FILMS & REVIEWS

Love Actually


Review: 'Love Actually' Is All Around You
Ensemble Cast Makes Multilevel Story Sing
Debra A. Scott, Staff Writer

'Love Actually' (R)  (out of four popcorns) "Love Actually" is messy, it's complicated and it is all over the map -- just like love.

  Just when we think we know what we want, life has a way of slapping us on the face and making us re-evaluate our vision. I'm not sure I have ever seen a movie before this one that shows the many facets of love -- the good and the bad, the hopeful and the hopeless, the discovery and the loss -- in such an honest way. Now, I'm not saying "Love Actually" is a realistic depiction of how people interconnect, but the confusion and pain and joy it portrays shows how there is never one real way to love, but many different ways. And there are just as many ways of hiding that longing for connection so you can avoid being hurt. From the people who brought you "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones' Diary" you would expect a lighthearted romance where everything sparkles and everybody is happy in the end. But "Love Actually" doesn't just deal with romantic love, it shows the intimate connection between husband and wife, mother and child, best friends who fall in love with the same woman, longtime business partners and sisters with brothers. It shows the longing of unrequited love coming to fruition only to be sacrificed for a different kind of love, the blush of puppy love, the love that evolves even when language is a barrier and how sometimes sex is not always the most intimate way to know somebody. The extremely large cast and the numerous relationships we are thrust into can be daunting to track. For a while "Love Actually" seems like a picture without a place to go. But in the last third of the film it all starts to jell and, though at times sappy and saccharine, it has a warm happy glow, even for the relationships that have a bittersweet edge to them. Hugh Grant as the new prime minister of England is being touted as the star of the movie, but this is a true ensemble piece. There is just too much going on for one person to be the centerpiece. In fact, his story and his performance may be one of the weak links in the film. Even as leader of England, Grant is still his rakish and devilishly handsome self and the connection between him and a pretty, but supposedly plump staff member is a bit confusing. Some of the more memorable and dimensional performances come from Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy and the young Thomas Sangster. Thompson plays the wife of a successful businessman who realizes she is being taken for granted by her husband, who is thinking about exploring sexier pastures. Linney is a lonely American with a brother in a mental institution and a longtime crush on a co-worker. Sangster is a boy whose mother has died and believes he has found, and is about to lose, the love of his life -- a classmate who is about to move back to the United States. And the flashiest role goes to Nighy as Billy Mack -- a washed up pop singer making one last desperate attempt to hit the top with a Christmas version of a '60s standard. What is truly remarkable about "Love Actually" though is how it makes the viewers a part of the experience by showing regular people going through their everyday lives expressing love with small bits of kindness and compassion. If you have a little patience when watching "Love, Actually," it is very likely you will be swept up in the experience by the end and realize that love is all around -- you just need to appreciate and recognize it.

Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets
(2002)

\

"...Also back is Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape.  He rules.
Just flat out, Alan Rickman is the gab-blamed mudderwonking bomb in these films.
You can tell he wants to be evil and good all at once.
Like a stud that’s become a gelding. You know he wants to just whup arse
 up and down every hall of Hogwarts, but he seems like he’s always concerned
that he’ll forget something or get caught.  The scene between him and
Branagh’s Gilderoy Lockhart is just classic..."

by Harry Knowles
http://www.aintitcool.com

Click here to view a clip with Alan from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone
(2001)

"A blend of wonderfully imaginative fantasy and the scary supernatural,
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone manages to tell the likeable
Harry’s story effectively while also showing off plenty of magic.
The screenplay strikes an excellent balance, and the resulting production
looks amazing – blessed as it is with a remarkable production design,
great makeup and good costumes – and is packed with strong
performances; my only serious regret about the acting is that we
see far too little of some key characters – especially the creepy Snape,
who is fabulously realized by Rickman."

by Brian Webster
Apollo Guide

Click here to view "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" trailer!


Rasputin
(1996)

"Rickman's electric Rasputin seizes attention with the actor's
magnetism and dramatic know-how. Rasputin's personal excesses
are ticked off -- in a dance club, his drunken behavior shocks patrons –
but Pruce charitably credits the monk with sacred intentions...

Rickman's eyes glow in close-ups, the actor's energetic physicality
pumps up the debauchee with sustained vitality. Admirably, scenes
of him in bed with women, noble or otherwise, are handled with restraint."

By Tony Scott
Variety

Click here to view the Rasputin trailer!

Robin Hood
(1991)

"Alan Rickman, best known to American audiences as the icy terrorist
in Die Hard, couldn't have been happier about the sheriff's growth.
"At first, I thought, 'Robin Hood-again?'" he confessed during a break
from filming.  "But this script is changing--my lines are, anyway."
He tore into the part with a gusto that bordered on glee, storming
through Nottingham Castle, barking such commands as,
'No more merciful beheadings!  And call off Christmas!'

While Rickman was playing it to the hilt, Costner stuck to his far
more subdued, naturalistic style, a juxtaposition that risked making
the flamboyant villain more appealing than the well-intentioned hero.
"Rickman's acting Costner off the screen," one crew member muttered
after a particularly extravagant turn.  Rickman disputes that.
"It's not a competition," he says.  "Kevin's responsibility is very different.
If I were playing Robin Hood, my responsibility would be to be as
romantic and heroic as possible.  It's important that there is a lighter
tone to what I am doing."

by Gregg Kilday and Garth Pearce
Entertainment Weekly

Click here to view the Robin Hood trailer!

Truly, Madly, Deeply
(1991)

More familiar here is Rickman, who plays the good-hearted if a bit
arrogant ghost who is still embarrassed at the inglorious way he died.
Rickman first came to American attention as the eloquent and elegant
villain of Die Hard and can currently be seen camping it up hilariously
as the irredeemably evil Sheriff of Nottingham
in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Here, the bass-voiced actor delivers a rare turn as a good guy and
it takes a bit of getting used to. His familiar sneer has been
turned up in an unexpectedly warm smile, and even he seems
a bit bored by the propriety.  But he does get to whine a little
about the problems of being a ghost (cold nose, cold toes)
and in those moments he positively comes to life.

By Bob Curtright
The Wichita Eagle

Click here to view the Truly Madly Deeply trailer!

Click here to send a Truly Madly Deeply E-Card!

Close My Eyes
(1991)

Thank God for Alan Rickman anyway.  The 2 leads are good enough,
but he quietly goes about his usual business of filching the film
from under their noses.  At one moment they rant away while he sits
inside eating a cooked breakfast.  And what do they gain from it?
Not a sausage, you hardly bother to listen to them.

Rickman is the first English actor in years to join that select band:
James Mason, perhaps Robert Donat, certainly George Sanders;
sensual unhurried, turning everyone else into jitterbugs.  Their
villains are played like lovers and vice versa, you don't trust them
for a minute, but they won't give you a minute to look away.

"Close My Eyes" is strong and intense and Rickman joins in
but at the same time you can feel his frosty spirit mocking
the indulgence of these young bloods.  He looks so unshocked
that he might, you never know, have set the whole thing up
for his delectation.  Someone please hurry up and cast him as Iago,
his character lives in splendour on the Thames holding languid court.

by A. Lane
The Independent

Click here to view the Close My Eyes trailer!

Mesmer
(1994)

The wild, impressionistic vies with which writer Dennis Potter
assails the so-called age of reason in Mesmer seems barely containable
on the big screen. And if it were not for the grounded, eccentric title
performance of Alan Rickman, one imagines the entire film might
defy gravity and spin out of earthly orbit. ...

Rickman effects an eerie, otherworldly quality in his role.
It's all a front, though, for the man is from humble origins
and totally breaks down in the face of love.
He is, excuse the expression, mesmerizing.

by Leonard Klady,
Variety

Click here to view the Mesmer trailer!

An Awfully Big Adventure
(1995)

Only Alan Rickman is in better form than his co-actors - as usual.
He characterises the dreamy, broken artist with sufficient
sensitivity and depth - unfortunately the audience has to
wait for at least half an hour of loosely connected scenes
before Rickman makes his appearance (and then
it takes a while before he speaks his first line).

From “Kino” magazine

Click here to view An Awfully Big Adventure trailer!

Blow Dry
(2000)

Alan Rickman delivers, as always, a performance full of understated
acting and sardonic wit, while Natasha Richardson acts her heart out --
she hasn't been this good onscreen for years. The weak players
of the bunch are, as usual, the Americans -- Josh Hartnett's
Yorkshire accent is rotten, sounding like a bad Sean Connery
impression. Rachael Leigh Cook, who plays his love interest,
simpers her way through an underwritten role whose sole purpose
is to convince a young, American audience that another
hairdressing comedy is a good idea.

by C.T.
The Eye

Click here to view Blow Dry trailer!

Closet Land
(1991)

It is a testament to the talents of Stowe and Rickman that they
turn this two-person thriller into so complex and compelling a duet.
They manage to overcome not only the off-putting text but the
horrid set, a minimalist Gothic affair by Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka.
Stowe, who debuted in "Stakeout," brings winsomeness and purity
to this consuming role of victim as goddess.

                  Rickman, who played Valmont in the stage version of
"Les Liaisons Dangereuses," brings much of le Vicomte
to the role of The Man.  He is ruthless, dapper, weak and destructive.
There is a tragedy to his villainy that allows a glimpse
of the hero who once dwelt here.

by Rita Kempley
Washington Post

Click here to view Closet Land trailer!
 

Die Hard
(1988)

Alan Rickman, as the deviously sly terrorist Hans,
is not only the best villain in the Die Hard series -
he’s also one of the finest and well-constructed in film history,
a structural model for all other bad guys to follow.
Rickman, who combines dry wit with sinister intelligence,
is an absolute pleasure to watch.

by Jamey Hughton
Movie Views

Click here to view Die Hard trailer!

Dark Harbor
(1999)

 If nothing else, the strong performances of the three leads
(particularly the understated Rickman,
a terrific character actor who's seldom cast in a leading role)
make Dark Harbor consistently interesting,
at least until an unnecessarily nihilistic twist
that would be a lot more impressive if it didn't negate
everything that came before it.

by Nathan Rabin
The Onion A.V. Club

Click here to view Dark Harbor trailer!

Dogma
(1999)

The story of this movie is fairly simple.
And it can be summed up in a simple  conversation
between our reluctant heroine, Bethany and the Metatron,
 a.k.a. Voice of God (Alan Rickman):

 METATRON: Noah was a drunk.  Look what he accomplished.
And no one's even asking you to build an ark.
All you have to do is go to New Jersey.
 BETHANY:New Jersey...
 METATRON: Sure.  Go to New Jersey and visit a small church
on a very important day.  Agreed?
 BETHANY:That doesn't sound like a crusade.
 METATRON: Aside from the fine print, that's it.
 BETHANY: What's the fine print?
 METATRON: [mumbling into glass]
 Stopacoupleofangelsfromenteringandthusnegatingallexistence.
Damn, this is good tequila.
 BETHANY: Wait, wait, wait.  Repeat that.
 METATRON: "Damn, this is good tequila"?
 BETHANY: The first part.
 METATRON: Details.  Stop a couple of angels from entering and thus negating all
 existence.  God, I hate when people need it spelled out for them.

Click here to view Dogma trailer!

Galaxy Quest
(1999)

Alan Rickman, so good as the bad guy in Die Hard and
as the insecure suitor in Sense and Sensibility,
demonstrates here that he needs to be given more comedic
opportunities.  His take on the serious actor stuck doing Spock
is grounded, yet light and agile and very funny.

by Movie Geek Central

Click here to view Galaxy Quest trailer!

Judas Kiss
(1998)

The biggest problem with this film is its pace.
It moves too slowly to be an action film,
and although there are bursts of expository revelation,
it is really not a character piece either.
There is not quite enough investigating to qualify in
as a crime thriller either.
And why were two British actors cast as Americans?
Rickman drifts between American and British diction,
which is less grating than Thompson's forced and mangled
American accent.  Judas Kiss needed a script doctor
to step up the pace and add some punch.
                   However, it is still entertaining just to watch some
of the performances and one wild flashback love scene.

by Cheryl DeWolfe

Click here to view Judas Kiss trailer!
 


 

Michael Collins
(1996)

Although Neeson's forceful performance drives the movie,
he is assisted by an able supporting cast.
Aidan Quinn does his usual, solid job as Collins' best friend, Harry Boland.
Alan Rickman, best known for playing flamboyant villains
(Die Hard and Kevin Costner's Robin Hood) gives a
surprisingly low-key and introspective interpretation of De Valera.

by James Berardinelli

Click here to view Michael Collins trailer!

Quigley Down Under
(1990)

Quigley Down Under may have a plot that's as predictable
as a game of hopscotch, but it's buoyed by three solid performances.
The biggest surprise is Selleck, whom I have found bland in other
performances -- he always seems to be coasting on the fact he's
good-looking and has great posture.
In Quigley Down Under, his understated, assured style
makes him perfect in the lead role.  He's a throwback to the
old Western hero who let his actions do the
talking.  San Giacomo finds the right pitch in her performance,
as we eventually find out she's more tortured than she is crazy.
Writer John Hill also provides San Giacomo and Selleck with playful
back-and-forth dialogue, which they charmingly waltz through.
As for Rickman, well, the man was born in black.
He's without peer as a bad guy actor.

by Doug Pratt's
LaserDisc Review

Click here to view Quigley Down Under trailer!

Sense and Sensibility
(1995)

The no-nonsense Elinor and the dreamy, romantic Marianne are
both of marriage age, and much of the film deals with the assorted men
-- both blackguards and gentlemen --
who flit in and out of their lives, flattering and deceiving them
and changing them forever.
There's a hint of a mystery as each fascinating man
-- each man with potential --
seems to elude their grasp and disappears to London.

   Besides Grant, whose dithery confusion fits his character here perfectly,
there are the very good Alan Rickman as a gentleman caller less
desirable than others, and the dashing Greg Wise who, in one
memorable movie moment, swoops down on horseback
and rescues the incapacitated Winslet

by Sacramento Bee

Click here to view Sense & Sensibility trailer!

Bob Roberts
(1992)

 

Click here to view Bob Roberts trailer!

January Man
(1989)

I have always had "The January Man" on tape, but I never really sat down and watched it. One day I decided to give it a try, and I must say that it was unbelievable. Definitely one of Kline's best roles. Don't get me wrong, he was great in "A Fish Called Wanda", but he was in perfect form as Nick Starkey. And Rod Steiger was hilarious. And Alan Rickman was perfect as Ed. Great casting there. An amazing script, well directed, and great acting all around. I give it four out of four stars.

-by Jason McDonald
USA

Click here to view January Man trailer!

The Search for John Gissing
(2001)


(This is an currently an independent film,
still waiting for a studio release.)

After the opening sequence, the film picked up considerably
with the best comedic scenes being reserved (seperately) for
Alan Rickman and Janeane Garofalo.  In fact, it was a shame
they had so few scenes together as it would probably
have made the film a lot funnier.
Alan Rickman seems to be enjoying the migration from much-loved
villain and period actor to contemporary comedian and he
successfully adds a lot of warmth and humour to this film.
Janeane Garofalo was under-utlised in this film,
seeming to only play an exasperated straightman
to the angst of Mike Binder's character.
The rest of the supporting cast were great -
although I would love to meet a London taxi driver
which will take someone all over London for 35 pounds...

by cybamuse
Sydney, Australia

Click here to view The Search for John Gissing trailer!


 

The Winter Guest
(1997)
Director

Anyone who saw Alan Rickman's finely-realized performances
in Truly Madly Deeply and Sense and Sensibility will be
unsurprised that the actor-turned-director is a bit of a poet at heart.
However, for those who recall him only as the maniacal villain
of Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, this recognition
may be something of a shock.  Nevertheless, "poetic" is an
excellent term to describe Rickman's feature debut as a director,
The Winter Guest. The film has a simple, unhurried rhythm
that uses all of the available elements to fashion a successful whole.
The result is an occasionally haunting, sometimes magical,
and always insightful human drama.  The Winter Guest isn't
about resolving plot threads and advancing a story line;
it's about exploring relationships and examining life in all of its stages.

by James Berardinelli

Click here to view The Winter Guest trailer!

Click here to view a clip of Alan talking about the Winter Guest!

Help, I'm A Fish!
(2000)
Animated



Play
Short Film by Samuel Beckett


 

Go Back Home