8:00 PM, 3rd November, 2007
No Reservations is a remake of a German movie called Mostly Martha. Unfortunately I havent seen the original film and my German is scheiße (excuse the German) so I can't say much about how they compare. In No Reservations, Catherine-Zeta Jones plays Kate, a stuck-up emotionless chef who runs the kitchen at a fancy New York restaurant until she unexpectedly becomes the guardian of her ten-year-old niece.
This film sticks very closely to the movie rulebook. For example, when you see Kate's sister driving her car and then looking over at her daughter, you just know something bad is going to happen... and it does. There are also no unnecessary characters, so everyone has a story to tell the viewer, and most additional characters will probably meet a less than savoury fate on their way to the arranged meeting point. As for the main characters, we follow the relationship between Kate and the new chef who is hired while Kate is on leave. They meet, fight, fall in love, experience a crisis and then... well, you can probably guess the ending.
I really wanted to say "I have no reservations in recommending this film", but I don't want everyone to think that I loved this film and will be at the door expecting you all to come and see it. That said, while very predictable, it's still an enjoyable film. Just come early, as the Film Group takes no reservations... there, I said it!'
10:00 PM, 3rd November, 2007
Betty Boop had a remarkably short period as a true cartoon star: from 1932 until the Hays Production Code forced her to tone down her act in 1934. This short combines live action and animation as studio head Max Fleischer (playing himself) is interviewed by a reporter about Bettys origins, and she obligingly comes to life under his pen. Really it's just an excuse to recycle old material from earlier shorts, and it doesn't mention that in Betty's first screen appearance, she was not a woman, but a French poodle.'
10:10 PM, 3rd November, 2007
The Ruritanian kingdom of Marshovia is so tiny it depends for its upkeep on a single individual - the wealthy widow Sonia (MacDonald), who pays 52% of the countrys taxes. However, she is still young, desirable, and off gallivanting in Paris. The danger that she might remarry a foreigner is so alarming that an agent of the state is sent to prevent this from happening. A case can be made that the operetta on which this is based ("Die Lustige Witwe", which premiered in Vienna in 1905) is the most popular stage musical of the 20th Century. Don't let the fact that this was Hitler's favourite contemporary work lead you to believe it's anything other than beguiling and innocent. Well, innocent in one sense: part of the work's charm is the way it hints at naughtiness. It was the perfect project for director Ernst Lubitsch. He pruned Franz Lehar's score down to seven key songs, and made it seem as though it had always been a 1930s Hollywood musical: the lyrics are by popular songWriter of the day; the choreography is by Busby Berkely; and there seems to be no physical substance the set designers can't make look as though it's just been polished. But, beyond all that, Lubitsch made it his usual mix of champagne and cynicism.'