Thursday, February 24, 2011

*The King's Speech, The Tourist and Somewhere (Spoilers)

The King's Speech

Haven't had time to post my reaction to The King's Speech, but needless to say I loved the movie.   There is something about historically based period dramas that always leave me with a satisfied feeling and this movie was no exception.  I've been a Colin Firth fan for some time and loved a Single Man, but Mr. Firth outdid himself in this role and it's time he get some recognition.

He had a tough going though to keep up with his co-stars, who were equally good, especially the brilliant performance by Geoffrey Rush as the King's speech therapist.   The quirky Helena Bonham Carter's performances never disappoint and this movie was no exception.  It was a gem of a movie and come Oscar time I would not like to be in the shoes of the voters having to choose between Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush for best supporting actor.   Mr. Rush has been recognized before for his talent, but that is no excuse not to award him again for this fine performance.

Having said that,  I was so glad to see Bale win the Golden Globe.   He has had so many fine performances and it is time to recognize his work.   Although the King's Speech made me feel good and appealed to my esthetic sense, The Fighter made me uncomfortable and angry and then I was cheering like an idiot in the fight scene at the it really engaged me, physically as well as emotionally.  It  will be interesting to see what others thought as well.

The Tourist

After Ricky Gervais and the Golden Globes, I decided to see the movie no one else saw just because I wanted to see something that was not necessarily Oscar worthy but perhaps entertaining.  I also went for the triple visual treat of Venice, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie (and the fashions she wore).   No matter what you think of any of the three, you have to admit they are all quite pleasant, if not a downright lovely trio to look at.  Besides the fact that it was playing at the right time (10:35 p.m. and I'd just dropped D to visit with one of her friends after an early dinner), and having consumed a couple of glasses of wine, it was nice not to have to think too hard and just sit back and enjoy the scenery and some equally lovely and familiar faces that had small parts in The Tourist (Timothy Dalton, Raul Bova) and in a larger part, the talented Steven Berkoff.  The story was not new and I guessed right away that Depp was the mysterious fellow everyone sought.  

For visual (first time I noticed Johnny Depp has a nice nose), Venice and lightness, as I told the other couple that was in the theater when I first arrived, "I was curious to see the movie that "no one saw."   The theater did fill up after that, so perhaps Ricky Gervais actually gave it a plug with his notice.   


I was intrigued to see Somewhere because it was a Sofia Coppola film and I knew something about the origins of the story,  but I found myself getting a little impatient at the opening of the scene with the protagonist doing lap after lap after lap after lap his car somewhere in the So. California desert.  That "one too many" laps became a little bit of an analogy for the whole film.  Perhaps it was meant to?

As usual for her movies, it was beautifully filmed and the story very relevant, as I recognized quite a few people it could fit.  But something essential was missing...  Of course it is the kind of movie Sofia Coppola does, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

One of the best things about her first effort,  Lost In Translation,  was her choice of  Bill Murray in the role of the central character, who basically ad libbed his way to giving the movie a heart.   Not having that central, moving force in this movie, it became a sweet, but somewhat boring story of another Hollywood star  going through the motions of a life, a little lost and, with the exception of his daughter, without much meaning.  Although Stephen Dorff gave it his all,  he lacked  the charisma to make you care about the central character's plight and though he was a polite fellow to mostly everyone he met, he couldn't make me care much about Johnny.

A great tour through the historically and accurately portrayed Chateau Marmont and a nice performance by his young co-star, Elle Fanning,  couldn't save the movie from the too slow pacing.  Perhaps a little more dialogue might have helped, but it is not Coppola's style.  She takes her own good time telling her story and don't you dare get bored!  It's not her fault if you can't pick out the subtleties and secrets of what she is laying before you.

Though critically received by some, I'm afraid too much of the audience that went to see this movie came out what's new?   We know these characters exist.  We see them every day.  We know some of them have vapid lives, too much money and too much free time.  We also know that the false adulation of the pubic and the hanger on's that ride a celeb's coattails because it becomes their own claim to fame,  give people like Johnny a false sense of importance....too many girls, too much sex, too many parties...until nothing means anything.  Too much of a good thing simply becomes "not enough" of a "real" thing.  Becoming "jaded"  is a hazard of the business.

I felt I was watching a lovingly filmed, but "by the numbers" documentary on the hazards of fame.  It was nicely done, but didn't show me anything I didn't already know and the "one too many" laps in the beginning became a little bit of the drumbeat of the movie.   You don't have to beat the audience  over the head to set the mood or prepare the message your are going to eventually show them.  Yes, life can be boring and meaningless....but we do have  choices....and perhaps that's what the central character made at the end.  We just didn't have much of a clue what his time with his daughter had taught him or what he had decided to do..... unless you did....and didn't care one way or the other anyway.

Coppola has talent and I'm sure Somewhere will go down as an insider treatise on fame, but entertainment for the masses it's not.  Perhaps that's not a bad thing.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

*Though I'd posted this already.

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