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Tag Archives: Jessica Biel

Playing for Keeps

George (played by Gerard Butler) was once a hugely successful professional soccer player. He would rub shoulders with the likes of David Beckham and play against all the leading stars. His fans can recount game after game where his brilliance shines through to bring victory for his team. But that was then … now he is finished with the big-time (well, the big time is finished with him actually) and he has moved to Virginia. He’s now near to his son Lewis (by Noah Lomax) who lives here with his mother – George’s ex-wife, Stacie (by Jessica Biel). She has moved on and has a strong new relationship. But George is out of work and drifting. He lives in a rented house as he tries to break into the prime-time sports media business, but he just hasn’t got his act together. He tries to keep up good contact with Lewis, but never quite achieves it. One day, the coach of Lewis’ local soccer team quits and Stacie suggests George take the job so he can spend more time with Lewis. George is reluctant, but he’s got nothing better to do, so he gives it a go. This is the first time George has had to do a job that can actually do some good. The soccer Mums and Dads all have their own agenda and they’re awe-struck to have George as their coach. The job comes with the trappings of his fading celebrity – and he’s still distracted by women who are attracted to his past. Few of the parents can see past George’s celebrity reputation. Stacie really hopes George can establish a great relationship with Lewis, but the other parents have their own ideas about how George should manage things. George then gets the chance at the sportscasting big-time, but can he do that and still forge a strong relationship with is son?

This movie is ridiculous. The underlying premise has some strong messages, but the presentation is tedious and quite baffling. I’d say the screenplay has been written to underscore the myth that women feel incomplete without a man and just can’t keep their hands off men who have been famous, regardless of their achievements, personality or morals. The notion that the three seemingly successful, sensible women in this movie – played by Uma Thurman (as Patti), Catherine Zeta-Jones (as Denise) and Judy Greer (as Barb) – just forget themselves and can only think about bedding this seemingly irresistible guy – is totally misguided and approaching offensive. These three ought to have know better than be part of this movie. George is by no means the catch-of-the-century – he’s selfish, immature and incompetent as an adult, but Gerard Butler’s performance reflects that. Dennis Quaid’s character Carl, is awful too. The whole thing should never have been done.

Made in 2012. Directed by Gabriele Muccino

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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Movies

 

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New Year’s Eve

Across New York City, people are getting prepared for tonight … it’s New Years Eve. Some people have high expectations and big plans, others want to spend the evening in their own individual way. Amongst all these people, there is one common thread – they all seek something … all near Times Square, where the huge New Year’s Ball will fall on the stoke of midnight, to usher in the New Year with all the hopes and expectations that come with it. We watch the fortunes of pregnant women expecting their first child, people looking for love, others trying to forget love, some trying to mend a broken heart and some spending the last precious hours of the year celebrating their lives.

This is a lightweight movie that is fine to watch if you need to pass the time. The comedy is mostly witty and a big part of the entertainment comes from the ensemble cast – not in their performances, which are all just utilitarian, but in the delight you get when yet another big star pops up in one of the scenarios. That is quite fun … there are dozens of stars in this. It’s nothing special, but not difficult to watch. Sofia Vergara is my favourite here, closely followed by Hilary Swank. All in all, yes it’s okay.

Made in 2011. Directed by Garry Marshall

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in Movies

 

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Hitchcock

It is 1959, and Alfred Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins) has already established himself as a reputable Hollywood film director, but his image as an eccentric and somewhat difficult craftsman to work with has started to overshadow his ability to draw crowds to the box office. Desperate to refresh his public notoriety and his relationship with his supporting studio, Hitchcock decides to go out on a limb and create a movie that is far removed from all his previous work. This is the story of the events in the making of “Psycho” and the relationship between Hitchcock and his long-suffering but adoring wife Alma Reville (by Helen Mirren) during the filming.

We view this biography from the perspective of Alma, Hitchcock’s wife. He is portrayed as a dedicated filmmaker who is likely to become infatuated with his current leading lady, but only for as long as each filming lasts. A string of disgruntled femmes litter his life and he tends to disregard this, along with most of the other realities of life (apart from his love for Alma), in favour of his creation process. Scarlett Johansson is lovely as Janet Leigh and a series of other stars such as Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel and Michael Stuhlbarg provide strong support roles. As always, Helen Mirren is marvellous and the “Hitchcock” make up worn by Anthony Hopkins is excellent. It’s not a blockbuster, but it’s fine to pass the time – perhaps when you’re on a long haul flight sometime.

Made in 2012. Directed by Sacha Gervasi

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Movies

 

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The Illusionist

In Vienna in the late 1800’s, teenagers Eduard Abramovich (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, then Edward Norton) and Sophie von Teschenare (by Eleanor Tomlinson, then Jessica Biel) are close friends who spend all their time together – until they are suddenly and cruelly separated without warning.  Eduard and Sophie go their separate ways and several years go by. As an adult, Eduard has become Eisenheim, a skilled illusionist, who travels his entertaining show to incredulous audiences throughout Austria and Europe. During a show in Vienna, a volunteer from the audience joins him on stage to take part in an illusion – he immediately recognises her as his teenage love, Sophie. She is now betrothed to Crown Prince Leopold (by Rufus Sewell) in a marriage of convenience, designed to consolidate the Austrian/Hungarian Empire. The jealous and violent Crown Prince becomes suspicious of Sophie’s activities and assigns his personal Police Inspector Uhl (by Paul Giamatti) to investigate and ruin Eisenheim.  Although Eisenheim enjoys public adoration, Uhl is skeptical of his illusions and is happy to find and expose the hidden tricks in the act to maintain his loyalty to the Crown Prince, But the mysterious and charismatic Eisenheim eludes the traps and accusations at every turn which infuriates the Crown Prince further. Little does Eisenheim realise, he is not only gambling with his own life, but that of his one true love …..

I enjoyed this movie. As the highly intelligent Eisenheim, Edward Norton is marvellously charming, suave and stylish – he plays this role very well indeed. The sepia tones of the production enhance the mood of the period piece (with the work receiving a nomination for Best Achievement in Cinematography at the 2007 Academy Awards) and the costume styling is marvellous. Jessica Biel is so beautiful as Duchess von Teschenare, but it is difficult to decide who is the better male, between Norton and Paul Giamatti.  As is often the case, Giamatti is marvellous – his portrayal of the ambitious Inspector Uhl is impeccable – and he brings us along through his character’s frustration, curiosity, incredulity and ultimate respect for Eisenheim very realistically. Rufus Sewell is cast very well as the cruel and jealous Crown Prince – he too is impeccably styled, handsome and very authentic in this role.  There are mysteries to solve here, a murder, the tricks (or not?) of the illusions … and there is a little romance.  Something for everyone here – a very nice movie.

Made in 2006. Directed by Neil Burger

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Movies

 

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Easy Virtue

As is often the case with comedy, a light-hearted tale is actually a depiction of a desperate situation. “Easy Virtue” is a beautifully crafted romp through the country life of a well-to-do family in 1920’s England. The Whittaker family are the residents of the Manor and its extensive gardens and grounds. They are Lord of the Manor Jim Whittaker (played by Colin Firth), Lady Veronica Whittaker (by Kristin Scott-Thomas), their son and heir John Whittaker (played by Ben Barnes), his wife Larita (Jessica Biel) and his two sisters.  The comedy comes first when John brings his wife home to meet the family for the first time.  The fastidious and status-driven Veronica is utterly shocked and dismayed to find that her only son has married “an American” and she spends the entire movie worrying about portraying the right image and finding reasons not to like or accept Larita.  John’s two sisters follow this lead and make family life very difficult for Larita as she tries to settle in.  Lord Jim is delighted with his son’s choice.

We soon discover that Jim is a disinterested family member and is quite inert when it comes to managing the large estate. His cynical remarks and witty banter towards his wife and family is peppered throughout the movie. We soon discover, however, that he is disinterested as a result of the horrors he experienced in World War I and this is played out very well. There are several other key issues that are bubbling under the surface of this “happy” family and they create a web of deception, intrigue and interest that actually develops into poignant drama.

The characters are all portrayed expertly – Colin Firth is fabulous as Lord Jim, Lady Veronica is wonderfully played by Kristin Scott Thomas and Jessica Biel is a very beautiful and believable “American” Larita.

The real gem of the movie is Furber – the butler – played by Kris Marshall.  He is totally delightful.

This is a lovely movie – based on a play by Noel Coward.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Movies

 

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