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REVIEW: Dear John March 30, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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There’s a metaphor that runs through Dear John about how soldiers in the US military are like coins. (Bear with me) They are churned out every day, and expected to be perfectly minted. The ones with imperfections are thrown away, but some, known as ‘mules’, get through and are circulated. While there’s lots to like about Dear John, you can’t help but feel that if The Notebook is a shiny penny, Dear John is a bit of a mule.

Tragic Nicholas Sparks love stories are ten-a-penny these days, so if you’re not a hopelessly romantic teenage girl who loved The Notebook, you can forgive yourself for not wetting yourself with excitement about the author’s latest adaptation, Dear John.

Of course, Dear John tells the story of two star-cross’d lovers, this time two teenagers who meet by the beach and, in the course of two weeks, fall in love. But, he’s only on leave from the military for those two weeks, so there’s tearful goodbyes and the end of their fortnight together. That’s all fine, as he’s only going for a year and they plan to write letters to each other the whole time. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t all go to plan, and after 9/11, the couple face a much longer separation.

The two leads, the always-charming Amanda Seyfried as Savannah Curtis and Channing Tatum as the eponymous John Tyree, have good chemistry and a believable connection in the film. Seyfried even picks up a guitar and sings at one point, recalling her turn in musical Mamma Mia! Tatum on the other hand, is someone I’ve always thought had quite a limited range, and playing the military guy doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for him. His scenes with his father, played by Richard Jenkins, however show that he can handle heavier material at a push.

There’s a few heavy-handed subplots going on through the film, such as Savannah’s interest in helping those with Autism, which results in a scene early on where Savannah suggests that John’s dad is suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. Despite this cringe-inducing scene, there are some heartbreaking moments in the film relating to John’s dad’s Asperger’s, and the backstory of how he and his father grew apart is well-played by Tatum and Richard Jenkins, who plays Mr. Tyree.

There are some typically sappy moments, like when John tells Savannah the moon is never bigger than her thumb no matter where she is, and where Savannah shows John a house she’s building for a family whose house got destroyed. Of course, the next day they’re working together on the site. Awww.

Ultimately, the film loses steam in the third act and things get a bit messy as unexpected relationships develop and everything gets a bit depressing. There’s a few war scenes thrown in that may keep any guys who are being dragged along by their girlfriends happy, but in the end, you won’t love this one unless you’re a die-hard Notebook fan.

Dear John hits cinemas on 16th April

Will Sparks Fly? February 23, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics, Lit.
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Curiously, in the next few months there are not one but two Nicholas Sparks book adaptations on the way and inevitably, everyone’s going to be debating which was better.

The first, Dear John, stars Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum as a war-torn couple, separated by his decision to go fight for his country. Throughout his time abroad as a soldier, they exchange letters, which keep him going through his “increasingly dangerous missions” and blah blah blah while she sits at home and waits for him to return.

The other film is Sparks’ Miley Cyrus vehicle The Last Song. This film has a more chequered past, originally scheduled for release in January, but subsequently postponed until March 31st (at least in the US). The storyline even seems a bit less stimulating – Cyrus plays a mopey teen who goes to live with her dad for the summer, and falls in love with a guy on the beach.

Although Miley’s name attached to anything would normally seem like a safe bet, the film seems a to be skewing a little older than her usual demographic. The problem is, however, the type of people who loved The Notebook are likely to be put off by the presence of Miley Cyrus in the film. It doesn’t help either that Liam Hemsworth is a complete unknown, famous only for his real life attachment to the Hannah Montana star.

Although I’m never one to completely write Miley off, I’m going to wager that Dear John will fare much better at the box office (judging by its ticket sales to date, The Last Song has a lot to live up to), given that it panders almost shamelessly to The Notebook fans.

And if they had come out the same weekend, Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum of course would have had some sort of sabotage mission planned.

“If The Last Song was coming out the same weekend as Dear John, we’d have to collaborate on some sort of sabotage mission,” Seyfried told MTV.

“I’d burn it,” Tatum added. “I’d sabotage it somehow.”

Once they’re better than the god-awful Nights in Rodanthe, I’ll be happy.

Check out the trailers below and let the battle commence.

Dear John (out 16th April in Ireland)

The Last Song (out 30th April in Ireland)

Hollywood Infected Your Vain February 3, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics, Trashion.
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Vanity Fair have unveiled their annual Hollywood photoshoot, featuring nine of the film industry’s brightest up and coming female stars (click above for larger version).

The talent selected, from left to right: Abbie Cornish (Bright Star, Candy), Kristen Stewart (Twilight, The Runaways), Carey Mulligan (An Education, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Jennifer’s Body), Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Frost/Nixon), Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Defiance), Emma Stone (Superbad, Zombieland), Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler, Across the Universe) and Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Twilight).

The girls were photographed by Annie Liebovitz (no surprises there), who has been doing the annual shoot for the past sixteen years.

The editorial has been criticised for being all-white, which is certainly true. Forgive me for saying it, but I don’t think it would do Precious‘s Gabourey Sidibe any good to be plonked in the middle of the fold-out amongst nine other thin white girls.

Even in the magazine’s first Hollywood cover, in 1995, there was one non-white face in the form of Angela Bassett. And everyone had a lot less on.

Behind the scenes at the 2010 shoot, below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Images: Vanity Fair, Oh No They Didn’t!]

Juno writer does horror May 19, 2009

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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Jennifer's Body

Following last year’s surprise mega hit “Juno”, writer Diablo Cody’s next big film project is going in quite a different direction. I loved “Juno” and thankfully managed to see it before the hype got completely out of hand, and I think from the sounds of it I’m going to love “Jennifer’s Body” too.

The summary, from IMDB.com:

A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

The cast includes Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried (of Mamma Mia! fame) and Adam Brody (of The O.C. fame) – a pretty good line up I think. It’s a little bit disconcerting that the director Karyn Kusama’s last big film was the critically lampooned Aeon Flux, and the plot does sound a touch reminiscint of “Teeth”, but I’ll take it anyway.

No trailer as yet unfortunately, but (part of) the poster is above, which is oddly similar to an old True Blood poster.

Also, for any Diablo Cody fans, check out television series “United States of Tara“, which she created. It stars Toni Colette and is about a woman with multiple personalities. Worth a look. Not worth a look however is her pointless guest appearance on 90210.

“Jennifer’s Body” is out (at least in the US) on 18th September.

[Image: Latino Review]