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Evening

Ann Lord (played by Vanessa Redgrave) is coming to the end of her life. Now in her seventies, she is in the final stages of an illness that has left her bed ridden. Her two daughters, Nina (by Toni Collette) and Constance (by Natasha Richardson) are at her side in her home in up-state New York. Her pain medication causes her to drift in and out of hallucinations of her younger days when, as Ann Grant (by Claire Danes) in her twenties, she met the love of her life Harris (by Patrick Wilson) at the wedding of her best friend Lila (by Mamie Gummer). She calls out to him many times but the girls have no idea what she is referring to, until Lila, now too in her seventies (by Meryl Streep) calls to see her and explains some of the mystery surrounding Harris, Lila’s brother Buddy (by Hugh Dancy) and the drama surrounding Lila’s wedding day. Nina and Constance both have their own life issues to deal with and through their anguish about their mother and what they learn about her, they manage to find new peace in their lives and courage to face their own futures. 

This movie has a stunning ensemble cast, with appearances also by Glenn Close and Barry Bostwick as the young bride Lila’s parents. However, such a strong cast would promise a fabulous movie – even the plot offers an intriquing storyline. Perhaps I have totally missed something major here, but for me – unfortunately, this movie falls far short of the mark. The components are fragmented – there is no real alignment and overall the movie is dull. Several characters are redundant – Constance (Natasha Richardson), the Winterborns (Glenn Close and Barry Bostwick), particularly Mr Winterborn, are not really required – although it’s entertaining to watch Glenn Close in such a character. Once again, Hugh Dancy’s character Buddy offers much interest, but although he seems to try hard, on screen Buddy is superficial. Harris is supposed to be the great love of the movie but he is almost an invisible person and the young Anne and Lila are both not right, with no screen presence at all.  Best performances are Vanessa Redgrave and Toni Collette. However, Redgrave does not look at all like a person reaching the final stages of a painful and difficult illness.  My advice is, wait until this is on television – and then only if you need to fill in some time.

Made in 2007.  Directed by Lajos Koltai

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Movies

 

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U-Turn

Bobby Cooper (played by Sean Penn) is headed to Las Vegas in his slick, red convertible. He has to pay off a gambling debt to Russian gangsters and he’s behind in his payments – he’s already had two fingers cut off by the mob, one for each of the two weeks he’s late. While travelling down the Arizona highway, his radiator hose bursts and he must find somewhere to get it fixed. He finds Superior, a tiny desolate mining town and tracks down Darrell (by Billy Bob Thornton) – a greasy, rather unsavoury looking mechanic at the only gas station within 50 miles. Darrel cheerfully suggests Bobby “check out the town” while he fixes his car. So Bobby takes a look around.

Of course, this town is populated by some strange characters – he meets a wise, old Native American (by Jon Voight) who sees the world through blind eyes, the innocent teenager Jenny (by Claire Danes), Toby N Tucker [TNT] (by Joaquin Phoenix) a youth itching for a fight and the sexy but lonely and desperate Grace McKeena (by Jennifer Lopez) – who entices Bobby into a liaison which develops into a sticky situation with her rich husband Jake (Nick Nolte). The mobsters manage to track Bobby down while he is in Superior and when things get tricky, Superior’s Sheriff (by Powers Boothe) is on hand, These bizarre people each interract with Bobby in their own way, even though he tries to keep to himself. But then things take an even stranger turn when Bobby realises he doesn’t have the money to retrieve his fixed car and unless he gets money somehow he’s virtually trapped in Superior …  then as the stakes and tensions rise, things only get worse for him.

This really is a great movie. You can feel the tension from the minute Bobby steps into Superior – and practically taste the dust in your dry mouth when you watch him explore this bizarre town. Each of the strange characters evokes a particular emotion or moral dilemma for Bobby and Sean Penn plays this role marvellously. Billy Bob Thornton is totally unrecognizable as the strange Darrell and Jennifer Lopez is at her alluring best as Grace. Nick Nolte plays her rich husband running his own agenda magnificently too  The twists and turns in the plot are developed well and clearly depict Bobby’s building frustration and desperation. The excellent cinematography takes you right into the desert with Bobby and you feel hot, dry and sweaty right along with him. As you watch, you really do hope the movie is going to end well but somehow you also know that just might not happen. It’s a very good movie.

Made 1997. Directed by Oliver Stone

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Movies

 

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