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Serenasailor
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Serenasailor

Post Number: 225
Registered: 01-2006

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Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 06:14 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK.



What did yall think about it?

PLEASE SAY WHAT YOU REALLY FEEL...GOOD AND BAD
OR WHATEVER

LOL

_________________

HERE'S A REVIEW BY A BLACK WOMAN CRITIC:

____________________

Berry's performance in Their Eyes is all sizzle but little steak
BY MELANIE MCFARLAND
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Four or five times a year, maybe, television critics encounter creations that thwart all analysis, like wine dribbling harmlessly off stain-resistant upholstery. Attempts to intellectualize their highlights and flaws don't really matter, because they are critic-proof. ADVERTISEMENT

So, what hope is there in taking on Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God, a 2 1/2-hour TV adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's classic, premiering Sunday night on ABC? Oprah needs only to breathe in the direction of a book, a movie, or heck, a log, to make the masses stampede after it.

Then, it stars Halle Berry, the actress often acknowledged as one of the world's most beautiful women. Her mere presence almost always wins the day.

For the majority of viewers, it's enough to know that Oprah, having sat on the film rights to Hurston's romantic tale for eons, insisted that Janie, Their Eyes Were Watching God's heroine, was the role Berry was born to play. Berry's supposed to deliver television's sexiest kiss ever, dancing tongues and all.

Halle. Oprah. Together at last. Remember: That's 8 p.m. Sunday.

But the truth is: Their Eyes is a gorgeous view lacking the emotional punch of Hurston's opus. And the flaw is in Berry's insubstantial yet overwhelming performance.

Hurston, a prolific journalist, novelist and playwright, has had a significant renaissance during the past couple of decades, appreciation that eluded her in life. Even now, literary buffs are unearthing new works. Part of Oprah's mission in bringing Their Eyes Were Watching God to broadcast television is to raise awareness of Hurston's place in American literary history. She commissioned Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks to adapt the script.

But that's not the film's selling point. This is a love story wrapped in Berry's long, flowing locks. It's first and foremost about Janie's journey toward self-realization and her embrace of her spiritual and sexual self.

The story follows Janie through three marriages, focusing in large part on her stifling second one to Joe Starks (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), the mayor and part founder of a town called Eatonville. Later, she finds the love of her life in Tea Cake (Michael Ealy), a drifter who opens up Janie to life's beauty, joyful lovemaking and lingual wrestling.

Using Berry's beauty to illustrate Janie's intense self-exploration isn't such a bad decision on director Darnell Martin's part. The romantic imagery slathered throughout Hurston's novel blooms on the screen, framing the actress in every scene, even when she's covered in dirt.

The camera loves that woman, and Martin woos her with it to the expense of virtually everyone else in the cast.

About that kiss: It'll either go down as one of TV's most sensual moments, or remind you of two slugs fighting to the death.

Whatever. Oprah said watch, and we bet her legions will heed her.



__________________
Here's what a Critic in Denver



had to say:
________________________

Winfrey's star shines on "Eyes"
By Joanne Ostrow
Denver Post TV Critic


Like it or not, Oprah Winfrey arguably has done more to promote literacy than a thousand teachers. Through her brand-name clout, she's popularized not just particular authors and book groups, but reading itself.

The businesswoman, producer, actor and talk-show icon now undertakes to educate the public about a literary favorite of her own.

Zora Neale Hurston isn't a household name, but she will be recognized by a broader public after tonight's broadcast of "Their Eyes Were Watching God," under the banner of "Oprah Winfrey Presents:" and with the above-the-title prominence of star Halle Berry.



"Eyes," at 8 p.m. tonight on KMGH-Channel 7, is a beautifully rendered interpretation of Hurston's novel; it is vaguely about love and marriage but more about a woman's journey toward awareness and autonomy. It's a chick flick in the best sense.

Berry is sublime as Janie Crawford, and Ruby Dee is a powerhouse as Nanny. The sets are impeccable - Eatonville, Fla., is re-created on the Disney Ranch with additional exteriors shot in Orlando, Fla. And the sexual chemistry between Janie and Tea Cake (Michael Ealy) sears the screen. Their smoldering kiss is one for the archives.

Promoting the movie, Oprah offered beachfront property in exchange for "a kiss like that." Beyond any pretentions to educating the masses, she knows how to motivate her audience.

Hurston (1891-1960) wrote "Their Eyes Were Watching God" in 1937. The African-American novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist was dismissed by the (male) literary establishment for 30 years and remained something of an underground phenomenon until Alice Walker championed her in the 1970s. Subsequent revivals, by feminists, as well as by literary scholars, have guaranteed Hurston a respected place in the world of letters.

More important to ABC, Hurston has a respected place in the world of Oprah.

Winfrey told TV critics that, with the exception of Walker's "The Color Purple," Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is her favorite book.

Berry said she hopes "bringing Zora Neale's work to life will be part of my legacy."

And playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, who adapted the book to the screenplay, claimed, "This is one of the things that I was born to do."

They may be talking about a mere made-for-TV movie, but their aim is much loftier. They seek nothing less than to rehabilitate the image of Zora Neale Hurston and restore her as a great figure of American literature, for a new and massive audience, using the most powerful medium of the age.

Network executives don't mind television tipping its antennas to literature, as long as there's enough lust, love and romance involved to draw a crowd. Add a marquee name like Berry's, plus hip director Darnell Martin ("Oz"), and you've got a winner.

The film's language, like the book's, takes getting used to. The 1920s Florida African-American dialect, even in its moderated form onscreen, demands close attention.

"If we're going to translate this book to the masses," Berry said, "so that everybody can sort of get the message that Zora wants to tell, you had to change the language a little bit and make it something that audiences today could really latch on to and not have to think too hard."

Purists will argue that even the best adaptations cannot convey the sustained joy of the rhythms of the written word.

Hurston wrote: "There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought."

Television is often lucky to dip a toe into the basin of thought, let alone plumb the deep gulf. This production approaches that reservoir of knowledge, setting the tone and hoping the viewer finds "thought untouched by words."

In the end, if we're lucky, the telecast will send fans scrambling back to the less passive experience of turning pages.



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Serenasailor
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Serenasailor

Post Number: 226
Registered: 01-2006

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Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 06:16 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I often wondered why Zora Neale Hurston never created a character that looked more like her. Brown-skinned, full lips, and short kinky hair.
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Deebaby
Regular Poster
Username: Deebaby

Post Number: 50
Registered: 08-2005

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Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 10:04 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hated it!

Nah, actually I didn't watch it.

Halle wasn't my vision of Janie by a long shot.

Nor Micheal Ealy - Teacake

It just didn't hold my interest. I saw a few minutes of it, here and there, before I decided to keep my own visions of who was who and what was what.

I didn't like Beloved either.

It's not easy to bring a good/great book to life.

Movies like

The Color Purple

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Other Side of Midnight

brought the books, characters, settings to life for me.


even How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Well, in that case, the book was nothing to write home about, but I loved the movie.

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Abm
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Abm

Post Number: 4166
Registered: 04-2004

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Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 11:09 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deebaby,

I liked Oprah's Beloved. They did about as good a job as they could do with it given its subject matter and themes.

I think if Oprah were not affiliated with it (or nobody knew or cared anything about who/what she is), the Beloved movie might be more warmly received and appreciated.

I didn't like "Their Eyes..." because, well, I guess I'll, for now at least, cut Halle Berry some slack.
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Deebaby
Veteran Poster
Username: Deebaby

Post Number: 53
Registered: 08-2005

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Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 02:04 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Abm,

I suppose they did their best.

Beloved just has so much going on...a helluva novel to put on film.

Admittedly, I didn't get through that one, in it's entirety either.

I kept it on, which is more than I did for Their Eyes Were Watching God.

catching moments as I was doing other things around the house. That scene just didn't occur that made me wanna drop everything, grab my popcorn and zero in.

Maybe it was bad timing...*s*

I might give them both a try again at some point in the future.
Well, Beloved anyway. I don't know about the other one.
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Enchanted
Veteran Poster
Username: Enchanted

Post Number: 56
Registered: 11-2005

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Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 02:17 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please. BELOVED was a mess! Oprah was the one who messed it up. They should have got Alfre Woodard for that role. The story was too crazy to be a movie. I watched the whole thing and I did not enjoy it at all. Deebaby save your time.

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Abm
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Abm

Post Number: 4179
Registered: 04-2004

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Posted on Friday, February 03, 2006 - 11:41 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deebaby,

Read ALL of Beloved, slowly, over the course of months, if it takes you that long. Really. It's just...DIVINE.

Then see the movie.

Perhaps after doing that, you'll better appreciate the book and the movie.


Enchanted,

Oprah's acting was aight to me. But I too would have preferred Alfre. Not just because Alfre is a better actress.

But because I LOVE her.

*sigh*
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Deebaby
Veteran Poster
Username: Deebaby

Post Number: 57
Registered: 08-2005

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Posted on Friday, February 03, 2006 - 02:58 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

*s* @ Enchanted

ABM, I read Beloved.

That's why I said it's a helluva novel to put on film.

It's definitely worth a few reads, cause there's a lot going on there.

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Serenasailor
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Serenasailor

Post Number: 238
Registered: 01-2006

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Posted on Friday, February 03, 2006 - 04:32 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I loved Beloved. That is one of my favorite books/movies of all time.
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Jenn
Newbie Poster
Username: Jenn

Post Number: 11
Registered: 11-2005

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Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 01:37 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked.

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