With so much going on over the summer – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics, the Paralympics, holidays – it was inevitable that our trips to the cinema would take a back seat.
1st July: The Five-Year Engagement. A romantic comedy in which life gets in the way of wedding plans for Violet (Emily Blunt) and Tom (Jason Segel). Thanks to Violet’s job as an experimental psychologist, the newly engaged couple are faced with the prospect of relocating to Michigan. Although Violet promises this move is just temporary, promotion means they end up staying for much longer than anticipated and aspiring chef Tom struggles to cope with playing second fiddle to his prospective missus. Blunt and Segel had good chemistry as the almost weds but this film wasn’t quite as funny as I had hoped.
15th July: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. An asteroid is hurtling towards planet Earth and in less than a month life as we know it will come to an abrupt end. How would you spend your final weeks? One man (Steve Carell) goes on a quest to find his highschool sweetheart; unable to get home to her family in Surrey before lights out, his kooky neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) comes along for the ride. Cue pre-apocalyptic road-trip. Brit actress Knightley and US funny man Carell are an extremely odd romantic pairing but they strive to make it work. A major plus point of this film was the fact that it held its nerve and eschewed the expected Hollywood ending.
9th September: Anna Karenina. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) and starring Keira Knightley as the eponymous Anna, this unconventional adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel by playwright Tom Stoppard was bold and edgy. I seriously loved everything about it: great acting, gorgeous period costumes, staging that was beyond clever. I know some people didn’t like this particular version of Anna Karenina because it wasn’t a faithful reworking of the original book. Well, there have been plenty of other movie and TV adaptations fulfilling that role; Wright and Stoppard should be applauded for their decision to try something different. Expect nominations come awards season.
30th September: The Campaign. Comedic electioneering shenanigans in which Corporate America tries to replace a long-serving Congressman with a puppet politician. The Campaign pits incumbent Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) against unsuspecting newbie Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local tourism centre and aficionado of Noel Edmonds-style 1980s knitwear. Ferrell is on fine form as Brady, who he plays with more than a hint of George W Bush. A gentle underdog story, with some good laughs thrown in.
7th October: Looper. Not one to watch when you’re feeling tired or on the verge of a headache as the plot soon becomes super-complicated. Mobsters of the future dispatch their victims by sending them back 30 years in time, where a hired gun (“Looper”) waits to make the kill. Looper Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) learns that the mob want to “close the loop'” on his career when he’s confronted with the arrival of his future self (Bruce Willis). The appearance of a single mum (Emily Blunt) and her freaky son add to the confusion. My advice? Just sit back for the ride and try not to think about it all too much…
14th October: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, this coming-of-age film follows the fortunes of introverted highschool freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman). Struggling to make friends at his new school, Charlie is unexpectedly adopted by a group of senior class students with a fondness for mix tapes and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Harry Potter star Emma Watson plays Charlie’s first love, Sam, a role that proves she has well and truly graduated from Hogwarts. I enjoyed this film so much more than I had anticipated: it was heartfelt, endearing and bittersweet.