REVIEW OF THE MUPPETS - Claudia's film of the week
DANNY: You realise within seconds of the movie starting that this is just a very sweet and very sincere love letter to the Muppets, and it’s really got the spirit of the original show. The story such as it is, is all about putting on a show one more time to raise a bit of money to save their old studios, and you’re instantly transported back to that world…I’ve got to say I’m a man of very simple tastes and I think this is blissful.
CLAUDIA: It was even better than I could possibly have imagined. You get very nostalgic because these are characters that we know. And what I love about The Muppets is that you know them very well. You know how Fozzie would feel about asparagus for example. Chris Cooper is fantastic, as is Jason Segel as is Amy Adams. They play it perfectly. It reminded me of The Artist, but with talking and with Muppets because you come out like you’re on a cloud. I’ve already booked; I’m going again on Sunday. I loved it!
DANNY: The script walks that line between innocence on one hand and knowingness on the other which is what The Muppets were always very good at. I love this film I’m very smitten with it, and I’d go as far as to say I deeply distrust anyone who doesn’t.
CLAUDIA: It's the film of the decade. Well, maybe the week.
REVIEW OF THE WOMAN IN BLACK
CLAUDIA: The test of any good ghost story is if it’s scary. I was terrified during this and it’s very difficult to follow the Muppets but I could not recommend it enough. I thought the casting of Daniel Radcliffe was so clever because it’s very difficult for the poor guy, he’s so Harry Potter in our head, but I thought he played it really well. I believed that him as a young widow and somebody who had to go and keep on revisiting this house because he had to look after his son. I thought it was really good.
DANNY: This is a very impressive and efficient film, and efficient makes it sound like a back-hander but it’s really not meant as one. I think what they do very smartly, is realise that they have everything they need to start with. You have this story which is about madness and cruelty and loss and dark secrets, this incredible setting… The director James Watkins, who made a very smart little British horror film called Eden Lake, he just lets it all come to the boil… You are left jittering, you’re left clammy palmed, even more clammy palmed than I am normally.
REVIEW OF A DANGEROUS METHOD - Danny's film of the week
DANNY: A Dangerous Method’s a very handsome film. It’s a period piece and it’s very sort of elegant and formal. On the face of it, it couldn’t seem less like a David Cronenberg movie. I’m not so sure about that. I think churning away under the surface, there’s a sort of smorgasbord of freakiness… I’m going to be honest, I think some people will find it all a bit stiff, and a little dull and buttoned up, but I think if you give it a chance it’s gripping. I’m going to say that as a David Cronenberg fan, but I don’t think you have to be.
CLAUDIA: I agree. I know you are. I think it’s been marketed quite weirdly. I thought it was just going to be a lot of spanking, a lot of sex, and really there isn’t a lot. The three main parts are played brilliantly. It did take me, I’m just going to be honest, a good 8 minutes to get used to Kiera Knightley’s accent, and just her acting if you like. The bigness of her part. But then I got absolutely used to it and I loved it… It’s a very, very good watch, and it is beautiful.
REVIEW OF THE VOW
CLAUDIA: You know I'd said New Year’s Eve was the worst film I’d ever seen? An error: it’s The Vow. Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with the Vow. The difficulty is that you can’t even say it’s a bad premise because it’s based on a true story which is romantic and heart-breaking. A couple madly in love, they’re in a car, they crash, she can’t remember, he has to make her fall in love all over again. So that’s fine, but this doesn’t really have a heart. It feels fake… If I was married to the potato that is Channing Tatum and I had a car crash, I too would pretend that I didn’t remember marrying him just so I could start again. I get it Rachel. The whole thing feels contrived, at one point I had to eat my scarf. You?
DANNY: They’re the most teeth-itchingly irritating couple that have ever existed, and I think that’s the problem with it… As a couple they’re just so objectionable I think it stops any semblance of enjoyment. It’s Ghost goes to Starbucks. I just couldn’t stop thinking the whole way through, I wish I was watching 50 First Dates…
CLAUDIA: Or While You Were Sleeping?
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CLAUDIA'S TIPS FOR MUPPETS LOVERS.
The Muppet Movie (1979)
It was 1979 when The Muppets first hit the big screen and boy did they make an impact. Kermit and the crew were joined by the likes of Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise and Milton Berle for what can only be described as a true caper. As The Muppets journey across America in search of success in Hollywood, there’s an enemy in hot pursuit of Kermit….or rather his legs. This is a delightful movie that epitomises The Muppets humour, style and general brilliance. It’s a feature film and stars The Muppets – quite simply what’s NOT to like?
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Why not celebrate the birth of Dickens and The Muppets all at the same time? In The Muppet Christmas Carol, the rag tag bunch tell their own unique version of Dickens’ classic tale. Enter Michael Caine in a brilliant performance as the old miser himself, Scrooge. This may be designed to be a Christmas movie, but it goes down well throughout the year. This really is a film for all the family – It may be twenty years old already, but it still feels fresh, funny and delightful.
The Flintstones (1994)
In the tradition of movie re-boots, The Flintstones may not be the best of the bunch, but despite some pretty poor reviews when it was released, there’s much to enjoy from this modern stone age family. Why do we like it? Look out for some over the top performances from the likes of Roisie O’Donnell, Rick Moranis and the late great Elizabeth Taylor who plays a mother in law with an impressive name - Pearl Slaghoople!
Many thought this a lacklustre reboot….but if you enjoyed the original cartoons and you have a couple of hours to spare, you may just find some fun amongst the much maligned prehistoric mayhem. By the way, it made nearly $360,000,000 at the worldwide box office, so the filmmakers probably weren’t too worried by the critics!
DANNY'S RECOMMENDATIONS OF FILMS TO WATCH IF A DANGEROUS METHOD FLOATS YOUR BOAT.
The Straight Story (1999)
If you’re a fan of Cronenberg, it’s more than likely you’ll be a fan of another great director David Lynch too. Lynch’s The Straight Story is an incredible road movie, set in middle America and well worth watching if you haven’t already enjoyed the pleasures it offers.
At the heart of the film is a great central performance from Richard Farnsworth who plays Alvin, a septuagenarian who makes an incredible journey across America (by lawnmower!) in order to visit his dying brother. Farnsworth received a much deserved Oscar nomination for his central performance. The Straight Story is the ultimate road movie. It’s quite simply a whimsical delight.
Dead Ringers (1988)
Cronenberg fought hard against the Hollywood machine to keep his tale of twin gynecologists exactly the way he wanted it and his unique vision paid off. Jeremy Irons is in brilliant form as twin brothers Beverly & Elliot Mantle who exploit the fact they are identical twins to chilling and dramatic effect. Dead Ringers becomes a darker than dark love triangle and one that is excellently executed by Cronenberg, who seems at the very top of his game with this film. Some may want to avoid due to the violence, swearing and nudity in this film…..but all these elements only add to Dead Ringers and help make it a disturbing masterpiece.
Gillies Mackinnon’s Regeneration sees a group of shell shocked soldiers in WW1 coming to terms with their wartime experiences when they are sent to a psychiatric hospital. Two of the soldiers are WW1 poets Sassoon and Owen and the use of their work in the film makes it stand out from similar wartime fare. Regeneration says much about the human spirit and the powerful effect of war on mankind. Often films are described as haunting, but Regneration is genuinely so, and definitely a wrenching watch.
- Series Producer
- Jayne Stanger
- Claudia Winkleman
- Danny Leigh
- Executive Producer
- Basil Comely