I am a big Mel Brooks fan and although most of these jokes will go over the heads of your average kid, the silliness won't! I have a massive old school crush on the lead so may be biased but this remains a classic in our house.
Robin Hood: Men In Tights
DIR: the legendary Mel Brooks (The Producers, Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles)
CAST: Cary Elwes (Saw, The Princess Bride), Roger Rees (The West Wing), Richard Lewis, Amy Yasbeck (The Mask), Tracey Ullman, Patrick Stewart (Star Trek!), Dom DeLuise
PLOT: When Robin returns from the Crusades, he is appalled to discover the life he knew to be over. He must rise to the occasion and vanquish those responsible for his family's demise and get reacquainted with his long lost love... with singing.... in tights!
And if you struggle with some of the references, check out...
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
While I can't stand Kev-Cost I maintain that Alan Rickman is still one of the greatest villains of all time! Plus this flick also has my fave Bryan Adams track and teenage crush!
PLOT: [Really? You don't know the plot of Robin Hood? Get outta here!!]
CAST: Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Perfect Storm), Alan Rickman (Harry Potter), Morgan Freeman (), Christian Slater (Broken Arrow), Michael Wincott (Alien Resurrection)
Having recently spent a bit of time not far from the National Park from which this recommendation got its name, I thought it fitting, being school holidays, to recommend one of my favourite kids movies. Educational and even topical. Plus a bat voiced by Robin Williams - can't go wrong really!!
Excellent cast (including cameo voices from Ton Loc, Cheech & Chong etc) and terrific soundtrack. Plus brilliant colours and characters.
CAST: Samantha Mathis (Broken Arrow), Christian Slater (Windtalkers), Tim Curry (Home Alone 2), Robin Williams (Aladdin),
PLOT: A city kid helps a group of fairies save their rainforest home after he and some loggers accidentally unleash their destructive enemy, Hexxus.
You know my affinity for a good epic. Now I'll concede that Orlando Bloom may annoy the crap out of you. But here's a few excellent reasons to see this recommendation: From the director of Gladiator and Alien, starring a former bond girl, 2 former gruff lions, 2 former werewolves, 2 former elves, and one of the greatest actors of his generation though you may not pick it's him right away! Watch it if you love Gladiator, King Arthur, Lawrence of Arabia. Check out....
Kingdom of Heaven
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
CAST: Orlando Bloom (PoTC), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Jeremy Irons (Appaloosa), Liam Neeson (Taken), Marton Csokas (Alice in Wonderland), Michael Sheen (The Queen), David Thewlis (Harry Potter), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)
Once upon a time, before Sandra Bullock, before Jennifer Aniston, Meg Ryan was the darling of the rom com. She defined the genre and for all your Sleepless nights I have always preferred these two films. Kevin Kline's recent performances in No Strings Attached and Definitely Maybe reminded me just how fabulous he is.
PLOT: When her fiance falls in love with a local woman on a trip to Paris, Kate faces her fear of flying to bring him home. On the flight she is flung into the assistance of a small time thief who attempts to help her to win him back.
Meg Ryan (Sleepless in Seattle), Kevin Kline (No Strings Attached), Timothy Hutton
I've finally started reading the Game of Thrones series and am battling my own will to watch the series before I've finished the book. I love a good battle and Age of Empires is most responsible for my love of all things trebuchet. Here are a few films which include aforementioned fave weaponry:
I've been on another vintage binge lately thanks to Downton Abbey and struck gold on this little ditty. Based on the play by Noel Coward, it's clever and wickedly delightful. Even the boy enjoyed it! Colin Firth is particularly good playing against type as the disinterested lord.
PLOT: The Whittakers are an old English family staving off bankruptcy through the sheer will of Mrs Whittaker. The household is in uproar when the prodigal son returns having eloped with a modern American woman with a tawdry past. No matter what the lovely Lorita does to fit in, she's constantly thwarted. Soon it's all out war between the two Mrs Whittakers to the amusement of many.
CAST: Jessica Biel (Valentine's Day), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Kristin Scott Thomas (Gosford Park), Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian), Kris Marshall (Love Actually)
I watched this again this weekend and I still adore this film. Proof that Cameron and Arnie can not take themselves seriously and still make money!
And how can you go past an infamous striptease and Harrier jump jets?
I highly recommend revisiting:
PLOT: When a top notch spy suspects his wife of having an affair, he unwittingly involves her in a current, dangerous operation.
CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator), Jamie-Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda), Tom Arnold (Rosanne), Bill Paxton (Titantic), Art Malik (Sex & The City 2), Tia Carrere (Wayne's World), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse)
This is without a doubt my feel-good comedy experience. Classic Robin Williams, the guaranteed excellence of Nathan Lane and an ALL STAR CAST!
I simply adore Agador and his ministrations about the house.
Whenever I need a bit of silliness, I just visit...
PLOT: When his son plans to wed the daughter of a conservative American senator, the owner of a successful cabaret club and his drag queen partner attempt to play it straight when the meet the potential new in-laws.
CAST: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Diane Weist, Hank Azaria, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Christine Baranski
I've been appalling at posting lately so I have a couple of excellent film noir recommendations for you!
Let's make this quick and dirty -
First up a film I always meant to get around to hiring and having recently done so, simply cannot believe it's been under my radar so long. Joseph Gordon Levitt is fast becoming a fave of mine for his consistently excellent performances. Although it's difficult to do well, when a film successful approaches a strict genre like noir from a new angle, I just adore the work.
PLOT: A teenage loner attempts to navigate the local underworld to investigate the disappearance of the girl he loves.
CAST: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (10 Things I Hate About You), Emilie de Ravin (Remember Me), Nora Zehetner ("Grey's Anatomy")
In recognition that he has FINALLY been nominated for an Oscar - albeit a supporting one - here is the first experience of the Bale that inspired a lifetime of devotion.
You know how much I love a decent period adaptation. Well coming from a family of all girls, you can't go past this one... But watch out for that fatal Claire Danes chin wobble. It's a doozy!
PLOT: The story of four sisters growing up in post-civil war America.
CAST: Winona Ryder (Black Swan, Edward Scissorhands), Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman, The Virgin Suicides), Claire Danes (Temple Grandin, The Family Stone), Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, Dead Man Walking), Samantha Mathis (Broken Arrow), Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Machinist), Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction)
DIRECTOR: Gilliam Armstrong (Charlotte Gray, My Brilliant Career)
What happens when a rabbi and a priest walk into a karaoke store? No, it's not the beginning of a joke but rather a very amusing rom-com directed by none-other than Edward Norton himself.
My mother got me onto this DVD and I went right out and bought it the next day. It's just really charming and has an amazing supporting cast also.
PS - Rick Springfield will never been the same for you again!
KEEPING THE FAITH
PLOT: Jake and Brian, friends since grade school, have both pursued a career in their respective religions. But when an old friend comes back into their lives they each begin to question their relationship with her and how their faith impacts on this... Cue hilarity!
CAST: Edward Norton (The Italian Job, Fight Club), Ben Stiller (Reality Bites, Meet the Parents), Jenna Elfman (EdTV, "Dharma & Greg")
I live with a former wine rep and as such it's a pleasing occasion when our two passions combine - vino and cinematique. So this month in deference to him, here are my favourite wine flicks. Grab a bottle of your fave plonk and enjoy...
The first film is certainly more well known than the second if only because it won the Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Golden Globe as well as an Oscar winning screenplay (it was also nominated for 4 other Academy Awards). Personally I prefer the second film to the bromance ;) and I just can't resist a bit of Alan Rickman and a Doobie Brothers soundtrack!
PLOT: To escape the disappointments of their lives, on the eve of Jack's marriage, his former college roommate, a passionate wine connoisseur, takes him on a tour of the Napa Valley.
CAST: Paul Giamatti (The Illusionist, John Adams), Thomas Hayden Church (Easy A), Virginia Madsen (), Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy")
I've been terribly slack the past month so I'm going to endeavour to catch up...
This week I'm recommending a flick I stumbled across and absolutely loved. It's hardly an Oscar contender but it is a great 2 hours of entertainment. Plus it's based on the book by Michael "Jurassic Park" Crichton and has an all star cast including a early roles for Anna Friels, Gerard Butler, Michael Sheen and Martin Csokas.
Check out: TIMELINE
PLOT: After a corporation accidentally discovers a wormhole in time, a group of archaeologists travel back to the 14th century to rescue their trapped professor only to find they've arrived right in the thick of an historical battle between the French and English armies.
CAST: Paul Walker (Fast & Furious) Billy Connolly (The Man Who Sued God), Gerard Butler (300), Frances O'Connor (Mansfield Park), Ethan Embry (Can't Hardly Wait), David Thewlis (Harry Potter III)
We all know how much of fan I am of ScottFree productions. Well this is an early one but also has the bonus of being my favourite NFL film. Think Bruce Willis in his hey day - John Maclean and his pre-vengeance wingman.
Plus Halle Berry in one of her earliest roles!
THE LAST BOY SCOUT
PLOT: A has-been pro footballer hires an equally washed up private detective to investigate his girlfriend's murder. Together they discover corruption at the heart of the NFL.
CAST: Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction), Damon Wayans (Major Payne, "My Wife and Kids"), Halle Berry (X-Men, Monster's Ball)
In case you have not yet done so, I strongly urge you to see The King's Speech. A truly excellent film and I will be exceedingly cross if Colin Firth does not receive an Oscar for his exceptional portrayal of His Majesty King George VI.
So I've been very slack over the festive season but rest assured it's cause I've been getting my fill of DVDs! As you may have noticed, the big studios will often make two versions of a concept around the same time. They often differ slightly but are often equal in merit (or not!). Even the posters are often incredibly similar!
This week, a selection of films that I felt were appropriate for twice the effort:
THE ILLUSIONIST vs THE PRESTIGE
I struggle to pick a fave here as I adore Christian Bale and Edward Norton. But each film focuses on a different competitive spirit.
DEEP IMPACT vs ARMAGEDDON
Forget that the latter spawned years of that horrid song (and I spy nepotism) but I personally prefer the character focus of Deep Impact over the action packed adventure of Armageddon.
CLOVERFIELD vs GODZILLA
Although I'm a big fan of both Emmerich and Broderick, Cloverfield definitely gets my vote as the superior monster thriller.