She & Him: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

She & Him - Baby, It's Cold Outside

The weather is horrible and everyone’s sinuses are filled will all matter of gooey unpleasantries. Conditions such as these make intelligent blogging trickier than ever. While I struggle to fight away what could be described as a minor cold major case of man flu I bring you the aural delights of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward aka She & Him. This week they have released a music video for their fun cover of Baby, It’s Cold Outside from their Christmas album A Very She & Him Christmas.

The cartoon video is short and sweet and is embedded below:

For what it’s worth I much prefer Zooey Deschanel singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Leon Redbone on the soundtrack for Elf, everyone’s favourite contemporary Christmas film.

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2012 Golden Globes Nominations

With awards season truly hotting up we are treated with the nominations for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. They’re an interesting bunch, a lot of the more challenging and/or smaller films have been passed by. The Los Angles Times has it spot on when they say that the nominations seem to recognise those works featuring the A-list actors, more accessible films and less dark dramas. No Tyrannosaur or Like Crazy to be found below.

What you will find is my gut reaction and my opinions for each category (apart from Best Original Song and Best Original Score as that is not my strong suit) whether you want it or not. Continue reading

Top 10 Road Trip Films (I Own)

For the next week and a half I will be roaming around the South West of England in a yellow VW Campervan called Barney embarking on A Very English Road Trip. To celebrate I’ve compiled a list of the top ten road trip movies I own on DVD. An odd criteria for a film list but these film lists are superficial at the best of times.

Away We Go
A surprisingly light-hearted film from Sam Mendes as a young couple visit friends and relatives while trying to find the right place to bring up their imminent baby. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are a convincing couple and provide the sanity amongst the crazy characters they visit. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Allison Janney are the two main highlights along their journey.

Catfish
The only documentary on this list, Catfish follows the burgeoning online romance between Yaniv Schulman and the sister of a young artist he has been emailing. After some suspicious events Yaniv and his friends travel to the mystery girl’s house and uncover something they had never expected. There is debate about this documentary’s authenticity, either way it makes for a gripping watch.

The Darjeeling Limited
Wes Anderson takes his signature style on the road, or rather on the track, as three brothers travel through India by train, looking for their mother and getting to grips with the loss of their father. Jason Schwartzmann, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson fit perfectly with Anderson’s tone as the three brothers and their journey is as much emotional as it is physical. Natalie Portman makes a brief, but revealing, appearance in the preceding short film.

The Go-Getter
The most indie film on the list unites Sundance darlings Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel and Jena Malone and brought together for the first time the she and him in She & Him. A young man has a quarter life crisis, steals a car and discovers love, and himself, on the road. A little bit twee to ever be successful, this is worth a watch if you are a fan of the cast, or just enjoy a gentle film about someone abandoning life and hitting the road.

Into the Wild
Speaking of a young man having a quarter life crisis and hitting the road… This time round the traveller is played by Emile Hirsch with a pre-Twilight Kristen Stewart providing the tempting romance he finds along the way. Stewart’s role is quite small though and this is the biggest single-hander of the lot, with Hirsch the only character present throughout. This was Sean Penn’s last work behind the camera and is proof he should do more.

Little Miss Sunshine
An amazing cast go travelling in a yellow VW Campervan (not called Barney) in order to get Abigail Breslin to her beauty pageant. Darkly funny and more than a little moving this road trip ends the way all movies should, with a big dance number. Kevin Bacon would be proud. The film is notable for featuring Steve Carell’s most subdued performance, and for inspiring the colour scheme of this very website.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Even the Coen Brothers have made a road trip film, theirs being an adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey and starring George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson as three escaped convicts searching for hidden treasure. Encountering all manner of characters and obstacles along the way this is the quintessential road trip film, and the only one to involve the KKK.

Transamerica
Any good road trip forces the film to shift focus from traditional plot or location and instead focus on the characters who are the only constant through the film, and their relationships. Few films utilise this better than Transamerica as Felicity Huffman’s pre-op transsexual meets her son for the first time as she ferries him across country under the guise of being a charity worker.

Wristcutters: A Love Story
While most of these films involve travelling across the United States, Wristcutters moves beyond the world of the living and instead is set in an afterlife reserved for people who commit suicide. Shortly after his death Patrick Fugit hears that his old girlfriend, Leslie Bibb, has also killed herself and so takes his room-mate and tries to find her. Along the way he encounters some charmingly rustic supernatural elements and Tom Waits, who also provides the soundtrack.

Zombieland
While everyone in Wristcutters is dead, most of the people our travellers come across in this film are the undead. Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson travel through the post-apocalyptic landscape in search of Twinkies and instead find Emma Stone (swoon), Abigail Breslin (road trip queen) and more zombies than you can shake a double barreled shotgun at. One of cinema’s greatest cameos is the icing on this zombie cake.

If there’s anything all these films have in common, it’s that the destination is not the important part, it’s the journey and characters that are key when the film has no other consistent element.

Your Highness – Review

I was hoping that seeing Your Highness would present me with the perfect opportunity to write a really scathing review filled with ranting, exaggeration and maybe a bit of swearing, but I can’t. Your Highness isn’t that bad.

Despite the easy comparison Your Highness isn’t trying to be The Princess Bride, it isn’t even trying to parody classic fantasy quest-based films, all it is trying to do is be a broad comedy set in medieval times with plenty of jokes about sex, drugs and people swearing with bad British accents in the middle of speaking with an old English dialect. In trying to be this very specific type of comedy, Your Highness succeeds.

The film may not have been laugh a minute but it was amusing at times, and Danny McBride was offering up nothing different, for better or worse, to what viewers of Eastbound and Down expect from him week on week. The combined talents of Franco, Deschanel and Portman made the film easily watchable, even when director David Gordon Green wasn’t really trying.

A highlight was Rasmus Hardinker as McBride’s sidekick for offering up silly faces and dry wit in equal measure, and to the set designer who hadn’t been told this was just a comedy and the sets didn’t need to rival (and possible beat) Game of Thrones. It was also nice to see Damian Lewis in a larger role than I had expected.

Your Highness is a lot of fun and as a raunchy comedy works quite well. Not all of the jokes stem from sex or drugs and there is some intelligence if you listen hard enough. The only way the film really lets you down is if you are a fan of David Gordon Green’s early work, the beautiful and painfully indie All the Real Girls seems like the work of a much more mature and talented director.

If Your Highness doesn’t seem like your sort of film then it probably isn’t, but for me it fit right into the category of guilty pleasure and I am rightfully ashamed of that fact.

Steady on Rimmel

Not long ago Mild Concern favourite Zooey Deschanel became the face of Rimmel London and they’ve been ruining her face ever since. The most recent advert (above) is the worst yet. It looks more like a poor computer rendering of Ms Deschanel than a real face.

If you’re going to hire someone for their look, try not to airbrush that very look away, ok?

Back to films…