As Polish-mob hit-man Frank Falenczyk (pronounced Fail-an-chik), Kingsley has the most fun he's had onscreen since he muttered a red-streak as the frenzied madman Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's superb Sexy Beast. This time, his gangster-take has a more reserved and subdued nature, playing more for deadpan hilarity than ballistic scares. That deadpan ability serves Frank best when he's banished from his New York home to San Francisco for botching a job after too many drinks. His boss (Philip Baker Hall) has had enough of his alcoholism, and his best friend (Marcus Thomas) can't help him any more. So, it's off to the Bay for him.
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Somewhere between the first and second event I sighed in frustration. Another perfectly good movie gets ruined because of an extended trip into Clicheville. For a good fifty minutes or so, My First Mister rarely makes a mistake in detailing the friendship between a middle-aged, repressed clothing store manager Randall (Albert Brooks) and his 17-year-old Goth employee, Jennifer (Leelee Sobieski).
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In case you missed the movie's trailer, which provides a nice plot synopsis, Fly Away Home is about a teenage girl (Paquin) from New Zealand who moves in with her Canadian father (Jeff Daniels) after her mother dies. The young girl is utterly bored and lonely until she finds a family of young goose eggs (eventually geese) to take care of. After she becomes the geese's mother, she finds happiness, and the whole family bands together to figure out how to take care of the geese. This ultimately leads to the decision to have young Anna fly the geese down south for the winter.
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But will you guess that a major subplot will blatantly (and explicitly) rip off The Rocking Horse Winner? Or that MacLaine will spew a monologue about rubbing manure on her breasts? Wow. How could you?
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In fact, that's what wife Nina (Keaton) spends most of the movie saying. And that's what you'll be saying, too, as George whines about having to buy a tuxedo, mopes about the disruption to the house, disapproves of the perfect young man (George Newbern) who has deflowered his daughter, and gets all frantic about meeting his future in-laws (who are even richer than he is). What's really happening, of course, is that George simply doesn't want his daughter to grow up, and his way of raging against life's forward progression is to get cranky about the upcoming wedding day. How do we know? Because George tells us in his self-pitying narration. This is the kind of movie that has plenty of both show and tell.
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The movie revolves around baby-voiced Griffith posing as a domestic (from Düsseldorf, no less) for a high-ranking Nazi (Liam Neeson), tending to his kids while picking up information on the sly. That's not a bad idea, but it becomes a terrible idea since Griffith makes no attempt at a German accent. You keep wondering how the Nazis were able to make a sandwich. They maintained a military juggernaut? Thank God they were so oblivious.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.