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C rated Movies
(8 Msgs in forum)    LastPost: Nov-21 2011 8:15 PM
Far From Heaven
    (IMDB) (Netflix)
    (Warning: this review is rated "C" for Cranky, due a exercise/caf (IMDB) (Netflix)
    It's 1957-1958, the International Geophysical Year, when life was simpler and more genteel, a seemingly idyllic time of family values that some wish we could return to. But probably not Julianne Moore's character, who's got an alcoholic husband (Dennis Quaid) trying to "cure" his latent homosexuality, a "colored" gardener (Dennis Haysbert) with whom she feels a special kinship, and scandalized friends who are no help whatsoever.

    This is a restrained, thoughtful melodrama that re-creates a period in America when the tension between personal desires and societal norms bubbled beneath the surface, waiting to explode a few years later in the 60's. It's the semi-modern American version of a Jane Austen novel, and tricky stuff that could easily have become clichéd in the realization. Fortunately, the writer-director and actors keep a lid on the material, creating just enough pressure to rattle the pot but not blow its contents all over the ceiling. The Moore and Haysbert characters are a little too saintly, but not so much that you can't feel for their plight, and Quaid's performance is brave without being ostentatious. A film for the thoughtful adult.

    feine/sugar hangover, combined with viewing the film from a front-row seat only 8 feet away from the screen)


    Harry's back with all his friends from the first movie, which did $965 million worth of business (#2 all-time), dodging danger and doping out mysteries that elude the Hogwart's braintrust, who seemed less concerned with their in loco parentis responsibilities than a drug-addled foster parent. There's a chamber of secrets that may or may not have been opened by this or that person, kids being petrified, and the school's in danger of closing, and so on.

    The audience seemed to like it just fine, although many of the youngsters (and some of the parents) had trouble with the 2:21 running time (why do they insist on doing this for kids' movies?). Due to the chemical imbalance, I had trouble concentrating and it all seemed a lot like the first movie, although the kid playing Harry has traded in his continuously wide-eyed "I'm amazed" expression for something approximating grim determination. The other kid characters have far more personality. There's a new digital elf, Dobby, who's not nearly in the same annoyance league as Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars I & II, Kenneth Branagh debuts as a self-promoting empty cape of a sorceror, and this will be Richard Harris's last movie, but beyond these elements and some improved digital effects, not much new. If you have kids, you're going, so suck it up, and make sure they've had their nap first. And you've had yours.


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