Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
The Queen Ain't Dead
2006-11-03 22:07
by Jon Weisman

For as long as is relevant, the most memorable portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I had ever seen was Scott Thompson's. And who could ever deny his exquisite commitment to the part?

But tonight, I'm crowning Helen Mirren as the QE to end all QEs for her work in The Queen. Mirren is the frontrunner for the next Best Actress Oscar, and now I can see why. Playing someone known to the public as perhaps the definition of wooden, Mirren brings it all: pride, stubborness, confusion, humanity and heartbreak. Like the best performers, she absolutely loses herself in the part. It's a performance so strong, I truly expect it will affect the legacy of the Queen and the monarchy for years to come.

The film itself is worthy of a Best Picture nomination, so sophisticated is it in analyzing and humanizing a subject that has practically been tabloid fodder, the death of Princess Diana and its aftermath. It moves into my top five for 2006, with The Last King of Scotland, United 93, Little Children and Little Miss Sunshine.

Though perfectly executed, and despite telling a story that was both personal and global, I don't think The Queen is as important a film as Last King, United and Little Children, so I'm putting it fourth for now. But I have no reservations about recommending it.

2006-11-04 23:59:19
1.   Funkyjenn
Mirren's performance was remarkable and absolutely count her in at Oscar time. Michael Sheen, portraying Tony Blair, also turns in a magnificent performance. Such restraint in emotion yet so beautiful. A great movie.
2006-11-06 00:09:31
2.   T Money

Yeah, I really enjoyed "The Queen" as well. The same writer/director combo made a British television movie called "The Deal" a few years back (Sheen played Blair in that as well). I haven't seen it, but the script was interesting.

I missed commenting on your favorite movies of the year piece a while back, so I'll throw in my very temporary top ten, in approximate order:

House of Sand
49 Up
United 93
The Prestige
Sympathy For Lady Vengeance
The Departed
Le Petit Lieutenant
Little Miss Sunshine
Tristram Shandy

2006-11-06 07:23:41
3.   Telemachos
When I first heard about "The Queen", I couldn't imagine being interested in seeing it, Helen Mirren or no. But the trailer was surprisingly good, and I was likewise surprised at how much I liked the movie. Mirren, of course, is amazing, and deserves every kudos she gets, but the movie itself is a lovely small-scale miracle of a production.

I hear Frears/Sheen are working on a another Tony Blair story (this one dealing with his post-9/11 leadership) to round out the "trilogy".

2006-11-06 15:41:46
4.   4444
Saw Borat on Saturday night. Packed house, obviously (holy crap that per-screen average). Maybe I had gotten my hopes up a little too high, but by catching all the trailers and everything, you eat up some of the good jokes (always a problem with comedies).

Still, quite a few funny parts, and the experience of seeing it with a bunch of people that are really in the mood to laugh (same scenario as going to a comedy club, usually), really adds to the experience. Although there was a part or two where it got difficult to hear what was being said, over the din of laughter. No biggie.

There are a bunch of Ali G replays on HBO in this chunk of a few days (maybe started over the weekend), among them, one of the funniest skits I've ever seen on television, with Borat going wine-tasting. One worth setting the tivo for.

2006-11-06 15:55:17
5.   Jon Weisman
Yeah, Borat was kind of the opposite of Snakes on a Plane.
2006-11-06 18:56:23
6.   Benaiah
I thought Borat was amazing. It was both hilarious and thought provoking. Truly a you have to see it to believe it sort of thing.

By the way, I am watching Heroes and wondering: "Is multiple personality disorder a super power?"

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