Sunday, December 31, 2006


I've hunkered down in the film dept. recently. Here's what I've seen since Dec. 22:

The Queen - Helen Mirren in brogues at Balmoral with a cranky Prince Philip (James Cromwell) and the Queen Mum, pitted against a nation. Divine.
The Good Shepherd - Despite a good cast, it left me unsatisfied re plot points and character development (and I got whiplash from the past/present swapouts). Finally, Angelina Jolie may be many things, but not a unfulfilled '50s hausfrau.
Bad Education - Almodovar can really do no wrong. His films are vivid, provocative, human and funny, not always in that order.
The Pursuit of Happyness - As my mom would say, this is "a good story," all the more so because it's true. (And the director did a good job with grainy effects to emulate SF in the 80s.) But I was so irritated that Gardner never said anything about his plight! Maybe he was right not to -- might have led to more disappointment.
The Constant Gardener - I wasn't expecting this to grab me, but it did. It showcased a great way to unfold a plot that runs between past and present (no whiplash) And of course the story seems utterly feasible. Score (another) one for Le Carre. Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes both very affecting.
A Prairie Home Companion - Robert Altman, RIP. This was a perfect vehicle for him - a live radio show, backstage and on stage. A sweet reverie. GK as a character actor? Well, he's a character, anyway.
The Departed - Marty should win for this one. Taut, fast-moving and satisfyingly complex. Leo is especially terrific. And I see what the fuss is about with Vera Farmiga (as Madolyn).
Dreamgirls - I was wrung out from the ride - it's gripping and it's gorgeous.
Out of the Past (1947 version) - Man, what terrific hardboiled dialogue and fabulous dusky lighting, set in Tahoe and San Francisco. Need to dig up more from Jacques Tourneur.

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