Day 201: Moneyball (Miller, 2011)

Based on a true story, Moneyball tells Billy Beane's (Pitt) story of putting together the Oakland A's baseball team on a very small budget. Beane is joined in his quest by Peter Brand (Hill), an accounting intern who helps Beane by using computer analysis to compare statistics of the most underrated players in baseball.

The story itself is uplifting and accessible - you don't necessarily have to be a baseball fan to know what's going on or even to enjoy it (but it probably helps). Although it is a little slow throughout, Pitt and Hill make a very entertaining duo and Pitt in particular delivers a sterling performance.

I thought it would be a little long for what it was, but by the end of the film you don't really notice. The direction is consistently brilliant and the cinematography in particular is sleek enough to distract from the long running time (for the story).

Day 200: American Gangster (Scott, 2007)

This is a film I bought on DVD upon its release because I was just so excited to see it! ... I've only just seen it...

I love gangster movies and so this seemed like my kind of film, especially when I heard Ridley Scott was involved, the reason it took me five years to watch was because it is so goddamn long! At 157 minutes (and that's the shorter cut of the film!) it took two sittings (I get restless!), but it really was worth it. It's not a stereotypical gangster movie, which I thought would lessen my enthusiasm for it but it didn't. Russell Crowe is brilliant and borderline likable and Denzel Washington is amazing and brings a whole new feel to gangster films.

As for Scott's direction, it's flawless as usual. I initially thought that for him to attempt a gangster film might be a little challenging for him, but it was seamless and slick from start to finish. This is another one I loved and one I didn't want to end - even if it was 157 minutes...

Day 199: Law Abiding Citizen (Gray, 2009)

When Clyde's wife and daughter are brutally murdered he is shocked to discover his lawyer making a deal with one of the murderers to send one to death row while the other is set free. Ten years after the case however, he decides to take the law into his own hands by killing all those who were involved with the deal, starting with the murderer on death row he switches the fluids used for the lethal injection for a more painful death before moving on to the one who was set free and the lawyers involved.

This film is a lot more interesting than it sounds as it's not just a revenge film but a very clever thriller.With experience in the secret service, Clyde can commit murder without ever having to be in the same room and, even with him locked away in a top security prison, people are still being killed, making it difficult to prove him guilty.

It's full of gore, it's incredibly clever and interesting to watch and Gerard Butler is amazing in it. This is a very entertaining movie that I would recommend for anyone who enjoys thrillers, gore or who can appreciate brilliant direction. I didn't want it to end!

Day 198: A Fantastic Fear Of Everything (Mills & Hopewell, 2012)

Simon Pegg stars as Jack, a children's book author who attempts to write his first adult targeted TV play about serial killers. Although after thorough research into history's most gruesome murders he starts to get overly paranoid about being murdered himself, developing a fantastic fear of everything!

I have to be honest, this is not one of Pegg's best films. He plays the part well delivering an appropriate amount of comedy through his performance however the film falls down in the distinct lack of plot. It really is just a film about someone who is paranoid! The story picks up slightly towards the end but the first hour is slow and the last 40 minutes or so feel forced. They stretched a mediocre idea for what should have been a short film across a 100 minute movie and it's glaringly obvious throughout.

Having said that the direction is sound, the use of cinematography is particularly good in emphasizing the sense of paranoia, but looking at the film as a whole, it is erratic, and not in the sense it should be. I think this is one for the indie audiences and one that will probably grow on you. Not perfect, but it has a lot of potential.

Day 197: My Name Is Bruce (Campbell, 2007)

To all Evil Dead fans this sounds like the perfect film and I'm not going to be the one who lets you down - it is!

Bruce Campbell directs and stars as himself in this shameless piss-take on his not so successful career and "terrible" movies throughout. The plot revolves around a small town in America where the locals mistake Campbell for Ash, his ass-kicking, monster-killing character in the Evil Dead trilogy. He is then forced to fight some real life monsters, all the while assuming he's in a movie.

This film is hilarious and thoroughly entertaining throughout, but for anyone who's not a fan of the modern day B movies and the brilliant Bruce Campbell, you'll probably be less entertained than I. Nonetheless it's got a great atmosphere, just the right sense of humour and Campbell is a great sport! I loved it!

Day 196: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Alfredson, 2011)

From the director of Let The Right One In comes this thriller about George Smiley (Oldman), a semi-retired spy who is sent on a mission to uncover a Soviet mole within MI6.

Based on the novel of the same name, this spy thriller centres around a mission gone wrong which reveals the presence of a infiltration into the secret service. Gary Oldman stars alongside an award winning cast including John Hurt and Colin Firth.

This is not your typical spy thriller. Instead of car chases, gun fights and one-liners you get a deeply thought out plot and thorough characterisation built into the script and developed beautifully by Alfredson's slick direction. It is a little slow moving and tension is often built to nothing, but it's well worth a watch for the artistic direction, outstanding performances by the cast and plot complexity.

Day 195: The Ugly Truth (Luketic, 2009)

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler star in this romantic comedy about Abby (Heigl) a TV producer who is reluctantly taught about love by Mike (Butler). Although Mike's idea of love is somewhat disappointing to Abby she lets him into her love life to set her up with her neighbour. Of course you can guess who really gets the girl...

This is what I would call a "fluffy film", as in, it's a load of fluff. Sure, it's enjoyable and there are a few laughs but at the end of the day you could take it or leave it. It's not memorable, it's not an award winner and it's never going to be a favourite.

In comparison to the great romantic comedies like His Girl Friday, When Harry Met Sally or Annie Hall, both comedy and romance are kept to a minimum and it's often a little uncomfortable to watch the obvious struggle for laughs. As a stand alone film however, it's not bad. Better to watch on a Friday night in with the girls since you don't really have to concentrate on it. In fact, it's probably better you don't...

2 star film

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