Victoria Jelinek


Beginners
July 15, 2011, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Published film reviews | Tags: , ,

Oliver (Ewan McGregor) is graphic artist grieving for his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer) who has terminal cancer and who Oliver’s just discovered is gay. Oliver then embarks on a love affair with a French actress.

Mike Mills is a very hip US Director connected in a big way to cool bands (Air, Beastie Boys), edgy movies (Thumbsucker), and who’s married to an indie-scene ‘goddess,’ so it’s no surprise that this film has an offbeat sense of humour and is quirky in general. However, this film doesn’t know whether it wants to be a romance – see our hero embarking on a love affair with pretty and ‘kooky’ French actress – or whether it’s a family drama – see our hero discovering something huge about his father just as he’s dying – resulting in the film not going into too much depth in either area.

That said, the acting and the characters are very well done: Ewan McGregor is likeable and witty as Oliver; and Christopher Plummer as Hal, is great as the kindly, outspoken and stubborn dad. The flashbacks of their visits together in the hospital, where Hal openly embraces his sexuality, to the surprise of his son, are well-observed and poignant, and remind one of the importance of living life to the fullest.



The Ghost Writer

If you’re in the mood for nail-biting suspense, then THE GHOST WRITER is the movie for you.

A ghost-writer (Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting, Down with Love) is hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan, Matador, Die Another Day) and uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.

Director Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Death and the Maiden) is back to form with this stylish, edge-of-your-seat political thriller, that plays extremely well whether you’re into politics or not. Polanski’s trademark themes, such as black humour, paranoia, the pervasiveness of evil, and a preoccupation with ‘foreignness’, are all showcased in this film that looks as chilly as its story.

With plot twists that will keep you guessing all the way to the conclusion, it’s a pleasure to see an intelligent thriller that’s extremely well acted.



I Love You Phillip Morris
February 10, 2010, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Published film reviews | Tags: , , ,

Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) is happily married and a member of a local police force when a car accident causes him to reassess his life. Steven realises he’s gay and decides to live life flagrantly, even breaking the law if it gets him what he wants. When he’s jailed for fraud, he falls in love with inmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). His obsession with freeing Phillip and their building a perfect life together, prompts Steven to attempt, and often succeed at one impossible con after another.

For those of us who find Carrey often ‘too-too’, this is a stunning turn for him as an actor, a dream role that combines his old-school comedic tricks with an emotional honesty that feels genuine and earned. Directed by the writers of Bad Santa (John Requa and Glenn Ficarra), this is one of the blackest and funniest comedies of the year.