Showing posts with label Catherine Zeta-Jones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catherine Zeta-Jones. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Side Effects

I was in America recently and thought it would be a good opportunity to see a movie which won’t be out here in the UK for a while. Unfortunately I was there at a rare time during which there was little in US theatres which wouldn’t be in the UK by the time I got home. So instead I saw Side Effects, a film I hadn’t had a chance to see in England. Side Effects is said to be the final movie by Director Steven Soderbergh, the man behind films such as Erin Brokovich, Solaris and Contagion. Although not a huge fan of his entire back catalogue I think losing Soderbergh to film making would be a shame. He has produced some very fine films over the years with Side Effects being one of them.

We join the story days before Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) is released from a four year prison sentence for insider trading. His wife Emily (Rooney Mara) is eagerly but nervously awaiting his release. In the days following his return, her mood shifts towards anxiety and depression and when she drives her car straight into a wall she begins to see Psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Banks tries various methods and drugs before discovering the new drug Ablixa seems to control Emily’s moods. The drug gives her the side effect of sleep walking though, a side effect which turns out to have disastrous consequences for Martin, Emily and Dr Banks. The event destroys Banks’ career and while trying to clear his name he discovers a deeper, seedier plot.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rock of Ages

"This place is about to become a sea of sweat, ear-shattering music and puke"

In 1987 Sherrie (Julianne Hough) sets off from her home in Oklahoma towards L.A with dreams of rock stardom. Almost as soon as she arrives she is mugged and helped by Drew (Diego Boneta) who works at the Bourbon Room, a Sunset Strip rock club. Sherrie gets a job at the club and she and Drew begin a relationship while both dreaming of becoming singers. Meanwhile the club’s owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and his right hand man Lonny (Russell Brand) are struggling to keep the club open amid protests from the Mayor’s wife Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) of the band Arsenal is due to perform at the club with the hopes of beginning a solo carer, if he can get his head back in the game long enough to do so.

I’d read mixed reviews before seeing this film but I’m a fan of a lot of 80s rock music, from Iron Maiden to Metallica to Blue Cheer via Motley Crue, Motorhead and Pantera. Unfortunately this is not the sort of rock music you get with Rock of Ages. Instead you end up with the likes of Bon Jovi and Journey. This is not the type of music I enjoy, especially when the lyrics are used in place of dialogue in an annoying coming of age story. This film is about as much rock n’ roll as a jam sandwich with the crusts removed.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

High Fidelity

Record Store owner Rob (John Cusack) is the focus of this story about a man who has difficulty understanding why his relationships always fail. After being dumped by long term girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle), Rob decides to look up his top five exes to find out where he has been going wrong. Rob spends most of his time surrounded by records either at home or in his shop where he is always in the company of his employees/friends Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black). There they discuss music with an annoying sense of elitism and openly mock the ignorance of customers who they deem unworthy of their musical knowledge.  

The narrative of the film is told with Cusack’s Rob breaking the forth wall and talking directly to the audience. I think this works well and allows the audience to feel a part of Rob’s life and the world which the film creates. The story is fairly interesting and the film mostly entertaining but I didn’t find it very funny. There were a couple of laughs but this is much more of a drama-comedy than comedy-drama. At times I felt incredibly uncomfortable in the record store setting. Jack Black’s attempt to ridicule people for their musical taste reminded me of every time I went into a record shop or video game shop as a child and was confronted by the same sort of vehement when I asked about something which wasn’t to the shop staff’s liking. It at least recreates a realistic record store feel.  

The acting was fairy good. Cusack comes off as the kind of easy going guy you’d want to go for a drink with but I didn’t think that his redemption was complete. He is well cast in the role and is convincing. Jack Black, someone who I’m not usually keen on, was very well cast as the snotty music shop assistant and stole the scenes he was in. Todd Louiso pulls off the geeky but shy character well and Iben Hjejle is excellent as Cusack’s ex. She is the only main character living in the real world and brings a sense of adulthood to the film.

I’m not as keen on this film as many of the reviews I’ve read. It’s not bad but I was a bit put off by the setting and felt alienated from it. My musical knowledge is not great so much of it went over my head. There wasn’t very much comedy but I did like the way it was filmed and enjoyed watching John Cusack’s character battle himself to the realisation that his future mattered and it was he who could do something about it.