Thursday, May 5, 2011

Uma Seduces, Cave Dazzles

Uma Thurman a Femme Fatale in “Ceremony”

By Skip Sheffield

Every since she played the bad girl in “Kill Bill” I’ve thought of Uma Thurman more as an action figure than a sensitive, beautiful woman.
“Ceremony” corrects that misconception. Thurman plays a femme fatale named Zoe pursued by two men.
One is her fiancé, a famous filmmaker named Whit Coutell (Lee Pace).
The other is Sam Davis (Michael Angarano), a younger guy with whom Zoe had a brief fling.
Sam, a not-very-successful writer of children’s books, still secretly carries the torch for Zoe.
Sam hatches a crazy plot in which he convinces his friend Marshall (Reece Thompson) to join him in a beach getaway for the weekend. Unbeknownst to Marshall, Sam plans to infiltrate Zoe’s wedding and head it off at the pass.
Anyone who has tried to rekindle a love affair from the past knows it is difficult, if not impossible.
On one hand Sam is a quixotic, romantic idealist. On the other he is a pathetic, laughable loser.
Michael Angarano is such a skilled young actor that he makes his Sam appealing to both the “older woman” and to us. We laugh at his absurdity, yet we feel sympathy for Sam.
Much of the credit must go to writer-director Max Winkler, who must have inherited some of his dad Henry’s comedy instincts.
“Ceremony” is a wry and somewhat raunchy R-rated romance that jokes about delusions without heaping scorn. Oh, and Uma Thurman has never looked lovelier. The film is playing FAU’s Living Room Theaters.

Astounding “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”

As a filmmaker, Werner Herzog is no wimp. He searched for El Doraldo in “Aguirre, Wrath of God.” He built an opera house in the middle of a jungle in “Fitcarraldo.” He documented the wrath of wild animals in “Grizzly Man.”
Now Herzog combines his love of art, history, naturally beautiful places and music in “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” playing Shadowood and Regal Delray Theaters.
Chauvet Cave in France was sealed by a landslide for 20,000. In 1994 scientists discovered the entryway to a cavern as large as a football field. As extraordinary as that is, what makes Chauvet Cave unique in the world is its collection of cave paintings, some more than 30,000-years-old, as determined by carbon dating. This is more than twice as old as any previous archeological find. Furthermore there are petrified remains of Ice Age animals. Finally there are incredibly beautiful stalactites and stalagmites that glisten like jewels.
Thanks to his solid reputation, German filmmaker Herzog was given permission to film in the priceless, fragile treasure trove which will never be seen by masses of people, and to film in 3-D to appear more real.
For all this, Herzog has made an incredible gift of beauty, love and knowledge to the people of the world.

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