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Archive for the ‘Paul Bettany’ Category

I have to admit that I’m not exactly in a romantic comedy place right now, so maybe this review maybe a bit unfair. I don’t care.

“Wimbledon” follows the concerns of once medicorce Brittish tennis pro Peter Colt, played by Paul Bettany (Master and Commander), who has lost his competitive drive and will to do anything great with the last of his career.

Of course, he decides to make his exit at Wimbledon. There, he meets the women’s anticipated winner American Lizzie Bradbury and they fall for each other despite their suspertitious natures. So with love and lust in his life, Peter’s game soars, defeating top seeded players, including his own regular practice partner and good friend.

Lizzie’s father, played by Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), is concern her involvement with a man during the Wimbledon games may sabotage her success.

The picture is rich with low-key Brittish comedy, which makes it less comedy and more light-hearted drama with some romance….uhg.

Bettany delivers his funniest lines perfectly, but unfortunately it feels as if every other supporting character had more insightful things to say. When Peter Colt finally gets a chance to say something important about love, it just doesn’t transend the limits of film.

Dunst was also juicey as Bradbury. As she gets older, her performances adopt little differences, which show she’d headed on the right career road. However, in this picture, her character’s motivations switch so rapidly, its difficult to take anything her character says seriously.

“Wimbledon” was directed by Richard Loncraine who directed “My House in Umbria,” “The Gathering Storm,” “Richard III” and…,my goodness, I’m boring myself just listing his credits. You can get the idea of the directing style of this project.

However, I did appreciate the effort to make tennis look like this ultra exciting, ultra fast paced and stressful game. I’m sure for those who play and have an interest in it would agree, but for those of us who prefer hockey and football, shit high school soccer even, come on….ITS TENNIS! It’s a little tough to make an exciting climax out of TENNIS!! Good try, but the climax simply seemed to drag on.

I enjoyed the picture for the most part. I wish I could’ve enjoyed it more. Not the best movie ever, but that’s already a pretty lofty title. 

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I’ve seen this flick twice now, and I must say I liked it better on the second go around. “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” is definitely one of the most high quality pieces of filmmaking to come along in recent years, obviously this year. However, I’m not convinced it’s as good as many claim.

What some may think would be an epic story ends up being a simple tale of obsession and history. Not even a deep obsession, but one of those “I’m a better soldier than you” obsessions, maybe…

Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) stars as Capt. Jack Aubrey whose British frigate, the HMS Surprise is ambushed by a talented French captain during the Napoleonic War. Aubrey spends the rest of the picture trying to find the Frenchman who sneaks up on him twice in the picture.

However, the picture is really about people and their claims for glory, a signature characteristic of director Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society), who also adapted the screenplay of “Master..” The script was adapted from the tenth novel of the Master and Commander series by Patrick O’Brian.

The movie is about two hours long, thankfully, cause any longer would have been too much. At no time does the picture appear to drag, and just when it starts to, Weir throws in another battle scene, someone commits suicide or someone else is shot. It’s rather brilliant.

The best performance came from Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind) as Dr. Stephen Maturin, Aubrey’s longtime friend and fellow seaman.

So, if you like war pictures, or you’re a girl who like watching pictures about guys who keep a friendship so close you’d think they were sleeping together, yet somehow sex is never an issue on a British frigate at sea months at a time, than “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” is for you. Check it out, but it may take YOU a second viewing to really enjoy it too.

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WARNING: THE SECOND ACT TWIST OF THIS PICTURE IS GIVEN AWAY IN THE FOLLOWING REVIEW. SEE THE MOVIE FIRST IF YOU DON’T WANT IT SPOILED.

When I first saw “A Beautiful Mind” in the theaters, I felt it was a very well made picture, but didn’t quite like it as much as I could for some reason. After the picture was released on DVD, my opinion has changed entirely.

Director Ron Howard (Far and Away, Apollo 13) sets a benchmark for himself with this picture, as does Imagine Entertainment. The production group has been known for very technically challenging pictures i.e. shooting Apollo space sequences on the “Vomit Comet,” capturing the actual conditions of weightlessness.

Howard decided to shoot “A Beautiful Mind” completely in the same sequence as scripted, a very rare feat for productions due to the kind of budget it takes. What is the point? The challenge of portraying the picture’s true life protagonist, Nobel Prize winner John Nash, was far easier for Russell Crowe (Gladiator) to achieve in a linear fashion.

The picture follows the adult achievements of Nash, a mysterious genius from West Virginia, starting with this years at Princeton, when he invents an equilibrium and changes the face of modern economic theory, ending in present day. Eventually, his success at Princeton leads to a position with the U.S. Department of Defense, housed in a lab at MIT with two schoolmates.

While sort of teaching at MIT, Nash meets two people who would change his life; one, a student named Alicia who would become his wife, and two, William Parcher, a spy for the DOD.

Parcher, after learning of Nash’s mental ability to break codes, drafts him into locating a splinter military unit from Russia. This unit has smuggled an atomic bomb into America, and its Nash’s job to search through periodicals, looking for codes sent between bad guys. In short, Nash becomes a spy himself.

However, Nash’s dexterity for the new assignment is challenged as his paranoia gets the better of him, thinking everyone’s after him, fearing the safety of his newly pregnant wife. Alicia gets worried about Nash’s odd behavior and calls for him to be temporarily committed to a mental health hospital, where doctors and the viewer discover Nash actually suffers from schizophrenia. The world Nash was living, and our gripping storyline, was completely made up in his head.

The second half of the movie is Nash’s struggle to get better; first, through medicines and insulin shock therapies. After his pills interfere with his work, hinder his abilities as a father and husband, and kill any erection he hopes to have again, Nash goes off his medication. Quickly, he finds his usual band of imagined cohorts back in his life, making trouble. With the love and determination of his wife, Nash strikes out to build a stable life for himself and figure out a way to rid himself of these delusions on his alone, despite hospitalization recommendations from doctors.

The picture is very enthralling, especially when we find out about Nash’s ailment. Nash, as a character, had superior writing by screenplay adapter Akiva Goldsman (I, Robot, A Time to Kill), based on the book by Sylvia Nasar. Academy Award® winner Goldsman’s next venture with director Ron Howard and Russell Crowe is “Cinderella Man,” about depression era boxer Jim Braddock. After that, Goldsman and Howard plug away on Dan Brown’s popular novel, “The Da Vinci Code,” starring Tom Hanks.

Crowe gives the performance of his career. I know I say that a lot about certain actors, but when I say it, I mean it. I do not think Crowe will top this portrayal. “The Insider” was the only movie I’ve seen him in which came close to this caliber.

The very gorgeous Jennifer Connelly (House of Sand and Fog) defines her adult career as John’s wife Alicia, for whom she won an Academy Award® portrayal. She doesn’t have a single flaw in her role. Without saying much, she can always tell the viewer what she’s thinking in every scene.

Paul Bettany (Master and Commander) appears as Nash’s Princeton roommate, giving a set of laughs, while Ed Harris (Polluck) offers a special nervousness to the picture as Parcher.

Rounding out the supporting cast are several notable faces, including Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan), Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama), Anthony Rapp (Road Trip), Christopher Plummer (Cold Creek Manor) and Judd Hirsh (TV’s Taxi). There isn’t a single weak link in the cast. Director Howard’s casting was dead on.

The visual style of the picture was as grandiose, as it needed to be, when Nash’s imagination was in full swing. However, it was realistic enough to fool us. My favorite bits of filmmakers’ efforts are subtle hints throughout the picture, letting you know which characters are real and which are in Nash’s imagination. This is why I began to love the picture more and more with each viewing. I’d catch a new trick, foreshadowing the protagonist’s illness.

The DVD disc is loaded with special features, including every Academy Award® winner on the production (Connelly, Howard and producer Brian Grazer) after accepting that year. There is also a solid interview with Goldsman and another with Howard about shooting the picture in sequence; highly interesting stuff. The disc is very well worth the purchase.

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