Penelope (2006)

Penelope, Penelope, why can’t more movies be like you?

Just so you know, I absolutely loved every frickin detail of this story. Starting with the plot, continuing with the characters, ending with set/production/costume design. Oh, and let’s not forget the beautiful message this movie sends, which actually makes sense.

Penelope is the daughter of a rich, aristocratic family. Unfortunately, she was cursed and is born with a pig nose. In an attempt to keep her safe until the nose is gone and the curse lifted, her parents lock her in at home and bring her one blue-blooded husband contender after the other, in the hopes that he’s Mr Right.

The setting is magical realism (tor has a great essay up on magical realism), the style reminded me of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium or Big Fish. And it really made me want more movies set in worlds like that. In literature, it’s pretty prevalent (think Gabriel García Márquez or Haruki Murakami among others), in movies, it’s not. Very sad.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Christina Ricci is a wonderful Penelope, sweet and naive, but also strong and powerful, filled with purpose and a sharp mind. Catherine O’Hara is the well-meaning mother of everybody’s nightmares. James McAvoy, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Dinklage, Simon Woods and Russell Brand (who is everywhere nowadays) complete a perfect and very funny cast.

As I said before, I loved the design of the whole thing – Penelope’s clothes, her room, the city… it all fits the general mood of the movie and is just extremely pretty. And magic.

What it boils down to is that it’s a wonderful fairy tale that reminds you that the world is kind of enchanted. When you look at it closely.

And it’s actually a movie that got 10 out of 10 points on my list.

Movie-Mania

Ok, my last two posts were about movies, this one will be, too, but as I won’t have time to go to the cinema for at least until Tuesday, I guess, next time you’ll read something else. Probably about what I’m reading now (Siegfried Lenz – “Die Deutschstunde”, Tad Williams – “Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass”, Angela Baron & Michael Armstrong – “Human Capital Management”), probably not.

Anyway, yesterday I went to the cinema, again. My partner in crime: K. Maybe she will wake from her blogging coma to post about the movies we saw yesterday because they were really good. Made up for the two bad ones I saw before.

To not keep you on tenterhooks (I love that word) anymore: We saw “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” and Becoming Jane.

Mr. Magorium is just wonderful. Although there was a slight technical difficulty (after the advertisement we just got a black screen for about 10 minutes), it definitely was my highlight of the week. I laughed, I cried, I watched the colours and the lack of colours with fascination and I saw the saddest stuffed animal ever (even though K. claims to have seen an even sadder one – I can’t really believe it). Eric, the little boy and hat collector (played by Zach Mills), is sooo cute (I wonder why jug ears are cute when a boy is 12, but not anymore when he’s 22…). Never heard of Jason Bateman before (though every time I see/hear the name Bateman I have to think about American Psycho) but he completely convinced me as the accounting mutant, especially in the scene where he plays with Eric in his room. Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman play just wonderfully and altogether it’s the perfect Christmas story.
Go and see it RIGHT NOW! (Ok, you may finish reading this post first…)

[Warning Spoiler!]
Becoming Jane
is beautiful. Sad, witty, well played. It gave off the vibe of her books, although the obligatory happy ending is missing. You keep on hoping until the end. Anne Hathaway plays well, very passionately. James McAvoy was as he always was – perfect actor, but I’m still not sure about his looks. (It was the same in Atonement – one minute I think that he’s oh-so-good-looking, the next I think he will be, when he’s older, and the next I think he never will reach the good-looking-status. [I just saw his picture on the imdb… oh my… he really should change that…]) The casting for the supporting roles was amazing – Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, and also the not so famous actors were perfectly chosen: Joe Anderson (I was sure I saw him in another movie before but after looking on his site, on the imdb as usual, I don’t think I have), Laurence Fox, Leo Bill and Ian Richardson.
Again, I laughed and cried and thought about what I would have done in her situation. *sigh* Beautiful.