Monday, January 14, 2008

3 short reviews for 3 bad (or mediocre) movies

No time for the feature, so I hope a short will do. Here are some nice, neat capsule reviews that will hopefully give you a succinct idea about the films' intentions:

La Vie En Rose (Oliver Dahan, 2007): Despite a gloriously faithful characterization of French singer Edith Piaf by Marion Cotillard, the movie just is…is…blah. It doesn’t say anything new, doesn’t subvert any female messages or even address them, and fails to make the “extraordinary life of Edith Piaf” interesting in the least. Honestly, the movie isn’t even worth five sentences.

A Mighty Heart (Michael Winterbottom, 2007): I’ve been thinking about this movie since I watched it a few days ago, wondering how I should approach writing about it. The presentation of Marianne Pearl’s passivity in the film really bothers me. I realize the circumstances she was involved in regarding her husband, Daniel Pearl, and his kidnapping and subsequent beheading were ones that reached far beyond her control, but the film depicts Marianne as a troubled dichotomy – it says she’s a strong, worldly female, but never shows her doing anything. There’s a worrisome sequence involving several male police officers kicking ass and taking names in the hunt for Daniel Pearl, which is cross-cut with images of poor Marianne sitting at home holding her pregnant belly. The same police officers later give her pregnancy advice because, obviously, Marianne can’t do anything for herself.

The Daniel Pearl saga was one of the first political/societal stories I followed during my teen years. Therefore, I am very aware that the real Marianne Pearl is not some wishy-washy woman with no mind of her own, but A Mighty Heart does little to show me the true power of her person.

P.S. I Love You (Richard LaGravenese, 2007): B.S. I Hate You is a more appropriate name. The film pulls all sorts of strings to try and imitate the “weepies” of the 1940’s (it even includes clips from no less than three Bette Davis films and a Judy Garland for good measure) but vastly fails to live up to the likes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), or The Letter (1940), which share very similar themes. One major thing prevents that from happening (plus those three were made by talented directors!) – the main character’s actions are being dictated by a dead man! Ho ho ho. Hilary Swank’s character, Holly Kennedy, never runs her own show. Every single step towards her “independence” after the death of her husband is ordained by the dead so and so in question because he was kind enough to write her several letters telling her just what to do and how to do it after he dies. Now we have dead men telling women what to do!

A staple of the weepie isn’t even present – good girl chatter between all of the best friends in the film. Gina Gershon and Lisa Kudrow are supposed to fill those roles, but their presence is just as placid and lifeless as everything else. P.S. I Love You is a terrible movie with a terrible message.

Barf-worthy trailers attached to P.S. I Love You:

- The Accidental Husband
- Over Her Dead Body
- 27 Dresses
- Definitely, Maybe
- Fool’s Gold
- The Bucket List

Next time I’d like to have reviews up for The Insect Woman (1963), Offside (2007), and perhaps a male-centric review of Paul Thomas Anderson’s crème de la crème new film - There Will be Blood.

1 comment:

Josh Staman said...

I was going to see 'A Mighty Heart' but it just looked intolerable. Like two hours of Angelina Jolie looking radiantly pregnant and hoping for the best. That's the stuff of Oscar nominations.

I heard 'La Vie en Rose' was kinda cool.

Richard LaGravanese wrote and directed 'P.S. I Love You'. The same Richard LaGravanese that wrote 'The Fisher King' and 'A Little Princess' and wrote and directed the lovely 'Living Out Loud'. In one year he wrote and directed this and 'Freedom Writers', both with Hilary Swank, both looking equally intolerable.