“Here’s the old hippie-hating mad dog himself in the flesh” Inherent Vice.

Inherent vice poster

Inherent Vice… I am struggling to begin this review due to the absurdity of the subject matter. Let’s start with the plot… (maybe I should use inverted comma’s there). Joaquin Phoenix plays the lead role of ‘Doc’ Sportello, a Private Investigator who gets a mysterious visit from his ex-girlfriend, Shasta Fay (Katherine Waterston), just before she and her millionaire lover, Wolfmann, disappear. During his drug fuelled investigation process, Doc stumbles upon some pretty hairy characters and unwittingly becomes caught up in all sorts of corruption, revenge and a hell of a lot of drug use. But hey, it’s the 70’s man and Doc is a class A bohemian hippie. 

What I imagine Doc's eyeballs see inside his eyelids!

What I imagine Doc’s eyeballs see inside his eyelids!

There are quite a lot of mixed reviews about Inherent Vice which I can understand. The plot may seem straight forward but when you add the sub stories of folks such as Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) the undercover hippie who wants out, ‘Bigfoot’ (Josh Brolin) the dangerous lone Detective looking for any excuse to violate some civil rights and Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd (Martin Short) the nonplussed perverted ‘mob boss’, then the plot becomes a little crowded and it can be quite hard to follow in places. HOWEVER, I actually really like this about Inherent Vice. With the help of Doc’s friend Sortilège (Joanna Newsom) providing some narration when things really don’t make sense, the audience watches events unfold through Doc’s mind… his drug riddled, paranoid, hallucinating rainbow kaleidoscope of a brain. 

My point being, no wonder the film doesn’t make sense! The more drugs Doc consumes the more random things seem to happen, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. I found myself afterwards questioning which bits were paranoid delusions, and what really happened through the eyes of a sane, sober person? I really enjoyed the random scenes and little quips that are easily missed but made me laugh out loud, most of the time in disbelief that something so weird just occurred, (i.e. the policeman picking his nose, or Bigfoot’s last scene… what the eff?! Ha!).

INHERENT VICE

Big love for Phoenix in this role, he really nails the part so convincingly and not a character I have seen him play before. I really felt for his lungs if he isn’t really a smoker! He has a general nonchalance and confidence about him, mixed with the innocence and kind hearted nature that age old stoner stereotypes seem to posses. I was quite attached to Doc and really felt like we should have his corner throughout. This feeling is strengthened by Brolin’s ‘Bigfoot’, he brings a menacing gravitas to his role of Detective Bjornsen which makes you route for Doc, but is Bigfoot the villain of this story? I am not sure, despite him being an absolute arsehole, I actually really liked him! (And so my title quote is in Bigfoot’s honour).

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There are a lot of characters in Inherent Vice which are a little hard to keep track of. Reece Witherspoon pops up in a small part and although it could be argued she is underused, her character slides in and out of the plot much like she does in and out of Doc’s mind. It fits, and why not cast a big name for a smaller character. Owen Wilson’s drawling accent and floppy blond hair lend themselves well to the free spirited role he plays but nothing out of the ordinary here. Maya Rudolf (of Bridesmaids fame I guess) also plays a small part as Doc’s receptionist. Nice to see her in such a different kind of film. Benicio Del Toro plays Doc’s lawyer of sorts and he fits perfectly in this films atmosphere, Del Toro and Pheonix make a good duo and their relationship could have been explored a little more perhaps. Plus Eric Roberts who almost goes unnoticed as Wolfmann! 

del toro and pheonix

The lesser known names also fair well in Inherent Vice in my opinion. Shasta Fay played by the absolutely stunning Katherine Waterston plays a perfect girl next door character. Joanna Newsom (playing Sortilège) has an ideal little voice that sets the tone from the beginning of the film, she has a really great supporting role which could have been explored. Jena Malone who I recognised from Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) also plays a fun character who’s exchange with Doc is one of the highlights of the film for me. My favourite though has to be Hong Chau playing Jade, a prostitute come friend of Doc’s who pops up in the oddest of places and just goes along for the ride and coming out with some of the funniest one liners. 

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Unfortunately, Inherent Vice does have some pitfalls and that is mainly its length. I felt it could have easily cut out what seemed like 40 minutes worth of Shasta Fay’s dreamy stoner monologues, but really that is the only thing I can criticise… The production oozes 70’s nostalgia, coupled with a hazy filter and the dulcet tones of Sortilège’s narration, Paul Thomas Anderson has created a film worthy of comparison to the likes of The Big Lebowski (1998) or Boogie Nights (1997). I would recommend a DVD viewing so that you can talk to someone during the boring parts, and help each other understand what the hell is unfolding in front of you! Haha! As you can tell by my unusually long review, I very much enjoyed Inherent Vice!

“This whisky is amazing, you will shit” Kingsman: The Secret Service

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I was so looking forward to seeing Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Kingsman’ purely because Kick Ass is still one of my all time favourites and I remember the feeling of excitement I had when I first saw that film in the cinema (and still do every time I watch it, which is on the regular). The trailer for Kingsman made it look like Vaughn was going to be using the same humorous butt kicking awesomeness that I loved in Kick Ass and this had me practically jumping up and down!

Luckily for me, he doesn’t disappoint. Kingsman also has the added benefit of Taron Egerton who I fell in love with after the little UK Drama ‘The Smoke’. In Kingsman, Egerton plays a young ruffian Eggsy who is picked up by Agent Galahad (Colin Firth) in the hope that he will live up to his fathers legacy and become a Kingsman agent. Meanwhile a camp as Christmas villain Valentine, played by Samuel L Jackson plans to ‘take over the world’. Hilarity and absurdity follows… and it is SO entertaining!

The Kingsman are inherently British, the old English gent gets a good kicking and I can see why this might get some peoples back up. I however thought it was well used and Colin Firth is the perfect gentleman for the part. He is cool, swarve, kicks butt and holds no prisoners. It was great seeing Firth do what he does best with some added violence. Really made me giggle. The juxtaposition between Galahad and his prodigy Eggsy was very funny and I never groaned about a cringe worthy moment. I found them quite delightful on screen together.

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Mark Strong is another one of my favourites and happily here playing a completely different role to his villain in Kick Ass. I am not sure he needed a Scottish accent, maybe I missed a joke, but none the less I really enjoyed his character Merlin, who really came into his own towards the end of the film. An old love, and a new love… who the hell is Sofia Boutella, she was AMAZING. Boutella plays Valentines sidekick and is beautiful and lethal. Her relationship with Valentine probably could have been explored a little as I was confused about their connection but it wasn’t detrimental to the story line… Also, I just googled her and I am pleased for her that she does have legs. But those sword legs… jeese! So cool.

boutella and jackson KINGSMAN THE SECRET SERVICE

As much as I enjoyed the Kingsman agents and the whole set up in the tailors, Michael Cain being the boss was a little obvious maybe. However, obvious stereotypes are the flavour of the film and it gets away with it because it is so self aware and makes fun of the fact that it is another spy movie at the end of day. Which I found very funny and actually really drew me in! (I’m a sucker and easily pleased I will admit!). One point though, I felt like they could have introduced one or two agents for more of a team vibe. It seems like just Merlin and Galahad are running the show but they keep referring to the ‘other agents’… who?!

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I also very much enjoyed the style of the film, the music (much like Kick-Ass) is fantastic, I loved the use of Dizzy Rascal and ‘oh em gee’ Lynyrd Skynyrd’s FREEBIRD, that scene was SO EPIC. For those who haven’t seen Kingsman yet, you will be thrilled with the violence. The cartoon style explosions and Austin Powers-esque villain lair teamed with some cheesy overly British one liners and inappropriate sexual innuendo’s (and plain old butt references) make Kingsman a funny, completely silly, fast paced film that I enjoyed thoroughly all the way through. I am looking forward to seeing it again! My only qualm was the ending in between credits, predictable and obvious but none the less still entertaining.

I would recommend this film to people who enjoyed Kick Ass, but it wont suit all pallets! (Then again my Mum enjoyed it so who knows, maybe it’s universal haha).

“You can only circle the flames so long” American Sniper (2014)

Bradley Cooper shows us just how wide his neck can get in the hard hitting war drama American Sniper. Well, he also shows off his ever improving acting skills and for both of these things I find myself liking Cooper more and more. A war drama is not my usual cup of tea, but after thoroughly enjoying recent movie Fury (2014) I thought I would also give this a spin. Hey, maybe it’s a genre I have previously over looked!

IMDB plot summary: Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

American Sniper poster

Cooper plays Chris Kyle and does an excellent job of transforming himself into a beefy red-neck cowboy turned Navy SEAL. His emotional performance is strong and his commitment to the cause is over the top but I totally bought in to it. I didn’t even recognise Sienna Miller with her brunette locks, but her romance with Cooper felt authentic and I liked their initial chemistry together. I couldn’t help but feel for her character as she churned out babies and missed her absent husband. Not a life I would want for myself.

As much as I can praise the main protagonist of American Sniper for pulling the story along and keeping me interested, I am not sure I actually enjoyed the experience. As I have said in previous reviews, for me it’s all about the experience… whether it be excitement, sadness, happiness, amusement, curiosity, intrigue, sympathy or empathy. What I don’t enjoy is stress, anxiety or fear in a movie. There are some parts of American Sniper which are very hard to watch (and I had never been a fan of drills in any context!), but I suppose that is a testament to the reality of the situation and how well these scenes were played out.

The size of it!!!

The size of it!!!

Speaking of which, I have to give credit to Clint Eastwood for the direction. American Sniper moves through time quite quickly and I felt this was shown gracefully. There were a few topics which were perhaps thrown in and never fully explored (such as Kyle’s chance encounter with his brother?!) but fitting the best part of a man’s life into a few hours is no mean feat!

The scenes in combat were well executed to my untrained eye, as were the scenes where Kyle is struggling to cope back in the real world. In my opinion the film was let down by the lack of development of the supporting cast surrounding Kyle, on tour and at home. I didn’t feel any connection to them and I wasn’t particularly moved by many casualties… Which is unusual because I cry at adverts about Donkeys voiced by old men who are badly treated (the Donkeys are badly treated, not the men)… but I digress.

The sensitive nature of post traumatic stress is really brought to light in this film, and the tragic long term affects that haunt those who have served for their country and lived to tell the tales. The end of the film is particularity sympathetic to the harsh reality and true story that American Sniper is based on, and on reflection I appreciated it’s subtly.

American Sniper combat

MyPOV then, American Sniper does a good job of making the general public aware of the harshness of modern war – of which we are all very sheltered from. I am glad that I watched it because it is important to recognise the sacrifice that men and women go through that most of the time we don’t hear about. But purely for entertainment factors I wouldn’t rave about the film. Superb performances from Cooper and Miller, great directing from Eastwood – but turns out I am still not a fan of war dramas.

In other news, I also reaffirmed my dislike of mushrooms and celery recently so that’s good to know… Don’t forget to leave a comment!

And it’s great to be back! :D

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”

Hey film fans!

It’s been a while, and longer than usual. For my tiny amount of super awesome regulars you may have noticed a general silence since… JULY 2014… woah!

Life has been mega busy, I’ve been working full time in a stressful and full on job as well as studying for a Masters at University. I was also enjoying the single life and partying fairly hard :D Somehow my little blog fell by the wayside for a while.

I tried to write on several occasions but every time I drew a blank. I was so frustrated at times I almost closed MyReelPOV for good. But then I remembered this is the first real hobby I have thoroughly enjoyed and I have talked to some great people through it. I hoped that at some point the inspiration would be back.

Turns out, it’s BACK!

Work has slowed down a little and I have much more focus on my studies with just the mammoth task of a final Dissertation left to tackle. My friends and family are all doing well and my love life has taken a very exciting and unexpected turn for the better, life is good. My brain feels good. My mojo is back.

So before posting my first little review of the year (American Sniper) I thought I would just acknowledge my absence from the scene, and declare my return. I am looking forward to getting back in with the gang!

I’ll be carrying on with the same format as before, using quotes for my titles (can you guess the film quote on this post?!) and keeping my reviews to around 500 words. I don’t use a rating system because I am far too fickle, so a final round up at the end of the review will sum up my feelings on the movie. I don’t use spoilers unless absolutely necessary and will always give fair warning if I do. I will also take the opportunity to apologise for my informal style of movie review rambling! As always I love reading people’s comments, after all the discussion is the best part!

Finally, a special thank you to these people below for continuing their blog journeys and inspiring me not to give up just yet!

HyperSonic55

Tim the Film Guy

What About the Twinkie

Oracle of Film

Keith and the Movies

Oh I also discovered Instagram as you can see by my new face… @claire.chetwynd for any other dorks!

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“I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity” The Fault in Our Stars.

fault-in-our-stars-movie-poster-fullThe Fault in Our Stars is not the type of film I would usually seek out to watch. I don’t like to be depressed by a film, I want to be submerged into another world and enjoy the experience. Teenage angst and coming of age stories aren’t really my cup of tea either… BUT having read good things about this film, my friends persuaded me to see it at the cinema… and I am honestly glad of it.

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (both from mind-blowingly mediocre recent flick Divergent) play the lead roles in this romantic adaptation of John Green’s novel, about a 16 year old cancer patient named Hazel Grace (Woodley) who falls in love with Augustus (Elgort), who she meets at her support group. Interestingly the title comes from Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ where Cassiuis says to Brutus “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” … Well I thought that was interesting any how :)

At first glance the story line seems predictable and unimaginative, however I found the script and the chemistry between the characters very natural and I was hooked within the first 20 minutes. The bond that is formed between the two leads is quite magical to watch unfold, and I felt the progression of their infatuation for each other was shown in a very tasteful way without ever forgetting they are just teenagers.

fault-in-our-stars

Hazel Grace’s relationship with her mother played by Laura Dern, was a particular highlight, and I was delighted to see True Blood star Sam Trammell take the role of her father. Their family unit felt very authentic and the way the film explored how the parents were coping with having a terminally ill child was very moving.

fault-in-our-stars mother daughter

What was refreshing to see, was the slightly more raw scenes that focused on the realistic and dark side of terminal illness as well as bringing some darker humor to the situation. Mostly in the case of Hazel and Augustus’ friend Isaac played by Nat Wolff. These are the scenes you feel most connected to the characters and where the film builds up the audience’s empathy for them and their situations. Surprisingly great performances from Woodley and Elgort really make all the difference here. In particular Elgort’s Augustus who takes some warming to as a cocky, over confident, dork (I mean that in the nicest way possible) but somehow manages to win you over despite his cringeworthy metaphors and romantic lines.

Film Review The Fault In Our Stars

With the help of a great performance from Willem Dafoe, you can expect the unexpected for the majority of this film. Unfortunately for me the trailer gave too many tell tale signs of what happened in the end, but it in no way spoiled my enjoyment. And yes, I do mean enjoyment, even though I cried so hard I almost sobbed out loud in a packed cinema, the over all experience is enjoyable, and the rest is thought provoking, sincere, raw and heart warming.

My POV, I wouldn’t suggest that this film is for everyone, but I have to say sometimes a good cry and a slap in the face puts things in perspective and makes you feel pretty refreshed afterwards. If you are feeling blue about life, this film will probably make you realise… it isn’t that bad.

“Hey, fuck Twitter..” Chef.

I had the pleasure of attending a free preview of Chef this morning at my local cinema. Despite waking up 20 minutes before it started with a raging hang over, my friend and I hauled ass and made it just in time. Here is some friendly advice, don’t see this film on an empty stomach with a mouth dryer than corn starch, the food looks IMMENSE in this movie – the popcorn and hot dogs on offer just didn’t seem appealing in comparison!

Chef-Film

I have seen a few negative reviews about this film, but it hasn’t scored too badly on IMDB despite the overly cynical head line “frustratingly straightforward, simplistic and just plain unengaging” on the latest review. I would ask this person if they were in a particularly pessimistic mood when they saw Chef, because I found the simple story line refreshing and was totally hooked by the characters throughout! Maybe I am easily pleased or just enjoy watching a real feel good film, either way my grin got bigger with every shot of a sizzling griddle and I even welled up with actual joy near the end of the movie (that could be attributed to my emotional hangover state).

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The premise is straightforward, “A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family” (IMDB). Jon Favreau of course plays Chef Carl Casper who is also getting to grips with social media, in particular Twitter, which features heavily in the story line. They used the whole social media thing very well in capturing the power of it and how it can be used to help promote things as well as be used on a personal level, i.e. with his son, Percy. Percy is played by Emjay Anthony and is the cutest little 10 year old, he does a fantastic job and the chemistry between him, Favreau and best friend Martin, played by John Leguizammo is wonderful. I wanted to be on that food truck with them touring the US it looked like so much fun!

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Some big names were pulled into this movie and some have questioned why… erm, why not! I loved Robert Downey Jr’s off the wall character, yes he was maybe underused but it isn’t a RDJ movie, he brought some comedy and for me it was well received. Scarlett Johansson had a super cool look as the head waitress and close friend of Chef Casper, I would have liked to have seen her character come into the story later on as well but it was probably realistic that she isn’t much involved when they hit the road in the food truck. Dustin Hoffman’s performance is solid although his funny side could have been utilised a little more.

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One of my favourite characters though was Sofia Vergara playing Inez, Casper’s ex wife and mother of Percy. Her character was warm and funny, I could see a connection between the family and really enjoyed their screen time together. Warm and funny is probably a good description of the film truth be told. The food looked amazing, the sound track was brilliant and the general feel of the film was really inspiring. It made me want to jump in a car and tour all these fantastic places and try the incredible food.

Favreau, who wrote and directed Chef as well, could have played it safe and gone for the typical storyline of throwing a tragic event or disaster in the middle of the film for the characters to triumph over in order to make the success bitter sweet, but I loved the fact that they kept it simple and just delighted the audience with heart warming, real feeling, good old fashioned enjoyment. I LOVED Chef, and left the cinema feeling very content that the world isn’t a bad place. Now, where can I get myself a Cubanos sandwich this looks that good….

chef sandwich

“The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control” Godzilla.

Godzilla is probably one of the most famous movie monsters of all time. I would say that every body knows the story, but beyond ‘big lizard destroys Tokyo’ I actually don’t think that is the case. It certainly wasn’t for me going in to the cinema anyway. There are 8 films I can see on IMDB as well as some TV series, and I must confess I hadn’t seen ANY. It also took me a while to find someone willing to see it with me to be honest! I think I need more male friends…

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But I digress! My only expectations for Godzilla were a lot of destruction and some cool monster action… well I got a little of that, but not as much as you would think. What surprised me about Godzilla was the amount of time the story spends on the human characters. That being said, I don’t feel like they developed these characters as much as they could have considering the screen time they took up.

The now legendary Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame, although I will always remember him as Hal from Malcolm in the Middle personally!) plays Joe Brody, a scientist who goes half crazy trying to uncover the conspiracy surrounding Godzilla and other unearthly creatures (although he has no idea what he is uncovering) after an unnatural event tears his family apart. Brody was the only character that got any kind of empathy out of me, although his screen time isn’t as much as you would think given the trailers, Cranston gives the most moving performance. After that it all fell a bit flat for me.

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Brody’s son is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.. except he appears to have lost all his charisma and charm. Unfortunately Ford Brody is little more than a military man. He shows some compassion for other human beings and there is chemistry between him and his wife played by Elizabeth Olsen, but not a character I could root for or sympathise with. Olsen was also given a pretty dull part to play, the teary wife and mother… she did what she could with it! (A duo we will be seeing more of in the future with the new Marvel film on it’s way..).

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A strange double act came in the form of Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe as the field experts on Godzilla and the MUTO’s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Hawkins follows Watanabe around like a lost puppy and Watanabe’s character looks very perplexed and dazed at all times. He is the only one who seems to understand the beasts and believes they should be left to carry out their business as naturally as possible. Of course the military men disagree, and all hell breaks loose!

The story of the MUTO’s came as a surprise to me but I enjoyed the fact that Godzilla isn’t just a crazed monster tearing up the city for no apparent reason. I enjoyed the story between the monsters much more than the turmoil suffered by the humans on the ground I have to say. The special effects were obviously awesome, I don’t think we need to comment on them anymore as they are just on the top of their game CGI wise. I didn’t however like the fact that most of the action was in the dark – this coupled with overwhelming noise to the point I blanked it out, and the nice warm surroundings… I MAY have nodded off a little, and so did my friend… awks!

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There were a few other things that made me lose interest a little, like the shock of discovering half a mountain has been destroyed when stumbling across it, and needing binoculars to find the giant MUTO’s carving a path through the desert… *scans horizon with binocular* “Oh there it is!” *zooms out* ITS BIGGER THAN AN EFFING BUILDING surrounded by nothing but sand… I laughed out loud at this point.

Ok, ok I have been a little harsh on Godzilla I fear. There were some excellent shots, such as the HALO jump which features in the trailer, and the few scenes of mass destruction… I did also feel some desperation when Brody couldn’t get back to his family. Over all though, a bit of a flop in terms of entertainment. I don’t think I will be watching it again. Sorry fans!

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