Movie review

  • 2007-01-24
Breaking and Entering
Night at the Museum

Breaking and Entering
In "Breaking and Entering," Jude Law plays Will, a young well-heeled architect whose new firm is targeted by some small-time thieves. Determined to catch the culprits, Will manages to catch one of the young thieves in the act and follow him home, where he meets the boy's mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche), a Bosnian refugee who makes ends meet by tailoring clothes. Instead of informing Amira of her son's extra-curricular activities or turning the boy in, Will becomes - out of curiosity and attraction - a regular customer of the beautiful Bosnian. Ultimately, his own unhappy relationship leads him to pursue an affair with Amira. "Breaking and Entering" is a good film which explores the nuances in relationships and peoples' struggle to deal with the consequences of their actions. Law and Binoche's performances are solid, and their characters' liaison highlights the clash of cultures between Will's cocooned but claustrophobic world and Amira's commitment to a better future despite her tragic past. As the camera lingers on the characters' faces, actions, and expressions, director Anthony Minghella manages to capture a certain closeness and intimacy, and that's what I found most memorable about this film. 
1/2( Sherwin Das )

Will (Jude Law) and his partner set up an architecture firm in the rundown area of Kings Cross in North London where they have ambitious plans to radically redevelop the neighborhood. After their office is burgled, Will discovers one of the culprits is 15-year-old Miro (Rafi Gavron), a Bosnian refugee living with his widowed mother Amira (Juliette Binoche). Alienated from long-term girlfriend Liv (Robin Wright Penn) and her Autistic child, Will embarks on a passionate relationship with Amira while concealing his knowledge of her son's guilt from her. "Breaking and Entering" is an engaging and thoughtful film that respectfully crosses the confused and confusing borders separating people's lives. It's also a strangely old-fashioned and romantic film beneath its blurry modern veneer. Strong performances and a witty insightful script elevate "Breaking and Entering" above awful multicultural melodramas like "Crash." In particular, the strained relationship be-tween Will and Liv is extremely touching. It's a pretty pointless film in the end, but perhaps that's what I found so resonant about it. The story rambles and fumbles along as if it's not really sure what it wants to say or what form it should take, much like the lives of most people I know.
1/2 ( Tim Ochser )

Night at the Museum
In "Night at the Museum," Ben Stiller plays Larry, a down-on-his-luck divorced dad who resorts to taking a job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History. Once the doors close, Larry discovers that all the displays in the museum amazingly come to life. Each night utter chaos ensues as the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex scrambles to play fetch, Attila the Hun attempts to tear his enemies' limbs off, Roman gladiators battle American cowboys, and lions, rhinos and monkeys run amok through the building. Basically, it's the Museum of Natural History on crack. Larry juggles the crazy feat of putting order to the place every night while figuring out how to be a better father to his son. "Night at the Museum" is not a particularly great kids' movie, but it does have a fair share of cool computer-generated imagery and goofball comedy to keep children interested. I attended a matinee screening packed with kids who howled with laughter when Larry and Attila the Hun face off in a 20-second monosyllabic grunting contest. "Uga-wuga-buga-moo-moo." That sort of thing. The cast includes Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, and British comics Steeve Coogan and Ricky Gervais, all of whom provide occasionally amusing moments for accompanying parents.
1/2 ( Sherwin Das )

"Night at the Museum" is one of the most enjoyable films I've seen for some time. It manages to be marvellously entertaining for children and adults alike without having to insult the intelligence of either. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is having a tough time. His ex-wife won't let him share custody of their child because he's so broke he's about to get evicted from his apartment. In desperation he takes a job as a night security guard at the New York Museum of Natural History. But all the exhibits come alive at night thanks to an ancient Egyptian tablet. Larry finds he has to cope with a T-Rex skeleton that wants to play fetch and a warring group of miniature 
cowboy and Roman models, among other historical figures. "Night at the Museum" is sheer nonsense, of course, but I found its message that history is actually interesting a welcome respite from the factory-line of CGI animation movies and their relentlessly fatuous moralizing. Ben Stiller does his usual act of total self-humiliation with aplomb, while there are some good cameos from Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais and an uncredited Owen Wilson. I loved the Easter Island head in particular: "Hey, dum-dum. Give me gum-gum."
1/2( Tim Ochser )


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