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All the Real Girls (2003)
He's so often right, that when I'm 180 degrees from The Movie Man I always check some of the other "external reviewers" in hopes that one or two may see it my way, give me an unreality check. No such luck this time - everybody admires it. Thank goodness for some other user commenters, who recognize that this emperor has forgotten its bathrobe. All The Real Girls might be better called Not Of This Earth:The Left Behind. In its precious tentativeness it is beyond painful.
Coulda been a contenda
I will certainly see Hannibal again and again, so overall I liked it. But I left the theater thinking: how sad that this will be the one movie to be made from Thomas Harris's book; wouldn't it have been nice if they could have brought in Jonathan Demme to tone down some of Ridley Scott's excesses. Of these, the worst for me was how unbearably loud the background music was at times(I am hoping, hoping, hoping this was an artefact courtesy of the theater I was in, and the next time I see it will be easier on the ears). I also would have preferred the slicked-back smarmy bureaucratic Paul Krendler of Silence of the Lambs to the arrogant frat-boy role nonetheless well-performed by Ray Liotta. Julianne Moore is superb as Clarice; the concern about not having Jodie Foster can be laid to rest, and an argument can be made that this vintage Clarice is a better role for Julianne than Jodie anyway.
Now I'll issue a SPOILER ALERT - beep, beep, beep. The major alteration from the book is to do away with the evolution of the Clarice/Hannibal relationship into a romance, as Clarice transcends her sense of duty and Hannibal... well, I'm not sure exactly what Hannibal did - perhaps allow himself to feel, however NewAge that sounds - and replace it with a theme of unrequited love in the face of mutual respect. That Clarice's final act of duty is one-upped by Hannibal's self-sacrifice, or at least a piece of himself, is a very nice touch, beyond which it gets rid of that nasty xray problem!!! Well, I for one can't wait for the sequel. Goody-goody.
The Browning Version (1951)
Comparison to The Winslow Boy
I rewatched The Browning Version, perhaps 45 years after last seeing it, inspired by seeing The Winslow Boy, also written by Terence Rattigan but directed by David Mamet, which opened the San Francisco Film Festival three nights ago. The Browning Version is both very good and yet also dated, and some of the lines and action could be right out of a parody of stuffy British cinema. I realize there's a new version with Albert Finney which I haven't seen, but it made me wonder how David Mamet might bring new life to it, as he has done to The Winslow Boy, which was wonderful.