Archives for posts with tag: ewan mcgregor

MV5BMTUwNjUxMTM4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODExMDQzMTI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_If you ever worried about how a ten-year-old orphan gets cruelly cursed forever for being an honestly rather mild type of brat, the new live-action adaptation of Beauty & the Beast somewhat mitigates the problem. Time stands still for him, so he is grown when the curse falls, and no more grown when it ends. But now he has an explicitly unhappy childhood, and is, one feels, more to be pitied than censured.

On the whole, the plot holes of the animated movie are filled–the alarmingly various weather, the mysteriously unknown castle some twenty minutes away from the village, Mrs. Potts’s age… Few are added, amazingly, though Belle (Emma Watson) becomes less practical in matters of dress for visual effect and spends a surprising amount of time in her underwear. Gaston (Luke Evans) has a backstory now, and slides gracefully from amusingly vacuous to really quite evil. Mr. Evans commits completely to the part; he’s great.

The casting generally is strong. Lefou (Josh Gad) is having the most fun, and has the most material, but everyone else–Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), the wardrobe (Audra McDonald) and her husband the harpsichord (Stanley Tucci), and the feather duster (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)–is also enjoyably jolly. Their houseware-persons are well-executed, although Lumière was slightly too mechanical for my tastes, particularly about the knees. Maurice (Kevin Kline) is easier to take seriously than in the cartoon, which may surprise you.

Visuals are stupendous, although they did the annoying Disney thing of having a building that is made entirely of staircases and bridges for no discernible reason. The yellow dress does not disappoint. The big finish of the Beast (Dan Stevens) will, I think, age badly. But for now the capture technology and the humanity of his admittedly striking eyes works excellently well, and they took care with the eye-lines, so he and Belle speak and interact plausibly.

I wanted not to enjoy this movie, just so I could be dismissively smug, but it was delightful. The new songs are nice, the slightly elevated jokes are a joy, and the people have somewhere between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half dimensions.

Stray observations:

  • The lyric “I can feel a change in me” while modulating begs to be heard “I can feel a change in key.”
  • The owner of the bookshop is turned into a priest, Père Robert (Ray Fearon), and he is handsome and humane and disappears pointlessly. I was certain he would be helpful in escaping, but he just…wasn’t there.
  • Some of them are in Greek!
  • Super glad everything is fixed just in time for, I assume, everyone to be beheaded in about a decade.
  • Dan Stevens should only ever wear blues between sky and Prussian.

Director: Bill Condon
Rating: PG
Length: 129 minutes
Score: 4/5

I remember kind of wanting to see Mortdecai when it came out, because I figured there was no chance it was as bad as everyone seemed to think. But, while I’m not sure it’s as bad as everyone thinks, it is pretty bad.

Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is a dopey upper-class art thief, probably. But he’s in debt, so he and his valet/bodyguard (Paul Bettany) end up being strong-armed into recovering a lost Goya painting to thwart terrorism. That doesn’t make sense, no, but nevertheless this is what we are given. Mortdecai’s wife Joanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) hates his new mustache, his MI-5 contact (Ewan McGregor) loves Joanna, an American (Jeff Goldblum) wants to buy Mortdecai’s Rolls-Royce, and his nymphomaniac daughter (Olivia Munn) is in cahoots with the painting-stealing terrorist. Also there are Russians. And schemes.

It’s really not very good. The plot doesn’t hang together (in a careless way, not a humorously madcap way), Johnny Depp is exhausted- and exhaustingly mincing, and the movie relies far too heavily on your finding him charming. Joanna’s fine (her clothes are delightful; few people can wear jodhpurs as well as Gwyneth Paltrow), and Ewan McGregor is actually engagingly uptight and useless, but he isn’t given enough to do. The only real enjoyment is Paul Bettany playing completely against type as a scarred, womanizing tough guy with a staunchly working-class accent. He’s surprisingly good at it, and his doglike devotion to Mortdecai gets a bigger laugh every time he declares it a pleasure to be wounded in his master’s service.

That’s it, though.

Director: David Koepp
Rating: R
Length: 107 minutes
Score: 2/5

Wow, this movie. It is bad and it does not make sense. Because it was so stupid and so carelessly made that I did not learn the characters’ names, I will not use them. It grieves me to bring the names of proper actors into this mess, but I assume they’ve all gotten over it by now.

Pete Postlethwaite and Greta Scacchi live in the country in England in the 17th century. They have a troubled daughter who is obsessed with Andrew Marvell. She’s supposed to be sexually repressed and too artistic for her surroundings but she is in fact alarmingly insane. Into this mix come Ewan McGregor, who is a Dutch garden designer, and Richard E. Grant, who is running some kind of long con. Also the daughter has weird sex dreams about one of the peasant reapers. And some kind of unexplained foreign accent.

This is probably one of those movies where nothing is explained because subtlety is so artistic. At least, that will be the justification for how it is utter nonsensical bilge. Ewan McGregor romps through brambles tearing off his clothes–why? Greta Scacchi is vaguely trampy but not really–why? Pete Postlethwaite is completely brainless–why? Richard E. Grant is overtly Mephistophelean but nobody notices–why? And then there’s a storm, which is deeply, deeply ridiculous.

That’s it. Don’t ever watch this. It is garbage.

Stray notes:

  • We are supposed to feel bad for the daughter because of her frankly mediaeval treatment at the hands of a pietistic quack. And, to be fair, what passed for medicine in the 1600s was terrible, especially when dealing with mental issues. But–she is not just a misunderstood aesthete. She is crazy. It is not cute or sexy.
  • Ewan McGregor wears a terrible wig, and then he takes it off and wears what I desperately hope is another terrible wig, because the 90s were a time when we put truly awful things on Ewan McGregor’s head.
  • Yes, this movie is an object lesson in the perils of Amazon Prime instant streaming.

Director: Philippe Rousselot
Rating: R
Length: 104 min.
Score: 1/5.