Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 in Movies, 6-10

NOTE: Last summer, I got hold of Helen Mirren's autobiography, "In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures," for an embarrassing P40. (It was embarrassingly cheap.) I finished it in a single day on Sunday, January 4 (the need to note the date because I never finish books in a single day). But this is really to explain the abundance of Helen Mirrens in this post.

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"The Madness of King George."
(Screenshot of my favorite scene. More below.)

6. The Last Station (2009, dir. Michael Hoffman)

The Russians are supposed to be passionate, dramatic, emotional, yeah? One moment, they're angry, shouting and fighting and throwing things at each other; the next, they're having raging hot sex in bed, yeah? Helen Mirren, as Leo Tolstoy's wife, captures that Russian stereotype perfectly. Also, Helen Mirren snarking about and snapping at everyone is just pure joy.

7. The Long Good Friday (1980, dir. John Mackenzie)

It reminded me of "The Godfather." But I loved how understated, and therefore British, everything is, except for Bob Hoskins' terrific all-stops-out performance. 

8. The Madness of King George (1994, dir. Nicholas Hytner)

"George! Smile, you lazy hound. It's what you're paid for. Smile and wave. Come on. Smile and wave. Everybody, smile and wave. Smile and wave!" 
--Mirren as Queen Charlotte.

The best couple of lines in a funny film about European royalty. (How odd.)

9. Starter for 10 (2006, dir. Tom Vaughan)

Occasionally, I'd catch myself wondering where in the world James McAvoy came from. Pretty aware of how famous he is, yes, but exactly when did he become famous? I remember him as Mr. Tumnus the satyr in the first Narnia movie. And then I think it was in Joe Wright's "Atonement" that I next saw him, and by then, he was already sort of a name. "Starter for 10," which has vague similarities to my high school life, shows us a relatively fresh but nonetheless expert-at-playing-confused-slightly-troubled-young-men McAvoy. And oh! Rebecca Hall! Supposedly her first film. What a stunner.

10. Insidious (2011, dir. James Wan)

If my sister were to vote for one of the more prestigious Best-of lists, like the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound, I'm pretty sure she'd go for this one. That would actually be a pretty inspired choice.

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