100 Word Review – Juno (2007)

Best Original Screenplay Oscar winner, this brilliant comedy about teenage pregnancy is dry, sweet and full of heart.

An unplanned pregnancy leaves mature-beyond-her-years teen Juno (Ellen Page), facing a tough decision, and trying to figure out what’s right for her and the baby.

Written by Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body, United States of Tara), and directed by Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking, Up In The Air), this quirky comedy has a cast to match.

Michael Cera (Superbad), Jason Bateman (Bad Words) and Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club) are all wonderful in what is so much more than a teen comedy.

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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 – Trumbo (2015)

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Based on the life of the Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Roman Holiday, Sparticus) and his time on the Black List as one of the infamous Hollywood Ten.

Brilliantly cast and put together, the film breathes a new life into antime of constructed fear and censorship that holds up a mirror to politics throughout the ages. Despite the heavy content, it retains a levity and humanity that is truly brilliant.

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is superb in the title role and his co-stars all shine just as bright. It’s unsurprising that he’s been nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

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.

100 Word Review – Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Well aware that I sound like a sports commentator, this really is a film of two halves.

Set in Italy in the build-up to WWII, a Jewish man falls in love, starts a family and uses his imagination in an attempt to shield them from the harsh realities.

Roberto Benigni co-wrote, directed and starred in this moving and emotionally draining portrayal of world events on a personal scale. It is at moments hilarious, the first half is full of Chaplin-esque humour. The second half is…

Just watch it. You will laugh, and you will cry.

Here’s Benigni receiving his Oscar: