Thursday, April 21, 2011

To Die For

Gus Van Sant, 1995 (8.9*)
For director Gus Van Sant, (My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy, Elephant) this is about as light as he's ever gotten, and this is still a black comedy. Nicole Kidman wonderfully (and hilariously) plays a woman who will do anything to get ahead in her television job, including recruiting some local teens to off her boring husband so she isn't involved directly.

She plays a local weather lady, who often changes her appearance to remain fashionable, as she has her sights set on bigger jobs, such as news anchor. One gets the feeling that she'd like to change husbands or men about as often; when one becomes a tired accessory, and divorce is so messy.. This is not a deep movie, but it is a refreshing comedy about murder, with a perfect cast. Buck Henry adapted Joyce Maynard's novel for the screen.

The supporting cast is pretty good: Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas, and Dan Hedaya.

I was quite surprised that Kidman didn't get an Oscar® nomination for this part, which was equal parts comedy and homicidal madness, as her character seemed genuinely lost in a reality of her own imagination. She showed more versatility and spunk than any other part she's had. She did win a Golden Globe, for best actress in a comedy or musical, and won seven awards overall for her performance.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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