Sunday, November 14, 2004


Since I no longer have a movie review gig (thank you, West End Word), I figured why not review the movies I see anyway and I don't have to let anyone read them if I don't want to. So...

"Alfie" remade, while not "Alfie" reborn, is worth a gander. It's safe to say that Jude Law is probably the only actor alive today who is so sexy while being such a dandy. He is imminently watchable in all things, the movie's success is dependent upon him. That being said, he's got a lot to do. The movie is something of a roller coaster and it's somewhat disingenuous: when we first meet Alfie, he's a pretender to a playboy's throne but he's happy and glib. Then out of nowhere, a health scare, and he's down and out. Then he's up again. And then self-awareness comes hurtling at him like the number 6 train as it's pulling into Union Square (I swear I think the cars are going to jump the tracks each and every time). One of the characters in the film is manic depressive and with the movie's frequent emotional fits and starts, one must wonder whether director Charles Shyer doesn't have a touch of the gloomies himself. I won't go into my eye rolling amusement at the billboard "signposts" that Shyer insisted on including.

The women in the movie are as luscious as Law: Nia Long, woefully underused since "Love Jones," is the bodacious Lonette, who is so sexy dancing to the Isley Brothers and Teddy Pendergrass that I almost wished she and Alfie had gotten together; Susan Sarandon should be given an Oscar for depicting a 50-year-old woman as a babe; Jane Krakowski erases all memories of her role as the annoying Elaine on "Ally McBeal;" and newcomer Sienna Miller (the woman who Law allegedly canoodles with in real life) is gorgeous, energetic, and the comparisons to Bridgette Bardot are justified. Kudos to lighting designers, costumers, hairdressers, and makeup artists. Marisa Tomei is lovely but leaves little impression - I don't envy her. After winning the Oscar for "My Cousin Vinny," she's been stuck in sidekick and girl Friday roles. Someone needs to change agents, or go to Broadway.

The music is refreshing and accompanies New York well: Mick Jagger and David Stewart (of the Eurythmics) composed several songs, one of which, "Old Habits Die Hard," I could not get out of my head. I also always enjoy seeing a movie that doesn't demonize or over-glamourize New York: this one shows it in equal parts gritty and squallid, shiny and dreamy. It's not a date movie but one you see by yourself, during the day, when you feel like escaping from your life but coming back to earth fairly quickly.

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