Sunday, March 1, 2009

Movies Update

Revolutionary Road added to Vista schedule!

Chiang Mai movies alert, Sunday, March 1

by Thomas Ohlson

The film Revolutionary Road has been added to the Vista schedule at Kadsuankaew. Here are the times for both locations today through Wednesday.

Vista: 12:00| 14:15| 16:30| 18:45| 21:00|

Major Cineplex – Sunday: 11:10| 15:15| 20:15| 22:40|

Major Cineplex – Monday-Wednesday: 12:10| 16:15| 21:15|

I highly recommend this film!

Revolutionary Road: US/ UK, Drama/ Romance – 119 mins – This is a brilliant 2-character drama set in the 50’s based on a novel by Richard Yates, with brilliant performances by Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet, brilliantly directed by Sam Mendes. In other words, just brilliant! I loved it. However, it’s done very badly at the box office here in Thailand – about as bad as possible – probably because it’s mostly talk. But what great talk! Between two actors at the top of their form, together again for the first time since their legendary performances as the Titanic’s doomed lovers. It’s a real pleasure to watch them interact on the screen. They are both just very good actors.

Kate Winslet received one of her two Golden Globes this year for her performance in this film – as best actress. It received three Oscar nominations: supporting actor (Michael Shannon – for a brief but potent turn as a mental patient who sees through the phoniness surrounding him), and for art direction and costume design for its pristine recreations of 1950s fashion and design. Indeed the careful attention to the details of 1950’s life is one of the joys of this film. Or one of its horrors, if it brings back bad memories.

Rated R in the US for language and some sexual content/nudity. Generally favorable reviews: 69/68 out of 100.

Richard Yates, author.

Richard Yates was a poet of post-World War II loneliness and disappointment, creating in his finest stories and in his masterpiece, ''Revolutionary Road,'' indelible, Edward Hopperesque portraits of dreamers who have mortgaged their dreams. Trapped in ill-considered marriages and dead-end jobs, they find themselves living on the margins of the postwar boom, the gap between their modest expectations and the even more modest realities of their day-to-day lives leading to rage, humiliation, and alcoholic despair.

Though many of these characters see themselves as counterfeit F. Scott Fitzgeralds or failed would-be Hemingways, Yates's own distinctive virtues as a writer -- his plain-spoken prose, his feel for contemporary alienation, his ability to make the reader both empathize with his characters and understand the depth of their self-deception -- created a potent legacy, providing a bridge from the naturalism of Dreiser to the latter day realism practiced by writers like Raymond Carver, Richard Ford and Richard Russo. — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Charles McGrath, The New York Times, December 12, 2008:

RICHARD YATES’S 1961 novel, “Revolutionary Road,” is far from the kind of property that typically becomes a big Hollywood movie, especially one starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in their first post-“Titanic” outing together. For one thing, the book is set back in the mid-20th century — an era that was thought to have about as much entertainment potential as the Bronze Age. The story requires armies of boring fedora-wearing commuters to disembark from Grand Central every morning. The characters wear dopey clothes and drive boatlike cars, and everyone drinks and smokes too much — even pregnant women.

Nor does it help that “Revolutionary Road” is among the bleakest books ever written. It ends unhappily, with a gruesome death, and neither of the main characters is entirely likable to begin with. Partly autobiographical, the novel tells the story of Frank and April Wheeler, who in the mid-1950s move with their two children to the ’burbs (the movie was shot on location in Darien, Conn., a good deal more upscale than the Wheelers’ town) and from the minute they get there hold themselves apart.

On no particular evidence the Wheelers consider themselves full of unrealized potential. Frank (drawing on Yates’s experience as a sometime copywriter for Remington Rand) works for Knox Business Machines at what he calls “the dullest job you can possibly imagine,” but thinks of himself as an intellectual, an “intense, nicotine-stained Jean-Paul Sartre sort of man.”

April, like Yates’s first wife, Sheila, has theatrical aspirations, and it’s she who comes up with the solution to their depressing, unfulfilled lives: they’ll chuck everything and move to Paris, where she’ll get a well-paying secretarial job until Frank “finds” himself. For Frank, who has meanwhile begun a grubby affair with a young woman at the office, the plan is an agreeable pipe dream, but April is in deadly earnest about it, and the marriage proceeds to unravel with the inexorableness of Greek tragedy. Watching them is like rubbernecking at a car wreck.

I’m pretty surprised it ever got made,” Blake Bailey, Yates’s biographer, said recently about the movie version, scheduled to open Dec. 26. “It has long been an ambition in Hollywood to make a movie that’s the last word on postwar suburban malaise, but like any highly nuanced work of literary art, ‘Revolutionary Road’ is awfully hard to translate onto the screen.”

By all accounts, that the movie did get made is owing mostly to the drive and enthusiasm of Ms. Winslet, who was taken with the script from the moment she read it. “I loved the emotional nakedness, the brutal honesty about what can sometimes happen in a marriage,” she said in an interview. “And also all the minor characters are so good.”

She began lobbying Mr. DiCaprio, she recalled, after slipping him the script over coffee, and she also worked on Sam Mendes, the director. He was an easier sell in some ways, because he happens to be her husband. “I just told him, ‘Babe, you’ve got to do this,’ ” Ms. Winslet said.

What none of the principals knew then is that for all its gloominess, or maybe even because of it, “Revolutionary Road” is a novel cherished by a passionate and protective coven of admirers who pass it along, the novelist Richard Ford has said, like a secret literary handshake. They cherish its honesty, its uncompromising exactness, the austere beauty of its prose.

But despite its many champions, the book has slipped in and out of print, never quite catching on with a wider audience, and it would probably amuse and irritate the author in equal measure to know that it has been reissued in a movie tie-in edition.

Though he would have hated the term, Yates was a writer’s writer, or even a writer’s writer’s writer. He was extravagantly admired by his peers and by many critics; but popular success, which he cared about more than he let on, maddeningly eluded him. He was dogged by bad luck — “Revolutionary Road,” his first novel and also his best, was a finalist for the 1962 National Book Award but lost to “The Moviegoer” by Walker Percy — and bad timing. At a time when postmodernism and meta-fiction were starting to become fashionable, he clung to the realist tradition of his models Fitzgerald and Flaubert.

Yates could also be his own worst enemy, courtly and cavalier at times but at other times bitter and self-inflated, and after the breakup of two marriages he became almost a caricature of the alcoholic, self-destructive American writer. Gaunt and stooped, perpetually broke, he lived in a series of rented rooms in New York, Boston, and Tuscaloosa, Ala., with squashed cockroaches underfoot. By the end of his life he was doing little else but smoke (even when attached to an oxygen tank), cough, drink, and write. He died in 1992 at 66, though he seemed much older. . . .

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle:

"Revolutionary Road" gets my vote as the best American film of 2008. Why do I love it? Let me count the ways:

1. Marriage, '50s style: The movie, which stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, dissects a marriage, an examination that leads in two distinct and significant directions. The movie captures the timeless torment of the unhappy marriage, in the way the spouses know each other's weak spots and go for the jugular, and in the way arguments can veer out of control from the simplest of beginnings.

. . .

10. Repeat viewings: Finally, this is a movie that can and should be seen more than once. Watch it one time through her eyes. Watch it again through his eyes. It works both ways. It works in every way. This is a great American film.

[For the rest of the review, click on the name above.]

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