100 Word Review – The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

This is Sci Fi on a personal scale with potentially international consequences. 

A politician (Matt Damon) meets a ballerina (Emily Blunt) he should never have met. Can their love survive or will the Adjustment Bureau restore order as fate intends it?

Based on the short story by Philip K Dick (Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner), adapted by director George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum, Ocean’s Twelve), this film falls somewhere between Sci Fi paranoia and all out action.

Co-starring John Slattery (Mad Men) as Richardson, this is a film about destiny, choice and fighting for what you believe in.

100 Word Review – Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)

Written by and starring the wonderful Jennifer Westfeldt (Friends With Kids, Ira & Abby) and Heather Juergensen.

After a series of unfortunate dates, Jessica (Westfeldt) decides to explore her sexuality when she reads a personal ad that piques her interest. Unsure of where her preferences lie, she sets forth to meet Helen (Juergensen) and find out what she needs from a relationship.

Sweet, awkward and funny, it explores the fluid nature of sexuality and what is required in a relationship without being crude, obvious or overtly sexual. Westfeldt is fantastic as the uncertain Jessica, playing perfectly of Juergensen’s sexually confident Helen.

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100 Word Review – Amélie (2001)

Romantic and whimsical in a quintessentially French fashion. 

Amélie (Audrey Tautou) lives alone in Paris, working at a local cafe. The death of Princess Diana prompts her to find a hidden treasure in her flat. She starts doing good deeds and standing up for the less fortunate when she meets Nino (Matthieu Kassovitz).

Co-written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (A Very Long Engagement, The City of Lost Children), it is stylishly shot with a truly lovely soundtrack. Quirky, beautiful and funny, it was nominated for five Oscars, including Art Direction and Cinematography, and is currently number 75 on IMDb’s Top 250 films. 

100 Word Review – The Sound of Music (1965)

Let’s start with the obvious; if you don’t like musicals you won’t like this film.

Set during the run up to Nazi Germany’s occupation of Austria, Sister Maria (Julie Andrews) leaves her convent to act as governess to a widower’s (Christopher Plummer) seven children (Charmain Carr, Heather Menzies-Urich, Nicholas Hammond, Duane Chase, Debbie Turner and Kym Karath).

Based on the stage musical and directed by Robert Wise (West Side Story), it won five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.

It’s a beautifully made film that you’ll be able to sing along to parts the first time you watch it.

100 Word Review – Benny & Joon (1993)

This might be my favourite Johnny Depp film. 

Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) is mentally unwell. Her father Benny (Aiden Quinn) struggles to protect her the way he feels he should. Then they meet Sam (Johnny Depp), an awkward man with an obsession for silent stars like Buster Keaton.

Masterson is wonderful as the emotionally delicate Joon who is fighting for whatever independence she can get.

This film is perfect. It takes a sensitive and dark subject matter and normalises it, adding in the quirks we would expect from any Rom Com. Look out for co-stars Oliver Platt and Julianne Moore.

100 Word Review – Me and You and Everyone We Know (2006)

This is a beautiful romantic comedy that takes a step away from the Hollywood cliches and sets itself in a much more recognisable universe.

Richard (John Hawkes) is a shoe salesman separating from the mother of his two sons (Miles Thompson, Brandon Ratcliff), when he meets quirky performance artist Christine (Miranda July).

This is the first feature from writer, director and co-star July, who has since gone on to write and direct The Future.  

A really lovely and at some moments perfectly awkward film, that acknowledges and includes every single character in its delicate and intricate tapestry of human relationships.

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100 Word Review – The Lunchbox (2013)

This is a beautiful understated example of modern Indian filmmaking.

Ila (Nimrat Kaur) sends her husband lunch to work every day with the famous infallible Mumbai lunchbox delivery service. In an attempt to kick-start her marriage she puts a message in the box, which reaches bachelor Saajan (Irrfan Khan).

Written and directed by Ritesh Batra, it is a wonderful film about the power of the written word and rediscovering ourselves through food. It is romantic, underplayed and brilliantly done, with superb leads and an excellent supporting cast. It has won 28 awards including a BAFTA and been nominated for a further 37.

100 Word Review – Some Like It Hot (1959)

Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star in this classic 1950s Oscar-winning romantic comedy. 

When Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) accidentally witness the 1929 St Valentines Day Massacre, they join a women-only band to escape the mob who want them silenced.

This is a very, very silly film.

That said, it is also clever, funny and brilliantly directed by the hugely talented Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment). It is dramatic, engaging and speaks volumes about the strict gender roles of the time. It’s currently number 112 on IMDb’s Top 250 films and has the single greatest last line of any movie.