Big Fish (2003)

First thing to remember, this is a Tim Burton film. It is a very weird film, but quite different to some Tim Burton films, the creepy feel you get quite often in his films, such as ‘Edward Scissorhands’, ‘Corpse Bride’, ‘Frankenweenie’, isn’t there in ‘Big Fish’. Of course, there is the weirdness, the bizarre elements of Burton’s films definitely. But not at all the creepy elements. So in this way, it seems quite a different film to other Tim Burton films, for the better or for worse? I’m not sure.

The film begins quite slow. It is very random and I found it quite difficult to get into. This was mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure what was actually happening. It takes a while to understand what is happening, but persist with it, because it really does have a beautiful ending that just makes the film seem worth it. ‘Big Fish’ relates around the stories of Edward Bloom’s life. The film does jump through timelines, we witness Edward at a young age, at a teen, then through his adult years. But during the present, the film revolves around the plot of Edward’s son, Will (Billy Crudup), desperate to figure out what the truth was behind his father’s life. As Will is at his father’s side while he is dying, Edward retells stories of his past, one that of course Will has heard before, but what is the myth and what is the honest truth is too difficult to tell. The audience are thrown in the past, different pasts of different stories, as we are told stories of this man’s bizarre life, stories of a giant, of a two headed woman, and most importantly stories of a big fish. Like I said, the film is very weird. The film has elements of adventure, romance, and full of random, bizarre fairytale stories. They really are stories unlike so many heard before, once you get used to that, they do warp in the audience as we are transported to a completely random world.

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There are many recognisable actors in this film. The young Edward Bloom is played by Ewan McGregor, obviously recognisable in many films, such as ‘Moulin Rouge’ or even playing Obi-Wan Kenobi. The senior Edward Bloom in the present is played by Albert Finney. Both of these played very well, all of them are to be honest, the acting in this film is superb. Edward’s wife is played by Jessica Lange, probably most recognisable to people in ‘American Horror Story’. Then of course there is has to be either Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter in a Tim Burton film; this one only has Helena Bonham Carter in it, she plays the older Jenny in the film, obviously she plays her character brilliantly. She also plays the witch, but I’m not sure how the witch and Jenny are related if at all, but that just adds to the bizarreness of the film I guess. There is also the appearance of Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi (‘Reservoir Dogs’, also the voice of Randall in ‘Monsters Inc’) and Missi Pyle (‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song’). Even Miley Cyrus makes an appearance. There will be many recognisable faces in this film for sure.

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Would I recommend this film? I’m not sure. I guess it’s one that you should witness at least once in your life, but it does take a while to get into. But hey, it’s a Tim Burton film and all of his films are so different to others anyway! It is a very weird film, like extremely weird. But the ending is actually so beautiful, not going to lie, I teared up a bit. The film is one where you reach the ending and you then fill fulfilled, but it just takes a while to get there. The audience are warped in to so many stories, we eventually become wrapped into it, but like I said it does take its time. Overall, it’s not an awful film, far from it, just one very out of the ordinary, but would you expect anything different?

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The Princess Diaries (2001)

One of the classic chickflicks of my childhood. Any film with Anne Hathaway I will watch and this one is no different, throw in Julie Andrews too and that just makes it even more brilliant. They both play the main protagonists of the film, excellently of course, why do I even need to mention that? The plot of the film goes: Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), a clumsy, “invisible” 15 year old teenager is surprised when a visit from her Grandma (Julie Andrews) is suddenly sprung on her. A Grandma she hardly knows anything about, but that is all about to change when Mia discovers her Grandma isn’t any normal Grandma, but in fact Queen, Queen Clarisse of Genovea. This, ultimately, means that Mia herself is a Princess. A drastic change of lifestyle to say the least. In an urgency to keep the peace in the family, a deal is struck, Mia will participate in Princess training and will decide whether she will take her place in the royal family or not at the ball.

The film is filled with comedic moments, I really do think this is a great film. My favourite has to be the drastic change Mia has to partake. I will admit, this isn’t a film that has you laughing at every moment or crying with laughter, but it is one of those feel good movies, one that makes you smile and giggle occasionally. Anne Hathaway really does play the 15 year old girl brilliantly, every single part is recognisable in the stereotypical teen, which is perfect. Her transformation is one that couldn’t be further apart. A girl who never brushes her hair to a princess, a princess who must present herself in front of people, a princess who would be followed by the press. Such a big transformation and of course not one that many can relate to, but it was a film that had to be made and I’m glad it was.

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This film is one of a huge cast. There are many characters to love in this film. A character that does need special attention to, in my opinion, is Joe (Hector Elizondo). Joe is a brilliant character, one that can have the audience routing for him, one where we know he is always there watching, helping, caring, loving. He should not be a character underappreciated. There are of course many other characters; so many that, in the credits, the cast are split into scenes they appeared in… There is Mia’s best friend, Lilly (Heather Matarazzo), a character the audience has its ups and downs with. Then the ‘popular’ girl, the stereotypical popular girl of the school who is horrible to everyone, played by Mandy Moore, Lana. Mandy Moore recognisable as the lead in ‘A Walk To Remember’ or even the voice of Rapunzel in ‘Tangled’. Her character is probably more relatable to the school life of teenagers, alike to others in Mia’s life before her Grandma arrived and changed everything. The film jumps to the school life to the princess life and then they drastically cross over as things start to get out of hand.

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I would definitely recommend this film, it is enjoyable and just a feel-good chickflick film. If you like movies such as ’10 Things I Hate About You’, or imdb even suggests ‘Freaky Friday’, ‘Enchanted’ or ‘A Cinderella Story’, I can’t see why you wouldn’t appreciate this one. Based off the books by Meg Cabot, it is a great family film, to rise happy moods in everyone. There is also the second film, ‘A Royal Engagement’, which I probably prefer, but that doesn’t mean this one is bad, not at all. Anyway, if you think this is a film for you, I would recommend it over and over again. Watch Mia come to terms with this new life that has suddenly collapsed on her, while she tries to travel through her teenage life like a normal human being.

Criticsized (2016)

I have to admit, I really enjoyed this film. If you’re a fan of detective programmes, solving crimes, such as ‘Criminal Minds’, ‘CSI’ etc etc, then I think you would thoroughly enjoy this film. It has many similarities to TV programmes such as these, or perhaps I can see similarities way too easily when the TV programme I’m binge-watching at the minute is ‘Criminal Minds’…? I don’t know.

Anyway, what is ‘Criticsized’ even about? As you can probably guess, a crime. Well actually a serial killer, and to say the least the deaths are graphic and horrific. So this is a film for older ages most definitely, swearing, graphic deaths, this is a no go kids film. Also, this isn’t a film of a mystery, you know who the killer is and the police are quick to get a name. But that doesn’t make a difference to the film at all, the film is more of a chase, but there is still tension, suspense, it is done very well. The audience get warped into the film, wondering why he is doing this, whether he will succeed in killing his next victim, whether the police will catch him.

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So the plot revolves around the detective on the case, Jack, played by Callum Blue – which I found is recognisable in ‘The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement’, took me a while to realise it was actually him though (Andrew, the guy Mia is set up with, if you’re wandering). The whole plot revolves around the character Jack, involving his personal life and his career, he is the one driving the plot. However, in some way, so is the killer. We jump from the police office to the killer’s point of view, something I’ve noticed that happens in ‘Criminal Minds’ a lot, but it is used cleverly to add to the suspense in whether the capture of the bad guy will take place and if it does, when and with how many deaths.

The reason behind the killer is one very unique and therefore becomes extremely intriguing, cleverly drawing you in trying to figure out the reason behind all the murders, the gruesome murders. This gives the audience a new interesting plot, and I found the ending superb, the realisation of the killer’s motives and then the ending altogether was, in my opinion, very clever. Had you thinking, which is a good ending for me. It is a film that fits in its genre well, with a different motive of a killer.

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As you can probably tell I enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend if you think this is the sort of film for you. I was warped into the film, not really knowing what to expect, but with the ending and the whole summarising of the film, I would watch it again. Although there were parts of the film I was shouting at the screen wondering why he couldn’t catch him then, but it wasn’t meant to be… But yes, like I’ve said I surprisingly enjoyed it as a film of its genre; tension was built up well and you find yourself delving into Jack’s life and praying he will find where the killer is in time.

Warm Bodies (2013)

Well ‘Warm Bodies’ is definitely a romcom. A cheesy, love is everything, romcom. However, there is a twist to the traditional romcom. I mean, the slight twist that it’s a zombie that falls in love with a human, rather than the traditional human and human… But it’s only that humans are trained to dehumanise and shoot corpses in the head, and the corpses, well, they need to eat humans to survive and apparently, according to R (the main zombie protagonist), the brain is the best part. But they still find love…

After a zombie apocalypse, dead people roam the city. Separated by a wall, the humans, alive people, live the other side, terrified by what’s on the other side of the wall and trained to kill them. Basically, dead corpse and human meet, in difficult circumstances, but the corpse, R (Nicholas Hoult), saves the human, Julie (Teresa Palmer), and falls in love with her. Such an unfortunate circumstance, especially as Julie is trying to shoot his head off. To make things more difficult, R chooses the daughter of the biggest hater of zombies and the leader into killing them all; played brilliantly, of course, by John Malkovich.

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As the audience, we are more delved into the character R. This is predominantly because it is from his point of view. R is just one lonely dead corpse, yearning for human connection and to feel something again, he remembers nothing of his past life, but ties himself to any human thing he possibly can. There is a voice over narrative throughout the film, again this is from R. This is clever of the film as it explains his emotions and his life, especially as without the narration at the beginning the film would look rather odd, because the zombies can’t actually speak, so we would just watch zombies roaming around an old airport grunting occasionally; the narration is definitely needed to say the least. This also adds to the comedy of the film as R is a sarcastic character, who even takes the mick out of himself as if he was watching the film with us. This means we are more connected to R, and want him to get what he wants, even if he does go round eating people.

‘Warm Bodies’ is classed as a 12; there is the occasional swearing, and violent scenes, but between zombies and humans, so obviously, less realistic. There are also some jump scares, where bad zombies jump out and some scenes might be frightening for younger ages as they run away from human-eating zombies in dark abandoned warehouses. But I wouldn’t class it as a horror.

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If you like a good old romcom then this is a good one to choose. I really enjoy watching this film, I think it’s clever, not boring, and in scenes where not much is happening, the narrative makes it more comical and fun to watch. The actors and actresses are played brilliantly, so you don’t watch the film annoyed at the acting and become more involved into the plot. There’s a cheesy cute moral of the story that love cures, and alike to most romcoms it has a cute, soppy ending; without trying to spoil anything. I would definitely recommend this film, especially if you enjoy the more mystical and unrealistic love situations, so not a human based film. So if you do, give ‘Warm Bodies’ a watch, and find yourself routing for the dead corpse to get his girl.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Well overall, I thought this was good film. I’m a bit hesitant because it takes a while getting used to ‘Moulin Rouge!’, but once you’re full into the flow, you are warped into this forbidden romance and sucked into the life of the theatre called Moulin Rouge. You are thrown straight into this colourful, busy life, fast pace right away. For a first time watcher, this does take a while getting familiar with what is happening, why it is happening and who these people are. The introduction of the film has many characters involved, well it kind of has to when the film is about a theatre show; there’s the audience and those involved, then their hidden lives behind the scenes.

Technically, the film is a story about a play about a life, within the story is their lives… But that’s just confusing it. There is a narrator of the story, in present time, writing his story on his life and love with Satine (Nicole Kidman). This narrator is Christian (Ewan McGregor). These two characters are of course played brilliantly. But that’s obvious, I bet most people have seen a film with at least one of these actors in this film in. There are many other characters, but I will mention the few that are significant parts in the film. Firstly, Toulouse (John Leguizamo), his character is comical, yet kind, a character you can trust to be loyal, while making a comedy of the film. Then there’s the main leader of the theatre, this is Harold Zidler (played by Jim Broadbent – obviously familiar as Horace Slughorn in ‘Harry Potter’, but also the father in ‘The Borrowers’). His character is brilliant, he is very over the top, but Broadbent plays this so well to hold the representation of the Moulin Rouge theatre. He is a very eccentric character, but again one also comical, yet as the film proceeds you see more of a darker side to this character, one determined in his belief of the Moulin Rouge. Then finally, there’s the Duke (Richard Roxburgh). The Duke was just extremely creepy, but then again he is the villain of the film and I think he is supposed to give that essence to the film. He added a thriller genre to the film in a way. He was just a really horrible character, all his facial expressions were over the top creepy, yeah, he’s definitely a character to dislike. To say the least.

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The film is based in the underbelly of Paris in the late 19th century. This means there are many references to sex, some extremely awkward and cringey moments in the film, to say the least. Satine prostitutes herself to try and get out of the underbelly of Paris and into the bright lights of becoming an actress. The theatre is one similar to a night club with can-can dancing and flashy clothes, Satine being the centre of the theatre as a simple of beauty to be looked at, but also more. Therefore, what I’m trying to say is that it is definitely a film for older ages.

Anyway, the film is a musical. Although, unlike many musicals it is one of popular songs, songs you will recognise, not specific to the musical itself. The love medley is one with lots of recognisable love songs within it; The Beatles’ ‘All You Need is Love’, David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. There are plenty of songs you will recognise; Elton John’s ‘Your Song’, Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, many others. So not seeing the film before you can still enjoy and sing along to the songs. Which, I have to admit, is a nice change to a musical. Of course an important part of a musical is to have good singers, and this film definitely does. Nicole Kidman has a brilliant voice, she makes some songs amazing and enjoyable to watch, and Ewan McGregor doesn’t have too bad of a voice either.

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Overall, after coming to understand what was happening in the film and getting used to the extremely quick pace and occasional stupid special effects, I was warped in and really started to enjoy it. I have to admit at the start, the words ‘what is happening?’ and ‘really???’, ‘huh??’, ‘oh come on you’ve just met her!’, were going through my head. But then all the emotions of the film started to feel more realistic and these words disappeared. This is a film of many emotions, some over the top, comedic moments, forbidden love turns into a romance tragedy, not giving anything away. A film of tense drama and thrilling moments, with a musical of love and ridiculousness. This is definitely a film which changes genres; but don’t get me wrong, because there are comical elements does not mean it is a comedy, it is far from it.

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It’s very different to many other musicals, but perhaps that is the only reason you should watch it, if you haven’t already.

Emotional Motor Unit (2016)

A short film lasting only 22 minutes and the audience is dragged in, intrigued to what will happen, intrigued not knowing what is happening.

The film revolves around a writer (Graham Cawte), who spends his life alone, in isolation, scared of the fresh air and touching objects outside his home. He is a lonely writer, who the audience never know his name, perhaps reflecting his notion of isolation once again. We delve into his life, one we might not be familiar to at all. He is assigned and controlled by “The Company” to write fiction in relation to an Emotional Motor Unit (or E.M.U), which is a programmed person, a machine, a robot of a type (played by Francesca Burgoyne). The author has to spend two weeks with E.M.U, in which his life changes, realising human interaction since his long time alone.

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We aren’t actually told a lot about the characters, however I think this makes a statement to the film. Unlike to others, in which a flashback of aspects of their lives are shown, or perhaps a long introduction, the characters are kept more secret in ‘Emotional Motor Unit’. We are told about the writer and some of his life, but the fact that his name is hidden away from us gives an essence of privacy. There are two characters which in particular I find quite mysterious, the programmer (Candice Palladino) and the agent (Finnian Nainby-Luxmore). Significantly the programmer, she is one who seems to have a lot of depth in her character and the mysteriousness around her character, her silence, just her being there, but her control, being able to control the E.M.U, brings so much depth to the character and a want for the audience to know more. Once again bringing them in.

I found the film very heart-hitting. The audience definitely experience this man’s life, excellently played I have to admit. After the two weeks is up and E.M.U is taken away, we witness this man’s life after she has gone. His life in isolation having had a glimpse of human connection. The audience, well I most definitely did, felt everything he was feeling, all of his pain, yet he continues on to write this fiction story, doing as he is told by the agent.

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‘Emotional Motor Unit’ does have a dystopian feel to it, also a sci-fi film, something very different to our world we know. Although perhaps a possible future with technology. Even though, many cannot recognise themselves with the world, it is very much a film to recognise with the emotions of the film, the loneliness.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Well this is one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen… Things started hopeful with some enjoyable songs (don’t get me wrong there are many enjoyable songs), but then it all escalated extremely quickly, and that’s when things started to get weird. Really weird. Like to the point where I don’t really understand where this idea came from. A sort of twist on aliens, but in a plant that likes to drink blood, and a film which is a mix of comedy, mick-taking out of horrors, and throw in that it is a musical too… Random.

First of all, I actually quite liked the musical aspect of the film. It sure is a different type of musical to any others I’ve seen before. Can’t quite see similarities to this and ‘Mamma Mia!’ or ‘Grease’, but I think that’s the point. Anyway, as I’ve already mentioned the songs in this film are ones quite groovy and catchy, especially the theme song, that’s one to get stuck in your head for a while… However, I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Ellen Greene’s voice, it’s probably a voice of particular taste. I would definitely say the best voices and the best contributes to the musical element of the film were the three women, played by Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks and Tisha Campbell-Martin, even though they weren’t actually a part of the narrative, they were either background singers or the main singers. They definitely added to the musical. Although, overall the songs were enjoyable.

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So the film revolves mostly around four characters and the plant, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs). These four characters are, the main character, Seymour (Rick Moranis – ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids’), Audrey (Ellen Greene), the boss of the Flower Shop, Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) and Audrey’s abusive boyfriend, Orin (Steve Martin – ‘Cheaper By The Dozen’, ‘The Pink Panther’). The plot does have a lot of different types of characters, but the film isn’t a serious one, so for it to have elements of men beating women seems a bit out of place. Throughout the film, the plant gains much more influence over Seymour as Audrey II demands for more food.

The comedy of the film is quite over-exaggerated, but that’s the humour, also quite silly, but there were moments I found quite humorous. But I can’t say I was laughing out loud or laughing throughout, but then again I don’t think you’re supposed to. For me, wasn’t that much of a funny film at all. Although, something to mention is that the film does swear and as the plant escalates and grows bigger the language does get stronger. Also something to remember that this is an old film, so the graphics of the film are nowhere near what we witness today, but this is of course expected. But try not let this affect the film, because of the time, the effects would have been good.

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Overall, I can’t say I enjoyed the film to the extent I thought I would at the start. I was more baffled by the weirdness of it. The escalation really was out of control. But nevertheless, I watched the whole film, unable to stop watching, confused by what I was watching, maybe, but then again it wasn’t a film that bad to stop watching it. But if you’re looking for a different musical, one not like others, then I would recommend this one, not saying it’s amazing however.