Reviews written by registered user
|64 reviews in total|
While watching this movie I was often reminded of the word lush. It is
the lush emerald scenery, the lush colors, the lush texture of fabrics,
the lush succulence of food...this film is a feast for the senses, a
sight for sore eyes! With its mixture of the scents of summer and the
moist coolness of rain, this is one of the most enchantingly
atmospheric films I've ever seen! The cinematography is top-notch.
Everything is filmed with the utmost care and patience. The lighting is
brilliant! We don't have a conventional plot over here. It's sort of a
'phase' in the life of three sisters. A phase of feeling new things,
experiencing new pleasures, realizing the strength of relationships and
giving up oneself to the prevalent course of life, each sister rest
assured that she can rely on her faith in her other two sisters and her
own self-will to surmount all odds. All the characters have been
rendered really well by the cast, especially by Tran Nu Yên-Khê who
played Lien. The framing of each shot is aesthetically innovative, like
when in the end after the three sisters cry on each other's shoulder,
there is a shot of their bowed heads with the partings in their hair
prominent. I thought that was a really good shot. The music is really
nice too. The songs fuse in the life of the characters, becoming
entities by themselves.
The amazing part of their culture is how well they balance modernity and tradition. If it were not for the tale-tell signs of modernity one would almost be fooled into thinking it to be a period piece. This film reminded me a lot of the beautiful Chinese film 'Postman in the Mountain' directed by Huo Jianqi which is equally good. This film with its emotional subtlety, its studied pace and aesthetic superiority is an unforgettable reminder of the finer things in life and the finest aspects of film, as a medium, in existence.
All the people crying hoarse about what a bad role model Cinderella is
seem to have forgotten that this movie is actually, you know, based on
a fairytale and is a fairly literal adaptation. It's not like Disney or
Kenneth Branagh promised to make anything revisionist and then
shortchanged the audience on that count. If people did not want to
watch a story of an ill-treated girl whose fortunes change when a
prince falls in love with her, then maybe they shouldn't have stepped
inside the movie theater to watch 'Cinderella'. It's not like they did
not know the story already.
And actually, I don't even think Cinderella is such a bad role model. Sure, she's mesmerized by a handsome dude she spoke with for five minutes and is most happy to leave her family home which she vowed to protect her whole life when the prince comes to take her away. But I think the real message of the movie is to be positive. In spite of all the misfortune and ill-treatment that's meted out to her, Cinderella stays optimistic and hopeful. It's easy to feel negative and defeated, especially when, in our times, bad things happening in the world far outnumber the good. It's easy to get affected and feel indifferent. But to shirk that negativity and continue on takes courage and shows real character. So instead of whining about how not a feminist role model Cinderella is, can't we not focus on the real takeaway of the movie - Be positive and affirmative and let karma take its course.
Why do we expect every movie to be moralistic, anyway? Just watch it for the beautifully lush faux Scottish-alpine landscape, the gorgeous sets and even more gorgeous people. I found Lily James as Cinderella to be less annoying than her as Lady Rose in 'Downtown Abbey'. She's not that bad... Richard Madden is a perfectly serviceable prince charming. He actually managed to not get killed for marrying for love and not for advantage ;) Oh, the Freys will be so disappointed! I love Cate Blanchett and can't help but think she was under-utilized. I know they couldn't have shifted focus from the main character but I still wouldn't have minded some more of Blanchett's delicious wickedness! I think for Stellan Skarsgård this was a 'one for the paycheck' role. Perhaps, like Derek Jacobi, Skarsgård took up his role because of his previous association with Branagh, but he deserves so much better...
Anyhoo, there are lots of movies to look forward to taking umbrage at, people. So cheer up!
This film is an absolute treat! From the film's atmospheric opening,
with that great piece of music and narration, the film is really
engrossing and an immersive experience. It's visually stunning, the
voice-over work is great, the script is really funny and the story is
very touching. I've seen this movie three times yes, not as many
times as some of the other people on this board and I've loved it
every time I've seen it. I was really disappointed when HTTYD lost the
Oscar to Toy Story 3. I've seen both the films and HTTYD deserved it
hands down. It's sad when awards are given to sentimental favourites
rather than films that actually deserve the award...
My favourite animated part was that of Gobber. Craig Ferguson's voice- over was just brilliant! I used to crack-up every time Gobber was on screen the accent, the dialogue, everything was just great. In fact, I liked Gobber's part so much, I was sad it wasn't more in the film. I could see an entire film with him in the lead! The scene in which Gobber's listening to Stoick while drinking beer and then retrieving his fallen metal tooth from the mug, is particularly hilarious and very well executed. Gerald Butler as Stoick the Vast is also amazing. I'm not a very big fan of Jay Baruchel but he voices Hiccup really well. I do wonder, even now, why Hiccup doesn't talk in the same accent as his father and the rest of the Vikings. He just pretends once to talk in that accent but otherwise, pretty much, has an American accent. It would perhaps have been better if Hiccup also spoke in that accent. But that grouse apart, Baruchel does very well, especially while rendering sarcastic lines.
I have a feeling HTTYD's success prodded Pixar to make 'Brave'. The setting of the films is sort of similar and when I first saw the trailer of 'Brave' I was very sure the same studio that had made HTTYD had made 'Brave'. When I learnt the studios were different, I was actually kind of happy for Dreamworks for their success. Besides, Kung Fu Panda, HTTYD is a huge and well-deserved achievement for them. I am looking forward to watching the sequel but also a little wary that they'll spoil the magic and perfection of HTTYD by trying too hard to replicate its success. That's pretty much what happened with Kung Fu Panda. Whatever happens though, HTTYD is a fantastic film for all ages and preferences. Here's to more happier times with Hiccup and the Vikings!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a self-confessed anglophile and having done my Masters in English
Literature, I try and see as many adaptations of British novels as
possible. For me it's like re-living my college and university days
when we used to eat, breathe, sleep and dream about the authors, poets
and playwrights we were studying! And though we studied about Elizabeth
Gaskell, her works sadly didn't make the cut as far as our syllabus was
concerned. So to sort of remedy that egregious mistake, I have been
lapping up all the adaptations of her work and will soon read all the
books as well! I know I should have gone the other way around and read
the books first... but well... the temptations of watching BBC
adaptations were too much to resist! So I started with 'Cranford' and
then 'Wives and Daughters' and I just finished watching 'North and
South'. And all three are absolutely brilliant! 'Cranford' is an
embarrassment of riches! With its stellar British cast, it is a treat
to watch and is altogether funny, witty and disarmingly heartwarming.
'Wives and Daughters' has a very identifiable story and is brilliant in
its attempt at exploring how women think and do the things they do.
Michael Gambon, Francesca Annis and Justine Waddell make watching W&S a
'North and South' is unlike either of the previous works mentioned. It is much more profound I thought going by the BBC adaptation at least in its exploration of the human condition. It has shades of the works of George Eliot in its richness of characterization; of Dickens in its social realism and of Jane Austen in its unraveling of dormant passions. To be honest, I didn't think 'North & South was not without its faults. I get that Margaret Hale was the central character but at times I felt that the story was too one-sided. Everyone who ever spoke to John Thornton invariably ended up talking about Margaret which I thought was a bit unreal. And then there were the stock elements now so overused to make the hero seethe in jealousy: the mention of another eligible bachelor (Henry Lennox) in Margaret's life; the sight of her embracing another man! Gasp! The train station scene was the most predictable I felt. When the scene started with Margaret and Frederick bidding their goodbyes, I just thought to myself, "And who should witness this lovey-dovey farewell but Thornton!" and then the next instant he was there indeed glowering at them in righteous jealousy! And yes, Thornton's proposal and Margaret's prompt rejection of it has 'Pride and Prejudice' written all over it but literature is rife with heroines turning down marriage proposals because of their prejudices and/or natures Alcott's Jo March and L M. Montgomery's Anne Shirley being two more similar famous heartbreakers!
But I digress Because in spite of everything, this BBC adaptation with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe is simply put heart-achingly beautiful! The acting, the cinematography, the writing were all top notch. In some shots Daniela Denby-Ashe was so beautifully lit, it was as if the camera was kissing her. Her character Margaret Hale is an incurable do-gooder, sometimes to the extent of being annoying but Daniela brings grace and class to it. But I have to admit that I think Richard Armitage shoulders this adaptation almost single-handedly from the beginning to the end and I cannot imagine anyone else playing the role. I even wonder if this adaptation would have succeeded had some other actor played Richard's character. As the intelligent brooding and conflicted mill-owner John Thornton, Richard Armitage's performance is nothing short of hypnotic. You root for him throughout and in the end, when Margaret professes her love for him by kissing his hand, you can't help but get misty-eyed! This is the first performance of Richard's that I watched and given his devilishly handsome good looks, brooding persona and incredible acting chops, the fact that he isn't more popular and hasn't made it big in Hollywood is a surprise indeed. Sinead Cusack, Tim Piggot-Smith and Brendan Coyle are excellent in supporting roles. I'd like to make special mention of the music given by Martin Phipps. The violin tune composed by him at the start of each part and surfacing in between is absolutely beautiful and complements the story perfectly.
I don't want to get into the details of the story of 'North & South' since many over here already have. 'North & South' is another example of BBC doing what they do best adapt literary classics faithfully and make you wish you lived in an era peopled with the likes of John Thornton, Will Ladislaw and Fitzwilliam Darcy!
I saw 'New York: I Love You' today and loved it! I was really looking
forward to seeing this after watching 'Paris je t'aime' and overall I
think I liked this one much better... Perhaps I need to watch 'Paris je
t'aime' again I don't know... I read few of the reviews here about
NY:ILY and yes, the movie is not without its faults. When you're paying
tribute to a city like New York - it can get rather overwhelming and
nothing seems fair enough to do the city due justice... so without
elaborating on any of the film's shortcomings, I'll just write about
what I liked.
Unlike 'Paris je t'aime' in which each director's short film was properly segmented and titled, NY:ILY isn't and many reviewers over here have found the seamlessness of stories and overlapping of characters here annoying and even confusing. I thought otherwise. I loved how the stories just flowed one after the other and I especially liked the overlapping of characters - it might be gimmicky because it's done so often in films now. But I still liked it because I didn't find it forced. And the idea that we're all connected in the end has a wistful, even whimsical quality to it - which some might find corny but I find beautiful.
I liked all the films but the one that touched me the most was the one by Yvan Attal with Robin Wright Penn and Chris Cooper. It was so well-acted and scripted that the reveal in the end - again not unused in the past - brought me to tears and I was crying throughout the segment that followed. I always liked Wright Penn and now I'm also a fan of Chris Cooper. Those precious initial few seconds when he's standing alone outside the restaurant, just before he gets the call - speak volumes about Cooper's ability to convey a character by just being there without saying anything.
Most of the stories in this film involve characters who are either meeting each for the first time or have met each other just recently with the exception of 4-5 stories in which the characters have known each other for a long time. It seemed to me (and I might be wrong) that the stories were different but they were all trying to drive home the point, the need even, to just step back and view in a new light the people and the things we've known in our lives for a long time; to see the people and the things around you with the eyes of a stranger and appreciate them just as you did when you met them and saw them for the first time.
The other films that I liked were the ones by Shunji Iwai with Orlando Bloom and Christina Ricci, by Natalie Portman with Carlos Acosta and Taylor Geare, by Brett Ratner with Anton Yelchin and Olivia Thirlby, by Shekhar Kapur with Julie Christie, Shia LaBeouf and John Hurt and once again the one by Yvan Attal with Ethan Hawke and Emilie Ohana when they're in the café. I really need to see more work by Yvan Attal as I seem to like him a lot!
Overall, watch this movie with an open mind. Don't read the reviews before watching it! It might not live up to your expectations of what a movie on and about love in New York should be and I doubt any movie will really live up to that conception. Just watch this movie for some good music, beautiful landscape cinematography, some slice-of-life comfort and a story or two that might just tug at your heartstrings.
I saw The Half-Blood Prince today after days of nervous finger-biting
anticipation bordering on hysteria all of which involved reading the
book all over again, snapping at any remotely anti-Harry Potter remark,
watching all previews on TV, buying ridiculously expensive tickets to
watch the 3D version of the movie etc... I was just extremely anxious
to know and once and for all be relieved knowing that the film version
of THBP was going to do justice to the novel. I had my reasons to
worry... if the film version of 'The Order of the Phoenix' was anything
to go by then boy, I had a lot to worry! After all it was the same
director and the same team who had successfully managed in trashing
probably the most intricate HP book... So, I saw this movie and I'm...
I'm not seething in righteous indignation as some Potter
purists might be... but I'm just very disappointed...
I just wish they had stuck to the book completely... Why did they change all those things? Why did they add things that weren't there in the book? Why was the film swathed from beginning to end in a gray palette? I understand that times have changed and the Dark Lord has grown stronger... but was it really necessary to visually make the film so dark? In the previous films, I really felt like I was inside Hogwarts and with the characters and a lot of that had to do with the design of the film - the great hall, the Gryffindor common room, the area around Hagrid's house and the interior of Hagrid's and Ron's house... these were places I had begin to love and I really looked forward to "visiting" them again... So seeing this shrunken dark, dingy version of most of the above mentioned beloved places was a nasty shock... Never had Hogwarts looked more a CG-creation than in this film... And that was one of the main reasons I felt disconnected from things happening there... And since when did the Weasley's perennially bright cozy country cottage The Burrow turn into Number Twelve Grimmauld Place? I know they didn't mean it to be... but look-wise it was as grimy and dingy as the way Grimmauld Place was designed in OOTP... In the book THBP, The Burrow is still the same old beautiful country haven... Even everything at Hogwarts was shrunken, dingy and depressing... If David Yates meant this as some sort of a motif, then it was a very bad, literal and lame one...
And those were just the design issues... the changes they made to the story is a different matter altogether... since when did the Death Eaters look exactly like the Dementors? Why did they add that bit about The Burrow being burnt down and not show the first memory that Harry and Dumbledore enter into - the one about Voldermort's mother and Tom Riddle Sr.? I remember when I first read the book, that was probably (no pun intended) the most memorable memory out of all the ones that Harry and Dumbledore visit... It was so beautifully written... so vivid, scary and sad at the same time... In the film, even the memory in which Voldermort first sees the Hufflepuff Cup and the Slytherin necklace which would later on be his Horcruxes was omitted and so was the one in which he visits Dumbledore in Hogwarts asking for a job. Besides these crucial scenes, they also did not include even one in-depth discussion that used to ensue in the book between Dumbledore and Harry after their visits inside the memories... I think those bits are crucial in really understanding the basic premise of the entire Harry Potter series. They're the meaty informative bits... Instead of wasting money on one expensive bridge collapsing CG sequence which is referred to only in retrospect in the book, the film should have focused more on the memories, on Dumbledore's discussions with Harry etc... After watching the film I was at a complete loss - the film catered neither to the hardcore Potter fans nor the new ones it might have wanted to entice... Neither was there enough quality for the former nor enough quantity for the latter... Harry was like in a limbo - not completely with Dumbledore, not with Ron or Hermoine, not with Ginny... he just existed somewhere in between... I didn't for a moment feel like I was there with Harry, Ron and Hermoine... And it wasn't because the book didn't give me that feeling... it was because the film didn't give that to me...
I really don't know why David Yates was chosen to direct this film... After the horror that was 'OOTP', I thought the producers would have wizened up... but evidently not... looks like Mr. Yates is their golden boy... what with him directing The Deathly Hallows too... In an article, Yates commented that if the audience thought THBP was spectacular, they should just wait for The Deathly Hallows. To which, I have this to say to him... High-end CGI, loud ear-shattering sound effects do not a good film make. Yes, they contribute to a film's viewing pleasure, but they cannot replace good solid story telling... So far, out of all the HP film-adaptations, 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' has been the best - the most loyal to the book, the film that most engaged me into the happenings and the most stunningly directed and filmed HP-film till date... For the longest time, how I hoped they would approach Alfonso Cuaron again and he would agree to direct one more Potter movie... but alas, that was not to be... I have no grand hopes for The Deathly Hallows. I am assuming that the reason they are making two movies of the book is so that they can do more justice to it. Yes, I still hold on to that hope, naive though it may be...
'A Room with a View' has won several nominations and awards I read from
the IMDb page on the film but not one of those nominations or awards is
for Helena Bonham-Carter - the leading lady of this Merchant-Ivory
classic. To my mind this is her film. Helena has become very popular
now - especially since appearing in many Tim Burton films, her take on
Harry Potter's Bellatrix Lestrange and what not... but I still love her
earlier films... her turn as Ophelia in Mel Gibson's 'Hamlet',
'Howard's End' another Merchant-Ivory film and this of course. In 'A
Room with a View' she invests Lucy's character with such sublimity,
such spontaneity, unbridled innocence and blitheness that's just spell
binding... May be it was because this was Helena's second movie, may be
it was because she was almost exactly the same age as her character, I
don't know... but her rendition is almost effortless. Is that why her
contribution to this movie was so overlooked? Perhaps. To me it appears
one of the most glaring omissions of all time right up there in
whichever.com's list of "50 Actors Who Got Cheated Of Their Award"!
That said, this is an ensemble piece and no better set of actors could have done more justice in supporting the leads than those here. We have a medley of stereotypes here but you know what, that's OK when you have the stereotypes played to the tee and with such perfection! So we have a middle-aged unmarried novelist of popular romance who thrives on the escapades and the scandals of those who unwittingly oblige her all the time. Judi Dench, one in many of her supporting roles which don't get enough screen time but do get awards! We have a shrewish spinster who in spite of being unnervingly exacting in her views has a healthy appetite for the gossip doled out by her novelist friend. Hear! Hear! Maggie Smith nose upturned to perfection! And we have the brilliant as always Daniel Day-Lewis who sinks his teeth into Cecil, the uptight, erudite, stiff to the point of being caricature-ish fiancé of Lucy. We all know his method acting, his research into his characters and all. Over here he is a blast to behold! To see him willingly make such an ass of himself is absolutely magical! I couldn't stop laughing seeing him struggle with a tea cup in one hand, swatting flies with another. I was laughing so hard, I had to pause my DVD 'cos I really wanted to take in everything that Julian Sands's character was talking at the moment!
The rest of the supporting cast - Simon Callow as Mr. Beebe, Denholm Elliott as Mr. Emerson, Rupert Graves as Lucy's brother Freddy, Rosemary Leach as Lucy's mother - everyone is just so true to their character - acting as such perfect catalysts in what happens in the end, it's almost perfect... If one really goes to see, every one of the supporting actors has some role to play in bringing Lucy and George Emerson together - Judi Dench's character stirs Lucy's repressed feelings for George thanks to her "Under the Loggia", Maggie Smith's conservative Charlotte has perhaps the most important role to play in first setting the lovers apart and then trying to bring them together, Daniel Day-Lewis's Cecil is very obviously meant as a foil to George's character - it is not until Lucy gets ready to marry him - "Inglese-Italianato" and all - that she realizes or is made to realize that she wants exactly the opposite! Even Mr. Beebe with his very open pro-Emerson-ness, George's father with his unrefined uncomplicated simplicity, Freddy and Lucy's mother whose fondness for the Emersons cementing their acceptance in Lucy's mind... it's like, as they say, everyone including Cecil, conspire to bring Lucy and George together! Lastly, Julian Sands. This is the only film of his which I have seen and he's really amazing as George. I mean, if any actor can manage to distract your attention from Daniel Day-Lewis means he's done one heck of a job! His relationship with his father is very endearing but that I think is more because of Denholm Elliott's really touching performance than Julian's. Even so, when you're watching the film, you really want Julian's character to be with Lucy - and while she's being all cold and stand-off-ish, it's he who makes us root for him all the way!
I haven't read E M Forster's novel which for someone who's studied English Lit for five years is rather shameless I admit. The title I am sure is metaphorical... reading the novel would perhaps give me better insight into that... it's more than just the view of the Arno in Florence that Lucy gets to see. It's her view of everything and everyone up until that point in her life that sort of undergoes this transformation because of one fateful change of a room that offers a spectacular view! 'A Room with a View' is another gem in the Merchant Ivory canon - it is a quintessential Merchant Ivory film and god bless them for all they have offered through their wonderful films that so convincingly transport you to another place and time almost making you reluctant to come back to normal life!
This show was long LONG due! For years I wondered why we didn't have a
family-centric drama on TV that harked back to shows like 'Picket
Fences' and 'A Year in the Life of Gardner'. Yes, there were shows like
'Six feet Under' and 'Sopranos' that were also family dramas but they
were more, for lack of a better phrase, "family-profession specific".
Events in the lives of the characters more or less revolved around the
family profession... One more viewer over here has likened 'Brothers
and Sisters' to 'Six feet Under' because of certain similarities like
the patriarch dying in first episode leaving the family to pick up the
pieces and continue the family business... But the similarities end
there... 'Brothers and Sisters' is an altogether different ballgame.
There's no overriding family business that looms over the lives of the
characters. In 'B&S', the lives of the characters are driven by they
themselves - as they say "Character is Destiny" here.
I don't know how many families today are as inter-dependent on each other as the Walker family in 'B&S'. And shows centered around such 'inter-dependence' run the risk of being too soppy and overly sentimental. I guess the makers of this show were well aware of this. So each character in the show has a distinct character and personality - their individualism is what binds and separates them at the same time...
I love the casting of this show. Getting Sally Field to play the "matriarch" so to say, was I think, a casting coup of sorts! She's really the backbone of this show... the best thing about her character is that she isn't afraid of looking like a fool... some of her dating escapades, especially with Peter Coyote's character, are quite hilarious! I was never a big fan of Calista Flockhart. She's bearable here as long as she doesn't lapse into those irritating Ally McBeal-ish mannerisms... Rachel Griffiths is another great casting! One would not think of her as the elder-sister-material, especially after her Brenda stint in 'Six feet Under'... but she's really good! My favorite character and actor though is Matthew Rhys. He's a revelation! I had never seen him in any show/film before this... As an actor there's something so endearing and warm about him that he makes Kevin's character very engrossing and likable.
All on all, 'B&S' is really special! I just hope they don't cancel this show... I'll be really disappointed... I really look forward to watching it...!
I consider myself quite a Potter-maniac. I have seen each of the films
based on the novels over and over again and I consider this adaptation
of 'Prisoner of Azkaban' to be THE Best! Everything about this film
just brings the world of Harry Potter to life more vividly, more
convincingly and more movingly - from the Knight Bus, the Dementors,
the Marauder's Map, Shrieking Shack, Buckbeak, the Hippogriff and of
course, the eponymous Prisoner of Azkaban Sirius Black, is brought to
life so well that it's an unforgettable experience! Of course, I do
personally think that 'Azkaban' as a novel itself is leaps and bounds
better than the previous two novels Rowling wrote. Compared to
'Sorcerer's Stone' and 'Chamber of Secrets', 'Azkaban' inherently is so
fast-paced, action-packed and thrilling that a movie based on it HAD to
be good! How could it not?! And yet, this film exceeds expectations...
Even the soundtrack for 'Azkaban' is way better and plentiful than in
the previous 2 films. The Harry Potter theme given by John Williams,
the theme with which this film opens, is one of my most favorite movie
themes. I cannot praise John Williams enough for composing that
theme... The moment you hear it, you're just transported to that
magical world of Hogwarts and Harry, Ron, Hermoine, Hagrid and co! I
don't think anyone could've composed a better theme to encapsulate the
sheer magic of Harry Potter!
One of the things that they brought really well to life was the Marauder's Map - it was just so well done! I mean, even when you read the novel you have a fair enough mental picture of the map, but when you see it in the film, you're like, "Wow! Excellent!" The Dementors were appropriately creepy and scary - the train sequence again was superb! The Harry, Ron, Hermoine trio was very good - Daniel, Rupert and Emma have all done very well. Both Daniel and Emma are especially brilliant in the entire time-turning sequence. Emma Thompson as Sybil Trelawney was just adorable! Great choice! Gary Oldman is superb as Sirius Black! Lupin is one of those characters every Potter fan has a soft corner for and fortunately David Thewlis as Lupin is very good and very Lupin-ish :)
In all this is certainly my favorite adaptation of a HP novel. I had equal hopes from 'Goblet of Fire' and 'Order of the Phoenix' but was left quite disappointed. I just hope 'Half-blood Prince' is good... I wished Alfonso Cuaron directed one more Potter film. I wished they had given 'Half-blood Prince' to him instead of David Yates... For 'Deathly Hallows', they should have an online poll from fans about the choice of director and I really would not be surprised if most choose Alfanso Cuaron! Bless Cuaron and John Williams and Rowling and Harry Potter! The world is a better place 'cos of them!! Nox!
I had been meaning to watch Garden State for the longest time...
finally rented the DVD last week. Natalie Portman and Zach Braff look
great together! Few on screen couples look "real" but these guys do ;)
Some of their intimate scenes together especially in the end are really
well done... their emotional closeness is very heartrending... this
film is essentially another boy-meets-girl kind of story, but it's done
in such an unassuming unaffected manner... not with the overbearing
consciousness or awareness that oh, the boy meets THE girl and now
they're going to fall in love... which you kind of feel while watching
most movies... I think a huge credit for that goes to Braff for writing
a character like Sam - quirky, uninhibited and just radiating so much
positivity. Natalie Portman is amazing as Sam...but then she's amazing
whatever role she plays...!
After I saw the film, I sat through the entire audio commentary by Zach Braff and Natalie Portman... I do this for almost all the films I rent on DVD... I enjoy listening to the director's commentary as it brings new insights into the film and how the whole thing came about... To this end, I found the director's commentary of GS a bit wanting... one main thing which I found lacking is Zach Braff's lack of comments on his choice of actors... When Peter Sarsgaard appears on screen, I want to know why he chose Peter for the role, especially since he plays such an important part in the film. The same goes for Iam Holm and even Natalie Portman... especially Natalie Portman... So what if Portman is giving the commentary with him? I still want to why he cast her and not someone else... I read somewhere that Braff chose Natalie because he'd been a great fan of hers as she's an actress with great depth etc... but I want to know why... Braff talks about Jean Smart's casting and that of other minor characters who appear in the film as friends, but not of the main supporting cast... I wish he'd done that... Braff is very generous with his comments on Judy Becker's production design for the film and indeed it is one of the features of this film that really enhances it's overall impact on the viewer and makes it memorable...
Garden State is a really commendable attempt for a first-time director like Zach Braff. He is, I read, directing a film called 'Open Hearts'. Hope it's as good or probably better...!
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