I love all of them except the last two (bleh). I would not have thought of calling Rebecca a Brit-chick-flick, but, hey, sure, why not?
I was trying to be sneaky by giving them a Hitchcock. They'd think, "Hm. Maybe this these movies are worthwhile..." and then, bam! They're hooked.
With respect to Emma and the latest Pride & Prejudice, I think you should give them another chance. Emma is light, it's true, but there is some really fabulous stuff in it. The play of emotions on Gwyneth Paltrow's face during the "badly done!" scene gets me every time. And the latest P&P: I was dead set against this movie going in. I loved the 1995 miniseries (who doesn't?), and was outraged that that anorexic waif was going to try to put her own stamp on Elizabeth Bennett. And who is this Joe Wright character who thinks he can take on Austen?
But watch it again, and tune out the anorexic waif to the extent you can, and you know what? It's an awesome movie. Those extended takes during the ball sequences are amazing. Darcy, Jane, Charlotte Lucas, Mr. Collins, the Bennett parents: They're all perfect. And even the waif didn't get in the way, once I got past my own (understandable) prejudice against her. There is a gritty realism to the production, and some breathtakingly beautiful shots that totally work, and emphatically answer the question of why we even need an updated version of this story.
Sigh. OK. I'll try to watch them again. Try harder, anyway. I did try watching P&P again, but I just couldn't get through it; the waifishness is bothersome, but I think I could get past that if she didn't offer such a one note performance - there's this expression that she falls into over and over again - I call it the "I'm being the clever, knowing Elizabeth" look - where she juts out her chin and kind of smirks, and I just want to smack her. Macfadyen, too, seemed so bland. And since Elizabeth and Darcy are the heart of the story, I don't know how I can get past those performances and enjoy the film. Also, while I kept hearing people say, as you've said, that there's a gritty realism to the piece, I don't really see that. Sure, there's a lot more actual down-on-the-farm mud and dirt, but the actual relationships are much more sentimentalized, I think. The Bennets are portrayed as a family with some problems, but who, really, at bottom, oh, just love each other. One big happy, supportive family. That annoys me to no end. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet do not
love each other in the novel - they have a very unhappy marriage that Mr. Bennet clearly regrets - and Elizabeth and Darcy are essentially very happily estranged from Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, and Mary at the end of the novel. At the end of the movie, we get this schmoozy, "romantic" scene with Darcy and Elizabeth in their PJ's on a fountain. I think, basically, the movie removed the dry, sharp cynicism that so wonderfully colors the pages of the novel. I don't really see gritty realism anywhere.
I do absolutely agree that many of the shots are gorgeous, and there a few scenes I just love - there's one near the end with Darcy and Bingley, for example, that's not in the novel, but beautifully, subtly portrays the two men's relationship.
But, overall, I don't have much hope that I'll ever love this movie much. But I'll give it another try since you seem to have good taste.
As to Emma
, I probably haven't been very fair to it, and I haven't revisited it since it first came out. I was really irritated with the casting of Paltrow, and I didn't think any of the performances were all that memorable - the whole thing just seemed like a fairly bland costume drama. Emma is such a rich, flawed character, and there's so much social commentary going on in the book - I didn't really find either of those things fleshed out in the movie. I liked Clueless
Anyway, if the marathons are about giving Adam and Matty a chance to find something worthwhile that they might have overlooked due to their own perceptual filters, then I think these qualify in spades. There's more to cinema than guy movies.
I'm all for this!