Midnight In Paris rm- The movie opens with a couple of minutes of various beautiful scenes throughout Paris which made us both independently feel that we are ready for a return trip to the city of lights. Woody Allen wrote and directed the film. You can not help but feel that it is Allen speaking through the main character who is Gil Pender(Owen Wilson), a disenchanted Hollywood screenwriter, who is working on his first novel and is visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy). Gil is enchanted with Paris and would like to live there for awhile but his fiancée thinks that is a foolish idea. She would prefer to go sightseeing with Carol and Paul, good friends who just happened to be also visiting Paris. Paul is a know-it-all (wonderfully played by Michael Sheen) who has the intellectual connection to Paris as compared the emotional attachment which Gil has formed with this city. Paul has the audacity to debate some historical facts with a museum guide who interestingly enough is played by Carla Bruni, well known singer, model and wife of the President of France. Whereas Gil after a few drinks and some wondering the streets of Paris at night is offered a ride by some party going people in what appears to be a 1920s Peugeot Limousine. He finds himself whisked to late night parties where he meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Alice Toklas, Salvatore Dali and other illustrious persons of Paris of this bygone era. He returns on succeeding evenings where he was picked up to visit to the Paris of old. He even gets Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) to read the novel he is writing. He becomes enamored with the mistress of Picasso who prefers to be taken even further back in time as she yearns to be in the Paris of the renaissance. It is then that Gil realize that that it is human nature to want to be back in the good old days and that we never recognize that we all have to live our lives in the present. So maybe after all these years Woody Allen has had a successful psychoanalysis. The result is a very charming, “feel-good” enjoyable movie.
Tag: Michael Sheen
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Music Within – nf – Richard Pimentel is a real Viet Nam veteran who was injured in the war and returned home with severely impaired hearing. That experience inspired him to become an activist, author and spokesperson for the disabled. He became one of the major forces behind the American with Disabilities Act of the 1990s. This movie is the story of his journey from a kid with a mentally ill mother, which led him to have a troubled childhood, to the success, which he ultimately had. When he was unable to realize his gift for public speaking, he put things on hold and entered the military. The pathway he took upon his return to civilian life and his skill in convincing employers to hire disabled vets was quite impressive. Thanks to some excellent writing, director Steven Sawalich and his very talented team were able to bring this unforgettable story to the screen. Ron Livingston carries off a very fine portrayal of Pimentel with Melissa George as his girl friend and an excellent job by veteran actor Hector Elizondo as a Speech Professor. However, the most amazing performance of the movie is that of Michael Sheen who plays Art Honeyman a brilliant college student with cerebral palsy who befriends Pimentel and is a key part of the movie. Sheen’s wheel chair performance with a severe speech defect is one of the highlights of the film and should have earned him an Academy Award nomination. This is a period piece and seamlessly with the aid of appropriate music moves through the decades of the 50s through the 90s. This is certainly a tribute to all those who battle with disabilities and find themselves misunderstood. It also is an inspiring story, which shows how one dedicated and passionate person can make a difference, and brings about meaningful change. (2007)
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The Damned United – sp – Imagine a storyline in which Joe Torres iconic manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers steps aside and some younger hot shot guy who did well with a second rate team is given the job. Picture that this new guy thinks he is the greatest and is out to prove that he is even better than Torres whom he dislikes. He doesn’t even feel he needs his beloved assistant manager on whom he was very dependent on his previous teams. Add great action, inside locker room scenes and baseball talk that you really appreciate having grown up as a baseball fan. Now transform the whole story to Great Britain and make it about soccer instead of baseball and you have the essence of this movie. We were very impressed with Michael Sheen whom we met at our film course and who plays Brian Clough, the well-known real life soccer coach, who might be called the tragic figure of this movie. Sheen who played David Frost on the screen and in the theatre in Frost-Nixon described his preparation to inhabit the characters he plays. He takes over the screen and brilliantly conveys the depth of personality and emotion. Although the movie is not just about soccer, there is something lost in the translation to more familiar life situations. We don’t think that the journey taken in this film will be worth the 98 minutes to most people we know. (2009)
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Frost/Nixon – rm – This is the story of the remarkable series of TV interviews that David Frost, a TV emcee type person had with the then deposed ex-President Richard Nixon. If you recall this historical time you will relive the unique situation our country was going through. The depiction of Nixon and Frost is quite good and the actual interviews are apparently true to the transcript of the programs. They do seem to have captured the fascinating personality of the flawed President. The writer and director did take some poetic license with some of the interactions which they purport to have taken place between Frost and Nixon which disappointed us when we learned this from other sources This made the movie less significant in our minds and takes away from our valuation of the movie although it is still immensely enjoyable. 2008