Anna Karenina

Friday 12th February 2016

Director: Joe Wright
Year: 2012
Stars: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen

Anna Karenina feels, in many ways, an awful lot like the book. Which isn't a compliment. After spending months slogging through the book a few years back, I did not feel satisfied at all with the ending. The film left me with exactly the same feeling. I guess it says something about the movie that it manages to be so faithful to the book...

... in some ways. When Anna Karenina starts, it is very visual and highly stylised. This continues throughout the movie, but somewhere along the way it manages to hone in on the things Tolstoy (I assume) was trying to convey when he wrote the novel - even if the book, at least to me, never really felt very stylised at all.

As my husband pointed out, Anna Karenina feels like something of a bit part in her own story. I imagine that's really on purpose, but it's annoying when she's clearly meant to be the central character. In the novel she bangs on about Kitty a lot. In the movie Kitty hardly features - but then, that's not surprising. Because whilst she's talked about in the novel, nothing  really happens to her. I guess it can't be the fault of the film that I hated the novel - but it has other problems too. Keira Knightley just doesn't seem right for the role of Anna Karenina. She's trying too hard. At times, it felt like she was trying to be Helena Bonham Carter. But Helena Bonham Carter doesn't belong in this movie either.

I would highly advise going and watching (or even reading) something else. Maybe the BBC dramatisation of War and Peace. Or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Or just Pride and Prejudice. Just not this.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Thursday 11th February 2016

Director: Burr Steers
Year: 2016
Stars: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith

This is exactly what it says it is. Pride and Prejudice... with zombies. That would have been the pitch for the movie, it's the title of the book, and there's not really any other way to describe this movie. Which is all fine, if you like Jane Austen novels. And zombies. And can see the appeal of marrying the two.

Happily, I like both. And am more than happy for them to be joined together. There are no surprises at all here (save for the fact that the story from Pride and Prejudice, even with the zombies, remains basically intact), and that's fine by me. I knew what I was going to get, and I got it. Whilst I'm sure many would disagree, my Thursday night didn't feel at all wasted.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Monday 8th February 2016

Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Year: 2012
Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters (voices)

This was shown on TV at Christmas, and we finally got around to watching it a few days ago. It's a pretty enjoyable Pixar movie - primarily because it's about a girl who doesn't just want to find her Prince. Instead, she wants her freedom. And that's OK.

The majority of the plot concerns her father's fear of bears, her lack of wariness concerning witches, and the curse she ends up having to lift any way she can. Brave is a fun movie with a decent plot, and will keep you watching for its 90 minutes running time. There's not really a lot else to say - watching Brave is simply an enjoyable enough way to spend an hour and a half.

January 2016 films

Just as with the majority of my films from 2015, I have totally failed to blog about any of the movies I've watched throughout January. As we're almost at the end of January, and I've actually managed to watch a fair few movies (if not blog about them), I'm once again going to stick to writing a simple list of those movies, and giving them a basic star rating. I fully intend to start blogging again properly next month, giving each movie the review it deserves! But for now, here is January's list:

Oz the Great and Powerful - 4 stars
Life of Pi - 4 stars
Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger - 3 stars
Puss in Boots - 4 stars
The Hateful Eight - 4.5 stars
Cosmopolis -2 stars
Gambit - 4 stars
Silver Linings Playbook - 2.5 stars
Joy - 2 stars
Side Effects - 4 stars
Now You See Me - 4 stars

2015 Review

Although my film blogging throughout 2015 has, shall we say, left something to be desired, I still wanted to give reviewing the movies I've watched throughout the year a go - I may not have done much blogging, but I have still been watching!

I'm going to attempt to do something similar to the last few years, where I list all the films that score 4 stars or more, and pick my top movies from that list. I'll then list all the films that score 2 stars or less, and list my top films not to waste your time on.

Films of the Year:

5. The Raven (4 stars)
4. The Intern (4 stars)
3. Warm Bodies (4 stars)
2. The Impossible (4 stars)

Film of the Year:
1. Brooklyn (5 stars)

I've kept the list down to 5 movies, instead of 10, this year - primarily because I just haven't watched that much during the course of the year. Film of the Year was exceptionally easy, because I only gave 5 stars to one movie. Brooklyn is a wonderful film, all about an Irish girl who goes to live in New York - and has to decide where her life really is. It's not complex, or particularly edgy, but it's a beautiful movie about an interesting life. And the lead character in a 1950s immigration movie is female. I'm not sure I've seen that before, and the film is all the better for it.

Before compiling a list of bad films, I thought that I hadn't seen very many bad movies at all this year, as I just haven't had time for them. Whilst this does seem to be true, it turns out that I have managed to watch some proper humdingers:

Films Not to Waste Your Time on:

5. Adam (2.5 stars)
4. The Lady in the Van (2 stars)
3. The Bourne Legacy (2 stars)
2. Bad Teacher (2 stars)

Worst Film of the Year:
1. Quartet (1 star)

These films were either boring (Adam), self-indulgent (The Lady in the Van), dull (The Bourne Legacy) or just plain bad (Bad Teacher). However, Quartet was the only film that scored 1 star. And that's because it's boring, self-indulgent, dull and bad. Not to mention totally full of its own importance. Even before I sat down to write this list, it stood out in my head as absolutely the worst movie I have watched all year.

In summary:
Film of the Year 2015: Brookly
Film Not to Waste Your Time On 2015: Quartet

About Me

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.