June 25 - July 1, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 26

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The Terminal
—The Castaway of Kennedy Airport
by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists


Viktor Navorski, an Eastern European gentleman played by the brilliant Tom Hanks—that movie where he had to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty to meet Meg Ryan, and the other movie where he played the slow but wonderful and lucky character—finds himself stranded at Kennedy Airport. While he’s in the air, en route to America, his homeland erupts in a coup overthrowing the government of Krakozhia. The unrest in Viktor’s homeland has led to an invalidation of his passport. He is now a citizen of nowhere and has become a man without a country. Viktor is unauthorized to enter the United States and must remain a refugee in the terminal’s international transit lounge until the unrest and war in his country is over.

The Maven: Stop! Stop! I can’t take it anymore. The Tom Hanks movies that The Blonde is trying to refer to are Sleepless in Seattle and Forrest Gump. Having gotten that off my chest, we can now move on.

The Blonde: Picky, picky, picky!
Contributing the romance to this endearing, tender movie is the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago, Intolerable Cruelty). She plays the flight attendant, Amelia Jones, who admittedly has poor taste in men.

The Maven: No, her name is Amelia Warren.

The Blonde: Whatever!  I do share her poor taste in men, though!

Portraying the supercilious Airport Security Official Frank Dixon is Stanley Tucci (The Core). Also important are four other main characters that Navorski befriends. Their initial mistrust is soon replaced with genuine respect, dignity, and honor after getting to know the complex and mysterious Viktor. It’s fascinating to watch how resourceful Viktor becomes to survive the months he was trapped in the airport. He has to overcome many obstacles including the language barrier, lack of American currency, and inadequate living conditions.

The Blonde: These problems are the same as most Americans experience. This movie was like Castaway meets Moscow on the Hudson meets Casablanca. Can I even begin to tell you how much I loved this movie? I enjoyed every sweet second and didn’t want it to end. Hanks’ genius portrayal of the innocent yet charming Viktor made it possible for you to feel every emotion the character was experiencing. In the beginning scenes, when he first learned about his county’s devastation, his pain, confusion, and complete distress just came pouring through the screen. Hank’s precise accent added dimension, sensitivity and warmth to the lovable character of Viktor. What a powerful story of friendship and integrity.

The Maven: The most impressive feature of this movie is its lack of special effects. There is no explosive action. No murders take place; uniquely, no fanatic religious fervor of any kind was in this story either.

The Blonde: Not to mention, no sex or nudity! A wholesome change for the present-day Hollywood.

The Maven: The Terminal is character driven with the momentum starting and ending with Tom Hanks. He immersed himself in Viktor’s portrayal, not only with a solid Slavic accent but with the physical mannerisms as well. Not since Meryl Streep’s performance in Sophie’s Choice have I been so mesmerized by an actor’s total performance.

The Blonde: My, you’re gushing! I have to agree though. Tom Hanks in my opinion has become the finest actor of our time. He truly deserves the Oscar for every movie he appears in. They need to make a new category exclusively for him. Just when we think he can’t grow anymore or be anymore diversified as an actor, he surprises us and takes that extra leap. By the way, Catherine being Welsh is also sporting an accent as an American. Give her some credit, too. Believe me it’s hard for me to give her any extra credit since she already has it all, including being married to Kirk Douglas. Doesn’t she appear to have the perfect life?

The Maven:  That would be Michael Douglas, and yes it does appear to be that way. I thought Jeff Nathanson and Sacha Gervasi wrote a strikingly original script—very loosely based on a true story by Andrew Niccol—without being too sentimental. Stanley Tucci was sensational as the rule-bound security officer Dixon. I thoroughly disliked this character!

The Blonde: I disliked him even more than my ex.

The Maven: Which ex?

The Blonde: Take your pick! Dixon was so cruel that he was hard to even watch. Let’s not overlook the more than amazing, talented Steven Spielberg. You can always detect his directing style just by the tenderness and honesty he uses to tell his stories. Now Steven, that’s a guy you want to bring home for mother.

The Maven: You’re too late. He’s married to Kate Capshaw.

The Blonde: So what? I still want to bring him home for mother.
The Maven: He’s married!

The Blonde: Okay! How about if I just bring him home for me?

The Maven: Okay!  If I can bring home Tom…

The Blonde: You can't, he’s married…

The Maven: Now who’s being picky, picky, picky!?

The Blonde: Personally, I don’t think it would be all that bad to be stranded in Kennedy Airport. I mean, after all there is a Starbucks, Armani, hair salons, and other fabulous places to shop.

The Maven: I would prefer Vegas. Think of the slot machines and great popcorn.

The Blonde: I did feel frustrated for him, though. Being in the Big Apple and not being able to try a pastrami on rye, a New York bagel or pizza, a street vendor’s hot dog, ices, Broadway, Time Square, The Statue of Liberty and running from muggers!
The Maven: I don’t believe he would have done any of those things at all. Remember the can of peanuts?

The Blonde: There was a can of peanuts? Did I miss something?

The Maven: Only the whole point to Viktor’s visit to New York! Don’t hesitate to see The Terminal; it’s quite enjoyable and engrossing. Although the ball was dropped on the romantic subplot, the film was still excellent.

The Blonde: Hey, most of us had balls dropping on our romantic subplots!

The Maven: I rate this film an A. It’s good to feel so positive about life when you leave a movie theatre.
                                                                                      The Blonde: Flight number 9435 takes Viktor Navorski on a life changing experience. When you find out his reason for even going to New York, it will melt your heart even more. The Terminal illustrates many of life’s important lessons, such as the goodness of human nature, brotherhood, friendships, trust, overcoming evil, unkind people and the powers of love. I totally recommend this superb work of art to everyone. It is a feel good summer movie. You might even want to own this one when it comes out. I rate The Terminal an A. Loved it! By the way, I recommend that you skip the snacks and go out for dessert and coffee and talk about the movie. Have fun!

The Stepford Wives
—A Different “Step” than the First

A remake of the 1975 film, we get the opportunity to revisit the land of Stepford, Connecticut with a whole new cast and an updated plot. This star-studded cast includes Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, The Hours), Matthew Broderick (Glory, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Bette Midler (Beaches, The Rose), Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), and Christopher Walken (Deerhunter). We won’t tell you too much, only that the men of Stepford have a secret!


The Blonde: Most men do!  This movie was like The Stepford Wives, meets The Six Million Dollar Man, meets my very own husband number two. I have to say that I really enjoyed Nicole Kidman’s performance. She is always outstanding, but she had the chance to show so many colors in this film. More importantly, does she not have the most amazing body? Her arm is as long as my whole leg. She says she never works out and eats anything she wants to. I just hate her!

The Maven: Only you can see this movie and get caught up in Nicole’s arms. As you know Blonde, I balked at seeing this movie. In order to stop your annoying nagging, I decided to give it a shot. Imagine my delight to find myself enjoying this version much more than the 1975 movie.
The Blonde: Okay, I was right! But what did you think about Nicole’s arms?

The Maven: I don’t care about her arms…can I finish? Originally, Ira Levin’s novel satirized the male’s reaction to feminism by showing their desire for tame women who do as they’re told and never complain.

The Blonde: Than “they” would have to be robots!
The Maven: Touché! In 1972, feminism was still relatively new and the original movie had a more suspenseful tilt to it.

The Blonde: I hear people your age burned your bras in ’72.

The Maven: That was the ‘60s, and that was my sister’s bra. In 2004, while not changing the novel too much, director Frank Oz (In and Out) and writer Paul Rudnick chose a more comedic tilt—a wise decision, as now you can focus on the acting and Rudnick’s screenplay, which has some very good zingers.

The Blonde:  I too liked the fact that, this time around, the storyline was more comedic than dark. I also feel that people who did not see the first movie won’t like this one because they won’t understand the spoof of it all. Those of us who did see the old version, I think, will enjoy it more. Furthermore, I don’t want to be mean because I feel he is a marvelous actor, but I didn’t think Matthew Broderick was right for this role. He had no chemistry or the correct on-screen appearance to be paired with Nicole. I did, however, adore Bette and Roger Bart as the two co-conspirators. I thought they were perfect and hilarious. I also liked the way this film made fun of reality television shows. I personally am getting a bit tired of them. My life is reality enough for me.

The Maven:  Watch it! I like reality television. I didn’t think there was enough screen time for Christopher Walken, though. Oz focused too much time on Nicole.

The Blonde: Oh, you just think he’s sexy. Are you just jealous about Nicole’s arms?

The Maven: You got me. In closing, I had fun with this movie and give it a C+.

The Blonde: I enjoyed this movie at a B rating but give the film a C. Eat some candy that gets stuck in your teeth to keep you busy between the laughs. Ladies, let this be a warning. Don’t let Stepford happen to you.
1. Glenn Close as Claire Wellington, Nicole Kidman as Joanna Eberhart, Bette Midler as Bobbie Markowitz and Lisa Masters as Carol Wainwright in The Stepford Wives
TM & Copyright © 2004 by Paramount Pictures Corporation and DreamWorks LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Andrew Schwartz


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