Saturday, 30 April 2011

Film Review: THE SCOUTING BOOK FOR BOYS (2009)

the_scouting_book_for_boys_poster Director: Tom Harper
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 19th March 2010 (Limited)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 30th April 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember hearing about this film when it came out, as I recall, it got a pretty good reception. On the strength of this I decided to give it a viewing. It’s quite hard to put down in words the feelings that are brought forth by this British made coming of age tale of love and loss. This one can really get to you if you’re in the mood for it. I thought it was very good and that the young actors involved were really excellent.

scouting_book_for_boys_01 Emily and David are teenagers, they both live at a caravan park on the Norfolk (England) coast. They are like brother and sister, inseparable. One day Emily hears that she is going to have to go and live with her father. This changes everything for David, his feelings for her may run deeper than he is prepared to admit. The following day Emily disappears and David is the first one they call on to find out where she is. Of course he denies all knowledge and they focus on Steve, the security guard at the park. Little do they know that David and Emily have hatched a plan to hide her so she doesn’t have to go and live with her father. Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan and, as time passes, David finds out things about Emily that he wishes he didn’t know. I can’t tell you what it is as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

the_scouting_book_for_boys_2009_760x380_347070 There are some great songs in the soundtrack from the band ‘Noah and the Whale’, and a nice score by Jack C. Arnold. It’s a very well made film with some really nice cinematography. I particularly liked the use of close-ups. As I said earlier, the two young actors involved are truly excellent. Holliday Grainger as Emily is every bit the young teenage tom-boy she portrays and Thomas Turgoose does an excellent job as the love-lorne David. Also, an honourable mention goes to Rafe Spall as Steve.

31905 I really liked this film. It has a very measured style that gently takes you along the path of this bittersweet tale. It’s unmistakably English and I think it works better for that, playing on your emotions right up until the rather tragic ending. It’s not perfect, the pacing seems a little bit off in places and I felt that some of the characters were a little bit too larger than life, but over all, I liked it. So, if you’re prepared for a bit of an emotional ride with a couple of great performances in a very well shot film, then I can definitely recommend this one to you.

My Score: 7.3/10

031910scouting718 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1022885/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the-scouting-book-for-boys/
Trailer:

Friday, 29 April 2011

Film Review: SEXY BEAST (2000)

SexyBeast_poster Director: Jonathan Glazer
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Crime
UK Release date: 12th January 2001

Watched on Sky+ Friday 29th April 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Whenever I’m in a conversation about British gangster movies, this one always comes up. Much to my dismay, I haven’t been able comment because, for one reason or another, I kept missing it. This was remedied recently when it finally re-appeared on TV. It’s an interesting film that’s marked by one particularly extraordinary performance and an awful lot of profanity (swearing).

500full Gary 'Gal' Dove is a retired gangster, he lives in Spain with his wife, Dee Dee. His friend, and ex-colleague, Aitch and wife Jackie live nearby and they barbecue, hunt, eat, drink and generally lie in the sun and have a good time. This is until the day Jackie receives a phone call from Don Logan. Don is a nasty piece of work who has decided he wants Gal to come out of retirement to do one more job. The thing is, Gal is happy with his life and doesn’t want to go back, but Don is on his way to persuade him. Also, an ulterior motive is revealed for Don’s visit that leaves all involved feeling quite uneasy. Now, the heist is being planned by crime boss Teddy Bass and it involves the robbery of a depositary owned by a character known as Harry, but can Gal be persuaded.

sexybeast There is a really good cast in this one; Ray Winstone plays Gal very well, he has all the attributes to pull off this role with aplomb. Amanda Redman plays Dee Dee, his wife, Cavan Kendall is Aitch and Julianne White is Jackie. Teddy Bass is played by another well known British actor, Ian McShane, as is Harry, who is played by James Fox. But the star accolade must go to Ben Kingsley as Don Logan, I don’t know what he was on, but he pulls of a masterly performance in this one. It’s so different to everything else I’ve seen him in and I loved every minute he was on screen.

sexy-beast_392 I really enjoyed this film, admittedly, the performance of Ben Kingsley has a lot to do with that, but there were also a few rather innovative touches that made the story a bit more interesting that it might have been. So, over all, it’s a pretty well made film with a decent cast, an interesting plot, one stellar performance and an awful lot of swearing… Recommended.

My Score: 7.5/10

18-film-1_596651s LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0203119/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sexy_beast/
Trailer:

Film Review: A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1964)

AHardDay'sNight_poster Director: Richard Lester
Running time: 87 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Music/Comedy
UK Release date: 6th July 1964

Watched on Sky+ Friday 29th April 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I’ll admit straight off that I am a fan of The Beatles, I love their music, particularly the later stuff, but some of the earlier stuff is pretty good too. This film was made when they were at the height of their fame in 1964. Beatlemania was sweeping the world and it seemed they could do no wrong. Personally, I was way too young to be aware of all this, but I think there’s been enough written about it and there’s enough footage kicking around from then to get the idea.

HardDaysNight The film focuses on the band and a period of 36 hours leading up to a live TV appearance. They are joined by Paul’s grandfather, a ‘mixer’ as Paul calls him. Basically, he likes to wind everyone up so they end up having arguments. Of course he causes much mayhem, particularly for the band’s manager, Norm, for the purposes of the film, and his assistant Shake. Throw into the mix a highly neurotic TV director and a collection of Beatles’ hits from the time and you’ve got the makings of a film.

harddaysnight223 Now, the acting is not of the highest quality from the band members, although Ringo does show a little promise. Of the other performers, Wilfrid Brambell did a great job as the evil old grandfather (very clean though). Norman Rossington was very harassed as Norm and John Junkin did a good job as the clueless Shake. For me, the best performance came from Victor Spinetti as the highly strung TV director, he was great. Of course, John was played by John Lennon, Paul by Paul McCartney, George by George Harrison and Ringo by Ringo Starr.

Beatles%20hard%20days%20night%20shot As a film, I didn’t find this very good, it’s quite a mess with much chaos around everything the band do. I don’t know, maybe it really was like that for them back then. The plot is pretty weak, but it does the job of showcasing the band and, more importantly, their songs, which were, for me, the highlight of the piece. I guess if you’re a fan of The Beatles then you’ll enjoy this immensely, and so, for you lot, recommended. If you’re not a fan then I’d probably give it a miss, it’s not a great piece of filmmaking.

My Score: 6.4/10

3148708523_ae77dfe86c LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0058182/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/beatles_a_hard_days_night/
Trailer:

Monday, 25 April 2011

Film Review: INVICTUS (2009)

Invictus_poster Director: Clint Eastwood
Running time: 128 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Drama/Sports
UK Release date: 5th February 2010

Watched on DVD Monday 25th April 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I guess I should state at the start that I am a huge fan of Rugby Union, the game featured in this film. A little sceptical when I first put the disc in the DVD player because I’m not a fan of South Africa, I’m English, but my worst fears were soon put aside. The film focuses on Nelson Mandela’s efforts to unite his country, and how he used rugby as part of this process. Based on true events, much of the story is about a country divided along lines if race that is now emerging into a new era. To help ease this process, and to get many of the whites on his side, Nelson Mandela inspires the captain of the Springboks, the South African rugby team, Fran├žois Pienaar, and encourages him in his quest to win the World Cup, which is being hosted there.

invictus-trailer-450x259 Technically, this is a very well made film, although, as is usual with sports in films, the close-up action shots do appear to be staged (which, of course, they are). This failing aside, it’s a very well written script and there are some very nice performances. There is a nice little sub-plot involving Mandela’s security people, who are all black at the beginning, but when they ask for more men, Mandela sends some white security people round. After a little uncertainty at first, we see them gradually earn each other’s trust as the film progresses. A neat little device that illustrates the points being made in the main part of the movie.

invictus-teamx-topper-medium Unusually for a film of this type, the two main characters, who are both very inspirational men, seldom meet. When they do, you can feel the strength of Mandela giving encouragement to Pienaar. This comes across very well and even I was rooting for the Springboks by the end of the film (and I already knew who won!). I remember well watching the final, where Mandela pulled off a great stroke by wearing a Springboks shirt. This had been a symbol of power to the whites and a symbol of oppression to the blacks in South Africa. This one simple act did much to unite the nation and greatly inspire the team.

invictus-4 Two great performances; Morgan Freeman really nailed the voice and the mannerisms of Nelson Mandela, of course, he doesn’t really look much like him, but I guess you can’t have everything. Matt Damon did a great job as Fran├žois Pienaar, inspirational speeches and a lot of physical work also, but, again, he doesn’t really look like the man he’s portraying. I can forgive that as they both did a really good job.

2009invictus Over all I found this a very inspirational film with some great moments. It features two very good performances, but I did find it a little too long and the close-up action looked a little too staged. Having said that, I would watch it again sometime and I’m sure I would find more things to like about it. I do like the very measured style Clint Eastwood uses in the films he directs, nothing is too overstated and I have to admire him for that. Recommended.

My Score: 7.5/10

LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1057500/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/invictus/
Official Site: http://invictusmovie.warnerbros.com/dvd/index.html
Trailer:

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Film Review: NOWHERE BOY (2009)

NowhereBoy_poster Director: Sam Taylor-Wood
Running time: 98 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Music/Biography
UK Release date: 25th December 2009

Watched on DVD Saturday 23rd April 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

There have been many films made about The Beatles over the years, but this is the first one that deals solely with the early life of John Lennon. It tells the story of his teenage years, how he was brought up by his aunt Mimi, and how he re-connected with his mother, Julia. The events that ensued had a great influence on John and this goes a long way towards explaining decisions he made later in his life.

ec36aecfe656da7ebfa67e891543952b Some very strong performances from the leading characters are what make this film very watchable. If the story wasn’t about John Lennon I still believe it would have been a worth-while watch. Not only are we told about John and the emotional turmoil he suffers, but we also witness the beginnings of the band that would become part of music history. We see John being taught the banjo by his mother and we are at the first meeting of John and Paul, and latterly George (Ringo didn’t come along until much later).

nowhere-boy-2 At the end of the day, this is very much a character-driven piece, and they are all very different. John is brooding and bursting with potential; Mimi is very straight-laced, but has her heart in the right place, and Julia is very free-spirited. It’s the interaction between these diverse characters that really holds your attention. You can easily forget that it’s about John Lennon at times and just enjoy the drama as it unfolds. At the end of the day, though, it is based on real events and you always have this in the back of your mind.

nowhere-boy-01 I have already mentioned the performances, so let’s put some names to faces. Aaron Johnson is really excellent as John Lennon; he’s everything from the cocky Scouser to the angry abandoned son to the brooding teenager. Kristin Scott Thomas does a really great job as Mimi and Anne-Marie Duff is truly excellent as Julia. Honourable mentions must also go to; David Morrissey as Bobby, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Paul, Sam Bell as George, David Threlfall as Uncle George and Josh Bolt as Pete.

Nowhere-Boy Of course, the music in the film is great, a lot of early rock ‘n’ roll classics and a few early songs penned by the boys. I really enjoyed this film, and I guess at this point I should come clean as a Beatles fan. It’s not perfect though, it does jump through time a little bit in places, but you can soon pick up where they are. I guess, if you like the Beatles then it’s worth seeing for the historical aspects, if you’re not a fan, then it’s worth seeing as a damn good drama with some great performances, either way, it’s recommended.

My Score: 7.5/10

LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1266029/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/nowhere_boy/
Official Site: http://www.nowhereboy.co.uk/
Trailer:

Gig Review: MAGNUM at the Holmfirth Picturedome 22nd April 2011

The early warm spell made it a pleasant journey to Holmfirth with some good friends. My brother volunteered to do the driving and it was a nice trip in the C4 Picasso (nice car… soon to be changed though). The venue is a cinema as well as a concert hall and so has a slightly sloping floor which is a great help to those of us that are vertically challenged. We have ventured there a few times in recent years and always had a good view, so it goes down as one of our more favoured venues.

Magnum 1 On with the show:

Providing support was GWYN ASHTON, Aussie blues guitarist with Brit drummer, 'Killer' Kev Hickman. They did their best to get the crowd going, but never really had enough power in their performance to win over a dedicated Magnum crowd. Personally I liked the work of the drummer, Hickman, but I felt that Ashton’s guitar work was a little sloppy… He comes over better on his recordings (yes, I did a little research on these guys).

Gwyn Ashton The main event:

For those that don’t already know, MAGNUM are: Bob Catley (Vocals) – Tony Clarkin (Guitar & Vocals) – Al Barrow (Bass & Vocals) – Harry James (Drums & Percussion) - Mark Stanway (Keyboards)

Bob and Tony Tony Clarkin still writes some great songs and it’s hard to think that they won’t around forever. As my good friend Simon says, you have to go and see Magnum because you never know if they’ll be back again. I have followed the band since I first saw them at the Reading Festival back in 1983 (damn I feel old!). That was supposed to be their farewell gig, but nearly 30 years later, they’re still alive and kicking!

Tony Tonight they did a show that was a mix of old and new. It’s nice to hear the new stuff, but most of the fans are now old enough to remember (and love) the classics, and this is just what we got. As usual they put on a magnificent show and, as ever, we left the venue very satisfied with what we saw. Classics like ‘On a Storyteller’s Night’, ‘Les Mort Dansant’, ‘All England’s Eyes, ‘Vigilante’, the show-stopping ‘How Far Jerusalem’ and the magnificent closer, ‘Kingdom of Madness’ all put in an appearance (amongst others). It was a most enjoyable show and as long as the guys still have the energy we will be going to their shows whenever we can.

Magnum 2

Friday, 22 April 2011

Film Review: LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (2009)

LawAbidingCitizen_poster Director: F. Gary Gray
Running time: 104 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Thriller/Action/Drama
UK Release date: 27th November 2009

Watched on DVD Friday 22nd April 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

The ending of this was slightly spoiled by overhearing the closing moments during one of many conversations about films in my local pub. Fortunately, the discussion didn’t involve exactly how this conclusion was reached and so the film wasn’t a total loss. An interesting film which raises several questions about justice, but one that also has its flaws. I’ll give you my thoughts after this brief summary (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please prosecute that murderer, and do it right this time, while I write the next paragraph).

Law Abiding Citizen After seeing his wife and daughter murdered in front of him, Clyde Shelton is justifiably aggrieved at the justice system. One of the assailants, Clarence Darby, agrees to give evidence against his accomplice for a reduced sentence. Darby is the one responsible for the murders and Shelton believes he’s the one that should pay the heaviest price. When, subsequently, Darby is found brutally murdered, Shelton is arrested. The prosecutor, Nick Rice, stands by the original action against Darby, believing it was the only way he could have obtained a conviction. Shelton sees it differently and has his own brand of justice in mind, not just against the perpetrators of the crime against his family, but against the whole justice system. I’ll leave my summary here so as not to vex Shelton… or indeed the Spoiler Police.

law-abiding-citizen-gerard-butler-jamie-foxx Decent performances all round, although I feel nobody was really stretched. Gerard Butler was brooding as Clyde Shelton; Jamie Foxx was stylish and sometimes angry as Nick Rice. Nice to see Colm Meaney as Detective Dunnigan and Bruce McGill as the DA, Jonas Cantrell. An honourable mention also goes to Leslie Bibb as Sarah Lowell.

law-abiding-citizen-insert-caption-400x266 This film gave me a bit of a dilemma; I couldn’t decide quite who the good guy was. On one hand there’s Shelton whose life has been turned upside down and who you can easily sympathise with at the beginning of the film. The trouble is, when his retribution starts to go a little too far, you’re left with Rice to root for. The trouble with Rice is that it was his ambition to get one more easy conviction that caused all of what followed. I’m still on the fence with this one I’m afraid.

law_abiding_citizen19 Technically, the film is well made with some great shots of Philadelphia and some nice action sequences. I liked the sound mix on the DVD, it’s nice when they bother to utilise all of the 5.1 Dolby speakers. Although the film isn’t great, it just has enough to keep the audience occupied (if only trying to figure out who the good guy is). I might watch it again, but it would have to be in a while, when I need reminding that Gerard Butler doesn’t just do really poor comedies… Not really recommended, but if you feel compelled, go for it.

My Score: 5.4/10

LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1197624/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/law_abiding_citizen/
Official Site: http://www.lawabidingcitizenfilm.com/
Trailer:

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Film Review: ARTHUR (1981)

Arthur_poster Writer/Director: Steve Gordon
Running Time: 97 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Romance
USA Release Date: 17th July 1981

Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 19th April 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

The chances are that I will never watch the latest (2011) version of this film, mainly because I totally despise Russell Brand. So I decided I’d take another look at the original version. It’s a lot better than I remember it, mainly because of the presence of John Gielgud. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please get Arthur another Scotch while I write the next paragraph).

Arthur-1981 Arthur Bach is a very rich man; he’s also a drunk and a womaniser. He has always had everything he wants, but on the downside, he has never grown up either. He relies on his servants, Hobson, his best friend and butler, and Bitterman, his chauffeur for all of his needs. His family want him to marry one Susan Johnson, but Arthur doesn’t love her and doesn’t want to marry her. It’s only when he’s threatened with being cut off that he considers it. But then he meets Linda Marolla, a girl from Queens and the hit it off straight away. This leaves Arthur with a dilemma, does he marry Susan and stay rich, or does he follow his heart and become poor? One person is helping with this tough decision, someone whose time is limited. I won’t say any more as I don’t want them Spoiler Police after me again.

652-2 Dudley Moore was perfect as Arthur, he plays the drunk so well and he can turn on the serious acting when required too. Liza Minnelli did a great job as Linda Marolla, there as a great rapport between the pair of them on screen. The star of the show (for me) was John Gielgud as Hobson, he has some truly great lines, delivered with such dry wit and I loved his performance in this one. Honourable mentions go to; Geraldine Fitzgerald as Martha Bach, Jill Eikenberry as Susan Johnson, Stephen Elliott as Burt Johnson and Ted Ross as Bitterman.

000035_28 Although it’s no masterpiece, I quite enjoyed this film. As romantic comedies go, I found this to be one of the better ones I’ve seen. Some of it seems slightly dated, but I thought it’s travelled through time a lot better than some of it’s contemporary’s from the early 80’s. Over all, it’s a pretty enjoyable romantic comedy with a couple of decent performances. I’ll probably never see the updated version and so no comparisons her, but this one’s recommended.

My Score: 6.2/10

arthur_1 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0082031/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1001240-arthur/
Trailer:

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Film Review: CEMETERY JUNCTION (2010)

CemeteryJunction_poster Co-Writers/Co-Directors: Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant
Running Time: 91 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama
UK Release Date: 14th April 2010

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 17th April 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Many people remember Ricky Gervais for his work on the TV show ‘The Office’. He also has a few movie roles under his belt. Now, I wasn’t a fan of ‘The Office’, but I did like the series he did called ‘Extras’ which also featured Steven Merchant. Why am I telling you this, you may ask, well, I watched this in the hope it would be a little more like ‘Extras’ than ‘The Office’… Fortunately it is. Unfortunately, although it’s good, it’s not all that great either. I’ll explain more after this brief summary (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please pack you bags while I write the next paragraph).

cemeteryjunction2 Three friends, Freddie Taylor, Bruce Pearson and Snork (real name Dave), all live in a small village outside Reading called Cemetery Junction. Freddie has just got a job as an insurance salesman, he lives with his parents and his grandmother. Bruce works in a factory with Freddie’s father and lives with his dad. His mother having left when he was young and he is always getting into fights and ending up in the Police cells. Snork, well, we’re not told too much about Snork, apart from the fact that he’s a bit stupid and he works at the railway station. Freddie’s boss, Mr Kendrick, has a daughter, Julie, who is engaged to Freddie’s co-worker, Mike Ramsay. They went to school together many years ago and still have a bit of a rapport together. The story revolves around these characters and their ambitions, for one reason or another, to get out of the place they are in. Will they all make it? Or is there something, or someone, to keep them in Cemetery Junction? Guess I had better not say any more or I’ll be banged up in the cells with Bruce by the Spoiler Police.

XiHn Decent performances all round, although nobody was really stretched. Christian Cooke was ok as Freddie Taylor, Tom Hughes did a good job as the brooding Bruce Pearson and Jack Doolan provided the comic relief as Snork. Ralph Fiennes as Mr. Kendrick, Ricky Gervais as Mr. Taylor and Felicity Jones as Julie were all ok without being stretched too much. There were two notable performances though (IMO); I thought both Emily Watson as the downtrodden Mrs Kendrick and Steve Speirs as Sgt. Wyn Davies both did an excellent job.

cemetery-junction_m I found the film, as a whole, a bit hit and miss. There were hints of the excellence shown in the writing of ‘Extras’, but it never really quite developed in the way I was expecting. It is set in the 1970’s and the moods, styles and the attitudes of the time are very well portrayed. Also the music is great with many hits from the period featuring. At the end of the day I guess it’s worth a look if you liked ‘Extras’, but if you’re an avid fan of ‘The Office’ maybe give this one a miss.

My Score: 6.3/10

Cemetery-Junction-2010_01-300x126 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1196204/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cemetery_junction/
Official Site: http://www.cemeteryjunction.co.uk/
Trailer:

Film Review: DATE NIGHT (2010)

DateNight_posterDirector: Shawn Levy
Running Time: 85 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Crime/Romance
UK Release Date: 21st April 2010

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 17th April 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

To be honest, I wasn’t going to watch this one as I’m not really a fan of comedies. They are generally stupid and labour the point they are trying to make so much that I can find them quite tedious. Fortunately this one wasn’t too bad, yes, there are parts you can see coming from about 50 miles away, but it’s saved by the performances of the two main characters. I’ll tell you more about that after this brief summary (summary haters, and those that don’t wish to know about the plot, please hide the evidence while I write the next paragraph).

Date-Night-img50 Phil and Claire Foster are an average New Jersey couple and they are stuck in a bit of a rut. They have two kids, boring jobs and everything seems to be routine. Even date night has become a routine; they go to the same restaurant, eat the same food, talk about the same people, it’s all getting a bit predictable. One day they hear that their friends, another couple in a similar situation are about to separate. Desperate to not end up in the same situation, they decide to go into Manhattan to a posh restaurant for a nice meal. They arrive late and the place is fully booked, but they wait at the bar hoping for a cancellation. A waitress is looking for the Tripplehorn’s and can’t find them and so Phil and Claire claim to be them, just so they can get their dream date night. This proves to be a big mistake, the next thing they know two guys take them to the alley  and ask them for a stolen flash drive. When they pull out guns the couple believe it’s serious. This is where the fun begins and this is where I’ll leave my summary. I don’t want the Spoiler Police after my flash drive.

date-night-movie-image-1090990 Pretty decent performances all round, particularly from Steve Carell as Phil Foster and Tina Fey as Claire Foster. In the moments where they are just being a regular couple they are really good. The comedy stuff… well, I’ll leave that up to you. Mark Wahlberg does a nice job of acting without a shirt as Holbrooke Grant and Taraji P. Henson was also pretty good (with shirt) as Detective Arroyo. Honourable mentions go to; William Fichtner as DA Frank Crenshaw, Kristen Wiig as Haley Sullivan, Mark Ruffalo as Brad Sullivan, James Franco as Taste, Mila Kunis as Whippit and, last but not least, a great little cameo from Ray Liotta (uncredited) as mob boss Joe Miletto.

DATE NIGHT It’s a pretty well made film with some nice stunt work and a pretty good soundtrack. Again, The Ramones get an airing of their song ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. A pretty enjoyable film that, although very predictable in places, I wasn’t too offended by. It won’t feature very high on my re-watch list, but it was OK… Recommended, if only for the rapport between Carell and Fey when they’re just being a couple.

My Score: 5.6/10

2010_date_night_04 LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1279935/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/date_night/
Trailer: