Hemingway, Eastwood, Aniston and garbage in this week’s new releases
- by Catherine Farrell
Hemingway’s Garden of Eden
Director – John Irvin
Starring – Mena Suvari, Jack Huston, Caterina Murino,
Irvin’s adaption of Hemingway’s posthumously published erotic novel Garden of Eden tells the story of the intensely complicated relationship between David Bourne, a young aspiring writer, and his wife Catherine, a rich and pushy heiress who exerts her feministic power in an almost femme fatale manner. Set in Spain and France in the 1920s Jazz era, the film traverses between David’s story writing, recalling his experiences of a trip to Africa with his father as a young boy, and the sexual whirlwind he finds himself in now married to a jealous, domineering sex fiend. Catherine not only tries to destroy his literary work, but entices a third person into their relationship, wielding her erotic power and altering their relationship beyond repair. While the majestic, saucy atmosphere of the Riviera compliments Hemmingway’s risqué composition, there is an air of pretentiousness which renders the film somewhat stuffy and unsatisfying, leaving viewers feeling this may have been an adaptation better left alone.
Director – Clint Eastwood
Starring – Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France
Clint Eastwood’s latest is a supernatural thriller which explores the theme of death and how it affects three very different characters. Hereafter follows George (Damon), a working-class San Franciscan struggling with his ability to contact people in the afterlife; Marie (Cecile de France), a French journalist who survives a natural disaster but is then compelled to consider the realities of life; and a young boy living in London whose brother is killed. These three parallel storylines are eventually brought together in a rather foreseeable fashion, through which Eastwood offers three different perspectives on death (his main point) – a near death experience, the effects of grief over losing a loved one, and coming to terms with an unwanted gift. While this film may not sport the originality and magnetism of some of Eastwood’s previous productions, it is hard-hitting and pertinent to universal questions about mortality.
Director – Will Speck, Josh Gordon
Starring – Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum
This week’s humorously heart-warming chick flick is the story of forty-something Kassie (Aniston), who takes action after listening to her ticking biological clock and decides to have a baby on her own by way of artificial insemination. Echoing the success of The Back Up Plan, this is yet another film about the complications of pregnancies and relationships. However, the film’s refreshing originality stems from a fantastic twist in the tale when the overanxious love struck best friend Wally, in a drunken state, switches Kassie’s preferred sperm donation for his own. The repercussions surface seven years later when Kassie returns into his life with a little boy sporting strikingly similar characteristics and personality to his own. Aniston takes a back seat in this picture, and certainly the film’s charm is down to Jason Bateman (outshining Aniston by a mile) stepping up to the lead male role after mostly background funny-guy roles. This is a film about relationships, hidden love and unexpected fatherhood with a little bit of wit and neuroticism to help move the plot along.
Director – Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, Joao Jardim
Starring – Vik Muniz, Fabio Ghivelder, Isis Rodrigues Garros, Jose Carlos da Silva Baia Lopes, Sebastiao Carlos dos Santos, Valter dos Santos
Winner of the 2010 audience award for Best International Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, Wasteland is an inspirational treat. In it, we follow the work of Brazilian contemporary modern artist Vik Muniz. Travelling to Rio de Janeiro, Muniz visits Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill, to explore the fascinating lives of the professional garbage pickers (catadores) who survive by recycling and foraging through the endless rubbish. Muniz turns these people’s lives into pieces of artistic brilliance, through abstract yet intimate photography and by converting their images into vast large scale-portraits, which were then sold at auction in prestigious art auctions in New York City. In this uniquely enlightening movie, Lucy Walker and her fellow directors cunningly intertwine the poignant stories of individual garbage pickers whilst illuminating Vik Muniz’s incredible eye for discovering art in the most unlikely places.
Watch – Wasteland trailer: