Movie Roundup: I watched a couple other movies over the weekend in addition to Kill Bill. First up was Lady Jane, starring a very young Helena Bonham Carter as the nine-day Queen of England. A pre-Princess Bride Cary Elwes played her husband Guilford Dudley. I was really looking forward to this one, as I generally like English period pieces and one of my friends in college loved it. It started out well and I laughed my ass off during every scene of Dudley whoring it up, but eventually it settled into a completely cheesy Romeo-and-Juliet wannabe teen romance. Dudley and Jane decide they’re going to turn England into a utopia where nobody is poor and no kids are ever smacked, yet the only thing they manage to accomplish is minting a new shilling. They must’ve repeated the same dorky line from Plato about six times. I found the idea that Jane was some proto-feminist completely laughable. The soundtrack was completely bewildering. These kids would be sharing some soulful moment and then trimphant horns would burst in like a King Arthur TV movie. (To be fair, I did read a review of the DVD that suggested the sound mix was total crap, so maybe the original cinema version wasn’t so incongruous.) Basically, the only reason to see this one is if you A) really like Cary Elwes and want to see him as a teenager, or B) really hate Helena Bonham Carter and want to see her get her head chopped off. (Snookums liked that part.)
Next was Love Actually, which Ebert liked but I was rather ambivalent towards. It was just so non-offensive and safe and boring. If this movie was an animal, it’d be a puppy with great big eyes. Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson (and his little stepson) were the only characters that I felt any emotion towards. Other than the “Ant or Dec” joke, the Snook and I never really let loose with any big laughs. I said to him afterwards: “This is the kind of movie that wouldn’t have gotten made without all those big stars. There was no interesting story; there was just the spectacle of so many talented actors engaged in pure fluff.” Oh, and Keira Knightley still has duck face. She should get that fixed.