Gosford Park
**.8 GM
Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Richard E. Grant, Ryan Phillippe, Charles Dance, Derek Jacobi, Emily Watson, Bob Balaban, Stephen Fry, Jeremy Northam

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This film was not all that. It wasn't even really a bag of chips.

I don't know where the "grandly entertaining" part comes in that the critic types noticed, but this film seems to be just a mildly amusing zillionth satirical look at the upper crust society dandies, the only twist being the fact that an equal amount of time is spent on the lives of those that serve them. Sorry, but that still doesn't make it fascinating.

It's not BAD, really. It has interesting bits here and there and Stephen Fry is amusing, but it's just not very engrossing at all. It's a subtle, light comedy, I suppose, but when there's suddenly a wrenching sadness at the end, it feels a little out of place and jarring. Maybe that's the point - to witness all this stuffy haughty emotional repression shattered finally when it becomes too much to bear. Okay then. I'll be in the lobby eating a crumpet.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see what the deal is with Robert Altman films. I've seen a small handful, and I'd have to say that "M*A*S*H" and "Popeye" are his most enjoyable films. "The Player" was mildly interesting at best, and "Nashville" was much less so. Perhaps I've missed the best ones, but what I've seen so far doesn't make me all that compelled to check the rest of them out.

The performances are fine enough. Helen Mirren does an admirable job, Clive Owen is kinda smooth, Jeremy Northam is amusing and Maggie Smith is a bit droll as the nasty stuck-up bitch. A character-driven story, however, requires that you give more than a passing fuck about these people, though.

So this film being in the "Best Picture" crowd confirms that Memento got fucking robbed.

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