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Another Reader Muses On MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I like there are a wide variety of reactions to this one, and not one across-the-board sort of party line so far. I think that’s how it should be for a Wong Kar Wai film, and here’s one more guy weighing in on the screening the other night:

Hey, I too was at the Manhattan screening of Blueberry Nights last night and figured I'd give you a different take on the film. Here's my review... I was invited to a free screening of the film last night in New York City. We were told we were the first American audience to get to see the film, I'm not sure how true that is, though. I went in pretty well informed on the project. I'm a fan on Wong Kar Wai and a fan of all the actors involved. I was aware that it recieved mixed reviews at Cannes, but I was eager to see it for myself. Overall, I'd say I really enjoyed the film. It is definately not perfect, but the good things in the movie really shine and its flaws aren't large enough to make me dislike the film. I'd say overall the film just made me feel good. There are just some absolutely wonderful scenes. The story overall seems to work in 3 sections. The opening bit is with Norah Jones in New York looking for her boyfriend in a Cafe. She discovers that he's been cheating on her and she strikes up a friendship with the owner of the cafe (Jude Law). They connect easily and she is soon coming in everynight for conversation and blueberry pie. Where the storyline goes, I'll leave for you to discover. The next segment she is in Memphis, working two jobs at a diner and a bar. There is a regular at both (Straitharn). He's a drunk who drinks everynight away pining for his wife that he has been seperated from for awhile. Jones also befriends him and the storyline revolves around her relationship with him and later on his wife (Weisz). Then she makes her way to Nevada. She meets a young, hotshot gambler (Portman) who needs her help in getting money for a stake in a poker game. Soon enough the two are on the road to Vegas and Portman teaches her the ways of reading people and not trusting anyone. The strongest moments for me were the scenes with David Straitharn and Rachel Weisz. These scenes had the strongest emotional arch, the best acting, and the best music as well. Everytime Weisz walks into the bar, she struts in slow motion to Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness" and I gotta say...very sexy. It's no wonder Straitharn still pines for her. But his story also has some great monologues, which is rare to find in today's typical film. One about how many times he has tried to quit drinking to Weisz's story about how they fell in love really stuck out as beautiful scenes to me. The weakest story for me was Portman's. I've never had a problem with her as an actress at all but I think she's in over her head here. I'm just not sure I bought her as this character. And by the time we get the emotional climax of her storyline, I wasn't feeling it the same way I felt for the end of the Memphis section of the movie. I'm still not sure if that's because of Portman or the writing. Maybe a bit of both. I regret to say as well that Norah Jones was only decent. She's really not an actress and some her line readings off in their delivery. I'm still very curious as to how Wai got set on having her be the lead even though she'd never acted before. Maybe it's because of her look, because she does look absolutely beautiful in the film. She seemed to me to be the type of girl most guys could probably fall in love with. My other complaint, believe it or not, is the cinematography. That seems like a strange thing to complain about in a Wong Kar Wai film, but certain moments seem to "beautiful shots" just for the sake of having a beautiful shot without having a meaning. It can get distracting. And I think another reason that it dissapointed me is that it is all the same tricks I've seen him use all his career, I really want him to show me something new. And I also think he could have really done a better job defining his space. If a movie is about a girl going cross-country in America to find herself, you would think they would show America a bit. This whole movie takes place indoors and you never actually see her traveling. One scene she is in a diner in Memphis, the next she's in a diner in Nevada. The only reason we know where she is is because her voice-over tells us. I would have liked to see more of her discovering America and getting a better sense of her travels. And yes, the previous reviewers were right about a few things. The extreme close-ups of the pie seemed gross to me (and the rest of the audience too) and there was nothing sexy to them at all. I'm not really sure why they are there. And the upside-down kiss does go on about 30 seconds too long and the audience did find start laughing uncomfortably pretty soon into it. Despite my few complaints, I did really enjoy myself. It is a well made film with some great actors doing some great work. It does look good, the soundtrack kicked ass, and I left the theatre feeling satisfied. That's a lot more than I can say for a lot of films this year. B+ PAlexander
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