Brideshead Revisited (2008)


I was skimming through Stoker today because I really wanted to rewatch the “Summer Wine” scene – talk about a prime use of music and volume. Shivers, you guys. Shivers – and I thought to myself “Matthew Goode, you are great looking.” Which lead me to downloading a bunch of movies he’s in.

I started with Brideshead Revisited (which also stars Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell) and spent a long evening (2 hours and 10 minutes) with some fancy prose and subtle metaphors. And Matthew Goode’s beautiful face.

As someone who has never read the book nor seen the critically acclaimed miniseries from the 80s, I got what seems to be the least favored of all its incarnations. Which is not to say it isn’t good – it is. But everyone else raves about the other two. Oh, well.

It’s absolutely beautiful. The costumes are immaculate and scenery is…well, you’d have to be a real asshole to not want to travel in time to England in the 1920s. Aside from the lack of the modern amenities that we have now. Give me an English countryside in a big ass castle and some WiFi. Heaven, methinks.


I was hoping it would be sexier. There, I said it. I wanted some scandalous 1920s action and I just didn’t get it. It was very much a character-development heavy movie, a study of relationships, faith, family, and society. It certainly wasn’t a thrill.

A highlight was Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon – that’s Professor Trelawney and Professor Dumbledore – playing an estranged married couple. They kicked all the ass; class acts, those two!

It was definitely reminiscent of something like Atonement. Kind of split up in two parts – the first being intriguing and almost mysterious. The second part being devoted to basically every character becoming depressed, dying, dealing with inner demons (how’s that for some alliteration?) So, a bit of a long, drawn-out downer but kind of lovely.

This has been a real bullshit review.

*** stars (solid acting, lovely to watch, kept me interested. Not a lot of rewatch qualities. Except to check out Matthew Goode’s aaaaaass)

Stoker (2013)

[note: taking a break from posting heist movie reviews for a hot minute. Fear not, they’ll be in just a few days!]

I decided to treat myself last night and saw not one but two movies. This is mostly because it was $4 Tuesday at the lovely Athena Cinema and I am a cheapskate. No, I’m just frugal. I have an eye for deals. There, that’s better. I saw Stoker and Side Effects. Let’s start with Stoker.

So, this movie was written by the lead actor in the FOX TV show, Prison Break. I’ll be honest – I’m impressed. A hot guy who can act and write a good movie? Why is there not an abundance of these creatures?

I thought the movie was really good. I did not know where the story was going the entire time – it seemed like it might be about vampires or maybe about incest or murderers or…it could have been about a lot of things. And it was handled so god damn well, so cleverly. There was an air of the supernatural throughout the entire movie despite not really being a supernatural movie at all.

Matthew Goode, playing Uncle Charlie Stoker. I was unsure whether I should be highly attracted to him or highly disturbed. As it turns out, I experienced both sensations in the 90-minute span of the movie. He managed to be lovely and cute and charming one minute and “what’s wrong with his eyes and why is he smiling at me like that” creepy the next. Props on that shit.

Mia Wasikowska. Well, she was not too shabby. Not blown away but I didn’t hate that. And Nicole Kidman, well I liked her in it. I liked her in it just fine.

And the score? C’mon son! It was Clint Mansell, in what world would that score not rock the entire world? I love him. In case you’re not familiar, you actually are. You know that goddamn song that’s in every trailer and every fanmade video and anything dramatic, “Lux Aeterna“? Oh, you know it. Well, despite it being overused, he’s an incredible musician.

Also, a music highlight was “Summer Wine” by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. It was beautiful and the timing and the loudness! Oh boy, I’m like a kid in a candy shoppe!

And for anyone who’s a Korean film fan, this movie was directed by Chan-wook Park, same guy who directed Oldboy (which I geeked out over pretty hard somewhat recently). There were some really beautiful shots (a fair number of lengthy single shots that I quite enjoyed). That man certainly knows how to make you feel tense and curious and horrified at the same time.

I was really into this movie. It had twists, it kept me guessing, the acting was pretty top-notch, I got to see Dermott Mulroney for a few minutes, I was irked, I was fascinated. All of these things. Check it out.

***** stars