100 Word Review – Being John Malkovich (1999)

Craig (John Cusack) a puppeteer with a failing career finds a portal that allows him inside the mind of famous actor John Malkovich, where he starts to put his skills to work.

Written by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation) and directed by Spike Jonze (Where The Wild Things Are, Her), this film was always going to be an unusual movie.

With John Malkovich playing himself and co-starring Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener, this film is weird, dark and completely trippy. The acting is superb and there are moments of dark humour that make it thoroughly watchable.

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100 Word Review – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

It’s not often you see Jim Carrey in a serious film, and I’m not sure why because he’s brilliant in this.

At the end of their relationship, Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergo a procedure to have each other removed from their memories.

As would be expected with a film written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and directed by Michel Gondry (Be Kind Rewind, The Science of Sleep), it’s equal parts wacky and beautiful.

The film is far from linear and takes you on an extraordinary journey filled with romance, laughter as well as darkness and despair.

100 Word Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Not quite sure what, if anything, this film has to do with Cloverfield, but it is worth watching for at least one thing; John Goodman.

After being involved in a car crash, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself locked in a fallout shelter being told by Howard (Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) that outside the world is ending.

Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) is among the screenwriters on this very strange film that sits somewhere in the thriller / comedy / Sci Fi / drama genre. Goodman is equal parts wonderful, hilarious and terrifying.

It also has a truly brilliant trailer:

100 Word Review – The Illusionist (2010)

Not to be confused with the 2006 film of the same name, this French animation is based on a screenplay by Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle, Jour de Fete).

A French illusionist befriends a young Scottish woman and both of their lives change for ever.

It is the closest I’ve come to seeing a silent animation and the combination is mesmerising. Full of humour, charm and at times magic, this is a wonderful film for both adults and children alike.

Adapted and directed by Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendezvous, Paris je t’aime, Attila Marcel), it was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

100 Word Review – Demolition (2015)

LIFE: Some Disassembly Required. – Tagline

After losing his wife (Heather Lind) in a car accident that left him unscathed, Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) writes a series of increasingly confessional complaint letters to a vending machine company. He also starts taking things apart.

Co-starring Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper and Judah Lewis (definitely a young actor to look out for), this film finds humour and sympathy in the cathartic actions of one man.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Wild, Dallas Buyers Club, The Young Victoria) and written by Bryan Sipe, it is funny, heartbreaking and brilliantly destructive. It also has a toe-tappingly wonderful soundtrack.

100 Word Review – Zootropolis (2016)

In a world where predators and prey finally live in harmony, a bunny (Ginnifer Goodwin) tries to buck the social order by becoming a police rabbit, a profession dominated by predators.

It has possibly one of the best trailers around (see below), a fantastic vocal cast (Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Shakira and Jenny Slate) and sense of humour sure to tickle both adults and children alike. Watch out for the Breaking Bad joke! From the creators of Tangled, Wreak It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and Frozen, it was always going to be a winner. It’s definitely worth seeing at the cinema.

100 Word Review – Dogma (1999)

Abortion clinic worker and half-hearted Catholic Bethany (Linda Florentino) is visited by an angel (Alan Rickman) and instructed to stop a couple of fallen angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) from ending the world.

Written and directed by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), it somehow manages to satirises institutional Catholicism without criticising those with genuine faith.

Co-starring Chris Rock, Jason Lee, Salma Hayek and George Carlin, the film is a mixture of toilet humour, road movie and religious dogma that somehow works. For fan’s of Smith’s work, don’t worry; Jay and Silent Bob lend helping hands.

100 Word Review – Deadpool (2016)

This may be the perfect comic book movie.

Set in the X-Men universe, this is an origin story film for the funniest mutant around, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds).

It’s the first feature for director Tim Miller, who was involved in the visual effects for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and it was written by the team behind Zombieland. It’s stylised, it’s got a dry and dark sense of humour, and it shows a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness which is missing from the more run-of-the-mill comic book movies.

Even the opening credits are hysterical. It’s not suitable for children, but definitely for everyone else!

100 Word Review – The Voices (2015)

The best word to describe this film is ‘weird’.

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a likeable mentally unstable man working a dead-end job. When he follows the advice of his pets and pursues his office crush (Gemma Arterton) things get dark pretty quickly. And that’s just the beginning.

Written by Michael R. Perry (Paranormal Activity 2) and directed by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) it sits on a very stylised fence between horror thriller and quirky comedy.

If you don’t like bloody films, this is not the one for you, but otherwise do watch it. Anna Kendrick costars and Reynolds is magnetic as always.

100 Word Review – The Breakfast Club (1985)

THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

“These children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds,

Are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.” – David Bowie, opening titles

 

Five high school students bond over a shared Saturday detention as they rebel against the stereotypes they inhabit.

Written and directed by the one and only John Hughes (Home Alone, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty In Pink), this is one of the great teen comedies of the 1980s. 

Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael Hall are truly wonderful, each standing out in their own right.