Monthly Archives: May 2012

Men In Black III review

Men In Black III is out in cinemas today, and you can read the movies4kids review here:  MIB3

And here’s a trailer to get you in the mood:



What To Expect When You’re Expecting – review

Since many of you who visit the website and this accompanying blog are parents, I thought you may be interested in a review of this week’s new cinema release – seemingly aimed at all of us with kids – What To Expect When You’re Expecting. 

If the title seems familiar, it’s because this comedy takes its title from the parenting bible of the same name, that must-have for every soon-to-be mum and dad who fret over swollen ankles, morning sickness and all the other lovely side effects that come with pregnancy. Like the recent New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, it’s one of those movies that follows a handful of different characters over a short period of time who may have a connection to each other that’s revealed before the end. Personally, I blame Richard Curtis for all this, as his not-bad 2003 movie Love Actually has become some sort of template for these high concept, let’s-shove-loads-of-well-known-actors-into-one-movie comedies, none of which are a patch on the film they’re trying to emulate.

There are two main problems with this one – it’s not funny, and most of the characters experiencing pregnancy aren’t very likeable. There’s fitness guru Cameron Diaz, who is such an obnoxious cow you can’t imagine Glee’s Matthew Morrison would want to be in the same room as her, let alone impregnate her; macho man Dennis Quaid and his young trophy wife (Brooklyn Decker) who gets pregnant at the same time as Quaid’s son (Ben Falcone) and his wife Elizabeth Banks, who have been trying for years; and Jennifer Lopez, who doesn’t tell her husband she’s lost her job just as they are trying to adopt a baby from Africa.

In fact, the only likeable pair are Chace Crawford and Anna Kendrick as two rival takeaway chefs whose one night stand leads to a heartbeat on the ultrasound, but since their story is played as a meaningful one amongst all the other stereotypical comedic situations, it doesn’t feel like it belongs.

It’s all a bit of a mess, packed with clichés (Banks suffering from every possible embarrassing pregnancy symptom, such as wind and a weak bladder, usually all at once) that will only amuse new parents ruefully remembering their own red-faced pregnancy experiences. Even the men’s group (led by Chris Rock) of worn-out dads that Lopez’s husband joins in the park  to learn about what he’s letting himself in for isn’t that funny – although women in the audience will at least get to enjoy an appearance by Joe Manganiello (best known as True Blood’s Alcide) as the extremely buff ladies man all the dads look up to.

All in all, What To Expect… isn’t awful, it just isn’t very good. And the audience it’s aimed at are probably too tired to head out to the cinema to see it anyway…

Here’s the trailer, and scroll down a bit further for a photo of Mr Manganiello, possibly the only reason to go and see the movie!



Five Underrated Actors (or what on earth is Dennis Quaid doing in What To Expect When You’re Expecting)

This Friday, What To Expect When You’re Expecting opens in cinemas. Very loosely based on the medical book of the same name that is a bible for most mums and dads to be, it’s one of those ensemble cast movies like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, featuring lots of actors playing characters you never really get to know. I’ll post a review here on Friday – but in the meantime seeing Dennis Quaid in the film inspired me to single out a handful of actors I love who really deserve more awards, better roles, and greater recognition than they actually get. So here are my top five most underrated and under appreciated actors (I’ll do actresses next week!) and their best movie roles for you to check out:


Dennis Quaid

Oh Dennis. What are you doing in What To Expect When You’re Expecting? Or the remake of Footloose for that matter? No, no, no! I still remember how amazing he was in Breaking Away, as Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls Of Fire, in Far From Heaven, Any Given Sunday, Wyatt Earp, Dreamscape and The Right Stuff. He should have got an Oscar for his performance as Remy in The Big Easy, but can someone please give him a terrific role (and the awards to go with it) right now?


John Cusack

While his most recent movie, The Raven, hasn’t been a critical or box office hit, John Cusack has delivered stunning, funny, moving and unforgettable performances throughout his career. There are so many to choose from – Gib in The Sure Thing, Roy Dillon in The Grifters, hit man Martin in Grosse Point Blank, Craig in Being John Malkovich, Rob in High Fidelity… why hasn’t anyone given this man a bloody Oscar yet? There can be only one favourite role for me, though, and it has to be Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. Even the hardest heart will melt when he says: “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen…”


Anthony LaPaglia

Acclaimed for his lead role in the series Without A Trace, 53-year-old Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia has won most praise – and an Emmy – for his hilarious performance as cockney Simon (Daphne’s brother) in the TV series Frasier. A pleasure to interview (our 20 minute phone interview went on for an hour because he was so much fun), he was terrific in the drama Killer, superb in the TV series Murder One, and funny as the voice of baddie Skua in the Happy Feet movies. His best role, however, has to be as detective Leon Zat in the unmissable movie Lantana:


Kevin Bacon

He made me laugh in Diner, tap my toes in Footloose (and yes, I did have a crush on him back then), and Kevin Bacon was also the first actor I ever interviewed, too. He’s been brilliant in so many movies, but so far he’s not even been nominated for an Academy Award, despite critically acclaimed performances in The Woodsman, Mystic River, Apollo 13 and Murder In the First. It’s hard to choose my favourite Kevin Bacon moment, as I’ve loved him in movies like Tremors and the more recent X-Men: First Class and Crazy, Stupid, Love, but in the end I chose She’s Having A Baby because it always makes me cry:


Kiefer Sutherland

Yes, I know Kiefer wowed us for eight seasons as Jack Bauer in 24, and he’s giving good performances in the new TV series Touch, but his movie roles have often been terrific, yet have gone unrewarded (also, I was absolutely gobsmacked to learn that producers only wanted to pay him $1 million to return as Bauer in a 24 movie – surely he should get much more than that, as no one else can play the part!). The 45-year-old actor – son of Donald, of course – has his first lead role in The Bay Boy when he was just 17, and since then has delivered superb performances in movies like Stand By Me, 1969, Flatliners, Dark City and Melancholia. My favourite has to be The Lost Boys: “You’ll never grown old, Michael, and you’ll never die. But you must feed…”



Lindsay Lohan… the whole story

One of my favourite remakes has to be The Parent Trap, in which a young Lindsay Lohan played not one but two roles – sisters, separated and unaware of each other’s existence following their parents’ divorce. It’s quite sad watching it now, partly because their mum is played by the late Natasha Richardson, and partly because little Lindsay showed so much promise. Now, of course, we’re more likely to see her name on the front of a newspaper than in lights above a cinema, but I still hope the actress who was so cute in The Parent Trap and so cool in Mean Girls isn’t gone for good and will one day surprise us on the big screen again. In the meantime, you may want to check out this new biography of the actress, written by someone I know very well, that focuses on the good stuff as well as the bad…

The Lindsay Lohan Story


Paddington Bear… The Movie!

Hurrah!Paddington Bear, that marmalade sandwich-loving creation of author Michael Bond, is to get his own movie, it has been announced today. Harry Potter producer David Heyman and StudioCanal will make a CGI live action film about loveable Paddington, directed by The Mighty Boosh’s Paul King.

Apparently it’s going to be a ‘modern take’ on the stories, which first appeared in print in 1958, but deep down I hope it has some of the charm of the 197os series we all grew up with. Sadly the wonderful Michael Hordern is no longer with us to provide the narration as he did for the ITV favourite – so who do you think should lend their voice to this new feature length version? Stephen Fry? Kenneth Branagh? I vote for Hugh Laurie…

And while we wait for the movie to hit our screens in a year or two, here’s a bit of classic Paddington to get you in the mood:




To brighten your day: the lovely Beauty And The Beast

Released for the first time in 3D, Beauty And The Beast is currently in cinemas enchanting a new generation of little girls. While boys and dads will be queueing up to see Avengers Assemble again this weekend, girls and their mums should check out this lovely movie – and Disney have come up with some nice colouring pages from the movie for the kids to do while they’re waiting for the film to start. Click here for the colouring pages and other activities.

And to get you in the mood for the movie, here’s a clip:





Squeal! Zac Efron! Squeal!

Zac Efron has a new movie – The Lucky One – out this week, and while it is aimed at grown-ups, we all know there will be queues of tween and teen girls lining up to see the hunky High School Musical star (complete with stubble) in a romantic leading role. So is it suitable for your pre-teen to see? If you don’t mind a very tame love scene, the answer is yes, and you can get the full movies4kids review here.

And here’s a pic for any teens/tweens reading this (and grown ups who think Zac’s a bit cute with his twinkly blue eyes and wavy hair and… excuse me, I’m going to lie down now… (and whoever that blonde woman is, I don’t like her… 🙂