Contagion (2011) by Steven Soderbergh
The one thing everybody agrees on about Contagion is that it has a great cast. In Jane Austen-speech this mean: Lizzy Bennett, Marianne Dashwood, and Emma Woodhouse in one movie – for non Austen-speaker: Jen Ehle, Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow. Adding to these actresses we have Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, and Jude Law. Who wouldn’t wanna watch? And let’s not forget that Steven Soderbergh directed.
But does a great cast a good movie make? Well, it doesn’t make a bad movie, that’s for sure. It has a solid story, of which I think Jude Law’s character was the most surprising. But there was nothing we haven’t seen already – including the fact that Kate’s character dies and that is always traumatic and I wish they wouldn’t do that.
Also, I think in a world where we have all these awful diseases, do we really need Hollywood to invent just one other? Somehow I thought Outbreak was much better and even Quiet Killer – a tv movie from 1992 starring Kate Jackson – had more appeal. I am not even sure why that is. The trailer looked good but maybe there is just not more to tell about diseases and outbreaks. And not even a cast of superstars can change that.
One word about Jen Ehle because she was probably the least known actress among all these big names: she was amazing and she is the hero within the film. And if you haven’t seen her in Pride and Prejudice – the 1995 BBC version -, do. She’s a brilliant Eliza Bennett – and in everything else she’s done…
The King’s Speech (2010) by Tom Hooper
Well, I watched The King’s Speech this week but don’t really feel like writing a whole long blog post. So I thought I just drop a note that I have watched it and that I thought it is a great movie, with excellent actors. It is also about male bonding, that is, about a friendship between King George VI (Colin Firth) and Lionel (Geoffrey Rush), his speech therapist.
Of course, we all know that Colin Firth won an Oscar for his role as King George VI, but everybody was very well cast. The best moment for me, though (if you consider that the stopping of one’s heart is a sign for having a good time), was when I realized that Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy were in the same room together. Cryptic enough? Well, Jennifer Ehle who played Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC-version of Pride and Prejudice (1995) played Geoffrey Rush’s wife and she and the king (and Colin Firth played Darcy in the same production, as you probably know) meet once briefly and I almost swallowed my tongue watching.
All in all, it is a good movie, very solid, but also not out of the ordinary. It is another film about a monarch who had some struggles and overcame them with the help of a friend, nothing we haven’t seen a gazillion of times already. Of course, I cherish every movie with Helena Bonham Carter (wasn’t it her cousin Crispin who played Bingley on the same version of Pride and Prejudice?) but I came out of the theater knowing that I would struggle to remember what I had watched the next day – and I did. The word “forgettable” comes to mind.