The Age of Innocence

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Wealthy New York aristocrat Newland Archer (Day-Lewis) announces his engagement to the well-respected May Welland (Ryder), and their blissful life together seems entirely mapped out for them. However, the arrival of May’s cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska (Pfeiffer), has the potential to derail the course due to the scandalous activities of her philandering husband, and her growing mutual attraction to Newland.
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Brazil

Somewhere in the 20th Century, the world has become an Orwellian dystopia of farcical proportions. In a world where no mistakes are acknowledged, a random swatted fly falling into a typewriter causes a man named Buttle to be arrested in place of rogue terrorist heating engineer Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro). Tasked with tying up the error’s loose ends is Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a menial yet essential worker within the Department of Records who his boss Mr. Kurtzmann (Ian Holm) would be lost without if he were ever promoted. Sam finds his quest to rectify the situation exacerbated by the likes of his plastic surgery-obsessed mother (Katherine Helmond), less than efficient government-employed heating technicians (Bob Hoskins & Derrick O’Connor), executive desk trinkets and his own dreams which see him flying around saving his literal dream girl (Kim Greist) from monstrous demons.
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Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross has an excellent ensemble cast that cannot be ignored, featuring Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce and the great Jack Lemmon, all sharing the screen and delivering award-worthy performances. In particular, I was very impressed by the mesmerising cameo from Baldwin as corporate ball-breaker Blake, brought in to motivate the employees of the real estate firm (or make them feel about 2 inches tall, whatever works) and Kevin Spacey’s weasel-like manager Williamson, knowing he has no right to his job and sticking firmly to the rules and regulations to make sure he keeps it. I was reminded of 12 Angry Men whilst watching, with the confined locations, all-male cast and stage origins of the story, as well as the heightening tensions, hot and wet climates and outbursts of anger from its central cast. Harris and Arkin, as the angry Moss and deflated Aaronow respectively, seemed a little one-note, but their characters were still vital to the story, and each had their highlights.
Choose film 8/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl

The original Pirates of the Caribbean film, the greatest ever made best on a theme park ride, is tremendous family-friendly fun, especially in its first half. It loses its way towards the end of the second reel, as the plot becomes inundated with various bluffs and double crosses, although in a film about pirates this is only to be expected. The CGI is excellent and well used, as is the comic relief, mainly provided by Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook, surely the closest any human being can get to being a scarecrow without an awful lot of hay. Geoffrey Rush could well have been cast as villain Barbossa on the strength of his piratical laugh alone, and for that deserves at least a mention.Choose film 7/10