Far from Heaven
starring: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert
January 27, 2003
Far from Heaven may be one of the most gorgeous films ever shot. From the richness of the colors to the quality of the light -- this thing is just fucking beautiful. and it only gets better from there.
The story, briefly as I can tell it: Julianne Moore plays a housewife in the late 50s who is really living the ideal life, or so everyone thinks. Her hunky husband (Dennis Quaid) is a star in the business world, she has two angelic kids, a dream house, rich friends, and a "Modern Living"-type magazine has just decided to make her it's poster girl. Her life should be heaven. The thing is, her husband is moody, he works ridiculous hours and isn't interested in intimacy. When she decides to surprise him by bringing dinner to him at the office late one night, she finds him making love to another man. She's crushed and her husband is horribly ashamed (this is the 50s, after all). In order to save the perfect marriage and his perfect job, the husband decides to undergo therapy to "cure" his homosexual behavior, which, as you might imagine, makes him into a sullen, cranky bastard. When Moore strikes up a friendship with her good looking African American gardener (Dennis Haysbert) the shit really hits the fan.
Everything about Far from Heaven is amazing. The story is powerful and sad. The writing is tight and moving, the direction light as a feather, and the cinematography stunning. Add to that Julianne Moore's arguably finest performance (she'd better get a fucking Oscar for this), and excellent work from Quaid, Haysbert, and the rest of the cast, and you just get a great fucking movie. This is among my 5 picks for Best Picture of 2002. It's a fine movie in every sense, and you should definitely see it.
starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Wanda De Jesus
January 27, 2003
I'm of the mind that there are two types of men in the world, and they can be divided thus: "John Wayne Guys" and "Clint Eastwood Guys." John Wayne Guys like their heroes shining and good, truthful and full of righteous power. In their films, the bad guys are really bad, and the good guys stand tall and kick ass. Clint Eastwood Guys know that there are very few real heroes -- most "heroes" are just guys, who are pushed to the point that they commit great acts, sometimes for good, and sometimes for bad. Clint Eastwood Guys know that there are no showers in the wild west, that you engage in witty banter only after you shoot someone, and that a steely glance, three days of stubble, and a battered, well-used six-shooter are way more intimidating than a white hat and a shiny, pearl-handled Colt.
I'm a Clint Eastwood Guy. I love all of his westerns, from Fist Full of Dollars to the Unforgiven. I love the Dirty Harry movies. I even like the "Any Which Way" flicks and Pink Cadillac. I truly enjoyed A Perfect World, and I forgave Bridges of Madison County. But Space Cowboys? And now this? Clint -- what the hell is going on?!
I simply could not stomach Blood Work. It starts out promising (if hackneyed), but turns south real fast. I won't even go into the story -- it's not worth it. Here's how I'll lay it out: Paul Rodriguez is the wisecracking cop. Clint is a retired serial killer profiler with a heart transplant. Jeff Daniels is a goofy boat-bum sidekick. They're all trying to track down a killer Clint almost caught right before his heart attack. Oh, and Clint has sex with a marginally attractive chick. Surprisingly, it's even worse than it sounds.
Technically, I shouldn't even be writing this review, since I didn't see the whole movie. That's right -- I tried to force myself to stay awake, but I fell asleep for the last 10 minutes of the movie. This thing is supposed to be a thriller, and I fell asleep in the LAST TEN MINUTES! It didn't matter -- I knew who the killer was 20 minutes in, and I didn't care anyway. Normally, even if I don't like a pic, if I miss the ending due to a boredom-induced nap, I'll pop the DVD back in and catch the last 10 minutes, just to see how it ends.
In this case, I really, really just don't care enough to open the DVD case and push play. That's the thesis of my review -- this movie is not worth the calories it takes to pick up the remote and push play.