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Non-Review Review: The Five-Year Engagement

The Five-Year Engagement is the best romantic comedy of 2012 so far. Reuniting the talents of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the film manages to offer a refreshingly frank and honest perspective of romantic relationships. The interactions feel more organic, the third act crisis is rooted in something more primal and relevant than some idle miscommunication and the resolution isn’t based on the notion that people can inexplicably change. Like Segel and Stoller’s superb Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five-Year Engagement is predicated on the assumption that love must mean accepting and embracing your partner for who they are, rather than what you want them to be. It’s a little depressing that this moral feels almost subversive in this day-and-age of formulaic and generic romantic comedies, but there’s no denying that The Five-Year Engagement is head-and-shoulders above most of its competitors.

They’ll get married this year… in a pig’s eye…

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Minor Miracles: Supporting Characters & The Lesson of Hannibal Lecter

“Less is more.” Or so we’re often told at least. It generally seems to be used in a polite way to limit our exposure to things we don’t like. However, I can’t help but wonder if it is true of supporting characters. After all, those interesting side characters in movies that happen to capture our imaginations with a relatively minor roles. Indeed, I reckon that I could probably name more supporting characters I took a shine to, rather than iconic lead characters. While we undoubtedly relish every moment they appear on-screen, and perhaps lament that we only get so limited an exposure to them, I can’t help but wonder of that somewhat restricted presence might be precisely what makes them so appealing in the first place.

Bloody brilliant…

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Non-Review Review: The Muppets

It’s interesting to imagine what the reaction in the room must have been after Jason Segal was asked to name his next project, building off the success of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The fast-rising actor and writer could have had his pick of any number of features, and yet he chose to work on a revival of The Muppets. After all, these were a group of characters who had enjoyed a reasonable revival with The Muppets Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island in the early-to-mid-nineties, but had seen their fame quickly eroded with a string of poorly-received television and movie projects. It’s easy to imagine discussions being had about the “relevance” of the Muppets in the era of reality television and pandering television, as the film portrays with a fictional executive portrayed by Rashida Jones. It seemed like there was a lot of weight riding on the project, both for Segal and the studio, and for Jim Henson’s creations themselves.

I think they can all be extremely proud. I think it’s safe to describe the finished product as the best family film of the past year.

Brush with greatness?

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Only Ourselves to Blame: The Sad Truth about the Mountains of Madness…

The internet seems to be in mourning. There’s none of the angry fist-waving fury that we saw over the announcement of the planned sequels and prequels to Blade Runner, just a solemn sense of reflection. After it seemed that good news was on the way, word came down the wire that Guillermo Del Toro’s planned adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness would not be happening. Apparently Universal Studios have decided that instead of spending $150m on a genuinely respected classic horror story, they’d rather blow $175m on another shot at Doom. The two decisions probably aren’t directly related (in that I doubt it was an “either or” situation), but it’s fairly damning. However, I honestly don’t think we should blame the studio for any of this. And, that, my friends, is the sad madness-inspiring truth of it all: we have only ourselves to blame.

Del Toro's dream project met an icy reception...

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Where Have All the Good Movies Come From?

I know I wasn’t alone when I claimed that this summer had been (with a few big exceptions) a massive disappointment for movie fans. In fairness, with a few bright spots, 2009 wasn’t exactly an above-average year either. However, myself and the better half have been going to the cinema fairly consistently over the past number of weeks and I have to admit that I’ve been more consistently impressed by films like The Social Network, The Kids Are Alright, Easy A and The Town than I have by any run of films in at least the last year. Is it just me, or are things finally looking up?

A veritable feast of good cinema...

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Non-Review Review: Get Him to the Greek

I quite enjoyed Get Him to the Greek. It wasn’t quite as wonderfully put together as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it’s a pleasant little comedy that treads familiar ground, but in a witty and confident manner. The movie isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute, it is one of the better major releases so far this summer.

Aldous is about to have his world rocked...

Note: My brother and correspondent, Ciaran, reviewed the film earlier in the week. My thoughts aren’t too different than his – save a few details here or there (I maybe liked it a tiny bit more). It’s well worth a read.

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Non-Review Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

We were browsing through the channels last night, looking for something to put on to amuse ourselves and quite disheartened to find that there was nothing really good on. We decided that the evening called for some light relief, so we stuck on Forgetting Sarah Marshall – and we were amazed at how well it holds up to repeat viewings.

Sex is a lot like a game of chess...

Sex is a lot like a game of chess...

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