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Showing posts from August, 2010

The Bay, The Riverview and Louis Sullivan Too

The Bay Theater, like the downtown oasis of the Black Cat Coffee House, was one of many pleasant surprises in Ashland, Wisconsin.   Ashland sits on the Chequemagon Bay of Lake Superior, on the northern edge of Wisconsin.   Ashland proved to be a much more laid-back base for exploring the region than quaint, hillside Bayfield, about 20 miles north.  Aside from the town itself, we ventured out to the nearby Apostle Islands and then eastward into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a near-idyllic afternoon in the spectacular Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
The theater itself, aside from the great marquee and upright, is a pretty generic affair once you get indoors.   Once a single-screen house with a capacity of 650, it's now subdivided.   The lobby, once you step beyond some bold green and black vitriolite in the entryway, is sadly nondescript, as was the small auditorium in which we watched a film.   However, in returning from the concession stand mid-film, I did peek int…

I Am Love

Like the Fendi and Raf Simons (Jil Sander) fashions in which its characters are adorned, I Am Love is positively draped in elegance.  The opening title sequence alone, a combination of lush cursive and cooly modern print over scenes of snowy Milan, urged along by the crisp, insistent rhythms of John Adams, is like an appetizer so rich you're not sure that you even need an entree.     
Before big, black letters announced, "MILANO," I initially wondered if those wintry images might be of some modern Russian city, perhaps the home of I Am Love's main character, Emma Recchi (the ever-singular Tilda Swinton).  But this is not sundrenched Tuscany, rather the darker, colder northern Italian center of fashion and commerce.   As is the case with all representations of both nature and weather we see, frigid Milan mirrors the emotional winter in which Emma is living.  




I Am Love is apparently the fruition of a long-nurtured idea on the part of Ms. Swinton and her friend, the d…

The Kids Are Alright

As it happens, the kids are alright.   It's the adults in Lisa Cholodenko's third feature film that could use some work.

Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Benning) are long-time partners, women married and each raising a child produced by artificial insemination from the same donor.   As Nic's daughter Joni (Mia Wasikowska) has passed her 18th birthday, her brother Laser (Josh Hutcherson) prods her to contact their biological father.   A meeting is arranged, the kids have varying reactions - as if falling into classical teenager/parent dynamics, it's the daughter taken with the handsome, laid back donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), while the son bristles at their differences - and their mothers ultimately find out about the meeting, to their varied chagrin.   As Paul begins to develop relationships with the kids, as well as a work relationship with Jules (she's a budding landscape architect) that becomes more intimate than either expected, some very modern family c…