A Good Year Ridley Scott

The devil must have come to collect on his blood pact with Ridley Scott: though his latest effort is predictably gorgeous beyond all telling, absolutely nothing in it rings vaguely true or approaches the achievement of his early, iconic movies. Russell Crowe stars as a bond trader with an eccentric uncle (Albert Finney) with whom he was once close. Distant for many years, the trader is only moderately saddened when his relative dies without leaving a will. As closest blood relative, Crowe’s entitled to Finney’s Provence estate (including a winery long past its sell-by date) but as he visits with the hope of selling he gets sucked in by its charms, those of a feisty female local (Marion Cotillard) and the idea that making money might not be the finest thing in life. It’s by the numbers all the way, with the usual charismatic louse being shown what’s really valuable in life, except here Crowe is more obnoxious than charismatic, meaning we don’t care a fig whether or not he learns his pitiful life lesson. Everyone else in the movie is a caricature, a joke or a sexy, "strong” woman to be leered at; it’s all been done before, only far less flatulently than Marc Klein’s obvious script can possibly muster. And though the visuals are, as advertised, beautiful, they’re fairly overproduced and lack the grace to suggest the calm of pastoral living or the gentle stillness of the lifestyle to which they claim allegiance. What’s on offer is pretty vulgar and not at all entertaining. Extras include a sort of commentary with visual digressions that feature Scott discussing technical matters and Klein cooing imbecilic compliments to his collaborators, a useless promo clip with director and star, and three terrible Russell Crowe music videos. (Fox)