This is a deeply nuanced,
beautifully made, and psychologically interesting film.
has something for the lovers of Royals lots of palace pictures;
lots of long and short shots of Princess Di; Royalty impersonations and
caricatures; breathtaking panoramas of the north of England; guys in
kilts. So even if your interest goes no further, there's that. (What
does the Queen carry in that handbag? Answer: her cell phone and her
car keys, of course!)
politics-watchers, PR types, and fans of West Wing intrigue, there's a
sampling for their interests also. ("Tony Blair," for example, is torn
between his loyalty to HRH and his understandable interest in keeping
his job and doing it well.)
But the real strength of
this film is in the humanity it gives to those we have seen only as
icons moving statues, newspaper people.
of course Helen Mirren fans will want to see it merely because she's in
Whatever your motive, folks, take a glim at this one.
is one of a trilogy of three separate films, in French, with subtitles.
is my fave; it is the most accessible of the three,
and the happiest (nice that he saved the best until last). It's about .
. . hmm . . . about a retired judge who is very depressed and has
unusual habits, a beautiful young woman whose boyfriend neglects her
and treats her coldly, a young man whose girlfriend treats him badly,
and a large dog that has puppies. Despite the puppies (who only have
bit parts), it is a beautiful and strange piece, with many twists and
turns, so even if you are not a foreign film buff (or even a film buff)
you may love it. For one things, the visuals are lovely; the color red
reappears again and again in this film although maybe I only
thought it did, because of the title.
having seen it three times now, I can attest that it really holds up —
keeps your attention — you notice nice touches you had forgotten, and
your sympathies continue to rise once more to meet the action. As I
said, my Fave.
says of ththe trilogy:
Three Colours: Red (French: Trois Couleurs:
Rouge, Polish: Trzy kolory. Czerwony) is a 1994 French-Polish-Swiss
co-production, co-written, produced, and directed by Polish filmmaker
Krzysztof . It is the final film of the Three Colors trilogy, which
examines the French Revolutionary ideals; it is preceded by [the films]
Blue and White.
is equally lovely and complicated, but it is so sad that I
hesitate to recommend it. Only the hard-hearted need apply.
to be disagreeable and depressing. You could
probably skip that
One more thing: most of the mystical French symbolism mentioned in the
Wikipedia review went completely over my head. (Not a surprise.) But
maybe you should not read the Wiki article until after you have seen
It gives away too much of the plot.
(Not to be confused with the brilliant
film, above, also titled RED. Also not to be confused with the
very-old, very-bad Warren Beatty film REDS, about which the less said,
So! When was the last time you
went to a movie and really had
Never had to worry about who
the bad guy was? Laughed yourself silly without having to listen to
fart jokes? (Pardon the language.) Watched fine stars enjoying
themselves? Always knew that everything would turn out all
Bruce Willis at his
charming, sly, derring-do best!
John Malkovitch as a
deadly-crazyperson (only for OUR side)!
The fabulous Helen
Morgan Freeman, suave,
clever, and noble.
Oh you will enjoy this one!
We are of two minds here.
one hand, it was a delightful and starry night. We had enjoyed the
predecessor, titled RED No, not the
French, also titled RED, and also reviewed by the Flick Chick. The film
we mean was the one that starred Bruce Willis, John Malkovitch, Helen
. Both RED and RED2 are about retired superspies who
have license to kill (as who does not these days?), and both mock the
nonstop violence of our omnipresent "thriller" films, while assuring
us, tongue-in-cheek, that senior citizens are just as tough as the new
set of young turks. So, as I was saying, this Number Two was enjoyably
But on quite another level we must
recognize and acknowledge the film's over-the-top violence: Multiple
machine guns demolishing first the vans in the street, then the
scaffolding behind the vans, AND the walls behind the scaffolding;
Bruce Willis dispatching wave after wave of oncoming armed men, while
wearing handcuffs; and Helen Mirren's apartment floor lined with the
supine and prone bodies of dead gentlemen in evening dress, plus one in
the bathtub, while she strolls across them in diamonds and furs, as a
very few examples.
True, they did underline the fact
that it was comic book violence by inserting comic book stills at the
close of several of the scenes . . . but, look! it all feeds this same
appetite for more guns, more bullets, more explosions, more deaths, and
more indifference to the body count. Should this be fun? Because when
there are real guns being fired, real people really bleed real blood.
And they really die. And that's not such fun after all.
of the Sith (Star Wars)
wanted to see it, you've probably already seen it, so we're only
comparing notes: that's understood.
course, the film is exquisite to look at. Great, congested cities,
immense vistas, green and blue planets hanging in the void even
the Wicked Lands are beautiful. And it brims with invention. There are
BEMs so marvelous they boggle the mind. Musical subsonics that vibrate
the sternum. All the familiar high-tech stuff and some new stuff to
story-wise, it's one big morality play. Jedi beliefs are a lot like
Buddhism, and Yoda and the Jedi knights preach self-control and
selflessness, saying they have to separate themselves from human
affection. And Anakin goes over to the Dark Side because he follows his
feelings. But gee if that's the case, you gotta feel sorry for
the poor guy, because in his film universe, feelings are all he has to
The Force itself is all about feelings. And prophetic dreams. And
unnamed powers (moral powers?). Time and again characters are urged to
the Force, to
whether something is right or
wrong. But nobody ever asks: "Am I making a sensible decision, here?"
We get love, grief, anxiety, determination, anger, fear, excitement,
reckless courage, physical strength and agility . . . but nobody uses
his or her head for anything except decoration! Mr Spock, where are you
when we need you!
so our hero's emotions betray him. He falls from grace, embraces evil,
and meets a terrible punishment (several punishments, actually), while
we, the audience, are left to meditate on the wages of sin.
what kind of ending is THAT! We already knew he would go bad, because
this entire film was backstory, which pulled its teeth from the
beginning. And when the final credits rolled, the whole thing left a
sour taste in my mouth. It was so pat never mind, folks, the
kids will pay the bills!
But there you are:
predestination was at work. No other ending was possible.
yet . . why not? I have a friend who imagined a different ending. And
here it is:
Suppose, just suppose, that at the last minute, Anakin had stopped,
looked down the road he was traveling, and said, "No." Suppose he'd
balked at the destiny that Lucas had already produced for him. What if
he'd laughed at the Evil Emperor, rejoined the Good Guys and NOT left
the mop-up to the twins. What if he'd used his heart
to change the future. Why not? You and I do it every day.
we do. Every step we make, every decision, every action we take (or
refuse to take) creates the future we're going to live in. And so,
because we understand that, you and I stop and think. You and I resist
temptation. We consider the result the impact of our actions. We
consciously choose our course and try to create a better life and a
better world as we go along. So why couldn't Anakin Skywalker have done
that and changed his own future in that galaxy so far, far away?
Wouldn't that have been great? For him to prove that it really is
possible to change the
It's not that hard. You and I manage to do it. All day. Every day.
me sad. Such a nice film. Such a sorry ending.
The Road to Perdition
It's okay. You can stop worrying. Tom
Hanks, perhaps the most quietly accomplished actor of our time, has not
dimmed his lustre with this one.
And truthfully, the Chick was worried. What if he was so good at being
a bad guy that she learned to hate him? What would she do then? Yet, as
the world knows, she detests films in which she has to root for the bad
guy. But it's cool; all's well. With a larger eye, we see how this line
of work could come to such a troubled soul.
The film was great to look at, filled
with suspense, and satisfyingly complex. And the Kid did well, Paul
Newman was swell, and gorgeous Jude Law was so mean and ugly that he
blew me off my tree. Moreover, it seems to be doing well at the box
office, so the Hanks/Newman/Law pocketbooks are as safe as their reps.
Robin looks so used up before his mythic story ever gets started? No
Greenwood Gladiators in this filck, no Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, only
a war weary footsoldier coming home from the Crusades.
King John is at the front end of his reign. And his mama, the glorious
Eleanor of Acquitaine is here reduced to a sort of tight-lipped
Through a series of improbable
events, Robin-the-Yeoman masquerades as the Earl's lost son, and is
somehow married to Cate Winslett, as Maid Marian (although "Maid," as
in "Maiden," meant "unmarried girl" in those days). For the remainder
of the film, Robin gallops around the countryside and the seashore,
fighting off King John's turncoat consellor and large numbers of French
troops and is not banished to the Greenwood until the last moments of
Oh, oh! Russell Crowe! Sad that
you should sink so low!
A really poor vehicle for a very
fine star. He can do so much better. He usually does.
The Royal Tennenbaums
I was prepared to love this film. After
all, it stars Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben
Stiller, Danny Glover, and my personal fave, Bill Murray, all of whom
gave engaging performances as a set of quirky oddball misfits. (Liked
Paltrow in this role better than in any I have seen her do in some
time.) It had cute dialogue and a giddy, amusing plot, complete with
the necessary dark moment or two. There were even a hunting falcon and
a Beagle to charm us animal lovers! It had so much flash, so much
charm, it was so much of a good thing . . . how could it fail?
And it didn't fail . . . exactly. Only
It was so
itself! So slyly, tongue-in-cheek, Look-ma-I'm-dancin' campily
that I was, myself, ever so slightly put off by it. The
theater audience laughed. I laughed too. But not quite enough. Guess I
expected more than it delivered.
the way "Royal" because the Dad's name is Royal.
The Flick Chick Reviews New Films
More Film Reviews. Click the appropriate letter for films whose
titles begin with . . .
A few choice foreign films (subtitles)