Film: Rain Man

rain-manLast night I rewatched Rain Man for the first time in about 7 or 8 years. There are obviously many reasons why Rain Man is a cinematic classic – it has a great story line and amazing acting by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.

The reason I am writing the review of Rain Man is due mainly to the fact that my reaction to the film has changed, or more accurately, developed. When I first watched this film, I was watching it mainly because it was a film classic and I felt that I ought to. I was a teenager and still in secondary school, and the only knowledge of autism that I had at the time was actually from the film itself. Even then, though, I realised that Dustin Hoffman’s acting was astounding and I could appreciate the effort that went into making the film.

However, for the past 5-6 years I have spent the majority of my time working with children with Special Needs, and in particular with children on the Autistic Spectrum. This has meant that my knowledge on the complex issue of autism has developed immensely since the first time I watched Rain Man. So, as you can imagine, watching it last night, I was able to reflect on the knowledge I now have – and I can say, without doubt, that Dustin Hoffman’s acting, rather than just being astounding, is the best acting that I have ever seen. The way he captures the unique idiosyncrasies of a person with autism is amazing. There was clearly a lot of research that went into preparing for the role, and that’s something that I can really appreciate – there was clearly care taken over the way that autism was portrayed in the film.

Apart from that, I also think the way in which Tom Cruise’s character develops through the film is really impressive. It highlights the ignorance surrounding autism in the late 80’s, and how understanding can mean everything.

This is definitely a must watch classic!

5/5

Also as a side note, I recently watched the BBC Horizon documentary on Living with Autism which was a good clinical insight into the subject.

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Film: The Little Rascals

Little_rascals_ver2This film is a huge throwback to my childhood. I was given it for christmas but have just recently got around to watching it. I’m not one of those people that generally watch kids films (mainly because I don’t have kids so I have no excuse to), but there are a few films that I can spend hours rewatching and reminiscing about. This is one of them.

Watching it now, I can appreciate how genuinely good the children actors are (think Bugsy Malone, and how hard it must have been for the kids to stay in character). I love this film because of all the warm and fuzzy memories of childhood, but also because it is actually a good film.

It has everything a grown up rom com has, but in miniature. Darla, the infuriating female lead, with her pick of boys and enjoying the attention, and Alfalfa, the smitten and oh so sweet but not quite popular enough boy, portray the typical style love story. There is also go kart racing, which is always fun, and bubble singing!

This is a fun, witty film which is perfect for the whole family. If you have kids, I strongly suggest you watch it with them!

Film: Seven Psychopaths

I decided to spend a few hours this week watching Seven Psychopaths, which I had meant to see at the cinema. I am, however, glad that I decided instead to watch it online. It isn’t really the kind of film I would want to watch on the big screen, despite having one of my all time favourite actors (Christopher Walken). As well as this cinematic genius of an actor, there is an abundance of famous faces in this film.

The carefree way in which the characters in this film talk about psychopathy intrigued me, as all things related to psychopaths usually does. I don’t buy into all that talk of it’s a representation of the psychopathy within Hollywood rubbish, or rather, I don’t see it. This film is more like a vivid imagery of a conversation, the like of which I would engage in with my other strange minded associates. I can’t say that this film had an immense amount of direction or that there is anyone else who would enjoy it, but I found I liked this film.

I think myself and Martin McDonagh might be able to collaborate on quite a successful movie script…

4.5/5

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Film: The Hobbit

I went to see The Hobbit two days ago, which, as I realise, was long after the rest of the world had seen it. But, as I said before, I’m not the run to the cinema to catch the film before it’s even released kind of person. Nonetheless, as I’ve watched the rest of Peter Jackson’s masterworks at the cinema, I thought it best to continue this tradition. First off, I will have to admit that I have not read any of JRR Tolkein’s books all the way through, the first few pages were more than enough to persuade me otherwise.

I have to say, I thought the film started all too slowly. There were way too many scenes of dwarves eating, drinking, and being merry for the beginning of an epic adventure trilogy. My attention got kind of lost in the first half an hour, and I found myself yawning a couple of times (this was not a late showing). But, as the pack set of, in similar fashion to the fellowship in LOTR, the storyline finally got going – I was finally intrigued, sitting upright, and paying attention.

This film, and indeed, I expect this trilogy, set forward a familiar feel, some familiar faces, and a whole host of different beasts that I had become accustomed to having seen the LOTR more times than perhaps is cool to admit…

The scenery, as always, is amazing enough to want to watch this. And, although I will try not to give away too much, it was nice to see some characters, who I had far before deemed evil, pick up a role in which they are on the side of good (no, I’m not talking about Saruman at all…). The Star Wars-esque stuff of trying to forget the future so you can focus on the past, is not too difficult in this film. I’m not sure why that is, I just found this really easy to follow.

Martin Freeman is well deserving of the role of the young Bilbo Baggins. I’ve come to admire him as an actor, especially since his successful enactment of Dr Watson. My secondary school English Literature teacher actually taught Martin Freeman as well, which means, by proxy, that is my claim to fame.

My other half is not a fan of Lord of The Rings, and as I believe, has never seen any of the films all the way through, so this will need to be rectified immediately (especially after having to frustratingly explain that Gandalf is not Dumbledore, and that they come from two completely different film franchises).

I am looking forward to the next two instalments and to the LOTR marathon I have been promised this weekend.

5/5

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Top 5 Winter Warmers

As vaguely promised, on the 1st of every month, there shall be a list of my top 5 films in a certain category. Following on from the festive theme of the past week and the bitter cold weather, this month shall be my top 5 winter films. Films that make you want to sit on the sofa with a slanket, and entire box of thorntons and a steaming hot chocolate, maybe even a mince pie or two.

 

5. Big Daddy – this, to be fair, is an all year round film. It’s funny, heart warming, etc. and what is better than a 5 year old child called Frankenstein proclaiming: “I wipe my own ass!”?

4. Edward Scissorhands – this, again, is a pretty much all year film, but it tends to come on around this time of year, and so this is when I tend to watch it. Who cares anyway, its a fantastic film!

3. Love Actually – because what is Christmas without Hugh Grant? This is one of his better films, aided by an array of other quite good actors and actresses.

2. Polar Express – for a kids film, this is surprisingly good. If you have children I do recommend watching this with them. The gasps of excitement from kids throughout this film are worth it.

1. Sleepless in Seattle – I grew up being made to watch films like this at Christmas time, and this one kind of stuck. Hey, it is RomCom season after all!

 

Next month will be my top 5 films series, because what with it being Winter, I expect most of my time will be spent watching these!

Culture Reviews 2013 Challenge

So I considered doing something really worthwhile and meaningful. Then I realised that I’m way too lazy for something like that. Things I am also too lazy to do which no doubt would seriously improve this blog are:

Look out for and read newly released books: I read books when they have been out for a while. This is for the following reasons; they are generally cheaper, they can all be bought from Amazon which requires absolutely no effort or travel

Go to the cinema to see new films: this may happen a few times a year, but is generally second to waiting for them to be released onto DVD so I can get a clear streaming online. Reasons include; again the whole going outside thing, extortionate cinema prices and a reluctance to get dressed.

Challenges

Literary –

So, my personal book challenge for 2013 is to (wait for it) not buy any books! (Until I have completed the unread books on my shelf)

My main challenge is to read all the so far unread books on my piled up book shelves and whatever new books are added from my Christmas wishlist. After which I can reward myself by buying more books.

I will then document said books by letting you poor folks know whether I enjoyed them or not. Here is my book collection as it stands at the moment:

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Film –

I am also aiming to have a regular update where I review the best films. I’m thinking groups of 5 will not be too strenuous, and maybe once a month. I’ll start on the 1st of Jan with my 5 best winter warmer films, the ones that get you all warm and lovey inside. I sincerely do hope you are excited.

What was that?

Film Review: Knowing, 2009

Well, this Nicolas Cage delight was…delightful. (Sensing the sarcasm?). I watched this film quite late last night, and I can’t be sure if my confusion was as a result of my tiredness, or if the film was just that weird… And I don’t mean weird in the cool Donnie Darko/weird rabbit/random fires kind of way, although there were plenty of random fires.

It’s like a cross between 2012 type films of world endings, Matrix style with a load of numbers that no-one really understands, and The Others with the are they real people? Or ghosts? Or angels? weirdness going on. Sci-fi, Thriller, Horror and Disaster, with a little bit of implied romance thrown in there.

I thought I understood it at first. There was a weird girl who could predict tragic events in the future and Cage had to try and prevent those still to come – and then it kind of turned into this really strange Biblical/Sun exploding kind of thing. Sounds confusing? Well it was.

I may have to try and sit through this again to try and figure out what the producers/directors/writers were actually thinking when this film was developed. But until then, it won’t be joining my recommended list. Sorry Nic!

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