Film Friday # 158

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a pretty boring man who works in the negatives department of Life Magazine spendsinghis time pining after his oblivious pretty colleague, Cheryl (Kirsten Wigg) and daydreaming adventures for himself. He arrives at work one day to discover that Life only has one edition left and he and most of his co-workers are likely to lose their jobs. But Walter has a chance to redeem himself. Mysterious world famous photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) has sent him a negative meant for the final cover that is supposed to depict the “quintessence” of life. The only problem is that Walter can’t find it. With Sean uncontactable, Walter must set out into the world to try and find him, leading him into a life full of adventures even more epic than his daydreams. Frankly I expected to hate this but it’s warm humour eventually wore me down somewhat and there’s no denying that it looks amazing. If you don’t want to go to Iceland after seeing this, you have no soul. Stiller (also directing) manages to do a good job of injecting enough back story into Walter to make his “little grey man” rounded and identifiable but that doesn’t mean he isn’t annoying or that the story isn’t utterly predictable but. Basically watchable but forgettable. 3/5

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Walter was relieved that he had finally found someone to photograph his “icetash”

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Shopaholic Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher), loses her job at a gardening magazine, so she gets wasted on tequila and writes a rude letter to the editor of a fashion magazine that rejected her. Except she accidentally sends it to the handsome editor of a finance magazine (Hugh Dancy). He seems to think she is a budgeting genius and hires her to write a column. She responds by behaving like a total bell end at every opportunity and continuing to max her already groaning credit cards… and somehow gets away with it despite the fact that she’s so annoying you want to stab her with a fork. What will happen though when all of her budgeting devotees find out she’s up to her tits in debt? If you still care enough to find out by the end of this film you’re a much better person than I am. Dire. 0/5

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Rebecca couldn’t have been more happy that she had finally figured out how to poop rainbows

To Faro

Gender confused loner Mel (Anjorka Strechel) almost knocks over Jenny (Lucie Hollman) and ends up accompanying her and her friend on a night out. The attraction between the two is obvious but Jenny assumes Mel is a boy and on the spur of the moment Mel invents Miguel and copies the back story of her colleague, Nuno (Manuel Cortez) who comes from Faro in Portugal. At the same time to deflect her family’s scrutiny of her love life Mel pays Nuno to pretend to be her boyfriend. Soon a tangled web of lies threatens to overwhelm Mel but she’s not the only one who has been lying. I found this unusual coming of age romance intense and touching. Strechel completely throws herself into being both Mel and Miguel and when she’s being Miguel it’s often easy to forget that she’s actually a woman. 3.5/5

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What do you mean you’ve thrown my shoes in the sea??

Amour

Amour follows the story of elderly retired music teachers Georges (Jean-Louis Trintingnant) and Anne (Emanuelle Riva) after Anne has a stroke that paralyses her down her left side. As Anne’s condition deteriorates, Georges deals with the heartbreak of losing the woman he loves, the frustration of taking care of an invalid, guilt over his frustration and anger over the interference of their daughter (Isabelle Huppert). I found this very difficult to watch, as Anne’s deterioration filled me with terror at the idea of either being in the same position myself or having to watch my husband become a shadow of himself one day and not be able to do anything. At the same time it’s a beautiful and very real depiction of what it means to truly love someone in a way that is not reflected by the standard cinematic portrayal of love.  It won’t be for everyone though. The pace is glacial, there is little in the way of storyline and the lack of any kind of score along with loads of long, protracted seemingly static scenes can feel frustrating and claustrophobic. Although that might be exactly what director, Michael Haneke was going for. Was it good? Absolutely.  Did I enjoy it? Definitely not. Really only for proper art house fans. 3.5/5

Georges employed the "earmuffs" technique when discussing his PlayStation 4 in front of Anne

Georges employed the “earmuffs” technique when discussing his PlayStation 4 in front of Anne

13 Comments

  1. When Amour ended, it left me so disturbed because it was a story almost too close to home… I saw – and still see – my elderly parents in this situation; imagined what my life would be like; how I’d want mine to end.
    A film that affects me? I call it a great movie.

    1. Abbi

      It does feel intensely real and sometimes when I looked at Anne I saw both of my grandmothers and it broke my heart and then I thought of my husband’s grandmother (who I love to bits) and it really got to me… and like you say it made me think a lot about what the far future might hold for me. It’s definitely amazingly well-made and very challenging.

  2. I was wondering about Walter Mitty. Not worth a jaunt to the theater, then?

    1. Abbi

      I think it depends on what you like. “Feel good” stuff isn’t normally my thing but if you like that kind of thing it might be for you. 3 is a high rating for me.

      1. Hmm. I might check into it. I can do feel good stuff sometimes. Lol.

  3. Four I’ve not seen again! Ben Stiller annoys me so don’t know about that one but I like the sound of the story. The Shopaholic one sounds like the kind of movie that would piss me right off. Never heard of that To Faro but it sounds interesting. But Amour I’d have to be in the mood for. And I’m never in that mood these days! Thanks for the reviews. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      He is mega, mega annoying but it’s a sweet story and it has some really funny moments. I definitely wouldn’t recommend Confessions of a Shopaholic if you have a brain and or don’t enjoy watching stupidity being rewarded.

  4. Great reviews. Man, I hate that I missed Walter Mitty! I got invited to a screening yesterday and I couldn’t go!

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! Apparently we were the first audience to see it in Britain. Hopefully you will get to see it when it comes out properly.

      1. I will! Comes out on Christmas day.

  5. Oh my God, can I just out myself and say that I really like The Shopaholic – movie? I heard the book is much better – I don’t know if you just couldn’t stand the character, the actress, or even both, but I think a few people didn’t like her acting – but enjoyed her overly dramatic self.

    1. Abbi

      Hahahaha! I think I didn’t like the character. I am sick of the portrayal of useless, childlike women falling into undeserved success without having to work for it. I wanted her to grow up and take charge of her life!

      1. Oh my god, my husband said the same about weak black characters in movies! (he is black)… He doesn’t like the stereotypical women either… You two would get along hahahahaha

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