Saturday, January 16, 2016

Original Sin

Year 8, Day 16 - 1/16/16 - Movie #2,216

BEFORE: So, they announced the Oscar nominations a few days ago, I finally had some time yesterday to take a look, and just as I thought, for the most part I just don't care.  Maybe some of those films will turn out to be important, but for now I'm going to stick to my chain of NON-Oscar nominated films.  Conversely, today's film and the previous two all garnered Razzie nominations for Angelina Jolie in 2002 and 2004.  Too bad those are given out for the WORST acting performances.  

As the Angelina Jolie chain comes to an end, I'm starting a week's worth of films that are mostly set in Latin America, or the Old West.  It's a sort of South (of the Border) by Southwest (U.S.) festival, and it starts on a plantation in late 1800's Cuba.  

THE PLOT: A woman and her lover plan to con a rich man by marrying him and, after earning his trust, running away with all his money. Everything goes as planned until she actually begins to fall in love with him.

AFTER: A plantation owner sends away for a mail-order bride, but when she shows up, she looks different from her picture.  Oh, there's an explanation, or an excuse, as there seems to be for everything in this situation, but quite possibly we're witnessing the invention of catfishing, pre-internet.  The couple marries quickly but then decides to take things slow, sleeping in separate rooms until she feels comfortable in sharing a bed.  But then she starts stepping out at night, or going backstage to talk with the actors in a play, and you'd think her husband would begin to suspect that she's not what, or even who, she claims to be.  

Rule #1 in marriage, even if you love someone - maintain separate bank accounts.  When "Julia" is given access to her husband's finances, you know, to maintain the household and buy herself pretty things, you can almost hear that clock ticking.  I'm not saying all women are like this, but come on, this guy should have seen it coming.  Before long he's teamed up with the detective who's looking for the real Julia, just to find the woman he married and figure out who she really is. 

Still he maintains that he loves her, but does he love her or the woman she pretended to be?  And if it's the latter, can she become that woman again, or is that no longer an option?  The characters state a few times that this is not a love story, but it's a story about love.  Whether real or imagined, that's to be determined.  There is play-within-the-play that's laughingly described as "cheap melodrama", and I'm afraid that's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  They also say several times that "you can't walk away from love".  Umm, OK, but people do it all the time.  

Angelina is much nuder here than she was in the "Tomb Raider" films, yet you may find yourself staring at her impressively-sized, very full...lips.  I wonder if you can trace that horrible trend of the overly-pouty "bee-stung" lips back to this film.  They really fill up the frame, they're much, much bigger than they need to be.  

Also starring Antonio Banderas (last seen in "Play It to the Bone"), Thomas Jane (last seen in "Dreamcatcher"), Jack Thompson (last seen in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"), Allison Mackie, Gregory Itzin, and Pedro Armendariz, Jr. (last seen in "Amistad").

RATING: 4 out of 10 empty coat hangers

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