February 1, 2003
By Lisa Yapp
AT THE MOVIES
FRIDA: Salma Hayek has got to be one of the most gorgeous people in Hollywood and this film shows that she can act too! In this 25-year love story, love nearly conquers all. But, there are some huge bumps along the way. Bumps that hurt poor Frida’s back and drive her to painting and leftist politics. Her painting is a featured player in the plot. Even if you don’t like it, you will come away “getting it”. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED..though a tad long, so buy popcorn.
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND: An astounding directorial debut by George Clooney whose fluid segues are old fashioned yet brand new! A terrific acting tour de force by Sam Rockwell who looks more like he should be playing with a grunge band instead of playing a game show host. Makes you wonder what CNN MoneyLine host, Lou Dobbs, does in his spare time. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
THE HOURS: It’s called The Hours because it makes you feel like time has stopped. Still, Nicole Kidman blows you away with the fake nose. The score by Phil Glass was best when it drowned out the dreary dialogue. SORTA RECOMMENDED for screenwriters, directors and folks that have to see everything.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Please would somebody cut this thing in half! Despite the heavyweights, one scene was loaded with jump cuts. Leo did his best acting job in years, aging from sixteen to thirty while keeping his looks in the process. Tom Hanks should live with me for a week to find his Boston accent. SAVE FOR VIDEO OR HBO.
RABBIT-PROOF FENCE: A complete winner! A true story that highlights the innate power of Australia’s aborigines. Three terrific kid actors and a great score by Peter Gabriel. You will learn something and be entertained. Trust me, you will think of this one every time you see your footprints in the sand. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
GANGS OF NEW YORK: Where’s the meat? There’s sure plenty of blood! Less gore and more plot and this would be one of the best films ever made! Stunning sets built from scratch and not created digitally. Great acting from one too many Brits playing Americans. Harvey Weinstein must have pushed Scorese to add the sappy love story. STILL A MUST SEE — just don’t bring Grandma.
THE QUIET AMERICAN: The film takes place in the 50’s when Vietnam was still French Indochina and Americans hadn’t entered the war. Still the C.I.A. was busy plotting away. Michael Caine turns out an extraordinary performance that makes acting look easy. Brendan Fraser is more contrived. This is a complicated and sophisticated love triangle colored with CIA intrigue. A perfect screenplay with no holes in its logic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
FAR FROM HEAVEN: If this movie had been made in the 50’s instead of being set in the 50’s it would have been a Susan Hayward melodrama and better for it! Beautiful sets, great costumes, but cornball dialogue full of “goody-goody” morality peppers the unbelievable screenplay. SORTA RECOMMENDED for fans of the Stepford Wives
ABOUT SCHMIDT: Frankly, there is little to recommend Schmidt. But, that’s the point. It’s not the worst film and it’s not the best film but it’s always depressing. Kathy Bates’ nude scene will make you take the mirrors out of the bathroom. Is this all there is to life? Apparently so! SKIP IT and put the money towards a martini — you’ll need it.
CHICAGO: Talk about razzle dazzle! Catherine Zeta-Jones is amazing! As for Renee and Richard — who knew? Dare I say this is almost as good as seeing it on Broadway. Don’t miss it! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
ADAPTATION: Three movies for the price of one — and that’s not a good thing. A screenwriter writing about himself writing a script about the book,” The Orchid Thief”. This movie is desperately seeking a better ending. Does anyone really believe that an uptight writer for The New Yorker can suddenly turn into a vicious killer? Three words for the screenwriter — try character development. MAKE SOMEONE PAY YOU TO SEE THIS.
LA BOHEME: No matter how you package it — opera is still a highbrow art form. You can wrap it up with younger faces wearing clothes from a hipper period but it’s still is an opera sung in Italian. If you enjoy comparing recordings of Callas, who could act, with singers that can’t — then this one is for you. Great acting, blocking, staging but musically it’s so thin that I thought they were talking. RECOMMENDED for those with the money to see everything.
THE PRODUCERS: Yes, there’s life after Nathan Lane! The show is reminiscent of a well-staged drag revue by a director who appears to have earned his licks as choreographer for Sigfried & Roy. Lots of Va Va Vroom and clever camp in the great production numbers. No tunes that stick in your mind but still — I loved it! For $100 bucks you’d think you’d get a seat you could fit into. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES: What a surprise this one closed! Here we have Dracula with a fey son….a chorus line of dancing garlic…ghouls that put flashlights under their faces to look scary. This Dracula needs Viagra to get his fangs up (seriously, the book is full of impotence jokes). A MUST SEE as one of the worst shows ever.
RED DRAGON: Eating uncooked human liver on toast would be more fun than watching this sequel in the Hannibal Lechter series. Nice butt on Ralph Fiennes. Ed Norton was daydreaming of Salma Hayek instead of working on his character. SKIP THIS unless it’s two for the price of one night.
ROAD TO PERDITION: A really solid picture beautifully acted and shot in the epic tradition. The screenplay makes sense and a creative casting choice in letting Jude Law play a hit man. Paul Newman ain’t “HUD” in this one though. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone over 12.
UNFAITHFUL: Richard Gere is going to get the Best Actor Oscar not only because of CHICAGO but also because of the solid job he’s done here. The screenplay is predictable but the movie still holds your attention because the acting is wonderful and the sex scenes sizzle. Still, if J-Lo and Ben Affleck had been cast instead of Gere and Diane Lane — we would never mention this one again. RECOMMENDED when the kids aren’t around.
Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN: Not only did I have to suffer thru subtitles but I didn’t give a darn about these silly Mexican dudes/duds. Fast forward to the forbidden fruit sex scene at the end. How Hollywood thinks this Director can pull off Lord of the Rings 3 is beyond me! SKIP IT pronto amigo.
ABOUT A BOY: The ultimate “meaning of life” movie that is humorous, witty, unique and well acted by Hugh Grant (of all people). Plus, he actually finds some meaning in life. “Schmidt” might like this one. I did. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.