Friday, April 27, 2007
Kings, Queens and Divas, Oh My...
In the next week, The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, and Dreamgirls will be released on DVD. I loved The Queen - I cried several times, both at the loss of Princess Diana, and the effect it had on the entire world, particularly her family. Princess Diana's funeral was the the day I left for college, and I remember getting up at 3 in the morning to watch the funerary march. So watching how the Royal family responded to this catastrophe, given their personal history with Diana, was amazing. Helen Mirren's intimate performance gave life to a woman usually seen in fits and spurts and rarely speaking to her public. You can see that she was trying to protect her family, the monarchy, and her personal image, in that order. It's terrific and shouldn't be missed. On the flip side, and this could be my feminist bias, The Last King of Scotland is worth skipping, if only because it gives a dead dictator the chance to poison more people's souls. Forest Whitaker is brilliant, transforming his unassuming teddy bear demeanor into a sociopath with moments of clarity and humor. James McAvoy plays a doctor who supposedly falls under Amin's spell, but it doesn't play that well - McAvoy comes across as a weaselly guy trying to get ahead by getting cozy with the President. There are movies that portray horrific events with compassion and sensitivity, but this is not one of them. The violence become gratuitous and more than a little scary. If you value to the softness of your soul, do not see this movie - it will take a little of that away. If you're looking for an uplifting story of betrayal and back-stabbing, Dreamgirls is perfect and even has it's own wonderful soundtrack. I was fully supportive of Jennifer Hudson's winning the Oscar, Eddie Murphy not, and the film not being nominated. It's a fluffy movie, with great music you'll hum for ages, that shows the journey of a girl group from the 60s. It wasn't in the same league as the other movies that were nominated this year, but it's definitely worth a night at home with popcorn. I loved it, and will watch it again many times.
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