Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Ghost Writer * * * *

Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall

Rated PG-13

Directed by Roman Polanski

Written by Robert Harris (novel and adaption)
and Roman Polanski (screenplay)

* * * *

60th Berlin International Film Festival - The Ghost Writer  Premiere

On an island off of Massachusetts, cloaked with heavy mists and driving rain, a British ghost writer, played by the quietly commanding Ewan McGregor, takes on his most lucrative book deal yet. He is aware the book’s subject, former British prime minister James Lang (Pierce Brosnan), is under investigation from the government. The Ghost Writer (his character is never named) also knows he is filling the shoes of the previous ghost writer, who died suddenly, laying the groundwork for all he is about to uncover.

While working with Lang, The Ghost Writer meets his personal assistant/mistress (Kim Cattrall) and his miserable, dark, political genius of a wife, Ruth Lang (Olivia Williams), who all live and work together in a bleak, solitary house by the beach. Beneath the surface of the uncomfortable household, with security officers at every corner, always watching, a storm is brewing. The Ghost tries to keep a professional distance from Lang and his crew, but he realizes there is something bigger at work behind the politician’s facade.

When Lang is accused outright of committing war crimes by the British government, The Ghost starts to delve deeper into his past, his political connections and whether the previous ghost writer’s death was really a suicide.

Brosnan is sleek and slimy as the former prime minister and Williams is brilliant as Mrs. Lang, a woman who appears deeply unhappy, trapped in a life she did not plan for. Cattrall is one of the few non-British leading actors and while she struggles, sounding a bit like Samantha Jones with a fake English accent, she certainly looks the part of Lang’s sexy, composed assistant.

With an Alfred Hitchcock-like theme and slow purposeful scenes, Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” is a deeply refreshing take on the mystery/thriller. Blissfully free of huge explosions, bad one-liners and a rushed plotline, the film will thrill fans of the old-Hollywood style mystery.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Remember Me * * *

'Remember Me' New York Premiere
Starring Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins

Rated PG-13

Directed by Allen Coulter

Written by Will Fetters

* * *

“Remember Me” opens on a New York City subway in 1991 and continues ten years later with two young 21-year-olds, Ally Craig and Tyler Hawkins. Both have suffered through the tragic death of family members and after meeting, it doesn’t take long for them to tumble headlong into a heated romance.

Robert Pattinson is dark and brooding (something new and different) as Tyler, struggling with the death of his brother and the disconnect that exists within his family. Ally (Emilie de Ravin) is a breath of fresh air in the stale and meaningless life that he seems headed for. Chemistry between the tiny de Ravin and scruffy Pattinson is sexy and sweet.

Even though disaster darkens the past for both Ally and Tyler, it also looms ahead, completely unbeknownst to them. But living in the moment and feeling the pain as well as the pleasure makes them feel more alive than ever before.

Pattinson easily slips into the roll of grungy Tyler; it’s questionable whether he washes his hair throughout the filming of the entire movie. Despite Tyler’s filthy college apartment, rumpled wardrobe and questionable hygiene, Pattinson still oozes an irrepressible charm.

Pierce Brosnan is perfectly horrible as Tyler’s dirty rich lawyer father. He’s a man who hides behind his grand office and job title and who seems to care little for his brilliant daughter and drowning son.

Besides his dim-witted roommate Aidan, Tyler’s 11-year-old sister is his one beacon of happiness before meeting Ally. Caroline (Ruby Jerins) is an outcast in her own upper east side school, a freak for her dreamy personality and advanced drawing skills.

The ending of “Remember Me” is staggering and shockingly unexpected. The smaller picture of two families coping through grief suddenly explodes, bringing the tragedy they endure to a larger scale than anyone could have imagined.

“Remember Me” isn’t just a story about falling in love or dealing with grief or hating your family. It sends the message that, although we may be one small person in a vast world, our imprint will still be left behind; albeit a small one, but an impossibly important one.