Peacock

*Review based on a free copy provided by Amazon – buy it here

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A stellar cast feature in this unusual little film – an interesting slow burner raised by strong performances and a coolly distant direction. It’s a 3 star movie lifted to four thanks to the cast, and depending on whether or not you let yourself be pulled into the story. Cillian Murphy stars in a dual role (or triple role if we want to be accurate), playing both a man and woman, ostensibly husband and wife. Everything seems to be going perfect – John (Murphy) is a shy, quiet Bank employee with a split personality disorder whose quiet life is interrupted by a train crash in his back yard – he just happens to be dressed as a woman at the time as his other persona Emma. Bringing in some of the town’s political power players and media attention neither personality wants, Emma begins to come out of her shell more and take over John’s body. When Ellen Page’s single mother Maggie enters the fray, secrets are revealed and a war of wits ensues.

Curious, or interesting are perhaps the best ways to describe the film, rather than thought-provoking; curious rather than engaging. The main leads do a great job in their respective roles, including Sarandon and some of the lesser characters – but overall the movie sinks or swims on the power of Murphy’s performance. Murphy’s John is constantly on edge, visibly close to some explosive physical outburst, while Emma is cool, sly, calculating, though both personalities grow and shift throughout the film. Page is reliable as always, though here her usual skills are restrained showing a different side to what we have come to expect. I wasn’t aware of Director Michael Lander, yet this debut is assured ans skillful – he is in command and evokes a grim tone and sense of uncertainty as the film progresses (the score helps) and he manages to maintain a coherent plot which could easily have slipped into nonsense. It’s not likely to be one which many will ever see, and I wouldn’t quite categorize it as a cult movie, but for those looking for something a little different, and for fans of the cast, it’s one to give a go.

Have you seen Peacock? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

Thelma And Louise

*Originally written in 2004

Since much has been said about the feminist themes in this movie, I will not add anything except to say that this is an empowering film with strong female characters made in the time before the movement, from a celebrity standpoint, went wrong. Moreover, it’s a story of friendship and unity, and happens to include some terrific performances and memorable dialogue and action.

I’ve long felt this is one of the best road movies ever, not merely because the central characters are women, and have an enduring bond but because the film has that sense of freedom that road movies should have, apt given that the characters are each escaping something mundane or painful, ironic because they are constantly, inevitably being hunted down by forces that would ensnare them. We have gorgeous shots of the open road, we have some fun chase moments, and we have that intangible something that fuels dreams of revolution and wanderlust. The script is excellent, every performance is worthy of an award, Davis and Sarandon are a wonderful partnership, and the cinematography is beautiful, working well with the soundtrack. Scott is known for his ability to capture an image, and his visual style here is very strong.

The plot sees two women going on a weekend trip to get away from their mundane, housewife style everyday lives. When a man is killed after an attempted rape, they find themselves on the run, wondering whether they should give themselves up, or continue together. As the film moves on, their bond grows, and the ambiguous ending will continue to be discussed for many years. One of the best films of the nineties, and worth watching again to remind ourselves of the time when Feminism seemed like a movement gathering momentum rather than the fractured one many see it as today.

The DVD is filled with excellent special features – a highly illuminating documentary and a variety of key deleted scenes mean that this is an essential purchase for movie fans.

Amazon Vine Freebies -February 2014

In February the food feast continued, but Amazon decided I needed to start burning off all that Christmas fat by offering me an assortment of fitness related treats. It also saw the pleasing return of the free DVD.

Peacock: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Peacock-DVD-Cillian-Murphy/dp/B00GDEZLS8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=8-1&keywords=peacock+cillian

A nice, understated psych-drama with a strong cast, this won’t be one for everyone, but will be of interest for anyone who enjoys slow-burning thrillers, thought-provoking dramas, and cross-dressing Irishmen.

Not For Parents Europe: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-For-Parents-Europe-Everything/dp/174321913X/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1408712421&sr=8-7&keywords=not+for+parents+europe

A Lonely Planet/Horrible Histories style book aimed at pre-teens covering some of Europe’s most important figures and moments. Lots of interesting information delivered in a bright and breezy manner, with plenty of gruesome tidbits to keep kids engaged.

Perfect Fitness AB Carver Pro Ultrawide Wheel – Black, Size 1: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Fitness-Carver-Ultrawide-Wheel/dp/B00COQ2X94/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408712505&sr=8-1&keywords=ab+carver

It took a while for me to understand what the hell this was and how it worked, and after realizing I had put the handles on upside-down, I was finally able to start using it. Actually provides a stern workout, but you will look like a tool using it, especially beside the motorway if that is somewhere you would choose to workout. It’s extra wide too, meaning you can mow down both the cat and dog.

Alpen Fruit & Nuts Trail Bar 48g x 3 (Pack of 11, 33 bars in total): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alpen-Fruit-Nuts-Trail-total/dp/B00HBR7WFG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408712781&sr=8-1&keywords=Alpen+Fruit+%26+Nuts+Trail+Bar+48g+x+3

Sore on the jaw, but good for the soul – Alpen!