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Subject:Because it's Woodsday ...
Time:05:39 pm
Current Mood:okayokay
"The only American, Elijah Wood, an internationally recognizable face,
has once again chosen an indie film, with a meaningful story. He has
tended to steer away from mindless romantic comedies and seems to
have refused to capitalize on his good looks alone. He gives a
convincing performance as the bright, young student, grappling with a
lot of life issues at once. There is always a risk in playing this
kind of character. Done in a sweeping, over the top manner, it
becomes too loud and unconvincing. Too much understatement can make
it sink. Elijah walks a fine line in keeping his performance
realistic in a lively way, so as to keep audiences hooked."


The rest of this Oxford Murders review is pretty good too

The Oxford Murders (2008)
Rated: Rated PG-13 (Spain)
Runtime: 105 mins.
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Writer: Jorge Guerricaechevarrí a (writer); Álex de la Iglesia
(screenplay)
Cast: Elijah Wood; John Hurt; Julie Cox ... complete cast
Tagline: Crimes à Oxford
Genre: Foreign/Crime/ Thriller
Memorable Quote: "If we can find out the meaning of numbers, we can
find out the meaning of life."
Distributor: THINKFilm
Official Site: www.crimesaoxford. fr
View the Trailer: www.apple.com/ trailers/ sony_pictures/ surfsup/

Reel rating: 4/5

Reel commentary: ... The film is a case in point that it is not an
inflated budget that makes for a high-quality film, but well cast,
talented actors, pooled effectively by a creative director lead to
good film-making. .. full review

By Sultana Raza

The universe seems to have presented an excellent opportunity to a
young American man, who has a thirst for knowledge, for cracking the
numbers game, decoding Life itself. Except that the stakes are very
high, and the count is done in human bodies. The young man is Martin
(Elijah Wood), the setting is the wilds of Oxford, and the don who is
supposed to help him walk the magic road of numbers is Professor
Seldom (John Hurt).

The first murder occurs in the very house Martin is staying in and in
a macabre way serves to bring Martin closer to Seldom, who had
humiliated him in the first place and had refused to take him on as a
student. Conveniently, the murder takes place before a disappointed
Martin was preparing to go back to his native America, and just as
Prof. Seldom arrived on a visit at the door of Martin's landlady, Mrs
Eagleton (Anna Massey). Fate orchestrated them to meet at her door-
step, immediately after the murder. What's more, they receive a hint
that there would be more.

The game is on, to catch the killer before the body pile becomes a
mountain. Of course, the police are all at sea, as Martin and Prof.
Seldom speak in a code language that only mathematicians seem to
understand.

But is life as simple or as well organized as mathematical formulas?
Martin becomes entangled in more than just spaghetti with a local
nurse, Lorna (Leonore Watling). The dead woman's daughter, Beth
(Julie Cox), seems to have her own ideas, as to the missing
ingredients in Martin's love life.

The fast-paced plot takes us hurtling through various scenarios and
suppositions, with every major character joining the suspects line,
while the spectators lean forward eagerly to decode the film,
forgetting to dutifully munch on their popcorn and their drinks go
warm.

Basing the film on Argentinean writer, Guillermo Martinez's book, The
Oxford Murders, director, Alex de la Iglesia takes the audience on a
whirlwind tour of the labyrinth of the university town, using the
minds of Seldom and Martin as jumping pads. The plot twists and turns
as much as the narrow streets of Oxford. The walls start to close in
on Martin in the shape of the tight little University community. Can
this modern Theseus get out of the labyrinth, without the proverbial
ball of thread?

The film marks a new phase in the talented director's career, who
encourages audiences as much to laugh with him, as at him. Some of
his long camera pans with sudden turns to capture an interesting
moment are a spoof on badly done thrillers. However, just like The Da
Vinci Code or Zodiac, psychological thrillers are very difficult
to adapt for the screen, as most of the action is cerebral.
Nevertheless, di la Igelsia and Jorge Guerricaechevarrí a, have done
quite a good job, as the script is very tight with never a dull
moment. Flashes of humour keep the whole subject light, so that it
doesn't sink under the weight of its own seriousness.

Mysterious codes, and deep philosophical questions are explored in
the context of our modern, very mobile, everyday life. Actually shot
in Oxford, the director succeeds in keeping the background realistic,
and does not polish or plasticize it. This could be due to the fact
that it is an independent film, funded mainly by European
companies.

The only American, Elijah Wood, an internationally recognizable face,
has once again chosen an indie film, with a meaningful story. He has
tended to steer away from mindless romantic comedies and seems to
have refused to capitalize on his good looks alone. He gives a
convincing performance as the bright, young student, grappling with a
lot of life issues at once. There is always a risk in playing this
kind of character. Done in a sweeping, over the top manner, it
becomes too loud and unconvincing. Too much understatement can make
it sink. Elijah walks a fine line in keeping his performance
realistic in a lively way, so as to keep audiences hooked.

John Hurt seems to be born to play the arrogant university don. His
intelligence is surpassed only by his ego. He plays Seldom with a
judicious mixture of outward confidence and hidden insecurities.
Leonore Watling is well cast, as a bait to distract the attention of
male audiences. Julie Cox plays her role very well as a bitter young
woman. Anne Massey is singular in her performance, so much so, that
one wishes to know more about Mrs Eagleton, her character.

The film is a case in point that it is not an inflated budget that
makes for a high-quality film, but well cast, talented actors, pooled
effectively by a creative director lead to good film-making. More
audiences deserve to see the film.

Presentation at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival
(BIFFF)

The film was well-received at BIFFF on the 28th of March 2008, with
an excited crowd of young people, including Iglesia supporters,
shouting at every opportunity. They soon quieted down, as the film
drew them deeper in its twists and turns. Director Alex de la Iglesia
s charm and irrepressible humour soon attracted a crowd during the
Q&A, conducted in a mixture of English, French and Spanish. The
beautiful young producer, Vérane Frédiani and the shy and heavily
bespectacled Jorge Guerricaechevarrí a, as befitted the screen-writer
were, present as well.

Sultana Raza

Thanks to Esme Grubb for posting this review at Elijah Wood at the Movies Yahoo Group.

comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry

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shirebound
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 05:23 pm (UTC)
It's about time he started getting reviews like this!
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:36 pm (UTC)
Very true:)
(Reply) (Expand) (Parent) (Thread)

(Deleted comment)

not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:37 pm (UTC)
No word on a US release yet, I'm afraid:( But there is still hope:)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


hobbitlove83
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 05:33 pm (UTC)
Bless, a favourable review at last!!

Need I add I agree completely??

Thank you so much for sharing, dear heart!
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:39 pm (UTC)
Yes - it's great to see Lij get the praise he deserves. And needless to say, I agree too:D
(Reply) (Expand) (Parent) (Thread)


bellewood
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 05:47 pm (UTC)
What a really lovely review. About time! Thank you!
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:40 pm (UTC)
It's great, isn't it? And you're right - about time!!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

(Deleted comment)

not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:41 pm (UTC)
Exactly!! It's great to see him get the praise he deserves:)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


lisabellex
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 06:53 pm (UTC)
I've loved this movie more every time I've seen it. It's good to see Elijah get some critical acclaim for his role as Martin, and extra special knowing we played our small part.

:D
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:45 pm (UTC)
I've only been able to see it once and now it's gone from everywhere around here. I wasn't too bothered when I thought the dvd was coming out in June but now it's been delayed until late Aug I'm getting really desperate to see it again!! This film will always have a very special place in the hearts of his co-stars - us!!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


julchen11
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:27 pm (UTC)
I'm so looking forward watching this movie!
Thank you, my dear, for this wonderful post :-))
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:46 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome. And I know you'll love the film when you get to see it:)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


bjtp
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:34 pm (UTC)
He looks great in blue. :)
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:48 pm (UTC)
He does, doesn't he? Complements those stunning eyes:)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


janejanejane
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for posting the link to this, a favourable review, yay! The comment underneath was more akin to what others have said in places, but I agree with the reviewer, although the film wasn't perfect. I enjoyed it more each time the three times I saw it :-)
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 07:57 pm (UTC)
Dammit - I hadn't seen that comment as I'd only read the review on the Yahoo site:( Oh well, can't please everyone I suppose. I've only been able to see it once and I'm devastated that the dvd has been delayed by two months - I can't wait to see it again:)
(Reply) (Expand) (Parent) (Thread)


frolijah_fan_54
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 11:53 pm (UTC)
FINALLY!! Someone actually sees and appreciates what we have for so long now. Thanks so much for linking to this.

There is still no word about this at all here in the US - not even about a DVD release. I'm starting to get so worried that I won't be able to see this.
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 02:53 pm (UTC)
You're welcome:) I can certainly understand your frustration over the lack of news re a US release - I do hope you'll at least be able to get it on dvd. The UK dvd release has now been put back to August - I hope there won't be any problem with that. Would you be able to get it from the UK if it's not released in the US?
(Reply) (Expand) (Parent) (Thread)


primula_baggins
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-14 11:53 pm (UTC)
"Thanks to Esme Grubb for posting this at the Elijah Wood at the Movies Yahoo Group."

You're welcome. You do know that's me, right? : )

I liked that whoever wrote that review seemed to take a positive slant on it. I've seen so many reviews that were brutal. : (


(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 03:00 pm (UTC)
"You do know that's me, right?"

Yes, I did know:)

"I've seen so many reviews that were brutal."

I know - just like that stinking comment someone posted at the bottom of that review!! I hadn't noticed it because I didn't go to the actual site, just read the review in your post. Anyway, what does he know - the original reviewer is obviously a far more intelligent person:D


(Reply) (Expand) (Parent) (Thread)


ladysnaps
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 01:22 am (UTC)
finally! someone gets it! you don't have to be an "over the top" actor to be good. for me, it's the subtleties in performances that make a role. i just wish i could see this film for myself. *sighs*

this may be one of the reviews posted at A&F for the films. thank you and thank prim!
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 03:04 pm (UTC)
You're so right - so many critics seem to equate over-acting with good acting. Elijah's performances are always subtle and therefore far more believable. I hope you do get to see the film eventually, even if only on dvd:)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


lijahlover
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 03:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for this I agree 100%(of coarse I still need to see the movie)
(Reply) (Thread)

poplij
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 06:38 am (UTC)
*hihee* and when you do, you'll agree for 200 %, I'm sure of it ! :D
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

poplij
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 06:35 am (UTC)
He has tended to steer away from mindless romantic comedies and seems to have refused to capitalize on his good looks alone.
Well yes, and I hope he will always stay away from those type of films, they are SO boring.
Thank you for sharing, it's so nice to read a good review :)
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 03:09 pm (UTC)
Well yes, and I hope he will always stay away from those type of films, they are SO boring.

I do agree - although if he ever did appear in one I think I might just be able to force myself to watch it!! :D
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


lyrastar77
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 09:05 am (UTC)
Many thanks for the link -- and yes, it's good to see Elijah getting some praise there!

I did read the comment at the end though -- hmmmm ... Who knows what the true reaction was from the general cinemagoing public, but this person's review was rather scathing, in line with some others I've seen around on the net. However, although this person (like me) saw the movie in Oxford, his experience differed from mine. I just *had* to giggle at this comment though:

the deep homo-erotosism of the two male leads is a particular highlight

Hmmmm, now haven't we seen something similar before?! ;-D

Regarding your wish to see the movie again, I notice that you said:

I've only been able to see it once and I'm devastated that the dvd has been delayed by two months - I can't wait to see it again:)

There is somewhere you *could* see it on a big(ish) screen in June, not *too* far from you, if you will be capable of travelling. If you're interested, you could PM me or e-mail me & I'll let you know.

~Lyra
(Reply) (Thread)


not_alone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-15 03:15 pm (UTC)
I did read the comment at the end though -- hmmmm

Yes - that's a bit of a stinker, isn't it!! I hadn't seen it when I posted this because I'd only read the review in Prim's post, not at the actual site. Hence the reason I have now removed the site link from my post - just in case this post pops up in Google Blog Alerts!!

Hmmmm, now haven't we seen something similar before?! ;-D

I do believe we have!! :D

If you're interested, you could PM me or e-mail me & I'll let you know.

Yes, I would be interested - I'll email you:)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] Because it's Woodsday ... - NotAlone
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