Showing posts with label Owen Wilson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Owen Wilson. Show all posts

Monday, 6 May 2013

Night at the Museum

The perfect family film for a Bank Holiday Monday morning, Night at the Museum is a film in which history comes to life. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is divorced and unable to hold down a steady job in New York City. His ex-wife believes that the constant uprooting is affecting their ten year old son and pleads with him to settle down and get a steady job. Larry takes a job at the Museum of Natural History as a night watchman but soon discovers that the job is much harder than advertised as the exhibits literally come to life after dark.

I’ve seen this film a few times now but I’m not really sure why. It’s quite fun and passes a couple of hours but it’s by no stretch of the imagination, a classic. Night at the Museum is one of those films that you can put on and turn off the brain, allowing the noises and images to wash over you as your eyes glaze over. What it offers is silly fun and a treat for kids. Unfortunately I watched it alone, in my pyjamas.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Fantastic Mr. Fox

When I first saw Fantastic Mr. Fox at the cinema in 2009 I fell asleep. I think this is the only time I’ve ever slept through a film and although there were mitigating circumstances I still feel bad as Wes Anderson is one of my favourite Directors. I’ve loved all of his pre Mr. Fox films and Moonrise Kingdom is one of my favourite films of 2012 so far. One of the reasons I fell asleep three years ago was because I was bored by the film but due to my love of Anderson’s work I felt the need to go back and reassess it. Unfortunately my first viewing experience was very similar to my second; the film bored me and I consider it Anderson’s worst film by quite some distance.

Based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same name the plot centres upon a fox (George Clooney) who despite promising his wife (Meryl Streep) that he would stop killing farmer’s chickens for a living, can’t resist one final spree in which he goes for three local farms, run by the meanest farmers around.

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Royal Tenenbaums

I first saw this film when I was about sixteen on one of my frequent trips to the cinema with friends. When one of them told me about it I thought it sounded awful. I was used to seeing action and comedy films on a Friday night and didn’t want to sit through a film about some family and an old man dying. In the end the film completely shocked me and helped to introduce me to the joys of cinema, seeing passed the Friday night popcorn movies to which I was accustomed. It was also the first of many Wes Anderson films that I fell in love with. I often site Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver as being the film which opened my eyes to cinema but thinking about it now, this film did the same thing, albeit to a lesser extent, two years earlier.

Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) is thrown out of his house by his wife (Anjelica Houston) before their three genius children (Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow) reach their teens. This has a far reaching impact on all of their lives and none of the three grow up to fully reach their potential. Playwrite Margot (Paltrow) stops writing, Tennis champion Richie (Wilson) retires ages twenty-six after a breakdown and business guru Chas (Stiller) becomes overly protective of his own children following the untimely death of his wife. After years of being out of the picture, Royal decides he wants to become reacquainted with his quirky children but ends up going about it in all the wrong ways.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


Set in a world of anthropomorphic cars, Pixar’s 2006 feature Cars is about an arrogant, rookie racing car called Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his quest to win the ‘Piston Cup’. On his way to a final showdown in Los Angeles he ends up trapped in a backward town on Route 66 where he is forced by the locals to repair the road which he ripped up while trying to escape from the police. While in town he gets to know some of the local cars and helps them to rediscover their former glory before embarking once again to LA for the final race.

I’ve now seen every Pixar film except Cars 2. I think the Toy Story trilogy is amongst the greatest in the history of cinema, I love Finding Nemo and Wall-E is one of my favourite films. In my opinion Cars is the weakest film that Pixar has produced so far. It isn’t a bad film but compared to Pixar’s back catalogue it’s a bit weak.

On the plus side, the anthropomorphised world that the film creates is strangely believable and the film makers manage to get a lot of expression and emotion via a clever use of windscreens as eyes. The whole design of the film and the animation is unsurprisingly excellent. In particular I really liked the 1950’s look and design of Radiator Springs. The film isn’t as funny as some Pixar features but there are some very funny moments and ideas. I loved that the 1960’s Hippie VW Camper and US Army Jeep were neighbours. It felt like there was a sitcom in that idea. I also thought that the idea to use tractors in place of cows was very funny and clever.  The film also contains a nice message about the nature of modern motoring and its impact on the environment and small communities.

On the downside, I thought that it was far too long. It is 117 minutes which is far too long to keep children (and me) interested in a film of this quality. Up was only 96 minutes long, A Bug’s Life 95 and Toy Story only 81 minutes. It seems shorter is better in the world of Pixar. The idea to use cars instead of humans was nice but the story wasn’t up to scratch. At the end of the day it’s a pretty traditional boy meets girl and changes his outlook story. Finally I thought that some of the characters were a bit stereotypical and that’s a bit lazy of Pixar.

One of the best parts of the film came over the closing credits when the characters were at a drive in cinema and watched clips of Pixar films whose characters were cars. These included Toy Car Story, Monster Trucks Inc and A Bug’s Life (featuring a VW Bug) and they were really funny.

Overall, the film is below the standard I’ve become accustomed to from Pixar but it is still funny and enjoyable at times. It is far too long and lacks a little imagination on occasion but is a solid family animation.  


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Hall Pass

Below are a picture of Nicky Whelan and a two minute clip of Stephen Merchant. Look at these and save yourself the 109 minutes it would take to watch Hall Pass.

The film stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as married best friends who are entering middle age. Though happily married, they both fondly remember their time as single men where they were free to do whatever they wanted to whoever they wanted. After a series of forgettable mishaps and arguments, both of their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, agree to give them a ‘Hall Pass’ or week off from marriage. The next ninety minutes of your life are spent watching what they get up to.

I decided to watch this film because I’d seen Stephen Merchant in the trailer and thought he seemed funny in the film. I’m a fan of both his solo work and his writing with Ricky Gervais so thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, he is only on screen for about four minutes. While he is the funniest thing in these few fleeting moments, it is not nearly enough and the rest of the film is very thin on the ground with laughter. I found myself smile a couple of times and chuckle once.

The idea of a Hall Pass is interesting and occasionally the film skirts around the philosophy of relationships. I wish there had been more of this as these were often the best moments of the film. The rest of the film is spent watching a couple of forty-somethings eat food, lie on hotel beds and occasionally try to meet women. Their disastrous attempts are meant to be funny but just aren’t and when things do start to change for the better for Owen Wilson’s character, he is pursued by a beautiful college student (Alexandra Daddario) and gorgeous barista (Nicky Whelan) which just seemed a little unlikely given his failed attempts to attract a woman throughout the rest of the film. What Fischer and Applegate get up to is more interesting and I think the film would have benefitted from spending more time with them.   

One Film
No Laughs

Towards the end, the film comes to the incredible conclusion that actually both men and women like sex (who knew?) and that although relationships can be difficult at times, they need to be worked at and everyone lives happily ever after… Snore.

The acting is not terrible but there is nothing for the actors to do. Everyone seems to have one eye on their bank balance, plodding through until they can move on to something else.