Jeff Beck, Jamie Cullum, Alan Bates and Kyle Eastwood - Jeff Beck, Jamie Cullum, Alan Bates and Kyle Eastwood London, England - at the BBC Jazz Awards 2008 at the Mermaid Theatre Monday 21st July 2008
I won't try to explain the metamorphosis of Ryan because it's never mentioned in the movie (and no, it's not a prequel; the film takes place in the present). Central to the plot is the hunt for an old nuclear bomb lost by the Israelis in 1973 and recovered, sold, and rebuilt by various arms dealers, terrorists, and neo-Nazi groups decades later. Their idea is to blow up the bomb in the U.S., blame it on the Russians, ignite a massive nuclear response from both sides, and -- in the greatest stretch of imagination ever to strike a Hitler enthusiast -- somehow survive WWIII and seize control of the world in the aftermath.
Continue reading: The Sum Of All Fears Review
Despite the remarkable assemblage of talent, Cacoyannis' Cherry Orchard feels self-aware of adapting a renowned classic from stage to screen. The cinematography is handsome and stately, but more appropriate to the colorful orchards and vast family estate, the 1900 costumes, the theatrical entrances and exits, than to the intimacy of Chekhov's vivid characters. (It almost makes one long for the hand-held documentary treatment of Louis Malle's seminal Vanya on 42nd Street.) The stylistic choices here take a while to get used to, especially during a drawn-out prologue, absent in the original text, as Madame Lyubov and her buoyant teenage daughter Anna (Tushka Bergen) make elaborate preparations to return to their Russian estate after a self-imposed exile. Some may be exhausted by this Masterpiece Theater treatment (lingering over every piece of luggage) before Chekhov's social entanglements kick in -- which happens shortly after the dozen major characters have assembled at their estate.
Continue reading: The Cherry Orchard Review
Based on real events, most of which occurred in 1966 and 1967 (the film is set in present day), The Mothman Prophecies is a complex meeting of unseen monsters, voices from beyond, and eerie coincidence (...or is it?) Richard Gere stars as John Klein, an established Washington Post reporter whose good fortune is shattered when his beautiful wife Mary (Debra Messing) sustains severe injuries in what appears to be a single car accident. As Mary slips in and out of consciousness, she asks if John has seen "it." "It," according to her wild sketches, appears to be some sort of beastly giant bat. Either Mary has suffered brain damage, or something wholly supernatural has entered John's life.
Continue reading: The Mothman Prophecies Review
Gosford Park is the name of an English country estate, where, in 1932, a gaggle of royals and wannabes -- including a horde of locals plus a popular British actor and a Charlie Chan-obsessed Hollywood movie producer -- gather to attend a weekend hunting party. Upstairs, it's the usual hoity-toity, drawing room chitter-chatter, while downstairs an army of servants does little but gossip about the visitors above.
Continue reading: Gosford Park Review
An ostensible Nazi-hunting thriller that's far too impressed with its supposed moral ambiguity, The Statement is about former Vichy militia Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine) who, back in 1944, helped the Nazis round up and execute seven Jews in a small French town. It's based on the true story of Paul Touvier, who ordered such an execution on June 29, 1944 in southwestern France, and was sentenced to life in prison in 1995.
Continue reading: The Statement Review
Rhys -- reinvented here as Isabelle Adjani's wide-eyed Marya Zelli -- found her husband, an illegal art dealer, arrested and thrown into prison. Suddenly broke, she shacked up with a pair of Brits of questionable morality, eventually getting cut loose, whereupon she would become a professional writer.
Continue reading: Quartet Review
Any cinephile knows that Canada's government will gladly fund the production of just about anything a Canadian wants to produce, no matter how bad the script. All it takes is a Canadian cast, crew, and shooting in the country.
Continue reading: Hollywood North Review
You may need a program to keep track of the two dozen-plus characters in Robert Altman's soap opera, murder mystery, chamber comedy-of-manners "Gosford Park."
Carpeted with dry wit and filled to the rafters with salacious secrets and unspoken animosity, the film takes place at an English country estate in 1932 and unfolds from two points of view -- above stairs, where a multitude of aristocrats size each other up in subtle sociological war games, and below stairs, where their gossipy maids and valets fall into a strict pecking order based upon whom they serve.
The estate is the home of the aloof upper-crusters Sir William and Lady Sylvia McCordle (Michael Gambon and Kristin Scott Thomas) and it's gathering place for their many coattail-riding relatives, including Aunt Constance (the wonderful, quizzically austere Maggie Smith) who habitually puts on airs as if she's not living off an allowance from the McCordles.
Continue reading: Gosford Park Review
American Thighs was released on this day in 1994.
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