Features
Contact
AOL IM

2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film
Irreversible

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

Members' Marquees

Critical Contacts

Lobby Reading

The Video Store

Reel Resources

The Blog Bijou

-213
-Admit One
-Artistic Delusions
-Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
-Beware of Blog
-The Brain Drain
Biancolo Notes
-The Big Ticket
-Bitter Cinema
-Black & White World
-Bull Durham's Hot Corner
-Brewed Fresh Daily
-Camille's Film Journal
-Chiragdshah
-The Chutry Experiment
-Cineblog
-Cineblog (II)
-Cine Club
-Cinecultist
-Cinegraphic.Net: The Avante-Garde Film and Video Blog
-Cinema 24
-CinemaMinima
-Cinema News
-Il Cinema Secondo (Italian)
-Cineaste (Russian)
-Cinematix
-Cinema Toast
-Cinetrix
-Columbina
-Concentrated Nonsense
-Confessions of an Indie Filmmaker
-Cult Movies I Dare You to Watch
-Cutting to the Chase
Cybersam
-Cynthia Rockwell's Waiting Room
-The Daily Despair
-The Daily Digest
-Day for Night
-Delta Sierra Arts
-Dinky's Docket
-Distorting the Medium
-Donald Melanson On Movies
-Electric Movies
-Fade In: Blog
-Feeling Listless
-Filmfilter (German)
-Filmgurlland
-FilmingtonBlog
-Filmtagebuch (German)
-Film Talk
-Five Easy Pieces
-Fluxblog
-Frank Booth
-Fringe
-A Girl and A Gun
-Glazed Donuts
-Greg.org
-GreenCine Daily
-Harlequin Knights
-Harrylimetheme
-He Loved Him Some Movies
-The Hobo Reviews
-Hot Buttered Death
-Iggy's Movie Review Weblog
-Iguano Film Blog
-In Development
-Indigoblog
-Ionarts
-Ishbadiddle
-Japanese Films' Journal
-Joe Sixpack's Film Blog
-Joe's Weblog & Film Project News
-Junk for Code
-Kumari's Movie Blog
-Lights Out Films
-Like Anna Karina's Sweater (Filmbrain)
-Listen Missy
-Loebrich.org
-Magnolia Girl
-Marley's Ghost
-Media Yenta
-Michael I. Trent
-Moovees.com
-Moov Goog
-Motime Like the Present
-MovieBlog
-Movie Boy
-Movie Criticism For the Retarded
-A Movie Diary
-The Movie Generation
-Moviehead
-The Movie Marketing Blog
-Movie Retard
-The Movie Review
-MovieTawk
-Moving Pictures
-Nando's Blog
-Netflix Fan
-Odeon
-Onethumbsideways
-Or Kill Me
-Out of Ambit
-Out of Focus
-Paolo - Cinema's Radio Weblog (Italian)
-Pigs and Battleships
-Plot Kicks In
-Pop Culture Junkies
-Popthoughts
-The Projector
-Qwipster's Movie Reviews
-Rashomon
-Rawbrick.Net
-Reel Reviews (Podcast)
-Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
-Salocin.com
-SciFiDaily
-The Screening Room
-Screen Watcher
-Shikaku
-Short and Sweet
-The Silver Screen
-Solipsist
-Stinky Cinema
-Sunset Blvd
-Tagline: A Movie Weblog
Talking Pictures
Tea for One
-Tofuhut
-Tom Vick's Asian Cinema Blog
-Trailer Park
-Truly Bad Films
Waste of Tape
-Wayne's Movie Blog
Whippin Picadilly
Wittgenstein's Bunnies
-Yay! Movies!
McBain Recommends
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Kill Bill vol 2
Shroom Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Brothers
-Head On
-Moolade
Joker Recommends
-Top 20 List
-House of Flying Daggers
-The Aviator
-Bad Education
Yun-Fat Recommends
-Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
-Los Muertos
-Tropical Malady
Allyn Recommends
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Songs from the Second Floor
Phyrephox Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Design for Living (Lubitsch, 1933)
-War of the Worlds
-Howl's Moving Castle
Melisb Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Return
-Spirited Away
-Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring
Wardpet Recommends
-Finding Nemo
-Man on the Train
-28 Days Later
Lorne Recommends
-21 Grams
-Cold Mountain
-Lost in Translation
Merlot Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Man on the Train
-Safe Conduct
-The Statement
Whitney Recommends
-Femme Fatale
-Gangs of New York
-Grand Illusion
Sydhe Recommends
-In America
-Looney Tunes: Back In Action
-Whale Rider
Copywright Recommends
Top 20 List
-Flowers of Shanghai
-Road to Perdition
-Topsy-Turvy
Stennie Recommends
Top 20 List
-A Matter of Life and Death
-Ossessione
-Sideways
Rodney Recommends
Top 20 List
-Chicago
-The Pianist
-Talk to Her
Jeff Recommends
-Dial M for Murder
-The Game
-Star Wars Saga
Lady Wakasa Recommends
-Dracula: Page from a Virgin's Diary
-Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
-The Last Laugh
Steve Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
Jenny Recommends
-Mean Girls
-Super Size Me
-The Warriors
Jason Recommends
Top 20 List
-Old Boy
-Million Dollar Baby
-Head On
Lons Recommends
-Before Sunset
-The Incredibles
-Sideways

Powered by Blogger Pro™



links open windows

(c)2002 Design by Blogscapes.com



The Blog:
Saturday, May 18, 2002
 
The key scene in About a Boy (whose plot revolves, among other things, around the hideous eyebrows of a 12 year-old bowl-haired British kid) is actually the very first one (after the opening credits montage). In it, Hugh Grant, whose role is structured as an adult growing from a boy into a man, is simply sitting on a couch listening and thinking. But if you take a close look at his body language, the man is physically acting his ass off, and it sets the tone for what is not only his finest work to date (by a country mile -- he's very good in Notting Hill and almost perfect in Bridget Jones, which makes up for the rest of his career which I found anywhere from miserable to mediocre; just couldn't stand all that blinking and stuttering and bad choice of scripts). With his shoulders slumped, his posture terrible, his knees together, and his confused eyes, Grant nails what a boy looks and sits like in exactly that kind of situation in adolescence.

From then on, Grant follows his arc brilliantly (quite a feat given the film was obviously shot out of sequence), growing into his adult posture and facial expressions until he's a real man at the end -- looking his best on film. Grant's surprisingly great performance is what turns the entire film from a merely good movie into almost great pop entertainment. It doesn't have quite the pull that Notting Hill did for me (the romance element is lacking, and the supporting cast can't live up to the likes of Gina McKee), but as a character study and piece of comedy I pretty much loved the thing.

Something I don't think I've ever discussed either in person or on internet posts about a movie (either period or contemporary) is costume design, and especially not among the most important things in a film. But I'll say that About a Boy contains probably my favorite costume design in a movie since The Fifth Element, the last time I noticed wardrobe being so spectacular (of course, that's because it was Jean-Paul Gaultier and he put Milla Jovovich in hot white bandages). Of course, Oscars always go to period films -- shit, period films are all that are ever nominated -- but I think contemporary work is almost as difficult. You have to express character in clothes we're familiar with, and it's the little nuances that make the difference. Grant looks fantastic in his Noel Gallagher nylon jackets (with collar turned immaturely up like a cocky kid), his metallic hip jeans, and his "trainers." Toni Collette gets to look like a Yeti hippie most of the time, and it's a testament to her acting skill that she makes such wonderfully ridiculous clothes look comfortable on her, like she's worn them her whole life. I wasn't noticing the clothing to the point of distraction, but I noticed them enough to say that it's outstanding, a small technical crew job that won't get any credit whatsoever, so that's why I'm underscoring it here. Give it as much due as I can.

As for the script and direction by the Weitz brothers, it's a solid if not amazing Hornby adaptation, shot well enough to look slick and competent, but never really outstanding. The best lines are Hornby's, and the film is predictably slimmed down from novel form to simplistic movie depth. However, I give credit to them for choosing to turn what could have been cliched confrontation scenes into smarter, more unusually human and complex situations -- sitcom predicaments made realistic. I bought into most of the narrative, which is quite a compliment given the inherent movie-ness of the material (right down to some too-neatly-tied-up plot strings at the end). And in the end, the best move the Weitzes made was to shut the hell up, stop flying around, and just sit back and watch Grant become the British Tom Hanks, an actor with such sharp comic timing and charming grace that you almost fail to notice the darkness lurking beneath the surface that makes him both vulnerable and heroic. It also takes some of the heat off of Rachel Weisz, who is heart-stoppingly beautiful but given nothing to do of merit, and off of that poor fucking kid's eyebrows.

(P.S. After just learning that comments aren't archived, I'm moving my comment on the kid's brows into the post proper, because I'm so happy with what I wrote. There goes modesty.... : It was like they were alive, and drowning, and the only way to get air was to crawl up his forehead until they found the sweet oxygen of the sky, only to be foiled by the mop of head hair, stifling them forever.)