Archive | August, 2012

Now Voyager

14 Aug

                                                            “The untold want by life and land ne’er granted,
                                                              Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find.”
Summary:   Based on the novel Now Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty this is a classic Story about a Boston spinster, Charlotte Vale, who under therapy breaks from the heavy hand of her mother and finds romance with a married man. 
                                                                                                    CAST

Betty Davis……………………………………………………….. Charlotte Vale

Paul Heinreid……………………………………Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance

Claude Raines…………………………………………………………. Dr. Jaquith

Gladys Cooper………………………………………………… Mrs. Windle Vale

Ilka Chase…………………………………………………………………..Lisa Vale

Bonita Granville………………………………………………………….June Vale

John Loder……………………………………………………….Elliot Livingston

Lee Patrick……………………………………………………………Deb McIntyre

James Rennie……………………………………………………..Frank McIntyre

Mary Wickes…………………………………………………Nurse Dora Pickford

Janis Wilson………………………..Christine “Tina” Durrance (uncredited)

David Clyde……………………………………………………………………..William

Review:  This 1942 film classic starring Betty Davis as Boston spinster Charlotte Vale, is best known for it’s then controversial depiction of a spinster falling for a married man. Paul Heinreid, (think Casablanca) falls for Vale as well after they meet aboard an ocean liner headed for Rio. The sexual innuendo abounds as Heinreid’s character, Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance so famously lights two cigarettes with one match and gives one to Vale.

Charlotte Vale an unattractive, overweight, repressed, unmarried woman is dominated by her over bearing, dominating mother, an aristocratic Boston widow whose verbal and emotional abuse of her daughter has contributed to the woman’s complete lack of self-confidence. Fearing Charlotte is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her sister-in-law Lisa introduces her to psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith, who recommends she spend time in his sanatorium.

Away from her mother’s control, Charlotte blossoms. The transformed woman, at Lisa’s urging, opts to take a lengthy cruise rather than immediately return home. On board ship, she meets a married man, Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance  who is traveling with his friends Deb and Frank McIntyre. It is from them that Charlotte learns of Jerry’s devotion to his young daughter, Christine (“Tina”), and how it keeps him from divorcing his wife, a manipulative, jealous woman who keeps Jerry from engaging in his chosen career of architecture, despite the fulfillment he gets from it.

Charlotte and Jerry become friendly, and in Rio De Janerio  the two are stranded on Sugarloaf Mountain when their car crashes. They miss the ship and spend five days together before Charlotte flies to Buenos Aires to rejoin the cruise. Although they have fallen in love, they decide it would be best not to see each other again.

When she arrives home, Charlotte’s family is stunned by the dramatic changes in her appearance and demeanor. Her mother is determined to regain control over her daughter, but Charlotte is resolved to remain independent. The memory of Jerry’s love and devotion help to give her the strength she needs to remain resolute.

Charlotte becomes engaged to wealthy, well-connected widower Elliot Livingston, but after a chance meeting with Jerry, she breaks off the engagement, about which she quarrels with her mother. Her mother becomes so angry that she has a heart attack and dies. Guilty and distraught, Charlotte returns to the sanatorium.

When she arrives, she is immediately diverted from her own problems when she meets lonely, unhappy Tina, who greatly reminds her of herself; both were unwanted and unloved by their mothers. She is shaken out of her depression and instead becomes interested in Tina’s welfare. With Dr. Jaquith’s permission she takes the girl under her wing. When she improves, Charlotte takes her home to Boston.

Jerry and Dr. Jaquith visit the Vale home, where Jerry is delighted to see the changes in his daughter. While he initially pities Charlotte, believing her to be settling in her life, he’s taken aback by her contempt for his initial condescension. Dr. Jaquith has agreed to allow Charlotte to keep Tina there with the understanding that her relationship with Jerry will remain platonic. She tells Jerry that she sees Tina as his gift to her and her way of being close to him. When Jerry asks her if she’s happy, Charlotte finds much to value in her life and if it isn’t everything she would want, tells him, “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars,” a line ranked #46 in the A.F.I.’s list of the top one hundred movie quotes of all time.

When Bette Davis learned about the project, she campaigned for and won the role. More than any other of her previous films, Davis became absorbed in the role, not only reading the original novel but becoming involved in details such as choosing her wardrobe personally. Consulting with designer Orry-Kelly, she suggested a drab outfit, including an ugly foulard dress for Charlotte initially, to contrast with the stylish, “timeless” creations that mark her later appearance on the cruise ship.

Not surprisingly in 2007, Now, Voyager was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The film is on DVD and may be found on Amazon, Netflix and most major DVD outlets.

Recommended:    

 

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Hope Springs

9 Aug

Synopsis:  After 30 years of marriage housewife Kay, (Meryl Streep) pays for a marriage counseling retreat  in Maine to save her mundane marriage with her emotionally detached husband Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones).

Cast

Meryl Streep………………………………………………………………………………..Kay

Tommy Lee Jones…………………………………………………………………….Arnold

Steve Carell……………………………………………………………………………Dr. Feld

Jean Smart……………………………………………………………..Eileen, Kay’s friend

Ben Rappaport……………………………………………………………….Brad, their son

Marin Ireland……………………………………………………….Molly, their daughter

Brett Rice……………………………………………………………Vince, Arnold’s friend

Becky Ann Baker……………………………………………………….Cora, the waitress

Review: Hope Springs, the name of a small town in Maine, is really a metaphor for the famous quote “Hope Springs Eternal”. In the town is a therapist Dr. Feld (Steve Carell) who helps married couples rekindled their marriages after the flame has long burned out in their relationships.

Kay, a housewife, and husband Arnold have been married for thirty years, for years now they have slept in separate bedrooms, have the same daily routine of Kay devotedly cooking bacon and fried eggs for Arnold’s breakfast before he commutes to work and watches Arnold fall asleep while watching golf tips on ESPN. This is Tommy Lee Jones’ movie and he gives a remarkable performance as an emotionally detached husband who is comfortable with his detachment and mundane routine in his life.  Arnold is so out of touch he really doesn’t acknowledge how hard Kay is working to make him find her attractive again. When he does acknowledge her he usually talks about himself, golf or his day at the office.  Kay, so devoted,  just listens or agrees with any decision Arnold makes.

Streep, who is a national treasure, plays Kay as a woman whose dogged devotion turns to desperation until she finally takes matters into her own hands. She finds a self help book written by Dr. Feld about how to save your marriage and decides to book a week of intensive marriage counseling with the doctor in Hope Springs, Maine. Needless to say Arnold does not want to go at all but finally gives in when he realizes Kay will go anyway with or without him.

Steve Carell plays the soft spoken doctor with patience and becomes the perfect straight-man to Tommy Lee Jones’ comical yet sometimes angry remarks and self realizations. It is here the character study of the emotionless Arnold takes off and we begin to wonder how much is he really trying to understand his wife or how much he is just placating her. Jones brilliantly navigates from being self conscious and angry to trying to resolve his true feelings for Kay. The sexual innuendo and  comic sensibilities of the story ring true as  does the depiction of long term relationships. This is truly a film aimed at the rest of us who are not in the typical teen to twenties demographic.

If you enjoy well told small stories about people, relationships and life go see this film. Like the film, Marigold Hotel, it is a story about people who seek to improve or change their current circumstances making this an interesting, fun and satisfying movie going experience. I highly recommend you and your “significant other”  take a visit to Hope Springs especially to see Tommy Lee Jones give this outstanding Oscar worthy performance.

Recommended: 

Total Recall (2012)

7 Aug

Synopsis:  A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall – a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led – goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.

Cast:

Collin Farrel…………………………………………………………Douglas Quaid/Hauser

Kate Beckinsale……………………………………………………………………..Lori Quaid

Jessica Biel………………………………………………………………………………..Melina

Bryan Cranston………………………………………………………………………Cohaagen

Bokeem Woodbine……………………………………………………………………….Harry

Bill Nighy……………………………………………………………………………….Matthias

John Cho………………………………………………………………………………..McClane

Will Yun Lee……………………………………………………………………………….Marek

Review:  Based on the 1966 Philip K. Dick short story We can remember it for you wholesale” this remake of the 199o film which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger begs the question, “Was this trip necessary?”  Major differences in this 2012 version vs the 1990 version stick out like a sore thumb.

1) Shwarzenegger’s Quaid was riddled with confusion and deep emotion over his predicament. Collin Farrel is thinner leaner and not as emotional in fact at times he just seems like he is going along for the ride.

2) No Mars involvement in the remake it all takes place on Earth.

3) The humor and satirical points made in the 1990 version are completely gone making the 2012 version less appealing.

4) The 1990 version used auto-animatronics to great affect where as the remake creates a CG I world a little too close in resemblance  to Blade Runner.

5) Both films are well crafted Sci-Fi stories except the noise level and chase scenes in the 2012 version make the last half of the film seem mundane.

In all it was like watching a long video game fun perhaps for the fan boys but a less than satisfying experience for those who appreciate say the headiness of Prometheus or the intelligence of Minority Report. The action takes place in a post WWIII world in  the United Federation of Britain a part of the world that has been divided by war. There is an elevator than runs through the earth’s core that goes to The Colony the other part of the world divided by war. Quaid becomes tired  of his monotonous life in The Colony as a factory worker and spurred by his recurring violent nightmares,Quaid decides to visit Rekall, a company that implants artificial memories. Rekall employee, McClane (John Cho), convinces Quaid to be implanted with memories of a secret agent. Quaid is tested to ensure compatibility but fails and McClane accuses Quaid of really being a spy. McClane and his co-workers are suddenly gunned down by a squad of armored police officers. While Quaid is being arrested, he instinctively reacts and kills the officers before escaping.

Kate Beckinsale plays Lori Quaid and spends too much time chasing and shooting her husband. Like in the first version she is not really Quaid’s wife but an incredible simulation. Give me Sharon Stone anytime, legs crossed or otherwise.

The plot although suggests both political and social intrigue lacks the emotional impact of the original. This film left out all the fun touches such as the Jiffy Cab, and the creepy mutants and replaced them with Star Wars like storm troopers who are in effect idiotic and a complicated cityscape that distracts rather than draws you in. Of course there still is the three breasted woman here as well, her part has been expanded in the remake. It seems the suspense, blood, humor and Schwarzenegger’s indelible performance have become so Iconic that a remake just seems like a waste of time.

Recommended: