Straining to balance bog-standard biopic with anarchic art expression, Julie Taymor's biopic of Frida Kahlo is crammed with exquisite cinematic diversions (dream sequences, hallucinations, animated Kahlo paintings) while simultaneously stultified by the need to plod through Kahlo's life with startling apathy. Wild teen, bus crash, crippled, Diego Rivera, lots of sex, arguments, affair with Trotsky, big show in Mexico, the end.
Slick, entertaining debut from first-time director George Clooney, working from a typically off-beat Charlie Kaufman screenplay. The often irritating Sam Rockwell is outstanding here as trash TV pioneer Chuck Barris, who's either an arch-fantasist or the oddest CIA hitman ever.
The cross-cutting is seamless—'20s England, '50s California and presentday New York feeding off each other, resonating, as our disaffected heroines, played impeccably by Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep, flirt with total internal breakdown. And still, it's all about that nose. Kidman's prosthetic nose. Bumpy, spongy, and slightly off-colour. You either buy it, or you don't.
If Jim Carrey was suddenly declared God, what would he do? That's the premise, and only the easy, obvious routes are taken. But, as he did in Liar Liar, Carrey makes them funny even if you're determined he won't. Thus he enlarges Jennifer Aniston's breasts and you guffaw like a goon because the man is a comedy giant: you want him to fall on his ass, he does, you laugh again.
The versatile Stephen Frears merits much praise for presenting a side of London life which is usually swept under rugs. Illegal immigrants work demeaning jobs round the clock to stay afloat, and are routinely exploited—right down to their internal organs. The heroic Chiwetel Ejiofor and an arguably miscast Audrey Tautou lead this worthy, intriguing drama with a macabre twist.
Philip Noyce's deceptively simple tale, describing the inspirational Disneyesque homeward journey of three headstrong aboriginal children, is accompanied by a stinging assault on the rarely explored genocidal project central to Australian nationhood, and in particular the crisis of the country's infamous "Stolen Generations". The result, simultaneously palatable and unnerving, is a contemporary cinematic anomaly—a politically provocative piece of mainstream film-making.
DVD EXTRAS: Audio commentary, Making Of... documentary, trailer.
Miraculous, much underrated adaptation of posthumous Kieslowski screenplay by Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer. Cate Blanchett is a British teacher in Turin who, as an act of vengeance, becomes an unlikely terrorist. Young policeman Giovanni Ribisi falls in love and joins her on the run, but it's more about magic realism and haunting, luminous beauty.
Brendan Fraser is an American aid worker in Vietnam who just might be masterminding a US-backed anticommunist coup while seducing Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen), the classically demure oriental lover of cynical British hack Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine). An intriguing, morally muddy adaptation of Graham Greene via director Philip Noyce.