movie about a takeover attempt like this is hard to setup, as the real action doesn’t come until the event itself.

Despite these challenges, Singer does a good job putting out the story. I’m no historian, but have read a couple of reviews by people who purport to be historians, and they seem to feel the movie was reasonably true to the actual events. Perhaps the one gripe (and this is understandable due to the time constraints of a movie), in some cases the approach to possible fellow-conspirators was rather abrupt. I would expect more caution in such situations.

Singer managed to maintain a surprising level of tension and drama throughout the movie, and I found myself rooting for the conspirators and forgetting that the plot actually failed. It was also interesting to learn of the many considerations involved in such an action that go beyond the mere killing of Hitler.

I thought all the actors did an excellent job with their parts. I’ll admit to having been a Cruise fan for a while after “Risky Business” (but then what gay man wasn’t hot for Tom Cruise after the underwear scene in that movie), but my attitude towards him has cooled. But he did a nice job playing the part. The other actors carried off their parts in a very believable fashion.

All in all, a movie well worth seeing.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (2 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)
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Notes on a Scandal

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May 142007
 

Notes On A ScandalA pottery teacher (Blanchett) enters into an affair with one of her students, causing upheaval in her personal and professional lives.

Directed by
Richard Eyre

Genres
Drama

Cast
Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Tom Georgeson, Michael Maloney, Joanna Scanlan, Shaun Parkes, Emma Kennedy, Syreeta Kumar, Andrew Simpson, Philip Davis, Wendy Nottingham, Tameka Empson, Leon Skinner, Bill Nighy, Juno Temple

Barbara Covett (Dame Judi Dench) is the typical old school teacher many of us can relate to. The old witch who we suspected of living alone with no family, who we detested for her rule with an iron fist. Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) is the opposite, like the soft teacher everyone bullied because they knew they could, and you always got someone that fancied them, mostly because they were the best of a bad bunch ( no offence to Blanchett). Problems arrive when it’s more than just Barbara that shows an interest in Sheba. When one of her students Steven Connolly shows her attention she isn’t used to the problems escalate to illegal doings when Sheba reciprocates these affections and they embark on a affair. When Barbara finds out she blackmails Sheba with nothing other than friendship. However this means that she can keep Sheba under control. The acting in this film is nothing shirt of exceptional, however it is in a way overacted. Everything is emphasised with tensions being heightened in an effort to show just how insane Barabra really is. She’s monstrous, and one would think she would easily turn to murder if this same character was in a different film. Phillip Glass’s score plays over the film, narrating it like a finely tuned opera. Even the end screams horror, as Barbara moves onto a new victim, the monster defeated this time but still not subdued. I really hope there is no sequel; however I can imagine how tempting it may be.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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