Hail Ceasar

Despite the big stars and spectacular visuals, Hails Ceasar falls a bit flat

2.5/5

Year: 2016download
Director: Ethan and Joel Coen
Screenplay: Ethan and Joel Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenriech, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton
Length: 1 hour 46 minutes

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), director of Capitol Pictures in the 1950s, is busy solving the problems of the actors and filmmakers of the studio when star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped. As Mannix tries to get Baird back he has to deal with a score of other people’s problems including pregnant dancer DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), media rivals and twins Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton) and cowboy actor turned romantic lead Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenriech) while under pressure to decide about a job offer that could alleviate his guilt about how the long hours of his current job prevent him from seeing his family.

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The Lady in the Van

Rating: 3.5/5
Year: 2015
Director: Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys, The Madness of King George)
Screenplay: Alan Bennett
Starring: Alex Jennings, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent
Length: 1 hour 44 minutes

1289e2e870e8e3120f3c16f9e731cbdb-the-lady-in-the-vanIt’s London in the 1970s and playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) has moved into a
nice, upper middle class street in Camden.  Striking an odd appearance amongst the neat terrace houses is a homeless lady who goes by the name of Miss Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith) and lives in a van parked in the street. Alan befriends Miss Shepherd and due to his mild manner and her forceful character, he ends up inviting her to park her van in his driveway and she stays there for 15 years. As Alan learns more about Miss Shepherds life and writes about her and their interactions, he muses with himself on the nature of the writer, whether they write about their experiences or have experiences so as to write about them.

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Hairspray

Fun and colourful musical with a skillful cast of actors, singers and dancers while also dealing with the important message of equality.

Rating: 3.5/5
Year: 2007
Director: Adam Shankman
Screenplay: Leslie Dixon (Mrs Doubtfire, Freaky Friday)
Starring: Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes, John Travolta, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfieffer, Christopher Walken, James Marsden, Queen Latiffah, Brittany S220px-Hairspray2007posternow

Tracey Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) is a plus size high school student living in Baltimore who dreams of starring the local teen dance TV show, The Corny Collins Show. When once of the dancers on the show has to leave, auditions are held to replace her. Tracey thinks this is her chance to fulfill her dream, but she is rejected by the the show manager Velma von Tussle (Michelle Pfieffer) for being overweight and being support of integration, as African American kids are only allowed to sing and dance on the show once a month. But Tracey’s unbeatable postitivity and her steadfast belief in equality for all leads her through several upbeat musical numbers to a happy ending for everyone.

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Black Mirror

Rating: 5/5
Year: 2011 –
Creator: Charlie Brooker
Starring:Various including Domhnall Gleeson, Hayley Atwell, Rory Kinnear, Jessica Brown Findlay, Rafe Spall, Jon Hamm
Length: 2 series, 3 fifty minute episodes per series plus 90 minute Christmas special

Summary: Incredible series of mini thrillers that make you think twice about the technology we use everyday.Black_Mirror_1

Each stand alone episode of this dark, satirical series is set in the near-future and features technology that doesn’t yet exist but very easily could. The stories examine the way technology has infiltrated our everyday life and how this affects us as supposedly moral and feeling human beings.

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Rushmore

Packed with Wes Anderson’s unique charm and aesthetic, sadly the repetitive stoyline gets pretty tiresome pretty quickly

Year: 1998
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams
Length: 1 hour 33 minutes
Rating: 2/5

Max (Jason Schwartzman) is self assured, adult-like 15 year old who lives his life 220px-Rushmoreposteraround organising elaborate extra curricular activities and clubs at his prestigious school Rushmore. However his happy school existence is marred when his failure at school work leads him to be put on academic probation. At the same time, he begins to fall for new elementary school teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), who’s husband has recently died. He seeks the advice of his new friend, Herman Blume (Bill Murray), a wealthy and languorous man and the father of two of Max’s school fellows, on how to win Miss Cross’s affections, leading to Herman to also start to fall for Miss Cross.

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The Kids Are All Right

Despite some questionable plotting, The Kids Are Alright is a heartfelt and funny story of the intricacies of a modern family.

Year: 2010
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Screenplay: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
Starring: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson
Length: 1 hour 46 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5
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Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) have been happily together for 20 years with two children, with Nic conceiving Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Jules conceiving Laser (Josh Hutcherson) from the same anonymous sperm donation. Joni has just turned 18, meaning she can now contact her and Laser’s father, which Laser persuades her to do unknown to their mums. Their dad turns out to be Paul (Mark Ruffalo) who is a chill, happy go lucky guy running a restaurant with locally grown produce and enjoying the female attention in his life. Hearing from his children, previously unknown to him, is unexpected but exciting for him, and he becomes involved in the family’s lives more than Joni and Laser ever could have  realised.

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Beginners

A touching plot and unique storytelling that sadly soon becomes dull and self indulgent.

Year: 2010
Director: Mike Mills
Screenplay: Mike Mills
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent
Length: 1 hour 45 minutes
Rating: 1.5/5beginners

After Oliver’s (Ewan McGregor) mum dies, his dad Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out of the closet and is also diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film flips between Oliver and Hal during the last years of Hal’s life, and Oliver trying to recover from his death, during which he meets and falls in love with French actress Anna (Melanie Laurent). Continue reading “Beginners”