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Archive for the ‘TV/Film adaptation reviews’ Category

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Aaron Eckhart is Nick Naylor, spokesman and spin doctor for a big tobacco company, who has to balance his career with trying to be a good example for his young son. Naturally his job causes a lot of bad feeling towards him, with some surprising repercussions.

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Year of release: 2006 (UK)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writers: Christopher Buckley (novel), Jason Reitman

Main cast: Aaron Eckhart, J K Simmons, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello, David Koechner

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Genre: Comedy, satire

Highlights: The comedy parts are REALLY funny. Aaron Eckhart is perfect in the role

Lowlights: Um…none?

Overall: Great satirical movie, which doesn’t take sides on the non-smoking argument. Really enjoyed it and definitely recommend it

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This Irish film based loosely on Kevin Power’s book Bad Day in Blackrock, shows teenager Kevin, who lives a fairly typical teenage life with his group of friends, when a random act of violence inspired by jealousy over his girlfriend, changes all of their lives. He is forced to question his conscience and live with the consequences of his actions.

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Year of release: 2012

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Writer: Kevin Power (book), Malcolm Campbell

Main cast: Jack Reynor, Gavin Drea, Patrick Gibson, Sam Keeley, Roisin Murphy, Lars Mikkelsen

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Genre: Drama

Highlights: The brooding atmosphere, clever use of silence

Lowlights: None really but this is not a film to watch if you are in need of being cheered up!

Overall: Not for everyone, as for large portions of the film not much actually happens. I like how it viewed the effect of a violent act on the perpetrator rather than on the victims. It’s bleak but strangely compelling viewing

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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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Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is tricked into taking his recently widowed, lecherous and foul-mouthed grandfather Dick Kelly (Robert De Niro) on a road trip to Florida for spring break. Chaos ensues…!

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Year of release: 2016

Director: Dan Mazer

Writers: John Phillips

Main cast: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Jason Mantzoukas, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Hough

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Genre: Comedy

Highlights: De Niro (goes without saying), filthy humour

Lowlights: Honestly, I found the very ending a bit ick. But it didn’t detract from the overall hilarity

Overall: If you don’t like sex or drug jokes, you might not go for it. Otherwise, give it a whirl if you need a good belly laugh

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This is the second in the Gourmet Detective series of tv movies, starring Dylan Neal and Brooke Burns, and which are based on the books of Peter King.

In this instalment, the titular detective Henry Ross once again finds himself teamed with Detective Maggie Price, when they investigate the murder of a journalist at a luxury spa. Naturally there are several possible suspects, and it is up to Henry and Maggie to sift through the evidence and uncover the killer.

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Year of release: 2015

Director: Scott Smith

Writers: Peter King (book series), Dawn DeKeyser, Dylan Neal, Becky Southwell

Main cast: Dylan Neal, Brooke Burns, Crystal Lowe, Patrick Sabongui, Stefanie von Pfetten, Devon Weigel, Brendan Penny, Steve Valentine

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Genre: Cosy murder mystery

Highlights: Charming and undemanding fun throughout, chemistry between the two main characters, mystery kept me guessing until the big reveal

Lowlights: None for me, but those who like their films gritty and realistic might want to pass on this one

Overall: Good fun, perfect to unwind on a lazy weekend

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Leona Stevenson (Barbara Stanwyck) is in bed with illness when she overhears a telephone conversation between two men planning a murder. Gradually she comes to believe that she is the person they are going to kill and that her husband Henry (Burt Lancaster) is involved.

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Year of release: 1948

Director: Anatole Litvak

Writer: Lucille Fletcher (original radio play and screenplay)

Main cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, Harold Vermilyea, Leif Erickson, Jimmy Hunt

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Genre: Mystery, thriller, film noir

Highlights: Barbara Stanwyck is fabulous in the main part. I liked the claustrophobic atmosphere of her confinement

Lowlights: The flashback story surrounding Henry is a bit convoluted. I preferred the relationship aspect to the criminal aspect

Overall: An enjoyable film noir, which was a bit convoluted in places, but Stanwyck’s performance is fantastic as always

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This is the third instalment in the cosy ‘Murder She Baked’ mystery series. Melanie Quinn opens a bakery opposite Hannah’s own bakery and the two women become rivals not only in business, but also possibly for policeman Mike’s affections. As viewers of the previous two films will know, Hannah has an unfortunate habit of finding dead bodies and when she discovers Melanie lying murdered, Hannah herself is in the frame for the killing!

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Year of release: 2016

Director: Kristoffer Tabori

Writers: Joanne Fluke (novel), Teena Booth

Main cast: Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison, Barbara Niven, Gabriel Hogan, Michelle Harrison, Roark Critchlow, Anne Marie DeLuise

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Genre: Mystery, cosy murder mystery

Highlights: I finally worked out who was Mike and who was Norman!! (Hannah’s two potential love interests look too alike to me), these films are just generally comforting and undemanding viewing, if entirely unbelievable. Alison Sweeney is eminently likeable.

Lowlights: Entirely unbelievable!!

Overall: If this is a genre you like, then I recommend these films. If you like your films gritty and hard hitting, maybe give these a miss. I will say that I thought this was the best one in the series so far.

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