Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Every day, I am shocked by the cynicism and negative energy that surrounds my every day life. College friends and church youth groups didn't prepare me for the lasting anger and sarcasm that I face at work, in the car, or when surrounded by crazed holiday shoppers. Often, optimism, cheeriness and an overall positive attitude is labled "naive" or "gullible." Isn't that sad? Pollyanna and her 'glad game' would have freakin' roasted in this kind of environment. And with that, I belive that excitement for the modern day fairy tale is dead. Happy, feel good movies about love are labled "chick flicks." Romance films, cheesy. So what luck does a movie like Penelope have against a skeptic majority?
Magical and lovely, Penelope (Christina Ricci) is a girl born with a cursed nose. The only way to break the spell is if "one of her own," a blue blood like herself, accepts her as she is. So, when she turned 18, her family began the search for a suitor to fall in love and marry her. When man after man is appalled by her appearance, she loses all hope on love. Penelope becomes an unbeliever, yet she is unaware that her insight and charm inspire, especially the scruffy, yet handsome, Max Campion (James McAvoy).

Produced by Reese Witherspoon, Penelope is vividly colored, sweet, and bold. Though I'm often turned off by Christina Ricci's whiny voice and distracting forehead, she blossoms in this role as a snout-nosed, yet charming, socialite. Her chemistry with on screen hotty, James McAvoy, is swoon worthy, though I'm almost positive that McAvoy could have on-screen chemistry with even a cold potatoe. I also must say that The Nose grew on me. As the film wore on, I became quite fond of The Nose. The make up artists did a good job keeping Ricci's pleasant features and making The Nose cute but ugly all the same.

Penelope is magical, optomistic and delicate, and it crosses genre boundaries that enable it to reach larger audiences; however these larger audiences aren't watching.

Lacking anything distinguishing except for maybe its whimsical cinematography and, of course, The Nose, Penelope doesn't have an audience. So, it attempts to entertain the female watchers and no one else. The curse idea is too weird for general viewers to accept, and it's main theme of social acceptance is overshadowed by the romance (purposely, I'm sure), which marks this movie eternally as a chick flick. Character-titled, Penelope is about the girl, not the love story, but the filmmakers worked the love angle a little too much and unique Penelope lost to the stability of a romance plot line; all because the modern day fairy tale is dead. It could have been so good.

I like Penelope, but it lacks the cinematic openess to become something more than a TBS "Movies and a Make-Over" flick. Look for it there in 2010.

Similar movies that I would also recommend: Edward Sissorhands and Princess Bride.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:28 PM 1 comments  

Fools Gold

Friday, November 21, 2008



Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:17 PM 1 comments  


Friday, November 14, 2008


By the age of 10, Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, Steven Siegal, and Arnold frequented my living room television set on a regular basis. The MPAA film rating system didn't really mean much to my parents. I'm not sure why, but I turned ok - I think. But for my parents, when it comes to big knives, big guns, big explosions, and testosterone packed, big muscled action, Rambo is usually the only answer. With my parents, I've watched Rambo hung by his arms and dipped into a murky pool filled with leeches; I've watched him struggle with a civilian lifestyle, and now, after the character's self-titled return, I've watched how plastic surgery can turn even Rambo, into a transvestite.

Still haunted by his own deamons, Rambo lives in the rural, polically unstable region of Thailand where he makes a living by driving a boat up and down river. A self-imposed social outcast, Rambo is asked by a group of humanitarians to be ferried through dangerous Burma territory so they can help a terrorized villiage who needs their medical attention. On their mission, they are, of course, captured by corrupt, militant agressors, and a squad of paid militia are sent to rescue them. Then, the militia get their butts kicked. So who comes to save them? You go it - Rambo.

Even though this movie has everything against it (aging hero, lack of creativity, corny plot), I couldn't help but enjoy sitting through it. There are some ridculously over-the-top dismemberment scenes with equally over-the-top computer generated blood; there is a strange protective energy that seems to draw Rambo to a young blonde woman, and it doesn't quite make too much sense (Is it sexual tension? Is it paternal?); And there is the strange ending where he's seen walking toward his parent's ranch home in Arizona. Somehow, I don't think a 60-year-old man going to get the same homecoming as a 20-year-old boy. Yet, despite all that, it was fun as hell to watch.

Totally entertaining with shooting scenes galore, Rambo survives the battle between the film industry's greed verses the film's creative intention. As a character, Rambo is kept true to his original form, at least so far - apparently there's going to be a Rambo V. We'll see if Rambo can survive the war too.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:29 PM 0 comments