Revenge -ABC-TV

I have to agree with much of what critic Daniel Fienberg, said about Emily VanKamp’s performance as vendetta-driven heroine Emily Thorne. (Why didn’t the writers make her character choose a much less harsh sounding assumed surname – like Meadows or Summers?). She’s bland and flat for much of the proceedings, with the exception of her confrontation scene with Nolan Ross, where she threatened to crush his wind-pipe. That was about the only time in the pilot we get to see the steely rage beneath the cool exterior.

Madeline Stowe is fabulously campy as the moderately hissable Victoria Grayson. It is hard to believe this beauty is 53!

Unlike Mr. Fienberg; however, I can’t see why anyone would root for Victoria – it was clearly heartwrenching to see a girl (the young Amanda Clarke, as Emily was originally named) of about 7 or 8 years old physically ripped out of the hands of a loving father by strange armed men, and it was clear from the flashbacks that Victoria was partly responsible, and she admits to as much while confronting her husband about his affair with Lydia, an ex-friend of Victoria’s who’s now “exiled”.

There were several interesting unstated points in the episode that Mr. Fienberg doesn’t mention. Although it’s clear to Victoria that Emily’s exposure of the affair between Lydia and Victoria’s husband Conrad was not the work of an innocent dove – Victoria is seen calling someone, presumably an investigator, to ask for everything he can find out about Emily Thorne. Yet, at the beginning of the pilot we’re treated to the announcement of Emily’s engagement to Victoria’s son Daniel. As Victoria leans in to kiss the bride to be, she asks very tersely and hostilely- “Where IS my son?”.  This tells the audience that Ms. Conrad doesn’t like/trust Emily one bit, which suggests that she was forced into acquiescing to Daniel’s wishes. How does Victoria move from suspicion to open hostility while being forced to accept Emily into her home and family?  Now THAT promises to be an interesting story…

Daniel Fienberg’s review

Three (Drei) by Tom Tykwer

The German movie Three by Tom Tykwer is a light-hearted, yet poignant look at the evolution of three different people’s concept of a committed relationship. Handsome Adam Born, (played nicely by Devid Striesow, who looks uncannily like a younger, blonder Anthony Stewart Head), has little trouble in seducing the committed, yet vaguely unhappy Hanna or Simon, without any of the three realizing until later in the film that each is involved with the other…

Devid Striesow

Anthony Stewart Head

T his is the first film I’ve seen with a male bisexual character in which the character’s sexuality wasn’t a “problem” either for him or for someone else in the film. Too many films have featured the bisexual male as the bad guy, the home wrecker, disease spreader, et cetera, so the focus on love, commitment, growth and change was refreshing to see. The director ends on a pro-polyamorous note, and seems to agree with the notion that ones love for a second and/or third party can paradoxically enhance/enrich your appreciation for a different partner. Indeed, the affairs that both Hanna and Simon had with Adam seemed to strengthen their own sexual and emotional bond.

The ironic twist of Hanna’s late life pregnancy with twins, which left the audience to speculate on their paternity was certainly contrived, but somehow fitting with the overall tongue and cheek tone which underlies all the drama.