Memoirs of a Geisha is probably one of the best films to come out this year. It tells the story of a Japanese girl with bright blue eyes who is seperated from her family and sold to a Geisha house to work. Her suffering seems endless when a much older Geisha rival nearly destroys her life and condemns her to work as a slave but this girl’s fate intervenes several times to pull her out of the abyss and turn her into the most legendary Geisha of her time. However Geisha Sayuri is torn apart once again when the one man she loves is the one man she cannot have, as she is told that women “do not become Geisha to persue their own destinies”.
The movie runs with World War 2 as a historical backdrop and it is facinating to see how that war altered Japanese history as we know it. The movie is really about overcoming the impossible, envy, tragedy and love. Director Rob Marshall, who was last nominated for an Academy Award for Chicago in 2002, does a brilliant job filming this story. The images are phenomenal. It is also nice to see a movie about Japan done completely in English where you don’t have to spend two and a half hours reading subtitles or listening to Tom Cruise try and speak the language. Memoirs of a Geisha is a more realistic look at a segment of Japanese culture in it’s time frame.
It is not entirely family friendly and while it does run a bit long the story is interesting enough to make you forget. It is a good movie for the season.
Bottom Line: 5/5
On the other side of movie spectrum is The Ringer, which is a comedy from the Farlley Brothers. Johnny Knoxville plays a really good guy, Steve, who is told to fire a janitor (stavi) at his office but instead hires him to mow his lawn when he can’t bring himself to do it. Stavi (who likes to work with his hands) gets his 3 fingers chopped off in the process. Steve feeling excessivly guilty that he doesn’t have the money to pay for the operation to sew them back on is approached by his bad ass uncle who is having monetary problems of a different kind. His uncle (played brilliantly by Brian Cox) purposes that they fix the Special Olympics where Steve, who was both an athelete and an actor in his highschool days, can pertend to play a retard and win all the games. At first Steve refuses but soon finds the guilt to overwhelming to refuse.
Enter Katherine Heigl, who plays Knoxville’s love interest, the only problem is she works for the Special Olympics and Steve is well…mentally challenged. Meanwhile Steve meets a group of unfriendly mentally challanged athletes who confront him upon realising he is not “special” but choose to help him win after he explains to them (for 15 minutes) his situation. Jimmy, another special olympian, plays his rival and the reason why all of Steve’s new buddies want to see him Steve win.
As a comedy the movie is pretty funny. The Farlley Brothers have brought some legendary comedies to the silver screen, including their very first “Dumb and Dumber”, “There’s something about Mary”, and “Me, Myself and Irene”. Truth be told, they only seem to hit it big when Jim Carrey plays the lead. Dumb and Dumber was really Carrey’s first big movie (coinciding with the Mask) and I personally think that when he does a Farlley Brother’s movie the end result is gold. The Ringer was not directed by the brothers but it does have some of their trademark stylings.
You might come into this movie thinking it makes fun of the mentally challenged when if anything it really makes fun of everyone whose not!
Expect some language here and there but a perfect one and a half hours running time.
Bottom Line: 3/5