Intelligently adapted by screenwriter Beatrix Christian from Raymond Carver's short story "So Much Water So Close to Home," Jindabyne is about the things people do to remember that they're alive, and the things they want to forget that make them feel dead. Set in the titular small village (a sign on the road identifies it as "a tidy town") Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne play Claire and Stewart Kane, a couple with troubles surrounded by friends and coworkers with plenty of their own. Everyone works the small-time kind of jobs you can find in a town the size of Jindabyne, Claire clerking at a drugstore and Stewart (a former auto racing star) running a gas station. There's darkness in the Kanes' past, like the year and a half when Claire lived elsewhere after the birth of their son Tom (played with heartbreaking sincerity by Sean Rees-Wemyss), never explained. A couple they're friends with has troubles, too: a dead daughter and now the unexpected stewardship of their goddaughter, Caylin-Calandria (Eva Lazzaro), a haunted and troublemaking 10-year-old who seems to have a death wish.
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Lost Horizon is a strange but haunting mixture of drama, long expository passages, and romance, with lavish, Xanadu-like sets set against stock footage of icy mountains -- but the performance of Ronald Colman carries the movie. Colman's character is a Brit who decides he doesn't mind hanging with the Buddhists and enjoying the quiet life, but some of his companions are unhappy in the worker's paradise and debate whether to try to escape. Sensuality is provided by the young Jane Wyatt, later the matron on TV's Father Knows Best (Wyatt's character is even shown in a distant frontal nude scene, a wink at the Hays Code).
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Not much that hasn't already been said. I fall in line with the conventional wisdom that Philadelphia is one of the smartest comedies you'll find. At the film's opening, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) and Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) are seen in the midst of their breakup. Fast-forward a few years and Tracy's engaged again, and Dexter shows up with two Spy magazine reporters (James Stewart and Hussey), determined to throw a wrench into things.
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Not only did this phenomenon give us Crocodile Dundee II, it somehow convinced Warner Brothers to give an unknown Australian documentary filmmaker and "experimental comedian" with a silly haircut the chance to write, produce, direct, and star in his very own feature film.
Continue reading: Young Einstein Review
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