Ted – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Stewart

Synopsis: As a child, John Bennett had a loving family but lacked any significant friends.   So one Christmas he wishes his new toy teddy bear was alive.   The next morning the wish came true, and Ted (MacFarlane) became a global sensation.   The years have now passed, though, and Ted’s celebrity has faded.   He is still John’s (Wahlberg) best friend though, and this causes problems in his relationship with long-term girlfriend Lori (Kunis).

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Sponsored Video: Ted – In cinemas tomorrow

Director: Seth MacFarlane

Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi

Synopsis: A classic love triangle story between a man, John Bennett (Wahlberg), his girlfriend Lori (Kunis), and his overbearing best friend Ted (MacFarlane) who always seems to get between them with his propensity for foul habits.   The twist is Ted is John’s childhood teddy bear that is actually alive, and just grown fouler with age.

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Friends with Benefits – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Will Gluck

Cast: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Nolan Gould

Synopsis: Just like recent predecessors Love and Other Drugs and No Strings Attached, this is a film concerning two friends hooking up with the plan of having no romantic entanglements.   However, they discover, just like their predecessors, that to avoid any attachment to their sexual partner is easier said than done.

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Laugh it Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Seth MacFarlane

Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry

Synopsis: This is the Star Wars saga in full parody… Family guy style.   Comprising three films; Blue Harvest, Something Something Something Dark Side, and It’s a Trap!, this series sends up the original Star Wars saga whilst actually adhering very strictly to the original plots of the film, familiarity providing context for a lot of the humour.

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Black Swan – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder

Synopsis: The story of one ballerina’s goal to dance the lead in her company’s production of Black Swan.   It follows the agonies a dancer can go to reach perfection, and how such ambitions can lead to great mental anguish.

A review by Film Nerd.

This film has perhaps already been seen by many, especially given the accolades it received at the most recent Academy Awards.   I am sure there is still a sub-population out there that either did not have time to see it on its release, or that were waiting to enjoy it at their home cinema.   So this review is for you, as that is exactly what I did.   As such, I will try to keep various twists hidden, which will be very hard to do as it certainly limits the scope of what I can write here.

From early in the film, there is a large focus on the level of dedication required to be successful in the world of ballet.   I will admit, though being able to appreciate the grace of ballet, and that it does have its own beauty, I am not a fan.   This did not negatively affect my enjoyment of the movie, however.   What is evident is that it is a career of extremes… extreme dedication, extreme flexibility, extreme balance, extreme focus, and yes, extreme diet.   All these elements are introduced early on, introducing the circumstances under which Portman’s Nina Sayers begins to crack.

It doesn;’t help that a rival appears on the scene in the shape of Kunis’ Lily.   Okay, let’s get the white elephant out of the room.   The young male audience may only be interested in the lesbian tryst between the two stars.   This is a shame, and misses the entire point of that particular scene, which when viewed by the psychology of the moment is more disturbing than it is erotic.   Motifs of splintering mind are littered throughout the film from early on, and are even suggested by the above poster.   The “intimate scene” between Nina and Lily becomes a more extreme form of this splintering.

There is no question that Portman’s performance is award worthy.   It is further evidence that the only blip on her performance career to date (thank you Star Wars) was more likely die to a brilliant actress paired with a poor director rather than the opposite combination.   She simply overshadows everyone else on-screen, and that is not to imply the supporting characters lack the skill to compete.   Portman is just simply that good.

A dance movie this is not, but a drama with worthy comment, absolutely.

4 stars out of 5

Black Swan on IMDB

Black Swan on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jaI1XOB-bs]

Date Night

Director: Shawn Levy

Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg. James France, Mila Kunis, Ray Liotta

Synopsis: Phil and Claire Foster are a middle-aged married coule leading busy lives both working and raising their children.   They decide a night out at a fancy restaurant will revive the spark in their relationship, however as they neglected to make a booking they are unable to get a table.   When the reservation f0r Triplehorn goes unanswered, the Fosters steal the booking.   This backfires though, when they are mistaken for the Triplehorns, who have been involved in some shady dealings.

A review by Film Nerd.

I do enjoy a good comedy, despite it not being one of the first genres I would generally go and see.   I went along to this one as future contributor Bride of Film Nerd wished to go (and I believe she will be posting her own review for all the comedy fans).   Thankfully I can report that this is a good comedy.   Pratfalls get a bit much after a while in many comedies, often a sign there is little more intelligence on offer.   But this is a comedy with heart and real chemistry between its leads, putting it a step above.

Carell and Fey are two of the most intelligent comics of the American small screen at this time, Carell with the American “The Office” and Fey with “30 Rock”.   So putting them together in one film could have either been inspired or the work of a studi seeing the commercial benefits.   But the result was indeed the former.   They do not overplay the role of weary couple, there are no out of place outbursts or breakdowns at the start of the film.   They do display a more naturalistic scenario of the affection is still there, they are able to share a joke and wearily do favours for each other, but life is little more than routine.

So the ante is upped, mistaken identity has them on the run from the criminals and from the law alike, and yes, it does lead to some ridiculous situations.   Thankfully, rarely does it feel like it stretches credibility, and where it does, you are normally laughing to hard to care about that anyway.   Of special note was a new take on the classic car chase sequence.   Rarely do I apply the term side splitting to moments in film comedy, but this one certainly applies.

The other minor roles are performed well.   Franco and Kunis get great mileage out of very small roles, Franco’s skill for comedy once again on great display after his original break from more dramatic roles with Pineapple Express.   In addition, Wahlberg’s chest is a character all on it’s own!   Add a well recognised gangster actor in the role of mob boss, you can ask little more.

My review of this piece is biased.   Bride of Fim Nerd and myself shared many a sidelong glance that indicated “Hell, that could be us one day!”   It doesn’t help that before seeing the fil we also have ourselves a weekly date night just like the couple on screen.   That said, I feel the film will appeal to a wide audience, and I highly recommend it.

4 stars (out of a possible 5)

Date Night on IMDB

Date Night on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aspBKFz2dBI]