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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Hornby’

Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd

“JULIET, NAKED” My rating: B+

105 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The drolly amusing “Juliet, Naked,” isn’t my favorite film based on work by Nick Hornby (that would be the sublime “Brooklyn”) but it’s right up there with “About a Boy” and “High Fidelity.”

And like the latter, it’s a comedy/drama that pivots on a guy obsessed with rock music.

Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) teaches pop culture at a small British community college. He’s the kind of geeky prof who, for a course on HBO’s
“The Wire,” supplies his students with a glossary of American inner city words and phrases. You can imagine him leading serious  classroom discussions about the etymological roots of “mofo” and “ho.”

His biggest crush, though, is on a marginal American singer/songwriter named Tucker Crowe whose LP “Juliet”  holds the 43rd place on at least one list of great heartbreak albums.

Duncan loves “Juliet” and scarfs down every bit of information he can find about Tucker Crowe, who vanished a quarter century ago.  Duncan is also the proprietor of a Tucker Crowe web site where he trades theories with other Crowe disciples and writes rambling blogs about how Tucker is the J.D. Salinger of alt rock.

In short, Duncan is perfectly ridiculous. (Not that we can’t relate. Most of us have our little hard-to-explain musical fixations: Richard Thompson. Eric Andersen. The Beau Brummels.)

Anyway, Duncan’s live-in girlfriend Annie (Rose Byrne) has just about had it with the whole Tucker Crowe thing.  When an early stripped-down demo recording of the songs on “Juliet”starts circulating on the Internet, Annie writes a withering (and anonymous) review of what is being called “Juliet, Naked.”

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Saorise Ronan

Saorise Ronan

“BROOKLYN”  My rating: A-

111 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“Brooklyn” is a wisp of a movie packing a boatload of feeling.

In this humanistic triumph from director John Crowley, little moments add up to an intimate epic.

Based on Colm Toibin‘s novel (the terrific adaptation is by Nick Hornby), this devastatingly lovely effort follows a young woman’s journey from Ireland to America, the gradual falling away of her old identity and the new one that replaces it in the land of promise.

As the film begins Eilis (a sensational Saorise Ronan…expect an Oscar nom) is a shopgirl in small-town post-war Ireland, a place of of narrow vistas, frustrated hopes and small-minded meanness.

Despite her fierce loyalty to her mother (Jane Brennan) and spinster older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), Eilis feels smothered and concludes her future lies elsewhere.

With the sponsorship of Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), an Irish priest living in NYC, Eilis buys a cheap boat ticket and takes off for the New World.

Her first mentor is her shipboard bunkmate,  a much more sophisticated gal who introduces Eilis to rouge and mascara, the initial step in being taken seriously as an American woman.

Once settled in the Brooklyn boarding house run by the hilariously opinionated Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters), who presides over a dinner table of single girls like a tart-tongued mother hen, our heroine gets to work.

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