Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Monday, October 28, 2013

Just Glad it finally Ended

My Reel for this week is 1999's THE END OF THE AFFAIR, after the viewing I felt strangely empty inside & sleepy.The movie starts in 1946 and from there dissolves into a series of flashbacks. Maurice (Ralph Fiennes), a writer is recalling in prose his brief affair with Sara (Julianne Moore), the  long suffering wife of Henry (Stephen Rea), her bland, boring & inattentive husband, who walks about the house oblivious to his wife's restlessness. After meeting Maurice at a party, Sara begins a torrid affair. Now they say torrid, I say benumbed & horrid. It was actually excruciating to watch. Sadly, I was not convinced, that they couldn't live without each other. The chemistry was non-existent.When Sara spoke of loving Maurice forever (by the way in a British accent done badly), she could have easily been saying  "Pass the salt".
When Sara mysteriously ends the affair, Maurice spends his time trying to discover what went wrong. I could have told him.

All three leading actors were dull, dull, dull. I couldn't even understand what Sara supposedly found intriguing about Maurice. It seemed like she went from her boring husband, to her boring lover , with some added sex.
The backdrop of the movie was WWII, but even that was dusted in gray.
The film tried to have the feel of an actual 1940's movie, with rain , clipped speech & dewy close-ups, but it lacked fleshiness(well, it definitely had the other kind of flesh) & real emotion.
For me, the entire movie was like  watching a pot boil, but it doesn't even start to simmer. it simply sits there, tepid, wanting to boil, but incapable of it.
THE END OF THE AFFAIR lacked follow through & heart. You scratched the surface, but were left with more surface.
I felt cheated out of an hour & thirty-five minutes of my life, If you want a 1940's style movie, watch an actual 1940's movie. May I recommend "No Man of Her Own" with Barbara Stanwyck or "Leave Her to Heaven" with Gene Tierney & you won't feel cheated.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Frozen Bond of Lies

Each week I tell myself that I will plan to do better and be a little less neglectful to my little blog. It's certainly not for lack of movies & books to review. It has more to do with my own habit of over extending myself. I will do better, I will, I promise. Well, now that I have unburdened myself, it's onward & upward.

My Reel this week is 2012's "ON THE ICE": In an Inupiaq village in Barrow, Alaska, two boyhood friends Qalli (Josiah Patkotak) and Aivaaq (Frank Qutug Irelan) test the bonds of their life long friendship after a devastating accident on a seal hunt. The two tumble into a web of lies.
All the hopes they have for a bright future, hang in the balance. Qalli's deep family connections and his fear of disappointing those near & dear to him, add fuel to the fire of the subterfuge.
Aivaaq's need for love & acceptance, coupled with his feelings of worthlessness eat at him, causing him to ache for the numbing path of self-destruction chosen by his Father  and Mother before him.
"ON THE ICE" is a coming of age film, steeped in the warmth & connectedness of Native life.
It was filmed so beautifully, it was almost documentary-like. You felt like you were somehow contained within the story, observing it unfold surreptitiously. The acting was achingly real. You just knew that the young actors were in touch with the dynamics of the subject matter.
For me it brought back memories of my own childhood, growing up in Alaska: Fort Greely, Delta Junction,Peters Creek & Chugiak. Especially the wide open, sometimes desolate, but always beautiful, winters.
I felt a closeness to "ON THE ICE", a story of love, fear and choices,but also full of the  joys & complexities of Native life.