Ms. Potter

april122007_mspotter.jpgBeatrix Potter in this movie, is an artist and a 32 year old woman forced to bear with the whims of a social climbing mother and a society that has yet to recognize the value of women in, well, any role other than that of the traditional, which in the 1800s was fairly limited. You were expected to remain loyal to your parent’s every whim, you are not allowed to be alone with a man without an escort, higher education was optional and basically you just hung around waiting for someone suitable (in your parent’s eyes) to court you, marry him, have his children and mold your daughters to do same.

That’s pretty much it. A boring, staid and predictable life.

Which can also be said for for how this movie could have turned out. First of all all those first scenes where she starts talking to her drawings could have been interpreted as her going cuckoo. I’m not sure if the director meant that, but there it is. I thought, at the start of the movie, that we were going to deal with a woman who was slightly nuts, and I was worried I’d have to sit through an hour and a half of that.

I’m glad it didn’t.

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The Queen Movie Review

april072007_thequeen.jpgDuty first, self second‘ is a powerful statement that befits the (preferred) behaviour of all those seated in power across the world. In fact one would think, the higher and greater the power, the more applicable such a rule. Inasmuch as this is true, obviously the fact of the world at the moment is farthest from that statement.

Herewith then, is a reminder of that statement and the acting out of it’s meaning, served up by Stephen Rears, Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Dame Helen Mirren as the Queen, in a performance that garnered her an Oscar Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for 2007. An amazing feat and one of many reasons to view this film, and inasmuch as her understated work is a true sight to behold for me, just another reason to view it still.

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The Queen

april072007_thequeen.jpgDuty first, self second‘ is a powerful statement that befits the (preferred) behaviour of all those seated in power across the world. In fact one would think, the higher and greater the power, the more applicable such a rule. Inasmuch as this is true, obviously the fact of the world at the moment is farthest from that statement.

Herewith then, is a reminder of that statement and the acting out of it’s meaning, served up by Stephen Rears, Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Dame Helen Mirren as the Queen, in a performance that garnered her an Oscar Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for 2007. An amazing feat and one of many reasons to view this film, and inasmuch as her understated work is a true sight to behold for me, just another reason to view it still.

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The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is a movie about a great part of the life of Chris Gardner, a man who went through near – unsurpassable obstacles to reach success in his life – that is, success in the sense that he makes good money by running a profitable business and providing for his family, and unsurpassable obstacles in the sense that he had to at one point – lock the door at a men’s Oakland subway station’s bathroom so he can sleep there at night.

You can imagine that this is a true inspirational, dramatic sobfest, and it is. It leaves no doubt that Chris Gardner, who made his money via the stock market, is a man made of true stern stuff. His determination and single – minded purpose is incredible, regardless of how he is interpreted by Will Smith. And I say that because Will Smith is a truly impressive character just as well, but I’ll get to that a little later on.

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300

I gather that a great number of girls as well as men are raving about 300. And as we speak, the movie has broken 3.12 million US last weekend, and I am amongst those completely unsurprised.

Yet as I left the theatre, why was I not raving about it as all those other men and women? For sure, it kept me quite enraptured throughout. It is a visual feast like no other I’ve seen in a very long time. I can only think, maybe, of The Curse of the Golden Flower or any of it’s other Asian cousins such as The House of The Flying Daggers to compare to the grand imagery of thousands upon thousands of warriors in battle, but even these pale in comparison to how grand this one turned out.

Images of Spartans, properly and as near identical to the original comic book series (I am assured), make this movie a guaranteed classic. An astounding visual array of fantastic special effects, award – winning CGI and a tremendous effort throughout.

Not to mention the brilliant casting of Gerald Butler as the tough, virtuous King Leonidas, who singlehandedly imo, brings to this movie an aspect the effects cannot. And that is acting out an interesting, well – formed character in the King – made a wholly believable person entirely due to him.

Even better is Rodrigo Santoro as the threatening, overwhelming Xerxes, whose “I am kind.” monologue somewhere in the 3rd act is a thunderstorm of a performance. Almost like a dance, near trance like he convinces Ephialtes, the disillusioned, disfigured Spartan to change sides, leading Leonidas and crew to their death. So compelling is that scene I wished I could rewind it at the movie theatre to see it over again.

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Review of Casino Royale

Of all the James Bond books, Casino Royale happened to be the first one I read when I was in high school. I remember it was a boring summer, and after watching one of Roger Moore‘s outings (which I remember to be Moonraker), I wanted more. I also remember choosing it because it was the first of the series, and besides it wasn’t thick enough to overwhelm me.

Imagine my surprise then, when instead of the rather comical, space age type story I was expecting, I instead got a very intense, very serious story about a secret agent whom, while passionate about his work, was conflicted between it and the mutual attraction developing between him and British Treasury official Vesper Lynd. Deciding to pursue a quiet life with Lynd, a twist evolves when Lynd admits she is a double agent and commits suicide in order to spare him, leaving a note assuring him of her love. Bond is hurt and humiliated, but reveals later still his genuine feelings for her.

Read the rest of my review of Casino Royale at Movie Exchange.

Casino Royale

Of all the James Bond books, Casino Royale happened to be the first one I read when I was in high school. I remember it was a boring summer, and after watching one of Roger Moore‘s outings (which I remember to be Moonraker), I wanted more. I also remember choosing it because it was the first of the series, and besides it wasn’t thick enough to overwhelm me.

Imagine my surprise then, when instead of the rather comical, space age type story I was expecting, I instead got a very intense, very serious story about a secret agent whom, while passionate about his work, was conflicted between it and the mutual attraction developing between him and British Treasury official Vesper Lynd. Deciding to pursue a quiet life with Lynd, a twist evolves when Lynd admits she is a double agent and commits suicide in order to spare him, leaving a note assuring him of her love. Bond is hurt and humiliated, but reveals later still his genuine feelings for her.

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American Dreamz

Low on budget but high on star quality, low on eye candy but high on story, low on effects but great on entertainment value.

This is what I think of American Dreamz, and when you’ve watched it, you’ll hopefully agree that it’s the type that’s best appreciated the way it is.

It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a good satire, and Dreamz delivers like a Fedex truck. It makes fun of everything and everyone – politics, popular talent shows, people behind those talent shows, terrorists, celebrities, basically everyone who’s ever though a little too highly of themselves. This movie just brings it on.

Plot

The plot is simple. American Dreamz is a wildly popular talent show hosted by Martin Tweed (Hugh Grant), (do I need to indicate what show it criticizes?), and the movie follows the stories of its latest discoveries Sally Kendoo (Mandy Moore) and Omar Obeidi (Sam Golzari).

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Miami Vice

There are many ways Miami Vice could have sucked. They could’ve dwelled on the past. The espadrilles and white blazers. The classic Ferraris and the flashy guns.

The boats, the music, the fashion, all of which Miami Vice had a great impact on in the 80s. Any of which could have been the basis for a movie, considering that many movie remakes these days are willing to work with anything no matter how shallow. It could’ve even gone the Starsky and Hutch comedic route, and it’d still probably be a hit. Besides, you already had Jamie Foxx there, playing Det. Rico Tubbs, which used to be played by Philip Michael Thomas, whose Hollywood star went kaput after the TV series. Foxx would’ve had us rolling on the floor laughing our guts out with material like that.

Instead, Michael Mann wrote the single most stylish, exciting movie I’ve yet to see this year, and the only one I wouldn’t mind seeing over again.

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RV – Runaway Vacation

There’s not much to say about RV – Runaway Vacation, so maybe doing it bullet point style I’ll make it more readable:

  • First Robin Williams film I’ve seen after quite a while.
  • Starring pop singer ‘JoJo’ Levesque who’s fast becoming a star and who did fairly well with her role, so fans would definitely want to see her in this one.
  • Basically a story about the chief character’s (Williams) attempt to try and get his dysfunctional family to spend time together via a cross country trip in an RV (recreation vehicle), while at the same time trying not to miss an important presentation to merge an upstart soda company with his bigger company, run by tyrant boss Will Arnett, all the while not telling his family about it.
  • I’ve not seen Adam Sandler’s Click yet, but I presume the story is more or less the same.
  • It isn’t particularly clear why he doesn’t want to tell his family that he is trying to do both things at the same time, albeit this is the main detail in the plot that puts him in all the funny situations. Williams is constantly battling time, gadget misfirings, traffic, and his family’s wailings to try and do both.
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