Netflix has me covered. I’m catching up with all the films I’ve missed the past decade or so. It’s a great service, don’t you think?
So this weekend I watched a trio of movies that have nothing in common with one another: Music and Lyrics, Holiday, and The Matrix.
Music and Lyrics: I adore both Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, and they’re perfect co-stars in terms of adorability. Grant plays a has-been rock star looking to make a splash by writing a tune for Cora somebody-or-other, the latest Madonna/Britney sensation, but he can’t write lyrics without his old partner. In walks earthy Barrymore to murmur lyrics as she waters the plants, and the story takes off from there. The pop tunes that are supposed to be obnoxious bubble gum are actually eminently hummable: POP Goes My Heart is hilarious and sweet in a McCartney-esque way. The whole thing from start to finish is nothing if not charming.*****
Holiday does have something in common with Music and Lyrics, in that it’s a sweet romantic comedy. But it’s somewhat more complicated–in fact, Holiday is two movies in one. Two women, one played by Cameron Diaz who lives in LA, the other played by Kate Winslet, in England, are undergoing life crises, and decide to switch houses for a couple of weeks. Each meets people from the other one’s life who help her transform her own. Another charming film. *****
The Matrix is anything but charming. Not my usual cup of tea, but I recently heard about the symbolism and supposed profundity in this movie, and decided I had to see it. Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus/God is worth the price of admission, if I could just stop thinking of him as Ike Turner. Unfortunately, none of the ideas here are particularly new. That would have been okay with me, if it weren’t for the greater problem: story is sacrificed for special effects. I should have known.**