Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker

So while everyone else went to see the other Liam Hemsworth film last week (you may have heard of it, a little film called The Hunger Games) I went to see this Australian film starring Hemsworth and Kate Winslet based on the book by Rosalie Ham. The movie has already been nominated for several AACTA awards but will it win me over?

As a young girl Tildy was sent away from her home in Dungatar, Australia after the death of a young boy. Returning years later in 1951 to care for her sick mother, a now grown up Tildy (Kate Winslet) entrances the town with her dressmaking skills. Her creations soon become in high demand but Tildy is still treated with suspision after all these years. As she tries to discover the truth about the incident she becomes romantically involved with the local hunk Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) and depsite her better judgement wonders if she can move on from her troubles in Dungatar.

The trailers I saw for this movie made it seem like The Dressmaker was a comedy with lots of scenes of Liam Hemsworth with his shirt off. The movie itself is a weird mix of films. I don’t mind films that crosses different genres but The Dressmaker had a distinctly odd tone throughout. It can’t decide what kind of movie it wants to be and doesn’t strike the right balance. Is it a Revenge drama? Comedy? Mystery?  It can’t decide what kind of movie it wants to be and so you are never sure what you should be feeling.

Another odd thing was the love interest Teddy is supposedly to be the same age as Tilly yet is played by twenty five year old Liam Hemsworth. Why not just have Teddy be younger than Tilly? Or cast someone older if the age is important? Its just a weird casting choice. The rest of the town folk of Dungatar can come across as cliches or cartoonish. The only ones who manage to bring more life to their characters are Judy Davis as Tilly’s mother and Hugo Weaving as the flamboyant Sergeant who sent Tilly away all those years ago.

The film obviously wants the death of the young boy Stewart to be a mystery but no explaination is given as to why Tilly can’t remember what happened that day. I guess we’re meant to presume it’s from the truama, but the mystery is a bit pointless and the film would have worked just as well if Tilly had remembered what had happened before she came back to town.

All these complaints may seem as though I really disliked the movie which isn’t the case at all. Winslet, as usual is great as the rebellious and determined Tilly while Davis and Weaving are the stand outs of the supportings roles. The film also looks gorgeous from it’s hot,stifling setting of Dungatar to the gorgeous dresses that Tilly makes for the townsfolk. It is also quite funny in places but this jars with the mystery and tragedy that are thrown into the mix. All in all it feels like there is a great film in The Dressmaker underneath all the flourishes.

Rating 3/5 – a mixed bag but entertaining and Winslet is on top form



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Netflix’s Jessica Jones is My Kind of Superheroine

Jessica Jones

This post contains some spoilers about the first episode

On Friday 20 November Netflix unleshed Jessica Jones, their second Marvel series after the success of Daredevil earlier this year.

While I liked the first few epsiodes of Daredevil and enjoyed the fight scenes I got a bit bored with all the gangster storylines and gave up. However on reading up about Jessica Jones, a superheroine who is now a P.I, this seemed more up my alley. We were promised a dark, unsettling series and we definately got one.

The first episode set up Jones (Krysten Ritter) a former superheroine with PTSD after a truamatic incident involving a man named Kilgrave (David Tennant) who has power over people’s minds, forcing them to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. While we don’t know exactly what he made Jones do, flashbacks seem to show her with blood on her hands so whatever it was it wasn’t pretty. She has since quit the superhero business and instead became a P.I. However as she searches for a missing girl she soon realises that Kilgrave is back to his old tricks and is controling this girl for his own ends.

Ritter is fabulous as Jones, sarcastic, cold, likes hard drinking and meaningless sex but deep, deep down has a good heart. Its is devastating to see her think she’s saved Hope only to find Kilgrave is still in control and have Hope murder her parents. Jones may comes across as hard but she’s also a survivor and Ritter portrays these differents sides to Jones perfectly.

Of course it’s not all about Jones, and while Tennant is only briefly shown as Kilgrave, seeing some of his power and minpulation makes him a terrifying villian already. This is someone that can force you to kill your own parents, imagine what he could do with a girl powers like Jones? Although you do wonder why he isn’t using his powers to control the president or something? Maybe there’s limitations to his powers that haven’t been revealed yet. The rest of the supporting cast including Carrie-Anne Moss, Rachel Taylor and Mike Colter is also strong.

What is also unnerving is how Jones past delaings with Kilgrave comes across like an obsessive, abusive boyfriend who controls his girl’s every move. It’s absoloutely heartbreaking when Jones tells Hope that it’s not her fault what has happened, as you can imagine thats something she’s had to tell herself repeatedly. I also loved how the show ended on a moment of strength after the devastation when Jones decided to face her fears rather than run away.

Its only been one episode so far but I’m hopeful that this series will continue to be as badass as it’s lead character.

What do you think of Jessica Jones? Let me know in the comments below. Although please no spoilers past episode one!



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Rapid Review: Cooties


Just a short post today as I’ve got a bit of a cold. But I wanted to mention this movie which has just come out on dvd/on demand.

Substitute teacher and wannabe horror writer Clint (Elijah Wood) finds himself back teaching at his old school. But he realises that times have changed and kids are much more vicious than in his day. And thats before a virus spreads that turns children into zombie like cannibals.

Black comedy/horror isn’t a genre that everyone likes, however for those like me who enjoy a few laughs along with gore then Cooties is one you should watch. As the remaining teachers and few uninfected children band together the film hilariously follows the exploits to get out of the school unharmed. All the teachers are funny with special mention going to Rainn Wilson as Wade the PE teacher-turned warrior and Saw writer/star Leigh Whannell (who also co-wrote Cooties with Ian Brennan) as the creepy but knowledgeable Doug.

While not overly scary the film doesn’t lack on the gore with children tearing apart adults limb from limb. As long as you can stomach it Cooties is a fun flick that will make you laugh and feel a bit gross.

Rating 3.5/5 – a constantly funny and amusingly gory movie



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Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) team up again for this action packed comedy set in the world of international spies. But can they recreate the winning comedy of their earlier work?

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk bound CIA anyalist that communicates with field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on his missions. When they learn that villain Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) has a nuclear device she plans to sell and she knows all the identity of the CIA field agents Susan volunteers to go undercover and track Rayona.

I like Melissa McCarthy and I’ve enjoyed her films with director Paul Feig and once again they’ve both made me laugh while watching Spy. Susan is more of a softer character than we normally see McCarthy play in movies, and it’s fun to see her play a different kind of role although she still knows how to shout obscenities at people as we witness later in the movie. The film looks like it was fun to make and the supporting characters seem to be having a ball. Jude Law is amusing sending up the James Bond esuqe agent Bradley Fine, while Jason Statham has a laugh at playing an arrogant and incompetent fellow CIA spy. Byrne is also a giggle as a vain villian and I loved seeing British comic Miranda Hart in a big Hollywood movie. There are also some good action sequences which manage to be funny and exciting.

However the film is also too long at 2 hours. What could have been a much tighter, funnier film has too much padding that could easily have been removed without any cost to the film’s enjoyment. There also wasn’t enough of Alison Janney’s CIA boss while the character of Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz) was also a laughter free cliché.

Rating 3/5 – funny and likeable but also way too long


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Imagine you’re Sam Mendes and you have to make a James Bond movie to follow the critically and commercially acclaimed Skyfall, how on earth do you top that? By making one of the most expensive movies ever made and paying homage to previous Bond films it seem. But did the gamble pay off?

After an unoffical mission to Mexico makes headlines, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is suspended by M (Ralph Finnes). But that doesn’t stop Bond from trying to find out about Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) and his mysterious organisation that’s been behind several acts of terrorism around the world. Teaming up with Dr. Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux) Bond attempts to track them down before their latest plot is unleashed on the world.

Lets get this out of the way. Spectre is not as great as Skyfall but it’s still a pretty good effort by Mendes. The opening scenes set in Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations are brilliantly staged with some lovely tracking shots of Bond working his way around the celebrations to track his target. The cinematography is also excellent with the whole film looking as stylish as you’d expect a Bond film to be.

In his fourth outing as Bond, Craig is still suave, with hints of danger and unpredictability underneath. It was also fun having the gang back together especially Ben Whishaw as Q with his dry sense of humour as he gets embroiled in Bond’s schemes despite the risk to his job. It’s just as shame that for most of the film the team at M16 are separated from Bond. More teamwork next time would be great. Christoph Waltz makes a good first appearance as Franz Oberhauser, hiding in the shadow until he draws his direct attention to Bond, but his subsequent scenes are frustrating as he keeps making the same mistakes as previous Bond villans in not killing Bond when he has the chance! His reasoning for his hatred of Bond is also rather underwhelming. Meanwhile Lea Seydoux does a capable performance as Dr. Madeleine Swann but is not as memorable a Bond girl as say Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. It’s also a shame that Monica Bellucci’s role as Lucia is short as she seemed quite good and her character was interesting.

Some of the nods to previous Bonds are fun but at other timers it overwhelms the film leaving it with little identity of its own and more like Bond Greatest Hits. It’s also way too long and dragged a little at times. There are rumours around that this is Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond, and if so he may not leave on an ulitimate high like Skyfall but it would still be a fitting end to his Bond era.

Rating 3.5/5 – exciting and cool but unfortunately also rather long


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I’m not really a fan of sweary, obnoxious cooks, give me Mary Berry and The Great British Bake Off any day! However this comedy-drama tries to entice the fans of Bradley Cooper into watching this film set in the world of a down on his luck chef. But is the result appetising enough?

Adam (Bradley Cooper) was an up and coming chef whose arrogance and drug use brought him down to Earth with a bump. Having wrecked his and other people careers, he’s looking to get his third Michelin star and a chance at redeeming himself.

Despite including my two favourite things – Bradley Cooper and food – I wasn’t too interested in seeing this movie. But stuck with nothing to watch- and wasn’t going to be seeing Spectre for a few more days, I settled myself in to watch Burnt with low expectations. To my surprise I actually enjoyed Burnt. Its nothing original but it’s constantly funny, the performances are good and there are some darker moments I wasn’t expecting. Yes, Cooper is main part of the appeal but not just for his looks. Adam can be quite an unlikelable, arrogant character who is self-destructive and shouts at people. Cooper manages to make Adam watchable and interesting enough to follow on his journey despite his many flaws. It probably isn’t til the end of the movie that Adam becomes more likeable and that’s due to Cooper’s charm. The film also doesn’t try to make out that Adam is just misunderstood. He behaved appallingly in the past and it’s no surprised people are angry at him. Even the supposed antagonists of the film have good reasons to be mad at Adam and the film doesn’t pretend he didn’t bring it all on himself.

The supporting cast is good, from Emma Thompsons small scenes as Adam’s Doctor and Daniel Bruhl as the matradee Tony. I also liked Sienna Miller’s sous chef/love interest Helene. In the past I haven’t though much about Sienna Miller as an actress either way, but in this and American Sniper she seems to be able to create more memorable and sympathetic characters. Working with Bradley Cooper must be agreeing with her. Or maybe she’s now getting parts that have more to them then being the hot girlfriend.

A word of warning though make sure you bring some snacks with you cause the food on-screen looks delicious and it will make you hungry.

Rating 3.5/5 – sizzling and hot, but enough about Bradley Cooper, the film is good too


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The Cineworld Movie Quiz: Which 2015 film character are you?


I was recently contacted by Cineworld to participate in their quiz to find out which character from 2015’s biggest movie I’m most like. The answer was interesting. Read below for the result!

A Minion from Minions. You’re the joker of the group, and always up for a laugh. You’re great fun to be around, but often your playful attitude will get you into trouble. It’s in your nature to be part of the group and you have a “just go with it” attitude. You often find your stomach dominates your day.

I believe this result comes from me spending too much time talking with my nephew Rafferty about his favourite characters the minions. I’m turning into one!

To find out which 2015 film character you are follow the link below and let me know who you got!


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Step Into The Coffee House

Hi everyone, time for some more shameless self promotion. I’ve recently written a review for Copyhouse Press on their site  The Coffee House, where book news and reviews for Copyhouse Press and other works are posted. If you fancy taking a look at my review for The Olive Tree by Deborah Anderson follow the link below:

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