Nazis were clearly popular at the movies this year.
Mrs Henderson Presents
March 1, 4:45, Dendy Opera Quays (Cinema 3)
Wow, Mrs Henderson Presents was this year? It feels like so long ago now. A brilliant period piece from Stephen Frears; the heart and soul of this film is the expertly matched team of Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. If you can accept that the price of admission to this film is seeing Bob Hoskins naked (“why Mr Van Damme, you are Jewish!”), it will serve well as one of those magnificently balanced comedies with significant tear jerking elements.
March 6, 6:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 6)
I almost cried this time. I think that, were I to watch Brokeback Mountain again, I would break down.
A History of Violence
March 10, 7:00, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 2)
While I liked this movie, I think that its true highlight was my friend Jiao sending me a text message after he saw it. It read:
A History of Ass was boring!
I don’t quite agree, but it was strange in many ways. Maria Bello and Viggo Mortensen did not need those sex scenes. If anything, they were a distraction – and so graphic for the movies!
Also, while the final scene was excellent in its understatement, the climactic battle made very little sense. Why did William Hurt get an Oscar nomination for his blatant caricature of a role? In his character’s own words, “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Hustle and Flow
March 20, 6:00, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 17)
“When I say man, I mean mankind …”
It’s scary to think that there’s anyone who can take Hustle and Flow seriously. It is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Ajay and I were laughing all the way through it. “Stomp that bitch”? I mean, come on. The fact that it was a laugh riot aside, Hustle and Flow was not a bad movie. It’s about everyone’s need to have a dream, and the ridiculously clichéd way in which fame is achieved.
It’s hard out there for a pimp, but it’s even harder for a former pimp who can no longer remember his hardship and oppression to rap about both of those things and to connect to his audience.
In all seriousness, Hustle and Flow is well worth a look. “I think I see a hater!”
March 21, 6:45, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 14)
Dear lord! This is one of my least favourite movies ever. I can’t remember any other movie where I’ve been so angry at what was unfolding on my screen, and at everyone behind it.
This tale of a misanthropic, opportunistic tennis coach and the women foolish enough to love him, provoked in me several strong feelings of unbridled loathing. Were I not in a crowded cinema, I would have jumped up and yelled at the screen when Woody Allen so greatly insulted the intelligence of his audience. That he used this same insult to make a tricky twist ending did nothing to alleviate my anger.
It’s a good thing that Woody Allen is working hard to make me laugh now, or I would still be under the black cloud of the grey filter that is Match Point.
The Weather Man
March 27, 7:15, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 15
I’m not entirely certain how I managed to drag myself back to the cinema after the agony of Match Point. I must have a fast healing heart. The Weather Man was notable for Michael Caine’s “American” accent, which I do not hold against him. Any effort that involves seeing more Caine on my screen is to be applauded.
The Weather Man was funny and quirky, and the fact that people hate Nicolas Cage once again mystified me. A worthy mid-Pirates project for Verbinski, the one bugbear is the sudden revelation at the end that Cage’s own ennui and pointless quest for advancement is a metaphor for the modern American.
That probably had quite a few people leaving the cinema in anger.
March 31, 6:00, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 7)
My first Spike Lee joint! This film appeared to have very little to do with racial politics. What it did offer was ingenious plotting and genuine thrills. Denzel Washington and Clive Owen played against each other very well despite not ever sharing a scene, and Jodie Foster was effing dynamite.
The only problem with Inside Man is that, chronologically speaking, the reasoning behind the heist is now largely impractical. Any later than 60 years, and I would have had to call total shenanigans. This is but a small weakness in a strong film that makes no judgements beyond those which should by now be ingrained into human behaviour.
Pick of March 2006: Inside Man
Inside Man narrowly beat out Mrs Henderson Presents because it excited me. The sort of emotionally moving story that I got from Mrs Henderson Presents is as water to me; Inside Man‘s excitement was like a volcanic eruption: rare and incendiary.