This week I'm pet-sitting, and you know what that means--moviepalooza! I don't usually make time to just sit down and watch movies, unless I'm at someone else's house and bored out of my wits. Here are some mini-reviews of movies I've watched so far:
Coco Before Chanel
As the title indicates, this movie is about Coco Chanel when she was still Gabrielle No Last Name. It was okay--it was a little slow, but not as slow as some French films I've seen. And I did think Audrey Tautou did a lot with the role. However, the script was really lacking in the story-telling department, and the connection between Coco-the-mistress and Chanel-the-famous-designer was pretty tenuous. I wasn't too hot for Alessandro Nivola, either, to be honest. Yes, he was cute-ish, but I was constantly distracted by the fact that he was speaking French and had a very odd moustache.
Basically, the entire premise of the movie is what makes it meh for me. Who cares what Chanel did or was before she became a famous designer? I want to know about the designer, not about some greedy waif who slept with men for food and a roof over her head! The whole thing feels more like sordid gossip than an example of a strong, modern woman.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this movie--I remembered seeing the title somewhere and thinking it might be interesting, but had no inkling of what it was about. If I had to describe it in a single sentence, I'd say it's kind of like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie mashed together with Catch Me If You Can.
The setting is early 1960's Britain, and 16-year-old Jenny is a studious sort who dreams of going to Oxford. Or are those her parents' dreams? One day a handsome older man in a very nice car offers to give her a ride home in the rain, and the next thing Jenny knows, she's going with him to jazz clubs in London, horse races, and Paris. Problem: this guy is totally sketchy. But of course Jenny doesn't care because she's sixfreakingteen and wants to have fun.
This was a pretty good movie. Considering the plot, it was surprising how much humor there was. It really brought the sixties to life, and the performances were perfect. I loved Carey Mulligan, who played Jenny, and despite a long string of obviously bad choices her character remains completely sympathetic. I think this is because she's not stupid--she knows something's up with this guy, she knows their relationship isn't kosher. But because he gives her everything she wants, she chooses to ignore the complete reality and only focus on the dream, and who hasn't done that? Dominic Cooper (who you'll recognize if you've seen any historical movie set in Britain in the last few years) was also really, really good, as was Olivia Williams as Jenny's English teacher.
I also liked the special features. Lynn Barber (the woman off of whose memoir this film is based) makes a brief appearance, and the deleted scenes have some of the best lines in the entire movie.
I rented this movie because Colleen from Bookphilia said it supported my theory (or one of my theories) on why vampires are so popular. Ethan Hawke plays Edward, a blood doctor about ten years in the future, where everyone is a vampire and there are very few humans left--leaving the vampire population starving. Edward is trying to come up with a blood substitute, but a chance encounter with a small group of humans on the run derails his plans.
This is another pretty good movie. There are several great actors in it--Hawke, Sam Neill, and Willem Defoe who is kick-ass as usual. By far my favorite character, though, was Frankie, Edward's brother, who probably goes through the biggest evolution in the film.
Vampirism is treated as a virus--the kind of virus everyone wants. Who wouldn't want to live forever, forever young? As it turns out in this movie, anyone with good sense.
Overall the film was pretty gruesome, but entertaining. It definitely goes to places you don't expect and puts a great spin on the vampire myth.
I still have more movies to watch this week, so keep a look out for the next moviepalooza post!
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