I’ve spent a lot of time this week trying to organize a big spring/summer movie preview for next Sunday’s paper; it’s a matter of sorting out about a hundred movies (and chasing down their Seattle dates, from a multitude of sources) and organizing it in a way that I hope will be fun to read. Several movies have me looking forward to the new season, but perhaps most of all Stephen Frears’ “Cheri” — the story, set a century ago and based on a novel by Colette, of a retired French courtesan and her love affair with a rival’s son. I’m thrilled to see the great Michelle Pfeiffer, who’s had little to do in recent years, headlining a movie once again. She does period films so very well — watch her tough yet gentle Countess Olenska in Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence” and have your heart broken, every time — and this sort of saucy, literate comedy should be just right for her. And just look at the hat:
(Photo credit: Bruno Calvo/Courtesy of Miramax Films. Michelle Pfeiffer as Lea de Lonval)
And I’m delighted to see a reunion between Frears and his “Dangerous Liaisons” screenwriter Christopher Hampton (“Atonement”). In theaters 21 years ago (was it really?), “Dangerous Liaisons” is a delicious tale of scheming, sex and secrets in 18th-century upper-class France. Pfeiffer’s in the movie — beautiful and soulful as a virtuous woman who finds her morals sorely tested — but “Liaisons” belongs to Glenn Close, whose wickedly clever Marquise de Merteuil (who’s careful to never let us see her heart — almost) sets the plot in motion. Watch her in this scene with John Malkovich, particularly the ravishingly slow almost-smile in the closeup after he asks “And was that our story?,” and tell me why this woman never won an Oscar.
Have a lovely weekend, all. Enjoy a movie and some popcorn, perhaps; there’s some good stuff in the theaters.