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A suspenseful, thrilling movie
19 December 2003
As the film opens we meet Stephen Glass, a rising star at "The New Republic" magazine. He's sensitive, friendly and unfailingly polite. And, oh yeah, did I mention he was on everybody's hot list? He was being wooed by everyone from "George Magazine" to "Harper's" to the "New York Times." Unfortunately, behind the Glass juggernaut was a compulsive liar who took everyone for a downhill ride. You see, Glass fabricated over 20 stories, inventing sources, locations, times, dates, and companies.

Hayden Christensen was fabulous as the ingratiating/creepy Glass. As a CNN.com reviewer pointed out, this movie proves he can act.

Christensen's Glass is the ultimate likeable co-worker, who remembers everyone's birthday, knows how everyone takes their coffee and is so self-deprecatingly sweet that when things start unraveling you feel sorry for him. Despite his audacious lies and deceits, you like him and wonder why everyone is being so mean. Christensen walks the fine line between good and evil so well, you watch in amazement. You feel sorry for him, you're repulsed by him, you're embarrassed for him...

At times I turned to my friend and said "Man! Is this hard to watch." And it was.

Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Glass' editor, Chuck Lane, is wonderfully understated as the misunderstood editor. (For those at home who care, he's also really cute in that nerdy handsome way.)

The movie incisively exposes the world of journalism -- with it's big egos, pedantic copy editors, and ultra-competitive writers. I could see many of my co-workers (current and former) in the archetypes portrayed on screen (the braggart, the attention getter, the know-it-all, the guy who will split the most microscopic of hairs just for the heck of it).

It also brings home the incredible responsibility on the shoulders of journalists. It's easy to forget this responsibility in pursuit of personal glory or attention, but it's the reader who gets hurt. Everyone in the business of journalism should see this movie. But with its twists and turns and shocking (yet true!) events, it's a movie for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
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Maurice (1987)
10/10
Fabulous, Beautiful and Romantic
13 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The filmmakers did an incredible job of bringing E.M. Forster's touching novel to life -- and I suspect that was no easy task because so much of the novel involves the main character's innermost thoughts and feelings. However, Merchant and Ivory did a beautiful job conveying the loneliness, fear and desperation of the main character, Maurice Hall.

The movie follows Maurice (James Wilby) down his road of self-discovery; from his embarrassing teen years to Cambridge (where he gets his first exhilarating taste of love) to his post-collegiate years as a young man struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in a time when homosexuals were mercilessly persecuted.

The movie is also very much about class struggle. Maurice is a gentleman born and bred, with a penchant for snobbery. As he comes to terms with his sexuality, he is forced to deal with differences in class when he realizes he is in love with someone from the serving class.

Readers of the novel will be delighted as much of the wonderful dialogue from the book appears in the film.

The characters were perfectly cast, with Hugh Grant (before he was a mega star) as Clive Durham, the perfect young gentleman from Cambridge (and Maurice's first love), Rupert Graves as the smoldering, lower class hunk who wins Maurice's heart, and Ben Kingsley in a hilarious turn as Maurice's junk-psychologist. James Wilby was spot-on in the title role and he perfectly captures the isolation, sadness and ultimate joy of the conflicted Maurice.

"Maurice" is a touching love story that anyone -- straight or gay -- can enjoy. Romance knows neither of these terms. And, the movie *is* unabashedly romantic and optimistic -- your heart will soar when Maurice finally gives in, casts societal conventions aside and visits his beloved at the boathouse. The hopeful ending is inspiring, though the close-up of Clive at the window at the end of the movie will break your heart.

Beautifully filmed, superbly acted -- a must-see film.
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