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I had to see this movie after I heard the Hype how this movies was "the second coming of movies", that this was the to beat movie of the oscar season. Going to see this was a BIG MISTAKE, this movie was Mediocre on all levels and NO Nicole Kidman really fumbles this part unable to nail down her accent she was portraying. A movie about the civil war? Yeah right you could have used any war to pass this movie off. I was a sappy love story on-screen never read the book so I wont say anything about the book, but what was put to screen was horrible. Why is Natalie Portman even credited as to having a BIG role when she doesnt she it just a bit part, somewhat moving but only 10 or min of screen time, what happend it was a name that they could add to the budget they could afford. The movie just wasnt that good and dont let anyone tell you, you have to be in love to enjoy it no you dont I am and I still didnt like it. This movie is overrated by all means, this was just the big tragic love story of the year. I have restored faith in the Oscars again that this didnt get the big nomination, I can accept Jude Law's nomination this is the second movie I have seen him in that he didnt annoy me, acting wise. This movie's advertising proved you shouldnt count on a sure thing Oscar bid and sweep, cause it didnt. In closing this is a renter I give it a C- at best.
Jude law gives Keanu Reeves a run for his money as the most wooden actor around, Renee Z's character is straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies, and the two leads have about as much chemistry as Darth Vader and Queen Amedala. The "bad guys" are the worst kind of cliche, and there's not a subtle moment in the film. Incredible that some critics actually liked this movie.
"Cold Mountain" is a grand old-style, satisfyingly catch-you-up-in-the-sweep-of-emotions/resistance-is-futile
Hollywood epic, whose primary difference from "Gone With the Wind" is that
the actresses get to flash some tasteful T & A and use a four-letter word
more vulgar than "damn" about manure.
Perforce it can only be a hurried "scenes from" the engrossing novel which puts Penelope and Odysseus amidst the Civil War where author Charles Frazier added irony to Homer as Ada/Penelope first has to (metaphorically) learn to weave as she keeps suitors and other dangers at bay and Inman/Odysseus is not a hero but barely survives as a deserter to face parallel trials on the way home.
The book at least includes a map so readers can trace Inman's lengthy Odyssey, but the movie unfortunately opts out of that 1940's-style even as it follows other conventions of the genre, particularly as seen through John Seale's beautiful cinematography from the fog of war to the fog of snow.
While producers Miramax are technically not a major studio, their casting is part of what puts this in the grand Hollywood tradition.
Even under dirt and mussed hair, Nicole Kidman and Jude Law are two of the mostly stunningly beautiful human beings on the planet --and it's a pretty safe bet that they'll be entered in MTV's "Best Film Kiss of 2003"--yet they almost don't stand out amidst an attractive cameo cast with the likes of Natalie Portman, Cillian Murphy, Giovanni Ribisi, Charlie Hunnam, with Ray Winstone as the villain, etc. It was almost startling to see Eileen Atkins's mountain woman as the first non-pretty or handsome character actor. Renée Zellweger gets to chew the scenery as an over-the-top Ma Kettle, but her comic relief is enjoyable.
While the complex production design, from battles to farms to log cabins, creates whole environments, "Ada"'s wardrobes must be pretty huge to fit all those beautiful dresses; it was only in the last days of poverty of the war that she actually had to repeat wearing one.
A good deal of the credit for the irresistibility of the movie is the music, especially T. Bone Burnett's Americana and Jack White's Americana-sounding selections, and I would have preferred even more of those and a bit less of Gabriel Yared's score. Allison Krauss's singing is especially evocative in enveloping the audience in the mood and themes, in "The Scarlet Tide" and closing with Sting's "You Will Be My Ain True Love", which is a shoo-in for an Oscar nom.
There was a credited dialect coach, but I found the Southern accents bland. And none of the quibbles really matter.
Anthony, Anthony, Anthony! What are you doing? I sincerely hope that
studio meddling played a major role in this pig's ear of a movie. Having
away with The English Patient and thrilled with The Talented Mr. Ripley,
fashionably low expectations I was hoping for nothing short of a mediocre
Hollywood must have been like a ghost town when the cast and crew of Cold Mountain were beavering away in Romania, but despite the combined cast value of more than the Iraqi oil reserves, a far richer experience could be had by watching ten year old repeats of Candid Camera. The star factor was perhaps too high, so where the aim was to give us a thousand moments, like diamonds in a bag', to quote one of the many fingers-in-back-of mouth cringeworthy fragments of dialogue, the stars imploded giving us a white dwarf [=small dim star of enormous density near the end of its life made largely of carbon - probably from said diamonds].
The premise was reasonable enough - young man is forced into the American Civil War and yearns to get back to his sweetheart, facing all manner of perils along the way. However, films of this period have been made before, in which the characters generate intense emotional heat and have the power to move the audience. All Cold Mountain can give us is empty glances and togged up poses from a celebrity magazine and frankly, Nicole and Jude, I don't give a damn.
The supposed attraction between them is quite literally based on she mincing around with a drinks tray and a few exchanges of excruciating dialogue in the worst attempt at an American accent imaginable. It doesn't make for good viewing. Perhaps it makes good reading but I don't care that it is a literary adaptation, for a film is a film and a book is a book. We are given no insight in to the characters who rely purely on their appearance, not their hollow personalities.
Thank goodness for Renée Zellweger, who gives a gutsy and warm performance as a farm girl who becomes Nicole's helper and antithesis. If only she'd been more help in the acting stakes. Renée, and a distinctive (given the number of them we have seen this year) battle sequence apart, each frame of the rest of the movie is sublimely dull and insufferable. Yet it drags on and on until we are treated to a song by...wait for it...Sting. Oh sweet G-d in heaven get me out of here now was the sentiment that sprang to mind.
You have been warned. But 13 BAFTA nominations? Something must be in the water - no, sorry - the director is head of the British Film Institute. And who says Britain ain't like Hollywood? Cast and crew are capable of much better things, thus making this by far the biggest disappointment of the year. Wrap up warm.
Two words best sum up this resplendent bore of a movie - "Oscar Bait."
Everything about it seems to be a conspicuous grab for prestige and Academy
Award consideration. But more often than not things go horribly
Its a splendid looking film, but the design more correctly evokes Trannsylvania than the Old South. More than once I awaited gypsy caravans and torch bearing villagers.
In homage we have Jude Law dressing up as the Wolf Man for much of the running time, stumbling through thickets in search of Nicole Kidman. He has the good sense to keep his mouth shut most of the time - his accent being so studied that it lacks all credibility - adopting a generally pained expression that suffices for most emotions.
Nicole Kidman is simply woeful. Much too old for the part, she lapses between Australian twang and Southern drawl to basically nil effect. We simply don't care about Ada as portrayed by the now familiar Kidman twitches.
Renee Zellweger makes amends for Kidman stealing the Oscar that should have been hers for Chicago by stealing Kidman's film from under her. Its not much of an achievement, given that La Kidman seems to be asleep for most of the film.
Amongst the mugging supporting cast, Giovanni Ribisi stands out, incomprehensibly decked out as Theda Bara with a beard.
It may go on to triumph at the Oscars, but that will be small consolation to people suckered into seeing a sterile, boring film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***MILD SPOILERS*** Dear Inman, Kind words are hard to find for me to describe the movie I have just been subjected to that stars you. The problems are far and wide and painful for me to recount. . . yet I feel I must, if only to prevent others from suffering the same anguish as I did. This is NOT a film for anyone under 50, it's sloooowwwww, soooooo slowwww, and when the big reunion of Ada and Inman happens. . .the biggest and most important scene in the film, NOTHING happens, it is a epic letdown. Now, like the director should have done, I will keep my words short and end with this warning, your film is disjointed, boring, has no flow and Jude Law is tragically mis-cast, he showed more emotion as a robot in A.I. - be warned, the film should be retitled . . . Bored Mountain. Love, Ada
Critics are falling over themselves within the Weinstein's Sphere of Influence to praise this ugly, misguided and repellent adaptation of the lyrical novel on which it's based. Minghella's ham-fisted direction of the egregiously gory and shrill overly-episodic odyssey is one of the many missteps of this "civil-war love story". Are they kidding? After Ms. Kidman and Mr. Law meet cute with zero screen chemistry in a small North Carolina town and steal a kiss before its off to war for Jude and his photo souvenir of the girl he left behind, it's a two hour test to the kidneys as to whether he will survive a myriad of near-death experiences to reunite with his soulmate. Who cares? Philip S. Hoffman's amateurish scene chewing in a disgusting and unfunny role pales to Renee Zelweger's appearance as a corn-fed dynamo who bursts miraculously upon the scene of Kidman's lonely farm to save the day. Rarely has a performance screamed of "look at me, I'm acting" smugness. Her sheer deafening nerve wakes up the longuers for a couple of minutes until the bluster wears painfully thin. Released by Miramax strategically for Oscar and Golden Globe (what a farce) consideration, the Weinsteins apparently own, along with Dick Clark, the critical community and won 8 Globe nominations for their overblown failure. The resultant crime is that awards have become meaningless and small, less powerful PR-driven films become obscure. Cold Mountain is a concept film and an empty, bitter waste of time. Cold indeed!!!
I could forgive the fact that the movie was shot in Romania (the time and place are a crucial part of the novel full of character and qualified film staff, but remained an untapped resource for the movie). I could forgive that foreign actors were used as leads, presumably for their names, while there are perfectly qualified American, or better yet southern actors available (there was an Australian, an Englishman, a couple Irishmen, and a whole bunch of Romanians; Oh and one great young southern actor, Ethan Suplee with a relatively inconsequential part.). I could forgive the geographical mistakes (if you are in Petersburg, VA start walking south or west or better yet uphill and you will get to Avery County, NC, but you will never see the ocean). I could forgive the lack of true development of a villain or evil (several were suggested, the weakest of which was there for the finale). I could forgive Phillip Seymore Hoffman's British southern fusion accent (Not nearly as bad as Nichole Kidman's or Jude Law's sad attempts at southerners...sad and inconsistent), or Rene Zellweger's comic book interpretation of her comic relief character (she was occasionally amusing after all). I could forgive the soundtrack for leading me by the nose though every pivotal scene like some kind of emotional laugh track (not the bluegrass, the bluegrass was great). I could forgive Natalie Portman for anything (because she is supremely attractive). I could forgive a lot of things, but I'm not gonna. It was just bad. The acting. The interpretation of the story. Character development. The sexual tension. The release of said tension. This is Hollywood hubris at it's best. To be fair everyone worked very hard, and with a different script and a different director this cast could have made one of the greatest movies ever (I have a deep respect for so many actors involved in this movie), and Cold Mountain is a nice vehicle (most of the nice parts of the movie were where Minghella left the book alone), but it just didn't happen. Donald Sutherland was very good along with James Gammon and Giovanni Ribisi. Romania was pretty. Cold Mountain however, was just plain bad.
Loosely based on Homer's 'Odyssey', 'Cold Mountain' tells the story of the final days of the American Civil War, and one man's struggle to get home. Unfortunately, it's also a world where the heroes, even when supposedly starving, have 21st century muscles, and the heroines all have 21st century teeth. More than that, they have 21st century values as well: I'm not saying that all southerners were slave-owning bigots, but the film establishes very early on where it's coming from, where the hero shows, in the very first scene, what was surely very unusual courtesy from a southerner to a black man, while shortly afterwards the heroine declares her happiness to be away from slaves, though without specifying the nature of her objection. Which means, of course, that the film offers no insights into how white people, viewed as having the highest moral character in their own community, could have fought a war ultimately for the purpose of the right to enslave others. Meanwhile, the various foes who stand in the path of a happy ending are all depicted as evil and venal, in contrast to the nobility and modernity of the sympathetic characters. This is less history than 'The Lord of the Rings'; where moral merit is not a judgement passed on a set of behaviours in a particular environment, but rather an innate property of the good and the beautiful.
When I first saw the trailors for this movie, I was overjoyed. Anthony Minghella is one of my favorite directors. His English Patient has always captured my imagination and moved me deeply. The actors in this movie were some of my favorite. Jude Law and especially Nicole Kidman, whose last year's performance in The Hours shocked me with her undertone of power. And with a cast of amazing supporting actors, including the likes of Phillip Seymor Hoffman and Giovanni Rabissi. How could anyone not love this movie? Simple, it was sold to you. You were not expected to buy it or believe. It was a bad soap opera on wheels rolling into a ravine. True, this movie had its moments. But that is all it had moments of average filming that swept you away for a second. Yet, you were brought back quickly by the stereotypes of the film. The one that bothered me the most about this film was its love story. Contrived, that is all I can say. I am an avid movie fan and am usually quicker to love movies than to hate, but this rubbed me the wrong way.
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