Skip’s Quips: Why ‘Mona Lisa’ Wasn’t Picture-Perfect

Blog Sketch 082813Sometimes even movies populated with a slew of great actors aren’t all they should be.

Mona Lisa, Neil Jordan’s 1986 crime drama starring Bob Hoskins, Robbie Coltrane and Michael Caine, is one of those movies. In watching it last night, I realized it had the potential to be a great, quirky tale, but it suffered from a sometimes-plodding length despite all the talent involved. Some of it probably could’ve ended up on the cutting room floor, methinks, with no loss to the film … and likely a gain. Also, there was many strange events that weren’t fully explained (the rabbit Hoskins’ character buys for his boss, for example — did I miss something about that?), leaving more questions than answers.

Still, there was much good acting to be enjoyed, from Hoskins’ gritty performance to Caine’s suave menace. I’m not a huge fan of Jordan’s movies — I often feel they leave us feeling like we’ve eaten only part of a meal rather than a complete, satisfying one — but he’s done some good stuff, and Mona Lisa’s eminently watchable. Just not perfect.

Am I expecting too much? Perhaps.

Skip’s Quips: Bob Hoskins and His Cinematic Legacy

Blog Sketch 082813Reading the news elicits a wide range of responses from me, but today was the first time in many months that I actually reacted to something with a cry of “Oh, no.”

It was to the report of character actor extraordinaire Bob Hoskins’ death at the untimely age of 71.

Like all performers, Hoskins has done good work and not-so-good work, but he had a very distinctive style and an old-fashioned bloke quality that worked brilliantly in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, among others. And I’ll tell ya, his performance as Smee in the very bad film Hook nearly elevated it to watchable quality. So this was one pro actor we’re talking about here, with a long, accomplished resume to boot.

I’m sad to see him go.