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7771 reviews in total 
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sweet little story, 19 July 2016

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.

Mike Leigh brand, 19 July 2016

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.

more costume than drama, 19 July 2016

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 throne.

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.

Monogamy (2010)
not enough, 19 July 2016

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.

maddening surreal tale, 19 July 2016

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 woman.

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.

bad writing, 18 July 2016

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.

want more danger, 18 July 2016

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.

L'enfant (2005)
some high tension with long stretches of no tension, 18 July 2016

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.

flat story not that funny, 18 July 2016

It's 1937 England. Mrs. Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) loses her high-powered husband Robert. She buys a theater naming it Windmill Theater inspired by Moulin Rouge in Paris. She hires producer Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins). They start a variety revue which is successful at first. When it starts to slow, Mrs. Henderson suggests naked ladies. She is able to get her friend the Lord Chamberlain to approve as long as no one moves. Vivian finds Maureen (Kelly Reilly) caught out in the rain and hires her as one of the girls. The show keeps going even during the blitz.

It's a very flat story despite all the interesting story points. I put it down to the fact that the Henderson character has no drama. She doesn't need the success or the money. She has no foil except maybe Vivian sometimes. The nude shows are as much fun as one expects from naked women in poses. The humor is very British and isn't that big. The girls' stories don't add that much to the comedy other than demanding the men to get naked. It's not nearly funny or dramatic enough.

visually haunting, 18 July 2016

Madame Tutli-Putli and her many luggage board a train. She is alone among many strangers. She's sitting opposite a crude former tennis star. The train stops to wait for another passing train. Three mysterious thieves sneak on board and release sleeping gas. She wakes up into a nightmarish situation. Her luggage and the other passengers are all gone. She sees an image of someone cutting out the liver of another passenger.

This National Film Board of Canada animated short received an Oscar nomination. This is all about the visual look. The stop-motion animation looks creepy. The human eyes really make it stand out. This would be a great horror but it needs a well written story. This short is more experimental. There is a possibility of a great style for a longer film with a more compelling story.

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