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Detectives Havenhurst (Willem Dafoe) and Vargas (Michael Peña) are
called to a crime scene. Mrs. McCullam has been stabbed to death. Her
son Brad McCullam (Michael Shannon) is the prime suspect and he has
taken hostages in the house across the street. The police interviews
his fiancé Ingrid Gudmundson (Chloë Sevigny) and director Lee Meyers
(Udo Kier) who reveal past incidents and his mental deterioration.
This is Werner Herzog and therefore it must be a masterpiece. He is taking the familiar cop crime drama and mixing it with a character study of a disturb mind. He has created his own language and a wonderful new form of cinema. What if this is not Werner Herzog? Then this would be a confusing, boring piece of crap. The constant reliance on flashbacks drains any immediacy and tension from the movie. These are great actors. The structure of the movie really let the whole thing down. Instead of his voice, his vision is a mess of the traditional genre.
It's Glace Bay, Nova Scotia in the 1940s. Almost everyone works in the
dangerous coal mine and there is a Chinese diner in town. Margaret
MacNeil (Helena Bonham Carter) falls for bagpipe-playing Neil Currie
(Clive Russell) who got himself fired from the mine. She lives with her
mother Catherine (Kate Nelligan), younger brother Jimmy, father Angus
(Kenneth Welsh), grandfather Dunald who suffers from black lung, and
others. She continues to lose family to the mine. Jimmy has an illicit
romance with mine manager's daughter Marilyn. Neil uses discarded
materials to build a house overlooking the sea for Margaret. In a
flashforward at the start of the movie, Margaret is running a museum in
the house which horrified a visitor sending her running.
Paraphrasing the famous Se7en line. What's in the Museum!? Other than that, the story is a little rambling. The central relationship isn't that dramatic. There are very few hurdles for their pairing. It delivers a compelling sense of the place. The tension is simply not that high. It does have a shock for the ending. I certainly understand the difficulty in adapting the novel but it's not dramatic enough (except for What's in the Museum!).
It's 1902 London. Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) is a spinster living
with her parents. Harold Warne and Fruing Warne agree to publish her
children's book. They expect nothing other than a project for their
brother Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor). His sister Millie (Emily Watson)
befriends her. The three of them become best of friends as Beatrix
become a great success. Norman proposes to Beatrix but her mother
rejects his lower class. Beatrix agrees with her father to holiday in
the country and marry Norman afterwards if she still wishes.
Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor are a sweet duo and that's the sense of this movie for the most part. These two actors work well together and Emily Watson is a solid third wheel. The tension and drama is actually pretty low until the death. Beatrix needs more hurdles to overcome and more drama. I would definitely end this movie much quicker after the death. It's so sudden that it doesn't really register. Overall, it's a mostly light story that has well-matched actors.
Wendy (Alison Steadman) and Andy (Jim Broadbent) live with their twenty
something twins Natalie (Claire Skinner) and Nicola (Jane Horrocks).
Natalie is boyish and working to be a plumber. Nicola is a cynical
rebel without a cause. Nicola secretly suffers from anorexia. Natalie
hears it but nobody talks about it. Patsy (Stephen Rea) sells Andy a
rundown food vendor trailer. Andy is a chef in an industrial catering
service and wants to cook for himself. Friend Aubrey (Timothy Spall)
opens his restaurant "The Regret Rien" and Wendy helps him with
waitressing. Nicola's disturbed relationship with food extends to sex
with her lover (David Thewlis).
Mike Leigh delivers his brand of British lower class movies. It's always very human. These characters are fun. I would like Andy to do more with the food trailer. Nicola is the most compelling character. Horrocks and Steadman have an amazing scene together. There are funny scenes. The family's combative style is energetic and fun. Their love really comes through.
In 1768, Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) is a young princess in
Austria. Her mother sets her to marry the future French king Louis XVI
(Jason Schwartzman). She is naive and inexperienced in the ways of the
Versailles court. There is King Louis XV of France (Rip Torn), his
mistress Madame du Barry (Asia Argento), and Comtesse de Noailles (Judy
Davis). The Dauphin is distant and Marie struggles to connect with him.
They are not sexual and she's under pressure to give an heir to the
Sofia Coppola delivers a bright, light Marie Antoinette. She's very modern. There is some nice tension as the pressure builds for a baby. The movie fades away after that as France falls into revolution. Dunst is better as the young teen more than the older queen. The movie has the costumes but the drama isn't always there.
Theo (Chris Messina) is a Brooklyn wedding photographer with girlfriend
Nat (Rashida Jones). He starts a side business Gumshoot to take faux
voyeuristic pictures of his clients. Nat is taken aback by his client
Subgirl (Meital Dohan). He starts stalking the mysterious woman. Nat is
hospitalized for a minor injury and they're planning for their wedding.
It all comes to a head and he breaks up with her.
This needs more drama. The Subgirl character is almost a red-herring. The movie needs a powerful scene between her and Theo. He's not that compelling. His drama is all in his head. This could be "Blowup" but it doesn't have nearly enough of moody or style. These are interesting actors especially Rashida Jones but there isn't enough of much else.
Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) is a naive Canadian aspiring actress who
arrives in L.A. to stay at her aunt Ruth's Hollywood home while she's
away filming in Vancouver. She finds a dark-haired beauty in the
shower. She (Laura Elena Harring) has amnesia after a car crash on
Mulholland Drive and takes on the name Rita. There's a diner called
Winkies. There's director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux). There's a hit
man (Mark Pellegrino) who has a hit that keeps going wrong. Rita
remembers the name Diane Selwyn and Betty joins her to find the dead
This film is maddening. David Lynch has created a confusing surreal tale. I'm sure someone has dissected this to make sense of everything. I can't tie the whole movie down. The pairing of Watts and Harring is great. Watts is especially terrific. If this comes with explanations, I may just like this more.
There is a viral outbreak and parts of Atlanta are cordoned off. Police
officer Lex Carnahan is outside trying to maintain the quarantine while
his girlfriend Jana and coworkers are stuck inside. Jake finds himself
as one of the few cops inside. Pregnant Teresa stays with her
grandmother who owns a food store. Her boyfriend Xander is desperate to
get inside to be with her. Sabine Lommers takes over from the federal
government. Katie Frank is a teacher leading her class on a tour of the
hospital. Dr. Victor Cannerts is treating the patients.
The actors shouldn't be blamed. The writing is simply bad. There is plenty of over acting but I'm sure it's in the script. The characters are illogical. The shipping container cordon seems unlikely. The whole plot seems unlikely. The military doesn't get involved early enough. None of the characters are appealing enough to be the rooting interest. This is a weak show.
Mona (Natalie Press) is hurt after getting dumped. Her brother Phil
(Paddy Considine) is her only family. He is a reformed criminal and a
born-again Christian. He runs his congregation out of his pub. Mona
befriends rich girl Tamsin (Emily Blunt) who is haunted by her sister
Sadie who died from anorexia. The two girls' friendship grows into a
sexual relationship. Tamsin is furious at her father and his secretary
who is cheating with him. Phil leads his congregation to plant a wooden
cross on top of the hill. Tamsin starts flirting with him.
These are three terrific young actors on the rise. This feels more like a bright breezy lesbian romance at first. It turns into something different but it never gets dark enough. The Tamsin character needs more chaos. It would help if they do something more dangerous. It's a movie of a manipulative female but the manipulations are more like emotional game playing.
Bruno is a hustler petty thief stealing with teen boy Steve. He owes
money to violent thugs. His girlfriend Sonia just has newborn Jimmy.
They adore each other. He's approached by underground adoption lady.
When she leaves Jimmy alone with him, he decides to sell the baby.
She's horrified and passes out. He brings her to the hospital and
quickly retrieves Jimmy. Sonia recovers and is furious at him.
The style is long quiet takes. The characters aren't always doing something. Déborah François is great as Sonia. The problem is that Jérémie Renier is so lackluster. His acting is very blank for the most part. The best compliment I can say about him is that he doesn't look like he's acting. There is one great section when Sonia returns to the apartment with Jimmy. It has almost no tension for long stretches and a couple of great scenes.
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