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These are older shows so I won't do full-blown reviews, but I really enjoyed watching Chocolat the other night. It was an intriguing look into the lives - fictional though they were - of the inhabitants of a small, über-Catholic French village, and what happens when a mysterious stranger, daughter in tow, shows up and opens a hedonistic chocolate shoppe... right in the middle of Lent. Not only that, she believes in a world that works for everyone, which mightily offends the de-facto ruler of the town, an anal-retentive pharisee masterfully played by Alfred Molina.

Oddly enough, the protagonist of the film (Juliette Binoche) doesn't even show up on the first page of the cast list at IMDB - her performance was delightful and powerful. In fact, everyone did a wonderful job. Leslie Caron was woefully underused as the love interest of an old widower, but brought dignity and class to her rôle nonetheless. I loved Judi Dench as Armande, Vianne's landlady and, ultimately, best customer and friend. Johnny Depp plays a river-faring Irish traveler who injects both romance and tension into the lives of the players;

I never got bored watching this film, which had the independent feel and almost reminded me of some of the earlier French existentialist films; it has a good message and left me feeling both fulfilled for the characters and hungry for chocolate... I recommend it highly.

Overall rating: Nine stars out of ten.

Night before last we watched Kate and Leopold. I never realized it had an (admittedly feeble) time-travel premise, and always thought it was just another chick flick. I was right about the second part; it was entertaining, but not stellar. In fact, while Hugh Jackman was wonderful as the temporally-displaced Duke, Meg Ryan's character was so annoying I found myself wanting to slap her every five minutes. Nice that they have the chance to live happily ever after in the 19th Century, but I can't see Ryan's character being happy serving high tea in the garden forever.

Overall rating: Five stars out of ten.

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Jul. 27th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
I had a copy of Chocolat before the full-on DVD revolution. Alas, it got too close to the big, old-style speakers and was fried. It's such a wonderful movie! I must get a new copy someday.

Jul. 31st, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
K&L was one movie that I really hoped would be good because of its premise. Guess it just needed better execution.


The Old Wolf

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