Posts Tagged ‘columbia pictures’

Closer – A Bit Distant

Posted 26 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Closer, USA / UK, 2004

Directed by Mike Nichols

Closer is a 2004 romantic drama film written by Patrick Marber, based on his award-winning 1997 play of the same name.Mike Nichols is a hard director to stomach sometimes. He has a way of making characters crawl under your skin, when that’s the very last place you want them. Such is the case, anyway, with the four characters in Closer, Dan (Jude Law), Alice (Natalie Portman), Anna (Julia Roberts), and Larry (Clive Owen). This is a film that assumes an old truth: look at a painting from far away, it’s perfect; look at it point blank, and you’ll see all the cracks and imperfections that destroy its image. Closer, like the characters who inhabit that truth, is one of those paintings, or maybe that holds true for photographs as well. The movie itself acts almost as a montage of snapshots and freeze-frames in these characters’ intersecting lives. Of course, if every picture is worth a thousand words, you know you’re in for a verbose screenplay. Thankfully, Patrick Marber adapts his own play for the film, which keeps the words intact. Read More

Julie & Julia

Posted 28 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Julie & Julia, USA, 2009 Julie and Julia isn't just a film about cooking.

Written and Directed by Nora Ephron

Based on the Books Julie & Julia by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme

Julie and Julia isn’t just a film about cooking. No, it’s much more than that. It’s a film about finishing whatever it is that you start, setting goals for yourself, and achieving those goals despite whatever it is that you may consider odds. Julia Child (Meryl Streep) worked as a government clerk before she discovered her flare and passion for cooking, and Julie Powell (Amy Adams) did the same. The similarities between the two leads are fascinating, so much so that you would almost expect Julie’s last name to start with a “C,” but, thankfully, real life isn’t so cliche. The actresses in the two lead roles each bring their signature styles to the forefront and flip them upside down to bring us not only two of the best performances of the year, but two of the best performances of their careers. Adams, who is generally extremely chipper and very upbeat, plays an utter bitch who becomes so involved in herself that she refuses to see how her actions raze the world around her, and Streep’s approach, while technically similar to her other lauded performances in that she adopts an accent and an obvious demeanor, is strikingly different. She doesn’t attempt to tone down the cartoonish nature of the larger-than-life Julia Child; rather, she celebrates the icon and gives new breath to someone who should be more prevalent in the public eye.

Julie Powell is a writer and a cubicle worker, who suffers from an all-too-human ailment: she doesn’t have it in her to finish what she starts; and Julia Child seems, early on, to have trouble finding something, anything at all, to start. Eventually, through a series of small failures, Julie decides to cook her way through Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. 365 days, 536 recipes. Can she do it? Only time (and an Internet connection, mixed with the curiosity of the user) can tell. Read More

The Green Hornet

Posted 09 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

The Green Hornet, USA, 2011The Green Hornet 2011 Movie

Directed by Michel Gondry

It takes a certain kind of film to make me question the state of a genre. Certain horror movies make question the audiences that attend them, and certain movies that go on to win Oscars make me question the voters, but not since 1990’s Captain America (a horrid movie starring Matt Salinger as the first Avenger) have I sat down and thought about the state of a genre. I remember seeing that and being thankful that even after such a gigantic misfire we’re still allowed Batman movies and Spider-Man movies and even another Captain America film (which appears to be infinitely better). The Green Hornet, you should know, is one of those certain films – I’ve seen it twice now and both times I’ve thought to myself, “Is this the state of the superhero film? This is what we’ve come to?”

Michel Gondry, by all accounts, is an astonishing director; he’s a visionary. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the best films of the last ten or so years, and far and away the best film of 2004. The Science of Sleep (2006) is gorgeous. The Green Hornet is misguided and full of itself, but I mostly blame Seth Rogen for that. Rogen co-wrote, co-produced, and stars as Britt Reid, our hero (?), who puts on a mask and a trenchcoat and fights crime by pretending to be a criminal. I have no problem with the story at all; I’m a fan of The Green Hornet series and radio show and all other incarnations thereof. However, seeing it brought to this shameless level makes me wonder why it had to be done in the first place. My guess is that it was solely designed as a vehicle for Rogen, which doesn’t even make any sense because audiences already know him. He’s famous, and can open a film on his own. I generally enjoy him, specifically in supporting roles – Knocked Up (2007) is the exception that proves the rule. Read More