Monday, April 06, 2009

Screening Log (30/03/09 - 05/04/09)

The Deep End (Scott McGehee and David Siegel, 2001)
Tilda Swinton stars as Margaret Hall, a woman who's son Beau goes off the ropes in adolescence, and gets mixed up with the unsavoury character of Josh Lucas' Darby Reese. When Reese's dead body shows up outside her house, Swinton assumes her son has murdered him and does everything she can to protect her son. This is easier said than done when she's being blackmailed by Goran Visnjic, who has video evidence of her son bunging Darby, and demands $50,000 for his and his partner's silence.

The Deep End is a remake of Max Ophüls's 1949 outing The Reckless Moment, which I watched exactly 15 months ago, and compared to the original, it's darker and more adult, which doesn't necessarily work to its advantage, but the sexual tension between Swinton and Visnjic, particularly as blackmailer begins to fall for blackmailee, is absolutely delicious. 

For their performances and their chemistry alone, The Deep End is worth watching.

Duplicity (Tony Gilroy, 2009)
An initially confusing but generally very entertaining comedy starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts as an ex MI6 and an ex-CIA worker, respectively, both of which are highly skilled in the art of double-crossing, and decide to collaborate to double cross both Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti's companies, and make a profit in the region of $40 million for themselves. 

However, such is the nature of deceit that they frequently end up mistrusting each other, a little glitch which threatens to ruin the whole operation.

Set chiefly in New York but with flashbacks filmed in the Bahamas, Manhattan and Rome, Duplicity sure is pretty to look at, particularly coupled with its two leads. Julia Roberts, at 41, still looks stunning, and Clive Owen was very, very fit in it! 

The film itself is probably a bit too convoluted for its own good, but I had a lot of fun with it, whether it be in the leads' performances, James Newton Howard's sexy score which had double bass and celli in abundance, the witty script from Michael Clayton writer/director Tony Gilroy, or the final rug-pull of a twist that I truly didn't see coming.

The Shipping News (Lasse Hallström, 2001)
Based on Brokeback Mountain writer Annie Proulx's novel, this film follows Kevin Spacey, who, having been widowed by Cate Blanchett's flighty wife, moves to Newfoundland with his estranged aunt Judi Dench, and sets up shop there, writing a column called The Shipping News, reconnecting with his emotionally scarred daughter and embarking on a tentative romance with Julianne Moore's also-widow-and-single-parent. 

The film was better than I thought it'd be - Spacey doesn't annoy me as much as he has done in other roles, Julianne Moore is always amazing and the overall message of redemption is nice, but it felt a bit underdone in some scenes and horrifically overwrought in others, not least the flashback of Judi Dench's character's disturbing secret. A bit of a mixed bag, this film.

The Final Curtain (Patrick Harkins, 2002)
omgthisfilmissoshitpleasedon'twasteyourtimewithit. kthanxbai.

Fever Pitch (David Hornby, 1997)
Based on Nick Hornby's autobiographical novel and penned by him as well, Fever Pitch follows Colin Firth's Paul, an Arsenal FC-obsessed schoolteacher as he finds himself at a crossroads when he begins courting fellow teacher Ruth Gemmell - football means more to him than life itself and whilst she's at first willing to be initiated into the world of Highbury, referees and last-minute equalisers, she wants him to see that there is more to life than football, particularly when she gets pregnant, putting questions on the two's future together.

I connected with this film from start to finish, from a scene of a young Paul going to his first football match and realising that he'd found his raison d'etre, to the scenes of joyous celebrating on the streets of North London as Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield.

Fever Pitch isn't a perfect film, I concede - chances are you'll "get it" more if you're English/follow football/live in London, Colin Firth doesn't seem to know whether his character is to groan or gurn in most scenes, the repeated tonal modulations from comedic to dramatic left the film a little lopsided and the acting from some of the schoolkids was suspect, but it captures the mindset of yer typical British football fan perfectly; Nick Hornby, being a dedicated Gooner himself, knows what he's talking about.

The panning scene which follows the footie fans as they advance to their next match, accompanied by Baba O Riley by The Who, is, as far as Bung's concerened, one of the best usages of music in film, bar none. Cinematic gold.


the misomaniac said...

once again, i am getting distracted by your blog while at school.

i wasnt planning on seeing duplicity because of the romcom aspect of it, but now am reconsidering. the joy of seeing paul giamatti being the double crossee yet again works heavily in its favour.

ps.i COMPLETELY COMPLETELY COMPLETELY agree with the comment about the usage of baba o'riley in fever pitch. they did a really good job of adapting the novel, even if colin firth only has about 2 facial expressions. have you ever seen the american version they made? its total shit. itll make you appreciate the original version that much more. a western canadian, i am highly doubtful that anything set in newfoundland could be as interesting as you claim the shipping news to be.

ppps. i am beginning to feel that april is going to be a shit month for movies. nothing coming out really excites me.

and now back to biochem class. wheeeeee....

anahit said...

yeah I really enjoyed duplicity too. I was scared I wouldn't understand it, but half way through it did actually all fall into place. the endng rocked too, and well...*grins*

Anonymous said...

Haha, someone was watching BBC2 on a Saturday night...

Farzan said...

I kinda enjoyed Duplicity. I thought it was a funny, somewhat complex movie with a nice twist.

Stace said...

cool movies great reviews

Christopher Lindsay said...

I agree: there is definitely sexual tension between Swinton and Visnjic, With her husband absent, it is understandable why she might fall for him. Although I don't think she realizes her own feelings until he dies.

I wrote a short essay (400 words) on The Deep End (2001) called "The Age of Consent." If you would like to read it, I am open to any feedback:

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