Under The Tuscan Sun

Name: Under The Tuscan Sun
Year: 2003
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 113
Description: After Frances’s seemingly happy San Francisco marriage ends abruptly, she goes into a funk. Urged by her friends to move on, she joins a bus tour of Tuscany where, on the spur of the moment, she buys a crumbling villa. She assembles a crew of oddballs and immigrants to repair the house; over the next year, as they work, she welcomes one of her San Francisco friends who’s pregnant and at loose ends, and she seeks love, first (tenuously) with her married real estate agent, then with a charming stranger. Although life gets in the way of love, Frances’s wishes come true in unexpected ways, and there’s always the Tuscan sun.
Stars: Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Mostly good, I suppose, though there was just a tiny little bit too much romance in it (epsecially those two annoying teenagers). This was my second Diane Lane film in two weeks and I must say I really like her. She wasn’t always equally convincing when she was crying, but the good performances made up for the bad one.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the score, had no idea Christophe Beck could write romantic music like that. The only score I knew him from — All About Steve — was rather dull.

Mona Lisa Smile

Name: Mona Lisa Smile
Year: 2003
Rating: NR – Not Rated
Running Time (minutes): 117
Description: Katherine Ann Watson has accepted a position teaching art history at the prestigious Wellesley College. Watson is a very modern woman, particularly for the 1950s, and has a passion not only for art but for her students. For the most part, the students all seem to be biding their time, waiting to find the right man to marry. The students are all very bright and Watson feels they are not reaching their potential. Altough a strong bond is formed between teacher and student, Watson’s views are incompatible with the dominant culture of the college.
Stars: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles
Genres: Drama, Romance

Liked the source music and a rather good score. So all men are bastards and all women want to be housewives?

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Name: The Lord Of The Rings 3: The Return Of The King
Year: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 201
Description: While Frodo & Sam continue to approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, unaware of the path Gollum is leading them, the former Fellowship aid Rohan & Gondor in a great battle in the Pelennor Fields, Minas Tirith and the Black Gates as Sauron wages his last war against Middle-Earth.
2003 Oscar Best Picture Winner
Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and Ian McKellen
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

Some random thoughts:
1. Is it my imagination, or was this score horribly mistreated in the film? It all felt so raw and chopped up. Especially the first half of the film contains too many unscored scenes.
2. Why does Shore always start distorting/changing/getting very creative with his themes after having done the exact opposite with them during the previous entry? For instance, Rohan receives excellent variations throughout this entire score, but not in The Two Towers. The score is still my least favourite, though there are still plenty of moments filled with Middle Earth greatness (yeah, you take that, Desolation of Smaug and Battle of the Five Armies) and satisfying thematic continuity and conclusions (also take that, The Hobbit), though I still want more Nazgul choir à la Fellowship of the Ring, no matter all Doug Adams’ explanations for its absence. Oh, and if you’re looking for a nice moment to stop the film and take a little break, do it just before the epic Ringwraiths choir kicks in during the Siege of Gondor. Works splendidly.
3. Why are Frodo and Bilbo leaving the Shire? Are they going to some sort of paradise or is it supposed to be a euphemism for suicide/dying or… what is it?
4. Wen are we getting a sequel about Sam and Rosie’s children?
5. And is it me, or do the Mordor armies chant ‘Azog!’ at one point?
6. I really like the ‘long has he foreseen this doom’ guy in Gondor and loved Gollum as he finally acquired the Ring.
7. Shelob’s sound effects are masterful and Pippin is annoying when he shouts/screams.
8. Talking about shouting, why haven’t I turned off Annie Lennox’s song yet?
9. Aragorn’s voice still irritates me a bit as well and he has severe problems pronouncing ‘Mordor’ and ‘Isildur’s’.
10. And a very special thank you to Legolas for explaining what a diversion is. What a dumb moment. I mean, what was the point, to teach the populace the meaning of the word ‘diversion’ or to explain them one final time what the plan was to make sure they got it?

The overall volume and surround sound was really extraordinary this time, even scary at times. At other times, there was still a ridiculous focus on the choir, while at other moments you could hardly hear the music at all and the track had some distortion again. Other than that a great film.

 

Bruce Almighty

Name: Bruce Almighty
Year: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 101
Description: Bruce Nolan, a television reporter in Buffalo, N.Y., is discontented with almost everything in life despite his popularity and the love of his girlfriend Grace . At the end of the worst day of his life, Bruce angrily ridicules and rages against God and God responds. God appears in human form and, endowing Bruce with divine powers, challenges Bruce to take on the big job to see if he can do it any better.
Stars: Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

I still don’t get why people find Jim Carrey such a great actor, but I suppose that me missing his face-pulling talents is partly to blame for my ignorance. Morgan Freeman playing God, on the other hand, is so great, but then again he’s always great. Next time I’ll pray to him, makes things so much more amusing. Composer John Debney amazed me yet again. I absolutely love these kinds of scores, no clear themes but extremely diverse instrumentally and always something going on. Never thought he had it in him (I only knew his Iron Man 2 score until recently).

Anger Management

Name: Anger Management
Year: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 106
Description: Mild-mannered timid businessman Dave Buznik who works for a pet clothing company out of New York City. He’s got an abrasive boss named Mr. Frank Head who frequently takes credit for his work and steps on him in return. He’s got a loving girlfriend, Linda, whose best friend is her condescending college ex, Andrew. But when a misunderstanding aboard an airplane goes haywire, Dave is ordered by the court to undergo anger management therapy at the hands of specialist Dr. Buddy Rydell, who is an unpredictable, psychopathic character. As the relationship between Dave and Buddy becomes more tense, when the unorthodox treatment wreaks havoc Dave’s life, and Buddy might be the only one who can save him from a problem he recognizes right away in his patient, that could only get worse.
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler and Marisa Tomei
Genres: Comedy

Turned it off after 20 minutes. What a stupid film.

Monster

Name: Monster
Year: 2003
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 109
Description: Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.
Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern
Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama
2003 Oscar Winner
2003 Oscar Best Actress: Charlize Theron

Jesus, this has been a bad film weekend! I turned it off because I neither liked the main character nor the actress playing her or the story.