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Beyond the beautifully orchestrated symbolism, and beyond the fanciful narrative, lies the inherent vitality of a struggling artist’s uncompromised vision. I speak not of Nine, but of Fellini’s 8½, the classic film that inspired the musical upon which Nine is based. 8½ is a masterpiece for many reasons, but it’s only capable of achieving what it does because Fellini allowed it to be so achingly personal. With Nine, that introspective quality is missing, leaving us a central protagonist that has plenty of self-perpetuating problems, but no sense of connection to the viewer. Why are we supposed to care about Guido and his narcissistic, womanizing ways? Because he’s played by Daniel Day-Lewis, apparently. Given the nature of the story at hand—a character-driven piece about one man and his relationships with the women around him—this single misstep costs the film the one element it requires most, and no amount of attractive A-list stars, gorgeous cinematography and sumptuous production design can make up for that. It would be bad enough if that were all that were wrong with Nine, but it even fumbles many of the musical numbers—its primary means of distinguishing itself from Fellini’s work. With the exception of a passionate segment featuring Marion Cotillard, the musical sequences (enjoyable though they may be) feel strangely disengaged from the rest of the film, and do little to drive the narrative forward, emotionally or otherwise. As irreparable as these flaws are though, Nine remains watchable; the cast is too good and the technical merits too strong for it not to be. It’s arguably worth renting for the aesthetic appeal alone.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary with director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca, 8 Featurettes, and 3 music videos. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a Sophia Loren Remembers Cinecitta Studios featurette, and a Screen Actors Guild Q&A.
|BEST DVD PRICE
|Amazon – $17.99
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
|Amazon – $22.99
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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding The Spy Next Door and The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment, new trailers and a review of the Red Riding Trilogy, a noirish triptych of serial killer dramas imported from British television and being released stateside in February by IFC Films.
During a screening of the entire Red Riding Trilogy, with one intermission allotted for lunch, I found myself pondering the irony in three directors, one screenwriter, one author, tens of actors and three separate crews realizing a project that depicts humanity and bureaucracy at its most foul and irreversibly corrupt. A recent poster for the trilogy forebodingly reads, “Evil Lives Here,” a tagline that would serve most of the work that exits Stephen King’s skull; instead the “here” in Red Riding is Northern England in the ’70s and early ’80s, when a serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper carved a trail of female victims and set a mood and mythos ripe for social reflection.
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In recent times, Adam Scott has sparkled in pop-culture for two masterful performances as manicured, modern cornholios in the Will Ferrell-endorsed comedies Step Brothers and Eastbound & Down. In the former, his character coached an obnoxious wife and kids in a caravan acapella of “Sweet Child of Mine,” while faithfully rocking a Bluetooth headset. In the latter, Scott was a delusional assistant to an assistant of a Major League Baseball team who brags to Kenny Powers that his black AmEx can purchase fellatio from the Jonas Brothers. Ironically, Scott’s character proceeds to offer sex—even with “the kids”—to recruit Powers, a karma-deal that snorts the iconic wind from Powers’s mulleted sails.
On Party Down, one of the strongest and most left-field cable series to debut last year, Scott has managed to be just as funny and biting as the lead amongst a stellar ensemble cast. His character, Henry Pollard, is an out-of-work actor riding out his prime and the recession as an L.A. caterer, a role fleshed out with drama, depression and romance. But I was still surprised to see Scott’s performance in the upcoming indie, The Vicious Kind, which recently earned him an Independent Spirit Awards nom for Best Male Lead. He’s in serious company with Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth for playing a construction worked named Caleb Sinclaire. A self-righteous, aimless man with an estranged father (J.K. Simmons) and a misogynistic albeit amusingly bleak worldview, Caleb sinks to new lows in making a hate-play on his innocent brother’s weary girlfriend (Brittany Snow).
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Universal Pictures has released the first movie trailer for Leap Year, which is a romantic comedy about a woman who has an elaborate scheme to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day.
Amy Adams and Matthew Goode star in Leap Year, a romantic comedy that follows one woman’s determined quest to get married to the perfect guy…despite what fate has in store for her. When their four-year anniversary passes without a marriage proposal, Anna (Amy Adams) decides to take matters into her own hands. Investing in an Irish tradition that allows women to propose to men on February 29th, Anna decides to follow her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) to Dublin and get down on one knee herself. But airplanes, weather and fate leave Anna stranded on the other side of Ireland, and she must enlist the help of handsome and surly Declan (Matthew Goode) to get her across the country. As Anna and Declan bicker across the Emerald Isle, they discover that the road to love can take you to very unexpected places.
From Anand Tucker, the director of Shopgirl and Hilary and Jackie, and based on a screenplay by Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy and Can’t Hardly Wait scribes Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, comes another middle of the road romantic comedy where the female character appears to be reduced to a marriage obsessed spaz. I’d love to say that I’ll never see this film, but sadly, I’ll watch almost any movie that Amy Adams is involved in. Watch the trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Simon Beaufoy, the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, has been hired to write Leap Year for Spyglass Entertainment. Shopgirl director Anand Tucker is set to helm the romantic comedy which stars Amy Adams as a woman who comes up with an idea to travel to Dublin to propose to a man on February 29th, when according to Irish tradition, men must say yes. And as would be expected in the romantic comedy genre, she comes against various difficulties along the way.
The screenplay that attracted both Tucker and Adams to the project was originally written by Harry Elfont and Deb Kaplan, the duo behind Can’t Hardly Wait (one of my favorite teen movies) and A Very Brady Sequel (one of my favorite television to film adaptations). No reason was given as to why they are doing a complete rewrite, but with someone like Simon attached, I don’t think a reason is really necessary.
Shopgirl director Anand Tucker is in talks to helm the Amy Adams romantic comedy Leap Year for Spyglass. Adams will play a woman who comes up with an idea to travel to Dublin to propose to a man on February 29th, when according to Irish tradition, men must say yes. And as would be expected in the romantic comedy genre, she comes against various difficulties along the way.
It might sounds like a typical romantic comedy, but the screenplay was written by Harry Elfont and Deb Kaplan, the duo behind Can’t Hardly Wait (one of my favorite teen movies) and A Very Brady Sequel (one of my favorite television to film adaptations). And yes, it is a slow news day — I guess the Thanksgiving Holiday is already in full effect. Principal photography is set to be begin in March 2009.
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