Becoming Jane

Name: Becoming Jane
Year: 2007
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 120
Description: The year is 1795 and young Jane Austen is a feisty 20-year-old and emerging writer who already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing what was then nearly unthinkable – marrying for love. Naturally, her parents are searching for a wealthy, well-appointed husband to assure their daughter’s future social standing. They are eyeing Mr. Wisley, nephew to the very formidable, not to mention very rich, local aristocrat Lady Gresham, as a prospective match. But when Jane meets the roguish and decidedly non-aristocratic Tom Lefroy, sparks soon fly along with the sharp repartee. His intellect and arrogance raise her ire – then knock her head over heels. Now, the couple, whose flirtation flies in the face of the sense and sensibility of the age, is faced with a terrible dilemma. If they attempt to marry, they will risk everything that matters – family, friends and fortune.
Stars: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy and Julie Walters
Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance

I especially liked the first half, but then gradually became tired of the endless, pained and strained romantic conversations filled with elevated language, not to mention the endless ‘I’ll marry him, I won’t marry him’ plotline. Anne Hathaway’s British accent was nearly perfect, but for me, the absolute highlight was Julie Walters’ angry outburst, although Maggie Smith was as good as ever too. Ultimately, I would have enjoyed it more had it been a bit shorter. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom: at least the subtitles taught me how some of Austen’s annoying and repetitive vocabulary can be translated to contemporary Dutch (pleasing, agreeable, etc.) That will help me perfect my own Pride and Prejudice translation.

There was something curious going on with the score. The composer was obviously inspired by scenes that required energetic and romantic music, but at times, he seemed a bit lost. In one of the first scenes, for example, he gets the general tone and mood of the music right, but it lacks enthusiasm. That problem persists during crucial moments of the story, like Jane kissing her lover. Most of the sad parts were handled well, but even these passages occasionally didn’t work for me. What I did like, however, was how the music was used in one particular ballroom scene: as Jane aimlessly wandered through the dancing crowd, the score could only be heard on one channel, but the moment she spotted her lover, the dance music suddenly became louder and was then spread over all the channels.

The audio description had one rather big problem: characters and locations weren’t properly described. Especially with a Jane Austen story, you really need to identify characters as soon as possible. Luckily, 90% of all the information was conveyed through the story, but still, it doesn’t make sense to mess up introductions and places like that, you have to explain who is with whom and where.

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The Heartbreak Kid

Name: The Heartbreak Kid
Year: 2007
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 116
Description: A newlywed man who believes he’s just gotten hitched to the perfect woman encounters another lady on his honeymoon.
Stars: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Malin Akerman
Genre: Comedy, Romance

It was pleasant enough in the beginning, if a little fast-paced, but then it became shallow and extremely unrealistic: you don’t marry a girl you’ve been seeing for eight weeks only to discover right after the ceremony that she is not the one, irritating, unemployed, too stupid to understand that jobs pay, that inhabitate and fishes are not words, that she never mentioned the fact her previous boyfriend mugged her during your first meeting, that she used to be on drugs, that she snores like hell, always sings when the radio is on,
is allergic to everything, wants to have sex around the clock, is bipolar, a know-it-all… (Yes, I made this list while watching the film and that was the most enjoyable part of the whole movie experience.) The subsequent banter with the second wife-to-be was cringe-worthy as well and if your wife was the biggest mistake of your life, lying to your second one about the fact that you’re still stuck with the first one isn’t really the best plan either. Some nice jokes were scattered throughout all this rubbish, though, mainly courtesy of… the Mexicans. Overall, though, it was all so bad that it really became insufferable, so I turned it off.

The music was better, though, but the score was as shallow as the story.

The audio description wasn’t that good either. British Sky Broadcasting didn’t really make too much of an effort for this one: very concise descriptions, some important things like a mugging were not described at all and, worst of all, the descriptions themselves tended to be rather repetitive. ‘Eddie and Lila kiss on a beach. Eddie and Lila kiss on the Golden Gate Bridge.’ The narrator also sounded quite bored, but who could blame her when she’s only got boring material to work with?

Ballet Shoes

Name: Ballet Shoes
Year: 2007
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 90
Description: Set in Thirties London, Ballet Shoes tells a tale of orphans Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil, who are adopted by an eccentric explorer, Gum, and raised as sisters by his selfless niece. The story revolves around each girl’s struggle to fulfill her dreams: Pauline longs to be an actress, Petrova yearns to be an aviator, and Posy seems born to be a ballerina. But when Gum disappears, the money runs out – and the girls have a fight on their hands. They struggle to balance personal ambition with the need to survive physically, emotionally, and financially.
Stars: Emma Watson, Yasmin Paige and Lucy Boynton
Genres: Drama, Family

Not bad, I suppose, though there’s definitely a feel-good element in it that I don’t really like. This was also the first time that I watched Emma Watson in something unrelated to Harry Potter and she was by far the best main actress and the most interesting character. I find Watson especially powerful whenever she needs to deliver emotional lines and it’s quite clear to me that Harry Potter didn’t let her blossom sufficiently.

I really didn’t like all the music and the score was utterly unmemorable and extremely short.

Fracture

Name: Fracture
Year: 2007
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 113
Description: Wealthy, brilliant, and meticulous Ted Crawford, a structural engineer in Los Angeles, shoots his wife and entraps her lover. He signs a confession; at the arraignment, he asserts his rights to represent himself and asks the court to move immediately to trial. The prosecutor is Willy Beachum, a hotshot who’s soon to join a fancy civil-law firm, told by everyone it’s an open and shut case. Crawford sees Beachum’s weakness, the hairline fracture of his character: Willy’s a winner. The engineer sets in motion a clockwork crime with all the objects moving in ways he predicts.
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling and David Strathairn
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Pretty great! Excellent story, effective though unmemorable score. And blimey, the audiodescriber had a glorious Oxford accent.

PS. I Love You

Name: PS. I Love You
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 126
Description: Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life – a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it’s a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and “celebrate herself”. In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly’s mother and best friends begin to worry that Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past…
Stars: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler and Harry Connick Jr
Genres: Drama, Romance

It’s amazing how a summary can seem to promising, but that you end up turning the film off after six minutes because its absurdity simply isn’t acceptable.