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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Movie reviews: Secret Lives

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The similarity in Jean’s reviews here are both due to the same cause: His looking more at the computer than the TV screen. Star ratings are therefore mine, since I actually watched both movies in full.

*** The Secret Life of Bees (October 2008) – Rental
Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah. Young teenage girl leaves her abusive father to explore her late mother’s past with a group of bee-keeping sisters.

She says: A pretty good adaptation of the novel. Performances were good and though the “critical consensus” said it was too sentimental, I didn’t find that to be the case. And I hate sentimental.
He says: I didn’t pay enough attention to have an opinion of this one.

***½ My Kid Could Paint That (October 2007) – Rental
Documentary look at four-year-old painting sensation Marla Olmstead.

She says: Really fascinating documentary. Starts off as a look at the nature of abstract art, taking as a given that even a four-year-old can produce works in high demand. Then a 60 Minutes report on the young artist changes the story: is this really her work, or has her father assisted? Finally, the documentarian, realizing he hasn’t really captured any great footage of her painting (despite months of work on the film) reluctantly becomes part of the story himself, and the story evolves again, to his role and the appropriateness of such a young child getting so much adult attention. So many layers. The DVD includes a worthwhile additional set of follow-up footage, scenes deleted from the original, and additional discussions about the many questions raised by the film.
He says: It didn’t quite hold my interest.

By the way, Marla continues to sell her paintings (she’s now 8), and the movie continues to inspire debate. And more debate.

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