Posts from 8th November 2009

8
Nov 09

Julia & Julienne

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 226 views

This is one where the critical consensus was exactly that. Everyone agreed that Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia is half a good film, that half being Meryl Streep’s biopic bit of Julia Child. But is that any surprise? One half of the film is a light telling of a woman learning how to do something wonderful, in a picturesque Paris post war. It has the sweep of history from Stanley Tucci playing her husband who is a diplomat, it has the Gallic sexism of the time and in Julia Child it has a wonderful role, which Streep more or less does a broad impression of whilst wearing stilts. It may not offer much in the way of insight, but it is at least a sweet story of a nice person overcoming the few obstacles life has put in her way to become happy. And it also has Jane Lynch as her even taller sister, which is always going to be good.

But does the Julia Child story deserve a film to itself? The plus point of the framing device is the story of Julie Powell’s blog, whilst self obsessed and deliberately small, means the Julia Child stuff takes up just about as much time as it needs to. A full feature Julia Child film may throw some childhood in, extend into the television career and would probably have had extended cooking montages. All of which would have been padding.

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Its Almost The Ewok Adventure

FT/2 comments • 235 views

Here’s a little factoid for you: the word “Jedi” is said 24 times in The Men Who Stare At Goats.

The two words “Star” and “Wars” are however only ever mentioned once, in the context of Ronald Reagan really liking the film..

Bearing in mind that it is Ewan MacGregor doing almost fifty percent of the saying of the word Jedi, there is clearly the most obvious of injokes going on here. But even in a film as often ridiculous as The Men Who Stare At Goats, the New Earth Battalion never, ever has the temerity to start talking about midichlorians. Which makes it at least better than any of the Star Wars prequels, and possibly almost as good as the Ewok Adventure (better than Caravan of Courage). And George Clooney finally brings in a comic performance which, whilst ticking and goggling like an old ham, actually feels in character and importantly funny.