Friday, October 29, 2010

Capsule Review: Sideways (2004)

1280x1024_cliffMaking a great film shouldn’t take flashy camerawork, a huge budget or a script full of twists, sometimes it just takes a collection of great actors being given excellent material and the freedom to bring it to life. Set amongst the wine country of Santa Barbara, Sideways focuses on a weeklong trip by teacher and failed writer Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti, in a role he’s perfectly suited for) along with his soon-to-be-married actor best friend Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church) as they take in the sights, play golf and drink plenty of wine. The attention to detail regarding the wine is as refreshing as it is inspiring, and the two men soon develop rapid – though very different – relationships with the women they meet: Miles with the waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) whom he’s admired from afar during previous trips and Jack with wine-girl Stephanie (Sandra Oh) whom he immediately starts banging in between lamenting his position as a soon-to-be husband. The dialogue exchanges between Miles and Maya has a depth and sweetness rare in film, and these perfectly realized and measured characters are brought to life with a light comic touch be director Andrew Payne (Election, About Schmidt). A movie that lingers for a long time after watching.

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