Monday, September 25, 2017

"SYLVIA" (2003) Review

"SYLVIA" (2003) Review

I finally watched "SYLVIA", the 2003 biography on poet Sylvia Plath, on DVD. After all I have heard about the movie, I had expected to be disappointed by it. To be truthful, I found it quite interesting biopic that was especially enhanced by the leads' performances. But . . . "SYLVIA" was not a perfect film. 

Set between the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, "SYLVIA" told the story of Plath's marriage to fellow poet, British-born Ted Hughes, their tumultuous relationship and her struggles to maintain a career. The movie's revelation of the Plath/Hughes courtship, followed by their marriage turned out to be very interesting and rather intense. "SYLVIA" also did an excellent job in re-capturing the literary and academic world in both the United States and Great Britain that Plath and Hughes interacted with during the 1950s and early 1960s.

I suspect that many had expected John Brownlow's screenplay to take sides in its portrayal of the couple's problems and eventual breakup. To Brownlow and director Christine Jeffs' credit, the movie avoided this route. There were no heroes/heroines and villains/villainesses in their story . . . just two people who had failed to create a successful marriage. "SYLVIA" revealed that Hughes' infidelity with married writer and poet, Assia Wevill, the critical indifference of the male-dominated literary world and her own bouts with depression made life difficult for Plath during her last years. At the same time, the movie made it clear that Hughes struggled to deal with a depressed and suicidal wife. In the end, the movie presented the possibility that both Plath and Hughes had contributed their breakup.

To be honest, I think that Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig's performances as Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes had more to do with the movie's main virtue than Jeffs' direction or Brownlow's script. director, Christine Jeffs or the screenwriter, John Brownlow. Also, the movie featured some first-rate performances from the supporting cast. All of them - Jared Harris as poet/literary critic Al Alvarez; Blythe Danner as Aurelia Plath, Sylvia's mother; Amira Casar as Wevill; and Michael Gambon as Teacher Thomas, a neighbor of Sylvia's; gave able support. But it is obvious that this movie belonged to Paltrow and Craig, who conveyed the intensity of the Plath/Hughes marriage with an honesty and rawness that I sometimes found hard to bear. 

But even those two were not able to save the movie's last half hour from almost sinking into an abyss of unrelenting boredom. I suspect that Jeffs and Brownlow wanted to give moviegoers an in-depth look at Plath's emotional descent into suicide, following the break-up of her marriage to Hughes. But I wish they could have paced the movie's ending a little better than what had been shown in the finale. The movie's last half hour nearly dragged the story to a standstill.

Despite the last half hour, I would still recommend "SYLVIA". In the end, it turned out to be a pretty interesting look into the marriage of the two famous poets, thanks to director Christine Jeffs, John Brownlow's screenplay and a first-rate cast. But I believe that performances of both Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig proved to be the best aspects of the film.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Below are images from "VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS", the 2017 adaptation of Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières' 1967-2010 comic book series, "Valérian and Laureline". Written and directed by Luc Besson, the movie starred Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne: 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Top Five Favorite "REVENGE" Season Two (2012-2013) Episodes

Below is a list of my top five favorite episodes from Season Two of ABC's "REVENGE". Created by Mike Kelley and loosely based upon Alexandre Dumas père's novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo", the series starred Madeline Stowe and Emily VanCamp: 


1. (2.14) "Sacrifice" - The Graysons put on a bold showing at their annual Labor Day party. Meanwhile, Jack Porter and Amanda Clarke aka Emily Thorne's sea bound honeymoon is disrupted by an unwelcome stowaway determined to get his hands on a piece of evidence that implicates Conrad and Victoria Grayson.

2. (2.04) "Intuition" - Victoria throws a baby shower for a pregnant Amanda in order to ascertain the latter's threat to her family. And Emily Thorne aka Amanda Clarke learns that her mentally unstable mother had tried to drown her when she was young.

3. (2.22) "Truth, Part II" - In the season finale, a tragic bombing of the Graysons' Manhattan building forces Emily to re-evaluate her request for revenge against the family.

4. (2.20) "Engagement" - Emily's colleague and former lover, Aiden Mathis struggle with his feelings over her revived engagement with Daniel Grayson. Meanwhile, he has a confrontation with their mentor, Satoshi Takeda, over the true reason why the latter is willing to guide Emily in her quest of revenge against the Graysons.

5. (5.08) "Lineage" - This episode is a flashback to 2006 in which Victoria and her family has Thanksgiving dinner with her mercenary mother and the latter's fiance. Also, Emily and Aiden meet for the first time, while they both seek the whereabouts of a particular man for different reasons.