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Archive for the ‘Film Reviews’ Category

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American comedy about a college female acapella group called Barden Bellas. When rebellious Beca starts at the college she is not interested in making friends, but her great singing voice leads her to join the group which is made up of popular girls, bitchy girls, and other girls who would never have been friends otherwise (and are barely friends anyway). Story features on the quest to win a prestigious competition, their rivalry with male acapella group the Treblemakers.

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Year of release: 2012

Director: Jason Moore

Writers: Mickey Rapkin (book), Kay Cannon

Main cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Adam Devine, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: Rebel Wilson steals the show! Also the Treblemakers are really really good!!

Lowlights: None really. Possibly aimed at a more youthful market than this viewer, but overall lots of fun

Overall: Definitely worth a watch if you want a feel-good comedy

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A film that is set entirely (save for about 30 seconds at the very beginning) set in one man’s car with him as the sole occupant, having various telephone conversations sounds like it should be dull. But this film is mesmerising. Tom Hardy is Ivan Locke, a successful construction manager who on the eve of the one of the most important contracts of his career, receives a phone call that changes everything. As he drives through the night, we witness his life crumbling through his various conversations.

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Year of release: 2013

Director: Steven Knight

Writer: Steven Knight

Main cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman (voice), Ruth Wilson (voice) Andrew Scott (voice), Ben Daniels (voice)

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Genre: Drama

Highlights: Tom Hardy – as the only visible character, he has a lot of responsibility to pull this off successfully, but he absolutely does it

Lowlights: None, seriously

Overall: If action and noise is your thing, then you probably won’t want to watch this. But if you like slow burning drama, with a simmering tension (Locke’s growing frustration is almost palpable) then definitely give this one a go

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Best friends Julie, Kayla and Sam make a deal to all lose their virginity on their prom night, but don’t count on their parents finding out about it…and the parents make it their mission to block their girls from finally doing the dirty!

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Year of release: 2018

Director: Kay Cannon

Writers: Brian Kehoe, Jim Kehoe

Main cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: So many laughs!! Special mentions to John Cena (unexpectedly hilarious) and Ike Barinholtz

Lowlights: Honestly, none

Overall: Crude, sweet and incredibly funny

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Not a new concept (think Big, Vice Versa, Freaky Friday etc) but hilariously done! Married family man Dave (Jason Bateman) and his best mate Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) make a drunken wish that they could swap lives and that’s what happens. Next morning they wake up in each other’s bodies and have to navigate each other’s lives.

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Year of release: 2011

Director: David Dobkin

Writer: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Main cast: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Gregory Itzin

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: Both leading men’s performances, crude jokes, lots of laughs

Lowlights: None!

Overall: Probably not one to watch if you’re easily offended, but if you like laugh-out-loud, unsubtle humour, go for it!

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Lively and engaging retelling of the audacious Hatton Garden Heist which took place over Easter Weekend in 2015. This is the third film to be made about this particular event, and it features a stellar cast.

Really enjoyed it, even if I always feel a bit bad when (some of) the bad guys are so damned likeable.

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Year of release: 2018

Director: James Marsh

Writers: Joe Penhall, Mark Seal (magazine article)

Main cast: Michael Caine, Charlie Cox, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Paul Whitehouse

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Genre: Heist, crime, dramedy

Highlights: The excellent cast, especially Jim Broadbent

Lowlights: None 🙂

Overall: Definitely recommended – plenty of British humour, and although it makes the crooks somewhat likeable, it never lets you forget that what they were doing was very wrong

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Christmas Eve in New York and there is a power outage resulting in six separate groups of people getting stuck in lifts. Throughout the night, tensions rise to the surface, bonds are forged and they learn a lot about themselves and each other.

As Christmas movies go, this is a new favourite for me. I love movies set all in one location, and this is kind of in that genre. It’s set in six locations but all very small and exactly the same people in each setting. A great cast including Patrick Stewart, James Roday, Cheryl Hines and Gary Cole all do a fantastic job. A great, sweet and heartwarming story.

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Year of release: 2015

Director: Mitch Davis

Writers: Mitch Davies, Tyler McKellar

Main cast: Patrick Stewart, James Roday, Cheryl Hines, Gary Cole, Jon Heder, Julianna Guill

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Genre: Drama, Christmas

Highlights: Loved the shoppers and the boss and recently laid off employee. Didn’t actually dislike any of the groups

Lowlights: None. If I absolutely had to nitpick, I’d say I wished Patrick Stewart’s character had been trapped with someone rather than on his own (this happens right at the beginning of the film so it’s not a spoiler) but I imagine this was done to highlight his isolation and how he had cut off the important people in his life. But it’s a tiny niggle.

Overall: Possibly my new favourite Christmas movie, and a staple on my holiday rota from now on

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Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) is a primary school teacher with a failed ambition to be an actor. His girlfriend Jennifer (Ashley Jensen) left him five Christmases earlier to become a producer in Hollywood, and Paul hates Christmas as a result. So he is distinctly unhappy about being tasked with creating the school nativity play, and in an attempt to win one over his former best friend Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) tells Gordon that Hollywood are coming to see the nativity play. The rumour spreads and things start to get out of hand.

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Year of release: 2009

Director: Debbie Isitt

Writer: Debbie Isitt

Main cast: Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Jason Watkins, Pam Ferris, Marc Wootton

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: Lots of humour, lots of pop up roles from the likes of Ricky Tomlinson and Alan Carr. Freeman’s role was made for him, and even the kids were really cute without a sugary overload of sweetness

Lowlights: None really

Overall: A thoroughly enjoyable Christmas movie. Very British and clearly pretty low-budget, but all the more charming for it

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