I saw The Painted Veil yesterday and got to the theater a wee bit late. Actually, I got to the only theater in all of Phoenix that shows small films like this 10 minutes before the film started, certain I wouldn’t have any problem getting a seat. I’ve done this a time or two and it is typically me and 20 senior citizens from Paradise Valley kicking back to watch a movie that will more than likely receive an Oscar nod and therefore doesn’t have a special effects budget. I fit in all too well with this crowd, especially when I bring my knitting to keep me company until they dim the lights.
Boy, was I wrong yesterday. Every gray hair in Maricopa County was at the theater, with their friends from Iowa in tow. When I got the tickets the clerk said I’d more than likely be sitting in the front row. Eh, how bad could it be?
I sat down in a nice seat in the very back of the theater and thought, “Ha! This isn’t so bad. That silly clerk didn’t know what she was talking about.” Ten minutes later I realized Helen Mirren is not, in fact, in 1930s China (but England, yes, and I hear that movie is quite good), I made it into the right theater after my movie had already started. And guess where we found the only open seats?
Front row. Neck-crunching, mind-boggling, perspective-altering front row.
The movie was good. Not great, but good. The Chinese countryside was pretty spectacular, off-setting the mediocre storyline. While I enjoyed the public health edge — Ed Norton is a bacteriologist fighting a cholera epidemic — I did not like the ending. It was far too tidy. Naomi Watts is gorgeous and quite believable. Ed? He is a wounded pup with some great lines, but unfortunately they are given in a horrible British accent. Ed as a Brit is a bit hard to swallow. He’s so talented, but so American. Then again, how can you top Fight Club?

Three out of five bananas, absoloodle.