Jennifer Garner (“Daredevil”, TV’s “Alias”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) star in this hilarious flash-forward romance about a pre-teen girl who goes from geek to glamorous. With the help of some magic wishing dust, 13 year-old Jenna Rink (Garner) becomes 30 and gorgeous overnight, with everything she ever wanted, except for her best friend Matt (Ruffalo). Now, this grown woman must create some magic of her own to help the little girl inside find the true love she left behind.
2004 – Certificate: 12 – American Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex and drug references
8.0 out of 10
Went to see the New Town Kings last night at the Camden Underworld in London. It’s probably the best ska band in the country. (Quite why people listen to stuff like Coldplay when they could be listening to bands like the NTK entirely escapes me, but I think it’s probably just another symptom of the fall of humanity; the signs are all around us after all, this is just another scream of terror from the depths of hell into which we’re falling.) The gig was great, had a little bit too much to drink but managed not to be too uncoordinated or tread on too many feet. I really like going to gigs in the summer, as when you leave at the end in a sweat-soaked t-shirt, you don’t walk out into a dark night that has a wind chill that wouldn’t feel out of place in an Antarctic winter. I hate that and hanging about at Paddington Station afterwards, waiting for a train that’s either packed and you can’t get a seat, or freeing cold. (I know it’s partly my fault as I wear the same things all year, but cloakrooms are a pain so if I can’t wear it under ‘combat conditions’ or tie it around my waist, then it’s too much hassle. I’m sure regularly undergoing a freeze-thaw cycle is good for something; it’s good for some seeds anyway.) Have to say I’m feeling pretty fit at the moment. I remember seeing NTK a couple of years ago and I was knackered at the end. This time it didn’t feel that big a deal. I truly have the body of top sportsman! (Darts probably).
I can’t believe it, but this is the fifth comedy I’ve watch in a row. What’s come over me? Then again, I do choose the films I watch entirely at random, although there are a lot of complicated rules that govern this process, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty random. Anyway, let’s not consider how clichéd or stupid this film is. Let’s just consider it and its (I think for me) unique, pink DVD case. To deflect the fact and consequent embarrassment that comes from my sitting and watching a chick-flick on my own, I like to consider this as a movie with a hard science fiction storyline, that just happens to have some sort of romance built into it somewhere. We first meet our hero Jenna around the time of her 13th birthday, just before she travels about 27 years into the future, into an alternative time-line. So okay, the ‘time-machine’ consists of some sort of ‘fairy dust’ that we never get an explanation for, but that’s the nature of these things, apparently. Then in the future she does stuff and it all works out okay. Right? It is actually an excellent film, even though it’s rubbish too; I did feel myself getting emotional once or twice, (just a tiny bit of course). It also has one of those brilliant, so-crap-it’s-good dance routine scenes in it; Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” being the victim in this case. (You should check out all the people at IMDB seriously discussing how realistic this scene is and how poor the choreography is; and I thought I had trouble living in the real world sometimes.) Technically I like how this film looks and sounds on DVD.
This movie uses it’s soundtrack to strongly emphasise its 80s vibe. In this, thanks in part to the way the sound blasts out every time a song is played, it succeeds well. Even I have to begrudgingly admit that it’s not that bad.
Recommended for magazine editors, freelance photographers, 13 year-old girls and anyone who thinks 80s pop music is of any value; (yes, you there at the back, I can see you).
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Biach Tom-Tom getting her comeuppance. So she gets a drink spilt on her, a few harsh words and some work ripped up in front of her face; but when you’re 13 and have a social position to maintain in front of your friends, that’s probably not dissimilar to having your head blown off with a big gun by the unsung hero in the climatic final scene in a bloody action film.
“The Waiting Room” is the beautiful, feature debut of Academy-Award nominated writer/director Roger Golby. The sterling cast give ‘top-notch performances’ in their portrayal of two strangers – Anna (Anne-Marie Duff) and Stephen (Ralf Little) – who are brought together by chance as they sit together in a deserted waiting room. Here they make a brief but powerful connection, forgetting their individual lives for an isolated moment in time. As Stephen and Anna’s lives move onwards, they find themselves thinking more and more of the stranger they met in the waiting room – and what would happen should they meet again. This highly acclaimed and deeply moving film presents a fresh, edgy and totally romantic view of contemporary life and love in London.
2008 – Certificate: 15 – British Film
Rating Details: One strong sex scene and strong language
8.5 out of 10
On my way home from work two days ago I did a bit of food shopping. A sudden impulse buy was a bottle of brown sauce. I can’t remember the last time I bought any, but it must have been years ago. If I’d had any sense I’d have bought some decent stuff, like HP. Instead, I bought some cheap, Happy Shopper Brown Sauce. It tasted sort of okay, but it contains about a tonne of salt per gram. (No, I don’t know how that’s possible either; I guess it’s this sort of ‘new physics’ that makes the experiments being done with the Large Hadron Collider so exciting.) Using it gave me a sore throat and I could feel my arteries bulging as if they were about to explode, thanks to my suddenly elevated blood pressure. All in all it’s pretty toxic stuff. I can only imagine that a large-scale deployment of Happy Shopper Brown Sauce would probably cross someone’s “red line” somewhere or other… I’m glad I only have the one bottle. I’ve not checked frame by frame, but I’m not aware that this film contains any brown sauce, or sauce of any colour for that matter. If anyone spots any do let me know.
I can’t understand why this film isn’t better known. It’s set in Wandsworth, south London and features a lot of Southern Trains suburban services in it; I mean seriously, how much more cool and fashionable could it possibly get? It’s a story that revolves around three couples, their relationships and a chance meeting between two people in a waiting room at Wandsworth Common Station. This is a gentle but hugely touching film about ordinary people. Like many character-driven stories, it just sort of jumps into a period in their lives and then after a while it leaves them again, giving us a glimpse into their thoughts, feeling and actions. It has a number of scenes that provide the sort of emotional impact that all good films should and characters, though flawed, it’s still easy to sympathise with. Funny in places and intensely sad in others, at times it felt a bit too close to home for my linking, which is partly why it’s such a brilliant movie.
The soundtrack is generally restrained and unmemorable, but quietly gets on with business of extending the impact of the scenes it’s used in. A job well done.
Recommended for anyone who accepts that their life is as good as it’s ever going to get.
No cat, chainsaws or decapitation.
Top badass moment? Stephen, one of the two main characters, works in a nursing home. When my mum was in a nursing home all the care staff there seemed too overworked to really spend much time with the residents. Perhaps that’s the reality of it, but if any of them did ever have a bit of time on their hands, I’d have wanted them to be like Stephen.
I was driving home tonight and turning off the M3. At the junction a car had just broken down in the middle lane of three, at a set of traffic lights. (A BMW, ha-ha-ha). The driver behind it got all inpatient and started flashing and honking the broken-down driver. Then he suddenly pulled into the inside lane right in front of me, forcing me to brake hard and throw everything off the seat next to me and onto the floor, before he drove straight through the now red light. Asshole. If my car’s lights had been lasers (the sci-fi gun version, not the CD reading version), I’d have blown him to pieces, such was my annoyance. I doubt he heard it, but my language would have embarrassed more than just a nun too. People like that should be taken outside and shot. And no, I’m not going to give him a second chance on the assumption that he’d just had a bad day. My life might not amount to much, but I’m going to waste it at my discretion, not some stupid moron behind the wheel of a car’s. And talking of nuns, I thought this film was going to be about them.
2005 – Certificate: PG – USA
Rating Details: Mild language and sex references
Anyway, there I was, on Saturday evening, ready to watch what I thought was going to be a sleazy 70s, exploitation flick about nuns and kinky underwear. So you can imagine my disappointment when, on starting to view this film, instead of seeing nuns running around losing their clothing and wearing each other’s panties, I got a chick flick about four young friends and a pair of second-hand jeans. Bloody American’s, why do they have to mess about with OUR language; pants are, well, pants, not trousers or jeans. And a sisterhood really ought to have something to do with convents. With hindsight, I suppose the PG certificate and the “Perfect film for teen girls” splash on the front cover should have warned me, but I thought they were just part of the marketing; I didn’t think they, you know, really meant what they said. Anyway, to make the best of a bad job I watched it; I guess someone has to. After the first ten minutes I was already tiring of the four-teenage-girls-all-talk-and-giggle-at-once-about-nothing narrative. Still, a film has to be pretty bad for me to totally give up on it, so I persevered; and I’m glad I did. What I ended up with was a really great movie about four friends who are separated one summer for the first time and how they keep in touch with one another, grow as individuals and ensure their friendship remains intact. (Sounds a bit bluurrgg, doesn’t it?) To be honest, some of the subtleties of this were probably lost on me; I’m an old(ish) bloke, so I’ve next to no chance of understanding teenage angst or relationships; hell, I didn’t even understand them when I was a teenager, although come to think of it, that’s maybe the point of them. Okay, so it’s all a bit dumb, the ending is a bit too upbeat for my liking and the four main characters could basically be summed up as rebel, slut, wallflower and latch-key kid. But it’s all done with such sincerity that it’s hard not to get swept along with it. Most of it’s pretty lightweight stuff as you’d expect and the plot goes everywhere and nowhere, but every now and again a scene came along that enabled the whole movie to punch above its weight. It’s been done a million times before in films, but the scene in the hospital was a genuinely great bit of acting and you’d have to be made of stone not to be affected by it. I’m not sure if it’s a perfect film for teen girls, but it worked for this cynical old guy. I didn’t even miss there being no nuns in it either; (it does have some panties though). I wonder what the follow-up is like?
Recommended for teenage girls (according to the Sunday Mirror); and old blokes who are willing to step outside their comfort zones. (But if you need an excuse lads, it has some women’s football in it too.)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? The subplot involving Tibby and Bailey is especially affecting; (or is it effecting, I can never remember)? This had lots of little scenes that are really quite special. Learning to care about someone is one thing; learning to show it is another. This is badass.
If you’re crap at interviews, you’ll probably never get a decent job, however good you are at anything else. It’s how The Man has decided the world works, and that’s that. So the next time you see a bit of dole-ite scum hanging about up to no good (and probably planning some scam to rip off all the hardworking members of society), then just remember what separates you from him/her. In the same way, if you’re no good on dates, you’ll probably never get a decent boyfriend/girlfriend etc. I like to remember these two facts when I’m reviewing my progress towards the mountain-top of life. I’m incredibly intelligent, perceptive, knowledgeable, witty, charming, generous, sexy, handsome, thoughtful, sympathetic, understanding, empathic and generally a great guy, yet somehow I’ve failed to become chief executive of anything, or found anyone desperate enough to put up with me on a ‘social basis’ for very long. I put this down to the two small flaws I have, which just happen to relate to interviews, (I forget everything I know and insult the organisation I’m attempting to get a job with) and dates, (I suddenly can’t think of anything interesting to say and end up staring into space or at her breasts). None of these attributes are very helpful at the time, even though and somewhat ironically, if you are successful with both you’ll end up spending a great deal of time moaning about the organisation you work for and staring at your partner’s body. For every one of life’s Edmund Hillarys, there’s a load of us stuck in the foothills, getting lost and trying to find the pub before it closes. And speaking of dates…
2006 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex reference, gross humour and strong language once
This isn’t a very good comedy. It’s funny in places, but for every ‘funny bit’ there’re two ‘embarrassingly stupid and shit bits’ to balance it out. (By the way, these last two phrases are examples of film critics’ technical jargon, so don’t worry if you don’t fully understand them.) I really wanted to like this film, a lot. It stars the world’s most beautiful woman (Alyson Hannigan), who coincidentally shares my birthday. (My card from her must have got lost in the post this year, again.) Even when she’s really fat in the movie, she’s beautiful. (Am I even allowed to say fat these days? Perhaps I’m meant to say slimmingly-challenged or something?) It has houmous-based jokes in it as well and houmous is one of the five great foods of the world; and some cats too. So it had a lot going for it. Maybe I just don’t watch enough romance comedies so didn’t understand the subtleties and the entomology of the highbrow humour involved? Yes, I’m sure that’s it. Or maybe it was the gross beefburger scene and the fact that Sophie Monk (who plays the sexy Andy and is a vegetarian in real life) rubs them all over herself and chews some too. Nice. Not. Beefburgers are a lot of things, most of them bad, but what they’re not is sexy; if they were, McDonalds would have exploited the fact by now. On the other hand, it does have loads of extras on the DVD, so it might be worth missing out on watching the film ‘proper’ and going straight to these instead; the anti-commentary by two film critics who also didn’t think it was that great, is worth a listen. I watched the “Unseen Version” too, so got to enjoy over two minutes more of the most raunchy parts. Lucky me…
Recommended for people who spend way too much time watching chick-flicks.
6 cats (plus 2 pretend ones) and no decapitations. Cute, especially the grey one, but I have to say the pretend puppet cats are vile. It’s like watching some sort of cat-Frankenstein movie. Listen up Hollywood. Cats. On. Toilets. Farting. Simply. Aren’t. Funny.
Top badass moment? Tricky. Okay, I give up. There isn’t one. Well maybe Carmen Electra being covered in King Kong snot is, but that’s in the deleted scenes so I’m not sure it counts; I’ve no idea why it’s badass anyway, but she’s wearing a leopard-print bikini when it happens, so who cares?