REVIEW: I GIVE IT A YEAR

CAST

Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Rafe Spall (The World’s End)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Stephen Merchant (Logan)
Minnie Driver (Ella Enchanted)
Jason Flemyng (Layer Cake)
Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady)
Jane Asher (Runners)
Claire Higgins (Hellraiser)

Ambitious high-flyer Nat (Rose Byrne) and struggling writer Josh (Rafe Spall) fall in love at first sight at a party. After seven months together they decide to marry. The film highlights their struggles during their first year of marriage, switching back and forth from flashbacks of the year’s action to a marriage-guidance counselor’s office. Their wedding goes as planned despite many friends’ comments that the marriage will not last, an embarrassing best-man’s speech, and a coughing priest. When Nat returns to work after the honeymoon, she’s embarrassed when Josh calls her in the office—on speakerphone in front of her colleagues—to tell her she is sexy and that he misses her, causing her to abruptly hang up on him. Later, the two meet with their solicitor to discuss how to handle medical crises (last wishes). Nat becomes annoyed when Josh, knowing she would be late, admitted that he deliberately told her the wrong time, causing her to turn up early.The couple throw a dinner party to use their wedding gifts. Some of their differences are highlighted when they talk about their honeymoon in Morocco: Nat didn’t enjoy the leather museum; Josh remembers it as interesting. When the topic changes to Josh’s former flame, Chloe (Anna Faris), Nat discovers that the two never officially broke up when Chloe departed to Africa for four years. In the kitchen Chloe apologizes to Nat for not realising she didn’t know. The women talk about the constrictions of marriage. Nat’s sister Naomi has issues with her own husband’s annoying habits. Josh’s best man Danny asks Chloe out but is rebuffed.The following day, Nat and her work-colleagues make fun of their new client, Guy Harrap (Simon Baker), the new owner of a bleach company. They believe he will be a stereotypical American who thinks the British are “quaint”. They do not realize that their client has been sitting right there in the same café. Before the meeting, one colleague steals Nat’s wedding ring, believing that the account will have a better chance of success if she appears single. During the meeting, Guy deliberately fulfils their expectations of him: speaking in a brash American way, asking for high-fives and casual fist-bumps, asking Nat to repeat certain words he finds amusing and doing a crude Austin Powers impression. Then when they focus on business talk, he switches to his true self, embarrassing the women for their earlier stereotyping. As he and Nat exit the boardroom, she apologizes for their misjudgment of him, and he says they should get better acquainted for the sake of the account. Feeling the attraction between them, she struggles with telling him she’s married, then ends up leaving without telling him.Josh talks to Chloe about his book while she’s working at a charity office. He invites her to dinner because Nat’s going to a work party that night. Chloe declines, saying she’s going out with her work-colleague Charlie, whom she’s been dating. The scene returns to the marriage-guidance counsellor’s office as the two explain that the realities of marriage do not live up to the fairytale expectation they both had. Unable to focus on his writing, Josh sits at home watching television while Nat’s out jogging. At work, Nat receives a large bouquet of roses from Guy. The couple bicker over domestic issues; Josh leaving the toilet seat up, Nat’s inability to sing the right words to popular songs and their different definitions of the rubbish bin being full. Guy shows Nat around one of the factories he owns, where one of his longest-serving workers expresses approval of her as a potential wife for him. Guy explains that he basically grew up in the factory during his childhood summers. Nat comments that she’s not the marrying type, still unable to tell Guy she’s married.Nat tries to discourage Josh from accompanying her to a work party, but he is determined, irritating her. At the party, he makes a fool of himself with embarrassing dancing and standing next to a poster he can joke about during the night. When he approaches Nat while she’s talking with Guy, she still doesn’t reveal that he is her husband and Guy attempts to shake him off, assuming he’s an unwanted menace. Guy asks her to dinner and Nat declines. Incredibly annoyed at Josh for embarrassing her at the party, she heads home without him. Meanwhile, Chloe and Charlie attend a boring dinner party, then leave early to adjourn to Charlie’s apartment. As they kiss on the bed, Chloe’s colleague Alexandra joins them and Chloe finds herself in an awkward threesome. Feeling too silly to continue, Chloe eventually leaves. The next morning she calls Josh to tell him about it, and he soon turns up at her apartment with coffee and her favourite sweets to cheer her up.Chloe and Josh then go Christmas-shopping. Josh wants to get casserole dishes for Nat but Chloe laughs that this is not a present for a wife and she must help him; they end up at a lingerie shop with Josh uncomfortably trying to make conversation with the shop assistant amongst the shop’s expensive contents. Chloe tries on a lingerie set, and asks Josh what he thinks of it. They end up kissing in the dressing room, although both are embarrassed about it afterwards. Josh ends up buying the lingerie. When Nat meets with Guy at his hotel to discuss their business deal, she rebuffs his attempts to get her into his room. He mentions that he has booked a conference room down the hall, but when Nat enters she finds a romantic dinner complete with doves and a violinist. When Guy makes advances, she finally blurts out that she’s married and can’t leave her husband because it would destroy him, and finally storms out.Guy chases after Nat and they bump into Chloe and Josh on the street. After some initial awkward exchanges, Josh suggests that Chloe and Guy get together and they agree on a double date. Back to the present in the counsellor’s office: Nat explains that they hit a low point around the Christmas period, commenting that her husband’s family are weird—in particular his mother. Josh retaliates that Nat’s family were not overly friendly towards him. The scene shifts to a Christmas family reunion at Nat’s parents’, where a series of embarrassing incidents revolving around Josh occur. Josh unwittingly but clumsily offends Nat’s grandmother during a game of charades, Nat’s father makes him sleep on the upper deck of a bunk bed of a young female relative, and Nat’s parents giving Josh a pair of books titled How to Be a Successful Writer and How to Stop Wasting Your Life. At the end of the visit, while leaving her parents’ house, Nat confronts Naomi about why she stays with her husband as they clearly hate each other. Naomi says that they both “embrace the hatred” and that is what marriage is about. Even though she admits there could be something better out there for her, she ultimately loves her husband.Nat and Josh have a conversation about his suggestion of Chloe dating Guy. The two talk about the prospects of both of them as romantic interests. The four meet for dinner, and spend the evening playing pool. Chloe and Guy seem to hit it off, happily competing against Nat and Josh. Nat becomes more frustrated with Josh’s clumsy and patronising attempt to teach her how to play properly, as well as with her growing jealousy towards Chloe, who can play well. They leave the bar, and Nat asks Guy to talk about packaging details, intending to meet Josh back at their flat afterwards. Chloe and Josh depart together, while Nat and Guy go the other direction. After a moment, Nat passionately kisses Guy, resulting in the ripping of the underwear bought for her by Josh.Meanwhile, Josh attempts to discourage Chloe’s attraction to Guy, and she admits she is and has always been still in love with him, lamenting that Josh never stopped her from leaving and insisting that their current circumstances are impossible, that they cannot see each other anymore. When Nat returns home, she and Josh talk about their relationship. After nine months they decide to get help instead of giving up on their marriage. This leads us back to the counsellor’s office, who ultimately advises them to try to make it to the one-year marker. The couple then put up with each other’s quirks over the next few months, eventually making it to their anniversary. Nat brings out the same expensive lingerie for the special occasion, and struggles to do it up because of two broken hooks, remembering the circumstances in which they were broken—her with Guy. Josh meanwhile leaves the flat, telling Nat he’s remembered he has to do something and that he will meet her at the restaurant. He races to Chloe’s apartment, only to find that she is heading off in a cab with Guy, whom she embraces lovingly. Nat contemplates phoning Guy, but then decides to go to the restaurant, where her friends and family are there waiting to surprise the couple. After failing to contact Josh, Nat sits down. She discovers that their friends didn’t think her marriage would last. Josh makes it to the restaurant party, and tells Nat that he thinks she is the perfect wife, just not for him. He asks her for a divorce and she immediately and delightedly agrees. The couple rejoice at the situation, and immediately leave the party one after the other.Meanwhile, Guy and Chloe are at the railway station waiting to go to Paris on a romantic trip. Josh finds them and professes his love for Chloe. When it’s discovered that he split up with Nat, the two are shocked. Nat appears behind Josh, who awkwardly assumed he is the one she wants to speak to, but it turns out she was there for Guy. After a short exchange they happily discuss how perfect Guy and Chloe are for them. In the end, Chloe and Guy mutually break up. Nat ends up kissing Guy and Chloe shares a kiss with Josh.I really enjoyed this movie! It’s a laugh-out-loud romcom, which is genuinely unconventional. It is awkward in all the right places. This movie is clearly making fun of mainstream romcoms. Definitely worth checking out.

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REVIEW: ELLA ENCHANTED

CAST

Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Steeve Coogan (The Parole Officer)
Aidan McArdle (No Angels)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day)
Eric Idle (Nuns on The Run)
Parminder Nagra (Agents of SHIELD)
Jim Carter  (Brassed Off)
Patrick Bergin (The Lawnmower Man 2)
Joanna Lumley (Euro Trip)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Jimi Mistry (The Guru)
In the kingdom of Frell, a baby girl named Ella (Anne Hathaway) is born to Sir Peter and his wife Lady Eleanor. She is given the “gift of obedience” by a misguided and obnoxious fairy called Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox). This turns out to be more of a curse, as it forces Ella to do anything she is told to do, even if the command is against her wishes. Ella’s mother, on her deathbed, warns her daughter not to tell anyone about the curse she is under for fear that someone might use it to exploit Ella. After her mother’s death, only Mandy (Minnie Driver), the household fairy, knows the secret.

Several years later, Ella’s father (Patrick Bergin) remarries to a wealthy socialite, Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley), who dislikes Ella. Her spoiled daughters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham) notice Ella’s obedience and start to humiliate her. Ella stumbles upon Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), the handsome heir who will soon take the throne, as he’s being pursued by his fan club of besotted young women. He invites Ella to the Coronation Ball, but Olga intercepts the invitation. Hattie and Olive, fan club members themselves, are overcome with jealousy. They force Ella to insult and cut ties with her best friend Areida (Parminder Nagra).

Ella cannot bear her situation a moment longer, and resolves to find Lucinda, as she is the only one who can reverse the spell. Mandy helps by lending Ella her boyfriend Benny (Jimi Mistry), who she accidentally transformed into a talking magical book that can show people in their current surroundings. During her journey, Ella encounters an elf named Slannen (Aidan McArdle), who wants to be a lawyer instead of an entertainer as the laws now require. They are both captured by a group of ogres, who want to eat them. Prince Charmont rescues them and accompanies them to a wedding in the land of giants, where Ella hopes to find Lucinda. En route, Ella opens Char’s eyes to the cruelty of the laws oppressing elves and giants established by the acting ruler, Char’s uncle Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes). Char invites Ella to visit the palace’s Hall of Records and find Lucinda faster. But Edgar’s talking snake, Heston (voiced by Steve Coogan), is spying on them.

At the palace, Heston tells Edgar about Ella’s obedience, which Hattie confirms when Edgar offers her Char’s hand in marriage. Knowing that Char intends to marry Ella, Edgar orders her to kill him when he proposes, and keep the plan a secret. Edgar also reveals that he murdered Char’s father. To save Char, Ella writes him a letter, saying she is leaving permanently and cannot explain why, which breaks his heart. She then asks Slannen to tie her to a tree and get the giants to help. Lucinda then appears before Ella, who asks her to undo the “gift” of obedience. Lucinda is offended that Ella doesn’t like her gift and simply tells Ella to remove it herself. She unties Ella, gives her a fancy dress, and tells her to attend the ball, where Char almost immediately takes her to the Hall of Mirrors and asks her to marry him.

Ella is about to stab him with the dagger Edgar provided, when she realizes Lucinda has provided the answer: looking into a mirror, she says, “You will NO LONGER BE OBEDIENT!” She drops the dagger and Char sees it. But Edgar is spying on them, and before Ella can explain, he orders the guards to lock her up and be executed the following day.

Meanwhile, Benny informs Slannen, the giants, and the ogres that Ella is in trouble, so they all sneak into the castle to rescue her. They find out that Edgar is poisoning the crown Char will receive during the ceremony. Ella and her allies burst in just in time to stop him putting it on. Edgar and Heston call for the knights and Red Guards, and a battle ensues. Ella explains everything while fighting alongside Char, while Mandy manages to transform Benny back into a human. When Edgar’s forces lose, Heston tries to bite Char, but is stopped by Ella. Caught trying to kill the prince, Edgar admits to the crowd that he killed the King, but says only he deserves the crown. Then, carried away by his own rhetoric, he puts it dramatically on his own head—poisoning himself.

Char and Ella kiss; her stepsisters arrive and order her to stop, but she happily refuses. Char once again asks Ella to marry him, and she agrees: “Now that I’ll do.” The movie ends with their wedding and a musical number. During all this, it’s shown that Slannen is in a relationship with a giant (Heidi Klum), Ella has rekindled her friendship with Areida, and Edgar has survived. The Narrator announces two final words: The End.A typical fairytale story brought up to date. It’s fresh and new for older audiences.

REVIEW: SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT

CAST (VOICES)
Trey Parker (Orgazmo)
Matt Stone (Team America)
Mary Kay Bergman (The Iron Giant)
Isaac Hayes (Stargate Sg.1)
George Clooney (The IDes of March)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
Dave Foley (A Bug’s Life)
Eric Idle (Life of Brian)
Mike Judge (Office Space)
Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, Kyle Broflovski and Eric Cartman head to the local movie theater to see the new film Terrance and Phillip: Asses of Fire which stars the boys’ favorite Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip (“Mountain Town”), but when the boys get there, they are refused entry due to the film being rated R by the MPAA, so they pay a homeless man to accompany them. The boys learn obscene phrases from the movie (“Uncle Fucka”) which makes the other kids in town want to see the movie. Stan finds his love interest, Wendy, ice-skating with a well-educated boy from Yardsdale named Gregory (“Wendy’s Song”). Whenever Stan tries to talk to Wendy he throws up (Wendy is now starting to be disgusted by his frequent vomiting, unlike in the show), so he asks Chef for advice on how to impress women. He is told that all he needs to do is to find the clitoris. Stan does not know what the clitoris is, but nevertheless searches for it throughout the film.
The kids begin cursing in class, so they are sent to see Counselor Mackey who informs their mothers. Learning that the language was from the movie, their parents force the teachers to enforce a strict dress code banning all types of Terrance and Phillip clothing and abandon their previous lesson plans and run a rehabilitation center for the kids to get them to stop swearing (“It’s Easy, M’Kay”). Afterwards, the boys and the rest of the children go to see the movie again. Kenny bets Cartman $100 that he can set his fart on fire like Terrance did in the film. Kenny immolates himself and dies when the doctors accidentally replace his heart with a baked potato. The boys are grounded for seeing the Terrance & Phillip movie again and Kenny is refused admission to Heaven and sent to Hell (“Hell Isn’t Good”), where he is tormented by Satan and Saddam Hussein who are gay lovers. The parents of South Park organize a boycott against Canada and Terrance and Phillip (“Blame Canada”), which is led by Sheila (Kyle’s mother). The new group of angry mob, called “Mothers Against Canada” has Terrance and Phillip arrested as war criminals, and when the United States refuses to release the duo, Canada strikes back by bombing the residence of the Baldwin brothers.
Sheila, now the appointed as “Secretary of Offense of the United States” and President Bill Clinton announce that the United States will go war with Canada and will have Terrance and Phillip executed at an upcoming USO show. After overhearing Cartman leading the kids in annoying Kyle with a song degrading herself and admonishing her ridiculous methods (“Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch”), she has Dr. Vosknocker forcibly implant a V-Chip in Cartman. The device gives sharp violent electrical shock every time Cartman swears. Meanwhile, back in Hell, Satan declares that if the blood of the two innocent Canadians touches American soil, it will be time for him to rise up and rule the world. Saddam wants to come with him, but Satan is tired of being bossed around by Saddam (“Up There”). Kenny tells Satan to break up with Saddam to which Satan initially agrees, but Saddam wins back Satan with a song (“I Can Change”). Kenny’s ghost visits Cartman to warn him of the consequences of executing Terrance and Phillip. The boys, after failing to convince their parents, decide to take matters into their own hands (“What Would Brian Boitano Do”). They have a secret meeting to talk about how they can save Terrance and Phillip. They form La Resistance and Gregory tells Stan to recruit a God-hating French expert on covert operations named “The Mole” (“La Resistance”).
While the troops, waiting for the execution of Terrance and Phillip, are being entertained by Big Gay Al (“I’m Super”), La Resistance and The Mole infiltrate the USO show, but The Mole is discovered by Sheila and the guards and is killed by guard dogs after Cartman fails to deactivate the alarms (“The Mole’s Reprise”). The remaining three children attempt to warn their mothers and the army about what will happen if Terrance and Phillip are killed, but they instead laugh at them, and Mr. Garrison throws the switch to the electric chair. A large Canadian force attacks the base and a massive battle ensues between the two armies. In the confusion, the boys are able to free Terrance and Phillip, though Cartman’s V-chip begins to malfunction from the electric shock. The other mothers, seeing the destruction their “Mothers Against Canada” movement has incited, decide to call it quits and head off to look for their children. After being stunned by an explosion, Stan has a hallucination and is visited by “The Clitoris” which tells him that all he needs is confidence if he wants to win Wendy’s heart and also reminds him about what’s more important: saving the world.
Stan leads the kids to find Terrance and Phillip who have been cornered by the US army. La Resistance forms a human shield while Kyle tries to persuade the army and his mother against killing the two, stating that he wants her to stop fighting everyone and deal with him. However, Sheila refuses and shoots Terrance and Phillip which fulfills the prophecy and results in Satan, his minions, and Saddam rising from Hell and attacking both Canadian and United States armies; as a result, Sheila now regrets everything, even though she wanted “to make the world a better place for children.” Saddam immediately tries to usurp Satan’s authority, demanding homage and announcing his intent to rule the world himself. Cartman is able to hold Saddam off by using his malfunctioning V-Chip to generate massive blasts of lightning every time he swears. With Kenny’s encouragement, Satan finally gets rid of Saddam by casting him back to Hell and getting impaled on a sharp stalagmite. Satan then grants Kenny a wish in repayment: Kenny asks for everything to return to how it was before the war, even though it means he’ll go back to Hell. He takes off his hood to say goodbye to his friends, revealing his face and voice for the first time. All the other deceased characters are brought back to life, the Canadians and Americans become friends again, Wendy becomes Stan’s girlfriend again and dumps Gregory (she never really liked him), and everything returns to normal in South Park (“Mountain Town (reprise)”). Instead of returning to Hell, Kenny ascends to Heaven due to his act of sacrifice, where naked angels are waiting for him and he is granted a halo and wings.
In a post-credits scene, Ike is still in the attic (when Kyle was hiding him from the American soldiers from taking him to an interment camp) and then eats a mouse that scampers by.
In essense it’s a very worthy release and is a must for any South Park fans out there. Please note, don’t expect groundbreaking special effects and all that jazz. It’s delightfully ruthlessly in-your-face crude, juvenile, political, outlandish and sheerly obscene. It’s South Park.