Stephen Frears

A nice mix of humor and something else.

Really Like It Prick Up Your Ears (1987) -- A really good biography of playwright Joe Orton, it runs both like a good biography and one of Orton's crazy plays. Gary Oldman is brilliant as always.

Like It Dangerous Liaisons (1988) -- You know, good period stuff. I always think that movies like this wouldn't be as critically-acclaimed if it weren't for the costuming and time period, but still good stuff.

Don't Like It The Grifters (1990) -- As Carrie says, "If you like this movie, you have probably been grifted."  This is certainly one of the most over-rated movies ever.  It gets nothing but praise, yet it's so average-to-bad that I can't even remember why, and it's only been a few months since I've seen it.

Indifferent Mary Reilly (1996) -- Turns out the most interesting point of view for telling the Jekyll and Hyde story was the original one, since the POV of the chambermaid doesn't add anything much different.  The movie contains a handful of "cycles" that run so many times you could cut down the movie to twenty minutes: Julia Roberts goes to the whorehouse a hundred times, she gets in and out of bed (complete with sleeping retarded girl) a hundred times, Mr. Hyde says sexual things one hundred times, Dr. Jekyll covers up for himself one hundred times, etc.  And none of these things would have been interesting even once.  Julia Robert's accent is sort of embarrassing to listen to.  Glen Close is fun, but she did the same character that year with 101 Dalmatians.  And John Malkovich's "transformation" forces us to suspend our disbelief even more than Clark Kent putting on glasses to hide being Superman.  But at least Mr. Hide did once say he smelled Mary's vagina, causing me and my wife to invent the song "I Smell Your Poo-Poo, Mary Reilly."

Really Like It High Fidelity (2000) -- A nice little funny movie about relationships and mix tapes. Watch for Jack Black's "Walkin' On Sunshine" dance, the circle within the circle.

Don't Like It Dirty Pretty Things (2002) -- Kind of a dull and grim movie, one of those we've seen before about women sucking penises so they won't get turned over to the authorities, etc. (complete with an eventual rebellion and biting of the penis).  Depressing, but not because you care about anyone in the movie--just depressing.

Really Like It The Queen (2006) -- My favorite Stephen Frears movie so far, this one is practically perfect, thanks in large part to Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II.  Both of them turn what could easily be stereotypes or caricatures into fully-fleshed humans who are understandable, sympathetic, and hilarious while still serving their purpose and point.  The perfect script didn't hurt either.

Copyright (c) Oct 2001 - Feb 2008 by Rusty Likes Movies