Category Archives: Editor’s Pick

The films I’ve rated the highest.

The Way Way Back

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The Way Way Back is a funny, feel-good film, similar to Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. It’s an uplifting tale about Duncan (Liam James) who has to endure a summer with his mum Pam (Toni Collette) and her new boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell).

Struggling to withstand Trent’s subtle bullying, Duncan goes out as often as possible. He soon gets a secret job at the local pool, where he gains a lot more confidence and gets a good reputation… Continue reading

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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An inspirational fable to say the least. I have been waiting for a movie like this for a long time.

“Having a Walter Mitty moment”, you’ve probably heard the phrase. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty explores the ‘what if’ situations in life.

It is sort of similar to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, because it is the story of a man’s dreams and epic adventures.

Coincidently, there is a hilarious reference to Benjamin Button in the movie.

Everybody can relate to Walter Mitty. Dreamers, travellers, photographers, bored office workers… Anybody who fantasises about running away or doing something crazy… Continue reading

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Gravity

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This movie is out of this world!
Ha.
I saw Gravity 3D and it was spectacular. The director, Alfonso Cuarón, said movies should be a visual experience – a lot of dialogue isn’t necessary to tell the story – and he certainly did that well.

Claustrophobia, agoraphobia, isolation, suffocation and death. This is terrifying movie, playing on our natural fears. It is a very ‘human’ film – it goes back to basics – which is extremely effective in such an alien environment.

I’m not sure how to describe the epicness of the visuals… It is inviolable. Simply spectacular. The shot of the Northern Lights from outer space, and of the sun emerging from behind Earth… Wow.

Ryan (Sandra Bullock) and Matt (George Clooney) were absolutely incredible. I am a huge fan of George Clooney anyway, who played a chatty and upbeat character. But I was pleasantly surprised with Sandra Bullock! She convincingly played a strong protagonist. Continue reading

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The Jane Austen Book Club

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This film is up there with Bridget Jones’ Diary, I reckon.

I got this DVD because there was a ‘buy two, get one free’ deal on. Since the choice was limited, I thought I’d give this a whirl.

I was concerned because I had no interest in any of Jane Austen’s romance novels and had little knowledge of the stories and characters. So I wondered if a film about people discussing these books would be confusing…

Not the case, surprisingly!

The first time I watched it, I was just like ‘meh’, better than a chick flick… But kind of average. So it gathered dust on my shelf until one day, boredom and exhaustion from watching my DVD collection five times over resulted in me indulging in The Jane Austen Book Club once again.

I have to say, I really love this film now. The six main characters are empowering and strong, they all… Continue reading

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Morning Glory

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I love this movie. This is my happy movie.

Rachel McAdams plays Becky Fuller, a workaholic who is made redundant. She eventually gets hired by a breakfast show that’s going down the pan. The story follows her struggles to rebuild herself, and the show.

There are some fantastic lines! Harrison Ford is so dry with his delivery. It’s so perfect!… Continue reading

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Bridesmaids

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I was put off of seeing this movie when it first came out because it just looked like The Hangover – but the female version. However, after seeing a few scenes of it over the last couple of years, I decided to buy it in the sales.
And boy am I glad! I haven’t laughed this hard in ages! It is a truly hilarious journey that these wacky characters go through – any one of them could have been the leading lady.

Nothing is going well for Annie (Kristen Wigg). Her bakery closed down due to the recession, she’s in her mid-30s and a hopeless spinster. Thankfully she still has her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), though…
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Dead Poets Society

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Imagine Good Will Hunting + Scent of a Woman… and with a touch of The Ron Clark Story. That pretty much gives you Dead Poet’s Society.

It is a great story about breaking the mould. Not being what your father wants you to be, not giving into the black and white versions of education, but finding the creativity in it and allowing your imagination to run riot.

Robin Williams plays John Keating who is an English teacher with unorthodox teaching methods in a private all boys school. The tradition and formality… Continue reading

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Walk the Line

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I thoroughly enjoyed this biopic about one of the best country rock n roll singers of the sixties, Johnny Cash.

Joaquin Phoenix did an incredible job of becoming Johnny Cash. His natural intensity was perfect for the really heavy and dark life of Johnny Cash. I didn’t know much about Johnny Cash until I impulsively bought this movie. I had a few of his songs and enjoyed them, but assumed that he was just a country singer for geriatrics.

It turns out that Johnny Cash’s life and the people he rubbed shoulders with is incredible. The stories he has are inspiring. I am not sticking up for everything that Johnny Cash did, but I have to say that it was so unfortunate… Continue reading

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Midnight In Paris

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When I first watched this film I was disappointed because in my mind I had hyped up the plot line of Gil (Owen Wilson) travelling through different time eras of Paris. The artistic, fashionable, sophisticated and elaborate times of the 1920s, as well as the ceremonious, coming of age times of the 1890s.

The plot is about the Golden Age. That is, longing to live in a time before your own. For example, mine is the early 1960s. Better music and fashion with the huge liberal movement against war and for free will. However, Midnight In Paris attempts to… Continue reading

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Easy A

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This is quite a different version to the typical high school chick flick that drowns the market. Easy A is about how rumours can make or break your reputation, as well as who your friends really are. But also how you can take insults and use them to your advantage.

It has a pretty funny script with some catchy insults from the witty and very sarcastic Olive (Emma Stone). Her best come backs are usually toward the “Jesus Freak”, Marianne (Amanda Bynes), who was responsible for spreading the original rumour about Olive losing her virginity… Continue reading

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The Blair Witch Project

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I literally did not sleep last night.

I remember seeing snippets of this film when I was about 11, but I had not remembered how effective the horror aspect of it was! It is the best horror/psychological thriller I have seen in a very long time.

Three film makers go missing in the woods while covering the legend of the Blair Witch that supposedly haunted the area. The film makers were never found again, but their footage was, which makes up this film.

Pretty simple plot line with amateur filming which is very convincing! The idea of this horror is that the less you see the more your imagination runs a riot. You never actually see any witch or any sort of witch craft or… Continue reading

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Cemetery Junction

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Based in the early seventies, this film follows the lives of three boys in their early twenties whose lives consist of “boozing”, partying and “getting birds”. However, after one of the boys, Freddie (Christian Cook), meets an old friend, Julie (Felicity Jones) who is bursting to leave town and travel the world, he decides that he wants more in life too.

They both realise that they are both being held back by conservative parents and living in the regimented town of Cemetery Junction… Continue reading

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Chocolat

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A mysterious and magical fable-like tale about an eccentric, colourful and embracing chocolatier named Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche) and how she brightened up a deeply rooted traditional French village. Her provocative clothing, illegitimate child and outspoken values made her unwanted in the village, being cast as an evil influence. Depite this, her Chocolaterie brings hope and perspective to the guilty customers. Amongst this, there is a compelling love interest between Vianne and a free-spirited Irish traveller Roux (Johnny Depp).

I love the lead actress, , but I do wonder if they chose her because Marion Cotillard was unavailable. In any case, they are two gorgeously elegant French women with an enormous amount of talent.

This film is about depriving ourselves of things for the purpose of discipline, particularly of religion or society… Continue reading

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The Prestige

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The Prestige is an incredible movie with real mystery and thrilling themes, like nothing you have ever seen before. Its dark and haunting aesthetic with the ruthless, deceitful, cut-throat and competitive characters makes an extremely intense film.

It is the story of strong-willed magicians who guard their incredible tricks of illusions with their lives resulting in sacrifices way beyond their expectations as their hunger for dominance of rival magicians runs riot.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the era that this movie is set in, the late 1800s. I wouldn’t mind living in those times… Only if I was very wealthy of course. Beautiful dresses, old school showmanship, horse and carts and the thrill of newly discovered electricity.

With the complexity of Nolan’s Inception, the grungy look of The Dark Knight, but with a hint of total tragedy, this is just another of Christopher’s incredible creations… Continue reading

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The Help

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In the back of my mind I was expecting it to be either over-emotional and depressing such as the film Precious (which I still haven’t brought myself to watch). Or, I was expecting it to be a little too cheesy… But I was gladly wrong.

This is a story about a strong-willed and moral young woman named Skeeter (Stone) who interviewed many African-American maids in Jackson, Mississippi despite it being very dangerous and very much against the law. With many struggles and an immense amount of courage from all involved, she wrote a book anonymously based upon the accounts of the Help who serve white families for little money and humiliating conditions… Continue reading

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Moulin Rouge!

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“Truth, beauty, freedom and love.”

I have never been a fan of sappy romance, and I still am not. Because Moulin Rouge! is not at all sappy or unbelievable, nor does the music break the suspension of disbelief. I think that it is because the acting is not over the top or overly theatrical at all.

Ewan McGregor plays the protagonist, Christian, who is a writer who wants to write about love, but with one problem being that he has never been in love. That is until he meets Nicole Kidman’s character, Satine, a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge. Satine is forbidden to fall in love, so they must keep their relationship a secret. Continue reading

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Big Fish

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Big Fish is directed by Tim Burton, so already you have probably got an idea of what the feel of this film is. A little bit quirky with gothic undertones, but don’t be fooled, this is not a cookie-cutter Burton film (typically including the incredible Helena Bonham-Carter), this is an amazing tale about Edward Bloom’s (Albert Finney/Ewan McGregor) life.

The protagonist is a storyteller although he is known to exaggerate and embellish the story of his life… Continue reading

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Forrest Gump

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I love these films. The kind of stories that are based on a character’s life adventures are the most inspirational because the scripts tend to be quite philosophical. Forrest Gump is, of course, a very innocent story of a man’s journey through his life. The hurdles and the triumphs are all narrated by the protagonist Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks).
Forrest Gump is a film that shares the genre with the likes of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button… Continue reading

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Skyfall

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I’m not a huge James Bond fan, nevertheless I can fully appreciate the epic awesomeness of the 23rd film of the 50 year-long Bond series.

This had it all. Fighting, car chases, scary bad guys and beautiful women. Obviously all of these are the ingredients necessary to make a successful and authentic Bond film.

The lighting is absolutely amazing. It really accents the traditionally spectacular surroundings that are classically chosen for Bond movies. Skyfall was most certainly no different with beautiful Scottish environment where the final fight occurs – Bond fights Silva; ice fights fire – and everything makes a full circle. The storyline was very well… Continue reading

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Stranger Than Fiction

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I. Love. This. Movie.
It’s about a man who can hear a voice narrating every event in his life, but it become sinister when the narrator casually mentions that “little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death…”. Harold Crick now has to try and find the author to get her to stop writing before she completely writes him out of existence. I guess the first awesome thing about this film is the cast. Will Ferrell… His character is Harold Crick who is a very mundane… Continue reading

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The Wedding Singer

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This film is the eighties equivalent of the sixties-based The Boat That Rocked, so yes, it is very funny and has an awesome soundtrack!!

Adam Sandler plays Robbie Hart the wedding singer who is very talented and loves his job until he loses faith in love. “Love Stinks” is probably the most memorable song in the entire movie which is covered by Sandler who has a surprisingly good voice!… Continue reading

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Little Miss Sunshine

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If you adored the humour of Juno, you will fall madly in love with this film! It was full of that dry, black humour where you don’t know if you should laugh or cry.

It has that ‘typical family’ quality where you can relate to every character because we all know somebody like them. Sort of. 

Olive (Abigail Breslin) wants to compete in a beauty pageant, which is a good one-and-a-half day’s drive away. With an unpredictably suicidal uncle (Steve Carell) who can not be left by himself, the whole family decides to go… Continue reading

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About a Boy

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I am in no way a fan of Hugh Grant. He seems to only play one character and that character appears to be exactly what he is like in real life. Having said that…

He is in some pretty wicked films like Bridget Jones, Notting Hill, but the most impressive being this one: About A Boy.

It’s about Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) who has never needed to work and is a professional womanizer. The parallel story is about poor Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) and how he deals with his mother (Toni Collette) who is suffering from depression, all the while having a tough time at school… Continue reading

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Driving Lessons

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Okay, so this film has been HUGELY underrated. Despite being aware that everybody has their right to their own opinion, I, as New Zealand’s official Freak of Film, would like to say:

YOU ARE ALL INCORRECT.

Driving Lessons is a slower-than-usual paced film with a script as philosophical as Forrest Gump, but with humour as dry as Napoleon Dynamite (in some parts)… Continue reading

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Shaun of the Dead

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The best Black Comedy of all time.

I have a weakness for Zombie apocalypse movies anyway, however, this film has taken every zombie cliche` in the book and ends up pointing fun at themselves which is hilarious!
The creators called it a “Rom Zom Com”… Continue reading

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