Tag Archives: Romance

Friday Film Club: Upside Down (2012) & Night Watch (2004)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick –  Upside Down (2012)

As we start out Season 3 with Sofia Coppola’s filmography, it only seems suitable to talk about a movie with Kirsten Dunst. Upside Down is a 2012 fantasy romance film set in a fictional world where the gravity pulls in opposite directions. The rich live in the Up Top and the poor live in the Down Below. The population from Down Below is illegal to go to Up Top however the people from Up Top can pay big money to enjoy ceiling entertainment in the Down Below as an experience. In comes Adam and Eden who met when they were teens and some misunderstanding pulls them apart. A decade later when Adam soon sees Eden again on a show, he is determined to go to her through finding a position in the offices to easily access the passage to the Up Top. 

In the lead roles is Kirsten Dunst as Eden and Jim Sturgess as Adam who play teen lovers who have been separated and trying to reunite. The charm of any romance is the chemistry between its characters. While the story here is set in a fantasy world, their romance is fairly normal except for the hurdles that blend into the world that this is set in. There’s a lot to love between them because what they have is cute and sweet. In the supporting role is Timothy Spall who plays Bob, who is Adam’s coworker and he is a charming and inspiring character and one of the highlight roles of Upside Down. 

The CGI elements are visually appealing. Sure, there’s some issues with the whole concept and the physics but for a romance story and not one all about science fiction and how it all works, it’s easy to see past the flaws and focus on the point of the film and that is the romance between Adam and Eden and their determination to be together and taking a leap of faith in the name of love. Upside Down hinges a lot on how much you like romance films as well as how willing you are to buy the premise. 

Elwood’s Pick – Night Watch (2004)

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Based on the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, Timur Bekmambetov’s film adaptation has the distinction of being Russia’s first horror movie. The film set in modern day Moscow see’s the forces of light and dark upholding a fragile truce which has held since Medieval times when it became clear to both sides that neither held a clear advantage over the other. To uphold the truce the forces of light formed the Night Watch while the forces of Darkness formed the Day Watch to ensure that the truce was upheld by both sides. However when a powerful neutral “Other” threatens to upset the balance depending on which side they choose, both sides find themselves in a race to discover who they are.

Shot for a mere $4.2 milion which clearly in Russia goes a lot further as here we are presented with a film which not only looks incredible as epic medievil battles rage on the roofs of tower blocks while building crumble you would think that Bekammbetov is working with the same kind of budget as the Hollywood mainstream. At the same time here he brings to life a world were amidst the urban sprawl of the city vampire lurk in the shadows, witches perform rituals to help jilted lovers get back at their former partners and a nurse’s depression might just responsible for the catastrophic storm raging over her tower block.

Following Night Watch agent Anton (Konstantin Khabensky) a low level mage who spends his nights looking like a city worker much like his fellow agents as they cruise the streets in big yellow trucks and interest contract to the flashy clothes and sports cars of the Day Watch one of which getting to live the live of a famous pop star when she’s not on duty. Certainly it’s a very grounded approach to these fantastical characters and part of what makes the film work so well, more so when it’s combined with a vicious edge which see’s clashes between the two sides not involving sparkly vampires flashing through the air but rather bloody and brutal clashes as we see when Anton is forced to tackle a pair of rogue vampires. That being said anyone who saw Wanted will know that Behammbetov is no slouch when it comes to producing exciting and inventing action scenes and this certainly the case here as well.

On an initial watch the plotting and world can seem alittle complex but certainly this is a film which rewards a second viewing with the mythology expanded further with the problematic sequel Day Watch which thanks to Behammbetov taking on Wanted and seeing the offer to direct the proposed third film Twilight Watch putting him in an artistic rut. As such Day Watch is left feeling like two films edited together as it brings a rushed end to what could have been a fantastic trilogy. Still viewed as a stand alone or as part of a larger saga there is still a lot to enjoy with the film providing the perfect entry point into this world

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Round Up

Quentin Tarantino’s Feature Presentation – A three part mini-series in which Tarantino sits down with film critic Amy Nicholson to discuss five films which impacted him from a diverse selection which includes Point Blank, Valley Girl and Boogie Nights

Visitations – Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah of indie production company SpectreVision visit the homes and workshops of some of their favorite creators in the genre community and beyond, including Taika Waititi

 

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Friday Film Club: Death Proof (2007) & A Smile Is Very Alluring (2016)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick –  One Smile is Very Alluring (2016)

One Smile is Very Alluring, also called Love O2O is a movie based on a novel by Chinese author Gu Man. An interesting element is that it was also made into a TV series in the same year. While its easy to do a comparison of the two with both of them having their own positives, the movie version was released first and because of its confined length, is packaged with more focus on the romance side rather than the inspirational youth entrepreneur sort of story. At the same time, what stands out for One Smile is Very Alluring is that its romance is focused on a more positive type of relationship rather than more typical Chinese romantic dramas that tend to be all about bringing in emotional breakups and cry fests. 

One Smile Is Very Alluring tells the story of a random meeting between two people. The first is Xiao Nai (Boran Jing), the popular boy in school who doesn’t really care for anyone else but his own circle of friends but as both good grades and handsome looks, making him the crush of all the girls in the university. The second is the department belle, Wei Wei (Angelababy) who has a lot of book smarts but also is the top female online game player on the same server as Xiao Nai. Xiao Nai’s love at first sight moment was not Wei Wei’s beauty or her smarts but from his meeting her randomly as he saw her join into the online game battle and the dexterity of her motions and controls. He approaches her in the game, also being the top player on the server and start their relationship there. The conflicts that occur throughout their cute beginning involves a lot of the outside elements involving online bullying as well as rumors and career issues. 

There’s no doubt that the story itself is slightly generic but it’s also because it breaks away from the typical sad drama element and keeps things fairly positive that makes this movie very feel-good. At the same time, it has some strong cast behind it, especially since it marks the beginning for a few actors and actresses that have now gotten some fame in Chinese dramas other than its two main leads. Boran Jing has been in the business with a lot of his work mostly involved in movies, like The Bullet Vanishes. Opposite him is Angelababy who has been in some Hollywood films like Independence Day: Resurgence and Hitman: Agent 47 and really delivers on the role of Wei Wei being both smart, beauty and the online gaming elements. The setting is both in reality and in the gaming world with a lot of other gaming references as well. Sure, it has some generic flaws but its a rarely seen positive romance with a decent amount of chemistry between the two that its worth a visit, especially a nice starting point to get into this story before deciding to check out the TV series, which fleshes out the story more. 

You can check out Kim’s TV binge of Love O2O as a companion piece to the movie HERE.

Elwood’s Pick – Death Proof (2007)

With Tarantino currently courting as much praise as he is controversy for his latest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood this time surprisingly not for the violence nor controversial language but rather from Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon taking offence of how her father is potrayed in the film especially when he loses a fight to Brad Pitt’s ageing stuntman in a scene designed to show the battle between new and old Hollywood. Of course it should be noted how little qualms she has about selling out her father’s legacy and likeness to sell everything from booze to cleaning products.

Still considering how Tarantino is hardly a director to be rushed and who also currently plans to retire with his next film which will only be his 10th but as is always the case when he does finally release a new film we look at his back catalogue which this time has seen Jackie Brown receiving a renewed interest and appreciation like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch both films initially being relegated to the bottom of the pile only to raised to the upper ranks upon fresh viewing but for myself the title most worth revisiting would always be this film.

Suffering a problematic release as it was torn away from its original double feature presentation Grindhouse after the Weinstein’s got cold feet and distributed both Death Proof and Planet Terror as solo films much to the dismay of us folks in the UK who were left feeling kinda cheated only years later finally getting a blu-ray release of the double feature experience. Still now the dust has settled on that whole fiasco Death Proof can finally be appreciated for the unique charms as Tarantino gives us a slasher movie with a twist with the psychotic former Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) using his custom stunt car to orchestrate vehicular carnage on his victims.

Initially introducing Radio DJ Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) and her pals as they make a stop off at a bar on their way to the Lakehouse only to soon fall foul of Stuntman Mike and pulls a real surprise in how Tarantino essentially introduces and kills his group of girls so that he can introduce a second group featuring Stunt woman Zoe Ball playing herself along with a group of fictional friends with plans to go for a test drive a replica of the Vanishing Point car (a white 1970 Dodge Challenger) only for them also to catch the attention of Stuntman Mike who is once again on the prowl.

Much like Kill Bill Vol. 1 here we have a movie were Tarantino is setting out to just have fun than create the kind of deep world building that we get in the likes of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, instead he is creating the kind of movie that the characters in those films might go and see. At the same time he approached the film with the aim of create his own car chase movie worthy of holding its own alongside the movies he clearly holds so dear like the aforementioned Vanishing Point as well the likes of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and White Line Fever which are unsurprised paid homage to.

As such like Mad Max: Fury Road the film is essentially an excuse to film an extensive and not to mention totally kick ass car chase movie, which takes full advantage of Zoe Bell’s Stuntwoman background by having her riding the bonnet of the car for the first half of the chase like a human hood ornament in a possible nod to Fair Game (1985)

Were the film really falls apart is when Tarantino attempts to include characters outside of the main girl groups whose banter is fun and almost a return to the quotable patter which made his early films so memorable, while Eli Roth’s inclusion like all his attempts at acting makes you wonder why he was included. Equally on fantastic form though is Kurt Russell despite not initially being on his shortlist having rumoured to have gotten the role when Mickey Rourke dropped out. Despite this Russell owns the role with a performance which as eccentric as it is high energy as he clearly is getting a thrill out of the girls not being the easy kill he was expecting as the two cars tear up the asphalt.

Sure it might not be his strongest film but for pure popcorn thrills and excitement it’s well worth giving it another look either as part of Grindhouse or in it’s extended standalone form.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Round Up

Quentin Tarantino’s Feature Presentation – A three part mini-series in which Tarantino sits down with film critic Amy Nicholson to discuss five films which impacted him from a diverse selection which includes Point Blank, Valley Girl and Boogie Nights

Zobo With A Shotgun Podcast – Zoe continues her history of extreme cinema with a look at the cinema of 1984 – 1989. Continuing her world domination you can also check out her new webshow The Unrated Cut as along with her co-host Chris Nials they discuss thier favourite extreme horror cinema.

Visitations – Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah of indie production company SpectreVision visit the homes and workshops of some of their favorite creators in the genre community and beyond, including Taika Waititi, Ana Lily Amirpour John Landis and Dan Harman

 

Friday Film Club: Austenland + Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick –  Austenland (2013)

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Based on 2007’s novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, Austenland is a 2013 romantic comedy about a girl called Jane who is in her 30s and lives with the obsession of everything Austen especially with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the elusive Mr. Darcy. Because of this, she decides to spend all her savings to go to a Jane Austen theme park resort which turns out to be full of both good and bad surprises (as you’d expect).

Taking on the main lead for Austenland is Keri Russell here as Jane Austen superfan Jane Hayes who decides to let it all go as she decides to give it one last go and fulfill a lifelong dream to live in the era that she believes that she was meant to be in. Of course, it becomes apparent that this Austen-inspired resort isn’t really that great especially for her who spent all her money and only got the lowest package which made her equivalent to a commoner or in their world, a penniless old maid. Playing opposite her is J.J. Feild as Henry Nobley, the nephew of the owner of the estate and is pretty much the resident Mr. Darcy. Of course, we also have the Wickham parallel called Martin who is played by Bret McKenzie. However, as fun as it is to see these relationships come into play, perhaps the more fun part is watching the ladies at the resort comedically and in a rather absurd way fall into place and get some hilarious moments driven mostly by Jennifer Coolidge and her exaggerated fake British accent.

Austenland is a very basic romantic comedy and has its flaws. However, the chemistry and the parallels to Jane Austen and the messages of how our imagination and our reality might not be exactly the same thing is quite fun and cute.

Elwood’s Pick – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012)

 

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If you’ve passed on checking out any of Warner Premier’s Animated DC movies believing that they were meant for kids you’d be sorely missing out on some of the strongest releases of the last few years for the DC heroes. Case in point this adaptation of Frank Miller’s critically acclaimed 1986 series of the same name which is seen along with Alan Moore’s Watchmen as ushering in the Dark Age / Modern Age of comic books.

Set ten years after Bruce Wayne was forced into retiring his alter-ego and the death of his prodege Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. With the Justice League now disbanded and it’s members scattered a middle aged Bruce is forced to watch as Gotham succumbs to the criminals he devoted his life to fighting headed up by a new gang known as “The Mutants” but when a seemingly cured Two Face / Harvey Dent goes on the run Bruce is forced to pick up the mantle of the bat once more as he heads towards a head one clash with both old foes and friends alike.

Bring his dark pulp noir style to Gotham Miller’s doesn’t just give us a middle aged Bruce Wayne but also a whole new world outlook for Batman while he might be slower he now has much less qualms about taking his crime fighting to a new extreme and remorseless level as bones are broken and even the Batmobile resembles more of a bat tank. At the same time finding a new Robin in feisty schoolgirl Carrie Kelly while contending with Commissioner Gordan’s replacement who cares little for costume vigilante’s.

Elsewhere characters like the Joker get a fresh reworking as he is introduced in a catatonic state in Arkham only for the return of Batman to soon snap him back to his old ways with the pair meeting for a memorable final showdown in an amusement park with each villain defeated leaving you wonder how far is too far for this new Batman. Building to a climactic showdown between Batman and Superman who in this world has been reduced to the pawn of international diplomacy for the Regan President as he pushes back against the Soviet union it is nothing short of an action packed and thrilling ride that is crammed into this two part adaptation which sticking so close to the source material does mean that it can at times feel like your watching a TV season edited into a feature format.

Featuring some great animation and voice acting with Peter Weller taking on the role of Batman working suprisingly well, even if he does on occastion drift off into his Robocop voice. Ending on a tantilising end note which Miller continued with The Dark Knight Strikes Again which hopfully will receive an animated treatment at some point.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Round Up

The Feminine Critique – Emily and Christine share their thoughts on Midsommar aswell as 1993’s Indecent Proposal

Exploding Helicopter Podcast check out not only another creative Helicopter explosion but also the first use of CGI in an animation GOLGO 13: THE PROFESSIONAL (1983) as Will is joined once again by Nick Rehak (French Toast Sunday)

Friday Film Club: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before + The Sacrament

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

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In the sea of Netflix Originals that get released throughout the year, one of the weaker categories does go to the teen/YA genre. Being an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jenny Han, To All The Boys’s I’ve Loved Before is a teen film that works because of its charming source material but also its execution and tone, not to mention an equally charming cast too.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before tells the story of Lara-Jean Covey (Lana Condor) who writes a letter to all the boys that she’s loved before and instead of sending them, keeps them in a box. One day, she discovers that the letters are all gone and one by one, the boys she’s written letters to start confronting her. In a mix of situation, she ends up starting up a contracted fake relationship with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), who wants to use her to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. Of course, we all know that their little intimacies and time together inevitably brings them both together.

What makes To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before unique is the execution of the simple premise and giving each of the characters their own personality. While the cast does a great job and this feels more like a romance than a coming of age, it is a lot of both because when you grow up, it is a mix of both. Lara tackles friendships, coming to terms with her own feelings, her relationship with her sisters and her father and all this is shown bit by bit, shaping each of these characters. Both the story of family and the Covey sisters relationships are equally as fun and heartwarming to watch as Lara-Jean’s fantastic chemistry with Peter, making the movie have both a lot of depth and development. Its charming, romantic, fun and comedic: a true feel-good movie.

Elwood’s Pick – The Sacrament

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In 1978 a total of 918 members of the Jonestown cult under the leadership of Jim Jones committed what they termed “revolutionary suicide” by cyanide. It would be an event that would go down as the largest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until September 11, 2001. It’s also an event which provided the key inspiration for Ti West when it came to making this film. As a result the burning question is why he just didn’t make a film about Jonestown and it certainly hangs heavy over the film.

Shot as a found footage film here we follow Patrick (Kentucker Audley) and his friends Jake (Joe Swanberg) and Sam (AJ Bowen) venture out to the cult like Eden Parish which Patrick’s sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) has joined. The trio believing that there is a good story to be found set out to film the experience only to soon find themselves way out of their depth when the dark secrets of the cult are brought to a head. this is actually one of those rare occasions were the format actually works for the film much like VICE allowing for their brand to be associated with the film which unfolds like one of their documentaries especially with the film embracing their style of immersion journalism. As such the trio are certainly happy to enter into the cult’s compounds despite the warning signs of it only being accessible via helicopter or those armed guards that patrol the perimeter of this supposed Utopia.

Once Sam sits down to interview the cult leader or “Father” played with aplumb by Gene Jones whose southern drawl not only allures you into a false sense of hospitality but also t hints of the darkness lying under the idyllic surface of this community before the situation starts its nightmarish decline and while West certainly takes his time establishing the tone with a slow burn first hour before cranking up the insanity once he’s lured us in. For the more impatient movie watcher it might be a little off putting but certainly the pay off makes the film worth sticking with, especially as the true power that Father has over his followers is made all the more clear with the end game for the cult showcasing some incredibly haunting imagery alongside scenes of nail biting tension.

If you can remove the film from it’s real-life inspiration which arguably West would have been better adapting than what can be seen as an exploitive use of the tragedy. As a director I have been aware of West since the release of House of the Devil but despite his rise to being one of the top names in horror it’s taken me until now to actually see any of his films so as a starting point it certainly left me keen to know what else I’ve been missing.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Always Be My Maybe / Already Tommorow In Hong Kong

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015)

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Written and directed by Emily Ting, Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is a romantic drama that tells the story of an Chinese American toy designer Ruby (Jamie Chung) who enlists the help of an American expat investment banker Josh to take her to meet friends in the bustling Hong Kong night. One night of undeniable attraction develops as they wander through the streets of downtown Hong Kong however, the nights ends on a sour note and a year later, they meet again and embark once more on another Hong Kong evening exploration with a new perspective but a familiar connection.

Acted by real life couple, Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg, Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong hinges on the focus of these two characters Ruby and Josh they play respectively as most romantic drama does, especially those that spend the entire length of the film with solely two main leads. Perhaps its their real life connection or the witty script that gives them a natural edge, their charisma and chemistry shines through completely as each layer is added on with more knowledge of each other that boosts their connection. The question that hangs in the air always remains throughout is whether they will decide to give each other chance based their one or two night encounter.

Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is like a romantic drama that also takes its audience on a tour of Hong Kong from the main bustling Hong Kong Island to the New Territories, sharing the different significant landmarks, the beautiful nightscape as well as the smaller places from restaurants and bars that show both the cultural and modern edge of the city. It’s a place that can easily make you fall in love with it except it also lets us fall in love with the two main leads as well. At the same time, because of their differences, it shares a lot of the American expat life in Hong Kong as well as the American-born Chinese who might not be as in touch with their own heritage and the contrast of the two which ends up having some social discussions. On top of that, the soundtrack here is pretty fantastic, featuring music from Noughts and Exes which had disbanded already but made some really good music.

Elwood’s Pick – Always Be My Maybe

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Pitched as an Asian When Harry Met Sally it’s a film that real life friends Ali Wong and Randall Park had been trying to develop for years finally picking up steam in 2016 when Vulture’s Jackson McHenry wrote a collumn enthusiastically supporting the project and leading to Netflix putting the film into development as one of their exclusives.

Ali Wong plays Sasha who grows up next door to her best friend Marcus (Randall Park) but after the pair have sex they suddenly find a wedge driven between them and their friendship. Reconnecting 17 years later Sasha is now working as celebrity chef while engaged to a successful restaurateur. Marcus meanwhile is still living at home with his father while still trying to pursue success with his band Hello Peril while working for his father. Now finding themselves thrown unexpectedly together the pair attempt to reconnect while they both try to work out how they feel about the other.

A light hearted comedy it never takes itself too seriously which can especially be said for Keanu Reeves who plays an pretentious hipster version of himself shooting his scenes during filming breaks for John Wick 3: Parabellum and here proves a fitting rival for Marcus especially as he slowly cranks up the randomness while adding to the steady flow of terrible partners that Sasha and Marcus find themselves with at various points while they continue to puzzle over how they feel about each other.

While not the deepest viewing experience it’s certainly made up for by both Wong and Park sharing a fantastic on screen chemistry and really vibe off each other well, while at the same time Charlyne Yi, Karan Soni and Michelle Buteau make memorable appearances throughout as the pairs friends.

 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Movies and Tea #18 – The Shape of Water

Born out of a failed attempt to remake “Creature From The Black Lagoon”, The Shape of Water saw del toro question what would have happened if Kay had actually gone off with the Gill-Man.

Unquestionable a unique romantic movie, here we find Del Toro at his most sympathetic for his own gil-man creation while also crafting some of the most visually arresting footage of his career somthing the academy reward his efforts by awarding the film the best film and director awards at the 90th academy awards.

On this episode we dive into this most unlikely of romances aswell as Del Toro’s most explicit film to date, to find out how he made us all believe in his vision, question the obsession with green aswell as what the intended black and white cut of the film could have offered. We also wrap up the season revealing our favourite, most hated aswell as the hidden gems of Del Toro’s filmography.

Further Viewing

Amelie
The Creature From The Black Lagoon
Hellraiser
Hellboy
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Music on this episode

Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
Alexandre Desplat – Elisa’s Theme
Alexandre Desplat – Princess Without A Voice

Listen to the Show

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Itunes
Spotify
Podomatic

Friday Film Club: Harold and Maude + Nick and Norah’s Infinate Playlist

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)

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Based on the novel with the same name written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist takes two teenagers, Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings), who meet randomly when Norah asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend for a few minutes while on the search for their favorite band’s secret show location aswell as Norah’s drunken best friend who has run off under the loose surveillance of Nick’s bandmates. There’s something so fascinating about the spontaneity of meeting someone who just aligns with the same interest and ends up with an adventure derived from that and that is what is the charm behind Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The fun and entertaining elements of both searching everything for a secret show and the best friend adds a lot of layers to these two characters while also giving the supporting roles a silly side and at times over the top moments especially in terms of Norah’s best friend’s drunk adventures.

It goes without saying that Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is packed with a brilliant soundtrack throughout. While its packaged in a romantic film, they also share a very positive look at how two people can bring out the best between them as well as resolve issues within them that perhaps they haven’t quite had the courage to face just yet. For that, the movie’s charm also lies in Michael Cera’s portrayal of Nick, where his character seems to be constantly pegged as a similar type of character relatable to other roles in Juno or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, however paired up with a Kat Dennings’ Norah, who gives off the perfectly awkward yet interesting girl next door feeling works its wonders in just a few moments.

Not to mention that Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a very straightforward idea however its a great example of how certain films take good execution and charming characters and can pull off something very mesmerizing to watch especially when it also feels quite real. Drunken nights, careless friends, bantering, ignorance and chasing after a secret band seems like those teenage adventures that whether you have done it before will make you reminisce and if you haven’t, want to live through it with Nick and Norah.

Elwood’s Pick – Harold and Maude (1971)

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Opening to Harold (Bud Cort) a privileged young man hanging himself which soon turns out to be another his numerous fake and increasingly elaborate fake suicides which feature throughout the film all which are humorously ignored by his mother who carries on with whatever she is doing and ignoring the fact he son is seemingly hanging from a noose (or whatever cause of suicide he’s imitating). This morbid obsession with death of course isn’t just limited to these fake suicide attempts as Harold also enjoys attending funerals and driving around in a hearse which his mother attempts to curb by buying him a Jaguar which he retaliates by somehow turning into a sports car hearse combo.

Once Harold meets Maude who also shares this morbid interest in attending funerals she immediately becomes a source of fascination for him, as he soon becomes her unwitting accomplice when she randomly steals a car and engages in high speed chases with the highway police aswell as seemingly on a whim deciding to uproot and replant a tree from a city street. Why Maude has chosen to live a life filled with such reckless rebellion is never truly clear but at the same time Ruth Gordon’s performance comes with such a lust for life that you can understand the unlikely pairing of these characters with Maude teaching Harold about music and how to appreciate life in general with the bond between the two only growing stronger the more time they spend together.

Shot with such a darkly comedic vein it’s hard to say if this film is for everyone, though it certainly appealed to my own warped sense of humour. At the same time both Gordon and Cort are so believable as the leads with a great chemistry  which ensures that they are constantly playing off each other, especially in the case of Gordon whose really sells the mischievous nature of Maude, despite her character being almost 80 and making the ending all the more impactful if not unexpected.  Ultimately this film really is a celebration of embracing life, despite their characters obsession with ending theirs.

 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.