Monday, July 30, 2007

Bumper Film Review Post

I've seen quite a few films lately as it's the summer and I'm not exactly bursting with busy-ness, but the holidays also have a tendency to make me immensely lazy so I haven't gotten around to reviewing many of them. I will now rectify this by providing you with my thoughts 'in briefs' (and the films will indeed be marked out of briefs, because I couldn't resist that highlarious pun) on some of the things I've seen in the past few weeks...

(NOTE: More briefs are good, not bad in the sense of the film being pants!)

A Good Year
I must admit it was the trailer that made me watch this, because it has Alizée's gorgeous hit single Moi... Lolita as its soundtrack, and it also stars one of the loveliest actresses around, Marion Cotillard (Love Me If You Dare, Innocence etc.). A Good Year was not a terrible film but it was not a very exciting one either. It did improve towards the end but compared to actual French films (as opposed to this which is only set in France) it captured only the beauty of France and its people, not their spirit. And where was the hot young Frenchman that all French films absolutely have to have? Couldn't they bring in Romain Duris or Gaspard Ulliel for a cameo, even Guillaume Canet would do!

Being a big fan of modern musicals, as I mentioned in my last post, it was no surprise I loved this film. It was interesting to see it just after Dreamgirls as it's set at a similar time and covers some of the same issues (for example songs written by black artists being given to white ones) but from a different perspective, as the main characters are white. The music is great and the whole thing is very jolly in a High School Musical-ish way - if you enjoyed that you'll definitely like Hairspray. My sister thought it was "too weird", which we now know (since she disliked Dreamgirls) is a very positive sign!

Running With Scissors
I finally got to see the film version of the best book I've read this year, and luckily it didn't live up to my cautiously low expectations. I didn't expect it to be as good as the book but actually I think it captured Augusten's unique perspective pretty well and did the book justice as much as possible. I even found myself not really hating Rachel Evan Wood, which was quite a shock, as you'll agree if you read my review of Thirteen. I would definitely recommend this film, but I recommend the book even more.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Review: Dreamgirls

My expectations for this film weren't high as my sister had termed it "rubbish", but it turns out her taste is even worse than I feared, because this film is excellent! It's quite long, but needed to be if they were to include all the main songs from the original musical and still have a decent plot. Being a big fan of Motown music, I loved the songs and also enjoyed spotting all of the references to Motown stars such as Diana Ross and the Jackson 5. The characters and plot were good too, unlike many musicals where these aspects aren't important, and I can understand now why the musical did so well.

I hated Jennifer Hudson on American Idol, finding her truly unlikeable as a person, but she somehow makes a very engaging character of Effie White and her vocals certainly outshine Beyoncé, although that may just be because we're used to Beyoncé already - I've seen her sing live and you could not say her voice was anything but brilliant. The first half of the film is very much from Effie's perspective but Deena (Beyoncé's character) takes the lead both in the group and the film in the second half, which was the second act in the stage musical.

This has got me in the musical mood now and I'm off to add all the ones I haven't seen to my online rental list. Any recommendations would be great. There haven't been many musical films out in the 2000s that I haven't loved (The Phantom of the Opera is the only one I can think of that I saw and disliked), so I've compiled a top 10 of my favourites:
  1. Moulin Rouge
  2. High School Musical
  3. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  4. Dreamgirls
  5. Get Over It
  6. Camp
  7. Happiness of the Katakuris
  8. Save The Last Dance
  9. Chicago
  10. Bride & Prejudice
Narrowly missing the list were Honey and 8 Femmes, among others. Tomorrow I'm off to see Hairspray so I look forward to seeing how it will rank.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Trailer: Evening

This film is written by the author of The Hours and A Home At The End Of The World, both brilliant books and films. This seems similar to The Hours and shares some of its stars, plus Hugh Dancy, although I'm not convinced by his American accent.