Friday, May 22, 2009

"Easy Virtue" - Another Great Film We Won't See at the Mall

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Jessica Biel is the picture of patience while she and costar Ben Barnes gets prepped for a scene in their period piece, Easy Virtue

I am here to rave about Stephen Elliott's Easy Vitue, a sparkling movie that recalls his fizzy style that made his 1994 film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert so hilarious. The new film is based on a 1924 Noel Coward play that attacks the hypocrisy, smugness and high brow values of the English landed gentry wen they meet a down to earth American woman. But it won't be playing around here.

If you love films that have sly humor, clever characters and reflect a more subtle and meaningful view of life, well, put this film in your queue on Netflix. We can also hope that it might eventually play the Images Theatre in Williamstown or, even less likely, the Triplex in Great Barrington. You know it will never be at the Berkshire Mall or North Adams Multiplex. Popular taste can be so stultifying.

Yes, I am perturbed that there is little likelihood of seeing Easy Virtue - which opens in New York this week - on a Big Berkshire Screen. First we really don't have any big screens in daily use, though thank goodness for the Colonial and Mahaiwe theatres when they do show films. And second, the cinema fare around here is abysmal, playing the commercial Hollywood fare in little dark boxes that are not even soundproofed. All too often we can hear two movies at once.

If you enjoy all those bang-bang-boom! movies that pass for entertainment, head for the multiplex this weekend. There is a new Terminator out that is destined to be a Dolby Digital sound test, and our local movie places will fail it miserably. Still, I am sure it will attract quite a big audience.

Instead, my friend Gail and I will tavel away from the Berkshires tonight to Cambridge, NY to see Noel Coward's Present Laughter done by the modest but talented company that keeps Hubbard Hall busy and inviting. Then tomorrow we will head south to Stockbridge and the Berkshire Theatre Festival to see Faith Healer, and Sunday to Pittsfield's Barrington Stage to enjoy Poolside at the Hotel Bel Air. Thank god for live theatre which remembers that the human mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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