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Don't Call Me, Tootsie!
I don't know why I waited thirty years to see this comedy classic. A first rate cast, first rate writing, and directing make this a classic overall. Dustin Hoffman should have won his second Academy Award as Michael Dorsey, a brilliant but difficult unemployed actor in New York City. In 1982, there were plenty of soaps there. Now they are none in the city. There are only four soaps and all in Los Angeles. This film made me realize that I miss New York City of the 1980s. I love the relationship between Michael Dorsey and Julie. The theme song is one of my favorites. I love the city scenes too. Great actors fill the screen even a young Geena Davis. Doris Belack and Dabney Coleman are also great.
The Last Station (2009)
Two Powerful Performances!
Dame Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer play Leo and Sophie Tolstoy, Russian nobles and literary figures. Tolstoy is a cultural icon in Russia and the literary world. His wife is his partner in life and his art. The two have a wonderful romance where they have thirteen children together. Sophie and Leo appeared made for each other like one of the great romances ever in the literary world. Plummer and Mirren are ideal as the mature couple who can't live apart for very long. The cast is believable and the story about their final year together. Tolstoy wasn't just a writer but an idealist with a revolutionary ideas. The film is worth seeing if not for the Academy Award nominated performances by Plummer and Mirren.
A descent into madness!
Great performances by Ashley Judd who plays Agnes White, a divorced single mother whose son is out of the picture; Harry Connick Jr who plays her ex con husband Goss; and Michael Shannon who plays mysterious Peter Evans. William Friedkin does an admirable job in directing Tracy Letts's play. With Letts' latest play to screen adaptation, August: Osage County coming out in release, this film has some similarities like drugs, estranged children, mental illness, and Oklahoma. This play adapted to screen must have been different. It would be almost impossible with the ending. As the film begins, we see Agnes unfold as lonely living in a motel. We see how Goss belittles and mistreats her. When Peter enters her life, Agnes slowly begins to see the bugs and believe him in every way. As Peter and Agnes become infested, the audience sees their descent into madness and the doom awaiting them. As a viewer, I was saddened and even sickened by how quickly the illness takes them. It's a sad inevitable ending! Michael Shannon, Ashley Judd, and Harry Connick Jr are all brilliant in their roles.
Black Sunday (1977)
A terrific thriller!
This thriller begins slowly but builds up to a brilliant conclusion. Marthe Keller is brilliant as the Palestinian female terrorist who manipulates her boyfriend, a Vietnamese POW, brilliantly played by Bruce Dern. The relationship between Dahlia and Michael is quite believable. Dahlia is the brains and perhaps the only female in the film and she holds her own. Keller's performance is rare and exceptional. Her Dahlia could have been a caricature but she delivers a complex performance as an activist turned terrorist and killer in slow progression. The moment in their hotel before the Super Bowl displayed both their terror and fears about the diabolical plot. The Super Bowl is America's biggest event of the year. Filmed on one Super Bowl, you can't recreate it. The final scene ends too short. What happened after? Still a great film to watch repeatedly.
This film is about Andre Moussah, a broke man on the edge with debts to pay, in beautiful Paris, France. He jumps off one of the city's bridges one early Sunday morning to save a beautiful woman named Angela. She is tall, blonde, fast talking, intelligent , and ready to help Andre out any way she can. The movie is beautifully done in black and white with Paris in all its glory. Andre and Angela make an unlikely couple but Angela isn't who she appears to be. The actors do a first rate job in making me love this pair. I love the music. Luc Besson is a brilliant director who also wrote the screenplay. Besides being serious, this film is a lot of fun to watch anyway. You wish to be like Angela.
What a tearjerker!
This Czech film is worthy of all the accolades. Set in Prague on the end of communism, a Russian mother marries a Czech musician to become a Czech citizen in a marriage scam. Franta Louka is a lifelong bachelor and heterosexual who lives alone in an apartment. When his wife leaves for the West, she leaves her five year old adorable son to a relative who becomes ill and is handed over to Louka. Their relationship progresses as the reluctant father takes a liking to the boy. The film also shows how communism and soviet resentment in Czech. The film is both light hearted and serious. I couldn't help but feel sad by the end. The cast is first rate especially the young boy who played Kolya.
Laugh out loud funny!
I never thought that I laughed so hard from a French film before. This film is a French farce at the best. The cast is incredible and they make the script fly in front of you. The craziness of George's whose married to wealthy Marion and cheating on her with beautiful Emannuelle, a French model with blonde hair and great figure. His mistress want to confront the wife with a chainsaw and crazy paratrooper boyfriend, Johnny. George's gets Maurice to play his wife in a hilarious send up of the pretty woman scene in the clothes. Johnny is crazy jealous and risks his job and life for the love of his life. The scenes on location in Paris and Venice are done well. This is a great comedy where you see a simple lie manifests into comic disaster.
Just don't get it!
While Sam Rockwell gives a tour De force performance as Sam Bell who lives and works on the moon for lunar industries. Gerty is voiced by the wonderful Kevin Spacey. Rockwell plays a very lonely astronaut whose wife and daughter are on earth. He is at the end of his three year mission contract when an accident happens. Surprise to say this film is per gravity but with paranoia and obvious isolation. The film asks more questions than answers about The two Sams and Gerty's role up there. Lunar industries has another agenda but I don't know what it is. The filming is spectacular and believable about the moon and its harsh conditions of life. Rockwell should have earned accolades for his performance here.
Pretty Ugly People (2008)
A waste of money!
I expected more when I saw the accolades but I'm disappointed in the film. I guess this film is supposed to be about a life changing four days for Lucy and her college friends. Years past, they get married, divorced, and have children and careers. A star cast includes Missi Pyle and Melissa McCarthy. The other cast members are fine but the script is weak. The film has great scenery. I can't get past the negativeness of the film. There is no character to root for anyway. Sure, Lucy loses the weight but her mind as well. She thinks her weight loss will lead to feeling accepted and an equal peer. Lucy has a self esteem issue as well. Things change but not much.
Beyond Tomorrow (1940)
Sentimental Sweet Melodrama
I really wanted to see Maria Oupenskaya, a Russian American actress, who trained Ruth White among others. Tragically she died in a fire. This film is the first I was able to see. Back in the studio system days, films like this were done quickly and more efficiently. If anything, the quality of writing isn't great. Still the cast do a terrific job with the script. The Christmas dinner and party was delightful to watch. The tragic loss of the three elderly wealthy men who return as spirits who guide the young honest couple back to each other. The film might have quality issues with the DVD. Still the film is worth seeing at least once and should be aired around the Christmas holidays.