Movie review entries
February 20, 2006
Elizabethtown sees the divinely yummy Orlando Bloom finally pretending to be an American, starring against the wonderfully southern Kirsten Dunst in this most peculiar romantic comedy. A fellow audience member likened it to the Garden State – it has the same note of off-key peculiarity, even though I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Blooms mother tap-dancing at her husbands funeral to 'Moonriver' is perhaps one example, the paper eagle that flew accross the room on a pulley system catching fire also provides that off-key humour which prevented this film being dull. Bloom acquitted himself well as a shoe designer facing ruin, going to face an army of southern relatives to claim his fathers body for cremation. Dunst plays chirpy and slightly bizarre commitment phobe Claire Colburn, an air hostess who seems insistent on helping the young Drew Baylor from the moment she sees him on the phone.
Claire's quirky-ness begins to grate by the end of the film, and I began to wonder whether she was psychotic. Similarly, Drew Baylors tragic self pity had the potential to be annoying. In traditional holly-wood style, each helps the other past their neuroses, and the film ends with Bloom being led on a treasure hunt, at one end of which, Dunst has placed herself. Unusually, I did not invest in the relationship as I would have expected to – instead I was absorbed by the quirky details and outer story of the film.
Perhaps my biggest objection is that we never hear what was so terrible about Baylors shoe – it suugests lazy-ness on the part of the writers, and leaves one black mark on a pretty unsmirched copy-book.
Sweet, funny, and quirky – definatly worth seeing once!
February 10, 2006
- In Her Shoes
Hmm, well what to say about a film I've never heard of before. A predictable chick-flick, two sisters, disastrously are thrust together, etc etc. Cameron Diaz stars as the lazy yet disastrously attractive floozy Maggie, while her sister Rose (Toni Collette) provides a picture of virgoan anality with a career as a lawyer, nice apartment and secret collection of beautiful, impractical, and unworn Jimmy-Choos. Chucked out by her outraged step-mother, Maggie seeks refuge at her sisters house, slowly driving her round the bend with her attention seeking, slovenly behaviour. Things come to a head when Maggie gets Rose's car clamped, and is unceremoniously chucked out. As she packs, Rose's secret partner (a senior colleague) comes to the door, and is faced with a scantily clad Maggie, who is quite happy to step in in her sisters absence. Cue messy break up scene. Boyfriend rapidly exits, stage left, Maggie goes to visit her mothers mother, mysteriously absent after her mothers death at an early age. Rose, by some happy coincidences begins a dog-walking service, which manages to maintain her previous lifestyle. During her stay with the Miami old folks, Maggie learns to care for others, and we slowly realise that she has long suffered from Dyslexia, slowly overcome by an elderly patient with an obsession with Elizabeth Bishop. Anyway, long story short, eventually the whole family get back together again – Rose finds love with an old, slightly peculiar colleague, and eventually the two sisters realise that blood is thicker than … whatever.
Perhaps slightly over long, the film has a certain quality which resists dismissal as yet another chick flick romance. The two sisters performance is genuinely touching, once I got over wondering what precisely they had done to make Diaz's boobs so big! It also avoids the major pitfall of most films of the genre – having a man provide the solution to Rose and Maggie's personal dilemmas. Instead the two sisters have to work out their own problems, before they can set about salvaging Rose's relationships. Maggie's portrayal of a 'slow reader' is again convincing and emotional – not a massive tear-jerker, but a couple of single drops might be expected. Certainly better than quite a lot of things I've seen recently!
February 04, 2006
Hmmm, well tonight I finally saw Serenity. Am I right in thinking it Joss Whedon's first venture on to the big screen? Its certainly not Buffy, anyway. Definately a lack of cool, well groomed women in this one (I mean, River, the lead girl is quite hot, but in a waifish, largely pathetic way. And her face is always lined and her eyes are always baggaged) I guess some of the other peripheral women were kick ass. Anyway, fisrt thoughts were:
'She looks rough' (river)
'He's the guy from Kinky Boots' (Chiwetel Eijofar – when you've seen him in a dress, you just can't take him seriously)
'This is fun'
So yeah, the movie is fun. I wouldn't say its mind-blowing, or that its rocked a genre, or any other of the astonishing reviews it seems to have gotton. (See the filmsoc review archive for example). But it is fun. And some of the one liners got a roll-around laugh from the audience, which is always brilliant. The storyline is not original, but interesting, and the characters of the reevers are genuinely inspired – not only thier existence – they are creepy and pretty terryfying, but also their creation – I won't ruin it for you, but its a nice little nuggest added in towards the end.
Back to the cross dressing Chiwetal Eijofar (what a name!) who plays the Operative. The Operative is one of the most interesting characters – a danger because he is a true believer that what he is doing in right. Eventually, of course, he is 're-educated' but this is perhaps the greated tragedy of all. Like Javert, in Les Mis, The Operative has his entire belief system pulled out from underhim, although it is one of the greatest weaknesses of the film that he basically lives, makes friends with the rebels, and seems to go on existing in pretty much the same way as he has before. A symbolic death, 'falling on his own sword' was called for, and Whedon disappointingly didn't deliver.
RIver, as I have mentioned was a little disappointing – perhaps more of the human river would have been appreciated, although it would have been hard to achieve. The floaty dresses are also a bit much – whoever heard of an assassin dressed as a peasant girl?!?! Her brother had an almost abnormally masculine chin – a small marr on an otherwise remarkably attractive man :) The captain, Mal, while having most of the funny one liners was too much a 'tortured leader' to be truly interesting.
The real kudos however goes to the more peripheral characters – the other crew members. The death of the pilot (whose name I can't remember) is perhaps the most shocking that could have been devised. All the crew members were characters well crafted and well played, and they certainly deserve a round of applause for thier human portrayals of thier 'rebels'
Overall, I'd say enjoyable but not earth-shattering. A good action sci-fi, well written and directed, with some moments of genius, and some poor choices made. Engaging and good fun – and an excellent and smooth transition for Whedon to the big screen!