Cinema

THE DOCTOR

Time for another visit to the video store! This time I picked up Randa Haines’s film ‘The Doctor’ starring William Hurt, Christine Lahiti and Elizabeth Perkins. It was another good choice.

‘The Doctor’ is an old film now, having been made in 1991.

The film is about a classic case of role reveral. William Hurt plays Dr Jack MacKee, a brilliant surgeon who maintains a terribly conscending manner to his patients. His life is dramatically turned around when he falls sick and is diagnosed with throat cancer. Literally from one day the next he has to take his line in the hospital that he has worked in as a patient. The film shows the journey of McKee having to learn to see the world with much more compassionate eyes.

What ‘The Doctor’ is is a very strong drama. McKee’s journey of self discovery engages from beginning to end. It is as if he has to relearn his humanity.

‘The Doctor’ is two love stories. McKee falls in love with a beautiful young patient June Ellis who is dying of cancer. They share a deep, spiritual understanding. At other times McKee is trying to salvage his long time marriage to Anne.

‘The Doctor’ features one awesome performance with Elizabeth Perkins playing June Ellis. She steals the screen in her portrayal of her beautiful, feisty character. One scene, in particular, stays in mind. This is the scene when she and Jack are talking in the hospital waiting room and June is annoyed by some of Jack’s comments. She snarls at him, ‘please don’t waste my time’. You know that for sure she means it! June is certainly not the kind of character to be messed around with!

I guess that’s enough of a preview. You won’t be disapointed choosing this film if this kind of drama appeals to you.

BEFORE SUNRISE

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy create magic in BEFORE SUNRISE

Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunrise’, simply put, is one of my favourite films.

The film tells such a simple, lyrical story. Two young travellers, french graduate student Celine (Julie Delpy) and American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meet on a a Budapest-Vienna train. At Jesse’s instigation they get off the train at Vienna and spend the next 14 hours together.Their time together is broken when dawn breaks and Celine has to get back on the train and continue on her travels.

Its so hard to paint a picture of a what a film is like but here goes with ‘Before Sunrise’.
It is a quiet but intensely romantic film. There is a very youthful feeling to the film.
I am sure that this feeling is so strong because of the films’ travelogue nature. As the couple journey around Vienna their time is spent meeting quirky characters, checking out local landmarks, visiting cafes and drinking places, and sharing their thoughts and philisophies of life.It’s an intoxicating ‘recipe’.

Linklater’s production is so well realised. His direction is first class. He manages to give the film such an intimate feeling.
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s performances are exquisite. The quality that comes to mind are that their performances are so natural.
The film hardly feels acted or scripted at all, their relationship flows so well.
So, wrapping up, if qualities of intimacy and naturalness appeal to you in movies, then you are in for a unique, special treat with ‘Before Sunrise’.

(c) David Kary

Bon Voyage

Jean-Paul Rappenau’s film ‘Bon Voyage’ was great entertainment. The film is about a group of French people coming to terms with the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940.

Movie stars, spies, government ministers and jailbirds collide in a panoramic gridlock. The cast of characters include a stunning film actress (Isabella Adjani) who is trying to get out of being caught on a murder rap, a politician (Gerard Depardiu), a suspicious journalist (Peter Coyote), a pretty physics student (Virginia Ledoyan), and a young writer (Gregori Deranjere), all thrown together by the crisis.rrival of the German army and the city’s upper crust flee en masse to the Hotel Splendide in Bordeaux.

There was so much I loved about ‘Bon Voyage’. I loved its breakneck fast pace. There was never the slightest risk of being bored.
I loved the way the way that all the film elements were thrown together in a liberating, anarchic style…murder intrigue, a resistance plot, romances.
I loved the way the film was so tongue in cheek and impish. Everyone seemed to have fun being in it.

Bon Voyage’s characters were much larger than life, and made strong impressions. No-one more so than Isabella Adjani played an upper class lady with more front than the Harbour Bridge, manipulative as hell, totally charming, and full of feminine wiles. This was a classic femme fatale role and Adjani devoured it with relish

Catch ‘Bon Voyagé’. Its well worth a look.

BEFORE SUNSET

The magic-one more time!

I checked what was on. I was in the mood for a love story, to be more precise, an intelligent love story.
It was an easy choice. It has to be Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunset’!

I had seen ‘Before Sunrise’ and it is one of my all time favorite films.
Two young travelers, brash young American Jesse and delicate Parisian Celine, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, meet on a train going through Vienna. Jesse takes up the gauntlet and asks Celine if she’ll spend the night with him exploring Vienna. She takes up the offer and so starts one of the most beguiling romantic stories I’ve seen.

The pair say their tearful goodbyes around sunrise, as Celine reboards train, and agree to meet exactly one year later at he same spot.
We find out in the sequel ‘Before Sunset’ that the pair never met the following year.
It is some nine years later and Jesse is now a famous author doing a launch circuit. He is at a Paris bookstore fielding questions from the local
intelligentsia when Celine peers through the bookstore window. A local, Celine has seen a flyer featuring Jesse’s book launch around town and decided to catch up with her old flame.
The old flames spend the rest of the day together before Jesse gets his flight back to New York.

The bottom line is that ‘Before Sunset’ has the same magic recipe that graced the original. The film features deep, intimate conversations where no subject or feeling is off limits.
Little nuances of character reveal how the couple got on so well even though they are very different people.
How to describe them?! Jesse with his artistic temperament has his brooding intensity, Celine with her unpretentiousness, candid and easy going nature.

The film has a bonus seeing Julie Delpy perform her own ballad on guitar.
near the close of the film.
My verdict, this was a dreamy, very dreamy film. It was a shame that it had to end.

Mean Girls

The scenario to the new American teen comedy, ‘Mean Girls’, directed by Mark S. Waters, is the period of transition that teenager Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) goes through when she starts at an average American school campus.
Cady has been brought up by her folks in the wilds of Africa and she has always been home tutored. It comes as a great shock for her to have to cope with real school life, and to try to fit in.
You can put ‘Mean Girls’ down as a safely mainstream, commercial American teenage comedy. The film’s best feature was that it had a deft hand at social commentary, in particular teenage social politics.

So… at the start we have Cady entering a new, exciting and dangerous world and at the end we have her finding peace and harmony in it. In between, and this is the stuff of the film, it is quite a ride!
Cady survives the anxiety of her parents, the pressures of different peer groups each wanting to claim her as their own, a school crush, her own immaturity and power plays, to make it to hollow ground.
Summing up, ‘Mean Girls’ was an entertaining satirical romp however a few rungs down from its more famous predecessor, ‘Clueless’.

Mother

The British drama ‘The Mother’, directed by Roger Michell from a script by Hanif Kureishi and starring Anne Reid in the main role as May, really got to me.
‘The Mother’ had the perfect formula for drama. We have a meaty central character, a challenging journey, and some quirky and telling choices.
Talented British actress Reid must have felt over the moon when she landed the feature role. Female roles this strong don’t come up that often.
May is a woman in her sixties who finds herself suddenly widowed when her husband dies of heart failure. From the first scenes we see that May is very much her own person, willful and uncompromising.

Grandmother May chooses to get away from her marital home. May doesn’t stay at her son Bobby’s family home when she realizes that her presence is causing dislocation within his family.
She shacks up at her daughters Paula’s home and has to cope with her daughters’ decision to have it out with her over what she believes is the ill treatment she received as a child.
Paula runs a local writer’s group. It isn’t long before she is trying to match-make her mother with some of the older men in her group. What she doesn’t realise is that her mother finds these men boring and uninteresting. More to the point, she is unaware that her mum has her eye on her builder boyfriend, the phlegmatic Darren. May has felt her sexuality reawaken after being somewhat numbed by years of neglect in her marriage.

I guess that’s enough of a preview! For sure, ‘The Mother’ won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. For me it worked on an elemental level. This film was an original, gutsy survivor’s story.