Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Tucci’

Set in the 1930s, this comedy revolves around Maurice and Arthur (Oliver Platt and Stanley Tucci), two out of work actors who stow away on a cruise ship when they are wrongly accused of assaulting the famous actor Jeremy Burtom (Alfred Molina). However, Burtom is also on the cruise ship, along with a cast of colourful characters, which means that the situation goes from bad to worse for the two hapless heroes.

With a supporting cast including Billy Connolly, Campbell Scott, Allison Janney, Tony Shalhoub and Steve Buscemi, you might think that this couldn’t go wrong – and it doesn’t. Well, for the characters it does, but with hilarious results for the viewer.

Tucci and Platt are incredibly funny as Arthur and Maurice, looking for all the world like a modern day Laurel and Hardy (and by coincidence, played by actors called Stanley and Oliver too!) There is a lot of slapstick and the whole film has a very zany feel to it, with all the cast giving it their all. Campbell Scott was for me, the funniest character, as a German member of staff. I have admired him as an actor for a long time, but this is the first time I have seen him in an out-and-out comedy, and he totally stole all of his scenes.

I watched this film on my own, and when I do that, it’s rare for me to actually laugh out loud (very common apparently) but this film actually did make me do that on several occasions. I loved the farce, the cleverness of the lines and the absurdity of the situation. This film has definitely gone straight into my top ten films of all time.

Highly recommend, especially for fans of slapstick, or the old silent comedy films of Laurel and Hardy or The Marx Brothers. Brilliant!

*********************************************************************************

Year of release: 1998

Director: Stanley Tucci

Producers: Jonathan Filley, Elizabeth W. Alexander, Stanley Tucci

Writer: Stanley Tucci

Main cast: Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt, Campbell Scott, Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina, Lili Taylor, Tony Shalhoub, Teagle F Bougere, Allison Janney, Matt McGrath, Richard Jenkins, Billy Connolly

*********************************************************************************

Read Full Post »

This 1999 movie was Hollywood’s take on one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.  It boasts an impressive cast – Michelle Pfieffer, Rupert Everett, Anna Friel, Dominic West, Christian Bale, Calista Flockhart and Stanley Tucci among them.

Until fairly recently, I did not enjoy reading Shakespeare’s work – it seemed very ‘dry’ when written on a page (to me, at least).  However, when his words are acted out on stage or screen, it all falls in to place, and it’s much easier to appreciate the wit and intelligence of Shakespeare.  (In fact, watching this made me want to read the play.)

In this case, I would suggest that some knowledge of the storyline of the play is helpful before watching (it does cover three interlinked stories), but it is certainly not necessary to have studied or read the play in any detail.

Briefly, Egeus (played by Bernard Hill) wants his daughter Hermia (Anna Friel) to marry Demetrius (Christian Bale).  However, Hermia is in love with Lysander (Dominic West).  When she is given the choice of marrying Demetrius, being sentenced to death, or living as a Nun for the rest of of her life, Hermia and Lysander decide to run away together.  Hermia’s friend Helena (Calista Flockhart, in a fantastic turn) is in love with Demetrius, but he loves Hermia.

Meanwhile, King of the Fairies Oberon (Rupert Everett) is estranged from his Fairy Queen Titania (Michelle Pfieffer); she has taken over the care of a changeling boy, after the death of the boy’s mother, who was one of Titania’s worshippers.  Oberon wants the boy to work for him.  He summons his mischievous but loyal fairy servant Puck to sprinkle a magic flower on Titania’s eyes while she sleeps – the spell it casts causes the sleeping person to fall in love with the first living thing they see upon waking.  Oberon believes that Titania will fall in love with a creature of the forest (where the fairies all live) and while she is distracted, he can take the boy.

After seeing Demetrius and Helena arguing, Oberon also orders Puck to sprinkle the magic flower on Demetrius’s eyes so that he will see and fall in love with Helena.  Puck however has never seen Demetrius and when he stumbles across Lysander asleep in the forst (he and Hermia have stopped there for the night before continuing with their escape), he sprinkles the magic flower on Lysander instead.  Helena then comes across Lysander and wakes him, and Lysander falls in love with her immediately.  When Puck’s mistake is discovered, he also sprinkles the magic flower on Demetrius’s eyes, and Demetrius too sees and falls in love with Helena.  The two young men argue over who should be with Helena, while Hermia accuses Helena of stealing Lysander’s love.

While all this is going on, a group of workers in the village are practicing a play to put on at the wedding of the Duke Theseus and his bride to be, Hippolyta.  During their rehearsals in the forest, Puck sees Bottom (Kevin Kline) and casts a spell giving Bottom an ass’s head, which naturally terrifies the fellow performers.  They run away, and Bottom falls asleep.  And then he is the first thing that Fairy Queen Titania sees when she awakes…

The plot sounds complicated, but it all plays out beautifully.  The action is moved from Ancient Athens to Italy at the turn of the 19th century.  The reason for this is not made clear (and the script retains its references to Athens), but it doesn’t matter – Italy looks lovely – the film was shot on location, large in Tuscany.  The fairy forest is enchanting, and even the cast are beautiful – in fact the whole film looks as though it has had its own sprinkling of fairy dust!

The cast are all terrific.  Stanley Tucci – always under-rated – excels as Puck, and really seems to be having fun with the character.  Kevin Kline also makes the most of his part and gives a great performance.  Puck and Bottom are probably the two funniest characters in the script, and I thought Tucci and Kline did great justice to the roles.

The script is actually very very funny – I laughed out loud on a number of occasions – and very romantic and sweet too.  The interlinked stories tie up together well and the ending is perfect – well, there must be a reason that Shakespeare is so revered centuries after his death.

Overall, this is a very amusing, and beautiful looking film.  Even if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare, I’d recommend giving this film a watch.

Year of release: 1999

Director: Michael Hoffman

Writers: William Shakespeare (play), Michael Hoffman

Main cast: Michelle Pfieffer, Rupert Everett, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Anna Friel, Dominic West, Christian Bale, Calista Flockhart

***********************************************************************************************************

Click here for my review of the play (Penguin Shakespeare edition).

***********************************************************************************************************

Read Full Post »

Anne Hathaway plays Andrea (‘Andy’) Sachs, a young woman who hopes to become a journalist and gets a job working at the globally successful Runway fashion magazine, as second assistant to Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep). Initially the other staff feel that she doesn’t fit in, because she does not believe that fashion is the be all and end all, and because she is a size 6 (equivalent to a UK size 10) which is considered fat – and she doesn’t even diet!!  Andy does find herself fitting in, after a little help from fashion designer on the magazine, Nigel, but she discovers that working for the famed and feared Miranda Priestley means that you are not allowed to have a personal life.  Andy is expected to be ready to bow to Miranda’s often totally unreasonable will at any time of day or night, and finds herself struggling to maintain her relationship and her friendships.  She also notes that Miranda herself sacrifices much in the way of family life for her job – and Andy will eventually have to choose what is most important to her…

I enjoyed this film – but not as much as I expected to.  Anne Hathaway was sweet and perfectly cast, and Meryl Streep was superb as the ruthless Miranda. Mention should also be made of Emily Blunt, who played first assistant to Miranda, and Stanley Tucci who played Nigel, a designer on the magazine.  Both of these actors were terrific in their roles.

Possibly the reason why the film underwhelmed me was also to do with the whole message it was making.  I found the obsession with the fashion industry which is depicted in this movie, to be very shallow – but that’s kind of the point! And I totally understand that in such circumstances as this film is set, Andy’s perfectly gorgeous and healthy size 6 frame would be scorned (and that people would be scandalised that she would dare to do something so shocking as EAT CARBS!!), but it was an attitude that I can’t relate to.

Andy is basically a decent person, but she realises that in the industry in which she is working, people will step all over each other to get what they want, and she herself behaves in ways which she is not proud of.

Now – I know this is what the film is basically trying to say…fashion is nice, but is it worth sacrificing your personal life for?  And is it ever worth treating your friends and family badly for?  But despite a great cast, this movie just didn’t really do it for me.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not awful, it’s just not really all that great.

One final word – I was expecting this to be a very funny film…it isn’t.  Some of the things that happen are funny, but only because they are so superficial.  But overall it left me somewhat dissatisfied.

Year of release: 2006

Director: David Frankel

Writers: Lauren Weisberger (book), Aline Brosh McKenna

Main cast: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci

Read Full Post »