Monday, February 6, 2012

Rated D - My Week With Marilyn

Some Like It Hot... but you like it D!

Welcome Back to Another Edition of Rated D!

This weekend Erika and I went to see a movie called "My Week With Marilyn". SPOILER ALERT: A young Assistant Director on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl" develops an unusually romantic and sensational relationship with the film's star, Marilyn Monroe.

Show me the person who doesn't have a celebrity crush and I'll show you a lion. Or a liar. Whichever is most readily available at the time. While we're on the subject of lions, the lion is the mascot of MGM which is known for movies. While we're on the subject of movies, let's talk about this one! Eddie Redmayne (The Good Shephard, Powder Blue) plays Colin Clark, a young film enthusiast who finds his first job as an Assistant Director on one of several of Laurence Olivier's self-directed films. He plays the part with a believeable charming befuddlement that definitely works, but also leaves you wanting something a bit more and also a bit deeper than simply avoiding eye contact whenever confronted with an emotional issue. Olivier, played by Kenneth Branaugh (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Wild Wild West), is growing increasingly frustrated with the tardiness, absence, and inability of the movies ingenue, Marilyn Monroe, played by Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Shutter Island). This is where the movie really sizzles... sizzles really?.... okay we're going with the word sizzles, I guess... Williams' subtle portrayal of Munroe is mesmerizing while Branaugh's performance in general is brilliant as per usual. I have to admit that I don't know all that much about the real life Marilyn and have only seen "Some Like It Hot", but Wiilliam's creates a tragically loveable and utterly, sincerely innocent bombshell that you don't know whether to find attractive or simply want to hug. Simple wide-eyed expressions and forced, confused apologies, though a huge part of the story, aren't the only thing that make up this character. Williams does also bring a sexiness and adorable charm to the screen, which no doubt her real-life counterpart created as well. Branaugh creates a portrait of the classical actor that takes you for an incredible ride of emotions where he is at times the bad guy in the story yet leaves you in the end respecting him and finding him to be, inexplicably, a true gentleman. The story at times feels likes its moving quicker than it should, making you question the importance of the relationship, but then again, it is called My WEEK With Marilyn so that does provide some excuse. Still, excellent performances carry the film not the least of which are from Judi Dench (Casino Royale, Nine) and Julia Ormond (First Knight, Sabrina).

To Tie It Back to Health and Fitness...
Branaugh portrays legendary actor Lawrence Olivier (Hamlet, Sparticus) who was the first actor to have his own brand of cigarettes. According to the Surgeon General, cigarettes are bad for you... yeah, I don't think I need to drag this one out.

"I think directing a movie is the best job ever created, but Marilyn has cured me of ever wanting to do it again." - Kenneth Branaugh as Luarence Olivier

Technically Speaking...
I'm not sure if it's the script, the directing, or maybe just a general production fault for not allowing enough time, but this was a movie where I felt there could've been a few more scenes where they showed us the developing relationship between Colin and Marilyn. Maybe also the reason was that they didn't actually have those scenes to begin with but if movies want to all of a sudden start being %100 true to movies "based on a true story" I don't think this is the one to start with. After all in many historical pieces, characters who died years before events transpired are kept alive for the sake of the story or the time constraints placed on it. Either way, I wanted to see just a bit more between them, but still, I liked it.

A List of Fives!
This Week's List... Best Actress!
Movies with an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress!

1. Meryl Streep - Doubt (2008) - Meryl Streep is as consistently awesome as always as a nun/school headmistress who must determine whether or not a young, African American student has been molested by a priest without any allegations. The movie is good, but I'd love to see the play (which was adapted by the author, John Patrick Shanley, to form this film). It has one of those theater endings which... well, you'll see if you ever watch it. Either way, Philip Seymour as the accused priest and Amy Adams as the novice round out the fantastic cast.

2. Ellen Page - Juno (2007) - Page stars as the wonderfully adjusted, if not apathetic, impregnated teenager who casually faces the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and adoption. A stripper from Wisconsin penned this hilarious comedy that also starred a great subdued Jason Bateman and a desperate Jennifer Garner. It also made J.K. Simmons a little more well-known while breaking all traditional stereotypes in pregnancy comedies.

3. Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge (2001) - A movie musical about a starving artist falling in love with a courtesan who is betrothed to the financier of the play they are producing. Say what you want but I saw this one in the theatres and loved its anachronistic, jukebox charm. Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman star, but John Liguizamo as Toulouse Latrec and Jim Broadbent as the owner of the Moulin Rouge steal the show with the aid of the despicable Duke, played by Richard Roxburgh.

4. Sissy Spacek - In the Bedroom (2001) - Hey hey! Wanna be depressed?! An older couple struggles with the loss of their only son who was "accidentally" shot by a man who lives in their small town during a lovers' quarrel. There are some great performances from Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, and Marissa Tomei but still... wow, it's a downer.

5. Annette Benning - American Beauty (1999) - A sad, lonely man narrates the last year of his life as he attempts to lose weight to gain the attention of his daughter's best friend. I snuck in to see this R-rated film in 1998 and it was worth every penny. It's an original dramady that all at once explores several large parts of this American life with somber sense of beauty and an enjoyable sarcastic cynicism. Benning's portrayal of a neurotic real state agent is unforgettable.

Still Haven't Seen It?
Kung Fu Panda 2 - Well, you see it's about this panda. And he does Kung Fu. Again. Yep. It's pretty self-explanatory. Jack Black (The Holiday, Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny) returns as "Po" the great Kung Fu master this time to protect China from the evil Lord Shen, a glory obsessed peacock voiced by Gary Oldman (The Professional, The Fifth Element). These movies haven't been my favorite, but they're still pretty enjoyable. Lots of big names fill out the rest of the cast including a tiger voiced by Anglina Jolie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Wanted), a praying mantis voiced by Seth Rogen (50/50, Knocked Up), and a crane voiced by the hilarious David Cross (Year One, Scary Movie 2).

Next Time on Rated D -
Hugo - British kids, Clocks, and lots of crying.

-Gorilla Man

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