Posted by: greercn | March 20, 2010

I Love You Phillip Morris, Green Zone and Shutter Island

Oh dear. Just when I thought I had seen the worst romcoms ever, along comes “I Love You, Phillip Morris”. I was hopeful that this would be an elegy to cigarette smoking but  there is nothing so burning here. Jim Carrey is an amazingly inventive and physical actor and has a truly beautiful body. Download some posters of his physical form in this film rather than wasting time seeing this.

Oh – to give the “plot” – and I use the term very loosely, Carrey plays someone straight who becomes gay and falls in love with Ewan McGregor. Both look a little louche in the prison scenes. Lesley Mann gives a brave turn as Carrey’s rejected wife.

I like an imaginative and graphic sex scene in a movie, but this one  is formulaic and incredibly annoying. Oh, there is a bunch of musing on the difficulty of being a self-absorbed con man and some stuff about cross-dressing. But – alas – this fails to amuse. At least, this has united my gay friends in opposition. How did this get funded and made? Why oh why oh why?

I adored the book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I bought 20 copies for all my nearest and dearest at Christmas 2008. I became a book bore, urging everyone to read this and understand the US action in Iraq. It’s just the best book in years.

So I was looking forward to “Green Zone”. Having enjoyed Matt Damon’s last few movies, I was hopeful that this would continue his winning streak. Being a great fan of good war movies made me hopeful too. I loved “The Hurt Locker” and I rate Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima” as one of my ten best ever movies.

But even so many things that go bang cannot redeem this self-indulgent bore. There is some chat. There is some action. There is some tricksy double crossing. What there isn’t is anything to care about greatly. Matt Damon, you are back on probation.

Don’t see “Shutter Island” alone. This is a very frightening movie.

I am a big Dennis Lehane fan. In 1995, I bought his first novel “A Drink Before The War” for everyone in my inner circle. He can plot and string you along like nobody else except James Lee Burke.

“Shutter Island” isn’t his best novel, but it has interesting twists and turns. Being a Martin Scorsese fan, I thought this would be interesting. And it is; Leonardo DiCaprio gives his finest performance in years in the lead. The glorious setting provides ample sinister glee and the supporting performances have great power.

If you are on a date, there is almost unlimited opportunity for hand-holding and burying your face in the chest of someone else or for just plain averting your eyes, in an attractively playful way. There is much here that is classic horror plotting and the story stays with you. Even the points that diverge from the novel are interesting and make great cinematic sense.

It’s worth seeing and passes the lengthy running time in an interesting way. The movie says something significant about the battle between good and evil and it provides more than a few genuine thrills.

Yet – still – it’s a little like dim sum. It seems terribly wonderful at the time and it stays for a time afterwards but it doesn’t linger too long in your mind or memory. Hey, Mr Scorsese – how about filming “A Drink Before The War”? You have a great Dennis Lehane movie in you. But this isn’t it.



  1. You are too polite.

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