Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is an introverted guy who has difficulty making eye contact with people, let alone asking them out. One Valentine’s Day, on a random impulse, he ditches work and heads to the beach in Montauk, where he keeps seeing a girl in a bright orange sweatshirt with even brighter blue hair. Her name is Clementine (Kate Winslet) and, despite their vastly contrasting personalities, they spend the day together, and the next. Alas, all is not great in their world, however, and sadly their relationship ends when, on another impulse, Clementine decides to erase Joel from her memory using a little known company who specialises in a very concentrated form of brain damage. Joel opts to undergo the same procedure, but it doesn’t quite go as planned when he decides mid-operation that he might have made the wrong decision.
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A 1930s circus has amongst its attractions a selection of people known as “Freaks” who are looked down upon by some of the other acts. Amongst these people is Hans (Harry Earles), an adult man trapped in the body of a boy. Despite being engaged to fellow “Freak” Frieda (Harry’s real-life sister, Daisy Earles), Hans is in love with Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), a beautiful trapeze artist. To begin with Cleopatra leads Hans on, mocking him behind his back but accepting his gifts and favours, all the while carrying on with the strong man, Hercules (Henry Victor), but when they discover Hans is the heir to a fortune, Cleopatra plans to marry then immediately kill him, leaving her his wealthy widow. Meanwhile, Hercules’ former lover Venus (Leila Hyams), who is amongst the few circus-folk who are actually kind and accepting of the “Freaks”, begins a relationship with Phroso the Clown (Wallace Ford).
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Madame De…

Louise (Danielle Darrieux) is a General’s wife who lives a lifestyle she cannot afford. We begin the film with her trying to decide which of her possessions she should sell to pay off her debts, and she opts for a pair of earrings her husband (Charles Boyer) bought her as a wedding gift. She sells them to the jeweller he originally bought them from, but to prevent her husband from knowing Louise pretends they have been lost or stolen. When the news of the supposed theft hits the jeweller, he soon returns the earrings to the General to save his own reputation, which sets in motion a long and eventful series of journeys, transactions and ludicrous coincidences that these earrings will take.
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La Grande Illusion

On a mission to re-do aerial photographs over a German base during the First World War, the plane is shot down and the two Frenchmen on board are captured by the German army and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. There, along with the men sharing their quarters, they attempt to tunnel out, but before they are able to they are shipped to an escape-proof stronghold, run by the same German officer who was the cause of them being shot down in the first place.
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The Iron Giant

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

Earth, 1957. Somewhere off the coast of Maine, a fisherman caught in a storm sees an enormous metal being – an Iron Giant, if you will – with two great glowing eyes in the middle of the sea. Understandably, no-one believes him, until a small boy by the unfortunate name of Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) comes across said giant when it gets caught up in the electrical power plant. Naturally, being a young boy, Hogarth thinks the robot is awesome, and wants to do lots of cool things with it, but he isn’t the only party interested in the giant, and when the authorities hear about him they think it’s potentially a threat from Russia.

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Picnic at Hanging Rock

A field trip from an Australian girls’ school to the nearby geographical landmark of Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day in the year 1900 goes awry when four students separate from the rest of their class to go exploring the rock. Whilst everyone else is asleep, one of their teachers heads off in search of them, but only one of the original girls returns, forcing the rest of the class to abandon those missing, including the teacher, in order to return home before nightfall. The school and town becomes obsessed with finding the vanished girls, as does a young Englishman who happened to see them heading into the rocks.
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Burying the Ex

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Max (Yelchin) is not happy with his life. He works a demeaning job, his half-brother Travis (Cooper) uses Max’s apartment as a bachelor pad, and Max’s girlfriend Evelyn (Greene) is an eco-obsessed control freak, keen to dominate every aspect of Max’s life. He’d have broken up with her by now if they weren’t constantly having sex. One day, however, Max finally works up the courage to dump Evelyn, only for her to die just before he is able to. Problem solved, right? Nope, because Evelyn comes back from the dead, with plans on turning Max into a zombie too, so they can live together, forever. Max is, understandably, less than keen on the idea, especially seeing as he’s just met the perfect girl for him, hipster ice cream parlour owner Olivia (Daddario).
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My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 25

Lego Jurassic World update! Still haven’t opened the cellophane! Adulthood sucks. On the plus side, in this past week I have gotten into a kayak and didn’t fall out, unlike last time when I discovered the Cambridge Canal should not be swum in (if anybody finds a pair of sunglasses in the Cambridge area that look like they’ve been in some questionably non-toxic water for a few years, y’all can go right ahead and keep them). Film-wise this week I’ve found myself focussing on new movies (and a movie that was less new than I’d initially realised) so at present I don’t think I’m quite going to hit my mid-year goals, seeing as I’d need to watch four movies and review 6 in the next 7 days, and I’ve got a fair amount of non-blogging stuff to do in that time as well. I’m not giving up, but I’m bracing myself for disappointment, which is basically how I go through life anyway. Here’s what I watched this week: Continue reading

In the Mood for Love

Two couples move into the same small tenement building in 1960s Hong Kong on the same day. Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) is a secretary and personal assistant at a travel company, working under her adulterous boss and literally keeping his affairs in order, whilst her husband is often away on business for longs periods of time. Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) is a writer whose dreams of writing martial arts serials have floundered due to lack of inspiration. His wife often works late too. When Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow begin to suspect that their respective partners are having an affair with one another, the two become close, and the chance to follow in their partner’s footsteps becomes a tentative possibility.

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The Tree of Life

This film was nominated for me to watch by Mette Kowalski of French Toast Sunday and the Across the Universe podcast. Some day I may forgive here for this.

When I put the call out for people to recommend films for me to review this year, I did so expecting to have differing opinions with some of the people who suggested the films. I know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t necessarily think the same way I do, which is what makes the world an endlessly wonderful/frustrating place to live in. Mette suggested two films for me, and they both came with warnings. The other suggestion (2000’s In the Mood For Love) arrived in disc form today, so I’ll be covering that soon, and apparently I’ll suffer through it, whereas The Tree of Life came with the claim that I’d either love it or hate it, but that I shouldn’t dare hate it. Sorry Mette, I’m feeling rather daring today.
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