Showing posts with label Octavia Spencer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Octavia Spencer. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dinner for Schmucks

Based on a French comedy called Le Dîner de Cons, 2010’s Dinner for Schmucks is a politically incorrect screwball comedy. Featuring likeable leads and an overstretched central idea, the film stars Paul Rudd as ambitious financial executive called Tim Conrad. After impressing his managers, Tim is invited to an exclusive dinner which he hopes will lead to a long overdue promotion. The only catch is that each guest must bring a plus one, chosen for their ability to compete for the prize of ‘biggest loser’. Tim’s in two minds about attending the insensitive dinner but when he literally runs into the sweet but simple squirrel taxidermist Barry Speck (Steve Carell) and thinks to himself, what’s the worst that could happen?

Despite being a fan of pretty much everyone in front of the camera in this movie, it passed me by until now. I remember its release but the trailers and reviews did nothing to pull me to the cinema. It’s not a film I’m gutted to have missed three years ago but I came out the other side thinking that it was an average comedy which was short on laughs and story but enjoyable nonetheless.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Help

It’s rare that I watch a film and want to hurt the cast but I deeply disliked about 60% of the characters in The Help and wanted to punch about 20% of them in the face. The Oscar winning 2011 film tells the story of disenfranchised maids living in early 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) returns from college with the world at her feet but realises that her family and friends expect very specific things of her. She is to act and dress in a certain way, not think too hard and settle down with a husband as soon as possible. Skeeter goes against what is expected and gets a job at the local paper. Desperate for something worthwhile to write about she asks her friend’s maid Aibileen (Viola Davis) if she can write about life from the help’s perspective. Although weary at first, Aibileen soon opens up to Skeeter and soon fellow maid Minny (Octavia Spencer) is telling her story too.

I never saw The Help on its initial release and is in fact a rare example of a recent Best Picture candidate I’ve missed. Something about the movie didn’t appeal to me and my early hatred of the bad guy characters coupled with finding Emma Stone’s character annoying got me off to a bad start. By the end though I was wishing the film wouldn’t end and would have watched another act. I grew to respect and love certain characters but still want to punch others and the story is a remarkable example of bravery, courage and setting right what is wrong.