Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

ALIVE INSIDE (2014): Excellent Documentary About Music & Dementia

Alive Inside (2014), Henry
Alive Inside (2014), Henry

Inspired by Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, Alive Inside presents brilliant insight into the broken American healthcare system. Specifically the nursing home and the extraordinary effect music has in restoring memory loss and a deep sense of self in dementia sufferers.

This is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen recently and it was impossible not to be moved by it.

Directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett, Alive Inside is the winner of the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Watch it and feel empowered.

Dan Cohen’s nonprofit Music & Memory organisation.

Happy Alive Inside 🙂

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ADULT BEGINNERS (2014): I watched For The Comedy & Adult Sibling Relationship Dynamic

Adult Beginners (2014), Caleb/ Matthew Paddock, Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne
Adult Beginners (2014), Caleb/ Matthew Paddock, Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne

The Ross Katz directed and rather aptly named comedy/ drama, Adult Beginners stars funny man Nick Kroll, Australian actress Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale.

If you’re open to a story about adult sibling relationships, starting again after losing everything, and getting your priorities in order, then Adult Beginners is interesting, though never too demanding.

The writing, chemistry between the three leads and the way the camera captures the lives of the characters makes for very believable and real situations. As for how engaging it all is, the phrase ‘incredibly engrossing’ definitely doesn’t fit.

As for the comedy, most of it will make you smile and 2 or three times you may laugh out loud. My interest in seeing Kroll in a somewhat serious role is why I watched. It also  helped that the always reliable Byrne and Cannavale were involved.

Joel McHale, Jane Krakowski, Caitlin Fitzgerald and Jason Mantzoukas also star.

Happy Adult Beginners 🙂

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MAGIC MIKE (2012): First For The Spectacle, Then The Story

Magic Mike (2012) Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum, Adam Rodriguez,  Joe Manganiello
Magic Mike (2012) Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum, Adam Rodriguez, Joe Manganiello

A film about male strippers with Channing Tatum in the leading role isn’t something that’s particularly easy to ignore; even when you suspect that it may not be amazing.

The first time I watched the Steven Soderbergh directed story about a male stripper with a plan, I have to admit, I was probably too distracted by the dance moves and baby oil.

It was during the second viewing a few years later that I found myself appreciating Soderbergh’s vision a little more. Not to say that the film is now in my list of favourites because it did feel a tad long. However, this time round the lead character’s story and internal struggle is the thing I paid attention to and I’m glad I did.

Magic Mike (2012), Matthew McConaughey, Gabriel Iglesias
Magic Mike (2012), Matthew McConaughey, Gabriel Iglesias

Matthew McConaughey is very entertaining as Dallas; the seasoned male stripper in charge. Joe Manganiello, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Cody Horn and Olivia Munn also star.

I can’t say that I’ve heard great things about the sequel, Magic Mike XXL (2015). But what you hear all depends on who’s asked and what motivated them to watch.

Happy Magic Mike 🙂

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2 GUNS (2013): Denzel Washington & Mark Wahlberg Star In Fun Buddy Cop Movie.

2 Guns (2013), Denzel Washington, MarkWahlberg, Fried Chicken
2 Guns (2013), Denzel Washington, MarkWahlberg, Fried Chicken

The chemistry between Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington is the reason why 2 Guns is quite the thrill ride.

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, you’ll enjoy the the action, humour, the buddy cop dynamic and Bill Paxton’s intense and terrifying turn as Earl.

Edward James Olmos, James Marsden, Robert John Burke and Paula Patton also star.

A very memorable moment is when Wahlberg’s character reveals who one of the bad guys reminds him of. I heard the words as I watched movie in the cinema/ theatre. The observation is so correct and well delivered that it stayed in my mind for the rest of the movie.

Watch it because it’s good.

Happy 2 Guns 🙂

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IT’S COMPLICATED (2009): Good Lighthearted Fun Starring Meryl Streep & Alec Baldwin

It's Complicated (2009), Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep
It’s Complicated (2009), Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep

It’s Complicated is a well cast comedy/ romance starring Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep.

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, the film follows a divorced couple who reignite their relationship even though one of them has remarried.

The couple’s complicated situation which also includes three grown up children presents a great opportunity for both comedy and drama; something Meyers took great advantage of – evident in the way the subject matter is handled.

It's Complicated (2009), Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep
It’s Complicated (2009), Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep

For me, what makes It’s complicated work is Streep and Baldwin’s great onscreen chemistry. The supporting cast which includes Steve Martin, John Krasinski, Zoe Kazan, Lake Bell, Hunter Parrish and Caitlin FitzGerald certainly doesn’t hurt either.

I’m a big fan of Baldwin, thanks in large part to his great work as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock. As for Meryl Streep, I feel like, to love film is to love her, so there really was no way I would have not watched the film.

Tune in for the subject matter and some good light hearted fun – should you be wanting that sort of thing.

Happy It’s Complicated 🙂

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UNBROKEN (2014): A Note On How to Achieve The Impossible, Starring Jack O’Connell

Unbroken (2014), Jack O'Connell
Unbroken (2014), Jack O’Connell

When I saw the trailer for Unbroken in 2014, I became very excited; first because I love Angelina Jolie. Second because Jack O’Connell is one of my recent favourite Actors (he was brilliant in Starred Up (20013) and lastly, the Louis Zamperini story.

Directed by Jolie and with British O’Connell in the starring role, Unbroken is the story of a man (Zamperini) who overcame one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after another.

Zamperini’s story of physical and mental endurance began well before the near fatal plane crash in WW2 that changed the course of his life.

Unbroken (2014), John D'Leo, C.J. Valleroy
Unbroken (2014), John D’Leo, C.J. Valleroy

It is in fact the very vital relationship he had with his family, namely his big brother, Pete, that really helped prepare him for every extraordinary thing he was  able to accomplish in the years that followed.

That goodness for the people who add immeasurable value in the way they encourage and believe in our capabilities, especially when we don’t.

The screenplay was penned by the Cohen brothers, Joel and Ethan, so clearly the film had everything going for it from writers, cast, crew and beyond.

The performances that stick in my mind come from O’Connell, of corse and Miyavi who plays the character of Sergeant Watanabe. Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson and Jai Courtney also do a great job

If you haven’t already watched Unbroken, know that it’s a brilliant story of extraordinary strength of the human spirit. One that is so well told that you’ll be glad you had the chance to learn about Mr Zamperini.

As if I needed more reasons to love Angelina Jolie!

Happy Unbroken 🙂

G

THE LONGEST RIDE (2014): The Good & Bad Things

The Longest Ride (2015), Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood
The Longest Ride (2015), Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood

The Longest Ride is a drama / romance directed by George Tillman Jr and based on a book by Nicholas Sparks.

Starring Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson, the film follows two couples, one young and the other much older whose paths cross one night in North Carolina.

As I watched The Longest Ride, I found myself thinking, ‘enough of this older couple’s story, more of the other, please!’ but their story does get a little more interesting.

The film is quite long and there  are some moments where the dialogue didn’t sound great but I do like what happened at the auction at the end.

Overall, I definitely prefer Dear John (2010) or The Notebook (2004) to this film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book.

As for any reasons to watch, you’ll learn a few things about bull riding and you may even find yourself taking note of some of the country music in the musical score. The main reason I tuned in is a curiosity about Scott Eastwood (son of Clint). The good news is, he’s definitely not terrible.

Happy The Longest Ride 🙂

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CINDERELLA (2015): Watch It For The Spectacular Win Against The Bullies & Cate Blanchett, Of Course

Cinderella (2016), Lily James
Cinderella (2016), Lily James

My reason for watching the new version of Cinderella had very little to do with the romance. I watched the movie because of the cast, particularly one of my favourites, super Australian Actress, Cate Blanchett.

The well edited trailer with the perfect musical score also helped, but ultimately, I was most excited to see how Director Kenneth Branagh handled cinderella’s battle with her evil step mother and horrid step sisters.

The film is beautiful thanks to Branagh and his well chosen cast which includes Lily James in the title role, Helena Bonham as the Fairy Godmother and Richard Madden portraying Prince Charming.

Besides having good dialogue and being quite the visual spectacle, the movie had me reflecting on my own experience of courage and the gift of kindness, especially when it comes from the most unexpected place.

Cinderella (2016), Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger
Cinderella (2016), Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger

Watch to see a rightful win and of course there is the fairytale romance.

Happy Cinderella 🙂

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