Christmas Day Film Four-Play
It’s like 24 hours of the Actor’s Studio, with all your favourites on screen — from Meryl Streep to Christopher Plummer to Daniel Day Lewis to Robert Downey Jr.
Christmas Day film four-play…
Starring: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin
Is there a part Meryl Streep can’t play? Building on her momentum as a comedic heroine in Mamma Mia!, then as chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia, Streep combines her It’s Complicated character Jane’s juggling of more than one man and being foodie who owns a restaurant with her usual accomplished flair. Jane is the object of affection of not only the new architect (Martin) in her life, but her old flame and lawyer ex-husband (Baldwin) — who is now married to a much younger woman (a Zoomer theme if I’ve ever heard one!). Still smarting from her divorce from her cheating ex ten years later, Jane is suddenly also struck with empty nest syndrome, and is finally, totally alone. But, just as she’s attempting to adjust, fate flings her back into the arms of her suddenly amorous and regretful ex for a one-night stand that then leads to a hilarious chain of events and yet also a heart-breaking conclusion. Streep, who is nominated for a Golden Globe, Martin, Baldwin and The Office’s cutie, John Krasinski, who more than rises to the challenge of sharing screen-time with these bold face names, are all at the top of their game — and leave you wanting more. Can you ever go back? Perhaps, but then again, perhaps not.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Health Ledger, Lily Cole
The imagination of director Terry Gilliam — and the rigours of visualizing it on film — have been well-documented. From the heady hilarity of Monty Python (think The Holy Grail or Life of Brian) to the reportedly near-tortuous set conditions on The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (actor Sarah Polley claims she’s still scarred from the experience) to the incessant damp and rain that had most of the cast of Parnassus suffering from walking pneumonia (including Ledger). But Parnassus is a wonder. Less the confusing freak-show of Gilliam’s Brazil, and more the whimsical fantasy of his Tideland, the film’s juxtaposition of a quirky, old-fashioned circus act meandering its way through the mean streets of modern-day London is at once charming and a little eerie. The trick, you see, is that Parnussus, played presciently by Plummer, has sold his soul to a gambling-happy devil (Mr. Nick, played by Tom Waits), not for vanity, but for love and the love of his daughter (Cole). After his troupe rescues Tony (Ledger, brilliant as always) from a life-threatening situation, the old man realizes that it’s not only he who must repent his sins. Ledger’s sad passing, in mid-production, necessitated the use of other actors — Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell — to facilitate Tony’s transformation back from the precipice of greed, but somehow it works with the premise: that sometimes what we see in the mirror isn’t always a reflection of who we really are.