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Red Riding Hood Review


OK
Just nutty enough to be entertaining, this fairy tale would have benefitted from a more arch, energetic approach. It feels like a mopey medieval Twilight flashback livened up by the odd bit of overacting.

In a village on the edge of a dark forest, Valerie (Seyfried) lives with her loving parents (Burke and Madsen), who have arranged her marriage to the cute, soulful and wealthy blacksmith Henry (Irons). But Valerie's in love with the swarthy, soulful and poor woodcutter Peter (Fernandez). Valerie's big-eyed grandmother (Christie) offers a listening ear. But the village's strained relationship with a local werewolf flares into violence at the arrival of both a blood-red moon and the fanatical werewolf-hunter Solomon (Oldman). Could the werewolf be one of the villagers?

Continue reading: Red Riding Hood Review

New York, I Love You Review


Very Good
There are 11 captivating short films in this anthology, the second in the Cities of Love series by producers Benbihy and Grasic. But this collection isn't quite as varied or engaging as Paris Je T'Aime.

All of these stories take place in Manhattan, with only one or two brief forays into other boroughs, and they all centre around relatively well-off people, mainly white or Asian. They're also quite serious and emotional, with only brief moments of humour dotted here and there, although some make us smile more than others. Each is about a male-female relationship--marriages, brief encounters, possibilities, life-long companionship. Most have a somewhat gimmicky twist, and a few are intriguingly oblique.

Continue reading: New York, I Love You Review

Red Riding Hood Trailer


Valerie is a young woman who lives in a village that has been haunted by a terrible curse, a werewolf lives in the surrounding woods and although the villagers have managed to keep his killing at bay -by providing an animal sacrifice each month- they still live with a thought of terror knowing that the wolf might once again kill a human.

Continue: Red Riding Hood Trailer

Julie Christie - Sunday 10th February 2008 at Grosvenor House London, England

Julie Christie
Julie Christie and Grosvenor House
Julie Christie and Grosvenor House
Julie Christie and Grosvenor House

Julie Christie - Sunday 10th February 2008 at British Academy Film Awards 2008 London, England

Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie and British Academy Film Awards 2008

Julie Christie - Friday 8th February 2008 at Grosvenor House London, England

Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Julie Christie Monday 4th February 2008 AARP The Magazine's Seventh Annual Movies for Grownups Awards at the Hotel Bel-Air - Arrivals Los Angeles, California

Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Julie Christie - Sunday 27th January 2008 at Screen Actors Guild Los Angeles, California

Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Julie Christie - Friday 25th January 2008 at Santa Barbara International Film Festival Santa Barbara, CA

Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Julie Christie - Friday 25th January 2008 at Santa Barbara International Film Festival Santa Barbara, California

Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Julie Christie Tuesday 15th January 2008 2008 National Board of Review Awards at Cipriani - Outside Arrivals New York City, USA

Julie Christie

Julie Christie Tuesday 15th January 2008 2008 National Board of Review Awards at Cipriani - Inside Arrivals New York City, USA

Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie
Julie Christie

Away From Her Review


Good
The act of being forgotten becomes pop-Bergman fair in Sarah Polley's Away from Her. If Polley's name rings a few bells, its because she was a rather prominent ingénue of independent cinema in the early '00s, her range swinging from Doug Liman's rollicking Go to Atom Egoyan's solemn, sublime The Sweet Hereafter. Here, director Egoyan serves as executive producer and gives the floor to Polley as she translates Alice Munro's short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" to the screen.

Fiona (Julie Christie) has begun to lose her memory as an effect of Alzheimer's. Grant (Gordon Pinsent), her husband, can only sigh heavily as he watches her slip away; at one point, she puts a frying pan in the freezer. Begrudgingly, Grant signs Fiona into a home for people with Alzheimer's and other diseases incurred through aging. There's a catch: He can't see her for a month, allowing her to settle in without any debilitations. He returns to find Fiona's memory thickly veiled, only remembering him as a figure without nuance. It also happens that Fiona has become cozy with a catatonic, wheelchair-bound man named Aubrey (Michael Murphy). While attempting to get his wife to remember him, Grant makes time to visit with Aubrey's wife Marian (a fantastic Olympia Dukakis) to see what her side is like.

Continue reading: Away From Her Review

The Secret Life Of Words Review


Weak

The electro-jazz two-step that plays as the credits roll over the beginning of Isabel Coixet's The Secret Life of Words is terribly misleading, as is most of the music that is used in the film: David Byrne, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Portuguese pop. The only song that fits in fact, besides the small bursts of wind instruments and opera, is Antony and the Johnson's harrowing "Hope There's Someone," a song so morose, moody, and beautiful that when it's used, my attention strained more to it than of Coixet's images. There's a reason for that.

Josef (Tim Robbins) lies on a bed, blinded and scarred by a fire that killed his best friend on the oil rig they both worked on. Hanna (Sarah Polley), on forced vacation from her warehouse work employer, quickly takes a temporary position as his nurse, doing anything to stay in some sort of routine. She starts out isolated and completely silent but she soon befriends the men on the oil rig while tending to the charming but haunted Josef. She talks about food and jokes with Simon the chef (Javier Cámara) and talks about waves and the sea with the nervy Martin (Daniel Mays). However, she doesn't really reveal herself to anyone but Josef, and most of the film is made up of conversations between them. When it becomes obvious that Josef needs more serious work, Hanna spends a last night with him, telling him about why she is so reserved and regulated. Josef gets better and attempts to reconnect with Hanna through her counselor (Julie Christie) and sees if they might have something real between them.

Continue reading: The Secret Life Of Words Review

The Secret Life Of Words Review


Weak
The electro-jazz two-step that plays as the credits roll over the beginning of Isabel Coixet's The Secret Life of Words is terribly misleading, as is most of the music that is used in the film: David Byrne, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Portuguese pop. The only song that fits in fact, besides the small bursts of wind instruments and opera, is Antony and the Johnson's harrowing "Hope There's Someone," a song so morose, moody, and beautiful that when it's used, my attention strained more to it than of Coixet's images. There's a reason for that.

Josef (Tim Robbins) lies on a bed, blinded and scarred by a fire that killed his best friend on the oil rig they both worked on. Hanna (Sarah Polley), on forced vacation from her warehouse work employer, quickly takes a temporary position as his nurse, doing anything to stay in some sort of routine. She starts out isolated and completely silent but she soon befriends the men on the oil rig while tending to the charming but haunted Josef. She talks about food and jokes with Simon the chef (Javier Cámara) and talks about waves and the sea with the nervy Martin (Daniel Mays). However, she doesn't really reveal herself to anyone but Josef, and most of the film is made up of conversations between them. When it becomes obvious that Josef needs more serious work, Hanna spends a last night with him, telling him about why she is so reserved and regulated. Josef gets better and attempts to reconnect with Hanna through her counselor (Julie Christie) and sees if they might have something real between them.

Continue reading: The Secret Life Of Words Review

McCabe & Mrs. Miller Review


Very Good
Robert Altman's only Western takes a long time to get heated up, but in its final hour it truly burns. As John McCabe, Warren Beatty is terrific as a hustler who's built a reputation for himself as a gunslinging tough guy, though secretly he's really a coward who's never killed anyone. After opening a smash-hit brothel in a wintry village, a big cartel swoops in to buy him out. He refuses, and a price is quickly put upon his head.

Continue reading: McCabe & Mrs. Miller Review

Dragonheart Review


OK
It's going to be a long summer, at this rate.

Trying as hard as possible to be Braveheart with a dragon (hell, look at the title!), Dragonheart is a pretty dismal affair, punctuated by a couple of good performances, a show-stealing computer-generated dragon (with a heart of gold), and a really, really hackneyed story line.

Continue reading: Dragonheart Review

Don't Look Now Review


Excellent
This extremely creepy mystery from the early 1970s makes your skin crawl with its look into the aftermath of the death of a couple's daughter. Set in the winter of Venice, the fog, darkness, and solitude are apt metaphors for the mindsets of Christie and Sutherland, both of whom shine in this underseen pic. Of note is the early-on love scene, reputedly so steamy because the two stars got so carried away they actually did the deed.

Sex scene aside, Don't Look Now recalls recent fare as diverse as The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, and Frantic -- with Christie communing with two elderly psychics and Sutherland haunted by visions of his dead daughter's red raincoat. Sutherland and Christie are phenomenal, leaving the Roegian metaphysical mumbo jumbo in their wake as they show us how some real acting gets done.

Continue reading: Don't Look Now Review

Demon Seed Review


OK
All good movies demand a cheap knockoff, but Demon Seed rips off so many films so blatantly it's hard to actually identify them all.

At the core, Demon Seed is a ripoff of Rosemary's Baby and Colossus: The Forbin Project. We've got a baby. We've got a computer. OK, we've got a baby whose dad is a computer.

Continue reading: Demon Seed Review

Shampoo Review


Good
Not to be confused with Hairspray, Shampoo is hardly a riot, but Warren Beatty's send-up of the sex comedy is worth a peek. The gag is that Beatty plays a Los Angeles hairdresser trying to manage his many, many women while attempting to raise funds to start his own salon. Oh, and it's 1968, on the even of Nixon's election as president, as the country made its sea change from permissiveness to, well, to whatever it was that Nixon stood for. (Adding insult to injury, the film came out right after Watergate.) Understandably, Shampoo is pretty hopeless in its datedness now. The jokes and characters are archetypes of America's most ridiculous era, which makes Shampoo serve better as a historical record than a timeless comedy.

Doctor Zhivago Review


Essential
For some people, David Lean's name is synonymous with over-direction, but in Doctor Zhivago, as in Lawrence of Arabia, Lean had a theme and canvas to match his epic style. Boris Pasternak's novel was one of the best novels of the 20th century, and probably the best anti-communist novel ever written. The book is not a political novel so much as a romance -- but the doomed romance of Zhivago and Lara is a damning comment on an ideology and regime that robbed its people of their private lives and passions.

In Lean's hands, the book is transformed into a sprawling epic and a lot of the subtlety is removed -- but despite all the lurid images and overdramatic camera work, the result is not as overwrought as one might have expected. After all, Russia is a big place, and communism is a big subject. Fortunately, the screenwriters of yesterday were not as heavy-handed as today's, and often the dialogue is nearly as rich as the costumes and settings.

Continue reading: Doctor Zhivago Review

Finding Neverland Review


Essential
The magic of Peter Pan is that it's never the same adventure twice. Of course, the story will always have a Tinkerbelle, a Captain Hook, and a few flying children. But what has made this beloved fairy tale endure for years cannot be found on the written page -- rather, it's firmly rooted in the creative imaginations of the innocent children who make the story come to life.

Finding Neverland is just as magical as the story that inspired it. Not only does it perfectly encapsulate James Barrie's crowning literary achievement, it reverberates in full vivid detail the extraordinary mind of this gifted playwright. This enchanting film, with its affecting sweetness delivered by a flawless cast, is destined to become a classic.

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A Decade Under The Influence Review


Weak
A lot of myths surround American cinema in the 1970s: That it was a product of the drug culture, that film's been in decline since then, that Easy Rider is in any way a good movie. All points worth arguing, and it makes sense that the late director Ted Demme would want to pursue the matter. His film Blow was a love letter to '70s film, and showcased all of the wonderful things about the era (the open-mindedness, the need to experiment), as well as its flaws (willful overindulgence). A Decade Under the Influence is another love letter, and it has its problems. In its overenthusiastic urge to put '70s film icons on pedestals, it winds up ignoring the fact that the young turks of the '70s played a major role in destroying the film revolution they engineered.

Yet, for the most part, Decade is a hoot for film lovers, showing legendary posters and key scenes from classics like Klute, Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde, The Last Picture Show, Annie Hall, and scads of others. That underscores the brilliance of performances by Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, and Jon Voight, but the heart of the film are its interviews with the holy gods of '70s cinema: Martin Scorcese, Robert Altman, Dennis Hopper, Sydney Lumet, and over a dozen others. Sydney Pollack comes across as the wisest and most engaging of the interviewees. Early on, he points out how distant young directors felt from the stories they'd see in Hollywood blockbusters produced by the studios, which Schrader calls a "decaying empty whorehouse." Maybe Easy Rider was an awful movie - which it is - but it had a lot more to say to young America than Cleopatra and Hello Dolly.

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Heaven Can Wait (1978) Review


Very Good
How's this for high-concept: Star football player is accidentally swiped by angels before he's supposed to die, then is inserted into the body of a bazillionaire. Football player then launches the rich guy into a crusade for worldly good and, along the way, trains to become a football star. In the hands of anyone but Warren Beatty, this might really stink (see our review of the 1943 original), but the old scoundrel infuses the hero with such earnest and wide-eyed spirit that it's hard not to like. Julie Christie is badly miscast as the love interest, but it's Charles Grodin who steals the show in a smarmy role.

Billy Liar Review


Very Good
Billy Fisher isn't even an undertaker -- he's an undertaker's assistant. Against this pathetic profession he finds himself so bored silly that he daydreams constantly of a land where he's a military hero and ruler, and the two meet at random throughout the film. More and more, Billy dreams of escaping his horrible life, planning to run off to London with girlfriend Liz (Julie Christie). But can he do it? Billy Liar is on the repetitive side, but John Schlesinger's imagination in interpreting the source material makes it worthwhile. The ending remains one of cinema's great mysteries -- not in what happens on screen, but why it happens. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Troy Review


OK

For moviegoers anxious to see Brat Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana oiled up and sweaty in various states of undress, Hollywood's handsome, aggrandized, $200-million-plus swords-and-sandals epic "Troy" has a lot to offer -- a whole lot to offer.

For those seeking a "Gladiator"-style, thinking-person's summer action movie, the film is on shakier ground -- and for folks more interested in watching the Trojan War of Homer's "Iliad" brought to life, brace yourselves for disappointment.

Screenwriter David Benioff ("25th Hour") takes many, many liberties with his source material, some of which are creative and shrewd, like using the mistaken-identity battlefield death of Achilles' look-alike cousin to imply how legends of the warrior's immortality spread in this version of the story which is devoid of gods, demigods and such mythology.

Continue reading: Troy Review

Finding Neverland Review


Good

A colorful but melancholy whimsy burns at the heart of "Finding Neverland," and it is perfectly personified by Johnny Depp in another irreproachable, unconventional performance as playwright J.M. Barrie, creator of "Peter Pan."

In every scene, Depp gives the subtle but unmistakable impression of a man who, given his druthers, would chose to live in his imagination rather than in the real world. It's not that he's leading a miserable life -- although his theatrical career and his marriage have both hit a rough patch. It's just that the Barrie of this fantasy-tinged biopic has misplaced his sense of wonder until, battling writer's block during a day in the park, he meets the Sylvia Llewelyn Davies family, a pretty widow (Kate Winslet) and her four young sons who inspire his platonic adoration, his inner child and his legendary departure from stiff theatrical convention.

Although the story, adapted from a play by Allan Knee, feels indulgent and oversimplified at times -- especially when it comes to the many fanciful (and wonderfully staged) illustrations of Barrie's "Peter Pan" plot ideas that spring from playing with the Davies boys -- "Neverland" makes up for any shortcomings with intricate, intimate performances from its exceptional cast.

Continue reading: Finding Neverland Review

No Such Thing Review


Weak

On a cutting room floor somewhere lie 15 to 20 minutes of footage that might have made the metaphorical monster movie "No Such Thing" a trenchant, ironic cultural satire instead of a frustrating misfire.

It's a caustic, deadpan, beauty-and-the-beast comedy that takes wide swipes at Western civilization's social ills and the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of media-induced modern cynicism -- and does it well up to a point. But just as the story hits its stride, writer-director Hal Hartley ("Flirt," "Henry Fool") fast-forwards through what should be the film's heart.

Innocently intellectual Sarah Polley ("Go," "eXistenZ") stars as Beatrice, a guileless gopher for a cold-hearted TV news producer (a whimsically savage Helen Mirren) who begs and pleads for her big chance to become a reporter by following up on the disappearance of a network news crew in Iceland that included her cameraman fiancé.

Continue reading: No Such Thing Review

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Julie Christie Movies

The Company You Keep Trailer

The Company You Keep Trailer

Ben Shepard is a young and ambitious reporter determined to make a name for himself...

Red Riding Hood Movie Review

Red Riding Hood Movie Review

Just nutty enough to be entertaining, this fairy tale would have benefitted from a more...

New York, I Love You Movie Review

New York, I Love You Movie Review

There are 11 captivating short films in this anthology, the second in the Cities of...

Red Riding Hood Trailer

Red Riding Hood Trailer

Valerie is a young woman who lives in a village that has been haunted by...

Glorious 39 Movie Review

Glorious 39 Movie Review

Telling a story from a rarely examined period of British history, this pre-war drama is...

Away From Her Movie Review

Away From Her Movie Review

The act of being forgotten becomes pop-Bergman fair in Sarah Polley's Away from Her. If...

Don't Look Now Movie Review

Don't Look Now Movie Review

This extremely creepy mystery from the early 1970s makes your skin crawl with its look...

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