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Walk the Line (2005)
Great performances make this worth checking out
I don't know about "Mangold the Auteur", and might need a bit more proof that this is really a director worth paying attention to, but this is a pretty watchable film. I found the story and film-making a bit predictable, like the usual bio-pic formula that you might expect if you've seen, say, coal miner's daughter, or any other bio-pic of someone you love. What makes this movie stand out is the two lead performances. Reese is unbelievably convincing as June Carter Cash. She almost disappears into the role. And her singing! Who knew???
And Joaquin! We've been waiting for him to deliver a really spectacular performance for some time, and this is finally it. I, for one, resisted the idea that ANYONE could portray the man in black, but he does a pretty fine job. Not just an impersonation, but actually a performance worth watching. Really fine.
Watch for the Jackson duet. Really awesome.
A Cock and Bull Story (2005)
best literature adaptation in ages
Smart, funny, original. I just saw this at the Toronto Film Festival tonight, and was really impressed. Great and hilarious performances, especially by Steve Coogan, who is SO funny. But Rob Brydon is almost as great, and the two of them have a great rapport.
The film really captures the anarchistic spirit of the book. Hard to imagine that anyone could come up with an idea to bring this unusual book to the screen, and Michael Winterbottom hasn't been the most consistent of directors lately (or ever, really) but this is a winner. The story is told in several layers: a film is being made of the novel "Tristram Shandy", starring Steve Coogan as both Tristram and his father Walter Shandy, but the behind the scenes drama of the making of the film is an important component. And lots of parallels with the various players real lives (Steve Coogan and lap dancers, etc.) Incredibly clever. Definitely check it out.
Bee Season (2005)
a mesmerizing tour de force: don't miss it!
I saw this film last night at the Toronto Film Festival. I am a fan of the book, and wondered how the story could be successfully adapted as a film. I worried that the ideas were too complicated, the characters too subtle, to make the transition. When I heard that Richard Gere was going to play the role of the father, I had more serious doubts. (Richard Gere playing a Jew? Almost as ridiculous as Melanie Griffith!) But I needn't have worried. The film is nearly a masterpiece. A subtle, emotional journey through a world of spelling bees, Hare Krishna, Kaballah, Kleptomania, and the gorgeously rendered interior spaces of the imagination. Beautiful, original special effects, delightful characters, great acting. The girl who plays the daughter is excellent, as are the other actors. Juliette Binoche is heartbreaking and mysterious, Richard Gere is perfectly cast as the self-absorbed (Jewish!) father, and Anthony Minghella's son is also in the movie, believe it or not, and he's very good.
There are changes from the book. But the overall feeling is very similar. The movie is neither as funny or as dark as Myla Goldberg's novel. But the end might be more emotionally satisfying. See for yourself! You won't be disappointed if you approach with an open mind. Not for the cynical, or for the action film junkie, but I found this a delightful, rich, and emotional journey. Definitely a 10! Put it on the Oscar watch.