Friday, June 11, 2010

Saturday at the Movies #4

Can you believe it's been a whole month of Saturday at the Movies? Thankfully, there are still a whole lot of movies out there, so I won't be running out anytime soon. Let's pop some corn and get down to business.

Four Weddings and a Funeral: my first exposure (thank you, Elise) to Hugh Grant and English movies with big gaggles of cast. I love this movie muchly and always get something new out of it, either watching for the sociology (no, really) or following the oodles of love stories, catching an easter egg here and there and soaking in not only that slice of Britishness but that part of life where everyone pairs off and having to deal with the worst as well as the best, as adults. John Hannah's funeral scene kills me every single time, and the exchange at the final wedding where Hugh Grant's character must interpret his Deaf brother's objection to the ceremony captures comedy and heartache at their best.:

Always one to follow on a theme, let's hop back across the pond for another wedding - one that will allow us to party like it's 1985. Adam Sandler as a romantic lead? No, we're not in the Twilight Zone, we're in The Wedding Singer and yes, he pulled it off, as a perfect foil for Drew Barrymore. Two songs Adam's character, Robbie, performs for Drew's character, Julia, both stand out as classics; one for its wide-swinging pendulum of devotion and despair, and the other for straight heartwarming romance. Again, a pocket of time and a place that holds something special to me -I think I've been to those weddings- and the iconic rapping granny:

How about Adam Sandler as a dramatic romantic lead? Impossible, you say? No, no, very possible. For proof, I present Spanglish. Not only does Adam Sandler play it straight (beautifully so) but the rest of the cast, notably Chloris Leachman, Tea Leoni (never more gorgeous) and Paz Vega hit this one out of the park, striking every emotional note in a story that covers love, loss, right and wrong and how the choices we make affect those around us. Adam Sandler's John, a chef with a family teetering on the edge of destruction, employs the beautiful Flor, who speaks no English and must raise her young daughter in a strange new country. This movie hurts in a good way:

Birth delivers Hitchockian (Hitchockesque?)in both style and plot, as Nicole Kidman's Anna, a widow about to remarry, meets a ten year old boy with uncanny knowledge of things only her ten-years-dead first husband should know. While the kid is spooky indeed in his sincerity (but watch the opening scenes verrrry carefully and all will be revealed, that's all I'm saying) it's the women that carry this film; Nicole Kidman, Anne Heche and Lauren Bacall all deliver flawless performances. Also, I want to live in that apartment building. Minus the scary preteen, mmkay?

Back to Blighty, sticking with Nicole Kidman and the spookiness, we have The Others. No, not a Lost reference, but a masterpiece of misdirection. Nicole Kidman;s Grace and her two children, Anne and Nicholas, take a house in the Channel Islands near the end of WWII. Grace's husband is missing in the war and Anne and Nicholas, both bright, active children, live with photosensitivity. Direct sunlight must never touch their skin or they will become very ill. When Grace's servants disappear and strange noises and visions commence, the mystery begins to unfold. The atmosphere could very well be called the star of the film, as the house and mist are characters in their own right. The ending isn't my favorite, but what a ride this is:

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