Wednesday, February 13, 2008


, I would have to say, is my favorite movie I've seen since I started Film Fancy. Considering I've probably seen (though not formally reviewed) 100+ films in that time period, that's saying a lot. But Atonement really takes the cake. It absolutely deserves its 13 BAFTA, 6 Golden Globe, and 7 Oscar nominations. It won Best Motion Picture at the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards. Both McAvoy and Knightley give great performances as awkward sweethearts, as passionate lovers, and as tortured souls when separated from each other. Also, Saoirse Ronan gives an almost chilling performance as young Briony. The film seems light and sweet at first, but underneath can be felt a deep foreboding. Something is about to go very wrong.

Briony is the precocious younger sister of the ravishing Cecilia (Knightley). After an explicit letter from Robbie, the housekeeper's son, mistakenly makes its way into Cecilia's hands, the two realize their love for each other. Unfortunately, Briony, the messenger, read the letter. And later she walks in on the two lovers during a passionate episode in the library. Shocked and confused by what she has seen and read, a whirlwind of events later leads Briony to accuse Robbie of crimes he never committed. He is sent away to prison, and then to World War I still raging in Europe, irrevocably changing Cecilia and Robbie's lives forever. Although at the time Briony had no idea the gravity of her actions, she later sees that her false accusation broke her sister's heart, creating an irreparable rift between them, and ruined a good man's life. As she grows into a woman, Briony spends her life attempting desperately, though in vain, to atone for her sin.

McAcoy's performance is really outstanding. I really enjoyed his performance, as well as Knightley's. It was amazingly refreshing to see Knightley as a character who's actually a "grown-up" instead of a girl on the edge of womanhood. McAvoy and Knightley really do light up the screen together. The cinematography is beautiful, the settings and the lighting as well. Oddly enough, the fact that Atonement is a British film can actually be seen in the cinematography. Director Joe Wright has been nominated for several awards for Atonement, and with good reason. Child actress Ronan is really fabulous. On the whole Atonement is very, very good. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It's a beautiful, beautiful love story. Heartwrenching but a treat to watch. Very rich.

Conclusion: This is going on the official Unmissables list. It's captivating, it draws you in, it lets you feel what Briony feels, what Robbie and Cecilia feel. If you're old enough, or mature enough to see the sex scene, then go see it. In the theater, rent it, or illegally download it, it's a must-see.

Rated: R for disturbing war images, language and some sexuality.

See the trailer

  • James McAvoy considered the script the best he had ever read.
  • The opening film of the 2007's Venice Film Festival. Director Joe Wright, at 35, is the youngest director to have a film open this prestigious event.
  • As Robbie is taken by the police, Briony peers through a window decorated with figures in stained glass. One stained glass figure is labeled Matilda. This is an allusion to a famous children's poem by Hilaire Belloc entitled "Matilda", whose first line runs, "Matilda told such dreadful lies, it made one gasp and stretch one's eyes". By the end of the poem, Matilda has burned to death, having called wolf one time too many.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

27 Dresses

Starring Katherine Heigl and James Marsden

27 Dresses is your average romantic comedy. It's formulaic, it's predictable, and most of its characters are characters used in every romantic comedy. But. Heigl and Marsden make a great team, bringing out the best in each other, and there were some scenes where I was laughing pretty hard.

Jane has been in 27 weddings. And she's never been the bride. Jane is a bridesmaid. The perfect bridesmaid. She's the bride's best friend, the hairdresser, the dress model, the do-everything person. Jane's real job is assistant manager at a company. She happens to be madly in love with her boss, George. Jane has a sister named Tess who has come for a short little visit. Unfortunately, Jane introduces Tess to George, the two hit it off, and all of a sudden, they're getting married. And Jane has to plan the wedding. Into the picture comes Kevin, a writer for the Commitments column of the local paper who writes the most poetic things about weddings. In reality, however, Kevin is a bitter, cynical guy who hates weddings and thinks they're stupid. But Kevin finds Jane's perennial bridesmaid situation intriguing and, unbeknownst to her, decides to write a story on her.

Things get crazy. Jane is in love with George, who is marrying her sister Tess, who is lying to George, who doesn't know Jane loves him and Kevin is the perfect guy for Jane and Kevin likes Jane but Jane doesn't realize it because she's too busy pining after her sister's fiance. What can I say? It's classic. Romantic comedy that is. Heigl, best known for her role in Knocked Up and ABC's Grey's Anatomy, really shines. She's proven herself to be a great romantic comedy actress, and she does show a lot of potential for other roles; I just hope she takes advantage of that. Marsden is great too. His breakout role was in X-Men as Cyclops, and has since then managed to pick chronically blockbuster films to add to his resume (X-Men series, The Notebook, Superman, Hairspray, and Enchanted). I'd go to see a film just because Marsden makes an appearance, I enjoy his performances that much. 27 had some cute concepts, like Jane keeping all of her 27 hideous bridesmaid dresses, and Marsden's character was interesting. So to wrap it up, on to the conclusion...

Conclusion: Fun and entertaining, but predictability took away from that. Marsden and Heigl are great on screen together so if you like chick flicks, go ahead and check it out.

Rated: PG-13 for language, some innuendo and sexuality.

See the trailer

  • The wardrobe department reported that their initial designs for the dresses all looked too good on Katherine Heigl because of her figure, and they were hard-pressed to design bridesmaids dresses that would look bad on her.

Across the Universe

Ever wanted the experience of doing drugs like Acid or E and having cool psychedelic hallucinations, but are too afraid to actually do the drugs? Well now you don't have to! Just go to your local Blockbuster and rent Across the Universe. But seriously now...Across the Universe tells the story of America during the 1960's, the Vietnam War, the drugs, the revolution, all of it using the songs of the greatest rock band in history, The Beatles.

In England, in the sixties, a young man named Jude sets off for America to search out his long-lost father. What he finds are the drugs and revolutions, peace and war, freedom and free love of the sixties. Jude meets Max, a college dropout who just wants to have fun, symbolizing the face of young American men. Through Max, Jude meets his friend's sister, Lucy. The two fall in love and would like to live happily ever after. But when Lucy gets involved with some not-so-peaceful radicals and Max gets drafted and sent to Vietnam, things are going to change.

Across the Universe
is the tale of young men living and dying, the tale of young love , the tale of the confusion of the sixties. It's extremely symbolic and although you can enjoy it without knowing much about the Beatles or the Sixties, it's better understood if you know something about both. The entire movie, it's style, the songs, the color, represents the sixties. You really do feel like you're on some kind of drug trip, but it's a very interesting way to present this story since you're supposed to be seeing it through Jude's eyes. And this is what he would see.

Conclusion: Very enjoyable, but if you're not into the Beatles or musicals or the sixties or mass psychedelia, I'd steer clear. (Kids might find it frightening or especially confusing.)

See the preview

Rated: PG-13 for some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence and language

  • This film was released in the United States on John Lennon's birthday (October 9th).
  • Prudence, a character in the film, first enters the apartment through the window, a reference to "She Came in through the Bathroom Window" by the Beatles.
  • he rooftop concert toward the end of the film is a reference to the rooftop concert of the Beatles atop Apple Records' headquarters, their final public appearance. The Beatles' concert was also interrupted by the police.


Find out which films to absolutely skip and which you can't miss. THese are my opinions on current films and timeless classics