Given our closest friend Cindy’s 8.5-month pregnancy, there’s not much for which she can go outside except the cinema. And there’s not many movies she can take. Also given our recent tendency to see 2nd-rate movie set in Europe as semi tourism documentary (Under Tuscan Sun, Casanova, Da Vinci Code), A Good Year is but the only choice for this weekend.

Turns out it’s almost as I expected: banal story, no-acting (doesn’t/can’t) Russell Crowe, good references to wine, but not enough Provence. The title is pretty pointless beyond the association to vintage. The market manipulation that earned Russell Crowe 77 million pounds is too childish. The belle of the town is too easy to get. Don’t waste your time unless you unconditionally love Russell Crowe.

Well, since you’ve already wasted some time reading this, why not a few more minutes, since most other actors/actresses are worth mentioning:

  • Freddie Highmore: I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory earlier this year with my parents, in which Johnny Depp is way too wacky, so the boy saved the movie. Another fine young Englishman besides the gang of Harry Potter. And doesn’t he look like Haley Joel Osment? I guess it’s McCaulay Culkin who started this boy star look.
  • Albert Finney: I had only watched a couple of movies by this veteran before: Erin Brockovich and Big Fish. According to IMDB, he played the judge in the history-marking 1990 The Wall Live in Berlin, which I watched back in China and of course don’t remember anything except the wall breaking down at the end. He’s quite perfect for the role of mumbling adagial uncle, a bit like his role in Big Fish. Another fine old Englishman besides Michael Cane.
  • Tom Hollander: he looked awfully familiar, and we later found out that he’s the dim-witted Mr. Collins in the latest Pride and Prejudice, which J likes a lot. He seems too perfect to be type-casted…
  • Marion Cotillard: Hollywood is pretty good at sticking to a few proven foreign actresses. It seems like there are only 3 French women in the world: Juliette Binoche, Audrey Tautou, and this gal. She probably got famous as the cute/hot girlfriend from the most hilarious Taxi series (the American remake is so lame), and then we saw her in Big Fish (again) and A Very Long Engagement–oh sorry, that’s a French movie. She’s better playing cute, but she looks great in this movie–what did Russell Crowe do that deserves her?!
  • Abbie Cornish: Maybe the next beauty from Australia, ironically she plays a dumb American blonde, who supposedly knows a lot about wine because she grew up in Napa Valley. She really ought to watch Sideways carefully and learn from Virginia Madsen–now that’s a woman who knows wine!