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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sabrina (released in 1995) - a romantic comedy starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear

A romantic comedy starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear, Sabrina was released in 1995 and was adapted from a play titled Sabrina fair. It features the eternal love triangle where the tall dark brooding hero falls in love with the petite beautiful heroine who revamps herself completely. The story starts with Sabrina who is a chauffeur's daughter and is employed by the super rich Larrabee's. Sabrina is totally besotted by David Larrabee who is a perennial playboy falling in and out of love. He does not even know that Sabrina exist and has a bevy of beauties vying for his attention. An antithesis of Davis is Linus Larrabee who is a workaholic immersing himself in the wellbeing of his business. Linus only understands the language of money and is more interested in augmenting his bank balance than investing in relationships. Lording over them is the benign matriarch Maude Larrabee who has a heart of gold.
Sabrina leaves her invisible existence in the chauffeurs cottage for an internship with the Vogue in Paris. She returns a successful and well groomed woman who turns many heads. David is in the mean time engaged to Elizabeth Tyson, a heiress to a big electronic store. Linus has big designs of merger between the Tyson group and the Larrabee's and has billions of dollars riding on this business deal. He is the architect of this engagement and is very keen on this union for the sake of his bank balance.

But David is suitably attracted to Sabrina who catches his eye on arrival. Linus is perturbed by this new turn of events and tries to keep David fixed on the engagement track. As he realizes that David may fall for Sabrina, Linus pretends to be in love with her. He directs her affections and Sabrina falls in love with him. But Linus also has fallen for her and he confesses the truth. A disenchanted Sabrina leaves for Paris plunging Linus into depression. David has suitably recovered from Sabrina and falls for Elizabeth Tyson again. He and Maude persuades Linus to leave for Paris to court Sabrina. David sheds his playboy image and steps in to Linus's shoes to run the company with the help of his mother Maude.
So all is well that ends well for Linus and Sabrina who live happily ever after and everybody is happy. This movie is a remake of the 1954 movie staring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden. The inevitable comparison with the earlier classic resulted in poor box office returns for this movie. But it was well received by the critics and has been nominated for the academy awards. It received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for its original musical score, Moonlight. Harrison Ford also was nominated for the Golden Globe for the best actor.
I feel it is a well crafted film with great performances. If you have feeling low and need some candy floss in your life, this is the movie for you.

Sabrina (released in 1995) - a romantic comedy starring Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear

Friday, September 24, 2010

Regarding Henry (released in 1991) - starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening

An American drama film released in 1991, Regarding Henry co-stars Harrison Ford and Annette Bening. Henry Turner is a callous, narcissist, and opportunistic lawyer who has no morals and values in life. He lives for wining his cases and is a workaholic who neglects his wife Sarah and daughter Rachel. He also has a string of relationships with many women and is not very much bothered by it. His daughter studying in an elite school is very unhappy and is a troubled teen with no avenues to dissipate her angst.
Henry wins a malpractice case for an errant hospital against a poor man who had informed about the wrongdoings in the institution. One night he runs out to buy cigarette's, he is shot as he interrupts a robbery attempt. One bullet pierces his frontal lobe of the brain which is the epicenter for feelings and behavior. Another one pierces his heart causing heavy hemorrhage cutting off the oxygen supply to his body. Doctors revive Henry who has suffered debilitating disabilities and a loss of functional motor skills.

So as a paraplegic, Henry regains his motor functions with the help of his physiotherapist, Bradley, but his emotional well being is doubted upon. He suffers from memory loss and his behavior under goes a drastic change. A child like Henry notices his sylvan surroundings and apartment and completely delights in them. He develops a new relationship with his wife and daughter as he spends more time with them. As he invests in his relationships, Henry starts to fall in love with his wife again.
As he returns to his job, he is not able to be his old arrogant self again. His compassionate and giving outlook does not work well with his firm. They soon take away his cases and assigns him only desk jobs. But Henry is not fazed and decides to give up his practice. The family shifts to a new smaller residence and starts life anew. During relocation Henry comes across letters which details Sarah's affair with a colleague and becomes angry and leaves. But he is confronted by his fellow lawyer Linda who tells him about his affair with her. A much chastened Henry reconciles with this wife and moves away from his old life. He understands that the plaintiff was right in his earlier hospital case and gives him all the relevant papers to help him mount an appeal.
He symbolically takes out his daughter Rachel from her elite school and puts her where she is more happy. Regarding Henry was a critical and box office success. Harrison Ford did not want to be associated with the movie and had to be persuaded by the director Mike Reynolds. Regarding Henry remains a major milestone in the life of Harrison Ford as a serious performer. Annette Bening was named best new comer of the year for her work in this movie.
A tearjerker drama which is well executed. So grab some tissues and enjoy the emotional roller-coaster.

Regarding Henry (released in 1991) - starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Frantic (released in 1988) - starring Harrison Ford, and directed by Roman Polanski

Frantic is a 1988 thriller film directed by Roman Polanski starring Harrison Ford and Emmanuelle Seigner.
Harrison Ford is Dr. Richard Walker, a doctor who comes to Paris with his wife for a medical conference. At the hotel, his wife is unable to open her suitcase and thus is determined to have picked up a wrong suitcase at the airport. But while he is taking a shower, his wife mysteriously disappears. He complains at the hotel desk and encounters an indifferent staff. As he ventures out on his own to search for her, a wino from the cafe informs him, that he saw his wife forcibly being taken in a car. Walker although initially reluctant to believe in such a possibility, discovers her ID from the sidewalk. He is convinced about the kidnapping and complains to the American embassy and the Parisian cops. But he gets typical bureaucratic replies which disgusts him and thus the panic sets in.

With no official help Walker in a frantic state moves on to the streets to find his wife. He steps in to a murder scene and finds an ally in a streetwise Young Michelle. Michelle reveals to him that she is a career smuggler who works for an unknown boss. She also informs him that his wife had mistakenly picked up her suitcase containing an unknown consignment. Soon the smugglers call in to trade his wife for the suitcase. Michelle agrees to help him in his search to trace his wife.
Walker, in his desperation tries to learn what is in the suitcase. He finds a Statue Of Liberty replica and learns that a Kryptron which is a small electronic switch used in the detonators of nuclear devices is hidden inside. Soon the matters come to head with the officials too closing on the pair. After an intense gun battle on the river Seine, the kidnappers release Sondra, Walker's wife. But Michelle is shot and a disgusted Walker just throws the Kryptron in to the river, challenging the villains and the officials.
This movie is a critics delight. It had a moderate box office success and is treated as Roman Polanski's better film's after Rosemary's Baby. The haunting background score by Ennio Morricone sets the tone for the suspense and Grace Jones' recording of "I've Seen That Face Before is played while Walker is talking to his daughter. Paris is not treated as romantic city with the favorite hot-spots like the Eiffel Tower not in the picture. Instead we are treated to haunting bleak cobble stoned dark alley and side ways.
Harrison Ford delivers a good performance as an anguished Walker and is one of his performance oriented roles. The whole premise is build on Sondra Walker's disappearance. Even thought he screen time is minimal for her, the director makes her the main object of affection, The beautiful Emanuele Seigner is also her best. Good movie and a thought provoking watch modeled on an Hitchcockian theme

Frantic (released in 1988) - starring Harrison Ford, and directed by Roman Polanski

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Devil's Own (released in 1997) - starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt

This movie directed by Alan Pakula was released in 1988, starring Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Julia stiles, Natascha McElhone and Treat Williams.
Frank McGuire, as an eight year old Irish boy witnesses the murder of his father by English sympathizers. This incident hardens him and makes him a IRA operative. After a tense gun battle with the British Troops, Frank escapes to a safe house hotly pursued by Harry Sloan, a British Agent. Frank and Martin Macduff, another IRA operative plan to acquire surface to air missiles and Frank travels to New York to get them. Here he meets a Irish sympathizer judge Peter Fitzsimmons who puts him in touch with Tom O'Meara. Tom is a police officer and welcomes Frank with out knowing his antecedents. Frank, working under his alias Rory contacts the arms smuggler Burke who agrees to supply him with the missiles.
Frankie meets Peter Fitzsimmons who provide him with millions of dollars which he hides in Tom's house. He also meets Megan, Fitzsimmon's nanny who is attracted to him. Mega agrees to help him in his endeavors. Tom and his partner Eddie have problems of their own regarding their work. Slowly a friendship develops between Frank and Tom. It deepens when Frank helps to beat back masked intruders who threaten Tom and his wife Sheila. Frank checks up on his money and feels guilty of his treachery.

Meanwhile the crafty Burke kidnaps Sean, Frank's fellow operative and holds him for ransom. Frank promises to pay him. Meanwhile Tom has found the money and questions Frank about the presence of such large amount of cash. Frank tells him about the kidnapping, but avoids mentioning the terrorism angle. Still Tom arrest Frank with the help of Eddie. When they are on the way to the Police station, Frank escapes, by knocking out Tom and kills Eddie during flight. He reaches Burke who has already killed Sean and tries to rob him off the cash. But Frank kills him and plans to escape with the missiles in the boat.
Meanwhile Tom questioned by his superiors and Harry Sloan comes to the starling realization that Frank is a wanted IRA terrorist. He plans to capture him to avenge Eddie's death. He traces Frank to Megan and forces her to reveal his where abouts. As Frank is planning to leave with the boat Tom reaches him and a fierce gun battle ensures. Tom is injured and Frank emerges holding him at gun point. But Tom fatally shoots him and makes his way home.
This movie was a moderate commercial success and has nothing new in the plot. Harrison Ford delivers his time and tested police cop routine and Brad Pitt is excellent as young Frank. The premise of the story is very sympathetic to the cause of the terrorist and I feel it betrays the day to day realities. It is fine for an action film buff who is intent on filling up his day. But better films have been made on the same subject. See it if you must, pass it if you can.

The Devils Own (released in 1997) - starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt