Saturday, December 17, 2005

More End of the Year****MOVIE RECOMMENDATIONS***"Cinderella Man"; " Memoirs of a Geisha"

CINDERELLA MAN: A decent movie about a decent man with a decent family; the film is a decent boxing story of former Heavyweight Champion, James J. Braddock, and his decent personal fight toward glory: Rocky set in the Depresion. Directed by the decent Ron Howard. With two decent star perfromances by Russell Crowe and Renee Zellwenger...and a wonderfully decent (in this case, more than decent) performance by Paul Giamatti (far outstripping his performance in Sideways...). Giamatti is deservedly headed for an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this one, as he was deservedly denied a Best Actor Nomination for Sideways. Take the kids (especially the boys and girls who like to mix it up) for a decent afternoon at the cinema.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA: To begin with: many of the actors' accents are more-often-than-not very thick to these non-Asian's ears, and sub-titles would have been nice (even though they are speaking in English most of the time). The actors' performances are uniformly excellent, especially Ken Watanbe as the patient lover (shades of Cyrano) and Michelle Yeoh as the mother-figure. The film's lead actess, Yiyi Zhang is exquisitely beautiful. But there are so many beautiful women (it is a geisha house, after all), dressed and made-up much the same, it is hard sometimes to tell them apart.

It is a beautifully mounted production. But so are a lot of 30-second commercials with a lot of money to spend. (No wonder they have so many Executive Producers---$$$$--- on this film.) The film became a walk through the museum guided by an insecure therefore ostentatious display expert.

There is still the question of story. Not being a prior reader of the novel, I had a hard time following who hated who; and why. And Rob Marshall (who directed the fine musical Chicago) also must still have thought he was doing another musical: the music in Geisha is wall-to-wall. I hate to admit it but: you can have too much of a good thing. The good/bad thing in this film being the composer, the great John Williams, and the brilliant string playing of Yo-Yo Ma and Itzak Perleman! When a film has that much music, someone is generally trying to convince me that a lot is going on when in truth there is very little. I'm afraid that is the case in Geisha. However, go see it....preferably on a Sunday afternoon with a girl who thinks all men are rotten...and is favorably disposed to any man who is willing to share this movie concept with her...and Sunday night should perk up according.


Post a Comment

<< Home