Miranda Richardson, Jennifer Saunders and Tracey Emin - Miranda Richardson, Jennifer Saunders and Tracey Emin Saturday 18th September 2010 at London Fashion Week London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 - Betty Jackson
Miranda Richardson Friday 22nd May 2009 rings out the bells at St. Paul's Cathedral for the international day of biodiversity in support of the MEMO project. The MEMO project will persuade the authorities in capital cities all over the world to participate in the tolling of bells for this most global of issues. London, England
Miranda Richardson, ANDREW SACHS and June Whitfield - Miranda Richardson, Andrew Sachs and June Whitfield London, England - The Orion Author part held at the Victoria & Albert Museum Wednesday 18th February 2009
A terrorist group has just set off a bomb in Texas that, while killing hundreds, has also created a parallel universe unbeknownst to the general population. Not too long after, the Republicans have an eye on everything, the Democrats have turned into militant twits under the banner of Karl Marx, and action superstar Boxer Santaros (Dwayne "The Rock Johnson) has gone missing. Though his wife (a brilliantly bitchy Mandy Moore) is the daughter of prez-to-be Bobby Frost (Holmes Osborne), Santaros appears in plain sight with his current flame, porn diva Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar). It's to Kelly's credit that almost every shot of them together is framed to look like it was taken by the paparazzi.
Continue reading: Southland Tales Review
Project overseers Emmanuel Benbihy and Tristan Carné wanted to create a cinematic map of Paris, with each short film representing one of the city's 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods). They ended up with 18 films, none of them more than a few minutes long and directed by a glittering, international roster of filmmakers. While none of the films here are anything approaching masterpieces, hardly a one is in any way a chore to sit through, which has to be some sort of an accomplishment.
Continue reading: Paris, Je T'aime Review
The boy at the center of everything is Ralph Compton, 11 years old in the film's preamble, in which he watches (once literally, from the back seat) as his mother Lauren (Miranda Richardson) screws a married man and then takes off with him. The divorce proves ugly and Ralph is sent off to boarding school, leaving his devastated father Harry (Gabriel Byrne) behind, fending off the occasional advance from local females. The film starts properly three years later with the return home of Ralph, this time played by Nicholas Hoult, sprouted quite a bit from his About a Boy days. Ralph comes back to find Harry just remarried, this time to an American stewardess he's known for six weeks, Ruby (Emily Watson). She's a breath of warm air, waltzing right into this snobbish little colonial backwater and immediately breaks practically every one of their thousand little etiquettes - night and day to the waspish, scathing Lauren. But yet it's not enough to keep Harry from hitting the bottle hard. Harry drinks, Ruby frets, Ralph fumes, and occasionally Lauren returns just to stir things up to an even higher pitch.
Continue reading: Wah-Wah Review
For the uninitiated, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the book where author J.K. Rowling finally went off her rocker, turning out a 734-page monster of a book (vs. 309 pages for #1) that made everyone wonder if any child could possibly have that kind of attention span.
Turns out they did: Book four is also where Rowling went from Big Hit to Mega Worldwide Sensation, and the Harry Potter series became a cultural touchstone. (This is also about the time that ultra-right wing groups started denouncing the series as demonic.)
And so, everything that is past is prologue: The first three films now feel like nothing more than window dressing for this one, a rich movie with expert plotting, clever humor, and a sophistication lacking in the earlier pictures. At the same time, it's fine for (older) kids, who'll root for Harry and Co. through his many scrapes in this edition.
Goblet of Fire finds Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) back for his fourth year at Hogwarts Academy. Things are getting heavier for the lad: He's having vivid dreams about Lord Voldemort being revived in the flesh. On top of that, the school is hosting the legendary Tri-Wizard Tournament, in which three aspiring magicians will compete to win a fancy blue cup (plus bragging rights), which brings two foreign schools -- one a collection of brutish Russian guys, another a group of breathless French fairy queens -- into Hogwarts for the term. While the tournament is meant for older kids, naturally the undersized Potter will find his way into the mix. On top of that, Harry's got some raging hormones, which has him swooning for fellow student Cho (Katie Leung), while Ron (Rupert Grint) tries in vain to suppress his budding love for Hermione (Emma Watson). This comes to a head of sorts during a formal dance, one of the film's most memorable scenes. And all the while, Voldemort inches closer to Harry.
Overall, the story is obviously and dramatically pared down from the book. Even I, a non-reader, could tell that there were huge gaps in the plot. Strangely, it doesn't really matter. All but the bare essentials have been stripped away, and even though it tops 2 1/2 hours, Goblet is a lean, mean, storytelling machine. There's rarely a dull moment (a stark contrast to some of the overblown earlier installments in the series), and it's amazingly easy to follow the serpentine plot. Partly this is because we've had three movies to get up to speed on the myriad characters of Potter, and even though Goblet introduces a good number of new faces, keeping track of them is a snap. The downside of this is that, aside from a little romance for the main three characters, there's not much time to develop our heroes further. But really, it isn't needed. They're fleshy enough as it is, and the film does give them a bit more structure to set up #5.
Speculation has been rampant about how director Mike Newell -- of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame -- would work out as the helmer of an action-oriented kid flick. Turns out, he's better than those who came before him. Not only does Newell have a good handle over the film's action showpieces, he knows how to deal with awkward romances and growing pains of the teen years. Maybe it's because he's the first British director to try his hand at this very British series?
Speaking of the action: The special effects in this installment are hands-down better than ever. There's probably not a single scene in Goblet of Fire that isn't manipulated with CGI in some way -- but you'll never notice. The effects are so good and so seamless that you seriously can't tell the difference (reality-wise) between Radcliffe and the giant, fire-breathing dragon staring him down.
And speaking of dragons: The film is scary, more so than the other three. As a case in point, the woman sitting in front of me, with two kids aged about six to eight, had to leave the theater after the first two minutes because the little ones were so frightened.
Altogether the film is just about right for what a Harry Potter movie ought to be. The story is consistently interesting but not too confusing, the dialogue is spot-on, and the film blends action and quiet moments perfectly. (Frankly, the film should win an Oscar for editing.)
But overall Goblet of Fire has succeeded in doing one big thing that the first three movies completely failed at: For the first time, I'm actually looking forward to the next in the series.
A little magic ought to fix that arm right up, no?
Try as she might, Stiles doesn't fit comfortably within the framework. Her slightly deep voice has an intelligence to it that physically undermines her attempts to slum. Yet she persists. Unfortunately, I fear the onslaught of Down to You, Save the Last Dance, and now The Prince & Me has left Stiles a little stunted and worse for wear. She's spent so much time in the teen ghetto that even when she emerges in an allegedly grown-up movie like Mona Lisa Smile, something feels off. An aura of routine hangs in the air, and other actresses upstage her. Stiles may, in real life, resemble her character in The Prince & Me: smart, down-to-earth and good-humored. It's a tribute to the thinness of her starring roles that she still manages to come off awkward, even fake.
Continue reading: The Prince & Me Review
The only problem is that The Player was the last of his films that was really all that great. While Kansas City marks a slight improvement over Ready to Wear, that ain't saying much because, after all, so does Showgirls.
Continue reading: Kansas City Review
Is it a good secret? Sure. Is it one of the most memorable in cinema's last 15 years? Possibly. But one good surprise/twist does not make a great movie, and there's very little else in director/writer Neil Jordan's drama to deserve such lavish wide-eyed acclaim. It's a solid, well-acted character study. That's it, I'm afraid.
Continue reading: The Crying Game Review
The Rage in Placid Lake is writer/director Tony McNamara's debut film and it's both a wildly entertaining and heartfelt film. McNamara comes from a theatre background and we hear it in the clever and witty dialogue. While the film is not fast paced, it moves along congenially and never pauses long enough to become bogged down in the sentimentality that smoothes out its rougher edges -- it's a poignant film with a young, brash attitude.
Continue reading: The Rage In Placid Lake Review
Pronounced "sahn TEEVE," the film is based on a Robert Louis Stevenson tale about a Napoleonic Era French captain named Jacques St. Ives (Jean-Marc Barr) who is captured by the British during the war, sent to P.O.W. camp in Scotland, and falls in love along the way, of course. The object of his affection is a local girl (the forgettable Anna Friel), who lives under the protection of her mother (Miranda Richardson), a woman who is having a dalliance with the stiff prison camp boss (Richard E. Grant), who is oddly enough receiving lessons in the ways of love from our very own, very Frahnch St. Ives.
Continue reading: St. Ives Review
The Evening Star picks up in 1988, and follows 8 more years of the further adventures of Aurora Greenwood's (Shirley MacLaine) über-dysfunctional extended family. Now, Emma's (Debra Winger in Terms) kids have grown up under Aurora's eye, and the jury's still out on how well she did. Their Aunt Patsy (Miranda Richardson) is now a wealthy divorcee who is constantly one-upping Aurora. The caustic Aurora finds brief happiness in the arms of a younger man (Bill Paxton). Rosie (Marion Ross) is still in Aurora's kitchen, and a whole horde of minor players weave in and out of the action, mainly serving to dredge up the past and to breathe some new life into the Endearment franchise.
Continue reading: The Evening Star Review
It's always a pleasure to see an animated movie that eschews the trappings of shopworn formulas kiddie flicks, and the capriciously clever, clay-rendered "Chicken Run" is nothing if not unique.
A goof on "The Great Escape" and "Stalag 17," but set in a chicken coop kept by a tyrannical, hairpinned harpy of a farmer's wife, the picture serves up an charming self-confidence fable, refreshingly short on stock cartoony characters (no orphans or cutesy simian sidekicks) and long on the distinctive, malleable, stop-motion genius of its director, Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park.
Park worked hand-in-hand with Peter Lord, best known for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" video, but the film's winning visual style is unmistakably Park's. Every character is remarkably alive with verve and personality, thanks largely to his trademarks: Ridiculously wide mouths with abbreviated rows of teeth, remarkably expressive, oversized eyeballs, ledge-like foreheads and the tendency for all his characters to walk with a little waddle.
Continue reading: Chicken Run Review
Who better to revamp Washington Irving's classic spook tale of the Headless Horseman than Tim Burton, the modern maestro of movie macabre?
A little tweaking here (a conspiracy plot), a little re-writing there (Ichabod Crane is now a nervous police detective instead of a nervous school teacher) and -- ta-da! -- it's "Sleepy Hollow," a sumptuously stylized, oddly traditional, darkly comical, and unmistakably Burton-esque take on this uniquely American fairy tale.
Taking place in 1799, this inventive reinterpretation of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" -- written by "Fight Club" scripter Andrew Kevin Walker and polished by "Shakespeare In Love" scribe Tom Stoppard -- features Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, an ungainly, outcast, New York City constable come to the upstate hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a spate of beheadings that local legend has pinned on the noggin-less ghost of mad a Revolutionary War mercenary.
Continue reading: Sleepy Hollow Review
David Cronenberg's "Spider" is a mesmerizing immersion into the precariously unstable mind of a psychiatric patient who has just been released after 20 years in an asylum.
Living in an orderly but cavernous and colorlessly dreary halfway house in the empty industrial corner of London where he grew up, the haggard, misshapen man in his 30s begins a journey -- into his past and deep into his own mind -- that threatens the tenuous grip on reality that earned him his provisional freedom.
The director's preternatural talent for uncanny atmospherics permeates the film from its very first frames -- the opening credits run over Rorschach-test-like images of the peeling paint on the halfway house walls. But "Spider" is dominated by a few extraordinary performances with the ability to stir visceral reactions from beginning to end.
Continue reading: Spider Review
Let me begin this review of the insultingly trite, insipidly twinkly, romantically suspect and aggressively unoriginal fairytale "The Prince and Me" with the least of the movie's thousands upon thousands of problems: It takes place in Wisconsin and Denmark between the months of September and January, and yet the trees are green, there's no snow on the ground and the characters never wear anything heavier than a long-sleeve shirt.
It's a movie in which all European royalty speak with English accents no matter what country they're from. It's a movie in which a character moves into a dorm room and starts taking classes 24 hours after deciding to go to college. (Admissions process? What's that?) It's a movie without an ounce of chemistry between its romantic leads, and it's a movie in which people are supposed to learn What's Really Important In Life -- and yet it cops out and goes for the crowd-pleaser ending that doesn't jive with the lessons supposedly learned.
But these are merely symptoms of a much larger problem, which is that there is not a single creative plot point, original line of dialogue, unique personality trait or even fresh note of music in the entire everygirl-meets-royal-hottie fantasy.
Continue reading: The Prince & Me Review
Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't kids like the "The King and I"the way it was? All the kids I know do. I did when I was a kid. So whydid Warner Bros. feel it was necessary to drastically dumb it down andgive it a shopworn formulaic re-write when they created this new, animatedversion of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic?
"The King and I" seemed like a natural for animation-- a vivid, colorful setting, great role model leads, plenty of lessonsto learn without it feeling like Sunday school -- but animator RichardRich practically threw that all away in favor of casting the Kralahome,the king's traditionalist prime minister, as a sneering and supernaturalnefarian bent on dethroning his shiny-headed majesty.
Continue reading: King And I Review
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