Month: July 2013

“Side Effects”–Warning: Contraindications

“Side Effects” opens with Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) being released from prison after serving a four-year sentence for insider trading.  His wife Emily (Rooney Mara) is frail, severely depressed, and disinterested in Martin’s re-entering her life.  Soon her world unravels as she becomes dependent upon a new, experimental antidepressant prescribed by Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), on the recommendation of Emily’s previous therapist Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The side effects of the antidepressant seem to be the cause for Emily committing a horrific crime...

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“Shattered”–aka “Butterfly on a Wheel”

This intriguing tale of vengeance is centered on a theme found in Alexander Pope’s Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot” (1735) in which placing undue effort on a minor issue is like breaking a “butterfly on a wheel”.  And this first-rate thriller was so named in its British and Canadian release (2007), to be retitled “Shattered” for an American audience. The story takes place in Chicago, where Neil Randall (played by the surprisingly good Gerald Butler) is an executive of an advertising agency. He is a cunning ad man plotting his path to the top while also a family...

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“The Page Turner”–Notes to a Thriller

A French cinematic sleeper (2006), “The Page Turner” is a thriller as subtle as a sonata, fine-tuned and intricately composed. The story opens with young gifted pianist Mélanie Prouvost, the ten-year-old daughter of a butcher, methodically practicing for an entrance exam to a prestigious music conservatory.  She and her parents have high expectations and she is determined to be one of the students. Beginning the audition in top form, Mélanie is thrown off balance by one of the judges Ariane Fouchecourt who, rather oblivious to her performance, signs an autograph, distracting Mélanie with...

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“Endeavour”–A Prequel to the Inspector Morse Series

“Endeavour” is the much-anticipated mystery series currently on Sunday evenings on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery.  A testament to the beloved long-running Inspector Morse series (1987-2000), this series is the back story for young DC Morse before he became the curmudgeonly middle-aged Chief Inspector Morse. Set in Oxford in 1965 Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) is a rookie in his late twenties, a Detective Constable (DC) freshly minted from Oxford to assist Inspector Fred Thursday (the awesome stage actor Roger Allam), a rational, insightful policeman who sees Morse’s potential...

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Japanese Art as Metaphor: “Return to the Sea” and “Hanga Reinvented”

Japanese contemporary art can be a wonder to behold, as evidenced by the current exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Art.  These two ongoing exhibits are not to be missed.  The first is a 300-pound salt installation that covers  1800 sq. ft. of the gallery floor, now roped off so that the observer doesn’t inadvertently step on the salt. Motoi Yamamoto’s lovingly created artwork is a commemoration of his sister’s death almost twenty years ago. Table salt has been painstakingly drawn with a needle-nosed bottle to create a lacy, macramé-like image of two typhoons, resembling a...

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