I’m whittlin’ away at my Movie To-do List!
Reviews so far:
Bright Young Things:
Stephen Fry’s adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s “Vile Bodies.” Wooo! One splendid book!
Released August 20th (at the Clay in SF as of 9/10/04)
As it looks like for the nonce this film was only released in LA & NY, I dashed over to Amazon.co.uk and promptly ordered myself the dvd (<-click that to lookie-loo) as we have that spiffo all region $40 player now. It arrived in only a few days and what a charmer! Luckily I had just re-read the book, so it was all super fresh in my mind. The script was surprisingly close to the book, except for a wee tacked on happy ending. But shush, we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen. It was also a bit more gay, and a bit more naughty, but that is to be expected as elements that were subtly hinted at in the book were brought to the fore. Hurrah! As with a lot of British films, the picture is practically stolen by the vast sea of seasoned talent swooshing through the background in every scene. The Bright Young Things themselves were just a tag lackluster. But over all an absolutely fantastically sparkly film. Everyone shoiuld go out and get their region free dvd and then order it from Britain. Nice extras too.
Hong Kong blockbuster finally makes it out of the Miramax gates.
Release August 27th
One of the most gorgeously filmed pieces of exquisite cinema ever. I was completely floored by the beauty and scope of this Hong Kong gem. A complicated tale, the plot peels itself like an onion, and ends up a very poignant polemic about war, revenge, sacrifice and honor. Did I say “wow”? Wow. It is vast, and sweeping, the mongolian desert a background to brilliant colors and sinister plots. Do. Not. Miss.
Adaptation by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) of Thackeray’s famous novel without a hero. Also the basis for Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind.” Also, my favorite Victorian novel. Mmmmm. Jonathon Rhys Meyers makes an appearance. It is about time! Yummy.
Release September 1st
Ok. One reviewer said it bugged them because it was clearly a rip off of Gone With The Wind. HELLO!?!? WTF. “Gone With The Wind” was a rip off of Vanity Fair you ignorant feckin’ ignants. Reminded me of the one reviewer who said that the first “Lord of the Rings” movie was a rip off of Wagner. Um, HELLO!?!? Both Tolkein and Wagner used similar source material for inspiration, you dimwit.
So yeah, critics can BITE ME.
Vanity Fair has good points and bad points.
Good: Exquisitely shot, period detail is fantastic and lush. It is a bit more exotic than more staid Austen flicks, due in part to the Director Mira Nair’s hometown influence, but this is also reflected throughout the book as cultures of east and west intersect. I was surprised at how much of the book made it into the film, there were some mood changes, of which I complain about below, but overall I say “good job!” Again, the panoply of England’s finest in the supporting roles totally steals the show. It is worth it just to watch Eileen Atkins as Miss Crawley and her steeley eyed glare. This film is a bit less sinister than the book, but still affords such exquisite lines uttered icily by Gabriel Byrne as Lord Steyne “There is not a person here that doesn’t want to see you dead.” And that to one of his daughters over a light supper.
Bad: It is not as dark and cynical as the book, including, and most importantly, our anti-heroine Becky Sharp. The film is more sympathetic to Becky, partly I think because as a culture we are more sympathetic to female adventurers. But she loses something in the translation. Especially where it must intersect with the story and alter the plot, ie: Becky actually giving a damn about anyone but herself. Which brings me to Ms. Witherspoon who is unfortunately the movie’s weakest link. I’m sorry, she just can’t carry highly mannered acting. I adore her in other films, here she makes me want to smack her. But not enough to dislike the film. It is passable. And while I liked the overall diversity of the film, throwing in the aristos doing Bollywood at the end was rather embarrassing. There was a scene in the book where Becky dressed as a slave kisses the hand of Lord Steyne dressed as a pasha, I hardly think that is an invite for an all out Hot Dance Number ™.
Still, I prefer the 1998 BBC production with Natasha Little. Now THAT is Becky Sharp. Go rent it.
Release Dates: November 12th
From the director of “Monster’s Ball” *snort!* Also, mmmmore Johnny Depp than you can stand. This time as writer J.M. Barrie of “Peter Pan” fame. Tale of Mr. Barrie’s journey of inception to theater with the tale of Peter Pan. With Kate Winslet as the yummy Mama. Thanks to Tamera who reminded me this was coming out! She said something nice about the history of it but I can’t find her post. Poop.
Team America: World Police
Release Dates: October 15th
Putting the “F” back in Freedom! “Take THAT, terrorists!” From the folks that brought you South Park. Aw yeah. I am sooooo ready. This will wash the taste out of the recent live action Thunderbirds movie.
Godzilla Fest: Castro Theater sometime in November. This just seen on the scrolling news screen in our company elevator. Not up on the Castro’s website yet but the blurb mentioned Godzilla artifacts and FUN STUFF. So, look out!