MOVIES: Feb 05

Great acting belies the controversy over “Kinsey”, while Kim Basinger’s latest is just plain creepy.
jon.jpgDoor In The Floor
Released: February 3, 2005
Rated: M
2 stars

Sure, Door In The Floor is a sad story. A couple’s two boys are killed in an accident and their parents, children’s writer Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) and wife Marion (Kim Basinger), are torn apart with grief. So much so they have another child to make up for the loss (as if that’s going to work). Next they decide to separate and sleep around (okay…). Then they invite a 16-year-old intern who looks like one of their dead sons to work for them.
Can anyone else see trouble brewing here?
One could understand this amount of destructive behavior had the accident occurred a month or a year ago, but we meet the characters a full five years after the fact. Somewhere along the five stages of grief these two got stuck on the step known as, “numbingly vacant yet destructive and willing to leave human carnage in their wake”.Yet for such an un-likeable story the cast is top notch.
As the adulterous artist and grieving father Ted, Jeff Bridges’ is superb – but his acting is wasted on such an obnoxious character. He’s supposed to be free and creative but he’s really just selfish and uncaring.
Kim Basinger plays Marion, the sexy yet emotionally numbed mother. And I have to admit, she can pull off a stone carving impression very well. But things get creepy when she decides to take a page out of
Mrs. Robinson’s playbook and pursue their teenage intern, Eddie (Jon Foster), who looks like one of her dead sons.
The director, Tod Williams, has adapted the movie from John Irving’s novel A Widow for One Year. It’s beautifully and artistically filmed – or, to put it another way, pretentious. Without a doubt, Williams wanted to make a “deep” film, and every lingering shot and every line screams not just “look at how deep this is”, but, “but wait this makes it deeper still!”
This film exaggerates the weight of grief without ever bothering to realistically confront the unavoidable process of healing. For me it was as entertaining as watching an open wound. If you want to watch two hours of a marriage falling apart, child neglect and pseudo-incest, be my guest, but Door In The Floor wasn’t my cup of tea.

Released: January 27, 2005
Rated: M
4 stars

For all the controversy surrounding it, Kinsey is not much more than a bio-pic of Alfred Kinsey who, in 1948, published the controversial book Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male. It sold like gangbusters, and shocked society with its detailed scientific evidence about our rude bits and what we do with them.
Originally a zoologist studying wasps, Kinsey was drawn to exploring sex when one of his biology students asked him, “If a husband gives his wife oral sex will that make her infertile?” and “Does masturbating make you lose a pint of blood? ” Kinsey decided to put a stop to this nonsense by finding out the facts, helped by a team of young researchers to help him carry out in-depth sex surveys. Lo and behold, it turned out Americans in the 1940s were having much more sex and in more ways than anyone ever imagined! Who woulda thunk it?
I’m putting my neck out early here but I think Liam Neeson has an Oscar smell about him. He has a captivating take on the nutty, sex-obsessed professor. Laura Linney plays Kinsey’s free-thinking wife with just the right amount of enthusiasm and fragility. Together they pull off one of the most uncomfortable sex scenes ever filmed as they portray two virgins fumbling on their wedding night with embarrassing realism. I was squirming in my seat. Neeson is well supported by Chris O’Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard and Timothy Hutton as his research assistants. They quickly become cult followers of their awe-inspiring boss, shaking off Victorian sexual constraints and exploring everything from same-sex relationships to wife-swapping — all, of course, in the name of science. Such forward thinking wasn’t exactly welcomed in the ‘40s and by the time his book on women arrived in 1953, the sexual revolution was getting underway and Kinsey being blamed for the whole kinky mess.John Lithgow is impressive as Kinsey’s conservative father and Lynn Redgrave shows why she’s an Oscar nominee with her show-stealing and thought-provoking cameo as one of Kinsey’s patients.Writer/Director Bill Condon has created another champion script to follow up on his mesmerizing screenplay for Gods & Monsters, a gentle handling of the story of James Whale (most famous for
directing “Frankenstein”), which won him an Academy Award.