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Magic in the Moonlight

MV5BMTQ3NDY5NjIwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ2ODkxMjE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Simon McBurney Here is Woody Allen’s annual rom com. It opens in Berlin in 1928 with famous magician Stanley, played by Colin Firth. His childhood friend and fellow magician, Howard, arrives at his show to offer Stanley an interesting proposition.

Stanley is to accompany Howard to the south of France where his friends are being ‘wooed’ by an American spiritualist. Stanley’s job is to unmask Sophie Baker (played by Emma Stone) as a fraud. He is best suited to this job because he is an outspoken opponent of spiritualists and fortune tellers, being strictly driven by rational thought, logic and common sense.

Sophie undoes Stanley’s rationality very quickly. She shows him that life has more magic and mystery to it than he will admit. As he embraces life and finds himself very happy, will the biggest sceptic in the world be won over by Miss Baker?

Emma Stone does a very convincing job being charming, but I think the script was a bit limiting for Firth. Excellent performances from veteran actors like Eileen Atkins and Australian Jacki Weaver.

Woody Allen is pretty ‘hit and miss’ these days. He has a cracker of a film like Blue Jasmine one year, and then he has a regular ‘Sundayafternoon-teaandbiscuits-lovethedresses-kissColinFirth-goodbutnotgreat’ movie like this one. It’s a bit slow in places and doesn’t contain the rapid dialogue that Allen fans love, but it’s still enjoyable and worth a watch.

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Gambit

MV5BMjE3NzU5MDUzMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjM4MDQ0OA@@._V1_SX214_Cameron Diaz, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Tom Courtenay

Art curator, Harry Dean, plans a heist in order to take revenge on his (shitbag) employer. He teams up with The Major who is an expert forger. They engage the help of Texan, PJ Puznowski (played by Cameron Diaz), in what they think is a very well thought out plan. But their scheme does NOT going according to plan…or does it?

I’m ‘half and half’ about this film. There are some typical Coen Brother-esque traits in the script, something quirky and delightful. Colin Firth, of course, can often be quirky and delightful, and does so here.

But I didn’t warm to the Diaz character who was a rootin’ tootin’ cowgirl from the deep south, wearing her cowboy hat into New York city – she was too much of a caricature and not enough of a real person. I believe Diaz is a good choice for the part, but the part itself, her character, could have been a bit more subtle. Furthermore, there is something a bit hollow about the relationship between Harry and PJ – it doesn’t have depth, or room to develop properly.

Apart from that, the story is fun, and the acting is terrific, especially from Rickman. There is no happily-ever-after in the typical rom com style, in fact, there is no romance, just a hint of something in the air which is very refreshing. The ending is wrapped up beautifully, and leaves you with a feeling that you’ve just been entertained. It’s not a top-of-the-list film, but it’s not all that bad either.

The Accidental Husband

MV5BMTgwODQ0NTY3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjA2NTQ3MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sam Shepard, Lindsay Sloane, Isabella Rossellini

The Love Doctor, Emma Lloyd, dishes out relationship advice to women on a New York radio station. Her advice comes from her successful, new book, and her real life ‘picture perfect’ relationship with fiancé, Richard (Firth).

She advises a radio caller, Sophia, to leave her fiancé, Patrick, right before their wedding. In revenge, Patrick gets help to hack into births, deaths and marriages and forge a marriage certificate between himself and the good doctor.

When Emma finds out she’s accidentally married, she has to quickly have the marriage annulled before she can get hitched to Richard. Patrick is the polar opposite to Richard. Despite this, during the time they spend together, they develop feelings for each other, threatening the ‘picture perfect’ life Emma plans for herself, and threatening the revenge plans Patrick has.

This is another rom com film from the busy year of 2008. This one, however, doesn’t ‘make the grade’. Thurman’s character is too scattered and she seems to make the rest of the movie scattered and jittery. Her relationships are under explored and the characters are disconnected. I couldn’t warm to her in this role and the film fell on its face. I’ve never seen Colin Firth in a movie I didn’t like, so I was disappointed he was in this flick. You don’t ever have to worry if you never see it.

Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason

Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

Here is the follow up to Bridget Jones’s Diary. If you like the first movie, you will undoubtedly like the second because it still sports Renee, Colin and Hugh in the same roles. It’s not quite as good as the first, but it is still a classic rom com beauty.

Bridget is back and this time in a relationship. Now she has to to negotiate her way through the trials and tribulations of having a love life. All is going well until that bad boy comes back into her life. Again, which one will she chose?

She has to find strength within herself to handle the situation she gets into in Thailand – there are some terribly funny scenes in this part. Renee is delightful as the gorgeous and slightly accident-prone Bridget.

This sequel doesn’t follow the book as closely as the first movie does. I think I like the story line in the book better than the film’s narrative. Nevertheless, it’s still a charmer and so is Bridget.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

Based on the Helen Fielding novel of the same name, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a classic classic classic rom com and one of my favourites.

Renee plays Bridget Jones, a (supposedly) slightly overweight, single, career woman in her thirties looking for love. The story is told through Bridget’s narrative, as written in her diary.  It’s in her diary that she daily monitors her drinking, smoking, and weight, knowing these are the areas in her life that need monitoring (and improvement).

She has three best friends (all single) who form her support network. I do love movies with a group of friends you can call on anytime. And she does need to call on them as there are times when she gets her heart broken.  But when necessary, she has the strength to take control of her life.

Bridget has two men in her life – her boss (who becomes her ex-boss) played by the dishy Hugh Grant; and a family friend’s son played by the even dishier Colin Firth. One is a bad boy and one is a goody two-shoes. So who will she chose, or who will chose her?

Bridget may have been looking for love, but she learnt how much to value herself and not be taken for granted. I can watch this movie any time. It’s a charmer and so is Bridget.

Mamma Mia

Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfriend, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper

Streep plays Donna who lives on a Greek Island. Her daughter is getting married. The daughter invites three of Donna’s old boyfriends to the island for the wedding in the hope that she will know which one is her dad.

That’s it, that’s the plot – then there’s all this singing and dancing, culminating in a romantic ending for both mother and daughter.

You’d think seeing Colin Firth sing, or dance shirtless in jets of water would make me love this movie. But I don’t. I fact, I don’t like it at all, despite how much I admire Meryl Streep. I don’t know what it is, perhaps I’m no fan of a musical – it messes with a good rom com.

Love Actually

Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Heike Makatsch, Rowan Atkinson

“Love actually is all around”.

There are a number of story lines in this film about couples and friends that all connect with each other, some from the very beginning, some that develop along the way. This is done so effortlessly and so smoothly that you never find yourself lost or confused about who everyone is. There are some very clever juxtapositions, and subtle comparisons.

Everyone is looking for love, but sometimes it’s complicated. Some didn’t think they were looking for love; some don’t know how or where to look; some shouldn’t have been looking; and some find themselves being loved when they didn’t realise it.

Bill Nighy is excellent, as is Hugh Grant. Emma Thomson is wise, and Colin Firth makes you giggle.

What can I say – I love this movie and it’s one of my all time favourites, even though it comes around every Christmas. You need to watch it, own it, and watch it again.

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