It is hard to believe that Jane Campion has not made a full length feature film since 2003’s In the Cut but it is great to see her returning to her romantic roots with the biography of Keats, here played by Ben Whishaw. This looks to be every bit as visually-stunning and well-made as her classic The Piano. Welcome back, Jane!
Ok, “girl power” is not new territory for Barrymore, and it is nice to see her breaking into the directorial boys club, but after a career-altering performance in Grey Gardens, this is what she has to offer? It looks fun, the politics look safe, and hopefully it will probably make her a lot of money to parlay into future endeavors, but everything about this looks stale and aimed toward the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants crowd. But it is Drew Barrymore and she can be extremely charming. I’m torn.
Carey Mulligan is getting buzz already as a favorite for Best Actress for her work in this Brit coming of age tale. And Peter Sarsgaard’s dodgy English accent aside, the supporting cast looks killer: Cara Seymour, Olivia Williams, Dominic Cooper, Rosemund Pike, Sally Hawkins, the dynamic Emma Thompson and the always-underrated Alfred Molina (what does this man need to do to get an Oscar nom?). This is a real no-brainer: essential fall cinema.
by Barry Koltnow / The Orange County Register (MCT)
Can you remember the last time you went out to a nice dinner? I’ll bet you went to one of your favorite restaurants. When money is tight, people generally opt for the familiar, rather than experiment with the unknown. Well, movies are a lot like restaurants, except that the large popcorn costs more than the lobster. Moviegoers are not in the mood for experimentation when they finally make the decision to splurge on entertainment.
That is evident by the current box office chart. Last week, the top two movies at the box office were Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Both films are sequels, and both have made an obscene amount of money, proving that the public is looking for the familiar. Johnny Depp’s critically acclaimed gangster flick, Public Enemies, came in a respectable third in its opening weekend, but the take was considerably lower than the sequels.
Now topping the box-office list is another sequel, Bruno. Oh, please, don’t try to convince me it’s not a sequel. Trust me, I’ve seen it, and it may be a different character from the mind of Sacha Baron Cohen, but it’s a sequel to his very original 2006 hit Borat, only not as funny. People will believe they’re living dangerously by seeing an original film, but they’re just seeing another sequel.
On July 15, the three sequels will cower under the sequel power of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It easily could wind up being the biggest movie of the summer, although the Transformers sequel is giving it a run for its money ($600 million worldwide, and counting).
With sequel fever infecting the multiplex, it was inevitable that I would catch the fever. It also was inevitable that I would write a column about it. That’s what I do. I’ve been pondering the subject of sequels, and I’ve come up with a couple of lists for you to peruse. Feel free to disagree with me.
—Barry Koltnow / The Orange County Register (MCT)
BEST SEQUELS EVER MADE (They did it for the art, and the money)
1. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola and I have argued over this movie (he insists that it’s better than the 1972 original; I say it’s a close second), but there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the best movies ever made, so it certainly deserves this recognition.