The Top 10 Summer Movies

May 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here in the UK we’re not used to all this hot weather, which is why we should make the most of it whenever possible. For this reason, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the top 10 summer movies to watch this hot season so we can truly embrace the sun even when we’re indoors. Also, I know we are still in Spring here in Britain, but hey, it feels like Summer, doesn’t it?

10. Dirty Dancing

The Kellerman resort looks hot and the staff are even hotter. This film is the perfect flick to slap on the DVD player once the sun has gone down, because it’s sure to raise your temperatures – and the soundtrack is pretty damn good, too.

09. Adventureland

Everyone loves a fairground in the summertime, so if you can’t head to one then why not watch a movie based around one. It involves a bit of love, comedy and drama that makes this theme park movie a perfect summer film.

08. Hairspray

Now, I’ve seen many blogs were people have said Grease is the perfect summer movie, and it can be a good film but if you’re like me and seen it a dozen times then you might want to watch a different musical. If so, Hairspray is the perfect choice; it has a great story, happy and dancy numbers and is filled with superb comedy moments.

07. Jurassic Park

This movie oozes summer for me as it was a massive blockbuster when I was just a little kid. It is also one of the first of its kind due to the (at one time) superb CGI. A classic choice that is sure to have you reaching for the popcorn as you sit on the edge of your seat.

06. Shirley Valentine

Downtrodden Shirley decides to throw in the tea towel on her marriage and head to Greece for an affair with a lothario. It’s full of stunning summer shots, a bit of nipple action and female empowerment.

05. 500 Days of Summer

This film is as bright and colourful as the title. The film isn’t actually referring to the season but the object of Tom’s affection, Summer Finn. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect film to watch on a warm evening with your loved one or a group of friends.

04. The Inbetweeners Movie

What’s better than seeing four desperate guys on the lookout for some female company on a summer holiday? It’s funny, it’s stupid and it also has great heart for a toiler-humour format. Expect some colourful debauchery.

03. Back to the Future

This film is like a fine wine, it just gets better with age. The style is now retro, the idea is inspired and the characters are incredible. I defy you to find a better sci-fi comedy to ever hit the screens, and that’s why it is the perfect choice for a lazy summer night in.

02. The Notebook

An utterly romantic story about the power of summer love. If you want to chill with your partner for a cosy night on the couch then I suggest you opt for The Notebook. It has some exceptional summery shots, a heartbreakingly tender storyline and some A Star totty.

01.    My Girl

What’s sweeter than the start of young love? Set in the summer of 1972, two eleven year olds fall in love. It’s cute, it’s romantic, it’s sad but it’s also uplifting in a strange sort of way.


The 20 Best Characters on TV

May 26, 2012 § 4 Comments

I love television. If you’re reading this then I’m guessing you do too. So, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be the very best characters in television. You will most likely agree with some and disagree with others – as is life. These are the characters I believe make the TV shows they star in worth watching, even though there are so many more I would have loved to add to this list.

20. Jack Bauer (24)

I feel sickened that I have to put Mr Bauer at number 20 but I’d say his personality isn’t as diverse as the following favourite characters. However, how could I not include a character that valued honesty and patriotism above everything else. Who saved thousands of people on countless occasions, spent a few years being tortured in China and still came out fighting. This is the man who rescued his family, stopped a nuclear bomb, recovered from a heroine addiction, stopped a fatal virus, uncovered a government conspiracy, stopped the release of biological weapons and ran away from the US government seeking revenge. If there was a list for the top 20 bad ass characters on the box then you can guarantee Jack Bauer would be number one.

Best moment: Jack Bauer showed how much of a true American hero he was when he had to reluctantly kill CTU Regional Director, Ryan Chapelle for the sake of his country.

19. Moss (The IT Crowd)

So, many people may claim that Moss shouldn’t be in the top 20 because he is a stereotype of what a geek is. However, it takes a true character to still be a stereotype whilst offering a completely different personality to anything that has ever been shown on TV before. He is funny, awkward, socially inept but also kind of cool.

Best moment: When Moss enters a Countdown competition and is challenged to play Street Countdown at the 8+ Club.

18. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)

You will probably be either applauding or rejecting my decision to have Carrie in my top 20, but like it or not Sex and the City would be nothing without her. This show is one of the first TV shows with a strong leading lady and this show is god damn funny.

Best Moment: When she works as a model on a fashion shoot and falls on the catwalk in front of the audience. She recovered in the best fashion only Carrie Bradshaw could.

17. Tobias Beecher (OZ)

What I love about Beecher is the development of his character over the seven seasons. At first he starts out as this quite weak and naïve person who has been thrown into this crazy, violent world, but he rises up, goes a bit mad for a bit, and then becomes a harder version of the character that we fell in love with. Oz was a fantastic TV show, but Tobias gave it a heart and made me actually care about his freedom in comparison to most of his inmates.

Best moment: When he finally stands up to Schillinger in Season 1 and throws the chair through his cell.

16. Chandler Bing (Friends)

Ask anyone who the best character in Friends is and they will most likely say Chandler. While I love all of them individually, it is Chandler’s personality that stands out amongst the others. You couldn’t help but root for him even though at times he didn’t deserve it – remember how he cheated with Joey’s girlfriend Cathy?

Best moment: The episode where he tries to keep his relationship with Monica a secret and ends up kissing Phoebe and Rachel to cover it up.

15. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

What would The Big Bang Theory be without Sheldon Cooper? He is everything we don’t want in a friend, yet we all want to be friends with him. He’s rude, he’s sarcastic (without trying) and he’s selfish – and yet we still love him.

Best moment: When he flees Pasadena after his apartment is burgled and attempts to start a new life in a new city, only to be robbed the minute he steps in the coach station.

14. Liz Lemon (30 Rock)

Unlucky in love Liz Lemon is the sensible one at The Girly Show, which is saying something. Her lack of style, self respect and her ability to always fall for the wrong man makes us love her all the more. She’s awkward, she’s silly but she’s strong – and we love her because there is a Liz Lemon deep down inside all of us.

Best moment: When Liz meets Oprah on a plane only to realise that it wasn’t the chat show host at all.

13. Roger Sterling (Mad Men)

The silver fox is the king of one-liners. When he’s not attempting to woo a new woman then he’s dumping one. His eye is always firmly on his next conquest or the next glass of scotch, but he’s honest and smooth and you can see exactly why all the woman fall at his feet.

Best moment: When Roger is sick in front of an office full of clients after climbing hundreds of stairs.

12. Christopher Maltisanti (The Sopranos)

He killed gangsters. Dealt drugs, beat his girlfriend and even got her killed – so why the hell do we all love Christopher so much? However, you can’t help but root for the aspiring writer and want him to be Tony’s go-to guy when things get a little tough down in New Jersey.

Best moment: When he shoots the pastry guy in the foot for not serving him quick enough.

11. David Brent (The Office)

Everyone works with someone like David Brent. You know the guy, he thinks he’s funny and craves attention. That is the reason why he is such a fantastic character as he is extremely realistic and a little too close to home.

Best moment: It’s hard to choose one but I love the moment when he jokes with Dawn that she’s fired and makes her cry (or when he sings Free Love Freeway).

10. Carrie Mathison (Homeland)

There is no character like Carrie on TV. Her obsessive nature cause by bipolar ultimately makes her the best in her field – but it also makes her the biggest liability. She’s almost like a female Jack Bauer, except smarter and with less brawn.

Best moment: When she begs Brody’s daughter to ring her Father to stop him committing a terrorist attack on the Vice President.

09. Maggie (Extras)

I love Maggie for everything she is – silly, dim and kind. Her friendship with Andy is heart warming and her naivety is endearing. Jensen really does hold her own against Gervais whose characters have a tendency to dominate the scene. She’s like a brainless Liz Lemon which makes her character even more likeable.

08. Don Draper (Mad Men)

What’s smooth, stylish and charming? Don Draper, that’s what. This confident, handsome and no-nonsense character makes the 1950s look cool, and makes alcoholics look sexy. While you can’t help but hate his philandering ways, his dedication to his children and his job makes him both likeable and attractive. Men want to be him and women want to be with him.

Best moment: When Don meets Roger and begs for a job.

07. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

Tony Soprano kills mobsters. He takes money from the poor. He runs a strip club. He cheats on his wife. He likes ducks.
Tony Soprano doesn’t take bullshit. He swears a lot. He kills his family members. He can drive a girl to suicide. He gets a little bit dizzy.
Need I say more?

Best moment: When Tony kills Ralphi.

06. Dexter Morgan (Dexter)

This serial killer is one of the most complex characters on TV – even he doesn’t have a clue who is. The fantastic thing about Mr Morgan is that he constantly learns things about himself every season, and often discovers that he is more human than he gives himself credit for. Therefore, he takes us on a journey each episode.

Best moment: When Dexter headbutts Doakes.

05. George Costanza (Seinfeld)

There is no one in the world that is more unlucky than George Costanza. This pompous idiot doesn’t deserve half of the good looking girls he manages to bag, and he still always messes it up or doesn’t want them. While many people would argue that Kramer is the true comic genius of the show, I would fight until the death that George is the true comedy talent. In fact, they should have just renamed the show to George.

Best moment: I was in a pool!

04. Ari Gold (Entourage)

You won’t find snappier dialogue than Ari Gold’s. He loves good rant and isn’t afraid of saying what he feels – unless he needs to lie to a client to keep them onboard. The family man with a mouth as dirty as a swamp, you won’t find a more passionate and ruthless man on TV.

Best moment: When he gets Lloyd back together with his boyfriend Tom in Season 4.

03. Walter White (Breaking Bad)

There’s only so much a man can take until he decides to sell drugs with a former student – and that moment was when Mr White was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The once mild mannered goes all gangster to make sure he makes enough drug money to fund his medical treatment. Think Jack Bauer except on the wrong side of the law and a cool nickname.

Best moment: When he battles two gunned men unarmed in a parking lot and wins.

02. Omar (The Wire)

Omar is a gangster who dislikes any form of profanity and lives by a strict moral code. He’s a proud gay man who doesn’t care about the world knowing about his sexuality – and this can only be admired in such a violent and unpredictable gangland world. His intelligence ultimately makes him a force to be reckoned with. Like Batman, you don’t see him coming, but you know about it when he arrives.

Best moment: When he goes out to buy some cheerios in his bathrobe.

01.    Niles Crane (Frasier)

You’ve either just wholeheartedly agreed with my number one choice or feel like throwing your computer across the room. If it’s the latter then you clearly have never seen Fraiser, and if you have then you really don’t appreciate it. Niles Crane is the ultimate character because at every point in this long series he offered us something new whilst always remaining true to the original character in season one. He can be many things at one – a hopeless romantic, a pompous fool, a selfish idiot and incredibly intelligent. He is also one half of the best TV romances of all time, and one half of the best brotherly-love relationships ever.

Best moment: When he can’t see how Daphne has put weight on and keeps feeding her chocolate.

The Avengers Assemble – Does it Live Up to the Hype?

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Avengers Assemble is the biggest blockbuster of all time. Countless people have told me how good it is and that I need to see it. So, you can imagine I was sceptical about whether it would live up to all the hype.

The week before my visit to the cinema I watched Iron Man, The Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America, so when the preview trailers started rolling so did my excitement.

I like a film that throws you right in from the beginning and that’s what The Avengers Assemble does. We immediately witness the return of Thor’s snivelling brother, Loki, and we soon realise that he has plans to take over the world, and recruits a bewildered Hawkeye in the process. Not bad after less than two minutes on earth. Tom Hiddleston performance is even more evil and vermin-like than in Thor, and it is a tribute to the actor and the writing that he really got to the core of the character.

We are then introduced gradually to all the Avenger members. The fantastic thing about this film is that each character gets their moment in the spotlight – even if Iron Man does steal the show in every scene he is in, but that’s just the type of guy he is.

However, I could have seen a bit more of Thor. Each character had a big, defining moment. Black Widow helped turn off the portal and kicked so much ass I’m surprised there are any donkeys left. Captain America helped get all of the citizens out of danger. The Hulk saved Iron Man, kicked Loki’s puny little ass and beat off all the Chitauri. Iron Man restarts the damaged engine on the Helicarrier, gets rid of a nuclear bomb and flies it into the portal. Thor just does a little bit of lightning and fights his brother a bit – nothing too heroic. Yeah, he returns Loki to Asgard, but if you ask me they should have killed him there and then. I wish there was more of him, not just because he is super good looking (and even you men can agree on that) but because he is an interesting character.

There was also the pointless Gwyneth Paltrow. Seriously, why was she in this film? Was it part of her contract to appear in the movie, because I can’t see any other reason? Yeah, it might have been to show she was still with Iron Man, but they could have just shown him looking at a picture of her like they did with Captain America and Iron Man. Then you might argue that it would add to emotional drama when Iron Man enters the portal – but again, a picture would still do the job. In fact, if she actually answered her phone then she might have served more of a purpose.

The movie has a good blend of comedy and action, and the films success is due to the production company, the phenomenal acting and, of course, Joss Whedon. You can imagine that the writer and director went through millions of drafts before he got the script right, because it is perfect. He utilises everything that makes these characters so entertaining, such as Iron Man and his humour, Thor and that crazy voice and Captain America and his old fashioned behaviour.

I’ll admit that I was dubious about Mark Ruffalo taking over Ed Norton as The Hulk/Bruce Banner, but I honestly don’t know why I was worried. Not only does he seem intelligent and gentle enough to play Banner, but he looks exactly how you would expect The Hulk to look. I always thought that Ed Norton seemed a little bit too weak to be Bruce, too, but Ruffalo has the right build to sell it.

Black Widow was one of the biggest highlights for me. I’ve never been much of a Scarlet Johansson fan but I’ve done a  total 360 now. The past twelve months have brought female characters to the forefront of film, and both Johansson and Black Widow proved how strong female performances can be and she thoroughly deserves to be one of the biggest stars of the movie.

I know I said that I thought The Hunger Games was the film of the year on a previous blog, but I was mistaken. The Avengers Assemble is the best film of 2012 and I can’t see anything topping it – and maybe nothing will until The Avengers 2. Bring back Joss Whedon!

If you like or dislike what you read, then please leave a comment below and share your views.

Top 10 Johnny Depp Movie Roles

May 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

As today is the UK movie release of Dark Shadows, it is the perfect opportunity to look back at the movie career of Johnny Depp and see where it all went so right. No doubt I’ll open up a bit of debate about the list, but with such a broad catalogue of films I went for the movies that really caught my imagination and made Depp stand out from all the other Hollywood actors.

10. Finding Neverland

Portraying the playwright J. M. Barrie, Depp depicted the writer’s relationship with the family that inspired Peter Pan. This uplifting movie brought both a smile and a tear, and was a great representation of Barrie’s life. Johnny Depp really brought the character to life and demonstrated that his acting skills aren’t dependant upon sensational characters.

9. Alice in Wonderland

Undoubtedly one of Depp’s most fantastical roles, he shined as the Mad Hatter in a somewhat average movie. While the film itself lacked pace at times, Johnny Depp’s performance confirmed yet again why he is one of entertainment’s most loveable actors.

8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The remake of this wonderful children’s film had to be great, and there was only one way to make sure it was: Johnny Depp. If you ask me about the movie then I’d struggle to remember much other than Depp himself. However, there are times when he scared the life out of me – but that’s what you expect from a Tim Burton film.

7. Cry Baby

I honestly didn’t think this film would be good, but I was so wrong. It’s so different to anything I’ve ever seen and it parodied famous musicals such as Grease. Johnny Depp plays the role of Wade ‘Cry Baby’ Walker who was a gang leader of the ‘Drapes’. Wade is most definitely the cool guy in a ground of delinquents, and it was one of the first unusual roles of many for the A-lister. If you haven’t seen it then you haven’t lived.

6. Ed Wood

Some of you might be thinking “what’s Ed Wood? I’ve never heard of it” – well shame on you! Ever wondered what it would be like to witness Johnny as a cross dressing alcoholic? Then you need to see this film. Ed Wood was the actor’s second collaboration with director Tim Burton, and its mixture of darkness and funny anecdotes make this film a must-see for all Depp fans.

5. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

If you have not seen this film then you need to head to your local DVD store and buy it now. While Leonardo DiCaprio is a massive scene stealer, Johnny Depp held his own and their acting complements each other. He silently portrays a brother struggling to be his brother’s carer and man of the house, whilst also trying to stay young and be in love.

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Unlike many Depp films, this movie is not for children. This black comedy shows the hilarious situations that his character Duke and friend Gonzo (Del Toro) find themselves in. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it has a massive cult following and this is most likely due to the performance of both leading men.

3. Sweeney Todd

Everything about this film screams genius to me. Johnny Depp plays the role of the serial killer wonderfully, and his relationship with Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) is a delight. While his singing voice is something to be desired, the motivations of his character and his presence make this one of the best musicals to hit the cinema screens in recent years.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean

One of the most defining roles Johnny Depp has ever played is Captain Jack Sparrow. His drunken pirate humour, enviable charisma and comic timing is a talent that his fellow onscreen partners often struggle to achieve. Let’s face it, without him there would never have been a trilogy of this middle of the road story.

1. Edward Scissorhands
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to most of you that Edward Scissorhands is number one. This was the first collaboration with Tim Burton and ultimately led to a beautiful personal and professional relationship. Twenty-two years on from this fantastic movie, Depp and Burton are still collaborating on several projects. However, I think it is pretty fair to say that none have ever, and most likely will ever, compare to the vulnerable and sweet Edward Scissorhands.

This romantic fantasy film captured hearts across the globe when it was released in 1990, and follows the story of an artificial man who ends up living with a suburban family but falling in love with their teenage daughter.

So, do you agree with the list above? Or do you hate every word I’ve said? If so, I want to hear from you in the comment section below, and you can even leave your own list.

Did the Season Finale of Homeland Deliver?

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you love good telly then I defy you not to love Homeland. It’s intelligent, it’s compelling and it has a bloody good story. I’ve been hooked since the first episode, so you can imagine how excited I was to see what the outcome would be.

Please be aware that this blog may contain spoilers, so if you have not watched the final episode or intend to then it’s probably best to check out some of my other blogs.

I’ve read that people are disappointed by the season finale and at first I was but, when I think about it, it ended kind of perfectly. Sure, nobody found out about Brody and everyone thinks that Carrie’s theory is part of her bipolar, and yes it’s frustrating, but isn’t that what good TV is all about?

Think about it, if Brody was caught and Carrie was hailed a hero, would you tune in for the next season? Would you hell. We need to know more, we want to know more and secretly we like that feeling of frustration.

I think it would be wrong to talk about the series without commenting on Claire Danes’ portrayal of mental illness. I doubt if a depiction has been done more successfully on television – unless you count Mildred Pierce which also featured Danes.

I will most definitely be tuning into the next season, and I’m happy that Damian Lewis will be back next season. The scene where he was about to kill the vice president but received a phone call from his daughter was nail biting, and honestly shown a different version of a terrorist’s mentality.

Awake Review – Does it Put You to Sleep or Have Your Attention?

May 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

The latest US drama to hit the UK screens is Awake, and stars the wonderful Jason Issacs who most people will know as Lucious Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies.

In the opening five minutes you’ll be completely perplexed by the story, and it takes about twenty minutes or more to really get a grasp on it. So, let me break it down for you. LAPD Detective, Michael Britten (Issacs), is stuck in two parallel universes – one where his son is dead but his wife is alive, and one where his wife is dead and his son is alive. Britten also visits two different psychiatrists who both try to convince him that they are real people. Confused?

Once you’ve got your head around the complicated plot, you’ll be hooked in. The idea is ingenious and different, and it’s not hard to see why the joint production companies, 20th Century Fox and Teakwood Lane Productions, picked it up.

The acting is also superb. Issacs has an excellent American accent and is a professional scene stealer. BD Wong, most famous as Father Ray Mukuda in Oz, is also an excellent introduction and his relationship with the detective is compelling viewing. It also features Wilmer Vanderrama, you may know him as Fez from That 70s Show, and he is surprisingly good.

As pilots go, this is intriguing and I’ll definitely be tuning in for the next episode. While I can’t see it hooking me in quite like Homeland, I think it’s definitely worth a watch.

A Book Lover’s Review on The Hunger Games Movie

May 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, I recently read the three The Hunger Games books due to all the hype surrounding the novels and recently released movie. I adore the books so I was keen to find out whether the movie release could live up to the first novel.

Please be aware that there are spoilers in this blog, so if you want to save the details for the book or film then maybe this isn’t the blog for you. If not, read away.

First of all, let me tell you that I haven’t been so excited for a movie since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. However, I knew before stepping in the cinema theatre that it wouldn’t be as good as the book – these things never are.

One thing that really stood out once the movie started was the world Gary Ross created. The Capitol is truly more fantastical than I ever imagined, and the costume designs are out of this world. Effie Trinket and Caesar Flickerman are more animated than I could have imagined.

One of the biggest tasks of translating a book to the screen is ensuring you choose the right actors for the characters. In my opinion, Jennifer Lawrence had the harsh maturity, confidence and invulnerability that make Katniss Everdeen such an interesting protagonist. Peeta looked every inch the nice, naïve guy and Gale had the handsome, muscular good looks and the masculine confidence described in the book.

However, to me, there was one standalone character in the movie and that was Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch. Without a doubt they chose the perfect actor for the movie. His comic timing was brilliant and he really made the character his own. Lenny Kravitz was both a surprise and a treat as Cinna; however, he seemed to be more of a love interest to Katniss than a normal, supportive friend in the crazy world of the Capitol.

Now down to the nitty gritty: the story. So, was the film complement the book or was it one big waste of time? Well, it’s anything but a waste of time. If you haven’t read the book then you’re in for a treat that’s full of unexpected turns and exciting characters. If you have read the book then you’ll know what’s coming but that won’t make the journey any less enjoyable. While there are some significant changes in the movies – such as who gave Katniss the mockingjay pin and the fact that Peeta gets to keep his leg – it still ties in well with the story. I can see why Prim gave Katniss the pin in the film and not Katniss’s school friend Madge, as it cements their relationship. The fact that Peeta keeps his leg will also make him appear stronger in the two upcoming films, so the audience won’t doubt that he isn’t up to the job to protect the love of his life.

How do the romances play out? I’d say they’re quite identical to the book. You know from the moment you read about Peeta that he loves Katniss, and this is really demonstrated in the film, too. Gale and Katniss’s bond is just as strong in the movie and, in my opinion, came across a little sweeter on screen.

The saddest part of the film has to be when Rue is killed by Marvel, which is undoubtedly the most emotional part of the novel. It’s also the time when we see Katniss at her most vulnerable, and it definitely makes you root for her even more. Her relationship with Rue undoubtedly reflects her relationship with her sister and this interesting device makes you feel as if Prim is always in the arena with her.

The action sequences are brilliant, if not a little fast, but maybe that’s because they were so spread out in the book – and I suppose it’s to be expected in a two and a half hour film. Maybe I just wanted it to never end.

So, if you’ve read the book and worried that the movie might ruin it for you, don’t be. This film really is a must-see and it pays to go in not expecting it better as you’ll come out satisfied. Just like Harry Potter, it takes a fantastic script, magnificent director and a talented cast to compete with such a wonderful work of literature. Unlike the Twilight movies, it won’t completely murder the story with bad acting.

If you haven’t read the books and are considering seeing the film, then I urge you to do so. It’s undoubtedly one of my top films of the year, so why not go and see The Hunger Games until all the hype of The Avengers and American Pie Reunion has died down.

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