Welcome to the first edition of the column "Masterpiece Cinema". Every
week, I'll be using this space to discuss a great film. It's sort of
like a film review, only I don't bother with the crappy, mediocre
movies. Instead, I'll be discussing movies that I think are worth your
time and effort, and why they're worth your time and effort. It's meant
to be this whole life-affirming, positive outlook thing, and it keeps
me from having to go to screenings for crap like Torque and Scary Movie
28, just so I can confirm to you all how big a gob of phlegm these gobs
of phlegm are.

But with a mission outline like this, you might
imagine that I'll only be discussing elitist,
loved-by-fourth-year-film-students, inspired-by-David-Lynch highbrow
films that are acted with a French accent and are all very badly lit.
And yeah, I will be. Maybe. I don't know. But I'll also be taking a
look at action movies, comedies, and musicals. I might even, for lack
of self-control or lack of ideas (or both) delve into TV shows, albums
and books that are worth a look at. Basically, if it's fun, if it's
good, if it blows your mind in that way that great movies do, I'm going
to cover it here.

And so with all of that information covered,
let me introduce you to the very first movie well be covering in
Masterpiece Cinema.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
Starring Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss.
Written & Directed by Tom Stoppard
Genre: Comedy/Drama (does Shakespearean count as a genre? Yes, no?)
Released: 1990
Running time: 112 minutes.
Rated: PG.

friend introduced me to this one, and I loved it so much that I went
out and bought the DVD (not too shabby at twenty bucks). It's difficult
to know where to start when it comes to extolling the virtues of this
film, so I guess I'll just start where I can.

Written and
directed by the playwright, Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz &
Guildenstern Are Dead is based on the play of the same name.
Incidentally, Stoppard also co-wrote that darling of the 1998 Oscars,
Shakespeare in Love.

Biting comedy

Roscencrantz &
Guildenstern Are Dead is not Shakespeare in Love. I think that bears
repeating; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is NOT Shakespeare
in Love. If you want a cute little romantic comedy/period drama, with
cute little references to Shakespeares plays and a cute little actress,
go rent Shakespeare in Love. If you want a clever, biting comedy that
examines themes ranging from the nature of performance to the issue of
mortality, get this instead. And believe me when I say, its much, much
better than any cross-dressing Gwyneth Paltrow film could ever be.

you're familiar with Hamlet, then you may or may not remember
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, as the Prince of Denmarks
double-crossing friends. Then they were nothing more than a footnote in
one of the greatest plays ever written. This time round however they
take centre stage as the two hapless heroes trying to come to terms
with the affairs theyre embroiled in, doing their best to keep their
lives. The results are hilarious, but at the same time lead to a great
deal of contemplation over life, death, and everything in between.

...what do I know?

if that's all not enough for you, it has Richard Dreyfuss, Gary Oldman
and Tim Roth in it. I mean, come on! Tim Roth?? Gary Oldman?? How could
you have not seen it by now?! Add to the fact that its the film that
made Quentin Tarantino decide to cast Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs, and
it really makes you question your film geek status for not having seen
it. Of course, I'm yet to see The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her
Lover, so what do I know?

I would say Do yourself a favour and
go pick it up today, but not only is that clich, you also don't really
need me to. You already know you need to see it. Just make sure you do.

it for this week. I intended to keep this whole thing at about 500
words, but I've already gone way over that. In any case, go watch
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, and if you have an idea for a
film that I should either cover or check out myself, email me at

Next Week: Who knows? Be surprised!