Saturday, 29 May 2010

Film Review: Sex and the City 2

Director: Michael Patrick King
Screenwriter: Michael Patrick King [screenplay], Candace Bushnell[characters from the book by]
Main Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth, John Corbett.
Runtime: 146 minutes
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Brief Summary: Two years have passed since Carrie Bradshaw finally bagged John "Mr. Big" Preston, the man she was always meant to be with.
Tagline: Carrie On.


The second Sex and the City film kicks off in style with the most outrageously camp gay wedding you could ever hope to witness. I don't want to start giving too much away, but considering there is a mini canal complete with swans, then you get the right idea. Watch out for the scene with Liza Minnelli: pure genius.

If you're expecting something similar to the first, then you will be very surprised... but not disappointed. I probably preferred the first film, just because it was very similar to the series in that it was real women, going through real situations, talking about real things ( a certain extent). If there's one word to describe the sequel, 'realistic' isn't one of them. Completely resplendent in decadence, the lifestyles portrayed in this film is completely unobtainable to the regular cinema-goer, but in a way, that's what also makes it so appealing. It's every girl's dream played out on the big screen. It's also doubled in comedic value since the previous film. I'm struggling to think of a moment where I wasn't laughing out loud, or at least giggling to myself. The other characters (as in NOT Carrie) also really come into their own. I'm now a complete convert to Team Samantha.

However, as funny as it was, I did feel slightly uncomfortable with the film poking fun at the Muslim traditions. In one scene, we see Samantha miming having sex whilst waving condoms in their faces. I know it was to portray women empowerment but it was simply rude. I also thought the Carrie/Aidan storyline would have more to it rather than just two scenes and no follow-through. That was the main letdown for me. I was initially disappointed with the lack of Smith in this film, but the introduction of a few new pieces of eye candy (such as Antony's brother Nicky and the Danish architect Rikard to name but a few).

Nevertheless, regardless of what may or may not be absent, Sex and the City 2 is the perfect summer film. I did miss New York but Abu Dhabi is beautiful, extravagant and the next best thing. I left the film just wanting to go shopping!

It won't be to everyone's taste - to some it will definitely seem slightly shallow and consumerism-obsessed. I know how much men hate the Sex and the City franchise, so I mentally punched the air in triumph every time I heard a masculine chuckle. Of course it's silly and cheesy and cringe-worthy at times, but that's what Sex and the City is all about.

My rating:4/5

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Film Review: Cemetery Junction

Director: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Screenwriter: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Main Cast: Christian Cooke, Ricky Gervais, Julia Davis, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Felicity Jones, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson.
Runtime: 95 minutes
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Brief Summary: A 1970s-set comedy centered on three upstart professional men working at an insurance company.
Tagline: Be Young. Be Free. Be Somebody

Ricky Gervais returns to his roots in Cemetery Junction, a film about his hometown, Reading during the 1970s. However, Gervais takes a backseat in this film and plays the father to Cooke's lead. I'm a big fan of Gervais and Merchant's work so I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed. Although completely different from The Office and Extras, Cemetery Junction is a perfect blend of comedy and drama, and results in a completely heartfelt story. The opening of the film appeared to be quite serious, and I grew anxious that I had just assumed it to be a comedy before finding out what it was really about. I needn't have worried, as the comedy simply flourished as the film continued, leading to the whole audience roaring with laughter. The film grew on me too, I found that it just got better as it went along.

The characters were all totally believable. The charismatic Tom Hughes is definitely one to watch, and I was surprised to discover he hasn't appeared in much else. Emily Watson, as Julie's mother, is very good at portraying her sad and lonely lifestyle through minimal dialogue and the family scenes with Cooke, Davis, Gervais and Anne Reid (Freddie's Gran) are brilliantly funny, but there's not nearly enough of them in my opinion.

Yes, the plot is slightly predictable, but the writing and acting are so well administered that they deliver exactly what the producers set out to achieve, a film that perfectly captures the 'good old days'. Of course, I can't vouch for how those times were, and I'm sure that if I was to live through then, it probably wouldn't be so blithe all the time, but this film successfully creates that perception, aided by the brilliant soundtrack.

It has been suggested that this film would better suit a television audience but I disagree. The cinematography in Cemetery Junction is thoroughly suited to the big screen.

My rating:3.5/5