Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-A Movie Review

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Jan 192015

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Movie PosterSeven elderly Britons, for a variety of reasons, respond to an online ad and travel to Jaipur, India, where they find run-down hotel with a young, exuberant, and optimistic host. Evelyn, newly widowed, wants low-cost experience, Graham seeks a long-ago love, Douglas and Jean have lost their pension in a family investment, Muriel needs cheap hip surgery, Madge seeks a rich husband, and Norman is chasing women. India affects each in different ways, enchanting Douglas and Evelyn while driving Jean deeper into bitterness. Their host, young Sonny, has dreams but little cash or skill; he also has a girlfriend whom his mother dismisses. Stories cross and discoveries await each one.

Runtime: 124 min; Rated: PG-13; Genre: Comedy, Drama; Released: 25 May 2012
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker (screenplay), Deborah Moggach (novel)
Stars: Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Patrick Pearson, Hugh Dickson, James Rawlings, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Liza Tarbuck, Paul Bhattacharjee, Lucy Robinson, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie

Lay had to work Saturday, so after chores were done, I watched this. I found it to be a grand and fun movie, with adorable characters who made me want to see more. Continue reading »

Philomena-A Movie Review

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Jun 032014

We watched this from Redbox on April 21

Both me and Lay thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was certainly very sad, and I must admit, it made me angry, but it was a good story well told. You definitely need to watch this movie.

Judi Dench plays Philomena, and although we are used to seeing her in more commanding regal roles or as James Bonds no-nonsense boss ‘M’, don’t be fooled, this is her most complex role to date and her performance is nothing short of sensational and worthy of an Academy award.

The film begins with a series of flashbacks, interlaced with close ups of Dench’s aging facial features. Each wrinkle adjusts slowly each time Philomena relives an emotion, It’s through these scenes that we get a glimpse of Philomena’s pain and it is as strong now as it was all those years ago.

In the flashbacks, Sophie Kennedy-Clark plays the heavily pregnant young Philomena who is abandoned by her family at Sean Ross Abbey. The nuns are obstructive and damn right mean “you are the cause of your shame. You and your own indecency” lectures mother superior, before reluctantly admitting Philomena into their care. Furthermore they refuse any pain relief when Philomena goes into a labour “The pain is her penance, It will help absolve her of her sin”.

Worse yet – the convent sells the children to wealthy Americans looking to adopt, and after four years of being forced to work in the convent laundry Philomena is helpless as she watches her Anthony being removed from the convent by an American couple.

After 50 years of keeping quiet about Anthony, the anniversary of his birth causes Philomena to speak up and share her story. “I’d like to know what he thought of me”, explains Philomena to reporter Martin Sixsmith “I’ve thought about him every day.” Martin Sixsmith is played Steve Coogan (who also co-wrote the screenplay), He is a well educated former political journalist. Who initially believes human-interest stories are for “vulnerable, weak-minded, ignorant people”. Nevertheless Sixsmith at his own crossroads can’t ignore the potential in this story and invests in the operation of tracking down Philomena’s boy.

Coogan and Dench’s on-screen chemistry is undeniably charming, Coogan is a well known British funny-man, last seen in one of this years best comedies ‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’ but in this role he takes a comedic backseat to Dench who provides most of the best chuckles and Coogan gives the film the thoughtful and serious balance that is needed.

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The ‘road trip’ Philomena and Martin take is full of amusing exchanges with Philomena having a healthy frankness when it comes to discussing sexuality and her constant marveling at the first class lifestyle she’s experiencing. It is Martin who has to keep Philomena motivated with the task at hand when she gets side-tracked by the possibility of renting something called “Big Momma’s House” from the comfort of their hotel room.

As with most journeys, you need to come a full circle to get the perspective you’re looking for and Martin (And the film itself) does just that. After traveling to the United States we return back to Ireland to the Sean Ross Abbey and it is here where we find our answers.

Director Stephen Frears (The Queen) manages to make this sedate tale of a woman searching for her son thought provoking and sensitive but it also takes a cynical glance towards the institutions of journalism, politics and religion. We are reminded once again before the end credits that it is a true story and a remarkable one at that. As Philomena would say this film is “One in a million”.

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

Quantum of Solace – A Movie Review

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Dec 272008

Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr. White who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.

Forensic intelligence links an Mi6 traitor to a bank account in Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille, a woman who has her own vendetta. Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene, a ruthless business man and major force within the mysterious organization.

On a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano. Using his associates in the organization, and manipulating his powerful contacts within the CIA and the British government, Greene promises to overthrow the existing regime in a Latin American country, giving the General control of the country in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of land.

In a minefield of treachery, murder and deceit, Bond allies with old friends in a battle to uncover the truth. As he gets closer to finding the man responsible for the betrayal of Vesper, 007 must keep one step ahead of the CIA, the terrorists and even M, to unravel Greene’s sinister plan and stop his organization.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Adaptation and Sequel; Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.; Release Date: November 14th, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, Mathieu Amalric

Directed by: Marc Forster

Boy, I am way behind on blogging and reviewing movies. We saw this movie probably a month ago. More on my lack of blogging in another post, but let’s get on with the movie review now.

I admit to sharing the disappointment of some reviewers in the lack of a Q and all the gadgets of old. This film lacked most of the humor and double-entendre’s of the other bond films. In this movie, Bond was portrayed as a dark character driven by a sense of vengeance. As a Bond fan, I missed the older style.

However, it must be noted that the film is of an early Bond, not yet “matured” into the Bond of the later books (already done as films). So while I missed some of the traditional Bond flare, I still found this movie well done. The characters all played their parts well, and the action scenes (mostly fight scenes) were reasonable and well choreographed.

This movie is definitely worth a viewing, but be prepared for a very different experience than most of the previous Bond movies.

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Dec 102006

Casino RoyaleJames Bond’s first mission, where he must stop a banker from winning a casino tournament and using the prize money to fund terrorist activities.

Directed by
Martin Campbell

Action, Adventure, Thriller

Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach De Bankol, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Tobias Menzies, Claudio Santamaria, Sebastien Foucan, Malcolm Sinclair

Though it doesn’t care too much about the series’ continuity (it’s supposed to be Bond’s first mission as a 00 agent, but it takes place after the Cold war and Judi Dench is already M), “Casino Royale” is a great re-creation of the series. Cool action, great thrills and a more humane Bond more than make up for the purported lack of gadgets. Daniel Craig plays Bond as a rough secret who only gradually acquires the class and cold demeanor we all know and love. He makes mistakes in the course of his mission, but that makes him even more of a hero. Although I found it hard at first to cope with Craig’s looks, he is more than suitable as the character. Bond is portrayed as a man with flaws and weaknesses, which makes him look even stronger. The story is not your usual Bond plot and relies more on classical thrills than technology, though the action is extremely hard-boiled. Kudos to the creepy Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd for creating remarkably believable characters. A definite must-see for Bond fans : it should reconcile at last Ian Fleming aficionados and fans of the film series !

The real ace in the hand is Craig. He doesn’t have Connery’s raw star quality, but he’s easily the best actor to have played the part. I don’t know if the film was shot in sequence but for the only time since OHMSS you get a sense of Bond changing throughout the film as his cockiness becomes confidence and his brutality becomes cold efficiency. He starts off unlikeable but human and gradually picks up the Bond traits we know until he becomes more likable but just a little less human. It’s an interesting journey and Craig is up to it. It’s not just his delivery, it’s also his body language. Even his fighting style changes as he adapts.

Physically he’s the most in your face Bond since Lazenby and the action scenes look brutal for once. Even the not very likely free running chase is spectacular but believable because you get the idea that this really is kill or be killed stuff. It’s got a real feel of danger to it that hasn’t been seen in the series in years. Only the torture scene feels like it’s holding back (it’s almost as tastefully done as the old TV version) but that’s probably fear of the censors.

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