Belinda Haas

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The Music Of Chance Review


Very Good
Quirky doesn't even begin to describe The Music of Chance, based on a Paul Auster novel and directed by Philip Haas (Up at the Villa). It all starts simply enough: Two men (James Spader and Mandy Patinkin) lose a poker game and decide to sell themselves into indentured servitude, building a rock wall for Charles Durning, in order to settle the bets. Patinkin sings, Spader gets beaten up and sports a mustache, the two learn a bizarre lesson about, er, something. Strangely compelling, it's hard not to get sucked into this one, even if you can't figure out why.

Up At The Villa Review


Weak
Hey, who hasn't been clamoring for a Kristin Scott Thomas-Sean Penn romantic drama? At long last, Up at the Villa is the answer to all those unspoken dreams.

Up at the Villa reunites the director of Angels and Insects, Philip Haas, with Thomas, his former star. And true to most re-pairings, the film feels oddly familiar -- as if we've seen Thomas doing this before: In pre-WWII Italy, a high-society (though penniless, natch) widow named Mary (Thomas) is being wooed by an older man of some wealth (James Fox). He proposes, then promptly jaunts off for a few days so she can consider.

Continue reading: Up At The Villa Review

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