Welcome back Eugeneans! How was everyone’s rain-soaked and yet, oddly sunny weekend? I hope as fun and movie-filled as mine! Coming up thus week we’ve got some good movies on disc to keep you and your family entertained.
First up we’ve got the quintessential British film– The Kings Speech. Centered around the World War II-time King: George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, (played by Colin Firth) and his life-time struggle with a stammer in his speech. He takes the help of a rather unorthodox speech therapist, played sublimely by Geoffrey Rush, and over the months and years they form a close friendship. “Bertie,” as King George VI was called affectionately (and not-so) before ascending to the throne after his brothers abdication, manages to conquer his stammer and lead Britain through one of it’s darkest times in History. The Kings Speech is a beautiful film, and frame by fame, director Tom Hooper (the Damned United, HBO’s John Adams, and Longford) guides us through historical circumstances with suspense and tight storytelling. What really shines here is the performances by Firth, Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter. See this movie. The Kings Speech is rated R for some language.
Next Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star in Rabbit Hole, a “dramedy” from director John Cameron Mitchell (of the fantastic Hedwig and the Angry Inch). A tale about a happy couple whose son dies accidentally, and how they manage to carry on. Rabbit Hole is a strangely comedic and touching film about loss and grief, however it doesn’t overburden the viewer with sadness. It relishes in the positive and the whole film works somehow, hanging on the performances of Kidman and Eckhart. Another must-see released this week. Rabbit Hole is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some drug use and language.
For the family viewing, Disney is opening it’s vault to release the classic, Bambi for a limited time. I don’t know if you know how Disney does this, but it’s a total scam. At any given time it is impossible to find certain Disney movies at the same time. Like for instance, they’ll release Bambi, but will quietly take Sleeping Beauty off the shelf at the same time. Why do they do this? In order to get more money out of us, the consumers. Think about how many times you’ve heard the words, “Never before released from the Disney Vault.” It’s because either A) they haven’t released whatever movie on whatever format is popular at that time (VHS, DVD, now Blu Ray) so they get to cash in on it B) Because we keep spawning new generations of Disney-philes… so when our kids who have never heard of Fox and the Hound see that advertisement they think it’s a new movie, and so on and so forth. Disney is the evil empire, and Mickey Mouse is Darth Vadar.
Anyway, Bambi is out on Blu-Ray and DVD, and I gotta tell you, this movie is horrible. Today’s kids won’t get it. Unless they’ve found a way to 3D Flower or Thumper so that they can breathe a little life into one of the stalest animated Disney movies ever. Bambi is rated G for everyone, but be warned, Bambi’s mom gets it Scorsesse-style at the end.
Last is a gem brought to us by National Geographic called The Way Back. I got the chance to preview this movie and it is very good. It stars Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, and Colin Ferrell, and is directed by the Australian auteur Peter Weir (Master and Commander: Far Side of the World). It tells the true story of prisoners in a Russian Gulag in Siberia during WWII who escape from the prison only to face the harsh and deadly landscape that surrounds them for thousands of miles. The tag at the beginning state something like: “In 1942, three men walked out of the Himalayas claiming they’d escaped from a Siberian Gulag over 4000 miles away. This is their story.” What happens to these men is indescribable, and practically unbelievable. I highly recommend this movie to anyone, it is a triumphant tale of the human will to survive. The Way Back is rated PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language.
Have a fun-filled, action-packed week, and stay classy Eugene.