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PCR # 196  (Vol. 4, No. 52)  This edition is for the week of December 22--31, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Cold Mountain"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida - Part Two....Plus, La Fla Year-End Summary
 by Will Moriaty
"Cold Mountain"
by Mike Smith
2003 Year-End Edition
 by Vinnie Blesi
The Top Ten Albums of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
The Top Ten Movies of 2003
 by Terence Nuzum
At The Movies....In Closing...
 by John Lewis
'Twas The Night before Christmas and at PCR...
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Year That Was....Why God, Why?....Do What We Say, Not What We Do....Yoko Again....Classic Lines....My Top 10 Movies, Phillip's Top 5
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Miramax Films     
Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zelwegger, Natalie Portman and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by: Anthony Minghella
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 35 mins

In a holiday season full of cinematic epics ("Master and Commander," "Return of the King," "The Last Samurai"), I am happy to report that "Cold Mountain" rests on the highest peak.

A love story intertwined with the Civil War, "Cold Mountain" owes it's success to an outstanding cast and talented director. The story begins in the months before war is declared between the states. A small North Carolina town is building a chapel to welcome the new preacher (Donald Sutherland) and his daughter, Ada (Kidman). Upon arrival, the beautiful Ada catches the eye of a man referred to only as Inman (Law). The two flirt at arm's length and it is only after the war has begun and Inman must leave to fight that the two share their first kiss and an unspoken promise to wait for each other. What follows is a series of battles, both on the field of war and at the home, as both Ada and Inman fight to keep their vow.

After a run of excellent supporting roles in such films as "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Road to Perdition," Law makes the jump to leading man here. Injured in battle and a deserter from the war, his eyes tell his story as much as his words. Whether helping a wayward preacher (Hoffman) escape the wrath of his church or agreeing to share a bed with a recently widowed woman (Portman) who misses the closeness of her husband, Law proves himself again and again to be the man that Ada knows he is and longs to spend her life with. Kidman does a fine job as Ada. Forced to fend for herself after the death of her father, she turns from a dainty belle into a tough farmer, reminiscent of Scarlett O"Hara in "Gone With the Wind." But where Scarlett had Melanie, Ada has Ruby (Zelwegger), a tough woman who knows everything about running a farm and won't take any gump from the less then farming challenged Ada. Zelwegger gives the performance of the film and I predict her a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination, if not the award itself. Fine supporting work by Giovanni Ribisi, Kathy Baker, James Gammon and Brendan Gleeson make the film, at more then two and a half hours, fly by. Photography by John Seale, who, like director Minghella, won an Oscar for "The English Patient," captures both the haze of the battlefield and the beauty of the North Carolina coast. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Cold Mountain"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Cold Mountain" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.