Monday, 29 October 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 (2012) - ★

Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Writers: Christopher Landon (screenplay), Chad Feehan (story)
Stars: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively

I'm ashamed of myself. I am absolutely ashamed that I paid money to see this movie. I'm most ashamed that my money is going towards the making of another one of these D-Grade films. Never again will I pay to see a Paranormal Activity film. The fourth installment would have to be one of the worst films of 2012.

In the first film a couple were being terrorized by some sort of demon. It was pretty good. The second was a prequel to the film, then a sequel at the end. In this film a young boy was kidnapped. It wasn't bad. The third film was a prequel to both of the films. I didn't mind it... The fourth film basically disregards the third film completely, and focus' on the stolen boy from the second movie. He is terrorizing a house full of stupid people that I couldn't care less if they lived or died. There you go, that's the story. A boy is terrorizing a household. That's it, nothing else. It answered no questions. Paranormal Activity 4 would have to be the most unnecessary film I've seen in a long time.

First off, it's not scary. Everything in this film was done by the previous three, but better. And that's saying something. The acting was drastically worse in this installment, being particularly poor when it comes to pretending to be 'real.' The idea of setting up laptop cameras around the house to me is stupid. Is the demon stupid? Why doesn't he just shut the laptop? Another thing that gets me is that the main character (Kathryn Newton) was nearly killed numerous times and clearly knew that there was an evil entity in the house, yet she stayed? That doesn't make sense to me no matter how many excuses the creators may have.

This film has two purposes. One of them is to scare people. The other (and most important) is to make money. It failed miserably at scaring people. Everyone was laughing in the cinema at how stupid the film was. I tried my hardest to feel horrified, but I just could not get over how silly it all seemed. What it did do was make money. That's what pisses me off about this film. I implore all of you to never pay to see one of these movies again. They're not worthy of our attention, nor do they belong in a cinema.

This is the worst installment of the series by far. Nothing was revealed in the end, which by the way was such a ridiculous ending. I would have preferred a movie that concluded the series, explained everything thoroughly and had less 'scary' moments. Instead, we got a recycled plot and more questions to be answered. I hate this movie.

The Notebook (2004) - ★★★½

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writers: Jeremy Leven (Screenplay), Jan Sardi (Adaptation), Nicholas Sparks (Novel)
Stars: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, Sam Shepard

This movie is far from perfect. The acting is sometimes a little cheesy and the story is even cheesier. I don't know how Cassavetes did it, but he made a film with so much beauty and passion that it has become the romance film of a generation. Almost all of my friends would say that The Notebook is their favorite romance movie, and I completely understand why. Sometimes a flawed film can induce emotions in people that even classic films can't. This is one of those films.

It's the star-crossed lover genre, using the most basic of stories. The movie starts in a nursing home with Duke (James Garner), reading to an older woman, (Gena Rowlands), whose memory is slipping from her more and more everyday. Duke reads the story of two lovers who meet in the south at a carnival. Allie (Rachel McAdams), was 17 and a city girl from money. Noah (Ryan Gosling) was a poor country boy. The two spend a summer together filled with intense romance and fun. Her parents force her to move and go to college because of his poor social status. She was willing to give it up for Noah, until one small argument caused them to go their separate ways, even though they're still very much inlove.

Rich girl, poor boy? Parents intervene? Where have I seen that story before? That was my initial thought when I heard about the film. Regardless of this recycled plot, the story was still beautiful and the characters very likable. Gosling and McAdams had the most amazing chemistry. It comes as no surprise that they started dating after this film. They are like Yin and Yang for each other. He is quiet, streetsmart and caring, whereas she is loud, adventurous and educated. I couldn't believe how good these two were for the roles. I never would have imagined Gosling and McAdams being the leads in this film, but now I can't imagine the film without them. That is the sign of a great performance.

The music is absolutely beautiful. It truly displayed the feelings of the characters and the mood of the scenes. Combined with the spectacular cinematography of the lake during sunset, The Notebook for a few scenes looked like a real classic film. I might also add that it is entertaining from start to finish. It's a long movie packed with drama and romance, there was never a dull moment for me.

This is also one of the most emotional films I've ever seen. I watched this with my sister (it was her first time seeing the film). When it finished, she rushed out of the room and into the bathroom. She was crying, and could not stop crying for about ten minutes. I wasn't moved to tears myself, but I was nearly there.

The beautiful music, cinematography, acting and story all combine to make this film a classic in the eyes of a generation of movie lovers. I myself very much enjoyed The Notebook, and although it didn't make me cry, it made me feel many other emotions.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) - ★★★★

Director: James Cameron
Writers: James Cameron, William Wisher Jr.
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

This movie is awesome in every sense of the word. Ever since I was a child I've loved this film. Of all the action films I've ever seen, Terminator 2 would have to be my favorite. It was practically perfect in every way and deserves to be recognized as one of the greats. It won four Oscars at the Academy Awards and should have been nominated for Best Picture and Best Director in my opinion.

The first Terminator (1984) was absolutely brilliant and really set a high standard for the sequel. Nearly 10 years passed since Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) was targeted for termination by a cyborg from the future. Now her son, John (Edward Furlong), the future leader of the resistance, is the target for a newer, more deadly terminator (Robert Patrick). The resistance from the future managed to send a protector (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to attempt to save John and Sarah. This cyborg sent to terminate them is practically immortal, as is the cyborg sent to protect them, making this film absolutely packed with intricate and thrilling fight scenes.

Schwarzenegger plays the most badass villain in The Terminator, and somehow manages to pull off an even more badass hero in this film. For a cyborg that can't feel or understand emotions, he is unbelievably easy to like and warm up to. As he learns more about the human race and their emotions, you see he starts to pick up small actions and traits from them. It's really quite clever the way director James Cameron shows the subtle difference between the character at the start of the film and at the end.

This is one of those rare films that is even better than the original. I believe it's because there is something to please everyone. There's action, comedy, drama, nudity and even more action. Cameron did a great job with writing a sequel that actually fits well with the original story. Hamilton was incredible as Sarah. She toned up for the role and became one of the strongest and most inspiring female characters I've seen in film. For me, she is second only to Ripley from Ridley Scott's, 'Alien.' I was rooting for her the whole way, mainly because of how she had evolved as a character from the first film. In the first film she was just a young waitress looking to make ends meat, but in this film she wanted to save the human race from enslavement by the cyborgs.

Edward Furlong was the standout in this film. This would have to be the greatest child acting role I've seen, (Yes, even better than Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone). He really captured the nineties with his rebellious attitude and gone but not forgotten catchphrases. He also acted the part of a child caught up in this crazy world of cyborgs brilliantly. His acting really was spectacular, and in my opinion this film would not be anywhere near as legendary without him.

The same goes with Schwarzenegger, who was perfect as the father-figure of John, not to mention a cyborg. He truly played a believable cyborg. With his emotionless face, expressionless voice, and strong appearance, you didn't have to warm up to the idea of him playing a cyborg, he simply was one. I might also add that the beginning credits of the film is one of the greatest I've seen in a movie. There is a playground burning whilst beautifully epic music plays until the film begins. Its haunting images and sound really set the mood perfectly.

The most surprising thing about this film was that it evoked so many emotions in me that typical action films could not. I laughed my ass off when Schwarzenegger tried to comprehend human catchphrases and emotions. I cringed at many action sequences while I was on the edge of my seat. I was eager to see where the story would lead them. Most importantly, it almost moved me to tears when it was all over.

I think I've said it all. This is a perfect action film, and deserves to be on my Movies You Must See list as much as many other classic films.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Jurassic Park (1993) - ★★★★

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Michael Crichton
Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight

This movie is so bad in many aspects, but it's just incredible in many others. Part of me wants to rate it lowly for its shortcomings, but I just can't do it. Jurassic Park is one of those films that I will always love.

Multi-millionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) created a theme park filled with dinosaurs by cloning them from the dna found in mosquitos. He enlists three scientists, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), to see the park and give their scientific opinion in favor of the park. However, things go horribly wrong when the man in charge of running the the parks computer systems, (Wayne Knight), shuts down the power that is keeping the dinosaurs away from the humans. The scientists and Hammond's grandchildren are constantly fighting for survival as they encounter Velociraptors, T-rex's and other deadly dinosaurs thought extinct.

The dialogue throughout the film was pretty laughable. I believe that this film was aimed for children, yet I couldn't imagine many young children enjoying Jurassic Park. Unless they are big fans of dinosaurs, many would be extremely scared. When my 8 year old sister saw this film in cinemas, she couldn't look at the movie. She sat in her seat with her back to the movie until it was over. That's one of the reasons I believe this film didn't work properly, because it was targeted for children, yet doesn't fully satisfy children or adults.

Almost all of the characters were frustratingly annoying. In particular, Hammond's grandchildren. These two were also there so that children can relate to the film a bit more. All they did was take away from the incredible movie. They were always either doing something stupid or saying something stupid. I understand that their fear makes the movie more realistic, but there was too much screaming. I don't know about you, but they were starting to take the joy of the film away for me.

The main problem I have is that the action sequences took away from the awe-inspiring vision of the dinosaurs themselves. I would much rather have seen a film full of dinosaurs re-created the way Spielberg has done so masterfully. I loved the sequence where we first see the dinosaurs, it was beautiful. It meshed so well with one of the greatest movie themes of all time by John Williams. I was just blown away. There were only two of these relaxing and beautiful scenes though, while the rest of the film was action and comedy, which just degrades this masterpiece of cinema.

With all of these negatives, there were just as many positives. The fact that these dinosaurs looks so realistic sucked me right into the atmosphere. This film did something many thought impossible, and that was show us what dinosaurs looked like. I must have said "wow" about 10 times throughout the movie. Richard Attenborough was the star of the film in my opinion. His acting was masterful as always, and I was genuinely sad for him when everything went wrong.

There's so much beauty and wonder in this movie that I ended up clapping when it was finished. I have never seen a film like it, and probably never will again. No matter how bad the dialogue and acting were, Spielberg more than made up for it with the cinematography and realistic recreation of dinosaurs. I love this film, which is why it deserves a high rating.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Drive (2011) - ★★★★

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Hossein Amini (Screenplay), James Sallis (Novel)
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brookes, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac

This is hands down one of the best films of the year. It's been a while since I've seen a new movie as good as this one. It has a great story, great acting, it sucks you in and leaves you more than satisfied. I can't praise Drive enough for igniting hope for the future of the American Film Industry.

The film follows a mysterious Driver (Ryan Gosling) who works as a garage mechanic, a Hollywood stuntman and a getaway driver. He falls for his neighbor, Irene (Mulligan),who is mother to a child and whose husband (Oscar Isaac) is in prison. Meanwhile, his garage mechanic boss, Shannon (Byran Cranston), is trying to set up a race team using gangland money, which implicates the Driver as he is to be the team's main driver. Things get complicated for him when he meets Irene's husband, who involves him in a one million dollar heist, which two gang members intend on getting back using any means necessary.

I think the best thing about Drive is that it's very subtle when it comes to interactions between the characters. One thing I hate about movies these days is that when two people are falling in love, they don't shut up. They feel compelled to spill their guts out about their past and their feelings. This film shows love in its simplest form, through facial expressions (which I'm partial to).

Gosling was fantastic, as was Mulligan. I liked their relationship and I rooted for them to run off together. It's rare to become invested in a romance these days with terrible B-rate Rom-Coms taking over the cinema, but this film brings back the interest. I think it's because it wasn't trying to shove 'love' down our throats, it was just a small part of the story.

Albert Brookes was fantastic as one of the leaders of the gang. He was funny and cruel. Everytime he was on screen, it was pure entertainment. Same goes for Bryan Cranston. He has certainly come a long way from playing the father from Malcolm in the Middle. There was plenty of blood and death in this film, but it wasn't there as a gorefest, but to suck the audience further into the story.

Drive had a brilliant 80's feel about it, which was so refreshing and nostaligic to see. It had a lot to do with the beautiful music and neon city setting. The great thing about this film is that it isn't a particular genre, it's everything. It's action, it's thriller and it's romance. All are important, all are executed masterfully and all are entertaining! I can't praise this film enough. It's one of the best films of 2011.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974) - ★★★½

Director: Sidney Lumet
Writers: Paul Dehn (Screenplay), Agatha Christie (Novel)
Stars: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, Ingrid Bergman, Martin Balsam, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York

This is arguably the greatest ensemble cast in the history of film. So many legends, so many talents, such good acting all in one film! Not to mention, this is my favorite Agatha Christie novel. Murder on the Orient Express is a very entertaining, beautiful film that I enjoyed every minute of.

Famous detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) is returning to England aboard the Orient Express, which is a train unusually crowded for the time of year. Shortly after the train's departure, a wealthy American businessman, Rachett (Richard Widmark), tries to secure Poirot's services for $15,000 since he has received many death threats, which Poirot turns down. The next morning Ratchett is found stabbed to death in his cabin. Poirot enlists the help from his friend Bianchi (Martin Balsam) and Dr. Constantine (George Coulouris) to solve the mystery of who killed Ratchett. Poirot soon discovers that Ratchett was not who he claimed to be. His secret past indicates a clear motive for murder, even justification, but who was the killer?

The story is filled with many twists and turns and clues for the viewer to solve. There is beautiful cinematography and music throughout the film which enhanced the joy of watching the mystery unfurl. At first I wasn't sure if I liked Albert Finney's Poirot, but after a while I grew to like how he portrayed the character. I personally think that the best portayal of Poirot is by David Suchet.

The supporting cast were magnificent. For me the clear standouts were Bacall, Bergman and Gielgud, who were all entertaining and clearly the masters of acting in the film. Anthony Perkins was great to watch too, especially when he talked about his mother in the film (which I had a laugh about, remembering Psycho). It's not often you see Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave outshined in a film, but this was one of them. They're both great actors, who had to compete with legendary actors, making this film full of great acting!

Not only is this one of the greatest murder mysteries there is, but it's also my favorite. The acting is so good that no matter what I say about it, it would not do the film or the actors justice. I love this film, however, not as much as the David Suchet version. I recommend it to anyone that loves a good mystery.

Sanctum (2011) - ★

Director: Alister Grierson
Writers: John Garvin, Andrew Wight
Stars: Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, Ioan Gruffadd, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie

This movie sucks. It's so full of stereotypes that you forget that this is a film about survival. To tell you the truth, I bought the DVD under a misapprehension, thinking it was a horror movie that I'd heard many good things about. When I found out that this was a film about survival that stars Rhys Wakefield, I was really excited to find out whether it would be good. From the moment I started watching the film, I knew I'd regret wasting my money on this terrible film.

The story is as follows. A team of underwater cave divers go on an extremely dangerous expedition to the largest and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a freak storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, rough terrain and increasing panic as they search for an unknown excape route to the sea. All of the characters are one dimensional, stereotypical and have uninteresting stories and personalities, which is why I won't explain what they have to do with the film.

I will start off by saying that although there was some bad CGI in parts, the cinematography in general was beautiful and haunting. However, I never quite felt like I was watching people in a cave. It felt like I was watching actors playing people in a cave, which sucked me write out of the movie. Ioan Gruffadd played a loudmouth American that is spearheading the expedition, and although I love him as an actor, he was terrible at putting on the accent. It was so over the top and out of place that it further put me off the film.

The cast was predominantly Australian, which I thought would be a good change to the usual thriller movies. It wasn't. It was just as Hollywood and predictable as most thrillers, providing nothing unique other than the setting.

All of the characters were annoying and unrealistic, which made me feel nothing for them when they died. I couldn't feel the panic coming from them, or connect to their personal stories (which were also really bad). The worst thing about Sanctum is the dialogue. There were so many stereotypes in this movie that even Sacha Baron Cohen's films Bruno and Borat couldn't beat them.

With laughable dialogue such as "You'll fizz up like a dropped beer can," you won't find many movies that would beat Sanctum when it comes to cliche' lines and bad acting. This movie is to be avoided at all cost.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Dictator (2012) - ★★★

Director: Larry Charles
Writers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer
Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, Jason Mantzoukas (and guest starring Megan Fox and Edward Norton).

I liked The Dictator. It was funny, its style was different to Borat and Bruno, and I liked the comparison between a dictatorship and democracy in the US that was made at the end of the film. However, I was also disappointed in the half-assed jokes that were used throughout. Some albeit were funny, while others felt like they belonged on Family Guy.

Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the screen as Aladeen, Dictator of a fictional country called Wadiya. He enjoys sentencing people to be executed, winning rigged games and oppressing his people. Many assassination attempts have been made on him, which is why he has a double (who is trained to get shot in the head). Aladeen is also building a nuclear weapon, which the United Nations aren't happy about. They threatened to NATO him unless he agrees to cease the production at a conference held in the US. The rightful air to Wadiya, Tamir (Ben Kingsley), desires money, power and above all to move next to George Clooney's house, thus he hires a man (John C. Reilly) to assassinate Aladeen so that his lookalike double can agree to cease making nuclear weapons, turn Wadiya into a democracy and give other countries the rights to mine the land for oil. In return, Tamir gets 30 million dollars. When the assassination attempt gets botched, Aladeen is left in the US without his beard (or identity), which leaves him no choice but to take up the hospitality of Zoey (Anna Faris). Aladeen must hatch a scheme that will get him to the conference and stop Tamir's plan.

What I liked about this film is that it's different to the reality TV style of Borat and Bruno. It's an actual movie with a decent story, which was refreshing because had The Dictator been like the previous two films, it would feel old and done to death. The start of the film was boring, providing little laughs. The comedy really began when John C. Reilly popped onto the screen as the assassinator, who believes anything that isn't a white American is A-rab. Anna Faris provided many laughs too as Zoey, who was very similar to the character she's most famous for playing, Cindy from the Scary Movie franchise. Ben Kingsley was funny simply because he is such a class actor, making his appearance in a movie like this is funny in itself.

The film went for 83 minutes, which is extremely short. I liked this because anything extra would make the film feel bloated (because Aladeen is actually extremely irritating). Cohen recycled his Ali G voice for this character, which was disappointing because I couldn't get over how The Dictator looked like Ali G in a costume. I don't really know why he didn't go to more efforts and detail with the appearance of his character. The fake beard just seemed lazy to me (in comparison to the transformation he made for Bruno).

All in all The Dictator was funny. It's just not Cohen at his best. He had to rely on a cast of supporting actors to make this film any good, which luckily it did. I hope he's not losing his touch, because this film looks like his skills at creating an entertaining film from start to finish are beginning to fade away.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Secret Garden (1993) - ★★★★½

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writers: Frances Hodgson Burnett (Novel), Caroline Thompson (Screenplay)
Stars: Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, Maggie Smith, Laura Crossley, John Lynch.

The Secret Garden in my opinion is one of the best childrens movies of all time. One of the most exciting things about being a child is discovering new and unfamiliar places and people, which this film shows beautifully. I have to say that I've loved this film since I was a child, and although it strays quite a bit from the book, the adaptation is extremely well done.

Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly) is a young girl that was brought up in India by a neglectful mother that paid no attention to her, and a father that was never home. She grew up resentful, bitter and hardly ever smiled. She even learned to stop crying. After an accident kills her parents, she is sent to England to live with her uncle, Lord Archibald Craven (John Lynch), a man caught in despair over the death of his wife (her aunt).

They live in a gloriously stunning old mansion called Misselthwaite, where the unkind and strict Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith) runs the household. After exploring the grounds of Misselthwaite, Mary discovers a door hidden behind a hedge that leads to a secret garden filled with unbloomed plants, statues and everything nice that would appeal to a child. It is here that she makes friends with a young boy named Dickin (Andrew Knott), who helps her plant new flowers and fix the garden up to make it perfect.

Throughout the film you hear a childs wailing echo through the mansions halls, which Mary later finds out is her sickly cousin Colin, a bedbound boy who has been told all his life that he has a lump on his back and a sickness that will surely kill him before he becomes an adult. Mary befriends Colin and helps him get better by showing him that he's not sick and opening up the world to him through telling stories and showing him the garden.

This is a really magical movie. Set around the moors, the cinematography in this film leaves me with a wide grin for it is truly beautiful to see. What helps is the music that accompanies these scenes, which I believe is one of the best movie themes there is. Maberly was amazing as Mary, somehow acting so adult when she is only a child actor. I loved her, I hated her, but the main thing is that she made me feel things everytime she was on the screen.

The same goes for Prowse, who made Colin annoying, entertaining and ignorant to the world around him. Maggie Smith was incredible as Mrs. Medlock. You hated her with such a passion because of how mean she was to Mary, but also came to understand later in the film that she was under a lot of pressure to help Colin get better. My favorite person in the whole movie was a character named Martha (Laura Crossley). She was hilarious and cute as the handmaiden to Mary, really providing so much entertainment and charm to the film.

The story is simple but effective, keeping me interested all the way through. There is little I can fault with this film, but so much to praise! If you have kids, I highly suggest you let them watch The Secret Garden. It's really magical for young people. I should know, I was just a child when I first saw it.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Casablanca (1942) - ★★★★★

Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Peter Lorre

This movie is perfect. Of all the films I've seen, I believe that Casablanca surpasses them all when it comes to its ridiculously well-done acting, story and cinematography. That doesn't mean it's my favorite, but if someone asked me if it is better than another film, I would almost always say "yes."

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Beginners (2010) - ★★½

Director: Mike Mills
Writer: Mike Mills
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

Beginners is a fantastic movie in parts, and utterly boring in others. There were many great things about this film, including spectacular acting, music and memorable moments. Unfortunately it ended up being tiresome with a length of only 105 minutes, which is mainly the fault of the uninteresting love affair between McGregor and Laurent (through no fault of their own).

This is a film that includes coming out of the closet, dealing with grief and living life to the fullest while you can. Christopher Plummer plays Hal Fields, a 70-something year old man that, after his wife dies, comes out of the closet. This is because he wants to explore that side of him, which he never had the chance to back in the days when it was an 'illness' to be gay. McGregor plays his son Oliver, who accepts his father's new lifestyle although he doesn't fully understand it. Essentially there are two sides to Beginners; before Hal passes away and after he passes. Before he dies, we see his quest for love and a new life, while after he dies we are introduced to Anna, an actress that Oliver falls for whilst grieving the loss of his father. There are many issues that are delved into in Beginners, they just weren't entertaining, nor gripping.

Plummer was the clear star of this movie. He had a way of coming across as gay without uttering a single word, which is a master class of acting in my opinion. We laughed with him, we cried with him, and inevitably my heart broke when he dies. Without his skills, this film would have been a colossal bore. McGregor also gave a charming and beautiful performance as the likable and cooky Oliver. He's one of those actors who can say everything with their face, which he utilizes brilliantly. Laurent reminded me a lot of Juliette Binoche in this film, which made me like her before I even got to know her. Anna was an interesting and likable character that helps Oliver come to terms with his father's death, while at the same time must battle her inner demons. The performances in this film were without a doubt the highlight of the film and make up for most of the stars I've given. It is the theme to Beginners that made me add half a star, because it fit the film so well and was a joy to listen to.

Although this is a well-acted film, it couldn't be saved from the slow, tedious tempo and story development between Anna and Oliver. Sometimes I just wanted to yell "Get on with it!" It was obvious which direction their relationship was going, which is why it was so frustrating. It is a story that is predictable and slow, which makes waiting for the conclusion frustrating to sit through. I had my fingers crossed, just in case that would give me more scenes with Plummer. He was my primary motivation to watch the rest of the film, and when he passed, it was even more frustrating to see the love story unfurl, because nothing happens. Not to mention this film had many cliches that I was not too impressed with, such as the super touchy, silly gay man that Plummer had for a boyfriend. I guess the grounded and respectable Hal sort of makes up for the lack of exposure to nice, modest gay men.

Beginners is charming, funny, clever and above all, boring. The acting was marvelous throughout and the music accompanied it superbly. If only there was something more interesting and in depth than the tedious happenings of two depressed, boring people grieving over their fathers while dating each other. I recommend this film to people so that they can see Plummer give one of the greatest performances of his career, but not for its entertainment value.