Bridesmaids is the opposite of the recent spate of chick flicks.  Actually good and involving, it’s a wonder why others haven’t taken the care needed in their scripts as this has.  That’s a good thing as it carves its own niche with some finely drawn situations ringing true.  Those averse to such films needn’t worry as this group of bridesmaids aren’t too hellish to hang out with.


When Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets married, she asks her friends Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Helen (Rose Byrne) to be bridesmaids.  Although each has their own issues in life, it’s Annie who seems hardest hit.  Stuck in a dead-end job and in a doomed relationship, she tries to push these aside for Lillian’s sake.  When more problems surface her predilection for self-destruction goes into over-drive threatening to turn Lillian’s special day into a nightmare.


Directed by Paul Feig and produced by current comedy maestro Judd Apatow, Bridesmaids has his stamp all over it.  Those who loved Knocked Up and Superbad will like this as its female characters behave very badly.  A cross between Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City in tone, its comedy arises from the various dilemmas Annie endures and how she handles them.  When she thinks she has hit rock bottom, she goes further with Kristen Wiig a genuine new talent and wonderful in the role.


Like any good comedies there is more underneath its veneer of gross out gags and outlandish buffoonery.  It examines how a woman’s best friends cope with being not the only friend in her life.  In Annie’s case her jealousy at Helen’s close friendship with Lillian sinks her further into a pit of despair.  The destructive actions which eventuate are more of a reflection of how she copes with her feelings.  Although some of the characters aren’t as well utilised in its narrative, these elements are expertly tied into the mix of comedy and drama Bridesmaids attempt to express.


Funny, insightful and more substantial than the usual comedic fluff, Bridesmaids isn’t a chore to endure.  It should prove popular with a broad audience, although hopefully one never meets such strange bridesmaids in real life!


Rating out of 10:  7

Super 8


Hollywood is in a nostalgic mood these days.  This would account for so many sequels, remakes and movies echoing the spirit of those from yesteryear.  Super 8 continues this tradition with the sort of movie rarely seen.  Filled with genuine soul and yet highly entertaining, this coming of age/sci-fi mash up works.  Due to J.J. Abrams astute direction it reveals that even America’s cinematic money-men can be sentimental.

In 1979 a group of friends make a film with their Super 8 camera.  Filming what they think is a masterpiece, their efforts are quickly forgotten when they witness a train crash.  Days after the event, people mysteriously vanish and Joe (Joel Courtney) and Charles (Riley Griffiths) attempt to find answers.  Helped by Joe’s father Deputy Sherriff Jackson (Kyle Chandler) they discover something inhuman has escaped and attempt to prevent their town from being destroyed.

Super 8’s story is obviously close to J.J. Abrams heart.  Admitting he learnt his trade as a youngster with that very device, he’s part of a current generation who are now making films.  Which is just as well as this is a very fine production recalling E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Given Steven Spielberg produced this it shouldn’t come as any surprise with the long missing element of youthful wonder making a welcome return.  As the young friends deal with this alien menace, their own personal issues are shown in a believable way as to give events added textures.

Like his re-make of Star Trek, Abrams keeps it simple - a group of people deal with an alien menace – the end.  It makes a refreshing change from many recent over-blown epics with some good characterisation enabling one to care what happens.  Whilst the CGI alien is mostly hidden, its appearance somewhat goes against the concept of harking back to less CGI reliant films. Maybe that was too much to ask for these days, although it doesn’t spoil what is a very well made ode to a bygone era.

One can only extend gratitude to those involved with Super 8’s creation as it consistently entertains.  Nostalgia may not always be what it’s cracked up to be, but occasionally looking back can be comforting with Super 8 a wistful reminder of how good commercially minded films once were.

Rating out of 10: 9


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