Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Movie Week Part Two

I am so bad. I really had intended to wrap up the reviews last week. Here they are:

Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Rae, Eddie Marsan and Gregg Sulkin star in Sixty Six. Sulkin plays Bernie, a boy who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah - which happens to be on the same date as the World Cup Final - and it looks like England is going to be in the finals. Bonham Carter and Marsan play his parents. The family runs into some bad luck and the event planning gets less lavish as the big day draws near. Set in England in 1966 (duh), this movie is really charming.

Romance and Cigarettes is not that great of a movie, although it ultimately has a good message. There are lots of good actors in it - Susan Sarandon, James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Mary-Louis Parker, Christopher Walken, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard and Amy Sedaris. There's even a guy named Yianni Digaletos who is credited as playing The Greek. This couple (Sarandon and Gandolfini) have been married forever, but husband's head is turned by a shop girl (Winslet). The characters break out in song every now and then...I don't know, I didn't like it much.

Brick Lane is about a Bangladeshi girl, Nazneed, who enters an arranged marriage with a bit of a pompous man, Chanu, and she travels to England to start their life together. Nazneed gets a little bored, and starts a relationship with a young, handsome dude. Before long, she finds herself at a crossroad. It was pretty good.

I read The Secret Life of Bees several years ago, and was happy to see it made into a motion picture. Dakota Fanning stars as Lily, a teenager who grows up thinking that she is responsible for killing her mother. Her father is a bit tortured, and Lily bears the brunt of his frustrations.
She sets off with her housekeeper (Jennifer Hudson) to try and find out more about the mother she never really knew. Also starring Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys. It was a well-adapted version of the book. I liked it.

5X2 is a movie chronicling the demise of a marriage told in reverse order. It starts with a judge declaring the marriage over, and ends when the couple first meets. It is in French, with English subtitles. It was pretty good.

Diane Lane and Richard Gere star in Nights in Rodanthe. It is about an unhappily married woman, who agrees to run her best friend's inn while she is away. The only guest for the weekend is a doctor on his way to reunite with his estranged son. You can probably guess where this story is leading. Interestingly, Viola Davis - nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Doubt - played the best friend. It was chick flickish, but very good.

Greg Kinnear stars in Flash of Genius, the true story of Robert Kearns, who invented the intermittent windshield wipers. Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney and Alan Alda also starred in this movie. It was very good.

In English and French, with English subtitles, I’ve Loved You So Long is a very emotional and interesting study about two sisters who were separated when the older sister (Kristin Scott Thomas) goes to jail for fifteen years, and their parents essentially cut all ties with her. They reunite when she gets out, although it is a bit of an adjustment period for both of them. It was very, very good.

James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall and Catherine Tate star in Starter for 10, a movie set in England in the 1980s. A very bright working-class young man (McAvoy) gets accepted to a posh university, where he tries out for the University Challenge team. He meets the girl of his dreams (Tate) and sets out to woo her. It was pretty good.

In Not One Less, a young teenager substitutes for the town's only teacher in a very poor village in China. She will get a 10 yuan bonus, if after the 28 days that the teacher will be away, he returns to find all his students present and accounted. It is not small feat, since children frequently leave the school to find work to help support the family. True to form, one of them does leave, and the sub goes after him. It is very, very good...in Mandarin, with English subtitles.

I officially am caught up.

MK out.

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