Reviews written by registered user

6 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Subtlety and smoldering in an art movie, 4 November 2003

Girl with a Pearl Earring successfully captures the essence of it source novel. In both its visual beauty and rendering of each character, the movie transports you to the 17th century Dutch world of Vermeer and a society of sexual repression and the power and powerlessness of money and class.

Very subtle and stylistic, GWAPE has very little action and dialog, but with emotions seething just below the surface. Eduardo Serra's cinematography is breath-taking - a Dutch Master painting brought to life.

Colin Firth's Vermeer is very virile and forceful, sexy and smoldering, but different from the actor's Pride and Prejudice Darcyesque characters. This Vermeer is a more self-centered and manipulative - an artist for whom his art comes first. His palpable attraction to Griet the servant girl is as important to him for his artistic inspiration as for his libido.

With almost no physical contact, the chemistry between the two is amazing. The sexiest scene by far is when he sees Griet in an unguarded moment. His look is hot enough to burn holes in plaster.

Although his presence drives the film, Colin is clearly a supporting actor to Scarlett Johansson as Griet, who delivers a performance of amazing maturity and depth. Having to operate on the suppressed level required of a maid in a subservient position, she manages to convey such an astonishing range of emotions with no big tantrums or "money" scenes. She is believable and touching and sympathetic throughout, and very beautiful in a nontraditional way.

This is clearly an art film, both literally and figuratively, and thus has no chance of being a blockbuster hit. It is slow-paced and character-, not action- driven. It seemed longer than its 99 minutes, but only because every look, every gesture, every setting is significant and requires the full attention of the viewer. First-time director Peter Webber has created a movie of astonishing beauty, but a movie for those moviegoers with the sensibility and willingness to experience it at its own pace.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Sometimes charm is enough to carry the day, 5 April 2003

All movies are not masterpieces, nor were they meant to be. Light, escapist entertainment has its place, and sometimes it can be just what you need.

In a week filled with war and destruction, an annoying head cold, college rejections, car dent repair, and an unexpected tax bill running to 5 digits (!), escapism was definitely something the doctor ordered. And that is just what What a Girl Wants provides, critics be damned.

Yes it's predictable and corny, yes it's derivative and heavily influenced by The Princess Diaries, yes it strains credibility, yes its production values are suspect, and yes it must have have run out of money when it came to creating its opening titles, BUT sometimes charm is enough to carry the day, and charm it has up to its American and English ears.

The lead actress Amanda Bynes plays cute and perky so effortlessly and naturally, you can't help but like and root for her, regardless of the lame things she might have to do and say.

And there are not one but TWO Prince Charmings - newcomer heartthrob Oliver James as her boyfriend and the thinking woman's heartthrob Colin Firth as her long-lost dad.

Oliver is just as cute as Bynes and as nice and sensible as a cool guy can be, and he can actually sing, too. If this role is a good indication of his charm and appeal, he has a pretty bright future ahead of him.

Colin Firth plays his role with the depth, sincerity and integrity you've come to expect from all his performances. He actally succeeds in making you believe he really could be a man who finds the love child - of his one true love - that he never knew he had, and that he could change his life for them. In the hands of a lesser and less charming and attractive actor, the man would have been little more than a corny plot device. But Firth provides the heart and heft of the movie and makes his character someone you grow to like and really care about (and maybe fantasize about, too - as the fantasy father or husband, depending on your demographic).

As the title makes clear, this is a film for girls, so everyone else beware, (unless you have an Amanda fixation). But it's also for girls of riper vintage - note the TWO Prince Charmings - who should be more than willing to succumb to their princely charms.

Don't go to this movie expecting the wit of Clueless or the intelligence of Ever After. It's a lightweight modern-day fairy tale which sometimes misses its mark. But it provides a diverting ninety minutes of escapism, megawatt charm from its stars, and smiles, laughs, and awws aplenty for its targeted audience.

103 out of 127 people found the following review useful:
One of the most haunting and beautiful films ever made, 27 March 2002

If any movie could be called filmed poetry, this would be it. From its first opening shot to its last frame, there is such lyricism and emotion and beauty that it almost leaves you speechless. I have not seen this movie in years, but it still affects me and I want to write about it. There is a pervading sadness to the movie, like a memory of something wonderful that could have been, that should have been, that almost was, and is all the more tragic because it was in your hands but slipped through your fingers. This is not a movie for everyone, but if you believe that film can be one of the highest forms of art, this is the film to see.

29 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
The first and still the best., 26 November 1999

My favorite all-time animated movie. Every song is a classic, every character is unforgettable, every voice is perfect, not a second is wasted. Funny, scary, entertaining and revolutionary. Remember that this was the very first animated movie ever, and everyone thought Disney was crazy making it. In 62 years, this movie has never been equaled.

A romance that feels real, 9 March 1999

This movie, more than any in recent years, touched me deeply. I could identify with the relationship between the two main characters--their hesitancy, shyness, joy of discovery, palpable attraction and the baggage they carried from past relationships. Corny as it sounds, love can be that magical, and this movie perfectly captures that magic that only the lucky among us actually experience ourselves. Even beyond the love story, I loved how all the characters, big and small, had dimension and complexities beyond the confines of the movie itself. It is so rare for me to think about movie characters like real people who exist after the credits roll, but I thought about them for days afterwards. You can't be a cynic to fully appreciate the depth of this movie, but speaking for myself, I was swept away.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A disappointment, 26 December 1998

I just saw Prince of Egypt today, and though I had read many reviews about it, nothing prepared me for how disappointing it was. Where was the awe, the emotion, the wonder, the divine inspiration?

The mixture of CGI and traditional animation was as fluid as oil and water. It reminded me of an old Mad Magazine satire that showed Donald Duck cowering naked in a realistically rendered henhouse. The contrast was almost embarrassing. The story either went too slowly or too quickly. I never really made an emotional investment in any of the characters.The story jumped from one "Money Scene" to the next "Money Scene" with awkward transitions. The distortion of the legend making Moses the Pharaoh's adopted son instead of grandson was not believable. Why would a mother, especially the pharaoh's wife, with a very young son of her own so readily adopt another, and a stranger at that? It was just a plot device to trump up a sibling rivalry, and not a particularly interesting one at that. Moses came off as being too tortured and not heroic or enough. In a movie like this, belief (in the divine) is supposed to make you strong. And God, who is supposedly the point of all Bible stories, was reduced to a cameo role. The character animation was annoyingly angular, with eyes ridiculously far apart and on top of the forehead. And the clanging mixture of flat American (Pfeiffer, Bullock), regal British and traditional Jewish accents was particularly jarring. The songs were pretty much forgettable. Well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Katzenberg could say all he wants about how this is a film for adults and he is breaking new ground in animation and making the world safe from Disney mush. But if the movie fails to find an audience, it's not because he aimed too high, but because he missed his mark.