Friday, 23 July 2010

Film recommendations for the weekend

Okay, so I admit to being slightly peeved that when Jonathon Ross left the BBC his vacated role of Film 2010 host wasn't offered to me.  Didn't even get a sniff at it. No screen test, nothing.  They gave it to that Claudia Winkelman person.  I mean really.

But, not to be deterred here are my very own recommendations if you fancy watching a film at home this weekend.

Up In The Air starring my future husband, George Clooney. It's about a businessman (Clooney) who never stops travelling and along the way meets a kindred spirit, Alex,  played by Vera Farmiga. He begins to realise that life isn't about the journey but about the connections you make along the way. This film is so clever, so beautifully acted, so thought-provoking that I'm not going to say anything other than this: please watch it.

Gran Torino As far as I'm concerned you can't go wrong with a film directed by (and starring) Clint Eastwood.  For me he has the magic touch, and some of the films he has directed are among my personal favourites - Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby to name but two. So when I hired this film I had high hopes, and my god, it lives up to that and more.

Eastwood plays a Korean War veteran who lives in an increasingly Asian neighbourhood.  He doesn't like  his family, he hates his new neighbours and the only thing that he loves is his classic Gran Torino car.  One day he is forced to defend his new neighbours against violent thugs, and his life changes. A beautiful, sad, heartbreaking film.  Brilliant, just brilliant.

Last Chance Harvey is a note perfect romantic comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. That might seem like an odd couple for a romcom, and indeed that's part of the appeal of this film.  Hoffman plays a New Yorker visiting London for his estranged daughter's wedding, and Thompson plays an airport market researcher who is everyone's friend but nobody's lover.  Tell me about it.  Anyway, it's a lovely film although it did actually make me cry at one point. A lot.

Emma Thompson, who can convey silent hurt perfectly, is great as the world-weary, emotionally tired Kate, and Hoffman is a pleasant surprise.  Highly recommended.

District 9 a sci-fi film - but don't let that put you off.  I reviewed it here.

And films to avoid?  Well, let's see. 

Have you heard about the Morgans? which I reviewed here. Shockingly bad.

It's Complicated which on paper sounds great.  It has Meryl Streep and the under-used Steve Martin in a romantic comedy so yes, it should work.  I wanted it to work. Only problem is it also has the man whose head is too big for his body, Alec Baldwin AND the film is way, way too long.  I almost lost the will to live two thirds of the way through. 

Edge of Darkness a thriller which hasn't fared well due to unfavourable comparisons to the fantastically successful TV series from the 1980s.  I hadn't actually seen the TV series so I thought I could watch it for its own worth, but I turned it off about a third of the way in.  I lost interest in the characters, the plot was clunky and I mean, does anyone actually take Mel Gibson seriously these days?

The Invention of Lying a Ricky Gervais comedy which is also his directorial debut. The premise is simple enough: what if nobody in the world told lies?  Then one day, Gervais' character realises that if he tells lies people believe him and it sets in motion a series of events which culminate in him being hailed as a prophet. The joke is great for about 20 minutes, especially some of the sight gags but unfortunately for us the film has another 80 minutes of lame material. A real shame.

Do you have any film recommendations or ones to avoid of your own?
Image for Last Chance Harvey from