Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New: DVD Spotlight

One new feature of my revised website is a weekly "Spotlight Review" of a film on DVD, where I showcase a full review of a film available on DVD. These choices may be selected for their topical relevance to recent news, or because I've recently revisited the film, or because the filmmakers or actors have another film in current release, or simply because I feel like sharing some love (or venting some opprobrium). Last week, I linked to my review of The Devil Wears Prada, since it was the last DVD review I composed before the site entered its winter hibernation; I also couldn't help stumping for Silkwood, to showcase the difference between good Meryl and great Meryl. Now, in its second week, the Spotlight shines, if that's quite the right word, on Freedom Writers, a good-hearted but gummy-headed 2007 release starring an eager but awkward Hilary Swank. Freedom Writers bows this week on DVD.

Photo © 2007 Paramount Pictures/MTV Films

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Blogger Y Kant Goran Rite said...

For me Devil Wears Prada and Silkwood showcase the difference between adequate Meryl and itchy-looking Meryl.

Occasionally she can be quite good, yes - as in French Lieutenant's Woman, or even a mediocre thing like Madison County. But overall, I find her awfully mannered. Her reputation continues to baffle me.

And frustrate me! I feel like I'm missing out on a diva worth worshipping. And every time I try to see the greatness in her, even try and project it, push it a little... She just gives me nothing to work with, goddamn her!

10:17 AM, April 21, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Goran: This message is hilarious to me, because one of the few Streep performances that I just can't get behind is the one in The French Lieutenant's Woman, which I just re-screened a couple of weeks ago. She seems so stuck playing a certain notion of the Gothic feminine rather than a credible person (though, given the script, it's hard to fault her for this), and, to me, she winds up seeming hazy and drab. You'll get no argument from me about her superior work in The Bridges of Madison County, except that I also think the film is outstanding.

I agree that she's mannered, but often (for me) in a way that broadens or challenges a surface "read" on the character, rather than playing right toward the obvious. And in Silkwood, I think she's at her least mannered, though she never stops throwing in grace notes and human accents into her presentation of the part. Probably we're just saying the same thing in different words, and motivated by different tastes.

6:08 PM, April 21, 2007  

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