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6 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Harry Potter and the Half Ass Film, 14 July 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the sixth movie in Harry Potter film series. Too dependent on previous films or expecting the audience to have read the books, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince fails to develop into a complete movie.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is whisked away by his professor and fellow wizard Dumbledore (Michael Gambon )to meet with Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) to encourage him to return to his professorship at Hogwarts School. Harry and Dumbledore continue to attempt to find a way to defeat Lord Voldemort and prevent him from returning to the living world. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) dance around their feelings for each other and engage in typical teenage romance melodrama. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) sneaks around, waving his wand at bookcases in dark storage rooms, spiraling down an emotional whirlpool.

As an added bonus for the audience, the director and writers have left bonus loose ends for the audience to enjoy. The extraneous footage includes destroying mystical stuff, a girl who has a crush on Harry, some broom related sporting events, potions, and curses. The cinematic loose ends fray long enough to braid and be sold as rope to climbers heading off for K2.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince reminds me of leftover casserole. Leftover casserole is made by taking the remnants of a week's worth of food, layering it in a casserole dish and hoping it tastes good enough that your family won't run out on you. If you sprinkle it with parmesan cheese, it can look delicious, but it almost always tastes like week old, reheated donkey-butt stew. Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves take a bit of left over the Sorcerer's Stone, covers it in Order of the Phoenix, slathers on Chamber of Secrets, dumps in Goblet of Fire and sprinkles Order of the Phoenix, bakes it with parmesan on top (the special effects) and thinks we will eat it.

It shows a total lack of cinematic integrity to assign the audience required reading or mandatory viewing in order to understand anything that is taking place on screen. It is perfectly rational to expect a first time Harry Potter viewer won't get every mention but they shouldn't be completely lost. It is not too much to ask for a bit of recap, artfully worked into the story so new viewers can understand what is going on. It irritates me to no end that David Yates, and the production staff think we should pay full price for a half a movie. In one of the more "intense" scenes in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Dumbledore says, "Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry" but I think it's the writer and director who have asked too much of the audience by hiding the casserole behind a smoke screen - literally.

Smoke comes out of the water, goes into the water, is outdoors, is indoors, and seems to follow Harry and his compadres, regardless of their travels. Harry would be the alpha caveman of any cave based solely on his ability to attract fire to himself. Based solely on the beauty of the smoke, Harry Potter is a stunning movie.

All of the effects in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince shimmer almost brightly enough to make one blind to the disparities in the plot. Well lit sets are set against green-screen created backgrounds that seem to flow naturally into each other. While some of the scenes don't work as well as others, they all work well enough to suspend disbelief and make wizardry riveting.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince has no beginning, nor an end; it is only a middle. With nothing to tell the audience what has happened up until now and an unraveling carpet for an ending, it fails to offer the audience a reason to sit through the film. It should be renamed to Harry Potter and a Half.

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Shoddy Production and Smoking Hotness, 1 May 2009

Forged in the heat of war and personal tragedy, claw wielding Wolverine was born. Shoddy production and inconsistent writing makes me wish that X-Men Origins: Wolverine could be retroactively aborted.

After his life is turned upside down, the young James Logan - Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) embarks on a tragic journey with co-mutant Victor Creed (Live Schreiber) that spans four wars and endless killing. When the wars finally end, they are dispatched to be members of a special squad of men sent to commit unspeakable acts. Unable to stomach the discomfort of his orders, Logan splits to find newer, more unimaginable pain. All the while Hugh Jackman is hot.

It surprises me that a movie with such a large budget and characters with a following as strong as the X-Men comics could not find a company to produce quality visuals. (Good thing Hugh Jackman didn't need help with his high quality visuals.) The computer generated effects are more than 20% of the movie, and are 80% of the problem. Lighting on the actors is a different color and are at a different angle than the green screen scenery behind. The generated backdrops lack an understanding of shadow and depth of field. This basic misunderstanding of lighting irons the visuals so flat, it's impossible to suspend disbelief.

The frustration is further compounded by the unnecessary use of generated objects. (And the unnecessary use of clothing on Jackman.) Instead of using models to create locations too expensive to build fully, they are created using the same disappointing generations. When props could be used to save money on the film and create a better visual effect, director Gavin Hood still uses artificially spawned effects.

The writing by David Benioff and Skip Woods does not come naturally either. Events that could prove Wolverine's humanity are sped through at a pace that makes them almost comedy. The love story is so rushed, it is hard to feel their connection. Characters multiply so quickly, it is hard to keep them straight. (Except Wolverine, it is hard to miss Jackman when he is burning a hole in the screen.) Some of the one liners are as cliché as teenage angst.

The audience is forced to languish in poorly lit fight scenes that drag on in near complete darkness. Those scenes that had enough light were poorly choreographed, and it is hard to get interested in what they are doing. Well, when they have their clothes on.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine has an almost orgasmic amount of pretty. I admit it shamelessly: I am in complete and total lust with Hugh Jackman, and his special attention to his body for this movie did not go unnoticed, by me or any of the other people in the theater. Jackman wasn't alone in unbelievably, moist-worthy hotness. Live Schreiber's creepy character can't outshine his ha-cha-cha-cha gorgeousness. Lynn Collin, who plays Kayla – the love interest in the film, made me want to fall in love with her.

These actors did not just rest on their beauty. Hugh Jackman was completely handcuffed by an imprisoning script. Jackman and Collins have really beautiful chemistry. My only gripe about the acting was the complete lack of emotional connection between Jackman and Schreiber. Neither gave bad performances individually but they can't seem to really bond the characters tight enough to make enough to give the story the depth.

All I wanted from X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a bit of ass kicking fun. Even accounting for the Yowza Factor, X-Men Origins: Wolverine fell short. The substandard visuals made even the best looking people (Hugh Jackman) look stupid.

53 out of 90 people found the following review useful:
The Archer Fish of Cinema, 21 October 2008

The Brothers Bloom unwinds the story of two confidence men, an Asian sidekick and their rich but isolated mark. The Brothers Bloom is a charming off kilter dramedy about love.

Bloom (Adrien Brody) and his brother Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) work as confidence men with their explosive sidekick Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi). Tired of the life, Bloom tells his brother he's done. His brother talks him into one final con against Penelope Stamp (Rachael Weisz.) Penelope is a rich, eccentric shut-in who has yet to live. They take advantage of her loneliness in a scam meant to satisfy her need for adventure.

Rian Johnson sees the world in The Brothers Bloom the way an archer fish sees bugs. The archer fish hunts bugs above the water's surface by shooting water at the bug from below the water line. When looking up from underneath everything looks like it is one place but actually is in a slightly different place because water refracts light, changing the view for the submerged. The archer fish has to see things slightly cockeyed in order to get the archery right. Rian Johnson took a slightly crooked approach to get the cinematic physics just right.

Penelope Stamp is the Robin Hood of cinematic archer fish. Everything about her life, her development, and her emotions are delightfully off balance. She isn't brilliant but she had dedicated herself to learning how to do many strange and obscure things. It wasn't good enough for Rian Johnson to make Penelope interested in pinhole cameras (a camera made by putting a piece of photo paper in a light-tight container and poking a pin hole in it to expose the paper), it had to be a pin hole camera made of a watermelon. Johnson made sure Penelope is beautiful, but by casting Weisz, made her an interesting beauty.

It isn't just the nature of the characters, but also how they talk. Johnson commits so fully to this strange-ified world, that dialogue that would warrant a call to the loony bin in real life, seems natural in the world created in The Brothers Bloom.

The downside to making the characters fit so naturally in their world is jokes or emotions that might resonate deeply in our world sometimes fall a little flat in The Brothers Bloom. There are no gut busting jokes but occasionally the audience finds themselves chuckling. Cheeks will not be soaked in tears, but occasionally a frog may find way into the throats of the viewers.

The Brothers Bloom is an endearing quirk-filled film sure to whisk the audience away on a flying crime filled love carpet.

17 out of 54 people found the following review useful:
The Slip and Slide of Cinema, 20 October 2008

What happens if you put fifteen young, good looking adults in the same place, and make them compete to join a team that will participate in one of the most elite races in sailing? As it turns out, nothing but sailing in the documentary Morning Light.

Roy Disney wanted to get young sailors in the TransPac race so he bought the Morning Light, and set off to get the best to man it. Fifteen mostly obscenely rich, mostly white, all good looking, young sailors, Chris Branning, Grahm Brant-Zawadzki, Chris Clark, Charlie Enright, Jesse Fielding, Robbie Kane, Steve Manson Chris Schubert, Kate Theisen, Mark Towill, Genny Tulloch, Pieter van Os, Chris Welsh, Kit Will and Jeremy Wilmont are chosen to vie for eleven spots on the Morning Light. They go sailing, talk about sailing and look at sail boats.

A reasonable person would venture a guess that a bunch of young virile men in a competitive situation trapped in a small space with a couple of women might bring some sexual tension. It would be expected that directly competing to participate in one of the most elite races in sailing, the TransPac, would cause outbursts or the occasional jockeying for attention or recognition. The powerful part of competitive reality TV…er movies… is the strong emotional connection between the people on the screen.

Watching Morning Light is like trying to swim on a slip and slide. While it is wet and you can move across it swiftly on your stomach, you can't drown in the story because the water is only there to lube you up. Nothing that would make the audience submerge into the depths of the people or circumstances even grace the screen.

Morning Light has the emotional depth of a sociopath. We might as well be watching, "How to sail: A Step by Step Guide for the Rich and Moronic," because it offers equal levels of emotional expressiveness. They did not make me wonder or care about who would be selected to make the team, if they won the race or how they got along. Instead of asking myself questions of wonder during the movie, I often asked myself, "Who cares?" On the plus side, I do know far more about sailing than I ever did before, maybe enough to encourage me to buy a sail boat – if I could afford one. Until then, I hope Disney leaves Morning Light out at sea.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An almost brilliant train wreck., 24 June 2008

The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things tells the story of a small boy passed around from person to person, but always haunted by his mother. There were a lot of aspects of this movie that resonated deeply with me was because I had a similar upbringing, but strange visuals ruin any brilliance the movie may have reached.

After being in a loving foster home for several years, Jeremiah (Jimmy Bennett, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse) is returned to the care of his narcissistic drug addicted mother. When he tries to return home, his mother, Sarah (Asia Argento), convinces him his foster parents don't want him anymore. She also leads him to believe that if he were to return to his foster home, he'd end up dead. She leads him on an escapade through several moves, several boyfriends, a few husbands, and endless abuse. She even goes as far as introducing him to drugs at a very young age. Jeremiah loses himself through time and begins to fall into his mother's insanity.

My biggest complaint is the director/writer, Asia Argento, creates such a great gritty movie with such realistic elements of emotional malnourishment and physical abuse but dashes them away when there is a visual effect using red crows that shattered my complete submission to the story.

Argento splashed the screen with honest depictions of what happens to abused children. When they moved using black garbage bags I broke down in tears because most of the dozens of movies I've had to make were made using the illustrious black garbage bag.

Then out of nowhere, a crappy red crow. The crows look like they were physically painted with acrylic paint, photographed, pasted in a flip book and filmed. After they were filmed they were placed in a scene in the most bizarre way possible. It felt like Argento slammed on the breaks while driving 100 miles per hour for no reason in rush hour; it causes a pileup.

Most of the acting in The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things is phenomenal. All of the actors do a great job of showing true packaging in which evil comes. Most of the actors know when to pull the character back from obviously monstrous and make the character so insidiously subtle they would be hard to spot by normal people in the real world.

I admit; I was too let down by the visuals and some herky- jerky camera work to enjoy The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. I will recommend it as an explanation as to why being bounced from place to place, from home to home is damaging to a child and how a child can become very good at survival techniques.

Conjurer (2008)
19 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Conjurer - It wishes, 19 June 2008

Conjurer is about how history returns to haunt even the unsuspecting. Conjurer reaches for brilliance occasionally but shallow acting, appalling writing and cataclysmal camera work doom Conjurer to a gruesome death. I'm going to do my best to stay awake while I write this review for you but I even as I type these words I'm dozz… Shawn Burnett (Andrew Bowen) and his wife Helen (Maxine Bahns) move to the country after a miscarriage devastates Helen. There is an empty cabin in the back yard when they move in which is the subject of local legend. Shawn begins obsessing over the cabin, the witch-lady who used to live there and the potential danger to him and his wife. Shawn and Hele…….. Sorry, I feel asleep just then.

Conjurer is like watching a farmer roll his cart to market through frozen molasses up a hill, and when he arrives, everyone has gone home. Horror or thriller movies can be slow moving, until the pay off in the end, which makes the entire movie worth the audience's patience and attention. Conjurer requires an all volunteer audience because there ain't no one getting' paid. *Yawn* The story ends at pretty much the same place it began, whattheheckland. The characters don't develop, the ending is unclear, and there is only enough plot for fifteen minutes.

The characters, especially Helen and her brother Frank Higgins (John Schneider) are confusing and loathsome. We watch as ……… Damn, it isn't any easier to stay awake when writing about Conjurer than it was to watch it. Helen swung from bitchy to attentive. Frank swung from generous to greedy. Both characters seem unable to clearly define themselves.

Andrew Bowen is convincing as a loving husband who believes wild stories. I often found myself not sleepy when he was in scene. He pulls Shawn off adequately enough that if the script were better, he might be able to compensate for the egregious attempts at acting by other actors in the movie.

Whenever Maxine Bahns came on screen, the teeth in my mouth that had dental work began to throb. She couldn't portray loving, sad, upset, scary, or shot convincingly. If I had to judge strictly on her portrayal of Helen in Conjurer, I am not convinced she could emote sincerely if someone was ripping the legs of her kitten.

Ken Blakely, the cinematographer has a fantastic understanding of light and framing, so when the camera is not moving, Conjurer is beautiful. There are lovely visuals where light gives a strong presence of mood. Sadly, when Blakey moves the camera he downright tries too hard. I can tell he is trying to figure out the best angle to convey mood but the only thing I felt was nausea.

The one part of the whole movie I was in love with was the when Shawn decides to take the status of the crow into his own hands. By the time he does, the entire audience had been having the same feeling for about an hour.

Any audience member who dares to watch Conjurer should be wary their heart will stop pumping because it fell asleep. I'm going to take a nap now; talking about Conjurer has made me sleepy.

117 out of 238 people found the following review useful:
Anyone have a time machine so they can warn me about this movie?, 29 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The much loved HBO show characters Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda come to the big screen in Sex and the City. A cheap, shallow, and annoying waste of film that made me shake my head so often, my neck needs chiropractic adjustment.

This travesty of character and plot development obliterates any chance I would even call Sex and the City a film instead of a TV movie with really good distribution. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) spends the entire TV movie trying to get married to Big (Chris Noth). Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) spends the entire TV movie trying to stay married to Steve (David Eigenberg). Samantha (Kim Cattrall) spends the entire TV movie trying to get laid. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) spends the entire TV movie, er, uhm, hmm, well, with nice hair. All the designers of New York masturbate all over the audience.

The writer and director, Michael Patrick King, didn't bother to make one plot that went smoothly through the entire movie. Instead, Michael Patrick King lumped four episodes together, but took out the theme song and credits. Even though there is a somewhat lengthy introduction at the beginning of the movie, this enhanced TV movie absolutely requires that the watcher has seen the HBO show Sex and the City, is familiar with the characters, and the events in their lives. The shoddy writing makes a synopsis nearly impossible.

Sex and the City jumped the shark when a fart joke lasts a solid three minutes and eventually saves the day. Then it turned right around, lined back up and jumped it again when a character's weight causes an entire party to take notice. Who knew that slapstick humor had a place in a chick flick. The whirring and whizzing past my head deafened me as Sex and the City went through an entire tank of gas leaping over selected marine life.

Now I like a pretty dress and shoes like the next girl but I would never consider spending millions of dollars on a movie slated to come out in the summer blockbuster season to try to get the audience to worship at the altar of designer shoes. As much as Michael Patrick King wants shoes to be a character or even a plot driver, they aren't. Am I the only person in the world who thinks a two foot flower on a five foot woman makes her look a little insane? It seems I am alone in the feeling that sleeves should not be wider than the woman. Is it possible that douche-baggery can be transferred to Sex and the City? I think so.

Unless hair dye counts, there is no character development in Sex in the City. After spending two and a half hours of my life with these characters, I didn't gain a single insight into the girls I didn't already know because the point of the movie is nothing changes. The only character who does anything interesting is Steve, Miranda's husband. Too bad his screen time comes to a whopping 15 minutes all together.

There is one cute scene where the girls start to talk about using the euphemism "coloring." The conversation goes on for some time and is the most entertaining part of the movie.

I would give anything to get the two and a half hours back I wasted on this Sex in the City. I would actually have sex in a city. I might even buy some shoes. I am considering suing Michael Patrick King to make him build me a time machine, test it on monkeys and little furry bunnies, go back in time to May 28, 2008 at 6:45pm at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco and prevent me from ever seeing Sex and the City.

The Visitor (2007/I)
53 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
The Visitor, 2 May 2008

The Visitor strings together unlikely events in the lives of a professor and his visitors. Remarkably sincere and touching, the unimaginable events feel natural.

Awkward Connecticut economics professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) has essentially checked out from his job, his personality and his life. Walter is forced by circumstance to return to his abandoned New York City apartment. When he returns he meets Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Jekesai Gurira), who have taken up unauthorized residence in his apartment. Tarek and Zainab teach Walter to live again, to come out of his shell and remind him how unfair life can be.

Writer and director Thomas McCarthy wrote all of the characters in The Visitor with almost contradictory personality attributes which gives them each a complex humanity.

McCarthy wrote Walter Vale painfully dull and bumbling but it was Richard Jenkins who also makes Walter charming and heart breaking. In nearly every setting, Jenkins both makes the audience scrunch their faces at Walter's social inadequacies while simultaneously bringing out our Florence Nightingale instincts. As Walter changes in the course The Visitor, Jenkins keeps the essential qualities of Walter but changes him in surprising ways.

The supporting cast isn't any less remarkable in The Visitor. There is a master of life, a vision of unabashed sadness and an embodiment of sensual motherly warmth. Haaz Sleiman, who plays Tarek, is (damn foxy) full of life as Tarek. His esprit fills Tarek, the audience, the other characters and actors with such vitality. Danai Jekesai Guria plays Zainab, Tarek's girlfriend. So much of Zainab is forlorn despondent dejection. Rich with beautiful hardness and unnaturally attractive pain, Danai Jekesai Guria made Zainab so hard to watch but impossible to pull your eyes away from. Hiam Abbass plays Mouna, Tarek's mother. Her fear is palpable but she never loses her intangible sensuality.

The most remarkable part of The Visitor is the way it organically shows the way life can change un-expectantly, unfairly and without warning and does it with real, raw emotion. Just when you think you've figured out what the movie is about, you slapped with a new reality. It is frightening, timely and angering. Even the ending, which is not the typical movie ending, is emotive in a subtle and realistic way. I was not overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the movie, I was perfectly whelmed; a task indeed.

The pacing is the one complaint I have with The Visitor. The editing could have been much better. There are beautiful scenes sometimes drawn out to boredom. Scenes that were the actors' timing is slightly off are only highlighted by the shoddy editing. The Visitor is an artsy movie but Tom McArdle checked out completely in a few of the scenes.

Slow bits aside, The Visitor is a rewarding film with rich characters, beautiful acting and complexities that might make those people who are quick to tears, cry.

Iron Man (2008)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Iron Man - Almost Super, 1 May 2008

A genesis story, Iron Man answers the question, "Where did Iron Man come from?" Laughter dots the super hero backdrop that is visually fun to watch but lacks the lift off to be a classic super hero movie.

Like the wise one says, "necessity is the mother of invention" and Tony Stark's mother birthed the crude chrysalis of Iron Man in a cave in Afghanistan. While demonstrating the Jericho Missile, spoiled, womanizing, arrogant weapons manufacturer and brilliant engineer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. ) is kidnapped by the Ten Rings terrorist group led by Raza (Faran Tahir). He is seriously injured during the attack. They hold him captive with a kidnapped doctor, Yinsen (Shaun Toub), who saves him from further death by attaching a device to his chest. Yisen and Tony work together to escape alive. Instead of recreating the missile for the terrorists, Tony develops the beginnings of Iron Man, emotionally and mechanically.

Iron Man is studded with easily recognizable names camping it up for the story. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Tony Stark's assistant Pepper Potts. She runs around in four inch heels, maternally tending to Tony's needs. Her dialogue is fun but a little grating at times because she is a deep as a teaspoon. Terrence Howard plays Jim Rhodes, Tony's friend in the Air Force. He puffs his chest in ways that would make a Marine commercial blush.

Iron Man isn't a huge modernized Rock-em Sock-em Robots revision, nor is it a strict superhero movie. It deals with the very beginning of the Iron Man legacy, so it is more Tony's personal development story. He begins as a self absorbed, uncaring, skirt chasing billionaire dilettante with no regard for the consequences of how his money is made. By the end he is a self absorbed, skirt chasing billionaire dilettante who cares about the people around him, where his money comes from and what people do with his weapons.

There is no shortage of scenes meant to make you laugh that add nearly nothing to the plot of Iron Man, including one with stripper flight attendants. The scenes meant to evoke laughter sometimes force the audience into an uncomfortable giggle, like a chuckle one might give their unfunny uncle. It isn't all middle aged relatives; some of the laughter was well earned. His machines are fun, his mistakes are entertaining and his arrogance earned more than a few smiles.

The scenes where Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man are exhilarating. I found myself clapping for flame throwers; how often do you get to do that in real life? I was fond especially of the learning scenes where Tony was trying to perfect Iron Man's suit.

The computer generation of the suit is flawless. I did not have to set aside belief because the light was wrong or the shine was too perfect. The only problem I had with the Iron Man suit was the inside of the mask, which seems like it is the size of a space suit when the camera looks in it at Tony. If one was to judge the size of the entire suit as it relates to the space in the mask, one would think it was designed for a couples naked high-altitude romp.

I found Iron Man enjoyable but, unfortunately, my socks remained firmly on my feet. I couldn't really escape into it but I didn't mind watching it either.

Evening (2007)
50 out of 89 people found the following review useful:
A great chick flick, 18 June 2007

Evening is the beautiful story of the flawed love of a mother. The movie split in time, is magically shot, amazingly acted and has a touching script. Vanessa Redgrave plays Anne Grant Lord, a woman sun-setting out of life. Lying in her bed, her mind remembering and misfiring, she recalls her first mistake. Claire Danes plays the young Anne, giving a youthful vitality to dying bed ridden woman. Daughters Nina (Toni Collette) and Constance (Natasha Richardson) try to decipher the real story from the disheartening dementia. Her first mistake revolves around Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson); the man her best friend Lila (Mamie Gummer) deeply loved. The daughters must come to terms with their mother's past, and their futures. The cast is glowing in Evening. The collective acting energy of this movie could have powered the equipment for the production of this entire film. I am so glad to see Claire Danes working again, especially in this role. She is so young, and alive, fully living the joys, mistakes and heartbreak of young Anne's first mistake. This is a true feat when you realize she is playing a woman, dying in bed. When her life overwhelms her, you can feel her desire to crack and her hopeless hope that she won't. Some of her facial expressions grinded on me a little, but over all her performance was so radiant, I was left with that only as a side note. Toni Collette continues to prove that you can be a powerful actress without being a super model. She plays the black sheep of the family; a little lost. Nina finds a great deal of strength in her mother's mistake. Collette delicately avoids creating a cruel character who revels in the mistakes of her mother, instead choosing the wiser path of learning from her mother's mistakes. There is a great deal of infighting between Nina and her sister Constance. Their fights remind me of ones I have with my sister all the time. Mamie Gummer, who plays Anne's youthful best friend, is wonderful. Her character is stuck between her heart and her status in society. Even when she is crying and her heart is breaking, she is incredibly regal and charming. I can't wait to see her act in something else in the future. Vanessa Redgrave's performance is very hard for me to describe. Her talent at making her mental status ambiguous without being wacko or even especially tragic is why it is so powerful. The audience does not know if she is making up the story because she is slipping away or if these events truly happened. Physically and emotionally speaking, Redgrave is acting in a box. Not much physical space and limited emotional range might have been a stunner to a lesser actress but she makes the limitations work for her. I was constantly amazed. The movie is definitely woman-focused but the men in the movie are not just accessories. Patrick Wilson is mesmerizing as Harris. It is no wonder that everyone in the movie is in love with him, I sure was. Buddy Wittenborn is Lila's brother, spiraling out of control. Hugh Dancy spirals Buddy out of control without sending his acting down the drain. Glen Close has my favorite scene in the movie. It reminded me of the famous scene from Monster's Ball. It is terrible and jaw dropping grief. I was utterly stunned. The one acting disappointment was Natasha Richardson. While her fight scenes were memorable, most of her acting reeks of melodrama. It would have suited her to take an acting bath before we had to breathe her stink. It's a good thing she wasn't in charge of the visuals. The visuals of the movie are sparkling. Cinematographer Gyula Pados couldn't make a film richer in color, light so perfectly matched to mood and emotion. The visual concepts of the flash back sequences are powerful and resonating. There were many scenes that could have been stopped, printed, mounted and sold as art. I admit it, I cried. Evening is a powerful movie. Evening is defiantly a chick flick but a really great chick flick. If you want to impress a woman with a movie choice, pick Evening.

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