Wednesday, November 26, 2003
If you are looking for a movie to rent for this weekend, check out the German film "Mostly Martha." It's a gem. Martha is ia chef who is a perfectionist. Her boss insists that she go to therapy because she is driving everyone in the restaurant kitchen crazy. She lives all alone and when she cooks for herself, she cannot eat. When her sister dies and her young niece comes to live with her, she begins to see that no one can make it alone. This is a touching and funny story with a flavor of romance, love and beautiful food that can change you. Subtitles.
Alfred Molina plays Mr. Plots, a mortician who has been sweet on Betty (Brenda Blethyn) since they were very young. Betty's husband Robert is a jerk. There is a rival funeral service in the Welsh town headed by Christopher Walken (!). This is a "comedy" of errors where Plots and Betty plot her death so she can go ballroom dancing into the sunset together with the insurance money. A bit contrived but if it's the last film selection on an international flight, you might as well.
Russell Crowe is brilliant as the captain of a British war ship in 1805 following orders to sink or capture a French vessel. Napoleon is in the midst of conquoring the world. The French ship engages the British off the coast of Brazil and a gory (very gory) and ferocious battle ensues. Then Captain Jack (Crowe) goes after the French ship and does a kind of "Crazy Ivan" (remember The Hunt for Red October?). More battle scenes and then three weeks of repairs and off around Cape Horn they go looking for the French ship, which they find and subdue. Peter Weir is one of my favorite directors and he has made a good if not great film. It was just too long for me and very thin on character development - you wish you knew more back story for example. It was as if there was so much to tell Weir couldn't decide to go with story or style. There are themes of leadership and even nature and science and such. I can only imagine that the fans of Patrick O'Brian's novels will be enthralled. But not me.