10-Second Film and Book Reviews #4


  1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.
  2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.
  3. (often) I take the pith for your entertainment.


5-Year Engagement

Better story than hyped; dreary E Blunt per usual but supporting characters great; Rhys Ifans scrubs up beyond recognition.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Weak despite star-studded; relief provided by Weekend Dudes Club, fat shop assistant and Dennis Quaid with teenage SF about to spew twins.



K 40 years earlier played brill by Josh Brolin; tear-jerker ending re Will Smith character.


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

So highly improbable you have to go with it; great acting from gorgeous tea-towel headed Arab; E Blunt swaps dream solider for an unlikely Ewan McG ugly duckling; great acting from the fish.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Photo credit: markhillary)









Crossing Over

Harrison Ford as empathetic immigration officer giving his one and only performance per usual but it works per usual; fast-moving; sleazy Ray Liotta; don’t write essays about 9/11 in school.


Texas Killing Fields

Uneven mystery and at times improbable, ie, when guy agrees to murder young sister; a small town just bursting with creeps.



From Ian McEwan (Solar, Saturday, Chesil Beach); hysterical pre-pubescent fucks up “local boy does well” McAvoy; look out for new Sherlock as paedophile and Keira Knightly indistinguishable from a praying-mantis.

English: Ian McEwan, a british writer, photogr...
English: Ian McEwan, a british writer, photographed during the 2001 Paris book festival. Français : L’écrivain britannique Ian McEwan, photographié au salon du livre de Paris 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











La Strada

1950s Fellini black & white in filthy countryside – Italy never looked so bad surely; A Quinn roars all the way through but cracks in the end; near-mute female Charlie Chaplin is said to steal the show; Richard Basehart from “Voyage” TV unlikely trapeze artist.


Mr Nice

Rhys Ifans with distracting hair didn’t spin any wheels in this dramary (drama as documentary) but some enchanting characters, viz, fully paid-up nut-job David Thewlis and, oddly, Chloë  Sevigny.

Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)










Kill List

Two guys kill evil bastards with same air as if mowing their lawns; very twisted ; unexpected denouement.


The Caller

Lots of time jumps so that viewer gets as crazy as protagonist; why doesn’t she just change her phone number?


Along Came Polly

Stiller has toilet troubles; Aniston prefers company of blind ferret; see it.


Brokedown Palace

Two spoilt US girls (very young Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale) get duped by handsome stranger and end up in Thai prison; stupidity grates; charismatic Bill Pullman tries to save the day; highly unlikely ending.


Funny People

Adam Sandler serious due to terminal illness; great chemistry with Seth Rogen; how to write stand-up jokes.

Cover of "Funny People"
Cover of Funny People







The Dead Girl

Is Brittany Murphy and how her (character) death affects the crummy lives of those around her. 

Cover of "The Dead Girl"
Cover of The Dead Girl










John Cusack in this sick/slick psychological thriller that toys with you mercilessly – and why not.



Clive Owen, as wooden as ever but nobody cares; stupid/spoilt 14-year-old daughter gets shafted by internet stalker.

(Cartier-Bresson photo)


Get Him to the Greek

Russell Brand plays himself; harrowing 48 hours for Jonah Hill – straight-men do not come any straighter; funny.


London to Brighton

Fab very low-budget man-hunt with great acting especially from 14-year-old Georgia Groome and Lorraine Stanley; see it.


Oranges and Sunshine

True story of decades of child deportation from UK to Australia up to 1970!; Emily Watson excels as woman who sorts various messes including the Christian Brothers’ yukky proclivities.



Young B Pitt and M Freeman on the trail of a nutter who is right clever basket.


The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Vittoria de Sica (1970). Lots of blond young Jews looking like just stepped out of Italian Vogue in halcyon days before being carted off to concentration camps; quietly menacing.


Cupid’s Dart by David Nobbs

Brains meets boobs; May-December romance that reminds there’s hope for 55 year-old virgins; humour and humanity – what more could you ask.

Cover of "Cupid's Dart"
Cover of Cupid’s Dart












Why be Happy When you can be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

More tales of the mad adoptive mother with current musings; good in parts.


Bonk by Mary Roach

She also wrote Stiff and Spook; highly entertaining and eye-popping insight into sex research over the last century.

(Diane Arbus photo)

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