Movie Reviews: “NINE” And Others



BROTHERS     Rating 8 ½

An excellent film which brings out the worst of war. The setting is two-fold, a happy home life with an Army Captain played by Tobey Maguire and his devoted wife played by Natalie Portman. Enter Maguire’s ex-con brother ( Jacob “Jake” Gyllenhaal) who lives hand to mouth, but embraced by the family once released from prison.

Maguire serves in Afghanistan where he’s captured and forced into the most egregious of acts. His arrival home is laced with PTSD personified, (post traumatic stress disorder) resulting in some of the most intense and emotional movie scenes you’ll ever see.

Look for an Oscar nomination for Maguire


THE ROAD    Rating    6 1/2

Another dark and gloomy film. This is the year for depression in movies. Maybe that’s a reflection of our economic and political state.

This movie received high ratings from most reviewers, but I had mixed emotions. Viggo Mortensen is much like Daniel Day Lewis and Bob Deniro, they just can’t make a bad movie, even if the script is bad. The acting is superb.

Viggo and his young son are survivors of Armageddon, struggling to exist amidst the bleak existence of death and destruction all around them. Flashbacks bring the viewer to a few scenes with Charleze Theron, who plays the wife/mom no longer in the struggle, though we don’t know what actually happened to her. The movie moves slowly through all this drab, dreary sadness. It’s certainly worthy of some awards, in acting, costume, photography, etc., but it’s definitely not an uplifting picture. Some implausible scenes also scar the story to me.


NINE  Rating   7 1/2

Though it’s loaded with star power, this musical doesn’t match up to “Chicago” or even “Moulin Rouge.” It’s hard to identify the missing element in this movie, but it somehow leaves you flat.

Daniel Day Lewis, arguably the greatest living actor, plays the accented Italian director, Guido Contini. His performance is superb. Yet, the character comes across as one-dimensional and shallow, with the focus entirely on his sexual exploits outside of marriage and with an invariable habit for lying. While he’s touted as the greatest living director, nothing in the picture features his genius.

Marion Cotillard (who played Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose) is equally superb as Contino’s jilted wife. Penelope Cruz is gorgeous, as is Nicole Kidman, as is Kate Hudson, but their dancing skills leave something to be desired. Judi Dench, the costume maker, is fabulous, as is Sophia Loren, a well-tucked Dame of the movies who plays Contini’s mom. Casting Kidman and Hudson as Italians just doesn’t work for me.

Entertaining, yes. Worth the ticket, yes. Academy Award material, no.