The title: Angela's Ashes refers to cigarettes and not cremation. If someone had told me this before I had entered the film, I might have enjoyed it more than I did. Then again, if someone had told me about the rest of the film, I might have asked for a final cigarette before going in to Angela's Ashes.
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Shades of I Know What You Did Last Summer notwithstanding, The Well explores what happens when two women -- one an older, crippled spinster (Pamela Rabe, who looks like a vaguely female Tom Wilkinson) and a young girl she takes into her home (Miranda Otto, who has the largest head on earth) -- conspire to dispose of a dead man who the young girl hits with their car during a joyride. He's sent down the titular dry well, only for the girl to hear him calling for food, light, and her love. Then there's the little matter of the women's money... which may very well have gone down the well also, hidden in the man's pockets.
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While it might make a charming book-on-tape for the Oprah crowd, this "love loves to love love" hokum masquerades as a real movie. The present day academics exist in counterpoint to the period movie flashbacks (basically Jeremy Northam donning his suit again and looking forlorn, intercut with shots of his beautiful mistress Jennifer Ehle looking voluptuous and forlorn). And they talk, talk, talk about subtext within the letters; but they're actually talking about each other. Yes, it's When Harry Met Sally in the Library. So help me God, Eckhart's emotional revelation is when he asks Paltrow, "Is there an Us in You and Me?" (If I were Paltrow, I'd say, "I'll call you.")
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An Angel at My Table was originally planned as a miniseries but was given the go-ahead to be released in theaters, still split into three separate sections. The film lets us into the world of Janet Frame, the famed poet and novelist from New Zealand who suffered eight years in a mental hospital and went through roughly 200 rounds of electro-shock therapy. Thankfully, her collection of short stories, The Lagoon, was published and that sped her exit from the hospital and saved her from a lobotomy. Soon after, Frame became quite a big deal and traveled through Europe, ultimately ending up back in New Zealand.
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But seriously, that's what you're going to be doing if you see The Portrait of a Lady -- Jane Campion's follow-up to The Piano, based on Henry James's "classic" novel that you've probably never read. Now, I'm wishing that I had, though, because Portrait is a fantastic movie to watch, exquisitely crafted and painstakingly detailed, gorgeously photographed and full of style -- but it is just plain impossible to follow.
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Cigarettes.The title: Angela's Ashes refers to cigarettes and not cremation. If someone had told...
A.S. Byatt's Booker Award-winning novel Possession might have provided some literary delight, following two academics...