March 2nd, 2009

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

LENT Day 6 "Two Lovers" is Joaquin's last stand? ??

Is Joaquin Phoenix really quitting acting to pursue a career as a caucasian rap artist? Perhaps following in the footsteps of Vanilla Ice? Perhaps a career change is due for Mr. Phoenix, for he has been acting since the age of eight (when he was billed as Leaf Phoenix). Boy Phoenix made an impact upon the ensemble cast of **Parenthood,** directed by Ron Howard and headlined by Steve Martin. Former cast mate and full time author Harley Jane Kozak, whose new book **A Date You Can’t Refuse” is due for release on Saint Patrick’s Day, said of her costar;

“All I can say is that Leaf was one of the most outrageously talented children I've ever encountered and that was clear from the very first read-through. We all looked at each other with raised eyebrows, because he had us crying at a scene rehearsal, with script in hand. He was a force of nature.”

Joaquin Phoenix is a force of nature in **Two Lovers,** reportedly the actor’s last motion picture. Phoenix portrays Leonard Kraditor, a morose individual who lives in Queens County, Long Island. Leonard takes medication for his bipolar condition and he lives with his parents, Reuben ( Moni Moshonov) and Ruth ( Isabella Rossellini). After falling into the ocean (or was it a suicide attempt?), Leonard learns that his parents are planning a business dinner with the Cohen family. The matriarchs of the Cohen and Kraditor families hope to play matchmakers for Leonard and Sandra Cohen (Vinessa Shaw). Leonard and Sandra are courteous with each other, there is no romantic chemistry.

While walking through his parent’s hallway one afternoon, Leonard meets Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow). Leonard and Michelle realize that they share opposing views from their bedroom windows. As Leonard develops an instant attachment towards Michelle, the two go night clubbing together. While performing his charming “white man break dancing,” Leonard learns that Michelle has a steady boyfriend, who happens to be married with children.

As the story and character development progresses, Leonard is offered a choice in his relationships. Leonard can pursue a relationship with a woman who needs him, or a woman who wants to take of him. While the choice should be obvious to the audience, the choice is a conflicting one for Leonard Kraditor.

**Two Lovers** deals with individuals who must heal from the scars of their past. Leonard’s depression could stem from his inability to let go of a previous relationship, a clue revealed with his cell phone ring tone set to **Fur Elise,* Ludwig van Beethoven’s bagatelle of lost love.

**Two Lovers** is mostly a performance driven movie. Isabella Rossellini manages to take an underwritten role and fills her moments with nosey maternal pain. Gwyneth Paltrow is challenged with a role that is far removed from her **Shakespeare in Love**
and recent comic book character portrayals. Yet, **Two Lovers** will be remembered for Joaquín Phoenix’s controlled and nuanced performance. Perhaps Mr. Phoenix should study his own understated acting style before he embarks on a full fledged career as caucasian rap artist. Word.n
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Lent Day 7 Under The Sea 3-D

One Friday night ritual with my Dad was watching "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau." The viewing always inspired a weekend of adventure involving either fishing, clamming or swimming. While "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" seems not to be run on television anymore, the DVD can be purchased on the internet.

My Dad and I were able to relive that spirit of Clousteau Adventure with a recent screening of Howard Hall's **Under the Sea 3-D**" documentary. Since my Dad had forgotten his eyeglasses, he was concerned that he would be unable to see the action. Never to fear, the IMAX Museum of Discovery provided the 3 D glasses and my father enjoyed his first ever 3-D movie on a six foot story tall movie screen. This undersea documentary is no longer confined to the television set.
Narrated with a lightly serious tone by Jim Carrey, **Under the Sea 3-D** takes the viewer under the waters of the South Pacific. In 50 minutes, the ticket buyer witnesses the world's most venomous fish, the Stonefish, stalk it's prey. There are moments of beauty in the South Seas as Leafy Sea Dragon regally glides near an Australian reef. Yet, it is the majestic puppy-eyed Sea Lion that the audience members will remember. An endangered species, the puppy eyed sea Lion pleads with the ticket buyer to accept their stewardship of planet Earth.