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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age,’ ‘The Jane Austen Book Club,’ ‘The Brave One’

See it:

Elizabeth: The Golden Age [buy it]. From my review:

Torture! Intrigue! Sex! Treachery! Holy war! Cate Blanchett in royal drag! Clive Owen in pirate drag! We are highly amused. If 10th-grade history was as much fun as this, no one would ever cut class. Seriously, though: Why don’t they teach us history in school like this, full of passion and power and, you know, people when they’re as mesmerizing and complex as this?

See it… now that it’s on DVD:

The Jane Austen Book Club [buy it]. From my review:

On the one hand, it’s about people who read, which is a rarity in itself; it’s about smart, complicated women the likes of which The Movies usually don’t want to deal with; and it’s not about empire waists and the hotness of Mr. Darcy (passing references to him aside). On the other hand, it doesn’t really have all that much new or intriguing to say about those smart women or about books in general or Austen in particular. It points out a remarkable and yet not, in hindsight, entirely surprising fact: while movies about people clever and engaged enough to enjoy reading for fun may, in theory, be desirable, movies about people actually reading are less than totally enthralling.

Skip it:

The Brave One [buy it]. From my review:

What the hell? When did vigilantism come back into style, become something all the cool kids were into? I mean, sheesh: You invade one measly little Middle Eastern country on trumped up evidence and out of a misguided desire for vengeance and all of a sudden America is the land of Shoot First At Whomever Pisses You Off And Don’t Even Bother To Ask Any Questions Later? Brother.

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