Duplicity reviews

dws1982
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Postby dws1982 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:50 pm

I'd have to side with Big Magilla and Armond White with respect to this one. I hated it.

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Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:52 pm

I didn't see this film until it came out on DVD and had completely forgotten these reviews, but re-reading them now, I have to say that Armond White is really on the money on this one. It's a lifeless bore.
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Postby Okri » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:18 am

I'd be interested to hear what structural complaints you had, Sabin, because at this point I'm pretty much ready to declare this the year's underrated, misunderstood film (and not Up in the Air, though I want a second viewing to check my opinion). It's pretty episodic, admittedly.

I actually didn't mind Roberts. She did have chemistry with Owen (and I'll ditto the supporting performances). And the ending is a beauty.

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Postby Sabin » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:19 pm

I just rewatched it and have come to the same agreement. The operative word is "lark". A second viewing confirms some of my suspicions about structural and casting inadequacies, but it's not simply the film's very existence that's so refreshing: the movie itself is quite good. I like it a lot.

There are some interesting notes in Julia Roberts' performance but she's just not terribly good here. Owen is fine. The film thrives on glorious supporting performances. Not just Paul Giamatti who delivers the kind of hilarious cussed-out nerd performance (I think Gleeb coined that phrase) that he peppered the 90's with, but Denis O'Hare whose one scene in Michael Clayton was a slam-dunk, Carrie Preston, and Kathleen Chalfant. I've heard this movie described as "All Surfaces", but they're so pleasurable. This film deserves a slew of technical nominations, especially one for James Newton Howard's jazzy score. It ultimately comes up short on emotional engagement with its leads but it's a trip.
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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:36 am

Duplicity is a lark -- the sort of casual caper movie Hollywood used to turn out fairly routinely and which audiences always enjoyed. I'm not sure what circumstance around this movie depresses me more: the fact that we have to be insanely grateful for the appearance of such a film (witness the mostly-ecstatic reviews); that audiences largely stayed away (even while over-patronizing far less appealing films); or that some (including Jeffrey Wells) apparently found this reasonably standard plot too complicated to follow.

In any event...despite the background of modern corporate nihilism (which good Repubican Armond White is honor-bond to pan), this is a pretty old-fashioned type caper, right up to the denouement, which has the thieves-can't-be-rewarded morality which has vanished from contemporary cinema. The infamous trailer did hurt the film in a way -- it took us one or two steps further into the twisted story than a cold viewing would have. Thankfully, there are plenty of other twists along the way, and the whole thing is engaging and pleasing.

One place where I'll agree with Penelope is that Roberts is miscast, or, at, least, adrift. An actress most famous for her luminous smile shouldn't be asked to glower for so much of a film. And she doesn't have the range to play some of her "can you trust her or not?" scenes with Owen -- her performance seems not ambiguous here, but hazy and unfocused. A minor quibble, though. The movie is, above all, fun, and that's something in fairly short supply at the movies these days.

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Postby Sabin » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:10 am

Tony Gilroy works in approximation. His movies resemble something deeper than they really are. What is Michael Clayton really besides the debonair weary of George Clooney? A parable of corporate irresponsibility? I don't think so. I'm not thinking about anything beyond what a bad ass George Clooney is. Just as Michael Clayton IS essentially about the star-luster that is George Clooney's Michael Clayton, Duplicity is about what it must be like to be a duplicitous agent in a movie. And I'm fine with that. Tony Gilroy approximates the spark to be had in such transcendent B-Movies as Out of Sight in which archetype is elevated to poetry, but while he misses the spark that made Jack Foley and Karen Sisco more than pulp creations, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Duplicity is a gorgeous Hollywood film. Gorgeously shot, edited, art directed, and scored (this is James Newton Howard's best score since The Village). It reveals itself in the homestretch as an all-too clever con, but what it peddles I'm quite thirsty for. This is some kind of Happy Place for me.
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Postby jack » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:45 pm

Big Magilla wrote:All I remember from that stupid film is Sophia's striptease for Marcello Mastroianni and the wacky ending in which the models walk down the runway in the nude.

I've never seen this film, but I'm starting to get the impression that I should.

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Postby Reza » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:04 pm

Big Magilla wrote:The only actress I remember from the ridiculous Ready to Wear is Sophia Loren.

.....and Anouk Aimee.

Sophia got a Golden Globe nod for this performance.




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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:07 pm

All I remember from that stupid film is Sophia's striptease for Marcello Mastroianni and the wacky ending in which the models walk down the runway in the nude.
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Postby Penelope » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:12 pm

--Big Magilla wrote:The only actress I remember from the ridiculous Ready to Wear is Sophia Loren.

I barely remember Sophia in the film; conversely, Julia's drunk scene in Ready to Wear is one of the funniest things she's ever done. I thought she deserved a Supporting nomination for it.




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Postby Sabin » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

I like My Best Friend's Wedding a lot. I think it clunks from time to time and there are moments when it reveals something far more sophisticated and damn near Lubitschian, but we really have no reason to expect such a smart comedy of sexual politics from Hollywood - or Julia Roberts. I just wish the casting director had been up to snuff. Too many critics (rightly so) scoffed at Dermot Mulroney (sp?) and I think dismissed the film outright as giving this woman no reason to "lower herself" to combat wither another woman for the love of such a dullard. Like that's any kind of defense! Give me John Cusack, and I think we've immediately some kind of masterpiece.

Astonishing to think that My Best Friend's Wedding "demeans" women while Sex and the City empowers them. Not realizing until its too late that you're in love with someone is not demeaning. It's sad and funny as hell. And that she's not in love with him, but given the drama she needs to find him satisfactory isn't delved deep enough into but it's there. I think if As Good As It Gets were not around, Julia Roberts would have been a far better bet for a nomination. And she's far more deserving.

I remember not predicting Rupert Everett because the field was so strong, even if the eventual nominees (Forster aside) were not. I really like Greg Kinnear, even though his role is such a cliché. Hopkins is very good, and Reynolds and Williams are superlative if unexceptional, but in a year with Kevin Spacey's career-best work in L.A. Confidential (mystified he failed to pick up a single precursor nomination if not win) and Everett, just a shame.

Roberts in Notting Hill may not be the real Roberts but it's the role that most perfectly captures what she does on screen, and the film is entirely lovely.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:26 pm

She was cute in Pretty Woman and alright in My Best Friend's Wedding and Notting Hill but the abrasive character she played in Erin Brockovich struck me as closer to the real Julia than anything else she has played. The rest of her films, including Steel Magnolias and Sleeping With the Enemy, were crap. The only actress I remember from the ridiculous Ready to Wear is Sophia Loren.
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Postby Penelope » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:52 am

I think Julia has shined in the following films (even if the films themselves were sometimes crap):

Pretty Woman
Sleeping With the Enemy
Ready-to-Wear (Pret-a-Porter)
My Best Friend's Wedding
Notting Hill

...which is her last truly great performance. Since then, she's been punching the clock. (And, yes, I thought her turn in Erin Brockovich was mediocre.)




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Postby Eric » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:35 am

flipp525 wrote:And Rupert Everett really should've been nominated in support that year.

Pretty lame group of nominations in that category that year, aside from the incredibly deserving nomination for Robert Forster.

A better slate:

Robert Blake, Lost Highway
Rupert Everett, My Best Friend's Wedding
Robert Forster, Jackie Brown
Eugene Levy, Waiting for Guffman
Kevin Spacey, L.A. Confidential

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Postby flipp525 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:59 am

Sabin wrote:My Best Friend's Wedding.

Conversely, I love My Best Friend's Wedding. I think it's one of her best roles -- vintage Julia. And Rupert Everett really should've been nominated in support that year.




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