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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monster

I feel like a dork for not having watched Monster before watching North Country, I mean what the hell was I thinking!! Charlize Theron as Aileen Wurnos really freaked me out. Thank god I knew what the real Charlize Theron looked, otherwise I would have had a difficult time believing that it wasn’t the real Aileen Wurnos who was playing the lead. The movie is a biography of Aileen Wurnos, the first woman serial killer who was sentenced to death through lethal injection. Abandoned before birth by her father and then later by her mother, Aileen Wurnos became sexually active at the tender age of 13. She did not finish high school and later survived by prostituting. However after being viciously raped by one client, she poured all her hatred and aversion towards men by killing most of her later clients and then robbing them. Neglected by people most of her life and ignored because of her looks, she took a liking towards a young Selby Wall played by Cristina Ricci whom she meets at a gay bar, when Selby lets her sleep in her room and proclaims her to be beautiful. She becomes very protective of the young girl and both of them start living off Aileen’s prostitution earnings at a motel. Charlize Theron showed the world that she is here to stay and later becomes one of the highest paid actresses. She won the best actress Oscar and also the Golden Globe in 2003 for her portrayal of the unattractive, mentally ill Wurnos. For the role she put on 30 pounds and wore prosthetic teeth; her make up was a ‘complete transformation’. What Theron achieved wasn’t just a performance, it was an embodiment. Christina Ricci also received favourable reviews in her portrayal as Selby Wall. In her acceptance speech at the Oscars Theron hailed Ricci as the ‘unsung hero of the movie’. Theron’s uncanny resemblance with Wurnos did nauseate me at times, but that shouldnot stop you people from catching this Patty Jenkins creation.

Rachel Getting Married

I always knew that Anne Hathaway had great potential and with this movie I’m convinced that Hollywood is in safe hands at the hands of this breed of newcomers; and Anne Hathaway belongs to this new breed. If you think she was good in The Princess Diaries, in The Devil Wears Prada and even in the side role as Jake Gyllenhall’s wife in Brokeback Mountain, well she sure has achieved greatness in Rachel Getting Married. She has grown up, no more romantic flicks for this young prodigy, she’s all set to ride the waves, or well whatever that means. The story was what hit me, other than Hathaway’s acting that is. And at the end you just can’t help feeling sorry for her character. Kymberley or simply Kym is a recovering drug addict, portrayed by Hathaway who gets permission to go out of rehab for a few days to be a part of her elder sister, Rachel’s wedding played by Romemary Dewitt. This concept was very touching to me, because normally when people come out of rehab, their family donot want anything to do with them. So Kym comes back home and her father and sister is happy to see her. But that is when things start going downhill. I’m very sorry to say it, but I hated Rachel like anything, well basically I hated everyone in Kym’s family. They were so preoccupied with Rachel’s wedding that people forgot that here is a girl who is just out of rehab for a few days and who needs all the attention and care that she did not get for the last few years. Did they care about her feelings, what she thought, what she wanted to say, how hard it was for her to be with her family, how badly she wanted to feel accepted, how much she wanted to say that was sorry, but nobody would let her, no one was ready to listen to what she had to say. As we progress through the movie, we witness the tragedy that had encompassed Kym’s family when she was 16 which resulted in her parents’ divorce and her confinement to the rehab. Her mother pushes both her daughters away and her father tries hard to make Kym comfortable, make her feel accepted, but still falls short of her expectations. She wants someone to be there with her, for her but everyone misapprehends her. As a result she resolves to lying at times which acts as her defense mechanism at times; but in this hue and cry the real Kym gets lost. Need I say more about Hathaway’s performance? I think you’d better make up your own mind. She received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal as Kymberley . She is the reason why you should watch the movie in the first place. At 26, she has achieved that greatness which actors even at 45 find intricate to achieve. The movie is a triumph of ambience and Hathaway especially worked at a very high level. It goes deep into joy and pain of being human. The film’s greatest asset is the sense of cringing realism. Hathaway might have portrayed like a brat, screaming for attention, but we can’t help but feel for what she has been through. Her nervous laughter, edginess and quick temper with her need for attention and vulnerability is what keeps us hooked to the fag end.

Vicky, Cristina Barcelona

yup, another movie with penelope cruz in it, but as i said i have become a fan of her and this movie makes it even more worth it. as in my last review i had stated that cruz is the muse for almadovar; and now after yet another scarlett johansson starred woody allen movie, we can safely conclude that what cruz is to almadovar, johannson is to allen. i am a bit disappointed with Vicky, Cristina Barcelona; not the usual woody allen brilliance is achieved in this particuler work. the main plot is so common - two best friends who tell each other everything are incidentally on a vacation in Barcelona. the sub- plots are different and i would even say intriguing but still it just wasn't enough. i saw no great acting skills from anyone else other than cruz that is. where was javier bardem, winner of the best supporting actor oscar in 2008?where was scarlett johannson? and the most amazing thing was that out of all the main characters, cruz had the least amount of screen space, but she delivered her role to perfection. she was just impeccable as the genius artist who is always in love with her husband and hence is fiercely protective of him but as we all know all geniuses have their crazy stain within them which brings out her jealousy when she she her husband with other women even though they are divorced.her derangement comes out at certain times in the film and it is during these times that she swiftly moves back and forth from english to spanish ; when she blazes onscreen in the movie,she lets forth a dizzying combination of english and spanish and even if we don't understand what she is saying literally without the subtitles, emotionally we can understand everything that she says and that beneath her beauty lies a fierce spirit of not giving up.i just feel sad that there was not any more scope for cruz to show what more she could do with her facial expressions or to show that she is the one, people, she has arrived! i would say rebecca hall did a much better job than johansson or maybe thats just the way i feel. i would just ask you to watch the movie for penelope cruz's sake, she is the one! over all Vicky, Cristina Barcelona is a witty and ambiguous movie that's simultaneously intoxicating and suffused with sadness and doubt.