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This issue's contentsSelected FeatureBuy It

Feature: Fantastic February Films

The biggest movie month ever!

Fantastic February Foursome: Ocean's 11, Monsters Inc., Gosford Park & A Beautiful Mind

It’s Fantastic February, as many of those Oscar qualifiers finally make it to the UK's shores! But is there cause for celebration, or condemnation? Place bet now! Or get a flavour of what our top team of critics think, right here

THRILLER Ocean’s 11
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts team up to knock off a succession of Vegas casinos. Don’t they think that people will recognize them?
5 Stars!USA 2001 • 1hr 56min

"While the mechanics of the plot are superbly orchestrated, it’s the interaction between Clooney and his various cohorts that’s so entertaining. The script is rife with great dialogue, but the lines speak for themselves and are never played for laughs. It is to Soderbergh’s credit that his faith in the screenplay allows him to rein in his actors’ performances to a pool of poker-faced bonhomie. As the celebrity linchpin, Clooney is truly superb. Jettisoning his mannerisms of yore, the actor delivers his lines with a restraint bordering on refrigeration."
Read Ocean’s 11 Film Bytes here

COMEDY Monsters, Inc
CGI spectacular in which the monsters under the bed are collecting kids’ screams for their energy supply – but actually live in fear of the children themselves…
5 Stars!USA 2001 • 1hr 35mins

"Just when Shrek seemed a shoo-in for the first Oscar for Best Animated Feature, along comes a film that is every bit as inventive, funny, surprising and technically awe-inspiring. As the war between Disney and DreamWorks gathers momentum, so the artistic artillery is becoming increasingly sophisticated. While this may give the executives of both companies a few sleepless nights, it supplies film-goers with manna from Tinseltown while also providing some fascinating speculation regarding the similarity of the rival studios’ output."
Read Monsters, Inc Film Bytes here

THRILLER Gosford Park
A return to form for ensemble cast director Robert Altman with a fresh take on the English country house murder. The host of an upper class shooting party is, er, shot.
5 Stars!UK/USA/Germany 2001 • 2hrs 17mins

"An elaborately staged, hugely entertaining and biting social satire that marries Upstairs Downstairs with Agatha Christie murder mysteries to stunning effect. Featuring what surely must be the starriest cast ever assembled for one single movie – blink and you may miss some heavyweight from the British acting community – Altman’s deliciously cut-crystal commentary on class, gender, Anglo-American relationships and taboo trysts finds the director on brilliant form as he ironically dissects the high society mores of Thirties England."

DRAMA A Beautiful Mind
The line between genius and illness is crossed in this biography of the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr, starring Russell Crowe
4 StarsUSA 2001 • 2hr 15min

"With Crowe on a run of muscular performances in A-list roles he seems certain to get his third successive Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the visionary mathematician. Although based on fact, the film is not a slavish adherent to the truth. As films always have, it uses the detail of that story and embellishes it where necessary to spin a more dramatic, cinematic yarn. Yet A Beautiful Mind is not the multiplex filler that some might be expecting, nor is it dusty arthouse fare. It lies somewhere in between, a serious film to be admired, appreciated and enjoyed, in that order."
Read A Beautiful Mind Film Bytes here

Reviewers: James Cameron-Wilson (1 & 2)

Alan Jones (3), Anwar Brett (4)

 Get the full reviews, plus all the other February releases, incuding Ali, From Hell, Training Day, Charlotte Gray and more, when you buy
Film Review (March 2002).

Images © Warner Bros, Buena Vista, Entertainment, UIP
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Film Review Feb 2002, see below for ordering options
Film Review #615
March 2002
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