Sunday, October 29, 2006

Recent Films

Stay – a strange 2005 movie with Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and others. A psychiatrist tries to intervene to prevent a suicide. Pretentious, yet clever movie. Time warped story telling is a it of a currrent fad.

Greenfingers – based on a true story with Clive Owen and others. Prisoners find solace in gardening and enter a major garden show. Good story, well executed with Helen Mirren playing the grand dame of gardening. An outstanding performance by David Kelly (O'Reilly the builder from Fawlty Towers) as an aged Irish prisoner who is dying of cancer.

School Ties – Matt Damon, Ben Aflick, Chris O’Donnel in a 1992 (pre Good Will Hunting) movie about a posh school who admits a jewish boy because of his skills on the football field. Prejudice is the basis of the story. Good movie – interesting.

Bounce – Ben AflicK, Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Edwards in this 2002 movie – nicely written and filmed. A man switches his plane ticket with another man and the plane crashes. Aflick loses himself in self pity and connects to the dead man’s wife and children…the story follows.

Niagara Motel – an odd group of people living in and around a motel tell provide the basis for these interlinked stories. Interesting small Canadian film, made in 2005.

Angel of Death – set in Seville in Spain and starring Mira Sorvino (who does not include this film in her IMB filmography under this title but uses the Spanish Semana Santa)about the avenging angels of a mother raped by the fascists. Not a bad film.

The American President – Anette Benning and Michael Douglas do a fine job of playing out a comedy with a message circa 1995 (pre Bush II). OK, its not a great movie, but its well done and both of these starts are at their best. Nice role for Michael J Fox (who now appears on political ads and gets the ire of Rush Limbaugh – he has also done a lot in Boston Legal and has a new film coming out in 2007).

Friends with Money – I had thought that Jennifer Aniston was become a skilled, quality actress after her appearance in Derailed. Sadly, she is in this pile of pants. Ego drivel, self centred shite from start to finish. Nothing redeemable about this film, other than the site of JA dressed in a sexy maid’s outfit. However, by the time this very short scene appeared, I was snoring… Poor writing, sloppy editing, no attempt at drama. Its pure California angst crap. JA made a big mistake doing this film.

The Break Up – Ms Aniston slightly redeems herself in this much better written and acted movie, thanks to Vince Vaughn (who wrote some of the script and was producer on this film). It’s a clever idea, well executed and you get to see JA nude (ish).

The Devil Wears Prada – a fun film, with the ever wonderful Meryl Streep and the very beautiful Anne Hathaway (Brokeback Mountain, Havoc, The Princess Diaries). Streep is excellent as the demanding boss (one or two of my colleagues didn’t see anything “devil” like in this performance at all – they saw as like some of the boss’s they have worked for) and the story line is strong (though at time far fetched).

The Da Vinci Code – a lot depends on whether you have read the book (I have). The book is far fetched, so is the film. The book is full of errors, so is the film. The plot line is basically silly in the book, so is the film. So get over these issues and see it as pure entertainment. Hanks is good as the lead character, but he is overshadowed by the acting strength of Audrey Tauto (Dirty Pretty Things, No Where to Go But Up and many French films) who plays Agent Sophie Neveu. The other strong performance here is from Paul Bettany (Wimbledon, Master and Commander), who plays Silas. Worth watching.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest – not a good sequel. Too long, too convoluted, too much of a pastiche. Depp is actually taking the “p” out of his portrait of Capt. Jack Sparrow. Too flighty.

Kinky Boots – a great UK film in the tradition of good northern comedy dramas like the Full Monty. A shoe factory is likely to go out of business unless the recent CEO (by inheritance) can find a niche product to manufacture and sell. Boots for transvestites is the answer (obviously!), Based on a true story, this film revolved around one super piece of acting by Chewetel Ejiofor (Melinda and Melinda, Canterbury Tales, Dirty Pretty Things, Amistad). He is very convincing as an ex boxer turned transvestite called Lola. Good story, nice realistic drama. Favourite line comes from Lola’s landlady who asks “Are you a man or a woman?”. Lola hesitates (dramatically) and answers “a man” – then the landlady says “Oh that’s fine, just needed to know how to leave the toilet seat when I clean…” – landlady played by the Welsh character actress of undertimed age, Gwenllian Davies (Little Britain, Onegin..).

The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio – another true story finds its way onto film. Julianne Moore plays a woman who keeps her family together by entering and winning competitions. Woody Harrelson plays the lingering, lackluster husband who loafs and squanders while the family struggles.

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