Friday, May 6, 2011

DVD Roundup: Cairo Time and Morning Glory

I should probably spread these out to fill up the posts, but sadly I don't have enough to say about either of them to fill an entire post.  I'll review them in increasing order of liking them.

Morning Glory had a lot going for it.  Rachel McAdams is a really young morning show producer in NJ.  She's made her life around having dinner by 5pm so she can be in bed by 7, up at 230 and on air by 5.  That's to say, she's gorgeous, young, and has no friends or a man.  She gets the chance to move to be the executive producer on the lowest rated morning show on one of the big networks in NYC.  Her big coup is to force newsman Harrison Ford to join bubbly Diane Keaton on the morning show.  She has around 6 weeks to make or break it (i.e. get cancelled) and works her butt of to do just that.  Oh, and along the way she meets Patrick Wilson who can't stand her hours or her devotion to work. *SPOILER* But of course by the end of the movie she's saved the day, found a way to balance life and work, and is well on her way to having kids and the perfect home.  ***END SPOILER.

Overall, it was just ho-hum.  It seemed like in their effort to be something more than a rom-com chick flick they left out most of what's fun about rom-com chick flicks.  Harrison Ford was pretty good as the gruff newsman only interested in "real" stories. Keaton and Wilson were wasted.  Oh, and I know this makes me bitchy - but McAdams bangs were awful!  2.5 of 5 stars/lambs  - Glad I didn't pay for this in the theater.

Cairo Time is a fairly quintessential Patricia Clarkson indie vehicle.  It's carefully paced around her own discoveries, with her personal growth the point of the film.  However, it's not as good as either Pieces of April or The Station Agent perhaps because this movie revolves almost entirely around her, and sadly she can't make a particularly interesting character.  She's arrived in Cairo for a vacation with her UN-negotiator husband who has been delayed by a crisis in Gaza.  His former colleague, Tareq (Alexander Siddig from Syriana) now runs a coffee house and agreed to pick up Clarkson from the airport.  Though she plays an international journalist for a French version of Cosmo, she doesn't know enough to cover her arms and legs in a Muslim city and is bewildered when she's accosted by rude teenagers.  She seeks out Tareq and they have a few adventures while he protects her around the city.  Cairo is obviously a beautiful city (this was before the recent political demonstrations) and has a lot of history (natural and political) to see.  Mostly, she wanders and figures out women wandering alone in the Middle East isn't a particularly easy thing to do.  Her ignorance bothered me more as a character than in and of itself.  She wasn't portrayed as an naive American, but a savvy ex-pat journalist.  It made no sense that she should be so ignorant of customs (a little too Sex and the City 2 for me).  Her romance with Tareq also didn't quite work - he looks down on her too much, and she's too devoted to her missing husband to believe they'd bond well.  I know I'm critical, but overall, it's still a good movie, it just had potential to be so much better.  3 of 5 star/lambs


Red said...

Agreed on both. I was hoping Cairo Time was going to be more, because after Easy A I have such a new appreciation for Patricia Clarkson. Her "romance" with Tareq always felt forced, and that's basically the only thing that tries to push to the film forward mostly.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I figure that Juliet is supposed to represent that inertia of growing old so she's more voyeur than overly "interesting" character. I love Patty's work here, she's so underrated and needs to get more lead roles.

Jess said...

Red and Andrew - I actually agree with both of you. I thought Clarkson did a great job portraying a character that wasn't up to her usual standards.

Buttercup said...

I like Patricia Clarkson a lot, but this didn't sound like something I would enjoy, and passed on it. I'm not a fan of Cairo, though there are fascinating things to see there. Even thirty years ago it was impossible to cross a street and even if dressed modestly -- and I was -- it wasn't a comfortable environment.