Tag Archives: Cate Blanchett

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

FROM THE SMALLEST BEGINNINGS COME THE GREATEST LEGENDS. Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) convinces a hobbit, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), to join his party of 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim a treasure that was stolen by a mighty dragon. Set sixty years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s grand return to … Continue reading The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Robin Hood

  When King Richard the Lionheart is killed during a battle in France in 1199, the archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) and his closest men return to England disguised as knights. Director Ridley Scott’s announcement that he’d make a Robin Hood movie was greeted with skepticism. This is one of cinema’s most oft-told tales… but he … Continue reading Robin Hood

Benjamin Button: Living Counter-Clockwise

LIFE ISN’T MEASURED IN MINUTES, BUT IN MOMENTS. Whenever you watch a film by David Fincher, you expect a dark thriller that grabs you by the throat. That’s what built his career. But not this time. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a fleshed-out take on an F. Scott Fitzgerald novella that looks like something Tim … Continue reading Benjamin Button: Living Counter-Clockwise

Hot Fuzz

BIG COPS. SMALL TOWN. MODERATE VIOLENCE. Super cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is so good that he’s making the rest of the Met look bad; he’s transferred to a sleepy village where he stumbles upon a vast murder conspiracy. The Edgar Wright-Pegg duo followed up on their hit Shaun of the Dead (2004) with another largely hilarious comedy. … Continue reading Hot Fuzz

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

In 1957, Indy (Harrison Ford) and his old buddy Mac (Ray Winstone) run into Soviet agents in Nevada where they are forced to locate a highly magnetic crate for them. The fourth Indiana Jones movie was the most anticipated cinematic event of the year. Ford may be in his 60s, the script may be silly … Continue reading Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Elizabeth: The Golden Cage

DECLARED ILLEGITIMATE AGED 3. TRIED FOR TREASON AGED 21. CROWNED QUEEN AGED 25. The opening credits are thunderous and intimidating, suggesting that this is perhaps a horror movie. They are followed by a grisly sequence where people are burned at the stake. However, what appears is a film that is quite obviously and cleverly inspired … Continue reading Elizabeth: The Golden Cage

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

WOMAN. WARRIOR. QUEEN. In the 1590s, Queen Elizabeth I (Cate Blanchett) is attracted to a dashing pirate, Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), but England is under threat from the Spanish King and his armada. Blanchett revived the part that made her career, but this is a lackluster sequel. The operatic grandeur of Elizabeth (1998) was almost too much, and … Continue reading Elizabeth: The Golden Age

The Shipping News

DIVE BENEATH THE SURFACE. Timid widower Quoyle (Kevin Spacey), his daughter and aunt (Judi Dench) move to a small Newfoundland community where he starts working as a reporter and gets to know a woman (Julianne Moore) who is nothing like his late, psychotic wife (Cate Blanchett). A Lasse Hallströmified version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel; … Continue reading The Shipping News

The Talented Mr. Ripley

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO BECOME SOMEONE ELSE? Here’s director Anthony Minghella’s sophisticated, good-looking remake of the less complex but equally gorgeous classic Purple Noon (1960), featuring a fine performance by Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, the psychopath who makes friends with a wealthy young man (Jude Law) in Italy, then kills him and … Continue reading The Talented Mr. Ripley

Return of the King: At Journey’s End

THIS CHRISTMAS THE JOURNEY ENDS.   So, we’re at journey’s end. Peter Jackson’s final chapter of his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was hailed at the 2004 Academy Awards and many chose to see the overwhelming praise as some kind of summary reward for the whole trilogy. So do I, because there’s nothing in this … Continue reading Return of the King: At Journey’s End

The Two Towers: Pillars of Evil

A NEW POWER IS RISING.   So here’s the middle child of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. A middle child is likely to feel like they never get any attention from the parents, but this one is equal to the others. It’s just as grand. It’s just as exciting. And it’s just as … Continue reading The Two Towers: Pillars of Evil

Fellowship of the Ring: The Beginning

ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL.   Once upon a time, there was a maker of films called Peter Jackson. This rotund, bearded man had made a few films that were internationally acclaimed. Sure, a few of them were simple splatter flicks, but he also won the approval of most critics with a drama called Heavenly … Continue reading Fellowship of the Ring: The Beginning