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A Quick Nipslip Of A Review For CALENDAR GIRLS!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Leave it to Helen Mirren to still be getting her kit off at her age. Glad some filmmaker put it to good use.

Hi, Harry. I haven't noticed a whole lotta posts about this movie. It's coming out 12/19, I believe. Cinema Seattle sponsors free screenings every now and again, and this was one of them, just a couple days ago. Anyway, hope you find use for it.

CALENDAR GIRLS is based on real events, but might as well be farce. It's charming enough, hits a lot of the right notes, but it is awfully inconsequential business. Helen Mirren and Julie Walters are fabulous, though, as best friends Chris and Annie who have gotten bored to the point of cracking jokes amongst themselves just to keep interested during town meetings of the Knapely Womens' Institute. Each month, the meetings feature a new theme: history of milk marketing, broccoli, etc.

Shortly after Annie loses her husband to leukemia, and then Chris somehow comes up with the notion of putting together a semi-nude calendar with herself, Annie and several other townswomen as a fundraiser for the local hospital. Annie's huband wrote a poem with the line, "The last stage of the flower is the most glorious," which relates in some way, shape or form to doing the calendar (nude older women.. last stage of the flower is glorious... disease... mkay). But, I think it's more an excuse simply to break out of the doldrums of conservative living, and cause a stir. The loftier goal - when all's said and done - would up being to contribute to the fight against leukemia. Maybe it's both things. I wish the film more upfront about its message.

But, alas, we have to have a few mixed intentions for the comedy to work. And so, Chris has some odd fascination with the female anatomy that is neither dealt with fully or dismissed (why such an interest in boobs for this woman?). She finds a dirty magazine under her son's bed, leafs through it, has a chuckle. And then, bam -- nude calendar time. She comes off a wee bit like she is doing everything for personal gain, at first, and not necessarily in honor of a deceasd friend's memory. Her son is embarrassed, of course, and ridiculed at school. There's a subplot involving drug usage that's introduced almost entirely for a single laugh toward the end that reminded me of that scene with Matt Craven in A FEW GOOD MEN.


You just know, by the end, friendships will have been tested, a marriage or two put in jeopardy, so on. Unpredictable CALENDAR GIRLS is not. And, would all the stuff with the press attention and the television spots and even a trip to Hollywood really be warranted by seeing these Golden Girls with their ta-ta's on display? Somehow I think probably not.

Still, a decent movie. Occasionally funny. Just doesn't add up to much. Ashley Rowe's cinematography gorgeously captures the landscape of this lush English countryside. Always a pleasure to look at, this film. And, I must say, the brief glimpse we get of Helen Mirren's quite supple attributes... is nice.

-- J-Man

Thanks, man.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 11, 2003, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Titties!!! what's that you say..."old titties"....I feel so conf

    by Big Bad Clone

  • Dec. 11, 2003, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Cut-off age of 40?!

    by raw_bean

    You mean you wouldn't allow Madonna to get her kit off in a film anymore?!

  • Dec. 11, 2003, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Erm... yes. Because....

    by Jam Banjo

    "And, would all the stuff with the press attention and the television spots and even a trip to Hollywood really be warranted by seeing these Golden Girls with their ta-ta's on display? Somehow I think probably not." Erm... possibly should have thought that one thru 'J-Man'. Since, its based on a true story that ACTUALLY happened. Which you seem to know, as you mention it in the first paragraph. Next week... J-Man reviews Black Hawk Down - 'Would the general really order a daytime raid in the busy Bakara market, risking a heavy loss of life in order to capture high ranking clansmen? I think not.'

  • Dec. 11, 2003, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Actually, Helen Mirren is still pretty hot...

    by rap12

    ...I saw her in "Dance of Death" on Broadway (opposite Ian McKellan), and while she may not be as mega-hot as she was 33 years ago(!), let alone back during "Excalibur" days, she did have an impressive cleavage and a sexy air. Must be that Russian blood...

  • Dec. 11, 2003, 7:34 p.m. CST

    over 40 . . .

    by FloydGandoli

    Meg Ryan's over 40 and nobody is complaining about her nudity in "In the Cut." Of course, no one's seen "In the Cut."

  • Dec. 13, 2003, 6:47 a.m. CST

    What - coming out 12/19???!!

    by The_Thin_Man

    For goodness' sakes, it came out three months ago in Britain! How come nobody else has bothered to post a review? (I'm taking it for granted here that "12/19" in Americanese is the same as "19/12" in British, and does not refer to the twelfth day of the mythical nineteenth month.) I saw it ages ago and it was a bit disappointing - one of those irritating British films where everybody idolises America and a few of the main characters get to go there at the end as a "treat". (See also: "Notting Hill", "Love Actually", and the film adaptation of Swift's "Waterland".) THIS IS A HUGE ANNOYING CLICHE AND SERVES NO PURPOSE APART FROM GRATUITOUS SUCKING-UP TO HOLLYWOOD!!! Apart from this, it's okay. Reviewers shouted triumphantly about how a great taboo in film, that of middle-aged female nudity, had been broken (showing a worrying ignorance of other British films and at least one American film in the process). Don't worry too much about this. You could take your eight-year old son to see "Calendar Girls" and he'll come out of the film with no more knowledge of the nature of womanhood than when he went in. The last third of "Calendar Girls" is particularly annoying, and feels utterly contrived and tacked-on to the rest of the film. (This is the Hollywood bit mentioned earlier.) It MAY have happened in real life - I'm dubious - but it's completely unconvincing in the film. Which is a pity, since the first two thirds of it - the scenes of the Women's Institute in an English village - are done very well, if in a slightly unreal, dreamland, Richard Curtis-esque style. Other than that, I'm not sure what I can say. No actor particularly stands out, although Julie Walters manages to flesh out her character a bit more than Helen Mirren and the rest. My recommendation to people who haven't had a chance to catch this one in the cinemas yet? Save your money. There've been a lot of much better feelgood movies recently coming out of America than the British variations "Love Actually" and "Calendar Girls". Have a look at one of them instead.