26 December 2009

You've got Mail (starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan)

I suppose this movie was recommended to me by Amazon because I've watched and enjoyed others with Tom Hanks. I was given it for Christmas, so on Boxing Day we sat down to enjoy an evening of light entertainment.

And, indeed, it's a gentle, warm and pleasantly predictable romantic comedy of the kind which I like very much.

Meg Ryan stars as Kathleen, a young woman who runs a small bookshop. it's a pleasant place, offering a good service, and she's contented in her job... except that the owner, Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) doesn't consider it financially viable and wants to close it down. So they're locked in battle and dislike each other intensely...

..Except that Kathleen and Joe have also met anonymously in an Internet chat-room, and communicate via email. They are gradually getting to know each other better while - wisely - concealing any personal details or identities from each other.

We felt that this film was nicely done, well-paced, and enjoyable for a relaxing evening. No great mental effort was required, and there are no fast chases or rapid action shots. Perhaps it feels a little dated now, since Internet technology has moved on significantly in the ten or eleven years since this was made, but that didn't really worry me at all.

Definitely recommended to anyone who likes this genre, with a 1990s twist.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

06 December 2009

Annie (starring Aileen Quinn)

The only reason we have the musical 'Annie' in our collection is that it came as a special offer combined with a different musical film. And although I am sure I had watched it at some point in the past, our DVD version sat on our shelves for at least a couple of years until I watched it a few weeks ago with some friends, including children down to the age of four. The children's mother remembered enjoying it very much in her childhood, and the rating was 'U' ('G' in the USA). While we vaguely remembered a tense moment at the end, we assumed this film would be entirely suitable for children of all ages.

The story is a classic, and the DVD was based on the broadway stage show, which was itself apparently based on a cartoon comic strip. The precocious orphan Annie who loves to sing longs to be adopted. She is fostered by a week by a wealthy man, and turns his life upside down in many ways.

So we were rather shocked - given the rating - that there was some bad language (albeit minor), drunkenness (supposedly humorous, but rather extreme) and even some sexual references. We felt that the rating should have been at least PG, possibly even 12/PG-13.

While I don't mind musicals, I have to admit that I don’t particularly like the music in this film, and found Annie slightly annoying rather than adorable. Perhaps it was the old-fashioned style, despite having been made in the 1980s. The ending was melodramatic and predictable by the time it appeared.

But still, it was a likeable film in some ways; I didn't give up in boredom but watched it to the end, and might even consider re-watching it again one day.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews