Blu-ray Review: Amelia (2009)

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By adapting two works of nonfiction into one sparkling and cohesive screenplay, in 2009 Nora Ephron silenced rom-com critics with her Oscar nominated movie Julie & Julia. And with the film-- which centered on the lives of Julie Powell and Julia Child respectively-- Ephron managed the unthinkable in presenting us with two distinct biopics rolled into a single work.

Needless to say, when you combine Ephron's achievement with the success of other female directors from Kathryn Bigelow's enormously successful film The Hurt Locker, which earned this critic's vote as the very best film of last year along with the box office successes achieved by Anne Fletcher with The Proposal, you realize that 2009 was an extraordinary year for female filmmakers.

From newcomers to veterans working at the top of their game, the renowned Oscar winning Salaam Bombay! director Mira Nair proved she was no exception to the trend by tackling what-- after Bigelow and Ephron-- was undoubtedly the most ambitious female helemd work of the year with her biopic of Amelia Earhart.

In fact perhaps, due to the word-of-mouth campaign that steadily attracted people to Bigelow's Locker and Ephron's Julia, it was Nair's Amelia that was under the most scrutiny not only because of its subject matter in centering on—as press notes reveal-- still one of the ten most famous Americans of all time but also because it involved two-time Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank. For, with Swank aboard, as early as last spring trades and reporters began assuming that Amelia would be in the running for an Academy Award.

However, the film's take-off was rocky at best as Nair's biopic received a weak welcome for what was said to be a dull, incredibly lengthy dud, making viewers stay away in droves, regardless of the fact that it clocked in at a mere 111 minutes.

Yet, unfortunately after seeing the film on gorgeous pitch-perfect Fox Blu-ray (aka the studio that can make even the Dragonball movie look good), I must admit that I was already checking my watch at the twenty minute mark, which is never a good sign. Moreover, if you would've asked me to guess how long the movie was off the top of my head, I would've estimated that the running time was closer to three hours or at least in the ballpark of Martin Scorsese's superior yet again overly long Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.

Like Julie & Julia, Amelia was also drawn from two nonfiction works but unlike Julia, two screenwriters were involved on a film that centers primarily on its title character instead of two equally vital narrative plot-lines set decades and miles apart as in Julia.

Similarly, Amelia utilized the efforts of two film editors, making me wonder just what was removed and if perhaps a much better film can be found on the cutting room floor, as we're missing the entirety of Earhart's childhood and instead dwell far too long on her doomed flight in which she vanished.

Throughout the picture, Nair's editors cut back and forth to Earhart's final flight even to the point of morbidly opening the movie with it, which feels like a major storytelling mistake since ultimately we're left with the uneasy feeling we didn't have going in the cinematic presentation that perhaps Earhart wasn't as prepared or skilled as we thought but rather naïve, reckless, and willing to put both herself and her crew at risk from ignorance. Although to be sure, this is the last thing in the world we want to be thinking, the film's emphasis on failure assures that's what we take away from it.

Predictably, Swank is perfectly fine in her role, when viewed after the irresistible turn by Julie & Julia's Amy Adams in Fox's Night at the Museum sequel, I couldn't help but wish that this Earhart would've been allowed to really connect with us or that we knew her even a fraction better than just the legend she was and is, which is how the film opens and maintains.

Although Gere raves about the talented Swank in a behind-the-scene featurette, as far as this film is concerned it's actually Gere that should be praised by turning in his finest performance since Chicago as publisher George Putnam. Able to move from professional and personal in his relationship with the woman whose public persona he practically creates to loving so much that he was willing to overlook her affair with the dashing Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), Gere is easily given the greatest opportunity to break free and soar by reacting as a human instead of being fed Earhart's quotable legend lines.

Unfortunately the rest of the movie felt like-- to misquote John Travolta in Pulp Fiction-- "a wax museum with a [ very faint] pulse" as despite the film's constant reminder to take it all so seriously as an "Oscar Contender," it's basically extended yawn. And when Amelia is combined with Nair's Vanity Fair we're left with the same “run for the exit” feeling of Wong Kar-Wai's extraordinarily uninvolved, slow-moving 2046 or Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth.

And while I wanted to praise it even the slightest bit more, mostly I just wished it wasn't so episodic as it strings together some great sequences like taking Eleanor Roosevelt for a trip in the air and meeting the youngest female flier but never connects the threads, just dropping them to move right back towards the doomed finale we see coming as soon as the movie begins.

And just like Michael Mann's stylistically inappropriate Public Enemies which felt like an HD Dogme depression era movie, Amelia relied too heavily on the green screen, pulling you right out of the movie frequently because the CG is never quite believable.

A major disappointment in deviating from the style Nair is famous for when using her frequent collaborator Declan Quinn as a DP, the changes led me to believe that ultimately Nair and her new cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh may have had two entirely different aesthetics in mind, making them as baffled as the audience.

Although I was ever quite sure just where exactly the plane began to descend, I had the sneaking suspicion that-- perhaps like Earhart's final flight-- it was doomed from the start. Per usual, Fox does a phenomenal job transferring the warm nostalgic hues in the original picture and reproducing the timbre of the sound in Swank's accent, the Blu-ray's main saving grace is in the amount of source material it possesses on Earnart herself including old newsreel footage.

Overall, I'd urge you to go right to the authentic footage if you don't fall asleep beforehand, as it's much more fascinating than viewing the Behind-the-Scenes featurette which mainly consists of the cast and crew talking about how much they admire Earhart and suspiciously not a lot about the movie they ended up releasing in 2009.

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Movie Review: The Ghost Writer (2010)

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AKA The Ghost Writer

Since Ewan McGregor's character is as anonymous as his eponymous profession implies, it's fittingly appropriate that the nameless man who introduces himself as “The Ghost” would find himself working on his latest assignment at an isolated seaside home he dubs, “Shangri-la in reverse.”

And although it's the duty of any ghost writer worth his laptop to be discreet and forsake all credit in making the individual he's writing memoirs seem even more extraordinary on paper, in the case of the ghost in filmmaker Roman Polanski's sophisticated new film, McGregor is not merely the second fiddle but rather the second fiddle of a second fiddle in his assignment writing the life of former prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan).

The fifth and last interviewee who openly tells Lang's agent (Timothy Hutton) that he-- like everyone else-- doesn't read political memoirs, McGregor's ability to turn things around quickly as evidenced on his curriculum vitae lands him two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for a month's work as a replacement ghost after the first scribe wound up mysteriously dead on the shoreline.

Mugged on the way home by hoodlums who only swipe another manuscript handed to him for a read-through by Lang's agent, McGregor is in for several more shocks when he realizes just how dangerous politics can be. And soon he learns he's only allowed to read the dull autobiography in the privacy of the Lang estate as it's kept under lock key and security code by the woman openly having an affair with the married politician, played by an understated Kim Cattrall.

Yet the simple tweak job turns into a massive overhaul when Brosnan's Tony Blair-like character (and the subject of the book) is threatened by the Hague of being convicted of war crimes in knowingly sending suspects away on “torture flights” following the 9/11 attacks. Hastily, McGregor becomes embroiled in the mess after he lends his professional assistance in writing a statement of denial that makes him an accomplice, should the accusations prove true.

Although McGregor is able to just turn off his moral judgment like a light-switch to work on the book, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the evidence and further inconsistencies in Lang's statements and the facts. And his suspicions are both confirmed and aroused after he uncovers documents and a GPS vehicle route left by the original deceased ghost. Additionally, he's lured into a web of seduction, which blossoms in the midst of scandal-induced isolation when he falls into bed with Lang’s wife (Olivia Williams).

Frequently dubbed in the advertising as Polanski's first thriller in over two decades, the film which has just earned the exiled Oscar winning filmmaker the director prize at Berlin is likewise one of the strongest English language mysteries for adults to hit the multiplex in a long time.

Moreover, it proves once again just how in-tune Polanski is with this particular genre, culling techniques and employing-- whether consciously or not-- the same type of imagery, comeuppances, love triangles, mistrust of authority, and startling conclusions that have been the hallmarks of his career from Knife on Water through Chinatown and Frantic.

Again water serves as major visual piece to the psychological puzzle, which has been woven throughout his oeuvre since the beginning. And when you blend the image and connotations of water along with themes of deception, sins of the past, and questions surrounding just who we’re letting into our little worlds, Ghost Writer begins echoing Frantic, Chinatown, Death and the Maiden and others from Polanski’s unique twist on the genre.

To this end, it’s certainly tempting to study the overlaps in his work, whether it's in his acknowledged fondness for Hitchcock and Chandler (which led to the film) or the definite autobiographical elements including a sense of Shangri-la in reverse, the transient nature of luck, persecution, accusation, and death that are blended together to masterful effect in Ghost.

While admittedly it does struggle a bit in the pacing of the work, which you can attribute to the fact that it’s hard to get a handle on the characters, luckily our hero is engaging because of what McGregor naturally brings to the role personality-wise as opposed playing the ghost in the aloof manner one would assume from the profession and original title of The Ghost.

Furthermore the film more than makes up for its shortcomings of a padded second act via some wicked surprises, which is most evident in another one of Polanski’s instantly classic endings that you could line up side-by-side with at least three of his others in terms of similarity and cinematic effectiveness.

One of the best twist-filled mysteries for grown ups since Transsiberian and the foreign film Tell No One, The Ghost Writer is also quite timely as an overt George W. Bush/Tony Blair allegory, based on author Robert Harris’ 2008 “Thriller of the Year” best-selling novel, keeping political minds stimulated almost as much as film buffs’ as the type of purely Polanski film that begs to be seen twice.

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com
Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Movie Review: Toe to Toe (2010)

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There's a troubling statistic to be found at the heart of documentarian Emily Abt's narrative feature filmmaking debut Toe to Toe and it is that-- despite the fact that the United States keeps becoming increasingly diverse-- 87% percent of interracial friendships end at age 14.

Unfortunately, this fact is nowhere to be found in her ambitious Toe but rather buried in the thoughtfully constructed director's statement from Strand Releasing's production notes for the movie, which was screened as an official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival before now kicking off its limited theatrical run.

While of course, it would've been a suspicious line to insert into the film's gritty, Thirteen style authentic teenage dialogue but nonetheless, with so many melodramatic subplots all fighting to distract you from her working thesis about the complexities of female black/white friendships, her point is completely lost.

Excellently crafted entirely on the popular Red One camera, Abt's well-intentioned drama does at times feel a bit like a sociological study due to the sheer amount of issues she tries to incorporate into an extremely busy screenplay.

However, Toe is elevated by the sharply defined, near docudrama like performances of her two main actors who floor us with the life they can breathe into two racially stereotypical roles. Initially meeting at a lacrosse try-out at an upper class prep school, the movie centers on the wealthy, misguided and unsupervised white girl Jesse (Louisa Krause) and the poor, hardworking black girl Tosha (Sonequa Martin) determined to receive a Princeton scholarship as her ticket out of her crime-infested D.C. neighborhood.

While it's obvious from the start that both girls-- like most teen girls discover as preparation for life as women-- are masters at the art of hiding imperfections to maintain a tough exterior, it's equally apparent that both individuals are essentially loners even in their school cliques.

Despite the fact that there's definitely nothing wrong with their social skills, Abt does a terrific job of illustrating the fact that the two are both opposites as well as ironic mirror images at the same time.

Although Jesse's plot feels a bit like a Thirteen rerun and Tosha may as well be a grown up version of Akeelah and the Bee meets Good Will Hunting neither one is quite sure who they really are or what they want in life.

Obviously, this is typical for the age as is the tendency for too much drama which is the film's Achilles heel as well, since-- similar to when an adult tries to intervene in a teenage misunderstanding to help two kids out-- we find we're presented with far too much extraneous detail, too many rambling stories, and noise to accurately gauge just what is going on in their burgeoning friendship.

Though, despite the chaos the girls face as girls, it's very revealing to see the way they try to control aspects of their life to make up for the rest with different rituals whether it's Jesse's tendency to seek fleeting sexual validation from random boys or Tosha's need to label and organize everything in sight.

While there's a lot of little details to admire in Abt's film including here extraordinarily in-tune understanding of what makes teenage girls tick, overall, we sense that-- like two girls separated from a fight on the lacrosse field-- we're flooded with so much information that we're not sure just what the main story is supposed to be.

Yet because it spends way too much time dealing with their jealousy over the affection of a Lebanese immigrant DJ, all Abt ultimately does is play into another gender stereotype by adding to the noise instead of bringing her own unique perspective and statistics about female interracial friendships to life.

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com

Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.


TV on DVD: Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock: Wembley's Egg Surprise (2010)

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Thankfully, when Wembley undergoes a period of existential angst, the result isn't “snore pie with yawn sauce,” as they say in the 1980s Gen X favorite Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock.

Even though the arrival of an egg threatens to ruin swimming class for the others since it splashes right down into Fraggle Pond, Wembley sees it as a call to action in order to give our funny Fraggle what he believes is some much-needed purpose in his life.

Ignoring the snickers of others since genetically it's not his egg and even if it was, he'd technically be a “dad” instead of a “mom,” Wembley parks himself right on top of the egg with the firm intention of providing both parental roles for the orphaned creature.

After predictably, the Fraggles realize that the orphan doesn't belong down in Fraggle Rock and instead has a family of its own, Wembley discovers just how much sacrifice is involved in being a real parent when forced to put the animal's needs before his own.

Just one of a trio of episodes contained in Wembley's new Lionsgate Fraggle Rock title, the DVD features delightful pics from the show's 1983 televised season centering on the seasonal ideas of blossoming, birth, renewal, and the promise of the Spring as well as the fitting idea of an Easter Egg Surprise.

Additionally, there's a nice subtext included with the release as it's not only immediately recognizable retro fun for fellow Gen Xers but it's also irresistible to the next generation who-- so far weaned on far too much 3-D and CGI-- will surely enjoy the renewal of a classic Jim Henson series from the man who helped make George Lucas' Star Wars series what it is today.

Encouraging teamwork in The Great Radish Famine, which gives Marjory the Trash Compactor a rare opportunity to run the show, she decides it's time for the Fraggles, the Gorgs and the Doozers to work together and regrow the radish crop in order to settle their differences and make new friends.

Rounding out the nicely packaged, eye-catching 72 minute DVD with a great reminder not to give into peer pressure, especially when it's both dangerous and foolish, some of the Fraggles find its time to assert their independence and exercise good judgment when the oldest living Fraggle wants to take them on a pointless, perilous journey to see which one can become the true Ruler of the Rock.

Released around the same time as Lionsgate offered the entire animated series of Fraggle Rock in a nice thin-packaged set, the two DVDs compliment last year's collector edition of the series from which this disc culls its shows.

And while the picture quality and presentation does reveal its age as it doesn't sparkle on the same level as modern day children's programming, similar to Lionsgate's Care Bears, in the end it's the content of the works that matters the most.

For, needless to say, when you hold up discs like Fraggle and any of the new Care Bears titles next to some of the more visually stunning but uninspiring, IQ and EQ free discs mass-produced today, I'm going to have to venture back to recommend the TV series from decades gone by.

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com

Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

TV on DVD: The Evelyn Waugh Collection -- A Handful of Dust (1988); Scoop (1987)

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Serving up two-- one big and one small-- screen adaptations of scribe Evelyn Waugh's darkly satirical snob-centric twentieth century classic novels, Acorn Media pairs the addictive soap A Handful of Dust with the influentially absurd Scoop in an author-centric boxed set.

And regardless of only boasting two films, which makes the title of the The Evelyn Waugh Collection seem a bit ill-suited, the set makes an excellent companion offering to the other Waugh UK imports of the classic Brideshead Revisited with Jeremy Irons and Sword of Honour with Daniel Craig.

Similarly, although the picture still looks extremely dated even in an upconvert Blu-ray player, the Oscar nominated A Handful of Dust is well-worth the investment since the amusing but under-played Masterpiece Theatre televised Scoop seems like it's a work that's best left to the page as it's missing the superior production value of the cinematic Dust.

No stranger to the complicated humor and style of Waugh-- whose brash, acerbic wit and penchant for the subtlest of allegories can baffle other filmmakers handling the material-- director and co-scripter Charles Sturridge tackled Dust in 1988, after helming what miniseries-wise could be considered UK's version of The Thorn Birds or Rich Man, Poor Man with the epic Brideshead Revisited.

Similar to the way that high caliber films like Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel and The Young Victoria are often merely rewarded with nominations in the design categories a la this year's Academy Awards, so too was Dust following its '88 theatrical run, garnering an Oscar nod for its exquisite costumes that fit the then-brunette breakout star Kristin Scott Thomas like a radiant glove.

Dust is about much more than its costumes, however materialism could be a gateway to greed, which is at the thematic heart of this piece. The film centers on a decent but dull husband and father (Maurice's James Wilby) whose wife Brenda (English Patient's Scott Thomas) begins a passionate affair with a young man whom Waugh saddles with one of his quintessentially bold and borderline silly names of Beaver (The Forsyte Saga's Rupert Graves).

Co-starring Judi Dench, Anjelica Huston and Alec Guiness, the straightforward, polished film still startles because of its unapologetic frankness and lack of motive or responsibility for any of the participants. Although Scott Thomas would eventually play an unfaithful wife later in films like Patient, in Dust we're given little reason why she strays other than the fact that her unadventurous husband is a homebody.

Daringly in-your-face, this decision that may hit some couples right where they live as characters-- including another man who uses Brenda's husband dreadfully-- simply look out for themselves without a care in the world, cheating and manipulating simply because they can.

Yet, intriguingly, Dust never offers any major sense of comeuppance for our leads as-- even following a tragedy of Gone With the Wind proportions, Brenda proves she's crueler than we realized, not wanting to let anything spoil her enjoyment.

In this sense, the author agrees, never letting the story he's telling stop as the fate of Brenda's estranged husband may divide some audience members in the way that it's depicted onscreen verses the book, which Waugh has noted stemmed from the literal and figurative ways that one person can be held prisoner by another for no reason other than their own sense of entitlement.

Although Roger Ebert's otherwise excellent review is littered with so many spoilers that you should avoid it until you've finished the film or at least read the novel, he ends with a thought that keeps in perfect sync with the presentation by noting that “it has more cruelty in it than a dozen violent Hollywood thrillers, and it is all expressed so quietly, almost politely.”

An astute remark for a work which garnered its title from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, while it's nonetheless unexpectedly amusing and expectantly baffling as a film, both the final and result and Ebert's observation I'm sure would have fed right into Waugh's intentions.

And that's saying an awful lot since critics-- or more particularly book critics-- in Scoop are viewed with nearly the same regard as the janitorial staff in one of Waugh's most famous novels by the same name.

Although it's not to be confused with the recent Woody Allen magic themed Scoop starring Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman, much like Johansson's eager junior reporter, our protagonist William Boot (Michael Maloney) finds himself in way over his head while chasing the story of a lifetime.

In this pleasant yet minor, perfunctory adaptation, a major misunderstanding finds the good-natured, soft-spoken nature columnist William Boot thrust into the middle of African republic Ishmaelia where he's sent to cover a revolutionary war.

While luckily he doesn't find himself in danger, the unprepared Boot does make the acquaintance of other reporters, government workers, ex-patriots, and a wide array of outsiders you might've found in Paris during the jazz age.

A feisty script and fast-paced director from Gavin Millar helps keep this televised work affloat and while it still strikes an affable chord for those who love the interplay of journalism and politics to be found in movies like Wag the Dog and The Hunting Party, overall, the best scoop to be found in Scoop is to get thee to a bookstore as quick as you can to read Evelyn Waugh's prose.

For, although some of the barbs sting as do the terrific use of unexpected plot payoffs throughout, you just know that you're missing so much humor and wicked narrative structure that would've been more ferociously irresistible on the page.

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com

Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.


Blu-ray Review: The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

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The Time Traveler's Wife

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The Time Traveler's Wife (Unabridged)

Even if you've been presented with a linear narrative boasting a straightforward approach, successfully translating a novel into screenplay format is tough enough as it is. However, when you're given something as richly layered and structurally complicated as Audrey Niffenegger's bestselling book club-favorite The Time Traveler's Wife, you wind up with as many hurdles to climb as scribe Eric Roth did when he brought both Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to cinematic life.

Therefore it's no wonder that not only was Time Traveler's Wife often compared to Roth's recent Button, (which starred Time producer Brad Pitt) but also incessant that criticism surrounding the logic and lack thereof in the movie's sequence of events abounded throughout the film's reviews.

However, because it's currently an undiscovered phenomenon, the fact that film critics can presume to understand the minutia of quantum mechanics, string theory and particle physics involved in a science fiction component like time travel is as ludicrous as parts of the film itself... especially when you realize that these same individuals buy right into the Star Wars or the Star Trek franchise which recently starred Bana.

And although I was a bit fuzzy on some of the “rules” by which the film operated with regard to time traveling and likewise grant that it's fairly confusing for the first act in the way it establishes time, character and place for those who haven't read the novel, Time Traveler's Wife is nowhere near the epic disappointment of something like Love in the Time of Cholera nor does it stand with the anti-heroic and upsetting Kite Runner, both of which it seems were best left on the page.

While obviously it's missing the in-depth details of the novel, considering the additional hurdle of the mere 107 cram-it-all-in running time, overall screenwriter Bruce Jay Rubin who's no stranger to supernatural love stories (Ghost) has managed to make an entertaining, non-cynical, unabashedly old-fashioned, swoon-worthy picture that hooked this reviewer far more than the big screen version of The Notebook, which launched the career of Time's Rachel McAdams.

While McAdams plays our lovely heroine referenced in the film's title-- in the movie more than the novel, we're far more invested in the life of Henry (Eric Bana) as his plight is so fascinating that everyone else including The Time Traveler's Wife feels like they're simply players on the metaphysical and metaphorical stage.

Yet when it begins, it's the other way around as Clare (McAdams) initially appears to librarian Henry and the audience as a cute art student coed with a serious crush as she can't resist trying to touch the man she loves but who currently takes her for a stranger.

Of course, aside from her winning smile and genetic perfection, there's something oddly innocent and urgent about her arrival that inspires Henry to meet up with her. And after dinner turns into breakfast, they've become a couple again in what to us feels like the first time.

One of the confusing factors of Time is not just the idea that Henry can travel from one place to another and arrive naked because he's never sure how old he will be (yet since it's Bana we look past the ick factor without a second thought), but rather that there are multiple Henrys forever traveling.

Often, Henry arrives in places that are familiar like to the meadow where he first met Clare as a young girl and refused to give into her eventual crush until adulthood or answer any questions that could hinder her development. Likewise, he ritually arrives during the holidays to the road where his mother perished in a car accident and where he was also approached by an older version of him explaining what just happened and his ability as a time-traveler.

So with this piece of information in mind, it's safe to say that the movie asks an awful lot from an intelligent audience in suspending disbelief. However, if you give into it, I think you'll find the rewards are worth it, as witnessed in this gorgeously transferred Blu-ray that--like the recent Boogie Nights and Mangolia New Line Cinema releases-- add a life-like crisp audio balance to the soundtrack evident in high-definition that separates it from the WB pack.

This being said, of course, even the the addition of a digital copy of the film doesn't matter if viewers aren't willing to suspend their belief for the irregular set-up and perhaps stay with the film past the fast-paced and clarity-challenged opening act.

Yet, if we can do this in outright fantasies, I'm baffled why it seemed so foreign to viewers with this work as it at least tries to base itself in some form of reality involving genetic research, a traditional marriage in nontraditional circumstances, and the complexities of relationships, pregnancies, life and death.

Despite its melancholic twinges that pervade when we realize that-- much like Benjamin Button or Somewhere in Time-- there's a bittersweet edge to the storyline, which is perhaps a bit too truncated here considering the fate of our leading man, it still never feels as easily manipulative as a Nicholas Sparks movie.

And perhaps the reason it works here is because Time touches on a lot of issues that could be taken allegorically like "time travel" as a metaphor for disability a.k.a. the same sickness and health vow uttered when Clare finally does become the wife in the title.

Instead of blindsiding us with the type of car crash that kills Henry's mother in the beginning or delivers a bizarre form of Sparks-like Christian atonement in axing our leads for no reason in the works from that author,
the relationship between the lovers is the anchor for this particular film.

And this decision by filmmaker Robert Schwentke and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin allows the intricacies of time-travel to float off in the distance so that we're more invested in the two rather than the technical specifics of the supernatural-- (read: not rooted in science or nature)-- aspect of make-believe.

Thus, because there's nothing real about the vanishing, then everything about Henry and Clare's love seems real, which is what matters the most in any marriage whether it's on or off the screen and in whatever time period you happen to find yourself in at any given moment.

Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com

Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.