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Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

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A Civil Rights movie based on true events, 42 tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player admitted into the Major leagues, and who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He wore player number 42, hence the film name.

Although some players and fans supported Robinson, he also became the target of racism and discrimination from those who believed that black players should stick to their own African American league.

Fantastic film and fantastic acting by all involved, especially Chadwick Boseman as Robinson. Harrison Ford played Branch Rickey, the sports executive who signed Robinson. It’s also always good to see Christopher Meloni in any role, and here he played Leo Durocher, coach of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Highly recommend this film – you certainly do not need to be a baseball fan (although that may well help). Definitely one of my favourites so far this year.

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Year of release: 2013

Director: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland

Main cast: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Alan Tudyk, Nicole Beharie, Andre Holland, John C McGinley

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Basically – Richard Gere plays Will Keane, a 48 year old successful restauranteur and well known playboy. Winona Ryder plays Charlotte Fielding, a 22 year hat designer, who has a terminal heart condition. And they fall in love. After navigating various minefields, such as the age difference, and his inability to keep it in his pants, things go well until tragedy ensues.

In all honesty I should have hated this film. I’m not even sure why I watched it – I wanted to watch something uncomplicated and romantic one afternoon and I picked this. I didn’t hate it, as it turns out, but there were things that would have narked me were I not in such a chilled out mood when I watched it. For one – there’s a lot of corny dialogue. Also – Will’s character is a bit of a heel, who at at least one point in the film, she should have kicked into touch. The ending was not only predictable, but actually inevitable, but it made me cry (I cry a LOT at films).

If corny films aren’t your thing, then I definitely do not recommend this. If you can get past that and do fancy something undemanding, then maybe….

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Year of release: 2000

Director: Joan Chen

Writer: Allison Burnett

Main cast: Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Elaine Stritch, Vera Farmiga

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replacements

Sports film (not often my genre) about American Football (a game I do not enjoy). Should’ve hated it, but really enjoyed it.

Due to a players strike, the Washington Sentinels American Football team need to put together a team from a ragtag bunch of has-beens and never-weres. (The film was actually inspired by the actual strike of 1987). Keanu Reeves leads the fray as Shane Falco, a washed up player. Other cast members include Gene Hackman as Coach Jimmy McGinty, and Jon Favreau, Orlando Jones, Rhys Ifans (yes really) and Michael Jace as other players, with Brooke Langton as the obligatory love interest.

The film is played for a lot of laughs, and perhaps for this reason, I really enjoyed it. (Also maybe because I watched it with my husband after in the pub. And because Keanu Reeves.)

Recommended to fans of sports films, underdog films, or Keanu Reeves!

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Year of release: 2000

Director: Howard Deutch

Writer: Vince McKewin

Main cast: Gene Hackman, Keanu Reeves, Brooke Langton, Jon Favreau, Orlando Jones, Rhys Ifans

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Made for TV rom-com, which is entirely predictable yet thoroughly enjoyable. Autumn Reeser plays Jaclyn Palmer, who is getting married to Peter (Antonio Cupo), but it’s clear that she has doubts about it, and his overbearing mother certainly doesn’t help. A few days before the wedding she meets a handsome stranger who turns out to be none other than Peter’s brother Max (Shawn Roberts).

The wedding day dawns…and then dawns again…and again…and again…this is basically Jaclyn’s Groundhog Day as every time she wakes up it’s the morning of her wedding day again. As she tries to work out what is happening she learns a little more about herself every day, and figures out what she is actually looking for in life.

If you don’t like romantic comedies, or you DO like to be surprised by your films, then this is not the movie for you! But if you occasionally just want something light, fluffy and to make you smile, then give it a whirl, you might love it.

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Year of release: 2015

Director: Ron Oliver

Writer: Nancy Silvers

Main cast: Autumn Reeser, Antonio Cupo, Shawn Roberts, Ali Liebert

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This film is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served as a butler in the White House, working for seven Presidents. In this film, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) serves eight Presidents, against a backdrop of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, among other famous American events. Quite simply, it is an amazing and moving film, in part due to the uniformly brilliant cast. Forest Whitaker never disappoints, and Oprah Winfrey is superb as his wife Gloria. There are some odd casting choices – I couldn’t imagine John Cusack playing Nixon I heard that he was in that role – but it worked. The film combines one man’s personal journey, walking a fine line between supporting his oldest son, who is determined to fight for equal rights, no matter what the cost; and working at the White House, where such subversiveness is frowned upon. Amongst the Presidents he works for are JFK, the aforementioned Nixon, and Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman). The film shows how the job takes it’s toll on Gaines’s family and causes conflicting ideals in his mind.

I loved it – go watch it, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

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Year of release: 2013

Director: Lee Daniels

Writers: Danny Strong, Wil Haygood

Main cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Lenny Kravitz, Cuba Gooding Jr, Clarence Williams III, David Oyelowo, Colman Domingo, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, James Marsden

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with-this-ring

In this TV movie, three women attending their friend’s wedding on New Years Eve make a pact that by the same time next year, they will all be married – or at least engaged. Each of them has their own romance dilemma – Trista (Regina Hall) has just hooked up with her ex-boyfriend and everyone but her can see that she is too good for him; Viviane (Jill Scott) is still in love with her ex-boyfriend. They have a son together and she decides that if they can’t make it work out this year, then she is going to give up on him and find someone else; finally, there Amaya (Eve), who is involved with a married man and determined to get him and his wife to split.

I enjoyed the film, largely due to the charisma of the three leads (especially Hall and Scott). Yes, it’s predictable – or at least Trista’s story is – but on a Friday night after a busy week, a romantic comedy with some poignant scenes, is exactly what this viewer needed.

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Year of release: 2015

Director: Nzingha Stewart

Writer: Nzingha Stewart

Main cast: Regina Hall, Jill Scott, Eve, Deion Sanders, Stephen Bishop, Jason George

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This is the follow-up to the huge success Kingsman film. Eggsy is now a fully fledged member of the secret agency and in this instalment, has to do battle with an evil drug dealer named Poppy (Julianne Moore). Channing Tatum pops up in a surprisingly funny role, and it’s great to have Mark Strong back as Merlin. As the poster shows, Colin Firth is also back as Harry, involving a rather amusing explanatory back story, and Halle Berry and Elton John (yes, you read that right) provide good support. Elton John is actually pretty hilarious and one of my favourite things about this movie. What really made it for me was having one of my all-time favourite actors, Jeff Bridges play a great (although too small, in my opinion) role.

Just like the last one, the plot is preposterous and entirely unbelievable, but there is so much fun to be had, that I just didn’t mind. The film never takes itself too seriously either which really helps. The reviews of this sequel have been less kind than the reviews of the first film, but if you did enjoy that first one, then I suggest you give this one a try too.

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Year of release: 2017

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, Mark Millar (comic book), Dave Gibbons (comic book)

Main cast: Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Elton John, Pedro Pascal

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