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.
Continue reading: The Talented Mr. Ripley Review
The story -- as it exists -- concerns a troupe of British actors who descend on Venice to shoot a film version of the play The Duchess of Malfi. We follow the production with Figgis's all-seeing camera (courtesy of a documentarian following the production) -- which has a tendency to dip into slow-motion, cut the sound out, and shoot using an ultraviolet filter in the dark -- and bear witness to all manner of strange goings-on, the description of which I can't even begin to fathom putting on paper.
Continue reading: Hotel Review
The first of several pivotal scenes in "Heaven" -- a stirring film about guilt, love, retribution and deliverance directed by Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") from the last screenplay by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski ("Red," "White" and "Blue") -- is impossible to watch without your heart jumping into your throat.
A beautiful woman smuggles a homemade bomb (a large C4 packet and a timer set for five minutes) into a Turin, Italy, office high-rise and slips it into an executive's trash can, managing to look nonchalant although on closer examination she is, in fact, frightened and tense but clearly resolute. She then leaves too quickly to notice the janitor enter the office just behind her and empty the trash into her cart.
As the woman hurries to a phone booth across the street, the janitor pushes the cart into a glass elevator already occupied by a father and his two young girls, and the doors close behind her.
Continue reading: Heaven Review
For a long time I've had a theory that the musical genre couldn't survive the cynicism of modern audiences except as a ironic in-joke, like the "South Park" movie or as a post-modern homage, like Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You."
I couldn't have been more wrong -- and leave it to Kenneth Branagh, a writer-director-actor who has made his name revitalizing old (old, old!) school entertainment -- to prove it by bringing back the kind of weightless musical delight that carried Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to stardom.
For his new adaptation of Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost," Branagh has re-imagined the buoyant romantic comedy as a classy, corny, 1930s movie musical, complete with uplifting dance numbers and a catalog of favorite big band ditties sung with great enthusiasm (if not great skill) by a quality cast of cheerful actors clearly having the time of their lives.
Continue reading: Love's Labour's Lost Review