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Decent movie, but only because of Dalton
The first 5 minutes of this movie are incredible. Technically, it's top notch, the sets and costumes are luxuriant, and this is a Must Have for Dalton fans; Caesar never looked (or sounded) so good, striding into Alexandria with so much ego and charisma. Unfortunately, we all know what happens to Caesar, and it happens about halfway through this thing. Then we're left with Cleopatra, the most insufferable lead ever, due in part to terrible acting and the other part to terrible characterization. She does little but whine and pout like a petulant teenager, and is useless for addressing any of a Queen's duties. She can't help this movie any more than her similarly poorly-cast sister Arsinoe, or Billy Zane's unsympathetic Marc Antony. Everyone seems to realize that Caesar is too hard an act to follow, but they do try. The results are mediocre to good in places.
However, it's totally worth the watch and the buy for the first hour, which is beautiful, sexy, and violent with an engaging story. And personally I never tire of watching Tim Dalton do what he does best: Upstage everyone and make out with untalented co-stars.
It's crap, but Daniel has his moments.
We all need a paycheck. Even James Bond has to take his medicine sometimes, and "Obsession" would be long lost and forgotten if not for the Craigies who dare venture this far into Daniel's resume.
The editing is bad and the direction is worse. It's all the pointlessness of an independent film, meets the random technique of a foreign film. And don't be fooled by the cover of the new release, which bills it as some kind of thriller. It's really a meandering love story about a self-absorbed tramp with two boyfriends. One is a big jerk and the other is a sweet English boy, the child version of Daniel Craig, complete with higher voice (but don't worry, he still looks forty). Said Tramp is the same one from "Love Actually." She's too stupid to make up her mind, and thinks it's cute to string men along when they're both being faithful to her. And she has no personality, because her character is deliberately vacant or because the script doesn't allow for it, but both guys are smitten with her. For some reason they think they can't do better. (Well I guess Jerk is lucky to have anybody, but Sweet certainly could.)
The story tries to go somewhere but doesn't care if you're actually following. It does have some good scenes (all Daniel's) and some pieces of decent direction sprinkled in, but the main relationship doesn't work. Sweet and Tramp never even get introduced; the editor hacks them together and they hardly say a word before they're suddenly "in love." Little else is explained, including a shoplifting incident that is the catalyst for the whole movie. This is one of the few segments of good direction, but it occurs in the first five minutes of the film and suggests that the rest will be similarly coherent. (Any hope of that is dashed five minutes later.) It happens and then is dropped completely and seems like a plot from another, better movie.
So, this thing is a mess. But worth seeing just for Craig. He turns in a solid performance, but has stepped up his game nicely from such beginnings.
Someone Like You... (2001)
Stay for Hugh Jackman !
This is an oft-overlooked romantic comedy, probably because its uneven casting, overall clumsy production, and competent-but-not-brilliant-directing make it feel small, especially when compared to your standard Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock/Meg Ryan/Richard Gere type of outing.
Ashley Judd is passable. With her stiff, over-enunciated dialogue, she has never been a good actor and is not qualified for top billing in anything but (maybe) a direct-to-DVD romp, but she is at least *somewhat* stable here. Marisa Tomei is truly awful in her usual, annoying, ill-gotten-Oscar overacting, and Ellen Barkin gets the job done as always but plays an irritating character.
The real starpower comes from the skillful Hugh Jackman, who was a newcomer at this time but provides the first of many lovable and convincing performances, the first of many bad boy/good guy roles that we love, and fodder for the first of many questions like, "Why is he forever surrounded by so much inferior talent?" Certainly, we would love to see him in more roles like this, and probably will, as he was recently sentenced to "Sexiest Man Alive."
As for Greg Kinear, never was Fry's comment more true: "I feel myself disappearing. Like... Greg Kinear !"
This film's premise is based on the "broken heart" of Jane Goodall, who becomes involved with Ray (Kinear) and is promptly dumped, but Ray has no depth or personality, and their attraction is never grounded in anything real or interesting, so it makes no sense for her to be in love in the first place, let alone be devastated by the loss or driven to analyze it for "New Cow Theory."
However, this film is worth a viewing for Jackman, and has some funny and great moments (most of which belong to him). It also covers some interesting new territory in the animal aspects of human relations. However, right about the time it becomes sexist and offensive, the animal theory is proved wrong, mankind is vindicated, and our heroes obey the romantic comedy cliché of getting together even though they don't seem compatible. The whole thing feels like a good idea executed with insufficient writing and script to cover the plot, which could have been great.
Overall, definitely worth it as eye candy and a good laugh for chicks. Otherwise, a decent flick if you keep the FF Button close at hand to survive some of Tomei's more dreadful scenes. I have it at home and watch it whenever I need a light, pick-me-up type of film.