The Bride’s Film Page is now closed for business. For film and TV related stuff visit me over at Bride of the Screen God.
Welcome to The Bride’s film page. When not reading I’m often watching a movie, either in the company of the Book God or (if it’s too frightening for him) by myself.
Here’s where you’ll find my thoughts on what I’ve seen. If I’ve watched something on TV or DVD I’ll probably express a view on whether I’ll watch it again.
If I’ve managed to organise a trip to the cinema, or if it’s something I’ve read about but missed seeing on the big screen, I’ll pick one of the following:
1. I’m definitely going to buy the DVD
2. I wouldn’t want to own it but might pay to watch it on digital TV
3. I plan to watch it on terrestrial TV or free digital
4. I would probably watch it on TV if I came across it by accident
5. I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I never saw it again.
The Safety Cushion: an explanation – in my review of Pan’s Labyrinth I make reference to the Safety Cushion. This is a normal cushion on my sofa which I have been known to hug, and even to hide my face behind, during moments of gruesomeness, or when characters that I particularly love are in peril. It is an essential accessory for the home movie watching experience.
And needs to be particularly close at hand during episodes of Dr Who.
I used to babysit in the 1980s for a couple whose two little boys absolutely loved Transformers, so having borrowed the DVD from a friend we sat down to watch the movie that we meant to see in the cinema but somehow missed. Storywise, Sam Witwicky finds himself the owner of a car that can transform into a giant robot, one of several looking for a thingy that needs to be found by the good guys or else. Or something like that, I may have left out some of the subtleties of the plot.
What I loved about this movie = the special effects are great, the transformations are all wonderful but especially when happening at speed or in mid-air; the director doesn’t hang about, there is a big action scene at the beginning where you get to see a Transformer, none of this keeping the monster til two-thirds of the way through; the heroine gets to be a mechanic; Shia LaBoeuf is actually quite engaging (I had been prepared not to like him).
What I didn’t like about this movie = I assume John Turturro’s character was meant to be funny but I just found him really annoying; it’s difficult to tell the good and bad robots apart (except for Bumblebee, Megatron and Optimus Prime they’re all a bit interchangeable, but hey I’m not 14 so what do I know?); it is a good 30 minutes too long.
So, general verdict is this was pretty good fun. I wouldn’t seek it out but if I came across it on TV I would probably watch it.
The Dark Knight 
So the film that I have been looking forward to the most this year has finally arrived, and I was lucky enough to see it this afternoon in London on the IMAX screen which made it seem even more epic, and made Gotham look particularly beautiful.
Not wanting to say too much about the plot in case people haven’t seen it yet, but this is largely about Batman vs The Joker with Harvey Dent thrown into the mix. Lots of stuff for fans of the comic books.
What I loved about this movie = Heath Ledger (of course), a wonderfully anarchic performance which brings the proper comic book Joker to the screen; Gary Oldman, underrated in his role as Gordon; Michael Caine (God bless you, sir!); the explosions (as always), especially the hospital scene; the cinematography – this film looks fantastic; Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart are always worth watching
What I didn’t like about this movie = a minor quibble about the voice Christian Bale uses when in the mask, which I understand the reasoning behind but did occasionally find distracting
I really loved this movie; the violence, although implied, was quite unpleasant and I did squirm a couple of times but it all felt right for the tone of the film. This is a very dark movie, but I know that I will watch it again with great admiration, so onto the DVD wish list it goes.
In terms of the comic book movies out this year, I put this above Iron Man, and we’ll just have to see what happens with Hellboy!
There Will be Blood 
So this film has been living with me for a full week; bits of dialogue keep popping into my head, and some of the images are truly unforgettable. After mulling it over I think I can now try to articulate something of the impression it had on me.
It’sthe story of Daniel Plainview, an oilman, and what happens to him when he begins to drill for oil on the Sunday ranch. An appallingly short synopsis of this story which covers so much about the human condition, and what happens to us when we allow our obsessions to run our lives, but I don’t know what more to say – you must see it if you haven’t already. I was hugely impressed by this film, which the Book God and I watched on DVD in total silence and perfect stillness.
What I loved about this movie = Daniel Day Lewis totally deserved his Oscar; Paul Dano was likewise excellent as Eli Sunday; the epic sweep of the story, which was wonderfully captured in the scale of the visuals
What I didn’t like about this movie = was nothing to do with the film itself, I just wish I had had the opportunity to see this on the big screen where it must have been almost overwhelming.
This is one of the most grown-up (in a good way) films I have ever seen. And the ending was perfect.
Sometimes you just need to see mindless tosh, but at least it’s worth spending your time watching really high quality mindless tosh; if that’s your thing (and goodness knows it’s mine) then you will enjoy this movie.
I started to outline the plot but got a fit of the giggles when trying to explain the whole clan of weavers forms society of assassins thing, so won’t continue with the attempt. If you want a sensible review please visit Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for his thoughts. Much more articulate than mine!
What I loved about this movie = wee James McAvoy doing buff; Angelina Jolie being sultry and magnificent (how I love her so…); Morgan Freeman swearing; stylish visuals; guns and (lots and lots of very big) explosions
What I didn’t like about this movie = not enough Terence Stamp or Marc Warren and I guessed a chunk of the plot within the first 15 minutes, but who cares, these are both minor quibbles which didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment
Probably not a DVD purchase but I know that every time I come across this on TV I will be sucked into watching it.
This is a film that I kind of thought I’d like to see at the cinema but never got around to, and then the Book God, who loves animation, bought it and it’s been kicking around on the “to be watched pile” for ages. We wanted something light to watch after the emotional season finale of Dr Who and this got picked.
So this is the story, as I’m sure you all know, of Remy , a French rat who loves good food and ends up taking control of a young kitchen worker called Linguini as a means to becoming a great chef. I really admire Pixar and was really looking forward to giving this a whirl so…..
Things I liked about this movie = the recreation of Paris is magnificent; Peter O’Toole is instantly recognisable; the food looked great
Things I didn’t like about this movie = I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but there was something not quite right; afterwards it came to me that you had two villains and therefore two climaxes to the film, one of which happens near the middle so the pacing was off
All in all I found this lovely to look at but vaguely disappointing, which is a shame and may just be me being picky…….
Kung Fu Panda 
I’ve been looking forward to this film for ages; I really enjoy good animation and just the words “kung fu” and “panda” in the same sentence got my inner 14 year old very excited. So when we got the chance to see a preview at the IMAX cinema in London there was no way I was going to miss it.
Basic premise – Po is a panda obsessed with kung fu who is picked as the Dragon Warrior (seemingly by accident) over the Furious Five who are all adept at martial arts, and will have to face the evil Tai Lung who has escaped from prison and is coming back to the valley for revenge. The only problem is that Po is a panda – big and slow and not very agile, so how is he ever going to fulfill his destiny?
Things I liked about this movie = where to start? – the animation is fantastic; Jack Black is brilliant as Po, in fact all of the voice artists are excellent; Tai Lung is a great villain, there is a strong message for us all to take away from the story; it’s laugh out loud funny in lots of places; the tubby guy is the hero (and I speak as a tubster myself); and it’s kung fu! with a panda! what’s not to like?
Things I didn’t like about this movie = if the only even remotely negative thing you can say about a film is that you wish the snow leopard wasn’t the baddie just cos you like snow leopards, then that’s pretty good going – and he really is an awesome villain!
I’m recommending this to all my friends with children and it is going on the “buy this as soon as it’s available on DVD” list. Absolutely adored it.
Going to see this film started off as a thing of duty; it was the day before the Book God’s birthday and he got to choose the movie. I expected Indiana Jones even thought the reviews had been mixed, but he plumped for this one. And I was totally surprised to find that I really, really enjoyed it, much more so than I had expected.
Mongol tells the story of the life of Genghis Khan up to the point where he unites all of the Mongol tribes. It starts when, as a young boy, he chooses a bride, Borte, clearly the love of his life and an influentiall figure in this film, which is as much a love story as anything else.
Things I liked about this move = both of the actors playing Genghis; the actress playing Borte, who was truly beautiful; the scenery, which was astonishing; the epic sweep of the story; the clothes (in an odd sort of way)
Things I didn’t like = my only quibble was with the structure, as it was sometimes not entirely clear how much time had passed between the various episodes in the film. Decided it was best to just sit back and go along for the ride.
Worthy of its Oscar nomination. Might not buy on DVD but would certainly watch this again.
El laberinto del fauno [Pan’s Labyrinth] 
I’ve had this film for ages but wanted to save it for when I could really concentrate on it, and a wet Bank Holiday seemed absolutely right. I really love Guillermo del Toro; I was an early adopter of Cronos and have, I think, watched everything he has directed since then, including Mimic which I may very well be one of the few people to enjoy.
So of course I was really looking forward to seeing Pan’s Labyrinth, especially as both Jonathan Ross and Mark Kermode had raved about it in their reviews. I can’t say whether it should have won the Oscar for foreign language film because I haven’t yet seen The Lives of Others, but I’m very glad to say that it didn’t disappoint.
The film is set in 1944 in Fascist Spain, where Ofelia and her mother, who is heavily pregnant, go to join her brutal stepfather at his military outpost. She finds a labyrinth behind the camp and when she reaches the centre she meets the Faun, who claims that she is a princess out of place and in order to get to return she has to carry out three tasks.
Things I liked about this movie = the art design and special effects are truly spectacular and otherwordly; Ofelia herself is excellent; the character of Mercedes; the growing sense of doom; the bravery of the doctor; the inevitability of the ending
Things I didn’t like = I thought this was perfect, but some people might find the violence too much; I squirmed on a couple of occasions and almost had to make use of the Safety Cushion; the insects crawling over Ofelia during one of her tasks were a bit yucky too
If you like dark fantasy you will love this, and it does illuminate some of the things which happened in Spain after the Civil War was over; a good companion to The Devil’s Backbone.
I am so looking forward to Hellboy 2!
I know, I know, I’ve come to this so much later than everybody else. After all, Mark Kermode, reviewer of note, tells me every week when I listen to the podcast of his film reviews on Radio Five Livehow much he liked this, and it was Oscar nominated and all that, but somehow I managed to miss this in the cinema. So I leapt at the chance when I saw that it was being shown at BFI South Bank and took myself along on the way home from work last night. No Book God accompanying me as he doesn’t really do quirky………..
I’m not going to go over the set-up at all because I’m sure we all know what this is about.
Things I liked about the movie = Ellen Page is fabulous (in fact all of the acting is superb), I love Allison Janney (the put-down she gives the ultrasound technician is great), I love Michael Cera, it is very, very funny and the music is great. Also, like the sentimental fool I am, I cried at the ending which, although embarrassing, is often a sign of deep satisfaction.
Things I didn’t like = there is absolutely nothing I didn’t like about this film. After I got home I quoted chunks of dialogue at the Book God, who humoured me as only the best husbands can.
Another one for the must buy on DVD list – a film that I suspect I’ll watch to cheer myself up and to remind me that people are basically decent and just trying to do the right thing.
Iron Man 
So off to the local multiplex this afternoon to see the first of the big summer blockbusters. Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau and based on the comic book and (very poor) animated series, tells the story of Tony Stark, weapons manufacturer, and how he becomes a superhero.
Things I liked about this movie = Robert Downey jr (I think I’m in love), the special effects (very cool), the Iron Man suit (red and gold is so classic), the music (loud) and the explosions – lots and lots of very, very big explosions.
Things I didn’t like = minor quibbles really – the Jeff Bridges completely bald head & full beard combo (his face looks looks upside down), and, bless her, Gwyneth Paltrow is just not someone I’ve ever really warmed to.
The first hour or so is character driven and works really well in establishing Stark’s personality, and although some haven’t enjoyed the latter part which is basically big mechanised men thumping each other and causing major destruction all around them, well, that’s kind of what I went for, so no complaints there!
This is a definite DVD buy of the future.
Murder on the Orient Express 
OK, so it looks a bit creaky now after 34 years, but this is still one of my favourite films, and I can’t begin to work out how many times I’ve seen it since it came out when I was (ahem) 12 years old. I was in the middle of my first Agatha Christie phase (I had a second flurry one summer when I was a student) and I still have the paperback with the movie-tie in cover that was published in 1975.
Things I love about this movie = the clothes, the fabulous cast, Sean Connery being gruff, Michael York being beautiful, Wendy Hiller being imperious
Things I don’t like = well there aren’t any really
Having said that, Albert Finney’s performance seems these days to owe more to Marlon Brando than anything else, but it’s still miles better than anything Peter Ustinov managed! I wonder if David Suchet, who is so wonderful in the ITV adaptations will ever get the chance to do this and if so whether they will ever be able to match the stellar cast.
A perennial favourite, will be watched time and time again.