Lindsay Doran

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Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang Review


Excellent
Emma Thompson is back with a second encounter between her somewhat scary nanny and another houseful of unruly kids. As with the first film, a secondary plot feels corny and superfluous, but it's still thoroughly entertaining.

During the Blitz in London, posh children Cyril and Celia (Vlahos and Taylor-Ritson) are sent to stay with their aunt, Mrs Green (Gyllenhaal), on her farm. While she awaits news of her soldier husband, she struggles to manage her three rambunctious kids (Butterfield, Woods and Steer), pay her bills, fend off her financially desperate brother-in-law (Ifans) and keep the dotty local shopkeeper (Smith) from doing something dangerous. The person she needs is clearly Nanny McPhee (Thompson), who arrives with several stern-but-magical tricks up her sleeve.

Continue reading: Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang Review

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Review


Very Good
For all the talk of Stranger Than Fiction's clever Kaufmanisms, the most honest and sincere part of the film is about as clever as fireworks on the 4th of July. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) sits at a small table in a local bakery and is coaxed into eating a freshly baked cookie with a glass of milk for dipping. There's a simplicity to the scene that speaks directly to the emotional core of the film, and speaks even more of Ferrell's talents as an actor.

Crick makes his money as an IRS auditor, which means his company is enjoyed on the same level as Beelzebub. Recently, Harold has been hearing his life being narrated to him by an omniscient female voice. This voice, amongst other things, has informed him that he will die and there's nothing he can do about it. In hopes of averting this certain fate, Crick befriends a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman, always welcome) and desperately tries to woo Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the baker he is currently auditing. It ends up that the voice belongs to a writer named Karen Eiffel (a solid, suicidal Emma Thompson), who seems to have created Harold for her new book Death and Taxes.

Continue reading: Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Review

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Review


Very Good
For all the talk of Stranger Than Fiction's clever Kaufmanisms, the most honest and sincere part of the film is about as clever as fireworks on the 4th of July. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) sits at a small table in a local bakery and is coaxed into eating a freshly baked cookie with a glass of milk for dipping. There's a simplicity to the scene that speaks directly to the emotional core of the film, and speaks even more of Ferrell's talents as an actor.

Crick makes his money as an IRS auditor, which means his company is enjoyed on the same level as Beelzebub. Recently, Harold has been hearing his life being narrated to him by an omniscient female voice. This voice, amongst other things, has informed him that he will die and there's nothing he can do about it. In hopes of averting this certain fate, Crick befriends a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman, always welcome) and desperately tries to woo Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the baker he is currently auditing. It ends up that the voice belongs to a writer named Karen Eiffel (a solid, suicidal Emma Thompson), who seems to have created Harold for her new book Death and Taxes.

Continue reading: Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Review

Stranger Than Fiction Review


Very Good
For all the talk of Stranger Than Fiction's clever Kaufmanisms, the most honest and sincere part of the film is about as clever as fireworks on the 4th of July. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) sits at a small table in a local bakery and is coaxed into eating a freshly baked cookie with a glass of milk for dipping. There's a simplicity to the scene that speaks directly to the emotional core of the film, and speaks even more of Ferrell's talents as an actor.Crick makes his money as an IRS auditor, which means his company is enjoyed on the same level as Beelzebub. Recently, Harold has been hearing his life being narrated to him by an omniscient female voice. This voice, amongst other things, has informed him that he will die and there's nothing he can do about it. In hopes of averting this certain fate, Crick befriends a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman, always welcome) and desperately tries to woo Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the baker he is currently auditing. It ends up that the voice belongs to a writer named Karen Eiffel (a solid, suicidal Emma Thompson), who seems to have created Harold for her new book Death and Taxes.Stranger Than Fiction has a weighty proposal. We are asked to see the creation of a piece of art not from the writer's eyes, but rather from the evolving art's eyes itself. Talk about art imitating life. Is it healthier to be distanced from one's work to the point where killing him off is just work, or should one be so in love with the character that the author considers him real? Should a (seemingly) vacuous life be disposed of if it means something great will come with it? These are hefty themes about authorship and writing that writer Zach Helm actually tries to give a definitive answer to. Of course, these are questions that couldn't be answered by an HBO miniseries, let alone a movie that doesn't touch the 120-minute mark.Marc Forster, one of the more fascinating commercial directors to arrive in some time, works with some fresh tricks to make Helm's wildly ambitious script seem plausible. Surprisingly, Forster's technique with actors and his stylistic propensity for fluid camerawork create a bubbly atmosphere that is impossible to resist. The occasionally-overbearing ideas about death and writing can be distracting, but they are used to accentuate the heart of the film: the relationship between Ana and Harold.Gyllenhaal, coming off the melodramatic heft of World Trade Center, has the uncanny ability to shift the tone of her character from voltaic aggression to sublime delicacy without moving the film's own actual tone. She brings an electric current to nearly every scene she's in. Following Jim Carrey's recent transformation, Ferrell dumps the lovable moron shtick for a truly challenging role. Though the themes of Harold's plotline are familiar (live every day to its fullest), Ferrell brings out the joy in Crick with a subtlety that radiates warmth and fragile humor. The scenes between Gyllenhaal and Ferrell are remarkably sweet and ethereal without being overly sentimental. By using complex themes to enunciate the unlikely romance between Crick and Pascal, Forster has found a way to bring out all the quirks and nuances in this love letter wrapped in a Rubik's cube. It feels as natural as milk and cookies."Free Bird"? You got it.

Nanny McPhee Review


Excellent
Once upon a time, there was a young, dashing movie critic who ventured to see a fairy tale named Nanny McPhee. The critic was scared, as he had done battle with kids' movies. His record featured duels with the likes of Are We There Yet? and Rebound. He had barely survived.

But our hero had a job to do, and he never shied away from danger. He swallowed his fear, hopped into his silver, gas-fueled chariot, and sped off through the rain and inky darkness to the multiplex, that house of horrors where Cedric the Entertainer and John Travolta lurked. The critic pushed open the heavy doors and made his fateful way to face off against Nanny McPhee.

Continue reading: Nanny McPhee Review

Dead Again Review


Excellent
One of Kenneth Branagh's sole "mainstream" projects (the excreble Frankenstein notwithstanding), Dead Again is a truly enjoyable popcorn movie, even if it is ultimately total nonsense. Here we have Branagh and then-wife Emma Thompson cavorting through a psychological thriller as they both discover they have past lives that may or may not be coming back to haunt them. Silly fun, but well acted, lively, and featuring a number of clever cameos.

Sense And Sensibility Review


Excellent
Finally, a film to make Jane Austen proud. The third adaptation of her work this year (the first being Clueless's modernization of Emma; the second, the dreadful Persuasion), first-time screenwriter Emma Thompson and director Ang Lee have crafted a magnificent and exquisitely detailed piece of art which redeems the failures of the other two.

Sense And Sensibility tells the story of the Dashwood family, who, after the death of Mr. Dashwood, lose all their wealth to the son of Mr. Dashwood's prior marriage. The four Dashwood women, the mother and three daughters (Elinor [Emma Thompson], Marianne [Kate Winslet], and young Margaret), must find a way to make ends meet as the elder daughters face the daunting problems of love and romance.

Continue reading: Sense And Sensibility Review

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Lindsay Doran Movies

Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang Movie Review

Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang Movie Review

Emma Thompson is back with a second encounter between her somewhat scary nanny and another...

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Movie Review

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Movie Review

For all the talk of Stranger Than Fiction's clever Kaufmanisms, the most honest and sincere...

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Movie Review

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Movie Review

For all the talk of Stranger Than Fiction's clever Kaufmanisms, the most honest and sincere...

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Stranger Than Fiction Movie Review

Stranger Than Fiction Movie Review

For all the talk of Stranger Than Fiction's clever Kaufmanisms, the most honest and sincere...

Nanny McPhee Movie Review

Nanny McPhee Movie Review

Once upon a time, there was a young, dashing movie critic who ventured to see...

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