Category Archives: Drama

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005): So Good!

A History of Violence (2005), Viggo Mortensen
A History of Violence (2005), Viggo Mortensen

A small town, suddenly sprinkled with a few non local visitors can only mean trouble, and trouble does come. Especially for Tom Stall, a well regarded local coffee shop owner with a wife and two children.

Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Ed Harris, there’s much to love and little else left to be desired here.

For those familiar with Cronenberg’s trademark visceral style, this drama/ crime/ thriller definitely has scenes and moments that remind you perfectly of who the director is.

A well written story, that’s brilliantly delivered is the reason A History Of Violence (2005) is one of my favourite films of all time.

What’s brought to mind each time I’m reminded of it, besides the fact that it entertained me like crazy?

Push someone far enough and you’ll be awakened to the truth of who they really are. Chances are, however small, you won’t like what you find.

Happy A History Of Violence 🙂

G

LAST NIGHT (2010): You Can Be Happy And Still Be Tempted. True or False?

Last Night (2010), Keira Knightley, Guillaume Canet
Last Night (2010), Keira Knightley, Guillaume Canet

Last Night (2010), a beautifully told story and well paced drama / romance about a young, professional married couple who must confront their past and potential future whilst they spend a night apart. All this thanks to an attractive new colleague and a chance encounter with a past/ first love.

Besides the hypnotic musical score and attractive young cast, featuring the wonderfully faced Keira Knightley, Avatar’s Sam Worthington plus Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet, two things stood out for me in this film.

The first is a reminder to always trust your instincts. The second is the necessity to tread carefully in romantic entanglements – because given the choice, nobody really wants to have someone from their past that they label as ‘the one that got away’.

One more thing. Did I already mention the enchanting musical score?

Happy Last Night 🙂

G

LOCKE (2013): When Creative Restrictions Pay Off

Locke (2013), Tom Hardy
Locke (2013), Tom Hardy

You have to go into Locke (2013) with the mindset of someone who knows that this will be a different kind of film. The kind with self imposed parameters for the purpose of exploration of what is creatively possible.

Ivan Locke is a desperate man in the midst of a balancing act between trying to sort out his personal life whilst also attempting to salvage the remainder of his professional integrity. The most intriguing part being that all the action takes place inside his car.

You see Mr Locke causing immense distress with phone call after phone call. But what is at least for me, even more interesting are the silences and the dialogue he has with himself.

Fans of Tom Hardy’s well documented acting prowess will want to watch this. As will enthusiasts of Colin Farrell’s Phone Booth (2002), another film that succeeded in keeping the audience engaged, regardless of the single location setting.

There are a few things Locke will cause you to reflect upon. One of them is the quality of the relationships you’ve built with your colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Watch it because it’s good.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

APOCALYPTO (2006): Epic In A Number Of Ways, Especially That Chase Sequence

Apocalypto (2007), Rudy Youngblood
Apocalypto (2007), Rudy Youngblood

Mel Gibson’s Mayan Epic Apocalypto (2006) is tense, gruesome, violent, emotional and contains a big, black, beastly creature I adore. Best of all though, Apocalypto features a wonderfully thrilling hour long chase scene.

I love well crafted dialogue but few things in film are more engaging than a beautifully choreographed chase sequence. The one in this movie is, I think, one of the  very best.

This film is not always the easiest to watch thanks to some challenging scenes. But it is a very entertaining, drama, action and thriller hybrid. At no point did I deliberately avert my eyes from the screen whenever a tough scene was happening. However, my hands did fly up to my mouth and face a few times without warning.

Some people’s dormant misanthropic tendencies may be tested by this great story. But by the end you’ll want to appreciate the smart, quick thinking and undoubtedly strong people in their lives. That’s certainly where my mind was at in the end.

Apocalypto is for fans of great storytelling, big cats (a puma in this instance) and the perfect chase sequence. Watch it because it’s great!

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

JULIE & JULIA (2009): In The Name Of Passion And A Love Of Food

Julie & Julia (2009), Meryl Streep
Julie & Julia (2009), Meryl Streep

When you sit down to watch Julie and Julia, I highly recommend having a few of your favourite foods with you. I say this because you will find yourself with at least one or two serious  cravings.

Based on the life of American Chef, Julia Child, and Writer Julie Powell, meet two ladies with a shared passion for food, cooking and feeding the people they love.

Besides the joy of a well executed drama about two women who quite literally come alive whilst indulging in their favourite pass time, Julie & Julia will likely inspire you to dedicate more time pursuing your own passions.

To look at it another way, should the task of silencing doubters be a  hobby of yours, or one you wouldn’t mind taking up, then look no further to see it done with such admirable aplomb.

If you’re still unsure, I have two words. Meryl Streep.

Happy Julie & Julia 🙂

G

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013): Who Knew Greed Could Be So Entertaining?

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013), Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill
The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013), Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill

Martin Scorsese’s Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) is absolutely dripping with testosterone, not that this should be surprising.

Typical of all other popular accounts of life on Wall Street, there’s plenty, and then some – of the expected excess and debauchery.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013), Leonardo DiCaprio
The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013), Leonardo DiCaprio

Based on a true story about the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (Dicaprio’s character), the audience, particularly the ambitious will relate to the protagonist’s determination to succeed, as well as get some insight into the many ways the American dream can go very wrong indeed.

With  plenty of well written male banter (one of my favourite things), and great performances all round, you will spend a surprising amount of time laughing. Leonardo Dicaprio and his more than qualified supporting cast absolutely deliver.

The Mark Hanna character played by Matthew McConaughey is so entertaining that you’ll find yourself wanting more.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013), Matthew McConaughey
The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013), Matthew McConaughey

Jonah Hill, an Actor better known for comedy hits including Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Superbad (2007) is great as Donny Azoff. Azoff’s teeth and hair may be highly questionable, but you’ll see that Hill’s performance certainly isn’t.

Girls will definitely enjoy the film but I have a strong suspicion that boys will love it more.

Happy Wolf Of Wall Street 🙂

G

CHEF (2014): Prepare To Feel Hungry, In More Ways Than One

Chef (2014)
Chef (2014)

Jon Favreau’s Chef is a comedy film with great music and mouthwatering food that makes you wish you had immediate access to all the bites featured.

More than a feast for your stomach and then some, it’s a beautifully told story about family – particularly the relationship between a busy father and his ten year-old son.

The film also speaks to the sensibilities of those stuck in a career path that no longer supports their need for creative freedom and / or desire to serve their passions in a way that makes them happy.

There are one or two more themes that emerge from the narrative thread. I’ll let you discover those beautiful gems for yourself. Maybe they’ll speak to you more than the ones that stood out for me. Either way you’re likely to be hooked as soon as the film starts.

Happy Chef 🙂

G

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (2012): Great Example of Trailer Perfection

Snow White And The Huntsman (2012)
Snow White And The Huntsman (2012)

From the beautifully paced editing, perfect choice of music, to the narrative concept, dialogue and visuals / special effects; the Snow White And The Huntsman (2012) trailer provides just enough detail to make you aware that this is a wonderfully different retelling.

The decision to make Charlize Theron the key focus of the trailer is genius. This isn’t a film aimed at the traditional young Disney audience. Hence the absence of elements that quite frankly I’m glad are no where to be found. Musical numbers being just one of them.

This tantalisingly dark 1 minute 54 second trailer arrests the senses and refuses to let go until the very last second. What a wonderful marriage of audio visual delight delivered to perfection.

For many, Kristen Stuart is the big draw which is unsurprising due to the success of The Twilight Saga. For me though, without question it’s Charlize Theron.

The tone and delivery of Theron’s performance is such a thrill to behold, that to date I’ve watched the trailer a countless number of times.

The Snow White & The Huntsman trailer has a place in a compilation of my favourite film trailers of 2012. It also makes it on my list of favourite Charlize Theron  performances; Monster (2003) being one of them.

Happy Snow White And The Huntsman 🙂

G