Cinema Days & Tweet-Friendly Film Reviews – Magic Mike, The Amazing Spider-Man & Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

This article is sponsored by Costa, whose earl grey tea and delicious brownies helped me power through a Cinema Day this weekend.

For those who don’t know, a Cinema Day is a magical time when a person or group of persons (pfft!) venture to the cinema all day to enjoy multiple bouts of projected escapism, babies crying and fat people coughing up half chewed Doritos into the unfortunate person in front’s hair.

I’ve always thought positively of, and preferred, people going to the cinema by themselves. We don’t go to the cinema to have a good chat with our friends (unless you do, in which case I want Alex Pettyfer to straddle you with his spindly legs and put his junk in your face à la his arrogant character in Magic Mike); we go to the cinema to have our eyes opened to new things, to be entertained and enthralled or simply to realize just how much a sombre Steve Carrell dealing with the impending apocalypse makes us want to incessantly sob.

Cinema Days also used to be a very costly event, especially once you take into account the dangerously large number of high calorie snacks you smother yourself with over the day’s run, but then the Cineworld Unlimited Card came along. It really does surprise me that other cinemas don’t offer a similar deal. £15* a month to see as many films as you want?  Genius!

* There are, admittedly, additional charges for 3D films, glasses, IMAX and/or D-Box.

One of my first ever Cinema Days was in 2002. I don’t remember what else I saw that day, but I vividly remember my final film was Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie. I recall as I ran from the auditorium (partly because Nickelback’s ‘Hero’ plays over the film’s credits) I was so pumped, pretending to shoot webbing out of my wrists, kissing imaginary Kirsten Dunsts and swinging around streetlight poles. It’s very comforting to know that cinema (and Cinema Days) can be a constant in our lives as I remember doing the exact same thing coming out of The Amazing Spider-Man – except this time kissing imaginary Emma Stones and thankfully not hearing a note of Nickelback.

Cinema Days are also an excellent opportunity to experiment with watching diverse films and – unless you’re extremely unlucky – you get to go home that day having seen at least one extraordinary film. (As opposed to going out to see one film and it being rubbish, leaving you feeling like you’ve wasted your time.) This weekend I celebrated such diversity by seeing Magic Mike, The Amazing Spider-Man and Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World.

Because three full reviews would be too time consuming for me to write and for you to read after this self-indulgent article I have attached three Twitter-friendly reviews below.

Cinema Days have been and shall remain a staple in my cinema-going ways for a long time to come. Even when I have the whole of London to discover, all-day cinema trips remind me of being a kid in my hometown’s decrepit Odeon, exploring multiple worlds from the comfort of a scraggly chair.

Magic Mike Mini-Review

Channing Tatum, the six foot tall neck and Alex Pettyfer, the greasy-haired mopey nonce show off some exciting striptease moves. At an hour too long, if Steven Soderbergh put as much effort into the film’s plot as he does into putting a sepia filter over every shot Magic Mike might have actually kept me awake in between dances.

The Amazing Spider-Man Mini-Review

There are no emos but there are plenty of hipsters. Tobey’s wimp has been replaced by a confident Garfield, and hyperbole campiness has been replaced by heart and grit. It may rehash but it’s got ample to flash. A strong opening for what could promise to be a great superhero franchise.

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World Mini-Review

Steve Carrell somehow makes Keira Knightley likeable as the two of them attempt to track down loved ones in their final days before the end of all life on Earth. Their tale is consistently hilarious and simultaneously tear-jerking. An extremely powerful film that sucker-punches your heart from start to end.

To read more about the Cineworld Unlimited card click here. To learn more about how much Nickelback sucks click here.


Out Now – 13th July 2012

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
I am far from up to date with this particular franchise and am hoping that with the natural progression of time the Ice Age will simply end taking the franchise with it. If they dare to have the characters become frozen in ice at the end of the film ready to thaw out in modern-day America in the next film then I will only have myself to blame for suggesting it in this very sentence.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Lovely comedy about love at the end of the world. I highly recommend this film. For anyone who finds Steve Carell unfunny and Keira Knightley irritating there is an adorable dog you could focus on instead.

Tortoise in Love (limited release)
British comedy about the love between a gardener and Polish au pair. The tortoise in question is the gardener as he is very slow at making a move, romantically speaking. He also bloody loves lettuce but it is less key to the overall plot.

Chariots of Fire (limited release)
Re-release of classic 80s British drama about Britain doing rather well in the athletics at the Olympics in the ’20s. I saw it, I liked it, what more do you want?

Nostalgia for the Light (limited release)
“In Chile’s Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body parts of loved ones, dumped unceremoniously by Pinochet’s regime.” Right. Good.

The Giants (limited release)
Two teenage brothers rent out their dead Grandfather’s house to a drug dealer and “things don’t go exactly as planned”. Honestly, what did they expect would happen? I hope they took a security deposit.

Electrick Children (limited release)
A 15-year-old Mormon falls pregnant and claims immaculate conception by music but her parents aren’t convinced. Let’s face it, the immaculate conception excuse has only really worked once and people are much more cynical nowadays.

Detachment (limited release)
Adrien Brody is a substitute teacher who forms one of those unlikely friendships with a teenage prostitute. I imagine they have something to teach each other and come out all the better for it.

Salute (limited release)
“The black power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was an iconic moment in the US civil rights movement. What part did the white Australian who ran second play and what price did these athletes pay for standing up for their beliefs?” I do not know the answer to these questions. Someone see the film and let me know?

The Soul of Flies (limited release)
“A magic realism tale of two brothers who meet for the first time on the way to their father’s funeral, who they never knew. A journey where memories are mixed with dreams, and death is just another character.” What is magic realism!?

The Prey (limited release)
A bank robber trusts a suspected rapist/child molester with the location of his loot in the hope that he will take care of his family while he serves out the sentence for his robbery. Learning more about the possibly murderous rapist, the bank robber escapes from prison to protect his family. What a week!

Comes a Bright Day (limited release)
Romantic thriller set during the armed robbery of a London jewellers. Craig Roberts from Submarine stars so the film is probably a little bit good at least.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Film Review

At the start of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World we learn that the last attempt to stop an asteroid from colliding with the Earth has failed and human life has just three weeks left in existence. Dodge (Steve Carell) hears the news on his car radio and moments later his wife runs from the car, not wanting to spend what is left of her life with our bland lead. Dodge is an uncomplicated man of habit and continues to turn up to his day job in spite of the impending apocalypse. Following a few minor plot points Dodge is embarking on a road trip to track down his childhood sweetheart with his young free-spirited neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) with hilarious and moving consequences.

For a Steve Carell comedy the humour is for the most part quite genuine and understated. Towards the start the comedy threatens to become too broad but never quite breaches and throughout Carell is playing the straight man rather than rolling out another “wacky character”. I much prefer it this way round. With Carell playing a real human type it is a lot easier to buy into the emotional story at the heart of this plot.

Refreshingly the apocalypse takes a back seat for a change. As we join the story after all attempts to avert disaster have been abandoned we don’t ever need to spend time in a NASA control room or in the President’s Oval Office instead focussing on characters and their individual reactions to the end of the world. It’s all about emotions and human relationships and more specifically the last blossoming friendship between repressed Dodge and hippy hipster Penny.

Knightley as Penny is also playing a strangely endearing character much less removed from reality than her roles can sometimes seem. The film completely manipulated me and had me falling for Penny over the course of an hour and a half. Seeking a Friend deploys the now classic trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl with Knightley’s Penny performing the thankless task of bringing Dodge out of his shell and being a hipster’s dream woman. The poor girl has an obsession with vinyl records and suffers from adorable hypersomnia. I’d criticise the film more for this if I weren’t so damned attracted to Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a pitch perfect comedy. The humour for the most part was quite subtle with Steve Carell reigning himself in nicely and even the broader moments were genuinely funny and were within the tone of the film. Keira Knightley is fantastic and for a change you can see why someone would fall for her so quickly. The film is also really touching, demonstrating in the most literal sense that if you love something, let it go. I laughed, I cried, and I can’t wait to see it again.

P.S. There’s also an adorable dog called Sorry, but he doesn’t really do much.