based on a book, film, must see

Movie Review: Sense and Sensibility

I do not know why but sometimes when I watch a periodic film my thoughts are: were people really like this? The short version is yes, although maybe it is not as bad but I did not live back then so who knows. Anyway, this 1995 periodic drama based on the beloved Jane Austin novel stayed as true as it could to the 1811 novel, which helped that Emma Thompson (who was convinced to be the lead) wrote the script. It is still regarded as one of the best adaptions of Austin’s work and I would never argue with that. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Just before he dies Mr. Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson) asks his son from his first marriage John Dashwood (James Fleet) to take care and provide for his second family: his wife Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones) and their three daughters: Elinor (Thompson, nominated for her part), Marianne (Kate Winslet, nominated for her part) and Margaret (Emilie Francois) as they will not inherit anything after Mr. Dashwood’s death. However John’s manipulative wife Fanny (Harriet Walter) convinces her husband to break his word to his father and not help his half sisters. They almost immediately move into the Dashwood home forcing the girls to find a new home. Fanny has her brother Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) move in as well. Edward and Elinor form a friendship and it seems that something more could have happened. However Fanny informs Mrs. Dashwood that Edward will be disinherited if he does not marry someone important. Having had enough Mrs. Dashwood takes her daughters and moves into a cottage provided by her cousin Sir John Middleton (Robert Hardy) and his mother in-law the ever scheming and energetic Mrs. Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs). The Dashwood ladies also meet Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman), a longtime friend of Sir John who falls for Marianne the moment he sees her; however she does not reciprocate his feelings as he is too old. After a walk in the ran has Marianne taking a tumble she meets John Willoughby (Greg Wise) a very charming gentleman she quickly falls for and makes no attempt to hide it, much to Colonel Brandon’s chagrin (in more ways than one). Mrs. Jennings invites her daughter Charlotte (Imelda Staunton), son-in-law Mr. Palmer (Hugh Laurie) and cousin Lucy Steele (Imogen Stubbs) to visit where Lucy confides to Elinor her secret relationship with Edward, much to Elinor’s heartbreak but agrees to stay quiet. The elder Dashwood sisters soon have to find a way to handle their heartbreaks. About as far as I should go without giving away the rest of the movie.

I was amazed when I watched the film for the first time at not only how well it was written, but the acting. Emma Thompson is incredible as Elinor and she wrote a wonderful script; which did not surprise me when I read she won the Oscar for her screenplay (so far the only person to win Oscars for acting and writing) This was not Kate Winslet’s first film, however she gained a lot more attention with her role as the woman with her heart on her sleeve Marianne. Hugh Grant was amazing as Edward, I know a lot of Jane Austin fans thought he was “too handsome” for the part (which I almost laugh at but I have not read the book yet so what do I know), but apparently Thompson had Grant in mind when she was writing the script. Rickman is adorable as Col. Brandon, one of his most memorable roles outside the Harry Potter films. I loved the rest of the cast as well, with a special shout out to Elizabeth Spriggs as Mrs. Jennings, a character I almost wish would stop meddling, but it is so entertaining. I would call Sense and Sensibility a must see if you love periodic, drama or romantic films or any of the actors in this movies. Even if you are not this is still a very cute movie and a great adaption of Jane Austin’s work.

based on a book, classic, film

Movie Review: The Graduate

I have often told you guys, and I’m sure other people in your life have said “Oh you have got to watch this movie asap”, or “You haven’t seen this movie, why not it’s great?” No movie have I heard this more than this 1967 classic, based on the 1963 book by Charles Webb. Now don’t get me wrong I get why people like or even love The Graduate, but for me I did not like it as much as I thought I was going to. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has no idea what he is going to do in life. His parents share his accolades and at his graduation party many try to offer him advice, although it is obvious he is uncomfortable. Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) insist Benjamin drive her home after the party as her husband, Benjamin’s dad’s partner at his law firm, neglects her again. She invites Benjamin in for a drink and he soon realizes she is trying to seduce him. He tries to calmly reject her, but after his parents continue to pressure him he gives in to Mrs. Robinson’s advances. Benjamin’s parents and Mr. Robinson encourage him to spend time with Elaine (Katharine Ross), Mr. and Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, but Mrs. Robinson tells Benjamin not too. However after discovering he has more in common with Elaine rather than Mrs. Robinson, Benjamin becomes conflicted between the woman he loves and the woman he is sleeping with. About as far as I should go, but the ending is kinda famous.

I finally DVR’d this movie about a year or two ago because many adults I know were pestering me to watch the movie. As I stated before I get why people like the movie. The writing, acting, directing (as it won the Oscar) and cinematography are fantastic and I do not deny that for a second, but maybe it is because I already knew what was gonna happen or the story bothered me when I first heard about it; either way I did not like this movie as much as thought (or others thought) I would. Without a doubt this might be the best roles or at least the roles most identified with the careers of Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft as well as the start of a set of films where not a lot was left to the imagination. Many people who have watched the movie told me this was the start of more “sexy” movies. While I am positive there were real life stories not in the public eye, this might have been the star of the older women with younger men becoming more obvious, but don’t take my word for that. The Graduate has become an iconic film, it has been placed on the American Film Institution’s lists multiple times as best films, love stories, songs and at least two quotes on the best quotes of all time: “Mrs. Robinson you’re trying to seduce me” and “Plastics”. While I did not like the film too much if you were to ask me would I recommend The Graduate; while not must see without question yes.

classic, film, must see

Movie Review: Sunset Boulevard

While not quite a horror movie it is pretty scary and has gone down as a classic. Released in 1950 Sunset Boulevard is regarded as one of the best films of all time, as well as a very successful Broadway musical (well at least successful after Andrew Lloyd Webber got his hands on it). Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Joe Gillis (William Holden, nominated for an Oscar) is a screenwriter that is having strings of bad lucks after trying to sell his script to Paramount producer Sheldrake (Fred Clark) only to get rejected and criticized by script reader Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson, nominated for an Oscar). While avoiding guys trying to reposes his car Joe drives into what he thinks is an abandoned mansion. Joe hears a woman calling for him to come in to the house, mistaking him for someone else. He meets the woman and recognizes her: Nora Desmond (Gloria Swanson, nominated for an Oscar) a silent movie star who is basically forgotten about, although she doesn’t know it. Learning Joe is a writer Nora asks him to look at a script she has written for her return to film about Salome. Joe finds it horrible, but seeing an opportunity convinces Nora to hire him as a script doctor. Nora has Joe move in so she can keep an eye on him while her butler Max (Erich von Stroheim nominated for an Oscar) explains to Joe that Nora has basically refused the fact that her spotlight has faded, and any attempts to tell her has forced her to attempt suicide. Joe works with Norma on her script, but soon becomes uncomfortable with her constant need for attention; however any attempts he makes to get away she pulls him back in. About as far as I can go without spoiling the rest of the movie, but I will say this ends about as well as you think it is going to.

This was a movie I had heard about for many years prior to watching it, mostly the two famous lines by Nora Desmond. If you know movie quotes these two lines may seem familiar: “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small” when Joe tells Nora she used to be a big star (and to be fair a clue of how nuts this woman is) and finally the last scene and final line by Nora “All right Mr. DeMille I’m ready for my close-up” when Nora’s sense of reality is gone. The writing and acting are some of the best I have seen in any movie, hence why it has so many accolades. Sunset Boulevard was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning three for its writing, art/set direction and music. It is also one of very few films to have nominations for all four acting categories but not to win (and I would say it is a shame but I can’t argue with who won that year). If you have not watched Sunset Boulevard I would highly recommend it, but be prepared for crazy.

classic, film, must see

Movie Review: Juno

While I would not call Juno a sleeper hit in 2007, nor a surprise at the 2008 Oscars winning one of the four it was nominated for (winning for Best Screenplay and nominated for Best Director, Actress, and Picture) I did not see this film talked about as much compared to some of the other films that year. That being said it was still a fantastic film and I would put this very high on the must see movie list. Spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

16 year old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant after sleeping with one of her best friends, and someone who has been in love with her for a long time, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). She makes an appointment at the abortion clinic, but after arriving there changes her mind and decides to have the baby adopted. Juno, along with her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) tell her father Mac and stepmother Brenda (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney) she is pregnant and they offer support in her decision. Juno finds the seemingly perfect couple in Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). Over the pregnancy Juno struggles with her feelings for Paulie, as well as spending time with the Lorings, more specifically Mark which may or may not backfire later. About as far as I can go without giving away the rest of the movie.

As stated before this was one of the best films I have seen, from the Oscar winning script by Diablo Cody, the incredible and funny performances not just by Page who stands out in her own way, but by all the cast, the amazing directing by Jason Reitman to the rather unique soundtrack, I personally have not downloaded the songs but if you like them than go for it.

Like many of the critics who praised Juno, I loved how Juno chose against abortion and go for adoption. I’d rather not go political on my blog and I have no intention on explaining my views on abortion because it is not worth getting into an internet fight if someone is against or for abortion. All I will say is for this film I am happy with the decision Juno made. While I would not say the film glamorizes teen pregnancy it had an effect. Shortly after the film, and other films such as Knocked Up came out 17 high school students of Gloucester Massachusetts were expecting, TIME called it “The Juno Effect.” Many blamed statistics others blamed the movies; it was rather interesting watching and reading about this. I have no experience in any of this so I am probably the last person to take advice from, but if I may say something on the matter: be safe, be responsible and be smart.