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Pride & Prejudice (2005)
My only positive comment about this adaptation is that I discovered the 1995 Miniseries because of it. I viewed this version before the 1995 classic and I didn't like it then, and my opinion has not improved on a second viewing. I was not impressed with Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFayden was woefully inadequate next to Colin Firth(not that I have any reasonable expectations of ANYONE filling those shoes)...and in general the cast was less than spectacular. It didn't capture the wit of Austen's classic...it also seemed to take a number of liberties with the mores and manners of the time...and while I'm not in general a stickler about details in a period piece, some of the best aspects of the story were sacrificed for a pretty scene. The passion between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy was more beautiful and powerful with a mere look, hidden under manners of the time than cheapened by overt actions the in big scene in the rain.
My suggestion is to skip this movie and watch the magnificent 1995 BBC miniseries and/or read the book.
The Woodsman (2004)
A very powerful, thought provoking movie, with incredible performances. There is no easy way to make a movie about pedophilia, but it is a very relevant important issue and needs to be dealt with. The movie challenges us to look at closely at a man we don't want to exist, someone who is easy to paint in broad black strokes. Walter is a child molester to be sure, but he does have some guilt(more so than most I'd imagine.)He alternates between battling his sickness with justifying it(i.e. the boy wants to get in the car.) Is Walter a monster? A predator? A victim? A man tormented with a sickness that tears him apart? The answer is all of the above....and I feel sympathy for Walter...that he can't be normal, that his sickness hurts him almost as much as his victims. But when it comes down to it the innocent need to be protected...I don't need to hate Walter to know that Walter can't be tempted, can't be around kids and despite all good intentions probably never can be rehabilitated and should never be allowed to walk freely in society. It is sad that his sickness exists...for the innocents who are abused but also for the Walters of the world.
Don't Do It
There is nothing about this movie to recommend it...and a million reasons to avoid it like the plague...and you would probably have a better time with a plague.
First of all, the soundtrack is so awful and overly loud that it often drowns out the movie, which would be a great thing if the soundtrack didn't want to make you pull your hair out. The plot is tedious and frankly it's all been done before, and done much better. The cast is wholly unappealing, the acting is amateurish and there is not an iota of chemistry between the stars. It claims to be "character driven" but the characters are caricatures that are only there for story purposes.
Avoid Avoid Avoid. Rent the magnificent "When Night is Falling" or the wonderfully hokey lesbian cult favorite "Desert Hearts" instead.
I recently saw this movie for the second time, and I liked even better than I did the first time. This quirky film takes a very unusual route to universal truths about love, relationships and how deeply memories are a part of us. It's funny, true, bizarre and charming at once...and may get you thinking of your own failed and successful relationships from the first new exciting moments to the comforts of just being with the one your in love with to the point where you drive each other crazy, no matter how much you love them.
Well paced and the stellar cast all with excellent performances, and an unlikely but surprisingly good pairing of Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey(who certainly takes a departure from his big budget roles here.) I highly recommend this movie...what a pleasant surprise it is.
OK at best.
In all fairness I confess that I can't separate the book from the movie. That being said, I did not like this movie. It certainly wasn't a "bad" movie, but it was disappointing compared to the wonderful 4th book. Cramming 700+ pages into a 2 1/2 hour movie is certainly no enviable task....though I suppose pleasing teenagers and the general public requires it.
The Good: The Weasley twins, Ralph Fiennes excellent portrayal of Voldemort, the musical score, most action scenes done well, the return of favorites like Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman.
The Bad: Seems choppy and rushed at points; though humorous, they add rather tacked on scenes instead of the very "Harry Potterish" humor from the book; Daniel Radcliffe's continued wooden performance; And yes....all of the wonderful things from the book that I know they had to cut like the Weasleys crashing the Dursley House, Winky, SPEW, Ludo Bagman, Dobby and the fleshed out Rita Skeeter subplot.
The Ugly: Michael Gambon's Dumbledore. An affront to the character of Dumbledore!! He would never manhandle a student! Or stand around looking scared! This is simply unforgivable. I saw a suggestion of Peter O'Toole, sounds great to me....anything but this guy.
I can't recommend this movie, but I can't fairly pan it either.