So after the highs of Raising Arizona it was time for Cage to prove his rom-com ability again in the case of Moonstruck. Where he stars alongside Cher. The film tells the story of Cher gets engaged to marry a man who has an ongoing beef with his brother, when she goes to see his brother in an attempt to patch the relationship up she is greeted by a bitterly angry Cage who blames his brother for all his issues in life. However, as the film goes on Cher starts to fall for Cage, as I’m sure anyone would would.
Moonstruck has a good iMDB rating and has generally good reviews from all the critics which led us to think this may actually be a decent film. We could not have been more wrong. This really was one of the worst. In a film which is meant to be a comedy drama the laughs come unintentionally from the drama and the comedy leaves you wondering who in the world thought it’d be funny. This is obviously a film that took the majority of its inspiration from Woody Allen and it tries to perform a similar kind of light romantic humour with realistic character arcs and snappy dialogue. It fails on all counts, every other scene needs to be cut and the only watch-able moments come when Cage is around, which really is not enough. For a male lead in a movie his screen time is stupidly minimal. That said his performance is a fun one. Within five minutes of meeting Cher he’s lost his cool about what happened between him and his brother and a hilarious outburst ensues. Then as the couple get to know each other there is a really bizarre scene where Cher literally tells exactly who Cage’s character is in psychoanalytic terms, in film one of the golden rules is to show not tell and this is completely ignored here, we are told everything we need to know about his character within a couple of minutes and from then on the movie becomes more and more unbearable, not to mention the absolutely dreadful ending.
While I may not recommend the film, Moonstruck does provide us with some great Cage scenes and he does lose his cool a bit. However he doesn’t get enough screen time for this to really be classed as a great Cage movie hence…
After a lengthy summer break Cage Rage is now back in action. To kick things back off it was the turn of another Francis Ford Coppola movie, this time a time-travelling romantic comedy starring Kathleen Turner with Cage as her major love interest. And as you may have noticed in the picture above, Jim Carrey also makes an early appearance. The story begins with Peggy Sue and Charlie (Turner and Cage) on the brink of divorce but when Peggy Sue wins the title of Prom Queen at a High School Reunion she feints and wakes up back in her senior year of high school where she is forced to re-evaluate her love life. The story does sound like a predictable, boring and unimaginative one but going in I thought we had every reason to be optimistic, with Coppola as director and and decent score on iMDB I thought this coould well be an enjoyable watch.
Unfortunately, though, it may be best to steer clear of this film altogether. One of the first things to mention about Peggy Sue Got Married is the fact that none of the characters look any different in their 40’s than they did at high school, and in fact even the characters that you only see in High School still look about 20 years too old to be there. The acting is just as jarring as this major filmic error, there is not a single point where any of the actors appear believable and this whole project just comes off as a bizarre attempt at romantic comedy as it goes along. Carrey pulls some of his usual schtick within his very limited screen time and Turner is hideously wooden as lead girl Peggy Sue but Cage gives us something different. This movie marks Cage’s strangest performance so far on his filmography, as he tries to pull off the image of a glossy tv presenter whose real passion lies in music, his greatest and maddest moments come in the scene pictured above where he sings the lead in a barber shop quartet. yes, you heard that right and yes, it is definitely worth YouTubing.
Peggy Sue Got Married is probably one of the most jarring movies I’ve ever sat through, but it has provided me with the first iteration of true Cage madness. His performance here is completely strange, over-the-top and downright hilarious. Hence it has provided us with a momentous occasion: the first ever 4/5 CAGE RAGE rating!
This weeks cinema trip was a rom-com that I was actually really excited for. Billed as the ‘sort-of sequel’ to Knocked Up, This is 40 is Judd Apatow’s fourth time behind the directors chair and it follows the lives of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), who were secondary characters in Knocked Up as they turn 40 and the marital, financial and parenting problems they go through. It really doesn’t have much to do with Knocked Up at all but that doesn’t really matter. Apatow is probably the biggest producer in Hollywood today and all his previous directorial efforts have been excellent. His last outing was with Funny People a film which was largely disliked by the public but loved by critics (and me). It was a much more sombre affair than his first two but I think, an understated well told, heartfelt film. I was expecting more of the same with This is 40.
One thing most of the reviews I’ve read have picked up on is the lengthy running time of 136 minutes and the majority of reviews I’ve read have said it’s far too long. I beg to differ. I thought the plot trotted along at a very watchable pace with funny bits cropping up far more often than I was expecting. I didn’t even notice the time passing and would have been happy to spend another hour in the presence of these lovable, realistic characters. Another thing most of the reviews noted is how much this film feels like a sit com, again this is mostly seen as a bad thing by the critics. Again, I think they’re completely wrong, the film is sitcom material but I think the fact that it feels like watching a sitcom speaks to how well its made. You feel for the characters like you would in a sitcom but Apatow and the actors have managed to create that feeling in one feature, something that usually grows over a whole series in sitcoms. There’s not a moment of the film that wasn’t funny in my eyes, the occasional emotional punch would you set you up for more laughs to follow shortly and the cast deliver the incredibly witty script with the comedy chops we’ve come to know them for. But then there’s two kids played by Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow’s actual daughters who may bring the most laughs of them all.
I found This is 40 to be an insightful, funny look into the lives of an ageing married couple and family life in general. Not quite as slow as Funny People but not quite as fast-paced as Knocked Up it sits somewhere in between the two finding the perfect balance of laughs and heart, ignore the reviews this is one of the most enjoyable flicks you’ll watch this year.
Wes Anderson’s latest sees him work with some different personnel than you might be used to, drafting in the likes of Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel. No sign of Owen Wilson though, which is unusual but we are treated a nice dose of Bill Murray. It speaks to Anderson’s talent the way he’s managed to attract such stars to a quirky, alternative, teenage rom-com an they all manage to fit into his strange world seamlessly.
With the exception of Fantastic Mr. Fox this is probably Anderson’s more child based films taking a number of his techniques from Rushmore. As with all of Anderson’s previous movies all the characters speak the same, in this very matter-of-fact, slightly monotone manner, in his films that way of talking transcends age and gender. Moonrise Kingdom focusses on a young boy and girl who both have fairly messed up families. Sam (Jared Gilman), it is discovered is an orphan, and a scout, he runs away from his scout camp to meet Suzy (Kara Hayward), they promptly fall in love an we learn of their back stories. The style of dialogue is even more ridiculous when it’s spoken by these two kids but it brings the film a nice charm and is frequently hilarious.
What follows is essentially a chase movie where the scout camp and Suzy’s parents try to round up the pair with a number of complications on the way. It builds up to a bit of a mad finale during a freak weather storm with a climactic scene that is put together in a classic Anderson fashion panning between all the different groups of characters as the events unfold. The ending is very heart-warming and the emotional side of the film is one of the best developed in Anderson’s back catalogue.
Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are superb, Willis being a huge amount more vulnerable than I’ve ever seen him and pulling it off particularly well. And Norton being fantastically peculiar. Harvey Keitel is a great addition to the team of bumbling scout leaders who don’t really have a clue what they’re doing. Overall all the elements of the film really work and makes for a great addition to Anderson’s filmography and is fun for all the family too.
Well its been a bit too long since my last post, I’ve been busy settling in to my new house for my second year of uni. Fortunately there has been no lack of media to talk about so first of all I’ll talk about romantic comedy, Hope Springs. When I originally saw the trailers for the film I thought it looked a bit naff but thanks to the persuasion of some trusted reviewers and a girlfriend who has had enough of miserable films I decided to give it a watch.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as a couple whose marriage has completely lost its spark, Streep, desperately trying to salvage it books an intensive counselling course in Hope Springs where they are helped through their issues by Dr. Feld, played by Steve Carrell. I went in thinking Carrell would be the one bringing the laughs, but his psychiatrist is a surprisingly straight turn for the actor best known for his hilarious performances on The U.S. Office. Instead the majority of the laughs come from Jones, whose grumpy old husband frequently produces a chuckle just from his facial expressions and extreme pessimism. Streep is, as always, perfect for her role but in my eyes it’s really Jones that steals the show.
With the exception of a about three scenes though, this film isn’t so much about the laughs and much more about its central couples relationship which it deals with very seriously and provides an uplifting look on long-lasting marriages with a heartfelt conclusion. It never feels to over the top or corny, it’s just all very nice indeed. The only issue is the film is so happy to just sit in its comfort zone. It will hardly stretch outside its target audience and will end up lumped alongside all the other romantic comedies about aging couples that middle-aged couples will buy on dvd and never watch, or maybe watch once and forget. But in truth it deserves to be more than that, perhaps the film makers should have taken a bit more risk and chucked a few more jokes in that would appeal to a younger viewing age, as this film should really get much more exposure than it inevitably will.
If you’re reading this post wanting to find something about getting married in a castle that means you have fallen into my deadly trap of title trickery, what the title actually refers to is my three posts from this week, as always. First of all was my review of the new Brit rom-com The Wedding Video, for a sum-up of the experience head over to the film reviews section and please comment and let me know your opinions too. Secondly we have my third game review, as promised I am building my game section since it seemed pitifully small so here we have my review of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, let me know your views on the new emphasis games have on online multiplayer. And finally due to there not being any big album releases this week head to the band plug section for my personal appraisal of Crystal Castles in the build up to the release of their third studio album. Hope you enjoy.