Non-wine related: some brief film reviews.
First the good. Children of men is a science fiction thriller with a difference, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the best of the Harry Potter films. Itís set in England, 2027, as society is close to collapse. A fertility crisis has meant that no children have been born for 18 years, and the government is clamping down on a tide of illegal immigrants. Cuaron has injected a wonderfully gritty realism which brings a credibility that films of this genre often lack. From the dramatic beginning to the ambiguous ending, Children of Men will probably hold your attention.
Next the average. The Queen is a film I was looking forward to seeing: would there be any substance behind the hype? Of course, the events portrayedóDianaís death, the response of the British public and the (eventual) reaction of the royal familyóare fascinating in themselves, and itís these that really carry the film. I thought the writing was effective, the pace just about right and the treatment of the main subjects, our Tony and Liz, reassuringly sympathetic without ducking the difficult bits. But with actors taking on the roles of such well known figures, it was a bit like watching Alaistair McGowan, Rory Bremner and Mike Yarwood (remember him?) rolled into one. Impressionists united. Overall verdict? Good without being terribly stimulating.
Now the poor. I mentioned a while back that you can filter out a good portion of rubbish films simply by learning the names of a few actors you must always avoid. If a film has among itís cast members the likes of Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston (or anyone else from Friends), Will Ferrell or Sarah Jessica Parker, then it should be shunned. Add to this list Owen Wilson. For some bizarre reason, Fiona hired out You, me and Dupre, an Owen Wilson vehicle. Utter rubbish. But she was on a losing streak, and later that week hired out Click, an Adam Sandler vehicle. It was a genuine mistake, she reassured meóshe picked up the wrong box. Still, we tried watching it, and lasted approximately six minutes before we had to press eject, fast.
Also in the poor category is Sixty six. Itís one of those British films where the plot sounds imaginative níall, but the writing and execution let it down badly. Itís 1966, and a football-hating Jewish boyís Bar Mitzvah is scheduled for the same day as the world cup final. Lots of potential there, but it turns out stale, formulaic and, in the end, utterly predictable. Actually, it reminded me a bit of East is East. I find this with a lot of British films: the writing lets the whole thing down.
And I almost forgot - Borat. Side-splittingly funny in places; appallingly crude and vulgar in others; pretty racist and negative throughout. We didnít finish this one either.