Shadow Dancer

Name: Shadow Dancer
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 101
Description: Set in 1990s Belfast, an active member of the IRA becomes an informant for MI5 in order to protect her son’s welfare.
Stars: Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson
Genres: Drama, Thriller

It’s a good story, but the way it was told just isn’t my thing. Hardly any music, let alone Irish music, a barely functional score, doom and gloom etc. Didn’t understand the ending either and it was really weird that the protagonist suddenly started kising the undercover agent fron no apparent reason. Also surprised how any IRA member could decide to turn against the IRA in two minutes.

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Far From Heaven

Name: Far From Heaven
Year: 2002
Rating: Made For TV
Running Time (minutes): 107
Description: In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.
Stars: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert
Genre: Drama, Romance

How many things can go wrong with a romantic drama starring Julianne Moore? I was always going to like this one, I suppose, but hadn’t expected it to be so moving, emotional and sad. I really enjoyed it, especialy after all the crap I’ve been watching lately. My only negative remark is that Moore was at times perhaps a little bit too gushing, too frantic, too desperate, but then again, it was probably part of the act.

This was also my first Elmer Bernstein score and it was gorgeous! There was me thinking no one could beat Patrick Doyle at writing lush, romantic scores. This one was absolutely stunning and heartbreaking.

Monster

Name: Monster
Year: 2003
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 109
Description: Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.
Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern
Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama
Jesus, this has been a bad film weekend! I turned it off because I neither liked the main character nor the actress playing her or the story.

Runaway Bride

Name: Runaway Bride
Year: 1999
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 116
Description: Ike Graham, New York columnist, writes his text always at the last minute. This time, a drunken man in his favourite bar tells Ike about Maggie Carpenter, a woman who always flees from her grooms in the last possible moment. Ike, who does not have the best opinion about females anyway, writes an offensive column without researching the subject thoroughly. The next day, Ike gets fired by his publisher (and former wife), because he went too far and faked the facts, which real journalists don’t do. Ike’s only way back into the business now is to do a fact-based report on Maggie and her upcoming fourth wedding attempt, which Ike predicts to fail again. So, as he circles her like a vulture his prey-to-be, Maggie’s opinion of Ike sinks below zero. Not only is Ike waiting for her to fail again but the whole town is poking fun at Maggie about her mistakes. But that is a point which Ike doesn’t like.
Stars: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere and Joan Cusack
Genres: Comedy, Romance

Oh dear, that was a mistake. I watched this one because it got bad reviews, because all the critically acclaimed films I’ve been watching recently didn’t make much of an impression. And this one didn’t either.

The premise was sort of interesting, but what bothered me is how both Maggie’s parents and ‘friends’ all help her prepare wedding after wedding while unashamedly mocking her. Odd people… Oh, and I also knew how it was gonna end (didn’t expect her to run again, though), but was nevertheless not prepared for the cheesy and ridiculous final scenes. Basically, the only thing that kept me watching was Julia Roberts. Oh, and watching a film isn’t really that great if your audio source is a mono MP3 file iwth a bitrate of 32 KBPS. That was an all-time low.

James Newton Howard’s score, though, is really nice. I’ll definitely be checking it out.

Why didn’t I watch Gravity instead…?

Rabbit Hole

Name: Rabbit Hole
Year: 2010
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 91
Description: Becca and Howie Corbett are a happily married couple whose perfect world is forever changed when their young son, Danny, is killed by a car. Becca, an executive-turned-stay-at-home mother, tries to redefine her existence in a surreal landscape of well-meaning family and friends. Painful, poignant, and often funny, Becca’s experiences lead her to find solace in a mysterious relationship with a troubled young comic-book artist, Jason – the teenage driver of the car that killed Danny. Becca’s fixation with Jason pulls her away from memories of Danny, while Howie immerses himself in the past, seeking refuge in outsiders who offer him something Becca is unable to give. The Corbetts, both adrift, make surprising and dangerous choices as they choose a path that will determine their fate.
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest
Genres: Drama

Here’s a question. When a TV guide provides a summary of the film they’re gonna broadcast, what is its purpose? Do they want you to watch the film, or do they want to tell people who can’t watch what it’s all about? This summary literally told me EVERYTHING except for the fact that the father briefly uses drugs and that the mother mocks a child’s toy! So I can’t really say whether it’s good or bad or a mediocre film, only that this was the first Nicole Kidman movie I watched in which she didn’t overact and I don’t like feel-good endings. The score is subtle, but sufficient. The audiodescriber had an extremely pleasant voice.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Name: Jakc Ryan – Shadow Recruit
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 105
Description: A new version of the saga of CIA analyst, Jack Ryan. It begins when Ryan was attending the London School of Economics; and 9/11 happened. He would then enlist in the Marines and would go to Afghanistan. Which is the start of a series of extraordinary events.
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley
Genres: Action, Mystery, Thriller

Once again, I disagree with Rotten Tomatoes. It wasn’t bad at all. Not great, but certainly good. Except for the fact that all Russians love women and vodka. And the ending is really, REALLY rushed and handled EXTREMELY badly (horrible music editing!). Kevin Costner was good, but I’m not really sure if Keira Knightley with an American accent is a good thing or not. Oh well, she’s an excellent actress anyway.

As for Patrick Doyle’s score, this project was a waste of his time. The two great pieces he wrote for this film were cut short to such an extent that it’s laughable. Scratch that, it’s tragic. At times you still hear Doyle’s mannerisms during emotional moments, but… it’s just not him at all most of the time. Very unfortunate.

Also, a few technical points on the audio description: the dialogue was softer than the AD and music, which didn’t always make for nice listening. Also, the narrator kept announcing things before they happened, don’t really like that either.

Revolutionary Road

Name: Revolutionary Road
Year: 2008
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 119
Description: It’s 1955. Frank and April Wheeler, in the seventh year of their marriage, have fallen into a life that appears to most as being perfect. They live in the Connecticut suburbs with two young children. Frank commutes to New York City where he works in an office job while April stays at home as a housewife. But they’re not happy. April has forgone her dream of becoming an actress, and Frank hates his job – one where he places little effort – although he has never figured out what his passion in life is. One day, April suggests that they move to Paris – a city where Frank visited during the war and loved, but where April has never been – as a means to rejuvenate their life. April’s plan: she would be the breadwinner, getting a lucrative secretarial job for one of the major international organizations, while Frank would have free time to find himself and whatever his passion. Initially skeptical…
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Christopher Fitzgerald
Genres: Drama, Romance

Oky, that was just weird. I certainly liked the premise, but then it started going downhill. It’d have been so much better if the’d actually GONE to Paris. This was the first DiCaprio movie I watched that I really didn’t like that much. I found seeing him reunited with Kate Winslet rather amusing because of Titanic, though. Kathy Bates was terrible and Michael Shannon was good. But the marital troubles and strife bored me so much after a while. Yes, the ending is tragic, but by that time I was so disinterested that I could only listen with mild interest. The score is simplistic, but perfectly appropriate. The music is stupid.