Reviews written by registered user
|44 reviews in total|
I have a very hard time picking a favorite, favorite film, but if forced to create a Top 10 List, this film would be there. Yes, Liza Minnelli CAN act , and brilliantly. The songs are wonderful and funny, the narrative is brilliant and dark. Those who typically don't like musicals might enjoy this, as there are none of those cheesy "I feel a song coming on" moments - - all of the music is confined to the stage of the Kit Kat Klub. Michael York's role is often overshadowed by Minnelli's brassy Sally Bowles, but his work is equally strong. A+.
Anyone who enjoys the catty, female-driven movies of old (All About
Eve, The Women, et. al.) and bemoans the idea that they don't make 'em
like they used to should see "Being Julia." Annette Bening is at her
best when she's *not* playing saints, and while Julia isn't nearly as
awful as the roles she played in "The Grifters" or "American Beauty,"
she's wicked enough to delight throughout (and vulnerable enough to
Most of the reviews and award nominations associated with this film will likely heap loads of praise on Annette Bening and little else. She is in nearly every scene, so it's hard to separate her performance from anything else -- and while she is brilliant; the story, direction, costumes, cinematography, art direction, and supporting performances are equally worthy of praise.
Every once in a while, they make one like they used to.
"Victim" is probably the first mainstream film on either side of the Atlantic to feature a gay hero. Granted, Dirk Bogarde plays a married closet case who hasn't actually engaged in a homosexual act in many years. Nonetheless, it's fairly amazing that, given what we know about attitudes toward gay people in the 1950's that a film this affirming of gay rights could have been made in 1961. It's a movie that's much more about "gay" as an identity than it is about sexuality; it centers on a blackmail ring that includes our closeted hero, a star of the London theatre, a lonely old barber, a Rolls-Royce salesman, and others. As a group, the gay men are intermittently desperate, proud, accepting, self-loathing, and scared -- which said more to me about 1961 than it said about gay men. The title is interesting to me; it seems that the journey of Bogarde's character seems to be the road out of victimization and toward (if this isn't too corny) self-actualization. It's a mildly entertaining movie, but a fascinating historical artifact.
I thought that this film was terrific. I read the book years ago, and actually thought that the movie was better. First of all, it makes more sense to look at the storyline from Nina's perspective, since she has much more at stake than George does. Secondly, the character played by Nigel Hawthorne was beautifully written and played, and he didn't even exist in the book. I also disagree with the assertion that George was "boring" in this movie. I thought that Paul Rudd gave a wonderful and moving performance, particularly at the Science Fair when he tells Nina how much he would love to be a father. Don't believe the critics -- give it a rental. It's a terrific film.
Being a big fan of the book, I was avoiding this film for a LONG time. The
first half hour of the film would lead a fan of Hawthorne to conclude that
the screenwriter had never even READ the original novel.
However, the screenwriter in this instance simply wanted to spend the first 30 minutes dramatizing the 'back story' that Hawthorne only alludes to in the book. Jaffrey and Clifford are now brothers, not cousins. Clifford and Hepzibah are now lovers, not siblings ... and the details surrounding the murder of Clifford's father (his uncle in the book) are slightly different, but the movie is only 90 minutes long, and the film simplifies the plotline without erasing the POINT.
Some of the acting (Margaret Lindsay as Hepzibah, for example) is so brilliant, it makes you want to cry. The scenes that depict Phoebe's arrival to Seven Gables (Chapter 2 in the book, almost halfway through the film) are incredibly well acted. Other moments in the film are so badly and broadly acted, it's laughable. At the scene of the first murder, the camera actually does a quick pan to Margaret Lindsay in the doorway, biting her knuckle. Oy gevalt.
As is usual, reading the book is more of a challenge (not everyone enjoys Hawthorne's prose), but ultimately a MUCH richer experience. For a product of its time, however ... the film does itself justice.
I think that this is possibly the funniest movie I have ever seen.
Robert Harling's script is near perfect, just check out the "quotes"
section; on second thought, just rent the DVD, since it's the delivery
that really makes the lines sing.
Sally Field gives a comic, over-the-top performance like you've never seen from her anywhere else, and Kevin Kline is effortlessly hilarious. Robert Downey, Jr. is typically brilliant, and in a very small role, Kathy Najimy is a riot as the beleaguered costumer. I was never much of a fan of Elisabeth Shue, but she's great here as the one *real* person surrounded by a bevy of cartoon characters on the set of "The Sun Also Sets" -- that rumbling you feel beneath you is Hemingway rolling over in his grave. Either that, or he's laughing really hard.
Five stars. Funny, funny, funny.
When I found out that Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jason Robards were teaming for a film based on a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, I went out and read the book immediately. "A Thousand Acres" was one of the best reading experiences of my life, and while the film couldn't capture the book in its entirety (no film could, unless it were six hours long), I really enjoyed it. Michelle Pfeiffer should have received another Oscar nomination for her fearless portrayal of Rose Cook Lewis, the character modeled after Shakespeare's evil Regan from "King Lear." While all of the performances are solid, they seem somehow timid next to Pfeiffer, who once again proves that she is most definitely not just another pretty face.
I would recommend this film; I was drawn in by the cast, particularly Julianne Moore and Blythe Danner. It's a typical situation...tense family angst around the Thanksgiving table. But this time, it's not played for cuteness (i.e., Jodie Foster's "Home for the Holidays"). Dad (Roy Scheider, giving a really icy performance) is seriously unstable, as is the eldest daughter (Julianne Moore). Mom (Blythe Danner) and the baby of the family (Noah Wyle, also a producer) are more likeable -- this being an indie, it also means they're less interesting. The other two children are pretty much ignored by the script, though Hope Davis as the eldest son's romantic interest gives the picture a lift whenever she appears on screen. There are a few amusing moments and clever lines of dialogue, but it's not a Woody Allen comedy/drama -- this one is more raw and probably more honest. Definitely worth a rental. You might love it or hate it, but it will assuredly affect you one way or the other.
Just saw this last night, while on a "date"...and I'm glad that I listened to my friends who recommended it. This is a PERFECT date movie. Enough of a romantic comedy to put you in that oh-wouldn't-it-be-great-to-be-in-love mood, but unpredictable and un-corny enough to slip away from the usual Hollywood trappings. I won't ruin it for anyone, but the "linoleum moment" was priceless, and Hope Davis is terrific. I'm renting "The Daytrippers" this weekend.
This film is three short films in one, all inspired by short stories featuring one male lead and one female lead. James Woods and Melanie Griffith do a credible job in the Hemingway story, but the story itself is far superior to this script. The Dorothy Parker adaptation with Molly Ringwald and Peter Weller is awful; the two actors appear to be in two completely different stories. It's Elizabeth McGovern's performance in "The Man with the Brooks Brothers Shirt" that makes this tape worth the price of the rental. Beau Bridges is good as the traveling salesman, but McGovern's performance as the stranger he meets on the train is one of the most skillful, powerful performances I've ever seen on film. This is a hugely gifted, vastly underrated actress who ought to be seen a lot more often than she is. Two stars overall, but Elizabeth McGovern gets five.
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