Monday, April 30

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Got salmon? You can go fishing in the Yemen. The Film Fatales review Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

2011. PG-13. 107 minutes. Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas and Rachael Stirling. Directed by Lasse Hallström

A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a Sheikh's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible. [imdb]

elizabeth: Blah, blah, blah. If you never listen to me again in your life, you must see this movie to experience Amr Waked’s portrayal of Sheikh Muhammed. I am not ashamed to say that medics had to tend to me three times during the movie. Those hypnotic eyes. That smile. Those flowing gowns. Medics are needed in aisle three.

Okay, so we didn’t go see the movie to jump start my heart again. We went as serious movie reviewers. LOL. I just bet the make-out couple in front of us had to go home and read the book. So when did making out before, during, and after the movie become the thing for people over 50 to do at the cinema? Where do I sign up?

Back to the Yemeni sheik and the premise of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen: Sheikh Muhammed wants to bring salmon fishing to his country as a way to symbolize harmony between the East and the West. Brilliant idea. So when things get tough, you go fishing together. It could almost work. 

Nicole: While Elizabeth is clearly smitten (as was I) with Amr Waked, the other actors’ performances were equally well crafted. I was totally expecting to be bored out of my mind during this film. I figured, eh, if it’s terrible, I’ll just drool over Ewan McGregor for two hours. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised to be so totally drawn in? 

My heart broke a little for Ewan’s tragic-comic portrayal as fisheries expert Dr. Alfred Jones, whose high-functioning Autism makes him equal parts outspoken and introverted. My heart broke again for Emily Blunt’s Harriet, who fights through her shyness to open up to love only to experience instantaneous tragedy followed by unexpected surprise. And I nearly peed myself with laughter at Kristin Scott Thomas’ portrayal of the Prime Minister’s press secretary – a really surprising departure for her that was a delight to watch. 

And I think, ultimately, that’s what really made this movie. It was not so much the story or the directing or the art direction – but the characters. And in other hands, perhaps those characters wouldn’t have been as loveable as Ewan, Emily, and Kristin made them. With another cast, Elizabeth and I might well have preferred to watch the middle-aged couple in front of us necking for two hours. (I do hope they found a hotel room. Oh, how I wish I could unsee the things I’ve seen.)

elizabeth: You were going to drool while sitting next to me? And we were making fun of that sucking-face couple?

Nicole: Hey, you were the one who needed a defibrillator whenever Amr appeared on screen. Pot. Kettle. Black. 

elizabeth: I am very confident in stating that this one of my favorite movies in a long time. I like movies that are like a soft kiss on the lips as opposed to whatever the couple in front of us was doing. I am so in favor of people trying to come up with ways for the world to live in harmony that I will accept a fictional account for 107 minutes.

And, Nicole, when are we going to disagree? God forbid people will think we get along. If they only knew.

Nicole: I long for the day we disagree. This agreeing crap is really wearing thin. 

THE FILM FATALES give Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Monday, April 16

My Week with Marilyn

Rated R.
Directed by Simon Curtis. 
Starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Dame Judi Dench. 

Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during production of The Prince and the Showgirl. []

Nicole: Welp, I’m conflicted, Cassidy. On one hand, I greatly enjoyed this movie (probably because I’m an anglophile), but on the other I disliked it. Why? Two words: Michelle Williams. I’m officially letting the cat out of the bag now, come what may, but I don’t think her performance deserved any buzz-worthy acclaim nor should it have garnered so many award nominations. Perhaps playing an icon as unforgettable and unique as Marilyn Monroe is an impossible feat and I should give her a break. But, I can’t. She tried too hard and didn’t get it right for more than a few scattered moments. It was an inconsistent performance from the first moment to very last scene. 

elizabeth: I did enjoy the movie because I do so love period pieces. But, dare I say, I agree that it had some flaws and Michele William’s portrayal of a sex symbol  left me wondering – was it a great performance or did she run out of oxygen during rehearsals? Was Marilyn Monroe that emotionally beaten up by her then husband, Arthur Miller, or that psycho witch in the form of an acting teacher (who was brilliantly portrayed by Zoë Wanamaker)? I just felt that Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) should have had every right to bury Marilyn in the English countryside. Right after he does something with those eyebrows!

Nicole: Like you, I’m a sucker for period pieces. Who’s the bigger sucker is up for debate. Also, I hate agreeing with you, but I must. I, too, was wondering if the Marilyn portrayed here was laid on just a little too thick or was she actually much savvier than this movie let on? I’d like the think the latter, but judging from her sad history, it’s probably a combination of the two. On my end (and stop staring, it’s not polite), the movie wouldn’t have been worth the watch without the incredible Kenneth Branagh. OH.MY.GOD. Now, this had to be one heady proposition for him: to play the man he was so often compared to in his career – and to hit it out of the park. Every one of his scenes was a pure and utter delight. 

elizabeth: I think the movie should be renamed, “My Week with Colin.” Colin (Eddie Redmayne) started off as this rich, skinny geek of a young man, but I found him endearing. He did a stellar job as a young chap (it’s an English movie – it’s the only time I can say that) falling in love for the first time. Too bad he picked an international movie star. My favorite quote in the movie is: “First love is such sweet deception.”  And it was. Well, I do prefer that line to the melancholy one uttered by Vivian Leigh, “I’m 43. No one will love me for much longer.” Time to mix my meds. Get the popcorn ready.
Nicole:  That’s a bit of all right, and Bob’s your uncle. Cheers! 

  THE FILM FATALES give My Week with Marilyn