Shakespeare In Love

Name: Shakespeare In Love
Year: 1998
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge, but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him, but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage, but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare’s works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon see through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex.
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes and Geoffrey Rush
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Shall I compare it to a summer’s day? A summer’s day would have been better.

My biggest problem with this film is the endless reciting of Shakespeare lines. I can certainly appreciate a Bard play, but only when I read it or listen to it. I need time to take in the words, time to appreciate the sentences and understand the metaphors. I don’t want to hear actors speeding through them so fast that I barely have time to work out what they’re actually saying to each other and it was also blatantly obvious that all these extracts only had one purpose: they were there to make the main characters love each other more and more and more. I also quickly became tired of the star-crossed lovers, who seemed to think that reading plays was as satisfying as making love (not my words). Not that the finale of Romeo and Juliet didn’t move me, but it would have been far more effective had they not wasted half of the running time spouting romantic nonsense. So now that I’ve got all that out of the way, Paltrow was a really nice surprise. The same can be said about Judi Dench: I really, really liked her in this film, but my goodness, she must have had the most historically inaccurate part in the entire movie.

Even though I’ve reached a point where I only want film music to be surprising and where am tired of hearing the same old things over and over, the limitless sadness and romance in this score really touched me. Especially the dance music was very effective. The final cue could have been better, though.

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A Perfect Murder

Name: A Perfect Murder
Year: 1998
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 107
Description: Millionaire industrialist Steven Taylor is a man who has everything, but what he craves most: the love and fidelity of his wife. A hugely successful player in the New York financial world, he considers her to be his most treasured acquisition. But she needs more than simply the role of dazzling accessory. Brilliant in her own right, she works at the U.N. and is involved with a struggling artist who fulfills her emotional needs. When her husband discovers her indiscretion, he sets out to commit the perfect murder and inherit her considerable trust fund in the bargain.
Stars: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen
Genres: Crime, Thriller

What a great film this was. Michael Douglas really sounded young in this one, or maybe I just misremembered his voice, or it might just have been the PAL speed-up. Not sure whether I’m happy with how things ended, but I’ll learn to live with that.

The score will probably not work very well on album, but boy, did it work in the movie! I literally sat on the edge of my chair during every cue (and there were a lot of them).

The audio description was good, except for one thing: because the describer was eager to stress a switch of identity, I could already predict another plot point afterwards, but in her defence, there was nothing else she could have done during the description of that plot point. (If this sounds stupid, my apologies, but I’m not giving anything away, it’s too good to be spoiled.) Just don’t overdo the explanatory stuff, I suppose.