REVIEW: STRANGER THAN FICTION

CAST

Will Ferrell (Elf)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Queen Latifah (Taxi)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Tom Hulce (Parenthood)
Linda Hunt (Pret-a-Porter)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)

Harold Crick, an agent for the Internal Revenue Service, lives his life by his wristwatch. He is assigned to audit an intentionally tax-delinquent baker, Ana Pascal, to whom he is attracted. On the same day, he begins hearing the voice of a woman omnisciently narrating his life but is unable to communicate with it. Harold’s watch stops working and he resets it using the time given by a bystander; the voice narrates, “little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death”. Worried by this prediction, Harold consults a psychiatrist who attributes the voice to schizophrenia, though they consider that if there really is a narrator, he should visit an expert in literature. Crick visits Jules Hilbert, a literature professor, and relates his story. When Jules recognizes aspects of a literary work in Harold’s story, he encourages Harold to identify the author, first by determining if the work is a comedy or tragedy.As Harold audits Ana, the two fall for each other, but when Harold refuses to accept cookies that Ana made for him because they could be viewed as a bribe, Ana tells him to leave, making Harold believe the story is a tragedy. On the advice of Jules, Harold spends the next day at home trying to control his destiny by doing nothing, but his apartment is partially demolished by a wrecking crew that mistook the building for an abandoned one. Jules believes that since Harold cannot control the plot, he should accept his impending death and enjoy whatever time he has left. Harold takes a vacation from work, develops his friendship with his co-worker Dave, fulfills his dream of learning to play the guitar, and dates Ana. Harold reassesses his story as a comedy. When he returns to Jules with this revelation, Harold inadvertently identifies the voice in his head from a television interview as author Karen Eiffel. Jules, an admirer of Karen’s work, reveals that all of her books feature the main character’s tragic death.Karen struggles from writer’s block and researches ways to kill the character Harold to complete her next book. Her publisher sends an assistant, Penny Escher, to ensure the book is completed. Harold finds Karen through her tax records. When Karen learns that Harold experiences everything she writes, she is horrified by the thought that her books may have killed real people. She tells Harold she wrote a draft of his death, but has not typed it up yet; the events in the book manifest when she strikes the period key. Penny suggests Harold read the drafted ending to get his opinion. Harold cannot bring himself to read it and gives the manuscript to Jules to review. Jules confirms its excellence, labeling it as Karen’s masterpiece; Harold’s death is integral to its genius. Though Harold is distressed over his fate, Jules comforts him by stating the inevitability of death: this one death, at least, will have a deeper meaning. Harold reads the manuscript, then returns it to Karen, telling her the death she has written for him is “beautiful” and she should keep it intact. He spends one last night with Ana.The next day, Harold prepares to return to work, despite Karen’s voice narrating as she types up her ending. Because Harold’s watch is three minutes fast owing to the imprecise time given to him days ago, he reaches the bus stop early and watches as a young boy falls in front of the oncoming bus. Karen continues writing; Harold leaps from the curb and pushes the child out of the way, but is struck by the bus. Karen cannot complete the sentence confirming Harold’s death, and Harold wakes up in a hospital, injured but alive. He learns that fragments of his wristwatch blocked the right ulnar artery in his body after the collision, saving his life. When Jules reads Karen’s final manuscript, he notes that the story is weaker without Harold’s death. Karen admits the flaw, but points out that the story was meant to be about a man that dies unexpectedly; with Harold sacrificing himself, the story would have lost its tragic impact. In place of Harold, his wristwatch—anthropomorphized throughout the film—is the character who died tragically.stranger2Stranger than Fiction, works. Like a good novel, Forster has fashioned something that is strange, stylistic, and unexpectedly inspiring. And, despite the chinks in its existentialist armor, that’s surely something worth writing home about.

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REVIEW: MEN IN BLACK 3

 

CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Hugo)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Nicole Scherzinger (Dirty Dancing 2017)
Michael Chernus (Captain Phillips)
David Rasche (Ugly Betty)
Keone Young (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Lenny Venito  (The Neighbors)
Justin Bieber (Zoolander 2)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)

In 2012, an alien criminal, Boris the Animal, a Boglodite, escapes from a maximum-security prison on the moon and arrives on Earth, bent on taking revenge on Agent K, who shot off his left arm and captured him in 1969. He confronts K, who is with his partner Agent J, telling him he is “already dead”. J then discovers that K was responsible not only for capturing Boris, but for deploying the “ArcNet”, a shield that prevented the Boglodites from conquering Earth and caused their extinction.Boris travels back in time to kill the young Agent K. With history altered so that K is long-dead, J finds that only his memory has been unaffected, and no one from the Agency understands his obsession with K until Agent O, the new Chief, deduces that there has been a fracture in the space-time continuum. With K out of the picture, the ArcNet was never deployed, and there is nothing to protect the present-day Earth from the Boglodite invasion, so J must travel back in time to stop Boris and save K. Back in 1969, he travels to Coney Island, knowing from the Agency’s records that, in 1969, Boris will commit a murder there.He finds Boris, but is discovered and arrested by 1969 K, who prepares to wipe his memory, but decides at the last minute to investigate J’s claims. K and J follow clues, leading them to a bowling alley, and then to The Factory, where they come across an alien named Griffin, who is in possession of the ArcNet. Griffin, who can see all possible future timelines and outcomes, senses Boris is coming and escapes, but Boris later captures him. J and K pursue and rescue Griffin, acquiring the ArcNet. 1969 Boris escapes and 2012 Boris arrives, and they team up.Upon learning that they must go to Cape Canaveral, Florida and attach the ArcNet to the Apollo 11 rocket so it can be deployed in space, J reveals the real purpose of his mission to K, who initially takes the news badly. The three fly there using jetpacks, and are stopped by military police. Griffin shows a skeptical colonel the future, convincing him of the importance of their mission, and the officer then assists them in reaching the launch site. As the agents climb up the rocket’s launch tower, they are attacked by both 1969 Boris and 2012 Boris.Using his time-travel device, J evades an attack by 2012 Boris and knocks him off one of the launch tower bridges. K shoots off 1969 Boris’s left arm (which restores the timeline), knocking him off the tower as well. The ArcNet is attached and deploys successfully when the rocket launches, with 2012 Boris being incinerated by the rocket’s exhaust. 1969 Boris then attacks K on the beach, but the colonel pushes K down and out of the way, taking the hit himself instead. K then kills Boris (which 2012 K had regretted not doing) instead of arresting him as he originally did. The colonel’s young son inquires about his father, but rather than tell him the truth, K wipes his memory and tells him only that his father is a hero. Observing from afar, J realizes that the young boy is himself, the colonel was his father, that K has actually been watching over him all his life, and was there when the timeline changed, thus explaining why he was the only one who remembered K in the alternate 2012.His mission complete, J returns to 2012, where he thanks K for being his surrogate father. Meanwhile, Griffin observes the moment and is briefly terrified when K almost forgets to tip a waitress, which he knows only occurs in timelines where an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. However, K remembers and leaves a tip and the asteroid hits a satellite and is destroyed.Men in Black 3 is a great adventure of this franchise, with a wonderful story and magnificent special effects. I had low expectations with movie, but I was favorably surprised with a great film.

REVIEW: JUNIOR

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Emma Thompson (Beautiful Creatures)
Frank Langella (All Good Things)
Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop)
Aida Turturro (Mickey Blue Eyes)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Fred Stoller (The Change-Up)
Anna Gunn  (Sully)
Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs)
Monika Schnarre (Andromeda)
Tracey Walter (Batman)

Austrian Research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his OB/GYN colleague Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) have invented a fertility drug, “Expectane”, that is supposed to reduce the chances of a woman’s body rejecting an embryo and thus prevent a miscarriage. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to test it on women since the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the drug; so Hesse and Arbogast cannot move forward in their research. In response, Hesse breaks into the laboratory and locks himself in. The head of the review board, Noah Banes (Frank Langella), informs Arbogast that while the FDA has denied their team the right of human experimentation, the team has managed to receive a donation from fellow geneticist Dr. Diana Reddin (Emma Thompson) from the ovum cryogenics department. When Hesse questions the chances of a woman taking an unapproved drug during pregnancy, Arbogast reveals that there is no need to identify the gender of the experiment and convinces Hesse to impregnate himself, using an ovum codenamed “Junior”.

That night, Hesse has a nightmare in which his potential offspring has his own face pasted onto it. That day, he complains to Arbogast that his nipples are hurting him. Later, the normally aloof Hesse inexplicably lightens up and chats incessantly about walks, massages, and naps. Reddin tells Hesse that being a woman is not as great as it sounds, citing the menstrual cycles which do not stop until menopause. Meanwhile, Arbogast’s pregnant ex-wife, Angela (Pamela Reed), wants him to be the doctor delivering her baby. Hesse begins to wonder what it would be like to be a father and watches some television commercials to have himself a good sobbing. He later begins overreacting, with Angela noting his practice of “mixing cuisines”.

It is revealed that the “Junior” ovum is actually from Reddin’s own body, making her the mother of Hesse’s child. Banes wants to take credit for the experiment despite having no role in it. Arbogast disguises Hesse as a woman and hides him in a retreat for expecting mothers outside the city, passing off his masculine appearance as past anabolic steroid use. Eventually, after a visit from Reddin, Hesse experiences abdominal pain due to the damage that the baby is doing to his abdomen. While shut away in his resort room, Hesse calls both Arbogast and Reddin. As Reddin rushes to the resort from the laboratory, Arbogast calls a fellow doctor and tells him to evacuate the hospital and prep it for an emergency c-section for Hesse, but a hospital staffer overhears the doctor’s conversation and alerts Banes about it. Banes calls the media to the hospital, to take credit and become famous, but Arbogast’s fellow doctor alerts him about the media and Arborgast makes a detour to get a decoy for Hesse so he can have a private c-section.

Junior (1994)

When Arborgast’s car arrives at the hospital, he disappoints the media when he brings out his own pregnant ex-wife. Banes, who had summoned the university dean and the press to witness the world’s first pregnant man, is discredited and fired. Meanwhile, Reddin and Hesse have snuck to the back of the hospital and use the fire escape to get in. While acting as Hesse’s decoy double, at the hospital, Angela goes into labor. Hesse has an emergency caesarean section, where he is given an epidural even though he’s at high risk as is the baby. Reddin, not being able to help Hesse through this time, is sent by Arbogast to keep Angela company. Reddin walks into the waiting room to find Angela in labor and ends up being her labor coach, since there’s no hospital staff available. Hesse feels emotionally scared and horrible, as Arbogast and the other surgeon cut through the last few layers of tissue, to get to the baby, Arbogast announces that Hesse’s water shows no signs of fetal distress.

junior_this_is_the_end

Arbogast announces the arrival to Reddin, who is on hands and knees helping Angela cope with contractions. Reddin hands Angela over to Arbogast and rushes off to see Hesse as Arbogast has Angela prepped for childbirth. Reddin visits Hesse in the Post-op, getting her first glance at her baby, and together they decide to name the baby girl Junior. Arbogast delivers Angela’s child and the two reconcile to raise the boy, Jake, as their own. In the final scene, the two families are on a beach on vacation celebrating the birthdays of Junior and Jake. Reddin is heavily pregnant with her and Hesse’s second child, and when Angela mentions that she would like to have another baby but does not want to go through pregnancy again, they all begin trying to convince a reluctant Arbogast to carry the child.

What can I say about Junior? It was a good movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger was good. He is reunited with his co-star from Twins, Danny DeVito and his co-star from Kindergarten Cop, Pamela Reed. Also here is Emma Thompson. Everybody was good in their parts. Sure the movie may be absurd and bizarre at times, but if you like if  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito then I recommend Junior

 

REVIEW: BURNT

CAST

Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Sienna Miller (Factory Girl)
Omar Sy (Jurassic World)
Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
Riccardo Scamarcio (Eden Is West)
Sam Keeley (Monsters: Dark Continent)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Matthew Rhys (Jungle Book)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Emma Thompson (Men In BLack 3)
Lily James (Cinderella)
Sarah Greene (Noble)

maxresdefaultThree years ago, Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) worked at one of the premier restaurants in Paris, which his mentor Jean-Luc owned. His drug use and manic drive for perfection caused him to implode, taking the restaurant and a number of his friends’ careers with him. Adam disappeared, sobered up, and sentenced himself to shucking one million oysters at a bar in New Orleans. When Adam finishes shucking his millionth oyster he returns to London with a plan to regain his former glory and go for his third Michelin star.OG2A1396LwebAfter arriving in London, Adam begins to look up his old colleagues. Jean-Luc’s former maître d’hôtel Tony (Daniel Brühl) now manages his father’s hotel. Adam wants to take over the hotel’s restaurant, but Tony doesn’t trust him after his behavior in Paris. Adam soon learns that Jean-Luc died and feels deep remorse for how he hurt his mentor. Adam visits his friend Conti (Henry Goodman) at the restaurant Conti owns. He takes a liking to Conti’s sous-chef Helene (Sienna Miller), but Helene finds him old-fashioned and unbearably conceited. Adam locates Michel (Omar Sy), another of his friends from Jean-Luc’s, but Michel opened his own restaurant. Feeling betrayed, Adam released rats in Michel’s kitchen and reported him to a health inspector, which led to the restaurant’s closure. Michel forgives Adam and agrees to work for him. Adam pays a visit to Reece’s, a cutting edge eatery run by Reece (Matthew Rhys), with whom he has a long-standing rivalry. Reece does not forgive him. Adam also plans to employ another Jean-Luc protege, Max (Riccardo Scamarcio), after he is released from prison. Unfortunately, Adam’s reappearance in Europe attracts the attention of his former drug dealer. Eventually, Tony kicks Adam out of his family’s hotel. Adam seeks out chef-on-the-rise David (Sam Keeley), who agrees to work at Adam’s restaurant and let Adam stay in his apartment.
NE0y9EkmWt0O35_1_bAdam contacts famed restaurant critic Simone (Uma Thurman) and convinces her to dine at Tony’s hotel. Simone’s review of Adam’s food is favorable enough that Tony and his father agree to renovate their hotel’s kitchen and hire Adam as the head chef. They require Adam to submit to weekly drug tests with Tony’s psychiatrist Dr. Rosshilde (Emma Thompson), but Adam refuses to see her privately. He throws himself into preparing for his restaurant Langhams’ grand opening. Max is released from prison and joins Adam’s team. Helene rebuffs further job offers until Conti gently fires her. He sends her to the hotel’s kitchen, where Helene tears into Adam for getting her fired. Adam offers her a much higher salary and she agrees to work at Langhams. The opening night turns into a disaster, and Adam closes the restaurant early. He becomes furious with everyone, especially Helene. After humiliating her in front of her colleagues and becoming physically aggressive with her, Helene quits.
Bradley Cooper Sienna MillerAdam goes on talk shows to generate interest in the restaurant. He manages to bring another famous restaurant critic to eat at Langhams. The critic’s favorable review cements Langhams as one of London’s new go-to eateries and drives Reece into a frothing rage. Tony visits Helene to convince her to return to Langhams. He offers double her salary and some insight on Adam’s behavior. Helene agrees and Adam treats her with more respect. However, their relationship hits a bump when Adam refuses Helene’s request for an afternoon off to hold a birthday party for daughter Lily (Lexie Benbow-Hart). A few days later, Tony enters the kitchen and asks Adam to make a birthday cake, to which he refuses, though Tony says a diner has requested one. The kitchen staff explain that Tony learned about Helene’s denied request and offered to watch Lily at the hotel. Adam delivers the cake to Lily in the dining room and makes an effort to connect with her, improving his relationship with Helene.
Once Langhams has established itself, Tony and Adam prepare to earn a Michelin star. Adam continues to fend off his drug dealer’s collectors and to see Dr. Rosshilde for drug tests. He remains impervious to her judgments about his sobriety and his perfectionism but, when asked, admits he knows Tony is in love with him. When Adam receives an invitation to the reopening of Reece’s restaurant, he asks Helene to accompany him. Adam and Reece manage to be civil, but the night derails when Adam spots Jean-Luc’s daughter Anne Marie (Alicia Vikander), who Adam used to date. Adam is surprised when Anne Marie treats him kindly, especially since he abandoned her three years ago and didn’t attend her father’s funeral. Anne Marie has also gotten clean and sober. Helene finds him at a fish market the next morning after he wandered around the whole night mulling over what went wrong in Paris. Jean-Luc was more of a father figure to him than his own dad, and he defined himself by his prowess as a chef. He loved the volatile fast-paced environment of the kitchen and thrived until he didn’t anymore, began using drugs and eventually came unhinged. He now wants to achieve greatness and doesn’t know how to handle failure.Adam and Helene share their first kiss in front of the restaurant that morning. Tony interrupts them, but he’s not alone. The drug dealer’s henchmen have returned, and they want Adam to go with them. He hands the fish to Helene and leaves with them. Tony tells Helene not to worry because Adam can handle himself. That evening, Helene discovers a beaten Adam outside the kitchen entrance. Tony and Helene want to take Adam to the hospital, but before they can do much more than clean him-up, they learn that two Michelin reviewers have come to Langhams. Everyone rushes about in a frenzy, and Adam barely holds things together. They serve the reviewers’ meals but minutes later, the two uneaten meals are sent back because their soup was too spicy. Michel reveals he sprinkled cayenne pepper into the soup, as revenge for what Adam did to him in Paris. After Michel leaves, Adam laughs and leaves as well.
burnt-01Adam wanders around London, climbs onto the railing of Waterloo Bridge and seems to consider jumping. Later he arrives at Reece’s restaurant drunk and bangs on the windows until the cooks let him in and he makes a nuisance of himself in the kitchen. When he pulls a sous-vide bag over his head Reece dismisses his kitchen staff, rips the bag off Adam’s head and cradles Adam when he breaks down. The next morning, Reece says that he knows Adam is the better chef and appreciates Adam’s work because it pushes him to keep experimenting. They part on far better terms. Adam visits Dr. Rosshilde and attends his first group therapy session. When he returns to the hotel, he learns that Anne Marie paid his drug debt. She also gives him her father’s knives and urges him to be with Helene. Tony and Helene find Adam in his hotel room and tell him that the two men the night before were not Michelin reviewers. Adam is so thrilled to have another chance at getting a Michelin star, he kisses Tony. Visibly ruffled by the exchange, Tony leaves Helene with Adam to ensure he doesn’t have a concussion and to dress his wounds. The scene ends with Adam and Helene sharing a passionate kiss. Adam changes the way he runs the kitchen. He listens to Helene and Max’s input, and is more supportive of David. When the real Michelin reviewers come to the Langham, he works with the other chefs, especially Helene, to serve a superb meal and receive their third star. The film ends with Adam finally sharing a meal with his cooks and a few laughs.maxresdefaultWell acted and really interesting film. A true to life portrait of the hard graft in the professional kitchen.

REVIEW: LAST CHANCE HARVEY

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Tootsie)
Emma Thompson (Love Actually)
Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands)
Eileen Atkins (Robin Hood)
James Brolin (Catch Me If You Can)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Michael Landes (Final Destination 2)
Angela Griffin (Waterloo Road)
Nadia Cameron-Blakey (Batman Begins)

Divorced American Harvey Shine writes jingles for television commercials, a job not in keeping with his dream of being a jazz pianist and composer. His position at work is tenuous as he departs for London to attend his daughter Susan’s wedding. Upon arrival at Heathrow Airport, he encounters Kate Walker, a single Londoner who works collecting statistics from passengers as they pass through the terminals. Tired and anxious to get to his hotel, Harvey brusquely dismisses her when she approaches him with the survey.

Arriving at his hotel Harvey discovers that he is the only wedding guest booked in there. He is hurt to discover that has his ex-wife Jean has rented a house to accommodate everyone who is attending from the States, except him. At the dinner on the night preceding the wedding, it becomes increasingly clear Harvey is now an outsider to his daughter’s life and is being excluded from the clan around his ex-wife’s new husband Brian. Their politeness towards him is insincere and makes him feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. Susan tells Harvey that as her step-father Brian has been more of a father to her in the last few years than he has, she is going to ask him to give her way at her wedding. Clearly upset, but accepting of her decision Harvey lies and tells Susan that he will be attending the ceremony but not the reception because he has to urgently return to the States.

Meanwhile, Kate is on a blind date that is not going well. After taking a phone call from her neurotic mother Maggie, she returns to the table to discover that her date has bumped into friends at the bar and invited them to join them. Feeling socially awkward and excluded from the group she eventually goes home.

The following morning Harvey attends the wedding and then leaves immediately for the airport, having been excluded again and seated at the back of the church instead of the front in his true place next to his daughter. Owing to the heavy London traffic he is delayed and misses his flight back to the States. When he calls his boss to advise him he will be returning later than planned he is fired. Needing to drown his sorrows, Harvey goes to an airport bar and sees Kate who is there having a solitary lunch. Recognizing her from the day before, he apologizes for his rude behavior. She initially resists the attention he is paying her but soon they’re both glad to finally have an honest, genuine conversation with someone.

Harvey, feeling lonely and not wanting to stay in an hotel by the airport, follows Kate and joins her on the train to Paddington station. He asks if he can walk her to her writing class on the South Bank. She accepts his offer and is pleased when he offers to wait for her and meet her afterwards. As they stroll along the South Bank River Thames, Harvey mentions he is missing Susan’s wedding reception, and Kate urges him to go. He finally relents, but only if she will accompany him. Kate insists that she is not properly dressed for such an occasion, so Harvey buys her a dress and the two head to the Grosvenor House Hotel, where they are welcomed by Susan and squeezed in at two places on the children’s table. When ‘the-father-of-the-bride’ is called upon to make a toast, Brian rises and begins to speak but Harvey interrupts claiming his right as her biological father. He then delivers a touching, eloquent speech that redeems him with his daughter and endears him to Kate.

Following the bride and groom’s first wedding dance, the groom calls Harvey up to dance with his daughter. He happily does so, and then all the guests join them on the dance floor. Harvey is enjoying himself on the dance floor and Kate is left at the children’s table, finding herself again in the same position as on the blind date. She starts to feel socially awkward and out of place, alone in the room full of strangers. Harvey is dancing and appears to have forgotten Kate. She bears her feelings as long as she can and eventually quietly leaves. Soon after Harvey returns to the table to find her gone.Harvey, now looking for Kate, goes into the corridor and seeing her waiting for the elevator, he disappears into a side room where there is a piano and begins to softly play one of his own jazz compositions. She hears the music and follows it, finding Harvey smiling and waiting for her. He asks her to stay and return to the reception so he can dance her socks off. She agrees and they have a great time together.

Following the reception, Harvey and Kate walk and talk through London until dawn. Upon parting they exchange a single, gentle kiss and agree to meet at noon later that day. Back at his hotel, Harvey experiences serious heart palpitations having had to use the stairs as both lifts are out of order. He is taken to hospital. Forced to stay over night for treatment he misses the appointment with Kate, who turned up as agreed and waited for him. Upon being discharged the next day Harvey receives a call from his boss who has discovered that he needs Harvey to continue handling the account at work. He urges Harvey to return to as soon as possible. Harvey quits his job, deciding he prefers to remain in London and explore the possibility of a relationship with Kate. He tracks down Kate’s work number and calls her to explain but she refuses to take the call. He goes looking for her at the airport and eventually tracks her down at her writing class. He explains why he missed their rendezvous and tells her that he wants to stay in London and begin a relationship with her. Overcautious about romance because of so much past emotional pain, Kate resists, but finally agrees to give things a chance to his suggestion that they see what the future might bring.

As they slowly stroll away along the South Bank, Harvey invites Kate to ask him the questions she would have asked him at the airport terminal, and this time, he happily answers, telling her his place of residence “…is in transition.”

The direction provided by Joel Hopkins is impressive as he extracts excellent performances from the lead actors. The background music score, which is provided by Dickon Hinchliffe is also worth an applause as it is soothing and perfectly compliments the story. The movie would have turned out to be an average fare if it was not for Hoffman and Thompson.
‘Last Chance Harvey’ is a delightful and competent movie, which deserves a watch.

REVIEW: THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Peter Vaughn (Game of Thrones)
Ben Chaplin (Cinderella)
Hugh Grant (Love Actually)
John Haycraft (Chancer)
Lena Headey (Dredd)

courage_reeveIn 1950s post-war Britain, Mr Stevens, the butler of Darlington Hall, receives a letter from Miss Kenton, a recently divorced former co-worker employed as the housekeeper some twenty years earlier. Lord Darlington has died a broken man, his reputation destroyed after he was exposed as a Nazi sympathizer, and his stately country manor has been sold to a retired United States Congressman, Mr Lewis. Stevens is granted permission to borrow his Daimler, and he sets off to the West Country to meet Kenton.south-park-the-end-of-serialization-as-we-know-it-645x370
The film flashes back to Kenton’s arrival as housekeeper in the 1930s. The ever efficient Stevens manages the household well, taking great pride in his profession, and his dedication is fully displayed when, while his father lies dying, he steadfastly continues his duties. Kenton also proves to be a valuable servant, and she is equally efficient and strong-willed, but also warmer and less repressed. Relations between the two eventually warm, and it becomes clear that she has feelings for him, yet despite their proximity and shared purpose, Stevens’ detachment remains unchanged. Eventually, she forms a relationship with a former co-worker and leaves the house prior to the outbreak of World War II. Before she resigns, Stevens finds her crying in frustration, but the only response he can muster is to call her attention to a neglected domestic task.
significant-others-jennifer-garner-elizabeth-mitchell-scott-bairstow-eion-bailey-michael-weatherly-dvdbash-wordpress03Meanwhile, the hall is regularly frequented by politicians of the interwar period, and many of Lord Darlington’s guests are like-minded British and European aristocrats, with the exception of Congressman Lewis. Darlington later also meets Prime Minister Chamberlain and the German Ambassador, and uses his influence to try and broker a policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany, based on his belief that Germany had been unfairly treated by the Treaty of Versailles following World War I. In the midst of these events, one day Darlington suddenly requests that two newly appointed German-Jewish maids, both refugees, should be dismissed. Stevens carries out the command, and Kenton threatens resignation in protest, but she is too timid to do so.
intro-emma-5En route to meeting Kenton, when asked about his former employer, Stevens at first denies having served or even met him, but later admits to having served and respected him. He meets Kenton (now Mrs Benn), and they reminisce, but she declines Stevens’ offer to return to Darlington Hall, wishing instead to remain near her pregnant daughter. After the meeting, Kenton is emotional, while Stevens is still unable to demonstrate any feeling. Back in Darlington Hall, Lewis asks Stevens if he remembers much of the old days, to which Stevens replies that he was too busy serving. Symbolically, a pigeon then becomes trapped in the hall, and the two men eventually free it, leaving both Stevens and Darlington Hall far behind.
family-guy-christmas-santa-choke-peter-s15e09-how-the-griffin-stole-christmas-simpsons-son-of-zornAn all-round first-rate cinematic experience, Remains of the Day is one of those pictures that lingers in the mind long after the credits pass. A must see.

 

REVIEW: AN EDUCATION

CAST

Carey Mulligan (Drive)
Peter Sarsgaard (The Cell)
Dominic Cooper (Dracula Untold)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Olvia Williams (Dollhouse)
Cara Seymour (The Savages)
Sally Hawkins (Cassandra’s Dream)
Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game)
Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones)

In 1961 London, Jenny Mellor is a 16-year-old schoolgirl preparing for Oxford University when she meets a charming older man driving a Bristol 405, David Goldman, who pursues her romantically. He takes her to concerts, clubs and fine restaurants, easily charming and manipulating her parents into approving of the relationship. Later, Jenny discovers that David is a con man who makes money through a variety of shady practices. She is initially shocked but silences her misgivings in the face of David’s charm. Jenny’s parents invite Graham, a boy Jenny knows from Youth Orchestra, to Jenny’s birthday party but David arrives and Graham goes home. A few days later, David takes Jenny to Paris as a birthday gift, where she loses her virginity to him. When David proposes marriage, Jenny accepts and leaves school. However, she later discovers David is already married. When she reveals her discovery to David, he drops out of sight. Jenny despairs, feeling she has thrown her life away but, with the help of her favourite teacher, resumes her studies and is accepted at Oxford the following year.The screenplay is by Nick Hornby and, like all his books, he takes a low-key drama about quite ordinary people and turns it into a really witty and gripping story. The acting is superb on all fronts. All the other aspects of the film, such as the music and the portrayal of the 1960s setting (which looks really great on Blu-ray) are really well done. No one aspect of the film is absolutely amazing, but I thought the fact that every component of it is such high quality makes it an excellent and very watchable film. .