a film that speaks and one that doesn’t

Saw 2 films this weekend. One excellent, the other a dud.

The excellent one is “The King’s Speech”, an Oscar frontrunner and a real treat for fans of superb acting, not to mention a great script, characters to latch on to, and an overall vision that lifts the film to be one of the best of the year.

Colin Firth (surely he will win the Oscar) stars as the stuttering Duke Of York, soon to be King George VI. With the help of an Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) he overcomes his impediment but not before a very entertaining cinematic experience is had by all. Ably assisted by a fine English cast and a supportive future Queen Mother (Helena Bonham Carter shining once again). Oh and another Aussie – Guy Pearce who is fabulous in his small role as the abdicating Edward. Director Tom Hooper does an excellent job balancing a commercial entertainment and slightly art house fare. Intelligent filmaking at its best.

The dud film is the new study of celebrity by Sophia Coppola “Somewhere”. I have enjoyed her previous films on different levels this one I didn’t enjoy at all. A film about a bored actor (Stephen Dorff trying very hard to no avail) holed up at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. The boredom factor unfortunately bores the audience. Some may think the slow long takes and repeats may be clever observations of ennui, I don’t. I call it pretentious. The main character is just not that interesting, his daughter whom he is saddled with played by Elle Fanning is the best thing in the flick. Sophia Coppola has told  a very similar tale before, much more successfully with the excellent “Lost In Translation”, why repeat herself? It should have been a short subject film, say 40 mins max, then it may have worked. When I come out of a film saying to myself  ‘what’s the point’ it really annoys me. Also on a visual level it had nothing to add to the dullness. I got absolutely no pleasure from this film at all. 😦

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