Bringing up baby

I like Samantha Mathis. She kind of dropped off the old radar but I rewatch older stuff with her in it and can't think why. Granted she's a bit frothy but still, charming. I remember this as being poorly marketed, the ugly British cousin of 3 Men & a Baby, and yet ultimately worth a watch. Perhaps I just enjoyed Grant's floundering first attempts at fatherhood! 

I particularly loved the concerned and ultimately brave grandparents in this including the irrepressible Dame Judi Dench. And Ian 'Gandalf' McKellan is delightful as the not so qualified butler lol!

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CAST Richard E Grant (Withnail & I), Samantha Mathis (Broken Arrow)

PLOT A devastated man is left holding the baby when his wife dies in childbirth. Enter an easy going, American, waitress/nanny to breathe of new life into the situation.

No girls allowed

When it comes to Shakespeare, you can be a purist , a modernist or just a big fan. I can be all three! In fact my daughter is named for a vivacious young woman in Twelfth Night. I adore modern interpretations (when done well) but occasionally prefer original treatment. Indeed Luhrmann's R+J is about the only one of his films I can stomach. (I mean I get his style, I just don't like it!) 

But I have a caveat... Gwyneth. Now you all know my feelings about her stealing an Oscar from our Cate over a decade ago. (And if you don't I'll spare you... this time!)

Well, not too long after Shakespeare allegedly fell in love with a scamp of a lady, the actors famed for his female roles such as Desdemona and Juliet were ousted by their female counterparts. Stripped of all masculinity, these great men not only lost themselves in their roles but then themselves when that very livelihood was also stripped from them!!

This tells the tale of one such man and the woman who may yet take everything from him.

This has a superb cast and the sets and costumes are just gorgeous! Crudup is sensational, the very model of androgyny. And long before she was an Emmy winning Homeland analyst, Danes proved  she was more than just the girl who played Juliet. And Rupert Everett is, as ever, a rompy delight!

I highly recommend...

Stage Beauty

PLOT: When the first actresses begin to grace stages across London, the impact on 'female' actors is heavy. What will become of them and do the actresses who replaced them possess talent or mere shock factor?

CAST: Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Claire Danes (Homeland), Rupert Everett (St Trinian's).

Watch the trailer

Like this? See

  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Twelfth Night
  • O

Best laid plans

So the Ryans have become rather popular over the past decade.  Now I don't wanna toot my own horn but when everyone was raving about Ryan Reynolds I was backing the other one, a little known former child star, The Baby Goose.  I do adore a bit of Reynolds and anyone who can steal focus from my fave, Nathan Fillion, has got the goods, I think Gosling has the staying power - just look at the number of films he's been in this year alone!

Sandra Bullock stars and although she's a very good comedienne, I reckon she had dramatic chops way before The Blind Side.

And while The Notebook got everyone on my bandwagon re Gosling, here's where my respect for him began...

Murder By Numbers

PLOT: Two teenagers, both extremely bright but socially, commit the perfect crime just to prove they can.  But an equally intelligent detective with a unique insight and passion for justice may just be the perfect adversary.

CAST: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond The Pines), Michael Pitt (The Village), Ben Chaplin (Stage Beauty, The Thin Red Line)

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Like this? See

  • A Time To Kill
  • The Gift
  • A Perfect Murder

Stay on track

I recently saw Flight and it was terrific and yet not at all what I expected. This movie was much the same. It didn't get a lot of promo at the time but it has a stellar cast and is directed by the formidable Tony Scott. Trawling back over his career upon his passing last year, I was almost stunned by the number of films I just love!

Here's just a few:
Deja Vu
Man on Fire
The Last Boy Scout
Crimson Tide
Enemy of the State
Top Gun
Days of Thunder

This was his last film directing.

So if you missed it first time around, get back on track with...


PLOT A cargo train almost 1km long, carrying hazardous material is unmanned and speeding toward a densely populated city... Will two engineers, on the first day working together, be able to stop something so big travelling so fast?!

CAST Denzel Washington (Flight), Chris Pine (Star Trek, Bottle Shock), Rosario Dawson (Eagle Eye)

DIR the late, great Tony Scott (Deja vu, Top Gun)

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Keep your childish innocence

I really don't know how to describe this except to say it was pleasantly surprising. Not your typical thirtysomethings NYC tale. Not a Romcom, not a drama but inciteful and charming. Check it out...

Fun fact: the film was written and directed by and stars Josh Radnor aka Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother!


PLOT Follows six young people each on the cusp of discovery as they navigate love and life.

CAST Josh Radnor (HIMYM), Malin Akerman (27 Dresses), Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Kate Mara (Brokeback Mountain, Entourage).

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Like this? See

  • No Reservations
  • Midnight in Paris

Pancakes for everyone!

I recently revisited Despicable Me, re-screened on tv to promote its sequel's imminent release and it got me thinking about another of Steve Carel's roles. It's a similar job description, suffered by many before him including, most famously, Mr Bennet, a title affectionately referred to as Abu El Banat by Jed Bartlett and a role executed supremely by my own excellent paternal role model... it is Father of Daughters.

This is a really offbeat comedy about the dysfunction only family creates with moments that ring true and either delight or sting as a result. It has a terrific cast (as does almost everything I recommend to you!) with nuanced performances and a family you both wish you were a part of and are dreadfully grateful you aren't!

Check out...

Dan in Real Life

Plot: Taking time out from a weekend away with his extended family, widower and daggy father of three daughters, Dan meets the perfect woman. But there's a surprise waiting for him at home that complicates things.

Cast: Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love), Juliet Binoche (Chocolat) Dianne Wiest (The Birdcage), Alison Pill (The Newsroom), John Mahoney (Frasier), Emily Blunt (Wild Target)

Director: Peter Hedges (About A Boy)

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Like this. See:
* What's Eating Gilbert Grape
* Definitely, Maybe
* As Good As It Gets

Keep it in the family

With the infiltration of S&M lingo into mainstream media, everyone seems to have a safe word these days. As for me, post Fight Club I strive to find my cave in which to 'slide'. 
I often find having a scene which always makes me smile can lift even the most dampened spirit. A pivotal scene in this became my happy place this year. 

I wasn't too sure what to expect from a movie that starts with a wife asking for a divorce and then follows the broken man that results from this event but if there's a guy I want to see pull through it, it's Carell. Maybe it's because I never watched The Office and missed his forays into Wil Ferrell film territory, but I find his more dramatic performances have the bruises of stark reality.

Julianne Moore and Emma Stone are also big favourites of mine, especially when given opportunity to flex their respective comedic talents.

And, like DiCaprio, Gosling had previously proven himself as vastly more than the heartthrob people later labelled him. 

Check out...

Crazy Stupid Love

Plot: While navigating the dating scene following his separation from his childhood sweetheart wife, Cal meets ladies man Jacob who coaches him through the rediscovery of his manhood, which will ultimately improve them both.

Cast: Steve Carell (Dan In Real Life), Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine, The Notebook), Julianne Moore (The Kids Are Allright, A Single Man), Emma Stone (Easy A), Marisa Tomei (Only You), Kevin Bacon (The Following)

Watch the trailer 

Like this? See

  • Dan In Real Life
  • Happythankyoumoreplease