Archives for posts with tag: patricia clarkson

Somehow, this is a movie about not having an affair with Alexander Siddig. Which seems like the difficult and worse option.

mv5bmzewodmxnjiwnl5bml5banbnxkftztcwmjc0mji3mw-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) is married to a man called Mark (played by somebody, I’m sure) who works for the United Nations in the Gaza Strip. They plan to meet in Cairo, but he is held up, so he deputizes his old bodyguard Tareq (Siddig) to look after her.

She is clueless, and it’s extremely irritating. Patricia Clarkson’s face is natively intelligent, so when Juliette is a big ol’ dummy, it doesn’t work. She appears to know nothing about anything, but enjoys lecturing Tareq about education and women’s rights and his own romantic life. She pulls a stupid and possibly dangerous stunt, and then gets resentful when Mark has the audacity to suppose, in consequence, that she has no concept of reality. She also wears a lot of sundresses, which, with her complexion, seems like a bad call.

Other than that, it’s slow and rather silent, and if Juliette weren’t a moron, I think it would be quite pleasing. The juxtaposition of pyramids with Cairo’s sprawling concrete is visually striking, and Juliette wears a very beautiful turquoise dress, which you see on the cover. Tareq owns a café, and exists in a stylish smoky haze of linen shirts and ironic eyes. Ironic but smoldering.

The best moment is his response to Juliette’s desire to see Alexandria: “You know the library burned down.”

Director: Ruba Nadda
Rating: PG
Length: 90 minutes
Score: 3/5

Technically, this is a rewatch, but I read the book recently, and I wasn’t really paying too much attention on the first watch.

And…you can’t get away from it: Anne Hathaway’s British accent is awful. Sometimes it’s not there, sometimes it’s normal posh, sometimes it’s middle school drama Cockney, and sometimes it swings wildly Yorkshire (its target), usually on the word “money.” It’s not clear why this happens, as she successfully fakes British accents in both Becoming Jane and Les Misérables, but…it is intrusively dire. And in a film that has Jodie Whittaker in the cast! She’s from Yorkshire!

In the shadow of that accent, Emma Morley (Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) run into each other in vignettes on most every July 15th from 1988 to 2006. In the first, they are graduating from the University of Edinburgh, and almost have an amorous interlude. This is interesting, of course, because Emma is northern and pinko, and Dexter is posh and probably wouldn’t actually spit on Margaret Thatcher. Naturally they become best friends but not romantically involved, because Emma has a crushing lack of self-esteem and Dexter is more or less a shallow cad. We check in on them as Dexter wanders about India and Europe finding himself while Emma slaves in a miserable Mexican restaurant, as they go on holiday to the seaside together (but Rules against Romance), as Dexter becomes an increasingly unpleasant television presenter and Emma is increasingly unpleasant about it, as Dexter marries rich and lovely Sylvie (Romola Garai) and Emma dates failed comic Ian (Rafe Spall), and…well, I think you know where this is going.

It’s really rather well done. Horrible clothes are worn, and dreadful hairstyles abound. The 90s were a sartorial catastrophe, in case you didn’t remember, and Emma’s Doc Martens and round glasses are spot-on for the self-serious anti-nuke would-be writer she is at 22. Dexter is plausibly over-smooth and fashion-victim-y in an hilarious series of jerkier and jerkier haircuts. He becomes really unlikeable. Which is the point.

Aside from the accent, it’s well-acted: Rafe Spall’s Ian is infuriatingly but touchingly useless; Romola Garai’s Sylvie is icily beautiful and deeply humorless. Patricia Clarkson is of course lovely and natural as Dexter’s mother; Tom Mison is disappointingly scummy for fans of “Sleepy Hollow.”

The conceit is slightly cheesy, and the book certainly introduces more shades of grey, but this is an above-competent adaptation, and I don’t understand why people hate Anne Hathaway so much. Sure, the accent is bad, but I’ve heard worse, and she’s otherwise charming.

Director: Lone Scherfig
Rating: PG-13
Length: 107 minutes
Score: 3/5

In Main Street, Colin Firth is a Texan who works for a hazardous waste disposal company. His name is Gus Leroy. And this movie was made in 2010. I know, I don’t understand either.

In fact, for the whole movie, I just kept asking myself, “Why was this made into a movie? What is the point of any of this? Is any of the set-up going to pay off?”

It takes place in Durham, North Carolina, which for some reason is portrayed as a small Southern town of which no one has ever heard. Harris (Orlando Bloom) is a city cop whose high school sweetheart Mary (Amber Tamblyn) has essentially guilted him into going to law school so he can make something of himself. Margo Martindale is his mother; apparently there’s an estranged brother (named Peter) somewhere–but I’m not sure why, or why, for instance, Mary doesn’t know Peter’s name. Mary is fooling around with her caddish boss (Andrew McCarthy, for some reason), until she finds out he’s married, and then…decides to move to Atlanta. Harris agrees, for some reason, to drive her to the airport. Gus is renting a warehouse for his hazardous waste from Miss Georgiana (Ellen Burstyn), and seems quite squirrelly for a while until her niece (Patricia Clarkson’s Willa) arrives on the scene and sasses him into a conscience. Or maybe he already had it. You can’t tell.

I wish I had something clever to say about this movie. I’m not actually mad at it, but it is remarkable for inspiring basically no feelings other than a slightly irritated confusion. It doesn’t have a point. Perhaps it was trying to make a social, economic, or environmental statement, but it doesn’t. All of the romances, such as they are, are so wooden, talky, and vacuous that you just feel sorry for the people doomed to utter these lines. Like, this movie is a waste of Orlando Bloom’s talents. Let that sink in for a while.

Director: John Doyle
Rating: PG
Length: 92 min.
Score: 1/5.