Posts Tagged ‘Cate Blanchett’

The Good German – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 20th, 2010

Review:

In post-war Berlin to cover the Potsdam conference, American journalist George Clooney is sent on his own heroic journey when his driver is killed and old girlfriend Cate Blanchett re-emerges. Steven Sonderbergh made this film as a thriller that was meant to be an homage to film noir, down to black and white photography and the aspect ratio, but ultimately fails on both counts. Sure, the film is twisty enough for a noir classic, but it lacks the subtle charm of those films, and the story is just not all that interesting by modern standards. It’s an extremely ambitious film with many aspects to recommend it, but ultimately it fails to entertain the viewer.

Random Observations:

The Good German at the IMDb

Cate Blanchett plays a German and as such her German should be flawless, which it almost, but not quite, is. George Clooney’s German, on the other hand, is about as good as you would expect from an American living in Germany.

The film might have been a bit better without the war setting and titular good German. Then again, maybe not.

I was really impressed with how alive the film felt, even though it was completely filmed on Hollywood backlots – just like in the olden days.

The Aviator – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juni 23rd, 2010

Review:

In 1927, after his parents’ death, a young Howard Hughes (greatest actor of his generation Leonard DiCaprio) came to Hollywood and used his inherited business to make the most expensive film at the time, while also developing an interest in aviation. Over the next two decades, he rose to prominence in both fields before a fall from grace (and a plane crash) caused his neurosis to overcome his eager drive and he developed the most famous case of OCD in history. The biopic by Martin Scorsese is well-made and solidly acted, with some inspired ideas (I especially like the use of colour reflecting the film stock of the time), but it plays havoc with the true chronology of events and omits the last three decades of Hughes’ life completely. Sure, they were decidedly less interesting, but taking the most interesting items from them and inserting them randomly into earlier events does not serve the story.

Random Observations:

The Aviator at the IMDb

I really liked the scenes at the Coconut Grove, which made “old” Hollywood truly come alive.

It’s very odd to see modern day actors and actresses portray the greats of that time. Cate Blanchett does a surprisingly convincing Katharine Hepburn, but Kate Beckinsale’s Ava Gardner and especially Jude Law’s Errol Flynn are a disappointment.

For a man who loved aviation, aka flying, more than anything, the film spends relatively little time exploring that theme.

Also, the importance of Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to the success of Hughes’ companies is vastly underplayed in the film.

Minute Movie Review – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Donnerstag, Februar 5th, 2009

Review:

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” tells the story of a man who ages backwards. Born as an old man, he gradially becomes younger before being a child when he is old. The story is told through flashbacks as the love of his life lies dieing in a hospital bed, her daughter reading from his memoirs and her filling the blanks. While the technological aspects of the movie are fairly impressive, the film is both tediously long (almost three hours) and clearly aimed at a fairly stupid audience, using voice-over narration for almost all scenes and applying a symbolism with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.  Add some ridiculous scenes and a bunch of overrated actors and you are left with a movie that never lives up to its promise of telling an unusual life story.

Random Observations:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at imdb.com

What ridiculous scenes, you ask? What about the one where a tugboat is used to sink a submarine?

The movie is set in New Orleans, right during Hurricane Katrina. Why? Because Lousiana offers lots of money if you film there. Storms may be a significant theme of the film, but they are not a relevant one.

While old Brad Pitt’s make-up was believable, he still looked forty when he was supposed to be twenty.

The film’s similarities to Forrest Gump, from the same screenwriter, are amazing:

The Curious Case of Forrest Gump – watch more funny videos

The fake accents used throughout the film are very annoying. Especially when Cate Blanchett returns to her native Australian while desperately trying for that Southern America one.

Minute Movie Review – I’m Not There.

Sonntag, März 16th, 2008

Review:

I’m Not There is a kind of biography/documentary/mockumentary about Bob Dylan – who is never mentioned by name. Instead, six characters take on different aspects of his life. At least that is the idea. Sadly, it doesn’t really work. While Christian Bale, Heath Ledger or Cate Blanchett certainly are talented enough to play Dylan, the film focuses to much on being different, on being art instead of entertainment and on being something new and unique, that it never works. There is no real plot, the idea to split Dylan’s life into several lives might appeal to die-hard Dylan fans, but nobody else and unless you are still delusional about Dylan’s importance to music, you will probably not enjoy it. It’s confused and confusing – and with over two hours about 120 minutes too long.

Random Observations:

I’m Not There at imdb.com

If only filmmakers would remember that just because something is different that doesn’t mean that it is better. So many disasters like this one could have been averted!

Here’s a rule of thumb on when you might like the movie: If you think that not even naming the subject of the film is cool, you’ll probably like the film. If you realize how ridiculous this is considering that everyone only talks about “that Dylan film”, you won’t.

Bob Dylan fanatics will probably also enjoy this movie – but when you are fanatic about something, you enjoy everything connected to that, even if it is utter trash.

Streik, Oscars, New Line und Co

Montag, Februar 25th, 2008

Seit meinem letzten Eintrag über das bevorstehende Ende des Streiks der Drehbuchautoren sind ja doch einige Wochen ins Land gezogen. Der Grund dafür war simpel: Da ich meine journalistische Integrität als wichtiger betrachtet habe als meine schriftstellerische, habe ich ja auch während des Streiks eifrig geschrieben. Kaum war dieser beendet (an dem von mir schon angekündigten Tag) bin ich dann selber in den Streik getreten. Leider hat die AMPTP jedoch bis heute nicht auf meine (sehr moderaten) Forderungen reagiert und mein Streikposten vor dem Kodak Theater bei der gestrigen Oscar-Verleihung hat die Schauspieler auch nicht gestoppt. Wahrscheinlich weil er schon einige Stunden vor deren Auftauchen vom LAPD entfernt wurde. Und somit schreibe ich jetzt auch wieder – und hoffe, dass die Schauspieler, die in der SAG (Screen Actors Guild) vereinigt sind und deren Rahmenvertrag mit der AMPTP im Juni ausläuft, mich bei ihren Verhandlungen nicht vergessen. Denn auch wenn die Führung der SAG noch nicht mit der AMPTP spricht / sprechen will, läuft die PR-Maschine zur Verhinderung eines weiteren Streiks bereits auf Hochtouren. So haben beispielsweise einige der bekanntesten und beliebtesten Schauspieler der USA wie George Clooney und Tom Hanks die SAG schon aufgefordert, die Verhandlungen bald zu starten.

Gestern also war die Oscar-Verleihung – und da mein Versuch, sie zu bestreiken, leider verfrüht gescheitert ist, habe ich es mir natürlich dann doch angesehen. Was soll man dazu schon sagen: 4 Stunden feiert sich die Filmindustrie selber und man wartet als Zuschauer gespannt darauf, dass jemand mal endlich etwas wirklich Witziges sagt. Aber als relativer Oscar-Neuling sehe ich die Show eigentlich schon noch ganz gerne. Jon Stewart als Gastgeber war, wie auch schon 2006, lustig und souverän (auch wenn die meisten Kritiker das anders bewerten) und die meisten Gewinner – erwartete wie unerwartete – waren wohl auch gerechtfertigt. Die größte Überraschung war wohl die Auszeichnung Tilda Swintons als beste Nebendarstellerin, die sich unerwartet gegen Cate Blanchett und Amy Ryan durchsetzte. Auch interessant ist der Gewinn von drei (eher unbedeutenden) Auszeichnungen durch “The Bourne Ultimatum” – man wurde den Eindruck nie so ganz los, dass einige der Academy Mitglieder den Film gerne auch in wichtigeren Kategorien gesehen hätten. Die Gesamtliste der Gewinner kann man an vielen Stellen einsehen – in der Hoffnung dass wenigstens Amazon mich bezahlt, verlinke ich hierfür mal wieder zur IMDB.

Ein bedeutender Anteil der Oscar-Verleihung sind immer die Montagen, also die Zusammenschnitte von Filmszenen oder früheren Preisträgern. Wenn, bedingt durch den Autorenstreik, die Vorbereitungszeit dann noch etwas kürzer wird, spielen sie noch eine wichtigere Rolle. Auch diesmal fehlte nicht das Gedenken an diejenigen Hollywoodianer, die im letzten Jahr verstorben sind. Den Abschluss der Auflistung bildete dabei Heath Ledger. Als Ledger starb, hatte er gerade eine Drehpause von dem Film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” – dem neuen Film von Terry Gilliam. Dieser dachte schon, dass er mal wieder ein Projekt unvollendet abbrechen müsste, aber jetzt hat sich doch noch ein Ersatz gefunden. Oder genauer gesagt gleich drei. Denn die Rolle von Ledger werden in dem Film jetzt Johnny Depp, Jude Law und Colin Farrell übernehmen – in den noch nicht gedrehten Szenen. Wie es funktionieren soll, wenn vier Schauspieler eine Figur spielen, wird sich zeigen, aber der bisherige Erfolg von “I’m not there” scheint darauf hinzudeuten, dass es durchaus möglich ist.

Derweil rückt das Ende von dem beliebten Studio New Line immer näher. Nachdem auch “Der Goldene Kompass” ziemlich schlecht gelaufen ist, deutete sich ja schon an, dass das Studio von Warner Bros. übernommen wird. Die Verträge der Geschäftsführer wurden nicht verlängert und auch wenn die Einigung mit Peter Jackson und die Ankündigung von zwei “Der kleine Hobbit” Filmen nochmal als Hoffnungsschimmer galt, ist spätestens seitdem die Nachfahren von JRR Tolkien New Line verklagt haben, da es nicht für die Rechte am “Herr der Ringe” bezahlt habe, wohl endgültig mit der Eigenständigkeit vorbei.

Um nicht ganz so traurig zu schließen: Bei der Verleihung der Independet Spirit Awards am Samstag hat “Juno” sich als der große Gewinner herausgestellt. Der Film ist jetzt schon in den USA der größte Independent Erfolg seit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” und die Komödie mit der grandiosen Ellen Page in der Hauptrolle läuft am 20. März auch in Deutschland an.

Minute Movie Review – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Sonntag, Februar 17th, 2008

Review:

The Life Aquatic not only has a ridiculously long title, but is also probably my least favourite Wes Anderson film. It’s still great though: Steve Zissou is a marine researcher that has somehow lost his touch. People aren’t interested in his documentaries anymore and when his best friend is eaten by a shark, nobody takes his hunt for it seriously or is willing to finance it. Only Ned, who may or may not be his son, can help him restore the interest and so the crew set out for one last adventure. The movie balances once more between comedy and drama, but some of the ideas are just a bit too absurd. Nevertheless, the story of an aging man and his ragtag crew is often funny and in the end refreshingly different from most current cinema.

Random Observations:

The Life Aquatic… at imdb.com

Another ensemble cast with a collection of great actors (and many returning Anderson favourites): Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Michael Gambon. Plus a bunch of other good actors that aren’t nearly as well known as they deserve.

The soundtrack with Portuguese renditions of David Bowie songs (which are often played on screen by Seu Jorge, the musician responsible for them) is great.

I want one of those rainbow seahorses! While I thought the other sea creatures were a bit too strange, I absolutely love that one.

This is the conclusion of “Wes Anderson Sunday”. For more of his work, see my review of Bottle Rocket and my thoughts on The Darjeeling Limited. You can also look forward to soon reading a letter I sent to him…

Minute Movie Review – Hot Fuzz

Montag, Januar 28th, 2008

Review:

Hot Fuzz is basically a genre parody – of action movies, police movies and anything similar. It tells the story of London’s best policeman officer – Nicholas Angel. He is so good, that he gets transferred to the small town of Sandford. There, the most exciting assignment seems to be an escaped swan – until a series of suspicious accidents causes Angel to think like a police officer again. Hot Fuzz was one of the most heralded comedies of 2007 and rightfully so. Even though the plot is (intentionally) a little too outrageous, the film is truly funny, with great lines (that cornerstone of every good comedy) and good acting.

Random Observations:

Hot Fuzz at imdb.com

The writers of Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg (who also plays the lead character) and Edgar Wright (who also directs) teamed up before for the horror parody “Shaun of the Dead“. I haven’t seen it, but apparently it is very entertaining as well.

Former Bond Timothy Dalton plays one of the antagonists in this movie. He really has aged a lot, but is still a decent actor. (I know all you Moore and Connery fanatics won’t agree.)

Listen closely when Danny asks Nicholas about things he has done before…