Tag Archives: Embeth Davidtz

Throwback Thursday-Bicentennial Man (1999)

Science fiction has an eerie way of predicting the future.

The 1999 film, Bicentennial Man, based on the 1976 book by Isaac Asimov is about a robot who over time, changes from machine to man.

Andrew Martin ( the late Robin Williams) is purchased to be the home robot of the Martin family. He watches as the family grows and changes. He is especially close to the youngest daughter,  Amanda Martin (Embeth Davidtz), whom he refers as Little Miss. Andrew is no ordinary robot. While he is entirely machine, his emotions and reactions are closer to that of a human being.  When a scientist, Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt) offers to completely change Andrew into a human being,  Andrew jumps at the chance.  But he will soon learn that being a human is not as black and white as it seems.

There are some actors that are unfortunately stuck in one genre. As much as they try, they are unable to step out of that genre and into another. Robin Willliams was not one of those actors. While this movie does have some of the manic, humorous moments that the audience expects from a Robin Williams film, there is dramatic tone underneath. The film asks the audience to ponder about what it is to be a human being and what happens when we take chances, even when we don’t know what the outcome will be.

I recommend it.

 

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Bridget Jones Diary: Book And Movie Review

Helen Fielding’s heroine in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones is an every woman. Bridget is on the wrong side of 30, single, smokes and drinks too much, flirts with her boss and is far from modelesque.

Published in 1996 and made into a movie in 2001, Bridget makes the rest of us feel better about our lives.

I’ve seen the movie several times over the past 13 years. I just finished the book.

I enjoyed the book, but as often happens when books are made into movies, changes are made to either characters or plot.  Pulling from Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, Fielding has written a very funny and realistic picture of what it is to be a modern single female adult.

The movie is extremely funny. Surprisingly, Renee Zellweger, an American actress,  fits in brilliantly with the English cast.  Whomever the casting director was for this movie, they must have had the Janeite community in mind. Colin Firth (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice 1995), Hugh Grant (Edward Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility 1995), Gemma Jones (Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility 1995), and Embeth Davidtz (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park 1999) were all perfectly cast.

While I recommend the book, the movie is that much better.

P.S.  I’m adding the fight scene, well,  just because Darcy never had the chance to properly clock Wickham in the face in Pride and Prejudice doesn’t mean he can’t do it in Bridget Jones Diary.

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday-Schindler’s List

Oskar Schindler  was many things. A womanizer, a sometimes less than honest business man and a Nazi. But he was still responsible for saving the lives of Jews who were headed to the crematorium of Auschwitz.

The 1993 Oscar winning movie, Schindler’s List, starring Liam Neeson in the title role is stark, black and white and unflinching. It dares the movie going audience to not look away, to see what unchecked prejudice, hatred and murder looks like.

If there was ever a Holocaust movie, this is it. I have seen many Holocaust movies, but this one consistently ranks at the top of the list. With an incredible supporting cast that includes Ben Kingsley (Itzhak Stern), Ralph Fiennes (Amon Goeth) and Embethz Davidtz (Helen Hirsch), this movie leaves a mark on the audience. Steven Spielberg, as the director, leaves no stone un-turned.

This movie should be required viewing, not just for school children, but for adults all over the world.

After the Holocaust, the phrase “Never Again” became a battle cry to remember the victims. “Never Again” has happened again. This movie is a reminder of what becomes of us when we let hatred and prejudice take over.

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Mansfield Park 2007 Vs. Mansfield Park 1999

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Mansfield Park and it’s heroine, Fanny Price has been debated time again since it’s initial publishing 2o0 years ago. It is also universally acknowledged that any film adaptation of this novel will bring about the same heated debate.

I have not seen the 1983 Mansfield Park, but from what I have heard, it is the best adaptation. But I have seen both the 1999 and 2007 adaptions and I hope to give each a fair shake, to determine which is the better adaptation.

1999 Movie

Cast: Frances O’Connor (Fanny), Johnny Lee Miller (Edmund), Sir Harold Pinter (Sir Thomas), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Crawford) and Alessandro Nivolo (Henry Crawford).

  • Pros: Director and screenwriter Patricia Rozema weaves throughout the film Fanny’s strength and innate sense of self, especially in the face of overwhelming odds against her. Rozema also inserts Austen’s experiences and early writings, revealing interesting facets of Fanny’s character.
  • Cons: The actors who were supposed to be playing the young people in the film were 30 ish and above. William, Fanny’s adored big brother, and The Crawford’s sister and brother in law are nowhere to be found.

2007 TV Movie

Cast: Billie Piper (Fanny), Blake Ritson (Edmund), Douglas Hodge (Sir Thomas), Hayley Atwell (Mary Crawford) and Joseph Beattie (Henry Crawford).

  • Pros: The actors playing the young people are all age appropriate, each approximately 25 ish, closer in age to their characters than their counterparts in the 1999 movie.  William is included in this adaption.
  • Cons: Billie Piper. She is a very good actress, but not suited for this part. Fanny in this adaptation is too much of a tomboy. The fact that the hair and makeup people did not take a few minutes to make sure that her hair color and eyebrows matched just boggles my mind. Nor did the costume department make sure that she had the appropriate bonnet and gloves while outside. What female in Regency England had naturally brown eyebrows and blonde hair? Fanny maybe the impoverished niece reliant on her uncle’s support, but even she would know what to wear when going outside. And once again the Crawford sister and brother in law are nowhere to be found.

In conclusion, the winner is….. the 1999 movie.

 

 

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