Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Hi everyone

Walter MittyI have now seen this film twice in the space of a weekend.  The second time I watched this film I had booked tickets for The Hobbit but yet again my cinema had sold me tickets for seats that do not exist.  For some reason most of the rows in the screens start at seat 5 or 6 so when I tried to find seats 3 and 4 all I could find were the steps going up and some disgruntled cinema goers due to the fact that I had accused them of sitting in our seats.  I was not a happy bunny but the cinema doesn’t really seem to care (and nor do you I’m sure!).  Anyway The Hobbit was overbooked so the choice was Frozen or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and as my friend had not seen this film, I found myself watching it again.

This film is about a man, Walter Mitty, who works for LIFE magazine just as the magazine is acquired and downsized to an online publication.  LIFE magazine can be found online nowadays as a blog on the TIME magazine website but it actually stopped publishing in 1972, so this film is completely fictional in a way but still very apt for the times none the less.  You may have already seen the over-long trailer for this film where you seem to get the whole film condensed into 5 minutes.  I thought the film looked good from the trailer but I was concerned not only that the best bits were being shown but maybe any of the bits worth watching were as well.  I’m pleased to say that I perhaps wasn’t wrong but I wasn’t completely right either.  It’s not necessarily that you don’t see all the best bits in the trailer but more that when you see them in the full context of the storyline that the scenes become better and seem to mean more.  The trailer doesn’t spoil the film, although I would have perhaps enjoyed the film even more if I had not seen the trailer so many times before.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty comes across as a preachy live your life to the fullest sort of film on paper but when you’re watching the film it doesn’t really seem to be the case.  The film is beautifully shot, making the most of the breathtaking locations that feature in the film and the live action sequences that mostly take the form of Walter’s fantastical daydreams.  The score is good too, really evoking at times, my favourite scene being the jump into the helicopter and the music really makes that moment.  In the past I’ve not necessarily been a big fan of Ben Stiller’s work; I don’t find his films offensive but they’re just not my thing.  I thought in his film though he played this role perfectly, although I think the make up and costume departments are owed some credit for his transformation from mouse to man in the film.

I found the film as a whole felt real: the characters and their journeys together, even though the events of the film weren’t necessarily everyday occurrences.  The film was so moving yet so humble at the same time, I think that’s why it felt inspiring without feeling like it was trying to ram a message down your throat.  It’s like the saying goes: I can only show you the path, to follow it is up to you.  This film seems to embody that message not only for Walter Mitty but also for the viewers as well.  Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not exactly a philosophical film; it’s very entertaining, heart-warming and the perfect film to see in the New Year.

My rating: 4.5/5

A comment from my friends:

Sarah: Even though some bits were cheesy I really did enjoy it, a lovely feel-good film, 5 stars

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Review: The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)

Hi everyone

MuppetsThe Christmas films continue with another outing to the cinema on Christmas Eve to watch a childhood favourite: The Muppets take on the classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  I have not watched this film in years although I think I wore out my VHS copy as a child.  This film is a mix of Disney song, Muppets silliness and the more serious aspects of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  I remember as a child finding this film quite scary in places and feeling acute relief when Scrooge wakes up on Christmas Day and is changed for the better.  Watching this film as an adult I still enjoyed it, especially the storytelling by The Great Gonzo but I did cringe when Michael Caine started to singing in the finale.  The fear I felt as a child was no longer there either; the terror Scrooge is put through in the film was not scary to me now as an adult, but I still felt sombre when Scrooge meets the ghost of Christmas future.  I enjoyed watching this film again, mainly for nostalgia, but I think I would have still enjoyed it if I had been watching it for the first time.  It was especially nice to see the film being introduced to a new young audience and I hope that they are not too jaded by the modern world to appreciate this film even though it is over twenty years old now.  Perfect film for Christmas Eve.

My rating: 3.5/5

A comment from my friends:

Sarah: I really liked it, took me back to my childhood 5 stars

Review: Disney’s Frozen (2013)

Hi everyone

FrozenJust before Christmas I went to the cinema to watch the latest Disney offering, Frozen.  I actually watched it in 3D as well, which I don’t usually do as to be honest I can never tell the difference.  I am a big fan of a Disney film but the trailers hadn’t hooked me on this one so I wasn’t overly excited to be watching it.  I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it more than I had expected although it didn’t wow me.  I thought the beginning was the best bit, showing the relationship between the two sisters and how due to Elsa trying to hide her magical powers out of fear of the rest of the world she also shuts out her sister Anna for her own protection.  Despite constantly finding a locked door between her and her sister, Anna still loves Elsa and yearns for their friendship to return, especially after the death of their parents.  I thought this was all shown quite poignantly, even if it was through the medium of song, and really set the bar for the rest of the film.  Unfortunately the rest of the film was fairly predictable, with maybe one or two plot twists you may not see coming (especially if you are under the age of ten) so the film ended up being fairly indistinguishable from other Disney fairy tales of the same vein.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an easy, enjoyable watch and one or two of the songs are quite good, it’s just not a patch on some of Disney’s other releases, the most recent comparison being Tangled.  If you like a Disney film, you will happily sit through this with your 8 year old, but it might drive you crazy after the fifth re-run in a row due to the lack of substance.

My rating: 3/5

A comment from my friends:

Sarah: it was an easy watch, first half was the best bit, 3 stars

Review: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Hi everyone

It's a Wonderful LifeThis film is one that over the years I have heard called the best Christmas film of all time.  As I had not seen it, I could not debate this accolade, so this week I went to my local cinema to see what all the fuss was about.  I have not watched many black and white films in my time and I loved the cinematography of this film, especially how rich each scene looked despite the lack of colour.  The story moved quite quickly from the protagonist, George Bailey, as a young boy through to his adulthood when he is married with children.  The pace is good, although I could have quite happily endured a slightly longer film so that it could linger longer on the more important scenes, but then the length is good for a family film.

I did love this story, it is enchanting and captivating and encompasses this without having to be all singing, all dancing or have a talking donkey.  It is the sort of film that not only reminds you about what is important in life but also makes you think that if more children’s books, tv shows and films contained a similar message that maybe the next generation would grow up to make the world a better place.  This film is inspiring in its own humble way and the sixty-odd years that have passed since it’s release have not tarnished the beauty of it.  I’m not sure if I could give it the accolade of best Christmas film but it is definitely a good film to watch this time of year with your family, to cut through the more commercial side of Christmas and bring home the message of what is most important in life, your family and your friends.

My rating: 4/5

A comment from my friends:

Sarah – simply lovely and perfect, 5 stars

Fran – took a while to get into but I really enjoyed it, feel good film, 4 stars

So here it all begins…

Hi everyone

Some of you may know me from my other blog, the book addict blog, which has been running for nearly two years now. However I’m really passionate about watching films as well so I decided to start another blog that I can dedicate to the films I see at the cinema. I will watch most films, although I’m too squeamish when it comes to horror so you won’t see much of that mentioned on here. I go to the cinema probably twice a week usually but more if it’s a bumper week on the film releases. They’ve just opened a brand new 10 screen cinema to replace the dilapidated 6 screen cinema our city had so now I’m watching in comfort with the most leg room I’ve ever seen (to the point that I’m boring everyone because it’s all I can talk about!). A couple of years ago my friend and I challenged ourselves to see how many films we could watch in 12 months and I managed a staggering 137 films. I know there are plenty of people in the blogosphere that have done more than that but this was just at the cinema and I still had a life as well. I will admit that I watched a ridiculous amount of bad films that year, more than I could have predicted, but it was still fun.

Watch this space in the new year for my reviews on what looks to be an exciting January at the cinema!

Jennie