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Bright Young Things (2003)
What a fantastic movie, delightfully charming, unrelentingly affable and irresistibly likable. Brilliant acting, excellent realisation and direction; this movie was a joy to watch. A bittersweet love story interwoven with a hilarious array of eccentric English upper class characters from the early 20th century.
Watch out for many faces in small but unforgettable parts, I especially adored Dan Aykroyd's, Michael Sheen's and Jim Broadbent's characters. Fenella Woolgar was also perfect and immensely likable in her role as the dazed and confused but eternally cheerful and optimistic eccentric. Emily Mortimer was flawless as the English rose stuck between marrying money or sticking with her penniless true love. There was palpable chemistry between her and Stephen Campbell Moore's character, which made the whole story work for me.
And of course Peter O'Toole steals the film with barely five minutes of total screen time, but that's the kind of talent he was gifted with. Watch it if you enjoy witty dialogue, period pieces and don't you dare miss it if you're a Stephen Fry fan. He is a very funny man and his direction which remains always affectionate towards the characters he's portraying in his movie, was impressive given he's better known as an actor and writer.
If you liked this movie, you would also like:
- Enchanted April - A Month By The Lake - Widows Peak - In The Bleak Midwinter - A Room With A View
All of these are in my list of top ten favourite films of all time. Bright Young Things just misses the mark to join them, but it's definitely in my top twenty.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
A triumph of hype and marketing
This was truly the worst film I've seen in a long, long time; and definitely the worst film I've ever seen in a cinema. "Spawn" had better acting. "Plan 9 from Outer Space" had better special effects. "Police Academy V" had more coherent direction. And "10,000 Years BC" had a better script. Perhaps I can excuse the lack of anything like a script, direction, acting, etc. that might qualify it as "a movie". After all, it was shot by amateurs who never dreamed it would get widespread cinema release, never mind this high a profile. What I can't excuse is the complete lack of entertainment value. Any good movie must have a good story to tell, with characters the audience cares about. "Blair Witch" has neither. There is no plot to spoil, and the three characters are equally whiny and annoying. There are also huge gaping holes in the plot, but I won't mention these now as they've been discussed to death in Usenet.
I wanted to walk out several times, but I just had to watch it til the end to see what all the fuss was about, and in case some miracle happens at the end to make it worthwhile. It didn't. It was pathetically naff. It was so bad I've seen better home movies about family holidays in Crete. I guess this film is the biggest testament to the power of media hype and guerilla marketing, and I respect that. But boy, did it stink. At the end of it all, some people in the theatre were furious. Some even demanded their money back from the box office, something unheard of in my experience!
Critics are raving about how this was made on only $50,000. My point of view is, what a waste of $50K. And I wonder what it was spent on? I agree with Chris Rock's verdict: I swear there's gotta be someone out there walking around with $49,500 dollars in his pocket. It was boring, pointless, irritating and a waste of time.
Despite this, if you are in any doubt about whether to go see this movie, I recommend that you DO. There is no other way to truly ascertain how awful this film really is, because you've read all the good reviews, and you've been exposed to the hype, therefore you wouldn't believe me now when I'm saying this film is terrible, in however many ways I put it. *I* wouldn't have believed me, if I hadn't seen it for myself. Given that I've just recommended it to you, despite my hating it, it should go to show just how it got its profits.
Some UK critics are hailing it as the scariest movie of all time. Comparisons to horror classics like "The Exorcist", "Alien", and "Jaws" are already being made. Please let them be kidding, I've seen scarier hamburgers. And they were far more entertaining to watch.