I was imdbing after I heard of the death of director and writer Anthony Minghella (all they were talking about on the radio was his film The English Patient, which I never saw – I was too young when it originally came out and mum was all like “No its too scary for you, you’re too young to see it”. Perhaps at ten years she was right about her daughter, but I’ve sure showed her!I’m getting side tracked…Oh yeah, so after hearing 774 talking about about this fab writer/director and only this one film referenced, which I haven’t seen, but still knowing vaguely the name ‘Anthony Minghella’ I headed over to my trusty source in all things movie! As well as discovering he directed some other gold in Cold Mountain, Breaking and Entering and The Talented Mr. Ripley (In only really liked the first of these – too much Jude Law…possibly) I found this project, listed as filming entitled New York, I Love You aka New York, je t’aime. (Ahhhhhhh!!!! My heart quickened and I got all excited).I just thought you’d like to know.Directors on this project, similar to Paris, je t’aime, are many and include Mira Nair, the aforementioned Minghella, Brett Ratner and Scarlett Johansson !!Other than that the list of directors is somewhat less impressive than its Parisian counterpart, but I still can’t wait!!!!
(As you can tell I’m still having some difficulties with formatting – so i need help… ) I’m guessing most of you would have seen Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by now. Its either one of those films you get really excited about before its released and rush out to see it in the first week or so its out OR you’ve decided that even though you generally love the work of the holy trinity* (the name my yits friend Tom gave to the combination of Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp) but the idea of horror meets musical loosely regarding the topic of cannibalism didn’t seem like your cup of tea so you decided to sit this one out and salivate over the knowledge that Burton will be directing the latest remake of Alice in Wonderland (due for release in 2010). SO! A gold stars review on the film may be largely superfluous so I thought I’d just jot down some thoughts I had about the film, based on MY tastes and then fling open the floodgates for you guys to let me know what you thought of the trinity’s* latest offering. Firstly, I really didn’t like the film. I joyfully acknowledge that it was rather spectacular and another fantastic film by Burton but it just didn’t suit my tastes (I will stop using words with food connotations in the remainder of this post). The combination of music (as in sing-song music), a possessed barber, and human meat pies is a combination only Burton could bring to the screen. And its done well, the elements of the mise-en-scene come together beautifully to create the overall effect and draw the audience in.The stand out performance for me was the young lad Ed Sanders playing workhouse orphan boy Toby, his singing was reminiscent of choir boys in an old cathedral (although I suppose all pre-pubity males sing that way) and he was so sweet and ultimately takes on a form of righteous anger to combat the increasing alienation the audience feels from the mad barber. Well, that’s all from me on this one.
THIS FILM GETS 3.5 GOLD STARSNow what did you think? Come on now, I know most of you fitted into that first category I mentioned……spill the beans.
* I hope no one takes offense at this reference. If you do, blame it on frezned.
Now I, once again, feel at pains (mainly a pain to me) to say that I missed the first little bit of this film and unlike 3:10 this film is directed by a non-american and therefore is arguably more intelligent (oh!) and refused to adequately recap for us tardy folk.So I’ll do my best to review this film, however it won’t be a wholly whole and accurate review…
The Set up? Egyptian born chemical engineer (Anwar) living in the US with a green card and am American wife and son is taken by officials at an airport as he’s returning home. Anwar El-Ibrahimi is suspected of being involved in a bombing that occurred in an Islamic country (that killed many including an American CIA operative). Under US legislation passed under the Clinton administration the American government give themselves the right to hold suspects indefinitely outside the US in order to extract terrorist related information. Anwar is stolen away to the country of the crime and his wife Isabella searches for answers. There’s also an intriguing subplot that I think you’ll get a lot more out of if I say – .
Omar Metwally is Anwar – though he doesn’t feature in the film’s propaganda and doesn’t get billing I rate him as the stand out in this film. He also plays the character the film is based around.
Resse Witherspoon plays his wife Isabella. I used to love Reese but ever since the Oscar she seems to be dawdling. She’s good in this but not great. She doesn’t hit the my-husband’s-been-taken-away-by-my-government-on-the-basis-of-exactly-no-hard-evidence-and-I’m-“cheesed”-off nail on the head. She was probably distracted by her new love interest…(not that I buy into all that crap)
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Douglas Freeman, the CIA agent who takes over from his colleague who was killed in the bomb blast. He oversees the ‘interrogation’ of Anwar resulting in self-loathing but ultimately compassion. Gyllenhaal pulls this off well. He’s proving himself to be quite a fine actor, but similarly to his sister – he often plays abnormal characters – they’re always the same shade of abnormal.
Peter Sarsgaard plays Alan Smith, assistant to Senator Hawkins and formal college mate of Isabella and Anwar. He’s the first person Isabella comes to when she seeks to find out what happened to her husband. It is plain to the audience that Alan still holds a torch for Isabella. As usual, Sarsgaard pulls out the good stuff – hitting the perfect pitch in his performance.
Alan Arkin plays Hawkins, the left-wing sympathising Senator who seems keen for social change but only if and when it will actually work.And of course we can’t forget the ever-bloody-brilliant
Meryl Streep who is Corrine Whitman, head of the CIA and defender of the greater good. Streep is icy cold and straight down the line as Whitman – did I mention brilliant?! (But when isn’t she?).
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE THIS FILM? Well if I’ve got my timing wrong – which I think I do on this occasion – you’ll either already have seen it or will have to wait until DVD by now. But you should see this film if you enjoy/get something out of looking at the politiking and state of current events in our world. Although you might not get that much out of it. Without wanting to give it away – I agree with David Stratton (of At The Movies – oh, totally podcastable!) that the movie would be far better if it was less ambiguous as to the guilt (or lack thereof) of Anwar. It makes it too neat, too perfect in the end and therefore true blue lefties won’t like it. Its a bit too one sided in the end – doesn’t give the other side of the argument a proper hearing – narratively speaking.
WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Doesn’t really matter so much for this one. But save it for the over 16’s would be my suggestion.
ANY BITS? Ummm….did I mention “interrogation”? Put on Uncle Sam’s hat and use your imagination.
THIS FILM GETS 3.5 GOLD STARS.
Hey readers of gold stars. My apologies for not posting here for a while. You may realise there are two possible reasons for an absence of movie reviews/rants here: 1 – Jess hasn’t seen any movies since August Rush and therefore has nothing to say, or 2 – Jess has seen movies but for one reason or another hasn’t had the time to post, or she’s just been super lazy. Well, let me assure you its the latter. I’ve been a bit lazy, its uni going back, its wedding videos, its …. my not being a total computer geek (that would explain the strange format of this post – help …anyone – the wordpress had gone funny on me). ANYWAY over the next days you’ll be getting some posts on the movies I have seen:Rendition Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Run Fatboy Run Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man Definitely, Maybe Death Defying Acts Science des réves, La (The Science of Sleep) So look forward to your comments when I eventually get my act together!