30 June 2007

Mr Holland's Opus (starring Richard Dreyfuss)

It's rare for us to go to the cinema. A good friend of mine, knowing this, said in 1995 that if we didn't see any other films that year, we should see 'Mr Holland's Opus'. Brilliant for all the family, she told us. Not to be missed...

Circumstances did not conspire, and we didn't see it. Indeed, I had almost forgotten about it until a few years ago when I spotted, at an online store, the DVD of this film on special offer. I ordered it immediately, and we watched it as a family not long after. We were unanimous in thinking it a wonderful story, superbly done.

Three of us have just watched for the second time. There are not many movies I can re-watch in such a short space of time, but Mr Holland's Opus was probably even more enjoyable this time around. I would go so far as to say that it's possibly my all-time favourite film.

The overall plot is a ‘feel-good’ story about a young man, Mr Holland - Richard Dreyfuss - who wants to compose music. However, he takes a job teaching music in a high school to provide a reliable income for himself and his wife. It’s only ever going to be temporary, or so he thinks at first. But the years roll by, and he finds himself more and more drawn into the life of the school, making an incredible difference to many of the students.

There’s another whole storyline involving Mr Holland’s wife and son, which is incredibly moving, and brings tears to the eyes at times, even seeing it for the second. I imagine it will continue to do so if and when I see this film again - as I certainly hope to in a few years time.

Richard Dreyfuss is a great actor, but must surely be associated in my mind forever as Mr Holland. He was almost fifty when this film was made, but somehow he manages to be as realistic at sixty as he is at the start of the film, playing a young man in what would appear to be his late twenties.

If you're the kind of person who only likes films with fast car chases, great excitement, sex and violence, then don’t bother with this. But for anyone who likes a slower pace of life, who is interested in schools, or music, or children with special needs, or indeed if you simply enjoy films with great characterisation, I would highly, highly recommend this.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

02 June 2007

Heaven can Wait (starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie)

I've no idea how we came to have this movie on our shelves. Perhaps it was on special offer at one of the sites offering three for ten pounds. Or perhaps we thought it would be better than it was, and added it to one of our wishlists.

Whatever the circumstances, we sat down to watch 'Heaven can Wait' last night. It was a strange and unusual plot, yet rather unmemorable.

The basic idea is that an American football player (Warren Beatty) is in an accident, and almost dies... but an over-enthusiastic angel takes him to heaven anyway so that, as far as anyone knows on earth, he has indeed passed away. By the time the mistake has been discovered, his body is no more, but the rules state he has to go somewhere, as he doesn't yet have a place allocated in Heaven.

So he returns to earth in the body of a millionaire who has just been assassinated, and rather confuses his family...

There was a lot of potential for drama, or humour.. unfortunately, it wasn't realised. Not a bad movie, I suppose, but not a great one either.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews