Sunday, April 08, 2007

Showing Their Age

I know we should be all looking forward to a summer of Spiderguy and assorted supervillains bouncing off the walls and rooftops of Manhattan while trying to tear each other a new asshole, a massive pirate mashup that travels far beyond the reaches of the Caribbean, and even John McClane back on the terrorist trail. And that’s just for starters.

Trawling around the Apple site, checking out the films hoping to excite an audience eager to be served up a diet of popcorn and carnage, I came across two new movies catering for people who want more than just the empty spectacle of things blowing up real good.

The Savages, written and directed by one-time performance artist Tamara Jenkins, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as obsessive-compulsive college professor Jon Savage, and Laura Linney as his self-medicating playwright sister Wendy, having to face up to familial responsibility when their ailing father starts to lose his marbles.

That could be a real downer, right? Not according to the trailer. And anyway, Hoffman and Linney are always good value, as is Philip Bosco who plays their old man.

Away From Her, stars Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie as Grant and Fiona, whose fifty years of wedded bliss is fractured by the onset of her increasing memory loss. Moving her into a nursing home specialising in Alzheimer's disease and giving her time to adjust to the new surroundings, when Grant next sees his wife he discovers that she has all but forgotten about him and turned her affections to Aubrey, a fellow patient at the facility. Visiting her daily, and eager to see his wife happy, Grant has to bear witness to the special bond growing between Fiona and Aubrey.

Based on Alice Munro’s short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain, Away From Her was written and directed by the 28-year-old Canadian actress Sarah Polley, who starred in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter and Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Sure, we all want to know the eventual fate of Jack Sparrow, that’s probably a given. But looking for a more fulfilling experience, shouldn’t we care more about Jon and Wendy and Grant and Fiona and - depending on their release schedule* - make sure they come first?

* Away From Her is set for a release in the UK on Friday, April 27th. The date for The Savages is still to be confirmed.


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