Saturday, March 10, 2007

I LOVE MOVIES
Aside.

It’s like the number 19 bus. You wait half and hour then three come along at once. I go to the cinema maybe twice a year but this past week I have seen three rattling good films – granted one was on TV. That was ‘Cold Mountain’ and I was particularly interested as it was set in Carolina and that is where my friend Kenju (see side bar) lives. But Judy tells me it was shot in Rumania of all places! I found the film very involving and cried out loud when – at the end – the hero spits out blood and it’s Good night Vienna! Anthony Minghella was the director and he got me equally devastated in ‘The English Patient’.

The first one of the trio was ‘The Queen’ – see review below in the post ‘Her Maj’. Brilliant – go see it!

The last one was ‘Notes on a Scandal’. This was made from the book ‘What was she thinking?: Notes on a scandal.’ by Zoe Heller.
Zoe is a British journalist and novelist who, when I first knew of her, wrote a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph about her life in New York. Her book was short listed for the Booker prize. The story is told from the point of view of a history teacher Barbara (Judi Dench) who is nearing retirement and living a lonely life with her enormous cat. A new beautiful younger teacher, Sheba (Cate Blanchett)–‘a white peach’ Barbara calls her- comes to teach art and instantly one sees the predator in Barbara rear its ugly head.

We gather that Barbara has had a failed relationship with another woman but when she discovers that Sheba is having an affair with a fifteen year old boy who is a pupil, she knows that she hold all the cards and Judi Dench brilliantly demonstrates the character’s malevolent machinations. The acting is superb with Cate making one want to shake her silly frame and Judi causing one’s skin to crawl. It was very brave of her to play so unsympathetic a part and to allow the camera to reveal every wrinkle and dewlap.

It is a very explosive film – both in content and action. For example when Cate comes across a crumpled piece of paper from Barbara’s journal she doesn’t just empty the drawers – the room is destroyed. And there are scenes with the paparazzi and the cuckolded husband (Bill Nighy) which are truly ‘in your face’. The acting is first rate throughout the production and it was great to see Phil Davis as a teacher who falls for Sheba and Michael Maloney as the headmaster who has suffered Barbara for years.

‘The Queen ‘has to be the winner in this trio but I have already requested Zoe Heller’s book for my birthday. I don’t quite get why the boy had such an immediate volte face in his relationship with Sheba and also couldn’t see Barbara being so careless with her journal whilst Sheba was staying in the house. Hopefully the book will explain all. I feel lucky to have seen these three films – they’ll take some beating

34 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I like the look of 'Notes On A Scandal', and will get the DVDv when it comes out.

Michele sent me here.

PI said...

Jean-Luc: hope you enjoy it.

Wendz said...

Another fabulous review - thank you...now I am starting to drool for films again - what are you doing, eh!

Love Judi Dench - she's a wonderful actress. I first saw her in a TV show - cannot remember the name...something about a middle-aged couple - As Time Goes By..maybe? - she cracked me up in that.

yellojkt said...

I went to see The Queen the day before the Oscars just to see what the fuss about Helen Mirren was. She was excellent. Not bad to look at either when she isn't in royal drag.

Michele sent me.

PI said...

wendz; I belonged to the cinema generation and I really miss it. I think it was 'As time goes by' and we saw similarities with the character being a nurse and being reunited with her first love.
God she's frightening in a creepy way in 'Notes on a Scandal'.

Reel Fanatic said...

Notes was easily one of my favorite movies of 2006 .. Although no one was going to deny Dame Mirren her Oscar, Dame Dench's terrifyingly insecure performance here would have been an equally worthy winner

kenju said...

I definitely want to see the Queen and Notes! Thanks for the review; I had no idea what it was about. I will probably look for the book as well.Thanks for the mention, Pat.

carli said...

The only one I've seen was Notes, and I thought it was just brilliant. It felt very real, and for a drama without any explosions or motorcycle chases, I still found myself at the edge of my seat. An under-praised film, imo.

PI said...

Reel Fanatic: yes it was bad luck they were up against each other. However Judi has won many awards over the years and I think all the nominees were resigned to the fact that Helen was going to get it.

Judy: it's unusual for me to have seen a film before anybody. I had the odd grumble from MTL. Notes was not his cup of tea!

Carli: good! I enjoy talking about films almost as much as seeing them.

Carolyn said...

I'd love to see Notes on a Scandal, and I love Judi Dench! Thanks for the reviews, Pat.

Here from Michele's :)

PI said...

Carolyn: it's a pleasure!

Shephard said...

Really want to see "The Queen"... have heard only good things about it. Thanks for sharing that.

Michele says hello!
~S

surcie said...

Every time I read about these movies from folks like you, I can't wait to see them!

R. Sherman said...

I'll need to see both the of the British efforts. Cold Mountain is a fave. You should read the novel. The soundtrack is also first rate.

Cheers.

PI said...

Hi Surcie and welcome! Good!

Randall: are you a movie buff also? I'll make a note of the novel.

Catherine said...

I've always thought Judi Dench was an amazing actress. And it's great to see films with good parts for older women. Despite what they say about a lack of them, three of the five nominations for best actress were over fifty this year. Maybe the world is beginning to realise we are more interesting as we get older.
Michele sent me.

Becky68 said...

I've only seen Cold Mountain of the movies you've mentioned but I was planning on seeing The Queen, now, with your description I'll have to catch Notes on A Scandal too!
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

PI said...

catherine: it certainly is the best thing I've seen Judi do. She is also , of course a delightful comedy actress. Maybe writers will be inspired to write more parts for older women.

becky 68: I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Write From Karen said...

Hello, hello! I'm here via Michele. *smile*

No way! I didn't realize there's a movie version of "What was she Thinking"! I have that book review on my blog, but I won't link to it as you haven't read it yet and I don't want to spoil anything. But if you've seen the movie, you know what a dark subject it is. I will most definitely check out the movie version!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You are the first person I ever came across who wrote "dewlap." I can't get over it.

PI said...

Karen: it's my birthday next week and I have requested the book as a gift from one of my sons- he's been asking for ages what I would like.

PI said...

Hoss ; it's a favourite of mine. Just found it in the dictioary - 'fold of loose skin hanging from throat of cattle.' Oh well- apologies to Dame Judi!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I like "dewlap", and also "wattles."

Great word, wattles.

Pat, I know that your's is primarily a story-telling/reminiscing blog rather than a consciously comedic blog but have you seen this? http://troubled-diva.com/labels/rednoseday.html
It looks like fun! They are looking for funny posts by British bloggers to put in a blog book for Comic Relief. I'm not sure what sort of funny but you've got some great stories so check it out.

*By this, of course, I don't mean your stories aren't sometimes filled with fun and giggles, but, well, aaaw, you know what I mean. :)

PI said...

Sam: I did leave a comment when you first mentioned this. I did get in touch with the web site and offered a shaggy dog story I wrotes some time ago but he stipulated it had to have been a post so it wasn't any good. I do hope you are going to send something. Some of yours are brilliant. xoxox

Dr Maroon said...

Notes on a scandal was terribly good. It was even better because I thought it’d be hellish. I’m a ‘Guns of Naverone’ man.
What is noticeable these days is that there is a pronounced polarity at the pictures. They are either awful or very good. There don’t seem to be any ordinary films anymore. The ones that are a pleasant way to kill a couple of hours before the pub, then two days later you think: ‘that was quite a good film actually‘.
They are either moving for some reason or immediately forgettable and utterly pointless.
Is discernment of age creeping in; am I a grumpy old man already?
Never mind, spring is here and the kirs of summer beckon.

kenju said...

Pat, we p[osted at the same time at Michele's, and you got inbetween me and CQ - so here I am - again!!

PI said...

Doc: a brilliant film which few seem to have heard about was 'The Wages of Fear' Mind you that's going back a bit. We've got sunshine today. Lovely isn't it?

Granny said...

I've seen Cold Mountain and loved it. I should go back and watch it again.

Helen Mirren is one of my favorites and I always thought she didn't get the respect over here she deserved. I was jumping up and down when she won.

I'll see both of those films on dvd soon. I'm too cheap to pay for a ticket. It's not so much the price of the ticket itself, it's the price of the popcorn.

PI said...

Granny: I'm glad Helen is so popular. Years ago I met her when she was the girl friend of a boy I had nursed so have watched her career with interest. She deserves her success.
I think we shall probably go the way of DVD's The logistics of the 60 mile round trip avoiding rush hours and dark get tiresome. we get special deals at the cinema for senior citizens which is helpful.

yellojkt said...

Cold Mountain was very good, but Natalie Portman makes every movie worth watching.

PI said...

yellojkt: I ought to know who Natalie Portman is but I don't.

Chelle A. said...

Just stopping by to say "hi" and to check out your blog!

Carmi sent me!

Chelle

utenzi said...

Everything I've heard about "The Queen" makes me want to see it, Pat, but I haven't done so yet. I have seen "Cold Mountain" and read the book also. I agree, it's quite good. The book is even better than the movie.

Michele sent me over, Pat.

PI said...

Hi Chelle and welcome!

utenzi: the book is on my reading list. Sadly we no longer have our cottage in Yorkshire. We used to go there and do nothing but walk and read - no phone and only a tiny black and white TV. Happy days!