50 First Dates (2004) [Eng] [DVDrip]


Take a little "Memento," Add a generous helping of "Groundhog Day," and even a little of "Sommersby" and you have "50 First Dates". Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler create a synergy that neither has been able to capture with anyone else. Together, they produce a romantic team comparable to Gere and Roberts, Day and Hudson, Grant and Loren and Tracy and Hepburn. My wife and I watch "The Wedding Singer" at least once a year. While "50 First Dates" is a superior movie, I don't know if I can take the melancholy ending again.

For once I'm grateful for the Khamakazee antics of Sandler's acting ensemble, particulary Sean Astin and Rob Schneider. If Schneider wasn't playing such a farcial role, he would be a natural for an Oscar. Certainly the animals add a lot to the farce. The goofy humor makes the basically tragic scenario not only bearable but almost pleasant. It's also genuinely funny.

Sandler convincingly plays a marine biologist(!!!)in Hawaii who enjoys "entertaining" the "mainlanders." Sandler doesn't date "locals". He wants nothing to interfere with his dream of studying walruses. He discovers Barrymore having breakfast in a local bar and grill. What captures Sandler's attention, even more than her beauty, is Barrymore's creativity. What Sandler doesn't know is that Barrymore has brain damage. The brain cells which move short term memory to long term storage are destroyed. She forgots everything she's learned during the day while she sleeps. So, Sandler, the lothario who forgots his relationships with mainlanders after one week finds himself in love with a woman who forgets hers in 24 hours. That's writing genius, something you don't see very often, and Sandler, Barrymore, and Sandler's acting troupe handle it perfectly.

Though my wife is physically handicapped, my mother has severe short term memory loss. So, I really related to the trajedy so expertly portrayed in "50 First Dates". It's not often I give a movie that leaves me this sad a "10". The last time, I believe, was "Sommersby". Nonetheless, "50 First Dates" is a "10," since there is nothing about it I can suggest that make it better.

P.S. Looking forward to the NEXT Sandler/Barrymore collaboration.



From the intense opening scene to the stellar and shocking finale, Sam Raimi has officially returned to the horror genre with vigor and spark in the year's best horror film so far. Starring Alison Lohman in the leading role (Ellen Page was originally cast as the lead but dropped out of the project early in production), Drag Me to Hell feels like much more than your average, predictable horror popcorn flick. It's filled with plenty of twists and turns and, like any good ride, a satisfying conclusion. And the PG-13 rating? Forget about it! You hardly notice that little factor because of how immersed you become in the story. Also starring are Justin Long, David Paymer, and Lorna Raver.

Christine (Lohman), a loan officer at a bank with a lovely boyfriend (Long), is being considered for a promotion. Jumping at the opportunity, she comes across an old gypsy woman (Raver) who requests a third extension on her house. Her boss (Paymer) tells her it's a tough decision, and its her call, so she refuses the woman's payment. Absolutely infuriated, the woman stalks Christine after work and bestows her with a supernatural curse, one which she has only three days to overcome before the spirits drag her to hell.

Lucky enough to have won tickets to a pre-screening of the film, I had heard nothing but great things about it. I was hoping for the best, but I wasn't sure how the comedy and horror would mix together. Much to my surprise, the horror and comedy in Drag Me to Hell are that rare perfect mix of perfection that one craves in horror movies. If too funny, they can go overboard, but not this one. In fact, I don't think I've seen quite a proper mixture since Raimi's own Evil Dead II.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about the movie is how well it's made technically. It had all sorts of interesting shots and the real work of a master filmmaker. Having both written and directed the film, Sam Raimi more than proves his worth to the horror genre despite his long absence since Army of Darkness. In ways, this is also a sort of revival of what people with think of PG-13 horror movies. Drag Me to Hell is one of the most intense, scary horror films in quite some time, despite the PG-13 rating which many tag as already crap.

Drag Me to Hell is full of its epic shocks, and the less you go in knowing about it the better. I could go on for hours about the movie and spoil everything there is to know, but that would truly ruin some of its appeal. Which is certainly not to say that it is lost after a first viewing, just that it's an experience unlike any other going into this movie watching virtually no clips and reading very little about it. It becomes a truly rewarding experience.

Mrs. Ganush is one truly phenomenal villain that provides plenty of scares. Lorna Raver infuses the role with an enthusiasm - an terror - that is rarely seen in big-screen baddies. She has more personality than The Ring's Samara for sure. Clay's character provides a much-needed balance between the goofy and the horrific, and helps make the film's heroine, Christine, all the more believable. It was an interesting twist to see Justin Long in a horror film, despite the nature of his role. I believed his performance and the sincerity of his character. Lohman had a lot resting on her shoulders with this movie, and she totally pulled it off with flying colors. Nobody plays the terrified, but headstrong and determined female lead better than Lohman, and she proves her worth over and over again in this movie. She totally has a career ahead of her.

Overall, Drag Me to Hell did more than just impress me nonstop. It was a masterpiece of a horror movie, with unrivaled intensity, scares, and one killer of an ending. More often now, horror directors/writers seem to have such a difficult time ending their movies properly. This one has an ending which snugly solidifies the movie as an early contender for best horror film of the year. Don't miss Drag Me to Hell... you will never look at handkerchiefs the same way!

Mamma Mia! [2008] DvDrip [Eng]-FXG


Mamma Mia! Does the mention of anything Abba-ish send you cringing to a corner? Or are you already joining in and dancing on the tabletops? Maybe another few drinks . . .

In short, if you are not allergic to Abba, book your tickets now. If you are, why would you be reading this? At a pinch, it is worth seeing for Meryl Streep alone, who not only throws herself headlong into every refrain with unashamed gusto, but adds a touch of class and nuance to what otherwise could be a one-dimensional adaptation. Streep vacillates engagingly between playing herself and not taking herself too seriously. Pierce Brosnan just about keeps up, and manages more expressions than he ever did as James Bond. Colin Firth and Julie Waters trail behind somewhat. Yet Mama Mia! is a roller coaster of emotion, careering colourfully from the blue waters of the Adriatic, bursting 'like Aphrodite's Fountain' into the lives of Donna (Meryl) , her lovers and friends, and her soon-to-be-wed daughter. It is the party spirit that says kick your shoes off and sing silly cheesy songs. Altogether now.

And yes – there's a story. Donna's daughter Sophie is getting married. To the buff-looking Sky. Only – where's her dad? She's never met him. A sneak-peek at Mom's diary shows Mom had three lovers before Sophie was born and Sophie secretly invites all of them. This is a film of threesomes. Three past lovers (Sam, Bill and Harry). Three close friends (Donna and two best pals). And, not to be outdone, Sophie meets up with two other young girls at the start of the film.

The breakneck pace still allows for brilliantly put together shots. Like Streep doing a 'Titanic' with drapes blowing in the wind. Or a pier-load of young hunky stag night crew doing a dance in trunks and deep-dive flippers. Moonlit boats and beaches to "I Have a Dream." Filmed on location, the views won't disappoint. And like a favourite song whose ending we know, the drama is in the details and execution.

As with many adapted-from-stage musicals, two young leads are played by talented singers, and the older parts by serious actors can sing well enough. Streep manages extremely well. Her performance is so professional and assured it leaves others standing. Fortunately, it is perhaps easy to paper over any cracks in musical comedy. Sweeney Todd relied heavily on Depp's charisma and stunning cinematography. Across the Universe, too heavily on the songs. Mamma Mia!, on the other hand, simply tailors everything to its joyous headlong rush. The songs fit naturally to the action. Streep even manages to sing them with her tongue firmly in cheek. She confesses to having been a "stupid reckless little slut" but then says she "grew up". (To which her pals chime in, "Well grow back down again!") The film is not without faults. There is a notable lack of chemistry between the people that throw themselves rapturously against each others' faces. Even Streep looks less than convincing in a brief lips-mash. And the men are a bit croaky in the singing department (Hugh Grant might even have been a preferable casting choice). And some of the time-line is wobbly. For instance, strange as it may seem, music from more than twenty years ago does not all come from the same era. So reminiscing about flower power (early sixties) in the same breath as a Johnny Rotten t-shirt (Sex Pistols, mid-late seventies) is either anachronistic or wishful thinking.

Sadly, I am of a generation that can remember Abba-mania. The records would shoot to number one. Yet even then few people would admit to buying them. I used to manage a night club, and Abba was great music to ask a girl up to dance. My entire chat-up repertoire at that time consisted of, "Would you like to dance?" and "Do you want to come back for a coffee?" But girls would be so happy dancing to Mamma Mia they'd say yes anyway. I'd fall in love with a new girl each week. Ah, those were the days! Now there's a new generation of Abba fans who have no need to 'come out of a closet'. Abba is retro-chique. Even Madonna segued an Abba riff into one of her songs. From karaoke to hen nights. From '70s' nights to gay dance-floors. Dress up. Camp it up. Sing it up. Get sassy and cheesy. Or, if you're old enough to remember, fly back in time to wonderful memories.

Mamma Mia!, whatever detractors might say, has been one of the most successful stage shows of recent times. Supported by the same director and original band members, the movie may well reach the similar fan bases. Or just the party spirit in all of us.