Category Archives: top rom coms

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

MV5BODYwNDYxNDk1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTAwMTk2MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Kristen Wiig, Ben Stiller, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine

Walter wants to date Cheryl but he can’t get up enough courage to ask her out. Life in his daydreams is so much more interesting than real life.

One day Walter gains enough courage to go on an amazing adventure, an adventure that rivals his daydreams. It may have started out in order to save his job, but it manages to save his life from going so very wrong, or simply going nowhere.

There are quite a few high points in this film – one is Wiig singing Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, another is a very cool downhill skate run in Iceland. Stiller is brilliant and Wiig is likewise – they are a great match and fit their characters perfectly. Also good to see Hahn with a bit part, she’s always a laugh.

I love this film – it’s funny, well paced, and charming. Possibly one of the best rom coms around.

 

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Life After Beth

MV5BMjA3OTUwOTMxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODg4NTkwMjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Aubrey Plaza, Dan DeHann, John C Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Anna Kendrick

Zac’s girlfriend, Beth, dies from snake bite when she’s out hiking. He grieves for her deeply, until one day – Beth’s back! He can love her again. That is, until he discovers she’s become a zombie!

This is a terrific film. I don’t think it’s quite as good as Zombieland or Warm Bodies, but it does come pretty close. And like its zom com predecessors, the theme is about love and relationships rather than horror or ‘end of the world’ anxieties. It has a beautiful, delicate humour.

This film is funny, well-scripted, and the casting and acting is excellent. Aubrey Plaza is sensational as Beth and I believe that this must be her best role yet. This is definitely a film that is worth a watch.

 

One Chance

MV5BMjA5MjM5NDMzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDY4NDk2MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_

James Corden, Alexandra Roach, Julie Walters, Colm Meaney, Mackenzie Crook

Paul has always sung opera, and has always been bullied for it. The opera that is his life “…a seemingly endless drama full of music and violence and romance and comedy”.

When Paul grows up he meets Jules, who understands him, and she becomes his biggest fan.

Paul’s operatic career has a few hiccups along the way. He goes from a car phone salesman in a small town in Wales, to a prestigious school in Venice, and back to Carphone Warehouse again. He suffers knock after knock until his spark is finally gone. Without confidence he can never sing in public.

But maybe Jules will give him the confidence he needs to take his gift and use it.

This is a beautiful movie and a gorgeous love story. It is one of those ‘rags to riches’ type films, much in the grain of Billy Elliot. The characters are likeable, and the story flows along at a smooth pace. It’s a divine film and definitely worth watching.

Blue Jasmine

MV5BMTc0ODk5MzEyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzI0MDY1OQ@@._V1_SX214_Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins

This is the ‘riches to rags’ story of Jasmine (Blanchett). When her affluent New York lifestyle is cut short, she seeks refuge with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco. She meets a new man which could mean a fresh start, but Jasmine is already lost to herself, so the relationship is doomed before it starts.

Falling from grace is too much for Jasmine’s frail psyche, and she struggles to maintain her grip on reality.

This is a fantastic film with all eyes focussed on Jasmine. It is a change of pace for Woody Allen with women and their troubles in the limelight for the entire show. Cate Blanchett is so extraordinarily riveting that she takes the script to a whole new level. In fact, I wonder if the film would have worked so well with some-one else in that role?

What amazing acting from Blanchett, and from everyone in the cast! This is a must-see film – what more can I say?

About Time

MV5BMTA1ODUzMDA3NzFeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDgxMTYxNTk@._V1_SX214_Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson

At the princely age of 21, Tim’s father takes him aside and tells him that he’s inherited the gift of time travel, just like all the men in his family before him. So, he can go back in time…now what to do with this power? Tim wants to use it to help him find true love. But as his father gently explains “all the time travel in the world can’t make some-one love you”.

With his special new gift, Tim moves to London, finds a career, makes new friends, and forms life long relationships. And he does find true love when he meets Mary. After their life together looks just about right, time travel seems unnecessary. But a problem eventually arises with his beloved sister, forcing Tim to make decisions about which things he can go back and fix, and which things he can’t.

I knew I was going to like this film in the first five minutes. I have no idea who this Gleeson person is, but does a smashing job in the role of the sensitive and loving Tim. I’m sure I’m not the first person to pick up on the fact that Rachel McAdams starred in The Time Travellers Wife – a drama/romance about time travel. Other clever casting bits include a brief appearance together of Richard E Grant and Richard Griffiths – Withnail and Uncle Monty from the 80s cult film Withnail and I!

The script was so lovely, so tender, so many beautiful characters. The only criticism I have is that the film slows down at one point and I think it’s trying to cover too much territory at that point. But it gets back on track and you are intimately involved again pretty quickly.

If you didn’t catch this film in the cinemas, then think yourself lucky – all the crying in a public place is not dignified! So although you do need tissues, you don’t walk away feeling depressed because it is, at the end of the day, a romantic comedy (in fact a Richard Curtis romantic comedy).

For those critics eager to find holes in the plot, who are over-scrutinising the inner workings of time travel, or rolling their eyes at the sentimentality – don’t bother. Really, you just need to see the simple delights in every average day.

We’re the Millers

MV5BMjA5Njc0NDUxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjYzNzU1OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn

David is a long time pot dealer – no wife, no kids, no responsibilities, nothing. Rose is an exotic dancer, not keeping up with trends in the trade. They come together when David has to create a fake family to help him smuggle drugs from Mexico into the US. It’s not something either of them wants to do, but neither has much choice.

They recruit teenage Kenny who lives in their building, and Casey who is living rough to complete their family. They become The Millers and go on a hair raising journey involving Mexican drug lords, double-crossers, and an out of work narcotics cop and his family. Four individuals eventually become a unit to fight for their lives, but ultimately it is also to make their lives less empty.

This is one of those ‘adventure rom coms’ on the shelves like Hit and Run and One for the Money. They predominantly revolve around something illegal, and involve romance between the two major protagonists – sometimes the romance is seen as a side issue, but ultimately it’s the main driver.

We’re the Millers is a riot. There is obviously some image problems with Jen and her stripping, but aside from that, the dialogue is fast and entertaining. The casting is superb and everyone is extremely well suited to their characters. I particularly love Kathryn Hahn as Edie – she’s definitely the most comedic in this film (see her in Our Idiot Brother, Wanderlust, How do you Know, and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton).

There is one especially funny scene involving a game of Pictionary that had us really laughing. More funny scenes follow, getting you to the end of the flick without any boring moments.

I really enjoyed this film and would watch it again no trouble at all. It’s not overly clever, but it’s definitely funny, and I think it’s one of the best rom coms in 2013.

The English Teacher

MV5BMTU2MjIwNDA5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU2NzEzOQ@@._V1_SX214_Julianne Moore, Michael Angarano, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane

Linda Sinclair is a middle-aged, single English teacher at Kingston High School, Pennsylvania. Destined to be an English teacher from a young age, she seems also destined to be alone – ‘the true romantic is always alone’.

Linda bumps into Jason, an old student, who has graduated from NYU and returned home as a struggling writer. She wants to help and support him. She convinces Jason that the school drama teacher, Carl, should do a production of his stage play.

As the school play progresses, so does the relationship with Jason, and eventually with Jason’s father. All of a sudden everything becomes complicated and messy. Linda’s simple life becomes complicated and messy and she is the only one who can fix it.

I very much enjoyed this film, despite the mediocre, and often bad reviews it received. I disagree that the use of a narrator during parts of the film is meaningless – I think it’s charming. I also disagree with a lot of reviews that criticise the acting. I think Moore is particularly good. In fact, I think she is brilliant and very natural.

…AND I disagree that it isn’t funny. I think it has a lot of light humour, sometimes disguised humour, and did find myself chortling in a few spots. The acting from Nathan Lane (drama teacher Carl) was gorgeous!

Julianne Moore isn’t often in rom coms (see Crazy, Stupid Love) but I think she’s perfect for the part, enjoyed seeing her with little or no makeup, and enjoyed her age!

I highly recommend this as one of the better rom coms of 2013.

 

 

 

 

The Way Way Back

MV5BNTU5ODk5NDg0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQwMjI1OQ@@._V1_SX214_Liam James, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry

Young Duncan is on holidays with his mother, his mother’s boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s teenage daughter. But he’s not happy – he’s 14, awkward, unsure about his mother’s relationship, and a bit lost overall.

He meets Owen, played by Rockwell, at the local water park. Owen gives Duncan a summer job, recognising a kid who needs to come out of his shell. He teaches Duncan that life isn’t always what you want it to be, you have to make your own happiness. The friendship they form is exactly what Duncan desperately needs.

This is a terrific coming of age film, and a film about all sorts of relationships. Maya Rudolph is a lovely actor, and she and Allison Janney provide a lot of the humour along with Rockwell.

The Way Way Back is definitely a film worth watching more than once. It rolls along at a great pace, has a range of interesting characters, makes you laugh, and makes you want to see what happens after it’s finished. Make sure you put it on your list.

Warm Bodies

MV5BMTQ4MjY2MjMzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDUxNzIwOQ@@._V1._CR43,43.16667175292969,1298,1960.9999542236328_SX214_Teresa Palmer, Nicholas Hoult, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich

It’s the apocalypse. Living on one side of a giant wall are non-humans – they are the zombies and the bonies who have been infected with a virus and have been separated from the humans.

Without being able to communicate effectively with each other, the zombies are leading a fairly banal existence, they are lost and lonely. That is, until Julie comes over from the other side of the wall.

‘R’ takes Julie hostage in order to save her from being eaten by another zombie. They develop feelings for each other and he eventually helps her to escape. When the other zombies see ‘R’ and Julie together it starts to change the way that they  function, gets them thinking, remembering about having feelings – they start to become more human.

When the humans and the non humans come together in a battle, it’s up to Julie to act fast and convince her father (head of the military) not to kill the zombies. She and ‘R’ may have to work together to save the world!

I found that those people who gave this film mediocre reviews were those that were not fans of rom coms. And this film is quintessentially a romantic comedy film (with some action and ghoulishness thrown in). It is about love and relationships. It’s also about humanity’s fear of difference and ‘otherness’. The breaking down of the wall is about accepting difference.

Teresa Palmer is terrific as Julie, and although I thought Nicholas Hoult an odd choice at first, he is magnificent. His internal narrative was comical and charming. Half way through the movie I realised he was the kid who played Marcus in About a Boy. Corrdry is unusually ‘right on the mark’ in this flick – instead of being too much, too stupid, too crude, and too sexist as in many of his rom com support roles in the past.

Great flick, very funny, good pace, superb acting. Going to put it in the Top Rom Com List and not much has made it there this year! Am I wrong? Stop me if I’m wrong…!

Punch Drunk Love

MV5BMTQ5NzU2MjE2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDM2Njc5._V1_SX214_Emily Watson, Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Barry (played by Sandler) has some social and psychological issues, and trouble controlling his anger. Dominated by 7 sisters, he is isolated and lonely. He uses the services of a phone sex line, which turns out to be a hoax company and who set out to scam him. While he is dodging their goons, Barry meets Lena.

Lena may be the only one who can understand Barry, and she may be the only one to save him from himself.

The sound affects in this movie are finely sculptured around the action, at times haunting, at times jocular, at times fantastical and futuristic. This is an unusual film, superbly driven by Watson and Sandler. Great little find for the rom com genre.