Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister’

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The Ghost Writer by Roman Polanski

April 2, 2010

I am an unashamed Roman Polanski fan.  The films directed by him that I’ve seen are among the finest films I’ve ever seen.  Polanski knows how to make smart, intriguing thrillers, and he can act as well (see The Tenant.)  So when we learned that our local theatre would be showing his new film, The Ghost Writer, we were there on opening night, and pleased to see a moderately-packed house.

The Ghost Writer has an interesting cast:  Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, and Eli Wallach.  The plot involves a ghost writer (McGregor) replacing a dead ghost writer who was working on the memoirs of the retired British Prime Minister (Brosnan).  As McGregor’s character gets deeper and deeper into the project, he begins to discover unsettling facts about the PM, including CIA involvement and secret authorization of torture on airplanes.  Naturally, this disturbs McGregor’s character, and he tries to get out of this project.

The standout scene for me was the scene on the ferry.  I’m not giving any details away because the movie is still in theatres, and I hope those who like taut thrillers will go and see it.  Polanski plays up to his audience, never dumbing down anything, and delivers great cinematography and impressive performances from his cast.  I was particularly impressed by Kim Cattrall’s very controlled performance as Brosnan’s assistant and mistress – a real change from her Sex and the City character – I didn’t even know the character was Kim Cattrall for a good part of the movie.  The always beautiful Olivia Williams also gives a great performance as Brosnan’s bitter, acerbic wife.

I want to see this movie again in the theatre.  Whatever your feelings about Polanski and his personal life and problems, he remains one of the greatest directors of modern times.  See it.

PS – we’re seeing it again tonight so I may have more to say after a second showing.  I do encourage lovers of good, intelligent thrillers to see it.

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In The Loop by Armando Iannucci

March 29, 2010

I can’t believe I forgot to review this film.  Claude and I were lucky enough to see it at the local theatre that shows artier films and we loved it, but I had trouble understanding the thick Scottish and English accents and slang.  Watching it again with the subtitles on was the trick, and this is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time.

Peter Capaldi plays the acerbic (to put it VERY mildly) PR person for the Prime Minister of England who has to deal with a minor cabinet department who has started to run amok and talk about war, when their job is to oversee agriculture or some such banal governmental business.  Little do they know that the British and American governments are doing their darndest to start a war in the middle east.  Capaldi is joined by a fantastic supporting cast including James Gandolfini, my darling Steve Coogan, Anna Chlumsky, Mimi Kennedy and David Rasche.

This movie is not for the squeamish where language is concerned, and this movie really requires multiple viewings.  Shot in mockumentary style with jerky camera movements and unclear cuts, this is not a cinematography feast, as other movies I’ve reviewed lately are.  This is a great character study, especially of Capaldi’s character (and Gandolfini), and one with some of the most biting black comedy I’ve ever seen –  my favorite kind.  The great peek into the ins and outs of Washington and London governmental life (and nightlife) is dizzying, harrowing and extremely funny.  This is a movie where you really need to pay attention to the dialogue and get all the characters in place – hence recommended multiple viewings  It’s recent (2009) and it’s a must-see in my book.  I laughed so hard my stomach hurt