Sunday, March 9, 2014

Love, Near Or Far (Movie Reviews: "Diana," "Baggage Claim")

I was truly expecting the worst with "Diana."  I know it got scathing reviews when it came out, and it recently won the top award at BARFTRA, which is the British equivalent of the Razzies. But maybe these low expectations helped me just enjoy the movie. If this were just a love story between x and y, and not the People's princess, I bet reaction to it wouldn't be as harsh. It's a story of a love that's complicated, complex, forbidden, but in the end is deep and real. The story, and the film, isn't as expansive and perhaps not worthy of its subject, and that is why it's not as easy to take. I admit to just being a casual admirer of the Princess, so I had no horse to protect in this race. But the person depicted here isn't quite likeable - depressive, manipulative, drama queen. It's as if we are already to assume her sainthood, and these just "round" her up. But Naomi Watts is a fantastic actress, and you can see the work she put in this character. She has mastered the mannerisms, the eyelash bat, the neck swivel that even though she doesn't really resemble Diana, you still believe, and believe, and believe. I don't think this is an absolute waste of time, honestly. 

I found "Baggage Claim" more insulting. The "urban rom com" genre is big business right now, and why not? I was looking for a good time going into this movie but felt cheated. First of all, the plot was ludicrous, but that wasn't even my problem. I won't spoil it, not because I respect it, but because it just felt so stupid writing it  Plus, watching it just became so tiresome, and we just kept on waiting for that big inevitable familiar finish. For me, it didn't help that I thought Paula Patton is such a clunky actress - self aware, self involved, and her comedic timing left a lot to be desired. This would normally be my kind of movie, but I just couldn't wait for it to finish. This the equivalent of a bad Tyler Perry movie - just imagine the horror of that.

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