Film Review: Margin Call

In a movie industry that is increasingly demanding more spectacle than intelligence, Margin Call isn’t a film you expect to see on a big screen. It seems more like a TV special that wins awards but no one actually sees.

Having said that, Margin Call deals with a subject that another pair of hands could have been treated like a sequel to Wall Street. Margin Call tells the story of twenty four hours in the life of an investment firm that makes a horrifying discovery in 2008 that the whole financial system is about to collapse before their eyes. After several meetings through the night, the big investment bankers decide to perform what is called a margin call, in other words sell their entire bad stock as quickly as possible, fully aware that it will destroy all the companies that buy from them.

With that in mind, it’s hard to see how you can sympathise with the main characters, but the genius of the script by J.C. Chandor (who also directs) is that we actually do care. We care about who gets fired and who doesn’t, and it may be the only film about Wall Street where you actually want the bankers to succeed. A slightly cynical trader Will Emerson, played sublimely by Paul Bettany, gives a speech about why the bankers are right and that “ordinary people” are wrong, in a way that actually makes you think he has a point.

Paul Bettany isn’t the only bright spark here. Kevin Spacey gives the best performance of the film as head trader Sam Rogers, with superb support from Stanley Tucci, Zachary Qunito, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, and Simon Baker whose performance has been surprisingly ignored. Everyone gets their big entrance scene where they have the commanding presence as the man (or woman) in charge as news of the impending collapse spreads, until the news reaches John Tuld (Jeremy Irons), who gives a great performance as the commanding and almost vamperic boss.

The script is where the real strength of this movie lies. The stock market and the nature of its demise in 2008 is a very convoluted and difficult subject to grasp, something expertly dealt with by J.C. Chandor. When things get a little too complicated for a layman to understand, one of the high ranking execs ask to have it broken down to them in “plain English”, or as Jeremy Irons’ character puts it, “talk to me like I’m a small child, or a Labrador”. The fact that most of the people at the top don’t seem to know the first thing about the stock market is a running gag used throughout the entire film.

J.C. Chandor is a first time writer director, so naturally there are points where the film falters. Kevin Spacey’s B-story involving his dying dog is a little too clear an attempt to make him seem like a sympathetic character, and Stanley Tucci’s speech about the bridge he built in the 80s goes on a lot longer than is needed; he’s good with numbers, we get it. In the very capable hands of Spacey, Tucci, and the rest of the cast though the film still stays strong through these setbacks. We spend most of our time moving from room to room, and it doesn’t exactly move at an expeditious pace, but the intelligent script makes this a gripping, grown-up movie, the kind of which we really could do with seeing more of.

Image reproduced from
Video reproduced from YouTube / trailers

Puss in Boots – Film Review

Have you ever seen a cat in boots with a hat and a rapier who is faster than any of the three musketeers? Have you ever heard a cat talking with a Spanish accent, pointing the rapier at you faster than a lighting bolt?

Puss in Boots is one of the funniest characters cinema has produced in recent years. He is witty, clever, fast and the Casanova of the 21st century – well, at least for female cats … .

Puss in Boots grew out of the Shrek character with the same name. The Shrek films were a great success and made many children and adults laugh in cinemas around the world. This film now follows this tradition as a great and funny animated film and it greatly met my expectations.

The film is about the life of Puss (Antonio Banderas), who grew up as an orphan in the Spanish city of San Ricardo. There he is raised in an orphanage by Imelda where he meets Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), a walking egg – a character taken from old English folklore. The two become good friends and found the bean club, a club dedicated to finding the magic beans.

Puss becomes a local hero when he rescues the mother of the Comandante (Guillermo del Toro). He receives the boots and the hat from the locals who celebrate him. In the meantime, Humpty becomes a criminal and the two characters grow apart. Puss is tricked by Humpty into stealing the money from the local bank and finally he becomes an outlaw due to Humpty’s treachery.

When he enters a bar years later, some drunkards tell him about the magic beans, which, despite Puss’ initial disbelief, actually exist. He embarks on a quest to steal these beans from Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Gill (Amy Sedaris), who are renowned murderers, somewhat embodying a fat version of Bonny and Clyde. Whilst trying to steal the beans he bumps into Kitty Softpaws, a cat as skilled as himself. He has a dance fight with her, which is one of the most hilarious scenes of the entire movie:

Through Kitty, he meets Humpty again and embarks with the two on a quest to retrieve the magic beans to retrieve the golden goose to pay back his dept to the citizens of San Ricardo and restore his honour.

Does he succeed to get the magic beans and how do Jack and Gill and his old bad sentiments against Humpty come into play? How does he work together with a female cat?

The film is full of little surprises. The plot is somewhat linear, but the movie is so laden with jokes that is does not matter. There is a 2D and a 3D version in the cinema, adding to the great effects modern animation technology has to offer.

This film is en experience for everyone and will make you walk out of the cinema with a big smile on your face. Of course, there are several scenes where you see Puss and his adorable sweet eye trick …


Image reproduced from and
Videos reproduced from Youtube/ UKPussinBoots

Films of 2011: Fast-Forwarding to the Good Parts

January releases like The Dilemma starring Kevin James and Vince Vaughn and No Strings Attached starring Natalie Portman and Aston Kutcher set the year 2011 off to a less than exciting start. It is no secret that the standard of quality cinema being produced by the movie giants at Hollywood has been declining for quite a while now and that the true movie fanatics out there have lost respect for mainstream cinema. Despite the terrible movies releases this year, most of which starred Ryan Reynolds, there were a few films that made the trip to the cinema worth the expense.

Tomas Alfredson’s British espionage film Tinker Tailor Solider Spy based on the John le Carré novel starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley was released in September of this year to favourable reviews and is in my opinion a must see of 2011. Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw said; “I found it more gripping and involving than any crash-bang action picture, and it is anchored by Gary Oldman’s tragic mandarin…What a treat this film is, and what an unexpected thrill.”

Woody Allen’s supernatural comedy Midnight in Paris starring the ever charming blonde haired and blue eyed Owen Wilson as a successful but unfocused screenwriter and wannabe novelist who falls in love with Paris and discovers himself in the beautiful city is arguably Allen’s best work in well over a decade. Allen who is famous for being the film maker who lost his mojo can now claim it back with Midnight in Paris which is now Allen’s most successful commercial film to date. The Huffington Post’s Rob Kirkpatrick called the feature “a surprising film that casts a spell over us and reminds us of the magical properties of cinema, and especially of Woody Allen’s cinema.”

Lars von Trier’s end-of-world drama Melancholia starring the magnificent Kirsten Dunst and the wonderfully simple Charlotte Gainsbourg as two sisters trying to cope with their impending doom is like most of von Trier’s work (with the exception Antichrist), it is art. The film explores the sci-fi genre but it is not a science-fiction movie. It is a drama perhaps even a psychological drama about life and existences. Visually, the film is exquisite and it is this particular device that fools you into watching the pain and the sorrow of the characters as they live out their last moments on earth. Not everyone is going to get the true message behind the film but it worth a watch, at least once in a lifetime. The Telegraph’s Sukhdev Sandhu said; “Melancholia, like everything von Trier does, is an event. More than that, it’s his finest film for nearly a decade. A crazily bold, visually enthralling, and emotionally seismic drama about the meaning of existence.”

Science fantasy/drama Another Earth directed by Mike Cahill who co-wrote the script with the film’s star Brit Marling is Cahill’s debut into feature film making. The respected and reputable documentary filmmaker does a commendable job in directing this film. May it not have been for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, this film may probably have had greater success but it is difficult to compete with the mind and vision of Von Trier. Despite this, this low-budget indie flick is still a good piece of cinema. The film follows Rhoda Williams (Marling) and her quest to journey to Earth 2, the newly discovered mirrored planet of our earth in the hopes that her mirrored self has made different, less destructive life choices. The film has received mixed reviews. Chris Tookey of Mail Online wrote, “This is the kind of miserabilist film that routinely wins respectful reviews because it’s so un-Hollywood.” Little White Lies’ Matt Bochenski wrote, “Another Earth is original, intelligent and eccentric – a true American indie that deserves to be admired and supported. But part of that support is respectful criticism of its shortcomings.”

Lastly, who can forget wild, gritty and electrifying Drive directed by Danish film maker, Nicolas Winding Refn based on the novel by James Sallis. The sexy talented Ryan Gosling portrays our unnamed protagonist, the driver, who lives in a low rent apartment and is a mechanic and a stunt car driver by day and a getaway driver by night. The driver is a loner by nature who lives a complexly simple life that takes a gruesome violent twist after he befriends his neighbour and love interest Irene (Carey Mulligan). Yes there are some plot holes in the striking L.A noir flick but Gosling’s facial expressions and small nuances are what carry the movie right to the very brutal end. Refn successfully uses the Japanese movie device of minimalist and artistic shots to portray every thought in the protagonist’s head. The other thing that makes this film just bloody amazing was the soothing electro-pop soundtrack which was composed by Cliff Martinez. Director Refn had been a fan of Martinez since his work on the Sex, Lies and Videotape soundtrack. The opening song Nightcall by French electric musician Kavinsky set the tone of this noir piece of cinema. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, “Damn, it’s good. You can get buzzed just from the fumes coming off this wild thing.”

Videos reproduced from YouTube

Film Review: Moneyball

Aaron Sorkin seems to have a knack for this kind of work. Take The Social Network, a film that will forever be known as the one about Facebook, even though it’s not really about Facebook, but about its socially challenged founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Now we have Moneyball, a film about baseball that isn’t really about baseball. Moneyball tells the true story of the General Manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), attempting to build a competitive team with one of the smallest budgets in the league. It seems like an insurmountable task, until Beane meets a young man called Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), who has an unconventional idea that you can build a team using statistics.

This certainly is not an easy sell – a true story where baseball and maths collide. Then again, neither was The Social Network, as anyone who saw the comments on IMDB when the film had just been announced (“are you kidding me?”, “how can this be serious?”). The premise of Moneyball though is not exactly hard to believe, it’s just difficult to see how this can go well.

First let’s consider the fact that it’s a sports film, a genre so ridden with clichés it’s hard not to fall into a trap. Some of the sports movie characteristics remain in Moneyball – the underdog hero, a situation where it looks like victory is sealed when it all falls apart, and a situation where there is no hope before a miraculous comeback. The one thing that makes this different from any other sports movie is that, well, it’s not really about sports.

This is a film about Billy Beane, a man who just can’t help being good at what he does in a field he never wanted to be a part of, and a young man who has just entered his first job attempting to take on the established order. Instead of looking for baseball players who are good at hitting the ball, throwing, running, and catching, Beane and Brand just want the players who statistically have the best chance of scoring runs. The scouts, who act as though every word they say should be gospel, stare back at Billy Beane as though he’s just tried to steal their kids.

It does all come rather unexpectedly, but this is a really superb film. There is a lot of talking, and we tend to spend most of our time moving from one office to another, but it is still surprisingly riveting. Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian make a great writing partnership, Zaillian for the most part containing Sorkin from allowing the characters to talk for long periods of time and at a brisk pace, but there is still sharp dialogue through and through. Director Bennett Miller (best known for Capote) does a good if slightly understated job, vaguely reminiscent of that from David Fincher on The Social Network.

There’s no chance of Aaron Sorkin stealing anything thunder here though. All the attention is firmly directed where it should be, and that’s at the mesmerising performance from Brad Pitt, a man who bravely stood by this film when it went through many directorial changes before production finally started. It was definitely worth it though, hanging on to a genuinely uplifting film, that is possibly one of the best sports films of recent years, and one of the highlights of 2011. If there are no Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Lead Actor, and Best Film Oscar nods in 2012, then something is clearly wrong with the system.

Image reproduced from
Video reproduced from YouTube / MoviesYahoocom

Film Review: Contagion

Recently, a film entered the main stream cinemas, which attracted large crowds of people as it covers a topic that really hits the spirit of the time. Contagion is a film about a world-wide outbreak of a disease. Being a research scientist myself, I am always very sceptical about such movies as they are often very far from the truth.

I was uncertain if the film would be a reincarnation of other films of the catastrophe genre such as Outbreak, or if it would really captivate me with some scientific accuracy.

With a star cast including Matt Daemon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law, the film is bound to attract many people to the cinema and I was scared that it would not live up to its expectations as Hollywood often sacrifices reality and superimposes its own take on things to enhance entertainment value.

But the film was bound to be somewhat special as they had scientific advisors to create a scenario as accurate and truthful as possible and present it to the public. Epidemiologists as well as cell biologists advices the producers of the film and I was thrilled to see if Hollywood could get it right this time.

The film started off well and very factual. An outbreak of a mysterious disease in Hong Kong and other places in the world quickly made it into the media. The disease had a mortality rate of over 30% and seemed to spread quickly with cohorts all over the world. The science was actually explained really well  in the film and I got ecstatic when they showed the labs in the film, which actually contained equipment that I am using in my research. That aspect was highly realistic and accurate.

Furthermore, the film explained really accurately how the disease can be transmitted and the way the disease spread and how people died in the move was also very realistic and truthful. Moreover, many of the protagonists died in the film, making it less of a happy Hollywood film.

The story had several parallel plots. There was a story of a father loosing his wife in the United States, there was the story of an officer of the World Health Organisation trying to pinpoint the outbreak of the disease, the story of government officials in the USA combating the scientist trying to find a cure and an apparently ruthless free-lance journalist representing the public media. These different aspects gave the film a good flavour of what could happen if such an outbreak occurred.

Scientists finally found a vaccination for the virus that already killed millions of people all over the world and again, the way this is explained in the film is highly realistic.

The film is a mixture of a narrative and a news report, which in my opinion gives it a very captivating flavour. It is less sensational than other movies and more factual, which I absolutely loved. People who like sensational films might get disappointed, as the truth is a little colder and has less feelings attached than the fantasy worlds some other films portrait.

The topic in this film is scary. We need not forget that large parts of the human population were killed by the plague during the medieval ages and that the last huge pandemic, the Spanish flu, was as recent as 1918. The Spanish Influenza killed an estimate of 50 million people and over 500 million people (a quarter of the world population at the time) was infected.

The plague in contrast was caused by a bacterium (Yersinia pestis), luckily it can now be treated by common antibiotics.

Against a virus we have few weapons and if we do not have vaccinations, they can very easily be deadly. Antibiotics can only be used against bacterial infections.

The debates about misusing and overusing antibiotics these days are serious and our weapons against billions of years of evolution are limited.

Maybe the film will raise some awareness in people…

Image reproduced from



Film Review: The Rum Diary

Whatever the varying opinions on Johnny Depp may be, one thing is for sure, his heart is in the right place.

After stumbling upon the manuscript for Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary in 1998, Johnny Depp convinced the author to publish it after it had been left to gather dust for over thirty years.

Depp even persuaded Thompson to sell the movie rights, and coaxed Bruce Robinson out of semi-retirement to write and direct the film. The Rum Diary is without a doubt a labour of love. Which leads us to the all important question – was it worth it? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding, sort of.

Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Rum Diary tells the story of Paul Kemp (Depp), a writer who travels to Puerto Rico to write for the local newspaper, The San Juan Star. Not long after arriving there, Kemp is immersed in the island’s alcohol drenched lifestyle, and falls in love with Chenault (Amber Heard), the fiancé of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a wealthy entrepreneur.

One thing that is made resoundingly clear from the start of The Rum Diary is that we should forget all about the lunatic Depp portrayed in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Kemp is a young, inexperienced man still in search of his “writer’s voice”, which many a young writer watching will have complete empathy for. However inevitable comparisons between The Rum Diary and Fear and Loathing could prove to be the films biggest flaw, as Fear and Loathing wins without even having to break sweat.

There are a lot of things this film gets right. Bruce Robinson’s script is sharp and very witty, and his directing style emulates that of a regular worker than that of someone who hasn’t sat in a director’s chair since 1992. Johnny Depp does do a good job in the lead role, showing us his natural flair for comic acting while not giving up on his character’s depth and heart in the process. Also keep an eye out for Giovanni Ribisi as the wacky journalist Moberg, whose show-stealing performance will evoke memories of the grotesque eccentricities in Robinson’s Withnail and I.

Apart from Kemp and Moberg however, the rest of the characters aren’t much to write home about. This is fairly egregious, especially in the case of Chenault, the woman that wins over Paul Kemp’s heart. Amber Heard does a good job with what she’s given, but considering the importance of the character in this coming-of-age story, you do expect more from her than just someone classically beautiful twirling in pretty dresses.

Overall, this is a very witty light hearted film that deserves a lot of plaudits, but the inevitable comparisons to the source material and Fear and Loathing will mean that The Rum Diary will fall short of what’s expected from the people involved. That, unfortunately, really is a crying shame.

About the Author
Eric Wood is 20 years old from Bury in Greater Manchester and is currently studying Journalism and English Literature at Salford University. Eric is in the process of writing and directing his first short film entitled How Are You Sleeping. He absolutely adores all forms of writing. His biggest role model for many years has been Michael Crichton, as Crichton wrote novels, non-fiction, screenplays and directed movies. Eric says he would love to be able to achieve all of these things in his lifetime.

Image reproduced from
Video reproduced from YouTube / TheRumDiaryFilm

The Rise of Whitney Houston

Editor’s Note:  On February 11, 2012 – after the following article was published – Whitney Houston was found dead in a suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, submerged in the bathtub. The cause of death was not immediately known. City Connect offers our deepest sympathy to Whitney Houston’s family and fans.

Whitney Houston, the songstress, actress, and often times “in your face” diva’s return to the fold of celebrity spotlight could be classified as a Phoenix rising of sorts. Not that Ms. Whitney Houston is being compared to a mystical creature, but, more like a fierce warrior woman with an agenda – to show the world that she IS a survivor!

Recently, I caught a 2 part interview of the embattled star as she began making her comeback to acting after a 15 year absence. Whitney Houston appeared strong, determined and happy while speaking exclusively to Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson in Detroit where her new movie Sparkle was filming.

Looking relaxed and personable in sedate clothing and wearing a bright smile, Whitney Houston offered insights on Sparkle, the movie, and on why she’s back since her fall from grace under a media microscope and public opinion. She touched briefly on her looks, stating how she had matured and ”I’m older now.“

When asked why she’d taken the role of mother to Jordin Sparks playing daughter in the movie, made famous in 1976 by Irene Cara, Whitney Houston says “I felt it. I felt a passion for the role… the love a single woman have for her children in the late sixties.” Although Whitney Houston admitted being apprehensive doing the remake, she thought it was fun and that everyone was going to love the film.

Whitney Houston admits she didn’t watch American Idol when Jordin Sparks was a contestant who ultimately became season 6 American Idol winner. She admits to giving the new actress hugs because she knows how it feels to be in Jordin’s shoes, stating she was “petrified” filming The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner.

More talking points:

On her daughter: She’s my greatest inspiration. Whitney credits her role as mom to 18 year old Bobbi Christina in helping to prepare her for the movie.

On her fans: I’m honoured and humbled that I’m still doing what I love to do.

On the remake of the movie, Waiting To Exhale: Based on the bestselling novel by Terry Mcmillan and starring Whitney Houston, Angela Basset, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon. Whitney calls the women, her 3 ladies and says “I’m not going to say no.” ”Savannah has to be, she has to come back.”

As a little girl whose mom sings backup for Elvis Presley and Whitney gets to meet him: “ He comes in wearing his dark glasses and mink coat. You didn’t really meet Elvis. You just sit back and just look… Amazing.”

The interview on Access Hollywood with Whitney Houston reveals a bit of what’s going on with her, but, oddly enough, Whitney didn’t say when she’s going back into the studio to record another awesome album. Whitney Houston sings… Wow, another chapter in the life of a talented Phoenix.

Sadly, it was the late singer, Aaliyah who was first cast in the role made famous by Irene Cara.

Image reproduced from

Film Review: In Time

Imagine a world where time is money.  Imagine a world where you stop aging at 25, but you’re only engineered to live for one more year.  Imagine a world where the rich live forever, and the poor drop dead with no warning.

This is the world created by director Andrew Niccol in his latest action thriller In Time.  With Justin Timberlake as the male lead, and Amanda Seyfried as his busty, pouty hostage/love interest/partner in crime, this film could easily have gone down a rocky route of bad one-liners and over-played ‘intense’ emotions.  However, it is becoming increasingly clear that JT has successfully made the transition from musician to actor – a transition that has not always gone well for singers in the past (Christina and Britney, need I say more?).  Timberlake is credible as a lower-class factory worker who suddenly comes into a lot of time, that is, money, that is, time.  His quest to use this time for good takes us into what is essentially a class war, and JT turns out to be some kind of futuristic Robin Hood.  There is a scene where he suddenly busts out some Bond-style action moves, which leaves you wondering where he learnt how to take out three or four men in black in ten seconds flat, but the rest of his performance is believable and enjoyable.  The chemistry between Timberlake and Seyfried isn’t as good as that between JT and Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits, but then again this is not a film centred on a sexual relationship.

Visually, In Time is incredibly stylish.  Instead of creating a space-age world of chrome and LEDs, Niccol has made a world that looks like a slick seventies photo shoot.  The cars are old-school, but have electric motors.  Everyone wears shades of grey and black: suits for the rich, tattered overalls and ripped tights for the poor.  Niccol has essentially continued with the theme used for his 1997 film Gattaca – elegant, pared down, modern yet recognisable, both In Time and Gattaca are set in worlds that the audience can relate to and understand.  Add the fact that nearly all of the cast are young and attractive, and you’ve got yourself one good-looking film.

If I were to criticise In Time on one thing, it would be the pace of the film.  The action jerks between fast-moving car chases, fights and getaways, and rather stilted scenes of dialogue and facial expressions.  I found myself growing bored, and I think this is due to the film trying to be both an action/thriller and a thought-provoking intelligent interpretation of what our future might be like.

Personally, I thought the concept of In Time was brilliant and original.  How refreshing to watch a film set in the future where there are no robots or aliens, and where there is no second planet because Earth has been destroyed.  The idea of time as money is one that is simple and yet opens up a vast range of complexities.  Do you really want to live forever?  For those who live day-to-day, how are you meant to travel anywhere?  And then there were all of the little nuances created by this time-sensitive world.  Phrases like ‘got a minute?’ take on a completely different meaning.  I particularly liked how one distinguishes between the rich and the poor: the poor run everywhere, whilst the rich amble along with, quite literally, all the time in the world.

Overall, I would highly recommend In Time.  Yes, it has its moments of rather stagnant play, but if you want to see a film that might make you think about how you use the time you have in a completely different way, then this is the film for you.

Film Review – The Three Musketeers

From time to time I like to go to the cinema and watch a movie for its effects or because I have seen a trailer that is particularly exciting. The trailer of the Three Musketeers amused me, and some of the scenes and effects looked promising. Thus, I decided to see the film one evening to see whether the funny trailer would keep up with its promises.

The movie could be put into the same genre as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and with that opinion and expectation I went to see it.

The cast looked promising. Orlando Bloom, Logan Lerman (as Percy in the Lightning Thief), Milla Jovovich (known from the Reident Evil films) and Matthew Macfadyen (known from the last Robin Hood movie) seemed to attract quite a lot of people to the cinema. With that spirit I sat through the adverts with anticipation.

The plot was relatively simple. The Three Musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis with the help of Athos’ lover, Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), steal some blueprints of an airship blueprints made by Leonardo Da Vinci. Arthos’ lover however betrays the three Musketeers and is in fact a double agent, giving the plans of the airship to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Cardinal Richelieu, who really holds the power in France, disbands the musketeers and the three heroes end up drinking their way to bliss.

As it turns out, the Cardinal has plans to overthrow the king of France and risks putting the entire continent at the brink of war. The double agent Milady de Winter plays an central role liaising with the Cardinal as well as with Buckingham in England at the same time.

In the meantime the young D’Artagnan makes his way to Paris to become a musketeer. He soon meets the three musketeers in a battle and at the same falls in love with one of the maids of the queen. The maid discovers an evil plot by the cardinal to overthrow the king and begs the musketeers and  D’Artagnan for help. In the meantime, Buckingham builds powerful airships threatening the entirety of Europe.

Do the musketeers succeed in thwarting the cardinal’s plot or is Europe going to fall into the hands of a tyrant? This is for you to find out when you see the film in the cinema….

The film is full of action scenes and special effects. Some of them are funny, some of them impressive, but at most times they are completely ridiculous. The film itself has not much in common with Alexandre Dumas’ novel, apart from the title maybe. Although I did not go to watch this film to get an education in European history, I found the story a little too far-fetched and too removed from the truth. Also, despite the fact that it was more of a steam-punk movie, the historic inaccuracy was so horrendous that I was scared that the film could cause some serious damage in the education of some younger people. Also, the film portrayed a completely wrong picture of 17th century Europe and technological inaccuracies which were ludicrous.

Nevertheless, some of the effects make this film worthwhile watching, just for the entertainment value.

It is one of those films one can watch to have a laugh and relax, without much of a message.

Image reproduced from and

Film Preview – Dream House

A film with a star cast such as Dream House easily catches the eye of many. Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, all very well known and good actors, seemed to promise a thriller that one might remember for a long time.

I went to see the film with high expectations and the trailer also looked very exciting. With a budget of over $50 million dollars, the film also promised to be quite a treat.

The film starts with the main character, Will Atenten (Daniel Craig), quitting his job as an editor. He chooses to live outside the city with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and his two daughters. However, what seems to be a nice country home and idyll turns out to be a house with a rather gory history. Will and Libby find out that an entire family was murdered in the house a few years ago and also the neighbours behave rather strangely. Alarmed by all of this, Will decides to investigate about the house with the local police only finding that they are of little help. Finally, he visits a mental institution to find out more about the murderer, Peter Ward, who is kept in confinement there.

As it turns out, in a rather predictive manner, Will is actually Peter Ward and he allegedly killed his own family in their house 5 years ago. Libby and his kids are indeed only a fragment of his imagination and during his stay at the mental institution he gave himself another name and was released, as there was not enough evidence to press charges.

Returning home he struggles to accept that his wife is dead and still sees her and her kids in front of him as being alive. He slowly realises that he lives in a dream world and his neighbour Ann (Naomi Watts) helps him understand his past and who he really is.

Will, aka Peter, now tries to find out who killed his family, even if it was himself. Finally the mystery is resolved and you should go and watch the movie to find out…

The plot is disappointingly predictable and the film is also not really scary or intimidating, as would be expected by a thriller. The ending is particularly weak.

Rachel Weisz is playing a great role, but both Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts fall a bit too short in their performance in my opinion.

However, the film very well portrays how every one of us creates their own world inside his/ her head. The philosophical question arises whether such a thing as an objective reality actually exits. Do we all live in a bubble comparable to that of Peter Ward? Maybe not to such an extreme, but it is scary how each one of us creates our own reality.

I really enjoyed the movie from that philosophical perspective and the idea of the film was great. However, it does fall short behind other films of this genre such as Shutter Island or Inception. Way too short also considering the cast.

Image reproduced from and

Film Review: The Help

There is a tendency for the film versions of popular and successful books to be disappointing.  The Harry Potter series, The Time Traveller’s Wife and One Day all come to mind.  I was therefore slightly sceptical before going to see The Help, the film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s number one bestseller.  After all, how was a book that deals so sensitively with the lives and emotions of both black and white women in 1960s Mississippi going to translate effectively onto the screen?  The trailers didn’t fill me with much hope: chick flick-esque music and a series of shots that showed little of the book’s intelligence.  So it’s fair to say that I sat down in the cinema with a certain amount of trepidation.

But, to my surprise and relief, The Help had nothing of the schmaltzy Hollywood vibe that had been advertised.  Most of this was due to impeccable casting: Emma Stone as Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, the idealistic journalist who decides to write a book about the stories of the African American maids; Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark, a maid who has raised the children of rich white families all her life, and is the first to help Skeeter with her book; and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson, Aibileen’s best friend and also a maid, complete with a dynamite temper and a wit so quick it leaves you reeling.  Indeed, one of the main praises of this film has been its use of little-known actresses to play some of the main characters.  Spencer’s eyes are the most expressive I have ever seen, and the inner turmoil she experiences in the book when confronted with an employer who has no concept of racial divides are portrayed beautifully in the film.  Viola Davis’s Aibileen is the calm to Minny Jackson’s storm, and Davis’s interpretation of her character’s grief, loyalty, integrity and bravery makes for a magnificent performance.

Also worthy of mention are Bryce Dallas-Howard and Jessica Chastain, the former playing Hilly Holbrook (the film’s ‘villain’ with extreme racial prejudices and ignorance) and the latter playing Celia Foote (Minny’s boozy and breasty employer who is the only character apart from Skeeter to treat the maids as anything other than lower beings).  Dallas-Howard plays her detestable character to perfection, right down to the smug smile that is never far away from her lips, and Chastain is endearing as a 1960s Barbie from the wrong side of the tracks.

The Help is not all serious racial tension: there are some brilliantly comedic moments that lighten what could otherwise turn into a rather sombre film.  The scene where Minny reveals the secret ingredient to the pie that her former employer just ate (I won’t give it away) is one that had the whole audience in fits of laughter, especially as it was a reference point for the remainder of the film.  Then there are the moments between Skeeter and her mother that any daughter can relate to: hiding in a cupboard to make a secret phone call, having your mother force you into something pretty to wear for a ‘suitable’ young man…

Speaking of men, how refreshing to watch a film where the men play almost no role at all.  There is a small love interest for Skeeter, but apart from that The Help is about women and women only.  Even the men in the film seem to realise this: when one maid begins to ask her employer about a loan, the husband scarpers in double-quick time.  This is a story that focuses on the 1960s woman’s world of the home and the family, and everything that comes under that label.

So, did the film live up to the book?  In my opinion, an unequivocal yes.  It did not make light of the poor treatment of the maids, nor did it shy away from showing some of the more racist behaviour of the employers.  This is not a happy-ever-after film, as not all of the story lines turn out the way you hope they might.  But it does leave you with the sense that some people got their just desserts, either literally or metaphorically.

Overall: 8/10

Film Preview – Another Earth

Recently, a film premiered in the United States with a rather obscure title: Another Earth. Intrigued by this name, I decided to look into this film and find out what it was all about.

Mike Cahill and Brit Marling wrote the film. Brit also played the main character, Rhoda Williams. The film only had a budget of $200,000 and that combined with the weird title made me walk into the cinema rather skeptical.

Rhoda Williams, a very high-flying high school student interested in astronomy, drives home intoxicated and causes a car accident killing the wife and child of John Burroughs, a famous composer and university professor. Just before the accident she hears on the news that another planet is approaching earth.

After four years in prison she is released as she was under age when the accident happened. She is full of remorse and guilt for what she has done and finally comes to John Burrough’s house to apologise after working in a high school as a cleaner for a couple of months. He never found out who killed his family as he let his brother deal with all the judiciary details after coming out of a coma after the accident.

The other planet is now high up on the sky and mirrors the earth in every detail. However, when Rhoda arrives at John’s house, instead of apologising, she looses her nerves and pretends to be a cleaner visiting from another village offering a free trial cleaning session. Over the next few weeks she becomes John Burrow’s cleaner and helps him turn his life around again, as he had fallen into an emotional and physical abyss after the incident four years ago. In the meantime Rhoda, with her passion for astronomy, participates in an assay competition to fly to the other earth in a civilian spacecraft. It is now clear that the other planet is indeed a complete mirror image of ours and it becomes clear that every person has another self on this other planet.

Finally Rhoda tells John who she really is. I do not want to spoil it for you, so you better go and watch the ending yourself …

This film very positively surprised me. The acting is good and the story as well as the characters really evoked emotions in me. The story is captivating and the film opens a bunch of philosophical questions:

“Who are we really?”

“What would I look like if I saw myself from the outside?”

“Would I like me the way I am if I see myself as another person sees me?”

“What would you do in life if you had a second chance?”

Another interesting notion with me was the following: Kopernikus discovered that the earth evolves around the sun and thus we do not think we are the centre of the universe anymore. But do we really? In the film they call the other planet Earth 2 and  in the film the question is asked: Do you really think on this other planet the call themselves Earth 2 and us Earth 1? No, they will call themselves Earth 1 and us Earth 2. Have we really lost our belief that we indeed ARE the centre of the universe?

The film puts all these questions in a beautiful science fantasy narrative. It is a great example of how a film does not have to have huge budgets to be portray a message and captivate the audience.

I can only recommend going and seeing it.

Image reproduced from and

Jane Eyre Deserves Respect

City Connect has caught up with resident film critic Louis Maurati to give you a sneak preview of Jane Eyre which is released in the UK on Friday 9 September 2011. We have included the official trailer to whet your appetite and look forward to your comments once you have seen the film.

In the meantime, Louis’ comments are as follows:-

The 19th big screen adaptation of Jane Eyre is anything but first rate. The film is an amazing achievement for Director Cary Fukunaga’s, especially considering this is only her second feature film following Sin Nombre, a 2009 drama about illegal Mexican immigrants seeking entry to the U.S.

The two main protagonists have been given small but significant personality makeovers from the critically acclaimed novel: Jane is less pious and Rochester is less verbose. Mia Wasikowska, the Australian actress who recently portrayed Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, takes on her most challenging role as Jane. Mia’s performance as the young heroine both shakes and stirs. The chemistry between Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, who portrays Jane’s mysterious swain Edward Rochester, is superb. Fassbender’s portrayal of Rochester, a figure who is both menacing and vulnerable, is spot on. Despite the many years between the two costars, the emotional connection shines through the screen.

The film is a darker adaptation than many of the films that come before, being more true to the classic novel. With the help of some gorgeous cinematography by Adriano Goldman, who fills each frame in a canvas of blue, black, grey and brown, the audience is literally visually engulfed by Jane’s inner torture and isolation. The film begins with a young orphan Jane (Amelia Clarkson), first living with her cruel aunt Mrs. Reed (Sally Hawkins) and quickly being sent off to a scornful girls boarding school. Jane’s relocation to Thornfield Hall, where she secures employment as a governess under Mrs. Fairfax’s steady gaze, brings her into the warmer company of Rochester, the estate’s capricious owner. By the time Jane arrives at the Thornfield estate to work as a governess under Mr. Rochester, love of any kind has eluded Jane for so long that she has learned to live without it. Soon enough, however, her growing curiosity about Mr. Rochester and the special bond that manifests between them arise something within her, human connection and affection, that frightens her very being. Jane’s words “I must respect myself” reverberate over and over and it is this very sound belief that sticks with her on her journey and with the audience.

This film is a must see for anyone who appreciates the novel or who loves a melodramatic English love story. Unfortunately, being released so early in the year, it will likely be forgotten at award season. On the up side, it may live on as one the best renditions of Jane Eyre ever made.

Image courtesy of

Video reproduced from ClevverMovies / YouTube

Incendies Fires Up an Uncomfortable Storm

Our City Connect film critic, Louis Maurati, has previewed Incendies which comes out in the UK on 24 June 2011. He gives us a taster of the film without giving too much away and also addresses its accolades which, after hearing him talk about the film, it truly deserves.

Incendies, a French Canadian film, struck a strong chord with the American Oscar Awards Academy when it was officially nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. The film didn’t end taking home the prize, but it did rack up eight awards at Canada’s Genie Film awards, including Best Picture and has garnered international acclaim.

Denis Villeneuve, the film’s director, is known for taking risks with his filmmaking. His last film, Polytechnique, told the very controversial story of the true events of the Montreal Massacre in 1989. This time around, with Incendies, Villeneuve adapts a story from stage to film. The stage play was Wajdi Mouawad’s epic 2003 play.

The film is centred around Montreal Arab-Canadian twins who have learned through their mother’s will that their father is still alive and that they have a brother that they never knew existed. The mother leaves them with clues as to how to locate both, but they must travel to their mother’s homeland, only to learn about their mother’s darkest secrets. The performances are magnificent and the story’s timing between past and present is spot on. The cinematography is also quite beautiful.

Like many films that garnered critical acclaim in 2010, this film is far from uplifting and fluffy. Instead, it is emotionally charged and uncomfortable to watch at times, but you will not soon forget it.

Image reproduced from
Video reproduced from YouTube / eOnefilms

Water For Elephants Runs Dry

City Connect: “Our resident film critic, Louis Maurati, reviews Water for Elephants for City Connect with current beau of the moment Robert Pattinson and his leading lady Reese Witherspoon – will their on-screen chemistry beat Bella & Edward’s? Although this film was released in late April, it is still catching audiences eyes and continuing to be shown in cinemas across the UK including Empire Leicester Square, The Apollo Piccadilly, select Odeon cinemas and some Arts Picturehouses. This film is not due for release on DVD until late September, so we therefore urge you to catch it now on the big screen while you still can. To whet your appetite, please read our resident film critic’s review below and/or watch the trailer.”

Director Francis Lawrence has some achievements and also some flaws in this film. The age of the Great Depression is accurately and quickly presented to the audience, although some of the characters may look a bit too lavish to be living on a circus train. The best performances come not from the stars, but the supporting players in the film. Robert Pattinson plays the film’s lead role, Jacob, quite accurately, but there is a lack of credibility at time with his character. Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal as Marlena, Jacob’s love interest, may be the biggest disappointment of the film. Her performance is flat, unbelievable, and there is all but no chemistry between the two actors on screen. Credit, however, must be given to Christoph Waltz, portraying Marlena’s husband August. August is the owner, ringleader, and most feared man in the circus troupe. Waltz puts together the perfect combination of psychotic jealousy, snake charm, and desperation to pull off the role quite remarkably.

The film, Water for Elephants, is based on the highly acclaimed novel by Sara Gruen. The screenplay, written by Richard LaGravenese, sees changes in some of the key characters and plotline – the story is portrayed as an extended flashback inside a present day frame. The flashback takes the audience back to 1931, where Jacob, played by Robert Pattinson, is a veterinary student at Cornell University when his parents tragically die in a car accident and leave him suddenly homeless, orphaned and broke. On a whim, he decides to leave his whole life behind him, including the last semester of his schooling, and hitches a ride on a train out of town. Little does he know that the ride that he has hitched is far from ordinary – he has accidently run away with the circus, the Benzini Brothers Circus. The story quickly takes off and soon Jacob finds himself working as the Circus’ Vetrinarian. He develops a close and unusual relationship to the circus’ owner and wife, August and Marlena and soons finds himself lusting Marlena.

Images reproduced from, and
Video reproduced from YouTube / clevverTV

Film Review: Love and Other Drugs

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams reviews “Love And Other Drugs”. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website

Love and Other Drugs came out on DVD today and, although had mixed reviews in the cinema, is what I would call a beautiful adult romance. Adorning our DVD shelves at the moment, love stories tend to be targeted at the teenage demographic so it was a pleasant surprise to find a story written in such an honest raw way depicting a complicated relationship where love is not always enough.

Released in late 2010, Love and Other Drugs has an amazing cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Jamie Randall, a womanising yet lovable rogue who works as a drug rep spreading his business and his person amongst hospitals over the country. His leading lady Anne Hathaway plays Maggie Murdock - a charming whimsical free spirit who sees right through Jamie. At the young age of 26, for reasons that will become evident throughout the film, she has dissociated herself from meaningful relationships and it is this very action that draws Jamie in to get beyond Maggie’s boundaries. This proves harder for Jamie than his normal conquests and leads to an interesting and moving drama.

Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway perform well in Love and Other Drugs, repeating the successful performances of their past movie roles by providing strong acting and believeable characters which nicely complement the intriguing yet moving story. This was reflected in Golden Globe Award nominations in January 2011 for Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway as Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. In terms of the supporting cast, Gyllenhall and Hathaway are accompanied by Hank Azaria, who plays Maggie’s doctor; Oliver Platt, who plays Jamie’s business partner; and the likes of Josh Gad, Gabriel Macht and Judy Greer.

The screenplay was based on the non-fiction book “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” by Jamie Reidy. There is an attempt at a statement about the ethics of the pharmaceutical industry and it’s influence on doctors and patients alike and given that the movie is set between the years 1996 and 1999 (when Pfizer released Viagra) I can see why they attempted this approach. In my opinion, the greater aspect of the movie is the human interaction between Jamie and Maggie and the tonal shifts between happiness, tension, closeness, comedy, insight and confusion are all displayed expertly and never seem awkward.

The director and co-writer of this movie - Edward Zwick - is better known for his television work. He was involved behind both thirtySomething and Once and Again – both of which I personally enjoyed. His move to the big screen has paid off as he has brought the more adult relationship drama mixed with comedy to a wider audience.

All in all I would give this film four stars and for me Gyllenhaal and Hathaway had a good balance of flirtation, chemistry and passion to believe that they were a well-suited couple. It is the second time this pair has been brought together since Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and hopefully their performances, which show the breadth and depth of their abilities, will enable them to seek even great heights and adorn our screens again in even more moving dramas and/or romantic comedies.

Love and Other Drugs is out on DVD on Monday 23 May. For those of you who didn’t think it was worth seeing at the cinema I do urge you to rent it as it brings forth a lot of questions about how some things are worth fighting for and circumstances should not deter the passionate – be it about love or life in general.

Image reproduced from 20th Century Fox
Video reproduced from YouTube / TheTubeTrailers

Source Code’s 8 Minutes Won’t Last Too Long

In 2009, British filmmaker Duncan Jones burst onto the scene with his highly acclaimed sci-fi drama Moon. His current film, Source Code, is another sci-fi thriller. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Captain Stevens, an Afghan helicopter pilot who inexplicably wakes up on a combat mission in the body of another man on a commuter train heading to Chicago.

Soon enough, he discovers that he is part of a government experiment known as Source Code, that allows someone to cross over to a dead person’s body to relive the last 8 minutes of their life – the exact amount of short term memory still intact when a person first dies. The commuter train explodes at the end of the 8 minutes and the mission involves finding out who planted the bomb and who is responsible. Consequently, Captain Stevens is sent back into the 8-minute memory sequence until all the mysteries are unravelled. Each jump to the train allows Stevens to take a slightly different approach to the mission – creating moments of subtle humour, tense drama, and surprisingly believable sympathy.

The film’s lead, Jake Gyllenhaal, gives an adequate performance as Captain Stevens and shares a fresh, comedic chemistry with his female commuter train counterpart, Michelle Monaghan. Gyllenhaal portrays his character’s confusion, mission, and personal story effectively. That said, for a character that’s written as a master of details (and memory) – the script fails Stevens by routinely showing the Captain’s difficulty at understanding the most basic elements of the Source Code premise.

Despite an over-complicated premise, Source Code succeeds at being an above average sci-fi thriller. The audience will definitely enjoy the film with it’s fast moving story beats, but the film falls short of being as smart as it aims to be and the ending may leave the audience a bit disappointed with the director’s approach. Overall, the film is thoroughly entertaining and just the right length, but the film is a better candidate for a rainy night of DVD watching than a trip to the cinema.

Image courtesy of
Video reproduced from YouTube / MovieManiacsDE

Insidious Creeps from Somewhere Unfamiliar

Director James Wan makes a nice contribution to the haunted house genre (or what appears to be the haunted house genre – you’ll have to see the film to fully understand). In recent years, he has become a polarizing figure amongst horror geeks. He co-wrote and directed the first Saw film, a low budget, immensely successful independent horror flick, and has made two mediocre follow-ups in Death Sentence and Dead Silent.  With Insidious, though, Wan seems to have gotten his groove back.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2010 in the festival’s Midnight Madness series. Being one of the lowest budget films that Wan has worked on hasn’t stopped this film from getting some great critic reviews or from being picked up by Sony Pictures.

Insidious is a film that will crawl right under your skin. It has the perfect recipe for what horror movie junkies are looking for today – unpredictable frightening moments, a unique plot, and a new insight to the concept of a parallel ghost realm. The fact that Insidious is able to accomplish all this without spilling a single drop of blood is even more impressive.

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play the married couple in the film and both give good performances, along with Barbara Hershey who is now becoming a household name in the scary movie genre after this film and the widely successful Black Swan of 2010. If this film could speak a single phrase, it would blurt out something like “Hold the blood and guts, let’s get straight to the haunting”.

Image adapted from:

Film Review: Red Riding Hood

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about “Red Riding Hood” and the story’s metaphors. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website

A cross between ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Twilight’,  this version of Red Riding Hood delivers on the sweet romance front however rests on the precipice of veering into dark unsettling terrority never quite taking the leap needed to scare the audience.

Amanda Seyfried plays the lead protagonist Valerie, a beautiful charming vibrant young woman torn between two men. She is bequeathed to a wealthy gentleman by the name of Henry but is in love with Peter, as a mysterious brooding outsider, portrayed Shiloh Fernandez.

Valerie and Peter brought together by a love so strong are planning to run away together to avoid Valerie marrying Henry. They then learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by a monster that prowls the dark forest that surrounds the village. Just like in the film ‘The Village’, until now there has been a truce with the beast where so long as the inhabitants bring the creature a monthly sacrifice they will come to no harm, but unlike ‘The Village’ this beast is real and that to a werewolf. It appears the blood red moon has become too much for the wolf who has now taken a human life and that obviously breaks the truce.

Enter Gary Oldman, as Father Solomon, whom the people of the village call upon to kill the werewolf in an act of revenge. The twist although not unexpected is that Father Solomon explains to the village that the wolf can actually take human form and can be any one of them. The death count continues to increase with each new moon and Valerie begins to suspect that the wolf may be closer than she thinks. Once Valerie’s suspicions are aroused she becomes both the suspect and the next potential victim.

I must say as an original fan of the 1984 film ‘The Company of Wolves’ I was prepared to be disappointed by yet another remake of Red Riding Hood. There is definitely visual appeal far greater than anything achievable in 1984 without the use of CGI, however the dialogue seems somewhat lacking. Perhaps the market is quite like Twilight and aiming for the teenage female audience, however if you look deeper into the underlying psychological issues such as repression, desire, revenge and longing, this may just have the makings of a psycho–thriller. Unfortunately for some this is a PG13 film in the States and has a similar classification here, therefore there is an absence of blood and gore which does leave it somewhat lacking for the Saw genre fans requiring a good dose of true horror.

Red Riding Hood does have it good points, it has at least stayed grounded in the medieval style fantasy of allowing the viewer to escape to a place where werewolves and witches exist and the church is a higher power setting rules by which to live by. It is easy to fall in love with Seyfried’s character Valerie no doubt she will be universally loved, she is virtuous, she is tempted, she is trusting and she has good intentions but like the majority of us she leaves herself open to the pitfalls of love, life and seduction. Artistically Valerie’s fondness for wearing a vibrant red cloak is stunning in look and clever in its underlying meaning of sexual awakening.

The film also attempts to retain some of the framework of the children’s story, albeit with artistic variation. Fairy tales are often used to speak to both our conscious and unconscious, therefore do not need to avoid contradictions because these can easily exist in our subconscious. This does not translate into film as well in this instance. The original fairytale speaks of human passions, oral greediness, aggressive behaviour and sexual desires. In the original there is no conspiracy of adults, the heroine is forced to mend her ways via her own conscious and not the way society demands. With the presence of Father Solomon, Gary Oldman’s character inhabits a moral grey area but the script does not delve quite how I would like it to on the complexity of his motivations

The original also know as Little Red Cap concentrates on the child-like view about whether to live by the pleasure principle or in the real world. It deals very well with situations where we are at a cross roads and we make the wrong choice. What is interesting in both this film and the original fairytale, is that the wolf at all times has the ability to eat both Little Red Cap and Valerie yet chooses not to do so at the beginning of the story. Cynics may say that this is because Valerie cannot be eaten in the first 20mins of the film but psychologists may look at this as the fact the grandmother must be eaten before Little Red Cap in a bid for the transformation into adulthood. Perhaps the film is trying to portray the wolf’s selfish, violent and potentially destructive tendencies as representative of the id, in contrast to the unselfish, thoughtful attributes of the ego who may or may not be a character who will save Valerie.

Hardwicke as a director is remarkable in playing the red herring game and although I did guess the werewolf, I hear that many did not. To me the disappointment of the film was the lack of romantic chemistry, however the highlight was indeed the mastery displayed when it comes to creating atmosphere.  I really did get a sense of the isolation in the village and the power wielded by Father Solomon and appreciated the lack of blood and gore although I do realise not all will take this view. It is a beautiful motion picture potentially appealable to the Twilight crowd but also reaching a further audience. Well worth a view, but I would only rate it 3 stars out of 5.

Image reproduced from

Trailer reproduced from ClevverTV/Warner Bros Pictures

Film Review: Life As We Know It

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about the film “Life As We Know It”. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s Life Coaching website

This is a funny but thought-provoking take on the real responsibilities of godparents with a pinch or romance intertwined. Katherine Heigl plays the uptight, ambitious, best friend of the mother while Josh Duhamel plays the seemingly rugged, commitment-phobic ladies man and best friend of the father. As fate would have it the parents die in a car crash and the godparents played by Kate and Josh (who happen to despise each other) are left to pick up the pieces. Predictable but with observational moments that make you laugh. There is not quite the poignant moment of Jerry McGuire fame to evoke the same emotion of the ‘You complete me’ scene but there are definitely touching moments.

For me the way the actors dealt with the realisation that their best friends were no longer around and the enormity of the fact that they are now responsible for a life other than their own was well done. The difference in character types to such a situation acted well and a movie that can if you watch it with an open mind remind you to look for the good in everyone no matter how differently they react to situations, process information and/or deal with death of a loved one.

The release is scheduled for April 15 in the States and the film will come out in the U.K. shortly thereafter.

Movie courtesy of Hollywood Streams

Personally I am glad I waited for this movie to come to DVD rather than watch it in the cinema but I would recommend it for when the DVD player has forcefully ejected Bridget Jones on repeat for the 100th time and you still have a pot of Haagen Daaz in the freezer that needs to be consumed before the new week begins.