30 January 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding (starring Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney)

Browsing DVDs on Amazon, wanting to add a few to my wishlist for potential Christmas presents, I came across 'My Best Friend's Wedding'. Probably recommended to me because of the genres I tend to like - low-key romantic films with a light, perhaps humorous side - and also the cast.

Sure enough, I enjoyed it very much.

The story features Julianne (Julia Roberts), who has been ‘best friends’ with Michael (Dermot Mulroney) for nine years. She is invited to his wedding... and suddenly realises she’s in love with him. His fiancĂ©e (Cameron Diaz) is bright, enthusiastic, and also very much in love with Michael, but Julianne determines to do all she can to break them up, figuring that all is fair in love, and that Michael and she will never be really happy without each other.

The pace is good, the script well done, although it becomes rather surreal at times. For instance there's a scene almost reminiscent of a 1960s musical when a table full of guests break into song at one point. Or there's the time when Julianne’s gay boss drops everything and flies to her rescue after a frantic phone call. There is even a spoof Bond-style car chase.

But this DVD was exactly what I needed for an evening’s relaxation with my husband. Decidedly a ‘girly’ film, but he liked it too. Julia Roberts is believable, if a little over the top at times, and the outcome was never entirely certain until the end. Recommended.

Rated 12 in the UK, PG-13 in the USA, probably due to one or two instances of bad language, and a little sexual humour.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

04 January 2009

Calendar Girls (starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters)

I resisted acquiring or watching 'Calendar Girls' for quite some time. I really did not think that we would be interested in the story – based on a true one – of twelve middle-aged Women's Institute members who posed nude for a calendar.

And yet, several people whose tastes I trusted recommended it highly to me. So eventually I put it on my wishlist, and received it for Christmas.

It’s an absolutely delightful film. The nude posing is very tastefully done, and while the making and selling of the calendar is obviously a significant part of the film, it's only one thread. There are many other sub-plots intertwined, some of them quite moving.

We meet the various characters at the beginning of the film, in particular the feisty Chris (Helen Mirren) and her close friend Annie (Julie Walters). Both are excellent in the roles, as are the fairly large supporting cast. I didn't manage to keep all the women clear in my mind, but it really didn't matter.

There’s some humour in this movie, and there are moments of deep sadness, yet neither extreme is overdone.

All in all, we both thought it a wonderful film, and look forward to seeing it again some day.

Rated PG-13 in the USA, 12 in the UK, probably due to the nudity (albeit tasteful and only top half) and some language.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews