Tag Archives: Amanda Seyfried

The Big Wedding

I remember seeing the trailers for this film and thinking it might be ok in a make-sure-I-turn-off-my-brain-before-watching kind of way. Now it’s out on DVD was I able to turn off my brain and enjoy it?

Divorced parents Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) are preparing for their adopted son Alejandro’s (Ben Barnes) wedding to Missy (Amanda Seyfried). However complications arise when Alejandro’s biological mother decides to come to the wedding and fearing that Don and Ellie’s divorce would upset her strict religious beliefs  Alejandro gets the whole family to lie and pretend Don and Ellie are still married.

So many things are wrong with this film I don’t know where to start. Firstly it’s got a great cast who either overact, looked bored or wonder why the hell they signed up for this movie in the first place. Were they given a different script that convinced them to sign up and then got re-written during filming?

Then there’s the fact that this whole charade feels completely over the top, would anyone really go to all these lengths to hide someones divorce in this day and age? I know Alejandro’s mother is meant to be religious but you can’t help but feel the family would just tell Alejandro where to stick his request. Whats worse is that this film is just not funny. I wasn’t expecting much from this film but I thought maybe there would be some light laughs to be had. But no. Jokes mostly seem to surround the family’s bad relationships and sexual failings. This is more uncomfortable than funny. Also I did not find any of the conversations between the families believable whatsoever. It doesn’t help that most of the characters are unlikable. The parents are annoying and hypocritical, I had no interest in their grown up children’s lives (played by Katherine Higel and Topher grace) and although Ben Barnes and Amanda Seyfried (whose completely wasted in her role) make a cute couple there wasn’t really enough focus on them to make you really care about their wedding.

The only character who was vaguely interesting was Susan Sarandon’s Bebe , the girlfriend of Don  and ex best friend of  Ellie. She came across as the most sympathetic and nicest character in the film. Her relationship with Alejandro- where he tells her he considers her family, were the only scenes I found remotely touching.

What saves the film from being a complete disaster-besides Sarandon’s performance-is the climatic scenes when the family secrets start spilling out. There are at least a few laughs to be had there, even if they are fleeting.

Rating 2/5-despite the star pull of Keaton,  De Niro, Sarandon and co this is one wedding you don’t need to crash

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Epic

This year has already given us one great animated film in the hugely enjoyable The Croods, and we still have  Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 out this summer. So can new movie Epic compete at this level?

Epic introduces us to M.K (Amanda Seyfried) a teenage girl who is forced to move back in with her scientist dad Professor Bomba after her mum dies. Her relationship with her father is strained, not least because of the fact he believes there’s an advance civilisation of tiny people living in the nearby forest. However a series of events make M.K shrink in size and find her father isn’t so crazy after all. Now she has to help the Leafmen protect a pod and save the forest from the evil Boggans.

Epic has an admirable pro environment message and the animation is lovely but the story and design lacks that memorable punch to keep you interested in the film. Compared to The Croods which had dazzling colours and designs in its creatures and plants, Epic lacks something as spectacular in its visuals to make it as memorable.

As for the characters M.K is an agreeable enough protagonist. However the Leafmen, while they may be very noble and all are so dull. Colin Farrell as  leader of the Leafmen Ronin and Josh Hutcherson as rookie Leafman and M.K’s love interest Nod, try their best but the characters fail to register interest. They are also stuck with delivering lines such as “Many leaves but one tree”. The baddies the Boggans are initially intriguing, covered in the carcass of dead animals but unfortunately that’s about as interesting as they get.

The best thing about this film is the double act of Mub (Aziz Ansari)a slug whose in love with M.K and Grub (Chris O’Dowd), a snail who wants to become a leafman instead of looking after pods. They provide most of the jokes and are welcome comic relief from the boredom of the mission. But my favourite character is Ozzie,  Bomba’s three-legged dog who runs around in circles and gives slobbery kisses to everyone. Unfortunately he is not in it enough.

Rating 2/5- It tries hard but in the end Epic fails to live up to its title

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Les Miserables

I came out of seeing Les Miserables an emotional wreck. I wasn’t expecting the film to hit me this hard. After all everyone’s singing –it can’t be sad right?

Very wrong.

The basic plot of Les Miserable starts in 1815 when prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is set free after nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread. When he breaks his parole to start a new better life for himself under a new identity he is followed by Russell Crowe’s Javert who is determined to bring him to justice. Years later Valjean’s life crosses that of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her daughter Cosette (Isabelle Allen and later Amanda Seyfried) changing his life forever.

It’s astonishing that Tom Hooper is not nominated for Best Director at this year’s Oscars. The scale of this film is immense and he handles an all-star cast and the extravagantly detailed sets with aplomb. Anyone else might have let the grandness of this film overwhelmed the film itself, Hooper manages to keep everything in order and produce a fantastic film at the same time.

As the film is set in three time periods it appropriate that there’s three actors who stand out in each time period.

In the film’s first section set in 1815, Hugh Jackman is amazing as Jean Valjean. When we first see him he is thin, haggard, a prisoner whose been barely treated like a human for nineteen years. His desperation shows throughout his face and his transformation from petty criminal without hope to a well-respected man with a new sense of dignity and responsibility is convincingly portrayed. He thoroughly deserved his win at the golden globes.

Speaking of golden globe winners-best supporting actress Anne Hathaway steals the second part of the film based eight years later.  Although she is barely in the film Hathaway makes a huge impact. Her character’s Fantine’s fall from grace is harrowing and Hathaway bares it all in her performance. Fantine is broken and has given up everything for the love of her child. It was a risk for Hooper to make the cast sing live on film, rather than in a recording studio but it pays off when you hear the emotion and despair in her voice during “I dreamed a dream”.

The last part of the film takes place nine years later. It’s here where newcomer Samantha Barks (from tv’s I’d do Anything) stands out against the Hollywood heavies acting beside her. It helps that she played Eponine in the west end. As lonely, hopelessly in love Eponine she conveys much more feeling and emotion than the bland love story between Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) does. Her song of unrequited love for Marius in “On my own” shows her impressive vocal range whilst pulling tightly on your heart strings. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor girl.

It’s fair to say that Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks break my heart in this film.

However the film is not without its flaws. It does feel too long at times, where the story seems to drag. I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the story of Cosette and Marius (mostly because I cared about poor Eponine instead). Also Russell Crowe doesn’t have the strength in his singing voice that the other actors do, although it’s not as bad as others may have you believe, but he does struggle with the singing but then that is the risk in letting all your actors sing live. However he acts the part well and is an intimidating antagonist to Jackman’s Valjean.

These points however don’t get in the way of a heartbreakingly, emotional film full of terrific performances.

Rating 4/5

Tears, young love, unrequited love, death, a man on the run and a student uprising-the film packs a lot in its 158 running time, but it wasn’t a disappointment.

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