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Chloe

film_CHLOE1All the elements should be in place for a classic, psycho-erotic suspense thriller in Atom Egoyan's Chloe: a flirty, attractive husband who never seems to be home, a neglected wife desperate to recapture his attention, and a beautiful young call girl capable of ripping open the couple's orderly, upscale lives. Egoyan and his excellent cast manage to conjure a credibly sensual atmosphere of hothouse desire (literally, in one key scene that occurs in a steamy, secluded room of an indoor botanical garden). David (Liam Neeson) is a popular university professor, adored by his female students, who's always jetting off somewhere to deliver a guest lecture, staying late at the office for faculty meetings, or chuckling over private emails. His wife, Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a busy gynecologist who spends her days explaining orgasms and other sexual functions to her patients, but has not felt the love herself in a long time.

When she intercepts a text from one of David's admirers, she's sure he's having an affair. After a chance meeting in a ladies room, Catherine hires working girl Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to discreetly pursue David and report back. This is the part of the story that almost works, thanks to Moore's skillful portrait of Catherine's complex need not only to confirm her husband's infidelity but to participate in his erotic life, even by proxy, as Chloe spins her tales with professional relish. But the suspense film_chloeangle proves elusive. It's not too difficult to guess what the story's major plot twist will be, and by the time it's revealed—when we expect a further complication— there isn't any. Part of the problem may be in the approach of Egoyan and scriptwriter Erin Cressida Wilson to their source material, Nathalie, a 2003 French drama by Anne Fontaine. While plot points are similar in both films, Fontaine's original was shaped as more of a psychological drama about aging, trust, and sexual hunger. Egoyan covers these same touchpoints, but chooses to tack on an implausible thriller element which proves to be his film's undoing. As all that atmosphere is squandered in an increasingly banal, yet incredible finale, the only thing held in suspense is the viewer's disbelief. (R) 96 minutes. (★★1/2) LJ
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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