Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2011) (Review)

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[Credit: CBS Films]
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Salmon Fishing In The Yemen follows Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) and Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) as they attempt to bring a wealthy sheikh’s vision of fly-fishing in Yemen to fruition. The film also stars Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas and is directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Casanova, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale).


Upon reading the synopsis for Salmon Fishing, I genuinely thought it would be one of those films that appealed the most to someone like myself. The slow-burner flick that places emphasis on the characters and their development while the simple plot is progressed and concluded at the end of its shorter run-time. In the most extreme examples, something like Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy or the film that makes jury duty invigorating, 12 Angry Men – these grade-A films manage to enthrall the viewer with its phenomenal writing and intriguing characters while having arguably some of the simplest plot synopsises in film history (ie. so a couple walk around a beautiful city for three films and 12 jurors are stuck debating a murder case…)

While Salmon Fishing is heightened with its cast of brilliantly talented actors and hysterical British humour, it ultimately falls flat with its vast pacing issues and (I hate to say it) rather unlikable characters. Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor give delightful performances despite the predictability of where their characters would end up from the getgo and strange reasonings for why their respective relationships fall apart – Alfred’s wife Mary (Rachael Stirling) neglects to tell him when she’s going on a work trip and wants him to keep his comfy government job because it’s fantastic money for working in the frigging Ministry Of Fisheries. Harriet, who kicks all the ass with her financial advising, and her boyfriend Robert (Tom Milson) have dated for 3 weeks and he must go to war so she and Alfred can bond over their mutual troubles. I understand the various intricacies involved with relationships and of course I’m aware that my condensed version isn’t the only reason for them to have issues. Unfortunately the combined charisma of Blunt and McGregor wasn’t enough for me to give any kind of care for their characters and their journey to getting together. I’d also like to reiterate on that pacing issue as this film is less than 2 hours long, however it felt painstakingly longer. No amount of beauty emanating from Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt is worth it.

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[Credit: CBS Films]

Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) was also a walking Hallmark card. Everything that came out his mouth related to the existential struggle of a person and he was the source of plenty of the cheesiness involved with the film. If anything, Conleth Hill was the standout of the film with his portrayal of Bernard, the lethargic boss of Alfred’s. His “I-am-completely-over-this” face his character had throughout the film and his various quips made me pine for a spinoff where it just shows his everyday experience at the Fisheries Ministry.

Humour Resides Where Men Believe It Resides

The strength of the film lies with those quips that had me laughing out loud. I’d occasionally snap out of the monotonous funk I was in courtesy of the witty dialogue uttered out of Alfred and the hilarious messages between the Prime Minster and his Press Secretary, Patricia (Kristin Scott Thomas). I’m a lover of the dryest of the dry humour (the dryer the better, I always say) and thankfully the humour present in the film made me enjoy it as much as I had.

Lest we forget that disgustingly gorgeous Scottish Highlands backdrop I first noticed in 2012’s Skyfall. Thanks to that James Bond installment, I will now perpetually notice any film where such a lush and beautiful landscape is featured.

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Skyfall | Columbia Pictures

If you’re looking for a visually and humorously pleasing film with some stellar actors portraying less than stellar characters, check out Salmon Fishing In The Yemen.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen receives 2.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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The Girl On The Train (2016) Movie Review

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The Girl on The Train, quite possibly the most beautiful & fantastically acted Lifetime movie I’ve ever seen.

The Basic Premise

Based on the crazily popular novel of the same name, The Girl on the Train tells the story of unreliable alcoholic Rachel, brilliantly portrayed by Emily Blunt, as she becomes a suspect in the disappearance of Megan (Haley Bennett), a woman Rachel desperately adores because she built up a story in her head about her while traveling on the train.

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Now I will say, there was a moment or two in this movie where I was completely locked in and wanted to see what would occur following these moments, which is mostly due to the incredible performances by the main group of the film, with Blunt & Haley Bennett/Jennifer Lawrence‘s long lost sister being the standouts. Their performances were fantastic and Blunt’s drunken state acting was SUPERB! I truly believe our future Mary Poppins can do no wrong and again, she is fantastic as Rachel, it’s just a shame she wasn’t given dialogue that was great as her performance. Rebecca Ferguson (aka my favourite part of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), Luke Evans Justin Theroux gave pretty great performances as well, I loved Theroux’s range of emotion he was able to express with his character because he had a couple scenes that showcased his talent at being angry. I also loved the scenes between Bennett’s character Megan and Edgar Ramirez’s Dr. Abdic. Their chemistry was present and it was pretty intriguing  to watch.

As I mentioned before, if these guys were given a script with dialogue that matched their performances, this would easily be a mystery thriller that rivalled Fincher’s Gone Girl. Unfortunately there are a bunch of clichés riddled throughout the movie that took me out of it and immediately reminded me of those movies on Wednesday night a group of Suburban moms watch with a box of wine and an array of chocolates.

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live footage of myself on Wednesday nights

How Were The Other Aspects Of The Film?

I did like the colour palette used since it felt nice and bright for certain sequences then dark & grey the next… The symbolism and all was not lost on me, trust me. There are also certain shots that were framed nicely however there were a few instances of weird slow-mo used that felt hysterically out of place. It’s like they would do a close up on Emily Blunt’s face prior to a big revelation occurring then it suddenly… slows… down… And I’m like, “why did you choose to utilize this technique, Tate Taylor? This doesn’t add anything to anything!”

The movie is paced relatively well, however the few moments that slowed down the picture really grinded it to a halt (my one Train reference and I promise that’s all) which caused it to feel a smidgen longer than its runtime of an hour and 53 minutes. They crammed an incredible amount of shit into the film during its final moments and, as someone who read the book way back when, it stays very true to the novel.

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If you’re a fan of film adaptations that follow its source material to a tee and are looking for a thriller to rent or watch on Netflix on a rainy Saturday night, check out The Girl With The Train Tattoo Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire.


The Girl On The Train receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.

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sources used: [1], [2], [3]

The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016) Movie Review

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Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron walk into a movie, the result of that? An incredibly sub par picture


The second unit director & visual effects supervisor of the first Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) movie, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, helms this prequel/sequel to the surprising 2012 hit. I will say, this was a pretty looking movie and I firmly hold the belief that Chris Hemsworth can charm the milk out of chocolate… That’s pretty much all I can say for it. The performances of the aforementioned three ridiculously talented actresses are completely wasted in The Huntsman 2/1. Blunt, Theron and Chastain are some of the greatest working actresses today, with Jessica Chastain being one of my own personal favourites… I hate to say it but these performances were phoned in entirely and it is a shame that these four weren’t starring in a completely different movie because I think that would’ve been way better than what we got.

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“Why are we in this?” “… I’m saving up for Lawless 2

As mentioned, it is a nice looking movie and I thoroughly enjoyed the Frozen-esque VFX aspect to it, frankly Elsa should’ve been freezing shit up as much as Freya was. Hemsworth and Chastain had tremendous chemistry together and I hope they work together in the future because I can’t imagine how fantastic they would be together in a movie that isn’t this one. Charlize Theron was fine but you can tell she is only this because she probably owed director Troyan a favour and Emily Blunt… Ooooooooh wee the Redmayne Ascending syndrome struck her.

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It is not particularly engaging, it drones on quite a bit but I did appreciate the motivation behind Freya’s anger. It’s really stupid but I appreciate it. Also I’m certain I wasn’t the only one that saw the final outcome between the sisters coming from a mile away, right? There are dwarves too that served as comic relief and they made me laugh a few times. It really is an incredibly underwhelming movie and one of those movies where you will catch the tail end of it when it’s on the Space channel or something.


If you’re looking for a ridiculously entertaining take on the fantasy genre, this probably isn’t the movie for you. If you’re a fan of the original Snow White and the Huntsman and want to see Chris Hemsworth be charismatic and charming (and really, who doesn’t?), check out The Huntsman: War on Mirrors.


The Huntsman receives 2.5/5 Matt Damon heads

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