Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)


I originally wasn’t going to see this movie because the trailers looked really silly. But recently I have heard a lot of good reviews of the film and I really like Colin Firth so I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a try.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Director Matthew Vaughn has created another fun, unique, action film. I loved his work on X-Men: First Class, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Kick Ass. Kingsman kind of blends the two, creating an action film that is both class and crass at the same time. I laughed at most of the jokes, but there were a few that were a little too much for me (I’m still undecided on that last joke before the credits).
The performances are all really good. Colin Firth delivers as usual. It was really fun to see him kicking ass, but remaining posh at the same time. He really carries quite a bit of the movie. It is also great to see Mark Strong having a good role, he’s a great actor. And Taron Egerton is surprisingly good as Eggsy, the film’s young protagonist. He is fun to watch and is able to capture both the fun, silly moments as well as the more emotional ones. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here (he next stars in Legend with Tom Hardy).

Colin Firth and Taron Egerton.
Colin Firth and Taron Egerton.

The thing that I enjoyed most about Kingsman is how self-aware it is. The film knows its place in the spy genre and manages to walk the fine line between James Bond and Austin Powers. It is funny without becoming a total parody. Samuel Jackson is for the most part quite good, but a few times his lisp was annoying and kind of phony.
Kingsman has some good action sequences and plenty of humor. It is refreshing to see a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. While I liked the film, I don’t love it. It is fun and probably the best thing a viewer could see at the movie theater in February. But its humor just isn’t for everyone. Although I have to say, at the end of the movie there was a lot of applauding from the audience, which surprised me. I give Kingsman 7.5 incredibly handy umbrellas out of 10.

Holiday Viewing: The Interview/Bridget Jones’s Diary

On Christmas Eve I wanted to watch my favorite Christmas movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary but my boyfriend argued 1) It is not a Christmas movie and 2) It’s dumb. So instead we settled in to watch the very Christmassy and very intelligent The Interview instead.

The Interview (2014)
If you look back at my trailer review for The Interview you will see that I was excited for this film before the Sony hacking scandal occurred.
Was I disappointed by this film? A little bit, yes. It is a funny movie, but not uproariously so. It takes longer than it should for the story to get off the ground. The first quarter was boring, but once the action moves to Korea things get better. The Interview has its funny moments that are enjoyable if you are a fan of Seth Rogen’s brand of comedy.
What I like best about The Interview is the ‘bromance’ Dave Skylark (James Franco) develops with Kim Jong-Un (Randall Park). Both actors are excellent in their roles, but Randall Park in particular steals the show. He makes Un funny and strangely charming/sympathetic. But he also does well to show the darker side of Un. I also like that The Interview takes shots at North Korea’s policies, but also that of the United States. The United States isn’t condemned like North Korea. But a few jabs here and there show that the US can be hypocritical with some of their policies.
I enjoyed The Interview, but it is definitely not a movie worth starting a war over.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
At midnight on Christmas Eve I couldn’t sleep, so I thought, fuck it, I’ll watch Bridget Jones by myself. And I’m glad I did because as always this film put a big smile on my face. My boyfriend may not think this is a Christmas movie, but nothing screams Christmas like “I realize that when I met you at the turkey curry buffet, I was unforgivably rude, and wearing a reindeer jumper.”
I find that over ten years later this movie still works. Yes, the telephones and VCRs are now dated, but the humor is still relevant. Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant all give great performances. Renee is a perfect Bridget, making her both quirky, charming, and realistic. Colin Firth is great as Mark Darcy, but that’s to be expected from the man who also played a similar Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. And Hugh Grant is very humorous as Daniel Cleaver.
I like Bridget Jones’s Diary because it makes me happy. I find it very funny even after multiple viewings. It’s a Christmas tradition that I like to try to maintain every year. Well, it and reindeer jumpers.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I want to say thank you to all my subscribers, I really appreciate each and every one of you.

A Single Man (2009)


A Single Man is a film that came out in 2009 and was largely overlooked (wrongly, in my opinion) other than the Oscar nomination Colin Firth received for his portrayal of the film’s protagonist, George. The film takes place in 1962 on what may presumably be the last day of George’s life. Eight months prior George’s lover of 16 years, Jim, died in a car accident. The grief and depression George has faced in the aftermath of this event have become too much for him to bear, so he sets out that day planning on killing himself in the evening.
A Single Man is designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut and it’s quite a good one. I can see how the film would turn off some viewers, but personally I love it. Aesthetically it is a very beautiful film, which isn’t surprising considering the director’s day job. The opening imagery of George metaphorically drowning is beautiful in a somber, melancholy way. The close-ups of people’s eyes throughout the film was interesting, at least when it seemed to obviously invoke memories of Jim. Other times it just seemed to linger too long to the point of being boring. The use of color was also something I really liked. Most of the time the film’s palate is kind of bland. But when George talks to certain people suddenly all the colors start to brighten and pop. I loved the set design (George’s house is beautiful) and the costumes, but this is also in part because I simply love the 60s. I also enjoyed the use of ambient sounds in the film. The sound of the rain drowning out George’s anguish, a child hammering away, the sound of the phone ringing conjuring up memories of Jim’s death. And the ticking clock throughout the day, but especially at the end, was very effective. I found all this very interesting and the score itself is absolutely beautiful.


I find the film is a good examination of the grieving process. I found it extremely relatable. I found particularly effective how all the little events that occur throughout the day evoke memories of Jim. In this way, Jim, and George’s grief, is always present no matter what George is doing. George struggles to “just get through the goddamn day.” The motif of George drowning is readily apparent. A lot of the credit for how effective this film is has to go to Colin Firth. His performance here is remarkable, in a lot of ways I find it superior to his work in The King’s Speech, which he won his Oscar for. Here he is reserved, but still able to communicate so much pain (and lust) through his eyes, his subtle mannerisms. Julianne Moore is a highlight as well. In the short time she is on screen she is charming, funny, and incredibly pathetic. It would have been nice to see a little more of her. And I loved her eye make-up.

As much as I do like this film there are a few things wrong with it that keep it from being amazing. For one thing, I love how the film looks, but everything just seems to perfect. George is extremely well put together for someone who is in such anguish. It would have been nice to see a hint of some kind of dysfunction in his house or on his clothes. And I found it pretty funny that a few characters remark that George looks awful throughout the film because I’ve never seen Colin Firth look better 😛 A small problem I have with the plot is when Kenny finds a picture of Jim in the bathroom drawer. If we are to believe that George is extremely fussy and keeps everything in its proper place then why the hell did he hide the picture under the bandages? It puzzles me. But anyways, the biggest problem for me in this film was the character of Kenny, a young student of George’s, played by Nicholas Hoult. Hoult’s acting is borderline terrible and really drags things down. He is monotone and comes off as naïve. Kenny talks about things like fear and loneliness, but Hoult’s delivery makes it seem totally unbelievable. Maybe he’s just out acted by Colin. And Kenny’s fuzzy white sweater just looked ridiculous. I understand they probably wanted him to wear something obviously gay, but it really wasn’t necessary.

Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) in that stupid sweater.
Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) in that stupid sweater.

The weakest part of the film is the last third. Near the end George and Kenny meet up and spend the night together. Kenny/Nicholas Hoult really brings the film down here, again because of the terrible acting. Although it’s not totally his fault, the film just starts to drag and you keep wondering when it will finally end. Especially that last shot, it drags on for an unnecessarily long time. I guess the film is a little too self-indulgent for its own good. What I do like about the ending is the image of Jim coming and kissing George as he lies there dying. It brings everything back full circle to the beginning of the film, when George kisses Jim in his dream. It even brought a little tear to my eye.
If I had to give this film an overall rating out of ten I would give it 8.5/10. I really like it visually and I think Colin Firth is brilliant. I also find it unique, both in its subject matter and in the way the story is conveyed onscreen. But there are some things (like Nicholas Hoult) that keep it from being an amazing classic. I would recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a melancholy drama acted out in impeccable Tom Ford suits.