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Mini-Reviews: Films I’ve Watched Recently, Part 3

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Welcome to the final part of my Mini-Reviews of Films I’ve watched recently. The second part is here: Part 2 and the first part is here: Part 1. I know I’ve got a bit delayed in writing this post (it’s been sat in my Drafts for a while) and that I haven’t wrote any other film reviews recently, but that’s because I’ve read so many fantastic books I’ve wanted to share with you. Anyway onto the films…

The Vow (2012)
In The Vow (2012) Paige and Leo are a married couple who are still very much in love. They leave a theatre walking to the car in the freshly falling snow. Once they get into the car Paige rubs her bitterly cold hands together; Leo takes her hands into his, puts them near his mouth and gently blows warming them up with his breath. On the drive home Leo stops at a red light. Paige unbuckles her seatbelt to kiss him and a truck hits the back of them. Paige is knocked through the windscreen.

Afterwards at the hospital Leo recovers well, remembering back to how they met and how their relationship developed with the audience being shown a montage of these events. Paige is in a coma and when awakens she has permanent amnesia, remembering nothing about her life with Leo.

Paige goes back to the last people she remembers loved her, her family. Paige goes back to her apartment with Leo and starts to try to piece together the bits of her life she can’t remember. Paige discovers that she doesn’t have many photos of her family and asks Leo about it. Leo tells Paige that she wasn’t that close to her family. Paige and Leo drift apart with Leo heartbroken.

Paige rediscovers why she wasn’t close to her family, rediscovers her forgotten passions and in the final scenes in the film rediscovers Leo. Leo goes to get something to eat at what used to be their favourite place before the car accident; but it’s closed because of a Snow Day, as he turns to leave he sees Paige. Paige suggests they try an alternative place they used to go to when this place was closed, but they agree to try somewhere new. The ending implies a happily ever after as they walk off to experience a mexican place round the corner both going for this new experience together.

This film is inspired by a true story and without doubt is one of the best love story films I’ve seen in a long time. It has happy ending that leaves you feeling good. The actress playing Paige was brillant, but the actor playing Leo wasn’t. I have watched this film again and again and still enjoy it. If you’re into love stories with a happy ending you’ll love it.

The Wicker Tree (2010)
The Wicker Tree (2010) starts in Texas, America with the Cowboys for Christ evangelical group. They are dispatching Beth (a Pop Star turned evangelical Christian) and Steve (her boyfriend) to Scotland to spread the word of God. Beth & Steve have purity rings meaning they wont have sex before marriage.

The story is somewhat forgettable, but from what I can remember Beth & Steve are negatively received when they arrive in Scotland. A Lord and his wife invite Beth & Steve to stay with them in a small village to convert some of the locals. Beth & Steve accept, but what they don’t know is that the whole village is pagan led by the Lord and his wife.

Once there Beth struggles with an internal conflict between what she wants to do and what the church says is right. Steve is quickly corrupted by a beautiful blonde. The film ends with Beth & Steve becoming part of the local pagans sinister May Day celebrations.

Up! (2009)
Up! (2009) is an animated film by Pixar and is one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. Carl is a young child obsessed with Charles Munts an adventurer who brings back a giant bird skeleton from Paradise Falls (South America). He meets Ellie whom also loves adventure and wants to go to Paradise Falls.

Carl & Ellie become good friends and then an emotionally touching montage starts showing them falling in love, getting married, losing a baby & being told they’ll never have children, starting to save for a trip to Paradise Falls but then the jar being broken as their car needs fixing, the jar being put on a shelf & being forgotten about and them working enjoying their life together to their old age. The montage ends showing Carl see the jar in his old age, buying the tickets to Paradise Falls, taking Ellie to the park to surprise her, but then Ellie falling ill & ending up in hospital never to return home. This montage alone made me cry which is testament to the storyboarding.

Then in present day Carl is a grumpy OAP still living in his town house, his only connection to Ellie. The once quiet neighbourhood has been changed into an urban development with high rises all around his house. When a builders truck hits his mailbox Carl loses his temper and hits the construction worker. This leads to a Judge saying he must sell his home and move into care. But Carl has other ideas and ties a gazillion multi-coloured helium ballons to his house and takes off, destination: Paradise Falls. But Carl gets a disturbing surprise when in mid-air he hears a knock at the door; it’s Russell a young boy whose a Wilderness Explorer.

The film is essentially an adventure film that’s about rediscovering life for Carl and discovering a father figure for Russell. There’s undertones of sadness and hope throughout the film as the characters bond and a relationship develops with a mutual threat that they discover in Paradise Falls.

There’s another lovely montage at the end of Carl & Russell both living their lives as we come to hope for them; unsurprisingly I cried with happiness at this ending.

Zombieland (2012)
I love a good zombie film and Zombieland (2010) is one the best. It’s more of a comedy than a horror; Columbus is an uber-geek and former College Student whose survived a zombie apocalypse with his list of rules. He has a number of rules on his list including: Rule 1 – Cardio, Rule 4 – Seat belts and Rule 48 – Hygiene. Columbus is making his way across America back to of his hometown of Columbus, Ohio in the hopes of finding his family among the survivors.

This unlikely survivor meets Tallahassee a bad ass zombie killer obsessed with finding a Twinkie and they agree to travel together. Along the way they meet Wichita & Little Rock two sisters who cheat them out of their car and weapons. Columbus & Tallahassee find a Yellow Hummer and decide to go after the trickster sisters.

Columbus & Tallahassee catch up with the sisters, there’s a stand off between them which ends when Columbus loses his temper telling them that they’ve all got bigger problems to worry about. They decide to journey to their own destinations together with the sisters saying that they are heading to an amusement park called Pacific Playland in Los Angeles. Columbus, Wichita & Little Rock have heard that their destinations are zombie-free. But Wichita lets slip that Columbus, Ohio has been completely destroyed and with this revelation he decides to accompany the others to California.

Their journey has some funny scenes; and along the way we find out why Tallahassee isn’t searching for a place of safety and what he’s lost. We see a relationship start to unfold between Columbus & Wichita.

As the film reaches it’s conclusion Wichita & Little Rock arrive at Pacific Playland in the dead of night. They turn on all the lights and rides and attract the local zombie population. They end up stuck on a ride up in the air with zombie’s climbing up to get them. But just when they think it’s all over, Columbus & Tallahassee turn up and save them. The final scene shows the whole group leaving together as a makeshift family.

The film is what I’d call an easy watcher, meaning that if you don’t analyse it too much you can really let yourself go and have a good laugh. Definitively more a comedy with zombies thrown in, than a zombie film with comedy. Some critics have compared it to Shaun of the Dead (2004), probably because they are the only two mainstream zombie comedy’s around; I’d hate to compare the two but if I had to I’d say Shaun of the Dead (2004) is slightly funnier. Still well worth a watch though.

Zookeeper (2011)
Zookeeper (2011) is a film about Griffin, a Zookeeper at Franklin Park Zoo. Five years ago his marriage proposal was turned down by his girlfriend of the time because of his job.

Then he see’s her again and she still seems interested. He decides to win her back, even if it means working with his brother at the Car Dealership. The animals (who can and do talk to one another) hear about this so decide speak to Griffin to help him win his former girlfriend back whilst staying at the Zoo. From the animals point of view he’s the best Zookeeper they’ve ever had and they want to keep him.

It’s suppose to be a comedy but I failed to find any of it funny, despite really trying too. I think the problem was that it’s very dumbed down humour. The storyline was glaringly obvious from the start: Griffin and his ex-girlfriend get back together and he realises she’s not the one for him. Instead Griffin ends up with Kate the Vet who works at the Zoo.

Review soon,

Antony

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