Down to You (Film) Review

dvd-1386238252Jillian and I have sort of lost track of what theme we’re on, though we both think it’s still Romance. So this week’s pick is all about first love and stars a bevy of late 90’s/early noughties rom-com alumni. What’s not to like about that, right?

We’ll see.

As always *spoilers*!

Down to You (2000)

Director: Kris Isacsson
Stars: Freddie Prinze. Jr, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, Rosario Dawson

IMDB Synopsis: A young man wins and loses the first serious love of his life.

My Review:

Al and Imogen fill us in on how they met, fell in love and then lost it all via the popular crap movie medium of talking into the camera.

Their story isn’t anything out of the ordinary: they meet at a party, where Imogen passes on the opportunity to go home with a skeevy boy called Jim Morrison (Ashton Kutcher with a very lustrous hair do). Instead she sets her sights on Mr. Cookie Cutter, Al and they bond over a love of singer-songwriting or something.

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Young, gorgeous and IN LOVE and LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX

Anyway, they quickly fall into a relationship and are very happy, picking out a special song to be ‘theirs’ and doing cringe-inducing lip syncing scenes all over the college games room. All the stuff we’ve all done a million times as young, beautiful college students. Oh wait.

The couple part for a short while when Imogen goes to Paris for three months and their bond is further tested when Al finds himself mildly attracted to Selma Blair’s amateur porn star, Cyrus. Not that he does anything beyond a little #selflove.

Of course, this might be the time to mention that Al’s BFF Monk is something of a porn baron, filming lots of lavish productions including one that has an actual battle scene. Like you do to finance yourself through college, right? No waitressing for these crazy kids.

"Honestly, Ashton, what conditioner do you use?"

“Honestly, Ashton, what conditioner do you use? Also, is that an egg?”

But as always, that old stinker reality kicks in and Imogen begins to freak out about how serious everything is and how old mannish Al has become (I think he wants to stay in on a Friday night ONE TIME, the old boring bastard). She dreams she is with child and I think there was a scene at some point where she takes a test. Thankfully she isn’t up the duff and celebrates by making a huge mistake that betrays Al’s trust forever (or is it forever really, hmmmmmm?).

She also shouts that she hates Al in the middle of a party which, frankly, was my favourite part.

You know she's grown as a person because now her hair is straight...

You know she’s grown as a person because now her hair is straight…

Will these lovers ever find their way back together? Will Al actually do something of note instead of just standing around relying on his pretty face to do all the work for him (though he’s not my type AT ALL)?

Are Freddie Prinze. Jr and Buffy still married, and if so, is she now Sarah Michelle Prinze Jr? Are you still reading this? All I know is that this is a romantic comedy and all bets are off.

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This photograph is 15 years old

Throw in that short, quite good-looking guy from The Faculty (1998) (Shawn Hatosy), The World’s Hottest Womanℱ and Ms. Blair; and the gang’s all here. But is this all-star cast good enough to raise this really rather light on storyline ensemble piece into classic rom-com territory?

I already know the answer to this, obvs but finding your own answer is Down to You, I guess. (LOOOOOOLLLLL)

My Thoughts:

FFS. Welcome to Dullsville, population: Me.

I went in with all the optimism of the Andrex puppy because as noted above, what honestly is not to love about this? It has all the ingredients of a movie to rival it’s contemporaries including; 10 Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed and She’s All That (all 1999) but you know why I think it doesn’t work? No gimmick.

Call me old-fashioned but if I want to watch a film about a relationship breaking down I can shut my eyes and reminisce over my past love life. Sure the cast isn’t as sexy but still.

This is supposed to be about how they find their way back together, of course but it needed way more oomph. I was bored out of my tiny mind. I didn’t care if they stayed together or not, I hated both Al and Imogen (and most of the secondary characters) and I just wanted it to end.

In fact, I wanted to stand up and shout “I HATE YOU!” to the TV and leave the room, it was that shit. Selma Blair, Ashton Kutcher and Rosario should have hijacked the film and made it all about them instead, that would’ve been infinitely better.

My Rating: 

1/5 – the lowest rating yet. Even worse than Lizzie Borden. Oh, but the soundtrack was pretty good, I’ll give it that.

Head over to Jillian‘s shortly to find out what she thought!

Nicely Does It

If I had a pound for every time a person implies, or straight up tells me that I’m toobeing_nice_is_cool_by_tallis-d7h69fz nice, I’d have about enough to have plastic surgery to look like Tom Hardy’s dog and I could be leading a very nice double life as we speak (sorry for the odd imagery). Point is, I get told this a lot and every time I just hear the same thing: You’re not good enough.

OF COURSE this isn’t what people always mean, but for the most part* what they do mean is that they think I should be more like them and I call bullshit on the whole thing.

I’ll be nice if I want to, I will trust people if I want to and you know what? If I don’t want to tear a strip off someone for whatever reason, then I won’t. This isn’t a weak characteristic and I won’t stand for it. The next person who says it is going to see how ‘firm’ I can be, when I stab them in the leg with my Biro.

And breath…

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This blog post has been hovering around in my head for a long time, since the last time the same comment came up and now I’m just peeved enough to tap it out.

Since when has this characteristic become so frowned upon? Am I allowing people to walk all over me and take me for granted? Not the last time I checked. Am I meek and scared to do what’s right? I don’t think so.

Course there are ways to deal with things, I’m not about to fling myself into my boss’ office and bend his ear about all the things I want in life. There are boundaries. But this is who I am, I do things my way because this is me.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. When I talk about being nice, I don’t mean pure and angelic, obviously. I can be a monster, and I’m often snappy – I can sulk with the best of them.

I’m working on being a better individual, with more tolerance for all sorts of people. I’m learning if I don’t like something, just to walk away from it.

I’m just a big fan of a good and happy, simple life and of picking the right battles. It’s an ongoing project.

I like to absorb situations and learn about people so I can deal with them accordingly. I’m not a bolshy person and furthermore, I probably never will be.

I like the idea of being Catwoman but in life, I’m more Selina Kyle (maybe a little less down trodden, not as cute).

We’re not all destined to be in the spotlight. Some people choose a different way to live and I don’t believe that makes them any less valuable. The world needs people to direct, produce, paint the scenery and write the lines. These are important jobs too.

So the next time someone tells you’re too nice, ignore them. Or if you ever feel the need to say it to someone else, maybe think about your words. Better still, don’t say anything at all.

Nice people know what they’re doing and they’re people too.

*This probably isn’t about you, if you’re reading this.

Choose Life

tumblr_mpzuvdoUXJ1qzi9p6o1_1280Choose life. Choose a fulfilling job. Choose a career, if that’s what you want. Choose a family, whatever your definition of family is. Choose a f**king big piece of cake. Choose hair straighteners, hula hoops, 6th generation iPod Nanos, and electric facial cleansers. Choose good health, walks at lunch time and dental insurance, even if you forget to claim it. Choose dreaming about having a mortgage. Choose a starter home you’ll never afford. Choose your friends. Choose skinny jeans and slogan T-shirts that quote BeyoncĂ©. Choose a battered old sofa bed in the front room for guests, even though everything you own falls down the back of it. Choose Hoovering and hanging up your clothes, wondering who you are on a Saturday morning, don’t worry you can binge watch Netflix as soon as it’s done. Choose sitting on that couch watching Orange is the New Black, stuffing strawberry laces into your mouth. Choose letting go at the end of it all, happy in the knowledge that it was a good life and all that worry was for nothing, really. Choose after work drinks, choose swearing because it makes you feel better, choose the right people to be around, tell the others to fuck off. Choose a good partner, if you want one; enjoy single life if you prefer. Choose to love people. Choose your future. Choose life.

I made my ending a little more positive, original quote here.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy (Film) Review

AKA. The longest, least charismatic film title in recent times. If it were me,81GWJ3Mb32L._SL1500_ I would simply of titled it: Knox. Punchier, innit?

Following Lovestruck: The Musical, this week we’re reviewing another straight-to-cable Lifetime movie, this time the true life story of the Amanda Knox/Meredith Kercher murder mystery.

I’ve already conversed with Jillian about how hard I think it will be to review this, in that it does everything you need it to but just isn’t a) melodramatic or b) crap, enough.

But we’ll see. Like she assured me, we always manage.

*Spoilers!* – though that warning seems a little moot here, considering this is an extremely high-profile case, and most people and their dogs knows how the tale unfolded.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy (2011)

Director: Robert Dornhelm
Stars: Hayden Panettiere, Marcia Gay Harden

IMDB Synopsis: Based on the events surrounding the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

My Review: 

Hm. I suppose I should preface this review with the fact that I was obsessed with this case when it first came to trial. Amanda “Foxy Knoxy” Knox is alleged to have murdered her roommate, Meredith Kercher in a brutal attack that may or may not have been sexually motivated (more details here).

I guess we may never know if she’s innocent or not, but Knoxy certainly maintains that she is, and has done so, ever since she was first arrested for the crime.

But to the film. Is starts off with Knoxy, standing outside her apartment with slightly seedy looking boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito (slimey= obviously guilty). They are mumbling something to a cop about there having been a break in in the flat, broken glass and a wee bit of blood in the bathroom. Neither are particularly worried.

“Yes, that’s a large pepperoni, one garlic bread and six spicy wings, extra ketchup…”

Obviously neither party have had the sense to check the rooms inside the apartment, as unbeknownst to them (allllllegedlllly!), the mutilated body of Meredith lies on the floor of her room, covered in a quilt.

NB: Actually, I think they may have tried but found Meredith’s room locked from the inside, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one. 

The slightly grouchy police officer tries to break the door down, while Knoxy makes a call to her mother in America, waking her in the middle of the night and worrying her sick for no good reason, IMHO.

I mean at this stage, she thinks someone has broken a window but not actually taken anything. I always wait for something a bit more concrete before I get my own mother involved, you know?

Raff also makes a dodgily timed phone call, speaking to the police about a break in, while the police are actually inside the flat, dealing with said break in. I’m guessing he doesn’t know about this new fangled thing called phone records.

Anywho, everybody present, including another housemate, is shocked to the core when Meredith’s door is bashed down and her body is discovered.

I best add here that I was painting watermelons on my nails while viewing this movie and so some of the back and forth may have been lost on me. Like whose fingerprints were on what and whom, etc. Forgive me.

“SĂŹ mi piace il tuo maglione stretto … “

The relationship between Raff and Knoxy is then illuminated via the medium of flashback, and we also go back to her first meeting with Kercher. We don’t really learn too much about their friendship other than that it soured somewhat towards the end because Knox was slutty in both senses of the word and conscientious Kercher wasn’t into it.

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“Save the cheerleader, save the world”

Shortly after Kercher is found, Knoxy surprises everyone with her carefree attitude, which is  not very in keeping with a bereaved person. She’s seen kissing Raff with abandon in the police station just before giving her first statement and shopping for fancy knickers like a women with no worries, whatsoever. She tells police she was home with Raff having sex on ‘the night’.

Later Raff sells Knoxy up the river and tells the Polizia that she’d left to go out and didn’t return to his place until the morning. Based on this she is arrested.

She is interrogated a lot and in all the excitement it seems as though she has certain scenarios ‘suggested’ to her. She names her former boss as the man who took Kercher home that night and he is subsequently arrested himself.

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“WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Meanwhile, Mummy Knox flies into town and man, the Knox family seem nice. They are present every day of the trial and have to sit through Knoxy’s Trial by Media, during which she is ripped to shreds by the papers, TV and anyone who can, basically. Sadly, Knoxy’s apparent joy at being in the spotlight doesn’t really help her judgement. The girl does an awful lot of smiling and waving in the court house and boy, does that fuck people off.

Inevitably, Knoxy’s racy nickname comes to light, helping paint a portrait of an insatiable young woman hellbent on shagging, doing drugs and partying, with very little in between. It’s all too clichĂ©, how very dare a young woman love sex? How dare she own a vibrator and carry condoms? Obvs a cold-blooded killer!

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“But I really want a blue hat too…”

The prosecution implies that Meredith strongly disapproved of this lascivious lifestyle, which caused a rift between the two women. Another dude is implicated in the murder along the way; Rudy Guede, who Kercher was supposedly seeing.

I’m sure it’s not ruining anything to say that Knoxy and Raff are found guilty and get sent down despite the fact there is little physical evidence to prove they’re involved.

Fin.

My Thoughts:

It’s all just a wee bit dull TBH. Hayden Pantene is perfectly adequate as Foxy Knoxy, although I don’t think there’s much of a likeness, physically. I’ve always been quite a fan of HP, mainly because of Heroes, which I loved with a capital ‘L’.

Marcia Gay is also quite good as Knoxy’s distraught mother who somehow manages to hold it together, where most would not.

I think maybe I would have liked more of a build up to the crime, more insight into the two women together. Just more, I’m not sure exactly what though.

It’s an inoffensive take on the story, I suppose. The acting isn’t bad, the scenery is far from hideous and it did what it said on the tin.

That’s it really. Did I expect more wailing; more melodrama and more of a clue as to whether Knoxy really dunnit? Probs yes to all those things.

My Rating:

3/5 – Average. I mean, would it have hurt them to toss in a brief musical interlude?

Lifetime movies should be cheesy as fuck and there needs to be a law passed to ensure this.

So, what did Jill think? Check it out here shortly!

Lovestruck: The Musical (Film) Review

lovestruck-the-musical-cover-poster-artworkFinally, the schmaltzy love fest to end all schmaltzy love fests! This is the straight-to-TV version of a liquified Homer Simpson donut with extra sugar added – and it is a joy.

But first *spoilers*!

Lovestruck: The Musical (2013)

Director: Sanaa Hamri
Stars: Jane Seymour, Sara Paxton, Chelsea Kane

IMDB Synopsis: A jaded woman who never fulfilled her dreams of a Broadway career pushes her daughter to have one. Daughter rebels and goes to Italy to get married. The mother drinks a potion that makes her young again and tries to sabotage the wedding.

My Review: 

Look, any film that starts with Jane Seymour covering Gaga‘s Let’s Dance is a-okay with me. As slightly bitter former Broadway star, Harper Hutton, she is a total fox and actually quite likable, which surprised me. Not wanting her daughter, Mirabella (yes, really) to miss out on the stardom she never quite achieved herself, she is unimpressed when Mirabella announces she’ll be staying in Italy after her wedding to former Italian playboy, Marco (of course).

In a rage she tells her daughter that she’s loco to marry a man she has only known for three months, and in the process of dropping her unwanted truth nuggets, manages to get herself dis-invited to the wedding.

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“This never happens when I do Born This Way”

She also hurts herself during the Gaga number, an echo of the injury that caused her beloved career to slip through her fingers all that time ago (Seymour is like 89, right?). Rather than taking this shit lying down, Harper jumps on the nearest plane and finds herself in Italy, fully prepared to halt the wedding and drag Mirabella back. UGH – I hate that name so much, I am going to stop typing it, now.

Of course, before we launch into Harper’s plan to stop her daughter’s wedding, I should mention that there’s some magic8c8a424a3f908be6687170f679dc5f06 afoot. In the wake of twisting her knee showing some backing dancers how to work it like a boss, Harper calls for some aspirin. Sadly, none of the dancers carry aspirin but one does find an old ancient filing cabinet that houses a long discarded bottle of vitality potion, and passes it over.

Like any sensible adult who has just been handed a bottle of something containing god knows what, Harper takes a big old swig after she’s touched down in Italy. It makes her leg feel much better but also knocks about 30 years off her age. Delighted at this new development, Harper rushes off to seduce her son-in-law-to-be-or-not-to-be (creepy). Not before checking she’s back to full flexibility, though (she is).

I want to know if seduction was the plan before she got on the plane and took the youth juice. Also, I always dance around airports with strange men to Whitney Houston, don’t you? Question: where’s the footballer casually heading in top to toe kit?

When she meets up with M and her BFF, annoying Noelle, Harper pretends to be long-lost second cousin, Debbie. Queue lots of high jinx (and musical tomfoolery) as the girls embark on M’s bachelorette party. Harper is subjected to the bawdry tale of how her angelic daughter popped her cherry to a horny Parisienne and then has to perform Like a Virgin on a pile of silky sarongs without a single penis straw in sight.

The main thing I took from this scene is that I wish I had bigger hair.

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“Wooooooooooo! We’ve all got fingers!”

Meanwhile, Young Harper has pretty much sewn up her plan to pull the groom by just turning up and kissing him but then she starts to regret it as she realises – shock, horror – he really has changed his man-whore ways and does love his fiancĂ©.

Sadly, M and her mahoosive hair overhear him confessing their kiss to his sexist friend, so the jig is up, although she doesn’t know it’s Debbie (AKA Mum). Instead she believes it’s her best friend, Noelle.

This turn of events changes the rules of the game as Harper decides to save her daughter’s relationship instead. Oh and then her lying cheating ex-husband turns up to mix things up.

Chelsea-Kane-Drew-Seeley-Dancing-Lovestruck-The-Musical

“Oh okey kokey kokey, oh okey kokey kokey…”

I don’t want to ruin the rest of this love fest by giving too much away and the truth of the matter is that it’s light on plot as it is. Whatever it is you assume is going to happen will probably happen.

Will M change her name so people don’t dislike her as much? Will she make it down the aisle at all? Will these stupid men ever learn to keep their dicks in their jockeys? And what does a frizzy haired ginger gots to do to get a Barbie barnet like half the cast?

Most importantly, will Noelle ever forgive M for automatically assuming that she’s a great big slapper who would willingly cheat with the groom on her best friend’s wedding day, just because she’s had a few glasses of fizz? I’m sorry but I would have a few things to say about that accusation if it was me, rather than hmmming and hawwwwing about whether I actually had done it because I was quite drunk.

The answer should have been “Hell no, you bitch!”, not “I don’t think so…”. Just saying, Noelle.

And finally, what of Harper? Will she stay young forever, or accept her lot in life thus finally finding the pure happiness that has eluded her for so long?

What the hell do you think?

My Thoughts:

Honestly, what’s not to like? This is a thoroughly camp contemporary musical with colourful backdrops and Jane fricking Seymour, man. If you’re not into these things I’d avoid this one. Luckily for me, I’m all over it like well, me on a chocolate cake.

It’s sweet, satisfying and, in a weekend of binge watching OITNB, the perfect temporary antidote to lesbian love triangles, prison slop and prejudice against the trans community.

The cast are more likable that you’d expect, the sets and costumes are gloriously decadent; and frankly, it stacks up pretty well against bigger productions of a similar nature, such as Mama Mia (2008) and Walking on Sunshine (2014).

There are worse ways to spend Sunday afternoon, anyway.

My Rating:

3.5/5 – As a film, it’s a 3, for the enjoyment factor 4 – so I’ve split the difference.

No companion cast this week as I don’t have the time, yo. Poor excuse, but I’ll be coming up with something later in the week.

Incidentally, it’s the TV Movie genre this week and next. This was a fine choice to kick it off and I’m hoping next week’s will hold up my end of things, as it looks and sounds INCREDIBLE!

Pop on over to Jillian’s place next to see what she has to say!

In a World… (Film) Review

in_a_world_xlgThis week we were going to go for a Nicholas Sparks adaptation to guarantee maximum schmaltz and romance with a capital ‘R’. Because both our forays into the Romance genre so far have proven very telling about the human beings that we are, e.g. more into the anti-romance.

That’s until Netflix, the bastard (I love you!), decided to axe The Last Song without so much as a I-don’t-know-what, maybe a call or something wouldn’t have gone amiss? I mean, I was looking forward to enjoying the chemistry between Miley Cyrus and her once real-life beau, the younger Hemsworth brother. But no. Not to be, much like the doomed love affair between these annoyingly attractive young ‘uns. So no The Last Song for us.

Instead I used this opportunity to pick a film from my Netflix queue and one that has come up several times over the last few weeks. I’ll talk about it in a wee bit but first, the review.

You know the drill: *It’s a spoiler MINEFIELD*

In a World… (2013)

Director: Lake Bell
Stars: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins

IMDB Synopsis: An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protégé.

My Review:

Lake Bell wrote, directed and stars in this film, about a voice coach called Carol who wants in on the male dominated world of voiceovers. Following the death of the ‘Godfather of Industry’, Don LaFontaine (real person), there are a few big hitters waiting in the wings to take over, including Sam Sotto (Carol’s father) who’s kind of a BIG DEAL himself and his protĂ©gĂ©, Gustav Warner (Burning Love‘s, Ken Marino).

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“… and I-eeee-iiiiiiiii will always love you-eeeee-ooooooooooooooo!”

The biggest gig in voiceover land is, of course, the LaFontaine coined phrase, “In a World…”. That’s like the great white whale of jobs basically. One day, on an assignment to help turn Eva Longoria into a convincing cockney slag (“Is that what you think, you stupid slapper?”), Carol steps in for Gustav on a temp trailer for a ‘romantic comedy for children’ (he has a throat thing see). She, of course, nails the job. Then she gets some other good gigs following that, despite the lack of support from her father, who thinks Carol should stick to accents as the industry “does not crave a female voice.”. Her specialty? Her Russian Star Wars thing.

“I just really, really like these dungarees…”

Not knowing who Carol is (especially as she doesn’t share Sam Sotto’s stage name), Gustav pursues her romantically, and then harder when he learns that she’s stealing jobs from underneath him. Sam is his partner in crime, not knowing that the graphic details of Gustav’s night of passion with this woman is with his own daughter.

“Got Milk? I have… hahahahha.”

Meanwhile, Louis (Demetri Martin), the studio engineer where Carol is working with Eva, gently and awkwardly woos her too (and let me tell you, he is ADORABLE). Throw in a couple of sub-storylines, including a would-be affair between Carol’s sister, Dani and a hot Irish guest at the hotel she works at; and troubles with their father, Sam and his 30-year-old girlfriend, Jamie (Alexandra Holden); plus some hilarious minor characters, and you’ve got a pretty good film, thankyouverymuch.

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It’s all fun and games until a pink flamingo gets hurt…

Will girl power prevail in the end and see Carol snatching the “In a World…” gig from Sam and Gustav, despite the fact she’s a fucking WOMAN? Will she fall for the right guy? and where can I actually see this Amazonian quadrilogy starring Cameron Diaz? I mean, it’s basically Mad Max: Fury Road Redux but I would be all over it like creeping ivy, man.

You can see for yourself because this movie is out there for the taking.

My Thoughts:

I liked this movie a lot because, after horror, these are exactly the kinds of movies I crave. I bloody love a quirky, Indie comedy and I like it even better when they give me a protagonist I can actually imagine talking about cocks with. In short, she’s likeable and almost like a real person, and that my friends, is a very good thing.

There isn’t much I don’t like about In a World…, it gave me laughs and it also gave me a couple of lump in the throat moments, particularly when Jamie the Bimbo Trophy Wife proves she’s much more when she bollocks her jealous boyfriend and tells his to go and be a good father, or else. There may have been real tears when he dedicates his Lifetime Achievement Award to his daughters too. But that’s just me: a sucker for a daddy moment.

I did wonder why the hell two men were in the running for a voiceover for a quadrilogy about Amazonian women though. It genuinely makes no sense to me from a marketing POV to use a male voice. And since they wanted Carol for this very reason in the first place, to ‘inspire’ the millions of girls who would flock to see it, I do not understand why they suddenly get excited about Sam Sotto, when he decides to compete for the job too. Just me?

“MMmmmmmmmmm bop doop be doop be doop doop la la la la…”

All in all I am enamoured with Lake Bell. I think her romance with Louis is adorable and she utters to him possibly the greatest line in movie history after a night singing Ice T at the karaoke: (to paraphrase) “Have you got any of those sleeping pills? It’s going to be really hard to fall asleep after you kiss me”.

AW YEAH.

My Rating:

4/5 – a nice film, with some funny bits. I want LB’s wardrobe please (5/5 for that).

And…

One day I’ll complete a podcast without a siren interrupting me, I swear. Special snaps to www.bensound.com for my cheeky intro music.

Also, if you want to know more about mumblecore movies, as mentioned in my podcast, this explains it better than I do.

Check out what Jillian thought here.