Monday, April 10, 2006

Screen Queen-Some of what I'm watching this Month

Callas Forever
Starring:Jeremy Irons Fanny Ardant Joan Plowright Jay Rodan Gabriel Garko Justino Diaz Manuel De Blas
Director:Franco Zeffirelli
Genres:Drama
Released:November 22, 2005

This fictionalised biopic chronicles the final years of opera meta-diva Maria Callas (Fanny Ardant), with a what if scenario. It's the late 1970s and Callas, has lost her voice and now stomps around her apartment in a haze of pills and regret. Untill her former manager Larry (Jeremy Irons) hits on the plan to do a film of CARMEN, with Callas lip-synching her younger voice, thus preserving her stage presence for future generations. The trouble is that once Callas gets back in the limelight, her over-the-top artistic temperament threatens to destroy the entire project.
My Thoughts
This film was obviously a labour of love for Zeffirelli who was a a close friend and collaberator of Maria’s and is based in some part on real or certainly hoped for events. Fanny Ardant without resorting to impersonation gives a fantastc sense of the troubled diva, who, abandoned by her lover, voice and her public is utterly alone but who craves the spotlight again, whilst at the same time fears its glare. A remarkabley strong and particularly handsome cast including Jeremy Irons support Miss Ardant in this fascinating look at the mind of a true Diva. There is also the opportunity to hear the remarkable voice of Callas which alone makes the film worth while. I enjoyed this immensely.
**** Stars

The Proprietor (1996)
ODYSSEY VIDEO
Starring:Jeanne Moreau Josh Hamilton Austin Pendleton Sam Waterston
Director:Ismail Merchant
Genres:Drama
Released:September 06, 2004
A New York writer decides to sell-up and return to her native home in France.
My Thoughts
An unusual solo project for Ismail Merchant but not without merits . Jeanne Morreau as a jewish writer coming to terms with the changes in her native Paris after an absence of forty years and forced to re-live her family’s nazi nightmares in light of a return home and the political shift to the right she encounters there. Though Jeanne Morreau is always incredibly watchable, I much prefer her acting in her native tongue
**** Stars

Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe(2005)
WALT DISNEY HOME VIDEO
Starring:Tilda Swinton Jim Broadbent Ray Winstone Anna Popplewell Dawn French Rupert Everett Skandar Keynes James Cosmo James McAvoy Georgie Henley William Moseley Sophie Winkleman Liam Neeson
Director:Andrew Adamson
Genres:Action/Adventure Children Family Thriller
Released:April 03, 2006
Director Andrew Adamson gives a new dimension to C.S. Lewis's enchanting story with this long-awaited Disney adaptation.
My Thoughts
Oh dear! I so wanted to like this film, the book having been one of my favourites as a child but I found this adaption poorly made and executed particularly when compared with the truly spectacular work done by Peter Jackson on the Tolkein films recently. Whilst the cast struggle gamely with the clunky script and direction it is all just a big disappointment. If you want to get to know the wonderful land of Narnia as created by C.S. Lewis then read the books!
** Stars
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* Star-Complete turkey
** Stars-Yawn! bit of a dud
*** Stars-Not bad, but no masterpiece
**** Stars-Definately worth watching
***** Stars-An instant classic

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