2004 Top 10 - #7December 24, 2004
#7: Closer : Closer is an anti-romance film. At first, it appears to be about longing and love, but it quickly becomes apparent that the forging and breaking of relationships in this movie are conduits for gaining power and causing pain. Sex is more of a tool and a means of one-upsmanship than it is an expression of passion. The subject matter is compelling, disturbing, and potent, and is no further from "reality" than any of the great screen romances. (Although we would prefer to believe in happily-ever-after scenarios instead of the one proposed by Closer). Director Mike Nichols places the focus squarely on the actors, and it's worth noting that Natalie Portman and Clive Owen steal scenes from Oscar-winner Julia Roberts and two-time Oscar-nominee Jude Law. It's not that Roberts and Law aren't effective, but they are, at least in this production, outclassed. Portman and Owen will almost certainly be mentioned in a month when the 2005 nominees roster is read. Admittedly, if you enjoy only sunny, optimistic movies, Closer is not for you. But if you appreciate films that delve into the darker side of humankind's psyche, this picture offers a tough-to-shake snapshot.
The Passage of Youth: Endurance or Experience?
Full disclosure: I have not seen this movie. What movie? It's called The Passage of Youth, a six-hour picture produced for Italian TV and released in the U.S. in two three-hour installments by Miramax. I can safely say that, if I see this movie, it...
Beat Berardinelli 2012 Edition
There's a dual purpose to this post: to provide my Oscar picks and to introduce a contest that will allow someone to win a fabulous prize for doing a better job than me. I don't consider myself an expert Oscar prognosticator; I average around 67% ...
Up Your Shaft, and Other Kind Wishes
Generally speaking, I am amused by hate mail. Sometimes, it's banal - along the lines of: "You suck. You wouldnt know a good movie if it bit you on the ass." (Real e-mail from a couple of days ago.) Those are boring and are punished for their lack...