Lights, camera, action!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Holiday

The Holiday (2006)
Dir: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black

This is a romantic comedy at its fluffiest, a chick flick at its sugariest. And it's wonderful. It's a Christmas flick, but it's not really about Christmas, so you can watch it after Christmas. Bonus!

Iris is a sweet, sensible English girl (well, woman) who is hopelessly in love with her ex-boyfriend and colleague Jasper, and needs to get away for Christmas or she will explode. Amanda is a cool, bubbly American who has just broken up from her cheating boyfriend and needs to get away for Christmas or... well, she'll probably also explode. She discovers Iris's quintessentially English country cottage on a home exchange website, and the two decide to switch houses for Christmas, with Iris taking off for Amanda's swanky LA villa. While there, Iris meets Arthur, an aged Hollywood screenwriting legend, whom she sort of adopts as a grandfather. She also meets Miles, a film score composer, and the two kind of hit it off, but in a really sweet, mostly-platonic-at-first-then-kind-of-develops-into-something-more kind of way.
Meanwhile Amanda meets Graham, Iris's hunky older brother, and the two also hit it off, but more in a wow-we're-both-so-gorgeous-let's-have-sex-even-though-we-don't-know-each-other kind of way.

OK, so the settings are totally cliched. Both women live in stereotypically English/Californian homes, and it is always snowing in England (um, hello? When has THAT ever happened????). But still, I love this film. It's funny, touching and very sweet, and although it's incredibly long for a romcom (about 2 hours 15 minutes) the fact that you have two storylines saves it from getting boring.

The cast are superb, but they are all practically Hollywood royalty (I think Jack Black's making his way up there) and they are very good. Kate Winslet is wonderful, as always, Cameron Diaz knows how to hit all the right buttons, Jack Black is charming and utterly adorable and Jude Law doesn't do a whole lot but looks very handsome. It has all the cuteness you'd expect, with guys writing songs for girls they love, drinking hot chocolate with two endearing little girls, having tea in quaint National Trust properties, and much more. It's like heaven in a film.

I'd say this is up there with some of the best (and by best I mean fluffiest) romantic comedies. It doesn't require a whole lot of thought but it tugs at your heartstrings and bit by bit, even the grumpiest of viewers is won over by the film's soft goo melting your heart.


Talliestar xxx

Iris: [switching her phoneline to Graham] [I can't believe you went and had sex with that woman already!
Amanda: Um, this is Amanda.
Iris: Sorry! Hold on one second.
[tries to divert the call again]
Iris: I can't believe you had sex with that woman! She's only just arrived and you're already in her knickers!
Amanda: [awkwardly] Still me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Zathura: A Space Adventure

Zathura: A Space Adventure
Dir: Jon Favreau
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Tim Robbins, Jonah Bobo, Kristen Stewart, Dax Shepard

Zathura is based on a book written by the author of Jumanji, and the two have very similar scenarios: two kids discover a board game with a funny name, play it, and it kind of comes to life, meaning they have to dodge and fight various invading people/objects/creatures who pretty much destroy their lovely house. The only way they can get out of the game is by completing. The differences between the two are that Jumanji is all about wild animals and safari type things, and the children are a girl and boy, whereas Zathura is all about space (obviously, see the title) and the children are two boys.

Both films are excellent. OK, now I'm just doing a comparison rather than reviewing Zathura. Sorry.

Zathura is excellent. Firstly, because of the casting. I don't know how they found those two boys but they are incredible. Walter, aged ten, the eldest, is pretty mean towards his little brother Danny, and generally thinks he's better and cooler. This does not go down well with Danny or their dad. Anyway, Josh Hutcherson, as Walter, is scarily old for his age (in mind, not body) and he is generally quite amazing. As is Jonah Bobo (I'm sorry, what kind of name is that?) as Danny, and he is also very sweet.

Zathura is directed by Jon Favreau, more commonly known as an actor than a director (he was that millionaire who then gets interested in wrestling that Monica dates in Friends. Remember?). He seems to really understand kids and how siblings behave towards each other, because the two boys are very believable as brothers.

The story is so-so, but the dialogue is very good, and very witty for a kids' film. The astronaut who comes visiting and older sister Lisa are both very good and extremely funny.

The special effects are very good, but not hugely noteworthy. It's all very realistic though.

Zathura is basically very similar to Jumanji but with a but more about family and siblings in, although amazingly, it isn't too sentimental. It makes a very good family film which everyone can enjoy becasue the screenplay is genuinely funny, and the cast is genuinely good. It's probably to scary for younger children (I remember being absolutely terrified at Jumanji when I was about six, and this is almost as scary, but not quite) .

Therefore, I recommend it, although it is not a must-see. It's comforting to know that good quality family films are still being made.


Talliestar xxx

Dad: By the way, it makes me uncomfortable when you say "hooking up".
Lisa: Why? It's not like it means anything.
Dad: Hope it doesn't.
Lisa: It doesn't. It's just an expression.
Dad: Hope it is.
Lisa: It is! God, when should never have rented Thirteen.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I'm sorry for the recent lack of reviews. The reason is that the past few weeks have possibly been the busiest of my life, which leaves little time for watching movies and reviewing them. Don't worry, I have still been watching movies, but not many. But never fear, blog readers (bloggers? Or am I a blogger? Who knows?) because I have three (possibly four) weeks of Christmas holidays ahead of me and a colossal stack of DVDs in my living room. Yay! So expect lots of reviews coming soon. Watch this space!