Sweeping scenery and a love story to match

To celebrate the birthday of my gorgeous sister, here is my review of her favourite film.

It's an oldie but a goodie and packs an all star cast including a not so well known Colin Firth. For all the heroes he plays, he's quite the villain and visa versa for Ralph Fiennes! It's interesting how people's impression of an actor is derived from their first experience of them. Now you may see someone in many movies but they don't make an impact on you until a particular role stands out. In fact, I adore watching older movies and looking for actors in small roles who are now well known - I'm looking at you Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank! But I digress...

As such there seems to be a real divide in how people feel about Fiennes. Some really love him as a sweetheart. Others think his cold black heart should freeze in hell. It's because despite beibg around long before, filmgoers of the nineties strongest encounters with him were either The English Patient (the nice guy) or Schindler's List (the really bad guy). And a whole new generation of kids is being terrified by him as Harry Potter's He Who Must Not Be Named!

Likewise, this was the role that would move Kristin Scott Thomas from the friend in Four Weddings and a Funeral to leading lady.

Either way, stellar performances and a tight script with stunning cinematography  makes this well worth revisiting. I mean, come on, it won 9 Oscars including Best Picture!

Check out...

The English Patient

Plot: As the end is nigh for WWII, a nurse cares for a man badly burned who recounts his astonishing tale.

Cast: Ralph Fiennes (The Reader), Kristin Scott Thomas (Easy Virtue), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat), Naveen Andrews (Lost), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Willem Dafoe (The Hunter)

Like this? See
The Power of One
Lawrence of Arabia


A lot of people missed this one when it came out in cinemas (myself included) but it’s a really charming comedy about one family’s unusual solution for overcoming hard times. Based on the novel of the same name, Cameron Crowe is back to his excellent best.

I couldn't resist a family movie starring the irrepressible Matt Damon.  He's charismatic, handsome and just a little bit goofy.  

I've never really understood the whole Scarlett Johanssen thing (maybe it's connected to the part of my brain that go for Woody Allen...) but she's pretty good in this, though sidebar - it doesn't ask a lot of her though ;)

But bonus, Angus McFadyen - you may remember him as Braveheart's Robert the Bruce - whom I haven't seen in anything for many years!  And there's plenty of other great supporting cast.

Check out...

We Bought a Zoo

PLOT: Seeking a fresh start, a father moves his young family to the countryside.  Their perfect house comes with an interesting addition to the backyard – a struggling zoo and its staff.

CAST: Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity), Scarlett Johannson (The Avengers), Thomas Hayden Church (Sideways), Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous)

Watch the trailer

Like this? See:

  • The Best Marigold Hotel
  • Life As We Know It
  • Far Off Place

TRIVIA: The REAL Benjamin Mee and his family are in the final scenes!


I love a good high school movie. Not your average Ron com mind you though they have their place, but something clever which really captures that uniquely shared experience that was one's formative years.

This is not your typical high school film. So much so it experienced poor WOM referral upon its release when people misinterpreted its genre!

But I love its sardonic wit and the way it playfully holds a mirror up to those bullies who drape themselves in the cloak of cause.

I highly recommend...


Plot: When a naive teenage girl falls pregnant, the notices parallels between her life and the parables taught at her evangelical high school confuse her.

Cast: Jena Malone (Pride & Prejudice), Macaulay Culkin (My Girl), Mandy Moore (American Dreamz), Patrick Fugit (We Bought A Zoo)

Like this? See

Easy A
Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion
Ten things I Hate About You 

Who are you really?

I know I'm binging a bit on the thrillers at the moment but sometimes we all need a bit of a prod to get the adrenaline going.

And seriously what a cast!!

I'm hesitant to give too much away about this except to say it all comes down to ten strangers, a rundown motel in the middle of nowhere (but of course!), a dark and stormy night (it had to be right?!) and a mystery that binds them... Cue the creepy soundtrack and creaking door!

Turn out the lights and scare yourself silly with...


Plot: Ten strangers, stranded at a run down motel in the middle of a violent storm begin mysteriously disappearing. What connects these endangered travellers?

Cast: John Cusack (Con Air), Amanda Peet (Studio 60), Clea Duvall (Canivale), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Alfred Mollina (Chocolat), John C McGinley (Scrubs), Rebecca de Mornay (The Hand that Rocks the Cradle), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Trapped)

Watch the trailer

Like this? See
The Sixth Sense
The Machinist
Runaway Jury

A worldly woman

I stumbled across this one night screening on free to air tv and wondered why it didn't catch my attention earlier. Now there's every possibility I saw Nicole Kidman and simply dismissed it as I usually find her irritating. Yes, I know it's very unpatriotic of me but you must admit she was consistently annoying for awhile there! 

This however actually changed my mind about Kidman. To hold her own with the likes of Penn and Keener she'd have to have some substance on screen... Here she actually does a pretty good job though the accent waxes and wanes a bit. I found thus a thoroughly entertaining thriller with a few unexpected turns here and there along the way. Even if you have no interest in international relations you should check out...

The Interpreter

Plot: An interpreter at the UN inadvertently overhears someone plotting  an assassination but the secret service agent assigned to protect her believes there's more to her than meets the eye.

Cast: Nicole Kidman (The Hours), Sean Penn (Milk), Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich)

Watch the trailer 

Like this? See
The Game
The Machinist

Playin' around

Thrillers are a bit of a mixed bag since what thrills varies from person to person.  Some people consider horror to fit in the category while others are thrilled merely by the presence of a favourite actor.

But a thriller should be spine tingling but rely on twists and turns in the plot ie good writing to generate the thrill without being overly gory. Thrillers are an absolute favourite of mine but it's rare these days to get a truly decent one... Often the plot twists become so predictable they're basically straight lines!!

So cast your dvd net back to a time when John Grisham was peaking in popularity and you 'didn't see that coming'. Personally I'm not a big fan of Mr Douglas. Much like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, I feel he's best when his character leaches smarminess or sleaze. In this, he works. Sean Penn is another actor whom I greatly admire but don't really like. Here he is far from the perfect brother... or is he?

Check out...


Plot: What do you get the man who has everything? Wealthy financier Nicholas finds out when his brother unexpectedly gives him a unique birthday experience - live action gaming - which ultimately consumes his life!

Cast: Michael Douglas (A Perfect Murder), Sean Penn (Milk)

Dir: David Fincher (Se7en)

Watch the trailer

Like this? See

  • Identity
  • The Machinist