docweasel.com’s Peach brings you a review of some of the newest additions to her DVD collection. This week she covers the feminine perspective, movies with a woman protagonist as well as classic ‘chick flick’ type movies (that usuallly appeal to the masculine side of the aisle as well).
I guess I’ll start going through my collection and letting people know which are good and which are not.
First, a little about my taste in movies so you can know what it means when I say something about one. I put more weight in acting abilities and story lines than cgi or perfected effects, my imagination can add those on their own because I read a lot. But if the acting is a dud or the story line bites, I can’t revamp those and carry on to the end as the movie progresses, they tend to split and go separate directions, so the actors and story must be good. I may find a ‘horror’ movie to be a ‘comedy’ instead or a ‘romance’ to be a ‘comedy’. Actually, about the only movies I don’t find to be ‘comedies’ ARE ‘comedies’, or dramas. But, I don’t expect the movie to do all the work for me nor do I expect them to remake my life. I do expect a little entertainment for a short while. I don’t give away the good stuff ( it’s always better when it’s unexpected) and I try to find at least something of value in any movie because I hate to feel completely ripped off, don’t you?
On to the movies…
Good Girl (2002) starring Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaat
Rolling Stone magazine said Jennifer Aniston was “remarkable” in this movie and I have to whole-heartedly agree. After watching her on ‘Friends’ I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch a movie with her in it, but this movie was an excellent showcase for her. It runs the gamut of emotions if you just sit back and allow it to pull you along. Jennifer plays a bored housewife who gets caught up in a fling and when it becomes too much for her she tries to take her life back under control. It goes from cutesy romantic to comedic to shocking…but I won’t tell you how it ends.
Hired Heart (2002) starring Garnet Hadley and Brett Cullen
A feel good romance for any woman who is tired of the dating game. Hadley gets you to champion her character right from the start. As she starts the ball rolling towards undeniable fate…we know a secret she doesn’t, which sets off comedic yet romantic sparks. If this movie doesn’t remind you of what love is about, nothing will.
In the Cut (2004) starring Meg Ryan
A bit disturbing and sometimes confusing. It may be easier to understand the second or third time watching, but it’s more of a voyueristic film than anything else. Even our dear Meg can’t drag this into the ‘must-see’ category. This sex and murder drama leaves a lot to be desired, though some of the erotic scenes can get the juices flowing.
Love Potion #9 (1992) starring Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan
An oldie but a goodie. This is a light-hearted romantic comedy that will keep you laughing and wondering how people can be so silly and still live. Sandra shows her potential as a comedic actress, especially physically, in a way that makes us adore her. If a clutz like her can come out on top in the end, why can’t we? The music in the movie is catchy as well, you may find yourself humming it for hours afterwards.
Mrs. Winterbourne (1996) starring Shirley MacLaine, Ricki Lake and Brendan Fraser
A fairy tale for the grown woman. A poor, pregnant, single girl is thrust into a world of riches through a tragic mishap and mistaken identity. Brendan is the charmingly confused gentleman, but Shirley and Ricki shine in roles seemingly made just for them. It will have you biting your nails and giggling like a schoolgirl, but like all fairy tales, it will make you sigh wistfully at the end.
Much Ado About Nothing (1993) starring Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh
Much Ado About Nothing will make you want to bring a scoreboard with you. The hero and heroine of the story face their trials as in any good romance, but the comedic sidekicks (Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh) steal the show. Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington have bit parts now and again to bring our attention back to the hero and heroine, but the real fun here is watching the two die-hard, sarcastic cynics try to fall in love while they try to save the romance between their friends, the hero and heroine. Even the surprise twist at the end will make you laugh. Michael Keaton has a pivotal and hilarious role as well.
Oxygen (1998) starring Maura Tierney and Adrien Brody
An intense thriller. Maura plays a cop with dirty little secrets that the psychotic killer uses against her. She has to try to figure out his cryptic clues without exposing herself. It will keep you guessing while keeping the plotline running in the background until it comes to a head and they merge at the end. Adrien gives a terrific performance here and makes you hate him and hope for his demise (or, at least, the demise of his character). The twist at the end is delectible.
Return to Paradise (1998) starring Anne Heche, Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Pheonix
Return to Paradise is not light or entertaining but definitely worth watching. Maybe this is the one that sent Heche over the edge. It will make you question yourself as to how far you would go for your friends and how far they would go for you. It is dramatic and riveting. If you like this one, try Brokedown Palace as well.
Sabrina (1954) starring Audrey Hepburn
A classic. While I would let my teenage daughter watch the remake, this one is a bit heavier and begins with our heroine trying to commit suicide because the man of her dreams won’t notice her. Hepburn turns in superb performance, as usual, and Bogart wins our hearts. This old-fashioned, ‘coming-of-age’ story is a must in your classical collection. Bogart gives a great performance, as always, but seems a bit miscast here as Hepburn’s love interest. Jeez, he must be 50 years older than her for starters 😀
Sabrina, the remake (1995) starring Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond
Its delightful. Though it is a remake, it is a story all its own. Don’t go into it thinking of it as a remake or you’ll be sorely disappointed. This warm romance is one that will leave you cheering. When Linus (Ford) doesn’t respond to Sabrina (Ormond), she recruits his younger brother to help. Sometime the heart doesn’t know what it wants ’til it’s gone. Ford and Ormond are wonderful in drawing out the nuances of their characters.
Sommersby (1993) starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster
Sommersby is a drama/romance. It’s about deciding what you believe and what you believe in. The series of events will make emotions swell up in you until you’re sitting on the edge of your seat when the ending comes with explosive emotional force. Remember, most dramas don’t have the happily ever after endings and this one fits right in with most. Jodie’s best roles are raggedy women who are trying to make sense out of what’s going on around her and this fit her to a tee. Gere is always charming, but he pulls you so close in this one that he will leave you weeping at the end.
Visitors (2003) starring Susannah York
Visitors is a mind trip film. York is alone on her boat in the middle of the ocean when her mind starts playing with her. It’s amazing what the mind can do to a person. But she finally makes peace with herself and returns to shore only to head back to sea. It’s okay if you want to experience what type of freakiness is in someone else’s mind, but it is rather dull, despite the horrors her mind (or the writer’s) can dredge up. If you like this one, try Open Water it’s the same type of senario, but without the boat, more real dangers and with two people instead of one.