Friday, 18 March 2011

He's Just Not That Into You

2009, 12, Directed by Ken Kwapis
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Justin Long, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston

The problem with films like this stem from the fact that there are so many of them; cinema is (well, should be) innovative and yet another rom-com is going to do nothing to dispel the fact that there a Golden Age is long behind us. Every now and then, something will come along to disprove this. Make no mistake: He’s Just Not That Into You is not one of those films. But it isn’t that bad either. Ginnifer Goodwin is Gigi, an unlucky-in-love individual who has no idea what she is doing wrong when it comes to the opposite sex. It is through this confusion that we are introduced to various other examples of ‘him not liking her’, each character connected through another. Suffice to say, these include Ben Affleck who believes he does not need to marry Jennifer Aniston to prove his love for her, and Justin Long – a highlight as Alex, a part-time relationship expert who befriends Gigi. Just go along with it and you will be entertained.



Monday, 14 March 2011

The Fighter

2010, 15, Directed by David O. Russell
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo

You may think that a rags-to-riches tale of a boxer who doesn’t just fight for an occupation, but for life has been done before. You may even be correct. Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby; each film very different from the last but fundamentally similar (and all recognised by Oscar). It is a shock then that David O. Russell’s The Fighter, centering on Mark Wahlberg’s Micky Ward, is a welcome breath of fresh air. With Wahlberg, The Fighter finds its heart. He merges the perfect level of independence, whilst remaining a loyal family man; a refined individual, Ward has lived in the shadow of his brother Dicky his entire life. With Dicky, played to characterised Oscar-winning bliss by Christian Bale, the film finds its comedic, yet tragic route. A former boxing champion, the only hobby he dabbles in these days is snorting drugs. He is a mess, but underneath it all, a less independent, but loyal bloke, just like his brother. He hides behind the matriarch of the family, Melissa Leo’s Alice Ward. Loving to her offspring, vicious to intruders (which Micky’s girlfriend Charlene – a self-assured Amy Adams – soon realises), Leo delivers what could have been stereotypical, and steers it to memorable, and like Bale, award-winning status. Although O. Russell’s direction captures everything that is required, and in some cases a lot more (a pull-back sequence at the beginning of the film lingers in the memory), this is very much the performer’s film. Every cast member plays an ace here, Bale being the obvious standout (it’s impossible not to raise a smirk when he invites Sugar Ray Leonard, a cameo from the former opponent himself, for a ‘cold one’) – but his performance is complemented from the wholly understated one from Wahlberg. As the film’s heart, he provides the elements necessary for the success the film deserves, and in doing so propels the film to life.