Monday, 13 August 2012

Feast Of Love (2007)

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Feast of lesbian love: Selma Blair and Stana Katic in a doomed affair.

At a glance:
Radha Mitchell bares all. Never again, apparently.
This was one of the earliest movies on a Malaysian screen that I watched and reviewed for my old work place and I still remember what a letdown it was. As appetisin as it sounded, the titular meal in Feast Of Love (2007) was reduced within the hour from what must be a 5-course luncheon in the 2000 Charles Baxter book of the same name, to a quick set lunch; and further cheapened into a McDonald’s Value Meal by the credit roll. Inasmuch as romance is concerned, the failure of Feast is even more surprisin when considerin that it was after all, an R-rated movie with plenty of nudity (though snipped) and top stars who never fail to engage an audience. In a Oregon tale of intertwinin love stories, Morgan Freeman goes on another one of his "wise man" narratives, this time as a love counsellor for confused hearts – the highlights bein Greg Kinnear (Auto Focus, 2002) as a failure of a lover; and Alexa Davalos (The Mist, 2007) as a gypsy-like, pseudo-Bohemian in her doomed lesbo romance with a recoverin junkie; while also frontin his own veteran struggle against the fadin of feelings for his wife (Jane Alexander) as an agein couple who had lost their son.
Bad news on the doorstep:
It's not that these relationships aren't interestin, for they are. Rather, it offers neither real solutions nor ideological perspectives that we haven’t seen before. Greg Kinnear’s loser character finds himself cheated on repeatedly, with no plausible reason as to why he is compensated when he eventually is. Alexa Davalos’ drifter character discovers the need-is-love love-is-need maxim, with no plausible reason as to why she ignores it. The worst is when Radha Mitchell’s promiscuous siren role is paraded with such glory (along with an overdose of skin) without offerin any real meanin or depth to her contribution. The characters in Feast Of Love are annoyingly moral-neutral, invitin dislike even before scepticism.This must go down as an ugly blemish in director Robert Benton's CV, which includes classics such as Superman (1978) and Bonnie And Clyde (1967).
Perennial wonderment:
How does Ebert do it? He astutely points out that director Robert Benton has made better movies about doomed marriages (Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979) but this one has no organic reality because it depends on three artifices: (1) the clockwork success and failure of relationships, (2) the need for Morgan Freeman as a witness, (3) the lickety-split time span that compresses the action so much it loses emotional weight.
I can't remember if I cried:
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Erika Marozsán's Hollywood debut. Poor girl.
Extremely heartbreakin that Hungarian beauty Erika Marozsán (pic) waited almost 10 years since Gloomy Sunday (1999) only to star in such a mediocre film for a Hollywood first – and grossly under-utilised at that.
Most memorable line:
"There is a story about the Greek gods. They were bored, so they invented human beings, but they were still bored, so they invented love. Then they weren't bored any longer, so they decided to try love for themselves. And finally they invented laughter, so they could stand it."

Watch out for:
Radha Mitchell's nude scenes keep this movie relevant on DVD shelves today.
Radha Mitchell's sex scenes. She's reportedly fully nude for the first time - though I distinctly remember seein her with Ally Sheedy in some risque behaviour back in High Art (1998). Also, it was reported that she'd never want to do it again after this movie. Savour it while you can, boys.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi? 
Pardonin the cuts (that might have changed this into a four star movie, maybe), it's still puzzlin to see Morgan Freeman sweat so much over so little. Everybody makes their lives more important than they are; and so does the movie. Light-hearted films like Love, Actually (2003) had the humour at least but Feast Of Love is slow with nowhere to go, makin us wonder even harder about the sex that we missed. On a Malaysian screen, this turned out to be no feast at all. A silly snack, more like. The sort of love we get here is like GSC's caramel popcorn – easy to digest and just as easy to forget.★★
Bonus material:
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Where can I buy the matching black underwear Radha Mitchell wore in this movie?
The bra and panties set was more memorable than the movie!