Anthony Minghella

Anthony Minghella

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New York, I Love You Review


Good
There are 11 captivating short films in this anthology, the second in the Cities of Love series by producers Benbihy and Grasic. But this collection isn't quite as varied or engaging as Paris Je T'Aime.

All of these stories take place in Manhattan, with only one or two brief forays into other boroughs, and they all centre around relatively well-off people, mainly white or Asian. They're also quite serious and emotional, with only brief moments of humour dotted here and there, although some make us smile more than others. Each is about a male-female relationship--marriages, brief encounters, possibilities, life-long companionship. Most have a somewhat gimmicky twist, and a few are intriguingly oblique.

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Nine Review


Good
Based on Federico Fellini's 1963 classic 8 1/2, this musical has a nicely introspective tone as it follows a filmmaker struggling to move forward in his career after a few flops. The music isn't hugely memorable, but the characters are vivid.

Guido Contini (Day-Lewis) is a star director gearing up for his ninth movie.

The press is begging for details, and his producer (Tognazzi) wants to see the script. But with shooting starting in 10 days, Guido has yet to write a word.

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The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Trailer


Watch the trailer for The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

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The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival: 'Eastern Promises' - Opening Gala

Anthony Minghella and Carolyn Choa - Carolyn Choa and Anthony Minghella London, England - The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival: 'Eastern Promises' - opening gala Wednesday 17th October 2007

Michael Clayton Review


Extraordinary
Slowly but surely, George Clooney is venerating different decades from Hollywood's storied past. His Ocean's larks with Steven Soderbergh are throwbacks to the swinging '60s. He resurrected the paranoia of 1950s McCarthyism in his directorial effort Good Night, and Good Luck, then recreated a sinister, post-World War II film noir in The Good German (also with Soderbergh). Confessions of a Dangerous Mind paid goofy tribute to '70s small-screen icon Chuck Barris. Later this year, Clooney will crib comedic styles from Cary Grant's 1940s romper-stompers for the romantic farce Leatherheads.

And then there is Michael Clayton, a gripping and complicated thriller with hush-hush undertones that would fit comfortably alongside similar films from the 1970s -- think of Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation or Alan J. Pakula The Parallax View, because Clayton writer-director Tony Gilroy certainly had pictures of this fabric in mind.

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Breaking And Entering Review


Grim
Bathed in browns and tans and coursing with pent-up socioeconomic ponderings, Anthony Minghella's gentrification hiccup Breaking and Entering joins a rather terminal genre of films that want to have their cake and eat it too. Balancing a fumbling love triangle and a plethora of misconceived notions on class structure, Minghella has confined himself to an intimate story that betrays his often loftier ambitions.

A string of robberies has plagued the ghetto of King's Cross in London. The thievery seems to be centered on an architecture firm that (no surprise) is trying to clean up and reconstruct the famed slum into something more suitable for London's middle-class. Headed by pretty boy Will (Jude Law) and scruffy Sandy (Martin Freeman), the company has an internal conflict on whether it was a member of the cleaning staff (that Sandy is sweet on) or outside burglars that committed the crimes. While attempting his own makeshift stakeout, Will spots the young robber and jumps out of his posh SUV to chase him. It leads him to the home of Amira (the luminous Juliette Binoche), a survivor of the horrors of Bosnia who yearns to return to Sarajevo with her son Miro (Rafi Gavron), the thief in question.

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Catch A Fire Review


Grim
Aesthetically, Catch a Fire looks the same as most of Philip Noyce's recent work. The use of fire and light, often resulting in a very dark red and orange atmosphere, is still here. The political current is still strong, especially now because the setting is Africa while apartheid is in full swing. That being said, Catch a Fire also departs from Noyce's canon by marking the first time that much of the message and intrigue is right on the surface.

Derek Luke, in a much bigger role than he is accustomed to, plays Patrick Chamusso, a supervisor at a coal-to-oil refinery in Secunda, South Africa. He's not what you would expect from an African man under apartheid; he tells his mother to turn off the rebel radio and tells the workers under him (all black) to stop talking about the current state of affairs. After an attack at the oil refinery, Patrick is brought in with his friends for questioning by Nic Vos (Tim Robbins), the head of a local police syndicate. Vos, a family man, takes it too far when he brings in Chamusso's wife (Bonnie Mbuli) and beats her to get her to confess her husband's guilt. After this event, Chamusso joins up with a resistance (terrorist) group and begins to plot a huge blow to the South African economy.

Continue reading: Catch A Fire Review

Breaking And Entering Review


Grim
Bathed in browns and tans and coursing with pent-up socioeconomic ponderings, Anthony Minghella's gentrification hiccup Breaking and Entering joins a rather terminal genre of films that want to have their cake and eat it too. Balancing a fumbling love triangle and a plethora of misconceived notions on class structure, Minghella has confined himself to an intimate story that betrays his often loftier ambitions.A string of robberies has plagued the ghetto of King's Cross in London. The thievery seems to be centered on an architecture firm that (no surprise) is trying to clean up and reconstruct the famed slum into something more suitable for London's middle-class. Headed by pretty boy Will (Jude Law) and scruffy Sandy (Martin Freeman), the company has an internal conflict on whether it was a member of the cleaning staff (that Sandy is sweet on) or outside burglars that committed the crimes. While attempting his own makeshift stakeout, Will spots the young robber and jumps out of his posh SUV to chase him. It leads him to the home of Amira (the luminous Juliette Binoche), a survivor of the horrors of Bosnia who yearns to return to Sarajevo with her son Miro (Rafi Gavron), the thief in question.While he is away from his wife Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and borderline-autistic stepdaughter Bea (Poppy Rogers), Will takes coffee with a Russian prostitute (Vera Farmiga) while warming up for a rather awkward affair with Amira. The affair is about bourgeois guilt and escape for him, but for her it's a way of securing her son from a life in jail and keeping him away from the local coppers, led by the reliable Ray Winstone.Replacing regular cinematographer John Seal, the masterful Benoît Delhomme (The Proposition, What Time Is It There?) gives this panorama of class and relations an inebriated tone of mystique. That's half the problem: King's Cross has no real sense of danger or of any sort of differentiation of class, visually speaking. Catcalls of "better watch out" or "shouldn't be wearing those duds round here, mate" become rather pathetic signals of danger when Will chases Miro through the underbelly of the "slum." This also puts a lot of stress on Binoche and Gavron: If their surroundings don't communicate the class difference, the actors have to. Binoche has become an actress so malleable in her talents and appearance that it's often hard to categorize her. The fit, stressed mom in Michael Haneke's superb Cache has given way to a slightly chubbier, East-European-accented mother hen with drab clothing and a strongly felt love for her son and his future.Binoche is the heart of the film, and the scenery and mood matches her, ironically, up until Amira and Will's affair begins. The dazed atmosphere of the film becomes gelatinous, giving the class struggle a somewhat hollow resonance. The descents of all the characters (Liv is Scandinavian) becomes a point of order in the film's context but it's never given any sort of importance to offer the narrative a sense of intricacy. Even more so, Sandy's yearning and ultimate disappointment with his lower-class cleaning lady hints at a more developed and poignant representation of bourgeois ethos, but it's never developed past the films first 30 minutes. So, instead, the cultural clash is restricted to pale shades of white, and any sort of challenging critique of modern status and stratum is widely averted. Not quite a misdemeanor, but definitely nothing to celebrate.Is your refridgerator running?

Catch A Fire Review


Grim
Aesthetically, Catch a Fire looks the same as most of Philip Noyce's recent work. The use of fire and light, often resulting in a very dark red and orange atmosphere, is still here. The political current is still strong, especially now because the setting is Africa while apartheid is in full swing. That being said, Catch a Fire also departs from Noyce's canon by marking the first time that much of the message and intrigue is right on the surface.Derek Luke, in a much bigger role than he is accustomed to, plays Patrick Chamusso, a supervisor at a coal-to-oil refinery in Secunda, South Africa. He's not what you would expect from an African man under apartheid; he tells his mother to turn off the rebel radio and tells the workers under him (all black) to stop talking about the current state of affairs. After an attack at the oil refinery, Patrick is brought in with his friends for questioning by Nic Vos (Tim Robbins), the head of a local police syndicate. Vos, a family man, takes it too far when he brings in Chamusso's wife (Bonnie Mbuli) and beats her to get her to confess her husband's guilt. After this event, Chamusso joins up with a resistance (terrorist) group and begins to plot a huge blow to the South African economy.Maybe the problem is that nothing really sticks out. Written with an obvious, tired pen by Shawn Slovo, Catch a Fire doesn't bring any particularly honest or brutal feelings to the table. The character of Vos, specifically, seems to have a fundamental flaw in its construction; as a family man, there's no real correlation between Vos' family and Chamusso's family, which he has torn asunder. Even so, we are asked to understand Vos because he's not quite hateful enough so that he seems cold-hearted; the act of terrorism that he thwarts actually seems like a heroic act. On the surface, it seems like a complex character, but the integral movements inside the character burn out way too quickly.On the other hand, Luke's Chamusso has much more weight and is a more studied look at a flawed man. While Patrick seems like such a good husband, father, and coach (soccer), he also is having an affair that has yielded a child in another township. Luke rises to the challenges of these pitfalls, but Slovo's dialogue gets hammy and often reeks of trite pandering. Thankfully, Mbuli serves up grace as Patrick's conflicted wife and keeps their relationship as the film's one true strand of story.Noyce doesn't particularly direct badly, but there is a genuine lack of excitement and provocation in his work here. The desolate atmosphere of loss and confusion from Rabbit-Proof Fence has been traded in for cheap thrills that don't explore racism's roots with even the slightest hint of discovery. If it was thrills the film was hoping for, he has seemingly lost all the sophistication and patience that made The Quiet American such an enrapturing experience. Here, the villains are clearly marked, but never with enough nuance or design to make them memorable, while the heroes are flawed but not to the point of challenging archetypes. But hey, at least it looks nice.You aren't going to catch a fire with that old thing.

Heaven Review


Excellent
Before his death in 1996, Krzysztof Kieslowski left behind a final work, Heaven, as part of a trilogy that he intended to see directed by a series of three different filmmakers. While he didn't live to see his dream become a reality, the production company that held the rights to Heaven tried to make the film in the manner Kieslowski intended. Those familiar with Kieslowski's work will probably agree that the he most likely would have been proud of Heaven's result.

How a Polish script, a German director, an Australian lead actress, and an Italian-American actor managed to concoct such an authentic vision of the deceased French filmmaker is beyond comprehension, but they accomplished it nonetheless. Heaven looks, feels, and sounds like a Kieslowski film with its limited dialogue and slow, deliberate pacing, but it's actually the product of Tom Tykwer, who directed the acclaimed films Run Lola Run, and The Princess and the Warrior. Tykwer gives credit to Kieslowski's writing, but the cinematography, the scenes, the sound design, and the performances are a result of his decisions.

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The English Patient Review


Excellent
Just so you know, "patient" refers to a man with a medical condition, not the ability to sit through a film that flirts with a three hour running time.

You think I'm kidding, but I'm serious -- The English Patient has got to be the longest romance movie I've ever seen [This was before Titanic. -Ed.]. Well, Out of Africa was awfully long, too, but that doesn't make it okay! (Like your mother might say, "If Meryl Streep jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?")

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Cold Mountain Review


Grim
Masterpiece Theater meets Mayberry in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, a stodgy and superfluous adaptation of Charles Frazier's Civil War romance novel that's every bit as unconvincing as it's meant to be epic. Frigid and detached to the point of numbness, the passionless period piece is too staged, too dry, and too silly to matter, though Minghella earns bonus points for staying consistently dishonest and uneven from start to finish.

Minghella tells Mountain in two parts that fail to complement each other. In one, wounded Civil War soldier Inman (Jude Law) reaches his breaking point on Virginia's blood-soaked battlefields and decides he can't spend another day without his true love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). So he puts down his rifle and begins the long walk back to Cold Mountain, N.C. Meanwhile, back home, Ada struggles to maintain her father's house after the man passes away in a disgustingly symbolic rainstorm. She accepts help from the town tomboy (Renée Zellweger) and learns a thing or two about patience, hope, and independence in the face of danger.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley Review


Excellent
Few enough people know that The Talented Mr. Ripley is based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. Fewer still know they already made one movie about Mr. Ripley, a little French number called Purple Noon (1960). (Even fewer have seen the Ripley study called The American Friend (1977).)

If you happen to be one of a handful who has seen Noon, The Talented Mr. Ripley is retreading old ground. It's actually different. In fact, it's very different. So much so that with the exception of a few brief scenes and the overall theme, these two films could be based on different source material. What's really astonishing is that both are excellent films.

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Anthony Minghella

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