October 26, 2007

October 26, 2006

Movie of the Week
Rails & Ties directed by Alison Eastwood

In a fall obsessed with political dramas Rails & Ties is a welcome respite. I'm not saying that this is a light and easy film to watch because it's not -- it is a character driven intense drama about love and loss which marks Alison Eastwood's directing debut from a script by Micky Levy.

Kevin Bacon plays Tom a man who lives in the world of trains. He is an engineer driving his train up and down the pacific coast, and then spends his free time building his model train in his garage. He is a closed off man. His wife Megan, is played by Marcia Gay Harden, a nurse who has recently been told that her cancer has returned again, and metastasized in her bones. They have a long-time indifferent marriage -- they love each other both pass each other by without really connecting. Megan's death sentence unleashes a torrent of emotions that Tom is incapable of handling. His pain stays deep down and hers just pours out.

Like many people in this situation Megan gets angry, because she thought she had so much time to do everything. Yet she wound up not doing anything. She says "I'm not afraid to die but to know I haven't lived terrifies me."

A terrible train accident changes their lives and a young boy named Davey winds up living with them and instantly changes both of them. Davey's arrival renews Megan and gives her a sense of purpose in her last days, and he also connects with Tom through their mutual love of trains. They become an instant, loving family something that has alluded Megan and Tom throughout their marriage.

The performances are quiet and wonderful. You see and feel their pain. Marcia Gay Harden is one of the best actresses of her generation, getting better and better with each role. In an early scene she is in the bathroom looking at the scar that was her breast and you can't but help hold your breath because these types of scenes are so rare, yet the rawness of that moment helps define the tome of the film. Eastwood doesn't rush any of the scenes, she lingers and let's you think before moving on. Newcomer Miles Heizer (Davey) is able to hold his own and more playing scenes with much more seasoned performers. This film is all about the characters and Eastwood skillfully is able to get nuanced performances from her actors that bode well for a long directing career.

Cate Blanchett goes from Elizabeth to Bob Dylan
The Power and the Glory (The Guardian)

Brooke Smith joins Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Eric Hahn.
Anatomy of a Career Move (LA Times)

Natalie Portman is confused. She runs around naked in the Darjeeling prequel then edits a Scholastic math magazine. We know you're a smart girl Natalie.
Natalie Portman Edits Scholastic Math Magazine (Newsday)

Tube This Weekend
Mrs Miniver (Saturday, 6am, TCM)