27 October-2 November 2008

November 4 2008 at 12:54 pm (The list)

singin_in_the_rainSingin’ In The Rain (1952)

A lot of people don’t seem to like musicals, many of them basing that opinion on Moulin Rouge! and Chicago alone. It’s nigh on impossible to dislike Singin’ in the Rain. In 1927, silent movie stars Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are in trouble with the arrival of a new technology in the industry: sound. With no proper acting experience, Don, best friend Cosmo (Donald O’Connor) and Don’s new love Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) decide to turn their swashbuckler into a musical, but have to contend with Lamont’s deviousness and lack of talent. With such a great story and script, the song and dance numbers don’t dominate, but they are so good that you’re itching for more. Utter genius.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Shame list total: 1,248

 

player_ver1The Player (1992)

This was not actually on the shame list because I’ve seen it before, but so long ago that I could barely remember it. Watching it again reminded me of just how good a piece of work it is. Tim Robbins plays Griffin Mill, a slick movie executive who is plagued with threatening messages by a writer he shrugged off. He accidentally kills who he thinks is behind the messages and starts a relationship with his girlfriend… but the messages continue. Biting satire doesn’t come much darker than this, and Tim Robbins gives an outstandingly oily performance from twitchy paranoia to icy menace. Robert Altman’s trademark style has never been used to better effect, with overlapping dialogue and over-the-shoulder long shots bringing the film to life. And with an array of Hollywood big hitters sending up their industry by playing themselves, it’s a magically cynical film.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

in_bruges_ver21In Bruges (2008)

It would be easy to mistake this foul-mouthed, racist, sexist black comedy thriller as shallow. On the contrary, below all the constant swearing and the bloody finale, it’s actually a poignant tale of redemption and atonement. After a botched job, Irish hitmen Ray (a never better Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are told to go to Bruges and await further instructions. Ray is a mixture of bored toddler and jittery psycho, while Ken is a pensive and mature tourist. When their boss Harry (an unrecognisably nasty Ralph Fiennes, doing his best to match Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast) turns up, things start to get ugly. Beautifully shot, well paced and audaciously in-your-face, there’s plenty to take away from this alternative buddy movie. It’s not for the easily offended though.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

tt0466839_largecoverI Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)

Twelve years after Clueless, writer/director Amy Heckerling’s thoughts move from the plight of the woman coming of age to the woman growing older. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Rosie, the producer of a too-cool-for-school TV show who falls in love with her new star Adam (Paul Rudd). It’s sweet and quite fun, but a little slapdash and the impressive cast (which includes Fred Willard, Tracy Ullman and Jon Lovitz) is largely wasted. The woolly plot is hindered further by a twist that is so obvious that you don’t even realise it’s supposed to be a twist. There is also a baffling raft of even more baffling performances from a variety of British stars including Graham Norton, Steve Pemberton and Sarah Alexander. The film is saved, however, by Paul Rudd on top form in the kind of fun-loving man-child performance that made Tom Hanks so lovable in Big.

 

Rating: 2/5

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